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, 2016

Lake Tahoe: Warmest water temperatures ever recorded

Absurd to think that a climate record that goes back to 1968 only can give you a picture of a long term trend.  But since the record goes back to 1968 only, we cannot test for a long term trend.  We can however look at the air temperature record from the nearby Tahoe station.  It's below.  What do we see?  We see that temperatures in the Tahoe area were markedly higher in the 1920s and 1930s.  Tahoe as a whole has been COOLING long term.  How likely is it that the lake is going to be different from its region?  Clearly, the scare below is an artifact of inadequate data

Lake Tahoe's average surface temperature last year was the warmest ever recorded, the latest evidence that climate change is altering California's iconic Sierra Nevada landmark.

In a report released Thursday by UC Davis, scientists said that the lake's waters in the past four years have been warming at 15 times their historic average.

The air temperature at the lake is becoming steadily hotter too. The winter of 2014-15 saw just 24 days where the average temperature dropped below freezing at the lake, according to the report, and only 6 percent of last year's precipitation fell as snow -- both all-time lows.

The ominous evidence threatens efforts in recent years to improve Lake Tahoe's famed blue clarity by reducing pollution. That's because the warming water will likely result in more algae growth, silt and invasive species, researchers said.

"The lake is changing, and it is changing at an increasing rate," said Geoffrey Schladow, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

The picture of a steadily warming lake -- and a vacation wonderland with a relentless trend toward hotter weather, more rain and less snow -- emerged from the 2016 "State of the Lake" report, a document the center publishes every year.

Straddling the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in America. It's 1,645 feet at its deepest point, behind only Crater Lake in Oregon. If the Empire State Building were submerged in Lake Tahoe, the top of its spire would still be below 200 feet of water. Roughly 3 million people visit each year.

"This year's report is definitely a warning," said Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, an environmental group. "We need to improve our efforts."



America blighted by  industrial wind

Green gangsters rip us off while enriching the 0.1% and trashing the environment

Mary Kay Barton                                                                                    

“America is being auctioned off to the highest bidder.” – Donald J. Trump

A recent Joe Mahoney article, NY looks to the wind to replace its fossil fuel diet, was full of half-truths and misinformation.

There is nothing “free,” “clean” or “green” about industrial wind.  Quite the contrary: the true costs of industrial wind development are astronomical. Yet, the wishful thinking of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, “green” ideologues, and “renewable” energy hustlers and subsidy seekers who benefit from this massive taxpayer and ratepayer rip-off has been repeated by countless “journalists” without question for years now.

Mahoney’s article highlighted Cuomo’s approval of the proposed wind factory off Montauk, NY. It claimed: “The offshore ‘wind farm’ could be a symbol of how the state can meet Cuomo’s ambitious goal of getting half of New York’s energy from carbon-free sources by 2030.  Now those sources represent about 23 percent of the state's energy draw.”

The statement is grossly misleading and inaccurate.

New York State’s emissions-free hydro power (including what it imports from Canada) already supplies approximately 23% of New York State electricity generation all by itself. New York State’s emissions-free nuclear power supplies approximately another 30% of the state’s electricity generation. “Other Renewables” (wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal) now provide a measly 3% (US Energy Information Administration or EIA).

Clearly, current hydro and nuclear power supplies in New York State alone already exceed Cuomo’s emissions-free target of 50 percent. But for some reason emissions-free nuclear is not counted toward NY’s “emissions-free” goal.

Most infuriating for New York State taxpayers and ratepayers is the fact that New York State was already getting approximately 50% of its electricity from emissions-free sources (19% from hydro + 29% from nuclear + 1% from “Other Renewables”) way back in 2000 – before Governor Cuomo & Co. began throwing billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars into the wind, plastering rural NY with these bird-slaughtering lemons, as reported by

Scientific proof MIA

As our government officials continue to throw billions of dollars into the wind, the key question that needs to be asked by everyone is this:

Where is the Scientific PROOF that wind energy is a net societal benefit?

The answer is that there is no such scientific proof. Zero. Zip. Nada. None.

However, there is much proof that development of sprawling, unreliable, subsidized, mandated industrial wind factories has been vastly detrimental across the nation and the world. So much so that President Obama and his Fish & Wildlife Service had to approve 30-Year EAGLE-KILL permits specifically to accommodate the bird-slaughtering wind industry – letting it off scot free for butchering our wildlife.

Governor Cuomo’s pie-in-the-sky ‘green’ energy policy is bereft of any realistic assessment of the expensive lessons already learned in Europe and elsewhere as a result of pushing these ‘renewable’ energy policies.

Results include, but are not limited to:  “skyrocketing” electricity rates, industries fleeing, 2 – 4 jobs lost for every ‘green’ job created, destroyed habitats and countryside, birds and bats slaughtered, lost property values, health issues, utter civil discord among people forced to live with these behemoths, and increasing numbers of people being thrust into ‘energy poverty.’ 

All this as a result of the same ‘green’ mess that Governor Cuomo, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party continue to push.

While they demonize fossil fuel use and promise to rid us of this vital energy, the truth is that the availability of reliable, affordable power thanks to fossil fuels is directly correlated with greatly improved health and longevity here in the USA, as Alex Epstein explains in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

It’s all about the money!

WHY do they continue to push such an obvious failure as industrial wind, you ask?  Simple: “It’s all about the money!’

Manhattan Institute scholar Robert Bryce recently reported that the wind industry has garnered $176 BILLION of crony-capitalist cash here in the United States. It’s no wonder the American Wind Energy Association spends over $20 million per year lobbying for more of the same!

Big Wind and the Big Banks who back them are playing the system to tap into taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ wallets, while the crony-politicians who enable the whole dastardly deal get hefty ‘campaign donations’ in return. The greatest Ponzi schemes of all time pale in comparison to the eco-heist these Green Gangsters are pulling off.

Industrial wind was initiated in the United States by ENRON as a tax shelter generating scheme. Nothing about that has changed. Big Wind enriches the 0.1% at taxpayers' and ratepayers' expense.

Just ask Warren Buffett, who said: “We get tax credits if we build ‘wind farms.’ That's the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credits.”

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump was absolutely correct when he underscored the critical need to address our nation’s economic demise, saying: “America is being auctioned off to the highest bidder.” The Industrial Wind Blight across America exemplifies this sad reality!

Via email

The World's Largest Solar Plant Just Torched Itself

The technology is inherently risky due to the high temperatures employed

A small fire was reported yesterday morning at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in California, forcing a temporary shutdown of the facility. It’s now running at a third of its capacity (a second tower is down due to scheduled maintenance), and it’s not immediately clear when the damaged tower will restart. It’s also unclear how the incident will impact California’s electricity supply.

Putting out the blaze was not easy task, either. Firefighters were forced to climb 90m up a boiler tower to get to the scene. Officials said the fire was located about two-thirds up the tower. Workers at the plant actually managed to subdue the flames by the time firefighters reached the spot, and it was officially extinguished about 20 minutes after it started.

Located on 4000 acres of public land in the Mojave Desert, the sprawling concentrated solar thermal plant is equipped with 173,500 heliostats — each with two mirrors — that focus sunlight on boilers located on top of three 140m towers. The tremendous heat created by the concentrated solar power produces steam that drives turbines to produce electricity. The plant, the largest of its kind in the world, features a gross capacity of 392 megawatts, enough to power 140,000 homes. Each of the computer-controlled solar-reflecting mirrors is about the size of a garage door.

A spokesperson for the plant said it’s too early to comment on the cause, but it appears that misaligned mirrors are to blame. The Associated Press quoted Mike McClintock, the San Bernardino County fire captain, who said that some mirrors delivered sunlight to a different level on the third unit, causing electrical cables to catch fire.

Inevitably, the incident reveals the inherent dangers of concentrated solar power as well as the need to ensure that the mirrors are always on target. Concentrated solar power plants, in addition to being a menace to themselves, can also pose a hazard to local wildlife. Last year, a plant in Nevada torched over a hundred birds when they flew through the plant’s “flux field”.

It’s yet another setback for the Ivanpah facility. For the past few months, the plant has been unable to meet the output levels stipulated in its power purchase agreement, and it was given an extension until 31 July 2016 to improve performance. This fire obviously isn’t going to help.


? Hillary’s energy policies: Enriching Wall Street cronies, while the poor are pawns in their political game

In his less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s choice for President, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) decried “Greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior” and declared that we couldn’t let “billionaires buy elections.” Perhaps his opposition research team discovered what we have about Clinton’s connections with the very entities he despises: Wall Street — which he’s accused of “gambling trillions in risky financial instruments;” and “huge financial institutions” that he says: “simply have too much economic and political power over this country.”

Wall Street and its “huge financial institutions” are Clinton allies — supporting both her campaign and donating big bucks to the Clinton Foundation.

In the batch of Democrat National Committee (DNC) emails WikiLeaks made public on July 23, DNC Research Associate Jeremy Berns tells his colleagues: “She [Clinton] doesn’t want the people knowing about her relationships on Wall Street.” He adds: “She wants to achieve consistency and the best way to do that is to keep the people ignorant.”

For the past four years, I’ve collaborated with citizen activist/researcher Christine Lakatos (she’s been at it for six years) on what we’ve called: President Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. Together we’ve produced the single largest body of work on the topic. In her blog, the Green Corruption Files, she posts her exhaustive research—what I affectionately refer to as the drink-from-the-fire-hydrant version. I, then, use her research to draft an overview that is appropriate for the casual reader.

More recently, our efforts have morphed to include the Democrats’ presidential nominee, as Lakatos found the same people are her “wealthy cronies,” too.

In Lakatos’ most-recent, and final Green Corruption File, released on July 19, she states: “While there are numerous ways you can ‘buy access to the Clintons,’ I’m only going to connect the dots to the Green Gangsters, which we’ve already established are rich political pals of President Obama, as well as other high-ranking Democrats and their allies, who were awarded hundreds of billions of ‘green’ taxpayer cash.”

Her lengthy report, is “devoted to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the Democrat presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is not on only in bed with Big Money (Wall Street, the Uber-Rich, special interests groups and lobbyists) and Dark Money (Super PACS and Secret Cash), she’s also bankrolled and is in cahoots with — directly and through her husband and her family foundation — the wealthy Green Gangsters, who are robbing U.S. taxpayers in order to ‘save the planet.’”

While the dozens of pages prove the involvement of names you know—like former vice president Al Gore, former Governor Bill Richardson, and billionaire donors Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett, and names you likely don’t know: David Crane, John Doerr, Pat Stryker, and Steve Westly — I’ve chosen to highlight the Clinton’s Wall Street connections that have benefited from the green deals that were cut in the Obama White House and that will continue on if Clinton wins.

Lakatos points out: “Clinton’s ‘ambitious renewable energy plans’ move far beyond Obama’s green mission that has been rife with crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and corruption.” Along with more climate rules, she “wants an open tab for green energy.” Remember the DNC’s official platform includes: “the goal of producing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050” and “a call for the Justice Department to investigate fossil fuel companies for misleading the public on climate change.”

Three Wall Street names of my limited-word-count focus are Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Each is a top-contributing Clinton campaign supporter and a Clinton Foundation donor. They have benefited from the hundreds of billions in taxpayers dollars given out for green energy projects through the Obama Administration. All three have expectations that Clinton will continue the green programs put in place by the Obama administration.

Goldman Sachs: donated between $1 million to $5 million and the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund has contributed between $250,000 to $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

As Lakatos pointed out in previous reports, Goldman Sachs is connected, via various roles, to at least 14 companies and/or projects that won green taxpayer cash––a tab that exceeded $8.5 billion. One specific example: Goldman is credited as the “exclusive financial adviser” for the now bankrupt Solyndra ($570.4 million loss). Then there is now-bankrupt SunEdison—an early Goldman Sachs investment. SunEdison received $1.5 billion in federal and state subsidies. And, in 2010, Goldman Sachs handled the IPO of government winner, Tesla Motors that was awarded $465 million from the Department Of Energy (DOE) ATVM program—they got much more if you factor in the state and local subsides: $2,406,805,253 to be exact. Also, according to Goldman, “In May 2013, [they] helped raise over $1 billion in new financing for Tesla Motors.”

Citigroup/Citi Foundation: donated between $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

This big bank is connected to approximately $16 billion of taxpayer money. Lakatos, in 2013, reported that Citi was actively involved in securing the 1703/1705 DOE loans; was a direct investor; and/or served as an underwriter for the initial public offering (IPO) of at least 16 of Citi’s clients that received some form of government subsidies. One green company where Citi is a major investor is SolarCity, which has been subsidized through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune equaling almost $1.5 billion. (Billionaire Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla and Chairman at SolarCity. He’s a Clinton Foundation donor ($25 million to $50 million) and Hillary supporter, too.)

Bank of America/Bank of America Foundation: donated between $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Bank of America, amongst other green efforts, participated in Project Amp — a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels on rooftops in 28 states. At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported: “Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit will provide $1.4 billion in loans for the project,” of which “the financing is part of Bank of America’s plan to put $20 billion of capital to work in renewable energy, conservation and other clean technologies that address climate change.” In the final days of the DOE loan program (September 2011), the DOE awarded a partial guarantee of $1.4 billion loan to Project Amp. According to a press release, Bank of America increased its second environmental business initiative from $50 billion to $125 billion in low-carbon business by 2025 through lending, investing, capital raising, advisory services and developing financing solutions for clients around the world.

It’s important to remember that climate change—which is the foundation of the green agenda — is part of the Clinton Foundation’s mission statement: “In communities across the globe, our programs are proving that we can confront the debilitating effects of climate change in a way that makes sense for governments, businesses, and economies.” Additionally, the Foundation’s coffers were enriched when Clinton and her State Department staff solicited contributions from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, as we detailed in our coverage of her clean cookstove campaign.

In addition to Clinton’s obvious Wall Street connections, one of the many startling realizations that can be gleaned from the report on Hillary’s Horrendous Hypocrisy, is the fact that these companies — some of which would not be in existence without the grants and tax credits — that received millions in taxpayer dollars, took our money and gave it to the Clinton Foundation and to the Clinton Campaign. As was the case with Clinton Foundation donor/campaign fundraiser George Kaiser, these billionaires are making lucrative profits, at taxpayer expense, from bankrupted green companies like Solyndra.

In short, we, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the well-connected millionaires and billionaires — and Hillary Clinton is part of all of it. Meanwhile, she admonishes the average American to combat climate change by driving less and reducing our personal use of electricity.

Bernie Sanders was right to be alarmed. Huge financial institutions do have too much political power. Wall Street billionaires are trying to buy Clinton the White House. In return, she’ll be sure their green energy investments pay off for them by demanding that America go green.


Rhode Island’s AG Sued For Withholding Docs In Global Warming Investigation

A conservative legal group is suing Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin for withholding records regarding a “secret pact” the office has with other attorneys general investigating ExxonMobil’s global warming stance.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (EELI) is suing Kilmartin’s office for refusing to release some records regarding a “common interest agreement” between Democratic AG offices that participated in a March event hosted by New York AG Eric Schneiderman.

At the event, AGs reaffirmed their commitment to defending Obama administration global warming rules, and some even committed to investigating Exxon and free market think tanks and groups with supposed ties to the oil company. EELI says they have evidence Kilmartin’s office is part of a “secret pact” to come out of the meeting.

“E&E Legal expects to do whatever is necessary to get these public records before the public, to educate on this unprecedented abuse of power”, EELI Executive Director Craig Richardson said in a statement Wednesday.

EELI says Kilmartin’s office has “imposed extensive delays and considerable amounts of fees before handing over some records while refusing to release others,” according to their release. They also say Kilmartin withheld the pact “without even acknowledging its existence in their itemized list of withholdings.”

“All that we have found indicates that these AGs and their outside activist partners will make litigation necessary at every turn,” Richardson said.

EELI uncovered an email in early July showing Kilmartin’s office signed onto a common interest agreement with other AGs who were at the March event in New York City. EELI says the agreement is being used to block groups, like EELI, from getting certain documents in government records requests.

EELI said the email s evidence AGs have entered into an agreement to block records requests regarding investigations into ExxonMobil’s alleged campaign to mislead the public on global warming. Those investigations have ensnared conservative think tanks, policy experts and scientists with alleged ties to Exxon.

EELI’s lawsuit comes as three of the four investigations into Exxon have stalled or fallen apart.

Exxon has won legal victories against AGs of Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin islands, both of which subpoenaed the company and supposedly-affiliated groups.

California AG Kamala Harris’s office opened an investigation into Exxon, but the company has yet to receive a subpoena from Harris. She’s not likely to push the investigation much further since she’s running for U.S. Senate.


Greenie moans about Australia's Barrier Reef are putting tourists off  -- NOT

As with the boy who cried wolf, most people probably discount the incessant Greenie moans

FAR North tourism operators are flat strap as cashed-up visitors take advantage of easy access to Tropical Queensland.

Data released by Cairns Airport this week shows about 43,000 passengers travelled through the international terminal last month, marking a 13.3 per cent rise from June last year.

Domestic passengers last month topped 335,600, about 14,400 more than the previous June.

According to the data, European passports used when clearing immigration at Cairns Airport have exceeded 68,600 over the past 12 months, a growth of 75 per cent.

A record number of international competitors also contested the 2016 Cairns Ironman in June.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland director of business and tourism events, Rosie Douglas, said the June growth continued to reflect the trends being experienced by the region’s industry.

“The addition of direct flights from Hong Kong and the Philippines has given greater access to the Asian and European markets, which also have been using the direct flights from Singapore,” she said.

“This increase in aviation capacity from Asia was instrumental in Cairns winning the right to host the prestigious Ironman Asia-Pacific, the feature event of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival during June.

“June also marks the start of the school holidays for the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and Australia, bringing stronger numbers from those markets.”

Cairns Airport last month celebrated a milestone five million passengers for the year, with the total number now having reached about 5,011,000.

The influx of international and domestic visitors is being felt throughout the Far North.

Skyrail general manager Craig Pocock said the tourism heavyweight was experiencing “pre-global financial crisis” numbers.

“We’ve certainly seen strong growth across all markets,” he said. “This season we’ve also been strong both before and after the school break, and now we’re benefiting from the Japanese holiday period.

“This is a bright and optimistic period we’re experiencing, and bookings indicate that it will continue for some time.”

Mr Pocock said Skyrail was having to “ramp up” its operations to cater for the ongoing growth.

“We’ve had to increase resources, staffing and modify the way we operate to cater for the volume of visitors,” he said.



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

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29 July, 2016

Food for Thought on the Eve of the Real Hurricane Season

Joe Bastardi
There are many examples of hurricane seasons that start quickly then fall apart completely before they come roaring back.

We believe this is a big impact season on the U.S. coast. Our pre-season forecast was initially released in April — with the biggest concern in the Gulf of Mexico — which we then finalized in May, lighting up the western Atlantic and Gulf. The closer to the U.S., the bigger the worry about the intensity of storms this year given the very warm sea surface temperatures near the shore.

That warm water is eerily similar to the hurricane seasons of 1954 to 1960, when eight major hurricanes impacted the U.S. East Coast in seven years, including five in the back-to-back years of 1954 and 1955. This means that storms may not be much way out in the Atlantic, but as they get closer to the U.S. we have the threat of them increasing in intensity rather than backing off a peak reached out at sea.

Now imagine it’s 1960. Kennedy vs. Nixon is looming and up comes the ultimate East Coast storm, Hurricane Donna. It hits Florida as a Category 4, North Carolina as a Category 3, New England as a Category 2. The monster brings hurricane winds to every state on the East Coast, never before recorded in the nation’s history (and never since!). And as the storm is marching across the Atlantic a set of people decide to use it as a wedge issue in the election.

Think about it — the admonitions that this is the “worst ever” from a set of politicians using hysteria about something that nature is in control of, who then blame it on policies that their ideological opponents are advocating. And a willful press, which simply follow along with anything they are told, without examining facts, parrots it. Some of the politicians even suggest people who don’t side with what they believe should be prosecuted. Given that the nation had just spent time, treasure and blood on defeating that ideology and was still battling it in the form of the Cold War, can you imagine the response of the nation to something like that? Add to this the heat and hurricanes of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and no person in their right mind in 1960 would even think to push such an idea.

But it’s not 1960 anymore. And we have people who willingly do these things. So here is a forecast: If the kind of worry I have about this season — which I have been very public about since spring — occurs because of a plainly natural cause, we will hear the very thing that was laughable in a day and age when JFK was running for president.

The people who become targets had better have their facts lined up, because I still believe in 2016 you can counter fantasy with fact. And so part of this is to get our forecast idea out there, for one, but also to lay the ground work before it happens. What would not even be an issue in 1960 after 30 years of record heat and hurricane hits (and there has been nothing close since) would be today in spite of the relative calm we have had been blessed with as far as hurricanes go.

Sandy may have changed the course of history given the actions and reactions of the people involved as a nation. It’s one of those events in history that, years from now, people may look at like the sinking of the Spanish Armada in a storm off England. Or the weather for D-Day. History favors the bold, and I would suggest a bold response be at the ready for whatever comes out of this hurricane season. The why before the what is not in the hands of any party, but nature. Those who know how to use it to educate the public as to the reasons are the ones that could win the hearts and minds of people in this pivotal time in our nation’s history.

And the weather could certainly be a player!


Weak Minds Think Alike

Belief in climate catastrophism is a social phenomenon, and requires an explanation in terms of the social sciences. There are a number of interesting psychological theories around – in fact every climate sceptic seems to have one. But while a psychological analysis may explain why certain people choose to be environmentalists, it can never explain how environmentalism – and in particular its most acute form, climate catastrophism – came to conquer the world; how, in other words, belief in climate catastrophism managed to attain a critical mass that permitted it to impose itself as a consensus belief, or ideology. Only a sociological explanation can do that. And a sociological explanation must account for a unique event – the rise of climate catastrophism – in terms of unique, or at least rarely repeated, social phenomena.

It’s easy enough to identify the social group which has most fervently adopted the climate catastrophism ideology. It’s the university-educated, upper-middle-class intelligentsia:- metropolitain; left-liberal; more likely to be humanities graduates than scientists; often working in academia, the media, or in related professions involved in the collection and exchange of information of all sorts. The libertarian social theorist Thomas Sowell in his book “Intellectuals and Society” defines “idea workers” as “people whose occupations deal primarily with ideas (writers, historians, academics, etc.) [and who] usually consider themselves as “anointed”, or as endowed with superior intellect or insight with which to guide the masses and those who have authority over them.”[Wiki]

I’ve often mentioned the work of the French historian Emmanuel Todd and its usefulness for understanding the catastrophist phenomenon (though he has never, to my knowledge, mentioned environment policy in his numerous comments on current politics).

One of his major achievements is to have convincingly demonstrated the close correlation between political revolutions and the attainment of universal literacy: in 16th century Germany at the time of the Protestant Reform; in England in the 17th century, announcing the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution; in France in the late 18th and in Russia in the early 20th century. His demonstration that literacy, rather than economic exploitation, is the prime cause of social upheaval destroys a major pillar of Marxism, but it also confirms Marx’s fundamental insight about the importance of class struggle in the evolution of society.

In an aside somewhere on the decline of the French Socialist Party Todd highlights one of the unintended consequences of advances in education. Whereas the attainment of universal literacy naturally reinforces egalitarian tendencies in society – leading, if not always to democracy, at least to nominal respect for the Common Man – the advent of mass tertiary education has the opposite effect.

For most of the 20th century university education was the reserve of a tiny élite, highly concentrated in the professions (law, medicine, academia..) Though they undoubtedly exercised disproportionate influence, as does any élite group, whether in Parliament, in their clubs and learned societies, or in the letter page of the Times, they were too few and isolated to be able to ignore entirely the opinions of their less educated fellow citizens, particularly as the latter included a large number of people (in industry, finance, the armed services, the media, as well as in the organised working class) who were obviously their intellectual equals.

[The late Guardian political correspondent Simon Hoggart recalled arriving at the Guardian in the fifties as one of just two graduates who were allowed in every year, by-passing the union rule that demanded two years’ apprenticeship on a provincial paper before setting foot in Fleet Street. Sixty years on, I transcribed a Greenpeace debate moderated by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who spent an inordinate amount of time boasting that his ten or eleven environmental journalists all had three or four degrees apiece. Hasn’t he heard that anything above two degrees is dangerous?]

In just over a half a century the percentage of graduates in the twenties age group has risen from a few percent to 20-30%. Graduates in my crusty generation of baby boomers were always conscious of being members of a privileged minority (about 5% in the sixties I believe) and of the fact that the most talented members of our generation (Lennon, Jagger) only entered college to drop out again. Todd points out that when graduates are counted in millions, accounting for 20-30% of an age group, they cease to be a dispersed minority and become an autonomous class, with their own culture and ideology, firmly anchored on the centre left and in the professional classes, but largely transcending traditional social categories. Whether in hippy commune or government-sponsored thinktank, they share a common belief in their superiority to the undiploma-ed masses. They notoriously rule the centre left parties, having all but ousted their traditional working class core, and have, via their control of academia and the media, imposed their ideologies on society at large: (pro-Europeanism and wilful blindness to the effects of uncontrolled immigration at the expense of the working class; militant sexual liberalism at the expense of the feelings of religious minorities; climate catastrophism at the expense of scientific rigour and common sense). Their disdain for the common man was long masked by their leftwing pose, but their reaction to the victory of the Brexit campaign has brought it out in the open. (See for example the emails in Ian Woolley’s recent article).

The idea of an autonomous educated class reversing the trend of several centuries of increasing egalitarianism and unconsciously adopting anti-egalitarian policies (while continuing to declare itself as “of the left”) because of supposed intellectual superiority has tremendous explanatory power, not least in accounting for catastrophic enviro-mentalism. As with many of Todd’s creative perceptions, it is highly speculative, but also scientific, because rooted in empirical data.

Todd has expanded his criticisms of the educated middle class and its epiphenomenon, the French Socialist Party, in a book on the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015 – “Qui Est Charlie?” (translated as Who is Charlie? Xenophobia and the New Middle Class: Polity Press) which has brought him media notoriety and the detestation of most of the French intelligentsia.

In this book Todd examines the relative strength of the turnout at the huge public demonstrations in sympathy with the families of the murdered journalists, in favour of Charlie, and in defence of its right to publish blasphemous cartoons mocking Mohammed. He discovered that turnout was highest, not in the centre and south of France characterised by an egalitarian family structure – the part of France which instigated the French Revolution and has voted left for two centuries – but on the East and West peripheries, characterised by an inegalitarian family structure and a continuation of an anti-republican Catholic tradition into the mid-twentieth century. He had already established in a recent cartographic study of French voting patterns that support for the Socialist Party had migrated in recent decades from the egalitarian Paris basin and Mediterranean coast to the ex-Catholic strongholds of the Atlantic coast and German border. This led him to posit the existence of a socio-political force he labelled “Zombie Catholicism”. As Catholic belief collapsed in the mid-twentieth century, ex-believers sought refuge in the Socialist Party, which shared some of the characteristics of the church they had so recently deserted (a universalist ethic, belief in social justice, internationalism…) This movement changed the nature of the Socialist Party, effacing its egalitarian principles and links with the urban working class, and raising pan-Europeanism and worship of the Euro to the status of an ideology.

Todd places himself on the centre left, but is a wicked critic of the ruling Socialist Party, President Hollande, and the chattering classes in general, who have betrayed a two hundred-year-old tradition of radical middle class activism in ignoring the suffering imposed on the working classes by austerity and endemic mass unemployment provoked by economic liberalism and the economic nonsense of the single currency. Add climate catastrophism to the list of ingredients of the blinkered dominant ideology and you have an excellent framework for analysing what’s wrong with the modern developed world.

Qui Est Charlie? was largely written off in the French media as a bilious anti-Hollande pamphlet. In fact it is a densely written sociological thesis, as are all his books. And it introduces one new theoretical concept which seems particularly apposite to the analysis of climate catastrophism: the explanation of how a weak affect arising from an unconscious social structure can be transformed into a strong social force.

After accusing the socialist governments since 1983 of having pursued economic policies which penalise the working class and maintain the immigrant minority in a state of apartheid which the socialists then accuse certain immigrants of maintaining in the name of “communitarianism”, Todd then proposes the following explanation of what seems to be a contradiction in his thesis: (The translation is mine, and sometimes deviates from the literal in the interest of transmitting its polemical flavour)

The Insignificance of the Actors and the Violence of their Ideologies

“I’m very conscious of the fact that the anthropological model proposed above is difficult to accept…The interpretation which I have given suggests, not only an extreme violence and an immense hypocrisy on the part of the people involved, but also a high level of conviction, of determination and of strength.

“It’s easy to imagine such characteristics in the case of far right politicians; or Moslem fundamentalists, or militant atheists, but how can you explain them in the case of people who place themselves on the centre left? The President of the Republic for example, is someone easy-going, insignificant, “an ordinary bloke”, according to his own description.

“The socialists are moderate in all things. Our thesis seems to be incompatible with the reality of a bunch of big girls’ blouses who believe in nothing very much, an army of militant softies. How to explain how such weak tendencies towards differentiation and inegalitarianism can result at the level of society at large, in an obstination of such a rare violence?”

Todd goes on to suggest that weakly held beliefs (such as the fundamentally inegalitarian world view unconsciously held by recently converted socialists emanating from a “Catholic Zombie” background) are particuarly prone to being transmitted in the holders’ milieu by a kind of mimetism: the weaker, the vaguer the idea, the more easily it can be adopted by the surrounding milieu. And Todd cites his personal experience of being able, in one-to-one conversation, to persuade a pro-European that current EU policies can only lead to the sacrifice of Southern European countries on the altar of a German ideal of economic rigour. But once the conversation terminated, the interlocutors revert to their (firmly held, because socially determined) belief in the importance of maintaining the Euro at any price, suppressing political dissent in recalcitrant countries, etc.

Here is a sociological model that seems to apply perfectly to the case of climate catastrophism. Who has not had a conversation in which he has seemingly persuaded his interlocutor that global temperature measures are not all they’re cracked up to be; that maybe some environmentalists exaggerate a little; that scientists are not saints; that windpower and electric cars are rubbish: only to find at the end of the conversation the interlocutor activating the kind of spring mechanism that rewinds the cord on your vacuum cleaner and retracting all the admissions he’s made in order to revert to the position of faithful Guardian reader he assumed at the outset?

And who, among those of you who place sceptical comments at warmist articles (and Gaia bless you for your efforts) has not been astonished at the pathetic nature of the opposition? I’m thinking of a couple of articles at the New Statesman (a once great journal that boasted Bertrand Russell and George Orwell among its contributors) by Brian Cox and Naomi Klein. These are mega stars in the intellectual firmament, yet their pro-catastrophe articles provoked opposition from maybe a half dozen of us sceptics, and we found ourselves opposed, not by 97% of the intellectual world, but by a handful of peabrained greenies who couldn’t reason or form proper sentences. Environmentalism, like Gravity, is a weak force which appears to govern the universe – until a stronger force opposes it. (Neither Klein nor Cox have been back, and the Statesman has now suppressed all comments on its articles).

It does seem a bit cheeky to accuse the likes of Sir Paul Nurse and Professor Brian Cox of mimetism, as if they were some kind of rather unimaginative reptile, but – frankly – has anyone got a better explanation?


Greenie groups now seek overhaul of U.S. renewable fuel quota

Program blamed for boosting corn crops at prairie’s expense

Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat.

More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland -- improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year.

"The big green groups that got invested in biofuels are tacitly realizing the blunder," said John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute who previously focused on automotive strategies at the Environmental Defense Fund. "It’s really hard for the people who really -- shall we say -- hate oil viscerally, to think that this alternative that we’ve been promoting is today worse than oil."

The green backlash could give a boost to long-stalled congressional efforts to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard, including proposals to limit the amount of traditional, corn-based ethanol that counts toward the mandate, as environmentalists side with anti-hunger groups and even the oil industry in calling for change. The RFS forces refiners to blend steadily escalating amounts of biofuel into the gas supply. Most of the mandate is currently fulfilled by corn-based ethanol, which makes up nearly 10 percent of U.S. gasoline and provides oxygen that helps the fuel burn cleaner.

Broken Promise

The Natural Resources Defense Council used a 96-page report in 2004 to proclaim boundless biofuel benefits: slashed global warming emissions, improved air quality and more wildlife habitat.

Instead, farmers plowed millions of acres of prairie grasses to grow corn for making ethanol, with fertilizer runoff contributing to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists warned that carbon dioxide emissions associated with corn-based ethanol were higher than expected. And alternatives using switchgrass, algae and other non-edible plant materials have been slow to penetrate the market.

"The ethanol policy was sold to environmentalists as something that was going to clean up the environment, and it’s done anything but," said Democratic Representative Peter Welch of Vermont, who is co-sponsoring legislation to revamp the RFS. "It’s truly been a flop. The environmental promise has been transformed into an environmental detriment."
‘Unintended Consequences’

The Environmental Working Group, Clean Air Task Force and Friends of the Earth argue that the program has propelled corn-based ethanol without delivering a similar boost to advanced biofuels with potentially bigger climate benefits.

Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, told a House committee last month that the RFS program, created with "good intentions," has instead wreaked "severe, unintended consequences," including the loss of prairie land and water-supply damage that threatens wildlife.

Even the NRDC that once lobbied for the RFS bemoans that "the bulk of today’s conventional corn ethanol carries grave risks to the climate, wildlife, waterways and food security." In NRDC’s "OnEarth" magazine, an essay headlined "Played for a Fuel" argues that corn-based ethanol isn’t sustainable because it requires "huge amounts" of water, fertilizer and land.

NRDC spokesman Ed Chen said the group continues to monitor the RFS "because low-carbon cellulosic biofuels can play an important role in reducing transportation pollution,” but added that the organization is “far more focused” on other carbon-cutting strategies with more immediate climate payoffs.

Corn Belt

For supporters and opponents, the debate over the RFS is politically complicated. On Capitol Hill, it divides Republicans along regional lines, with Corn Belt lawmakers determined to preserve the program they see helping to boost prices for the commodity. Green groups that seek changes risk alienating or angering go-to allies, including environmental champions in the House and Senate who staked out pro-RFS positions years ago. And the push to revamp the RFS creates uncomfortable alliances between Big Oil and environmental groups who fight fossil fuels.
Some biofuel proponents say alternatives are worse.

"In the absence of ethanol, your next barrel of transportation fuel is going to be coming from petroleum from fracking or tar sands or deep-water drilling," Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, said in a phone interview. "So you sort of have to assess ethanol in the context of what its replacement would be, and quite frankly, by that measurement we are the stone-cold winner."

Experts disagree about the extent to which corn has displaced other crops, wetlands and prairie, though in the Dakotas, acreage was withdrawn from the federal Conservation Reserve Program at the same time corn plantings grew. Dinneen said land conversion has not been an issue.

But there’s no disagreement that corn production is up -- boosted by demand from China as well as ethanol sales. In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated this year’s crop would be the largest on record: 14.54 billion bushels. And nationwide, farmers grew corn on 88 million acres in 2015 -- a 7.6 percent increase since 2005, when Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Agricultural Assessment

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, environmentalists pushed for safeguards designed to prevent land conversion, including a requirement that biofuels accepted under the program only come from tracts that were in agricultural production before 2007. But instead of tracking the flow of corn from specific farms to refineries, U.S. regulators chose to assess agricultural land use in aggregate -- an approach that the Environmental Working Group’s Emily Cassidy says "obscures what’s happening locally."

Jeremy Martin, who leads fuel policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ clean vehicles program, said the RFS has become a scapegoat, unfairly blamed as boosting demand for ethanol that probably would have reached current levels in gasoline even without the program. He casts the climb in ethanol use and the expanding footprint of corn that accompanied it as a "a one-time transition" as the U.S. fuel sector made a big shift, essentially adopting a 10 percent ethanol blend as the default gasoline.

Even if the RFS is dismantled, Martin said, "that’s not going to go away."

House Vote

Still, the growing environmental outcry is fueling calls to revamp the RFS.

There now may be enough votes in the House to pass an overhaul, despite expected defections from corn-state Republicans, says analyst Tim Cheung, vice president of ClearView Energy Partners. Lobbyists for advanced biofuels manufacturers and refiners have been discussing a possible compromise. And the National Wildlife Federation’s O’Mara sees potential for a grand bargain that combines support for advanced biofuels with assistance for farmers, including strengthened incentives to set aside land for conservation.

Welch, one of the lead sponsors of legislation that would cap ethanol volumes at 9.7 percent of projected gasoline demand, said the concerns set the stage for congressional action.

"For the Democrats who have an environmental constituency, when you have these respected environmental groups change their mind and say corn ethanol doesn’t work, that’s going to be a big boost that will give them a lot of comfort and cover," Welch said. "You’re going to see more Democrats starting to question the wisdom of this mandate."


Hillary commissions her own disaster movie and gets James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sigourney Weaver to issue an ominous warning about global warming

What might be the scariest Hollywood-produced movie of the year isn't airing in theaters – but it will be shown to delegates of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Blockbuster movie director James Cameron has helped produce a teeth-rattling short film about the dangers of global warming, deploying skills he usually uses to jolt viewers in his epic thrillers to get them worried about the threat of climate changes.

'Crops are failing. Food prices are rising. … our children are at risk,' says narrator Sigourney Weaver, who starred in the 'Alien' movies.

Weaver later appeared at the Democratic National Convention to warn that Donald Trump doesn't care about climate change.

'Can Donald Trump look these people in the eye and tell them that climate change is a hoax? That he doesn't care about their pain.

'Hillary Clinton, she gets it - she cars.'

The film begins with scary images of burning forests, cracked earth, vicious storms, pollution, and waves slamming into a sea wall.

As the images of calamities roll, actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger weighs in: 'Because of global warming, mountain snow melts earlier each year. And when that happens, the ground dries up earlier too,' he says.

Weaver delivers the films most political anti-Trump lines in the film, which runs just under 5 1/2 minutes.

'It's not reality TV. Make no mistake – Trump's reckless denial of climate change is dangerous. A threat to your livelihood, your safety, your children, and the prosperity of this nation.'

The film is named 'Not reality TV' in another shot at Trump.

Then the films directors let Trump do the talking, with clips of him on the campaign trail ridiculing the science of global warming, notwithstanding the near consensus among climate scientists that the world's climate is rising due to man-made events.

'A lot of it's a hoax – It's a hoax!' Trump says.

'We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,' Trump says.

Then he is shown laughing off the threat. 'Speaking of global waring, where is ... We need some global warming. It's freezing!'

One interview subject calls it a non-partisan issue, while a pastor raises religious issues about global warming.

An unnamed woman who lost her daughter in a flood tells her own personal horror story. 'She said, 'Mommy, hold me, I'm scared.' I held her, and then a wave started coming up over me. I felt the water rising and then she went under. And I knew I lost her immediately.'

Then the film switches to Clinton, speaking in uncharacteristically soft tones. 'Our country is ready to tackle the challenge of climate change,' she says.

Former President George H.W. Bush and Pope Francis are both quoted speaking to the dangers of climate change.

'A threat to your livelihood, your safety, your children, and the prosperity of this nation,' says weaver.

An advance copy of of the film was sent out by Clinton's campaign press office.

Cameron has produced and director such films as Avatar, Terminator, The Abyss, and Titanic.

Weaver starred in the Alien movies, while Schwarzenegger starred in The Terminator, Predator, and Total Recall.

Schwarzenegger has longstanding connections to the Bush family, who notably skipped Trump's Republican convention. George H.W. Bush appointed him to head a council on physical fitness. While serving as governor, he appeared with George W. Bush during California wildfires.

In 1991, on a visit to Camp David, he went sledding with then-President George H.W. Bush.

'Not Reality TV' underscores that climate change is an urgent threat to our planet and a defining challenge of our time, and makes clear how high the stakes are in this election,' according to a statement from the Democratic convention press office.

'The video reminds viewers that Donald Trump has made clear that he believes climate change is a hoax, and how as president he would not only refuse to take steps to curb climate change but actually roll back the progress we've made.'


Law to fight global warming gets strong support in California

A new poll found that California voters strongly support the landmark state law adopted a decade ago to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that voters favor expanding efforts to fight climate change.

The Public Policy Institute of California survey released Wednesday shows 62 percent of likely voters favor the law, with most support coming from Democrats and independent voters. Eight in 10 Democrats favor the law, while 56 percent of independent voters did. That’s compared with 44 percent of Republicans who favored the law.

The Legislature adopted AB32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, in 2006. The law calls for California to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride, which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere near the planet’s surface.

Under AB32, the state determined greenhouse gas levels were the equivalent of 431 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 1990. Emissions from factories, power plants, cars and farms spewed 441.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, according to newly released data from the California Air Resources Board, which oversees AB32. That was less than a 1 percent decline from 2013, but still puts the state on track to reach its 2020 goal under the law.

Last year, California reaffirmed its commitment to fighting global warming when Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order to lower the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.

The PPIC survey found that 68 percent of adults and 59 percent of likely voters agreed with expanding the goals, with Democrats nearly twice as likely to support those targets.

While many voters supported AB32, a majority have never heard of the cornerstone to California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — the state’s cap-and-trade system. Some 55 percent of voters said they had heard nothing about the cap-and-trade program, which forces large carbon dioxide emitters in the state to reduce their output of greenhouse gases by putting a cap on carbon emissions and requiring that they buy permits for any additional greenhouse gases they release.

Support for AB32 comes despite voters acknowledging the targets mean higher costs to them. Among those who said gas prices will rise as a result of greenhouse gas reduction goals, 64 percent support AB32 and 63 percent favor expanding the targets. A majority of voters said they are willing to pay more for electricity generated by renewable sources like wind and solar in order to reduce global warming.

In the presidential race, 8 in 10 voters in the state said the candidates’ views on environmental issues were important. The PPIC poll found the gap of support between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump grew in recent months. Clinton is favored 46 to 30 percent over Trump, which is up from May, when Clinton led 49 to 39 percent in the strong Democratic state.

In the U.S. Senate race, Kamala Harris leads fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez 38 to 20 percent. Half of Republicans surveyed said they do not plan to vote in the Senate race.

The PPIC surveyed 1,703 adults in California between July 10 and 19 in English and Spanish depending on the caller’s preference. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.


Hypocrite Leonardo DiCaprio at his annual St. Tropez party: "We are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change"

Leonardo DiCaprio and the usual celebrity crowd have again been partying in St. Tropez. And there is no end to the hypocrisy:

“While we are the first generation that has the technology, the scientific knowledge and the global will to build a truly sustainable economic future for all of humanity — we are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change before it is too late,” DiCaprio said, according to EcoWatch.

The star’s weighty message didn’t dampen the festivities: del Rey and the Weeknd performed while Mariah Carey flitted about the room snapping pictures with her fellow celebrities. --

Dozens of A-list stars made the trek to the French Riviera for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s annual Gala to Fund Climate and Biodiversity Projects, including U2 frontman Bono, actors Bradley Cooper, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Tobey Maguire and Chris Rock and singers Mariah Carey, Lana del Rey and The Weeknd.

The event’s co-chairs included Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, Kate Hudson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett and Charlize Theron.

Breitbart´s Daniel Nussbaum comments:

If just one of the celebrities who attended the event traveled the 12,000-mile round trip from Los Angeles to France by private jet, they would have burned enough fossil fuel to emit approximately 86 tons of carbon dioxide. The average American, for comparison, puts out around 19 tons of carbon dioxide on airline flights per year.



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28 July, 2016

"Climate models are accurately predicting ocean and global warming: A new study from my colleagues and I vindicates climate models, which are accurately predicting the rate of ocean heat accumulation"

It's good old Prof. Abraham back at the barrow below.  He says that the estimates of global warming yielded by climate models are validated by measurements of ocean heat present.  But the measures of heat are themselves estimates -- so all he has shown is that two sets of estimates tally.   Not hard to do of course but it proves nothing.  It's not even a good con trick

For those of us who are concerned about global warming, two of the most critical questions we ask are, “how fast is the Earth warming?” and “how much will it warm in the future?”.

The first question can be answered in a number of ways. For instance, we can actually measure the rate of energy increase in the Earth’s system (primarily through measuring changing ocean temperatures). Alternatively, we can measure changes in the net inflow of heat at the top of the atmosphere using satellites. We can also measure the rate of sea-level rise to get an estimate of the warming rate.

Since much of sea-level rise is caused by thermal expansion of water, knowledge of the water-level rise allows us to deduce the warming rate. We can also use climate models (which are sophisticated computer calculations of the Earth’s climate) or our knowledge from Earth’s past (paleoclimatology).

Many studies use combinations of these study methods to attain estimates and typically the estimates are that the planet is warming at a rate of perhaps 0.5 to 1 Watt per square meter of Earth’s surface area. However, there is some discrepancy among the actual numbers.

So assuming we know how much heat is being accumulated by the Earth, how can we predict what the future climate will be? The main tool for this is climate models (although there are other independent ways we can study the future). With climate models, we can play “what-if scenarios” and input either current conditions or hypothetical conditions and watch the Earth’s climate evolve within the simulation.

Two incorrect but nevertheless consistent denial arguments are that the Earth isn’t warming and that climate models are inaccurate. A new study, published by Kevin Trenberth, Lijing Cheng, and others (I was also an author) answers these questions.

The study was just published in the journal Ocean Sciences; a draft of it is available here. In this study, we did a few new things. First, we presented a new estimate of ocean heating throughout its full depth (most studies only consider the top portion of the ocean). Second, we used a new technique to learn about ocean temperature changes in areas where there are very few measurements. Finally, we used a large group of computer models to predict warming rates, and we found excellent agreement between the predictions and the measurements.

According to the measurements, the Earth has gained 0.46 Watts per square meter between 1970 and 2005. Since, 1992 the rate is higher (0.75 Watts per square meter) and therefore shows an acceleration of the warming. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of 5,400,000,000,000 (or 5,400 billion) 60-watt light bulbs running continuously day and night. In my view, these numbers are the most accurate measurements of the rate at which the Earth is warming.

What about the next question – how did the models do? Amazingly well. From 1970 through 2005, the models on average showed a warming of 0.41 Watts per square meter and from 1992-2005 the models gave 0.77 Watts per meter squared. This means that since 1992, the models have been within 3 % of the measurements. In my mind, this agreement is the strongest vindication of the models ever found, and in fact, in our study we suggest that matches between climate models and ocean warming should be a major test of the models.


Exactly What's Wrong With Cliff Mass' Approach to Global Warming

Cliff Mass is a Washington State meteorologist who sticks to meteorology. The Solon below, Ethan Linck, thinks Mass should link weather to global warming.  And Linck seems to think he has made a great point by saying that one part of Antarctica is cooling while the rest warms.  He probably should have asked Cliff Mass about that -- because ALL of Antarctic is cooling -- as Zwally's study showed.  Linck is a clown.  He thinks he knows it all when he actually knows nothing

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of climate change denialism is the willful idiocy of using local exceptions to a widely supported trend as evidence that trend is false. Climate science—like meteorology, biology, and political science—is a field defined by intrinsic variation of its object of study, and is reliant on statistical tools with the power to infer signal from noise.

The inherent uncertainty of this pursuit can lead some researchers (like UW’s Cliff Mass) to avoid attributing any single weather event to climate change, even if the event itself is consistent with predictions of weather under future climate regimes, for fear of discrediting climate research more broadly.

(It will not surprise regular Puget Sound news readers to learn this is not a universally supported position. Which is why a recent Nature study highlighting one such local exception—the absence of 21st century warming on the Antarctic Peninsula in the face of overall increasing temperatures elsewhere across the continent—is both good, necessary science, but at the same time it's sure to be seized upon from predictable quarters, the deniers of a widely supported trend, global warming.


Researchers can now monitor global warming due to human activity in real time

Amusing confidence below.  All they have done is a careful back-cast.  But lots of models look good in back casts.  But they still don't yield accurate forecasts. It's just hope below, not accurate prediction

A research team including a Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego climate scientist simulated in a computer model, for the first time, the realistic evolution of global mean surface temperature since 1900.

In doing so, the researchers also created a new method by which researchers can measure and monitor the pace of anthropogenic global warming, finding that the contribution of human activities to warming in the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean can be distinguished from natural variability.

Former Scripps researcher Yu Kosaka, now at the University of Tokyo, and Shang-Ping Xie, the Roger Revelle Chair in Environmental Science at Scripps, created the simulation by forcing sea surface temperature over the tropical Pacific to follow the observed variability.

“The climate system includes naturally occurring cycles that complicate the measurement of global warming due to the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases,” said Xie. “We can isolate the anthropogenic warming by removing the internally generated natural variability.”

Climate policymakers have sought to limit the rise of global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels. That figure is considered a threshold beyond which society and natural systems are virtually assured of experiencing significant and dangerous instability. Scientists have estimated that the planet is already roughly 1 degree Celsius warmer at the surface than before the Industrial Revolution.

The 2 degrees Celsius target was reaffirmed during the 2015 Conference of the Parties, known as COP21, that was held in Paris in December. Kosaka and Xie’s research could provide an easily generated and more accurate means to measure society’s success in keeping temperatures below that threshold.

The research is further confirmation of the primary importance of the Pacific in controlling global-scale climate that researchers have come to understand in recent decades. Kosaka and Xie plotted the rise of global mean temperatures over the past 120 years. The rise of temperatures ascends in a staircase fashion with the steps becoming larger over the past 50 years.

When Kosaka and Xie removed as a variable the natural warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean, the rise of global mean surface temperature became a more linear increase, one that began to accelerate more sharply in the 1960s. It had been natural Pacific decadal variations that temporarily slowed down or speeded up the warming trend, leading to the staircase pattern.

For example, global mean surface temperature has not changed much for 1998-2014, a time period known as the hiatus that has been tied to naturally occurring tropical Pacific cooling. Raw data show a warming of 0.9 degrees Celsius for the recent five-year period of 2010-2014 relative to 1900 while Kosaka and Xie’s calculation yields a much higher anthropogenic warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius after correcting for the natural variability effect.

Observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) based on three datasets (black curves in degree C), and the new estimates of anthropogenic global warming (AGM). The simulated GMST change without considering tropical Pacific internal variability is plotted as reference (white curve with blue shading indicating the uncertainty).

“Most of the difference between the raw data and new estimates is found during the recent 18 years since 1998,” said Xie. “Because of the hiatus, the raw data underestimate the greenhouse warming.”

Kosaka and Xie suggest that though Pacific Ocean trends are an essential variable control on global temperature rise, the accuracy of their warming estimate will be improved in the future as other climate modes are added as variables. An international initiative involving more than a dozen climate models is being planned to improve the estimates included in upcoming assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The paper, "The tropical Pacific as a key pacemaker of the variable rates of global warming," appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The National Science Foundation and NOAA supported Xie’s contribution to the research. The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology supported Ko


You couldn't make it up.  Warmists are treating Inhofe's grand-daughter as an authority

The heading on the article excerpted below was: "Jim Inhofe’s Granddaughter Asked Him Why He Didn’t Understand Global Warming" -- implying that she was the one in the right.

And the temperature rise they refer to was due to El Nino, not carbon dioxide. CO2 did NOT rise in 2015

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is a famous climate denier. He has written a book about global warming, arguing it is a hoax.
Like many Americans — 64 percent of which are concerned about climate change — Inhofe’s granddaughter wants to know why he does not understand the science.

On the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, Inhofe told radio host Eric MeTaxas about a conversation he had with one of his granddaughters, Right Wing Watch reported on Tuesday.

"You know, our kids are being brainwashed? I never forget because I was the first one back in 2002 to tell the truth about the global warming stuff and all of that. And my own granddaughter came home one day and said “Popi (see “I” is for Inhofe, so it’s Momi and Popi, ok?), Popi, why is it you don’t understand global warming?” I did some checking and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, you have to un-brainwash them when they get out"

Right now, the United States, including Oklahoma, is in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave that has left at least six dead. This month, the world learned that the first half of 2016 was the hottest start to a year on record, building on 2015’s record as the hottest year on record — data that strengthen the longer trends signifying the reality of climate change.

Famously, Inhofe brought a snowball onto the senate floor last year in an effort to prove that global warming was a hoax, citing the cold “unseasonable” temperatures. This was in February.


U.S. Hits Record 129 Months Since Last Major Hurricane Strike

No major hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States for a record-breaking 129 months, according to data going back to 1851 compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which slammed into Florida on Oct. 24, 2005--129 months ago.

The 2016 hurricane season--which officially opened on June 1 and ends on November 30--is expected to be “near normal”, with more hurricane activity than last year’s “below normal” season.

“The outlook calls for a 45% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 25% chance of a below-normal season,” according to NOAA’s 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

The agency predicts that there will be “10-16 named storms” this season--including “4-8 hurricanes” and “1-4 major hurricanes.” A "major hurricane" is defined as one that is Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which means it has sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and is capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

But because of several “competing climate factors” this year, “there is reduced confidence in predicting whether the season will be above normal or below normal,” NOAA stated.

At a May 27 press conference, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan told reporters that due to the cooling phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO), there is “uncertainty about whether the high-activity era of Atlantic hurricanes has ended.”

“During the past three years, weaker hurricane seasons have been accompanied by a shift towards the cool signature of the AMO, cooler Atlantic Ocean temperatures, and a weaker West African monsoon,” Sullivan said.

“If this shift proves to be more than short-lived, if it’s not just a temporary blip, then it could be signaling the arrival of a low activity era for Atlantic hurricanes.”

The last time the AMO entered a cold phase was the 23-year period between 1971 and 1994, when there were only two above-normal hurricane seasons and half were below normal, said Dr. Gerry Bell, head of NOAA’s hurricane forecasting team.

In 2005, four major hurricanes – Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma– struck the mainland of the United States, killing nearly 4,000 people and causing nearly $160 billion in damages, according to NOAA.

Since 2005, no Category 3 or above hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States.

President Obama is the longest-serving president to have no major hurricanes strike during his time in office.

During Obama's presidency, four hurricanes have made landfall, but all were at lower than Category 3 intensity: Irene (2011), Isaac and Sandy (2012) were all Category 1 when the hit the mainland, and Arthur (2014) was a Category 2.


Clinton’s VP Pick Targeted Global Warming Skeptics On Senate Floor

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate targeted global warming skeptics on the Senate floor in July, potentially hurting claims the nominee is someone constitutional conservatives can support.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, was tasked with heaping scorn on conservative nonprofit groups in early July for opposing Democratic policies addressing man-made global warming.

Kaine was chosen as Democratic presidential nominee Clinton’s running mate on July 22, no more than a week after the Virginia senator was tasked with criticizing Virginia-based nonprofit groups for not toeing the line on Democratic policies addressing climate change.

There is a cabal of organizations that “knowingly try to misrepresent the status of climate science, and suggest that climate change is not occurring,” Kaine said July 11 on the Senate floor.

The Virginia Institute for Public Policy “makes statements that are promoting a false point of view,” he said, adding, that the free market group “promotes the idea that ‘oh, well, we shouldn’t do anything about it (global warming).”

It is one thing to disagree about how climate change should be approached, Kaine argued, it is quite another to openly deny that the climate is changing.

The inquisition began when Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, directed 19 of his fellow Democratic senators to attack conservative and libertarian organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and the Cato Institute on the chamber floors for engaging in what the senators call a “web of denial.”

Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, as well as Chuck Schumer of New York joined Kaine on July 11 targeting groups like Mercatus Center.

Emily Enderle, a top environmental policy adviser to Whitehouse, who is leading the hit parade, constructed the strategy in an internal email with several leading environmental groups — some of the groups include the Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Clean Water Action.

Conservative groups argued the move by Kaine, among others, is an example of senators unfairly targeting the free speech rights of organizations not falling in lock step with global warming orthodoxy.

“It’s unbelievable the level of coordination the Senate Democrats have taken to political intimidate free market organizations,” Molly Drenkard, a spokeswoman with the American Legislative Economic Exchange (ALEC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation on July 11. ALEC was one of the conservative groups targeted by the senators.

But now some conservatives are attempting to paint a different picture of Kaine, who is currently running against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, a candidate many conservatives feel is not fit to be president.

Washington Post columnist George Will, for one, has begun laying down a coda suggesting Kaine might be the most palatable candidate for constitutional conservatives.

“There probably is no Democratic governor or senator more palatable than Kaine to constitutional conservatives,” Will wrote in an editorial Tuesday. “Such conservatives are eager to bring presidential power back within constitutional constraints, and Kaine is among the distressingly small minority of national legislators interested in increased congressional involvement in authorizing the use of military force.”



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

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


27 July, 2016

Another clunk-headed academic who can't read

Jarrod Gilbert, a New Zealand sociologist no less, says climate denial ought be seen as a crime.  Sociologists are generally far-Left so a bit of Stalinism from one is no surprise.  And in true Stalinist style he is a good Trofim Lysenko too.  Lysenko had the basics of biology wrong and this guy has the sociology of climate science wrong.

How so?  Because his basic "97%" claim shows he can't read.  The paper usually quoted in support of the 97% in fact says that only ONE THIRD of climate scientists supported global warming.  The other two thirds took no position on the matter.

Since Jarrod has such bad eyes, I reproduce the Cook et al. abstract below  and highlight the bit that jarring Jarrod missed.  What a clown! He might one day learn the importance of doing your research before you open your mouth. But he does admit to being a liberal wanker so maybe he won't

"We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11?944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research"

There is no greater crime being perpetuated on future generations than that committed by those who deny climate change. The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud. Denial has become a yardstick by which intelligence can be tested. The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool.

Since the 1960s, it has been known that heat-trapping gasses were increasing in the earth's atmosphere, but no one knew to what effect. In 1979, a study found "no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible". Since then scientists have been seeking to prove it, and the results are in.

Meta studies show that 97 per cent of published climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that it is caused by human activities. The American Association for the Advancement of Science compared it to the consensus linking smoking to cancer. The debate is over, yet doubt continues.

For decades, arguments denying the harms caused by smoking were made. A tobacco executive once said: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy."

Such doubts can be highly effective, particularly if they allow people to support agendas that are politically or economically useful to them.

One person who has managed to successfully merge expert and popular opinions is English physicist Professor Brian Cox, whose books and television programmes explain complex scientific phenomena in highly accessible ways. He recently said that ignoring best evidence and turning against experts is "the road back to the cave".

Modern civilisation, he says, has grown not because of gut instinct and guesswork but because of scientific understanding and thinking. "Being an expert does not mean that you are someone with a vested interest; it means you spend your life studying something. You're not necessarily right - but you're more likely to be right than someone who's not spent their life studying it."

If 100 of the best-qualified engineers were asked to assess the structural integrity of a house and 97 of them said it was unsafe, who would listen to the other three engineers and buy the house? Yet that is the foolishness of climate change denial. Furthermore, the basis for these decisions is often arbitrary and variable.

We all believe in the expertise at Nasa when it launches a rocket into earth's orbit then flicks it into space and lands it on a rock, but so many people conveniently ignore the organisation's knowledge and expertise when it confirms humans created climate change.

All of this might be a strange curiosity if the ramifications weren't so serious. Whether it is the erosion of coastal properties, an influx of climate refugees from the Pacific, or the economic impacts on our primary industries from severe weather events, New Zealand must prepare for some significant realities.

The worst of these problems will impact more greatly on generations to come, but to ignore them now is as unconscionable as it is selfish. It ought be seen as a crime.

One way in which everyday crime can be discouraged is to ensure that "capable guardians" are around to deter criminal activity. When it comes to climate change, the capable guardians are educated members of the public who counteract the deniers.

There may be differing opinions on what policies to pursue, but those who deny that climate change exists ought be shouted down like the charlatans that they are. Or better yet, looked upon with pitiful contempt and completely ignored.

There is no room to sit on the fence and say, "I don't know if it's true". Ignorance of the law excuses no one - and so it is with the laws of science.



Could climate change lead to a WAR? Global warming will increase the risk of armed conflict between ethnic groups (?)

The headline above is just speculation.  The study below was of natural disasters, not global warming.  The authors admit that they cannot link the two

Man-made climate change is expected to increase the risk of natural disasters around the world from severe droughts to more intense tropical storms.

But the impact of these may go far beyond the immediate suffering of those caught up in them.  Researchers believe that climate disasters could increase the risk of armed conflict in countries where different ethnic groups live side by side.

The research, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, suggests that climate-related natural disasters could exacerbate tensions between different ethnic groups.

Dr Carl Schleussner, who led the study, said: 'Devastating climate-related natural disasters have a disruptive potential that seems to play out in ethnically fractionalized societies in a particularly tragic way.'

The researchers found that almost one quarter of conflicts in ethnically divided countries happen at the same time as climatic problems - even without taking climate change into account.

Dr Schleussner added: 'Climate disasters are not directly triggering conflict outbreak, but may enhance the risk of a conflict breaking out which is rooted in context-specific circumstances.

'As intuitive as this might seem, we can now show this in a scientifically sound way.'

Previous studies have focused on variables in climate, such as temperature increase. However it was not possible to use this information to see the direct impact it had on societies.

Instead, the new study focuses directly on the economic damage caused by natural disasters, based on data from Munich Re from 1980-2010.

The researchers used computer models to analyse the data, to see how conflict within countries coincided with natural disasters.

Dr Jonathan Donges, who worked on the study, said: 'We've been surprised by the extent that results for ethnic fractionalised countries stick out compared to other country features such as conflict history, poverty, or inequality.

'We think that ethnic divides may serve as a predetermined conflict line when additional stressors like natural disasters kick in, making multi-ethnic countries particularly vulnerable to the effect of such disasters.'

The researchers used the internal conflict within Iraq as an example. In their paper, they write: 'Although not highly ethnically fractionalised, ethnic identities appear to play a prominent role in the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Iraq.

'It is clear that the roots of these conflicts, as for armed conflicts in general, are case specific and not directly associated with climate-related natural disasters.

'Nevertheless, such disruptive events have the potential to amplify already existing societal tensions and stressors and thus to further destabilize several of the world's most conflict-prone regions.'

However, the results of the study cannot be used to predict the risk in specific states. 

Dr Hans Joachim Schnellnhuber, co-lead of the study, said: 'Armed conflicts are among the biggest threats to people, killing some and forcing others to leave their home and maybe flee to far-away countries.

'Human-made climate change will clearly boost heatwaves and regional droughts.

'Our observations combined with what we know about increasing climate-change impacts can help security policy to focus on risk regions.'

Many of the world's most conflict-prone regions, including North and Central Africa as well as Central Asia, are both vulnerable to human-made climate change and characterized by deep ethnic divides.

The researchers hope that their findings can help in the design of security policies in these high-risk areas.

Dr Schellnhuber added: 'Our study adds evidence of a very special co-benefit of climate stabilization - peace.'


Oakland Coal Ban Won’t Protect Vulnerable

Good intentions don’t necessarily make good public policy. Yet last week the Oakland City Council unanimously fell into the same tired old “feel good” political trap.

On a 7-0 vote, council members passed an ordinance prohibiting the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke within city limits and then followed up by approving a resolution extending the ban to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT), a new facility being built on a former U.S. Army base.

Fortunately, the ordinance and resolution will come back for a second reading on July 19, so the City Council has an opportunity to reverse or amend its decision. If the ban is upheld, City Council members will have chosen to sacrifice an opportunity to boost economic development on the mistaken premise that doing so is in the best interest of the public.

City councilman Abel Guillen stated that last week’s vote was meant to “protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable population.” That is a noble goal but who are the vulnerable members of Oakland’s population that the council is trying to protect?

In assessing the health and safety risks of importing coal and petroleum coke, primarily from Utah, and then transshipping it to Asia, the City Council relied on a report by Zoe Chafe, Ph.D. Chafe’s report referred to the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of vulnerable citizens, namely, “children, older adults, people with heart or lung diseases, and people living in poverty.”

The problem in acting to protect Oakland’s “most vulnerable population” is that doing so leads to a contradiction. The council members’ decision pits the interests of one group of vulnerable people against those of others.

“The public” is not a single entity, but rather an aggregation of many individuals, each having his or her own interests and preferences.

Concerns about moving coal and petroleum coke through Oakland’s port facilities certainly can be raised. No one wants to live where a child or elderly parent would have trouble breathing.

On the other hand, no one wants to struggle to feed their family because they can’t find a job. The economic growth that accompanies a project like OBOT, which will create an estimated 2,400 jobs, can help alleviate the problems of poverty faced by members of Oakland’s most vulnerable population.

Terminal Logistics Solutions (TLS), which will operate the $500 million OBOT facility, has indicated that it is determined to comply with the standards prescribed by the California Environmental Quality Act. These standards allow Oakland’s citizens to hold TLS responsible for any air- or water-quality violations.

This means that Oakland can both protect its environment and remain committed to raising living standards—a proverbial win-win option. Instead, City Council members are hung up on creating a feel-good policy that may hurt the very people they think they are protecting.


EPA Plans to Address Pollution 'From Engines Used on Large, Commerical Jets'

The Environmental Protection Agency already sets pollution limits on cars and trucks, and now it plans to do the same thing with new commercial jets.

Invoking the Clean Air Act, the EPA on Monday announced its finding that greenhouse gas emissions from certain types of aircraft engines "contribute to the pollution that causes climate change and endangers Americans' health and the environment."

"These particular GHGs come primarily from engines used on large, commercial jets," EPA said.

The agency is not yet ready to issue emissions standards for aircraft engines, but that will come, now that it has determined that those engines contribute to climate change.

“Addressing pollution from aircraft is an important element of U.S. efforts to address climate change," said Janet McCabe, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. "Aircraft are the third largest contributor to GHG emissions in the U.S. transportation sector, and these emissions are expected to increase in the future."

The EPA said its endangerment" findings do not apply to small piston-engine planes (often used for recreational purposes) or to military aircraft, including Air Force One.

The new rules are still years away, and any proposed standards would be open to public comment and review before they take effect.

For the record, the EPA announcement came one day after Sen. Bernie Sanders described Republican Donald Trump as "a guy who rejects science, doesn't even believe that climate change is real, let alone that we have to take bold action to transform our energy system."


Has Global Warming Influenced Large-Scale Atmospheric Variability?  No.
Paper Reviewed:

Sardeshmukh, P.D., Compo, G.P. and Penland, C. 2015. Need for caution in interpreting extreme weather events. Journal of Climate 28: 9166-9187.

Introducing their work, Sardeshmukh et al. (2015) note there is great scientific and public interest in discerning the influence (if any) of global warming on extreme weather events, writing that "it is tempting to seek an anthropogenic component in any recent change in the statistics of extreme weather." What is more, they note that, for many people, "the occurrence of any extreme event not previously observed 'within living memory' or 'since records began' (in both cases, about 100 years) immediately becomes a candidate for attribution to global warming."

Sardeshmukh et al., however, are quick to caution that such efforts may well "lead to wrong conclusions if the distinctively skewed and heavy-tailed aspects of the probability distributions of daily weather anomalies are ignored or misrepresented." And it was against this backdrop that they began their study, which involved the development of a protocol to adequately detect and attribute changes in extreme weather events. Thereafter, they tested this protocol in an effort to assess changes "in the observed distributions of daily wintertime indices of large-scale atmospheric variability in the North Atlantic and North Pacific sectors over the period 1872-2011."

With respect to their protocol (see the original paper for details), the authors presented a series of mathematical and statistical procedures that ultimately produced, in their words, "a sharper tool for investigating the statistical significance of observed changes in extremes over the twentieth century and of projected changes over the twenty-first century." And in applying that protocol to two indices of atmospheric variability (North Atlantic Oscillation Index and North Pacific Index), Sardeshmukh et al. report they found "no significant changes either in the mean or in the entire probability density functions of these indices over the last 140 years" despite "an apparent upward trend in the NAO index and a downward trend in the NP index during much of the second half the twentieth century."

In discussing the significance of this finding, Sardeshmukh et al. say it "has important implications for understanding the atmospheric circulation response to global warming, and casts doubt on inferences about this response drawn in studies that focus only on the second half, or other subsets, of the full record."


Hawaii Phasing Out Solar Subsidies For Cost Reasons

Hawaii’s taxpayer support for solar power is set to end in July due to cost and reliability concerns.

The state government repealed its previous programs to boost solar power last October and replaced them with a much more limited subsidy system that caps the total number of users to reduce the cost to the state and minimize power grid damage. That cap will probably be reached this month or in early August. The cap was essential to maintaining the states’ power grid, despite the state’s goal of using only green energy by 2045.

“It comes down to a financial issue,” Democratic state Rep. Chris Lee, the chairman of the state House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, told The Associated Press. “The more distributed generation, the more power that individuals generate themselves, the less of a customer base the utility ultimately has in the long run.”

Hawaii and many other states enacted net-metering subsidies for homeowners with solar panels in 2010, but are now backing away from them. Rooftop solar companies supported these subsidies as a way to encourage solar power and fight global warming. This, however, shifted the costs of maintaining the electrical grid onto households that don’t have solar panels, effectively transferring money from the poor to the rich.

Hawaii gets 3.66 percent of its electricity from solar, a higher portion than any other state, but already has the nation’s highest electricity costs. Last year, solar power only accounted for 0.6 percent of all electricity generated in America, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

A 2015 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded rooftop solar subsides are inefficient and costly, and that rooftop solar companies simply cannot compete without government support.

Solar power by itself receives more federal subsidies than all fossil fuel sources combined, according to the EIA. Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear, according to EIA data. Solar companies simply cannot maintain their current high levels of growth without government support.

Most state solar subsidies go to rooftop solar panels and include a 30 percent federal tax credit, while industrial scale solar is thus somewhat more efficient per dollar spent. Solar-leasing companies install rooftop systems, which cost a minimum of $10,000, at no upfront cost to the consumer. Companies do this because the state and federal subsidies are so massive that such behavior is actually profitable.

TheDCNF previously used statistical analysis to show that the more pro-green energy policies a state has, the less likely it was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.



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

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


26 July, 2016

The latest environmental scare

Do you notice the dog that didn't bark in the report below?  Did you notice that there is no EVIDENCE about how harmful microparticles are?  It's all theory and falls into the category of things that are OBVIOUSLY bad and so must be discouraged. 

All too often, however, things that are OBVIOUSLY bad turn out not to be bad at all -- with dietary fat being the most recent major example of that.  So you need to be able to put numbers on just HOW bad a thing is.  Doing so can generate surprising revelations  -- such as the fact that dietary fat can be GOOD for you.

So what DO the numbers say?  What is the research evidence on how bad these things are?  And how come there was no mention of any such evidence below?  I think I know.  In just ten minutes of searching I found the following sentence in a review article on the subject:  "Bioavailability and the efficiency of transfer of the ingested POPs across trophic levels are not known and the potential damage posed by these to the marine ecosystem has yet to be quantified and modelled"

In other words, nobody knows how harmful they really are.  The article is from 2011 so much knowledge my have accumulated since then but I am not hopeful.  I suspect that microbeads are a very minor problem in the great scheme of things

I note that I searched the "Marine Pollution Bullein" which did have lots of up to date articles on the subject -- but they were all about how prevalent the beads were in various locations. That they were just obviously bad seemed to be taken for granted.  Nowhere could I see any quantification of harms

And if there is a seminal article quantifying harms I would be delighted to scrutinize its metholoogy.  As a former university teacher of research methods and statistics, and as as frequent practitioner of same, much that seems plausible to others seems hilarious to me.  I can often tell where the bodies are buried, even with no knowledge of the particular field.  As is now widely recognized, junk science is in epidemic proportions these days

Facial scrubs are used daily by millions of people to exfoliate their skin - but scientists have exposed the tiny toxic plastic beads hidden in the products.

Each wash contains up to 94,500 microbeads, while one tube comprises up to 2.8million of the beads, which experts at Plymouth University extracted.

Microbeads, among the fastest-growing forms of marine pollution, can cause physical damage or poison sea life with the chemicals and microbes on their surface.

Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University, published a photograph of the amount of microbeads extracted from popular facial scrubs.

He told The Sunday Times: 'It can be hard to convey in words how small these beads are and how many are released by one wash, but the picture shows the scale of the impact much better.'

He said the beads ranged in size from from a 0.01mm up to 1mm. 'Their size means they can pass through sewage treatment screens and be discharged into rivers and oceans,' he explained.

When the facial scrubs are washed away, they are washed into sewage sludge and can spread onto farmland. Smaller beads can escape filters and are subsequently washed out to sea.

Experts say the size of the beads looks like food to plankton and baby fish - and can poison them when eaten. This is then passed up the food chain to larger fish and birds.

Mary Creagh, the Labour MP and chairwoman of the environmental audit committee, which is holding an inquiry into microplastics, told the Sunday Times: 'Most of us would be horrified to learn how many bathroom products contain this plastic rubbish.'

The Plymouth researchers only examined facial scrubs but microbeads are widely found in many cosmetics.

The US government has banned microbeads in consumer products under a law that will go into full effect in 2017.

This month Waitrose announced it will ban microbeads from all products sold in its shops. The supermarket chain has already removed them from its own beauty products and has promised that from September it will stock only branded products which do not contain them.

Banning microbeads makes sense, campaigners say, because they are not necessary for washing products. Their abrasive effect can be replicated by natural exfoliants such as tiny fragments of rice, apricot seeds, walnut shells and bamboo.

Banning microbeads, however, will not end microplastic pollution. All plastic items that end up in lakes, rivers and the sea tend to disintegrate, creating tiny scraps of plastic with a similar effect.

Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, also disintegrate, and tiny plastic ‘microfibres’ are also eaten by marine life, with a similar effect to microbeads.


John Kerry claims air conditioner chemicals are as dangerous as ISIS at climate conference

Many gases can be used in refrigeration but their efficiency varies greatly.  With the phasing out of HFCs we are getting a long way away from the most efficient one, which means that more electricity will have to be used to get the same cooling effect.  But aren't we supposed to be reducing demand for electricity?  More Greenie foot-shooting, it seems.  And there is general agreement that HFCs make only a trivial contribution (1% is often quoted) to global warming so that foot could reasonably have been left unshot

Chemicals used in refrigerators and air conditioners pose as big of a threat as ISIS, John Kerry said.

The Secretary Of State traveled to Vienna, Austria on Friday to negotiate an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, created to protect the ozone layer.

The amendment phases out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), compounds that are mostly used as refrigerants and act as potent greenhouses gases.

Kerry went to Vienna with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy and compared the fight against climate change to the fight against terrorism during talks with parties to the Montreal Protocol.

'Yesterday, I met in Washington with 45 nations — defense ministers and foreign ministers — as we were working together on the challenge of [the Islamic State], and terrorism,' Kerry said according to the Washington Examiner.

'It's hard for some people to grasp it, but what we — you — are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.' 

Amending the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFCs is one of the most cost-effective and consequential ways to combat climate change, the Department Of State said in a statement.

HFCs became widely used in the late 1980s, after a previous Montreal Protocol agreement led countries to stop using ozone-depleting chemicals in the air conditioning and refrigeration sectors.

This helped protecting the ozone layer, but companies began using HFCs as an alternative to the banned chemicals.

While HFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they have a strong potential to warm the planet - more so than carbon dioxide.

Reducing the use of HFCs could help limit the global temperature rise and avoid the most severe consequences of climate change.

HFCs can now be replaced with more climate-friendly materials.

California announced earlier this week that it would give half a million dollars to a $6 million project to research alternatives to HFCs.

'We have the technologies and chemicals to get this done, and are confident we can produce an HFC amendment that works,' the EPA said on its blog.

The EPA hopes to pass the amendment to the Montreal Protocol by the end of the year.


Obama Administration Continues Regulatory Assault on Offshore Oil and Gas

Last week the Obama administration released yet another regulation intended to undermine the viability of the offshore oil and gas industry in the United States. On July 7, the Department of Interior announced its new rules for drilling offshore in Alaska.

For the first time ever, the administration decided to create special rules for Alaska, more onerous than the rules that apply to offshore production in the rest of the country. No accidents or incidents have occurred to warrant these new aggressive rules, but then for a regulator when it comes to regulation, there never seems to be a need to ask why.

The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska are estimated to hold about 23 billion barrels of oil and more than 2.8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. This vast bounty has drawn significant interest from oil and gas companies for many years. However, the technical challenges of drilling in the Arctic are significant: freezing temperatures, floating ice, storms, and the like. These challenges make offshore drilling in Alaska quite expensive from the outset. These high costs have been on display since oil prices crashed as leaseholders in the Arctic have delayed drilling activity to wait until prices rebound.

But this pause in activity was not enough for the regulators and their environmentalist allies; they want to choke off any possibility of future development in the Arctic. Thus, last week’s rules. These stringent new rules follow the administration’s decision last year to cancel offshore lease sales in the Arctic and refusal to extend existing leases. As Sen. Murkowski of Alaska commented recently, “above all, it is the chaotic federal regulatory regime that is discouraging investment.” Regulators are designing and implementing a de facto ban on offshore drilling in Alaska, usurping the role of Congress and ignoring the free market .

These actions in the Arctic are just another entry in the Obama administration’s regulatory attack on offshore drilling. In April of 2016, the administration issued new well control rules that industry associations warned would force many small operators out of business due to increased regulatory costs. In March 2016, reversing his own administration’s decision of just a few years ago, the president announced that he would ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic. In 2011, the Obama administration was held in contempt of court for slow-walking offshore permits in an illegal effort to prevent development by not acting, just one skirmish in the months-long “permitorium” imposed by regulators.

Over the Obama presidency, this hostility has had predictable results: oil and gas production offshore has fallen throughout, even as oil and gas production on state and private land has boomed. That decrease has meant less revenue for the federal government, fewer jobs for Americans, and more oil supplies that must come from foreign countries. All to make far left environmentalists feel good. This is the danger of an unaccountable regulatory state captured by left-wing special interests: the power of the government wielded against an industry viewed as the enemy.


US says fuel economy likely won't meet 2025 targets

The U.S. government says the nation's cars and trucks are well on their way to meeting fuel economy and emissions standards set for 2025, but cheaper gas prices could ultimately lower those targets by encouraging consumers to buy less-efficient vehicles.

A report on the standards was issued Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the California Air Resources Board. The report kicks off a two-year review that will determine whether to keep the 2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions targets in place or change them.

Under standards set in 2012, automakers' fleets were expected to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That's not the real-world mileage vehicles will get; it includes credits for things like more efficient air conditioning systems. The real-world mileage is closer to 40 miles per gallon.

The government calculates an automakers' average based on the vehicles it sells. A company could fail to meet standards on pickup trucks but exceed them with fuel-efficient cars and still meet the requirements, said Alan Baum, a consultant in Detroit who advises automakers on fuel-economy regulations. But if it fails to sell those cars, it could wind up being fined.

As gas prices have fallen, SUV sales have risen, and that could wind up lowering the averages that automakers are expected to meet, the report said. The government now forecasts average fuel economy between 50 mpg and 52.6 mpg in 2025, depending on the price of gas.

The report noted that in October 2012, when the fuel economy standards were finalized, U.S. average gas prices were $3.87 per gallon. They ended 2015 at $2.15 per gallon. So far this year, sales of the Toyota Prius hybrid are down 25 percent while sales of SUVs and other light trucks are up 9 percent, according to Autodata Corp.

But gas prices alone aren't likely to convince the government to weaken the standards adopted in 2012. The report says automakers can meet the original 2012 targets by continuing to make more advanced gasoline engines; the EPA says only about 2 percent of vehicles would need to be hybrids or electric vehicles to meet the standards.

"Today's draft report shows that automakers are developing far more technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at similar or lower costs, than we thought possible just a few years ago," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.

The government says 100 car, SUV, and pick-up truck versions on the market today already meet fuel economy standards targeted for 2020 or later. Automakers also have been making more use of lightweight materials, like aluminum, and improving vehicles' aerodynamics. They're also adding features like stop-start technology, which automatically shut down the engine and save fuel while a vehicle is stopped in traffic.

Those advances come at a cost. The EPA estimates the fuel economy standards will cost $1,017 per vehicle between 2021 and 2025, while NHTSA estimates they will cost up to $1,245 per vehicle. The agencies differ on how much consumers would save in gas, but they estimate it's between $680 and $1,620 per vehicle.

Those costs, and consumers' reluctance to buy the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicles, mean the auto industry will likely argue that the standards should be relaxed. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group that represents 12 automakers, including BMW, Toyota and General Motors, says meeting the standards is "a daunting challenge."

"Absent a vigorous commitment to focus on marketplace realities, excessive regulatory costs could impact both consumers and the employees who produce these vehicles," the alliance said in a statement.

But environmental groups will urge the government to strengthen the standards. In a statement, Sierra Club President Andrew Linhardt said the report proves that the standards are working.

"Due to technological innovation, our cars are cleaner and more efficient than ever before," he said.


Former NASA Scientist Dispels Notion Global Warming Is ‘Settled’ Science

A former NASA climate scientist has put out a new report criticizing the argument that global warming is settled science.

“It should be clear that the science of global warming is far from settled,” said Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist who now co-runs a major satellite temperature dataset at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

“Uncertainties in the adjustments to our global temperature datasets, the small amount of warming those datasets have measured compared to what climate models expect, and uncertainties over the possible role of Mother Nature in recent warming, all combine to make climate change beliefs as much faith-based as science-based,” Spencer wrote in a report published by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.

“Until climate science is funded independent of desired energy policy outcomes, we can continue to expect climate research results to be heavily biased in the direction of catastrophic outcomes,” Spencer wrote.

Spencer’s report covers a wide swath of climate science topics from the factors behind global warming, to how scientists make adjustments to climate data, to the “97 percent” consensus figure often cited by politicians and environmentalists.

“Besides, if global warming is settled science, like gravity or the Earth not being flat, why isn’t the agreement 100 percent?” Spencer asked. “And since when is science settled by a survey or a poll? The hallmark of a good scientific theory is its ability to make good predictions.”

“From what we’ve seen, global warming theory is definitely lacking in this regard,” Spencer wrote.

Spencer also explained why climate models tend to over-predict how much warming will occur as greenhouse gas emissions rise. Spencer argues a warming bias is built into the models themselves.

“Since climate models can be ‘tuned’ to produce a rather arbitrary amount of warming, they were tuned to be ‘sensitive’ enough so increasing carbon dioxide alone was sufficient to cause the observed warming,” he wrote.

“It was assumed that there was no natural component of the warming, since we really don’t know the causes of natural climate variations,” he wrote. “As a result, none of the models were prepared for the global warming “hiatus” we have experienced since about 1997, because their climate sensitivity was set too high. The models continued to warm after 2000, while the real climate system essentially stopped warming.”

Indeed, Spencer’s satellite data, which measures the average temperature of the lowest few miles of the atmosphere, showed no significant global warming trend for more than 21 years before an incredibly powerful El Nino warming event hit late last year.

El Nino is a naturally occurring warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean and tends to warm the planet. Satellite temperatures are extremely sensitive to El Ninos (and La Nina cooling events), so mid-tropospheric readings spiked in early 2016.

But temperatures have come down after El Nino faded, and now it looks like a La Nina is setting in. Some even expect the so-called “hiatus” in global warming to return after this year’s La Nina ends.


Australia: Conflict of interests over wind and solar power

Changing to "renewables" without conventional backup is a recipe for disaster -- and it's happening in South Australia right now.  The Green/Left S.A. government just ignored the risks and forced its coal-fired stations to close down. And South Australians are now paying the price of that.  The response of the S.A. energy minister?  Blaming other states for not sending enough of their backup power to S.A.  Blaming everyone but yourself is childish but common

With electricity prices spiralling as South Australia struggles to digest a world-breaking build of wind farms without firm power backup, federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is facing a challenge that defines the conflict and mixed signals of his new super portfolio.

The challenge was delivered on a windswept blustery paddock about 200km west of Melbourne where Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced state approval for the $65 million, 96-turbine Dundonnell wind farm.

What the Premier did not tell reporters was that the 300 megawatt project, claimed to be the state’s biggest, had yet to receive federal government approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

If Frydenberg does not give EPBC approval for Dundonnell he can expect a fiery backlash and accusations of turning his back on renewables and new economy jobs.

If he does give EPBC approval Frydenberg will be accused of grand-scale environmental vandalism against the Victorian brolga, which is listed as threatened and nests at the proposed wind farm site.

The New Zealand wind farm developer, Trustpower, claims to have accommodated the brolga in its layout plans. But the planning process for Dundonnell has been long and tortured with accusations of hidden records and dodgy environmental investigations.

The complaints have not come from peak environment groups but local bird enthusiasts because — rather than endangered fauna — organised environmental activists such as Friends of the Earth have preferred to concentrate on the need for renewable energy and a long-running campaign to make permanent the existing moratorium on coal-seam gas exploration in the state.

In the great circle of energy and environmental politics it is all connected.

For Frydenberg, the gas ban is as significant as the brolgas and the windmills.

And it has all been supercharged by the parlous state of South Australia’s electricity network and what it may portend for the rest of the nation, under pressure to roll out of renewable power.

Frydenberg is clearly aware of the scale of the challenge. He argued for amalgamation of energy and environment portfolio responsibilities and he knows Australia must respond to a fundamentally changing energy world.

In an address to the Brookings Institution in the US earlier this year, Frydenberg said “technology will be the swing factor to achieving the world’s climate goals”.

“Home batteries, carbon capture and storage, high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired plants, large-scale solar, are all likely to feature going forward,” he said.

But, politically, Frydenberg’s task is to avoid becoming known as the minister for sky-high electricity prices.

Events in South Australia — where wholesale power prices have spiked, household electricity costs are the highest in the nation and industry is threatening to quit— provide a good opportunity for a reality check.

Wholesale prices are usually below $100 per megawatt hour but in South Australia they have repeatedly spiked past $10,000 and sometimes touching the $14,000 limit.

There are many reasons advanced for the unstable electricity situation in South Australia.

These include high demand for electricity and gas during a cold snap, restricted competition, limited interconnector capacity to the national grid and the high costs of transporting gas. The gas squeeze has been exacerbated by fierce objections to coal-seam gas exploration in NSW and Victoria as the giant liquefied natural gas export projects in Queensland suck vast quantities of what used to be domestic supplies.

Clean Energy Council network specialist Tom Butler says the reasons for South Australia’s high power prices compared with the rest of the country remain the same as they were before a single wind turbine or solar panel was installed.

A briefing paper released by the Australian Conservation Foundation says renewable energy wrongly is being blamed.

“In fact the problem is not a failure of renewable energy; it is a failure of the national electricity market,” the ACF says. This may be true. But it is disingenuous to suggest renewable energy is not having a leading impact.

The Australian Energy Market Operator conducted a survey of why wholesale prices spiked during the same period last year.

An analysis of the findings by Frontier Economics says the common denominator was a low level of wind generation at the time.

“As has been long predicted, increasing penetration of wind, and its inherent intermittency, appears to be primarily responsible for the (price spike) events,” the Frontier Economics report says.

“While the events have coincided with relatively high demand conditions in South Australia and some minor restrictions on imports of electricity from Victoria, low wind production levels are the key common feature of every event.

“The market response at such times has been to offer higher-priced capacity to the market, leading to high prices, just as the National Electricity Market was designed to do under conditions of scarcity.”

The Frontier report says the level of wind and solar penetration in South Australia presents a fascinating natural experiment in the impact of intermittent generation on wholesale prices.

“Unfortunately, this test is anything but academic and the people of South Australia are increasingly likely to bear increased electricity costs as wind makes up a greater proportion of South Australian generation,” Frontier says.

“While policymakers may be tempted to act to force thermal and/or wind to behave uneconomically, the likely outcome means South Australian consumers will bear more costs.”

Fast forward 12 months and the same weather conditions have produced the same outcomes in the wholesale market, with higher prices to consumers starting to flow through as well.

In the meantime, Alinta Energy has been forced to close its two coal-fired power stations in South Australia early because their business model has been wrecked by the introduction of low-cost, subsidised wind generation into the wholesale market.

Renewable energy champions have always argued the so-called merit order effect, in which abundant cheap renewable energy suppresses the wholesale market, is a positive for consumers. But the evidence is that there are limits.

South Australia is being watched closely by traditional energy companies and renewable energy specialists worldwide as a test case for what happens when high levels of intermittent energy, such as wind and solar, are introduced into a system that is not fully covered by other sources of readily available power.

Elsewhere, such as Denmark, where there is a high percentage of wind power in a national market there is also access to sufficient baseload power from hydro, nuclear or coal from neighbouring countries available to cover the fluctuations.

In South Australia the backup from the Victorian interconnection is 23 per cent.

Modelling by Deloitte Access Economics suggests that by 2019 the interconnector will be importing all the Victorian electricity it can handle into South Australia for almost 23 hours a day. It does not leave much margin for error if things go wrong.

“The last few weeks in South Australia have been a perfect storm but it shows that we have to be very careful how we design markets and policies to decarbonise,’’ Australian Energy Council policy specialist Kieran Donoghue says.

This is the real challenge for Frydenberg in his new portfolio.

The ACF wants a national plan to manage the transition to clean energy. It says this plan should “deal with intermittent generation and energy security, appropriate interconnections, careful placement of renewable facilities to maximise flexibility, an orderly closure of coal-fired power plants and detailed strategies to help affected communities with the transition”.

“The benefits of renewable energy are numerous, but without national leadership and a national plan to transition our energy sector we are certain to see a rocky transition with more price fluctuations,” the ACF says.

Powerful South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has said he will support a Senate inquiry to examine the mix of renewable energy in Australia.

Australian energy ministers are due to meet soon to consider exact­ly these issues. But no one has yet put forward a credible plan of how this should be done or what the cost would be.

At best, there will be a Band-Aid solution to the immediate problems in South Australia.

Industry specialists say the Council of Australian Governments certainly will look at options for additional intercon­nectors to deepen ties between states in the national electricity market.

The cheapest option will be to expand the connection to Victoria, but that is unlikely to give South Australia the sort of diversity of supply it is seeking.

It is further complicated by Victoria’s own plans to lift renewables — through projects such as Dundonnell — and the desire of environment groups nationally that Victoria’s big baseload brown coal generators, which underpin the system, be forcibly retired as soon as possible.

Another option would be to connect to NSW or Tasmania.

The cost of a new interconnector is high, with estimates of up to $3.75 billion for a connection between NSW and South Australia. Experience shows costs can blow out by almost double.

Meanwhile, rapid advances in technology, particularly in battery storage and grid management, make it uncertain whether expensive interconnectors are the right solution for the long term.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis wants the ability to ship his state’s wind power to other states, something coal-fired generators in NSW and Queensland would resist.

The challenge is to stop what is happening in South Australia from occurring elsewhere as the amount of intermittent power is expanded nationally to meet the state-based and federal renewable energy targets.

Already, existing generators are arguing for greater payment for the ancillary services they provide to keep the electricity network stable.

Payments for standby reserve power and voltage regulation that cannot be provided by wind and solar would lessen the dependence of baseload plants on the spot electricity market.

But is this not a Band-Aid solution rather than long-term vision?

Central planning can be a slippery slope.

“It is important to be clearer that this transition is not costless,” Donoghue says.

“Instead of thinking that the wind and sun are free, it would be better to give a more realistic understanding of what the costs will be.”

The more governments mandate things such as the amount of renewable energy in the market, the likelier they are to find themselves having to also support remaining dispatchable generators.

“If they (governments) want to direct the transition they are going to be on the hook for all the infrastructure as well,” Donoghue says.

And under the pathways put forward by the ALP and Greens they are also going to be on the hook for the heavy social transition costs as well.

It remains uncertain what pathway Frydenberg intends to take.

In his Brookings Institution address in February, Frydenberg said it was clear the global energy supply dynamic was moving to lower emission energy sources.

He said country comparisons showed that lowering emissions from the energy sector could not be one-dimensional because countries were starting from different positions and faced different challenges.

“One such challenge will be the need to question traditional energy supply” and “such a discussion is currently taking place in South Australia”, he said.

He was talking about the South Australian royal commission into nuclear energy, which he said had “revived the discussion about the role nuclear power could play in a low carbon economy”.

“Given South Australia has 78 per cent of Australia’s uranium reserves and the stable geology to store high-level waste, this debate is shifting community attitudes and has some way to run,” he said.

The Environment and Energy Minister has a substantial challenge ahead.



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24 July, 2016

The Arctic is leaking methane 200 times faster than usual: Massive release of gas is creating giant holes and 'trembling tundras'

It has long been known that different parts of Siberia burp CH4 from time to time and it may perhaps be in response to warming -- either a local warming event or an El Nino warming.  It is not however due to anthropogenic global warming because there has been none of that for many years. 

The present eruptions seem to be confined to the Yamal peninsula area, which is only a very small part of Siberia.  See Here regarding the inability of CH4 to affect global temperatures

And let me be really pesky by noting the finding:  "No signi?cant increase in long-term CH4emissions on NorthSlope of Alaska despite signi?cant increase in air temperature".  Alaska is geologically and climatically continuous with Siberia so if warming does not elevate  methane levels in Alaska it seems likely that it is not doing so in Siberia either.  So warming is NOT the cause of the CH4 burps presently being observed

Strange bubbles have been discovered in the Arctic permafrost - adding to mysterious behaviour seen in the region, including the sudden appearance of giant holes in northern Siberia.

Now Russian scientists have revealed the bubbles in the wobbly Earth are are leaking methane gas some 200 times above the norm in the atmosphere.

The 'trembling tundra' also contains concentrations of carbon dioxide 20 times higher than usual levels.

The extent of the harmful greenhouse gases buried in this new phenomenon of jelly-like bubbles poses 'very serious alarm' concerning the impact of global warming, expert Alexander Sokolov warned.

Some 15 examples of this swaying Siberian ground were revealed this week on Belyy Island, a polar bear outpost 475 miles (764km) north of the Arctic Circle in the Kara Sea.

One account from a Russian research team at the scene said: 'As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted.'

'An early theory is that warm summer heat has melted the permafrost causing the release of long-frozen gases,'The Siberian Times reported.

The newspaper was the first to report the weird sight and has now shared the gas readings.

Startling video footage shows the ground wobbling under the feet of scientists.

'It was like a jelly,' said one researcher, who continued: 'We have not come across anything like this before.'

He warned there is 'serious reason to be concerned if gas bubbles appear in the permafrost zone' with 'unpredictable' consequences.

Dr Sokolov said he first saw the spectacle during an expedition on this Siberian island last year.

'I've been working in Yamal for twenty years now - some of my peers have been working here even longer - and it's the first time I have ever seen this,' said the ecological expert with the Urals Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He explained: 'The day after seeing this bubble, we came across another one. 'As shown on our video, we punctured it and, let's say, "air" starting coming out quickly - it had no smell - and there was no liquid (eruption).'

The researchers went back and measured the gas that was released when the thin layer of grass and soil sealing in the methane and carbon dioxide was punctured.

'Gases are typically measured in parts per million or ppm,' he said.

'The gas analyser showed that one of these gases was dozens of times higher and another was hundreds of times higher than normal.'

The peak carbon dioxide measurement was 7750 ppm, while the methane reading was 375 ppm.

The island - which lies in the Kara Sea off the Yamal Peninsula - has had unusually warm weather this summer, including temperatures in the 20ºC (68ºF).

'It is likely that 10 days of extraordinary heat could have started some mechanisms, (and the) higher level of permafrost could have thawed and released a huge amount of gases,' Dr Sokolov said.

Three feet (one metre) down there is 'solid permafrost' so he believes the greenhouse gases are caused by the thawing of the surface layer only.

'It is evident even to amateurs that this is a very serious alarm,' he said, continuing: 'As for the future, we are interested in further study of the bubbles. 'We have discovered over a dozen of them. We need interdisciplinary study.'

South of Belvy Island, another phenomenon is being closely observed by scientists - the sudden formation of craters, caused by eruptions or explosions of methane gas, which has melted below the surface.

These Siberian craters are believed to have been caused by the release of gas previously frozen in the permafrost.

When the craters first appeared on the Yamal Peninsula - known to locals as 'the end of the world' - they sparked bizarre theories as to their formation.

They ranged from meteorites to stray missiles fired by Vladimir Putin's military machine, and from man-made pranks to the work of visiting aliens.

Most experts now believe they were created by explosions of methane gas unlocked by warming temperatures in the far north of Russia.

On Yamal, the main theory is that the craters were formed by pingos - dome-shaped mounds over a core of ice - erupting under pressure of methane gas released by the thawing of permafrost caused by climate change.

The Yamal craters, some tiny but others large, were created by natural gas filling vacant space in ice humps, eventually triggering eruptions, according to leading authority Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, of Moscow's Oil and Gas Research Institute.

Recently there were accounts of a 'big bang' leading to the formation of a crater on the Taimyr Peninsula. However, there was no pingo on this spot before the eruption in 2013.

The noise could be heard up to 60 miles away and one resident saw a 'glow in the sky' after the explosion, it was recently revealed.


Keeping the poor impoverished

Callous eco-imperialists use lies, scare stories to deny poor countries better living standards

Paul Driessen

We are just now entering the age of industrialization, newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte said recently, explaining why the Philippines will not ratify the Paris climate accords. “Now that we’re developing, you will impose a limit? That’s absurd. It’s being imposed upon us by the industrialized countries. They think they can dictate our destiny.”

More developing nations are taking the same stance – and rightly so. They increasingly understand that fossil fuels are needed to modernize, industrialize, electrify, and decrease poverty, malnutrition and disease. Many supported the 2015 Paris climate treaty for three reasons.

They are not required to reduce their oil, natural gas and coal use, economic development and greenhouse gas emissions, because doing so would prevent them from improving their people’s living standards.

They want the free technology transfers and trillions of dollars in climate “adaptation, mitigation and reparation” funds that now-wealthy nations promised to pay for alleged climate transgressions. But they now know those promises won’t be kept – especially by countries that absurdly insist on slashing their energy use, economic growth and job creation, while developing countries surge ahead.

Climate has always changed. It is far better to have energy, technology, modern housing and wealth to adapt to, survive, recover from and even thrive amid inevitable warming, cooling and weather events, than to forego these abilities (on the absurd assumption that humans can control climate and weather) – and be forced to confront nature’s onslaughts the way previous generations had to.

The November 7-18 Marrakech, Morocco UN climate conference (COP-22) thus promises to be a lot of hot air, just like its predecessors. Officially, its goal is to accelerate GHG emission reductions, “brainstorm” with government and business leaders to achieve “new levels of cooperation and technology sharing” (and subsidies), and embrace “urgent action” to help African and small island nations survive the supposed ravages of manmade droughts and rising seas.

The true purposes are to pressure industrialized nations to end most fossil fuel use by 2050; intentionally replace free enterprise capitalism with a “more equitable” system; “more fairly” redistribute the world’s wealth and natural resources; and ensure that poor countries develop “sustainably” and not “too much” – all under the direction and control of UN agencies and environmentalist pressure groups.

We might ask: Replace capitalism with what exactly? Dictatorial UN socialism? Redistribute what wealth exactly? After we’ve hobbled developed countries’ energy use, job creation and wealth creation, what will be left? As poor countries get rich, do you UN bureaucrats intend to take and redistribute their wealth to “less fortunate” nations that still fail to use fossil fuels or get rid of their kleptocratic leaders?

Africans are not endangered by manmade climate change. They are threatened by the same droughts and storms they have confronted for millennia, and by the same corrupt leaders who line their own pockets with climate and foreign aid cash, while doing nothing for their people and nothing to modernize their countries. Africa certainly does not need yet more callous outsider corruption dictating its future.

Pacific islanders likewise face no greater perils from seas rising at seven inches per century, than they have from seas that rose 400 feet since the last Ice Age glaciers melted, and their coral islands kept pace with those ocean levels – unless they too fail to use fossil fuel (and nuclear) power to modernize.

The Morocco-Paris-Bali-Rio manmade climate chaos mantra may protect people and planet from climate hobgoblins conjured up by garbage in-garbage out computer models. But it will perpetuate energy and economic poverty, imposed on powerless populations by eco-imperialist US, EU and UN functionaries.

Virtually every other environmentalist dogma has similar effects.

Sustainability precepts demand that we somehow predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s resource needs “will not compromise” the completely unpredictable energy and raw material needs that those unpredictable technologies will introduce. They require that we safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even when it means ignoring or compromising the needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations, health and welfare of the world’s poorest people.

Resource depletion claims fail to account for hydraulic fracturing and other new technologies that increase supplies, reduce their costs – or decrease the need for previously essential commodities, as fiber optic cables reduced the need for copper. The Stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. If we run out of something, it’s generally because governments prevented us from developing the resource.

Precautionary principles say we must focus on the risks of using chemicals, fossil fuels and other technologies – but never on the risks of not using them. We are required to emphasize minor, alleged, manageable, exaggerated or fabricated risks that a technology might cause, but ignore the risks it would reduce or prevent.

Because of illusory risks from biotechnology, we are to banish GMO Golden Rice and bananas that are rich in beta-carotene (which humans can convert into Vitamin A), and continue letting millions of children go blind or die. We are to accept millions more deaths from malaria, Zika, dengue, yellow fever and other diseases, because of imagined dangers of using DDT and insecticides. Must we also accept millions of cancer deaths, because of risks associated with radiation and chemo therapies?

Over the past three decades, fossil fuels helped 1.3 billion more people get electricity and escape deadly energy and economic poverty – over 830 million because of coal. China connected 99% of its population to the grid, also mostly with coal, enabling its average citizens to be ten times richer and live 32 years longer than five decades previously.

But another 1.2 billion people (the US, Canadian, Mexican and European populations combined) still do not have electricity. Another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably and must still cook and heat with wood, charcoal and animal dung. Hundreds of millions get horribly sick and five million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Because of climate “risks,” we are to let this continue.

Or as former Earth Island Institute editor Gar Smith so charmingly put it: “African villagers used to spend their days and evenings sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-peddle-powered sewing machines.” Once they get electricity, they spend too much time watching television and listening to the radio. “If there is going to be electricity, I would like it to be decentralized, small and solar-powered.”

Of course, as a young black California mother reminded me a few years ago, eco-imperialism is not just a developing country issue. It is a global problem. “Because of their paranoid fear of sprawl,” LaTonya told me, “elitist eco-imperialists employ endless regulations and restrictions that prevent upwardly-mobile people of color from improving their lot in life. Only we, the wealthy and privileged, they seem to insist, can live in nice homes and safe neighborhoods, have good jobs and enjoy modern lifestyles.”

These ideologies and policies are absurd, callous, immoral, eco-imperialistic and genocidal. They inflict unconscionable crimes against humanity on the poorest among us. They can no longer be tolerated.

Rich nations used fossil fuels to advance science, create wondrous technologies beyond previous generations’ wildest imaginings, eradicate killer diseases, increase life expectancy from 46 in 1900 to 78 today, and give even poor families better living standards than kings and queens enjoyed a century ago.

Instead of holding poor countries and billions of less fortunate people back for still more decades, we are ethically bound to do everything we can to encourage and assist them to throw off their shackles, and join the world’s wealthy, healthy, technologically advanced nations.

Via email

Golden Rice: the miracle crop greens love to hate

Rice is the staple food of over 3.5 billion people, most of whom live in the poorest parts of the world. But the world’s staple does come with one major drawback. Despite being loaded with other nutrients, rice is naturally lacking in vitamin A.

The Lancet estimates that, every year, around 670,000 children under the age of five die as a result of vitamin-A deficiency. Imagine, then, the development potential of a genetically modified, mass-market strain of rice that is packed with all the typical nutrients you’d expect, but which also comes loaded with vitamin A.

Golden Rice is such a crop, and it’s the genetically modified organism (GMO) the South has been waiting for. Unfortunately, certain groups are agitating against Golden Rice over claims it is dangerous – despite it having passed every test and safety check it has ever faced. This resistance is largely thanks to environmental organisations like Greenpeace, who have spent decades campaigning relentlessly against GMOs on the basis of unfounded health concerns.

This is despite the fact that GM foodstuffs are commonplace in the US, where the crops are needed far less than they are in the poorest parts of the world. Yet Greenpeace continues to wage war on these revolutionary new foodstuffs, batting away study after study that emerges in defence of GMOs like Golden Rice.

Greenpeace has become so blindly dogmatic in its approach that, late last month, 110 Nobel Laureates signed an open letter condemning its rejection of GMOs. The signatories, who account for one third of living Nobel laureates, went so far as to suggest that Greenpeace’s demonisation of perfectly healthy GMOs, particularly Golden Rice, is akin to a ‘crime against humanity’. They estimate that many of the two million annual deaths attributed to vitamin-A deficiency could be prevented by Golden Rice.

In its response, Greenpeace claimed that its opposition to Golden Rice is down to the failure of manufacturers to produce it cheaply and plentifully. This is a bit rich, considering obstructions by environmentalists has made production of Golden Rice difficult. In 2013, green activists destroyed trial plots of Golden Rice in the Philippines – setting its development back by years.

Perhaps eco-alarmists genuinely believe, in their own paternalistic way, that they are helping the global poor by restricting their access to these new crops. However, their dogmatic resistance to scientific progress is doing more damage than all the GMOs in the world ever could.

Greenpeace should consider looking at the facts. Throughout the history of their existence, nobody has died as a result of eating GMOs. Countless lives have certainly been lost in that time, however, and many development opportunities have been stifled, thanks to hunger.

It’s time organisations like Greenpeace ended their ingrained opposition to Golden Rice and other GM crops. It’s time we all embraced the life-changing potential of such crops.


Court Sinks Navy Over Whales

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that federal rules don’t give enough protection to inhabitants of the world’s oceans. This ruling was a reversal of a lower court’s ruling in 2012 that had approved of rules for naval peacetime operations. It was not that the Navy had gone beyond the regulations. The court stated, “We have every reason to believe that the Navy has been deliberate and thoughtful” in keeping the rules, but the court believed that the rules did not go far enough in protecting marine mammals — specifically whales.

The ruling on the federal regulations dealt specifically with the Navy’s use of low-frequency sonar, which is used by the Navy primarily in the detection of submarines. What environmental groups have contested is that the use of this sonar technology is dangerous to various mammal sea life, specifically whales. It is known that sonar activity affects whales, but it is not well established specifically how dangerous the activity is to the whales.

In 2008 a California judge had ruled that naval ships using sonar had to stay clear of a 12-mile wide stretch along the coast. This ruling was challenged by the Navy and later that year the U.S. Supreme Court rule in favor of the Navy, concluding that national security was of greater importance than specious environmental concerns.

This latest ruling once again pits environmental groups and their interests against that of national security. While it is rarely a good idea to dismiss environmental concerns out right, the ability of the U.S. to defended itself is of a higher priority. For without the security secured by our nation’s military forces, Americans would not enjoy the freedom to engage in promoting protections for the environment.


Australia: Business angry as S.A. wind turbines suck more power than they generate

Wind turbines in South Australia were using more power than they generated during the state’s electricity crisis, which has prompted major businesses to threaten shutdowns and smaller firms to consider moving interstate.

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox ­yesterday said the rise in prices, ­already the highest in the country, had disrupted industry and served as a warning for the rest of the ­­­­nat­ion. “That is a serious blow to energy users across SA and has disrupted supply chains upon which thousands of jobs depend,” he said.

“The real risk is if this volatility becomes the norm across the ­National Electricity Market.

“In June, electricity cost South Australia $133 per megawatt hour on average — already a high price. But since July 1, electricity prices have spiked above $10,000 per MWh at times.”

Mr Willox echoed warnings of the South Australian government on the weekend, saying “We will see similar episodes again, and not just in SA”, and backing calls for major reform of the NEM.

“Changes in the pattern of ­energy demand and the ongoing build-up of wind and solar make life increasingly difficult for ‘baseload’ electricity generators across the country,” he said.

The power crisis comes amid growing pressure from independent senator Nick Xenophon to invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into struggling South Australian businesses to save jobs, and as the Turnbull government attempts to establish a hi-tech ­submarine manufacturing industry in the state.

An analysis of data from the Australian Energy Market Operator, responsible for the administration and operation of the wholesale NEM, shows the turbines’ down time on July 7 coincided with NEM prices for South Australia reaching almost $14,000 per MWh

NEM prices in other markets have been as low as $40 per MWh with the AI Group estimating this month’s power surge in South Australian electricity prices had cost $155 million.

While all wind farms in South Australia were producing about 5780MW between 6am and 7am, by 1pm the energy generation was in deficit as the turbines consumed more power than they created. By mid-afternoon, energy generation by all wind farms was minus-50MW.

The situation forced several major companies, including BHP Billiton and Arrium, to warn the state government of possible shutdowns because of higher energy prices, forcing Treasurer and ­Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to intervene by asking a private operator of a mothballed gas-fired plant in Adelaide for a temporary power spike.

BHP, which employs about 3000 people at its Olympic Dam mine in the state’s far north, said its operations in South Australia were under a cloud.  “The security and reliability of power have been a significant ­concern for BHP Billiton and the sustainability of Olympic Dam,” the miner’s head of corporate ­affairs, Simon Corrigan, said.

Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the snapshot of wind power operations in the state showed the Labor government’s energy policies had created an oversupply of cheap wind energy at times but that forced it to import from interstate when prices shot up.  “This wouldn’t be a problem if we still had a reasonable amount of base load generation but we don’t,” he said.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday said improved interconnection for a “truly national electricity ­market” would drive prices down immediately. Federal Energy Minster Josh Frydenberg declined to be interviewed yesterday, but said he would convene a Council of Australian Governments meeting as soon as possible.

Not everyone is unhappy — farmer Peter Ebsary hosts four turbines from the Snowtown wind farm in South Australia’s mid north. The wind farm, owned by TrustPower, is the state’s largest.

“We get a financial return and don’t have to do anything ... we just sit back and collect the money as long as the wind blows,” he said.


‘Quintessential Insider Deal’: Taxpayers Finance Family Ties of 2 Failing Green Companies

Grassroots conservative activists who run a reboot of Ronald Reagan’s political action committee want to know why the government allows one failing company to buy another failing company while both get taxpayer subsidies.

They also want to know why corporate executives with friends in high places have not been subjected to more scrutiny after receiving a multimillion-dollar compensation package at a time when their company remains heavily subsidized at taxpayer expense.

“This is the quintessential insider deal,” one taxpayer advocate said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Citizens for the Republic, a nonprofit, grassroots lobbying group, posed the two questions in a July 15 letter to members of the House and Senate as the lawmakers left Washington for summer recess.

The group calls on Congress to investigate the CEO and the chief technology officer of SolarCity, a renewable energy company based in San Mateo, California. The two SolarCity executives happen to be brothers; Lyndon and Peter Rive also happen to be first cousins to Elon Musk, chairman and co-founder of SolarCity.

Musk is also chairman and founder of Tesla Motors Inc., an electric car company based in Palo Alto, California. In June, Tesla Motors offered to buy SolarCity.

Musk is the largest shareholder in both companies, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The proposed $2.8 billion deal would provide Musk and his cousins, the Rive brothers, with an additional $700 million in Tesla stock, according to media reports.

Musk anticipates a “supermajority of shareholders” will approve his bid, The Wall Street Journal reported. The 45-year-old business mogul was expected to unveil a new master plan for the combined companies as early as this week.

“Elon Musk has been getting bailout after bailout to prop up his companies that never succeed,” Diana Banister, partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs and executive director of Citizens for the Republic, told The Daily Signal in an interview, adding of Musk:

    "Why is the government bailing him out and giving him taxpayer money when last year he said he doesn’t need subsidies? Musk is bailing out his own company with taxpayer dollars. That’s how much of a racket this is. Musk is getting subsidies for one company and then using those subsidies to bail out another company that’s also subsidized".

Questioning Compensation Packages

Its letter to Congress is an extension of Citizens for the Republic’s Sunlight Project, set up in 2015 “to monitor and expose corruption and cronyism at the nexus of government and business.”

Sunlight Project keeps tabs on Musk’s corporate enterprises at the Stop Elon From Failing Again website, unveiled in June. The site says it is devoted to “challenging the waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money by the failures of Elon Musk.”

The Daily Signal obtained a version of the July 15 letter addressed to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It reads in part:

    "As heads of grassroots organizations devoted to fiscal responsibility and government accountability, we urge Congress to launch an immediate investigation of Lyndon Rive, the chief executive officer of SolarCity, and his brother Peter Rive, the company’s chief technology officer, for their $128.9 million cumulative compensation package while the company is simultaneously receiving more than half a billion dollars in federal direct grants and just as much, if not more, from state and local governments"

The letter is signed by Banister and Craig Shirley, her partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs and chairman of Citizens for the Republic, which is a nonprofit under 501(c)(4) of the tax code.  Shirley is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the pair’s public relations and marketing company, where Banister is president.

Also signing the letter were David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonprofit focused on government’s effects  on the economy and tax burden, and Seton Motley, president of Less Government, a nonprofit seeking to reduce government’s power and  safeguard First Amendment rights

Reagan originally established Citizens for the Republic in 1977, three years before he won the presidency. Conservative activists rebooted the political action committee in 2010, with Banister and Shirley as board members. Shirley is the author of three books on Reagan, including one on his unsuccessful 1976 campaign for the White House.

‘Taking a Hard Look’

With Congress on recess, the political action committee has not received any official response to its letters regarding Musk and the Rive brothers.

Banister, however, said she received encouraging feedback from a few key lawmakers, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

Banister said she sees an opportunity for lawmakers to revisit and review the merits of the Solar Investment Tax Credit if they press ahead with investigations into the Rive brothers and their compensation package.

“Once congressional investigations get started, they could possibly start a conversation about public policy reforms that could better protect taxpayer interests,” Banister said. “This means taking a hard look at the Solar Investment Tax Credit.”

The tax credit was extended as part of the 2015 omnibus spending package that passed Congress late last year. The PAC’s letter says:

    "The solar leasing industry is propped up by the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which subsidizes every panel that they lease. The [credit] was intended to provide subsidies for the growth of renewable technology, but we are concerned that it is being used to pad the paycheck of solar executives, like the Rive brothers"

The letter claims SolarCity “lost more than 50 percent of its value” over the past year, but persists because of government subsidies and the intervention of Musk.

“Doesn’t this all seem a little incestuous and little corrupt?” Banister asked. “I’d say it’s actually extremely corrupt, and it’s time for Congress to start paying attention.”

‘Corporate Favoritism’

The Daily Signal contacted both Tesla Motors and SolarCity, inviting both companies to comment on the letter calling for congressional investigations. Tesla has not yet responded.

In an email, Will Craven, SolarCity’s director of policy and electricity markets, said the “compensation numbers” are “tied to ambitious goals that will take years to achieve, and will only be paid out should SolarCity hit those goals, for example a stock price of $400 per share.”

Craven also referred to a blog post from Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO, addressing the compensation issue. In it, Rive writes:

    "My own compensation is based on this principle: If SolarCity does not significantly increase value for shareholders and employees and deliver a better experience for customers, then I do not deserve more than my base salary, and that’s the only pay I will receive"

“If this wasn’t a green energy company, you would have both Democrats and Republicans screaming about this,” Williams, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance president, told The Daily Signal, adding:

    "This is the quintessential insider deal. But because this involves green energy you have the left overlooking corporate welfare and corporate favoritism because it’s something they like. But if it involved a big bank or some other company, the left and the right would be up in arms about this".

Tesla is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of the fatal crash of its Model S car. The driver was using the car’s autopilot when it crashed.

The investigation appears to be focused on finding out whether the crash was material to Tesla’s $2.3 billion secondary offering May 18, a few weeks later.



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24 July, 2016

San Diego sets an example for Mass. on renewable energy

A love note to SanDiego from Boston below.  We read that San Diego now has "legally binding" orders to run on renewable energy by 2035. And that is held up as a marvellously wise and powerful step.

The unrealism of the Green/Left never ceases to astound.  The fact that a legislature passes a law that something in the future must happen is described as making that prescription "legally binding".  But it is binding only in a trivial sense.  The past cannot dictate to the future and no legislature is bound by the edicts of a previous legislature.  A new legislature can and does reverse the laws of a previous legislature.  And so it is with these absurd Greenie "targets".  They are just for show. They are not legally binding if a future legislature decides they are inconvenient and chooses to repeal them.  They entrench nothing.  They are a fantasy

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer chuckled when he was recently asked to compare his attitude about climate change with the denial displayed by many elected Republicans. Speaking in a beach park after cutting the ribbon for a boardwalk-restoration project, Faulconer noted how California’s droughts, fires, and floods put the state on the front lines of climate change.

“Protecting the environment is not a partisan issue,” he said. “I’ve never viewed it through the lens of what we have right now, but what we’ll have for future generations. You have to start with the premise that sustainability is the right thing.”

Was that a Republican talking Sierra Club? Doing the right thing on sustainability is making this city a national role model of bipartisanship on major environment issues. In December, its city council of five Democrats and four Republicans unanimously mandated that the city be completely run on renewable energy by 2035.

That makes San Diego the largest city in the United States to impose legally-binding municipal targets for renewable energy. Faulconer proposed putting $127 million toward the mandate, through bike and pedestrian improvements, tree planting, energy efficient street lights, water conservation, and trash trucks powered by gas from landfills.

This raises the bar everywhere else, including here in Massachusetts. At this moment, the Legislature is hammering out a groundbreaking energy bill that begins to reduce emissions with hydroelectric power and offshore wind, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently spoke at a Beijing summit of cities pledging to cut emissions. But though both the city and state have set goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that the Commonwealth’s targets are legal, there is yet no official path for how to get there.

San Diego shows a way. For years, debates on energy goals came to a standstill over toothless voluntary targets, according to environmental attorney Nicole Capretz. But in 2013, interim San Diego mayor Todd Gloria declared that the city, second only to Los Angeles in solar power capacity, should be a leader on climate change. He asked Capretz to draft a comprehensive climate action plan. Capretz said that the plan had to be enforceable.

The next elected mayor was Faulconer. The coast-loving boater and cyclist shared enough of Capretz’s dream to lobby the business community in ways unimaginable in Washington, D.C., where the US Chamber of Commerce vigorously opposes President Obama’s landmark pollution and greenhouse gas regulations.

In San Diego, the chamber’s president, former mayor Jerry Sanders, said Faulconer urged members to embrace the plan, while giving businesses the flexibility to make adjustments, and to take advantage of the city’s clean tech industry and science expertise.

“Otherwise, we can have federal or state government tell us what to do,” Sanders said. “We chose to embrace this now.”

Faulconer has the soft-spoken manner of Massachusetts’ moderate Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Both say they cannot vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But on energy, Baker’s commitment to renewables remains unclear. He could learn from Faulconer, who said, “There is no substitute for leadership. Get all the players in the room and don’t let ‘em leave.”

Capretz, who remains a leading climate activist, said, “We still don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but it turned out to be better to have a Republican mayor sell this to industry and the business community. It eliminated a lot of negativity.”

No negativity can be found in the office of Cody Hooven, the city’s sustainability manager. She is getting calls from all over the world about the renewable plan, including solar and wind powerhouse Germany. “They’re all asking, ‘How are you doing that?’” Hooven said. “We’re saying, why not try for 100 percent? If we don’t try, we’ll never get there.”

It is a question worth asking in Massachusetts. San Diego has thrown down a gauntlet. It is easy to say you will cut emissions. It is another to say how you’ll get there.


More on 2016 being "hottest year on record"

On 21st, I pointed out that the prophecy about 2016 becoming the "hottest" year was a flight of fancy.  I put up the actual GISS temperature figures and pointed out that global temperatures were in fact dropping like a stone.  Steve Goddard has made a similar point, saying that: "The past four months is the largest four month cooling in the GISS LOTI record.  WMO describes this as "2016 warming faster than expected.""

He provides the following graph to ilustrate his point:

UK: Mini ice-age which could freeze the Tyne is on the way, says Newcastle academic

Solar expert Valentina Zharkova warns that the earth is about to be affected by a solar event that will see temperatures plunge

This damp and cold summer may be a sign of things to come with the earth poised to enter a 30-year mini ice-age which may freeze the Tyne, says a world-leading Newcastle academic. Peter McCusker reports.

The sun is in good shape and has a ‘healthy heartbeat’ which will last at least another five billion years, says Prof Valentina Zharkova, of Northumbria University.

Ms Zharkova, a professor in the department of mathematics, physics and electrical engineering, says this regular heartbeat of the sun is subject to predictable fluctuations of its magnetic field, and over the next few years as it enters a lull temperatures, here on earth, will plummet.

This time last year Prof Zharkova announced she had discovered a key solar event which determines magnetic field variations over time.

And she ‘confidently’ predicts we will be heading to another ‘Solar Grand Minima’ in solar cycle 25, beginning in 2020 and lasting until 2053.

During the last such event on the sun between 1645 and 1715 - and known as the Maunder Minimum - people skated on a frozen Thames as the average temperature in England fell by almost 2°C.

Prof Zharkova believes the cool summer we are currently experiencing is a precursor of things to come.
People take shelter from a sudden downpour of rain

For over 400 years people have associated such cooler periods with reduced sun spot activity on the sun’s surface.

Prof Zharkova and her team postulate from their observations of the whole sun that sun spots on the solar surface are caused by the movement of a pair of background magnetic waves across its interior and surface, in both hemispheres.

The magnetic waves start their journey from opposite hemispheres and when they interact with each other on this journey sun spots develop.

The intensity and number of sun spots depends on the amplitude of the magnetic waves when they cross.

We are now entering a period where the sun’s pair of magnetic waves will cross at low amplitudes, beginning with solar cycle 25 in 2020.

And in solar cycle 26, beginning in 2031, we may enter a period of little, or no sunspot activity - and much cooler temperatures - as the pair of magnetic waves fail to cross at any point as they will remain fully separated in the opposite hemispheres of the sun.

Prof Zharkova and her colleagues have been able to simulate this on computer models allowing them to predict future cycles for the next millennium.

Prof Zharkova says her research is ‘the first serious prediction of a reduction of solar activity and upcoming Maunder Minimum that might affect human lives’.

She said her eureka moment came in 2010 when she thought up a way of using existing research to tackle this dilemma.

And many researchers investigating terrestrial oceans and forests, as well as other planets, have come to the similar conclusions about an upcoming Maunder.

Minimum of solar and terrestrial activity and a possible reduction of temperatures on all planets in the solar system.

Prof Zharkova said: “We have now established a mathematical law which others can use to apply to this area of research, and so far we have been able to match our research with proven meteorological records dating back 3000 years to 1000 BC.

“This has given us the confidence to predict what will happen to solar activity in the future decades. This decrease poses a question about expected reduction of the temperature of the planet in the coming years because the sun, as we are confidently predicting, will enter into a grand minimum beginning in 2020 - the first such one since the Maunder Minimum.

“We confidently predict this minimum will last for three cycles (33 years), not as long as the last one, but during this time global temperature may fall by an average of 1.5°C although there will be fluctuations across the globe.”

She continued: “I am absolutely confident in our research. It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly.

“In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data - daily synoptic maps of full disk magnetic fields - available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity.”

She went on to say that the Tyne may freeze over, but as it is a lot deeper now than it was back in the 17th Century - due to all of the development on both banks - this is uncertain.

Prof Zharkova’s predictions also fly in the face of much of what is being said and written about global temperatures.

This worldwide movement was crystallised in last year’s Paris Agreement which saw almost all of the nations of the world unite to vow to try and keep temperature rises to less than 2°C by the end of the century.

Prof Zharkova said: “When it comes to controlling the earth’s temperature the sun trumps the work of mankind infinitesimally.

“The sun controls the temperature of all of the planets and anything else is pure fallacy. As the earth’s ice caps have melted so have the ones on Mars, and Jupiter has had more typhoons in the last decade than in any previous period.

“I accept and agree that we should be doing all we can to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as cutting pollution, but the models that are being used to support this idea of manmade global warming are flawed.
Wnter snow scenes on the B6341 near Alnwick Northumberland

“Much of the research is mis-leading, the models downplay solar activity but solar activity is by far and away the key player in any attempt to explain fluctuations in global temperatures.”

She added: “How this reduction of temperature will be offset by global warming and increasing temperatures caused by the technological progress of human civilization remains to be seen.”

Just last week it was reported by NASA that the sun was in ‘cue ball’ mode, with no visible sunspots on its surface, marking its quietest period for a century.

Prof Zharkova explained that during periods of low solar activity the earth is no longer protected as robustly from cosmic rays coming in from across the Universe and these consequently subdue the earth’s temperatures.

“We are beginning to see the change taking pace and the cool weather we are now experiencing is not just limited to the UK. Weather observers across the globe are reporting similar findings,” she said.

When Prof Zharkova unveiled her findings at a National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, last year, it received widespread publicity in the international media.

She told The Journal: “We have been pleased by the reaction and we have helped other people from across the global academic community with their own research into this.”

She added: “We now only have to wait five years to show that our predictions are true.”


Scots offshore wind 'pretty much dead', former minister claims

A former energy minister has claimed "offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead" after a legal challenge against four major projects.

A judge upheld RSPB Scotland's challenge to consent for turbines in the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay.

Brian Wilson said the charity now "hold all the cards" over the schemes, which were to include hundreds of turbines.

The Scottish government said it remained "committed" to renewable energy but wanted to study the ruling.

And Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said Mr Wilson's comments were "irresponsible, incorrect and ill-informed".

The four projects - Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo - were approved by Scottish ministers in October 2014, and could power more than 1.4 million homes.

RSPB Scotland lodged a legal challenge, saying the turbines could have "serious implications" for wildlife, and argued that the government had breached legal requirements when making the original decision by not giving proper consideration to this.

Judge Lord Stewart ruled in favour of the charity, calling the consents "defective", meaning ministers will have to reconsider the planning decisions and address the points put forward by the RSPB's lawyers.

'Serious setback'

Former Labour MP and UK energy minister Mr Wilson, a longtime critic of the SNP's energy policy, said the legal challenge was an "extremely serious setback".

He said: "On the face of it, offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead. The RSPB now hold all the cards.

"They were forced into this comprehensive action because the Scottish government delayed consent and then clustered these four wind farms together, so the RSPB went to court on the basis of cumulative impact.

"What they have to decide is if they want to kill all four schemes or prepare to take a more balanced view, but the ball is in the RSPB's court without a doubt."

Mr Wilson said only the Neart na Gaoithe project had access to subsidies, and as such had been the only one likely to go ahead in the near future, and blamed the Scottish government for not dealing with the case more quickly.

He said: "They took five years to determine that application. They then delayed it further until after the independence referendum to avoid any controversy, and by that time three other applications had stacked up, and they consented all four together.

"If Neart na Gaoithe had been consented separately, then the RSPB probably would not have taken action against it. They could have lived with one, with a kind of balanced policy.

"But understandably once they were faced with four they were dealing with something entirely different, with a very large capacity."

Mr Wilson also said it was difficult to see how the "damning" ruling could be appealed, as it was "so comprehensively critical".

The Scottish government said ministers needed time to study Lord Stewart's extremely detailed ruling before commenting further.

Minister for business, innovation and energy Mr Wheelhouse said the government remained "strongly committed" to offshore wind energy in Scotland.

He added: "Brian Wilson's comments about the future of offshore wind are, in my view, irresponsible, incorrect and ill-informed. The offshore wind energy sector has a very bright future in Scotland - not least in terms of existing and new projects; most notably with the £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm which has reached financial close and is now being constructed using significant input from the Scottish supply chain.

"The Scottish government, the RSPB and renewables developers all recognise the importance of decarbonising our electricity supply and have all made very clear, following Lord Stewart's judgement, that we will work together to ensure delivery of more offshore wind energy projects."

'Rigorous assessment'

RSPB Scotland has insisted that it is "very much supportive" of renewable energy projects in principle, but only in the right form and place.

Lloyd Austin, the society's head of conservation policy, told Good Morning Scotland that the group would expect "more effective environmental assessment to be done" if the government moves again for consent.

He said: "Renewable energy projects are absolutely needed to address climate change, and the key issue is to get them in the right place, of the right type, and managed in the right way, and to ensure that you have rigorous environmental assessment process to make sure that you do get them in the right place.

"It may be that some development in this area is possible, it may be that they need to be in other areas. The question is that the process of determining where developments take place needs to be rigorous and take into account the impact on wildlife."

Green MSP Andy Wightman said it was "so frustrating" that ministers had not made the decision in line with the rules.

He said: "The framework is in place to make these decisions, and they've failed to make the decision properly.

"The burden is on ministers to make these decisions appropriately and follow due process. Had they done so, the RSPB would not have been in a position to take judicial review - or if they had, they would have lost.

"It's important that ministers pay close attention to this document, identify where they have failed in their decision-making process and are absolutely clear that they're going to improve that process, and make sure that when they come to a judgement on whether to go ahead with these things that it's a competent one that can stand up in court."


Australia: Brisbane's enjoys hottest July day for 70 years

We have indeed had quite a few days of summery warmth.  I have been getting around the house in just undershorts.  And my poor Mulberry tree out the front has been completely tricked.  It is deciduous but has just started to put out its summer foliage:   Months too soon.  And earlier this year we had a summer that was so cool my Crepe Myrtles failed to blossom. The whole thing is a good reminder of the power of natural variability

Queensland has more than made up for rudely thrusting extra days of winter upon her unsuspecting citizens.

On Saturday, the Sunshine State absolutely lived up to its name and offered the warmest July day in 70 years in Brisbane, matching the previously held record from 1946 when the temperature reached a balmy 29.1 degrees.

It was the peak of a run of unseasonably warm days as a trough passed through southern Queensland dragging warm air down from the north and returning the weather to that we would expect in summer and came on the back of some unseasonably cold weather.

It was warm throughout the south-east with warm July records being smashed all over the place.

The Sunshine Coast bore the brunt of the hot day, reaching 31.4 degrees, beating its previous record of 27.7.  On the Gold Coast it got to 29.6, beating its previous record of 26.9. Archerfield, Brisbane Airport and Gold Coast Seaway observation stations all recorded record-breaking temperatures for July.

But before you book a week off to make the most of the warm spell, the Bureau of Meteorology has sad news... things return to "winter" temperatures from Sunday with the mercury tipped to drop to average conditions.

Bureau forecaster Adam Blazak said a change in the wind would bring a change in the temperature. "We will have more of a slight southerly wind direction change with the winds coming slightly more from the south," he said.

"So we won't be getting the hot air being dragged down from the north and that will see temperatures getting back to around average for this time of the year.

"(On Sunday) we are going for 22 and it will stay around that number roughly for most of the week."

The good news is the days will be clear and sunny, so we can all be thankful we are spending winter in Queensland and not somewhere dreadful like Sydney, where a top of 16 is expected on Sunday, or Melbourne where they can only manage a measly 12.


Lawyers Make Millions Off Taxpayers, Endangered Species Act, as Ranchers Try to Live With Rare Bird

Feathers are flying over whether the federal government is overprotecting a rare bird in Colorado, in what critics grouse is an example of lawyers making millions while abusing the Endangered Species Act.

Trial lawyers who collect taxpayer-funded fees under the law file so many suits that they undermine local conservation efforts in Western states, according to government officials, industry advocates, and legal analysts familiar with the situation.

In Colorado, the situation prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, to sue the Obama administration early last year.

Over 25 years, Colorado officials spent more than $40 million to preserve the habitat of a paunchy, ground-dwelling, chickenlike bird known as the Gunnison sage grouse.

Colorado officials worked in partnership with ranchers in Gunnison County, who voluntarily entered into conservation easements on their property that protected the bird while allowing for robust ranching activities.

In the past few years, the Gunnison sage grouse population not only has stabilized but increased in the part of southwestern Colorado where they’re concentrated, local government figures show.

Even so, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service saw fit to list the species as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in November 2014.

Kent Holsinger, a natural resources lawyer based in Denver, says he sees a perverse set of incentives at work that allow green groups such as WildEarth Guardians, a nonprofit environmental group, to file suits that ultimately work against the bird’s environment and the local community.

Under a section of the Endangered Species Act providing for citizen suits, nonprofit environmental groups may bring litigation against the federal government. U.S. taxpayers often foot the bill for the substantial fees the groups pay to their attorneys.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Natural Resources Committee has obtained documents from the Justice Department that show U.S. taxpayers paid out more than $15 million in attorney’s fees over four years to cover the costs of lawsuits brought under the Endangered Species Act.

Some lawyers are paid as much as $500 an hour, the documents show.

Time for Reform?

“We desperately need reforms to the Endangered Species Act,” Holsinger said, adding:

    "So long as these litigation provisions are around, it will create openings for habitual abusers of the law like WildEarth Guardians to continuously sue. They are nothing more than a group of trial lawyers who have found a profitable niche to collect attorney’s fees at taxpayer expense and to perpetuate these legal actions that do no good for the environment or for the community as a whole, but they are very good for WildEarth Guardians".

The Gunnison County ranchers entered into agreements with state officials so they could help to preserve the Gunnison sage grouse while obtaining some level of certainty that they wouldn’t be punished for their ranching activities, Holsinger said.

But, he warned, if “radical environmental groups” continue to litigate and put pressure on government agencies to apply more restrictions, especially where public lands are concerned, it could mean ranchers will be forced to sell their property.

“This is about their livelihood,” Holsinger said of the ranchers. “If they are cut back from the status quo, which is a distinct possibility, then their ability to earn a living will be impacted and that means they will have to sell their property, with the most likely purchaser being a developer.”

Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with WildEarth Guardians, sharply disagrees with critics of the Endangered Species Act, including the provision for lawsuits, and said he would prefer no major changes.

“Without the ESA, it would be politics as usual and extractive industries would continue to have the right to drive [wildlife] populations into extinction,” Molvar said. “The ESA was created to make decisions based solely on science so politics could not enter into these decisions. This gets us past the political roadblocks to prevent the extinction of rare species.”

In January 2015, WildEarth Guardians and another environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed separate lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They argued that the listing of “threatened” for the Gunnison sage grouse doesn’t provide sufficient protection and should be raised to “endangered.”

WildEarth Guardians joined in its suit with Clait Braun, a retired sage grouse researcher with the Colorado Division of Wildlife who since 2000 has operated Grouse Inc., an Arizona-based consulting firm that studies the sage grouse. In the second case, the Center for Biological Diversity joined with the Western Watersheds Project.

A few weeks later, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s Interior Department and the agency’s Fish and Wildlife division in an effort to overturn the “threatened” listing. Gunnison County, which is heavily Democratic, later joined with the governor in the suit.

Colorado Democrats “felt like they had no recourse but to file suit against their own party in Washington, D.C.,” and that “shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with sound public policy,” Brian Seasholes, director of the Endangered Species Project for the Reason Foundation, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“For over two decades now, Gunnison County has been engaged in a very successful effort to boost the sage grouse population, but it appears Fish and Wildlife either failed to properly analyze the facts on the ground or simply ignored what the science said about the bird’s population.”

The “best available science” demonstrates that the Gunnison sage grouse “is not threatened throughout its range,” Hickenlooper’s lawsuit argues, adding:

    "The Gunnison Basin population, which comprises the vast majority of the species, is not presently in danger of extinction, nor is it likely to be at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. In fact, experts cited in [the Fish and Wildlife Service’s] Final Listing Rule estimated that the risk of extinction over the next 50 years is no more than 1 percent. Thus, [the wildlife agency’s] decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened was arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with law".

“The Interior Department’s penalty-based approach to sage grouse conservation is going to harm the bird while Colorado’s approach, which is incentive-based, cooperative, and draws heavily on partnerships, has a proven track record of helping the sage grouse,” Reason Foundation’s Seasholes said.

Paula Swenson, the longtime Democratic chair of the Gunnison Board of County Commissioners, told The Daily Signal that it’s  evident to her that the federal wildlife agency did not rely upon sound scientific data in making its determination.

She points out that for almost 20 years now, the Fish and Wildlife Service has said that the survival of the Gunnison sage grouse is dependent upon the viability of the Gunnison Basin population, located primarily in Gunnison County and in a small part of Saguache County.

In total, there are about 5,000 Gunnison sage grouse spread throughout southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, according to federal figures, with about 85 percent residing in Gunnison Basin. 

Swenson notes that Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the state agency charged with monitoring and providing science on conservation efforts, has determined that the Gunnison sage grouse population is stable and not threatened in the foreseeable future. Moreover, federal officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with the state’s findings, Swenson explained in an email:

    "They also agree that the efforts of our local government, property owners and partnerships with state and federal agencies have sustained this population. However, since the six satellite populations, which combined only make up about 15 percent of the total population, are not seeing the same sustainability numbers that the Gunnison [River] Basin is, the [Fish and Wildlife Service] chose to list this species as threatened. The [federal agency] systematically divided the species into Gunnison Basin and all other populations instead of looking at the species viability as a whole. The rationale provided was all speculation, not science".

Swenson said she was incredulous at the reasoning behind the federal agency’s decision-making.

“The reasons for listing that were stated to me included [that] if a disease came into the Gunnison Basin it could wipe out the species, or my favorite [reason]:  A meteor could crash in the Gunnison Basin and wipe out the species.”

Molvar, the WildEarth Guardian biologist, said he is not convinced the population is stable. The main population is probably less than 5,000, he estimates, the “bare minimum to have a stable population.”

Green Lawsuits Seen as the Problem

John Swartout, a Republican, is a senior policy adviser to Hickenlooper. A bipartisan consensus is emerging in favor of reforming the Endangered Species Act so that it can “live up to its full potential without being so dominated by litigation,” the governor’s adviser said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

The problem is “with the adversarial structure” attached to the law and not U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell or her department, Swartout insisted.

“We have no complaints about the secretary of interior and the people who work with her,” he said, adding:

    "She has been great to work with and she’s done a lot to be helpful despite the fact that we filed litigation. This has been a bad situation not of her creation. The governor felt like the landowners had done everything we asked them to do and made a superhuman effort. They really stepped up and did everything that was necessary. This isn’t about us being mad at the [Obama] administration. It’s about us having the backs of the people who tried to do what they could to protect the sage grouse".

The Gunnison sage grouse is a close cousin of the greater sage grouse, which resides in Colorado and 10 other Western states.

In September 2015, the Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the greater sage grouse as either threatened or endangered under the federal law. But, the Interior Department and Agriculture Department instead have imposed 15 land use amendments covering more than 60 million acres of federal land that restrict activities in the habitat of the greater sage grouse.

Federal bureaucrats are making a deliberate effort to subdivide species that have few or no biological differences, said Ethan Lane, executive director of both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, an advocacy group for Western ranchers who hold grazing permits for public lands.

“The fact that these [grouse] populations have been split off into separate species is done to create more opportunities for lawsuits and this speaks to a big part of the problem with the Endangered Species Act,” Lane told The Daily Signal. “In order to keep the machine pumping, the litigation factory culture that has taken over the environmental community has found that it’s easy to split off populations that are not really so different.”

The land use plans, set in motion by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and USDA’s Forest Service, impose limits on where livestock can graze with the intent of creating buffer zones around the sage grouse’s habitat.

State and local officials in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada filed suit to overturn the land use amendments.

Four environmental groups—WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Watersheds Project, and the Prairie Hills Audubon Society—filed a suit against the federal government aimed at closing off what they view as “loopholes” in the amendments.

The Denver-based Western Energy Alliance filed a separate suit challenging oil and gas restrictions in the land use plans.



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, 2016

The Antarctic peninsula is COOLING

Laughs all round with this one. They want to say that this finding has no implications for the globe as a whole.  Since Antarctica has 96% of the world's glacial ice, it surely has BIG implications for the scare about rising sea levels. Zwally has shown that Antractica as a whole is gaining mass so put the two findings together and it undermines the very thing that Warmists have made central to their cries of doom!  Unless there is significant warming and melting in Antarctica, there is no doom! The way it's going, we are headed for a sea-level FALL!

And their explanation for the cooling is pathetic.  They say it's caused by the ozone hole shrinking.  But it isn't. The hole was at its largest in October.  Not October 10 years ago or even October 5 years ago.  It was October LAST YEAR.  The ban on our best refrigerant gases has clearly had no effect whatever.

Their other explanation is: "Temperatures have decreased as a consequence of a greater frequency of cold, east-to-southeasterly winds". But why?  Why did these winds spring up promptly at the beginning of the 21st century. If they have been going for around 20 years now, why did they not spring up earlier?  What has  changed?  It's essentially a non-explanation, which is why they have defaulted to "natural variability" as an explanation.  But in that case why is the slight warming of the 20th century not natural variability too?  They're getting into some very deep water there. 

When big icebergs break off Arctica or Antarctica that is regularly said to be evidence of global warming.  I wonder why "natural variability" is not invoked on those occasions?  It seems to be a case of Warmists trying to have their cake and eat it too.

But whatever the cause, we have in the work below yet another example of global warming prophecy failing.  I append the extract from the underlying journal article

The Antarctic is one part of the world you might have thought would be affected by global warming.  But for the last two decades, the Antarctic peninsula – the tip of the continent nearest to South America - has not got any warmer, scientists have found.

Research stations on the peninsula show that a while temperatures rose rapidly since the 1950s, the temperature has stayed steady and even declined since the late 1990s.

A new study has recorded an ozone increase in the icy region, suggesting the agreement signed nearly three decades ago to limit the use of substances responsible for ozone depletion, is having a positive effect.

As well as creating an identifying ozone increase, it’s slowing the rate of ozone depletion in the stratosphere - Earth's second major atmospheric layer.

Part of the answer why the Antarctic peninsula has not got any warmer in the past two to three decades is because more cold south-easterly and easterly winds are blowing towards the area from the Weddell Sea.

A further reason is because the hole in the ozone layer – caused by gases in aerosols called CFCs – is beginning to heal up – helping to shield Antarctica from solar radiation.

The hole has started to close since the polluting CFCs have been banned.

The scientists behind the finding are keen to stress that the ‘pause’ in Antarctic warming does not mean that global warming worldwide has come to a stop.

They say the six research stations on the peninsula cover only 1 per cent of the total continent of Antarctica.

Glaciers are still retreating – and ice shelves are still collapsing in the region.

They also note that temperatures are still warmer than at the beginning of the century.

Reporting this week in the journal Nature researchers from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said changing wind patterns may also be ‘temporarily masking’ the warming influence of greenhouse gases.

The authors also note that the ‘pause’ in warming coincides with the controversial ‘global warming hiatus’ or slowdown, which claims that global temperatures started to slowdown from 1996 from rising 0.14°C per decade up to 1996 and rising to 0.07°C per decade afterwards.

But the authors argue that the pause in the Antarctic is ‘independent of the global warming hiatus’.

Lead author, Professor John Turner of British Antarctic Survey says: ‘The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most challenging places on Earth on which to identify the causes of decade-to-decade temperature changes.’

They said that the peninsula ‘shows large natural variations which can overwhelm the signals of human-induced global warming’.

He added: ‘The ozone hole, sea-ice and westerly winds have been significant in influencing regional climate change in recent years.

‘Even in a generally warming world, over the next couple of decades, temperatures in this region may go up or down, but our models predict that in the longer term greenhouse gases will lead to an increase in temperatures by the end of the 21st Century.’

Antarctic Peninsula temperatures increased by up to 0.5°C per decade until the 1950s when they stopped rising, the researchers said.

The research team analysed ice cores taken from drilling into the soil – which allow scientists to calculate the temperature at the time the ice was laid down.

They found that the warming of the peninsula ‘was not unprecedented’ over the past 2,000 years.

Recently, they found that warming started in the 1920s, and revealed ‘periods of warming and cooling over the last several centuries that were comparable to those observed in the post-1950s instrumental record.’

The authors said the findings ‘highlights the large natural variability of temperatures in this region of Antarctica that has influenced more recent climate changes.’

Dr Robert Mulvaney, is a leading ice core researcher at British Antarctic Survey, said: ‘Meteorological observations from the Antarctic Peninsula research stations only cover the last 60 years or so. If we are to get a better idea of the long-term trend we need to look back in time.

‘The ice core record helps us see how the climate evolves over the longer term. We can also look at the levels of carbon dioxide and other chemicals that were in the atmosphere and compare them with observations from today.’

‘Climate model simulations predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase at currently projected rates their warming effect will dominate over natural variability (and the cooling effect associated with recovering ozone levels) and there will be a warming of several degrees across the region by the end of this century.’


Absence of 21st century warming on Antarctic Peninsula consistent with natural variability

John Turner et al.

Since the 1950s, research stations on the Antarctic Peninsula have recorded some of the largest increases in near-surface air temperature in the Southern Hemisphere1. This warming has contributed to the regional retreat of glaciers2, disintegration of floating ice shelves3 and a ‘greening’ through the expansion in range of various flora4. Several interlinked processes have been suggested as contributing to the warming, including stratospheric ozone depletion5, local sea-ice loss6, an increase in westerly winds5, 7, and changes in the strength and location of low–high-latitude atmospheric teleconnections8, 9. Here we use a stacked temperature record to show an absence of regional warming since the late 1990s. The annual mean temperature has decreased at a statistically significant rate, with the most rapid cooling during the Austral summer. Temperatures have decreased as a consequence of a greater frequency of cold, east-to-southeasterly winds, resulting from more cyclonic conditions in the northern Weddell Sea associated with a strengthening mid-latitude jet. These circulation changes have also increased the advection of sea ice towards the east coast of the peninsula, amplifying their effects. Our findings cover only 1% of the Antarctic continent and emphasize that decadal temperature changes in this region are not primarily associated with the drivers of global temperature change but, rather, reflect the extreme natural internal variability of the regional atmospheric circulation.

Nature 535, 411–415 (21 July 2016) doi:10.1038/nature18645

Global Warming Expedition Stopped In Its Tracks By Arctic Sea Ice

A group of adventurers, sailors, pilots and climate scientists that recently started a journey around the North Pole in an effort to show the lack of ice, has been blocked from further travels by ice.

The Polar Ocean Challenge is taking a two month journey that will see them go from Bristol, Alaska, to Norway, then to Russia through the North East passage, back to Alaska through the North West passage, to Greenland and then ultimately back to Bristol. Their objective, as laid out by their website, was to demonstrate “that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through.”

There has been one small hiccup thus-far though: they are currently stuck in Murmansk, Russia because there is too much ice blocking the North East passage the team said didn’t exist in summer months, according to Real Climate Science.

Real Climate Science also provides a graph showing that current Arctic temperatures — despite alarmist claims of the Arctic being hotter than ever — is actually below normal.

The Polar Ocean Challenge team is not the first global warming expedition to be faced with icy troubles. In 2013, an Antarctic research vessel named Akademik Shokalskiy became trapped in the ice, the problem was so severe that they actually had to rescue the 52 crew members.

In 2015 a Canadian ice breaking ship, the CCGS Amundsen, was forced to reroute and help a number of supply ships that had become trapped by ice.

The icy blockade comes just over a month after an Oxford climate scientist, Peter Wadhams, said the Arctic would be ‘completely ice-free’ by September of this year. While it obviously isn’t September yet, he did reference the fact that there would be very little ice to contend with this summer.

“Even if the ice doesn’t completely disappear, it is very likely that this will be a record low year,” Wadhams told The Independent in June.

Wahdams says he expects less than one million square kilometers by summers end, but the current amount of Arctic sea ice is 10.6 million square kilometers, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).




IMAGINE if our new Prime Minister Theresa May could wave her wand and achieve the following miracles within five years.

Create 500,000 new jobs, slash our electricity bills, restore British manufacturing, boost our economy, make us richer and stop our energy supplies being held to ransom by Putin, the Arabs, the French and other foreign regimes.

Well, the good news is she can, right now, and doesn’t need magic to do it.  All she needs to do is get fracking — the marvellous technology that extracts shale gas and oil from the ground.  Fracking has worked wonders for the US economy and could do the same for ours.

Shale gas is just as valuable and useful as the natural gas we’ve been harvesting from the North Sea for decades.  The only difference is that, because it’s mixed up with rock sediment, it used to be impossible to recover.

Then along came fracking. Suddenly the world had a new energy source just waiting to be harvested by those countries lucky enough to have shale gas and oil deposits.  Britain is one of them. We’ve got loads of the stuff.

Beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire alone, in the Bowland Shale, there are reserves so vast — around 1,300 trillion cubic feet — that even if we could extract just a tenth of them it would be enough to supply our gas needs for 50 years.  There may be similar energy gold mines everywhere, from the Sussex Weald to the north of Scotland.

Under the North Sea, the British Geological Survey estimates there may be ten times as much still.  This would make the UK one of the world’s top gas producers, with enough cheap, clean, homegrown energy to last us for well over a century.

But our progress in tapping this has been painfully slow, with the green lobby and councils strangling the process.

For example, Cuadrilla was granted a licence to explore for shale in Lancashire in 2007.  A decade on, not one single cubic foot of shale gas has yet been extracted in Lancashire or anywhere else in Britain.

And it’s still waiting, as Lancashire County Council has rejected Cuadrilla’s planning applications to develop two sites to explore for shale gas, due to noise and transport complaints.

So, though the Government last December sold licences for 159 new gas and oil exploration blocks — including 21 to the Anglo-Swiss chemicals giant Ineos — it could be years before any come on stream.

In Texas it takes seven days to get permission to frack a site. In Britain, it can take ten years or more to clear the regulatory hurdles.

Across the Pond, they have been fracking for more than a decade.  It is so advanced it is known as the shale gas “miracle”. The shale oil and gas industry in the US is now worth in excess of 200billion dollars and is expected to get much bigger.

In 2015 a BP Energy Outlook report predicted that within 20 years the US could become self-sufficient in oil and will hold 75 per cent of the world’s shale gas market.

As a result, America now has the world’s lowest electricity prices and cheapest gas (half what it costs in Europe).

It now exports more petroleum products than it imports (so is no longer reliant on the Middle East) and its heavy manufacturing industries are enjoying a huge renaissance.

Lower energy costs mean higher productivity, so that suddenly US manufacturers can compete on equal terms with countries like China.

Contracts previously outsourced abroad are now increasingly being done at home (“reshoring”), which has meant a rise in jobs (more than 800,000 since 2011) for US blue-collar workers.

Could the same happen here? Most definitely, but for one problem.

For many people fracking is a dirty word. Not only does it sound rude, it has been the victim of a prolonged smear campaign by various green lobby groups such as Greenpeace which see it as a threat to their beloved renewable energy.

And they’re right. It is a threat. Unlike solar or wind turbines (a.k.a. bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco- crucifixes), shale gas is cheap, reliable and does not need any taxpayer subsidies.  Nor does it kill wildlife or ruin the landscape for years on end.

The gas goes into a contraption, much smaller than a turbine, called a “Christmas tree”, which only stays up for a few months then disappears forever once the gas has been harvested. It’s also clean and safe.

The horror stories you hear put out by green activists — gas leaks, contaminated water, dodgy chemicals, “earthquakes” — have been investigated and exposed as lies, propaganda and nonsense.


Real climate denial

Potential Democratic VP nominee misrepresents Cornwall Alliance on Senate floor

Megan Toombs

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is a potential running-mate choice for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Yet he recently joined other Democratic Senators on the Senate floor to attack the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and other Virginia-based organizations, in an attempt to defend climate alarmism against its critics.

As has been the case with other attempts to vilify, intimidate and silence experts who disagree with alarmist views on global warming and climate change, Kaine presented an argument rife with logical fallacies – appeals to emotion, straw men, ridicule, oversimplification and misrepresentation.

The one thing the good Senator forgot to include in his speech was any sound science and ethics!

According to Kaine, the Cornwall Alliance is part of a “web of denial,” a “shadow organization,” “bizzaro,” and “greedy.”

Senator Kaine read just a tiny piece of our Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change, in which we quoted Psalm 19. He then said, “So somebody is really using Scripture to argue that making our energy production cleaner, safer, cheaper, violates the Christian tenet of caring for the poor?”

No, Senator Kaine, if you read the full Open Letter, you would discover that it addresses both science and economics. More important, it explains that pushing wind, solar, biofuel and other technologies that are not currently cheaper or better for the environment also hurts those in poverty. You would also have seen that it was signed by hundreds of scientists, including over 20 climate scientists. But you didn’t mention any of that.

Senators Kaine, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and others have banded together to attack the alleged “web of denial” that appears to be made up only of conservative organizations that they claim are funded by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel corporations that they consider immoral – even though the energy they provide has been indispensable to lifting and keeping billions of people out of poverty, and even though ExxonMobil has not given any of these groups a dime for a decade or more.

Moreover, there is another “web of denial,” the one created by climate alarmist organizations that are funded by renewable energy corporations, wealthy liberal foundations and government agencies that stand to gain money, prestige and power from promoting scares about climate change. As Kathleen Hartnett White brilliantly demonstrates in her booklet Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case, they have been caught exaggerating, fabricating and falsifying data to support their views, suppressing contrary data, intimidating scientists who disagree, and corrupting the scientific peer-review process.

Senator Kaine claims that 70% of Virginians agree with the “scientific consensus” that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is real and that “it is urgent that we do something about it.”

There is no evidence that 70% of Virginians (or Americans) agree with this. They may agree that global warming and climate change are “real” and that humans today are contributing somewhat to these cycles and fluctuations, which have been ongoing for millennia. But to convert that into saying a huge majority believe humans are causing catastrophic changes is disingenuous. To say they want to spend trillions of dollars to try controlling Earth’s climate has no basis in fact.

And what “scientific consensus” is he talking about? The “97% of scientists” that is the go-to statistic for alarmists has been debunked so thoroughly that it takes serious chutzpah to use it.

Then there is the fact (observable fact, mind you, not computer models) that shows there has been no statistically significant long-term global warming for nearly all of the last 19 years.

Yet they deny this too.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has increased quite significantly during this time, as developing countries built coal-fired power plants, created jobs, lifted people out of abject poverty, dramatically improved the living standards for billions, built roads and highways, and put millions of cars and trucks on them. So where is the correlation between increased temperature and rising CO2 levels?

There is none.

No one argues that humans have absolutely no effect on the environment or on potential warming.

What is in question is whether human CO2 emissions will create temperature increases and other planetary changes so dramatic that they will cause catastrophes that justify spending trillions of dollars in vain efforts to stabilize climates and temperatures that have never been stable. What is also in question is whether we can ethically do so by restricting or eliminating the fuels that countries all over the world depend on for 80% of the energy that makes economic growth, jobs, poverty reduction, health and welfare possible.

Those trillions of dollars should instead be spent to lift billions more people out of poverty, and reduce the high rates of disease, malnutrition and premature death that invariably accompany that poverty.

Right now, the only “proof” alarmists have is computer model projections that are wildly inaccurate, and a “hockey stick” graph that is utterly worthless and has been derided by the scientific community for the ability of that computer model to create suddenly rising global temperatures when it is fed random numbers from a phone book.

That’s some serious denial – of the uselessness of climate models, of what is actually happening in the real world, and of the fundamental human right of people everywhere to use fossil fuels to improve their living standards, health and well-being.

Via email

Court gives EPA huge victory over coal mining

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency and environmentalists Tuesday by upholding the agency's decision on the harm caused by a coal mining operation in West Virginia.

The court ruled that the EPA reasonably and lawfully decided that a huge mountaintop removal mine in the state would cause an unacceptable level of environmental harm if allowed to continue operating.

The Mingo Logan coal firm, a subsidiary of mining giant Arch Coal, said the EPA did not adequately assess cost in withdrawing the permit for its Spruce No. 1 strip-mining operation, nor did it explain the environmental harm it posed.

But the court did not buy into any of the coal company's arguments.

The EPA's "withdrawal" of the permit "is a product of its broad veto authority under the [Clean Water Act], not a procedural defect," the court's majority ruling read.

The EPA's resistance to the mine permit has come to the court before, and this is the second time the court has ruled in the agency's favor. Republicans have argued that the agency does not possess the authority to reject the permits under the Clean Water Act.

Environmentalists felt vindicated by the decision.

"Today, EPA and Appalachian communities won again in the long legal battle over the Spruce No. 1 mine," said a statement from environmentalists with Earthjustice. "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the 2011 decision by the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block a permit for the mine issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to unacceptable environmental harm it would cause."

The decision upholds the EPA's "broad authority to protect water quality from extreme practices like mountaintop removal coal mining," said Ben Luckett, attorney with Appalachian Mountain Advocates. "Going forward, we urge EPA to use its power to protect the people of Appalachia and beyond from having their water supplies further degraded by irresponsible extractive industries."


EPA enters into memoranda of understanding with UN and foreign governments

Under President Obama, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into a series of “memoranda of understanding” (MOU) with the United Nations and various foreign governments. As so many other things this administration has done, the public likely has little awareness that this has occurred.

Suppose you are an Obama Administration official seeking to influence international affairs. You know Congress is unlikely to go along with your ideas. What do you do? You put it in a MOU, have it signed by your agency head, and by the head of the international body or foreign government that is your target. You phrase the MOU in such a manner as to not actually create any legal obligations. You do this at the same time making clear what the Administration’s preferences are, pledging support for the signatory’s operations, with the implication that such support requires backing the Administration’s preferences.

This is an easy way to influence while largely escaping scrutiny. Consider the following sampling of MOUs that the EPA has with various foreign entities and governments.

The EPA’s MOU with the United Nations states:  “Cooperation pursuant to this Memorandum may take the following forms, consistent with each Participant’s mandate: information exchange… temporary assignments of personnel from one Participant to another.”

The MOU further states:  “Some of the activities under the Memorandum may, through appropriate funding mechanisms, involve a transfer of funds by or through one or both of the Participants or the use of funds from other organizations.”

I doubt this means that the United Nations will be sending money to us. The reverse is significantly more likely.

The EPA has a MOU with Indonesia, and apparently we’re paying to train their officials. “In December 2014, EPA provided environmental enforcement training to over fifty Indonesian officials. In 2013, MOE [Ministry of Environment] participated in environment inspections training courses led by EPA in Singapore, Taiwan, and Bangkok.”

The EPA has a MOU with the Chinese government. This one, like those discussed above, provides for among other things “exchanges, and temporary assignments from one Party to the other.” Why an agency that was created to deal with domestic issues in the U.S. needs to be involved in these types of international affairs is a question worth asking. Maybe they have too much money and are looking for additional uses for it.

Based on EPA travel records we know they are not afraid to spend heavily on premium travel to Asian countries. Some officials have bought premium tickets to China costing as much as $15,319, when coach fare would have been $1,156.

Also, considering how aggressive the Chinese have been in using coal to produce energy, is it really likely that they will listen to what people sitting in a Pennsylvania Avenue conference room have to say?

Some MOU provisions are inane. Representative of these is the following provision from the MOU the EPA has with the Ministry of the Environment of the Federative Republic of Brazil:

“The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to strengthen and coordinate the efforts of the Participants to effectively protect the environment while promoting economic growth and social development; promoting the role of the private sector in development; and encouraging social inclusion, women’s advancement, and environmental justice [emphasis added].”

This is an attempt at social engineering gone wild, one requiring further explanation. Exactly how is dealing with international environmental issues even remotely related to “women’s advancement”? Even if this was the case, how are these activities within the scope of the Congressional authorization for the agency?

If the EPA has the ability to fly its personnel around the world to negotiate and sign these MOUs it clearly has too many personnel and too much money at its disposal.



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, 2016

2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record (?)

This is absolute rubbish.  Global temperatures peaked in February and have been falling like a stone ever since.  Below are the temperatures given in the latest figures from  GISS.

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr   May  Jun
114  133  129  109   93   79

The figures are for hundredths of a degree above baseline (1951-1980).  And don't think that this is seasonal.  These are GLOBAL figures so the Southern winter should cancel out the Northern summer etc. The temperature hike caused by El Nino is now on its last legs

The comparable figures for 2014, the last year before any El Nino influence were as under

  73   50   77   79   86   65

As you can see, they were of course much lower without El Nino but there was no falling trend in them, unlike 2016

And I can't finish without noting again the absurdity of bothering about temperature changes denominated only  in hundredths of one degree Celsius.  There has been no REAL temperature change at all in recent times

IF YOU feel like it took a long time for winter to arrive this year, you weren’t wrong.

The first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the world, according to scientists at NASA and America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It’s become a familiar narrative each year, but a no less worrying one.

Last year currently holds the mantle for the hottest year on record “but 2016 has really blown that out of the water,” said the head of NASA’s Goddard Space Institute, Gavin Schmidt.

Scientists found that every month in the first half of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally since modern temperature records began in 1880.

The universal increase has led scientists to believe by the time it’s all said and done, 2016 will be the warmest year on record.

According to Schmidt, the calculations “indicate that we have roughly a 99 per cent chance of a new record in 2016”.

The first six months of 2016 have been 1.3C above the average in 1880 and nearly 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels, he said.

While temperature fluctuations are a climatological consistent and may seem rather benign, the persistent warming over decades is what changes the atmosphere and has resulted in steady changes to climate indicators that have researchers worried.

Five of the first six months in 2016 also set records for the lowest amount of sea ice in the Arctic since consistent satellite records began in 1979.

March was the only exception — which recorded the second lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record.

Researchers from the space agency are currently working across the Arctic to better understand the processes driving sea ice melt.

NASA has 19 Earth observing space mission but the agency’s work on the ground also plays a vital role, and the picture is a pretty bleak one.

“It has been a record year so far for global temperatures, but the record high temperatures in the Arctic over the past six months have been even more extreme,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA Goddard.

“This warmth as well as unusual weather patterns have led to the record low sea ice extents so far this year.”

Dr Schmidt attributed some of the rise in temperatures to the El Niño weather pattern in which warmer water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean push heat into the atmosphere.

“While the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific this winter gave a boost to global temperatures from October onwards, it is the underlying trend which is producing these record numbers,” he said.

The weather pattern has created an extra “wobble” in the trend and with the passing of El Niño 2017 could prove to be cooler than its predecessor.

However NASA scientists are keen to point out the long term trend that has seen the world’s climate continually warm in recent years.


An aptly named fraud is exposed

"Krebs" is German for cancer. The UK's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published a new report on the risks facing the UK from climate change. In a video announcing the report, chair of the CCC's Lord Krebs highlighted the 3 main risks identified by the report.  But below are the actual facts from the GWPF

U.N. pushes fast-track ratification of Paris climate deal as countries get cold feet

The United Nations has issued a plea for nations to fast-track ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement as some countries are backtracking on support for the deal’s sweeping restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged nations to attend a “special event” Thursday where they may deposit their “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change.”

“I urge you to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year,” Mr. Ban said in a statement.

His push for rapid ratification comes amid the increasingly chilly reception for the agreement, adopted by 195 parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, by nations concerned about the impact of the carbon restrictions.

The change of heart even has a name: “Clexit,” short for “climate exit,” a take-off on “Brexit,” the successful June 23 British vote to leave the European Union.

The most dramatic repudiation was from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in November, who said Monday that he “will not honor” the proposed restrictions on emissions. He called them stupid and cited his country’s need for greater economic development and industrialization.

Developed nations “were enjoying the booming [economy] and flooding the air with contaminants. Now that they are rich because of coal and industrialization, we are being asked to cut emission and limit our activities,” Mr. Duterte said in the Philippine Star.

Meanwhile, U.N. special envoy for climate change Mary Robinson decried Monday what she described as recent efforts by Germany and Britain to support the fossil fuel industry despite their previous support for the agreement.

The British government “introduced new tax breaks for oil and gas in 2015 that will cost U.K. taxpayer billions between 2015 and 2020, and, at the same time, they’ve cut support for renewables and for energy efficiency,” Ms. Robinson told The Guardian newspaper.

“It’s regrettable. That’s not in the spirit [of Paris],” she said. “In many ways, the U.K. was a real leader, and hopefully the U.K. will become again a real leader. But it’s not at the moment.”

Marc Morano, who runs the skeptics’ website Climate Depot, said Tuesday that the cold feet on global warming shows that some countries are realizing the international climate agreement is “not in their best interests.”

“More and more nations are realizing that the U.N. climate treaty is nothing more than an effort to empower the U.N. and attack national sovereignty while doing absolutely nothing for the climate,” said Mr. Morano, who debuted his film “Climate Hustle” during the negotiations in Paris.

He said that the “time has come for a U.S.-led ‘Clexit’ from … the climate treaty.”

President Obama has positioned himself as a strong champion of the accord, which is viewed as a cornerstone of his policy legacy as he prepares to leave office in January.

Under the Paris Agreement, 177 nations and the European Union agreed to set nonbinding limits on their carbon output in an effort to keep global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

Since then, 19 countries have ratified the agreement, which goes into effect 30 days after ratification by 55 nations responsible for 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Obama administration is expected to follow with an executive order before the end of the year, despite objections from Republicans who argue that the agreement is a treaty and therefore must be ratified by the Senate.

The clock is ticking: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he will “cancel” the agreement if elected in November.

The website Climate Analytics estimates that 51 countries accounting for 53.28 percent of global emissions are expected to ratify the agreement by Dec. 31, which would fall short of placing the accord into effect.

In Australia, climate skeptics launched what they dubbed the “Clexit” movement after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull participated in a ceremonial signing of the agreement April 22 at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Signers from 175 nations participated in the ceremony, including U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

Mr. Ban said an accelerated ratification for the agreement would “create incentives for early implementation of nationally determined contributions and build support within markets and societies for increased climate ambition.”

“As Ban Ki-moon’s tenure as U.N. secretary-general draws to a close, he is no doubt thinking about his legacy, how history will remember him,” said Eric Worrall in a Monday post on the skeptics’ website Watts Up With That.

“Given the accelerating collapse of political climate enthusiasm across the world, my prediction is Ban Ki-moon will be remembered as the U.N. Secretary General who presided over the downfall of the green movement,” Mr. Worrall said.


United Nations head gets it right

He blames ElNino for bad weather, rather than global warming:  Amazing.  He must be serious this time

The lives and livelihoods of more than 60 millions people around the world have been turned upside down by the extreme weather events linked to the El Niño phenomenon, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said, calling for a scaled-up, unprecedented response that goes beyond humanitarian action.

“Extreme weather events reverse development gains. People and communities cannot escape poverty or banish hunger if their resources are wiped out by floods, storms or droughts every few years,” the Secretary-General said at a high-level event at the UN Headquarters in New York on Responding to the Impacts of and Mitigating Recurring Climate Risks, organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Even when malnutrition is treated and children survive, they can be affected for life by stunting and impaired development. This has serious implications for education, the ability of people to make a living, and the opportunities for societies and nations to prosper and develop in a sustainable way,” he added.

El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

Edesi Sipanki and her nephew Regison, 7 months, check Regison's nutritional status at the Dolo health centre, Malawi. Regison was last breastfed when he was three months old and is currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Photo: UNICEF/ Chikondi
The high-level meeting aimed to focus attention on the multi-dimensional impacts of El Niño and its links to human-induced climate change. While the El Niño event has returned to a neutral phase, its impacts on food security, livelihoods, health, nutrition, water and sanitation are likely to grow throughout this year.

The meeting also advocated for a proactive and preventive approach to a possible La Niña event later this year and future climate events.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that he had personally witnessed the effects of El Niño in Ethiopia – where the phenomenon has affected millions of people – as well as during trips to Malawi, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda.


How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?

Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.

Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the country eliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.

Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country’s environment ministry. Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

Renewables have hit a snag beyond Germany, too. Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.

In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.

But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

The United States, and indeed the world, would do well to reconsider the promise and the limitations of its infatuation with renewable energy.

“The issue is, how do we decarbonize the electricity sector, while keeping the lights on, keeping costs low and avoiding unintended consequences that could make emissions increase?” said Jan Mazurek, who runs the clean power campaign at the environmental advocacy group ClimateWorks.

Addressing those challenges will require a more subtle approach than just attaching more renewables to the grid.

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, narrowly distributed two weeks ago, estimated that nuclear reactors that produce 56 percent of the country’s nuclear power would be unprofitable over the next three years. If those were to go under and be replaced with gas-fired generators, an additional 200 million tons of carbon dioxide would be spewed into the atmosphere every year.

The economics of nuclear energy are mostly to blame. It just cannot compete with cheap natural gas. Most reactors in the country are losing between $5 and $15 per megawatt-hour, according to the analysis.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not being dictated solely by markets, though. Policy makers focused on pushing renewable sources of energy above all else — heavily subsidizing solar and wind projects, and setting legal targets for power generation from renewables — are contributing actively to shut the industry down. Facing intense popular aversion, nuclear energy is being left to wither.

As Will Boisvert wrote in an analysis for Environmental Progress, an environmental organization that advocates nuclear energy, the industry’s woes “could be remedied by subsidies substantially smaller than those routinely given to renewables.” The federal production tax credit for wind farms, for instance, is worth $23 per megawatt-hour, which is more than the amount that nuclear generators would need to break even.

Nuclear generators’ troubles highlight the unintended consequences of brute force policies to push more and more renewable energy onto the grid. These policies do more than endanger the nuclear industry. They could set back the entire effort against climate change.

California, where generators are expected to get half of their electricity from renewables by 2030, offers a pretty good illustration of the problem. It’s called the “duck curve.” It shows what adding renewables to the electric grid does to the demand for other sources of power, and it does look like a duck.

As more and more solar capacity is fed onto the grid, it will displace alternatives. An extra watt from the sun costs nothing. But the sun doesn’t shine equally at all times. Around noon, when it is blazing, there will be little need for energy from nuclear reactors, or even from gas or coal. At 7 p.m., when people get home from work and turn on their appliances, the sun will no longer be so hot. Ramping up alternative sources then will be indispensable.

The problem is that nuclear reactors, and even gas- and coal-fired generators, can’t switch themselves on and off on a dime. So what happens is that around the middle of the day those generators have to pay the grid to take their power. Unsurprisingly, this erodes nukes’ profitability. It might even nudge them out of the system altogether.

How does a renewables strategy play out in the future? Getting more power from renewables at 7 p.m. will mean building excess capacity at noon. Indeed, getting all power from renewables will require building capacity equal to several times the demand during the middle of the day and keeping it turned off much of the time.

Daily fluctuations are not the end of it. Wind power and sunlight change with the seasons, too. What’s more, climate change will probably change their power and seasonality in unforeseen ways. Considering how expensive wind and sun farms can be, it might make sense to reconsider a strategy that dashes a zero-carbon energy source that could stay on all the time.

A report published last month by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers suggests there is space for more renewable energy on the grid. New technologies — to store power when the sun is hot or to share it across wider areas — might allow for a bigger renewable footprint.

But there are limits. “There is a very real integration cost from renewables,” said Kenneth Gillingham, an economist at Yale who wrote the report. “So far that cost is small.”

In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power, carbon emissions are rising, even as Germans pay the most expensive electricity rates in Europe. In South Australia, the all-wind strategy is taking its toll. And in California, the costs of renewables are also apparent.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not quite sealed. In New York, fears that the impending shutdown of three upstate reactors would imperil climate change mitigation persuaded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to extend subsidies comparable to those given to renewables, to keep them afloat. Even in California, where nuclear energy has no friends, Diablo Canyon, the last remaining nuclear plant, is expected to stay open for almost another decade.

Still, both New York and California expect to eventually phase out nuclear power entirely. An analysis by Bloomberg puts the cost of replacing Diablo Canyon’s zero-carbon power with solar energy at $15 billion. This sum might be better spent replacing coal.

Displacing nuclear energy clearly makes the battle against climate change more difficult. But that is not what is most worrying. What if the world eventually discovers that renewables can’t do the job alone? “I worry about lock-in,” Ms. Mazurek said. “If it doesn’t work, the climate doesn’t have time for a do-over.”


South Australia has become a test-case for what happens when "renewables" become a large part of the electricity supply infrastructure

Judith Sloan finds much folly in it, including insanely high prices:

It is unusual for any story related to South Australia to appear on the front page of this newspaper. But when wholesale electricity prices in that state reached more than 30 times the prices recorded in the eastern states last week, the broader interest in the issue is obvious.

To give you a feel for the figures, last Thursday at 1.45pm, the wholesale power price in South Australia was recorded at $1001 per megawatt hour, compared with prices of between $30/MWh and $32/MWh for the eastern states. At one point, the maximum price in the state hit $1400/MWh.

Unsurprisingly, several companies operating in South Australia, including BHP Billiton and beleaguered steelmaker Arrium, warned state Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis that they might temporarily close their plants because of the high and erratic electricity prices.

But more worrying still are the medium-term prospects for the state: the chairman of the Energy Users Association warns that “large end-user customers are feeling the pain. As large customers roll off their energy contracts and need to renew those contracts, they are faced with significantly higher prices in South Australia”.

Electricity contracts for delivery next year and in 2018 are priced at between $90/MWh and $100/MWh in South Australia, compared with between $50/MWh and $63/MWh in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

How could this happen? How could it go so wrong for South Australia? The short answer is, contrary to Roy and HG’s famous prognostication that too much is never enough, too much is too much when it comes to intermittent and unreliable renewable energy. South Australia is paying a heavy price for its misguided energy policy, potentially leading to the further deindustrialisation of the state while also reducing its citizens’ living standards. But the real tragedy is that this outcome was entirely foreseeable.

Let us not forget that South Australia continues to boast about its status as the wind power capital of the country and having the highest proportion of its electricity generated by renewable sources. Since 2003, the contribution of wind to South Australian electricity generation has grown to more than one-quarter of the total.

Late last year, the state government issued the Climate Change Strategy for South Australia, ­ignoring completely the problems that were already apparent in the system. The wholesale electricity price in the state has been consistently above the national average since early 2015.

The statement reads that “to realise the benefits, we need to be bold. That is why we have said that by 2050 our state will have net zero emissions. We want to send a clear signal to businesses around the world: if you want to innovate, if you want to perfect low carbon technologies necessary to halt global warming — come to South Australia.”

But last week the confidence of that statement had been forgotten. Koutsantonis hysterically blamed what he saw as failures in the ­national electricity market and inadequate electricity interconnection for his state’s high and volatile wholesale electricity prices.

He even pledged to “to smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”. How he thought this suggestion would be helpful is anyone’s guess.

The main problem with electricity generated by renewable energy — in South Australia’s case, overwhelmingly by wind — is what is technically called the non-synchronous nature of this power source, because of its inability to match generation with demand.

When the power is needed, the wind isn’t necessarily blowing. Or if the wind is blowing too hard, the turbines must be switched off and again the demand has to be met from other sources — in South Australia’s case, mainly from electricity generated in Victoria from brown coal.

What is clear is that overdevelopment of variable generation using renewable resources is a recipe for higher prices and lower than expected reductions in emissions because of the increasing costs of ensuring system stability and reliability.

Feasible storage options are down the track and, in any case, likely to be expensive.

The system can cope with some renewable energy and, in the short term, wholesale prices may even fall. But across time expansion of renewable energy undermines the profitability of traditional base-load generators while increasing the need for more back-up supply (up to 90 per cent of the maximum generating ­capacity of the renewable energy sources).

The decision by the South Australian government to sit on its hands when the coal-fired Northern Power station in Port Augusta closed in May was an act of wilful madness. The alternative would have been for the government to pay the owner, Alinta Energy, to keep the loss-making plant operating, certainly before an expansion of the interconnector capacity.

But Koutsantonis thought he knew better. “The truth is the reason it is closing is it couldn’t make money in this market,” he said. “The reason it can’t make money in this market is even though it does pour in relatively cheap power into the grid, renewable energy is cheaper.”

That would be cheaper only after taking into account the huge subsidies that are thrown at renewable energy courtesy of the renewable energy target and ­ignoring the need for back-up ­capacity.

Last week, the situation became so dire that Koutsantonis pleaded with the privately owned, mothballed gas-fired electricity generator located on the Port River in Adelaide to fire up to make up the electricity shortfall in the state.

In fact, gas should be the next cab off the rank when it comes to electricity generation. It is much less emissions-intensive than coal, particularly brown coal, but there is much less gas-generated electricity in South Australia because of the distortions in the market caused by the subsidies to renewable energy.

There are some important lessons in this disaster for the country as a whole; after all, there is no inter­connector to another country as there is an interconnector between South Australia and the eastern states. And note that Victoria has a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Notwithstanding his exasperation, Koutsantonis did make one valid point last week: “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW … every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now.”

Bill Shorten should take note and immediately ditch his fanciful target of 50 per cent renewable energy lest the South Australian experience befall the rest of the country.



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20 July, 2016

Total abandonment of science by the Congressional Left

The professional Warmists at DeSmog Blog have put up here a number of pages from the Congressional Record that report testimony on climate change by Harry Reid, Elizabeth Warren and other well-known scientists.  The testimony by Harry Reid is a particular hoot.  He has repeated for the umpteenth time his sweeping condemnation of the Koch Bros.  They are a worm in Harry's brain. He can't get past  them.  According to him they are responsible for all climate skepticism. 

And Pocohontas is not much better.  She aims her spray rather more widely, with Lord Monckton coming in for a big blast.  She claims that he is not a scientist and seems to think that what he says is therefore worthless  -- quite overlooking the fact that she is not a scientist either.  Is her opinion worthless?  I think so but I'm betting that she does not.

But  in the end the whole session is just "ad hominem" argument, argument which is of zero logical force.  The pages concerned are awash with sweeping and unreferenced  personal vilification. When Pocohontas says that a Monckton claim has been disproved, we might have expected the name or names of the person/s who did the disproving.  But no such luck. And nowhere is there any mention of a single climate datum, fact or figure.

It's all rather Satanic, actually: An unending flow of hate and nothing but hate.


The Guardian has up an article headlined: "Matt Ridley accused of lobbying UK government on behalf of coal industry".  It's an attempted "Gotcha".  Viscount Ridley is a skeptic of sorts so tying him to coal companies fulfils the Leftist fantasy that all skeptics are in the pocket of Big Coal or Big Oil

Matt Ridley replies:

What's wrong with drawing attention to a new technology?
Damian Carrington in the Guardian has attempted to imply criticism of me for writing an email to the energy minister in the House of Lords to draw his attention to a new technology for emissions reduction as a byproduct of an innovative manufacturing process.

I explicitly was not lobbying. I have absolutely no interest in the technology or the company, but I happened to meet them through a friend and thought their technology sounded interesting and the British government might be interested, since it might be a way for the UK to generate jobs and revenue while cutting emissions; the company was not asking for a subsidy.

I met them over a drink – and I paid. I have acted entirely appropriately, and the Guardian article is trying to make a scandal where there is none.

The source of the Guardian article is a Freedom of Information Request from Friends of the Earth. The FoE individual quoted in the article is Guy Shrubsole, who has a criminal conviction for aggravated trespass as he prevented people getting to work at a surface coal mine in Northumberland on the Blagdon Estate. Mr Shrubsole was given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to chaining himself to mining machinery to cause disruption at the site. He was also given a three year restraining order preventing him from coming within 50 metres of the mining company’s sites or offices.

Mr Shrubsole appears to be under the mistaken impression that I was telling the energy minister about a carbon capture and storage technology. Even if I had been, there would be no scandal.

The real scandal is that the Guardian relies on a criminal as a source.

This is the email I sent to Mr Carrington when he approached me about it. He omitted key parts of my reply in his article:

"I am afraid you or FOE have got the wrong end of the stick.

The company is not Summit. It’s not an energy company. It’s not in carbon capture and storage. It’s a chemical company. It offers potential for emissions reduction (which I thought FoE favoured) as a byproduct of manufacturing something useful, that’s all. It did not seek a subsidy, as I made clear. I have no interest in it now or in the future, because my coal interests will expire long before anything happens. The distant possibility of interest I mentioned was on behalf of Northumbrian workers who might want to keep their jobs, not on behalf of myself. I am in favour of jobs for people in the North-east. I have not contradicted myself in any way.

Please quote all the above paragraph in full or not at all.”

The Guardian ignored the last request.


The Hillary treatment for climate fraudsters?

State AG actions reveal double standard for scientists who promote alarmist climate claims

Paul Driessen

This past March, seventeen attorneys general launched a coordinated effort to investigate, pursue and prosecute companies, think tanks and other organizations who say there is little credible evidence that human “greenhouse gas” emissions are causing “dangerous” or “catastrophic” manmade climate change.

The AGs said their targets’ actions constitute “fraud” – which they described as using “polished public relations campaigns” to “muddle the truth,” “discredit prevailing climate science,” and “mislead” people about threats from higher temperatures, rising seas, floods and more severe weather. Their real goal is to intimidate and silence targeted groups, and bankrupt them with legal fees, court costs and lost funding.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, CFACT, ExxonMobil and other “climate denier” organizations fought back vigorously, refusing to surrender their constitutional rights to participate in this vital public policy debate. The AGs’ bravado and prosecutions began fraying at the edges.

But one wonders: How will these intrepid protectors of the public interest respond to Real Climate Fraud? To intentional misrepresentations of material facts, with knowledge of their falsity, and for the purpose of inducing persons or institutions to act, with resulting injury or damage.

Will those AGs – or other state AGs, Congress, state legislatures or the Justice Department – investigate the growing list of highly questionable actions by scientists and others who receive billions in taxpayer and consumer funds for renewable energy programs and research into manmade climate cataclysm scares … to justify policies, laws and regulations that raise energy costs, destroy fossil fuel companies and jobs, force layoffs in other industries, and harm poor, minority and working class families?

Or will they respond the way FBI Director Comey did to Hillary Clinton’s reckless disregard for national security secrets: ignore the bad conduct, and reward transgressors with more money, prestige and power?

The case for widespread misconduct by members of the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Change & Renewable Energy Complex grows more compelling, and disturbing, by the day. A complete listing and analysis would require books, but these few examples underscore the seriousness of the global problem.

Crisis fabrication. After warming 1910-1940, cooling 1940-1975, warming 1975-1998, not budging 1998-2015, Earth warmed slightly 2015-2016 amid a strong El Niño. No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 10-1/2 years. Seas are rising at 7 inches per century. Arctic ice is near normal; Antarctic ice at a record high. There are more polar bears than ever.

But the White House, EPA, UN and media falsely claim we face an unprecedented crisis – and must quickly replace reliable, affordable hydrocarbons with expensive, subsidized, unreliable renewable energy, and let unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats control our lives, livelihoods and living standards. Any warming, any weather event, is our fault – the result of using fossil fuels to power our economy.

Data manipulation. When actual measurements don’t support climate chaos claims, dishonest scientists “homogenize” and manipulate them to create imaginary warming trends. Phil Jones, his British team and their US counterparts eliminated centuries of Little Ice Age cooling and created new records showing planetary temperatures suddenly spiking in recent decades. They used ClimateGate emails to devise devious schemes preventing outside analysts from examining their data, computer algorithms and methodologies – and then “lost” information that peer reviewers wanted to examine.

NOAA’s clever climate consortium adjusted accurate sea-surface temperature data from scientific ocean buoys upward by a quarter-degree, to “homogenize” them with records from engine intake systems contaminated by shipboard heat – thereby creating a previously undetected warming trend.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology revised Rutherglen weather station data to convert 100 years of data showing a slight cooling trend into a warming of several degrees per century. As with other “adjustments” (by NASA, for instance) the revisions always create warming trends – never a slight cooling – and climate crisis scientists always say humans caused the warming, even though they are unable to separate natural forces, cycles and fluctuations from alleged human influences.

GIGO computer models. Climate models assume post-1975 warming is due to manmade carbon dioxide; exaggerate climate sensitivity to CO2 levels; and simplify or ignore vital natural forces like solar energy variations, cosmic ray fluxes, heat-reflecting clouds, and recurrent phenomena like El Niño and La Niña. They conjure up “scenarios” that alarmists treat as valid predictions of what will happen if we don’t slash fossil fuel use. Models replace actual evidence, and play an important role in climate battles.

It’s complete GIGO: faulty assumptions, data, algorithms, analytical methodologies and other garbage in – predictive garbage out. That’s why “hockey stick” and other models are so out of touch with reality. In fact, an official IPCC graph showed that every UN climate model between 1990 and 2012 predicted that average global temperatures would be as much as 0.9 degrees C (1.6 F) higher than they actually were! The inconvenient graph was revised for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 report.

Report manipulation. Activists and bureaucrats always finalize the Summary for Policymakers, the only IPCC climate document that most voters, elected officials and journalists ever read. They want to ensure that already politicized climate “science” does not undermine or contradict political themes and agendas.

A 1995 State Department document reveals the extent of this interference and manipulation. The 30-page document gave detailed instructions as to how the Clinton White House wanted the summary’s scientific explanations and conclusions revised, to make alleged climate and weather trends even more worrisome. Donna Laframboise and others document the bias, distortion and deception that dominate IPCC actions.

Consensus fabrication. Claims of a 97% consensus on climate cataclysm science are likewise slippery, and based on bait-and-switch tactics that look only at study abstracts of studies and then misrepresent what the abstracts say, ask one question but base their conclusions on a different one, or use other strategies and misrepresentations to hide the disagreements and debates that still dominate this topic.

Cost-benefit falsification. The US Government has mastered this fraudulent tactic, especially in its “social cost of carbon” calculations. EPA and other agencies blame methane and carbon dioxide emissions for every conceivable impact on agriculture, forests, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, rising sea levels, flooded coastal cities, too much or too little rain. They totally ignore the way more CO2 makes plants grow faster and better, with less water.

They also ignore the enormous benefits of fossil fuels for 80% of all the energy we use to transport people and products, generate reliable, affordable electricity, and manufacture fertilizers, plastics and thousands of other products. And they ignore the ways anti-energy regulations raise hospital, factory and small business costs, kill jobs, and reduce living standards, health and welfare for millions of people.

Why would they do these things? The US federal government alone spent $11.6 billion on “green” energy and climate “research” and “mitigation” programs in 2014. That money did not go to scientists who question “dangerous manmade climate change” doctrines.

Recipients and their parent institutions are determined to preserve this funding, protect their reputations and prestige, and maintain their influence and control over policies, laws, regulations, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies. It is all inextricably tied to silencing inconvenient questions and, if needs be, engaging in systemic, systematic exaggeration, falsification and misrepresentation. And then they claim these Orwellian tactics are Best Practice standards, essential for quality control in climate science!

So, AGs, by all means let’s investigate. But let’s not criminalize differences of opinion. Let’s root out actual fraud, let real science prevail, and protect our livelihoods and living standards from unscrupulous people and organizations that are using fraudulent climate chaos claims to control energy use, transform the US and global economic systems, and redistribute the world’s wealth.

Via email

Hillary Clinton: Climate Change ‘Is an Opportunity as Well as a Problem’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., on Thursday, said that climate change is “an opportunity as well as a problem.”

Clinton said it is an “opportunity that smart, innovative people in Virginia—particularly young people--can address by creating new businesses and jobs.”

Here is an excerpt from speech:

“I have set five big goals: We need more good paying jobs and we need to provide more opportunities for hardworking Americans.  So we are going to invest in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our airports, our electric grid, our water systems.  And we are going to be the clean-energy super power of the 21st Century. Unlike Donald Trump, who thinks climate change is a hoax, we think it is an opportunity as well as a problem.  An opportunity that smart, innovative people in Virginia—particularly young people--can address by creating new businesses and jobs.

"I want to grow the economy so we have greater prosperity.  And I particularly want to pay attention to those parts of our country that are not as fortunate as others: coal country, Indian country, inner city neighborhoods.  I want us all to rise together. This is now just about some people, it needs to be about all of America.

“And while we grow together we will become fairer, too. That’s why I want to raise the minimum wage so people working full-time are not left in poverty."


Did Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson just call anyone supporting nuclear energy a zealot?

An honest Greenie encounters a typical closed-mind Greenie

Recently, Jesse Jenkins, a PhD student at MIT studying decarbonization pathways, was blocked on twitter by Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson. Dr. Jacobson has made it a habit to block seemingly anyone who disagrees with him, but this time it was pretty absurd. Jenkins was trying to have a dialog with Dr. Jacobson about his claim that a 100% Wind/Water/Solar (WWS) strategy is the fastest, cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. This is a claim that Dr. Jacobson has made repeatedly, but most other research in the topic disagrees.

Jenkins specifically pointed out that in Dr. Jacobson’s own studies, nuclear is cheaper than geothermal, off-shore wind, concentrating solar power, rooftop solar, wave power, and tidal power – meaning adding nuclear would make the plan cheaper. Jenkins also pointed out that Dr. Jacobson hasn’t compared his preferred pathway against others that include nuclear [1].

Jenkins made point [2] after point [3] about how other studies have shown adding nuclear makes plans cheaper and that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN scientific authority on climate change, says excluding nuclear increases costs [4]. The entire thread (tweetstorm) is great, and can be found here and here [5,6,7,8,9,10]. (Sidenote, in this piece, I’m including the link to each tweet, followed by a link to a screenshot of it, like this: link [link to screenshot]).

Jenkins wasn’t attacking Dr. Jacobson; he laid out a clear and cogent argument for why adding nuclear is cheaper, and how nuclear has historically scaled faster than renewables. And at the end, Jenkins added an open invitation to work together with Dr. Jacobson on further research. And instead, Dr. Jacobson blocked Jenkins. But not only that, Dr. Jacobson repeatedly called Jenkins a zealot for supporting nuclear [11].

I’ve personally had a similar thing happen to me with Dr. Jacobson – I had a conversation with him on twitter in December of 2015 where I made the argument that we should keep existing low carbon nuclear operating for as long as possible, and at least then, Dr. Jacobson said “There’s an argument to be made for that. Most efficient to replace coal, gas, oil first.“[12]

However, during June of 2016, it was announced that Diablo Canyon, a nuclear facility in California, would be shut down, and Dr. Jacobson said people, “Should cheer“[13] for its closure.

I sent out a slightly snarky tweet with the juxtaposition of the two statements [14], and Dr. Jacobson claimed (without citing any numbers for the cost of relicensing or building the new sources) that it would be cheaper to build new WWS than to relicense Diablo Canyon [15].

I made the point that closing Diablo Canyon and replacing it with WWS would not actually decrease fossil fuel usage and carbon emissions, and restated the point that he made in December, that we should work on replacing fossil fuels. He responded back saying “You don’t know the first thing about solving the climate, air pollution and energy security problem. Stop pretending you do.” [16] And then he blocked me as well.

The definition of a zealot from Merriam-Webster is, “a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings: a zealous person“. In this context, you could say that someone who chooses to hold a belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and forcefully promotes that belief is a zealot. I’ve followed Jesse Jenkins work for a while, he does good work, is willing to debate with people about it, is willing to defend his work, and is willing to admit when he’s wrong. Because of this, I don’t think he’s a zealot as Dr. Jacobson claims.

But more to the point, Dr. Jacobson essentially just said that any person who supports nuclear energy is a zealot. As someone who supports nuclear energy and actively does research that can help make it safer, I wholeheartedly reject this assertion. Nuclear energy has its benefits, drawbacks, and risks, just like any other technology. And it’s important to recognize that. But to call that anyone that disagrees with you a “zealot” is a ludicrous statement.

Moreover, if anyone who supports nuclear energy is a zealot, then President Obama, Secretary Clinton, many prominent scientists, and even the members of the IPCC would be considered zealots. Surely that’s not what Dr. Jacobson meant, but that is what he said.

And instead of engaging in thoughtful debate with an open mind, Dr. Jacobson ignores criticism and shuts down debates through blocking people. In fact, you can search Dr. Jacobson’s entire twitter feed for the words “wrong” or “mistake”, and in his almost 4000 tweets, he’s never admitted that he’s wrong or that he made a mistake. He’s always saying other people are wrong.

According to Dr. Jacobson, the EIA is wrong [17], the IPCC is wrong [18], the Washington Post is wrong [19], Dr. James Hansen is wrong [20], the Breakthrough Institute is wrong [21], Bill Gates is wrong [22], Jesse Jenkins is wrong [23], I’m wrong [24], just to name a few. Dr. Jacobson clearly has a certain set of beliefs, and those beliefs seem to be unshakable, even when the other researchers or the IPCC disagree with him.

It’s my personal opinion that we’ll need both renewables and nuclear, along with policy changes (price on carbon, clean energy standards) and other solutions like demand response, storage, and electric vehicles if we are going to significantly reduce emissions. I don’t know exactly what role nuclear will play in the future, but it is currently playing a large role in many countries (including the US) and will continue to be the largest single source of low carbon energy in the US for many years to come. Prematurely closing this generation will result in higher emissions, something that is becoming all too frequent.

The biggest problem in my opinion is the lack of political will and political action for climate solutions. It is important to debate what the best solutions are. But when Dr. Jacobson purposefully blocks people and calls people names for trying to critique his work or engage him in a dialogue, he is actively fracturing people into two competing “teams”, one team supporting nuclear, the other against it; in reality both sides want the same thing, to solve climate change.

So to anyone reading this, please try to tone down the rhetoric, and really try to understand other people’s views. It’s the only way that we can find some common solutions and move forward, together.


Renewable Power Push Threatens Last Two New England Reactors

A proposal by Massachusetts to boost the use of renewable energy may put New England’s last two nuclear reactors out of business and undermine the state’s efforts to cut carbon emissions, according to an industry group.

Legislation requiring utilities to use renewable power to meet nearly half the state’s energy needs would test reactors already grappling with cheap natural gas prices and falling demand, said Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association Inc. The legislative session ends July 31. Governor Charlie Baker supports the measure.

While backers says the measure is needed to help the state meet a target to cut carbon emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, Dolan said it could backfire. If Dominion Resources Inc.’s Millstone plant in Connecticut and NextEra Energy Inc.’s Seabrook plant in New Hampshire close as result of the renewable mandate, Massachusetts will lose a major source of zero-emitting electricity, he said.

“You could very well do all this contracting and knock out the nukes, and from an emissions standpoint you end up at the same place,” Dolan said in an interview July 8. The legislation “says the rest of the competitive generation industry isn’t allowed to compete for roughly 50 percent of the market.”

The proposal comes as states face a raft of reactor closures. Entergy Corp. shut its Vermont Yankee reactor in 2014 and announced it will close its Pilgrim reactor in Massachusetts in June 2019 as the shale gas boom sent prices for the fuel plummeting. New York said last week it could provide about $965 million in subsidies over two years to help support struggling nuclear plants as part of a plan to promote clean energy.

On Wednesday, Entergy said it’s in talks to sell its James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in New York to Exelon Corp. The deal depends “largely on the final terms and timeliness of the New York State Clean Energy Standard,” Bill Mohl, president of Entergy’s wholesale commodities unit, said in a statement.

Matt Mooren, a Denver-based energy markets analyst with PA Consulting Group, said historically low wholesale power prices are a bigger threat to nuclear generators than the renewable mandate.

The legislation won’t have “a major impact on nuclear relative to what natural gas prices are already doing,” Mooren said. “While it is a negative as it relates to base load nuclear economics, it’s not as big of a negative.”

“This legislation has the potential to not just forestall, but avoid the increase in carbon resources,” Greg Cunningham, director of clean energy and climate change for the Conservation Law Foundation, said in an interview. “It really could be transformational, not just for Massachusetts but for the region itself.”

Power generators, including Exelon and Calpine Corp. oppose the renewable mandate. It will mean lower sales for the region’s power suppliers and higher-cost hydropower from Canada, with the added expense passed on to consumers, the companies said in a September letter to lawmakers.

“It’s hugely disappointing that Massachusetts’ elected leadership are considering an out-of-market deal that is likely to undermine the economics of other, existing zero-carbon resources, such as existing nuclear plants,” Susan Tierney, a Denver-based senior adviser at the Analysis Group, a consulting company, said by e-mail July 11.


Australia: Rich Greenies now buying the results they want

The WWF has already spent $100,000 buying a Great Barrier Reef shark fishing licence (N4) which it intends to retire, although the licence has not been active since 2004.

It's one of five N4 licences in Queensland and, according to WWF, it will presumably save the lives of 10,000 sharks, based on each shark weighing 4kg.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive Eric Perez says the WWF is meddling in a heavily regulated industry that focuses on sustainable fishing.

"They don't have a point. They are trying to interfere with fisheries management by stealth," Mr Perez told AAP.

"They can't force their way into regulating the industry the way they want to, so they get cashed up individuals with a green tinge or bent ... which is a way to undermining us."

Mr Perez said the purchase of one, or even two, of the licences was not going to have an impact but if the WWF bought up more then eventually there would be repercussions.

He said family businesses and micro businesses would be affected and Queenslander retailers would either have to buy fish from interstate or import more.

"It's alarmism for no good. Over time ... employment will be impacted," he said.

"My understanding of the current statistics is that there are no fisheries in Queensland that are deemed unsustainable."

Mr Perez warned that conservation groups were trying to stake a claim in all primary industries.

"It demonstrates that they want relevance in every form of agriculture in the country," he said.

The WWF says it bought the licence on the belief that several hammerhead shark species were in decline along the Great Barrier Reef and it was considering purchasing another.

The federal environment department is undertaking a two-year study in scalloped, great and smooth hammerhead sharks which will be completed by the end of September.

"The aim is to stop licences that were fishing for sharks returning to shark fishing and impacting on shark populations, particularly hammerheads. But we're also concerned about dugongs, dolphins and turtles killed as bycatch," said WWF-Australia conservation director Gilly Llewellyn.



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

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


19 July, 2016

A church with a Greenie religion

At this church, salvation comes not from the risen Lord but from solar panels. Note the following summary of the religion concerned from Wikipedia.  No mention of that pesky old JC guy:

"Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". The Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church does not have a creed. Instead UUs are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. As such, UU congregations include many agnostics, theists, and atheists among their membership. The roots of UU are in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and Universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love, so that congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions"

You can read here one of their sermons, which calls the Tea Party, "The American Taliban".  It's news to me that the Taliban believe in small government.  So Leftist hate-speech is alive and well at the Unitarian Universalist "church" in Bedford, Massachusetts. What would Leftists do without people to hate?

Anchoring the common, the Unitarian Universalist church hosts community events, welcomes all comers to its Sunday services, and frequently serves as a venue for weddings and memorial services — not only for its own parishioners but also for community members who lack established religious connections.

But global warming may bring a chill to that relationship.

Last month, the town’s Historic District Commission denied a request from First Parish to install solar panels on the roof of its meetinghouse. The congregation, in turn, filed an appeal June 27 in Middlesex Superior Court, arguing that the decision violated members’ constitutional right to freely exercise their religious beliefs.

“We consider this to be a religious act,” said Dan Bostwick, spokesman for the church’s solar energy committee. “Stewardship of our natural environment is central to our faith. Unitarian Universalists, along with people of many faiths all over the world, are compelled by religious beliefs to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change. By installing solar panels to reduce carbon footprint, we are acting on our core spiritual beliefs.”

Members of the Historic District Commission did not respond to emails requesting comment.

In denying the application on June 1, however, the commission said that installation of solar panels on the roof would be “highly visible and incongruous to the historic aspect of the church and its architectural characteristics.”

Bostwick, a longtime Bedford resident whose study on reducing the church’s carbon footprint led to the request, said he did not anticipate the outcome.

“Our proposal goes to great lengths to balance respect for the historic importance of our building with the wish to reduce climate impact in light of the current environmental crisis,” he said.

Given the church meetinghouse’s prominence in the town center, First Parish members knew there would be questions about the visual impact to the 199-year-old building, constructed in 1817 after the parish’s original structure was destroyed by a windstorm.

But Bostwick, along with other members of his committee, believes they did all they could to meet any potential objections related to the visual impact of solar panels.

“The panels would be visible from only one side of the building, not the iconic front view. In addition, they are not the silver and blue shiny panels you usually see but a new product, all black, with a matte finish,” he said. “We planned to reshingle the roof in black to minimize the contrast. We presented the HDC with photographs, artists mockups and videos showing how little impact it would have.”

The wish to install solar panels isn’t just about saving money on heating the building, the Rev. John Gibbons pointed out.

“Although First Parish is Bedford’s oldest house of worship, we are a living institution that must remain relevant to the present and be accountable to the unprecedented environmental demands of the future,” he said in a statement. “Solar panels are an essential expression of our faith, to honor the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

First Parish has already restored the meetinghouse’s windows and installed new storm windows, insulation, and updates to the heating and air conditioning system, according to the complaint. The goal is for the solar panels to generate 75 percent of the parish’s energy needs from the sun — thereby allowing the congregation to remove four gas-fired HVAC units from the roof of the church buildings.

Several significant churches located in historic districts in other Massachusetts communities have received permission from their local commissions to install solar panels, according to the complaint, including South Church in Andover.

Other groups in Bedford supported First Parish’s plan. Letters of support in favor of the solar panel installation were filed with the Town Clerk by the Bedford Interfaith Clergy Association, the Bedford Chapter of Mothers Out Front, the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, and the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission.

The complaint asks the court to annul the Historic District Commission’s decision. First Parish also filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the commission.

“First Parish regrets that it was necessary to file both complaints, and values its relationship with the town of Bedford,” the congregation said in a statement. But the congregation is “committed to pursuing all of its legal rights” to achieve its environmental goals


The ‘Entire’ Atlantic Ocean is Cooling, contrary to media reports

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and many universities are at a loss to explain recent conflicting temperature trends from Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. It can be boiled down to this: temperatures of the Earth’s three big fluid systems are each trending in different directions. The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is rising, the temperature of the atmosphere has remained constant, and the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean is cooling.

That’s a problem.

These variances in temperature trends are not fitting previous climate model predictions and talking points released to the media. To counter this problem and almost, as predictably as rain in springtime, climate scientists favoring the theory of man-made global warming are flooding the media with new, and this time supposedly very reliable, explanations that are generated from their latest super-computer climate models. Their explanations, or better yet, their rationalizations for two of the three fluid temperature trends, Pacific Ocean warming and the atmospheric warming “pause”, have been discussed in previous CCD posts.

This article will discuss the validity of the latest explanation put forward by the consensus climate science community concerning recent cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean.  These scientists contend that recent cooling of the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is the result of increased worldwide human induced atmospheric warming which is acting to melt the Greenland ice cap at alarming rates. This Greenland ice cap melt water is flooding into the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean, thereby lowering the seawater temperature in this region.

As further supporting evidence they cite previous research publications which supposedly prove that ancient atmospheric warming also melted the Greenland Ice Cap and cooled the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are many problems with this explanation as summarized below.

The atmosphere has not warmed in 18.7 years according to the most accurate data derived from satellites. Even utilizing NASA’s recently “adjusted” atmospheric temperature data, there has only been very minor and uniform increases in the temperature during the last 18.7 years. Neither of these trends properly explains / fits the recent cooling of the entire Atlantic Ocean.
Recent research from NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge clearly shows that Greenland’s ice mass loss is only occurring in areas immediately adjacent to the ocean. This perimeter-based ice loss is greatest in areas where the ice cap overlays known deep geological fault zones that are emitting geothermal heat onto the base of the ice cap. The interior portions of the Greenland Ice Cap are in ice mass balance. NASA admits they are not completely sure why the Operation Ice Bridge results do not fit into a nice neat global warming theory context.

The extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice has increased the last three years, and not decreased as predicted.

The Antarctic Ice Cap extent has increased steadily for thirty five years, and not decreased as predicted.

The ancient melting of the Greenland Ice cap is most likely related to ancient volcanic eruptions (see previous CCD post) and associated local geothermal heat flow, not paleo-atmospheric warming.

The true nature of what drives ocean heating and cooling is not well understood. It is likely a mixture of many forces including: variations in deep ocean geological heat and fluid flow, long-term variations in astronomical phenomenon, and long-term variations in major deep ocean currents.

Lastly, and most telling, by carefully examining the shallow SST (sea surface temperature) anomaly maps atop this article (Figure 1.), it becomes very apparent that the entire Atlantic Ocean is cooling, and not just in the northern portion of the Atlantic that is adjacent to Greenland.

This strongly suggests that outflow of summertime Greenland Ice Cap melt water into the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is not the primary driving force behind cooling the entire Atlantic Ocean.

Many noted and well-intentioned climate scientists and universities are now starting to publicly admit that overwhelming amounts of new research indicates that the theory of man-made global warming does not properly explain many observed climate trends. It certainly does not explain why the temperatures of Earth’s three most dominant fluid systems—the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the atmosphere—are trending in different directions.

Reason dictates that a more balanced approach to studying climate trends is needed. Any approach needs to take into account the effects of natural variability and whether man is having a real influence. Let’s stop trying to force fit every observed climate occurrence, including cooling of the entire Atlantic Ocean, into a global warming context.

It’s time to jump off the consensus bandwagon!


Effects of Sea Level Rise on Economy of the United States


By Richard S.J. Tol et al.


We report the first ex post study of the economic impact of sea level rise. We apply two econometric approaches to estimate the past effects of sea level rise on the economy of the USA, viz. Barro type growth regressions adjusted for spatial patterns and a matching estimator. Unit of analysis is 3063 counties of the USA. We fit growth regressions for 13 time periods and we estimated numerous varieties and robustness tests for both growth regressions and matching estimator. Although there is some evidence that sea level rise has a positive effect on economic growth, in most specifications the estimated effects are insignificant. We therefore conclude that there is no stable, significant effect of sea level rise on economic growth. This finding contradicts previous ex ante studies.


Former Attorney General Attacks Dem Global Warming Inquisition

The former attorney general of New York doesn’t think the case against ExxonMobil’s global warming stance has anything in common with the cases states and the federal government brought against the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

“I can tell you from experience that our fight against the tobacco industry has almost nothing in common with today’s campaign by several state attorneys general against ExxonMobil — despite what supporters of the effort would like you to believe,” Dennis Vacco, a Republican who was New York’s AG from 1995 to 1999, wrote in the Washington Post Thursday.

Vacco is attacking arguments made by Democratic lawmakers — one in particular — that the Department of Justice should open a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, investigation into oil companies, trade associations and nonprofits spreading “doubt” about global warming.

The former attorney general also called out an investigation by his successor, Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman, into how Exxon represented the risks of global warming to its shareholders. Schneiderman has also convinced other AGs to investigate Exxon and conservative think tanks as well, though those efforts have largely stalled.

“It is important to note that the fight against the tobacco industry was bipartisan and that never, during our battle to require the tobacco companies to meet their obligations, did we align ourselves with the industry’s business competitors,” Vacco wrote.

“In the current campaign, the attorneys general have linked up with investors in renewable energy in an unseemly alliance that presents serious conflicts of interest,” he wrote.

Vacco cited a June letter signed by 13 Republican AGs and noted an event Schneiderman hosted in March to announce more investigations into Exxon and support for green energy “featured a senior partner of a venture capital firm that invests in renewable energy companies.”

“Causing confusion — if that’s what happened — is hardly a crime, but to hold one party to a national debate to a higher standard tilts the debate unfairly in the other direction,” Vacco noted.

For years, environmental activists have been thinking of ways to punish oil companies for contributing to global warming. Activists have increasingly backed securities and anti-racketeering investigations by state and federal prosecutors, often drawing parallels between fossil fuel companies and the tobacco industry.

“In the case of tobacco, we found that the companies knew about the life-threatening, addictive nature of smoking but covered up that knowledge,” Vacco wrote, refuting such comparisons.

“In the case of global warming, ExxonMobil began research as early as the 1970s and was open about what it found in more than 50 papers published in scientific journals between 1983 and 2014, according to company documents,” he wrote. “ExxonMobil’s scientists have participated in the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since its inception and were involved in the National Academy of Sciences review of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment Report.”

“The tobacco companies were deceivers. ExxonMobil has been open,” he wrote. “But that doesn’t seem to matter to the politicized attorneys general pursuing the company. A chilling impact on public debate is not in our collective interest.”


Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, on  global warming

A summary by Warmist Chris Mooney below. I have deleted Mooney's comments as he provided no links in support of them

Trump has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” Now watch Mike Pence discuss both climate change and evolution on a 2009 episode of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”.

The full transcript of this interview is actually available online, right here. Some key quotes from Pence from the interview:

On climate change: “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming, Chris.”  “In the mainstream media, Chris, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.”

A scan of stories from local media in Indiana, Pence’s home state, similarly confirms that, like Trump, he is a climate change “skeptic” at minimum.

In 2006, he told the Muncie, Ind., Star Press that, “Any fair reading of the science today, while global warming has taken place, it is not yet clear that it is being driven by human activity. But I’m trying to read as much as I can. And my mom used to say ‘better safe than sorry,’ so I am glad the energy bill authorized construction of a number of nuclear power plants in this country, which represent electric-generating facilities that don’t produce so-called greenhouse gases.”

Two years later, when a number of Indiana politicians were asked by the Star Press whether they agreed with a variety of statements about climate change, Pence responded, “I would not agree that there is broad consensus on man-made or human activity being the proximate cause of global warming. I think there is more diversity of opinion among many scientists in this area of discipline than most people realize. I don’t think global warming as caused by human activity is a settled question in the scientific community.”


CO2 levels in office buildings are becoming dangerously high (!)

This is just ignorance talking. CO2 levels in  U.S. Navy submarines go as high as 8,000 parts per million, about 20 times current atmospheric levels.  And there are no ill effects.   The levels agonized over below are trivial in comparison

You know that inexplicable way that working among cubicles or sitting on a packed plane makes you feel like you’ve taken an Ambien? Well, you now have another life altering issue to thank global warming for. The rising levels of Co2 in our atmosphere combined with the Co2 exhaled from breathing are having detrimental effects in small areas congested with people.

A recent article in Smithsonian Magazine by Joshua Rapp Learn, outlines how high levels of Co2 in tightly stuffed places like office buildings, schools, and planes can cause low productivity, fatigue, and even shortcomings in decision making.

“As temperatures rise- even allowing for air conditioning- the average temperature in offices is rising,” said Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn on Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “Crowded office buildings are full of people… and you end up  with relatively high and in some cases unhealthy high amounts of carbon dioxide released into the air. It lowers our productivity, it makes us more tired, and it makes us less able to make good decisions,” she Koehn said.

In May, Co2 levels reached 400 parts per million in our atmosphere. “Medical experts believe that somewhere less than a 1000 parts per millions of carbon dioxide is an acceptable range. In a crowded airplane waiting to take off, we are talking about 4000 part per million,” says Koehn.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, office buildings currently range from 600 parts per million to 1,200 parts per million. "Economies in climates that our quite warm over 75 degrees on average, have lower rates of productivity," said Koehn. [Why most of the tropics are backward is another story, with a long history of debate. I have had academic journal articles on it published]



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


18 July, 2016

Canadian banker is a climate fanatic

He predicted doom if Britain voted for Brexit but seems to have learnt nothing from the complete failure of that prediction

There on stage at a Toronto Board of Trade breakfast event sat Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the world’s Alarmist-in-Chief, basking in Liberal adulation and fielding lob-ball questions in which he is asked to rehash his notes from a speech he gave last September on the subject of climate change and financial stability.

Carney was introduced as the former governor of the Bank of Canada “whose calm and steady hand helped guide our country, and arguably the global financial system, on the heels of the global financial crisis.” And today “the world again is looking to him as we face uncertainty in the wake of Brexit.”

And also now, apparently, the world continues to turn to Mark Carney for climate change salvation.

Looking tanned and fit, Carney then engaged in mutual climate policy admiration with Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of the environment and climate change, who felt it necessary to remind the audience that they were sitting in downtown Toronto on territory that belongs to First Nations. Carney’s message, like McKenna’s, is that climate change poses severe century-long risks to the economy that must be addressed now by the world’s corporate leaders.

From too much short-termism, the business world is now being asked to engage in extreme long-termism, planning for 2030 and galaxies beyond.

Carney’s September speech to Lloyds of London, already viewed by many as inappropriately political climate alarmism from a central banker masquerading as financial common sense, set in motion an international movement to impose long-range climate predictions on short-term investment decisions. As climate alarmist-in-chief, he warned of “stranded” oil, coal and gas assets as climate policy shifts, putting at risk trillions of dollars in value and threatening financial stability.

As he did with Brexit, Carney portrays climate change as a potential financial catastrophe unless steps are taken now by the world’s financial players to integrate climate and carbon risks into all their decision-making and financial disclosure. For example (in case there were any complacent corporate directors in the audience) Carney raised the prospect of directors’ liability over climate change. With no information, he asked, “When would you know with a reasonable degree of certainty about the potential damage of the activities of the corporation?” Would failure to know send directors to jail?

The broad concept seems simple enough. “From a financial regulatory perspective,” as Carney explained it Friday, “the issue we have is that investors, credit providers, management, other stakeholders, can’t make assessments today about how well prepared companies are.” How ready are they for carbon pricing and other regulatory mega-policies that could dramatically alter the economic structure of the world?

One of Carney’s approaches, repeated in Toronto, is to warn of possible “Minsky moments.” If corporations and financial institutions were to reveal all climate risks, the world could avoid “a climate ‘Minsky moment’” — a reference to the work of economist Hyman Minsky who tried to understand the causes of sudden massive financial collapses and crashing asset values. Could carbon policy-making and climate change produce another Minsky moment?

If corporations tabulated, understood and disclosed their carbon and climate risks, the financial system would be ultimately safer, Carney says.  If corporations and the financial system were assessed via a market for information around climate, it would allow “feedback between the market and policymaking, making climate policy a bit more like monetary policy.”

That note, to central bank watchers, may not be all that comforting. The world’s monetary policymakers, with all the credit and institutional information at their disposal, have a dismal if not catastrophic record of anticipating Minsky moments. Monetary policy, moreover, has a short-term horizon of a few months to a few years and seldom gets it right. To expect corporate managers to be able to analyze, forecast and disclose risks that a business might face over decades is a wild stretch.   Over time, half the public institutions in existence today could well be out of business in half a century for any number of reasons.


Greenie-inspired policies cause chaos in Australia's electricity supply

No reserve capacity to support periods of peak demand, after various coal-fired plants were shut down with nothing to replace them and all new investment is diverted into useless windmills, meaning big price leaps now happening during periods of high demand.  Wanton destruction of Australia's infrastructure

A “PERFECT storm” has hit the wholesale electricity market, with households just beginning to feel its ferocity.

Many big businesses are already being severely buffeted, leading to calls for government intervention to limit job losses and damage to the economy.

Those large users buy their electricity on the spot market where prices were substantially higher last financial year than in 2014-15 (NSW they rose 46 per cent, in South Australia 57 per cent, Queensland 14 per cent and Victoria 52 per cent). These increases, however, are dwarfed by the rises since July 1: 79 per cent in NSW, 514 per cent in SA, 38 per cent in Queensland and 96 per cent in Victoria.

Households’ power is mostly priced on the futures market, with a third purchased 12 to 24 months before new retail tariffs are set and the balance in the 12 months before. Recent movements and forward prices from data supplied by ASX Energy put the wholesale cost of power about two cents per kilowatt hour higher in NSW and Victoria for the next three years.

That could add $120 to annual bills within two years. The increase in Queensland is set to be about $100. But in SA a likely 4c/kWh increase in wholesale costs may leading to a bill surge of $240 annually. Households there, and to a lesser extent in NSW, have already started to feel the consequences of the wholesale market chaos via prices rises that took effect on July 1.

One of the nation’s leading experts on electricity prices, Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood, said “we are seeing the beginning of the real cost of changes we have imposed on our electricity system”.

Mr Wood said a “dog’s breakfast” of climate change policies dating back to the first Rudd government had contributed to rising prices because investors haven’t known types of generation capacity to support.

Even as an advocate for renewable energy, he said Australia should be running more on gas and “cleaned-up” black coal and less on wind and solar, which currently can’t provide reliable supply.

Mr Wood said the electricity market was responding to rising demand and falling supply, as well as a jump in the cost of gas needed to run gas-fired power plants.

“Those three factors are coming together to create a perfect storm,” Mr Wood, a former Origin Energy executive, said. “No-one forecast this.”

A source at a major electricity retailer agreed: “I don’t think anyone in the industry saw this coming. It’s serious.”

The body that represents large energy users such as Woolworths, ANZ Bank, BlueScope Steel and Crown casino, said the cost of electricity is now holding Australia back.

“It’s gone from being a competitive advantage 15 years ago to now being a burden on the economy due to high cost,” said Energy Users Association of Australia chairman Brian Morris.

“We have to take energy out of the political agenda. It’s a national issue,” Mr Morris said. “We need both sides of politics, the state and federal governments, all pulling in the same direction on this.”

He called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council to take the lead and provide “guidance” to the electricity market.


El Niño, La Niña and natural gas

Death Valley, California, is known as “the hottest place on earth.” But, if you hear the news that the “Hottest Place on Earth Has Record-Breaking Hot June” — when “temperatures exceeded average June temperatures by about 6 °F” — it might be easy to ascribe the heat to alarmist claims of climate change. While Southern California was experiencing power outages due to a heat wave, Death Valley hit 126 °F — though the previous June high was 129 °F on June 30, 2013, and Death Valley holds the highest officially recorded temperature on the planet: 134 °F on July 10, 1913.

Yes, it is a hot summer for most of the U.S. — but that was predicted by WeatherBELL’s Joe Bastardi who, on Ground Hog Day, referenced El Niño and said: “we may have the hottest summer since 2012.” Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, explains: “it is usually the second calendar year of an El Niño event that is the warmest.” The current El Niño event made 2015 “the 3rd warmest year in the satellite record” —  records, which have been kept for 38 years (all three of the hottest years were during an El Niño event). The 2015-16 El Niño is one of the strongest on record.

El Niño is a natural weather pattern first discovered centuries ago by Peruvian fisherman who noticed that the ocean would often warm late in the year. They called the phenomenon El Niño, after the Christ Child. “Modern researchers,” according to Bloomberg, “came to realize its importance to global weather in the 1960s, when they recognized the link between warm surface water and corresponding atmospheric changes.”

El Niño usually means warmer or milder winters and cooler summers in the U.S. — which has been bad for producers of America’s natural gas, as less has been needed for heating and air conditioning. Describing the winter of 2015-16, one account said: “warm, wet or even ‘what winter?’” This past winter’s milder temperatures coincided with abundant output from shale formations, that continued to grow through last winter, and, as reported by Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI): “collapsed natural gas prices to the lowest levels since 1999.” As a result, wholesale electricity prices also tumbled.

The trend away from coal for power generation has previously helped natural gas producers, as the increased production easily met strengthening demand. However, that demand has slowed as, according to NGI: “most U.S. regions that could switch out of coal on economic terms have already done so.”

While the warmer winter and oversupply condition coincided to drive natural gas prices to their lowest levels in almost 17 years, weather and supply are now driving them back up.

El Niño patterns are usually followed by what is called La Niña — which happens as the ocean temperatures cool. La Niña generally takes place three months, or as much as twelve months, after an El Niño cycle. A report from CNBC, back in January, projected that this year’s El Niño would “fade by May-July” — which is what we are seeing and that is causing the hotter, drier summer. The Browning World Climate Bulletin says: “The factors that cooled so much of North America in April and May are retreating and the hot marine air masses will surge inland.” Likewise, NGI States: “The El Niño event that led to record North American winter temperatures has made way for the transition to La Niña, which usually results in hotter-than-normal summer temperatures.”

Addressing these weather patterns, Bloomberg cites Kevin Trenberth, distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, as saying: “The cycles occur every two or three years on average and help regulate the temperature of the Earth, as the equatorial Pacific absorbs the heat of the sun during the El Niño and then releases it into the atmosphere. That can create a La Niña: a ‘recharge state’ when ‘the whole Earth is cooler than it was before this started.’”

While experts differ on the exact timing, most expect La Niña to form as early as July or as late as December — or even January. Trenberth explains: “La Niña is more like a strong case of ‘normal.’ If a region is typically dry, it could become arid in a La Niña. If it’s usually wet, there may be floods.” Which translates to a colder, and more volatile, than average winter — though predictions are for drier and warmer in the southwest U.S. Reports indicate that a strong La Niña could push more polar vortexes down into the U.S. and typically a strong El Niño, as we’ve just experienced, is followed by a strong La Niña.

On June 29, the Financial Times announced: “US natural gas prices have leapt 30 per cent this month as hot weather boost demand for air-conditioning and slowing supplies point to a gradually tightening market.” It adds: “After years with prices in the doldrums, US gas output has also begun to level off.”

The hot summer, according to Bastardi, will continue with widespread warmth through the fall — with the Northeast and Midwest possibly hitting 90 °F into October. Then, going from one extreme to the other, when winter hits, it is expected to be, as previously addressed, colder-than-normal across the Northwest, Upper Midwest, and Northeast.

These conditions create higher cooling and heating demand for natural gas. And that, coinciding with reduced supply, will give a boost to U.S. natural gas prices — rebalancing the market and bringing price recovery.

For investors, Bloomberg states: “Seeing as North American Winters are expecting to be stronger with La Niña, SocGen [Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking] recommends investing in natural gas.” The Price Group’s Phil Flynn, seen daily on the Fox Business Network, concurs. He told me that in the rush to convert electricity generation to natural gas, we are now in a place, unlike the winter of 2014, where there are not enough coal-fueled power plants to fill the demand gap. The idea was that with global warming, winters would remain mild, but with the naturally occurring La Niña cycle, and the projected cold winter, we are facing high demand at a time when natural gas production is “getting ready to fall off a cliff.” With reduced supply and pipeline constraints, natural gas may not be able to meet all of the demand. He is encouraging his clients into natural gas.

For consumers this may mean that, because wholesale electricity prices strongly correlate to natural gas prices, power supply costs could be impacted — resulting in higher utility bills. Because of low natural gas prices, homeowners have not felt the full hit of higher cost renewables — but that could be changing as we head into a La Niña winter.


Britain's new PM abolishes environment Dept.

In a decisive cull of David Cameron's closest allies, the new Prime Minister's shake-up of the top team saw promotions for women and Brexiteers.

The move will follow Mrs May's sweeping Cabinet clear-out which saw her sack Mr Cameron's right-hand man George Osborne within hours of taking office on Wednesday, and then going on to axe Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan and John Whittingdale.

But Jeremy Hunt kept his job as Health Secretary, despite being widely tipped for the chop.

The creation of specific Cabinet posts for exiting the EU, and boosting international trade " underlines the commitment to delivering on the decision of the British people," the official spokeswoman said.

Mrs May announced changes to the machinery of Whitehall which spelled the end for the Department of Energy and Climate Change - established by Gordon Brown in 2008 to lead the UK's contribution to the fight against global warming.

Greg Clark was appointed to the new role of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, while his old role at the head of the Department for Communities and Local Government went to former business secretary Sajid Javid, in an effective job-swap.

Green MP Caroline Lucas denounced the decision to shut down DECC as a "serious backwards step", as it would mean no dedicated minister for climate change at the Cabinet table.

A week after seeing his hopes of the Tory leadership dashed when he came third in a poll of Tory MPs, Mr Gove lost his Justice Secretary job to Liz Truss, who became the first female Lord Chancellor in the thousand-year history of the role.

Prominent Brexit backer Andrea Leadsom, who paved the way for Mrs May's rapid elevation to the premiership by pulling out of the Tory leadership contest on Monday, was promoted from energy minister to the Cabinet role of Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Conservatives' only MP north of the border, David Mundell, retained his position as Scotland Secretary.


British Parliament's devotion to the religion of climate change might be ending

Ever since the week in October 2008 when our MPs voted almost unanimously for the Climate Change Act, I have been trying to explain here why this was the most disastrous Act ever passed by Parliament. This insane piece of legislation, committing us to a far greater cut in our emissions of CO2 than any other country in the world, could only eventually lead to the almost total destruction of our economy.

 But now, at long last, it seems we have someone in a position of influence who recognises this. Nick Timothy, described as Theresa May’s “right hand man”, last April publicly described the Climate Change Act as “a unilateral and monstrous act of self-harm”.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is to be abolished. Responsibility for energy policy (no mention of “climate change”), has been returned where it belongs, to the ministry in charge of strategy for our trade and industry.

If this marks the beginning of the end for the most damaging collective flight from reality in Britain’s history, it is easily the most far-reaching achievement so far of Mrs May’s premiership.

But we must never forget that all but five of our MPs voted for this lunacy, without any conception of what they were setting in train. The only way they can now atone for such criminal irresponsibility is by repealing the Climate Change Act completely.


"Wind Power Mafia” Clandestinely Destroys Rare Stork Nests To Clear Way For Turbines!

German real environmental activist Andreas Kieling here at Facebook has posted a video showing the gruesome and sickening destruction of birdlife by windmills and tells of the premeditated criminal dismantling of rare black stork nests by the “wind power mafia”.

The video is in German, but the pictures are of universal language.

At the start of the video Kieling shows 5 birds of different endangered species that he and his dog allegedly found in just 15 minutes at one single turbine. “That’s unbelievable,” Kieling announces. He is visibly disturbed by this.

The high profile activist believes that the number of birds killed is likely much higher, because many of the victims are soon dragged off by scavenging animals such as foxes during the night.

The birds have little chance against the wind turbines, as the blade tips travel at speeds of up to 270 km/hr. At the -3.15 mark:

That means a bird that flies in the vicinity underestimates this speed and gets cut to pieces, as is the case with this one.”

He adds that for bats it is not even necessary to be hit because the under-pressure created by the blade swooshing by causes the bats’ lungs to burst.

Also at the -2.38 mark Kieling explains that predatory birds also have no chance because they often fly with their heads looking down in search of prey, and so never see the high speed turbine blades. They end up getting “shredded”.

What’s really bad is that wind developers are planning even more, larger turbines close by.

“Wind power mafia” destroying stork nests

If things were not bad enough, Kieling tells of stork nests only 1000 meters away that were criminally dismantled, likely by the “wind power mafia” in order to clear the way for the new turbines. At the -2:05 mark he shows a large oak tree that was allegedly once home to a black stork nest for more than 40 years. He explains:

Suddenly the nest disappeared without a trace. The same happened to the secondary nest. The storks often have two nests. It was about 800 meters away. Also disappeared without a trace. The wind park is just about a kilometer away. And it is probably the reason for this.”

“I’m so angry I could throw up”

Kieling explains how storks like to build their nests on large trees located near streams, not up in the tree’s crown but on the fork of a large branch. The nests he says can grow to weights of up to 500 kg over 20 to 30 years, and thus the branch and nest can eventually collapse under the weight. At the -1.00 mark he explains:

But under this tree you’d find some remnants of the nest or the broken branch, and this is precisely not the case. Not for this tree, and not for the other tree. And in the neighboring town where I live, Ahrenberg, it’s the same – there’s been a black stork’s nest since a long time. This one here was the last black stork nest in the North Eifel area.

In the meantime the number of storks has fortunately gone up again. But I ask myself just how concealed and hidden do these birds have to live before they aren’t bothered. What is happening here is criminal. This was done by professionals. In the forest, under the tree, there are no traces of anything. The tree branch fork is very much intact, but the nest is gone. The nest was dismantled. Likely it was done using aluminum ladders and the nest material was carefully scattered in the surrounding area in the forest. At the other nest the exact same thing. I’m so angered; I could throw up. What can you do – it’s a battle against the wind turbines.”

In the meantime not a peep of protest coming from WWF or other high profile environmental groups. Kieling’s frustration and sense of desperation are understandable. We can only wish him the best in the fight against this crony “wind mafia” and the deplorable politicians who look away.



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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17 July, 2016

Mankind is playing 'ecological roulette': Decline in biodiversity could have devastating effects on human societies (?)

And pigs might become airborne.  How do we know that reduced biodiversity will be harmful?  We don't. It's just a faith, a personal ideal. The stuff below is based on the broadest of assumptions.  It tells us nothing about any particular organism or its place in the ecology.  All we know is that the species we do use fulfil our needs. It's only threats to them which might impact us.  And we know that they grow under many climatic conditions

It seems that almost daily we hear about the discovery of a new species, whether it's a silver snake in the Caribbean, or a new tree in the Amazon.

Despite these regular discoveries, levels of global biodiversity are on the decline, which scientists say could have a devastating global impact.

New research suggests this loss in the variety of species around the world could damage the way ecosystems function and even harm the sustainability of human societies.

A team from UCL have found that levels of biodiversity loss are so high that if left unchecked, they could undermine efforts towards long-term sustainable development.

In particular, the researchers have highlighted that grasslands, savannas and shrublands are more affected by the biodiversity lost.

They say the ability of biodiversity in these areas to support key ecosystem functions such as growth of living organisms and nutrient cycling has become increasingly uncertain.

The team used data from hundreds of scientists across the globe to analyse 2.38 million records for 39,123 species at 18,659 sites.

The results were then used to estimate how biodiversity has changed since before humans modified the habitat.

The estimates suggest that biodiversity hotspots – those that have seen habitat loss in the past but have a lot of species only found in that area – are threatened, showing high levels of biodiversity decline.

However, other high biodiversity areas, such as the Amazon, have higher levels of biodiversity and more scope for proactive conservation.

Dr Tim Newbold, who led the study, said: 'We've found that across most of the world, biodiversity loss is no longer within the safe limit suggested by ecologists.

'We know biodiversity loss affects ecosystem function but how it does this is not entirely clear.

'What we do know is that in many parts of the world, we are approaching a situation where human intervention might be needed to sustain ecosystem function.' 

The team used data from hundreds of scientists across the globe to analyse 2.38 million records for 39,123 species at 18,659 sites.

The results were then used to estimate how biodiversity has changed since before humans modified the habitat.

The estimates suggest that biodiversity hotspots – those that have seen habitat loss in the past but have a lot of species only found in that area – are threatened, showing high levels of biodiversity decline.

However, other high biodiversity areas, such as the Amazon, have higher levels of biodiversity and more scope for proactive conservation.

Dr Newbold said: 'The greatest changes have happened in those places where most people live, which might affect physical and psychological well-being.

'To address this, we would have to preserve the remaining areas of natural vegetation and restore human-used lands.'

Analysis suggests there may be so many species of tree in the Amazon that it will take humanity 300 years to discover them all
It seems that almost daily we hear about the discovery of a new species, whether it's a silver snake in the Caribbean, or a tree in the Amazon

The researchers suggest that for 58.1 per cent of the world's land surface - which is home to 71.4 per cent of the global population - biodiversity loss is substantial enough to question the ability of ecosystems to support human societies. 

Professor Andy Purvis, from the Natural History Museum, who also worked on the study, said: 'Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions, but an ecological recession could have even worse consequences – and the biodiversity damage we've had means we're at risk of that happening.

'Until and unless we can bring biodiversity back up, we're playing ecological roulette.'

The team hope the results will be used to inform conservation policy, both nationally and internationally.


Britain's new cabinet is more climate-skeptical than its previous one

The Warmist writing below sees it as part of an evil conspiracy but seeing a slowly expanding awareness of how shaky Warmist theory is provides a more parsimonious  explanation

Prime Minister Theresa May has been in office for less than two days and already the impacts of the Brexit climate denier connection are being felt.

The Cabinet reshuffle dealt a series of surprises, from Boris Johnson becoming Foreign Secretary to the offices of the now former Department for Energy and Climate Change set to be occupied by the new ‘Brexit Department’.

One thing that remained consistent, however, was the presence of the close-knit 55 Tufton Street network of neoliberal think tanks and climate science deniers.

To highlight these changes, DeSmog UK has expanded its ‘Brexit climate denier’ map to include new connections which have come to light since the 23 June vote to leave the European Union.

As this new map shows, those within the network have been elevated to powerful positions within May’s new government.

Andrea Leadsom has, for instance, been promoted to Environment Secretary, and new additions to the web David Davis and Liam Fox have been appointed the Minister for leaving the EU and International Trade Secretary respectively.

In June, DeSmog UK first mapped the deep-rooted connections between those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union and those who deny the science on climate change. DeSmogUK showed the many overlapping relationships between those working in the same Westminster building, just a stone’s throw from Parliament.

This updated map not only includes further links between the original members of the web – including donations and neighbouring Tufton street residents – but also branches out to include members of the new Conservative Government.


Democrat AGs Targeting Climate ‘Dissenters’ Face Legal Demand to Disclose Ties to Environmental Groups

State government figures spearheading an effort to obtain documents from scientists and researchers who dissent from the Obama administration’s position on climate change are being asked, once again, to come clean about their relationships with environmental organizations.

But this time around, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey have only two weeks to comply with a demand for information from a House committee that the two Democrats have resisted previously.

That’s because the demand comes in the form of subpoenas issued Wednesday to Schneiderman, Healey, and eight environmental advocacy groups. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology took the action after being rebuffed in previous efforts.

In response, a spokesman for Schneiderman lashed out at the committee as “radical Republican House members” with “zero credibility” who are trying to “block a serious law enforcement investigation.”

Rep. Lamar Smith,  R-Texas, the committee chairman, saw it differently.

“The attorneys general have appointed themselves to decide what is valid and what is invalid regarding climate change,” Smith said in a press statement. “The attorneys general are pursuing a political agenda at the expense of scientists’ right to free speech.”

Smith added:

The committee has a responsibility to protect First Amendment rights of companies, academic institutions, scientists, and nonprofit organizations. That is why the committee is obligated to ask for information from the attorneys general and others. Unfortunately, the attorneys general have refused to give the committee the information to which it is entitled. What are they hiding? And why?

On March 29, state attorneys general calling themselves AGs United for Clean Power held a press conference in New York with former Vice President Al Gore to announce formation of “an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement” that would “defend climate change progress made under President Obama.”

All but one of the attorneys general are Democrats.

Some of the elected officials, also dubbed the Green 20, have subpoenaed documents, communications, and research in an effort to acquire the work material of more than 100 academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and individual scientists, the House committee notes.

These organizations and individuals were targeted because they questioned the merits of President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda, the panel says.

On July 6, Smith sent letters to Schneiderman, Healey, and the environmental groups now on the receiving end of the subpoenas. He reminded them of his May 18 and June 20 requests for documents and communications.

Smith set a deadline of noon July 13 for compliance. The committee issued the subpoenas when the state attorneys general and the environmental groups declined to comply.

The eight green groups subject to the committee’s inquiries include the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace,, the Climate Accountability Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Pawa Law Group.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Schneiderman’s office in New York and Healey’s office in Massachusetts.

“The extent to which Chairman Smith and Republican committee leadership, at the behest of Big Oil, [are] attacking the legal authority of state attorneys general to investigate whether major corporations misled investors and consumers is very troubling, and an affront to states’ rights,” Healey spokeswoman Cyndi Roy Gonzalez said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:

This isn’t a fight about the First Amendment because the First Amendment doesn’t protect false and misleading speech. Our office seeks only to understand what Exxon’s own scientists knew about the impact of burning fossil fuels on climate change and on Exxon’s business and assets, when they knew it, and what they told the public. Congress does not have the authority to interfere with a state inquiry into whether a private company violated state laws, and we will continue to fight any and all efforts to stop our investigation.

Schneiderman’s office did not respond, but a spokesman for the New York attorney general, Eric Soufer, released this statement:

The American public will wake up tomorrow morning shaking their heads when they learn that a small group of radical Republican House members is trying to block a serious law enforcement investigation into potential fraud at Exxon. Chairman Smith and his allies have zero credibility on this issue, and are either unwilling or unable to grasp that the singular purpose of these investigations is to determine whether Exxon committed serious violations of state securities fraud, business fraud, and consumer fraud laws.

This committee has no authority to interfere with these state law enforcement investigations, and whether they issue a subpoena or not, this Attorney General [Schneiderman] will not be intimidated or deterred from ensuring that every New Yorker receives the full protection of state laws.

Where the New York attorney general sees “serious law enforcement,” however, others see an assault on free speech rights and honest scientific inquiry.

“The state attorneys general who are spearheading the green witch hunt are not just sabotaging Americans’ First Amendment rights. They are carrying out a frontal assault on the fundamentals of scientific inquiry,” Bonner Cohen, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Signal.

Cohen added:

In saying the science is ‘settled’ on climate change, they are only revealing their colossal ignorance of what science is all about.  The science isn’t settled on anything. What we think we know about biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and, yes, climate science, is constantly undergoing revision resulting from new findings and discoveries. What’s really going on here is the ruling class telling the rest of us to shut up and do as we are told. And if we don’t, there’ll be a knock at the door. 

In response to the House committee’s subpoena, Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, released a statement challenging the congressional investigation.

“Chairman Smith’s subpoena is an abuse of power that goes way beyond the House Science Committee’s jurisdiction and amounts to nothing more than harassment,” Kimmell said, adding:

By attempting to interfere with the attorneys general investigations, Chairman Smith directly undermines efforts to hold Exxon Mobil accountable for misrepresenting climate science. It’s also just plain wrong to investigate a nonprofit for doing its job—in this case, providing public officials with science and evidence to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for deception on climate change, one of the world’s most pressing problems.

But Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation who has tracked the story, said he detected hypocrisy.

“The reaction of the state attorneys general shows what total hypocrites they are,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “They have clearly conspired with environmental groups to initiate these outrageous investigations and prosecutions of anyone who doesn’t agree with them about an unproven, disputed scientific theory, including voluminous, harassing subpoenas. Yet when they are targeted with inquiries about what they are doing, suddenly they are outraged.”  

Committee members insist Schneiderman, Healey, and the other state attorneys general, along with the environmental groups, are at fault for jeopardizing free speech and honest scientific inquiry about whether human activity has resulted in global warming—what adherents to the idea now call climate change.

“Since March, these attorneys general have attempted to use questionable legal tactics to force the production of documents and communications from a broad group of scientists, companies, and nonprofit organizations,” said Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, who chairs the space subcommittee.

“These actions are an attempt to chill the scientific research of those who do not support the attorneys general and environmental groups’ political positions,” Babin said in a formal statement adding:

These actions amount to a political attack rather than a serious inquiry based on the law. Today’s action by the Science Committee and Chairman Smith sustains the commitment to protect the First Amendment rights of the individuals and groups targeted by the attorneys general and environmental activists.

If the committee does not receive a response from Schneiderman, Healy, or any of the green groups, it could hold a vote on whether a “contempt of Congress” finding should be sent to the full House.


Global Warming Skepticism Is Not Fraud

Professor Robert C. Post, dean of the Yale Law School, appeared recently in the Washington Post defending investigations by state attorneys general into ExxonMobil and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), saying such investigations are standard operating procedure for addressing possible fraud. He dismissed the protests of the targets of these investigations, saying, “It is grossly irresponsible to invoke the First Amendment in such contexts.”

The subsequent withdrawal of both subpoenas issued by the Virgin Islands’ attorney general and counter-suits launched by both ExxonMobil and CEI suggest Prof. Post was wrong. But let’s try to understand his perspective.

Prof. Post seems to believe the common meme that “97% of scientists agree climate change is man-made and dangerous,” which leads him to believe the scientific debate is over (though when it ended isn’t clear), that ExxonMobil knew this (though when it knew isn’t clear), and since then ExxonMobil has sowed doubt by financing false and misleading research (although much of the research it funded was considered solid enough to be published in peer-reviewed science journals) in order to keep regulators from shutting it down and investors from selling its stock.

Believing all this, Prof. Post might then conclude that CEI and the 100 or so other organizations and individuals cited in the subpoenas (a list apparently cribbed from a Greenpeace website) may all be “shills” or “front groups” funded by ExxonMobil, and therefore their claims to be participating in a legitimate scientific debate are to be discounted. The attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York, and the Virgin Islands presumably all follow this same and somewhat tortuous path of reasoning.

If belief in the “consensus” meme is in fact driving Prof. Post and the attorneys general, then the whole premise of this litigation is false. Because in fact, there is no consensus, but instead a lively academic debate taking place.

The first chapter of The Heartland Institute’s newest book, Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, identifies and takes apart the four sources given by NASA as proof of a consensus: They were written by a socialist historian, two college students, and a wacky Australian blogger. The book then identifies surveys and abstract-counting exercises that show considerable disagreement within the scientific community, and then explains why scientists will probably never agree on this issue.

The rest of the book summarizes the perspective on climate change of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of climate scientists who are much less alarmist than the experts relied on by the Obama administration. NIPCC’s findings, reported in a series of 1,000-page-plus books published by The Heartland Institute in the Climate Change Reconsidered series, are so credible they have been cited in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles. Part of that series was translated into Chinese and published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Because there is a lively academic debate over the causes and consequences of climate change, this litigation has First Amendment implications. One side in a bona fide scientific debate is declaring, falsely, that the debate is over and therefore its opponents are engaged in a fraud. This baseless accusation is libelous: It damages the reputations and threatens the livelihoods of scientists who oppose the alarmist narrative and organizations that provide them with platforms from which they can be heard.

In light of this, it seems clear that the wrong individuals and organizations are being investigated. Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and similar groups that are the source of the false “consensus” meme ought to be put on trial for libeling groups that disagree with them. But nice people don’t sue people who disagree with them, so skeptics have rarely resorted to doing this.

There is a second and independent reason to view this litigation as a threat to First Amendment rights: This isn’t about potential consumer or investor fraud or even about climate science. It’s about restricting political free speech.

The AGs, with the encouragement of the U.S. Department of Justice, are entering this debate on the side of alarmists because the alarmists almost without exception are partisans. They are spokespersons for the Obama administration, or contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns, or stand to benefit financially from the Obama administration’s war on fossil fuels (environmental advocacy groups, academics who have made their careers by exaggerating the threat of global warming, and the renewable energy industry angling to keep massive subsidies). Often, they are all three all at once.

Virtually every so-called expert or activist who “believes in global warming” is paid to hold that belief. Scratch the surface and their conflicts of interest are immediately apparent. Skeptics of the anthropogenic global warming theory, on the other hand, are most often financially independent and have no financial stake in the outcome of the debate. They are retired from academic positions or operate as scientists outside the academy. They “looked under the hood” at the science and saw there was nothing there. True believers never look under the hood. Why would they?

Businesses and organizations being targeted by the AGs are exercising their First Amendment right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It is not the possibility of harm to the public that led the AGs and DOJ to decide to enter into a wickedly complicated scientific debate, but the possibility of harm to the current administration in the White House.

Their objective is to silence opposition by ExxonMobil and CEI (and other nonprofit organizations similar to CEI) to this administration’s draconian energy policies. Proof of its partisan nature can be found in the fact that there was no talk of similar litigation during the administrations that preceded Obama … see for example this brief history by the Federalist Society.

It seems to me the basis of this litigation is an abuse of authority by the Obama administration and its cat’s paws in the states. They base their claims on a myth, readily disproven, that a scientific consensus exists on the causes and consequences of climate change.

Why anyone – least of all the dean of a prestigious law school – would dignify such a crude and corrupt assault on justice is a mystery, and very troubling to me.


Cheeky South Australian Greenies want more interconnetors with other states in order to prop up their windmill-reliant power

They have to to import coal-fired power when the wind is not blowing there and want to export their windpower to other States when the wind IS blowing.  Typical Greenies:  Demand, demand, demand

An energy crisis in South Australia created by an over-reliance on untrustworthy and expensive wind and solar will force the state Labor government to seek greater access to cheaper coal-fired electricity from the eastern states.

This comes amid rising concern that federal renewable ­energy targets will force other states down the path taken by South Australia, which has the highest and most variable energy prices in the national electricity grid.

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who is also the Energy Minister, yesterday put the eastern states on notice, vowing to “smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”.

He warned other states that the energy crisis was “coming to get them”.  “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW ... every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now,” the Treasurer said.

South Australian Labor’s ­admission that it needed urgent reform of the national energy market rules, so that in addition to upgrading connection with Victoria it also could tap into NSW baseload power, reveals the vulnerability of its reliance on ­renewables. The last coal-fired power stations in South Australia closed in May.

Wind and solar make up more than 40 per cent of the state’s ­energy mix under a green policy agenda driven by Labor, in power in South Australia since 2002.

Several major companies, ­including BHP Billiton and Arrium, this week warned Mr Koutsantonis of possible shutdowns because of high energy prices, forcing him to plead for a temporary power spike from a private owner of a mothballed gas-fired power plant. Private energy supplier ENGIE fired up its Pelican Point plant near Port Adelaide for a short time yesterday, bringing an extra 239 megawatts of power into the grid.

Mr Koutsantonis said the federal government had encouraged South Australia, which has the best conditions for wind farms, to chase the energy source as part of Australia’s renewable energy target of about 24 per cent by 2020.

“Wind is paid by the commonwealth to produce power ... if you are going to pay wind farms to produce electricity regardless of demand, you better make sure that is distributed equally across the country because you can’t have a national policy implicating just one state,” he said.

He called on Malcolm Turnbull to immediately appoint an energy minister and schedule an urgent meeting of federal and state ministers to undertake ­energy market reform.  “If you want a true national electricity market, you really need to have all of the states interconnected.

“What we have is a series of state-based markets with very poor interconnection between them,’’ Mr Koutsantonis said.

The market was supposed to integrate the east coast states with South Australia and Tasmania to allow the free flow of electricity across borders via a ­series of interconnecters, he said. It excludes West Australia and the Northern Territory.

An upgraded interconnecter with Victoria is scheduled for completion next month, and South Australia also wants a larger interconnecter with NSW, at a cost of between $300 million and $700m.

“Victoria has multiple markets it can draw from; we have one, NSW has two and Queensland has one. That’s not a national electricity market,” he said.


Australian Federal election 2016: Rising minor parties leave Greens in shade

The Greens’ vote in the Senate has fallen in every state apart from Queensland, leaving the minor party facing the possible loss of three of its 10 senators once all ­ballot papers have been counted.

Nationally, the Greens have suffered a 0.9 per cent swing against them in the Senate as other minor parties have risen in popularity, led by One Nation (up 3.8 per cent), the Nick Xenophon Team (1.3 per cent) and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1.8 per cent).

The party’s vote in the Senate peaked at 13.1 per cent in 2010 but has fallen to 8.3 per cent so far in this count.

The Greens have already lost a senator in South Australia, Robert Simms, who was second on the ticket behind Sarah Hanson-Young, after the NXT clinched three seats in the state.

Political analysts are now ­predicting the Greens could lose a Senate seat in Western Australia, where Rachel Siewert is trying to snatch the final spot, and another in Tasmania where former state leader Nick McKim is nervously awaiting his fate.

Those losses would mean the Greens’ 10 senators in the last parliament — its best representation in the Senate — would be cut to between seven and nine senators.

In Western Australia, the Greens’ vote has fallen 5.3 per cent from its strong showing in the 2014 Senate re-run election despite the Greens boasting of their biggest grassroots campaign ever organised in the state in the lead-up to the July 2 poll.

Senator Siewert will rely on preferences to secure the final Senate spot over the Nationals candidate Kado Muir.

Election analyst William Bowe told The Australian that based on an analysis he did yesterday of past Senate preference flows it ­appeared the contest between the Greens and the Nationals for the final seat in WA was a virtual dead heat.

“It is extremely close,” he said.

The battle between the Greens and Nationals comes as One ­Nation’s controversial candidate in Western Australia, Rod Culleton, appears to have secured the 11th spot in the Senate.

Mr Culleton has rejected ­suggestions that he will be ineligible to serve in the Senate due to a conviction for larceny in NSW.

It is understood the Greens are reasonably confident that Senator Siewert will win enough preferences from “progressive” parties, including the Australian Sex Party and Animal Justice Party, to outperform the Nationals’ Mr Muir.

Mr Muir stood for the Greens at the 2007 and 2010 elections. The antinuclear campaigner is aiming to become WA’s second indigenous senator after Pat Dodson.

Greens leader Richard di Natale declined to comment.

But sources in the party stressed they expected that the Greens’ performance would improve as the count progressed because absentee and below-the-line votes tended to favour the Greens.

The Greens’ vote in the Senate is down 0.8 per cent in NSW, 0.4 per cent in Victoria, 1.6 per cent in South Australia and 0.8 per cent in Tasmania, but is up 0.74 per cent so far in Queensland.



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

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


15 July, 2016

South Australian "green" energy faltering

When they shut down their last coal-fired electricity generator, S.A. crowed about how their electricity was now wholly "green". That was a typical Greenie lie from the beginning. They rely on importing electricity from Victoria when the wind isn't blowing. And that electricity is generated by burning "dirty" LaTrobe brown coal, the most polluting form of coal.

They thought they could get away with that but now they are hitting problems.  The interconnector from Victoria can only supply so much power and that is often not enough.  So they jack up the prices of their electricity when the wind is not blowing.  They equalize supply and demand by penalizing and hence restricting demand from big users -- businesses. 

That's such an attack on business that they have begun to backtrack.  They are now asking for more output from a big private generator, powered by  -- guess -- a "fossil" fuel -- natural gas.  The Green is now pretty brown at the edges and it will get browner as the folly of "sustainable" power makes itself felt.  Blackouts are waiting in the wings

A private power station in Adelaide has been asked to boost its output because some of South Australia's biggest businesses have been struggling to cope with a huge jump in their electricity prices at times of peak demand.

The owner of Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide's north-west, Engie, has been asked by the SA Government to provide an extra 239 megawatts of supply.

The Government said a planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and severe cold weather were to blame for price volatility in the local energy market.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there was little the Government could do reduce price fluctuations because of past privatisation of the state's electricity assets.

But Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas blamed the SA Government's reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices at times of peak demand.

    "The massive rush into wind energy and alternative energy in South Australia, without ensuring the continuation of base load power, is the major problem that we've got here in South Australia," he said.


Comment from a reader:

People have a way of coming up with their own solutions. Most likely as soon as the brown-outs become a way of life people will start relying on their own generators and same for industry. You are likely to see a surge in purchases of back up units ........ and more air pollution because these generators run on gasoline and diesel. They will even discover that you can put an inverter on a car electrical system and let the car idle.

People will revert to candles and oil lamps and shutting down their aircon units, all create bad health exposure. Hospitals come into risk and also have to rely on back up generation. Street lights get turned off leading to higher crime.

But at least the world will not over heat and melt the polar ice. Vacation spots will benefit as more people go to the beach to cool off and use someone else's stand by power.

Sorry to hear that Australia has its fair share of fools. May they die of heat stroke while they sit in the dark eating melted ice cream made from spoiled milk ......... on dirty dishes washed in cold water. There will be plenty of hard coal for their Christmas stockings.

The Left’s Climate Change Hysteria

In the latest bout of political theater, 19 congressional Democrats took the stage of the Senate floor Tuesday to attack free-market organizations for allegedly spinning a “web of denial” on global warming. Casting the right to free speech aside, the senators are spinning a web of climate hysteria and economic illiteracy.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said, “We have to be open to different points of view, but when the science is settled and people who know better are fighting against it, we should know better.”

In other words, as far as liberals are concerned, it’s now a self-evident truth that climate change is urgent, catastrophic, and man-made, and the only way to stop it involves massive government intervention.

It’s not surprising liberals view the issue as urgent, given they believe such absurdities as that man-made global warming is irreversibly cooking our planet, melting the ice caps , creating climate refugees in the tens of millions, and will ultimately result in Manhattan being underwater. Suddenly, it makes (a little) sense why they want us to de-develop to the Stone Age by keeping the world’s natural resources in the ground to stop climate change.

Let’s move back to the initial belief that climate change is real. The fact of the matter is that no overwhelming consensus exists among climatologists on the magnitude of future warming, man’s impact on the climate, or on the urgency to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, looking at the data from the federal government’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides plenty of reason to slow down on alarmism.

There are a number of climate phenomena that activists warn are signs of oncoming, catastrophic global warming. Among these alleged markers of environmental doom are: increasing hurricanes, widespread floods and droughts, and a sea level rise that will harm coastal communities.

Hurricanes Are Not Becoming More Frequent. The IPCC notes in its most recent scientific assessment that there are “no robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin,” and that there are “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency.” Further, “confidence in large-scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones [such as ‘Superstorm’ Sandy] since 1900 is low.”

Floods and Droughts. The IPCC noted that it overstated previous conclusions about increasing trends and that “the compelling arguments both for and against a significant increase in the land area experiencing drought has hampered global assessment.” The IPCC found evidence for increases, decreases, and no trend at all in flood activity or severity. So whatever your theory on climate change and floods, the IPCC has studies to back you up—which suggests that there’s a lot of uncertainty on this topic.

Sea Level Rise. Though every year seems to bring on a prediction of imminent sea level rise direr than the last, the observed reality does not reflect this. Corresponding to the recovery from the Little Ice Age, sea level has risen about eight inches in the past 130 years. During this period, the rate of this rise has varied on multidecadal time scales, making identifying exact reasons behind upswings, such as what has been observed over the past few decades, difficult. But whatever the cause, the current rate of sea level rise (about 12-13 inches per century) lies far beneath alarmist projections of several feet or more by the year 2100.

President Barack Obama has proposed a “keep it in the ground” environmental agenda, which pushes American policy away from cultivating energy from fossil fuels and natural gas. This economic ignorance is as alarming as the scientific ignorance. The proposed policy nonsolution of avoiding fossil fuels, which Obama’s scientific adviser recently called “unrealistic,” will exact significant economic pain on families and businesses.

Conventional fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas primarily power the American and global economy. These natural resources meet 80 percent of the world’s energy needs because they are affordable and reliable. They also significantly improved the quality of life and health for billions of people all over the world.  Regulating conventional fuels out of existence will raise energy prices that hit families again and again because almost everything we buy requires energy to make.

Keeping fuel in the ground keeps the world’s poorest citizens trapped in poverty. It will deprive the 17 percent of the world’s population who don’t have access to electricity and 35 percent who don’t have clean cooking facilities from achieving a better standard of living.

The web of denial charade might provide enough hot air to make some subsidized windmills spin, but it carries a concerning message that threatens scientific debate and dismisses economic realities.


Coal on the Fast Track to Elimination

The Obama administration’s end goal is the complete elimination of coal. And if new data is to be believed, the administration is well ahead of schedule. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration calculations, “Coal-fired generating capacity in the United States dropped from 299 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2014 to 276 GW as of April 2016.” Moreover, “Coal-fired generation’s share of total electricity generation fell from 39% in 2014 to 28% in the first four months of 2016.”

That’s a steep decline. And it’s nowhere near what the EPA unrealistically projected in its December 2011 “Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.” In that report, the agency estimated, “A small amount of coal-fired capacity, about 4.7 GW (less than 2 percent of all coal-fired capacity in 2015), is projected to be come uneconomic to maintain by 2015.”

Coal, by design, is on the fast track to elimination. And if it’s phased out quicker than expected? Well, tough luck. What’s bad news for the coal industry and the overall economy is good news for the EPA and its Democrat operatives. The Democratic Platform Committee just endorsed a provision “calling on the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.” Too bad the committee won’t endorse an investigation into the fraudulent projections government officials cling to whenever they seek to implement devious and onerous regulations.


Africa has enough problems without Greenies adding to them

Steven Lyazi writes from Uganda.  He may not be aware that Greenies WANT to reduce the population of Africa, with starvation being a highly acceptable method to them.  They hate people

Africa is still battling “transitional periods,” from slavery and colonialism, to neocolonialism and eco-imperialism. Its wars, diseases and suffering will never end until we stop having greedy leaders who only care about their families, cronies and tribal members.

The continent has enough natural resources to bring peace, health and prosperity to nearly everyone. And yet 90% of Africans still lack electricity and basic necessities, while corrupt leaders who could help transform our nations embezzle billions and leave parents and children starving and poor.

From Rwanda and Liberia to the Sudan and Uganda, we see every day the horrible effects of war – crippled men, widowed women, orphaned children and frail old people, without hands and legs, with slash marks all over their bodies. They struggle as scavengers, collapse and perish from hunger and disease, while politicians get rich.

Meanwhile, environmental activists, western powers and UN agencies dictate what issues are important – and use them to keep us poor and deprived: manmade climate change, no GMO foods, no DDT to prevent malaria, using wind and solar power and never building coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants. This is a criminal trick that denies us our basic rights to affordable energy, jobs and modern living standards.

Earlier this year, in South Sudan, I saw thousands of starving people suffering from war wounds, malaria, meningitis, hepatitis, vitamin deficiencies, cholera and other diseases. Here in Uganda, I see hundreds trying to survive and recover from these diseases, heart attacks, diabetes, kidney failure and cancer, receiving little or no medication and terribly inadequate care in  hospitals and clinics that are falling apart and don’t even have window screens or safe running water.

In January 2015, I was in Kampala’s Mulago Hospital caring for my friend and mentor, Cyril Boynes, who was dying from a stroke and kidney failure. The doctors and nurses tried to save him, but they had old, broken equipment and constantly battled electricity failures. Many times, the power went out, the lights and equipment stopped working, and people died before the electricity came back on.

For those who cannot fly to Europe for care, death does not distinguish between rich and poor, Ugandan or foreign. The same terrible facilities and lack of medicine affect everyone. In a world with so much money, technology and knowledge, there is no reason this should continue, year after year.

Before war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, there was some stability and a lot of nongovernmental organizations, companies like Ford Motor Company, private investors and other people arrived to do business. Many thought they could earn good profits, and some succeeded.

Some East African people in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, the Republic of Congo and other countries around South Sudan received new opportunities and skills. They were able to feed their families, send their children to school, pay medical bills and cover other expenses.

But today there is war and economic recession, oil prices have collapsed, and Ford and other companies closed their operations and left. Some 80% of the people again have no jobs. Their families are again impoverished and starving. 

In South Sudan, most people still practice primitive subsistence farming. A UN Development Program report says 90% of the land in South Sudan is suitable for agriculture, but less than 5% of it is cultivated. This is because oil was the primary source of income for the country, the economy has collapsed, and few farmers have modern equipment, fertilizers or seeds to make any profits.

If South Sudanese people have electricity at all, it is from small diesel-powered generators for homes, businesses and hospitals. It is not sufficient, it’s available only some of the time, and there is almost no electricity outside of Juba and other big towns. Few people have motor fuels either, for cars or farm machinery, and the land is too vast to be cultivated by hand hoe or animals.

Calls for us to live “sustainably,” use wind and solar and biofuel power, and never use fossil fuels, are a demand that we accept prolonged starvation and death in our poor countries. They mean desperate people will do horrible things to survive, even just another day.

In 2006, I met a lady in Mulago Hospital whose son was dying from malaria. The Congress of Racial Equality people I was with asked her if she knew that DDT could help prevent malaria, by keeping diseased mosquitoes from coming into their homes. She said, yes, “but DDT is bad for the environment,” so she opposed using it.

It is crazy how lies about this chemical have made mothers willing to let their children die, rather than spray it on their homes. Malaria has killed millions of people in Uganda and is still the number-one killer disease in Africa. Over 1,000 babies and mothers die every day from this disease. We protect the environment from imaginary problems and die from environmental diseases.

What good is having an environment without people, without me and you?

In 2010, 32 coal miners where shot dead in South Africa. They were protesting for salary increases, which the mine owners and South African government said they could not afford, because of the terrible world economy and low coal prices. Meanwhile, the miners’ families are starving.

Our government is planning to construct a pipeline from western Uganda to Tanzania. The project could employ over 15,000 people. Along with other oil operations, it will boost our economy and give us more critically needed energy. But some agencies and organizations oppose it because it would “contribute to global warming,” and they would rather see us remain poor beggars to the West.

Like these “environmental” activists, African leaders do not care about the well-being of our citizens. They are incompetent, greedy, callous criminals, driven by ideologies and a love of power over people.

They love their armies and fast cars, treat their own people like terrorists, and have betrayed our continent. They pay no attention to the most critical and fundamental needs and concerns of people who are jobless, poor, hungry, and at the mercy of diseases and the environment. They do not care that most of their people never have clean water, a decent home, enough food to live, or electricity for even one light bulb and a tiny refrigerator.

In 2007, Cyril Boynes organized a 332-kilometer (206-mile) people’s march from Kampala to Gulu, Uganda, to support using DDT to eradicate malaria. This year, I participated in a march from Gulu to Kampala, to remember those who suffered during the long war with Joseph Kony’s murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, to honor my mother, who walked 20 km every day so that her children could eat and live – and to promote health and prosperity for our country and continent.

When will that day come? When will politicians and activists who say their care about the world’s poor stop worrying about global warming, pesticides and GMO crops – and start helping us get the energy, food, medical facilities, technology, jobs and economic growth we need to improve our lives?

Via email

Ban AC for DC

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Everyone talks about global warming, but nobody does anything about it.  At least, the people who talk about saving the planet the most seem to have the biggest carbon footprint.  But I have some ideas for fixing that.

In this, I’m inspired by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., who noticed something peculiar recently. It seems that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who spends a lot of time telling Americans that they need to drive less, fly less, and in general reduce their consumption of fossil fuels, also flies home to see her family in Boston "almost every weekend"; the head of the Clean Air Division, Janet McCabe, does the same, but she heads to Indianapolis.

In air mileage alone, the Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that McCarthy surpasses the carbon footprint of an ordinary American. Smith has introduced a bill that wouldn't target the EPA honchos’ personal travel, though: It provides, simply, that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay the cost of any officer or employee of the Environmental Protection Agency for official travel by airplane.”

This makes sense to me. We’re constantly told by the administration that “climate change” is a bigger threat than terrorism.  And as even President Obama has noted, there’s a great power in setting an example: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

Likewise, it’s hard to expect Americans to accept changes to their own lifestyles when the very people who are telling them that it’s a crisis aren’t acting like it’s a crisis. So I have a few suggestions to help bring home the importance of reduced carbon footprints at home and abroad:

Extend Smith’s bill to cover the entire federal government. We have Skype now, and Facetime. There’s no reason to fly to meetings. I’d let the President keep Air Force One for official travel, but subject to a requirement that absolutely no campaign activity or fundraisers take place on any trips in which the president travels officially.

Obama makes a great point about setting the thermostat at 72 degrees. We should ban air conditioning in federal buildings. We won two world wars without air conditioning our federal employees. Nothing in their performance over the last 50 or 60 years suggests that A/C has improved things. Besides, The Washington Post informs us that A/C is sexist, and that Europeans think it’s stupid.

In fact, we should probably ban air conditioning in the entire District of Columbia, to ensure that members of Congress, etc. won’t congregate in lobbyists’ air-conditioned offices.

Speaking of which, members of Congress shouldn’t be allowed to fly home on the weekends. Not only does this produce halfhearted attention to their jobs — the so-called “Tuesday to Thursday Club” — but, again, it produces too much of a carbon footprint. Even if they pay for the travel out of campaign funds, instead of their own budgets, they need to set an example for the rest of us — and for those skeptical foreigners that Obama mentioned.

But, you know, it’s not just the government. We’ve been told that global warming will cause rising sea levels that will inundate coastal cities and produce devastation.  I think we need to get ahead of that problem by encouraging people to move away from the coasts before things get bad. We can do that by a steadily-increasing tax on coastal property that will discourage people from moving to, or staying in, coastal cities. Sure, this will hurt property values in Boston or New York, but we all have to do our share.


Delusional Al Gore calls himself the ‘Jackie Robinson’ of global warming

Al Gore is the perfect poster boy for the corruption and hypocrisy of contemporary American progressivism.  Reputedly a billionaire from his error-ridden documentary film and books, speaking fees, and Apple directorship, he squanders energy on vast mansions and private jets.  Yet he urges the little people to give up their roomy vehicles and ride trolleys in order to “save the planet.”

As Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit often says, we can start believing global warming advocates when they start living as if their C02 emissions mattered as much as ours.

As Ed Lasky points out, Gore has led a charmed life: “Son of a senator, political royalty,” and yet he now makes a completely inappropriate, indeed offensive claim.  Via the Washington Examiner:

As a man on a "great social mission," former Vice President Al Gore says he feels like baseball trailblazer Jackie Robinson, the messenger of integration who was often ridiculed and worse when he hit the bases as the first black to play professional ball.

"There is a time-honored tradition of people who strongly disagree with a message and take it out on the messenger, and opponents of integration had a personal animus for Jackie Robinson. Opponents of all the great social movements would take out after the advocates that were most effective in asking people to change," Gore told his one-time employer, Nashville's Tennessean newspaper.

"As a result, I don't take it personally when the criticism comes at me. I believe so passionately in this mission, if you will. The word 'mission' might sound a little grandiose, but that's kind of what it feels like to me. Honestly, it is a joy and a privilege to have work that justifies pouring every ounce of energy you can pour into it. That is a blessing that is to be cherished," he added in an interview to discuss the 10th anniversary of his movie and book, "An Inconvenient Truth."

If a Republican had compared himself to a black pioneer who overcame racism and poverty, the denunciations would already be deafening. I suspect that the corrupt “civil rights leaders” of the left will sigh and keep their mouths shut because Gore is perceived as an ally, despite the devastation high electricity prices inflict on poor families.

Gore strikes me as a deeply troubled man, rejected by his longtime wife, reportedly acting as a crazed sex poodle with a woman of lower status in a service occupation, and living a life that directly contradicts what he claims are his deep beliefs.

I hope Gore lives long enough for his karma to fully manifest.



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

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


14 July, 2016

Sanders: “This election is about climate change"

And he said it with Hildabeest alongside him nodding like a bobble-headed doll.  Lets hope the both of them continue to hammer that message.  All the polls put climate change way down in people's priorities.  Trump has got the subject right:  Immigration.  It would be exquisite if climate change cost Hillary the election

Bernie Sanders officially threw in the towel on Tuesday in New Hampshire by endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Hitting on the themes his campaign has stressed throughout the primaries, Sanders laid out what this election is really about. One of his themes has been climate change, which featured heavily in his speech:

"This election is about climate change, the greatest environmental crisis facing our planet, and the need to leave this world in a way that is healthy and habitable for our kids and future generations.

Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that if we do not act boldly in the very near future there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, more rising sea levels. She understands that we must work with countries around the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy — and that when we do that we can create a whole lot of good paying jobs.

Donald Trump: Well, like most Republicans, he chooses to reject science — something no presidential candidate should do. He believes that climate change is a hoax. In fact, he wants to expand the use of fossil fuel. That would be a disaster for our country and our planet"

The endorsement rally was kicked off by climate activist (and Grist board member) Bill McKibben. “Secretary Clinton, we wish you Godspeed in the fight that now looms,” McKibben said.


The "97%" hit with logic

In a video for Prager University, author Alex Epstein address the highly touted claim, “97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real.” Epstein debunks this shoddy assertion with a simple analogy — the side effects vs. overall health risks of vaccinations.


Global warming pause continues as temperatures continue to plummet

Satellite temperatures show no statistical difference with June 2016 temperatures and 1998’s, showing a steep drop in global temps once El Nino ended.

According to the now-finalized RSS satellite-derived June 2016 temperatures, measurements show that the global warming pause (or hiatus) is on track to resume with a prediction for even lower temps this winter.

For June 2016, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) RSS satellite record showed Earth was only 0.46 degrees Celsius (0.84°F) above the 30-year average, a marked decline since its peak in February 2016.

They also show worldwide temperatures dropping a full half a degree Celsius since their peak and are actually below 1998 levels for the past three months. The RSS data is also on par with the UAH satellite dataset. Once the El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean officially stopped, NOAA also showed a precipitous decline in temperatures using land and sea-based measuring systems.

El Nino’s effects on Satellite Dataset

Dr. Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama/Huntsville (UAH) who maintains and produces the UAH satellite records, notes that 16 of the warmest months in the satellite record (and 21 out of the warmest 25) all occurred during one of three major El Niño events: 1997/1998, 2009/2010, and 2015/2016. He says that the effects from an El Niño are especially noticeable when comparing temps from a specific month.

For example, just looking at a previous month like May shows it was warmer during an El Niño by a statistical margin. Dr. Christy says that June 2016 was the second warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere (0.51 Celsius compared to June 1998 at 0.60 Celsius above seasonal norms), but only the eighth warmest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Despite the effects of El Niño warming, it was only the sixth warmest June in the tropics. This is quite a stretch from so-called ‘hottest year on record’ claims based on heavily jiggered land and sea temperature data used by NASA GISS and NOAA. Dr. Christy notes that while there is a clear sign of warming in the satellite record, trying to infer long-term trends about our climate based on months or a few years is imprudent. Especially when above-average months are driven by El Niño events.

Regional and Global differences

Regionally, the June 2016 UAH global temperatures show the Northern Hemisphere was only 0.51 degrees Celsius (0.92°F) warmer over the 30-year average, the Southern Hemisphere was roughly 0.17 degrees Celsius (0.79°F) warmer, and the Tropics were 0.38 degrees Celsius (0.68°F) warmer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there is a 75 percent likelihood a La Niña will form just in time for the 2016/2017 winter, likely bringing colder winters, resulting in higher heating bills.

Compared to seasonal norms, Christy says, the warmest average temperature anomaly on Earth in June was in the eastern Antarctic, south of the Zhongshan station. June temperatures there were roughly 4.24 degrees Celsius (about 7.63°F) warmer than seasonal norms. When contrasted to seasonal norms, the coolest average temperature on Earth in June 2016 was in northeastern Russia, near the town of Vayegi, where the average June temperature was 3.40 degrees Celsius (about 6.12°F) cooler than normal for June. NASA recently announced that Antarctica has grown about 33 percent in size, adding more ice than it’s losing.


Cape Wind Project Suffers Loss at Federal Appeals Court

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on July 5 threw out two government approvals for the Cape Wind Energy Project, which is a proposal to generate electricity from windmills off the coast of Massachusetts.

The project involves the construction, operation and maintenance of 130 wind turbines in the Horseshoe Shoal region of Nantucket Sound. The turbines have an estimated life-span of 20 years, and during that time they are expected to generate up to three-quarters of the electricity needs for Cape Cod and the surrounding islands. The project’s “underlying purpose” is to help the region achieve Massachusetts’s renewable energy requirements, the court noted.

Offshore energy providers like Cape Wind must comply with a "slew" of federal statutes designed to protect the environment, promote public safety, and preserve historic and archeological resources on the outer continental shelf, said the court. They must also go through several regulatory and administrative procedures to satisfy regulations promulgated under these statutes.

Cape Wind first sought government approval for its project in 2001 when it filed a permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency then regulating outer continental shelf wind energy projects. Four years later, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and transferred primary regulatory authority over offshore renewable energy projects to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency within the Department of the Interior.

Regulations require the Bureau both to collect information about projects and to consult with relevant federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The plaintiffs in this case are the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and others. They claim that the government violated half a dozen federal statutes in allowing Cape Wind’s project to move through the regulatory approval process. The Bureau allegedly violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Shelf Lands Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Bureau and the Coast Guard allegedly violated the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act. The Fish and Wildlife Service allegedly violated the Endangered Species Act.

In March 2014, a U.S. District Court rejected most of these claims and granted partial summary judgment to the government agencies. In November 2014, the lower court rejected plaintiffs’ remaining claims, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the case.

In this case at the appeals court level, plaintiffs challenge the Bureau’s decision to issue the lease for Cape Wind’s project without first obtaining “sufficient site-specific data on seafloor and subsurface hazards” in Nantucket Sound. They argue that the Bureau violated the National Environmental Policy Act by relying on inadequate geophysical and geotechnical surveys. "We agree," said the appeals court panel.

By relying solely on data that was roundly criticized by its “own experts,” the Bureau failed to fulfill its duty, the court said. "Of course, an agency need not be clairvoyant. In some cases it may be appropriate for an impact statement to provide for ongoing monitoring in order to gather more data," said the court ruling. "But that does not excuse the Bureau from its NEPA obligation to gather data about the seafloor. Without adequate geological surveys, the Bureau cannot 'ensure that the seafloor [will be] able to support' wind turbines."

Delaying construction or requiring Cape Wind to redo the regulatory approval process could be quite costly, the court noted. The project has "slogged" through state and federal courts and agencies for more than a decade. Meanwhile, Massachusetts’s renewable energy requirements continue to increase.

Said the court: "Allowing the project to move forward could help meet these [state] requirements. On the other hand, it would be imprudent to allow Cape Wind to begin construction before it can 'ensure that the seafloor [is] able to support' its facilities. Cape Wind has 'no prior experience developing/operating offshore wind farms,' and the construction site 'lie[s] in the frontier areas of the [outer continental shelf,] where detailed geological, geophysical, and geotechnical data and information is generally lacking.' Therefore, we will vacate the impact statement and require the Bureau to supplement it with adequate geological surveys before Cape Wind may begin construction. We will not, however, vacate Cape Wind’s lease or other regulatory approvals based on this NEPA violation."

The court also ruled against the Service's incidental take finding for marine life. "We reverse the district court’s judgment that the Bureau’s environmental impact statement complied with NEPA and that the Service’s incidental take statement complied with the Endangered Species Act, and we vacate both statements. We affirm the district court’s judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ remaining claims, and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion."


"Roundup", the world’s safest, cheapest and most effective weedkiller, facing ban

Banning a comparatively safe pesticide would be counterproductive

I once tried the organic alternative to the herbicide roundup for clearing weeds from garden paths: a flame-thrower. It was brutal for the environment, incinerating innocent insects and filling the air with emissions. Next week I might have to go back to that. Roundup, the world’s safest, cheapest and most effective weedkiller, may be illegal within days in Europe.

Roundup (chemical name glyphosate) was due to have its licence extended for 15 years. Normally it would have been nodded through. But this time the relevant French and German ministers, Segolene Royale and Barbara Hendricks, nervous about the green vote, have blocked the renewal, and the best that farmers and gardeners can hope for is an 18-month extension till after French and German elections.

Yet almost everybody agrees that glyphosate is safe: the European Food Safety Authority, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organisation, our government. Even at absurdly high concentrations, lab tests show it is only one-tenth as carcinogenic as coffee – and you ingest coffee, which you don’t roundup.

Just one rogue study, driven by an environmental activist working for a body called the International Agency for Research on Cancer, disagreed, but on the basis of cherry-picked data and elementary errors of interpretation. Yet these days, it’s not the evidence but the headline, or the tweet, that counts. By the time the rogue study’s flaws were known, activists had got to politicians.

Ironically, Monstanto, which invented glyphosate, may not mind much if roundup is banned. It is off-patent, so not very profitable. This may explain why the company has been curiously absent from the debate.

This episode is part of a wider political campaign. Having failed to persuade all but a few affluent consumers to go organic, the greens are now trying to force us instead. If we did, Earth would be in trouble. Many organic farmers plough their land five times as often, to control weeds, harming soil structure, moisture and biodiversity.

Over the past 50 years fertilisers, pesticides and tractors have reduced the amount of land needed to produce a given quantity of food by 68%. Had we not achieved this, not only would far more people be starving, but there would be no nature reserves left.

The city of Petaluma in California recently stopped using roundup in parks and school grounds. The result was a 1700% increase in cost of weed control, and a new requirement for operators to wear respirators (unnecessary with roundup which is less toxic than vinegar) while spraying with the far more toxic organic alternatives.


Global cooling is serious in Mongolia

The country's extreme winter disaster saw temperatures drop to minus 50 degrees Celsius between 2015 and 2016, killing more than 850,000 livestock.

Japanese photographer Madoka Ikegami travelled to the Zavkhan province, Nalaikh and Ulaanbaatar in April this year to document the effects of the unique disaster on the animal herders.

Known as the Dzud disaster in native language, the freezing conditions resulted in the mass death of camels, cows, horses, sheep and goats.

Ikegami said: 'According to the UN data of April 25, more than 850,000 animals perished in the 2015-2016 disaster.

'I documented the lives of displaced former herders who lost all their livestock in previous Dzud and had to give up on herding and move to a city for a new job.'

Ikegami originally visited Mongolia last year where she experienced the welcoming nature of local reindeer herders. And as soon as she heard about the latest disaster, she wanted to make sure the herders were safe and find out what it was really like for them to fight off such terrible conditions.

The 33-year-old said: 'The sisters I spoke to lost over 200 livestock, the corpses of which lay around just a few minutes away from their ger (traditional yurt).

'There was no sign of human life at ground level, or upon the endless snow terraces.

'The sisters tried to save their starving, dying animals just by themselves in such a lonely place where the older sister hadn't seen anyone apart from her younger sister for five months.'

Displaced former herders and seasonal workers often resort to conducting dangerous and illegal mining jobs to prevent the fall into extreme poverty.

Ikegami realised the full extent of the catastrophe caused by the Dzud when she saw a dog feeding off the flesh and bones of other animal corpses.

She said: 'Suddenly being exposed to the sight of piles of animal corpses, I was simply frightened and learned what the Dzud disaster really means to the people.  'In our day to day lives we're not exposed to such a tragedy.'



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13 July, 2016

Earth's clouds are shifting towards its poles

LOL!  By applying heavy "corrections" to their data they got a story that would correspond to global warming theory.  I don't know where to start here, it's such a hoot.  Could there have been some bias in the "corrections"?  One would have to be naive to dismiss it. 

And why did they not segregate their data into the 20th and 21st centuries?  If their theories are right that would have been a splendid way to test them. If the clouds kept moving polewards in C21, that would disprove their theory -- as there was no statistically significant warming in C21 until last year.  They obviously did NOT want to test their theory.

And what they say is wrong anyway. They found "growing dry regions" as rain-bearing clouds move polewards.  But what about the Sahel?  The Sahel is actually in the tropics so should be very strongly affected by what they claim.  And it is a very large dry region so would seem an excellent test of their theory.  So has the Sahel got any drier?  To the contrary, it has shrunk in recent years.  Much that was once desert is now green.   That's one test of their junk theory that they could not fudge -- and the theory fails its test abjectly

Journal article appended

Bands of cloud cover that swirl around the globe are slowly creeping towards the poles, causing dry regions to expand around the equator, climate scientists have warned.

Using satellite data captured between the 1980s and 2000s, researchers found that channels of cloud cover which carry storms around the globe have shifted closer to the poles over time.

As well as poleward shift in cover and expanding dry regions, they findings show the height of cloud tops have increased at all latitudes, all of which impacts on the global climate and agree with predictions for the impact of climate change.

Cloud cover is a key factor in regulating the planet's temperature, with cover reflecting solar radiation back into space or acting as a blanket to keep surface heat from escaping, depending on the type and thickness of clouds.

But while the effects of such a variable system are almost impossible to decipher in the short term, over a period of decades long-term trends begin to emerge.

Led by climate scientists at the University of California, the team was able to correct the satellite data from several sources to show such long term trends, removing errors and inaccuracies from satellite sensors and erroneous trends.

They found that dry bands over the subtropical regions are expanded – a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia – and the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

Climate scientists in the US looked at several datasets going back to the early 1980s.

By removing errors caused by satellite sensors, incorrectly calibrated systems and countering for erroneous trends, they were able to show long-term trends in cloud coverage.

They found the band of clouds which carries tropical storms around the planet have moved from the subtropical regions towards the poles.

But in their wake, they have further opened up dry areas in subtropical regions – in a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia.

What's more, they found the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

The researchers have said that their observations align with predictions previously made in complex climate models.

They say the findings agree with climate models, which predict a warming climate will be accompanied with less cloud coverage in the tropics and growing dry regions.

'What this paper brings to the table is the first credible demonstration that the cloud changes we expect from climate models and theory are currently happening,' said Professor Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography in California, who led the research.

According to the researchers, the effect on cloud cover has been caused by a combination of greenhouse gases from human activity over several decades.

But compounding this warming effect is the bounce back from two large volcanic eruptions – the El Chichón eruption in Mexico in 1982 and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines – which had a far reaching cooling effect on the climate.

When combined, these two factors result in a positive feedback loop, warming the climate.


Evidence for climate change in the satellite  cloud record

Joel R. Norris et al


Clouds substantially affect Earth’s energy budget by reflecting solar radiation back to space and by restricting emission of thermal radiation to space. They are perhaps the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate change, owing to disagreement among climate models and observational datasets over what cloud changes have occurred during recent decades and will occur in response to global warming. This is because observational systems originally designed for monitoring weather have lacked sufficient stability to detect cloud changes reliably over decades unless they have been corrected to remove artefacts.

Here we show that several independent, empirically corrected satellite records exhibit large-scale patterns of cloud change between the 1980s and the 2000s that are similar to those produced by model simulations of climate with recent historical external radiative forcing. Observed and simulated cloud change patterns are consistent with poleward retreat of mid-latitude storm tracks, expansion of subtropical dry zones, and increasing height of the highest cloud tops at all latitudes. The primary drivers of these cloud changes appear to be increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and a recovery from volcanic radiative cooling. These results indicate that the cloud changes most consistently predicted by global climate models are currently occurring in nature.

SOURCE.  [doi:10.1038/nature18273]

Crookedness at The University of Cincinnati

They published a thoroughly incompetent study which reported air pollution from fracking.  They then did a better study of water pollution which exonerated fracking.  They have now withdrawn the bodged air pollution study and held off on publishing the water pollution study. "Fracking is bad" is the only conclusion they will allow. Is there such a thing as an honest Greenie?

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has yet to publish the results of a now year-old study that found no water contamination from hydraulic fracturing in a scientific journal, despite scrutiny, media attention, and numerous calls from groups and elected officials to do so.

This indefinite delay is all the more interesting considering that UC couldn’t wait to publish the results of its 2015 study that claimed fracking was causing significant air pollution in Carroll County. That study appeared in Environmental Science & Technology just three months after it was completed.

But the UC researchers’ urgency has apparently come back to bite them as they have just retracted the study due to “errors” and “incorrect” calculations

UC’s rush to publish its air study while it dawdles for a year in publishing its groundwater study finding no harm from fracking is even more interesting considering the results of both studies were first announced at events hosted by Carroll County Concerned Citizens (CCCC), a well-known anti-fracking group. The same professor that presented the air quality study results to CCCC, study co-lead author Dr. Erin Hayes, has also participated in other anti-fracking events.

The retraction of the Carroll County air study comes as no surprise to Energy In Depth, which pointed out its many flaws last May. Not only were the study participants recruited by an anti-fracking activist group, the researchers did not use random testing, did not account for sources of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) other than oil and gas activity, and assumed worst case scenarios in their cancer hazard assessments.

A Carroll County landowner also informed EID that some of the highest PAH levels detected by the researchers were collected on his property, which is more than 10 miles from the nearest shale gas well. This completely refuted the researchers’ summation that high PAH levels correlated directly to close proximity to shale gas wells.

The authors even admitted that the sample size used for their study was too small and that the chief assumption used for their research model was “totally impractical,” according to media reports.

That didn’t keep several media outlets from accepting the authors’ conclusions as gospel with such headlines as: “Fracking may cause air pollution, respiratory issues” and “Fracking could increase risk of cancer, new study finds.” This is a prime example of a rushed study, designed to scapegoat fracking, that fails to fully vet the data collected — yet garners media coverage anyway.

Making matters worse is the fact that the Carroll County air study was 100 percent taxpayer funded. UC’s Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG) received federal tax dollars for this study in the form of a grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for $47,910.

Of course, the authors of the study do not disclose whether their revised calculations show much lower emissions – but considering this background and the fact that the researchers just omit that data in their retraction, it’s difficult to imagine their corrected results show anything other than a repudiation of their original conclusions. Regardless, the real problem is this: By not providing that information UC is not being forthcoming with data again, just as it has by refusing to release its groundwater study.

Ohioans deserve a full explanation as to why a study that generated numerous alarmist headlines by promoting fear was retracted. It will also be interesting to see if the retraction gets as much media attention as the flawed study generated.

But, considering Ohioans are still waiting for UC to release its groundwater study (which cost taxpayers $400,000, by the way), it might not be a good idea to hold your breath on that.


Already 240 Published Papers In 2016 Alone Show AGW “Consensus” Is A Fantasy!

It is apparently regarded as “consensus” science that more than half of the climate changes occurring since the mid-20th century have been caused by humans.  For example, the IPCC’s “consensus” statement from 2013 reads like this:

"It is extremely likely more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together"

The “extremely likely” designation for this position seems to suggest there is little to no disagreement with this statement in the scientific community, or at least this is what we are apparently supposed to believe.

Interestingly, since January 2014, the last 2 and half years, 770 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published in scholarly journals that call into question just how settled the “consensus” science is that says anthropogenic or CO2 forcing dominates weather and climate changes, or that non-anthropogenic factors play only a relatively minor and inconsequential role.

Instead of supporting the “consensus” science, these 770 papers support the position that there are significant limitations and uncertainties apparent in climate modeling and the predictions of future climate catastrophes. Furthermore, these scientific papers strongly suggest that natural factors (the Sun, multi-decadal ocean oscillations [AMO/PDO, ENSO], cloud and aerosol albedo variations, etc.) have both in the past and present exerted a significant influence on weather and climate, which means an anthropogenic signal may be much more difficult to detect or distinguish as an “extremely likely” cause relative to natural variation. 

Papers questioning the “common-knowledge” viewpoints on ocean acidification, glacier melt and advance, sea level rise, extreme weather events, past climate forcing mechanisms, the “danger” of high CO2 concentrations, etc., have also been included in this volume of 770 papers.

This 2016 list includes 43 papers supporting a Sun-Climate link, which can be added to the 188 papers linking the Sun to climate changes published in 2014 (93 papers) and 2015 (95 papers).

Voluminous evidence

This voluminous evidence of a strong non-anthropogenic influence on climate would seem to undermine the IPCC’s contention that the “consensus” position (e.g., climate change is mostly caused by humans) has been wholly accepted in the scientific community.

Would it be too much to ask for the IPCC to consider this scientific evidence when issuing their next report?


When human cost of 'going green' can be far too high

Buncrana tragedy shows the banning of some unpopular chemicals, such as those which could have cleared pier of slippery algae, can be catastrophic

The Buncrana pier tragedy should give us pause. It's a moment to consider life, hug our loved ones and contemplate how we might prevent such horrors happening in the future.

A major piece missing from the Buncrana pier discussion is how empty platitudes and feel-good environmental policies may have contributed to the death of five family members. We owe it to the McGrotty and Daniels families - and our own families - to take a hard look at the culture of dogmatic environmentalism.

You can't ask basic questions of environmentalists anymore without being labelled a "denier", or "anti-science" or, worst of all, a "conservative". We're supposed to "go green" without a second thought.

But when we turn off our brains for the sake of dogma - any dogma - we lose sight of the consequences of our choices. It's likely the McGrotty and Daniels families weren't thinking about environmental policy on their St Patrick's weekend outing.

They were rightfully enjoying each other's company, the weather and the beautiful view from Buncrana pier. It was their last stop before the six of them were to return home.

But, as Sean McGrotty made a three-point turn on the pier, his tyres slipped on the dangerously thick layer of algae and never regained traction. The car plummeted into the water.

"The algae was absolutely lethal," said Davitt Walsh, an eyewitness who, after seeing the accident, dived into the water and by sheer willpower, fighting the rising tide and exhaustion, was able to rescue four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann - the only family member to survive.

"When I was heading out to the family, I slipped and nearly cracked my head. On my way back, holding the baby, I could not get my feet again. I never experienced anything like it," Davitt recalled.

"The slipway is like a skating rink because of all that algae and those poor people didn't stand a chance, because they didn't know the area."

How could such a tragedy happen? How could a popular pier become so algae-dense that it contributed to five people's deaths?

The answer should cause us to question green dogma and consider the real-life cost of environmental policies.

According to an Irish Times report, this build-up of algae is a new phenomenon: "Restrictions on use of chemicals harmful to crustaceans and the marine environment also mean that algae removal on piers, slipways and at popular bathing spots is more difficult and more labour-intensive for local authorities."

"Going green" feels warm and fuzzy. It makes for good headlines and good feelings.

But no amount of emotion can overcome reality: five people lost their lives, in part because of our fear of "chemicals" and environmental impact.

Deciding to power-wash Buncrana pier instead of using more effective chemicals directly contributed to the dangerous conditions and was a major factor in this tragedy.

We must confront this truth and ask ourselves: Is it really worth it?

If the McGrotty and Daniels families were the only victims of environmental dogma I suspect some people maybe could look past their senseless deaths for the "greater good".

Although just how many crustaceans are worth a child's life these days?

But the frightening part is that these families are only the latest victims. They are five deaths out of millions. Consider the environmentalists' attack on DDT.

The use of DDT to combat malaria around the world was widely considered one of the biggest successes in scientific history. In 1965 the US National Academy of Sciences said of DDT: "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable."

By every account DDT was a miracle chemical with little risk and big rewards.

Enter Rachel Carson. Her book, Silent Spring, which started the modern environmentalist movement, purported to show the effects of DDT on birds, mammals and the wider ecosystem (her "scholarship" has since been widely debunked).

The media fell in love with the book and it gained so much traction in pop culture that, in 1972, the US banned DDT. Other countries quickly followed.

Since the DDT ban more than 50 million people have died from malaria. Yes, you read that right. And malaria is particularly dangerous to humans with weak immune systems, so children and pregnant women are over-represented in the silent slaughter.

Environmentalists often talk about "externalities" - examining the "true" societal costs of modern development. That's fair. We should examine these costs.

But we must also look at the externalities - the true costs - of going green.

What are the costs of enforcing green policies? Well, in the US car companies are producing smaller and lighter cars to meet green-inspired, government-enforced "mile-per-gallon standards".

Again there is a great feel-good factor that ignores the facts that these cars are more dangerous in crashes.

The environmental movement seems to hate "chemicals". They use the fear of chemicals to push for banning everything from fracking to cleaning a pier. And what are the costs of banning unpopular chemicals in Ireland? The McGrotty and Daniels families know all too well.

After the recent election the SDLP announced it was meeting the Green Party MLAs as part of its outreach to other "progressive" parties. But, with its unfounded fears of modern chemicals, the Green Party seem to be progressives who no longer believe in progress.

There are costs to banning chemicals, drilling and other industrial progress. There is a cost to "encouraging" people to "go green". There is a cost to dogmatic platitudes and feel-good laws.  Sometimes these costs are people's lives. We must never forget that.


The death cult of environmentalism

It's a striking development. As The Washington Post reports, 107 Nobel laureates have signed a letter blasting Greenpeace for opposing the deployment of a GMO rice which would help fix a dreaded condition, vitamin A deficiency. As the letter states:

The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 — 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.

Sounds pretty serious. So what does Greenpeace have against "Golden Rice," the GMO strain that is proposed to deal with this. Well, strictly speaking, nothing. As the letter notes:

Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.

The mania around GMOs is a strange thing. In the U.S. it's still relatively a fringe phenomenon, but in Europe, particularly France, it's completely mainstream. Centrist politicians compete over who will ban GMOs more.

The simple fact of the matter is that humans have been modifying their environment — animal and vegetal — for millennia. There's no such thing as a wild cow, or a wild pig, or a wild shih-tzu. Wheat and corn as we know them bear almost no resemblance to their wild and distant ancestors.

How a Donald Trump rout could lead to immigration reform in 2017
There's nothing new, unusual, or dangerous about GMOs. Nothing. And all the science confirms it. And yet a strong and vocal fringe, and indeed a majority of people in some advanced countries, are opposed to GMOs. Here's Bernie Sanders vowing to fight for GMO labeling at the federal level.

This anti-science fringe is much less attacked than other fringes, because it is associated with the political left, and much of our media and commenting class assume that hostility to science is a value of the political right.

But the environmentalist left has a long history of damaging hostility to evidence, a hostility which has cost many, many lives over the decades.

Let's come up with just two examples. The biggest cause célèbre, which is also known as the founding of the modern environmentalist movement, is the (in)famous case of DDT. As a long article by Robert Zubrin in the review The New Atlantis explains, this miraculous insect-killer eliminated malaria, as well as many other insect-borne diseases, from the Southern United States, Southern Europe, and parts of South Asia, and was poised to do the same thing to Africa until it was banned by a fledgling EPA on unscientific grounds.

In 1970, in a comprehensive review on the pesticide, the National Academy of Sciences stated:

To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.

But no matter. DDT might have endangered the spotted owl (there's no evidence it did, by the way). And so it had to go.

Another famous example is nuclear power, which has almost no carbon emissions, is very cheap to run, and works fine. Opposition to nuclear power seems mostly motivated by superstition. Indeed, coal kills 4,000 times more people per unit of energy than nuclear, but in almost every country in the world, it's basically impossible to build a nuclear power plant. After Fukushima, despite a notable lack of tsunamis on German shores, Germany banned nuclear power and replaced it with a mix of dirty coal power and imported French (i.e. nuclear) power.

And what about all those ludicrously insane predictions of Armageddon that all those scientists made in the 1970s, warning that we would all be dead, or something like it, by the year 2000, if we didn't shut down power plants and oil wells right this minute?

Environmentalism sometimes has a little bit of a whiff of a death cult. It sometimes leans towards an anti-human worldview, one that views the Earth goddess as the only valuable "life-form" and humans as parasites. And it sometimes feels like more of a fundamentalist religion than anything else.

And as we all know, fundamentalism can be mostly funny, until it kills. Protecting the environment is a great good. But environmentalist fads and junk science have killed a lot of people, and continue to, and too few people know about it. It's a shame.


Dems Push Bill Condemning Companies, Think Tanks Who ‘Cast Doubt’ On Global Warming

Democratic lawmakers are set to introduce a resolution condemning fossil fuel companies and pro-fossil fuel groups that “deliberately cast doubt on science in order to protect their financial interests.”

California Rep. Ted Lieu and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will introduce resolutions in both chambers of Congress that “urges fossil fuel companies and allied organizations to cooperate with active or future investigations into their climate-change related activities.”

The bill is meant to draw attention to investigations into ExxonMobil’s global warming stance, though the company is never mentioned by name. The bill is also meant to target groups, many of which are conservative think tanks, with alleged ties to Exxon.

At least four state attorneys general have opened investigations into Exxon based on accusations by liberal journalists that the company knew its product caused global warming and funded groups to oppose regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Exxon and a libertarian think tank have fought back and managed to defeat two of the four probes, which has effectively left only New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with an active investigation into the company.

Democrats’ bill “disapproves of activities by certain corporations, trade associations, foundations, and organizations funded by those corporations to deliberately mislead the public and undermine peer-reviewed scientific research about the dangers of their products; and to deliberately cast doubt on science in order to protect their financial interests.”

Neither of these bills are likely to even be voted on, but that’s not really the point. Lieu and Whitehouse have been pushing for state and federal prosecutors to investigate fossil fuel companies for months. Whitehouse even argued the Justice Department should launch a racketeering case against fossil fuel companies casting doubt on the liberal position on global warming.

“A lot of people haven’t seen through the scam that’s being perpetrated,” Whitehouse said in 2015. “So that’s one of the reasons I hope that we get another lawsuit out of the Department of Justice, like the one they brought against the tobacco industry that showed that the whole fraudulent scam was a racketeering enterprise, held them accountable for it.”

Emails uncovered by the Competitive Enterprise Institute — one of the think tanks targeted by liberal attorneys general — showed Whitehouse and one of his staffers were in communication with a group of scientists who asked the White House and DOJ to prosecute global warming skeptics.

Lieu has also been a huge proponent of prosecuting companies he sees as funding skeptics to protect their financial interests. He recently sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, urging her to keep investigating Exxon and its allies because freedom of speech “is not designed to protect fraud and deceit.”

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” Lieu and others wrote to Harris in June.

Harris is one of the initial four AGs to begin investigating Exxon, though it’s unclear how serious the probe is, since the company has not received a subpoena from her office on this matter. Harris is also running for U.S. Senate, so she may not actually follow through on investigating Exxon.



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, 2016


Bigger graph here

Note that this is about global ice not Arctic ice.  A global theory should be supported by global data.  It isn't

Updated NASA data on the polar ice cap is showing results that are contrary to all who claim global warming is shrinking it. Reportedly, global warming (better known presently as climate change) has not caused any recession of polar ice.

According to a report by Forbes, a NASA satellite instrument revealed that the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since it began its measurements back in 1979. From what was shown in its data, total polar ice has generally remained above the post-1979 average, a finding that contradicts the most-frequently spoken claims by those who push global warming as the primary reason why the polar ice caps are receding.

Polar Ice Cap

To be fair though, the aforementioned information on the polar ice caps not receding is taken as a whole. What scientists who pushed the the global warming agenda kept concentrating on was the sea ice loss, often associated with huge chunks of the polar ice cap itself falling into the ocean. Beginning in 2005, said sea ice receded at a modest pace for several years and by 2012, it was approximately 10 percent from the 1979 measurement. This fact has many of the same scientists, who push the global warming or climate change agenda, screaming it is the reason why 10 percent of sea ice has receded. In the full scope of things, 10 percent is considered a poor number to utilize as “proof.”
Actually, an article written by Daily Mail back in 2013 reports the opposite of what all the global warming and climate change enthusiasts are pushing. According to their report, the polar ice caps were growing by 29 percent in a year, a result that has caused them to coin the term “global cooling.” As visual proof, the report provided NASA photographs of the Arctic Ocean’s polar ice cap in August of 2012 and August of 2013. By comparing the photographs, there is clearly an expansion of said ice cap from the previous year.

Sea Ice, Arctic Ocean, Polar Ice Cap

The Daily Mail provided a graphic of two NASA photographs of the Arctic Ocean’s polar ice cap in August of 2012 and August of 2013. Comparing the two pictures, it is shown said ice cap has increased.

Despite the aforementioned sources showing that the polar ice caps have generally not receded, many global warming and climate change enthusiasts are still crying wolf, pushing the agenda the polar ice caps are melting away. All anyone has to do is do a simple internet news search (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.) for “polar ice caps” and they will find numerous articles on the doom and gloom caused by global warming and climate change. What’s funny is that some of those articles even have fixed countdowns that have already passed, yet have not come true.

With that in mind, one person who should be shoving his foot in his mouth is former Vice President Al Gore. Back in 2007, while receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning global warming especially through An Inconvenient Truth, he predicted there would be no more polar ice caps by 2014. Seven years later, we had a polar ice cap that is thicker and covers 1.7 million square kilometers.


The Link between Extreme Environmentalism and Hard-Core Racism

In my reading and writing on the history of eugenics (here, here, and here), I’ve begun to discern a common trait between the people called environmentalists and racists from a century ago.

They share a common outlook that is illiberal to its core. They imagine that a wise and powerful state can better plan a future for both nature and man. Both groups were panicked about unplanned progress, assuming it could only resort in degeneration, mongrelization, and destruction. They dreamed of a future in which they and not the unwashed masses would be in charge of how resources are used and how the human race propagates itself.

Madison Grant Saves the Trees and the White Race

Thanks to Mother Jones, my suspicions have been confirmed. An essay that pleads with the progressive movement to deal forthrightly with its own grim history of racism discusses the life and work of Madison Grant (1865-1937). This bushy-lipped aristocrat was the hero of the environmentalists in the Progressive Era. He saved the redwoods of California from logging. He was the guru behind the creation of national parks. He undertook the most aggressive efforts ever to preserve species from extinction. He was handsome, urbane, ridiculously well educated and well connected, and “the greatest conservationist who ever lived.” 

Also, Grant wrote the book that Adolf Hitler described as “my Bible.” The book is the 1916 The Passing of the Great Race. A bestseller for many years, on the coffee tables in all the fashionable houses, it is quite possibly the crudest, crankiest, and most bloodthirsty racialist tract ever written; and there’s a lot of competition for that title. He championed segregation, exclusion, sterilization, immigration restrictions, a welfare state (to keep women from working), a high bar for professional employment (minimum wages), and aggressive central planning.

The Passing is a hard read actually. You will discover more than you ever want to about the inferiority of everyone but people like Grant himself. He sounded alarm bells about the coming “mongrelization” of the race, given the influx of Jews, Italians, Slavs, Africans, and every group other than the one that supposedly built civilization and made it great. Uncontrolled procreation is destined to ruin all things. Along the way, you find wicked ethnic caricatures covered by the gloss of science (the “Polish Jew, whose dwarf stature, peculiar mentality, and ruthless concentration on self interest are being engrafted upon the stock of the nation…”).

Racism Is an Ideology

Once you read this literature – it was almost impossible to avoid in the period between 1880 and 1935 or so – you begin to get the hang of it. The word racism – thrown around far too recklessly – exists as an accurate description of a special version of anti-liberal ideology. This isn’t about off-color jokes, prejudice, or even a preference for one’s own people. It’s a settled worldview that postulates race, far above any other concern, as the driving-force of history. It has a nightmare scenario of random race-mixing as a consequence of free-wheeling sexual association. And it has a utopia in mind: a great nation inhabited only by the purest stock. It is anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, and anti-liberal to the core, and it views government as savior.

From a scientific point of view, the racists are deeply confused. They find differences between people and posit irreconcilable conflict. If they grappled with what Carlyle called the “dismal science,” they would discover a more beautiful picture: the division of labor, the exchange economy, and free association lead people to find value and dignity in other human beings regardless of race, and to discover it is in everyone’s self interest to respect the equal freedom of others. For this reason, the historical trajectory of commercial society has always been toward integration, inclusion, equality, and liberalization. This is also why racism as an ideology ultimately turns against liberalism. 

Grant’s theory of government sums it all up:

Mankind emerged from savagery and barbarism under the leadership of selected individuals whose personal prowess, capacity, or wisdom gave them the right to lead and the power to compel obedience. Such leaders have always been a minute fraction of the whole, but as long as the tradition of their predominance persisted they were able to use the brute strength of the unthinking herd as part of their own force, and were able to direct at all the blind dynamic impulse of the slaves, peasants, or lower classes. Such a despot had an enormous power at his disposal which, if he were benevolent or even intelligent, could be used, and most frequently was used, for the general uplift of the race. Even those rulers who most abused this power put down with merciless rigor the antisocial elements, such as pirates, brigands, or anarchists, which impair the progress of a community, as disease or wounds cripple an individual.

This is a restatement of the views of Thomas Carlyle, the founding father of fascism, united with pseudoscience of racial uplift, resulting in a worldview that serves as a perfect foil to the liberal tradition of Thomas Jefferson through F.A. Hayek. Is the fabric of history woven by brilliant planners with power, or by the cooperative and decentralized choices of millions of individual actors? There’s no question where people like Carlyle, Grant, and the fascist tradition stand on this question. To their minds, a unplanned social order is chaos and decline in the making, and is saved only by strong men.

Redwoods and Nordics

Thanks to the profile in Mother Jones, I had the chance to read some of Grant’s work on the environment as well, which predates his race books and continued even after. What one finds here is the same spirit at work. There is a theory of environmental history during which the fittest of the fit survive (think of the majestic trees of the Redwood Parks) while the unfit are culled. What is going wrong? The demands of commercial society are prompting stupid people to destroy this evolution. There is an apocalyptic scenario of a coming doom if government doesn’t act. But there is also a solution: total government ownership and control under the firm hand of intelligent people like himself.

It’s truly bizarre. Replace the mighty redwoods with the white race and you have an identical paradigm unfolding here. The enemy is the same (too many inferior people doing random things in their own commercial interest). The fear-mongering is the same: we are doomed if this keeps up. The solution is the same: government needs to act with ferocity.

Mother Jones is to be commended for its conclusion: “it's worth remembering because the movement has always struggled with elitist and exclusionary elements in its ranks.”

But, listen, this isn’t about the grim intellectual personalities of some of these Progressive-Era monsters. This isn’t even a personal attack or exposé. This is a problem of a worldview that is anti-liberal at its core. Whether we are talking about environmental purity or racial hygiene, the loathing of freedom itself is the issue and the factor that unites greens, browns, and reds of all stripes.

Enemies of freedom come in many flavors. The deeper you look into this history, the more the flavors blend together. We tend to think of these varieties of authoritarianism as being opposed to each other. It is more correct to think of them as the inevitable splits within the same movement.


Analysis: Green Energy Is Growing 5 Times Slower Than Dems Demand

America isn’t even close to getting enough energy from wind and solar power to the levels Democrats say are required despite extremely lucrative subsidies, according to an analysis of 2014 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) conducted by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

A draft of the Democratic Party’s proposed platform for this year’s election would require every state get 50 percent of its electricity from “clean sources” by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050. Though the platform never defines what constitutes a “clean” source, wind and solar energy are the only “clean” sources that can significantly expand.

Wind and solar power provided 4.4 and 0.4 of all electricity produced in America in 2014 respectively, according to the EIA. Last year, wind and solar power only accounted for 4.7 and 0.6 percent of all electricity generated in America respectively, according to data from the EIA. Hydropower and biofuels account for six and 1.6 percent of all electricity generated last year, but both are increasingly targeted by the green movement, difficult to rapidly expand and dependent upon regional conditions.

This means that the percent of wind power provided substantially more electricity, but grew at a slow rate of less than 6.4 percent, while solar produced far less electricity, but grew at a much faster rate of 50 percent. If both wind and solar power continue growing at their present rates, they will only provide 6.41 and 4.56 percent of America’s electricity by the 2020 deadline.

That’s only one-fifth of the electricity called for by the proposed Democratic platform, even if the extremely high growth rates of wind and solar continue. Even if hydropower, biofuels and geothermal,which are either growing at much slower rates or cannot be expanded, are added in, that would still only account for less than 20 percent of American electricity by 2020. Claiming that America will get 50 percent of its electricity from “clean” power by 2020 is therefore exceedingly unrealistic, even with generous subsidies.

Green energy generation is concentrated in only a handful of states, making the situation much worse. The EIA doesn’t break down wind power use by the state level, but its does for solar in 2014, and the results show that there may be no good way of encouraging solar power to grow more rapidly.

Out of the 50 US states, only Hawaii, California, Arizona and Florida got more than 1 percent of energy from solar power. Each one of these states has noticeably favorable weather environments for solar power. Only California had a notably high number of pro-solar power state policies and a majority of US states got less than 0.1 percent of their energy from solar power in 2014.

Statistical regressions run by The DCNF found no statistically significant correlation between the number of policies and the percentage of solar power obtained by the state. The DCNF mapped and displayed the data to demonstrate this clear lack of correlation.

Objectively, Hawaii gets a higher portion of its electricity from solar than any other state, getting 3.66 percent of its energy from solar. However, Hawaii only has 29 policies supporting green energy, which is far fewer than the national average of 51 policies.

Minnesota gets a mere 0.031 percent of its energy from solar, even though it has 141 pro-green energy policies, making it the second most pro-solar regulatory environment in the nation. Other states like Colorado, Oregon, Texas, New York and Washington all had at least 90 pro-green energy policies, but all get less of their electricity from solar than the national average. Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming got so little energy from solar power that the EIA found that the amount was legally indistinguishable from zero.

A 2014 study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found wind power is twice as expensive as the conventional power it replaces and that solar is three times as expensive.

Solar power gets 326 times more in subsidies than coal, oil, and natural gas per amount of energy generated, according to 2013 Department of Energy data collected by Forbes.

Solar power by itself receives more federal subsidies than all fossil fuel sources combined, according to the EIA. Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear, according to EIA data. Solar companies simply cannot maintain their current high levels of growth without government support, but even more support likely won’t speed up that growth enough to meet the Democrat’s goals. .

Most solar subsidies go to residential installations and include a 30 percent federal tax credit, while wind is usually industrial scale and is thus somewhat more efficient per dollar spent. Solar-leasing companies install rooftop systems, which cost a minimum of $10,000, at no upfront cost to the consumer. Companies do this because the state and federal subsidies are so massive that such behavior is actually profitable.

The DCNF previously used statistical analysis to show that the more pro-green energy policies a state has, the less likely it was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


The Green/Left obsession with the oil industry

Looking back on the 20th century and the first sixteen years of the 21st, future historians may find an extraordinary thread running through left-wing politics in the developed world – the systematic and never-ending assault on oil companies.

The assault has been relentless. It began with the 1911 antitrust laws in the US that were used to break up the Standard Oil Company into Esso, Sohio, Mobil, Amoco and Chevron.

It was seriously believed by some that that both world wars (and all subsequent ones), were driven by the oil companies, and not by the politicians alone.

Then in the last 30-odd years, communists and socialists of every stripe agreed that the oil industry, virtually on its own, was responsible for destroying the planet by emitting carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide

It is now rare to find commentators in the major media prepared to challenge a theory that defies history and common sense, especially as the basis is the assumption that carbon dioxide, and recently it seems carbon of any kind – even trees if you follow the weird logic of some extremists – is a poison.

Whole industries, entire governments with their associated bureaucracies, the UN, the EU, churches and universities have all embraced the idea of carbon emissions poisoning the climate and causing an impending world disaster of Armageddon proportions.

Those few who dare to challenge this orthodoxy are subject to ad hominem attacks of extraordinary viciousness.

They are pilloried, chased out of employment; their motives questioned, scorned, ridiculed, ostracised and treated as Protestants once were in 16th century Europe.

Is all this rational? Are oil companies and their products uniformly bad for human health and the world itself? Are the oil companies engaged in some vast conspiracy that works behind the scenes to suppress truth?

Such thoughts used to be the stuff that mad people spouted on street corners. Now it is in the mainstream of political life, taking on a momentum of its own.

In the US, public prosecutors (who are politicians first and professionals second it seems) have now chosen to use legal means to silence critics of global warming theory, on the grounds that it is not a theory but a fact, and to say otherwise is fraud.

The prime target of this assault on free speech is the Exxon oil company, of course. It is the largest company in the oil industry. Destroying it will be a major triumph for the climate alarmists and their socialist hangers-on.

It will be a victory for those who believe in a central all-powerful sate that controls every aspect of the life of its citizens. That this assault on essential democratic freedoms that were wrenched from the superstition and intolerance that gripped Europe before the industrial revolution, is a major shift from reason to emotion and fear.

Now no less than 16 US public prosecutors have banded together to demand that Exxon-Mobil hand over e-mails, paper memos, documents of any kind that so much as use words like “climate change”, “global warming” or “carbon dioxide emissions”, as well as all communications with those who oppose climate alarmism.

These guardians of US law and the US constitution and Bill of Rights want to hunt through decades of company documents in a massive fishing expedition to find Exxon guilty of something.

Those who follow the climate change phenomenon and its political offshoots have long been suspicious, and even alarmed, by some of its manifestations, and the steady march towards greater intolerance of dissent from its orthodoxy.

Climate change

The latest to join the Exxon hunt is the Massachusetts attorney-general Maura Healey who has broadened the chase to include 40 years of Exxon communications with a handful of conservative organisations known colloquially as “think tanks”.

Allegedly involved in the antiglobal warming doctrine is the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, the Beacon Hill Institute and the Acton Institute.

Curiously, neither the Beacon Hill nor the Acton Institute has ever received funds from Exxon. Never mind, they are conservative organisations, so bring them in for a grilling; they are bound to be guilty of something.

Healey isn’t the first attorney-general to target conservative groups that disagree with most Democratic politicians on global warming policy. The Virgin Islands attorney-general in March gunned for Exxon, issuing a subpoena to Exxon for its communications with dozens of conservative think tanks, policy experts and scientists.

New York’s attorney-general launched an investigation into Exxon’s global warming stance in November, based on reporting by liberal journalists at Inside Climate News and Columbia University, that Exxon had been covering up climate science for decades while funding right-wing activist groups.

He led a conference in March, which announced that more prosecutors would probe Exxon and fight against Republican attacks on federal environmental regulations.

Former vice-president Al Gore attended the event, as did a group of environmental activists. He even suggested that global warming sceptics should be jailed, claiming that freedom of speech did not mean the right to commit fraud. It was a veiled attack on scientific inquiry.

Exxon has responded by filing a complaint against the New York attorney-general, supported by two Republican attorneys-general. It has also filed against the Massachusetts attorney-general, claiming she has attacked Exxon as a calculated political stunt, alleging that she announced the results of her investigation before she served her subpoena to the company.

It will be a great legal fight that Exxon has the resources to bear. It is ironic that a private company should now bear the banner of individual liberty to prove that it is not the enemy of democracy but by force majeure, its defender.


Global Warming Insurance Requires Reasonable Premiums

Global warming advocates are increasingly claiming carbon dioxide restrictions are a prudent and conservative insurance policy against severe global warming. Insurance policies, however, are only prudent and conservative when the price of the premiums is reasonable considering the likelihood and severity of the risk. Global warming insurance policies based on affordable natural gas, nuclear, and hydro power might make reasonable investments, but insurance policies based on unreliable and prohibitively expensive wind and solar power do not. If global warming advocates hope to forge a broad consensus for American policymakers to purchase insurance, they need to stop jacking up the premiums through expensive wind and solar power.

A mountain of scientific evidence, with some noteworthy examples found here, here, here, and here, strongly indicates (1) we are unlikely to experience rapid warming in the foreseeable future and (2) the consequences of any future warming are likely to be only modestly harmful, at worst. Many scientists, including highly credentialed scientists and policy experts at the CO2 Coalition, make a strong argument that the net impacts of our moderately warming planet are beneficial rather than harmful. Even so, the unlikely but plausible possibility that very harmful future warming will occur might justify reasonably priced global warming insurance.

Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. The price of energy directly impacts how much money people have left over for food, clothing, housing, health care, education, and consumer goods after paying electricity and fuel bills. The price of energy also factors into every good and service that is purchased and traded in our economy. When energy prices go up, it is like a tax increase – with the exception that people theoretically get something of value in return when they pay higher taxes to government. When energy prices go down, it is like a tax cut giving people more money to spread throughout the economy and improve the quality of their lives.

Carbon dioxide reductions can come in many forms. Some of the most prominent environmental activists insist on wind and solar power to achieve those reductions. However, nuclear and hydro power are also zero-emissions power sources. Nuclear and hydro power are much more dependable than variable wind and solar power, making them even more effective and reliable at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Also, natural gas cuts carbon dioxide emissions in half versus coal power.

These multiple options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions give us multiple means of purchasing global warming insurance. When purchasing life, home, health, or auto insurance, a prudent investor engages in comparison shopping to avoid overpaying. Policymakers considering purchasing global warming insurance must do the same thing.

Wind and solar power clearly impose expensive insurance premiums. A study by the left-of-center Brookings Institution found replacing conventional power with wind power increases electricity prices by 50 percent. The same study found replacing conventional power with solar power triples electricity prices. Even these price premiums don’t tell the full story, as the variable nature of wind and solar power poses additional costs and strains on electrical generation and distribution.

Fortunately for people seeking carbon dioxide reductions, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro power offer more affordable alternatives. Natural gas and hydro power are cost-competitive with coal. Nuclear power is somewhat more expensive, but still more affordable and reliable than wind and solar. Conservatives are wary of taking too much money out of consumers’ household budgets as “insurance” against unlikely global warming harms, but conservatives may well sign on to global warming insurance that entails adding more affordable energy sources to our power mix.

This leaves global warming advocates with a choice: continue insisting on expensive wind and solar power that lack public support and will slowly get implemented if at all, or immediately assure substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by supporting natural gas, nuclear, and hydro power.


Greenie versus Greenie in Australia

Sadly, the realistic ones were defeated by the sentimentalists.  With few dingoes and no Aborigines to hunt them, kangaroo numbers have grown into pest proportions, which  endangers other, smaller animals.  But that is too cerebral for the sentimentalists

Bush Heritage Australia has forfeited the inheritance of a 350-acre property near Bega and lost numerous donors as they face backlash from a planned kangaroo cull at Scottsdale? Reserve, south of Canberra.

Regular supporters of the non-profit organisation have pulled donations following reports of a cull, with one referring to the organisation as "hopeless frauds".

Bush Heritage aims to "conserve biodiversity" at properties either purchased or donated across Australia.

However, the Australian Society for Kangaroos unveiled a practice of culling which has left supporters feeling lied to.

"I've cancelled my donation forever," one email read, in correspondence with ASK.

"If so-called saviours of the bush can't do it without this slaughter they shouldn't be doing it. Hopeless frauds."

Another person emailed ASK to say they would no longer be leaving their "precious" property to Bush Heritage in their Will.

"Following what seems to be a constant stream of horror stories [including] secretive native animal culling, we have now changed our Wills by omitting any reference to Bush Heritage," the email reads.

Bill Taylor, of Bywong, said he was a contributor to the non-profit for a number of years, before "pulling the plug" when the organisation didn't respond to questions about kangaroo culling he raised in reference to their annual report.

In response to the protests, Bush Heritage Australia has cancelled the kangaroo cull, which was approved by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Science and research manager at Bush Heritage Australia, Jim Radford, said kangaroo culls had been undertaken at the Scottsdale Reserve in the past, however the planned cull was called off due to, in part, concerns for public safety.

He said one the main concerns was "unauthorised access onto the site". "We didn't have any direct evidence of that and we weren't approached directly but we considered there was a risk," he said.

He said Bush Heritage had a range of ways to manage the kangaroo population, but as a last resort they turned to culling the macropods. "Under certain circumstances we do need to reduce the pressure applied by an excessive number of kangaroos," he said.

The Scottsdale Reserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna classed as vulnerable or critically endangered, including the Rosenberg's monitor and Yellow-box grassy woodland.

Mr Radford said the kangaroo population in the grasslands at Scottsdale Reserve was at more than twice the recommended level for maintaining ecologically sustainable populations.

"I think there is a great misunderstanding out there," Dr Radford said. "In some landscapes there are hugely elevated and unsustainable numbers of roos.

"We aim to maintain a healthy, resilient kangaroo population but there comes a point where their a risk to their own welfare from starvation stress. But to be honest our primary concern is the other species that are potentially impacted."

He said there would not be a kangaroo cull undertaken in the "foreseeable future" at Scottsdale Reserve



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

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


11 July, 2016

Now it's mangroves (persongroves?)

All bad things are caused by global warming.  That seems to be the orthodoxy. Evidence be damned. Warmists are like the people who see UFO's ..... every light in the sky is a UFO.  So coral bleaching in 2015 was due to global warming; kelp dieback was due to global warming and now dieback among some mangroves in Northern Australia is due to global warming.  And, as we all surely know, global warming is caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  As CO2 increases, so we get hotter.  So if all these diebacks were caused by a warming globe, CO2 levels should have been shooting up, right?

Fortunately the guy below can pinpoint the time when the mangroves died off.  He says it happened "in September-October 2015".  So CO2 levels should have shot up around that time, right?  In fact, 2015 was the one year in which CO2 levels stagnated. 2015 CO2 levels at Mauna Loa just fluctuated up and down from month to month around the 400ppm mark.  See the record below, a screen grab from Mauna Loa.

The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm. So, far from shooting up, CO2 was in stasis.  So any warming CANNOT be attributed to a CO2 rise. Dr Norm Duke is talking through his anus.  There WAS warming in 2015 but that was due to El Nino. It cannot have been due to a CO2 rise, because there wasn't any

Close to 10,000 hectares of mangroves have died across a stretch of coastline reaching from Queensland to the Northern Territory.

International mangroves expert Dr Norm Duke said he had no doubt the "dieback" was related to climate change.

"It's a world-first in terms of the scale of mangrove that have died," he told the ABC.

Dr Duke flew 200 kilometres between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers in the Northern Territory last month to survey the extent of the dieback.

He described the scene as the most "dramatic, pronounced extreme level of dieback that I've ever observed".

Dr Duke is a world expert in mangrove classification and ecosystems, based at James Cook University, and in May received photographs showing vast areas of dead mangroves in the Northern Territory section of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Until that time he and other scientists had been focused on mangrove dieback around Karmuba, Queensland, at the opposite end of the Gulf.

"The images were compelling. They were really dramatic, showing severe dieback of mangrove shoreline fringing — areas just extending off into infinity," Dr Duke said.

"Certainly nothing in my experience had prepared me to see images like that."

Dr Duke said he wanted to discover if the dieback in the two states was related. "We're talking about 700 kilometres of distance between incidences at that early time," he said.

The area the Northern Territory photos were taken in was so remote the only way to confirm the extent and timing of the mangrove dieback was with specialist satellite imagery.

With careful analysis the imagery confirmed the mangrove dieback in both states had happened in the space of a month late last year, coincident with coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

"We're talking about 10,000 hectares of mangroves were lost across this whole 700 kilometre span," Dr Duke said.     "It's not only unprecedented, it's extensive, it's severe and it's noticeable.

"I have not seen such imagery anywhere before, from all over the world. I work in many places around the world and I look at damaged mangroves as part of my work all the time. These are the most shocking images of dieback I've ever seen."

Dr Duke flew to the Northern Territory in June to judge the physical extent of the mangroves' damage. With the support of the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission he flew in a helicopter between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers.
What is causing the 'dieback'?

Dr Duke said the cause of such extensive damage was not immediately evident.

"Like a large oil spill, like a cyclone or severe storm — none of those things had occurred in the region in recent times," he said.

"But in that mix of things that were going on at the same time we're starting to hear about coral bleaching ... [and] hot water on the east coast."

The coincident timing of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and the dieback of mangroves in the north led Dr Duke to look at climatic factors.

"I started hearing that the wet season was missing from the Northern Territory over that time period," he said. "The wet season was only one-month-long in the year before. Usually the wet season in the Northern Territory in that area is three or four months long," Dr Duke said.

He said he was convinced unusually low rainfall in the 2014 wet season and elevated temperatures led to the massive mangrove dieback. He said a deadly lack of fresh water and increased water and atmospheric temperatures stressed the plants beyond their tolerance.

Satellite imagery pinpoints the damage to a period of around four weeks in September-October 2015.


Highland bog reveals global warming threat to peatlands

The article below is just another Greenie fraud.  As you will see from the appended journal abstract, the research neither used nor had any data on global warming.  All they showed is that sea-level rise exposes peat to more salt, which is bad for it.  Sea levels have of course been rising ever since the end of the little ice-age

Rising sea levels and increased pollution linked to global warming are posing a huge threat to the future of the world’s peatland areas, new research has concluded.

Geologists based their findings on a major study of Kentra Moss, in Lochaber, a blanket bog deemed a special conservation area. They found climate change is increasing salt levels in peatlands which makes it less able to store carbon.

Peat bogs cover 3 per cent of the Earth’s surface and play a crucial role in absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.

Experts say that natural ecosystems are now under “considerable threat” around the world – and significantly in Scotland, where 20 per cent of the land is covered in peat, storing 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon.

Peatlands are also vital for providing natural filters for clean water, sustaining plants and wildlife, and providing some rural areas with fuel as well as the water used to give whisky its distinctive taste and colour.

Study leader Dr Angela Gallego-Salas, senior lecturer in physical geography at Exeter University, said: “The results were startling. Peatland areas are vital for our ecosystems. We need to act now to protect our peatlands. The effects of global warming are already being observed, but the longer we wait to act, the quicker changes to our environment, which would have a devastating impact on many regions around the world, will take place.”

Her team examined the impact salt found in seawater has on how successfully peatland ecosystems accumulate carbon from the atmosphere. They discovered that the rate at which peatland areas accumulated carbon was significantly impacted as the concentration of salt rose.

The results – which appeared in the scientific journal Scientific Reports – highlighted how sea levels linked to predicted climate change pose a serious threat to the future security of peatlands.


Vulnerability of the peatland carbon sink to sea-level rise

Alex Whittle & Angela V. Gallego-Sala


Freshwater peatlands are carbon accumulating ecosystems where primary production exceeds organic matter decomposition rates in the soil, and therefore perform an important sink function in global carbon cycling. Typical peatland plant and microbial communities are adapted to the waterlogged, often acidic and low nutrient conditions that characterise them.

Peatlands in coastal locations receive inputs of oceanic base cations that shift conditions from the environmental optimum of these communities altering the carbon balance. Blanket bogs are one such type of peatlands occurring in hyperoceanic regions.

Using a blanket bog to coastal marsh transect in Northwest Scotland we assess the impacts of salt intrusion on carbon accumulation rates. A threshold concentration of salt input, caused by inundation, exists corresponding to rapid acidophilic to halophilic plant community change and a carbon accumulation decline.

For the first time, we map areas of blanket bog vulnerable to sea-level rise, estimating that this equates to ~7.4% of the total extent and a 0.22?Tg yr?1 carbon sink. Globally, tropical peatlands face the proportionally greatest risk with ~61,000?km2 (~16.6% of total) lying ?5?m elevation. In total an estimated 20.2?±?2.5 GtC is stored in peatlands ?5?m above sea level, which are potentially vulnerable to inundation.

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 28758 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep28758

Fuel me or fool me

America has centuries of fossil fuels, but hydrocarbon deniers want to strangle our future

Paul Driessen

Fool me once, the adage says, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The reality-based fossil fuel version states: Fuel me for 150 years, fuel me forever – or at least until creative, entrepreneurial spirits can devise reliable, affordable alternatives. The 2016 Democratic Party would change this adage to read: Fuel me for 150 years, fuel me never again.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton want to regulate drilling and fracking into oblivion, or ban them outright. Clinton also says she is “going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

The draft Democratic Party platform supports a “phase down” of fossil fuel production on public lands, turning those lands into “engines of the clean energy economy,” getting 50% of US electricity from “clean sources” by 2027, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

This Big Green, Bigger Government, Democratic ideology represents destructive madness.

1) Oil, natural gas and coal replaced human and animal muscle, wood, waterwheels and whale oil. They provided the energy that lifted billions from abject poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death, to the amazing living standards and longevity we enjoy today. They still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy, and the vast majority of nations are burning them in ever-increasing amounts to power their own health and economic transformations. Even wealthy developed countries are reexamining punitive climate and “renewable” energy policies, to embrace fossil fuels anew.

2) Fears that we will run out of oil and gas are unfounded. In 1945, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) reports, the USA had 20 billion barrels of oil reserves. Between 1945 and 2014 we consumed 177 billion barrels – and still had 40 billion barrels of proven reserves left in the ground. It’s the same story with iron, copper, aluminum, titanium and other vital raw materials. The more we use, the more we have – thanks to constantly improving exploration, production and other technologies, driven by rising demand and prices, conceived and built by mankind’s increasingly creative genius, our Ultimate Resource.

3) In fact, we are still blessed with centuries of fossil fuels. Oslo-based Rystad Energy consulting calculates that the United States has 264 billion barrels of technologically and economically recoverable oil: 8 billion more than Russia and 52 billion more than Saudi Arabia.

Based on current consumption rates, IER and EIA (Energy Information Administration) data show that US “proven reserves” (recoverable at today’s prices) total 5 years of oil, 13 years of natural gas and 319 years of coal. As prices rise and technologies improve, “technically recoverable” figures soar to 206 years for oil, 83 years for gas and 597 years for coal. “In-place total resource” estimates send these calculations to an astronomical 536, 510 and 12,849 years respectively!

4) According to the IER and economist Steve Moore, this amazing abundance could translate into 6 million new jobs and $1 trillion a year in energy exports. America’s non-environmentally sensitive western public lands could hold $50 trillion in energy resources – which new pipelines, refineries and liquefied natural gas terminals could bring to the world, unleashing incredible job and economic growth. However, Mrs. Clinton and Democrats oppose these facilities and want the resources locked up.

Those policies would be disastrous, especially for western states that would be turned into playgrounds for rich and famous elites, and for our manufacturing heartland. A University of Colorado Leeds School of Business study projects that eliminating 75-80% of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Centennial State would cost it $11 billion per year and 62,000 jobs by 2030.

5) In the absence of government diktats, we will gradually and voluntarily make a transition to new energy sources that we cannot even imagine today, long before we run out of these fossil fuel bounties. We would do it without destroying jobs and economies – just as we did over these past 150 years. Who among us, just 100 years ago, could have predicted the coal, gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants that generate 93% of today’s electricity … or the cell phone, internet, medical, entertainment, manufacturing and other incredible technologies that are made possible by electricity?

Any coerced transition will destroy millions of jobs and send families, communities, states and nations into social and economic chaos – for no environmental or climate benefit.

6) Widespread wind and solar facilities would have monumental impacts. Industry data reveal that getting 50% of US electricity from wind would require some 465,000 turbines and 48,000 miles of new transmission lines, across croplands and wildlife habitats equal to North Dakota (45,000,000 acres) – and 675,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earth metals. They would impair human health and kill millions of birds and bats annually. This is unconscionable and unsustainable.

And to top it off, we would still need backup coal or gas generators – unless we are willing to have to only minimal, expensive, constantly interrupted electricity, when it is available, rather than sufficient, affordable, dependable power, when we need it for modern lives, livelihoods and living standards.

Ruling elites may be happy to impose that on “commoners.” They will never tolerate it for themselves.

7) Every one of these “clean,” “green,” “sustainable,” “renewable” energy edicts and fantasies is based on assertions that fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases that are causing “dangerous manmade climate change.”

However, as my Climate Hype Exposed book, my numerous articles, and studies and books by hundreds of climate scientists reveal, there is no convincing evidence that carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions have replaced the powerful, interconnected natural forces that have always driven climate change. Climate alarmists cannot show that recent or ongoing climate and weather fluctuations, cycles and events are significantly different from those of the last 50, 150 or 1,500 years.

Climate alarmists cannot separate human influences from natural causes for any recent changes. They do not know how much Earth will warm by 2100. They cannot say at what point further warming will be “dangerous” – or for which plant, wildlife or human populations. They admit that slashing America’s fossil fuel use will reduce global warming by only a few hundredths of one degree (assuming CO2 drives climate change), especially if most countries continue burning coal, oil and natural gas.

8) If we truly want to Make America great again, Help working class Americans, and Care about the poor – we will not “Keep it in the ground.” We will not squander our bounteous fossil fuel inheritance on the pagan altar of climate chaos. We will not sacrifice our children’s future for illusory ecological benefits.

The draft Democratic Party platform essentially says we must safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the real needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations and welfare of America’s and the world’s poorest people.

It says we must protect poor and working classes from alleged, exaggerated and imagined climate disasters decades from now – by imposing very real energy policy disasters that will adversely affect their jobs, living standards, health, wellbeing and life spans today.

That’s why the Obama EPA alone has issued more than 3,900 new tiny-print rules and regulations, totaling nearly 76,000 pages in the Federal Register, and costing us tens of billions of dollars a year.

Big Green Democrats think they can fool Americans again and again, and continue asserting their moral superiority, condescension and contempt for anyone who does not accept their ideologies and agendas. They believe it’s good policy to send America deeper into energy and economic decline.

Are they right? Or are voters finally waking up? The coming months will tell.

Via email

Lake Poopo again

The NYT has a podcast on this unpleasant-sounding lake.  Below is the promotional screed for the podcast.  I first commented on the lake last February. I might as well repeat what I said then:

What a lot of Poopo! Since there was no statistically significant terrestrial warming for over 18 years the lake was not affected by it. There may have been some local warming due to last year's El Nino but but diversion of water flowing into it will be the big culprit.  And it is shallow so does dry out periodically anyway

There used to be a lake in Bolivia. Lake Poopó. Then it disappeared — along with most of the villagers who depended on the lake, for generations.

The Andes bureau chief, Nicholas Casey, went with the Times photographer Josh Haner to Llapallapani, Bolivia, and wrote what is a cautionary tale about climate change and its consequences.

In this podcast, Mr. Casey and Mr. Haner talk about a world of pink flamingos and fish-rich seas that is no more. Mr. Casey describes the difficulty involved in explaining “flying cameras” — drone cameras — to village leaders. And Mr. Haner talks about the special challenges presented when he is tasked with documenting something — like Lake Poopó — that is no longer there.


MIT Study: No Scientific Consensus On Global Warming Crop Impact

Scientists disagree on the effects of global warming on American agriculture, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study published Friday.

The research used climate and agricultural computer models to conclude that global warming would have numerous positive impacts on US farming, including fewer frosts, a longer growing season and an earlier start of ?eld operations by the end of the century. However, the study also found that plants could potentially suffer from more heat stress and more dry days.

The study’s one firm conclusion was that farmers would likely be able to adapt to the potential challenges caused by global warming.

“The new study, and its approach to trying to better identify the type and character of future climate changes that may be best related to future agricultural productivity is useful, primarily, as the authors point out, in helping to drive adaptive strategies,” Chip Knappenberger, climate scientist at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is silly to think that U.S. farmers will not adapt to climate change—after all adaptive measures are at the heart of agriculture, as different crop varieties, different farming techniques, different technologies, etc., are what drives crop yields ever higher, even in the face climate change. This has happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future.”

The study rebukes previous claims that global warming could cause the total collapse of American and global agriculture.

“Projections of agricultural collapse (in the U.S. or abroad) as a result of human-caused global warming are naive at best, intentionally misleading at worst,” Knappenberger continued. “The new paper largely avoids such pitfalls as it recognizes that a) all climate change is not bad for U.S. agriculture, and b) more importantly, that the future of agricultural productivity depends on continuing adaptation—something that the authors of the new paper hope that their results aid in.”

The study was authored by a research team from MIT and the University of California at Davis and was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Research Letters. The new research is an enormous boost for scientists skeptical of global warming, as it indicates they were correct about a long running positive effect of rising CO2 emissions.

Previous studies have estimated that global warming is causing roughly half of Earth’s land-mass to demonstrate “significant greening” and that only 4 percent of the world saw a decrease in plant life. The increased vegetation growth caused by warmer temperatures is likely slowing global warming as well, since more trees and plants equates to more sequestered CO2.

Other research suggests that increasing global temperatures means the air has more capacity to hold moisture from the oceans, leading to more rains in arid regions of the world. This is even true in the Earth’s driest regions, such as the Sahara desert. The research concludes that arid areas and deserts in Australia, California, Central Asia, Sinai and Southwestern Africa can all expect more rain.

This is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected and even United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now believes that the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.

Global warming will likely have many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Canadian moose, improving the environment better for bees and literally causing deserts to bloom with foliage.

Despite this growing consensus, environmental groups still believe that plants and animals aren’t capable of adapting to changing temperatures, leading to mass extinctions and agricultural disruptions caused by global warming.

“One-fourth of the Earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050 due to climate change,” The Nature Conservancy claims. “Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns across the globe, forcing animal species to migrate to new, cooler areas in order to survive.”


The Climate Police Crack-Up

Those Exxon Mobil subpoenas? Never mind

Free-speech advocates have reason to cheer as two state attorneys general have walked back their subpoenas against Exxon Mobil Corp., tacitly admitting that their climate-change harassment lacks a legal basis.

Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker recently withdrew his subpoena of Exxon Mobil. He was a leader among the 17 AGs charging that the oil giant defrauded shareholders by hiding the truth about global warming. That’s hard to prove when the company’s climate-change research was published in peer-reviewed journals.

Mr. Walker also targeted some 90 think tanks and other groups in an attempt to punish climate dissent. These groups and others, including these columns, pushed back on First Amendment grounds, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute counter-sued Mr. Walker and demanded sanctions. He pulled his subpoena against CEI last month.

Mr. Walker claimed he is dropping his Exxon subpoena so the U.S. Justice Department can more easily pursue its racketeering charges against the company. But that’s glitter on a surrender document. The reason the state AGs chose to pursue Exxon for shareholder fraud is because anyone with legal knowledge knows how difficult it would be for the feds to bring a successful RICO case. To our knowledge, Justice doesn’t even have such an investigation underway.

Meantime, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed court documents declaring she won’t enforce her subpoena against Exxon until the oil giant’s countersuits against the AGs are settled. Exxon has sued Ms. Healey in Texas federal court to quash her subpoena as a violation of its First and Fourth Amendment rights. Mrs. Healey clearly sensed the political dangers of dragging her office on a long, anti-free-speech march and is putting the investigation to the side.

That leaves California’s Kamala Harris and New York’s Eric Schneiderman as the two remaining AGs with outstanding Exxon subpoenas. Mrs. Harris joined this escapade to burnish her progressive bone fides as she runs to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, and her office has done little investigating. Mr. Schneiderman has the most prosecutorial leeway under his state’s egregious Martin Act, which doesn’t require proof of intent in civil cases. But he has also been on the political defensive for trying to punish policy disagreements.

The climate police would do more for their cause if they spent more time persuading the public on the merits of climate risks and policy. Their resort to abusive government power suggests that they think they have a weak case.



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10 July, 2016

Spectacular 'forests of the sea' kelp fields which span thousands of kilometres and fund a $10 BILLION tourism and seafood industry wiped out by a marine heatwave

Greenies can't help themselves.  They can't resist tying any natural disaster to global warming.  The dieoff  described below happened in 2011, in the middle of a global temperature stasis that had lasted 12 years at that point.  Over that period, global temperatures had risen and fallen to the tune of only hundredths of one degree per annum.  It was as clear an era of NON-warming as one would ever be likely to find.  So global warming CANNOT be responsible for what happened to the kelp: There wasn't any such warming at that time

Hundreds of kilometres of a remarkable kelp forest off the western coast of Australia have been wiped out by marine heatwaves, a study has found.

These 'forests of the sea' make up 90 per cent of the north-western tip of the Great Southern Reef and underpin tourism and fishery industries that pump $10 billion into the Australian economy each year.

About 2,000 kilometres of the Western Australian coastline from Cape Leeuwin in the south to Ningaloo in the north of Western Australia was analysed in a study that spanned 14 years from 2001.

A heatwave in 2011 has been named the primary cause of loss, with 100 kilometres of kelp destroyed, which made up 43 per cent of the kelp in Western Australia.  Above-average ocean temperatures in 2012 and 2013 were said to 'compound' these effects.

The demise of the kelp forests is likely permanent researchers have said in a study published in the journal of Science on Thursday.

The forests that covered 70 per cent of shallow rocky reefs in mid-Western Australia have now become 'barren', researcher Dr Scott Bennett told ABC.

Dr Bennett who helped in the survey said he thought his team had initially made an error when they dived into the reefs off Kalbarri.

'We jumped into these waters at sites we've been going to for the past 10 years expecting to see large kelp forests and it was just a desert,' he said.

'We thought we'd made a mistake and got the location wrong. It is just heartbreaking to see such a complex, beautiful, vibrant ecosystem decimated.'

Turf algae had multiplied and tropical fish communities had increased which were preventing the regrowth of the kelp because they were being eaten before they managed to re-establish.

The extensive loss of kelp forests in Western Australia provides a strong warning of what the future might be like for Australia's temperate marine environments.

Climate change was creating more frequent heatwaves helping the southward movement of warmer waters and tropical species to increase in the region.

The survey also revealed that 2.5 degrees Celsius is the 'tipping point' for kelp forests.

Associate Professor Thomas Wernberg, from the University of Western Australia worked alongside Dr Bennett and described the kelp forests as the 'biological engine' of the reef system.

'They are as critical to the Great Southern Reef as corals are to the Great Barrier Reef,' he said.

'They are up to 16 times more productive than our most productive wheat fields and provide the foundations for the ecosystem.'

Species such as abalone and rock lobster thrive in these environments which are some of the most valuable species of marine life for fisheries in Australia.

'The impact has been particularly prominent at northern reefs, where kelp forests have disappeared completely,' Professor Wernberg said.

'Recovery is unlikely because of the large grazing pressure, continued warming and the likelihood of more heatwaves in the future.'


Climate change is already killing people (?)

Amusing that the only evidence put forward for the claim in the headline above is something that happened in just two cities way back in 2003.  Would the solution to this be to cut off their cheap power so that they cannot afford air conditioning?  Or perhaps impoverish them so much that they can't afford to install air-conditioning in the first place?

As we constantly strive to reduce our fossil fuel emission and our impact on the world, climate change can sometimes seem like a problem that is still a few years away from impacting our daily lives.

But a new study has revealed the dangers of climate change are already affecting us in a and man-made climate change led to the death of hundreds of people across Europe sixteen years ago.

A heatwave in 2003 killed 506 people in Paris and 315 in London, experts have said in a new study.

The study led by University of Oxford scientists said there were 315 heat-related deaths as Europe experienced its hottest summer on record.

But a fifth of those can be blamed on man-made pollution.

It found human-induced climate change increased the risk of heat-related deaths in central Paris by around 70 per cent and by 20 per cent in London.

No heatwave on record has ever had such a widespread effect on human health, as experienced during those months of 2003.

A fifth of those deaths can be blamed on man-made pollution.

The study led by University of Oxford scientists said there were 315 heat-related deaths in London as Europe experienced its hottest summer on record, out of which 64 were caused by climate change.

The study was the first to calculate the number of premature deaths and it's link to air pollution and warned heatwaves will become more common and more severe in the future.

From June, apart from a brief respite, the UK languished under sustained above average temperatures until the end of August.

Several weather records were broken including the UK's highest recorded temperature 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) at Faversham in Kent on 10 August and Scotland's highest temperature record with 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) recorded a day earlier in Greycrook in the Scottish borders.

France was hardest hit and in Paris, the hottest city in Europe, 506 out of 735 summer deaths were due to a heatwave made worse by man-made climate change.

The results were based on climate modelling and should help officials prepare for future heatwaves and protect the elderly who are most at risk.

It found human-induced climate change increased the risk of heat-related deaths in central Paris by around 70 per cent and by 20 per cent in London.

Researchers stressed the findings apply to just the two cities and the numbers affected by climate change across Europe will be higher.

'It is often difficult to understand the implications of a planet that is one degree warmer than preindustrial levels in the global average, but we are now at the stage where we can identify the cost to our health of man-made global warming,' Dr Daniel Mitchell, from Oxford's Environmental Change Institute said.

'This research reveals that in two cities alone hundreds of deaths can be attributed to much higher temperatures resulting from human-induced climate change.'

The study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters looked at the three months June to August.

It warned no heatwave on record has ever had such a widespread effect on human health, as experienced during those months of 2003.

Previous studies have attributed changes in heatwave frequency and severity to human-caused climate change, or demonstrated the effect of extreme heat on human mortality.

But the study was the first to attribute the number of premature deaths to climate change during extreme heat waves.

Co-author Dr Chris Huntingford, of Oxford's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, added: 'Traditionally, climate research has linked increasing levels of greenhouses gases simply to trends in weather, such as generally higher day-to-day temperatures.

'However, linking the impact of burning of fossil fuels right through to health implications enables much better planning to prepare for any further climatic changes.'

'By starkly showing we can measure the toll in human lives that climate change is already taking through worsening extreme heat, this study shines a spotlight on our responsibilities as a society for limiting further damage,' said co-author Dr Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, US.



The “Climate Protection Plan 2050? is supposed to make Germany’s economy more environmentally friendly. But it is stirring resistance among Christian Democratic leaders who fear the plan endangers Germany’s prosperity and social peace.

There is great discontent among the parliamentary Christian Democratic Party (CDU) about the “Climate Protection Plan 2050? presented by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks (SPD). With her draft, which is currently under review at the Federal Chancellery and which should be decided in the autumn by the Cabinet, Hendricks is essentially “proscribing a command economy.” According to a report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the accusation is being made by four deputy parliamentary leaders of the CDU and CSU in a letter to Chancellery minister Peter Altmaier (CDU).

In their letter, the leaders call for early discussions about the basic thrust of the climate plan before the government takes any decisions. The CDU politicians Georg Nüßlein (CSU), Gitta Connemann (CDU), Michael Fuchs (CDU) and Arnold Vaatz (CDU) claim that the plan is “basically wrong”, that it would have “a massive impact on the future competitiveness of the business location Germany” and was likely to “jeopardise the economy, prosperity and social peace in our country.”

The Chancellery is currently examining Hendricks’ plan before it goes to further consultation in other ministries. The Cabinet is expected to decide the “plan” in the autumn. It is supposed to be a kind of road map for German climate policy in the coming decades and will be updated regularly.

According to the plan, Germany will essentially be completely decarbonised. It includes the progressive withdrew from coal, the full conversion of the transport system to electrical cars by 2030, the ban of central gas and oil heating systems for new buildings, the promotion of cycling and organic farming, the reducing of meat consumption by at least half by 2050 and a rise in taxes that take into consideration environmental issues.


Japan’s solar boom is beginning to falter

Until recently, the resource-poor nation has been one of the leading markets for photovoltaics, helping to prop up an industry hurt by falling prices for the technology and policy changes. But four years after the introduction of generous incentives to promote clean energy in the wake of the Fukushima atomic meltdown, data show the boom is losing steam.

The slowdown -- after several years of rapid growth -- threatens to undermine the government’s push to find a clean alternative to nuclear power and dims what has been a bright spot for the global photovoltaic industry.

“As the declining volume of PV module shipments shows, the market is shrinking,” said Takehiro Kawahara, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Repeated tariff cuts and difficulty securing land and grid connections are among some of the reasons that have led to a drop in new applications to develop solar, Kawahara said.

For Japanese panel makers such as Sharp Corp. and Kyocera Corp., “the shrinking domestic market forces them to lower costs to remain in competition with international players or consider exiting the segment,” he said.

More Bankruptcies

Solar power-related bankruptcies are increasing, according to Teikoku Databank Ltd. The number of companies that went bust rose to 36 in 2015, from 17 in 2013 and 21 in 2014. Bankruptcies continue to accelerate, with 17 seen in just the first five months of 2016, Teikoku said.

Some question what has Japan got for all the money spent on promoting clean energy. While more solar energy is being produced, it still comprises a fraction of the nation’s power generation mix.

Solar has grabbed the lion’s share of what’s known as feed-in tariffs -- above market rates awarded to producers of clean energy. With available land for solar in short supply and some utilities saying they can’t accept more intermittent solar power, that’s a worry for some. Moreover, only about a third of the solar projects awarded the preferred rates have actually begun producing power.

“Feed-in tariffs have proved there’s potential for 80 gigawatts of solar in Japan,” said Masaaki Kameda, secretary-general at the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, the country’s solar lobby. “But to bring online this potential, various policies need to be applied continuously,” he said.

The government has tightened rules for projects that have been delayed and plans to introduce an auction system for large-scale solar next year.

“Now that we know that solar power generation systems can certainly supply energy, it is important to find out how we can make the most of the generated power,” Kameda said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to play it both ways -- saying he’s a supporter of clean energy, while also backing a continued role for nuclear and a big role for coal.

Despite clouds over the nuclear industry and repeated failed attempts to get reactors back online, Japan’s latest policy pronouncements see nuclear accounting for as much as 22 percent of Japan’s power mix by 2030. Similarly, the government sees a bright future for coal at 26 percent.


‘Carbon markets in US, Europe & Asia are collapsing, with prices so low they’ve become virtually valueless’

Carbon markets, the free-enterprise solution to saving the world from global warming, are now in danger themselves.

The idea was simple enough: Set a cap on carbon emissions, issue enough permits to allow power plants, refineries and the like to stay within those limits and then shrink the cap over time to achieve reductions. The companies whose emissions fall fastest can sell their permits for a profit to slower responders — call it a reward for good behaviour.

The reality, though, is more complex. Undercut by a lack of political will on the size of caps and overtaken by costly new environmental mandates, carbon markets in the US, Europe and Asia are collapsing, with prices so low they’ve become virtually valueless. The credits auctioned in the US Northeast in June, for instance, sold for just US$4.53 (RM18.27) a short tonne, a 40 per cent drop from December.

“Climate policy has been muddled and messy,” said Michael Grubb, a professor at University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources who has advised the UK energy regulator. “Governments have set inadequate targets due to lobbying pressures and because they didn’t think carefully enough about overlapping efforts. That has destroyed investor confidence that carbon prices will rise.”

The idea of a carbon market originated 20 years ago with Richard Sandor, an economist who also pioneered interest-rate futures and derivatives at the Chicago Board of Trade. Today, there are 38 countries, cities, states and provinces using pricing systems in an attempt to put a lid on greenhouse gases, according to the World Bank.

The problem is that the permits are selling at a slower and slower rate. The surplus of allowances is becoming so large in systems run by Europe, California and Quebec — which together account for more than 90 per cent of global trading — that by 2022 it could cover the emissions spewing from every car on Earth for a full year, according to estimates by the London environmental group Sandbag Climate Campaign CIC and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In California’s market, all 23 million allowances sold in an auction in 2014. In May, 7.3 million permits found buyers, only 11 per cent of what was put up for sale.

‘Extreme paranoia’

The markets are crumbling just as the UK’s vote to leave the European Union throws into question the future of the world’s largest market by threatening to shrink demand. Nor does the collapse bode well for China, as the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitter prepares to start its own next year.

Alex Rau, a principal at the carbon-trading advisory group Climate Wedge Ltd, chalks up the downfall largely to “an extreme paranoia” that the price of carbon will rise too high. So instead of strengthening caps unpopular among some oil companies, polluting factories and consumers who ultimately shoulder costs, politicians around the world have stitched together a patchwork of overlapping measures that are less vulnerable to lobbyists.

Take the US, where states including California run carbon markets but have also imposed other regulations that require gasoline suppliers to cut the carbon intensity of their fuel and utilities to buy increasing volumes of solar and wind power.

“When you put in place all these other mandates, there is little work left for carbon markets,” said Meredith Fowlie, an economist and research associate at the University of California at Berkeley department of agriculture and resource economics.

In California, the state Air Resources Board still has the authority to pull excess permits from circulation to avoid a glut, said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the agency. “One auction tells us very little,” he said. “We’re in the long game here.”

Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, a spokeswoman for the European Commission in Brussels, noted that its emissions targets under a climate agreement hammered out by leaders in Paris last year were among the most ambitious in the world. EU carbon allowances fell as much as 3.1 per cent to €4.44 euros (RM19.81) a metric tonne on ICE Futures Europe in London today, the lowest since July 1. They’ve dropped 46 per cent in the year to date.

Germany, meanwhile, acknowledged that the system run by the EU is in need of an overhaul, especially in light of the Paris climate pact. “We will need to look at our ambition,” Michael Schroeren, a spokesman for Germany’s environment ministry, said in a statement. “After more than 10 years of emissions trading in Europe, we can look back on the lessons learned.”

China risks falling into the same trap as others. While regulators looking to establish a national market there appear to be trying to avoid an oversupply, prices are already plummeting in pilots they’re running, said Sophie Lu, an analyst in Beijing at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Just as carbon market history has repeated itself around the world, Lu said, China “may not be willing to pay the political and economic costs.” — Bloomberg



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, 2016

Global temperature back into the normal range

GISS have not yet updated for June but Roy Spencer has -- using the satellite data:

Second largest 2-month drop in global average satellite temperatures.

Largest 2-month drop in tropical average satellite temperatures.

NOTE: This is the fifteenth monthly update with our new Version 6.0 dataset. Differences versus the old Version 5.6 dataset are discussed here. Note we are now at “beta5” for Version 6, and the paper describing the methodology is still in peer review.

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2016 is +0.34 deg. C, down 0.21 deg. C from the May value of +0.55 deg. C

This gives a 2-month temperature fall of -0.37 deg. C, which is the second largest in the 37+ year satellite record…the largest was -0.43 deg. C in Feb. 1988.

In the tropics, there was a record fast 2-month cooling of -0.56 deg. C, just edging out -0.55 deg. C in June 1998 (also an El Nino weakening year).


Cosmo Blames Shark Attacks On Global Warming, Doesn’t Read Own Sources

The women’s magazine Cosmopolitan claimed Friday that global warming will cause a surge in shark attacks this year — but the article’s own sources contradict the claim.

Cosmo’s assertion is based on a National Geographic article from February that states more shark attacks occurred last year than in any other, as well as a study that says sharks are migrating farther north than before.

National Geographic’s explanation for the unusually high number of attacks is that warm El Nino weather encouraged people to go swimming more often. The magazine even quoted shark biologist Frank Schwartz of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who “says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming.”

Shark experts support this position, saying “the number of shark-human interactions occurring in a given year is directly correlated with the amount of time humans spend in the sea,” according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

 Cosmo’s claim that sharks will soon start migrating into the waters of New York and New Jersey is countered by the fact that of the 98 total shark attacks worldwide last year, precisely 30 of them occurred in the state of Florida, while the biggest surge of attacks occurred in North Carolina.

Cosmo’s article also says that humans shouldn’t be afraid of sharks because scientists have captured “the first ever sonogram of a pregnant tiger shark, which is pretty cute.”

Other media outlets such as The Daily Mail, Investors Business Daily and CBS News also claimed that global warming should be blamed for any shark attacks this summer. They cited a single expert who told Reuters that rising temperatures might make swimming more popular, which could lead to more attacks.

Environmentalist media, such as EcoWatch, has a long history of linking shark attacks to global warming, but the existence of such a link is doubted by scientists.

There is less than one shark-attack death every two years in America, according to a 2005 study by National Geographic. Statistically speaking, cows are much more dangerous than sharks as they cause 20 deaths annually in the U.S.


Study: US Has More Oil Reserves Than Saudis And Russians

America has more oil reserves than both Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a study published Monday by the Norwegian oil and gas consulting firm Rystad Energy.

The study estimates that America has 264 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil in existing fields, proven reserves and even in fields that haven’t been discovered yet. America’s reserves are larger than Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion and Russia’s 256 billion in oil reserves. The state of Texas alone has roughly 60 billion barrels of shale oil according to the study.

Rystad Energy estimates that there are 2,092 billion barrels in total global oil reserves, or 70 times the current production rate. For comparison, all the oil ever produced up until 2015 only amounts to 1,300 billion barrels.

“There is little potential for future surprises in many other countries, but in the US there is,” Per Magnus Nysveen, an analyst at Rystad Energy, told The Financial Times Monday. “Three years ago the US was behind Russia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.”

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972. American reserves of crude oil and natural gas have risen for six consecutive years despite the U.S. producing more oil and natural gas than any other country. Oil production last year was 80 percent higher than it was in 2008.

The massive expansion of America’s oil reserves is due to new drilling techniques like hydraulic fracturing, fracking, and horizontal drilling. The American frakcing boom was the driving factor behind the recent oil price collapse from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.

These innovations have allowed America to increase its oil production faster than at any time in history. The process helped America surpass Russia as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil last year. American oil production in 2015 was 80 percent higher than it was in 2008. The U.S. produced an average of about 9.3 million barrels of crude oil per day in June.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in 2000 America got roughly 2 percent of its oil, about 102,000 barrels per day, from fracking. America got 51 percent of its oil, about 4.3 million barrels per day, from fracking in 2015.

The study does not include oil shale, which excludes the fact that America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.


Eco-Terrorists May Have Spiked Logs To Cripple Lumber Mills

A lumber mill in Oregon is on the look out after learning environmentalists and conservationists may have jammed metal spikes in its logs in an effort to slow down or stop logging in the state.

A green group calling itself SAP claimed on environmental website “Earth First! Newswire” that it used the eco-terrorist tactic — which was popular in the 1990s as a way to seriously injure loggers — at the Swanson Brothers mill June 11 near Eugene, Ore.

Larry Konnie, the president of the mill, said his crew was operating as usual for two days prior to learning about SAP’s claim. “It makes me think they wanted to hurt somebody,” Konnie added.

No spikes have been found yet, according to Konnie.


African farming sacrificed to European green politics, blocking GMO innovation

The call, in a report made by the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, not to support genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa is unfortunate and an attempt to institutionalize poverty on the continent.

The G7 group of nations’ joint initiative with the New Alliance—aimed at lifting 500 million people out of poverty by 2022 using 10 African countries as pilot studies—to start using genetically modified tools in agricultural production is being thrown out of the window.

The report recommended that intensive agriculture that made Europe, the Americas, and many parts of Asia food secure should not be applied in Africa, but that the continent remain with small-scale farming practices that have not been able to meet our food and nutrition needs. Despite the huge tonnage of GM cereals and legumes imported into Europe used as feedstuff, their cultivation is prohibited—to ‘protect’ the environment, to maintain the organic market and, more importantly, for ideological reasons.

This was nicely described as ‘cultivation forbidden, importation indispensable‘ by Giovanni Tagliabue in a 2016 paper (The EU Legislation on “GMOs”: Between Nonsense and Protectionism, a paper for the 20th ICABR Conference) in which the author gave the example of the genetically modified Amflora potato which, due to long delays, was not commercialized only to be produced through mutagenesis and commercialized with no fuss as it was politically a “non-GMO”.

This saga between Europe and America makes Africa suffer. It has been established that agricultural biotechnology is needs-based in Africa. Reports from other developing countries that adopted the technology speaks volume on benefits; the risk aspects being properly managed by their regulators. The African end users, farmers and consumers need to be given the opportunity to access and assess the technology themselves.

The African political leadership is aware of the responsibilities of adopting the technologies properly. This is the reason most African countries and the EU Member States are parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which states in Article 16 that the transfer of technology, including biotechnologies, is essential to the attainment of the goals of the Convention. The CBD further urges Parties in Article 19 to promote priority access to the benefits arising from biotechnologies, especially for developing countries. Furthermore, 44 out of the 54 African Union Member States have signed and ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

This call for Africa not to grow GMOs will be in contravention of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In addition to this, the African Union Commission together with its technical arm, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency, developed a Biotechnology Strategy for Africa in 2007 and in 2008 established a unit to see to the safe and responsible application of the technologies called the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE). The mandate is to build functional regulatory systems in Member States that would like to adopt the technologies. It is also to build capacity for African regulators in all aspects of agricultural biotechnology regulatory work and thereby build confidence in decision making.

Moreover, other biosafety service providers in Africa include the USAID Program for Biosafety System, the Biosafety Unit of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and a number of biosafety civil society groups. This is intended to point out that regulatory systems are optimal especially in those Member States that have adopted or are in the process of adopting GM technologies in Africa. What we are striving to achieve in Africa is to embrace a science-based approach in the GMO policy decisions, with European Food Safety Authority as our excellent reference point although the MEPs have difficulties with some of its findings.

On trade, once Africa Member States are able to harmonize the regulatory frameworks properly within the regional economic communities (REC), intra-Africa trade is big enough to mop up GM products. Aside from this, the application of GM technologies focuses on African commodities that are of little or no significance in Europe except for Africans in diaspora and Europeans who have developed a taste for such commodities—as such, the level of trade for these purposes is minimal.

It is on these aforementioned opinions that the European Parliament should uphold its tenets of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights by not opposing African Union’s efforts to make use of all available beneficial technologies.

It is surprising to note that this call is only for Africa but not to other developing countries in Latin America and Asia. The African farmer must have the right to decide whether to plant improved seeds and must have access to safe new products that will benefit the family farm, local communities and also contribute to improved livelihoods and socio-economic development.


Report: New Documents Confirm: ‘Climate RICO’ AGs Attempting to Write Themselves Out of Transparency Laws to Hide Abusive Campaign

New responses from state Attorneys General offices (OAGs) obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) confirm that the coalition of Democratic Attorneys General using racketeering laws to investigate universities, climate scientists, free market think tanks and energy companies are hiding behind a contract with each other — also apparently with outside activists helping the campaign — to avoid releasing public records relating to their pursuit of political opponents.

This confirms suggestions in prior emails, obtained under state open records laws, that the AGs had entered what they are calling a Common Interest Agreement (CIA), with green activists and other AGs, and are using this contract of nondisclosure among themselves to keep public records regarding their RICO push from the public.

CIAs are common instruments, but what the AGs and green groups have attempted is not; nor is keeping the pact itself from the public normal.  To be legitimate, parties to a common interest agreement must have imminent litigation, a clear scope and clearly shared interests.  Instead, documents obtained to date show that these AGs and their green-group colleagues with inherently disparate interests have entered not a legitimate CIA, but a pact of secrecy, covering broad topics, not specific matters, simply to avoid scrutiny of otherwise public records relating to their extraordinarily controversial abuse of political opponents’ First Amendment rights.

“We have confirmed that the Democratic AGs are citing a Common Interest Agreement to avoid releasing crucial information to the public, as they continue their abuse of power”, said David W. Schnare, E&E Legal General Counsel. “The earlier draft we obtained showed the desire to exempt AGs’ correspondence, which are deemed public records by their legislatures, from open records laws if they related not just to defense of the Obama administration’s EPA rules, but to investigations and nearly anything else they might not want released involving “fossil fuels”, “renewable energy”, or “climate”.”  It appears these terms survived in a new agreement.

This pact of secrecy, written by New York’s Eric Schneiderman, promises to alert each party about, and force requesting parties to sue for satisfaction of, public (or media) records requests seeking information about this abuse of office in going after opponents of the “climate” agenda.

This revelation, and that these AGs think they can hide from the public even the names of outside activists with whom they have contracted a promise to stonewall FOIA requests, as well as the vow of secrecy itself, raises more questions about the scope and intentions behind the investigations.

“In short, these activist AGs are trying to write themselves out from freedom of information laws their legislatures have written them into,” said E&E Legal senior fellow Chris Horner.  Horner continued, “they are hiding behavior that seems to be precisely the sort of abuse lawmakers sought to expose to sunlight when deciding to cover their states’ chief law enforcement officers under FOIA laws, particularly their use of nearly limitless powers to chill opposition and damage political opponents.”

In March, E&E Legal obtained documents showing that NY Attorney General Schneiderman’s office circulated a CIA to a coalition of AGs participating in a press conference with Al Gore to announce their cooperation on a wide array of possible steps to protect the Obama administration’s “climate” agenda, from defending EPA rules to investigating “fossil fuel” companies. Staff from Vermont’s OAG raised concerns in an email, specifically their discomfort about contracting a default promise to make requesters of public records sue to obtain the information.

Vermont OAG clearly became more comfortable with this position after revelations of the first open records act release blew up in all their faces, now forcing E&E Legal to sue in an ongoing case to obtain further public records.

That first release also revealed a March 30, 2016 email from NY OAG indicating it would circulate a new agreement prior to their April 12 organizing call. Clearly it did so, and activist AGs signed on, possibly also with activist groups but regardless promising to keep their work with these “outside consultants” from the public and the media.

Late last week, in response to an E&E Legal appeal of withholding records relating to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office involvement in the RICO push,that office told E&E Legal that it was withholding the disclosure of certain records because “a common interest agreement (Agreement) was entered into by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the other affected stakeholders related to a number of the withheld records. Under the terms of that Agreement, particular categories of documents are to remain confidential.”

In an earlier email, Rhode Island OAG Special Assistant Attorney General Gregory Schultz emailed his agreement to sign an April 12, 2016 CIA, though by that time no office had yet acknowledged the existence of such a pact.  Indeed, the New York, Vermont and California OAGs denied public records requests by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) for any such contracts to secrecy.

Thus, the states have decided that they can not only write a contract making public records invisible to the citizenry, but prevent citizens from even taking a look at the contract itself.

Yesterday, Rhode Island offered further, facially absurd reasons for not providing the agreement itself, a wholly separate issue and even more facially abusive than claiming records are exempt from FOIA laws because one OAG promised another, and some green-group activists, that it wouldn’t release them.

What are these crusading AGs afraid of the public learning about their investigations?  Why are they invoking absurd claims to try and withhold documents — and writing themselves a blank check to self-exempt from the FOIA laws their legislators apparently thought those with the authority to exercise police powers had better be subject to?  Why are they making parties sue to obtain these public records, which even Vermont’s OAG acknowledged was improper?

The obvious answer to all of this is that they are afraid of the embarrassment they will suffer once people see what they hastily agreed to, which also subjects these offices to potential civil rights lawsuits and other countersuits by those they’ve targeted.

“E&E Legal expects to do whatever is necessary to get these public records before the public, to educate on this unprecedented abuse of power”, said E&E Legal’s Executive Director Craig Richardson. “All that we have found indicates that these AGs and their outside activist partners will make litigation necessary at every turn.”


UK Government Asserts Unlocking Shale Gas Won't Hurt Emission Goals

The UK government Thursday said developing the shale gas industry would not impact its ambition to lower carbon emissions and said there is a "clear need" to explore the resource to better understand the potential size and impact of the industry.

However, unlocking the onshore petroleum market will require the UK to lower carbon emissions elsewhere in the economy to facilitate the rise that would come from exploiting the potentially vast resource lying underneath the UK.

Current estimates from the British Geological Survey suggest there could be anywhere between 23.2 to 64.6 trillion cubic metres of gas lying within the Bowland-Hodder basin under Northern England alone - potentially equivalent to somewhere between 4.00 to 11.00 trillion barrels of oil.

However, it is not known how much of that potential resource would be extractable, either on a technical or economic basis, but the UK government is keen to open up the industry to strengthen the country's own energy supplies.

To put that potential resource into perspective, the UK currently consumes around 70.00 billion cubic feet of gas on annual basis, and the commodity accounts for around one third of the country's overall energy supply - but none of that comes from shale gas production at the moment.

The government's comments on Thursday were in response to the report conducted by the Committee on Climate Change that evaluated the onshore petroleum potential in the UK.

Natural gas is seen as the key to bridging the gap that is expected to emerge while coal generation is phased out and new renewable and nuclear energy comes online. The current aim is to have all coal plants closed by 2025 and although all of the current UK nuclear fleet will be decommissioned in the next two decades, at least six new sites are set to come online in the future.

Gas has an advantage as an energy supply, as it can be used not only to generate electricity but also directly for heating and cooking. Crude oil cannot be used in this way without processing.

The UK been importing gas from abroad since 2004 after the UK's main home for energy production, the North Sea, began to experience declining production rates. Although oil still flows offshore the UK, the area is mature and expensive to operate in, especially during the current oil market.

Around 45% of the UK's gas consumption in 2014 was imported, and estimates show this will continue to rise in the foreseeable future, placing further pressure on the government to find new sources of domestic energy.

Compared to 2014, the oil and gas sector in the UK is expected to have cut 120,000 jobs by the end of this year, but the government plans to transfer the skills currently being lost into the wider engineering sector - and the shale industry, if unlocked, could create around 64,000 new jobs.

In tandem, investment has also slowed in the UK oil and gas industry, but the government forecasts investment into the shale industry could reach GBP33.00 billion if pursued, including the boost it would give to associated markets such as construction and engineering.

One the main issues that was analysed by the Committee on Climate Change was the compatibility of opening up an onshore petroleum market in the UK with the country's climate change commitments and ambitions.

The UK signed off its fifth carbon budget last week that outlines the country's target to reduce emissions by 57% during the next period, part of the longer-term goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. The reduction targets are based on emission levels in 1990.

Environmental groups have also been concerned by the potential implications of fracking, the popular method of extracting gas in the US which is highly controversial in the UK, slowing the industry's development over recent years.

Not all onshore projects require fracking. One of the most eagerly watched projects onshore the UK at the moment is the Horse Hill project near Gatwick Airport that is being developed by a number of London-listed companies and involves no fracking.

Under test conditions, one well at Horse Hill managed to produce 1,688 barrels of oil per day from three intervals. Notably, that well is only recovering a minor amount of the total oil that lies beneath the project, somewhere between 3.0% to 15% - demonstrating the uncertainty over estimates made about potential shale gas resources in the UK.

Importantly, Horse Hill lies over the Weald basin in the south of the country and is completely separate from the Bowland-Hodder basin in the North.

Both basins hold numerous onshore petroleum projects that are under development, with many being pursued by London-listed companies, mainly smaller exploration firms looking to benefit from an early mover advantage when, or if, things take off.

However, a local council earlier this year approved a plan to frack the first well in the UK for five years, and the market is hoping that means more operations will be given the green light going forward. The government said operations that require fracking will still need further consents compared to conventional projects that do not use the method, such as Horse Hill.

Importantly, the report has advised the government that a UK shale gas industry in production "is compatible with carbon budgets if certain conditions, set out in three 'tests', are met".

The first 'test' is to ensure the emissions released during well development, production and decommissioning are closely monitored to allow quick responses to any leaks or issues and the second is to ensure the country's gas consumption remains in line with carbon budgets.

The third requires the UK to facilitate and offset the guaranteed rise in emissions that would be caused by the shale gas industry by lowering emissions elsewhere in the UK economy.

"The government believes that the strong regulatory environment for shale gas development, plus the determined efforts of the UK to meet its carbon budgets, means that the three 'tests' put forward by the Committee on Climate Change will be met," said the government.



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

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


7 July, 2016

Are Federal Bans on Mining for the Birds?

With little time left on its clock, the Obama administration is rushing to place millions of acres of federal land off limits to commercial resource extraction. Although Lighthouse subscribers have read about regulatory obstacles to oil and gas development, a recent op-ed by Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II and Strata Research Director Megan E. Hansen emphasizes the harm that federal restrictions impose on the development of minerals and metals that could otherwise be used for making things like smart phones, electric car batteries, and computer memory chips.

“Mineral resources are plentiful within our borders, but the United States imported $41 billion worth of processed mineral materials in 2014 from foreign countries,” Shughart and Hansen write. “The production of rare earth metals, for example, is now dominated by China, even though the United States once was a leading rare earth elements producer. In fact, we have now become 100 percent dependent on imports of 19 key minerals.”

The Department of Interior is trying to create more obstacles. Last fall it proposed withdrawing 10 million acres of land from resource development—an amount equivalent of the size of Yellowstone National Park—ostensibly in order to protect the habitat of the greater sage grouse—a bird species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services says is not at risk of extinction.

“Banning mining on federal lands will weaken Western state economies to protect a species that doesn’t seem to need protecting,” Shughart and Hansen continue. “Claiming that the ban will save the greater sage grouse is an absurdly deceptive justification for regulatory overreach.”


Environmentalists Blast TransCanada for Suing Obama Administration Over Rejection of Keystone XL Permit

TransCanada is suing the U.S. government for $15 billion over President Obama’s rejection of its permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline, a move environmental activists called “absurd” and “a bullying tactic” in a telephone press conference earlier this week

TransCanada filed the lawsuit under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), claiming that the Obama administration “discriminated against and significantly damaged” TransCanada and that the administration’s actions were "politically drivern,"and "breached U.S. obligations” under NAFTA.

The corporation’s complaint argues that Congress, rather than the president, has the power to “govern the development of oil pipelines and other infrastructure projects with significant domestic effects,” citing the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Endangered Species Act as precedents.

“[T]he prohibition on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline directly interferes with foreign and domestic commerce, the regulation of which is textually committed to the Congress by the U.S. Constitution,” the complaint maintains

“Absent express statutory authority, the President simply does not have the power to regulate such domestic facilities based on asserted harms arising from greenhouse gas emissions,” TransCanada's lawsuit continued.

“Stated simply, the delay and the ultimate decision to deny the permit were politically-driven, directly contrary to the findings of the Administration’s own studies, and not based on the merits of Keystone’s application,” according to the corporaton's Notice of Intent to seek arbitration under NAFTA.

But environmentalist groups were quick to criticize the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit from TransCanada is both absurd and a perfect illustration of why people around the world feel that their elites are getting out of touch,” said Bill McKibben, founder of

“The rejection of the Keystone pipeline came out of one of the biggest exercises in democracy in recent American history. ... It was a vast, nationwide, continent-wide campaign. And everyone who was involved with it took the science extraordinarily seriously,” continued McKibben.

“This was a remarkable, remarkable battle. And the idea that after all those many, many, many millions of Americans and Canadians participated in this fight, it could somehow be negated by three guys sitting in a room that nobody’s ever heard of and nobody ever voted for, is all the proof that anyone would ever need as to why these kinds of arrangements like NAFTA are something we should be wary of to a huge degree,” he told reporters during the press call.

“TransCanada filed this lawsuit as a bullying tactic,” agreed Jill Kleeb, president of Bold Alliance. “Now TransCanada is trying to bully the American taxpayers and President Obama and any future president that they should not dare to mess with big oil.”

“President Obama did not make a political decision. President Obama made the right climate, water, and property decision on rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline,” continued Kleeb.

Anthony Swift, director of the Canadian division of the Natural Resources Defense Project, told reporters that the argument that the pipeline would not have had significant environmental impact "could not be farther from the truth."

However, in January 2014, the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL concluded that not building the 875-mile pipeline could result in the release of “from 28 to 42 percent” more greenhouse gases into the environment due to the need to use alternate transportation modes -- such as railcars and diesel-fueled trucks -- to get the oil to market.

TransCanada applied to the State Department for a presidential permit to build Keystone XL in 2008. The pipeline would have brought crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada into the U.S., performing the same function as three already-existing pipelines, according to TransCanada.

President Obama denied the permit in November after seven years of delay. “The State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interests of the United States. I agree with that decision,” he said when he announced the rejection.

“For years, the Keystone pipeline has occupied what I frankly consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter,” Obama said.


Happy American Energy Independence Day

Every president since Richard Nixon has promised to make America energy independent, but  we still import nine million barrels of oil a day, with much of it coming from the Middle East and OPEC.  Now for the first time in a half century -- thanks to the shale oil and gas revolution -- the dream of American energy independence is not just a pipedream but easily achievable if the next president takes the right steps to make it happen.

This Made in America energy strategy means we could stop draining our economy of about $200 billion a year that could be used to rebuild our own country.  This isn't just about the economy.  We know from intelligence reports that as much as $500 million a year of petro-dollars find their way into the coffers of terrorist networks like ISIS.

To achieve American energy self-sufficiency I'm not talking about the left's strange infatuation with building more windmills (sorry Hillary). We only get about 5% of our energy from windmills and solar panels.

What I am talking about is about taking the strategic steps necessary to making the United States the energy dominant force on the planet within five to 10 years by using our super-abundance of fossil fuel resources.  Thanks to the amazing made-in-America technological breakthroughs of the last decade -- including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to get at shale oil and gas reserves -- the U.S. now has at least 150 years of oil and natural gas resources on top of 500 years of coal.

Consider what has happened in less than a decade with oil production.  ?In 2008 the U.S. produced about 5 million barrels a day. We hit 8.7 million ?in 2014 and could double that by 2025.

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As we tap into the full potential of our tens of billions of shale oil and gas we can become the number one export nation on the planet. This could easily mean more than $1 trillion a year in oil, gas and also coal exports each year -- perhaps exceeding 5% of GDP.

Let's not forget about coal.  America was built on coal, and our nation has far more of it than any other nation. And we burn it cleanly and efficiently, unlike the Chinese and India who build hundreds of coal plants every year, but spew out dirty emissions.

I estimate that with five simple steps taken by the next president, America will gain its energy independence:

1. Allow drilling and mining permits on federal lands.  So far at least 90% of the shale gas and shale oil revolution has happened on private land.  But around half of all the land west of the Mississippi is government owned.  We estimate there are $50 trillion of energy resources stored underneath non-environmentally sensitive federal lands.  This is the biggest treasure chest in the world.

2. Build a national network of pipelines across the country by allowing the permitting for projects like Keystone XL and many others.  Right now the federal government is holding up as many as a dozen necessary pipelines to get the oil and gas across the country and then shipped across the world.

3. Build refineries and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the United States. The Energy Information Agency says the latest refiner "began operating in 1977" – or almost 40 years ago even though the U.S. population has nearly doubled since the mid 1970s and our energy production has doubled as well.

4. Stop the Obama war on coal.  The environmentalists have tried to shutdown coal production, the next president should revive it.  This means putting a muzzle on the EPA to allow our energy resources to be harnessed and used in an environmentally responsible way.  Environmental rules have to be shown to be cost-effective, meaning that the cost to the economy of complying with the rules is justified on the basis of the environmental benefits -- and measured honestly.

5. End all subsidies for all forms of energy. The left complains about taxpayer subsidies for oil and gas. The best way to promote efficient energy is to let the free market work and remove government handouts – particularly to the green energy sector.

If we get this right, America can declare its independence from OPEC and Middle Eastern oil.  We can become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century.


Pennsylvania Slashes Rooftop Solar Subsidies

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) just ended the solar subsidy called net metering, and the state legislature isn’t likely to overturn the decision.

The state commission found twice that net metering solar subsidies are not in the public interest, as they raise the price of electricity and transfer money from poor people without solar panels to rich people with them. The PUC is made up of both Republican and Democratic appointees and voted unanimously both times.

The only way to stop massive subsidy cuts is if the state legislature blocks the PUC’s plans within two weeks. But the legislature isn’t interested in doing so and will soon leave for a summer break.

“Basically, the moon and the stars have to align in a perfect order for this to be stopped,” Todd Stewart, a partner at a regulatory law firm in Pennsylvania, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Otherwise, if the commission intends to promulgate the regulations anyway over the double objection by IRRC, they can still do so.”

Net metering policies force utilities to buy electricity produced by rooftop solar panels at retail rates, which means companies can’t cover the fixed costs of operating the electrical grid. Rooftop solar companies such as SolarCity, have pushed these policies as a way to encourage solar power across the country.

The PUC found that forcing up the price of electricity via net metering hurts the poor and ethnic minorities the most, because poor people tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on basic needs like groceries, power bills, gasoline, etc. than wealthier people. As essential goods like electricity become more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything.

Policies like net metering hurt the poor 1.4 to four times more than they hurt the rich, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

A 2015 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded rooftop solar subsides are inefficient and costly, and that rooftop solar companies simply cannot compete without government support.

Even proponents of solar power and net metering recognize their reliance on subsidies. Without high net metering payments, rooftop solar “makes no financial sense for a consumer,” Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, admitted to The New York Times in February.

Solar power receives 326 times more subsidies than conventional energy sources relative to the amount of energy produced, according to Department of Energy data. Green energy sources got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Despite the enormous subsidies, solar power only accounted for only 0.6 percent of electricity generated in the U.S. for 2015, according to the EIA.


Mississippi Clean Coal Plant Touted By Obama Admin Plagued With Inefficiency, Secrets

A ‘clean coal’ plant in Mississippi the Obama administration touted as an answer to global warming is now two years behind schedule, billions of dollars over its initial budget, and under a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation for allegations of fraud.

The Kemper coal plant in Mississippi was touted as the first commercial scale ‘clean coal‘ power plant in the United States, meaning it was capable of capturing and storing its own carbon dioxide emissions. A Tuesday article from The New York Times shows just how bad things have gotten at Kemper.

“It has nothing to do with the design, it has nothing to do with the technology, it just has to do with poor project management,” Landon Lunsford, a plant engineer said in a conversation with whistleblower, Brett Wingo last year. “As long as they can talk away the results as attributable to something else other than just poor performance, the other public service commissions can’t hold them over the fire as much.”

The problem has gotten so bad that the Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated an investigation into why a project that was slated to cost $2.9 billion now costs $6.7 billion and is still not operational. The company that runs the coal plant, Southern Company, is also being sued by Mississippi businesses who are concerned that the fact the project is so far over-budget may mean higher prices for its customers.

“The people of south Mississippi are struggling,” Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing the customers told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. “They can least afford to be saddled with this boondoggle.” The piece goes on to say how due to the cost overruns, Southern Company also recently saw its credit rating downgraded by Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service.

The plant has some backers still standing up for it though, federal energy officials claim that for a project of this size it is ‘inevitable’ that it run over-budget and past deadline, further claiming bad weather, labor shortages and design uncertainties are responsible for the delays.

Brett Wingo, an engineer for the Kemper plant, is a whistleblower who first exposed the issues. “I’ve reached a personal tipping point and feel a duty to act,” Wingo said in a email from 2014. Wingo was able to find other engineers from the Kemper plant who think the delays and cost overruns are directly related to ‘mismanagement or fraud’.

Wingo also sent a letter to Southern’s CEO telling the company that the publicized open date was ‘not realistic’, but nothing came of it. Wingo was eventually ordered to stay silent on the matter.


Australia's ABC suspends junk science reporter

The woman should have known better. There must have been some personal reason for the BS.  The effect of electromagnetic radiation on health has been a big boogeyman for many years but the contrary evidence is huge. A scare that a few alarmists are trying to keep alive is that the radiation from your mobile phone will give you brain cancer.  Yet from the early days of mobile phones until now there has been no upsurge in brain cancer.  Now that mobiles are very widely used, we should be swimming in brain cancer cases by now.  But we are not. High or low levels of mobile phone use and the resultant radiation makes no difference. It's all just attention-seekers big-noting themselves

Isn't she gorgeous?  I suspect that it is her looks rather than her scientific ability that has got her prestigious jobs.  It happens

A CONTROVERSIAL ABC program about the health effects of Wi-Fi has led to a presenter being suspended, after it breached impartiality standards.

ABC presenter Dr Maryanne Demasi from the popular science program Catalyst has been suspended until September this year, after a review of the episode titled “Wi-Fried” was conducted by the ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs (A&CA) Unit.

Adelaide-born Dr Demasi completed a doctorate in medical research at the University of Adelaide and worked for a decade as research scientist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She has also worked as an adviser to the South Australian Government’s Minister for Science and Information Economy.

The “Wi-Fried” episode was broadcast in February this year and contained information about the safety of wireless devices such as mobile phones.

In a statement released by the ABC, the investigation was initiated after the ABC received complaints from viewers about the episode. The ABC informed readers of its findings after the show aired on Tuesday night.

The A&CA found the episode breached the ABC’s editorial policies standards on accuracy and impartiality. “The A&CA Report found several inaccuracies within the program that had favoured the unorthodox view that mobile phones and Wi-Fi caused health impacts including brain tumours,” the ABC’s statement said.

“ABC TV is reviewing the strategy and direction for Catalyst with a view to strengthening this very important and popular program.

“Further, ABC TV is addressing these issues directly with the program makers and has advised the reporter, Dr Maryanne Demasi, that her on-air editorial assignments will be on hold until the review is completed in September 2016.”

ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson said the investigation had been thorough.  “Catalyst is a highly successful and respected science program that explores issues of enormous interest to many Australians. There is no doubt the investigation of risks posed by widespread wireless devices is an important story but we believe greater care should have been taken in presenting complex and multiple points of view,” he said.

The finding comes just two years after a separate investigation was launched into a Catalyst program about the use of cholesterol-reducing medications.

“ABC TV takes responsibility for the broader decision-making process that resulted in the program going to air and acknowledges this is the second significant breach for the program in two years,” the ABC stated.

“The ABC accepts the findings and acknowledges that errors were made in the preparation and ultimate approval of the program.”

The “Wi-Fried” program will now be removed from the Catalyst website.

Information about A&CA’s findings will be added to the Catalyst website, and the A&CA’s investigation and findings are on the ABC Corrections page.



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

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6 July, 2016

African agriculture and CO2

Below is a bit of total brainlessness.  Newsweek channelling Mother Jones in fact! Both warming and increased CO2 levels are GOOD for plants.  And warming also brings rain, which is best of all.  No doubt Africa is hungry in many places but climate is not the cause of that.  Climate change is one of the few things that could help Africa

Agriculture in Africa is one of the most important yet underreported stories about climate change today. It's a fascinating intersection of science, politics, technology, culture, and all the other things that make climate such a rich vein of reporting. At that intersection, the scale of the challenge posed by global warming is matched only by the scale of opportunity to innovate and adapt. There are countless stories waiting to be told, featuring a brilliant and diverse cast of scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians, farmers, families, and more.

East Africa is already the hungriest place on Earth: One in every three people live without sufficient access to nutritious food, according to the United Nations. Crop yields in the region are the lowest on the planet. African farms have one-tenth the productivity of Western farms on average, and sub-Saharan Africa is the only placeon the planet where per capita food production is actually falling.

Now, climate change threatens to compound those problems by raising temperatures and disrupting the seasonal rains on which many farmers depend. An index produced by the University of Notre Dame ranks 180 of the world's countries based on their vulnerability to climate change impacts (No. 1, New Zealand, is the least vulnerable; the United State is ranked No. 11). The best-ranked mainland African country is South Africa, down at No. 84; Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda rank at No. 147, No. 154, and No. 160, respectively. In other words, these are among the places that will be hit hardest by climate change. More often than not, the agricultural sector will experience some of the worst impacts. Emerging research indicates that climate change could drive down yields of staples such as rice, wheat, and maize 20 percent by 2050. Worsening and widespread drought could shorten the growing season in some places by up to 40 percent.

This isn't just a matter of putting food on the table. Agricultural productivity also lies at the root of broader economic development, since farming is Africa's No. 1 form of employment. So, even when hunger isn't an issue, per se, lost agricultural productivity can stymie rural communities' efforts to get the money they need for roads, schools, clinics, and other necessities. "We only produce enough to eat," lamented Amelia Tonito, a farmer I met recently in Mozambique. "We'd like to produce enough to eat and to sell." More food means more money in more pockets; the process of alleviating poverty starts on farms.

"We only produce enough to eat," lamented Amelia Tonito, a farmer I met recently in Mozambique. "We'd like to produce enough to eat and to sell."

More HERE 

New paper finds extreme storms "seem to coincide with the COLDEST periods in Europe"

Extreme storms during the last 6500 years from lagoonal sedimentary archives in the Mar Menor (SE Spain)

Laurent Dezileau et al.


Storms and tsunamis, which may seriously endanger human society, are amongst the most devastating marine catastrophes that can occur in coastal areas. Many such events are known and have been reported for the Mediterranean, a region where high-frequency occurrences of these extreme events coincides with some of the most densely populated coastal areas in the world. In a sediment core from the Mar Menor (SE Spain), we discovered eight coarse-grained layers which document marine incursions during periods of intense storm activity or tsunami events. Based on radiocarbon dating, these extreme events occurred around 5250, 4000, 3600, 3010, 2300, 1350, 650, and 80 years cal?BP. No comparable events have been observed during the 20th and 21st centuries.

The results indicate little likelihood of a tsunami origin for these coarse-grained layers, although historical tsunami events are recorded in this region. These periods of surge events seem to coincide with the coldest periods in Europe during the late Holocene, suggesting a control by a climatic mechanism for periods of increased storm activity. Spectral analyses performed on the sand percentage revealed four major periodicities of 1228?±?327, 732?±?80, 562?±?58, and 319?±?16 years. Amongst the well-known proxies that have revealed a millennial-scale climate variability during the Holocene, the ice-rafted debris (IRD) indices in the North Atlantic developed by Bond et al. (1997, 2001) present a cyclicity of 1470?±?500 years, which matches the 1228?±?327-year periodicity evidenced in the Mar Menor, considering the respective uncertainties in the periodicities.

Thus, an in-phase storm activity in the western Mediterranean is found with the coldest periods in Europe and with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. However, further investigations, such as additional coring and high-resolution coastal imagery, are needed to better constrain the main cause of these multiple events.

Clim. Past, 12, 1389-1400, 2016. doi:10.5194/cp-12-1389-2016

Arctic Update

Two months ago, climate "experts" told us that the Arctic would be ice-free this summer

Arctic sea ice volume is exactly normal, and close to 15 feet thick near the North Pole.

Temperatures near the pole have been persistently below normal for the entire melt season, which almost half over.

Robert Scribbler is the same fraudster who started the “jet stream crossing the equator” scam last week.

Democrats say that it is illegal to lie about the climate, which is their own standard operating procedure.


Foolish Climate power play by the AAAS et al.

Judith Curry

The AAAS and affiliated professional societies just shot themselves in the foot with the letter to U.S. policy makers.

Last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a press release entitled Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak With One Voice on Global Climate Change.  Punchline:

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

This statement is a blatant misuse of scientific authority to advocate for specific socioeconomic policies.  National security and economics (specifically called out in the letter) is well outside the wheelhouse of all of these organizations.   Note the American Economics Association is not among the signatories; according to an email from Ross McKitrick, the constitution of the AEA forbids issuing such statements. In fact, climate science is well outside the wheelhouse of most of these organizations (what the heck is with the statisticians and mathematicians in signing this?)

The link between adverse impacts such as more wildfires, ecosystem changes, extreme weather events etc. and their mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions hinges on detecting unusual events for at least the past century and then actually attributing them to human caused warming.  This is highly uncertain territory – even within the overconfident world of the IPCC.  And the majority of the signatories to this letter have no expertise in the detection and attribution of human caused climate change.

‘Scientists speaking with one voice’ on an issue as complex and poorly understood as climate change, its impacts and solutions is something that I find rather frightening.  Well, I am somewhat reassured that this is not the population of scientists speaking, but rather the leadership of the professional societies speaking.  How many members of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists have an educated opinion, or even care very much, about climate change?  And many of these society leaders (who were responsible for signing on behalf of their organization) are not scientists themselves, e.g. Chris McEntee, Executive Director of the AGU, whose background is in nursing (Masters in Health Administration).  She is quoted in the AAAS press release:

“Climate change is one of the most profound challenges facing our society. Consensus on this matter is evident in the diversity of organizations that have signed this letter. Science can be a powerful tool in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and we stand ready to work with policymakers as they deliberate various options for action.”


So, is this letter going to change the minds of ~50% of Congressional members who do not support President Obama’s climate change plan, either because they don’t like the proposed solutions, or don’t think climate change is dangerous, or don’t think humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change?

Those in Congress that disagree with Obama’s plan have clearly shown themselves not to be susceptible to pressures from scientist/advocates and their consensus enforcement.  Further, by broadening the list of signatories to include societies that have little or no expertise in the physics of climate, this whole exercise reinforces the public distrust of these scientific organizations.

It seems that the primary motivation of this is for the leaders of these professional societies to be called to the big table to engage in the Congressional policy deliberations about climate change.  So, if you are Lamar Smith or Ted Cruz, would you be calling any of these people to participate in Congressional hearings?

The AAAS and the affiliated professional societies blew it with that letter.  They claim the science is settled; in that case, they are no longer needed at the table. If they had written a letter instead that emphasized the complexities and uncertainties of both the problem and the solutions, they might have made a case for their participation in the deliberations.

Instead, by their dogmatic statements about climate change and their policy advocacy, they have become just another group of lobbyists, having ceded the privilege traditionally afforded to dispassionate scientific reasoning to political activists in the scientific professional societies.  With a major side effect of damaging the process and institutions of science, along with the public trust in science.

The AAAS et al. have shot themselves in the foot with this one.

More HERE 

The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

by Stewart Brand

The way the public hears about conservation issues is nearly always in the mode of ‘[Beloved Animal] Threatened With Extinction’. That makes for electrifying headlines, but it misdirects concern. The loss of whole species is not the leading problem in conservation. The leading problem is the decline in wild animal populations, sometimes to a radical degree, often diminishing the health of whole ecosystems.

Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant. Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable. It’s as if the entire field of human medicine were treated solely as a matter of death prevention. Every session with a doctor would begin: ‘Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.’

Medicine is about health. So is conservation. And as with medicine, the trends for conservation in this century are looking bright. We are re-enriching some ecosystems we once depleted and slowing the depletion of others. Before I explain how we are doing that, let me spell out how exaggerated the focus on extinction has become and how it distorts the public perception of conservation.

Many now assume that we are in the midst of a human-caused ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But we’re not. The five historic mass extinctions eliminated 70 per cent or more of all species in a relatively short time. That is not going on now. ‘If all currently threatened species were to go extinct in a few centuries and that rate continued,’ began a recent Nature magazine introduction to a survey of wildlife losses, ‘the sixth mass extinction could come in a couple of centuries or a few millennia.’

The range of dates in that statement reflects profound uncertainty about the current rate of extinction. Estimates vary a hundred-fold – from 0.01 per cent to 1 per cent of species being lost per decade. The phrase ‘all currently threatened species’ comes from the indispensable IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which maintains the Red List of endangered species. Its most recent report shows that of the 1.5 million identified species, and 76,199 studied by IUCN scientists, some 23,214 are deemed threatened with extinction. So, if all of those went extinct in the next few centuries, and the rate of extinction that killed them kept right on for hundreds or thousands of years more, then we might be at the beginning of a human-caused Sixth Mass Extinction.

An all-too-standard case of extinction mislabeling occurred this January on the front page of The New York Times Magazine. ‘Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Shows,’ read the headline. But the article by Carl Zimmer described no such thing. Instead it was a relatively good-news piece pointing out that while much of sea life is in trouble, it is far less so than continental wildlife, and there is time to avoid the mistakes made on land. The article noted that, in the centuries since 1500, some 514 species have gone extinct on land but only 15 in the oceans, and none at all in the past 50 years. The Science paper on which Zimmer was reporting was titled ‘Marine Defaunation: Animal Loss in the Global Ocean’ by Douglas McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and colleagues. It stated: ‘Though humans have caused few global marine extinctions, we have profoundly affected marine wildlife, altering the functioning and provisioning of services in every ocean,’ and it went on to chronicle the causes of ‘the proliferation of ‘empty reefs’, ‘empty estuaries’, and ‘empty bays’, with an overall decline of marine fishes by 38 per cent.

Extinction is not a helpful way to think about threats to ocean animals because few go extinct there. The animals are highly mobile in a totally connected vast environment where there is almost always somewhere to hide, even from industrial-scale hunting. Atlantic cod used to be one of the world’s great fisheries before it collapsed in 1992 from decades of overfishing. According to Jesse Ausubel, one of the organisers of the recent international Census of Marine Life: ‘The total estimated kilos of cod off Cape Cod today probably weigh only about 3 per cent of all the cod in 1815.’ (Across the Atlantic in the North Sea, however, cod fishery is recovering, thanks to effective regulation.) No one really expects cod to go extinct, and yet the Red List describes them as threatened with extinction.

The best summation I have seen of the current situation comes from John C Briggs, biogeographer at the University of South Florida, in a letter to Science magazine last November:

"Most extinctions have occurred on oceanic islands or in restricted freshwater locations, with very few occurring on Earth’s continents or in the oceans. The world’s greatest conservation problem is not species extinction, but rather the precarious state of thousands of populations that are the remnants of once widespread and productive species"

Briggs’s point about oceanic islands is worth examining in detail. Compared with continents, the ecosystems of remote islands are so simple and restricted, a great deal of what we understand about ecology and evolution has come from studying them. (Australia is considered such an island despite its size, thanks to its long isolation.) Darwin’s revelation about the origins of speciation was inspired by his travels to Pacific islands such as the Galapagos. One of the core texts of ecology and conservation biology is The Theory of Island Biogeography (1967) by Edward O Wilson and Robert MacArthur.

Many new species readily emerge on ocean islands because of the isolation, but there are few other species to co-evolve with and thus they have no defence against invasive competitors and predators. The threat can be total. An endemic species under attack has nowhere to escape to. The island conservationist Josh Donlan estimates that islands, which are just 3 per cent of the Earth’s surface, have been the site of 95 per cent of all bird extinctions since 1600, 90 per cent of reptile extinctions, and 60 per cent of mammal extinctions. Those are horrifying numbers, but the losses are extremely local. They have no effect on the biodiversity and ecological health of the continents and oceans that make up 97 per cent of the Earth.

The frightening extinction statistics that we hear are largely an island story, and largely a story of the past, because most island species that were especially vulnerable to extinction are already gone.

The island ecosystems have not collapsed in their absence. Life becomes different, and it carries on. Since the majority of invasive species are relatively benign, they add to an island’s overall biodiversity. The ecologist Dov Sax at Brown University in Rhode Island points out that non-native plants have doubled the botanical biodiversity of New Zealand – there are 2,104 native plants in the wild, and 2,065 non-native plants. Ascension Island in the south Atlantic, once a barren rock deplored by Charles Darwin for its ‘naked hideousness’, now has a fully functioning cloud forest made entirely of plants and animals brought by humans in the past 200 years. (The Ascension Island story opens a new book by environmental journalist Fred Pearce, titled The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation.)

But the main news from ocean islands is that new methods have been found to protect the vulnerable endemic species from their worst threat, the invasive predators, thus dramatically lowering the extinction rate for the future. New Zealanders are the heroes of this story, beautifully told in Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World’s Greatest Wildlife Rescue (2011) by William Stolzenburg. Every ocean island in the world has been afflicted with intensely destructive alien predators brought by us – rats, mice, goats, pigs, burros, tree snakes (Guam), foxes (Aleutians), and many more. In the 1980s, New Zealand conservationists were driven to desperation by the vulnerability of beloved unique creatures such as a ground-dwelling parrot called the kakapo. They decided to do whatever it took to eliminate every single rat on the kakapo’s island refuge. It took many seasons of relentless poisoning and trapping, but when it was done, it was really done. The kakapos could finally reproduce in safety, and did. The technique was tried on other islands with other endangered species and other problem predators, and it worked there too.

More than 800 islands worldwide have now been cleansed of their worst extinction threat, with more coming. Some are pretty spectacular. Donlan, quoted above, was in the thick of the battle to get rid of all the goats that were destroying Santiago, Pinta and Isabela islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It took years of work with high-powered rifles, hunting dogs, helicopters and ‘Judas goats’ to kill every single one of the 160,000 goats on the islands, but when it was done, the cure was permanent. And now, according to Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker this December, New Zealanders are stepping up to a much larger scale. An organisation called Predator Free New Zealand is co?ordinating a massive nationwide effort to eradicate every single invasive rat, stoat, weasel and cat, and thus make the whole country a refuge for its native kiwis, wetas (giant insect), kakapos, saddlebacks (bird), tuataras (bizarre lizard), and more.

More HERE 

Australia: The Green/Left panicked by new independent senator

Chronically angry Liz Conor is anyway.  And her elitism pops out quickly too.  She says below of Pauline Hanson:  "And why does Hanson even have an opinion on climate science?".  The obvious riposte:  "And why does Liz Conor have an opinion on climate science?" 

The rest of her rant is just one wild accusation after another.  I have noted some in the body of her text.  I actually wonder if she is serious.  I think she just enjoys being a dramatist.  But is she right in thinking that Pauline is bad for the Greenies? 

Her offsider in Queensland, Malcolm Roberts, is a ferociously well-informed climate skeptic so she will have real intellectual firepower behind her.  Nobody will be able to bluff her with phony statistics etc.  So it is highly probable that Greenie policies will come under heavy challenge from her.  And she is not alone in climate skepticism.  About half the Liberal party are closet climate skeptics so if she demands anti-Warmist measures as her price for supporting the conservatives in crucial votes, there will be a real willingness to give that to her

Fellow Austraiyans. If you are reading me now it means that I have become murderous. Murderously, apoplectically incensed.

Pauline Hanson appears to have picked up a spot in our Senate at the time of writing, possibly even two or more. She will represent Queensland in our House of Review, where our nation’s proposed laws are rejected or amended. And it’s not a three-year term. Unless Turnbull (potentially newly rolled into Prime Minister Morrison out of revenge for the LNP’s slashed majority) finds some other spurious reason to call a double dissolution, Hanson’s term is Six. Six. Six.

Hanson will make extravagant use of the Senate’s committee system, already proposing royal commissions into Islam and climate science. How in chrissname do you conduct an inquiry into one of the three major world religions? Imagine the terms of reference. Are there too many believers? Should they perform the pilgrimage to Mecca? Are Humans superior to Angels? Will the Australian Royal commission into erm, Islam require the seventh-century originals of its foundational documents be tendered – the Qur’an, hadith and tafsir?

And why does Hanson even have an opinion on climate science? Why are racists climate deniers? Does Hanson have doubts about enlightenment empiricism? Logical positivism? The verification of Authentic Knowledge? Or has she, like most climate deniers and obstructers, featherbedded her campaign with undeclared funds from fossil fuel conglomerates?

And this from the state where a few short weeks ago 69,000 jobs were unceremoniously scuppered from tourism on our ghostly white Great Barrier Reef. 5.2 billion in revenue sank without trace with the ‘jobs and growth’ shipwreck of LNP sloganeering. [That job loss was a Greenie prediction -- amid actual thriving of reef tourism]

The reef grief and reef rage many of us felt was bad enough. I mean it’s nice to banner hope for the unbleached 7 per cent and ‘recovering’ 65 per cent with a donate button but let’s be honest, the waters aren’t going to get cooler in the long-term, there will be more frequent El Niño events, worsening storms and Crown of Thorn starfish outbreaks. ["frequent El Niño events"?  They are reasonably predictable but they are not frequent]

The reef is terminal. [The head of the GBRMPA doesn't think so and it's his job to know] We have five years to save what little remains but instead the two parties that oversaw this catastrophe now hang in the balance, continuing to accept party donations of $3.7 million from the corporations responsible. While still in unfettered power the Libs demanded UNESCO whitewash any mention of the reef from its report into risks to world heritage sites and tourism.

So. Once you’ve taken out the largest living organism on the planet how precisely do you top that? It seems their ecocidal mania knows no bounds. Both parties can lay claim to the dubious distinction of perpetrating the only environmental catastrophe visible from space.

These people are not in jail where they belong. Instead they spent the last eight weeks fronting up to Australians asking to be entrusted again. We are not in safe hands.

As the Nemo who intercepted Turnbull might reasonably protest to humans, ‘I’m fed up with being told, this is our reef. Well, where the hell do I go? I draw the line when told I must pay and continue paying for something that happened over 20 years ago,’ namely early and credible warnings of global warming.

What kind of electoral dissonance are One Nation Voters suffering? As we of the Greens voting variety have been instructed, the workers of Australia have been so cowed by threats to Medicare they simply cannot spare a thought for refugees. Apparently the capacity for workers to run more than one thought process in their heads at any time is somewhat limited. Only the left commentariat can multitask, it seems.

But how can we fathom the thinking of One Nation voters, many of them jumping ship from the Palmer United Party.

I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Caucasians, tax evasions and Australasians. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos, and do not assimilate.

We are bringing in people from Oxley at the moment. There was a huge amount coming to our polling booths, and they’ve got diseases, they’ve got BIAS.

Either Blind Freddy or Rip Van Winkel would have to vote for a candidate who did time for electoral fraud. Even if her conviction was overturned it shows a hair-raising lack of judgement in whom she entrusts the basics of organisational governance.

Where will Hanson-voters’ intolerance for Halal snackpacks take us? What other food allergies are they intending to force on the rest of us? Battered Islamophobia? Deep-fried homophobia? Queue-jumping dimsims?

Hanson will find a way to jumble racism with climate obstruction. As Naomi Klein presciently argues they already go hand in glove. She writes, “there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.”

But let’s give Pauline the last word on facing imminent destruction: “Do not let my passing distract you for even a moment … For the sake of our children and our children’s children, you must fight on.”

Thanks for the tip Pauline. You can bet we will.



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

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


5 July, 2016

Is the Tesla bubble about to burst?

How long can they keep running in the red?  They're nice cars but if you want one maybe you should buy one now -- while they last

Add yet another problem to the list at Tesla Motors: lackluster growth.

Tesla announced on Sunday that it delivered 14,370 vehicles in the second quarter. That is well below its own forecast of about 17,000, which it gave in May. Although sales of its Model X grew significantly from the first quarter, its signature Model S sedan actually saw sales fall sequentially by more than 22%. That is surprising since Tesla said in May that Model S orders were strong. The company has now missed its own deliveries guidance for two consecutive quarters.

The electric auto maker has delivered fewer than 30,000 cars in the first half of the year, putting its full year forecast of 80,000 to 100,000 in serious jeopardy. Tesla says it expects to deliver “about 50,000” cars in the next six months. That isn’t impossible, but Sunday’s news is disconcerting. Since Tesla can’t successfully forecast deliveries more than two months out, it stretches CEO Elon Musk’s bold forecast of 500,000 deliveries by 2018 from improbable to farcical.

For its part, Tesla cited an unusually high number of vehicles in transit for the shortfall. The company says more than five thousand cars are to be delivered soon, which would have helped them clear the bar. But Tesla, which carries a market value in excess of $30 billion and has designs on disrupting the entire automobile industry, should be far enough in its development to be able to accurately forecast delivery times to customers.

For shareholders, this is merely the latest in a series of worries. For starters, the company continues to burn cash at an alarming rate, to the tune of $2.1 billion in the last four quarters through March 31. This means Tesla requires ongoing access to capital markets to function. Tesla has issued shares or convertible debt in every year since 2010.

That isn’t the end of it. A proposed merger with SolarCity, the other public company in which Mr. Musk is the largest shareholder, would exacerbate that cash burn, cause further stock dilution and raises questions about the firm’s corporate governance. Tesla’s reported earnings are heavily inflated by adjustments that don’t conform with generally accepted accounting principles. New competition looms on the horizon. And now, federal regulators are looking into two potential safety issues in Tesla vehicles.

Despite the litany of worries piling up, the stock remains priced for explosive growth in the near future. It fetches over 130 times consensus forward earnings, according to FactSet. Tesla’s shares, clinging to such a lofty valuation even as doubts have piled up, have been more dazzling than its vehicles.

Now, though, the bull case is running on fumes


Bees not so "threatened" after all

To listen to the Warmists you would think that there is only one species of bee and would think that it is at risk of being burnt to death by global warming.  There are in fact around 20,000 species of bee and all have their ecological niche.  Populations of European honeybees have had some difficulties in recent years but other species are thriving.  Below is a report on an Australian bee species

Flinders Biological Sciences PhD student Rebecca Dew and Associate Professor Michael Schwarz, together with Professor Sandra Rehan of the University of New Hampshire in the US, have found a rapid increase in the population size of the small carpenter bee (Ceratina australensis) from 18,000 years ago, when the climate began warming up after the last Ice Age.

Their findings, published in the latest Journal of Hymenoptera Research, show future global warming could be a good sign for at least some bees, which are major pollinators and are critical for many plants, ecosystems and agricultural crops.

“Our findings also match those from two previous studies on bees from North America and Fiji,” Ms Dew says.

“It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world. Different climate, different environment, but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time.”

The small carpenter bee is found in sub-tropical, coastal and desert areas of Australia. The researchers spent almost two years conducting field analysis near Warwick in south-east Queensland, Cowra in central New South Wales, Mildura in north-west Victoria and West Beach in Adelaide.

Global warming has other potential effects on environment and ecosystems.

In another recent collaborative study between the Flinders School of Biological Sciences team,  previous Flinders research students Dr Scott Groom and Ms Carmen da Silva, Dr Daniel Silva from Brazil and Associate Professor Mark Stevens, from the South Australian Museum, showed that a bee species accidentally introduced to Fiji has become widespread and will flourish with continued global warming, perhaps even spreading to Australia and New Zealand.

“This bee, Braunsapis puangensis, is resistant to honeybee diseases and could well become an important ‘fall-back’ crop pollinator if honeybee populations continue to decline, which has become a major worry in many parts of the world, including Australia,” Associated Professor Schwarz says.

The findings, however, may not all be positive for bees globally, with other studies showing that some rare and ancient tropical bees require a cool climate to survive and, as a result, are already restricted to the highest mountain peaks of Fiji. For these species, climate warming could spell their eventual extinction.

“We now know that climate change impacts bees in major ways, but the challenge will be to predict how those impacts play out. They are likely to be both positive and negative, and we need to know how this mix will unfold,” Ms Dew says.

Ms Dew, who was previously awarded the prestigious J.H. Comstock award from the Entomological Society of America, is now investigating the populations of another species of native bee (Exoneurella tridentata) in arid areas of Australia.


Democrats Adopt a Fascist Party Plank

The Democrat Party’s totalitarian impulses have been formalized. In the final draft of this year’s party platform, the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee unanimously adopted a provision "calling on the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change." In short, the attempt to criminalize dissent is now an official party plank.

The committee was led by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). "As Democrats, we believe that our country’s greatest strength is its people, and we’re committed to the values of inclusion and opportunity for all," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Apparently Wasserman Schultz is oblivious to her own hypocrisy. There is nothing remotely inclusive about such a "my way or the prosecutorial highway" take on science that is far from settled, despite all the orchestrated hysteria by Democrats and their media enablers. Yet if Democrats wish to prosecute fraud, perhaps they should start at the top of the so-called food chain, as in government entities, not corporate ones, who have pushed an agenda in lieu of scientific fact.

Take the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, for example. German Professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert, a retired geologist and data computation expert, undertook a detailed study of NASA-GISS’s temperature data series, going all the way back to 1881 and involving 1,153 stations. He discovered NASA-GISS had tampered with raw temperature data to literally invent global warming. Between 2010 and 2012 NASA-GISS altered its own data sets to show a post-WWII warming that never existed. Moreover, apart from the continent of Australia, the planet has been on a cooling trend.

The agency is not an outlier. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also cooked the books on more than one occasion, including on ocean temperatures to make the nearly two decade warming "hiatus" disappear.

Earlier this year, at a "hottest year ever" press briefing, NOAA presented a graph ostensibly showing a 58-year long temperature record compiled by "radiosondes," which are mini weather stations with radio transmitters attached to helium or hydrogen-filled balloons that lift them to altitudes exceeding 115,000 feet. Yet NOAA’s graph showed only the last 37 of those 58 years. The omitted data? It revealed as much pre-1979 global cooling as post-1979 warming.

It also revealed NOAA’s willingness to defraud the public in pursuit of the leftist agenda.

And that’s when leftists bother pursuing data at all. Speaking to the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, climatologist Michael Mann de-emphasized the need for climate science because global warming has become too obvious to ignore. "What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues," he lamented, "is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle."

That Mann would de-emphasize science is not surprising. That’s because his own contribution to environmental radicalism includes the now infamous temperature graph known as the "hockey stick." First published in 1999, Mann’s effort was to reconstruct the average northern hemisphere temperature over the past 1,000 years. His graph showed relatively steady temperature until the last part of the 20th century, when they allegedly began to rise dramatically — creating what looked like a hockey stick. Unfortunately for Mann, Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick found a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program used to produce the hockey stick. In short, data that accrued to the hockey stick was emphasized and data that didn’t was suppressed.

Just like the Democrat Party would suppress — and now officially attempt to prosecute — those who disagree with them.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the sun itself is not cooperating. On June 23, for the second time in just this month, the sun went completely spotless. The blank sun is a sign the next solar minimum is on its way, leading to an increasing number of spotless days, then weeks, then months reaching a solar minimum phase around 2019 or 2020. The last time the sun entered a long phase with no sun spots was between 1645 and 1715. The so-called "Maunder Minimum" coincided with the Little Ice Age that produced a series of extraordinarily cold winters in Earth’s northern hemisphere. Some scientists believe we will experience a similar scenario in the next few years.

Are they correct? More to the point, what gives them any less credibility than fascist-minded Democrats and their government collaborators at NASA and the NOAA, or the odious coalition of 16 Democrat attorneys general who are threatening legal action and huge fines against those who refuse to abide their version of so-called Settled Science™?

In a rare show of backbone, Republicans are fighting back. "If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration," Republican AGs wrote in a letter to their Democrat counterparts. "If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud."

Yet such fraud pales in comparison to a Democrat Party willing to formally embrace the prosecution of Americans' First Amendment protections. A Democrat Party that is clearly green on the outside, but red on the inside. "The draft platform we have produced in an open and transparent manner reflects our priorities as Democrats and demonstrates our vision for this nation," states Platform Drafting Committee Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Those would be the priorities of suppression and/or prosecution, and the vision of an authoritarian state. Democrats? Fascists is more like it.


Federal Government Says a Farmer Broke the Law by Plowing His Land

Earlier this month a federal court in California ruled that a farmer plowing his land without a permit from the federal government is breaking the law. In 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers, without any notice or due process, ordered the owners of Duarte Nursery to cease use of their land for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The violation: plowing. The California court agreed with the federal government’s action, despite the fact the CWA specifically exempts normal agricultural activities like plowing from regulation.

This overreaching assertion of federal power is not an isolated incident. For decades, the EPA and the Army Corps have aggressively sought to stretch the bounds of the CWA. When Congress passed the CWA, the federal government was given regulatory authority over “navigable waters,” which the statute additionally defines as “waters of the United States.” While the word navigable may seem to have an obvious meaning to most Americans as bodies of water that can be navigated by watercraft, federal bureaucrats have identified these terms as a license for a massive regulatory land grab.

Asserting ambiguity, the EPA has tried to use the CWA language to claim control over essentially any water which eventually might find its way into a navigable waterway. They have asserted jurisdiction not just over logical sources like large tributaries of navigable waters or wetlands immediately adjacent to rivers but have tried to reach their regulatory arms to isolated puddles or dry stream beds which only see running water during large rainstorms. This overreach has been repeatedly struck down by the Supreme Court, most recently in 2001 and 2006. But these repeated rebukes have not stopped the regulators.

In June of 2015, EPA finalized yet another rule seeking to broadly define “waters of the US” under the CWA. Like its previous attempts, this rule goes well beyond any reasonable definition of “navigable waters.” The rule would require federal permits even for ditches and puddles, almost any water within the boundaries of the United States. This sort of excessive permitting requirement would impose new costs on virtually every American: not just farmers, but anyone who owns land.

Thankfully, this new rule has been put on hold nationwide for the moment by federal courts while its legality and constitutionality is challenged, but the danger remains. The bureaucrats have made clear with their repeated attempts at overreach using the CWA that they will not be dissuaded by the courts, even if this newest attempt is also struck down by the Supreme Court.

This saga shows the folly of broad grants of power to regulatory agencies. The bureaucracy cannot be trusted to use its powers with restraint. When the power of the regulatory state grows, the liberty of the American people diminishes. Reining in the power of the regulatory state should be a priority of all American citizens.


DiCaprio flies his LA friends 6,000 miles around the world so they can listen to his speech on GLOBAL WARMING

When Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio hosts a reception for a string of A-list stars, supermodels and wealthy philanthropists later this month, he will make an impassioned plea for more action to be taken on global warming.

But instead of holding the event in Los Angeles, where most of his guests are based, they will fly halfway around the world to the glitzy French resort of St Tropez – at enormous cost to the environment.

Last night, green campaigners were quick to criticise 41-year-old DiCaprio, who in February used his Best Actor acceptance speech at the Oscars to warn about the dangers posed by climate change.

The reception – the grand-sounding Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Annual Gala To Fund Climate and Biodiversity Projects – will be held on July 20 at the Bertaud Belieu Vineyards on the French Riviera.

Celebrities including Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Spacey are all expected to attend, along with a host of international rock and pop stars, supermodels and tycoons.

And while a table seating 12 people at the gala costs up to £125,000, the real price will be paid by the environment.

If just one guest among the 500 invitees chooses to fly the 12,000-mile round trip from LA to St Tropez by private jet – a notoriously environmentally unfriendly way to travel – they will produce 86 tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas.

Even those who use a scheduled flight will be responsible for releasing seven tons of CO2 – leading green campaigners to ask why the event could not have been held in Hollywood or in St Tropez during May’s Cannes Film Festival, when many of the guests would have been there anyway.

Robert Rapier, an environmental analyst, said: ‘DiCaprio demonstrates why our consumption of fossil fuels continues to grow. It’s because everyone loves the combination of cost and convenience they offer.

'He believes that no sacrifice is necessary; just Government policies that can provide him with a solar-powered yacht or jet, or that give individuals low-cost renewable energy on a broad scale.’

One guest who attended last year’s gala said: ‘It’s basically a big party for Leo and his showbusiness friends and models. The models, of course, do not pay for tickets, and neither do the VIP guests – they get to have a nice big free party.’

The Mail on Sunday has learned that guests opting for the Grand Earth Protector Package – ‘prime dinner seating for 12 guests’ at a table near to DiCaprio – costs £125,000. The more frugal Earth Protector Package – seating 12 at a slightly more distant table – costs £82,000, while those content with social Siberia can choose the Ocean Steward Package, at a mere £58,000 for 12 diners.

The Titanic star – whose love of private jets is well known – has long been dogged by accusations that he fails to practise the carbon footprint-aware lifestyle he preaches.

In May, he flew by private jet to New York from France, where he had been attending the Cannes Film Festival, to receive a ‘green’ award – before flying back the following day.

The 8,000-mile round-trip churned 55 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In the previous five months, he travelled more than 91,000 miles by plane during 18 separate trips.

Where private jets are used, the carbon dioxide emitted goes up hugely – between seven and 20 times, depending on the plane.

It is estimated DiCaprio has potentially emitted up to 418 tons of CO2 this year alone because of his globe-trotting. In contrast, the average American produces just 19 tons on flights each year.

In 2014, emails hacked from film studio Sony revealed the actor took six private flights in just six weeks, costing £138,000, though a friend insists most of his journeys were commercial.

DiCaprio – who sits on the boards of two eco-pressure groups – has previously made much of his support for environmental causes, with his foundation recently pledging more than £10 million to green projects at this year’s World Economic Forum.

In 2008 he made his own environmental documentary, The 11th Hour, which inconveniently tanked at the box office.

A source close to DiCaprio said last night that he would be flying to St Tropez on a commercial airline and not a private jet.


UK: It might seem bad now, but wait until the lights go out!

In view of the shambles engulfing our politics in all directions, it might seem appropriate that last Thursday MPs should blithely have accepted that, within a few years, our lights will go out and our economy will grind to a halt. What they allowed to be nodded through was something called the "Fifth Carbon Budget", committing us to an energy policy so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide.

As I predicted and explained in more detail on May 14, what the MPs tacitly agreed to was that, between 2028 and 2033, we should cut our emissions of CO2 by a far greater amount than any other country in the world. We will put an end to any use of gas for cooking and heating. Sixty per cent of all our transport will be powered not by fossil fuels but by electricity. And to achieve this, we will double the amount of electricity we need (two thirds of which still comes from those same hated "carbon emitting" fossil fuels).

Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining

Much of this electricity, the Government fondly imagines (on advice from the fantasists on Lord Deben’s Climate Change Committee), will come from tens of thousands more lavishly subsidised wind turbines, solar farms, new nuclear power stations unlikely ever to be built and woodchips imported at vast expense from forests in North America.

Not one of the MPs who accepted this could plausibly explain what is to happen to all those electric cookers, heating systems, cars, cashpoints etc, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Furthermore, none seemed to notice that key ingredients in that make-believe scenario dreamt up months ago by the Climate Change Committee are based on assuming that by 2030 we shall still be in the EU, whose own energy policy is now falling apart in all directions, as Germany, Poland and other countries rush to build new coal-fired power stations.

Apart from the Global Warming Policy Foundation and 15 Tory MPs, including three former Cabinet ministers, almost no one seems to have pointed out that, whatever happens to Brexit, Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining.



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

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


4 July, 2016

Upper atmosphere cooling, CO2 and bluish sunsets

Global warming causes everything and is caused by everything.  That seems to be the dogma of the Warmists.  So we must not be surprised that global warming has been drafted in to explain noctilucent clouds, or more precisely, their greater incidence in recent decades.  Their story is excerpted below. 

The problem below lies with this statement: "While increasing carbon dioxide warms the surface of the Earth, those same molecules refrigerate the upper atmosphere".  It is a conventional explanation of the well known fact that atmospheric layers above the tropopause are indeed getting colder.

So how so?  What is the theory linking CO2 to upper atmosphere cooling?  It relies on an assumption, that heat rising off the earth is blocked by tropospheric CO2 and hence is not available to warm the mesosphere and the stratosphere generally. The mesosphere is the lower part of the stratosphere.

So the big underlying assumption is to conceive CO2 as forming some sort of blanket around the earth.  A blanket would indeed keep the heat in and deny it to the stratosphere.  But CO2 is NOT a blanket.  It is just lots of separate molecules jiggling away doing their own thing.  And ANY heated atmospheric molecule will emanate its radiation in ALL directions -- not just downward towards earth.  CO2 molecules  don't have little compasses in them telling them in which direction to focus their radiations. 

So CO2 is not a blanket at all.  It will be just as likely to radiate upwards as downwards.  It will be just as likely to warm the stratosphere as the troposphere. So once again Warmism is fundamentally flawed.  CO2 does NOT explain stratospheric or mesospheric cooling.

One could argue that upward radiation is blocked by that peculiar layer called the tropopause but if we argue that way, what do we need CO2 for?  Why do we need it to explain tropospheric warming? The tropopause already does the blocking job that CO2 is supposed to do.  CO2 blocking becomes a surplus explanation that is put to death by Occam's razor. I don't think Warmists would want to go there.

So what, then, does explain the cooling of the stratosphere?  I don't really think I need to go there. I don't have to have all the explanations.  I will leave that pathology to the Warmists.  I do however have some ideas centred around the fact that column ozone levels do differ in different parts of the world: 

The stratosphere is where most of the earth's ozone is located.  And incoming solar radiation breaks it up, producing warming. Where ozone levels are falling, there would be less warming and hence a cooling trend.  And ozone levels DO appear to be falling, at least in Antarctica.  The ozone hole there was at its largest late last year -- for all that the ozone hole warriors would have us think otherwise. I have dealt with their recent fantasy about that yesterday -- including their bizarre claim about how volcanoes work

So I can firmly say is that one part of the explanation for noctilucent clouds is faulty.  The mesosphere is indeed getting cooler but global warming has nothing to do with it.

The second part of the explanation -- that methane promotes PMCs by adding moisture to the mesosphere, because rising methane oxidizes into water -- I have no quarrel with

In the summer of 1885, sky watchers around northern Europe noticed something strange. Sunsets weren’t the same any more.  The red and orange colors they were used to seeing were still there—but those familiar colors were increasingly joined by rippling waves of luminous blue.

At first they chalked it up to Krakatoa, which had erupted just two years earlier. The explosion of the Indonesian super volcano hurled massive plumes of ash and dust into the atmosphere more than 50 miles high, coloring sunsets for years after the blast.

Eventually Krakatoa’s ash settled, yet the rippling waves of luminous blue didn’t go away.  Indeed, more than 100 years later, they are shining brighter than ever.

Today we call them, "noctilucent clouds" (NLCs). They appear with regularity in summer months, shining against the starry sky at the edge of twilight. Back in the 19th century you had to go to Arctic latitudes to see them. In recent years, however, they have been sighted from backyards as far south as Colorado and Kansas.

Noctilucent clouds are such a mystery that in 2007 NASA launched a spacecraft to study them. The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite (AIM) is equipped with sensors specifically designed to study the swarms of ice crystals that make up NLCs.  Researchers call these swarms "polar mesospheric clouds" (PMCs).

A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research (doi:10.1002/2015JD024439) confirms what some researchers have long suspected:  PMCs in the northern hemisphere have become more frequent and brighter in recent decades—a development that may be related to climate change.

At altitudes where PMCs form, temperatures decreased by 0.5 ±0.2K per decade. At the same time, water vapor increased by 0.07±0.03 ppmv (~1%) per decade.

"These results settle the decades old question of whether or not the observed long-term change in PMCs is an indicator of changing temperature or humidity," says James Russell, AIM Principal Investigator. "It’s both."

These results are consistent with a simple model linking PMCs to two greenhouse gases. First, carbon dioxide promotes PMCs by making the mesosphere colder. (While increasing carbon dioxide warms the surface of the Earth, those same molecules refrigerate the upper atmosphere – a yin-yang relationship long known to climate scientists.) Second, methane promotes PMCs by adding moisture to the mesosphere, because rising methane oxidizes into water.


Leaders ignore climate change controversy at summit …..Political correctness trumps scientific realities (1)

The North America Leaders' Summit — or what the Investor’s Business Daily editorial board aptly calls the "‘Three Amigos’ summit" — began Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada, and it involves that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with Barack Obama and Mexico’s Pena Nieto. According to the White House website, the trio is unveiling "[a] historic goal to achieve 50% clean power across North America by 2025."

"The administration calls it ‘ambitious,’" says Investor’s. "We call it ‘ludicrous.’" Here’s why:

"Since the U.S. accounts for three-quarters of the total energy produced by these three countries, the responsibility of living up to any such agreement would fall most heavily on the U.S. … According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, ‘clean energy’ — nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, etc. — makes up less than one-fifth of U.S. energy production. … So the only way to get there would be to dramatically increase one or all of these sources in nine years."

And even then, IBD elucidates, the problem becomes fourfold: 1. Ecofascists are opposed to an energy infrastructure that relies heavily on hydroelectric and nuclear power. 2. Even if America did decide to broaden its reliance on nuclear energy — and there are no plans to do so — the process for developing the infrastructure would take far longer than the White House’s timeframe. 3. On the remaining options — wind, solar and biomass — "production levels from these sources would have to increase something like 470% in nine years for clean energy to account for half of the nation’s energy production." Even the optimists would agree that’s an unrealistic expectation. 4. A pledge may look great on paper, but will Canada and Mexico follow through? That’s the trillion-dollar question.

"For a guy who is desperately fishing around for something to claim as a legacy," IBD concludes, "President Obama’s running around making promises that he knows will never be kept is an odd way to go about things." In other words, when it comes to Obama fulfilling his pledges, don’t hold your breath. On second thought, maybe you should. You might just save the world — and his legacy.


Leaders ignore climate change controversy at summit …..Political correctness trumps scientific realities (2)

In Wednesday’s Leaders’ Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership, President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Pena Nieto agreed, "to work together to implement the historic Paris Agreement, supporting our goal to limit temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees C."

Obama told Canada’s Parliament, "This is the only planet we’ve got, and this may be the last shot we’ve got to save it!"

Underlying such assertions is the unjustified belief that climate science is well understood. According to Obama, Trudeau, and Pena Nieto, a global warming catastrophe awaits if we do not reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by quickly moving away from fossil fuels.

Yet thousands of highly qualified, independent scientists do not share this opinion. Besides their scientific publications, they have made their views known through countless newspaper editorials and open letters. Perhaps the most straight-forward was the Climate Scientists Register of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). In the space of only three days in 2010, 142 climate experts from 22 countries endorsed the following statement:

"We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

Among the 64 signatories from the United States were Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Professor of Physics, Founding Director, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska; Robert W. Durrenberger, former Arizona State Climatologist and President of the American Association of State Climatologists, Professor Emeritus of Geography, Arizona State University; William Happer, Professor of Physics, Princeton University; and Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Many scientists told ICSC that they agreed with the Register but feared reprisals from their employers or activists if they publicly endorsed the statement.

Such concerns are not unjustified. Two of ICSC’s scientists have had death threats and there have been cases of academic dismissal for espousing politically incorrect views on climate change. In recent months, we have seen attempts by state legislators in California and 16 state attorneys general to criminalize some forms of ‘climate change denial.’ On June 25, the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee unanimously agreed to call for the Department of Justice to investigate corporations who disagree with political correctness on climate science.

Despite such intimidation, debate rages in the scientific community about the causes and consequences of climate change. This is well revealed by the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Citing thousands of peer-reviewed references published in the world’s leading science journals, NIPCC reports demonstrate that today’s climate is not unusual, and the evidence for future climate calamity is weak. The NIPCC explains how the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ignored much of the available scientific literature that does not conform to their position on climate change and so often comes to conclusions that do not match the facts.

Statements in support of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW) by national science academies are also tainted. Not a single one that officially supports the DAGW hypothesis has demonstrated that a majority of its scientist members agree with their academy’s position. Their statements are merely the opinions of the groups’ executives, or small committees appointed by the executives.

Yet last year, the White House tweeted: "97% of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous." A few days later, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed, "97% of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent."

This is unsubstantiated. There has never been a reputable, worldwide poll of scientists who study the causes of climate change that demonstrates that a majority of them support the DAGW hypothesis.

Even if someday a survey does show a scientific consensus in support of the position held dear by Obama, Trudeau, and Pena Nieto, it would still prove nothing about nature. Scientific ideas are not proven right by a show of hands, political correctness or intimidation. Were it otherwise, we would still believe that witches cause bad weather, Earth is the centre of the universe, and hand-washing is unimportant in public health.

It is not surprising that all three leaders erred in this way. They are relying on the IPCC which often labels its climate science conclusions unequivocal, or statements that cannot be wrong. In support of their position, the UN body presents empirical data. But data is always subject to interpretation, so cannot be used to prove truth.

We are best served when our leaders encourage scientists to be fearless intellectual explorers, going wherever their research leads, independent of contemporary fashion. Wednesday’s leaders’ summit did the opposite, merely reinforcing a point of view many scientists consider foolish. Citizens of all three countries deserve better.


Virgin Islands AG Drops Exxon Subpoena

The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands withdrew his subpoena of oil giant Exxon Mobil on Wednesday afternoon, dealing the first setback to a group of Democratic officials seeking racketeering charges against the company.

Exxon told a federal court that AG Claude Walker had agreed to walk away if the company would drop a related lawsuit alleging that the subpoena violated its constitutional rights and the laws of its home state of Texas.

Walker was the third state attorney general, after New York and Massachusetts, to subpoena Exxon Mobil over allegations that it committed fraud and racketeering by misleading customers and shareholders about the risks of climate change.

Walker is the first to walk back the effort against Exxon, but he is also in litigation in Washington, D.C., over a separate subpoena sent to a libertarian nonprofit that received donations from Exxon more than a decade ago.

Both subpoenas have triggered legal action. In a federal lawsuit filed three weeks after it was subpoenaed, Exxon alleged that Walker’s subpoena violated its "rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and Texas common law."

District Judge Ed Kinkeane ordered Exxon and Walker to meet no later than July 11 to discuss "the possibilities for a prompt resolution of the case." Exxon’s filing notified the court that they’d reached an agreement to withdraw both the subpoena and the resulting lawsuit.

Walker had asked for a massive number of internal Exxon documents, including documents pertaining to its internal deliberations and projections about climate change, but also requested communications with nearly a hundred nonprofit groups.

They included conservative and libertarian advocacy groups, but also more mundane organizations such as the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Arizona State University office of climatology, and Africa Fighting Malaria.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey asked for communications with many of the same research and advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute.

Schneiderman is the leader of a group of 20 state attorneys general that have seized on reports from news organizations funded by environmentalist groups that allege that Exxon misled the public about the risks its product poses.

Exxon and other critics say it is an unconstitutional effort to use state governments’ legal authority to shut down political speech and advocacy with which the attorneys general disagree.

The attorneys general, all Democrats, have been planning the legal campaign for more than a year. When a Schneiderman aide emailed a questionnaire to other attorneys general involved in the effort, Walker said he was "eager to hear what other attorneys general are doing and find concrete ways to work together on litigation to increase our leverage."

Though Walker has withdrawn his Exxon subpoena, he also subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group that used to receive Exxon funding, seeking evidence in its investigation into the company.

Walker has dropped his effort to enforce that subpoena in D.C., where CEI is based, but has not actually withdrawn it. The group is now alleging that the effort violated a DC law against lawsuits designed to censor, harass, or intimidate a public critic. A federal judge heard arguments on that motion on Tuesday.

The larger campaign was orchestrated behind the scenes with leaders of prominent environmental groups and deep-pocketed foundations that fund them and the news organizations whose reporting ostensibly spurred the investigation.

According to internal documents detailing the effort, its goals are to "delegitimize [ExxonMobil] as a political actor," "force officials to disassociate themselves from Exxon," "drive divestment from Exxon," and "to drive Exxon & climate into center of 2016 election."

Democratic lawmakers have also pressed the Justice Department to bring civil racketeering charges against Exxon over the same allegations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said that she referred the case to the FBI, which is deciding whether to prosecute.


Brexit’s energy lesson for California, et al.

"California’s largest utility and environmental groups announced a deal Tuesday [June 21] to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the state." This statement from the Associated Press reporting about the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant should startle you. The news about shutting down California’s last operating nuclear power plant, especially after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) had sought a 20-year extension of the operating licenses for the two reactors, is disappointing — not startling. What should pique your ire is that the "negotiated proposal," as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called it, is between the utility company and environmental groups—with no mention of the regulators elected to insure that consumers have efficient, effective and economical electricity.

Who put the environmental groups in charge? Not the California voters. But unelected environmental groups — and their bureaucratic friends in various government agencies — have been dictating energy policy for the most of the past decade. Regarding the "negotiated proposal," WSJ points out: "The agreement wades deeply into intricate energy procurement, environmental and rate-setting matters that are normally the exclusive jurisdiction of state agencies."

California has a goal of generating half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and environmental groups are calling for the state officials to replace Diablo’s generating capacity with "renewable power sources." Realize that this one nuclear power plant provides twice as much electricity as all of California’s solar panels combined.

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts’ research concluded that PG&E "would need 10,500 megawatts of new solar installations to replace all of Diablo Canyon’s output" and that, without including potential costs of new transmission lines or back-up resources for solar, will cost $15 billion — with totals, including decommissioning, estimated at $20 billion.

The Bloomberg report states: "PG&E will ask that customers make up any shortfall."

Actual costs, Bloomberg says: "could be lower because the company expects to compensate for lower demand and replace only part of the production." Why will there be lower demand? The WSJ explains: "the plan calls for new power sources to furnish only a portion of the electricity that Diablo Canyon generates, assuming that greater energy efficiency in the future will also curb some power demand."

All of this is announced while California is experiencing, and expecting more, blackouts due to "a record demand for energy" and because "there just aren’t enough gas pipelines for what’s needed," according to CNN Money. "Southern California," reports WSJ, "is vulnerable to energy disruptions because it relies on a complex web of electric transmission lines, gas pipelines and gas storage facilities — all running like clockwork — to get enough electricity. If any piece is disabled, it can mean electricity shortages. Gas is the state’s chief fuel for power generation, not coal. But the pipelines can only bring in about 3 billion cubic feet of working gas a day into Southern California, below the daily demand, which gets as high as 5.7 billion cubic feet."

California’s Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, therefore, has warned of "significant risk" that there may not be enough natural gas which could result in "outages for as many as 14 summer days." CNN Money reports: "Natural gas has played a bigger role for California as the state has tried to phase out coal and nuclear power" — environmental groups oppose the use of all of these three power sources.

It is expected that Diablo Canyon’s generating capacity will, in part, be replaced with more natural gas —  which is good news for fracking. Eric Schmitt, vice president of operations for the California Independent System Operator, said: "California needs more flexibility in how it generates power so it can balance fluctuating output from wind and solar projects. Gas plants can be turned off and on quickly."

As coal-fueled electricity has been outlawed in California, and environmental groups have pushed to close nuclear power plants, and routinely block any new proposed natural gas pipelines, black outs will become frequent. California’s energy demand doesn’t match solar power’s production.

This dilemma makes "energy efficiency" a key component of the environmental groups’ decrees — which parallels the European Union’s (EU) policies that were a part of Britain’s "exit" decision (known as "Brexit").

When the EU’s energy efficiency standards for small appliances were first proposed, then German EU energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, according to the Telegraph, said: "All EU countries agree energy efficiency is the most effective method to reduce energy consumption and dependence on imports and to improve the climate. Therefore there needs to be mandatory consumption limits for small electrical appliances." In 2014, the EU, in the name of energy efficiency, sparked public outcry in Britain when it banned powerful vacuum cleaners with motors above 1600 watts. It then proposed to "ban high powered kettles and toasters" as part of the "Eco-design Directive" aimed at reducing the energy consumption of products.

The EU’s Eco-design Directive’s specific requirements are to be published as "Implementing Measures" — which, according to, are made "as European Law Commission Regulations." It explains that this process allows the directives to "enter into force in all the member states without requiring a transcription process in their National Law. Thus they can be issued much more quickly than the usual Directive Process."

When the EU’s high-powered toaster/tea-kettle ban was announced, it became "a lightning rod for public anger at perceived meddling by Brussels" — which was seen as "intruding too much into citizens’ daily lives." When the ban was announced, retailers reported a spike, as high as 95 percent, in toaster and electric tea-kettle sales. The European overreach became such ammunition in Britain’s Brexit referendum, that Brussels stalled the ban until after the election and engaged in a now-failed public relations exercise with "green campaigners" to speak out in favor of the toaster and tea-kettle regulations that were believed to have "considerable energy saving potential."

The Brits didn’t buy it. It is reported that top of the list for "leave" voters were "EU Rules and Regulations." Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign said: "If we vote remain we will be powerless to prevent an avalanche of EU regulations that Brussels is delaying until after the referendum."

Brussels’ toaster and tea-kettle ban, which were perceived as an assault on the British staples, has been called "bonkers" and "too barmy to be true." Specifically addressing the ban, Elliot said: "The EU now interferes with so many aspects of our lives, from our breakfast to our borders." David Coburn, a UK Independence party MEP from Scotland, who recently bought a new toaster and tea kettle grumbled: "I think I must have bought a euro-toaster, I have to put bread in it five times and it’s still pale and pasty. Perhaps it’s powered by windmills. And the kettle? Watching a kettle boil has never been so boring."

While energy efficiency directives banning Keurig coffee makers would be more likely to draw similar ridicule from Californians, there is a lesson to be learned from the Brexit decision: too much regulation results in referendums to overturn them. It is widely believed that, with Brexit and new leadership, many of the EU’s environmental regulations, including the Paris Climate Agreement, will be adjusted or abandoned.

More and more Americans are reaching the same conclusion as our British cousins about the overreach of rules and regulations. As Coburn concluded: "What we want is to let the free market reign, not this diktat by bureaucrat."


Greenie scare fails in Australia

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef named the best place in the world to visit.  Throughout the bleaching scare, tourism operators have never had any difficulty taking people to unspoiled areas of the reef

IN a much-needed boost for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism has been voted the best place in the world to visit by an influential US travel site.

US News and World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit for 2016-17 ranked the Reef No.1 ahead of Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  Sydney also made the list — at 13th.

The site described the Reef as "holding a spot on every travellers’ bucket list".

"The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences," said the description.  "Whether you’re gazing at marine life through a scuba mask, letting the tropical breeze unfurl your sail, or in a plane gliding high above it all, the possibilities for exploration are nearly limitless."

It comes after a series of sinister reports about the Reef’s future following a major coral bleaching event found to have affected extensive areas.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the Reef’s first placing on the list, was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.

"The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland," Ms Coddington said. "It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day."

Other destinations to make the top ten included Florence in Italy; Tokyo, Japan; the archealogocial capital of the Americas — Cusco in Peru; London, Rome, New York and Maui.

Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain finished ahead of Sydney, the only other Australian location on the list.

"Expert opinions, user votes and current trends" were used to compile this list.

Last year London was No.1, Bora Bora No.2 and Barcelona third — while Sydney was placed fifth.

Ms Coddington said this year’s result reaffirmed just how important the Reef was to Australia’s tourism economy.  "It’s ours to protect and share," she said.  "Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth."



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, 2016

Is the ozone "hole" shrinking at last?

As I pointed out recently, the ozone levels at Mauna Loa seem to be just oscillating across an an unchanging range, indicating no trend.  And ozone is well mixed so at least that non-trend (if not absolute levels) should also apply over the Antarctic.  And that does seem to be so.  The "hole" too just oscillates, expanding and contracting in a random way. And in October 2015 the Antarctic ozone hole reached a record size.  No shrinking there!  Which is very frustrating to Greenies.

But they were determined to find something to support their thinking so pulled together all the data they could find on the hole and tortured it with statistics.  They did something that is totally illegitimate in statistics:  Data dredging.   If you look hard enough at any set if statistics you can generally find SOME trend or correlation somewhere.  The problem is that  extending the data base in some way usually wipes out the trend or correlation.  There is a classic example of that here in a study of lynching in the American South.

So what did the authors dredge out?  It would be funny if it were not so pathetic.  They found a trend line going through the data for September only.  In Septembers since 2000, the ozone has been behaving itself, too bad about the other months of the year. How you can draw any inferences from that -- let alone the sweeping inferences they do draw -- I do not know.

And why 2000?  There's no theoretical reason.  It's just more data dredging.  It's also one of the classic tricks of chartmanship. If you are allowed to pick your starting and end points in a trend line, you can "prove" almost anything.

At the risk of beating a dead horse I will have one more laugh at these galoots.  What do they say about the VERY embarrassing October 2015 ozone hole?  They say the reading then was influenced by a volcano:  "the Calbuco eruption" in Southern Chile.  Being a suspicious soul, I looked up exactly when Calbuco erupted:  April 2015!  Something that happened in April had no effect until 6 months later!  Pull the other one! One would expect a big effect immediately after the eruption, tapering off in subsequent months.  Instead these Warmists ask us to believe the opposite happened. It's not even clever lying. 

And, anyway, volcanoes are fairly common on a global scale and it is global ozone that is supposedly affected by wicked man-made chemicals -- so how come this eruption was so unusually significant?  Was it vast?  No.  It was just a level 4 event (out of 10). Clearly blaming Calbuco is a work of desperation.  The October 2015 ozone level was just another episode in the random walk that is the ozone "hole".  The Greenies bullied us out of our best refrigerant gases for nothing.

And their crookedness and deceptions never stop

Emergence of healing in the Antarctic ozone layer

Susan Solomon et al.


Industrial chlorofluorocarbons that cause ozone depletion have been phased out under the Montreal Protocol. A chemically-driven increase in polar ozone (or "healing") is expected in response to this historic agreement. Observations and model calculations taken together indicate that the onset of healing of Antarctic ozone loss has now emerged in September. Fingerprints of September healing since 2000 are identified through (i) increases in ozone column amounts, (ii) changes in the vertical profile of ozone concentration, and (iii) decreases in the areal extent of the ozone hole. Along with chemistry, dynamical and temperature changes contribute to the healing, but could represent feedbacks to chemistry. Volcanic eruptions episodically interfere with healing, particularly during 2015 (when a record October ozone hole occurred following the Calbuco eruption).

Science  30 Jun 2016: DOI: 10.1126/science.aae0061.  See here for another summary of their findings   

Greenland ice cover now tracking above average

Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day).
Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 24 years (in the period 1990-2013) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 24 years have been left out.


"Climate System Scientist" Claims Jet Stream Crossing the Equator is Unprecedented

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Paul Beckwith has a masters degree in laser optics, which he has somehow parlayed into being a "Climate System Scientist" to spread alarmism about the climate system.

But his post "Unprecedented, Jet Stream Crosses Equator" suggests he knows little of meteorology, let alone climate.

A "jet stream" in the usual sense of the word is caused by the thermal wind, which cannot exist at the equator because there is no Coriolis force. To the extent that there is cross-equator flow at jet stream levels, it is usually from air flowing out of deep convective rain systems. That outflow often enters the subtropical jet stream, which is part of the average Hadley Cell circulation.

There is frequently cross-equatorial flow at jet stream altitudes, and that flow can connect up with a subtropical jet stream. But it has always happened, and always will happen, with or without the help of humans. Sometimes the flows connect up with each other and make it look like a larger flow structure is causing the jet stream to flow from one hemisphere to the other, but it’s in no way unprecedented.

We’ve really only known about jet streams since around WWII…one of my professors, Reid Bryson, was one of the first to advise the U.S. military that bombers flying to Japan might encounter strong head winds. The idea that something we have been observing for only several decades on a routine basis (upper tropospheric winds in the tropics) would exhibit "unprecedented" behavior is rather silly.

I especially like this portion of Paul’s post: "We must declare a global climate emergency. Please consider a donation to support my work.."

Nice touch, Mr. Beckwith.


Mulch could slow global warming: UBCO study

Something else not in the climate models

Researchers at the local campus of the University of British Columbia have discovered mulch is much more than a landscape accessory.

Craig Nichol, senior instructor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UBC Okanagan, found using mulch in agriculture can cut nitrous oxide emissions by up to 28 per cent.

In the two-year study, emissions-recording chambers were put on bare soil and on soil covered by mulch. This was part of a larger study with Melanie Jones and Louise Nelson, also UBC researchers.

Mulched areas had a 74 per cent reduction in soil nitrates and reduced levels of nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrates are the source material for nitrous oxide emissions and can seep into groundwater, according to a UBC media release.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says nitrous oxide from soil makes up one half of agriculture emissions that contribute to global warming. Emission levels are often higher in agricultural soil because of fertilizer and manure use.

"In addition to saving water, improving soil, combatting pests and stopping weeds, wood mulch actually reduces the release of a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide," Nichol says. "Provided you are not driving great distances to obtain the mulch, it would appear that mulch could be a powerful tool in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly if used in these agricultural systems."


NOAA 1974 - Global Cooling Will Starve the World

"The poorest nations, already beset by man-made disasters, have been threatened by a natural one: the possibility of climatic changes ...perhaps throughout the world. The implications for global food and population policies are ominous..." - NOAA, 1974

In October 1974, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published an alarming article in their quarterly magazine stating that climatologists believed a recent global cooling trend would starve the world and send the planet into another ice age.

Most forecasts of worldwide food production have been based on the assumption that global weather will stay about the same as it has been in the recent past. But it has already begun to change.

In the Sahelian zone of Africa south of the Sahara, the countries of Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta are enduring a drought that in some areas has been going on for more than six years now, following some 40 previous years of abundant monsoon rainfall. And the drought is spreading—eastward into Ehtiopia and southward into Dahomey, Egypt, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, and Zaire.

Many climatologists have associated this drought and other recent weather anomalies with a global cooling trend and changes in atmospheric circulation which, if prolonged, pose serious threats to major food-producing regions of the world.

Annual average temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere increased rather dramatically from about 1890 through 1940, but have been falling ever since. The total change has averaged about one-half degree Centigrade, with the greatest cooling in higher latitudes. A drop of only one or two degrees Centigrade in the annual average temperature at higher latitudes can shorten the growing season so that some crops have to be abandoned. [...]

...the average growing season in England is already two weeks shorter than it was before 1950. Since the late 1950's, Iceland's hay crop yield has dropped about 25 percent, while pack ice in waters around Iceland and Greenland ports is becoming the hazard to navigation it was during the 17th and 18th centuries. [...]

Some climatologists think that if the current cooling trend continues, drought will occur more frequently in India—indeed, through much of Asia, the world's hungriest continent. [...]

Some climatologists think that the present cooling trend may be the start of a slide into another period of major glaciation, popularly called an "ice age."

This is consistent with the documented media hysteria of the 1970s about global cooling and demonstrates, contrary to alarmist arguments - that many climatologists did agree with the media's representation of a coming ice age apocalypse.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Coal company warns of mass layoffs

Murray Energy Corp. says it might lay off up to 82 percent of its workforce in September, due in part to President Obama.

Murray Energy, owned by outspoken executive and Donald Trump supporter Bob Murray, said the potential layoffs would affect 4,400 employees in six states. Murray said this week that his company has 5,356 workers, according to SNL Financial.

"These workforce reductions are due to the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama, and his supporters, and the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity," the company said in a Friday statement.
"Murray Energy hopes and expects to continue operating its mines, and will retain as many employees as practicable to ensure continued operation and to fulfill its obligations to its customers."

The warnings came three days after miners in the United Mine Workers of America rejected the latest proposal for a new contract from Murray Energy and other unionized coal companies.

The coal industry employs fewer than 60,000 people, compared with the more than 80,000 jobs in 2008.

Murray has been an outspoken critic of Obama and his policies that hurt coal, calling him "the greatest destroyer America has ever had." The company frequently files lawsuits against the Obama administration for its environmental regulations.

He predicted that Trump "will be the best president of our lifetimes."



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, 2016

Is the march of the penguins over? Researchers warn climate change could kill off 60% of global Adélie populations by the end of the century

This is all reliant on the usual global warming models, that have never got anything right yet

Adélie penguins have roamed across Antarctica for millions of years. However, climate change has finally reached a 'tipping point' that could decimate their numbers, researchers have warned.

They says 30 per cent of current colonies may be in decline by 2060, and approximately 60 per cent may be in decline by 2099.

In a paper published today (June 29) in Scientific Reports, the researchers project that approximately 30 percent of current Adélie colonies may be in decline by 2060 and approximately 60 percent may be in decline by 2099.

'It is only in recent decades that we know Adélie penguins population declines are associated with warming, which suggests that many regions of Antarctica have warmed too much and that further warming is no longer positive for the species,' said the paper's lead author Megan Cimino.

The current work used satellite data and global climate model projections to understand current and future population trends on a continental scale.

'Our study used massive amounts of data to run habitat suitability models. 'From other studies that used actual ground counts--people going and physically counting penguins-- and from high resolution satellite imagery, we have global estimates of Adélie penguin breeding locations, meaning where they are present and where they are absent, throughout the entire Southern Ocean.

'We also have estimates of population size and how their populations have changed over last few decades,' explained Cimino, now a postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

'When we combined this data with satellite information and future climate projections on sea surface temperature and sea ice, we can look at past and future changes in Adélie penguin habitat suitability,' Cimino said.

Funded through the NASA Biodiversity program, the study is based on satellite observations from 1981-2010 of sea surface temperature, sea ice and bare rock locations, and true presence-absence data of penguin population estimates from satellite imagery.

In particular, the researchers examined the number of years from 1981-2010 with novel or unusual climate during the Adélie penguin chick-rearing period from past satellite observations and used an ensemble of global climate models to make predictions about Adélie penguin habitat suitability from 2011-2099. The team validated the models with documented population trends.

The study results suggest that climate novelty, particularly warm sea surface temperature (SST), is detrimental to Adélie penguins.

While the specific mechanisms for this relationship remain unknown, the study focuses attention on areas where climate change is likely to create a high frequency of unsuitable conditions during the 21st century.

Lynch noted that 'One of the key advances over the last decade is our ability to find penguin colonies from space and, nearly as important, to determine which areas of Antarctica do not support penguin colonies.

'Having both true presence and absence across a species' global range is unique to this system, and opens up new avenues for modeling habitat suitability.'

According to Cimino, the southern WAP, associated islands and northern WAP regions, which are already experiencing population declines, are projected to experience the greatest frequency of novel climate this century due to warm SST.

This suggests that warm sea surface temperatures may cause a decrease in the suitability of chick-rearing habitats at northerly latitudes.

'Matt and I have worked extensively at Palmer Station and we know that penguin colonies near there have declined by at least 80 percent since the 1970s.'

By contrast, the study also suggests several refugia -- areas of relatively unaltered climate -- may exist in continental Antarctica beyond 2099, which would buffer a species-wide decline.

Understanding how these refugia operate is critical to understanding the future of this species.


Leaving EU will make it harder for UK to tackle climate change, says minister

Like how?  She doesn't say. This is just propaganda.  The British stockmarket is already back to where it was before the Brexit vote and most other things should soon be back to normal too.  Britain didn't need the EU to waste a fortune on windmills

Brexit will make it harder for Britain to play its role in tackling climate change, the UK energy and climate secretary has said.

But Amber Rudd said that the UK remained committed to action on global warming and Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that on Thursday she will approve a world-leading carbon target for 2032.

"While I think the UK’s role in dealing with a warming planet may have been made harder by the decision last Thursday, our commitment to dealing with it has not gone away," Rudd told an audience in London.

"Securing our energy supply, keeping bills low and building a low carbon energy infrastructure: the challenges remain the same. Our commitment also remains the same. As I said, I think the decision last week risks making it a harder road."

She said she agreed with chancellor, George Osborne, that the UK now faced a period of uncertainty. "The decision on Thursday raises a host of questions for the energy sector, of course it does. There have been significant advantages to us trading energy both within Europe and being an entry point into Europe from the rest of the world."

She added that the UK remained committed to new nuclear, including the planned £23bn expansion of Hinkley Point in Somerset, which some observers have said is likely to become a casualty of last week’s leave vote.

Rudd’s comments on Brexit having significant ramifcations for the energy sector were at odds with her energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, a prominent Leave campaigner during the referendum.

"In my view, for energy policy I don’t believe anything will change," she said on Wednesday when asked by MPs on the committee on energy and climate change what impact Brexit would have.

"The UK’s Climate Change Act is absolutely key to our climate change objectives, we continue to be absolutely committed to those.

"In terms of interconnectors, those are businesses, those are run on commercial terms and nothing will change. In terms of cooperation on climate change and decarbonisation our own commitment remains as strong, but we never only working with EU, we were working globally."

Industry, experts and green groups broadly welcomed Rudd’s speech today.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, which represents BT, Ikea, M&S and a group of businesses supporting sustainability, said: "Coming a few days after the outcome of the EU referendum, it is positive to hear Amber Rudd highlight the importance of continuing to tackle climate change."

The leading economist Lord Stern said: "The secretary of state’s speech has provided reassurance that the long-term direction of UK climate change policy under the current government has not changed."

Sam Barker, director of the Conservative Environment Network, said: "This is a welcome intervention from the energy and climate change secretary. Ministers across this Conservative government have delivered significant environmental improvements, from planning an ambitious coal phase-out to creating the world’s largest marine reserve."

Greenpeace said that Rudd and Leadsom’s commitment to the Climate Change Act was good but action was needed. "Soothing words are not good enough. Green investor confidence in the UK was shaky before Brexit because of the government’s ever changing and incoherent policies, which neither minister seem willing to get to grips with even now," said John Sauven, the group’s executive director.

On Wednesday, the wind power industry said that the uncertainty created by Brexit meant it was time the government reconsidered its stance on onshore wind power, for which Rudd cut subsidies last year.

RenewableUK’s chief executive, Hugh McNeal, said: "It is precisely now, at this moment which is so unpredictable and uncertain, that I believe we should reflect on what we can offer; cheap, homegrown electricity able to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds of capital investment for our economy over the next few years, helping companies all over Britain just at a time when we need it most."

Separately, politicians expressed shock that Mark Reckless, a Ukip Welsh assembly member had been appointed chair of the Welsh assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. Ukip has repeatedly cast doubt on climate change science and in the 2015 general election campaigned on a manifesto promise to repeal the Climate Change Act.


German climate alarmists are wavering

The solar slowdown has freaked them -- Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf et al.

The daily Berliner Kurier here writes today that solar physicists at the ultra-warmist Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are warning that Europe may be facing "a mini ice age" due to a possible protracted solar minimum.

The Berliner Kurier writes:

That’s the conclusion that solar physicists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research reached when looking at solar activity."

For an institute that over the past 20 years has steadfastly insisted that man has been almost the sole factor in climate change over the past century and that the sun no longer plays a role, this is quite remarkable.

The Berliner Kurier reports that the PIK scientists foresee a weakening of the sun’s activity over the coming years. "That means that conversely it is going to get colder. The scientists are speaking of a little ice age."

According to the PIK scientists, the reduced solar activity will, however, not be able to stop the global warming and only brake the warming up to 2100 by 0.3°C.

Given the extreme warnings of warming and sea level rise put out by the Potsdam Institute in the past, this still represents an extraordinary admission, one that has us suspecting a major climate turnaround may be ahead – despite all the efforts by the Potsdam Institute to play it all down. Here we see them possibly setting up a global warming postponement of a couple of decades. The sun plays a role after all.

The source of the Berliner Kurier report is the Austrian weather site here. The site writes that some solar physicists suspect the current solar inactivity may be "the start of a new grand minimum" like the one the planet saw in the 17th century and left Europe in an ice box.

Though most scientists agree that the Little Ice Age took place, many dispute its extent. Some insist it was localized over the North Atlantic region. But now there are dozens of studies that show it was in fact a global event. That should make us worry.


The $108 Million Science Swindle

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations shed light on more government-sanctioned junk science. Among the things covered in Thursday’s oversight hearing is a startling revelation concerning the Department of the Interior that gets to the crux of climate skeptics' dissent over the supposed effects of anthropogenic warming. According to the hearing memorandum:

    "[Office of Inspector General] found that the operator of a mass spectrometer device at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Programs Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado manipulated scientific results and data between 2008 and 2014. Committee staff later learned from the OIG that the individual was the second employee to do so, and that data manipulation in the lab began in the late 1990’s. Test results from the lab are used in the Energy Resource Program’s coal and water quality assessments. The OIG noted in its report transmittal letter that the full extent of the impacts of this manipulated data are not yet known, but that they will be serious and far ranging. According to the OIG audit, projects potentially affected by the falsified data between FY08 and FY16 had received $108 million in funding. USGS permanently closed the lab in February 2016 and the scientist in question resigned in the course of the investigation."

On Thursday, Rep. Bruce Westerman said, "It’s astounding that we spend $108 million on manipulated research and then the far-reaching effects that that would have. We know how research multiplies and affects different parts of our society and our economy and … if you’re working off of flawed data it definitely could be in a bad way."

What is it ecofascists are constantly crowing? Something about how the science of "climate change" is settled? It’s especially easy to make that argument — which is scientifically flawed in any case — when the evidence is rigged. And climate alarmists have been caught again doing just that. Last week’s hearing only affirms an inconvenient truth: In government, science is far likelier to be manipulated than it is truthful.


Ecofascists Target Differences of Opinion

Here in America, Land of the Free, it ought to take actual wrongdoing for government to act against individuals and organizations. And when those in positions of authority are properly serving the people, that’s the way it works.

Alas, that is not always so. It is growing more frequent to see malfeasance by public servants who, rather than seeking out criminal or civil misbehavior, use their offices for purposes outside their scope of responsibility. Apparently, the punishment for abdicating one’s sworn duty to honorably do his/her job is insufficient — or nonexistent — to discourage bad behavior.

Perhaps the best-known recent episode of such public dis-service was the IRS harassment of conservative organizations that filed for non-profit status, a function under the control of one Lois Lerner.

During a congressional hearing investigating the affair, Lerner refused to answer questions, hiding behind the Fifth Amendment’s protection from self-incrimination, later resigning her federal position and, having avoided criminal charges, lives peacefully on her government pension.

While Lerner used her IRS position against political adversaries, public servant misbehavior also creeps into the area of harassing ideological opponents. The environmental Left’s position that burning fossil fuels significantly harms the environment is based upon evidence so weak and heavily disputed that a substantial number of Americans — perhaps a majority — reject the idea. Unable to convince people through the strength of scientific evidence, leftists resort to using the power of government to force people into line.

This time the target is ExxonMobil and a dozen independent groups that are in the crosshairs of a state prosecutor because they do not accept the idea that fossil fuels significantly damage the environment, and have had the unmitigated gall to express their opinion publicly.

Earlier this month, ExxonMobil released a copy of an April 19 subpoena filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey demanding 40 years of communications regarding climate change from the company and the organizations. Exxon has filed a motion for injunction in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, accusing Healey of waging a politically motivated fishing expedition aimed at silencing oppositional opinion on climate change.

Did Exxon engage in legally actionable fraud as Healy claims? "Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be, must be held accountable," she said. She also referred to what she called the "troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public."

Healy’s statement suggests that someone can be held criminally liable for knowing the Left’s argument about climate change, and then failing to discard their own opinion in favor of that argument. Merely knowing that ecofascists think fossil fuel use is harming the environment makes you legally obligated to adopt that position, even if you do not agree and, more importantly, even if there is no actual proof that assumption is correct.

Healy and her fellow travelers seem to believe that their opinion becomes truth merely because they believe it — even if it has never been proven true or valid. And if you disagree you can face legal action. Free speech and the First Amendment apparently no longer apply where climate change is concerned.

Of this poorly thought through legal fiasco, Alex Epstein, whose Center for Industrial Progress is one of the dozen organizations targeted by Healy along with Exxon, had this to say: "What ExxonMobil is being prosecuted for is expressing an opinion about the evidence that the government disagrees with. … There is a fundamental distinction in civilized society between fraud and opinion."

In his excellent book, "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels," Epstein advances the position that fossil fuel use has provided millions and millions of people wonderful advantages in terms of higher living standards, increased life expectancy and decreased infant and child mortality. He also references the manic climate change narrative that produced repeated predictions of doom that did not materialize.

A fundamental truth in the United States is that one may hold and espouse any opinion he or she chooses, without regard to whether that opinion is true or false; it is not a crime to disagree, even if the subject is climate change.

This effort to force acceptance of the weak theory of fossil fuels damaging the environment is an initiative of "AGs United for Clean Power." This perhaps signals a coming expanded effort to silence disagreement. But it has aroused the attention of 13 attorneys general, who signed a letter to their counterparts across the country that said: "We think this effort by our colleagues to police the global warming debate through the power of the subpoena is a grave mistake."

Whether that letter will help redirect AGs tempted to the dark side or not is unknown. But it is a step in the right direction.


Greenie scare fails

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef named the best place in the world to visit.  Throughout the bleaching scare, touriswm operators have never had any difficulty taking people to unspoiled areas of the reef

IN a much-needed boost for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism has been voted the best place in the world to visit by an influential US travel site.

US News and World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit for 2016-17 ranked the Reef No.1 ahead of Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  Sydney also made the list — at 13th.

The site described the Reef as "holding a spot on every travellers’ bucket list".

"The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences," said the description.  "Whether you’re gazing at marine life through a scuba mask, letting the tropical breeze unfurl your sail, or in a plane gliding high above it all, the possibilities for exploration are nearly limitless."

It comes after a series of sinister reports about the Reef’s future following a major coral bleaching event found to have affected extensive areas.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the Reef’s first placing on the list, was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.

"The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland," Ms Coddington said. "It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day."

Other destinations to make the top ten included Florence in Italy; Tokyo, Japan; the archealogocial capital of the Americas — Cusco in Peru; London, Rome, New York and Maui.

Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain finished ahead of Sydney, the only other Australian location on the list.

"Expert opinions, user votes and current trends" were used to compile this list.

Last year London was No.1, Bora Bora No.2 and Barcelona third — while Sydney was placed fifth.

Ms Coddington said this year’s result reaffirmed just how important the Reef was to Australia’s tourism economy.  "It’s ours to protect and share," she said.  "Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth."



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

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


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Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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