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

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

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

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

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE.
The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Immigration Watch, Food & Health Skeptic, Gun Watch, Eye on Britain, Recipes, Tongue Tied and Australian Politics. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

30 June, 2011

That pesky sea-level

Instead of rising faster, it has actually STOPPED its long-term rising tendency

Much larger version of graphic here or a very sharp but slow-loading copy here

"Scientific" American claims that human "fingerprints" are showing up on individual weather events; fails to tell us exactly what this means

Storm Warnings: Extreme Weather Is a Product of Climate Change: Scientific American
In this year alone massive blizzards have struck the U.S. Northeast...
...Scientists used to say, cautiously, that extreme weather events were "consistent" with the predictions of climate change. No more. "Now we can make the statement that particular events would not have happened the same way without global warming," says Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo....

The second line of evidence comes from a nascent branch of science called climate attribution. The idea is to examine individual events like a detective investigating a crime, searching for telltale fingerprints of climate change. Those fingerprints are showing up...

This new science is still controversial. There's an active debate among researchers about whether the Russian heat wave bears the characteristic signature of climate change [What, exactly, is that supposed to mean?] or whether it was just natural variability, for instance. Some scientists worry that trying to attribute individual events to climate change is counterproductive in the larger political debate, because it's so easy to dismiss the claim by saying that the planet has always experienced extreme weather. ...[Nashville-based author and environmental journalist Amanda Little] "Climate change translates into mold on my baby's crib..."...In her own basement her family's belongings bobbed like debris in a pond.


Australia: Academic study demolishes the coral reef scare stories

The reefs have been going to hell in a handbasket for years -- according to the Greenies
Disturbance and the Dynamics of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995–2009)

By Kate Osborne et al.


Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking.

Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009.

Subregional trends (10–100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral.

Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

PLoS One. 2011; 6(3): e17516.

British green ‘stealth tax to encourage wind farms and nuclear power will hit the poor the hardest’

A green ‘stealth’ tax to encourage new wind farms and nuclear power plants could push tens of thousands of households into fuel poverty but do nothing to reduce emissions.

The carbon floor price, announced in the March Budget, could even end up giving climate policies a ‘bad name’, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned.

To be introduced in 2013, the tax is intended to encourage investment in low-carbon energy – and raise billions for the Treasury. Under the existing rules, energy companies must generate a fixed amount of green energy every year, or else buy permits to pollute on the open market. The new tax kicks in if the cost of these permits falls too low. From 2013, the ‘floor price’ of a permit needed to emit a tonne of carbon will be set at £16, rising to £30 by 2020.

The higher cost of electricity will be passed on to household and business customers with energy-guzzling industries hit hardest.

But the IPPR, a centre-left think-tank, says that householders, many of whom are already struggling to pay their fuel bills, will also suffer. It estimates that 30,000 to 60,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty – defined as spending more than 10 per cent of your disposable income on heat and light.

The think-tank also warned that the UK scheme could lead to lower carbon permit prices elsewhere in Europe – and so do nothing to ease pollution.

Andrew Pendleton, IPPR associate director, said: ‘The carbon price support scheme risks giving energy and climate change policy a bad name because it will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions while piling more cost on to the shoulders of already hard-pressed consumers in the UK.’

The think-tank report also said that because the floor price was announced in the Budget, it would be open to annual review – meaning it would not have the certainty needed by investors looking at putting money into low-carbon energy projects such as wind, wave and nuclear power.

The report suggests setting the floor price low to minimise its impact and urges ministers to encourage European countries to introduce similar measures.

Confining the tax to Britain could be an ‘inexcusable’ waste of £1billion,’ Mr Pendleton said.

The soaring cost of fuel means that 5.5million households are already living in fuel poverty —including two million pensioner households. This is compared to 1.4million households in 2004.

Earlier this month CBI director-general John Cridland said a trio of new carbon levies, including the carbon floor price, were ‘counterproductive’ and will make the UK’s steel and chemicals industries less competitive on the world stage. In a stinging attack, the head of Britain’s largest business lobby called for the Government to axe some climate change taxes and make energy-intensive businesses exempt from others.

The warning came days after former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull said politicians should ‘stop frightening us and our children’ about global warming. He accused politicians and Whitehall mandarins of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and consigning Britain to a future of inflated fuel bills.


Why your new car doesn’t have a spare tire

Fewer tires, higher taxes.

That may be what's in store for drivers under the federal government's spiraling fuel economy mandates (known as CAFE, for Corporate Average Fuel Economy). The Department of Transportation is floating 62 mpg as a possible standard for 2025, more than double the current 27.5 mpg standard. How the industry can meet that target, and at what cost, is anyone's guess. A new study in mid-June by the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. put the tab at about $10,000 extra per new vehicle, while admitting that even this estimate might be far too low.

And that's not the only bad news; in the past few weeks there have been two other unwelcome developments. First, GM announced that several versions of its compact Chevy Cruze would no longer have spare tires; instead, they'll have vehicle-powered sealant repair kits. This is a major jump in the trend toward eliminating spare tires, a trend due largely to CAFE's drive to shed every possible ounce of car weight.

Some argue that spare tires are unnecessary, given the growing presence of run-flat tires, tire pressure monitors, and roadside assistance systems. But the fact that spares are being eliminated in the name of fuel economy, rather than market demand, demolishes one of the chief claims of CAFE's advocates. For several decades, the need to reduce vehicle size and weight in order to raise mileage has been CAFE's Achilles' heel. Smaller, lighter cars not only hold fewer passengers and less baggage; they're also less crashworthy. CAFE-induced downsizing causes several thousand additional traffic deaths per year.

Proponents of CAFE argue that while vehicle downsizing may once have been needed to raise fuel economy, it has been obviated by new technologies. As a result, they claim, CAFE no longer forces us to give up safety for other car features.

Yet despite this talk of new technologies eliminating trade-offs, here we have GM scrapping the spare tire to comply with CAFE. The station wagon disappeared under CAFE because it was a highly regulated passenger car (unlike SUVs, which were less-regulated "light trucks"). Now, with the spare tire following the same pattern, we have another hard-to-miss symbol of what CAFE hath wrought.

Getting rid of spare tires alone won't be nearly enough to meet the more stringent mandates that are looming. In early June, GM unveiled another strategy—higher gasoline taxes. GM CEO Dan Akerson proposed boosting the federal tax by up to $1 per gallon to increase small car sales.

This isn't the first time a car maker's chief executive has called for higher gas taxes. In 2009, after gas had dropped to below $2 a gallon from $4, Bill Ford made a similar proposal, citing the need for a "price signal . . . strong enough so customers will continue buying smaller, fuel-efficient cars." Mr. Ford joked about his reputation as "something of a Bolshevik" among his industry colleagues. But Mr. Ford's wish for higher gas prices has come true; gas is now in the high $3 range. And yet even that isn't high enough for GM's Mr. Akerson.

It would be one thing if these gentlemen wanted to replace CAFE with higher gas taxes. That would at least give us a politically honest fuel efficiency regime. Rather than being bamboozled by the smoke and mirrors of CAFE's technological mandates, consumers would learn from a gas-tax hike exactly what government was doing to them. But if that's what Mr. Akerson means, then he'd better say so, because he now sounds like another antimobility environmentalist pushing a sin-tax increase.

Mr. Akerson's stand demonstrates CAFE's real perversity—by forcing mileage standards far above what consumers want, it pits car makers against their customers. Car makers need high gas prices to force buyers into the vehicles that government demands the industry sell. The public hopes for low prices, and if markets push prices down, then consumers ought to be able to enjoy their good fortune.

Two weeks ago the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its latest study of vehicle death rates. Like its previous studies, this new report found that larger and heavier models continue to be safer. SUVs heavier than 4,500 pounds, for example, have a death rate less than one-third that of cars under 2,500 pounds. The politics of energy efficiency may have gone insane, but the law of physics remains.


Al Gore's Ugly Rhetoric Is Nothing New

For years, the Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups have warned us that too many babies will destroy the Earth.

"We are experiencing an accelerated obliteration of the planet's life-forms -- an estimated 8,760 species die off per year -- because, simply put," explained environmentalist Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, "there are too many people." (Well, not exactly that simple when one considers that millions of species had disappeared long before humans selfishly began drinking from plastic bottles.)

In one of his recent works of speculative fiction, The New York Times' Thomas Friedman asked: "How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?" Dunno. Maybe we value reality? Perhaps we believe in the ability of humans to adapt and to innovate. Perhaps we've learned that Malthusian Chicken Littles slinging stories about the impending end of water or oil or natural resources are proved wrong so often that we ignore them.

Though, admittedly, it's difficult to ignore the charismatic pseudoscience of Al Gore. "One of the things that we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principal ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women," the former vice president explained at the Games for Change Festival. "You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children (they) have, the spacing of the children."

No doubt capitalism appears terribly unstable to the autocratically inclined Gore, but nonetheless, in this country "fertility management" is not only already ubiquitously obtainable by girls and women but also obtainable by boys and men -- and for free at any Planned Parenthood and at many schools. There is also post-fertility management, or 1.3 million yearly abortions -- because no one should be punished with a baby.

Then again, perhaps educating and empowering girls should be the job of parents. After all, Gore has blessed the Earth with four of his own offspring. Does he believe the world would be better off without two of them? If not, why does he assume that an "empowered and educated" woman would reach the conclusion that having fewer children is a more logical and moral choice? (Many, including Bryan Caplan, author of the superb new book "Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think," would probably make a strong counterargument.)

Gore hasn't embraced any nefarious brand of population control. But President Barack Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, co-authored (with Paul Ehrlich of "Population Bomb" notoriety) a book in the 1970s that toyed with the idea of compulsory sterilization and coerced abortions -- to "de-develop the United States." (Boy, the tea party is so radical!) Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, openly advocated for population control to weed out undesirables. You'll remember that in a New York Times interview, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she "thought that at the time Roe (v. Wade) was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."

Whatever did she mean?

If "too many" people are killing 8,760 species every year, isn't it an imperative to do something? What is holding us back? If unrealized human life is only going to sponge off the Earth and decimate our natural resources, don't we have a duty to limit population growth?

Forget that the populations of Brazil and India and a number of other nations continue to grow and life continues to improve. Forget that our own standard of living steadily increases while our population steadily grows. Forget the never-ending ingenuity and development of mankind -- especially anything that has to do with fossil fuels. For Gore, people are parasites, millions of little environmental disasters. And when a man embraces debunked 19th-century notions rather than empirical evidence, well, surely another Nobel Prize is in order.



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


29 June, 2011

Despite Fukushima disaster, Sarkozy to plough 1 billion euros into atomic energy

French rationality trumps German romanticism

President Nicolas Sarkozy says France will invest 1billion euro (£900million) in nuclear energy despite a rise in concern about atomic safety following Japan's nuclear disaster. Sarkozy says a moratorium on new nuclear reactors, as some countries have declared since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, ‘makes no sense.’ He said today that ‘there is no alternative to nuclear energy today.’

France is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other country, with 74 per cent of electricity coming from its 58 atomic reactors.

Sarkozy, at a news conference about government investments in the economy, said France will stick to a plan to invest 1billion euros in future nuclear reactors. He also promised 1.35billion euros in investment in renewable energy.

In contrast, neighbour Germany will be shutting every one of its 17 nuclear reactors by 2022 and embarking on a large-scale introduction of renewable energy.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said last month: ‘We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible.’

Switzerland has opted to follow a similar path to that of Germany, phasing out its five nuclear power stations by 2034, when the last one expires. This gives officials plenty of time to bring alternative energy sources online.

Despite the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan, following March 11’s earthquake and tsunami, Sarkozy is confident that the atomic path is the right one for France, arguing that their technology and safety know-how is superior to that found elsewhere. ‘Our power stations are more expensive because they are safer,’ he boasted.

The French aren’t being complacent, though. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has demanded that all the country’s nuclear plants are to be given ‘open and transparent’ safety assessments.

In fact, all 143 atomic plants in the EU will be examined and tested to see if floods and earthquakes pose any sort of threat.


Environmentalists vs. Renewable Energy

It’s become a truism that environmentalists want alternative energy—from wind, sun, water—to replace our reliance on fossil fuels. The trouble with this truism is that it isn’t true. Yes, in the abstract, environmentalists are all for so-called “renewable” sources of energy. But when it comes to specific projects it’s another story. It’s rare to find a renewable energy project of any significance that has not been challenged by environmental groups.

Take Brightsource Energy’s massive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert, which will cover 5.6 square miles with mirrors to produce 370 megawatts of energy. (This is the amount of energy produced by a small coal plant, underscoring just how small solar energy is in the overall national energy mix, a mere one tenth of one percent.) California’s Governor Schwarzenegger endorsed it enthusiastically.

In September 2010 the California Energy Commission unanimously approved the project and federal approval by the Obama administration—along with a $1.6 billion federal loan for the $2 billion project—followed. Seven months later Google, that star of the progressive corporation firmament, announced it would invest $168 million in the plant. It even seemed environmentalists were on board since several of the largest outfits were invited to give their input and had not vetoed it.

But this seeming bulldozer of a coalition of green right-thinkers was challenged by a southern California group called the Wildlands Conservancy which opposed the plans on the usual assortment of grounds: it would threaten endangered species, destroy rare plants, use vast amounts of water, require unsightly transmission lines and destroy native American religious sites. David Myers, the Wildlands Conservancy’s executive director, summed up the objections:

“It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem.” Endangered species did the trick, at least in the short term. In April 2011 the Obama administration halted the building of two-thirds of the project when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found more than 600 desert tortoises could die as a result of construction. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to determine if finishing the project puts the species in jeopardy.

Can anyone doubt the environmentalist storm Boone Pickens would have unleashed if his proposal to build wind farms through the great plains from Texas to the Canadian border had gotten so far as the drawing board? If in doubt look at the furor Cape Wind, in Nantucket Sound, has produced. The $2.5 billion Cape Wind project, the first offshore wind farm in U.S. coastal waters, took a decade (and $45 million) to run the legal gauntlet and line up local, state and federal approvals. A slew of environmental groups have filed lawsuits charging Cape Wind with violating the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. Then there’s the suit filed by the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes claiming Cape Wind violates tribal protections laws because they need an unobstructed view of Nantucket Sound to carry out spiritual sun greetings and the turbines would disturb the seabed which contains sacred ancestral land.

While, remarkably, Cape Wind has thus far survived the onslaught, it is by no means out of the legal thicket. In March 2011 Western Watersheds, a conservancy group, and a Native American cultural group sued on the grounds that federal officials had illegally “rushed” approval because they wanted the project to meet the funding deadline for multibillion dollar federal credits due to expire at the end of 2010. Moreover, thus far it is having trouble finding customers for its energy output, projected to begin in 2013. Because a 2008 Massachusetts law mandates that at least 15% of energy be produced by renewable sources by 2020, Cape Wind has been able to sell half the power it expects to produce to the utility company National Grid at more than twice the price of conventional power. It is counting on the state mandate to force other utilities to the table (if it surmounts the endless legal challenges).

As for hydropower, which unlike solar and wind is economically viable, environmentalists have long disliked it. More than a dozen environmental groups in Ohio banned together to block the development of a hydroelectric dam on the Cuyahoga River to replace the existing dam, built in 1912. Although it’s a “green energy project” complete with fish-migration assistance, the environmental groups want the existing dam torn down with no replacement. And indeed, under environmentalist pressure, quite a few dams are being torn down, letting the rivers run free, but with no hydroelectric power to replace what is lost.

Frustrated by the endless opposition to new energy projects, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched Project No Project, a web site that reports on thwarted energy infrastructure projects. Of roughly 300 projects delayed or outright killed over the last few years, 65 were for renewables. Delay is often synonymous for death since over time the projects run out of financing and expire.

Environmental groups continue to aver their strong commitment to renewable energy—somewhere else. Where is a slippery issue. For example, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and National Audubon released a Google Earth map of the western United States showing areas they believed should be off limits for renewable energy development. Three weeks later the NRDC issued a clarification—it did not mean to green-light the remaining areas for energy development.

Scientist-writer Peter Metzger was prophetic when, in the 1970s, he said that environmentalists are enthusiastic about energy sources as long as they do not exist and predicted the same hostility to solar energy should it become viable.

That environmentalists seek to block “green energy” projects is not necessarily bad news since wind and solar projects are hugely expensive, require massive taxpayer subsidies, and for all the hoopla about “green energy jobs” are in fact net job killers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration solar power requires over $24 in subsidies per megawatt hour of electricity compared to less than 50 cents for coal. Wind power comes in about the same as solar, requiring over $23 in subsidies per megawatt hour. As for jobs, the American Wind Energy Association (the lobby for wind energy) reports no increase in overall U.S. wind industry jobs despite the fact that $2 billion in stimulus money was assigned for wind power job creation. Most of the money went to foreign companies.

Europe, which led the way on green energy, is now backing off. Verso Economics, a British economic consulting firm, found that renewable energy destroyed 3.7 jobs for every job it created in the United Kingdom and the government’s mandates on renewables cost consumers $1.8 billion in 2009-10. Studies in Spain concluded that 2.2 jobs were lost for every job created. In Germany subsidies in the solar industry run as high as $240,000 per worker. The Danes pay subsidies of about $400 million a year to wind producers and unsurprisingly pay the highest electricity rates in the EU. Seeing the economic handwriting on the wall, Holland has become the first country in Europe to abandon the European Union’s renewable energy targets.

As we noted, much as they may oppose concrete projects, environmentalists have boundless enthusiasm for renewables in the abstract, the category into which government mandates fall. Under pressure from environmentalists, twenty nine states have enacted mandates, generally requiring that renewables (with hydropower specifically excluded in some definitions) provide between 15-20% of all energy by 2020. The Institute for Energy Research has found that electricity prices are almost 40% higher in states with mandates (in New York they are double) and although mandates may not be the only reason, they clearly contribute. In New Mexico in 2010 consumers were fighting a 21.2% increase in electric rates as a result of a 2009 law that set renewable mandates at 10% for 2011 (and 15% by 2015). In Montana the legislature is already considering repealing its mandate after a study by American Tradition Institute and the Montana Policy Institute found Montana’s mandate would result in the loss of 1,874 jobs by 2015 and an additional $225 million in electricity bills for consumers.

The costs would be even more devastating were the assorted mandates to be fulfilled—which they are most unlikely to be. For example, Washington State set a deadline of June 2009 for biofuels to provide 20% of the fuel used by state owned vehicles—the date came and went with biofuels providing a mere 2%. In a rare glimmering of sanity the California legislature failed to pass a bill upping the mandate for renewables from 20% to 33%. All of this has not deterred Congressional Democrats from proposing legislation to create a national 15% mandate for renewables.

If environmentalists succeed in halting renewable projects, making fulfillment of mandates even more unlikely, inadvertently they will be doing the taxpayer a good turn. The problem is that environmentalists are also seeking to stop cold what the Wall Street Journal calls the real energy revolution—the potential of natural gas from shale to transform U.S. energy production. As the Journal notes, as recently as 2000 shale gas was 1% of U.S. gas supplies; today it is 25%.

And it is a real job producer—72,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone in less than two years. Environmentalists are throwing everything they can come up with at it, hoping something sticks . Fracking (i.e. hydraulic fracturing of rock, the method by which the gas is released) contaminates drinking water, releases toxic chemicals, causes cancer, causes earthquakes, adds to pollution (via the trucks hauling materials to the sites).

The New York Times, in its lead article of June 26, came up with a novel means of attack—shale gas is doomed because it is a money loser, with gas too cheap in relation to the costs of production. (It doesn’t seem to occur to the Times that if the supply of gas falls off because it is uneconomical to produce at current prices, prices will rise and gas has a huge way to go before it approaches the cost of wind or solar energy.)

The general public, supportive of the hazy goal of “preserving the environment” on which environmental organizations raise funds, finds it hard to credit that cutting edge environmentalism is, and has been for decades, about cutting the supply of energy, not finding alternative sources. Indeed, John Holdren, Obama’s energy czar, in 1973 declared that the goal must be to “de-develop the United States.”

Future generations will surely look back in amazement at the process by which the most powerful country on earth denied itself the one essential for its continued dominance. Obsessed with scenarios of doom worthy of Chicken Little (a world rendered uninhabitable by pollution or global warming), it took refuge in fantasies of a pre-modern utopia before, in the words of David Brower, director of the Sierra Club and then of Friends of the Earth, “we began applying energy in vast amounts to tools with which we began tearing the environment apart.”


Are Midwest Floods Caused by Global Warming or Radical Environmentalists?

Many Global Warming Alarmists are pointing to the floods in the Midwest as the latest proof of global warming. But a powerful piece at provides an alternative suggestion as to the real cause of the flooding: the perhaps unintended consequences of radical environmentalist policies regarding the system of dams on the Missouri River.

Al Gore gave a speech in New York last week in which he linked the flooding in the Midwest and the fires in Arizona to global warming: “Today, the biggest fire in the history of the state of Arizona is spreading to New Mexico. Today, the biggest flood in the history of the Mississippi River Valley is under way right now,” Gore said. “At what point is there a moment where we say, ‘Oh, we ought to do something about this?’”

One of Gore’s dimmer acolytes, Bill Maher, took up the issue on his show on HBO, “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Maher seemed to be hooked up to a machine that gave him a shock every time he uttered the words “global warming,” which he repeatedly did, before, in each case, correcting himself to say “climate change.” He said, "I don't call it global warming anymore because that is bad. It is climate change." Maher finally got it out, sort of, and asked, “Why doesn't he [Obama] point to this and say this is all because of climate change. He doesn't seem to use what he has to make a case.”

But in the article, “The Purposeful Flooding of America's Heartland,” in American Thinker, Joe Herring makes a very strong, well documented case, that the system of dams built in the area to tame the Missouri River and prevent this sort of thing from happening was well conceived and executed: “Some sixty years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began the process of taming the Missouri by constructing a series of six dams. The idea was simple: massive dams at the top moderating flow to the smaller dams below, generating electricity while providing desperately needed control of the river’s devastating floods.”

But in the 1990s the plan was hijacked by radical environmentalists with a different agenda: “The Clinton administration threw its support behind the change, officially shifting the priorities of the Missouri River dam system from flood control, facilitation of commercial traffic, and recreation to habitat restoration, wetlands preservation, and culturally sensitive and sustainable biodiversity.”

Herring cites Greg Pavelka, a wildlife biologist with the Corps of Engineers in Yankton, SD, who told the Seattle Times that “this event will leave the river in a ‘much more natural state than it has seen in decades,’ describing the epic flooding as a ‘prolonged headache for small towns and farmers along its path, but a boon for endangered species.’”

Herring also documents that, through a series of emails last February, “Ft. Pierre SD Director of Public Works Brad Lawrence sounded the alarm loud and clear,” but the alarm of this “flood of biblical proportions” was not heeded. Why don’t the mainstream media follow up on Mr. Herring’s findings?

For people looking for some straight talk about global warming from some actual scientists who aren’t part of that consensus we’re always hearing about, I recommend The Heartland Institute’s conference this Thursday and Friday, which will be webcast here. This will demonstrate why Maher, and Gore and the other alarmists prefer to call it “climate change,” and not “global warming.” The evidence doesn’t support the warming theory. One of the participants will be Australian scientist Bob Carter, who recently pointed out that “Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5 per cent. Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.”


If Greenpeace Can Lie This Easily, Why Should we Believe It On Any Subject?

Daniel Hannan

Ruth Davis, the senior policy adviser at Greenpeace UK, is quoted in The Guardian about the deferral of a vote in the European Parliament on whether to increase the EU’s emissions reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent. Here is what she says:
This vote was postponed after the prime minister personally intervened so that those opposing a higher climate target could no longer count on the support of his party. The politicians backing dirty industries realised they would lose in their bid to scupper moves towards a greener Europe, and they had no option but delay.

Her statement is – there is no way of putting this gently – a lie. The reason the vote was delayed is that the voting session had overrun, and some MEPs [MEP = “Member of the European Parliament”] wanted their lunch. The postponement was approved on a free vote. From where I was sitting, it looked as though just over half the British Tories voted to carry on with the session. Frankly, though, MEPs didn’t vote on Left-Right lines so much as on the basis of whether they were in danger of missing their flights.

My point isn’t really about the emissions target. As far as I’m aware, and contrary to what Ms Davis says, Conservative MEPs still oppose the change. Martin Callanan, our leader, believes it would outsource jobs from the EU to parts of the world with lower environmental standards, and is thus ecologically as well as economically unsound. There are, though, decent and sincere people on both sides of the argument, many with far greater technical knowledge than mine.

No, my point has to do with the sheer flagrancy of Greenpeace’s deceit. Alright, in the scheme of things, it’s a trivial fib. Still, this is the first time that I’ve been able to check one of the pressure group’s claims against my first-hand knowledge and, on this basis, Greenpeace has a 100 per cent record of falsehood. Extrapolating from my experience, I shall henceforth assume that its spokesmen are equally unreliable in their claims about deforestation, ocean pollution, nuclear power, sustainable agriculture and climate change.

Super-epic fail, dudes.


Frogs, Scorpions, Greens, Lies…

James Delingpole

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology etc this post comes to you courtesy of an American Airlines flight 30,000 odd feet over the U.S. on my journey to the Soviet Socialist Republic of California. I’m going there to address some of the few remaining sane people there who haven’t yet been driven out by the state’s bonkers fiscal and regulatory regime, or been driven to destitution by measures to protect the Snail Darter de nos jours – an obscure fish called the California Delta Smelt.

I’ll try to keep this a short post because laptops play havoc with my neck. And because of where I’m headed, I thought I’d pay tribute in this one to LA resident Phelim McAleer co-author – with Ann McElhinney – of the Not Evil Just Wrong documentary debunking CAGW.

McAleer is kind of the anti-Michael Moore: using similar guerilla video techniques but against the liberal-left rather than in support of it.

His most recent coup was to ambush Josh Fox the documentary-maker responsible for an eco-propaganda movie called Gasland, whose key scene is the one where a man in Colorado turns on his tap, strikes a match, and – lo! – it catches fire. We are invited by the film to believe that this is an unfortunate side-effect of the shale gas process known as “fracking.” It is visual short hand for: shale gas is evil. Problem is, the scene is misleading in the extreme.

You’ll find a pretty good summary of the story here (ow my neck).
Last week, well-known Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer showed up to a screening of Gasland in Chicago with a couple of straightforward questions for the film’s star, Josh Fox.

In particular, McAleer was interested in Josh’s take on the by-now famous scene in Gasland of Mike Markham lighting his faucet on fire – you remember the one, right? It’s the scene that enabled Fox to sell his film to HBO in the first place. But it’s also one that has been debunked – flatly and frequently – by regulators in Colorado. Heck, these guys even went so far as to issue an official document on official state letterhead tearing the film to shreds, citing Josh’s distorted representation of the Markham well as exhibit A.

So all McAleer wanted to know is whether Fox is aware of the substance of those rebuttals. Is aware that the vertical shaft of Markham’s water well “penetrated at least four different coal beds” before making contact with potable water. Is aware that a 1976 report from the Colorado Division of Water Resources cites “troublesome amounts” of “hydrogen sulfide, methane, iron, fluoride and sodium” in local water wells in this area, well before oil and gas development commenced. That kind of stuff.

Fox’s response? Sure, he’s aware of all that evidence – how can he not be? So why didn’t he include mention of it anywhere in his film? “I don’t care about the report from 1976,” Fox replied. “There are reports from 1936 that people say they can light their water on fire in New York State. But that [has] no bearing on this situation. At all.” According to Josh, the fact that methane was present in water long before oil and gas activity is “not relevant” to the question at hand.

It also reports on the equally significant aftermath which is that, rather than fess up to his – ahem – error, Fox got his lawyers on the case and did his damnedest to keep footage of McAleer’s ambush off the internet.

And the question I want to ask here is: Why? It’s a “why” that applies equally well to almost everything to do with the modern environmental movement. Why, if the science is so “settled” and the case for putting the global economy on a war footing to “combat climate change” so strong, do they keep needing to tweak and exaggerate their message?

Why, as Greenpeace’s former head Gerd Leipold once famously excused his organization when it was caught out telling porkie pies [lies] on the extent of the Greenland ice sheet melt, do they have to “emotionalise the issue”? After all, surely if the issue is really what they say it is it wouldn’t need “emotionalising” with spin and lies and exaggeration and disingenuous camera footage: it would be plain for all to see and we’d all do something about it.

Let me answer my rhetorical question. In almost every case the facts simply do not support the Green movement’s extravagant claims. When, for example, the Prince of Wales jets in with his entourage to Rioto announce that we have 100 months to save the world from Climate Change, he is talking out of his princely posterior. If no action whatsoever were to be taken to deal with “climate change”, does anyone honestly believe that in 83 months time (if my adding up is correct) the world would not be functioning as well as ever? (Better in fact, because there’d be fewer wind farms and fewer eco-regulations hampering the global economic recovery).

Just recently, in case you missed the good news, carbon prices have tanked on the European exchange: (H/T GWPF)
EU carbon prices have slumped 15% in one week, as a slew of bearish news took its toll on the markets. “It’s just been carnage these last few days,” said a trader at an investment bank in London. “There has been a huge amount of liquidation from funds, banks and utilities.” Mark Lewis, a Paris-based analyst at Deutsche Bank, said he does not expect emissions in the ETS to ever return to their 2008 levels of 2.12 billion tCO2e

And there’s a reason for that: you can fool the public some of the time and you can fool the media an awful lot of the time but what you can’t do for very long is fool the markets. Markets deal, ultimately, with reality. The environmental movement is a religion which deals with anything but.


Saving the planet will destroy the economy

MARGARET Thatcher's one time right-hand man Nigel Lawson is not so much a climate sceptic as sceptical of the necessity for action, let alone the ways we are tackling climate change.

Lawson will be in Sydney in six weeks to expound his views at a public debate on the proposition: "We need a carbon tax to help stop global warming."

The combatants themselves should raise temperatures. The former British chancellor of the exchequer and energy secretary will lead a negative team comprising former Keating government minister Gary Johns and University of Adelaide geologist and author of the sceptic's bible Heaven and Earth, Ian Plimer.

The affirmative will be put by two former opposition leaders, John Hewson and Mark Latham, backed by University of NSW climatologist Benjamin McNeil.

Lawson says it is scientifically established that increased carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet, but adds, "it is uncertain how great any such warming would be and how much harm, if any, it would do". He urges governments "to consider the damaging economic impact of blindly following the climate change agenda".

He dismisses as "complete nonsense" the argument that Australia has a special responsibility as a carbon-intensive economy and big coal producer to show global policy leadership.

"If China wants to develop and wants to increase productivity through, among other things, increasing electricity output rapidly and has been building coal-fired power stations and wants to import the coal to fuel them from Australia, I think you would be mad if you didn't supply it," he tells The Weekend Australian.

Lawson sees continuing strong demand for Australian coal despite promises by China and India to reduce their energy intensity, calling the pledges "cover". "Economic development happens because of increased economic efficiency," he says. "That means increasing labour productivity and that also means increasing the productivity of the other factors of production of which energy is one of the most important."

Lawson adds the development of a less energy-intensive services sector is one of the characteristics of economic development. But he adds: "That doesn't mean energy consumption will decline. Energy consumption will rise. Carbon consumption will rise because economic growth will trump the lesser amount of energy used for each particular unit of output."

He calls energy intensity promises by China and India "convenient cover for their saying, quite rightly, 'no way are we going to impede or in any way slow down our economic development by having restrictions on the use of carbon energy'. They go for carbon intensity rather than carbon emissions, which they can be perfectly confident is bound to decline through a process of development as it has in every country in the world."

Lawson warns our politicians not to hold up his own party's policies as exemplars.

Julia Gillard regularly points to British Prime Minister David Cameron's environmental plans to embarrass the Coalition, but Lawson says Tory backbenchers "are increasingly uncomfortable and indeed hostile to policies [that] are being proposed on the climate change front, which mean higher energy costs, which are bad for consumers ... and bad for British industry".

He points out Cameron and his ministers have a plan B. "The government has said it will review the matter in January 2014 in the light of what other European countries are doing and this is clearly a get-out clause, this is clearly new, and it was clearly put in at the behest of the Treasury as both the Treasury and Treasury ministers are very concerned at the cost of going it alone."

Economics and energy security are at the core of Lawson's critique of the climate policy debate. "The world relies on carbon-based energy simply because it is by far the cheapest available source of energy and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future," he says. "The major developing countries, in particular, are understandably unwilling to hold back their development and condemn their people to avoidable poverty by moving from relatively cheap energy to relatively expensive energy."

Lawson heralds new developments that permit extraction of gas from shale in an economic way as "one of the most remarkable technological developments there has been", saying the shift from coal to gas that is set to follow will cut emissions.

"This is carbon energy but the amount of carbon dioxide produced per terawatt of energy generated from gas is half that from coal," he says. "You don't eliminate carbon emissions but you reduce them quite considerably by moving from coal to gas. Of course the environmentalists are appalled by this because they believe that carbon energy has to be eliminated altogether but that's not going to happen."

Lawson returns once again to the cost of renewable energy. "If renewable energy is cheaper than carbon energy, then that's fine," he says, "but for the present time and in the foreseeable future most forms of renewable energy are massively more expensive."

Lawson dismisses as economic illiteracy claims of a green jobs boom powered by renewables that will mop up unemployment from the structural adjustment to a low-carbon economy, recruiting one of the great classical liberals to back his case.

"The French 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat said you might as well go round breaking windows saying you're creating jobs for glaziers. The fact is you can't look at just one sector. The government can create jobs by employing large numbers of people to build statues of prominent politicians. You can always create jobs in a particular area.

"What you've got to be concerned about are jobs in the economy as a whole and you don't create jobs in the economy as a whole by promoting something [that] is wholly uneconomic and has to be subsidised."

Lawson has strong views about what decarbonisation means. "The plain fact is the total economy will be harmed. A lot of these green jobs will be in China. The Chinese can see there is a market in the West for solar panels and other things so they are producing them very much more cheaply. In so far as there are jobs they will be there, not in the consuming countries."



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


28 June, 2011

Another castle in the air

We have below an impressive explanation of various marine phenomena in terms of global warming. Such a pity that there has not in fact been any global warming. Even according to Warmist climate tabulators, the earth warmed by less than one degree Celsius in the 20th century and in the 21st century the temperature has been completely flat. So the explanation given has to be wrong. The phenomena cannot be caused by global warming if there is no global warming

The global warming of sea waters is causing the biggest movement of marine species in two million years, according to a huge new international study by 17 different science institutes

Among the changes recorded by scientists contributing to Project Clamer is the fact that huge blooms of a venomous warm-water species of jellyfish are massing in the North Atlantic.

The Pelagia noctiluca 'dominates in many areas and outbreaks have become an annual event, forcing the closing of beaches,' says the report.

'This form of jellyfish is a gluttonous predator of juvenile fish, so researchers consider its spread a harmful trend.'
However, there was further bad news as the report also warned that the highly-venomous Portuguese Man O'War is also moving closer.

Physalia physalis, a jellyfish-like creature usually found in subtropical waters, is more regularly being discovered in northern Atlantic waters.

The research is to be published this year by Project Clamer, a major collaboration between 17 institutes on climate change and the oceans.

Among the other discoveries in worldwide waters, it was noted that aa 43-foot gray whale was spotted off the Israeli town of Herzliya last year.

Scientists came to a startling conclusion that it must have wandered across the normally icebound route above Canada, where warm weather had briefly opened a clear channel three years earlier.

On a microscopic level, scientists also have found plankton in the North Atlantic where it had not existed for at least 800,000 years.

The whale's odyssey and the surprising appearance of the plankton indicates a migration of species through the Northwest Passage, a worrying sign of how global warming is affecting animals and plants in the oceans as well as on land.

'The implications are enormous. It's a threshold that has been crossed,' said Philip C. Reid, of the Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in Plymouth.

'It's an indication of the speed of change that is taking place in our world in the present day because of climate change.'


British judge orders secretive Warmist organization to reveal its data

That it took a court to force into the open the data that normal scientific practice would have made freely available tells a story all of its own

Steve McIntyre

Breaking news: Today probably marks the closing chapter of the longstanding FOI request for CRUTEM station data. The UK Information Commissioner (ICO) has rendered a decision (see here) on Jonathon Jones’ appeal of the UEA’s refusal to provide Prof Jones with the CRUTEM station data that they had previously provided to Georgia Tech. The decision that can only be characterized as a total thrashing of the University of East Anglia.

Professor Jonathan Jones of Oxford University (like me, an alumnus of Corpus Christi, Oxford), is a Bishop Hill and CA reader and was one of several CA readers who requested the CRUTEM version sent to Georgia Tech earlier that year. (Contrary to disinformation from Nature, relatively few readers requested CRUTEM data; most FOI requests at the time were for the supposed confidentiality agreements prohibiting data being sent to “non-academics” – agreements that the University was unable to produce.

Jones’ request for CRUTEM data, like mine, was refused by UEA. Like me, Jones appealed the refusal at UEA (the first stage). On Oct 23, 2009, UEA rejected his appeal. (My appeal was rejected about 3 weeks later on the very eve of Climategate.) While I didn't pursue the appeal to the ICO, Prof Jones did appeal and the present decision is the result of this appeal.

I was unaware that this appeal was pending and the decision came as a surprise to me. Since the story started at CA, Andrew Montford and Prof Jones decided that news of the decision should also be broken here. I anticipate that Bishop Hill will also cover the story.

I urge readers to read the thoughtful decision. My own comments will be restricted to some legal aspects of the decision that intrigued me.

As a first comment on the University’s defence – in keeping with similar refusals of other requests, rather than focusing on their best line of argument,the practice of the UEA is to use a laundry list of exemptions – more or less throwing spitballs against the wall to see if any of them stuck. Many of the spitballs seem pretty strained, to say the least. In his ruling, the ICO picked each spitball off the wall and, in the process, established or confirmed a number of precedents that will hopefully encourage fewer spitballs in the future.

The ruling on intellectual property rights interested me in particular, as UEA has attempted to apply this in other cases as well (e.g. Yamal, presently under appeal). The ICO observed that the mere existence of a copyright or database right did not demonstrate the application of s 12(5)(c), let alone the primacy of the exemption over the public interest test.

In addition to other arguments, the UEA claimed both copyright and database rights to the CRUTEM station data and argued that, if released to Prof Jones, they would “lose any right of commercial exploitation of its [CRUTEM] databases. Once the information was released and freely available, extraction and reutilization of the data could be carried out by any party without further recourse to the UEA”.

The Commissioner dryly wondered how “UEA might have planned to commercially exploit the specific information requested and how disclosure might have impacted on any plans that it might have developed or been in the process of developing” before rejecting their arguments.

Some of the University’s arguments purporting to uphold their supposed “intellectual property rights” should ring as particularly contemptible to most members of the public. If climate scientists exhort the public to make personal sacrifices, it seems hypocritical that they should claim that their “intellectual property rights” prevent examination of data being used to underpin those requests to make sacrifices.


The future of the American car

On the finiteness of resources

by Don Boudreaux

Commenting on Mark Perry’s post that makes the same Simonesque point that I make here – namely, that humanity’s stock of ‘natural resources’ is not finite economically over time – one morganovich writes:
this seems like sort of a tricky exercise in semantics.

there is only a certain amount of coal in the ground, no matter how good we get at extracting it. if you took the whole earth and broke it up into piles of it’s constituent components, there would be X amount of coal. the amount we can use will always be kX where k<1.

The point is not that the number of atoms (or molecules, or whatever other physical form or substance you wish to name) available on earth to human beings is not finite or unable to be enlarged. Of course these things are finite. Instead, the point is that “resources” is not, ultimately, a physical concept; it’s an economic concept. And to be limited physically is not necessarily to be limited economically.

What is and isn’t a resource is determined by human ingenuity. Likewise, human ingenuity determines how much “utility” – satisfaction; gratification; pleasure; relief-of-felt-uneasiness (call it what you will) – can be gotten at any moment in time from any given unit of physical stuff. As long as human ingenuiity is free to create, there is no necessary practical limit to the amount of any ‘natural’ resource that is available for humans to use productively.

Consider petroleum. Is its stock strictly limited? For a physicist the answer is yes. But not so for an economist, who asks different questions than does the physicist. The economist asks: “How available is this particular substance – petroleum – for the continuing satisfaction of human desires?”

Suppose a brilliant physical scientist invents a very low-cost means of powering cars, airplanes, boats, and electricity-generating plants with seawater, and also a means to turn seawater into plastics and lubricants – indeed, a means to replace all uses of petroleum. The available economic supplies of petroleum would fall quickly to zero. Petroleum would become worthless; it would no longer be a resource. It’s physical presence in the earth – as measured by weight or volume – wouldn’t change. But its status as a resource would change.

Now consider a different scenario. The brilliant scientist invents not a means of turning seawater into a near-perfect and dirt-cheap substitute for petroleum, but, instead, a low-cost means of quadrupling the amount of energy that can be extracted from each ounce of petroleum. Economically the stock of the ‘natural resource’ we call petroleum is thus multiplied by four. Both history and some not-terribly far-fetched economic theorizing tell us that there is no reason to believe that petroleum (or any other resource) is finite in an economic sense.

UPDATE: morganovich e-mailed me to point out that the rest of his comment (referenced above) at Carpe Diem goes on to make a point similar to the one I make above. I apologize to him for reading his full comment too quickly. (I especially like his point there about the amount of energy in a glass of water.)


First Ignored, Then Attacked: 6th International Climate Change Conference

By Alan Caruba

In the words of Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Thursday, June 30, will mark the beginning of the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a free market policy center headquartered in Chicago. The conference will be held in Washington, D.C., an appropriate location considering how much hot air emanates from Congress and the White House.

I attended the first conferences that took place in New York City, just across the river from where I live, so I was “there at the beginning” for conferences that were, in the words of Gandhi, largely ignored by the mainstream media and subsequently mentioned but only as the object of mockery.

When, in 2009, emails exchanged between a handful of scientists who provided the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the most specious, deliberately duplicitous “data” to prop up the “global warming" hoax were revealed, the whole house of cards began to collapse.

It has since been propped up by a bunch of media, political, and science dead-enders who had stacked their reputations on pulling off the great hoax of the modern era; that an infinitesimal amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—0.038 percent—was causing the Earth to heat up, the seas to rise, and Minnie Mouse to announce she was pregnant.

The success of the forthcoming conference, however, has been blessed by the modern form of respect, a preemptory news release attacking it. The Center for American Progress issued a “press call advisory” titled “Climate Deniers Congregate in the Nation’s Capital.”

It began, “The Heartland Institute, a conservative group funded by Exxon Mobil and Charles Koch…” Whoa! Mr. Chairman, we rise to question why the Center for American Progress would engage in an outright lie? Answer: That’s what progressives do because they are immune to the truth.

For the record, neither Exxon Mobil, nor Mr. Koch, has contributed to the cost of the conference. The former has not contributed to the Institute since 2006 and the Kochs have not sent any money in more than a decade.

But let’s finish the Center’s opening sentence that characterized the conference as “boasting a full agenda of notable climate deniers.” The term climate deniers has long been attached to any scientist, academic, politician, or commentator such as myself who had the temerity to point out that every single claim made on behalf of “global warming” was pure horse-hockey.

The Center for American Progress sought to make light of the conferences’ theme, “Restoring the Scientific Method.” And a damn fine theme it is considering the damage to the entire scientific community that, prior to the global warming hoax, was not famous for deciding what the truth was by “consensus.”

Real science still depends on peer review and the thorough testing of a hypothesis until it can no longer be disputed because it is reproducible. You can say the Earth is flat until you are blue in the face, but it is still round. The “warmists”, however, did everything they could to short-circuit this rigorous process.

The Center for American Progress is concerned that the forthcoming conference asserts that “global warming is not a crisis” and it will be devoted to “ending global warming alarmism” and “disputing that global warming is man-made.”

Would someone please tell the Center that the Earth is now more than a decade into a perfectly natural cooling cycle and that mankind does not control the sun, the oceans, the clouds, the volcanoes, or any climate event? Whenever a tsunami, blizzard, or tornado occurs, Mother Nature’s advice to mankind is “Get out of the way!”

Since I am loath to travel further these days than the Bagel Chateau one town over from where I reside, I shall be watching the conference on streaming video, June 30 to July 1. It should be noted that, in addition to a roster of some of the world’s most respected climate scientists who will make presentations, the Institute has routinely invited some of the most prominent alarmists—warmists—to participate.

A recent Forbes article noted that “a virtual Who’s Who of global warming media hounds” had been invited to participate in the conferences over the years. Conference coordinator, James Taylor, the Institute’s senior fellow for environment policy, said that Al Gore, James Hansen, Michael Mann and others “all seem to have some sort of scheduling conflict whenever they have to share the stage with a scientist who will be challenging their evidence.”

Meanwhile, the egregiously misnamed Center for American Progress will hold a conference call on Wednesday to launch an attack on the conference. No longer ignored or mocked, the Heartland Institute and its conference are clearly on the winning side.

Funeral ceremonies for “global warming” will follow with the mourners all wearing green.


More Evidence that Global Warming is a False Alarm: A Model Simulation of the last 40 Years of Deep Ocean Warming

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.

NASA’s James Hansen is probably right about this point: the importance of ocean heat storage to a better understanding of how sensitive the climate system is to our greenhouse gas emissions. The more efficient the oceans are at storing excess heat during warming, the slower will be the surface temperature response of the climate system to an imposed energy imbalance.

Unfortunately, the uncertainties over the rate at which vertical mixing takes place in the ocean allows climate modelers to dismiss a lack of recent warming by simply asserting that the deep oceans must somehow be absorbing the extra heat. Think Trenberth’s “missing heat“. (For a discussion of the complex processes involved in ocean mixing see here.)

Well, maybe what is really missing is the IPCC’s willingness to admit the climate system is simply not as sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions as they claim it is. Maybe the missing heat is missing because it does not really exist.

This is where we can learn from the 40+ year record of deep ocean temperature changes. Even the 2007 IPCC report admitted the oceans have warmed more slowly at depth than the climate models can explain.

Here I will show quantitatively with a simple forcing-feedback-diffusion model that recent ocean warming is actually consistent with a climate sensitivity which is so low that the IPCC considers it very unlikely.

I will also show how disingenuous the IPCC 2007 report was in presenting the ocean warming evidence to support its view that anthropogenic global warming will be a serious problem.

Much more HERE

Cool heads needed for climate talk

It's a case of double standards when it comes to Christopher Monckton -- comment from Australia -- where Monckton is at present visiting

It's just two sleeps until Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, addresses the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies in Perth. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, will open the conference today.

The Australian media invariably latches on to controversial individuals visiting from overseas - left and right, foreign-born and expatriate. This reflects the fact that Australia has a large and competitive media along with a relatively small population. Visitors enhance the opinion pool, for a while at least, and controversial ones tend to get covered in the print and electronic media.

Monckton, who is perhaps best labelled as sceptical or agnostic to the idea that global warming is generated by humans, received wide-scale coverage when he visited Australia in February last year. Commercial radio and television, along with the tabloid press, tended to report him seriously. However, he was ridiculed on some ABC programs and in parts of the broadsheet press.

For example, The Age ran a story that Abbott would talk to the visiting hereditary peer under the heading "'Mad Monk' Meets Monckton". This was accompanied by a large colour photo of Monckton's face from forehead to nose only, replete with protruding eyes. He suffers from Graves' disease. It is impossible to imagine journalists mocking a sufferer of breast or prostate cancer in such a way.

Monckton, a mathematician, understands that one sure way to get coverage in the media is to ham it up and, on occasions, throw the switch to hyperbole. Last week news reached Australia that, in a recent speech in the United States, Monckton had accused the Australian economist Ross Garnaut of exhibiting "a fascist point of view" with respect to climate change policy and commented: "Heil Hitler - on we go."

Monckton's trivial and ahistorical exaggeration was met by predictable - and justified - criticism. It makes no sense to compare Western democracies with the excesses of fascist totalitarian regimes - or indeed communist dictatorships of the Lenin/Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot varieties. Monckton has seen the error of his ways. On Channel Ten's Bolt Report on Sunday, he apologised for having made the point he was trying to make in "such a catastrophically stupid and offensive way".

Monckton's original comment was reported in depth on Lateline. Last Wednesday Tony Jones interviewed Professor Ian Chubb, who in April was appointed as Australia's chief scientist. Asked about the Monckton outburst, Chubb spoke out against the use of "emotive language" and declared that "calling people names … ought not to be acceptable in a flourishing democracy like Australia".

Fair enough, provided the reprimand is universal. In the lead-up to the 2007 election, Chubb was vice-chancellor of the Australian National University. On November 19, 2007, The Canberra Times ran an article by Dr Bruce Kent - then an ANU visiting fellow - in which he alleged that there were similarities between some of John Howard's policies and those of the Third Reich. In particular, he linked Howard with such mass murderers as Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels.

Kent's analysis was so exaggerated that he even saw aspects of the Nazi regime in the Coalition's policy on - wait for it - the Murray-Darling Basin. There is no evidence that Chubb - or any of his colleagues at the ANU - distanced themselves from Kent's rave in their local newspaper.

Similar double standards prevail today. Monckton is rightly bagged for linking Garnaut with Hitler. Yet there was virtually no outcry when Mark Dreyfus, one of the better performers in the Gillard government, wrote an article in March where he accused Abbott of "Goebbellian cynicism". In a calm moment, Dreyfus well understands that Goebbels's evil was not located in cynicism but rather in his advocacy for genocide.

In his Lateline appearance, Chubb targeted the likes of Monckton. However, when interviewed by Chris Uhlmann on 7.30 in April, he commented that "we lost a bit of civility in the debate from time to time" and appeared to blame all participants for such an occurrence. If this is what Chubb was trying to say, he has a point. Take Garnaut, for example. He is a paid part-time consultant to the Labor government. No problem here. However, traditionally, it was accepted that individuals on the government payroll - whether in a full-time or part-time capacity - would moderate their language in the public debate.

This is not a stance adopted by Garnaut. He addressed the National Press Club in May in his capacity as head of the Garnaut Climate Change Review. In this talk he accused "parts of big business" of having taken the "role of spoiler" in the climate change debate and implied that those who declined to embrace his views were neither informed nor thoughtful. Garnaut also suggested that his critics believe that Australia is a "pissant country" and then accused his opponents of "shouting ignorant slogans".

Such an outburst is emphatically not consistent with a call for moderation in language. It was more of the same when Garnaut was interviewed by Deborah Cameron on ABC Radio 702 last week. The presenter introduced her guest as "Australia's leading economist" and suggested that unnamed economists who disagreed with Garnaut had "sold their souls" and become "handmaidens to climate science deniers". This was followed by the leading question: "Do more economists need to get out and actually be honest?"

In response, Garnaut said that there was a tendency for economists "to tailor the analysis to what their client wants". In other words, Garnaut was suggesting that economists employed by business cannot be taken at face value. But, apparently, economists who are engaged as consultants by governments are completely credible. I asked both Cameron and ABC management why Garnaut's role as a paid consultant to the Gillard government was not mentioned during the interview. There was no reply.

Of course Garnaut says what he believes. However, so do most of his critics. Of course Monckton was irresponsible to link Garnaut with Hitler. But so were those who linked Howard with the Third Reich. Any cooling of the political debate will require contributions from all parties.



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


27 June, 2011

More proof that Fraudster Al Gore doesn't know how to use the Internet

Al's Journal: Ice and Snow Disappearing from Mt. Rainier. The effects of the climate crisis are hitting closer and closer to home

The reality: Deep Snow Delaying Opening of Sunrise Area at Mount Rainier National Park -- National Parks Traveler

[June 21, 2011] Too much snow will keep the Sunrise area in Mount Rainier National Park closed through the Fourth of July weekend and until at least July 8, according to park officials. Also, the White River Campground won't open until July 1.

As the accompanying photos show, there really is a lot of snow still waiting to melt away at Sunrise (Note dates)


Quo Vadis Seas – Tropical Pacific Sea Level DROPPED From 1958 – 2007, New Study Shows

Tuvalu is saved! What follows is a press release from the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) on a new paper appearing in the GRL, which shows sea level changes are far more complex than first thought. It’s back to the drawing board for climate and sea level modellers.

Quo Vadis Sea Levels? New Study Shows Ocean Currents Lead To Strong Regional Fluctuations

Dr. Andreas Villwock

Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) have now shown that there are large regional variations when it comes to sea level change. The causes are due to changes in ocean currents, which lead to varying sea levels, especially in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Chart above: Sea level fluctuations caused by wind and ocean currents (relative to mean global sea level rise) for the period 1958-2007 (in cm). The model simulation shows regions with sunken sea level (blue) in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean. Graphic from IFM-GEOMAR.

Why has the sea level in some regions of the tropical Indian Ocean and Pacific risen strongly over the last 15 years, while in the decades before the sea levels at these locations dropped? The ocean scientists from Kiel are uncovering why by using computer simulations. A paper now appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters shows that fluctuations in ocean currents, caused by trade winds in the tropical Pacific, play an important role.

The impact of wind and ocean currents are prevalent in the tropical Pacific especially in the wake of the El Niño phenomena. “The associated swashing back and forth of the warm surface water leads to a continuous rise and drop in sea level of up to 20 cm within just a few years“, explains oceanographer Franziska Schwarzkopf of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) and author of the study.

While these short term fluctuations are well documented by modern satellite measurements, little was known about the long-term pattern of changes. “Our computer simulations which use current models show that regional water levels also over time periods of several decades are affected by wind changes and ocean currents“, says Professor Claus Böning, director of Kiel Ocean-Modelling and co-author of the study. A surprising finding from the scientists in Kiel:

"In the middle of the last 50 years, some areas in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean experienced a drop in sea levels, contrary to the global trend.”

These new results on sea level rise of the last decades mean an additional challenge for climate modeling. “Whether a group of islands has to reckon with a greater increase in sea level with respect to the average, or can reckon with a temporary drop over the next decades depends decisively on the development of the wind systems and ocean currents“, says Böning. “Future research programs will put increasing focus on the regional fluctuations in the oceans.“

The paper: Schwarzkopf, F.U. and C.W. Böning, 2011: Contribution of Pacific wind stress to multi-decadal variations in upper-ocean heat content and sea level in the tropical south Indian Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L12602, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047651.


California Enviro Plan Channels Pol Pot

Remember Pol Pot, the Cambodian dictator and head of the Khmer Rouge? According to Wikipedia, “During his time in power, Pol Pot imposed a version of agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects, toward a goal of ‘restarting civilization’ in a ‘Year Zero.’ The combined effects of forced labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21 percent of the Cambodian population” — 2.5 million people.

Something similar must have been on the minds of the California Council on Science and Technology when it issued its new report, “California’s Energy Future — the View to 2050.” It provides “portraits” of what, under a regime that could be called the Khmer Green, they hope the next state energy system will look like in California’s Year Zero — 2050

About 60 percent of California’s future energy system would be based on shifting the entire state population into electric vehicles. It would eliminate natural gas heating and cooking in all homes, replacing it with electric-powered stoves, water heaters and space heaters with power supplied from green power sources. All buildings in the state would have to be retrofitted or replaced.

Another 20 percent would be based on costly low-tech energy storage in salt domes and air compressor batteries or in speculative technological breakthroughs that do not exist today and that would impose huge costs on electricity consumers.

And a final 20 percent would be based on behavioral changes, such as changing diets to eat less red meat and controlling home thermostats and electric meters to make people wear warm clothing instead.

While most of the nation is rapidly catching on to the emerging revolution in the natural gas fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock formations) and expanding hydropower, California’s energy future is to be based on a post-modern ideology that seems to want California to trash its entire modern energy system. In its place would be a modernized version of medieval windmills, sophisticated solar-powered magnifying glasses, water wheels, and heat from subterranean geysers, all transmitted to energy conserving consumers via a Rube Goldberg contraption-like energy grid that would be prone to brown outs, black outs, and rapid physical deterioration.

Reading this, you probably say to yourself that this is yet another utopian scheme by a couple of academics that will get a lot of media attention but go nowhere. Nope. This Khmer Green report was funded by the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the S.D. Bechtel Corporation. And it was endorsed by the California Council on Science and Technology. This is apparently the template for California’s future energy system in our Year Zero. And as important as the report is, it hasn’t received much scrutiny in the uncritical newspaper or broadcast media, or even on the Internet. It is apparently being taken for granted that this utopian energy scheme is a fait accompli.

Deconstructing California’s Energy System

The justification for a Pol Pot-style rapid deconstruction of the modern energy system is population growth and the much ballyhooed increase in “greenhouse gases.” According to the Council’s report, state population is expected to double by 2050. To combat the effects of population growth and air pollution, the state must intervene to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Reducing today’s California pollution by 80 percent would mean the air pollution must drop to about that of 1935, when the population of California was about 6 million. Given an assumed 40-year technological lag time to implement a whole new de-modernized energy system, California must start right now with a massive program to re-engineer everything in society. And as it is presumed only the government — not private markets — can do this, it implies totalitarian control of everything including life styles of Californians. Veganism would replace fracking; draconian regulation would suppress freedom of choice. Pol Pot, call your office.

Criticism of this new energy plan is not another conspiracy theory about Big Government. This is the undeniable template for California’s energy future crafted by California’s ruling cognitive elites.

Khmer Green Ideology

What is driving this mad rush to dismantle the present-day modernized energy system is not science but a countermodern ideology. The California Council on Science and Technology is only being used to put a patina of science on what is ideological.

In California there are ideologies that endorse energy modernization such as shifting to nuclear power, as recently proposed by in the City of Fresno.

And there are ideologies that seek to control, contain, or mitigate air pollution from modern energy plants, such as catalytic converters on cars, natural gas fracking and the expansion of hydropower.

But what the new template of the state’s energy future reflects is a full-blown countermodern ideology that proposes to dismantle many of the state’s power plants and make the electric grid into a precarious system of dubious reliability.

A forerunner of this radical ideology is the State Water Resources Control Board’s order to forbid all coastal power plants, especially nuke plants, from using ocean water for cooling systems. This entails shuttering all the nuke plants in the state, or running costly new water pipelines to the plants or using expensive air-cooling systems. Even if costly fresh water or air cooling systems are installed, this would raise the price of nuclear power so high that costly green power could finally compete with it. The rationale for making nuke plants uncompetitive is not to eliminate pollution, because nuclear technology is clean. The rationale reflects a countermodern ideology.

Instead of a repeat California Gold Rush, the Great California Green Energy Race is about to be kick-started in 2012 to find the highest priced clean technologies for new forms of energy. To do this, markets must be highly regulated to control prices. Markets must be short-circuited because they are mechanisms for producing the lowest-priced goods and services. This is why California is on the cusp of shifting from market Capitalism to state capitalism. California’s political elites want to pick winners and losers in the economy, and want political exactions in return. The apparent cover for doing this is environmentalism.

Unfortunately, many in academia and the media believe that state capitalism is the morally superior system, when there is no effective reduction in air pollution from Green Power. Green Power and Cap and Trade Emission Regulations will not result in replacing dirty imported coal power with clean green power, because wind and solar farms are located in remote areas far away from California’s urban air traps.

Ironically, as postmodern cognitive elites fear the complexity of modern energy technologies, as seen in the recent nuclear plant disaster in Japan, they nonetheless believe the energy grid can be fine tuned to accommodate unpredictable surges of power from wind and solar plants without sacrificing reliability, breakdown, or the rapid deterioration of electric lines that would require their frequent replacement. Alternatively, they believe costly and unproven new battery systems can be integrated along the electric transmission grid to balance out the surges.

Damning Modernization

At the core of this Khmer Green counter-modern ideology we find the quasi-religious idea that modernization is tantamount to damnation. Everything that is wrong with modern society is reflexively tracked back to monopolistic oppression by big energy corporations. In California, this ideology goes back to the influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the rise of Progressive politics to counter not merely economic monopolies but modernization itself.

California’s insular turn away from the Tea Party trend of the rest of the nation is not merely political, but a revulsion against capitalism, open markets, and modernity itself.


Clearing the Air

Trying to correct all the disinformation about "mercury and air toxics" is a full-time job.

Ever since public, congressional and union anger and anxiety forced the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone action on its economy-strangling carbon dioxide rules, EPA has been on a take-no-prisoners crusade to impose other job-killing rules for electricity generating plants.

As President Obama said when America rejected cap-tax-and-trade, "there's more than one way to skin the cat." If Congress won't cooperate, his EPA will lead the charge. Energy prices will “skyrocket.” Companies that want to build coal-fired power plants will “go bankrupt.” His administration will “fundamentally transform” our nation’s energy, economic, industrial and social structure.

EPA’s proposed “mercury and air toxics” rules for power plants are built on the false premise that we are still breathing the smog, soot and poisons that shrouded London, England and Gary, Indiana sixty years ago. In reality, US air quality improved steadily after the 1970 Clean Air Act was enacted.

Moreover, since 1990, even as US coal use more than doubled, coal-fired power plant emissions declined even further: 58% for mercury, 67% for nitrogen oxides, 70% for particulates, 85% for sulfur dioxide – and just as significantly for most of the other 80 pollutants that EPA intends to cover with its 946-pages of draconian proposed regulations.

It’s time to clear the political air – and scrub out some of the toxic disinformation that EPA and its allies have been emitting for months, under a multi-million-dollar “public education” campaign that EPA has orchestrated and funded, to frighten people into supporting its new rules. PR firms, religious and civil rights groups, environmental activists and college students are eagerly propagating the myths.

EPA’s “most wanted” outlaw is mercury. But for Americans this villain is as real as Freddy or Norman Bates. To turn power plant mercury emissions into a mass killer, EPA cherry-picked studies and data, and ignored any that didn’t fit its “slasher” film script. As my colleague Dr. Willie Soon and I pointed out in our Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily articles, US power plants account for just 0.5% of mercury emitted into North American’s air; the other 99.5% comes from natural and foreign sources.

Critics assailed our analysis, but the studies support us, not EPA – as is abundantly clear in Dr. Soon's 85-page report, available at The report and studies it cites fully support our conclusion that America’s fish are safe to eat (in part because they contain selenium and are thus low in biologically available methylmercury, mercury’s more toxic cousin), and blood mercury levels for American women and children are already below FDA’s and other agencies’ safe levels.

Not only are EPA’s mercury claims fraudulent. They are scaring people away from eating fish, which are rich in essential fatty acids. In other words, EPA is actively harming people’s nutrition and health.

One of the more bizarre criticisms of our analysis contends that mercury released in forest fires “originates from coal-burning power plants,” which supposedly shower the toxin onto trees, which release it back into the atmosphere during arboreal conflagrations. In fact, mercury is as abundant in the earth’s crust as silver and selenium. It is absorbed by trees through their roots – and their leaves, which absorb those 0.5% (power plant) and 99.5% (other) atmospheric mercury components through their stomata.

Another bizarre criticism is that mercury isn’t the issue. The real problem is ultra-fine (2.5 micron) soot particles. So now the “power plant mercury is poisoning babies and children” campaign was just a sideshow! Talk about changing the subject. Now, suddenly, the alleged health benefits and lives saved would come from controlling soot particles. That claim is as bogus as the anti-mercury scare stories.

Even EPA and NOAA data demonstrate that America’s air already meets EPA’s national standard, which is equivalent to disseminating an ounce of soot (about one and a quarter super-pulverized charcoal briquettes) across a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story high. That’s less than you’re likely to get from sitting in front of a campfire, fireplace or wood-burning stove, inhaling airborne particulates, hydrocarbon gases and heavy metals. (Search the internet for Danish, EPA and Forest Service studies and advisories on these popular “organic” heating and cooking methods.)

Simply put, EPA’s proposed rules will impose huge costs – for few health or environmental benefits, beyond what we are already realizing through steadily declining emissions under existing regulations.

Besides bringing mythical health benefits, EPA claims its lower national emission standards will simply put all states and utility companies “on the same level playing field.” This pious rhetoric may be fine for states that get little electricity from coal. However, for states (especially manufacturing states) that burn coal to generate 48-98% of their electricity, the new rules will be job, economy and revenue killers.

Energy analyst Roger Bezdek estimates that utilities will have to spend over $130 billion to retrofit older plants, under the measly three year (2014) deadline that EPA is giving them, under a sweetheart court deal the agency worked out with radical environmental groups. On top of that, utilities will have to spend another $30 billion a year for operations, maintenance and extra fuel for the energy-intensive scrubbers and other equipment they will be forced to install.

Many companies simply cannot justify those huge costs for older power plants. Thus Dominion Power, American Electric Power and other utilities have announced that they will simply close dozens of generating units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts – enough to electrify tens of millions of homes and businesses. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable, baseload electricity – with little but promises of intermittent pixie-dust wind turbine electricity to replace it.

Electricity costs are set to skyrocket, just as the President promised. Consumers can expect to pay at least 20% more in many states by 2014 or shortly thereafter. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois families and businesses will shell out 40-60% more! How’s that for an incentive to ramp up production and hire more workers? How’s that “hope and change” working out for families that had planned to fix the car, save for college and retirement, take a nice vacation, get that long-postponed surgery?

For a mid-sized hospital or factory that currently pays $500,000 annually for electricity (including peak-demand charges), those rate hikes could add $300,000 a year to its electricity bill. That’s equivalent to ten full-time entry-level employees … that now won't get hired, or will get laid off.

And it’s not just private businesses that will get hammered. As the Chi Trib notes, if the Chicago public school system wants to keep the lights on and computers running for two semesters, by 2014 it will get hit for an extra $2.7 million it doesn’t have, to pay for skyrocketing electricity costs.

Carry those costs through much of the US economy – especially the 26 states that get 48-98% of their electricity from coal-fired power plants – and we are talking about truly “fundamental transformations.” Millions will be laid off, millions more won't be hired, millions of jobs will be shipped overseas – and millions will endure brownouts, blackouts and social unrest.

EPA generally refuses to consider the economic effects of its regulations, except to insist that even its most oppressive rules will generate benefits “far in excess” of any expected costs. Perhaps it will at least consider the obvious, unavoidable and monumental adverse physical and mental health impacts of its rate hikes and layoffs – on nutrition, healthcare, depression, family violence and civil rights progress.

The Environmental Protection Agency has always had a horse-blinder attitude about environmental policy. Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, it has become a truly rogue agency.

It’s time for Congress, state legislatures, attorneys-general and courts to bring some balance and common sense back into the picture. Otherwise 9.1% unemployment – with Black and Hispanic unemployment even higher – will look like boom times.


Let There be Light

Things just got a lot brighter in the state of Texas when the federal government received the message: Don’t mess with Texas.

Last Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a repeal of the federal government incandescent light bulb ban. Any incandescent light bulbs manufactured and sold in Texas now steer clear of the authority of the federal government and the 2007 energy act, which started phasing out the bulbs next year.

As Texas State Representative George Lavender put it, “Let there be light.” Rep. Lavender, R-Texarkana, was quoted by Fox News from his Facebook page after the bill passed saying, “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”

Texas might be the first successful state to overturn the light bulb ban, but South Carolina has advanced similar legislation as well as Arizona, though it was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

“The government is attempting to micromanage our decisions as consumers,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), about the legislation passed to ban the incandescent light bulbs. “The federal government has no power to tell any citizen what types of lighting they are allowed to use.”

If states like Texas, South Carolina and Arizona are willing to repeal the incandescent light bulb ban — a symbolic move proving that American’s do not want that level of government involvement in their lives — why haven’t Republicans in the House of Representatives followed suit?

“In 2010, American voters made it clear they wanted a fiscally responsible Congress with limited government ideals, but did the Republicans in Congress get the message?” asks ALG’s Wilson. “One has to wonder since they are flinching on passing this simple yet significant bill. If the Republicans in Congress cannot even repeal this piece of legislation, which will only reflect favorably on them, then how are they going to tackle ObamaCare, entitlement programs, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or balancing our nation’s budget?”

Hopefully House Republicans will follow the lead of Texas Gov. Perry. If not, this would be a missed opportunity to act on the limited government platform from which they preach.

Let there be light once again in all of America.


Poll finds only 41 per cent of Australians think climate change is a serious problem

A LEADING climate change advocate maintains public sentiment for climate change action is improving despite a poll showing support has dropped to a record low.

According to the Lowy Institute poll, 75 per cent of Australians believe the federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change. Just 41 per cent think the issue is a serious and pressing problem, down five points from last year and 27 points since 2006. Australians are also much less willing to pay a price to tackle climate change, with 39 per cent not prepared to pay anything extra.

John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, a non-partisan and independent research organisation, said the polling was undertaken in April. "It's a worrying trend but not a surprising trend," Mr Connor said. "We've picked up at least a change in the momentum since we launched the Say Yes campaign."

Analysis of talkback radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said. "I'm not at all relaxed but I think we are seeing a turning point."

The polling had tracked the decline of the debate over the years into one that is now extremely partisan. "There was bipartisan support for action and the emissions trading scheme and an international legal agreement (in 2007)," Mr Connor said.



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


26 June, 2011

A Spectacular Failure: Latest HadCrut & NASA Temperatures Significantly Below IPCC Climate Model Predictions

Not only are U.S. temperatures below climate model predicted values, but global temperatures are also not behaving in the mode of the "consensus" IPCC climate models that represent the supposed 97% of scientists who say climate science is "settled."

Directcomparison IPCC vs Hadcrut UAH The actual temperatures (bright green curve for UAH-NASA satellite and bright blue curve for HadCRUT) shown in this chart are compared to the various IPCC scenarios of CO2 emissions. The orange curve ('commitment') was the IPCC climate model temperature scenario that assumed CO2 emissions would "stabalise" at levels for year 2000. The darker blue, green and red curves represent different growth scenarios of "business as usual" CO2 emissions.

As is clear in the chart, global temperatures are significantly below even the the IPCC scenario of stabilized (orange curve) CO2 emissions. This is a spectacular failure, confirming that increasing CO2 emissions are not driving temperatures up, despite the "consensus" science. It also confirms how worthless climate models are for policymakers to rely on as predictive tools.

As this next chart indicates, global CO2 emissions (tons) continue to grow with 2010 levels substantially above the 2000 CO2 emission levels. Clearly, the CO2 growth continues at the pace of the IPCC's "business as usual" terminolgy.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The science is settled: US liberals really are the dumbest creatures on the planet

By James Delingpole

Today I am in New York on my publicity tour for Watermelons and as I sat at breakfast this morning, chomping on an Ess-a-bagel and reading Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics I found myself wondering – not for the first time – why it is that liberal-lefties manage to be so utterly wrong about everything.

“Because they’re stupid,” said a libertarian friend of mine. “Oh come on, not all of them surely? A bit misguided, maybe but…” I protested.

“No really they’re stupid because they’re not interested in facts. They just want to construct their pretty little narrative about the world, regardless of whether or not it has any bearing on reality. And then they want to dump it on us. And ruin our lives. So not just stupid but evil too.”

Well, you know me: what a big-hearted, sensitive, caring, emollient kind of guy I am. I thought these words were harsh, really harsh. But that was before I saw this video.

It features Chris Matthews, one of America’s most popular liberal talk show hosts, talking to a liberal journalist from liberal blogsite Salon called Joan Walsh and another liberal journalist from liberal Rolling Stone magazine on the liberal politics programme Hardball. And guess what these liberals believe the problem with Climate Change is? Go on: think of the most stupid, reality-denying, fact-ignoring, evidence-torturing tosh anyone involved in the media could possibly have to say on the subject. (H/T Climate Depot)

Yes, that’s right.

They think that the naughty yellow pixies who pull the special, magic Climat-O-Levers which control the weather have been paid by evil capitalists with fat cigars in their mouth and $ signs on their pinstripe suits to make the world’s climate all horrid so that poor, underprivileged and disabled people and endangered creatures suffer – and that the reason we don’t know about it is because the media is run by evil Conservatives who want to keep this truth a secret.

Well, almost. What these liberal opinion-formers actually think – and you’ve really got to hand it to them: not even a lobotomised amoeba could beat them in a competition for dumbest creature on the planet, these three are absolute champs, Matthews especially, make no mistake – is as follows.

They think the main reasons for the public’s growing scepticism on Climate Change are 1. The media has been far too balanced on the subject and is not pushing the eco-message hard enough. 2. Big business is funding Climate Denialism. 3. Evil Conservatives – led by Evil Talk Show Hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck – are deliberately telling lies about Climate Change. 4. The Republican party is “anti-science”.

My favourite bit is the one where Chris Matthews, who I believe takes himself seriously as a journalist, declares: “I hate that even-handed, so-called objective journalism. You know, you can’t say something isn’t true if it’s true….”

Do you know, on that last point at least I totally agree with Chris Matthews. So let’s examine a few of the claims which he and his two guest liberal echo chambers made on Hardball.

1. The media under-reports climate change. Oh yes. That will explain, for example, the recent widely reported story Decline Of Oceans Worse Than Previously Thought – given unquestioning coverage everywhere from the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times and Time magazine to the BBC. Yet as research from Ben Pile at Climate Resistance shows, most of these experts offering their supposed expert views on the imminence of pelagic climate doom were in fact just an ad hoc group of activists from heavily politicised organisations like Greenpeace and Pew Environment Group. Such is the state of Environmental reporting around the world these days: it consists of little more than lovingly transcribed press releases from hardcore ecoloon pressure groups.

2 Jo Nova has estimated that the amount spent by government agencies, left-leaning charitable foundations and big business promoting “global warming” is approximately 3,500 times more than the amount spent funding climate change scepticism.

3. With notable exceptions such as Fox news, US conservative talk radio, the generally right-leaning blogosphere and one or two papers such as Canada’s National Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Express (and increasingly, the Mail) there are few media outlets in the world which broadcast anything other than green propaganda. Far from being evil, the likes of Beck and Limbaugh are islands of truth in a (presumably doomed, increasingly acidified) ocean of lies. (I’d be interested if Matthews could produce some concrete examples of these “lies” that Limbaugh and Beck have told on climate change).

4. Would that be “science” in the sense used by Al Gore, as in the received wisdom of a self-selecting cabal of post-normal activist scientists who dominate organisations like the IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. If so, then the Republican party is indeed “anti-science” because – with notable exceptions such as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, of whom more in a subsequent post, very likely to be entitled “Mitt Romney prefers dog poop yogurt” – bases its scientific views on old fashioned virtues like rationalism, empiricism and open-minded, honest research rather than junk science dogma.

If we’re talking about science in the more old fashioned sense of the word as it might have been understood by, say Newton or Popper, rather than James Hansen or Al Gore, then no, the Republicans are not “anti-science.”


More evidence of the MWP

Discussing: Velle, G., Kongshavn, K. and Birks, H.J.B. 2011. Minimizing the edge-effect in environmental reconstructions by trimming the calibration set: Chironomid-inferred temperatures from Spitsbergen. The Holocene 21: 417-430.


Working with two short gravity cores and two long piston cores of sediments obtained from the deepest part of Lake Skardtjorna (77°57.780'N, 13°48.799'E) in 2008, plus a long core obtained in 2003, Velle et al. reconstructed histories of chironomid types and concentrations over the past 2000 years, which they translated into mean July air temperatures based on a modern mean July air temperature calibration data set compiled by Brooks and Birks (2000, 2001), plus additional unpublished data for 2001-2009, utilizing new approaches they developed in their paper.

[See: Brooks, S.J. and Birks, H.J.B. 2000. Chironomid-inferred late-glacial and early-Holocene mean July air temperatures for Krakenes Lake, Western Norway. Journal of Paleolimnology 23: 77-89; Brooks, S.J. and Birks, H.J.B. 2001. Chironomid-inferred air temperatures from Late-glacial and Holocene sites in north-west Europe: Progress and problems. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 1723-1741.]

This work revealed, in the words of the two researchers, a "warming that occurred at 1000 to 830 BP," where BP = 2003, that "may correspond to what is known as the 'Medieval Warm Period'." And based on their graphical representation of that record, we estimate that the peak warmth of the MWP (~ AD 1000-1170) was about 0.3°C greater than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.



Recent wind driven high sea ice export in the Fram Strait contributes to Arctic sea ice decline

By L. H. Smedsrud et al.


Arctic sea ice area decrease has been visible for two decades, and continues at a steady rate. Apart from melting, the southward drift through Fram Strait is the main loss. We present high resolution sea ice drift across 79° N from 2004 to 2010. The ice drift is based on radar satellite data and correspond well with variability in local geostrophic wind. The underlying current contributes with a constant southward speed close to 5 cm s−1, and drives about 33 % of the ice export.

We use geostrophic winds derived from reanalysis data to calculate the Fram Strait ice area export back to 1957, finding that the sea ice area export recently is about 25 % larger than during the 1960's. The increase in ice export occurred mostly during winter and is directly connected to higher southward ice drift velocities, due to stronger geostrophic winds. The increase in ice drift is large enough to counteract a decrease in ice concentration of the exported sea ice.

Using storm tracking we link changes in geostrophic winds to more intense Nordic Sea low pressure systems. Annual sea ice export likely has a significant influence on the summer sea ice variability and we find low values in the 60's, the late 80's and 90's, and particularly high values during 2005–2008. The study highlight the possible role of variability in ice export as an explanatory factor for understanding the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice the last decades.


What the Warmists are wishing on us

Roughly 15 years after many “scientific experts” had warned about the arrival of another Ice Age, an estimated 35,000 government officials, diplomats, Non-Government Organization (NGO) activists and journalists from 178 countries attending a U.N.- sponsored 1992 Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or “Earth Summit”) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, began to negotiate international agreements to counter a reverse climate threat. An observed shift to warming was seized upon as the basis for stabilizing “dangerous” anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases (principally CO2) at 1900 levels.

By that time they had already established a Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), and determined that “human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses, that these increases enhance the natural greenhouse effect, and that this will result on average in the additional warming of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere and may adversely affect natural ecosystems and mankind.”

The Rio Earth Summit codified the U.N.’s central theme for the famous (or infamous) Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. has refused to ratify. Along with the FCCC, which established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it also produced three other much lesser-known initiatives — the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Statement of Forest Principles, The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and Sustainable Development Agenda 21. The latter may ultimately prove over the long term to be most broadly influential of all.

Earth Summit chairman Maurice Strong left no doubt about where to place blame for global problems, stating in the conference report: “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class…involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, ownership of motor vehicles, golf courses, small electric appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable…A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns.”

Addressing the Summit audience, Strong also suggested a primary remedy, whereby: We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse.” Former Senator Timothy Wirth, representing the Clinton-Gore administration as undersecretary of state for global affairs, stated that public concern about global warming could be used to advance that cause: “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” Wirth now heads the U.N. Foundation which has lobbied for hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to help underdeveloped countries fight climate change.

The global warming rubric has served as an ideal platform to enable the U.N. to advance large philosophical visions, wealth redistribution agendas, and world governance goals under the banner of environmentalism. If this sounds a bit like conspiratorial paranoia, let’s review some words spoken by then-President Jacques Chirac of France in a 2000 speech supporting a key Western European Kyoto Protocol objective: “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance, one that should find a place within the World Environment Organization which France and the European Union would like to see established.”

Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev clearly recognized an opportunity to use climate alarmism to advance global socialistic Marxist objectives following the U.S.S.R.’s economic and political collapse. In 1996 he observed: “The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.”


The delusion of human climate control

Comment from Australia

The Puyehue volcano in the Andes mountains of southern Chile blows up. It poses the question, whatever carbon tax we impose on industry in Australia - on businesses who pump carbon into air as a waste product - how are we going to fine the Andes mountains or the real culprit, Puyehue, for spewing all that carbon dust into the air as if it were a giant candle on Guy Fawkes night?

Bob Brown was rubbing his hands together in glee - as they also do in Tasmania with the purpose of warming them in the freezing cold of Hobart - when he extracted the last ounce of tax from red-bobbed Julia Gillard on the carbon issue. Then, after it had waited 50 long years to blow its top, Puyehue sent millions of tonnes of sulphur and ash teeming with carbon into the skies, where it continues to circle - disrupting flights and raising carbon levels in the atmosphere to choking point. In a final insult it is believed that no one in the Australian government, including Brown, was consulted before it blew its stack.

It makes a mockery of serious governments around the world who are seeking to pass significant legislation controlling the levels of carbon and sulphur that industry can pump into the air, when a dummy spit by Puyehue spoils everything.

Australia was going ahead with carbon taxing legislation, as a leading nation, when most of the world was not thinking that the atmosphere surrounding Australia might magically stand still and not wander around the rest of the globe where non-taxed carbon molecules frolic free in proportions dwarfing our taxed molecules. God is poking his tongue through the Puyehue volcano, whose carbon output dwarfs industry's.

Although Australian governments have an impressive history of being able to tax virtually everything - goods and services, imports, exports, mining, and super mining - it would test even Peter Garrett to tax the volcano for breaching emissions policy. The same thing happened when the unspellable volcano in Iceland decided to blow its top and send millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, interfering with European air traffic. Iceland was bankrupt at the time and could have used the hefty fine but found it couldn't pay itself.

The Earth is not playing ball with its inhabitants, although we are practically family, having been created by God. It's like trying to fill the bath by the leaving the hot and cold taps running but someone has pulled the bath plug and no matter how much we turn the taps on, the water disappears down the plughole. Did God do this deliberately, playing a trick on Earth, or did he devise a huge reality game show called Survivor Earth?



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


25 June, 2011

California’s Green Jihad

Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.

Then there’s California, rich in everything from oil and food to international trade and technology, but still skimming along the bottom of the national economy. The state’s unemployment rate is now worse than Michigan’s and ahead only of neighboring Nevada. Among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan regions, four of the six with the highest unemployment numbers are located in the Golden State: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In a recent Forbes survey, California was home to six of the ten regions where the economy is poised to get worse.

One would think, given these gory details, California officials would be focused on reversing the state’s performance. But here, as in Iran, officialdom focuses more on theology than on actuality. Of course, California’s religion rests not on conventional divinity but on a secular environmental faith that nevertheless exhibits the intrusive and unbending character of radical religion.

As with its Iranian counterpart, California’s green theology often leads to illogical economic and political decisions. California has decided, for example, to impose a rigid regime of state-directed planning related to global warming, making a difficult approval process for new development even more onerous. It has doubled-down on climate change as other surrounding western states — such as Nevada, Utah and Arizona — have opted out of regional greenhouse gas agreements.

The notion that a state economy — particularly one that has lost over 1.15 million jobs in the past decade — can impose draconian regulations beyond those of their more affluent neighbors, or the country, would seem almost absurd.

Californians are learning what ideological extremism can do to an economy. In the Islamic Republic, crazy theology leads to misallocating resources to support repression at home and terrorism abroad. In California green zealots compel companies to shift their operations to states that are still interested in growing their economy — like Texas. The green regime is one reason why CEO Magazine has ranked California the worst business climate in the nation.

Some of these green policies often offer dubious benefits for the environment. For one thing, forcing California businesses to move to less energy-efficient states, or to developing countries like China, could have a negative impact overall since shifting production to Texas or China might lead to higher greenhouse gas production given California’s generally milder climate. A depressed economy also threatens many worthy environmental programs, delaying necessary purchases of open space and forcing the closure of parks. These programs enhance life for the middle and working classes without damaging the overall econmy.

But people involved in the tangible, directly carbon-consuming parts of the economy — manufacturing, warehousing, energy and, most important, agriculture — are those who bear the brunt of the green jihad. Farming has long been a field dominated by California, yet environmentalist pressures for cutbacks in agricultural water supplies have turned a quarter million acres of prime Central Valley farmland fallow, creating mass unemployment in many communities.

“California cannot have it both ways, a desire for economic growth yet still overregulating in the areas of labor, water, environment,” notes Dennis Donahue, a Democrat and mayor of Salinas, a large agricultural community south of San Jose. Himself a grower, Donahue sees agricultural in California being undermined by ever-tightening regulations, which have led some to expand their operations to other sections of the country, Mexico and even further afield.

Other key blue collar industries are also threatened, from international trade to manufacturing. Since before the recession California manufacturing has been on a decline. Los Angeles, still the nation’s largest industrial area, has lost a remarkable one-fifth of its manufacturing employment since 2005.

California’s ultra-aggressive greenhouse gas laws will further the industrial exodus out of the state and further impoverish Californians. Grandiose plans to increase the percentage of renewable energy in the state from the current unworkable 20% to 33% by 2020 will boost the state’s electricity costs, already among the highest in the nation, and could push the average Californian’s bill up a additional 20%.

Ironically California, still the nation’s third largest oil producer, should be riding the rise in commodity prices, but the state’s green politicians seem determined to drive this sector out of the state.. In Richmond, east of San Francisco, onerous regulations pushed by a new Green-led city administration may drive a huge Chevron refinery, a major employer for blue collar workers, out of the city entirely. Roughly a thousand jobs are at stake, according to Chevron’s CEO, who also questioned whether the company would continue to make other investments inside the state.

Being essentially a religion, the green regime answers its critics with a well-developed mythology about how these policies can be implemented without economic distress. One common delusion in Sacramento holds that the state’s vaunted “creative” economy — evidenced by the current bubble over surrounding social media firms — will make up for any green-generated job losses.

In reality the creative economy simply cannot make up for losses in more tangible industries. Over the past decade, as the world digitized, the San Jose area experienced one of the stiffest drops in employment of any of the 50 largest regions of the country; its 18% decline was second only to Detroit. Much of the decline was in manufacturing and services, but tech employment has generally suffered. Over the past decade California’s number of workers in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields actually shrank. In contrast, the country’s ranks of such workers expanded 2.3% and prime competitors such as Texas , Washington and Virginia enjoyed double-digit growth.

So who really benefits from the green jihad? To date, the primary winners have been crony capitalists, like President Obama’s newly proposed commerce secretary, John Bryson, who built a fantastically lucrative career (he was once named Forbes’ “worst valued chief executive”) while running the regulated utility Edison International. A lawyer by training, Bryson helped found the green powerhouse National Resources Defense Council. He’s been keen to promote strict renewable energy standards that also happen to benefit solar power and electric car companies in which he holds large financial stakes.

Other putative winners would be large international companies, like Siemens, that hope to build California’s proposed high-speed rail line, the one big state construction project favored by the green-crony capitalist alliance. Fortunately , the states dismal fiscal situation and rising cost estimates for the project, from $42 to as high as $67 billion, as well as cuts in federal subsidies, are undermining support for this project even among some liberal Democrats. Even in a theocracy, reality does, at times, intrude.

Finally, there are the lawyers — lots of them. A hyper-regulatory state requires legal services just like a theocracy needs mobs of mullahs and bare knuckled religious enforcers. No surprise the number of lawyers in California increased by almost a quarter last decade, notes Sara Randazzo of the Daily Journal. That’s two and a half times the rate of population growth.

The legal boom has been most exuberant along the affluent coast. Over the past decade, the epicenter of the green jihad, San Francisco, the number of practicing attorneys increased by 17%, five times the rate of the city’s population increase. In the Silicon Valley, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties boosted their number of lawyers at a similar rate. In contrast, lawyer growth rate in interior counties has generally been far slower, often a small fraction of their overall population growth.

If California is to work again for those outside the yammering classes, some sort of realignment with economic reality needs to take place. Unlike Iran, California does not need a regime change, just a shift in mindset that would jibe with the realities of global competition and the needs of the middle class. But at least with California we won’t have to worry too much about national security: Given the greens anti-nuke proclivities, it’s unlucky the state will be developing a bomb in the near future.


Alarm from Russia -- about an ice age

A grim secret report prepared by the Russian Foreign Ministry for President Medvedev is warning that American fears of an “Ice Age Doomsday” caused by the Sun could ‘very well likely’ lead to open Global conflict between the US and China as both of these Superpower Nations have begun a vicious fight for farm land in South America and Africa.

According to this report, new research led by the United States National Solar Observatory and Air Force Research Laboratory (NSO) on the long expected major solar cycle expected to climax in 2012 has lead to findings that have shocked American scientists leading them to claim our planet is fast approaching an “ice age” on a scale not seen since the 17th Century; an event that was so catastrophic it plunged the pre-industrial Earth into total chaos shattering forever the then existing Old World Order.

According to three studies released by the NSO in the United States yesterday, American experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century. The signs include a missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles, said these NSO experts. “This is highly unusual and unexpected,” said Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, who further added “…the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It is conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, though climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. NASA defines the term as a cold period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.

The main historical event caused by the 17th Century LIA is commonly referred to as “The Second Wave,” a term popularized by the American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, who stated in his research that with the destruction of European farming due to this extreme cold event the Monarchies who were then in power were forced to expand their empires throughout the world, a move which ultimately led to their destruction as they were forced to switch their economies from ones of agriculture to industrial thus causing massive changes in the way their societies were governed.

Unlike the European Monarchies, however, China and the United States of today, this report says, have no “new land” to conquer and have opted, instead, during this “early stage” of the crisis to begin a “conquest” of vast farm lands in South America and Africa they will be able to utilize to feed their soon to be starving populations.

China, this report continues, is in worse shape than the United States as it has roughly 20% of the World’s population, but only 7% of the World’s arable land to grow food upon…and what little it does have is now disappearing at an alarming rate. With China, also, being the World’s largest wheat producer the United Nations was forced this past February to issue an alert warning that this Communist Nation was fast nearing a point where it would no longer be able to feed its people from the food it produces for itself.

Though the United States, this report continues, is better positioned than China, it nevertheless is suffering through one of its worst droughts in decades in its Southwestern and Lower Midwest Regions with vast areas of its Middle and Upper Western “heartland” areas suffering catastrophic floods affecting nearly half of its Nation leading to a soaring rise in food costs that Russian economists warn are ‘recipes for rebellion’ as millions of poor will be unable to feed themselves.


NASA Scientist Accused of Using Celeb Status Among Environmental Groups to Enrich Himself

The NASA scientist who once claimed the Bush administration tried to "silence" his global warming claims is now accused of receiving more than $1.2 million from the very environmental organizations whose agenda he advocated.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a group claims NASA is withholding documents that show James Hansen failed to comply with ethics rules and financial disclosures regarding substantial compensation he earned outside his $180,000 taxpayer-paid position as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"Hansen's office appears to be somewhat of a rogue operation. It's clearly a taxpayer-funded global warming advocacy organization," said Chris Horner, a co-founder of The American Tradition Institute, which filed the lawsuit. "The real issue here is, has Hansen been asking NASA in writing, in advance, for permission for these outside activities? We have reason to believe that has not been occurring."

The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years.

Gifts, speaking fees, prizes and consulting compensation include:

-- A shared $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for his "profound contribution to humanity." Hansen's cut ranged from $333,000 to $500,000, Horner said, adding that the precise amount is not known because Hansen's publicly available financial disclosure form only shows the prize was "an amount in excess of $5,000."

-- The 2010 Blue Planet prize worth $550,000 from the Asahi Glass Foundation, which recognizes efforts to solve environmental issues.

-- The Sophie Prize for his "political activism," worth $100,000. The Sophie Prize is meant to "inspire people working towards a sustainable future."

-- Speaking fees totaling $48,164 from a range of mostly environmental organizations.

-- A $15,000 participation fee, waived by the W.J. Clinton Foundation for its 2009 Waterkeeper Conference.

-- $720,000 in legal advice and media consulting services provided by The George Soros Open Society Institute. Hansen said he did not take "direct" support from Soros but accepted "pro bono legal advice."

Hansen did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Federal rules prohibit government employees from receiving certain types of income outside their job. Employees are required to file Form 17-60 in writing before any outside activity. And annually, they're required to submit Form SF 278, after receiving outside compensation.

The American Tradition Institute filed a Freedom of Information Act request for those two documents for Hansen. The lawsuit claims NASA has "repeatedly and unlawfully refused to produced the requested materials."

"Should the taxpayer know what's going on? Should, as FOIA intends, NASA disclose documents to shed light on its operations and its compliance within the law? We say yes. The law says yes. NASA says no," Horner said.

Mark Hess, chief of communications for the Goddard Space Center, sent Fox News NASA's response to Horner's FOIA request. It said in many cases the documents Horner requested did not exist. Horner claims they should, if Hansen was complying with the law.


Findings of sea-level magicians not generalizable

A recent study has attempted to use a long-term (~2,100 years), local (coastal North Carolina), determination of sea level derived from the build-up of salt marsh sediments to better characterize the behavior of global sea level (and by proxy, global temperatures) over the same multi-millennial time period. Based upon the results of this investigation, the research team led by Andrew Kemp from the University of Pennsylvania, concludes that there were four rather distinct periods of sea level rise over the past 2,100 years. Here is how they describe the first three:

Sea level was stable from at least BC 100 until AD 950. Sea level then increased for 400 y at a rate of 0.6 mm/y, followed by a further period of stable, or slightly falling, sea level that persisted until the late 19th century.

And then, and here’s the kicker (and why this paper received all the press coverage that it did, with headlines such as “Fastest Sea-Level Rise in 2,000 Years Linked to Increasing Global Temperatures“):

Since then, sea level has risen at an average rate of 2.1 mm/y, representing the steepest century-scale increase of the past two millennia. This rate was initiated between AD 1865 and 1892. Using an extended semiempirical modeling approach, we show that these sea-level changes are consistent with global temperature for at least the past millennium.

But can a paleo-record of sea level rise from basically one locality (e.g., coastal North Carolina) provide a good indication of the long-term history of global sea level rise? Obviously, the authors think so, but others are not so sure.

Following the publication of the Kemp paper in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (a journal with rather questionable peer-review procedures), the German magazine Der Spiegel ran an article which reflected some of the skepticism of the methods/results. The article begins:

After reconstructing sea level patterns over the last 2,000 years for the first time ever, researchers have found that the dawn of the industrial age initiated an unprecedented rise in waters. But critics complain the study is too narrow.

Der Spiegel goes on to explain the problem:

But other experts are doubtful. They see the new study’s limited data as its primary drawback, and question whether something based on findings from the North Carolina coast alone can be applicable for the whole world. “This study is, therefore, not at all suited for making predictions,” says Jens Schröter of the Alfred Wegener Insitute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.

But the study’s authors, among them Stephan Rahmstorf, attempt to reassure us that the findings are robust:

Rahmstorf and his colleagues concede that local sea level fluctuations can differ from global trends. Nevertheless, the scientists conclude that their data, by and large, reflects the changes in global sea levels.

But do they really?

A paper published a few years ago by Alexander Kolker and Sultan Hameen “Meteorologically driven trends in sea level rise” (and covered by World Climate Report) seems germane.

In this paper, these researchers investigated whether the variability and trends in sea level rise along the North American and European costs of the Atlantic Ocean could be at least partially explained by variations in the strength and position of the dominant atmospheric circulation patterns that characterize the Atlantic region.

And not only did they find that they were, but to quite a sizeable degree. In fact, they found that nearly 70% of the observed long-term (~century) trend in the five tide gauge locations in their study could be explained by meteorological variability (as opposed to say, anthropogenically-forced climate change). For instance, at the location (Charleston, SC) that was closest to the Kemp et al. study sites in North Carolina, Kolker and Hameed determined that meteorological variability could explain 73% of the observed trend in sea level rise for the period 1920-2003.

So while Kemp et al. assume that the influence of “natural climate modes” is only large “over short time scales” and “become progressively smaller as longer time scales are considered” (an assumption which allows them to link sea level rise changes in North Carolina to global temperatures), Kolker and Hameed find that for time periods at least as long as a century (the full length of the period that they studied) that meteorological variability (i.e., the influence of natural climate modes) can dominate the sea level rise signal. In fact, Kolker and Hameed find that meteorological variability has acted to more than double the rate of sea level rise caused by other factors (of which “global warming” is one potential factor—Kolker and Hameed list several other including “sediment compaction” and “volcanically induced changes in ocean heat content”).

All which goes to show that the sea level rise from a single location may not be that representative of global behavior—supporting the critical comments in Der Spiegel.

Has sea level risen over the past two millennia? Almost certainly. Is the rate of global sea level rise tied to global temperatures? Yes. Will future global warming lead to rising seas? Yes again. But, as with all other questions about global warming and its impacts, the important questions are not really whether it is happening, but rather how great are the impacts. The rate of global warming is rather pokey. So too is the resultant sea level rise. And as such, natural variability (in all aspects of the climate system) still is a major force to be reckoned with—acting with a magnitude and over timescales probably much greater than it is generally given credit for (at least by the humans-are-responsible-for-everything crowd).

So the take home message here, is that what happens in coastal North Carolina (or any other specific locale) does not well-reflect the world, nor vice versa.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Batty Norwegian dame tries to paddle to the North Pole -- reality intervenes

After 13 days Cecilie Skog canceled her attempt reach the North Pole with a canoe. "It is really no disgrace," is the title of the North Pole expedition blog post that Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes published on Tuesday.

The woman thought they had a realistic timetable to be first to reach the North Pole in summer without the addition of supplies.

"If we continue north now, the consequence will be that we set in motion a rescue operation in the middle of the Arctic Ocean in about 4-5 weeks, and we do not want that", they write on the Expedition blog on Tuesday.

The expedition had an appointment with an icebreaker to get them at 90 degrees north on 27 July. However, because ice conditions were worse than expected, and leads to paddle did not materialize, they have the past few days only managed to travel a daily distances of around ten miles.

Skog believes that this is only half of what they should do in this phase of the trip. In recent days, Skog and Gjeldnes described how they have fought their way through ice, slush and water, under very strenuous conditions. "It's thick ice in front of us for hundreds of kilometers, and it does not appear that it will change significantly, they write.

However, there have also been good moments and Skog reports both ice bathing in good weather, and other adventures along the way.

"Now we will enjoy ourselves on the trip back. We have food and supplies enough to get back without having to stress, and it may be that we need both supplies and time to the fullest, they write.

As conditions have gotten worse in recent days, she is still excited about what the return trip will be.



Three current articles below

World Government: Not a conspiracy it's actually Greens policy

Like Germany but unlike most other countries, Australia has a "Green" party that is politically influential. Their policies (below) are therefore instructive

To the people who say that those pushing the global warming agenda are using it and carbon taxes for "World Government" is a conspiracy theory, I think should take a look a "The Greens" policy titled: Global Governance. (see here)

I want to basically abolish the UN or at least remove any legal powers it has. I want to ensure the sovreignty of Australia and want Australians to be governed by a democratically elected Australian government. The Greens want to strengthen the UN and want a world government. Here are some points their policy covers:

* The system of global governance must be reinvigorated.

* A stronger UN capable of dealing with threats to international peace and security.

* Support the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and ensure that all nations are subject to its decisions.

* Major structural reform is needed to provide stronger, more effective and more representative multilateral institutions.

* The leading role of the United Nations (UN) in the maintenance of International peace and security must be recognised and respected by all countries.

* The international financial institutions that govern aid, development, trade, and transnational financial movements require extensive reform to enable them to provide global economic justice
A stronger UN capable of dealing with threats to international peace and security.

* Support the establishment of an international environmental court and an environmental council at the UN, with similar decision-making powers to the Security Council to deal with environmental issues of global significance.

These very fighting polices must be kept in mind when they move to give land to the United Nation when they list "word heritage" areas, When they want open borders with some of their refugee policies and when our carbon taxes are paid to the United Nations.

And to those who will email me saying is says governance not government, here is the dictionary definition of both words.

Governance: The action or manner of governing.
Government: The governing body of a nation, state, or community
They are one and the same.


Blow for wind farms as senators push probe into noise and health fears

URGENT research should be undertaken into the potentially damaging health effects of wind farms on nearby residents, says a landmark Senate report released yesterday. In a dramatic win for residents' groups who have raised widespread concerns about the impact of wind farms on rural communities, the committee recommended that noise measurements be expanded to include low-frequency noise, or infrasound.

Campaigners welcomed the report and said there should be an immediate halt to wind farm developments until the potential health impacts were better understood.

According to the Clean Energy Council, there are 53 wind farms operating in Australia, with 1089 operating turbines that can reach the height of a 45-storey building and have blades up to 50m long. Wind turbine capacity has increased by 30 per cent a year over the past decade and wind now supplies about 2 per cent of Australia's electricity needs.

There are more than 9000 megawatts of large-scale wind farm energy projects proposed around the country, propelled partly by the federal government's Renewable Energy Target scheme, which subsidises power from renewable sources.

The majority Senate report yesterday called for tougher rules on noise, new rules to govern how close wind farms can be built to houses, and an independent arbitrator to hear complaints. It said arbitrary setbacks - the distance that a wind farm must be built from a residence - may not be adequate and each situation may need to be considered on its merits.

But the most dramatic findings were in the area of potential harm from low-frequency noise. The committee said the commonwealth government should initiate as a matter of priority "thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health".

"This research must engage across industry and community, and include an advisory process representing the range of interests and concerns," the committee said. It said a National Health and Medical Research Council review of research should continue, with regular publication.

The committee recommended that the National Acoustics Laboratories conduct a study and assessment of noise impacts of wind farms, including the impacts of infrasound. It said the draft National Wind Farm Development Guidelines should be redrafted to include discussion of any adverse health effects.

The Senate inquiry was initiated by Family First senator Steve Fielding and attracted more then 1000 submissions both for and against wind farm developments. The inquiry was chaired by Greens senator Rachel Siewert and included Labor senators Claire Moore and Carol Brown and Liberal senators Judith Adams, Sue Boyce and Helen Coonan.

Sarah Laurie, medical director of the Waubra Foundation, a national organisation set up to raise awareness of the health effects of wind farms, said an immediate moratorium should be called for wind farm developments. "Given the Senate recommendations and strength of evidence to the inquiry, the precautionary principle should be adopted," Dr Laurie said.

She said the report's recommendations were exactly what concerned health professionals had called for. "Investigation of low-frequency noise, or infrasound, had not been properly conducted anywhere else in the world," Dr Laurie said.

The Senate committee was told that Denmark had flagged regulation of infrasound at wind farms and that Japan last year started a four-year study into the effects of infrasound from wind farms.

Sheep farmer Dean West and his partner Geri McHugh live in the shadow of the Starfish Hill Wind Farm at Delamere, 100km south of Adelaide, and often hear the turbines on a windy day. Mr West, whose sheep wander the paddocks under the 100m-high turbines, is in the paddocks daily, but has no concerns for his health. "I can't see that more studies would do any harm, though," Mr West said.

The couple moved to the farm 10 years ago, at the same time as the 23 turbines were being built on the grazing land. The closest tower is 500m away. Although they do not think they suffer because of the turbines, Ms McHugh has tinnitus and is sensitive to the turbine noise. "It's just a woof, woof, woof sound, you just can't tune out," Ms McHugh said.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the renewable energy industry believed the Senate inquiry report was a balanced review of issues. "It acknowledges the important contribution that wind energy makes to employment and economic development," Mr Marsh said. "There is no reason to slow the development of new wind farms based on this report."


Meltdown imminent, solar industry warns

The solar industry has warned it will cease to exist in New South Wales within eight weeks without action from the State Government.

Lobbying by the industry, along with disquiet on the Coalition's own backbench, contributed to the Government's backdown earlier this month on changes to the Solar Bonus Scheme.

The Government had announced it would retrospectively cut the tariff paid to households with solar from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 40 cents. That plan was abandoned but the industry is still crying foul after the Government closed the scheme to new applicants.

Energy Minister Chris Hartcher says alternative proposals for keeping the industry afloat will be considered at a second solar summit in a week. He says one option would be for electricity retailers to pay for the solar energy they receive.

But John Grimes from the Australian Solar Energy Society says by then it may already be too late. "We've seen companies that have gone from 19 employees to two. They're holding on to see what's going to happen," Mr Grimes said. "If we don't get a one-for-one feed-in tariff in place in NSW immediately those companies will close altogether and that would be a huge tragedy."



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


24 June, 2011

Science and smear merchants

S. Fred Singer

Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California in San Diego, claims to be a science historian. One can readily demonstrate that she is neither a credible scientist nor a credible historian; the best evidence is right there in her recent book, "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming", coauthored with Eric Conway.

Her science is faulty; her historical procedures are thoroughly unprofessional. She is, however, an accomplished polemicist, who has found time for world lecture tours, promoting her book and her ideological views, while being paid by the citizens of California. Her book tries to smear four senior physicists—of whom I am the only surviving one. I view it as my obligation to defend the reputations of my late colleagues and good friends against her libelous charges.

Oreskes is well-known from her 2004 article in Science that claimed a complete scientific consensus about manmade global warming; it launched her career as a polemicist. Her claim was based on examining the abstracts of some 900 published papers. Unfortunately, she missed more than 11,000 papers through an incorrect Internet search. She published a discreet “Correction”; yet she has never retracted her ideologically based claim about consensus. Al Gore still quotes her result, which has been contradicted by several, more competent studies (by Peiser, Schulte, Bray and von Storch; Lemonick in SciAm, etc).

Turning first to the science, her book discusses acidification, as measured by the pH coefficient. She states that a pH of 6.0 denotes neutrality (page 67, MoD). Let’s be charitable and chalk this off to sloppy proofreading.

Elsewhere in the book (page 29), she claims that beryllium is a “heavy metal” and tries to back this up with references. I wonder if she knows that the atomic weight of beryllium is only 9, compared to, say, uranium, which is mostly 238. A comparison of these two numbers should tell anyone which one is the heavy metal.

Her understanding of the Greenhouse Effect is plain comical; she posits that CO2 is “trapped” in the troposphere—and that’s why the stratosphere is cooling. Equally wrong is her understanding of what climate models are capable of; she actually believes that they can predict forest fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and China—nothing but calamities everywhere—and tells climate scientists in a recent lecture: If the predictions of climate models have come true, then why don’t people believe them [see this]? Perhaps because people are not gullible.

But the most amazing science blunder in her book is her hypothesis about how cigarette-smoking causes cancer (page 28). She blames it on oxygen-15, a radioactive isotope of the common oxygen-16. I wonder if she knows that the half-life of O-15 is only 122 seconds. Of course, she does not spell out how O-15 gets into cigarette smoke, whether it is in the paper or in the tobacco itself. If the latter, does she believe that the O-15 is created by the burning of tobacco? If so, this would be a fantastic discovery, worthy of an alchemist. Perhaps someone should make her aware of the difference between radioactive and “reactive” oxygen; the two words do sound similar.

I am sure one would find more examples of scientific ignorance in a careful reading of the rest of the book. But why bother?

Having demonstrated her scientific “expertise,” let’s turn to her historical expertise. Any careful historian would use primary sources and would at least try to interview the scientists she proceeds to smear. There is no trace of that in Oreskes’ book. She has never taken the trouble to interview Dr. Robert Jastrow, founder of the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and later Director of the Mt. Wilson Astronomical Observatory and founding president of the renowned George C Marshall Institute in Washington, DC. I can find no evidence that she ever interviewed Dr. William Nierenberg, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who actually lived in San Diego and was readily accessible. And I doubt if she ever even met Dr. Frederick Seitz, the main target of her venom.

Seitz was the most distinguished of the group of physicists that are attacked in the book. He had served as President of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, and later as President of Rockefeller University. He had been awarded numerous honorary degrees from universities here and abroad, as well as the prestigious National Medal of Science from the White House.

Instead of seeking firsthand information in the tradition of historical research, Oreskes relies on secondary or tertiary sources, quoting people who agree with her ideology. A good example of this is her discussion of acid rain and of the White House panel (under Reagan, in 1982) chaired by Bill Nierenberg, on which I also served. Here she relies on what she was told by Dr. Gene Likens, whose research funding depends on portraying acid rain as a very serious environmental problem. It most definitely is not—and indeed disappeared from view as soon as Congress passed legislation designed to reduce the effect.

An amazing discovery: I found that Oreskes gives me credit (or blames me) for inventing “cap-and-trade,” the trading of emission rights under a fixed cap of total emissions (see pp. 91-93). I had never claimed such a priority because I honestly don’t know if this idea had been published anywhere. It seemed like the natural thing to suggest in order to reduce total cost—once an emission cap had been set.

My example involved smelters that emit SO2 copiously versus electric utilities that burn coal containing some sulfur. I even constructed what amounts to a “supply curve” in which the bulk of the emission control is borne initially by the lowest-cost units. Of course, Likens and some others on the panel, antagonistic to coal-burning electric utilities, objected to having my discussion included in the panel report. Nierenberg solved the problem neatly by putting my contribution into a signed Appendix, thereby satisfying some panel members who did not want be responsible for a proposal that might let some electric utilities off the hook.

We have established so far that Oreskes is neither a scientist of any sort nor a careful professional historian. She is, however, a “pop-psychologist.” It seems she has figured out what motivates the four senior physicists she libels in her book; it is “anti-communism.” Really! This is not only stated explicitly but she also identifies them throughout as “Cold Warriors.”

Well, now we know at least where Oreskes stands in the political spectrum.


The Corruption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: A National Peril

As time passes the global warming fiasco becomes more and more understandable, and more incredible, more unbelievable. Hard-nosed physical evidence of man-made global warming has yet to be provided by the promoters of warming, even after a nominal $80 billion dollars have been spent in the attempt to do so. Since some of the ideas for mitigating man-made global warming (yet to be demonstrated) involve trillion dollar measures, it is crucially important that we get the science right. If we don’t get the science right, we’ll never get the policy right.

Some of the measures being considered and employed are to limit the amount of fossil fuels being used for the production of electricity and for transportation. The United States derives about 50% of its electrical energy from coal and another 20% from natural gas. Crippling these energy sources obviously will cripple the United States economy and millions of jobs in those companies using the electricity. We learned in World War 2 that a nation can be crippled or destroyed by crippling or destroying their energy production infrastructures.

We are also learning that international powers have organized into the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is part of the United Nations for the purpose of limiting or abolishing the production of CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels. While the US is clearly targeted for these crippling measures other members of the UN other developing nations simply will not be implementing with these suicidal measures. The IPCC is also the brainchild of Maurice Strong, a billionaire socialist working closely with the UN. At the Rio conference of the IPCC in 1992 Maurice Strong made this statement to thousands of supporting fans and international leaders:

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations. (

This horrendous statement reminds one of the recent statement by Barack Obama calling for the limiting fossil fuels and the resulting skyrocketing costs of US energy costs. (

Many nations have recognized the importance of electrical energy is the development of their economies and the advancement of prosperity in their nations. China builds a large new coal plant per week, and now has some 20 nuclear power plants under construction. It has also recently completed the largest hydro facility in the world at the 3 Gorges site. Other nations have recognized the importance of large supplies of affordable energy in that some 67 new nuclear plants are currently under construction around the world and that many more are in final design.

So who are these international leaders and energy experts with so much contempt seeking to oppose reliable sources of low cost energy in the US? Who are these leaders in the UN, the IPCC, the EPA, the White House, and elsewhere so hell-bent on crippling the US economy and much of the developed world? The answers are emerging. Why the deceit and deceptions about climate evidence?

Lorne Gunter writes in the National Post ( about the IPCC using environmental groups’ literature to bolsters its major publications. For example, in 2009 and 2010 it was shown that the UN’s (IPCC) had included questionable data on Himalayan glacier melt in its major 2007 climate assessment report and that it had done so deliberately to provoke government leaders to speed up environmental legislation.

The IPCC scientist in charge of the Himalayan glacier discussions conceded he was aware at the time that the melt prediction had not been peer-reviewed, but included it anyway because “we thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

In other words good science be damned, what the IPCC wanted was the science fiction of glaciers melts, not sound science.

By the end of March 2010 evidence had shown that at least 16 claims of impending climate doom in the IPCC’s vaunted 2007 report had been based on work done by environmental activists, most of which had not received independent reviews before being swallowed whole by the UN climate body.

For instance, the IPCC’s insistence that up to 40% of the Amazon rain forest was under imminent threat came from a World Wildlife Fund-International Union for the Conservation of Nature joint report written by a scientist-consultant and a freelance environmental journalist.

These processes have nothing to do with science; they have nothing to do with honesty, nothing to do with sound defensible science policy. They have a lot to do with low-grade uninformed environmental advocacy being involved with international energy policy.

More recently Christopher Booker of the Telegraph ( learned more of the poor science coming from the IPCC. A very large climate report was released recently by the IPCC which was filled with outlandish claims regarding green energy.

What only came to light when the full report was published last week was the peculiar source of some of the extraordinarily ambitious claims. It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar.

The chief author of the Greenpeace paper, Sven Teske, was also a lead author on Chapter 10 of the IPCC report, which means that the report’s headline message came from a full-time environmental activist, supported by a lobby group representing those industries that stand most to benefit financially from its findings.

Greenpeace adds nothing to the serious debate of future energy supplies or climate change yet here we have the IPCC letting Greenpeace have complete access to its reports. In fact the presence of Greenpeace advice in these IPCC pages diminishes and destroys the credibility of the IPCC. See for example, this link ( Let us examine some of the words of the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore.

Too few Americans and far too few media people know anything about the environmental movement and its transformation over the past 40 years into something vastly different. In Moore’s words they have become far more extreme and whose politics is little more than neo-Marxism in green garb. Moore was quite specific and pointed out some of the characteristics of the environmental movement today:

Tend strongly to be anti-human
Anti-science and technology
Anti-trade and anti-capitalism
Invariably misleading

Greenpeace can hardly be considered expert in science let alone in energy policy. As Patrick Moore told me, they aren’t very interested in humans either. They are environmental hacks with financial interests in generating and spreading their nonsense with the full force and support of the IPCC, UN, and US agencies.

In a recent report Dennis Ambler describes in detail many of the personnel relationships between the IPCC, the EPA, and many of the contractors shared by each of them ( Ambler also provides some of the academic credentials of many of the people involved. Many do not have serious scientific credentials let alone in the highly specialized science of the new discipline of climate. This is not the place for looking for solid scientists or science literature and expertise. Who are these people?

David Lundgren has recently written ( that American leaders such as NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco still regard the IPCC as the “gold standard” for climate science. American leadership, both state and federal, seems incapable of separating sound science from political hearsay. They threaten the future economy of the US, our liberties, our freedoms, and national security. As a result our nation remains in great peril.


Greenie Weenie Alarmists Need Mental Therapy And AA

Who knew that trying to get Other People to Do Something could be so stressful?
Let's face it: If you care about the environment, you've got a lot of reasons to be bummed out. Is the sorry state of the planet dragging you into the dumps? John Fraser, a psychologist, architect, and educator with the Institute for Learning Innovation, is one of a small group of psychologists interested in the mental health of conservationists themselves -- how professional activists, environmental educators, and conservation-oriented researchers handle the daily evidence of environmental destruction.

Environmentalists, Fraser says, often aren't aware of the emotional toll of their work. "Talking to environmentalists can be like talking to a bunch of macho cowboys," he says. "A lot of people will say, ‘I'm fine, I'm fine,' and I'll say, ‘I don't know how to tell you this, but you're really not looking healthy.'" The result, he says, is that many environmentalists unconsciously express their stress in meetings or classrooms -- sometimes sabotaging their own mission.

Maybe if they ate a more balanced diet, and stopped sniffing all the paint while making their protest signs.
Fraser's varied research interests include U.S. attitudes toward bison conservation, training programs for teachers living in Central American jaguar habitat, and the effect of literature and poetry on conservation thinking. He spoke with Grist about the under-recognized emotional trauma of environmental work -- and how environmentalists can and should recapture their sense of humor.

Did I miss the part about him actually Doing Something to protect the environment? Getting outside and protecting bison, instead of looking at attitudes? Anyhow, here we go
I was at a high-level conservation conference recently, and someone who was transferring into the field looked at me and said, "Boy, people here drink a lot." I said, "Yeah, they do." That's a symptom of what's going on -- it's a way of escaping, but it's not a healthful way of escaping. I'm not saying environmentalists shouldn't drink liquor. What I'm suggesting is that within the community, there's probably a higher level of self-medication than is really helpful.

Wait, booze is "bad for the environment", especially beer, which releases lots of CO2. And all that water used to make booze, the degradation of soil to grow grapes for wine, the exploitation of minority/immigrant workers....Prozac should work better and be less damaging to Gaia.


Leading German Meteorologist: Michael Mann’s Sea Level Story Is “Quackery”

What follows is a summary version of a piece appearing at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) based in Germany, written by retired meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls

PIK report: “Sea level rising fastest in 2000 years” turns out to be quackery! Data shows no change!

Sea levels are now rising faster than at any time in the last 2000 years claims a new hockey stick manufactured by Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf. But that claim has already turned out to be bogus.

As nobody cares much about so-called climate change anymore, the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK) had to come up with another scare story: rapidly rising sea levels. That claim is supported by a whopping 2 (cherry-picked) North Carolina coastal sediment cores, which the authors claim reflect sea level behavior for the entire globe. Other scientists have already poured cold water on the paper, like Jens Schröter of the Alfred Wegener Institute, who says Mann’s and Rahmstorf’s paper is “unsuitable for making predictions”.

The new predictions of catastrophe are not based on actual MEASUREMENTS. Actual measurements made by coastal tide gauges and satellites show the opposite is likely happening, i.e. sea level rise is actually decelerating. Presented are 7 datasets that contradict the latest Mannian hockey-stick fantasy.

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

Greenie parasites ripping off Cambodians

Among the more prominent (and best-paying) NGOs in Cambodia are the mainstream green organizations. They are also among the most powerful because government ministries dealing with environmental issues are typically underbudgeted and understaffed, so NGOs effectively fund and manage key agencies.

During recent years, the Cambodian government has sold off vast swaths of land, some publicly owned, including protected areas, and some seized from the urban and rural poor. In the process, hundreds of thousands of people have been forcibly evicted from their homes. These deals have been a goldmine for Cambodian oligarchs and foreign investors, who have bought up some of the country's most beautiful areas and prime urban real estate.

You'd expect that international green groups might have a lot to say about this tragedy. You'd be wrong. "The major environmental organizations have kept a near absolute silence over the ongoing land crisis, both in terms of human impact and impact on the protected areas they are working in," says a longtime consultant in Cambodia.

Conservation International lauds the Cambodian government on its website for "invest[ing] in research and monitoring of protected areas." The site also highlights a 2007 mission during which CI helicoptered a team of scientists into Virachey National Park, where they spent 15 days merrily traipsing about while cataloging species of ants and katydids. This was about the same time that Hun Sen's regime was awarding an Australian mining company exploratory rights to more than half of the park, one of Cambodia's two ASEAN Heritage Parks. Earlier this year, the government awarded another chunk of the park to a private company for a rubber plantation.

In February, the government awarded a big concession in an environmentally sensitive area of Koh Kong province to a private company exploring for titanium. "Realistically, if it's economically really valuable, we should support it and make it happen in the best way possible," David Emmett, CI's regional director, told the local press about the deal.

Wildlife Alliance also works closely with the government. In 2004, Hun Sen bestowed a gold medal on its CEO, Suwanna Gauntlett, for her devotion to endangered species and biodiversity.

WA says on its website that it works with villagers who "once were forced to roam the forest as hunters and loggers, diminishing Cambodia's environmental heritage, [and who] now have legal jobs as guides and operators of sustainable trekking, mountain-biking, and river boat tours."

In other words, people who once lived in the forest now hold low-paid jobs serving at the beck and call of foreign tourists who float down waterways and hike in woods that the villagers have long called home. "The wholesale destruction of Cambodia's environment is an important issue, but hunting and poaching by people eking out an existence in the forest isn't the problem," says a Western expatriate with extensive experience in land issues. "The primary causes are the government issuing massive land concessions to developers and wide-scale logging." (According to Global Witness, the country's most powerful logging syndicate is led by relatives of Hun Sen and other senior officials.)

Another WA mission involves protecting the rain forest of the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range. As part of that effort, the group's staffers have swooped in by helicopter with Forestry Administration officials who kick out destitute peasants living in the woods and in some cases dismantle and burn their homes, according to the Phnom Penh Post. "They are not people-friendly," the longtime consultant says of WA, "but the trees and animals are all safe."

WA has herded peasants into community agriculture projects linked to its ecotourism ventures. Peasants at one community called Sovanna Baitong benefited with access to education and health care, but some told the Post they felt "trapped in a state of indentured servitude" and had been threatened with expulsion if they refused to work on plots they had been allocated. "I experienced three years and eight months of the Khmer Rouge regime, and this is similar because they ordered us to work like we are in a totalitarian state," said one. "It is really miserable to live there."

"There is a percentage of families that are not very keen on agriculture," Gauntlett acknowledged to the Post. "You can bring the cow to water, but you can't drink for it."

WA has protested development projects that have had a direct impact on its programs in Cambodia, including the above-mentioned titanium project in Koh Kong, which Hun Sen canceled two months ago. Gauntlett issued a statement hailing the prime minister for having "looked so deeply into this proposed titanium mine and taken the effort to weigh the consequences that this project would have on the rainforest and the local people."

Gauntlett declined to comment for this story, but WA provided a general response: "The blame game doesn't work for groups like us inside Cambodia. We have to be careful and build alliances that are sometimes uncomfortable. It's delicate because the government can shut down an NGO whenever it wants. But we work on the inside, quietly, and get things done. We've been able to get things done and reverse concessions by working quietly inside the government and reminding it of its own legal obligations."

I spent two days in Sihanoukville, a seedy but gorgeous coastal town whose beaches and islands have been sold off by the government to developers allegedly planning eco-friendly luxury hotel and condominium projects. "Those who lived or worked there were turfed out—some jailed, others beaten, virtually all denied meaningful compensation," said a 2008 story in the Guardian. The newspaper quoted a British property developer, Marty Kaye, who said, "Nowhere else in the world could you create your own kingdom from scratch. … It's fantastically exciting, the opportunity to zone [a] whole island, to see where the luxury exclusive villa plots will be, for the Brad Pitts, etc."

The developers need green consultants to navigate the local scene and to write environmental-impact assessments that are supposed to ensure that their projects are eco-friendly. International NGOs have been happy to oblige, among them Fauna and Flora International, which has "built strong relationships" with the Cambodian government. FFI's website says that its activities have served to protect the environment "whilst building good governance and alleviating poverty."

In 2008, a Hong Kong-based investment company called Lime Tree Capital was awarded a 99-year lease on an island near Sihanoukville called Koh Rung Sangleum, which it plans to fully develop with resorts and hotels. The only problem was that the island was home to a fishing village with 92 families, which was a nuisance for Lime Tree.

Lime Tree hired FFI as its eco-consultant, and the NGO dispatched several staffers to the island (where they spent a large part of their time snorkeling with a local diving company, sources told me). FFI apparently provided Lime Tree with a development-friendly report, because the company subsequently filed a master plan saying there was little biodiversity on the island and hence not much to conserve. According to a story in the Phnom Penh Post, FFI staffers made a later trip to the island and told villagers they would be restricted to a tiny 12.3-hectare piece of land and ordered them to immediately stop cutting down trees and constructing any new buildings.

Villagers complained to the local government about Lime Tree's plans, leading the company to rethink its initial proposal and offer a better deal to local people. Eighty villagers signed a document (with their thumbprints) demanding the removal of FFI's lead staffer on the project, saying he had lied to them about how much forest and village land would be conserved under Lime Tree's proposal.

Ally Catterick of FFI said in an email that her group takes "a practical approach to engagement and work with a diverse range of organisations, including some sectors and companies that have traditionally had a significant impact on biodiversity but have committed to improving." She said FFI's objective in the island project was "to conserve the biodiversity" and "assist local communities to use the natural resources of the ecosystems sustainably." Catterick declined to disclose how much FFI was paid by Lime Tree, saying it "cannot disclose contractual remuneration for our services without the agreement of the contractor."

The complicity of the greens is matched by NGOs operating in other areas, including anti-poverty outfits. "The NGOs desperately want access and the basic equation is that the government grants it to them in exchange for their silence about corruption or anything else remotely controversial," says the Western expatriate who has worked on land issues. "At a certain point you have to ask yourself, 'Where is this going, and what are we accomplishing?' "


GOP rips plan for climate office

‘Propaganda,’ a lawmaker says

House Republicans charged Wednesday that the Obama administration is aiming to establish a “propaganda office” for Democratic initiatives on global warming through a proposal to consolidate operations in a new “climate service” office within the Commerce Department

Tensions boiled over at a congressional hearing as officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defended the consolidation plan contained in President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget and denied having any ulterior motive.

NOAA hopes to move more than 50 percent of its resources into the new climate service department, which it says will serve as the central clearinghouse for farmers, local governments, the military and academics seeking information on climate trends.

But a number of GOP lawmakers, who have staunchly opposed the administration’s climate and energy policies in the past, challenged NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco at a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“[The climate service office] sounds a lot like a propaganda office to me. This seems to be an unneeded distraction that has nothing to do with science,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun, Georgia Republican. “This just seems like a politically motivated advocacy office that this administration is trying to stand up.”

Ms. Lubchenco called the proposal a “good government” reform and rejected Mr. Broun’s accusations and similar concerns from other Republicans on the committee.

“NOAA is proposing to more efficiently use the resources we receive to advance our science and improve our delivery of services to the public,” she said, adding that the reorganization, if approved by Congress, would be budget-neutral and would not require additional funding.

The hearing came on a day when former Vice President Al Gore, a leading Democratic voice on the environment, chided Mr. Obama for failing to deliver the change he promised on climate change, and criticized congressional Democrats for giving up on the controversial “cap-and-trade” energy plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Gore, in a lengthy essay for Rolling Stone posted on the magazine’s website Wednesday, criticized both the administration and congressional Republicans for not doing enough to address what he says is the global crisis of climate change.

Republicans fear NOAA’s proposed climate service office would serve as a vehicle to resurrect the cap-and-trade proposal and masquerade as an impartial scientific data center while providing political cover to far-reaching environmental legislation.

“Our proposed reorganization has nothing to do with cap and trade,” Ms. Lubchenco told skeptical Republicans. “There is no advocacy in what we are proposing.”

Robert Winokur, deputy oceanographer for the Navy, said he and fellow researchers currently must navigate a variety of offices at NOAA, depending on what they need.

“We would like, frankly, a simple and easy entry point into the organization,” he said, adding that a “single data portal” would help the Navy and other branches of the military make long-term plans.

Committee Democrats voiced support for the reorganization proposal and said they hoped a reorganized NOAA, by coordinating and targeting its analysis, could better predict droughts, floods or storms.

“Why would we not want to give people the tools and information needed to anticipate what is to come?” asked Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the ranking Democrat on the committee.



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


23 June, 2011

Supremes retreat from climate panic

The Supreme Court dealt Al Gore, the Environmental Protection Agency and other believers in alarmist climate science a surprising and severe blow this week. In its June 20 decision on American Electric Power v. Connecticut et al., the court ruled that the mere existence of EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse-gas regulations pre-empted lawsuits against coal-burning utilities on the grounds that the emissions constitute a public nuisance.

That decision wasn’t all that surprising as the common law doctrine of nuisance is more typically applied to local cases of noxious odors and noise as opposed to emissions of colorless, odorless and tasteless greenhouse gasses, which are global in nature. Even alarmist science believer and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney knows that it’s called “global warming,” not “America warming.”

The startling part of the decision, however, is that the court quietly but clearly backed away from alarmist climate “science.”

In its 2007 decision Massachusetts v. EPA that was authored by the very liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, a bare majority of the court (all the liberals plus Justice Anthony Kennedy) embraced Al Gore-type climate alarmism in ruling that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Justice Stevens wrote: “The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized. The Government’s own objective independent assessment of the relevant science and a strong consensus among qualified experts indicate that global warming threatens, inter alia, a precipitate rise in sea levels … severe and irreversible changes to natural ecosystems, a significant reduction in … winter snowpack … with direct and important economic consequences, and an increase in the spread of disease and the ferocity of weather events.”

But what a difference a science scandal apparently makes. In its first climate decision following the 2009 Climategate scandal and its progeny – i.e., Glaciergate, Rainforestgate, Pachaurigate, NASAgate and other climate science-related scandals – the court retreated to neutrality on climate science.

Writing for an essentially unanimous court (Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself because she was part of a lower-court ruling on the case), the ultra-liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, “The Court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”

The court’s plainly written, jaw-dropping about-face is hidden in a footnote and so hasn’t been reported in media accounts of the decision – but it is of significant consequence.

Climate alarmists can no longer claim that the Supreme Court has validated the science of climate alarmism and ordered the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.

Other text in Justice Ginsburg’s opinion clearly indicates that it is up to the EPA as to whether greenhouse gases should be regulated. The agency might decline to regulate so long as its decision is not “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

If there was any doubt before, the court has now unanimously shifted the blame for destroying the economy with carbon regulations to the Obama administration.

This decision has 2012 implications, as well. The winner of the presidential election will be fully in charge of the EPA and the decision whether the agency regulates greenhouse gases.

If re-elected, President Obama most likely will keep the pedal to the metal in order to accelerate EPA control of America’s economy. A Republican president will have the option to roll back the EPA’s junk science-fueled regulations or to do something in between.

No Republican candidate yet has indicated what they would do about the EPA’s job- and economy-killing greenhouse-gas regulations, though Rep. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have courageously called for the abolition of the EPA.

At the very least, the EPA’s greenhouse-gas regulations should be rolled back as part of a complete rethinking of environmental protection policies and practices. In the more than 40 years since President Richard Nixon merged the various federal environmental programs into the EPA, our environment has become about as generally pristine, clean and safe as makes sense.

This is not about rolling back meaningful environmental protection so much as it is about rolling back harmful overregulation. By making us poorer, today’s overregulation eventually will hurt the environment and public health more than past emissions of anything ever did.

Now that the Supreme Court has removed its imprimatur from EPA’s attack on America, Republicans should exploit the moment to save our economy from an out-of-control agency.


EU Budget Commissioner Questions Global Warming

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is apparently unconcerned that the chief architect of the EU's forthcoming multi-annual budget has major doubts over the existence of global warming.

Environmental groups are sounding alarm bells however, warning that EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski's scepticism towards climate change is almost certain to affect his drafting of the crucial EU document which will shape the bloc's policy for years to come (2014-2020).

"There's an emerging point of view, that the thesis about coal energy as the main cause of global warming is highly doubtful," Lewandowski told Polish trade magazine Nowy Przemysl earlier this month.

"Question marks are appearing ever more frequently over global warming itself," added the Polish commissioner, whose country relies on coal for 90 percent of its electricity generation.

A spokesman for Lewandowski confirmed the accuracy of the statements.

"His overall line is that it would be impossible for Poland to shift away from coal overnight. But he also expressed his doubts over climate change, in a personal capacity," Patrizio Fiorilli told this website.

Barroso is apparently unconcerned by Lewandowski's comments however, despite recently issuing a speech in Brussels in which he declared: "The effects of climate change are - quite literally - all around us."

"We have a clear commission position on climate change which is the one that [EU climate commissioner] Connie Hedegaard expresses every week," said a spokesman for Barroso.

"We have no fears that when the budget is presented it will reflect the views of the commission as a whole," added Alejandro Ulzurrun.

Green groups said Lewandowski's comments were deeply perturbing however, amid reports that next week's budget proposals may include cuts for environmental schemes under the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP).

"It comes as a shock, especially following the commission president's recent statements. So much for collegiality," said Tony Long, director of the WWF's Brussels office.

"That degree of climate change scepticism is now rare in Europe, and even rarer among politician's of Lewandowski's seniority."

"One can't have much faith in the commission's budget proposals if one of the chief architects admits in a private capacity that he has doubts over global warming."

At the same time, various news reports suggest next week's highly-anticipated proposals may seek to cut spending under pillar two of the CAP, a funding stream currently used to reward farmers for various environmental activities such as protecting endangered wetlands.


Electrical fairy tales

The marketing hype behind new electric vehicles (EVs) such as the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf makes me think of the title of the 1901 children's novel by L. Frank Baum, The Master Key. Promotions and testimonials designate the EV as the "master key" to environmental harmony, evoking the vision of a green economy in which zero-carbon-footprint EVs shuttle us to sustainable clean energy jobs as our dependence on foreign oil is whisked away in the contaminant-free breeze.

But it's the novel's subtitle, "An Electrical Fairy Tale, Founded Upon the Mysteries of Electricity and the Optimism of Its Devotees,"that I chiefly have in mind. It exquisitely captures the substance of the unfolding EV hoax.

The optimism of EV devotees is manifested by the expectation that simpleton consumers will see the absence of tailpipe fumes as the absence of emissions and pollution; that EVs are worth their exorbitant cost, particularly if they eliminate our reliance on OPEC; and that, in EV-world, we will all live happily ever after.The support of simpleton politicians guarantees fairy tales.

The scientifically illiterate media (also devotees) never mention the pollution and carbon emissions created at electrical power plants when EV batteries are being charged. Odd that these distant plants are now electrical mysteries, when not that long ago shrill environmentalists frequently reminded us that they were mostly coal- and gas-fired monsters, belching forth devastating fumes as they generate 44.46% and 23.21%, respectively, of our electrical power. Apart from toxic particulates, they release a national average of 1.2 lbs of CO2 for each kWh generated.

The Chevy Volt, to cite one example, can travel 35 miles on its fully charged 16 kWhbattery. Thus, charging the battery by means of the average US power plant creates 19.2 pounds of CO2; in effect, 0.55 pounds of CO2 per mile. The EPA rates the Volt's gas-only fuel economy as 37 mpg. Since a gallon of gasoline produces about 19.6 pounds of CO2 , the Volt produces 0.53 pounds of CO2 per mile. Incredibly, the Volt's carbon footprint is 0.02 pounds per mile larger when powered by its battery — another electrical mystery.

An optimistic devotee might argue that carbon footprints can vary. But an average of 0.55 pounds of CO2 per mile is a long way from clean, and fraudulently far from zero. As to footprint variation: charge an EV in a state such as West Virginia, where coal generates 96% of the electrical energy. There, the Volt will emit 0.95 pounds of CO2 per mile. — almost twice the emission of a gasoline engine.

Wherever you live, if you use your EV for anything much more than occasional errands, battery charging will be a big part of your life. It makes one wonder why charging requirements are trivialized, if mentioned at all — unless it's because of the mysterious nature of electrons. Their activity while the battery charges throughout the night is invisible, as is the charging cost, at least until the utility bill arrives. If you drive an EV, say, 700 miles a month, it must be fully charged at least 21 times each month. In a recent thousand-mile Edmunds road test, the Volt averaged 33 miles on a fully charged battery. In the Northeast, where electricity is 16.09 cents per kilowatt hour, the monthly charging cost would be $54.61; in the Southeast (at 9.57 cents per kilowatt hour), it would be $30.24.

According to the Edmunds review, charging an EV battery by using a standard 120V socket "is like filling a swimming pool with a syringe." Optimistic devotees cite charging times of 12 hours. But charging from 0% to 100% (typical of electric mode only drivers) takes about 20 hours. Edmunds expects that most buyers will need the 240V Level II charging stations, which can complete the charge in less than half the time. They are available for $490, with an additional cost of about $1,500 for home installation — in addition to the $33,000 to $109,000 you paid for your electrified transportation pod. But what's another $2,000 or so when you're saving the planet?

Electrical utilities also anticipate Level II chargers, salivating over the revenues they will produce. But they worry because turning one on is equivalent to adding three homes, all with air conditioning, lights, and laundry running at the same time. Two or three of them running simultaneously in a grid sector is likely to burn out the transformer, blacking out service to the entire sector. Ironically, safety experts want EV manufacturers to add a simulated "vroom" sound alerting pedestrians to the presence of EVs on the street. The added cost of bumper-integrated speakers is a small price to pay for the warning. Presumably, there will be no extra charge for the sound of transformers mysteriously popping as they burn out, alerting sleepers to the presence of EV chargers in the neighborhood.

Our taxes pay for a $7,500 credit to entice less optimistic buyers, and huge subsidies to help EV manufacturers stay in business. Lithium battery companies must be salivating as much as electrical utilities. Last year, for example, a Michigan company was awarded $251 million in federal and state stimulus money. Its plant is expected to employ 400 workers, costing taxpayers $625,000 each. And it is owned by a Korean firm. But imagine the graft that American "entrepreneurs" are getting. Companies are also lining up at the trough for EV battery research and development subsidies. Despite over a century of technological advancement, battery performance is economically inadequate for EVs. Maybe battery designers will have better luck in the next 100 years.

President Obama is among the most optimistic of EV devotees. His test drive last July was ominous. Steering a Volt for about 10 feet at about 2 mph appeared to reaffirm his green economy concept and his campaign pledge to put one million EVs on the road by 2015. He is working diligently behind the curtain of political favoritism and crony capitalism to promote the EV as an integral part of his green economy.

But the EV is a hoax. Born of political expediency and founded on bad economics and science, it is a colossal burden for taxpayers, an expensive fantasy for EV buyers (converted, coerced, or bribed), and a cruel joke on planet savers. Everyone will pay higher taxes, EV buyers will pay at least twice the cost of comparable gasoline powered cars, and their electricity bills will, as President Obama has famously said, "necessarily skyrocket." The fact that the EV actually violates the clean-energy justification for its purchase demonstrates the fraudulence of Obama's plan. EVs result in little or no net reduction in pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. This is equally true for a $109,000 Tesla and a $41,000 Volt. And it would be true if there were a $10,000 model.

It would also be true if a million US drivers bought such a car by 2015, or if enough millions more were thereafter coerced to bring us to the day when we could say goodbye to OPEC. The problem is that this would also be the day we would say hello to Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, the Saudi Arabias of lithium. Will OLEC (the Organization of Lithium Exporters) treat us any better than OPEC has?

President Obama's plan for the EV is unfolding like an electrical fairy tale of unprecedented magnitude. It calls for millions of Americans to buy uncompetitive, exorbitantly priced, high-maintenance EVs that are not meaningfully cleaner than the vehicles they are supposed to replace — all the while paying higher taxes and electricity rates to finance a scheme that, even if wildly successful, would accomplish nothing beyond enriching electrical utilities and battery manufacturers instead of oil companies and refineries and making us dependent on lithium instead of oil.

This plan is a costly, inane indulgence in fantasy. If the curtain were pulled back, it would reveal a fatuous illusionist, feverishly operating the levers of subsidies, tax credits, and regulatory mandates to orchestrate the scam. Did I mention that Baum also wrote The Wizard of Oz? It is an excellent book to read by candlelight, during EV-induced blackouts.


British Conservative MEPs to revolt against the coalition’s environment policies

Conservative MEPs are planning to revolt against the coalition’s environment policies in an attempt to sabotage the proposed strengthening of Europe’s climate targets.

The revolt would be an embarrassment for David Cameron, who has committed Britain to some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas targets in the world.

Tomorrow the European parliament will vote on whether to toughen the EU’s emissions-cutting target from 20 per cent reductions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, to a 30 per cent cut. The commitment to a 30 per cent cut has been agreed by the coalition, and has won support from other member states in the EU bloc.

British Conservative MEPs, however, have said they would vote to oppose the 30% cut, according to reports.

A survey found that only one out of the 23 replied to say they would vote in favour of the 30 per cent figure.

The leader of Britain’s Conservative delegation, Martin Callanan, said: “Conservative MEPs have always been sceptical of the EU unilaterally increasing its target to 30 per cent without a worldwide agreement … European companies will be unable to compete if the reduction targets are set too high.

“Many high energy consuming companies are already being forced to relocate to countries outside the EU, which have little or no environmental legislation, putting many Europeans out of work, and an increased target will exacerbate this trend.

“We are also concerned that the higher carbon costs from an increased target will feed through into energy price increases for domestic consumers, who are already facing steep rises.”

Last month the Prime Minister said the coalition wanted to be the “greenest government ever” as he committed Britain to halve UK carbon emissions by 2025.

He said: “When the coalition came together last year, we said we wanted this to be the greenest government ever. This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold … the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

However it appears that Tory MEPs are set to scupper that commitment. Only Marina Yannakoudakis said she would vote in favour of 30 per cent while Julie Girling said she planned to vote for 20 per cent but might compromise on 25 per cent if it became an option that was offered.


"The end of green ideology"

"Within this new geopolitical framework, green ideology will survive like a cult or a recipe for economic suicide"

In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, western media have been full of articles about the growing influence of the "green" parties and NGOs - particularly in Germany. However, it is not at all likely that the present temporary success of the greenies will last for very long. On the contrary, the renowned French economist, philosopher and author Guy Sorman thinks that the shale gas revolution and small nuclear power plants will change the overall situation in favour of the western democratic countries and lead to the end of the green ideology:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was the first to overreact by deciding to close down all nuclear reactors in the coming years – a radical move driven by domestic politics. Merkel's government does not include Germany's Greens, but the Green ideology has become a widely shared national creed in Germany. Indeed, one can relate popular hostility toward nuclear energy to Germany's traditional romantic cult of nature, not to science.

Germany's nuclear plants will be replaced by more thermal plants, implying a large increase in German carbon emissions – so much for Green concern with global warming! And so much for intellectual honesty, because a Germany without nuclear power of its own will be compelled to buy it from France, which has no intention of closing its nuclear plants.

In the US, the ideological aftershock is closer to Germany's than to France's: the US may not be overly prone to romanticism, but a cult of nature remains part of the American psyche. This may go some way toward explaining why the Democrats, who control the presidency and the Senate, are so committed to so-called alternative energies.

President Barack Obama's administration has thrown billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol, and other alternative-energy resources. Now the Fukushima tragedy is being used to justify continuing these economically dubious programs. We can bet that none of these alternative energies will easily replace oil, gas, and nuclear power in the foreseeable future.

At market prices, without public subsidies, a unit of energy produced by solar or wind in the US costs five times more than a unit produced by oil, gas, or nuclear plants. Moreover, supporters of alternative energies systematically downplay their negative environmental impact. A wind turbine requires 50 tons of steel and half a square mile of ground space. If California were to rely on solar power for its electricity consumption, the entire state would have to be covered with photovoltaic cells.

The great irony of the current situation is that real innovation and entrepreneurial activity, without government support, is taking place in the field of energy generation, such as in the creation of miniaturized nuclear reactors. The most promising breakthrough may well be the discovery of huge reserves of shale gas all over the planet.

Indeed, thanks to the new techniques in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, shale gas may well become the dominant energy resource of the future. Shale gas could thus reduce dependency on OPEC oil and gas while reducing carbon emission. Gas generates ten times less carbon than biomass or ethanol, which ecologists so heavily promote.

Beyond Fukushima, future energy supplies will most likely rely more and more on miniaturized nuclear plants and shale gas – a mix capable of responding to a rapidly urbanizing world population's growing demand for electricity.

Such a renewed energy balance would impact the current global balance of power. Shale gas is abundant in Europe and North America, in contrast to oil and gas. Thus, the energy of tomorrow could well reinforce the world's democracies and weaken its most repressive regimes, where most oil is to be found nowadays. Within this new geopolitical framework, green ideology will survive like a cult or a recipe for economic suicide.


It is interesting to note, that you can read professor Sorman´s outstanding article in the China Daily, not in any of the major English language western newspapers. No, a sober, realistic and positive analysis like this, is not welcome in the politically correct mainstream media, which are more than happy to publish every piece of rubbish, written by ignorant enviro-fundamentalist scaremongerers.

The end of the green ideology will, as an added bonus, also lead to the end of the global warming religion. On must only hope that this happens sooner rather than later, in order to avoid the wasting of the huge sums of money that many of the present western governments now are planning to use in order to fight imaginary human-induced warming.



Three current articles below

Viscount Monckton hits out at ecofascism

Renowned climate change skeptic Lord Monckton has lashed out at the Federal Government's climate change advisor Ross Garnaut, labelling him a Nazi.

The 7News exclusive report shows Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, addressing the American Freedom Alliance Conference earlier this month.

Using extreme political labels to characterise the Green movement and climate change believers, Monckton singles out Australia's Professor Ross Garnaut and calls him a fascist.

"Let's look very quickly at a few eco-fascists speaking in their own words." says Monckton at the conference. "Professor Ross Garnaut ... that again is a fascist point of view that you merely accept authority without question, Heil Hitler! On we go." Monckton continued.

In response, Professor Garnaut says the climate debate is becoming increasingly bitter, "I think the tone of the current discourse is less civilized. It's noisier, more ignorant." says Garnaut.

Lord Monckton is due to appear at a mining conference in Perth next week which is reportedly being opened by Tony Abbott.


Peer review denial and the abuse of science

Can someone get Stephan Lewandowsky his medication? His new marketing message is that “deniers” don’t do peer review papers. There’s a curious case of acute-peer-review-blindness (APRB) occurring. It doesn’t matter that there are literally thousands of pages of skeptical information on the web, quoting hundreds of peer reviewed papers, by people far more qualified than a cognitive-psychologist, yet he won’t even admit they exist.

…most climate deniers avoid scrutiny by sidestepping the peer-review process that is fundamental to science, instead posting their material in the internet or writing books.

Dear Stephan, deny this: 900 papers that support skeptics. What is it about these hundreds of papers published in Nature, Science, GRL, PNAS, and Journal of Climate that you find impossible to acknowledge? (And do tell Stephan, if people need to publish peer reviewed material before they venture an opinion on climate science online, how many peer reviewed articles on climate science have you produced?)

Obviously, the real deniers are the people who deny the hundreds of papers with empirical evidence that show the hockey stick is wrong, the world was warmer, the climate changes, and the models are flawed.

Twenty eight million weather balloons show there is no hotspot. So in response, stumped for evidence, the establishment team rolls out a psychologist to deny the results, and issue unscientific pronouncements about how we all have to “trust the establishment” and use only its’ approved formats to further human knowledge.

Instead of sidestepping the process, articles by people who want to sidestep the issue give themselves away in the first line. We can always rely on Lewandowsky to solve our climate dilemmas by analyzing… something else.

“On 20 April 2010, a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and creating the largest oil spill in history.”

Then if he does get to the topic at hand, you can count on him to stick to fallacies, like argument from authority and ad hominem attacks. No doubt, UWA will be renouncing Lewandowsky’s science degree (I mean, surely the faculty of science at UWA have higher standards than that don’t they?). Breaking laws of reason is an embarrassment for any science faculty, and to any psychology school.

Then when he gets past the fallacies and actually tries to make a socio political point, he reverts to a kindergarten black and white world view – me: good, you: bad. Humans in business = evil and untrustworthy. Humans in government = above question.

During peer review, by contrast, commercial interests are removed from the publication decision because journals are often published by not-for-profit professional organisations.

Obviously, commercial interests who advertise in journals, or own their stocks, their distribution, their publishing house, or offer jobs-for-the-boys never have any influence on angelic science publications**. And government interests are of course, obviously benign. No government has ever used it’s power to deceive its subjects. Right?

Even if private publishers are involved, they make their profit primarily via university subscriptions, and universities subscribe to journals based on their reputation, rather than based on individual publication decisions.

And universities make their money… follow that dollar… by appealing to government bureaus, ergo?* So government-paid-researchers vet other government-paid-researchers-papers which are published in journals which want to get more subscriptions from government paid entities. What could go wrong with that?

Very occasionally a contrarian paper does appear in a peer-reviewed journal, which segments of the internet and the media immediately hail as evidence against global warming or its human causes, as if a single paper somehow nullifies thousands of previous scientific findings.

Dear Stephan, that’s the point of science remember, as Einstein says, it only takes one experiment to prove a theory wrong, and your anti-science mind-set means if a skeptic proved man-made warming wrong (actually we already have) you would “know” the skeptic was wrong before you even read the paper.

In Stephens obey-thy-leader form of “science”, the answers to the universe can be figured out by counting the peer reviewed papers. It’s not about quality. It’s not about a chain of evidence. It’s not that some papers matter. It’s just the tally.

And if we only had a bureau of perpetual motion issuing papers, then we could finally solve the energy crisis. (In fact, why bother to do the research, just ask the government?)

Most of the Lewandowsky-carbon-tax-marketing-tactic is simply to confound his followers with a bread crumb trail of smears, which reinforces the neural pathways of pavlovian fans-of-the-carbon-cult so they too can issue reflexive insults against scientists, and warm themselves with smug superiority. And this man does it with your taxes.

John McLean corrected Lewandowsky’s points on the ABC site. Stephen apparently denys that too.


Climate debate 'appalling', says Australia's chief scientist

But he contributes nothing to the debate himself, just the usual unscientific appeal to authority. It would seem that it is criticism of Warmism that he finds appalling

AUSTRALIA'S Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, has lamented the quality of public debate on climate change, saying it "borders on appalling" and the level of scientific literacy among politicians is "not high".

In his first big speech since his appointment by the Gillard government in April, Professor Chubb rejected accusations that he was partisan because he believed that "the science is in on climate change".

"Well, I don't think that's partisan. I think that I can read English - as Ross Garnaut once said - and understand it. And I think that the evidence is overwhelming," he said at the National Press Club.

Recently, prominent climate scientists have reported receiving death threats, and actress Cate Blanchett was criticised for fronting an ad campaign in support of a carbon price.

"I think attacking people because they're giving a message is appalling. I think that some of the language that's used is bordering on the hysterical," Professor Chubb said.

He said the media often gave undue weight to the views of climate sceptics. "I think the media has an obligation to present scientific debates, including on climate change, in a proper and balanced and appropriately weighted way."

He said there were respectable people who held different views. "But when you get the overwhelming majority of people with real expertise heading in one direction, you have to take notice of that, because if you wait for proof, you wait forever."

Professor Chubb complained that despite its potential to cure diseases and deliver transformative inventions, science struggled to compete with football and celebrity gossip for public attention.



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


22 June, 2011

Warmist journalist wants skeptics gassed

You can't make this stuff up. Do I need to mention whom her wishes align her with? You won't be surprised that she made her career with the ABC, Australia's main public broadcaster. And, needless to say, she pays zero attention to any of the science concerned. In effect she just says "Heil Klima" while her right arm edges upwards. In other words, she accepts the Warmist faith without question ("Klima" is the German word for climate)

Jill Singer

While Tony Abbott has previously lent support to schemes including an emissions trading scheme and a carbon tax, you wouldn't know it today. The only real scheme he and supporters are currently backing is political interference.

It's a dangerous game they're playing with our future, but you've got to hand it to them, they're ruddy good at it.

Cate Blanchett pops up her head to support a carbon tax and Abbott's band of climate sceptics quickly lops it off because she's richer than most.

But when Gina Rinehart pops hers up, Australia's richest woman is touted as some kind of working-class hero.

Then there's David Murray, chair of Australia's $71 billion Future Fund and recipient of a $28 million golden parachute from his time running the Commonwealth Bank. Murray states there's no link between global warming and carbon dioxide emissions because carbon dioxide is necessary for life, colourless and odourless - and therefore can't be considered a pollutant. It's a popularly held view.

Andy Semple of the Menzies Institute claims it's "refreshing" for someone with Murray's standing to take on the global warming "scam" by expressing such views.

Really? I'm prepared to keep an open mind and propose another stunt for climate sceptics - put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas - say, carbon monoxide.

You wouldn't see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.


British centre-Leftist politician under fire for hitting out at green law 'deregulation zealots' who want to bin costly red tape

Chris Huhne was facing a backlash from Tory MPs and business last night after hitting out at ‘zealots’ who want to stem the tidal wave of costly new green laws.

The Energy Secretary attacked Conservative colleagues as ‘right-wing ideologues’ for questioning the value of some environmental regulations. In a speech, he said it was ‘nonsense’ that key green legislation, including the flagship Climate Change Act, had been included in a Government review of red tape. This aims to slash unnecessary laws to boost the economy.

He said tackling climate change was a ‘new area’ where more regulations would be needed, not less.

Sources close to Mr Huhne suggested he had the backing of Business Secretary Vince Cable. But he is likely to face opposition from some Tory Cabinet ministers who do not believe the environment should be treated as a special case.

Former Tory Cabinet minister Peter Lilley said: ‘All regulations should be looked at constantly to see if they are necessary. If Mr Huhne wants environmental regulations to be off limits it suggests he knows many of them would be revealed to be very poor if they were looked at closely.’

A spokesman for business group the Institute of Directors urged ministers to keep environmental laws within the review – and suggested Mr Huhne was wrong to label critics of red tape as ‘zealots’. He added: ‘Businesses do not feel that the Government has made the case that all these environmental laws are necessary.

‘We wouldn’t recognise the characterisation of people as zealots. Businesses are opposed to unnecessary regulation because it makes running their business more difficult and constrains growth in the economy.’

The CBI has also criticised several environmental regulations for being badly devised, including plans for imposing a minimum energy price. It warned this would disadvantage energy-intensive manufacturers facing cut-price competition from abroad.

Mr Huhne said in his speech: ‘Whatever the good intent, we have mistakenly given the impression that an exercise designed to scrap unnecessary minor bureaucratic hurdles is now placing the cornerstone of climate protection under threat. Of course this is nonsense. ‘Let me assure you – there is a very good case for our key regulations protecting the environment to stay.’

Under the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ members of the public are invited to comment on which laws they would like to see scrapped.


Grocery Cart Economics: Why the price of Corn Pops keep rising

I (like most women) do all the grocery shopping for my family, so I have first-hand knowledge of the rise in food prices. Women be warned, things will probably get worse: Earlier this month, the USDA projected the 2011 corn harvest will be even smaller than previously expected, causing corn futures to soar.

The basic principles of supply and demand are in part to blame: If demand for a good remains the same (or increases), and supply is reduced, prices will rise. In addition to being a staple for humans, corn is a chief component of livestock feed. So we can expect these higher corn prices to push grocery prices higher , and not just for corn-based food like fresh corn and corn meal. Dairy products, meats, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup will be more expensive to produce, and producers will pass along some of these increased costs to consumers via higher prices or smaller product sizes.

What caused the reduction in corn supply? First and foremost, crop prices are affected by the weather. Good weather and bumper crops bring lower prices; droughts and floods bring higher prices. Wet weather and flooding in the Midwest affected this year’s planting season, and thus farmers planted fewer acres of corn.

But the corn supply was tight and prices rising before the bad weather struck, thanks to the federal government’s corn ethanol polices. Around 40 percent of the nation’s corn harvest goes to ethanol production. That means that the supply of corn available for food was already relatively small even before bad weather affected planting.

In essence, Uncle Sam would rather you burn corn than eat it.

The oil crisis in the 1970’s sparked Congress’ interest in ethanol as an alternative fuel, but U.S. consumers never found it to be a viable replacement for gasoline. Ethanol is an inferior energy source . From the time it is planted, harvested, distilled, and transported, it takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol than the gallon of ethanol itself produces. There are also concerns that ethanol brings its own unique environmental problems and, when burned, may produce more pollution than fossil fuels. There are reportsthat ethanol reduces gas mileage in cars. And absent any subsidies, a gallon of ethanol is still more expensive than a gallon of gasoline.

Since ethanol wasn't going to make it in a free market, Congress decided to interfere and directly encourage domestic ethanol production. Starting in 1978, it instituted a number of measures to encourage farmers to grow corn for ethanol, including tax credits per gallon refined, tariffs on each gallon of imported ethanol (now at 2.5 percent of the value plus 55 cents per gallon), corn crop subsidies, government-guaranteed loans to cover up to 90 percent of plant construction costs for ethanol producers, and tax credits for small-scale ethanol producers (currently 10 cents per gallon). Blenders also get an excise tax credit of 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol they blend with gasoline.

As the supply of corn ethanol increased, Congress stepped in yet again to address the lack of consumer demand. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates that refiners blend 7.5 billion gallons of corn ethanol into gasoline by 2012. In 2007, Congress increased it to 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015. Thanks to Congress, consumers now have no choice but to buy gasoline blended with some percentage of ethanol (up to 10 percent) for their automobiles.

The effects of government intervention ripple through the economy. The artificial increase in demand for ethanol coupled with production and supply incentives persuades farmers (as good businessmen) to devote more of their land to growing corn for ethanol, and in turn growing less corn for food and animal feed. In fact, food prices began increasing after the RFS took effect in 2006.

Add in a severe weather season affecting planting, and you have world food prices skyrocketing. And when people have to spend more on food, they have less to spend on other goods and services, which is bad news for businesses everywhere. The only winners in this scheme are corn growers, agricultural conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and the politicians perpetuating this scheme. Farmers are guaranteed a premium price for corn. Distillers and blenders get tariffs, tax credits, and mandated usage. The politicians a href="">get reelected.

By distorting the free market and favoring one industry (ethanol production) over others (food production), the federal government is actively making it more expensive for us to feed our families. When the economy was strong, average Americans could afford to overlook the interdependence of agribusiness and politicians. That time has passed. We should end ethanol’s dependence on the domestic taxpayer.

The Senate voted last week, in a largely symbolic measure, to allow the ethanol blender credit and import tariff to expire at the end of this year. Congress should take serious action and end ethanol subsidies.


As Incandescent Bulb Ban Looms, Opposition Grows

The incandescent bulb lit up America and came to symbolize a great idea. Now on the cusp of a federal ban, Thomas Edison's invention has become a symbol for personal liberty.

Perhaps no issue better illuminates the transformation of the right from Big Government conservatism to Tea Party activism.

With many consumers griping about the cost and type of light of the substitute bulb, populists have won the ear of some once-staunch ban supporters .

Late last year Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., vowed to reverse the very ban on incandescent bulbs that he helped pass. But after five months as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he has yet to hold a hearing.

"This is a violation of (Upton's) promise," said Jennifer Stefano, co-chairwoman of the Loyal Opposition, Pennsylvania's largest Tea Party group. "The time is now for him to go back and do what he said he was going to do. The government never should have intruded in this matter."

The Energy Bill of 2007 phases out incandescent bulbs, with the 100-watt banned in January 2012. The ban hits the 75-watt bulb in January 2013, and 60- and 40- watt bulbs in January '14.

Compact fluorescent lamp bulbs are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but use less energy and are supposed to last longer. Users should save money in the long term, supporters say.

But many Americans complain that the light from CFLs lacks the yellow warmth of incandescents and natural light. CFLs can take a long time to warm up as well.

Tests have shown that on-off use can reduce CFLs' life span significantly, sometimes even below that of an incandescent. CFLs also contain toxic mercury.

The incandescent ban was the bright idea of Upton and then-Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. Upton has been sympathetic to green causes, including global warming. President Bush signed the bill after little debate.

But Upton changed his tune late last year when conservative groups objected to him taking over Energy and Commerce.

"The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties — and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best," he said.

Yet he has not moved on either of the two House bills to reverse the ban, including one from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. The GOP presidential contender has tapped into the anger among activists who oppose the ban on principle and those Americans who hate fluorescent light.

When asked if the House leadership was pushing on this issue, Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, passed the buck to Upton: "That falls under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee."

An Energy hearing should take place by early July, according to a spokesman for Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., vice chairwoman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subpanel. A spokesman said Upton is working with members, but doesn't have details to share yet.

"I think Upton is sincere that he wants to take another look at the ban," said Myron Ebell, director of the libertarian group Freedom Action, which favors repeal. "He's looking at what would be the right solution — modify, delay or repeal."

But patience is wearing thin. "The compact fluorescent is a screwy light bulb in looks, form and function," said Lynne Holicky, policy director of First Coast Tea Party in Florida. "It's a dog."

If a CFL bulb breaks at home, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends several steps to avoid mercury poisoning: Clear people and pets from the room, air it out for five-10 minutes and turn off any central air. Finally, it says, put the broken glass in a sealed container for hazardous waste disposal.

States are going in all directions. California barred stores from restocking 100-watt bulbs on Jan.1. Texas Gov. Rick Perry just signed a bill that will let people buy incandescents that are made and sold within the state.


New Sea-Level Study by notorious Warmists unconvincing

For the first time, researchers have reconstructed the rise in sea level over the last 2000 years. Their conclusion: Never before have sea levels risen as fast since the beginning of industrialisation. But critics fault the study with resting on shaky foundations.

The rise in sea level is perhaps the most threatening consequence of climate change. A large part of the world's population lives in coastal areas. Especially in poorer countries hundreds of millions of people would be at risk from more frequent floods.

In recent years, the predictions of sea level rise knew only one direction: upwards. In its last report in 2007, the IPCC assumed that sea levels could increase by a maximum of 59 centimeter on a global average by 2100. But a United Nations report published last week mentioned already an increase of 90-160 centimeters.

Now, researchers have reconstructed, for the first time, how sea levels have changed in the past 2000 years. Their conclusion: the oceans swell faster today than at any period in the past 2000 years.

So far, the close relationship between air temperature and sea level rise has only been proved for the last 130 years, says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). His team has examined fossil shells of microbes that came from sediment cores in salt marshes on the Atlantic coast in North America. These microbes live at a very specific height, depending on the ebb and flow, and thus the quantity and type of shells found show the height of the sea level.

Rapid sea-level rise

From these results, the scientists have deduced the four phases of sea-level development: From 200 BC to 1000 AD, the water level remained relatively stable. Starting in the 11th century, it rose for 400 years by about five centimeters per century, which was due to the Medieval Warm Period. Then there was another stable period with a cooler climate, which lasted until the late 19th century, as the researchers report in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Coinciding with the industrialisation, a manifest upswing occurred: the sea level rose by about 20 centimeters in just over a hundred years - a multiple of the average increase during the previous 2,000 years.

The researchers attribute this to two factors: when water warms, it expands - the sea level rises. The second factor is the melting of mountain glaciers and large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. "Mankind heats the climate with its greenhouse gases, so the land ice melts more rapidly and the sea level rises faster and faster," says Rahmstorf. "The new study confirms our model of sea level rise - the data from the past sharpens our view in the future."

"The study is not suitable for forecasting"

But other experts doubt exactly this claim. They see a major problem of the new study in the fact that it is ultimately based only on the finding from the coast of North Carolina. That could be too limited for a statement regarding global developments. "This study is therefore not suitable at all to make predictions," says Jens Schröter from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

Rahmstorf and his colleagues concede that local sea-level fluctuations may differ from the global average. Nevertheless, the scientists expect that their data show broadly the changes in global sea level. Schroeter, however, argues that over a period of more than 2000 years the influences of continental drift and the so-called isostatic rebound will be felt. This is a consequence of the last ice age: with the disappearance of the glaciers, the land masses were liberated of such a large load that they still perform a rocking movement. In Scotland, some areas were lifted by up to 60 centimeters during the last century, while parts of southern England and the French Channel coast sank by the same amount.

Rahmstorf and his colleagues have also included data from other world regions in their study - but they differ significantly, in parts, from the results of North America. "Only the data from North Carolina fit reasonably well to the reconstructed sea-level development," says Schroeter. He criticized that the PIK researchers have attempted to confirm their data with an already existing model. "If you had tried to develop a graph solely on the basis of the data, it would have been difficult."

Michal Kucera from the University of Tuebingen considers the question as to how representative the data from North America actually are as the "Achilles heel" of the study. At least the area is "one of the best" for such an investigation. Elsewhere, the situation would be even more difficult.

Deviations from previous studies

The new sea-level reconstruction study also differs significantly from previous studies. In a study published in 2008, a team led by Michael Mann, who is also one of the co-authors of the current study, calculated a much steeper sea-level rise for the past few centuries. For the year 500 AD, the estimated sea level was calculated to be nearly one and a half meters below the new value. Rahmstorf himself had also published studies on the historical development of sea levels in 2007 and 2009, which also deviate significantly from the new calculation.

Mojib Latif from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) refers to the observation period of roughly 2000 years as "a strength of the study." But the long-term natural fluctuations in sea level are still poorly understood: "What happened to sea level fluctuations during periods of 300 to 400 years is highly controversial."

There is no doubt however, that the sea level has risen in recent decades - satellite measurements show that. And this development took place exactly in the era of industrialization and the rise in air temperatures. It is "difficult to argue" that this could be an accident, says Latif - in this aspect he agrees with Rahmstorf.

But regarding the projections on the future development, he entertains similar doubts as Schroter: today, nobody knows exactly how much ice in the Arctic and Antarctic will really melt in the coming decades and centuries. "That," says Latif, “must be honestly conceded.”


Australia's chief climate "adviser": Just another deceitful Greenie

An exponent of that old Green/Left skill: How to convey false impressions without actually lying

Professor Ross Garnaut recently compared Australia and Norway in the context of climate change policy and a carbon tax. It is both curious that he should choose this comparison and that no journalist, as far as I am aware, has thought to question it.

In his report, Prof Garnaut states that Norway is the "only other developed country with endowments of fossil fuels that are in any way comparable to Australia's" (The Garnaut Review 2011, p. 52).

He also set the stage during his speech in Perth at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy breakfast meeting, 2 June 2011, by stating that Norway has a larger endowment of hydrocarbons per capita than does Australia, and yet exhibits lower per capita emission.

The argument then led to the fact that Norway has had a carbon tax since 1991, with the clear implication being that the lower emissions were due to the tax.

Is this point of comparison relevant to the debate? Should we make a comparison with a country that Australia may actually emulate? If so, Norway definitely is not the country of choice.

While Norway may be comparable in terms of fossil fuel endowment, it uses virtually none of this endowment to generate its electricity. It primarily exports its produced hydrocarbons.

By contrast, the electricity generation sector of Australia is heavily fossil fuel reliant. Perhaps more importantly for the thrust of Prof Garnaut's argument, Norway has not used its fossil fuel endowment to produce electricity since well before it introduced a carbon tax.

This is relevant for policy comparisons because the thrust (at least implicitly) of Prof Garnaut's argument is that Norway's introduction of a carbon tax has led it to be a relatively lower emitter than Australia.

Norway produces nearly all of its electricity from hydroelectricity projects. In 2008, 98.5% of Norway's electricity production came from hydro, and less than 0.05% came from fossil fuels of any form.

Just over 0.75% percent of Norway's electricity production came from geothermal, solar, and wind renewable sources, whereas these sources represented 1.6% of Australia's production. Neither country registered any geothermal, solar, or wind capacity in 1990. These numbers are readily available in the International Energy Agency publication Electricity Information 2010.

In terms of installed capacity by generation type, in 1990 (the year before the introduction of a carbon tax) hydro accounted for 99.1% of capacity in Norway. In 2008, the share was 96.6% of total installed capacity.

Given the relative status between installed generation capacity and actual production, the non-hydro installed capacity was relatively underutilized; 98.5% of production coming from 96.6% of the capacity.

Both coal and natural gas generation capacity increased over this period with the carbon tax in place.

It is also useful to note that Australia's population is about 4.5 times larger than Norway's. Australia consumes about 9.9 TWh of electricity per million population, while Norway consumes about 23.5 TWh per million population.

Finally, an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy in 2004 (Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway: do carbon taxes work?", A. Bruvoll and B.M. Larsen) shows that total CO2 emissions in Norway continued to increase after the imposition of the tax. While CO2 emissions intensity declined by 14%, the carbon tax could only be credited for 2%.

According to this study, there were a range of carbon taxes, differing according to the type of fuel. In 1999, the highest tax was US$51 per tonne of CO2, which led to the carbon tax constituting 13% of the purchaser price. Coal was assessed at US$24 per tonne and US$22 per tonne for auto diesel.

Hence, with higher carbon taxes than those contemplated by the Australian Government emissions continued to rise and only a small fraction of the reduction in CO2 emissions intensity are be attributed to the tax.

The Norwegian carbon tax failed to produce a reduction in CO2 emissions even in a country with almost no hydrocarbon-based electricity generation.



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


21 June, 2011

NZ to ease back on emissions trading scheme

AS Julia Gillard urged Australia to follow the "gutsy Kiwi" lead on carbon pricing, Prime Minister John Key has declared New Zealand will be slowing its expansion of emissions trading and doesn't want to "lead the world".

Mr Key refused to offer advice to Australian politicians embroiled in the carbon tax debate and signed an agreement with the Australian Prime Minister for a joint working party on trans-Tasman carbon emissions trading.

But he warned that New Zealand would be delaying the inclusion of agricultural emissions in its system for at least four years and was unlikely to double the carbon price from 2013, as previously planned, because of pressure on consumers.

Ms Gillard said Australia and New Zealand would work closely together to link emissions trading schemes in each country. "Of course New Zealand prices carbon, has an emissions trading scheme which is working successfully," Ms Gillard said at a joint press conference with Mr Key.

"New Zealand's in front, we will catch up, we'll show the same determination they have and we will have officials working together on linking the two schemes. "I think Australians would be asking themselves: if the Kiwis have had the guts to go and price carbon, why can't we? Well my answer is we can, we can catch up with our Kiwi friends."

Earlier, Mr Key said in an interview with The Australian his government was reviewing the ETS he inherited from the former Labour government and there would be changes to the "quite expensive system".

Mr Key said the New Zealand system, which prices carbon at $NZ12.50 ($9.55) a tonne and includes all gases and emitters, was costing consumers about $NZ150 a year but the price was due to double to $NZ25 a tonne from 2013 and include agriculture, which accounts for 50 per cent of New Zealand's emissions.

Mr Key told The Australian the review would mean "the government is likely to move a bit more slowly because of the global financial crisis and other countries are moving more slowly". He said the move to include agriculture would be later than 2013. "We are saying not before 2015 and only then if we think we see progress around the world -- and we are seeing little progress on that issue," Mr Key said.

"What Australia does is a matter for Australia. "We think we don't lead the world in climate change," he said.

Mr Key said New Zealand's profile made attacking climate change quite challenging because half of its emissions come from agriculture. "The global demand for food is great and we want to supply that," he said.

"We are always conscious of the fact that in the end, climate change will only be resolved when the really big emitters -- China, India and the US -- are at the table.

"We are not overly confident of what will happen with Kyoto (Protocol). "I think, in the end, we will see a far more voluntary global agreement."

At the press conference, Mr Key said it was not for him "to determine what's the right approach for Australia". "That's a matter for Australian politicians, but what I can tell you about the emissions trading scheme in New Zealand is it has worked, so that's the first point," he said.

"I think we're all conscious of the impact on consumers. "By pricing ours with a cap at $NZ12.50, about $10 at the moment, we anticipated we'd have an impact of about $150 per household per year. "We're about a year on in terms of the anniversary of that and the indications are that it's coming in at about $150 a year."


Solar Physicist predicts Grand Solar Minimum will last until 2100

Dr. Cornelis de Jager is a renowned Netherlands solar physicist, past General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, and author of several peer-reviewed studies examining the solar influence upon climate. In response to the recent press release of three US studies indicating the Sun is entering a period of exceptionally low activity, Dr. de Jager references his publications of 2010 and prior indicating that this Grand Solar Minimum will be similar to the Maunder Minimum which caused the Little Ice Age, and prediction that this "deep minimum" will last until approximately the year 2100:

"The new episode is a deep minimum. It will look similar to the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1620 to 1720...This new Grand Minimum will last until approximately 2100."

A lecture by Dr. de Jager at UCAR shows that solar activity during the 20th century was at the highest levels of the past 900 years:

and shows solar UV activity (bottom graph below) was at the highest levels of the past 400 years in the latter portion of the 20th century: (UV is the most energetic portion of the solar spectrum, and varies much more than the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). The IPCC and computer models only consider changes in TSI, ignoring the much more significant changes in UV)

and shows the amplication of solar variation via the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al:

leading to two possible mechanisms accounting for amplified solar effects upon the climate, neither of which is considered by the IPCC:

Recommended: Dr. de Jager's peer-reviewed paper Solar Activity and Its Influence on the Climate


The usual Green/Left disregard for human life

Too bad if Africans die providing Germans with their "organic" food

Children are dying in Africa - just so that German organic food shops can keep their store shelves well-stocked. This is what author Laura Koch writes in Der Spiegel Online in a story titled "How the Malaria Wonder-Weapon Drives Farmers Into Poverty". In the Spiegel report's introduction, the author writes:

"Malaria transmitted by mosquitoes kills hundreds of people in Uganda daily - that's why the government there uses the insecticide DDT. But the use of the pesticide has grave consequences for people living out in the countryside: Suppliers of organic foods are no longer able to sell their products, and now they are threatened by abject poverty."

These introductory words alone bring up 2 fundamental questions. Firstly: Is the planting of organic foods the only possibility that Ugandan farmers have in providing for their livelihoods? Secondly: Since hundreds of people can be saved from death by DDT daily, how many Ugandans are we willing to sacrifice in order to allow a few farmers to produce crops that meet the directives of some European and US-American organic food associations? Just one note on the side: Half of the malaria-caused deaths are small children.

The eco-movement's downfall

Within enlightened circles, the ban of DDT pushed by environmental groups and government bodies since the early 1960s has become known as the eco-movement's downfall. Already in the early 1970s it was clear that the horror stories connected to the use of DDT were scientifically unfounded. Nonetheless, efforts were made to ban the substance globally. Eventually bans were enacted through various instruments involving political and economic pressure.

One can rightly criticize the massive agricultural use of DDT that took place in the 1960s. From this time it was possible to detect traces in the fat tissue of animals in the Arctic and Antarctic. But these times are long gone. Substitute substances have been found for use in agriculture and are much more effective, and they break down and dissipate much more quickly.

Wonder weapon DDT

When combating the anopheles mosquito, the main transmitter of malaria, the case is different though. Here DDT remains by far the most effective and the most economical weapon against the disease. And only very small amounts are needed compared to the amounts used for crop protection. Here it is already enough to spray the walls of homes located in risk areas with a trace amount of DDT only twice a year. Mosquitoes that remain on the wall die promptly.

Of course there also exist alternatives to DDT when combating malaria. But none are as effective, and, what is particularly crucial in the impoverished countries of Africa, none is as cost-effective. Mosquito nets, which are always propagated by aid organisations and environmental groups, function poorly and only when one sleeps under one. Anyone who goes outside during twilight hours still gets exposed to the lethal infection. Carbamates are also as effective as DDT, but are 4 to 6 times more expensive and must be sprayed many times more often. Organo-phosphates cannot be sprayed inside homes and apartments because of their hazard. And the often-mentioned wonder weapon of synthetic pyrethroide against malaria has been shown to be considerably less effective.

Eco-imperialism and western arrogance

Let's emphasize yet one more time: When using DDT for combating malaria, the substance is no longer sprayed over large land areas. Rather, it is used in small amounts in a targeted manner. In all countries that have used DDT, the number of of people falling ill or dying from malaria has decreased significantly. Many countries that have bent to the will of aid organisations and governments of western countries have once again experienced explosions in the number of those who have fallen ill or died.

Taking all this into account, it is especially reprehensible to call for a ban of DDT just so that western countries can eat organic food that does not contain DDT also in the ultra-trace amounts. Sadly in our prosperity some among us are obviously prepared to accept the otherwise avoidable death of millions of people - all in the name of protecting ourselves from an extremely hypothetical risk. That is eco-imperialism in its purest and worst form.


The Shame of the American Meteorological Society

Bill Gray, a professor emeritus at Colorado State, has been a member of the American Meteorological Society for more than 50 years. In a lengthy post at Watts Up With That, he expresses his dismay at the manner in which AMS has sold out science in the interest of politics:

I am very disappointed at the downward path the AMS has been following for the last 10-15 years in its advocacy of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis. The society has officially taken a position many of us AMS members do not agree with. We believe that humans are having little or no significant influence on the global climate and that the many Global Circulation Climate Model (GCMs) results and the four IPCC reports do not realistically give accurate future projections. To take this position which so many of its members do not necessarily agree with shows that the AMS is following more of a political than a scientific agenda. ...

We AMS members have allowed a small group of AMS administrators, climate modelers, and CO2 warming sympathizers to maneuver the internal workings of our society to support AGW policies irrespective of what our rank-and-file members might think. This small organized group of AGW sympathizers has indeed hijacked our society. ...

James Hansen's predictions of global warming made before the Senate in 1988 are turning out to be very much less than he had projected. He cannot explain why there has been no significant global warming over the last 10-12 years.

Many of us AMS members believe that the modest global warming we have observed is of natural origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation resulting from salinity variations. These changes are not associated with CO2 increases. Most of the GCM modelers have little experience in practical meteorology. They do not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical climate prediction. The GCM simulations are badly flawed in at least two fundamental ways:

1. Their upper tropospheric water vapor feedback loop is grossly wrong. They assume that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases which are very unrealistic. Most of their model warming follows from these invalid water vapor assumptions. Their handlings of rainfall processes are quite inadequate.

2. They lack an understanding and treatment of the fundamental role of the deep ocean circulation (i.e. Meridional Overturning Circulation - MOC) and how the changing ocean circulation (driven by salinity variations) can bring about wind, rainfall, and surface temperature changes independent of radiation and greenhouse gas changes. These ocean processes are not properly incorporated in their models. They assume the physics of global warming is entirely a product of radiation changes and radiation feedback processes. They neglect variations in global evaporation which is more related to surface wind speed and ocean minus surface and air temperature differences. These are major deficiencies.

It is surprising that GCMs have been able to get away with their unrealistic modeling efforts for so long. One explanation is that they have received strong support from Senator/Vice President Al Gore and other politicians who for over three decades have attempted to make political capital out of increasing CO2 measurements. Another reason is the many environmental and political groups (including the mainstream media) have been eager to use the GCM climate results as justification to push their own special interests that are able to fly under the global warming banner.

To put it less delicately, an enormous amount of money has flowed into the global warming movement. It is lavishly funded, mostly by governments. For an AGW enthusiast to admit that his models are patently wrong would mean an end to the gravy train. Hence the ongoing frauds that are perpetrated in the name of climate change.


Scientists put out call for (unearned) respect

Respect for the facts? No. Respect for them is the underlying agenda. Who do they think they are? Clergy? I would be happy if THEY would show respect: The respect that all scientists are supposed to show: Respect for the facts. I'll happily respect the science but Warmism is prophecy, not science

AUSTRALIA'S scientific community will launch a campaign tonight aimed at redressing what it says is the damage to science which is being caused by climate change denial.

At its annual gathering in Canberra today, the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies will tell politicians that the campaign being run against scientific evidence of man-made climate change "is undermining the national building work of all scientists".

Its own campaign, respect the science, will seek to broaden the understanding of how science works. "The valuable and credible work of all scientists is under attack as a result of a noisy misinformation campaign by climate denialists. It's in the nation's interests that our political leaders now lead the community forward on this critical issue," the federation's chief executive officer, Anna-Maria Arabia, said.


A Deep Sea Mystery

Ben Pile has been doing some digging about a "report" that has got a lot of press lately:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline

Warns Richard Black at the BBC.
The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”. They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Call me a cynic, but I no longer take claims about ‘expert panel of scientists’ at face value. Sadly, Richard Black of the BBC does.

Who are the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) anyway? A visit to their website barely gives any information about itself at all. It doesn’t appear even to have an email address, let alone a postal address. There is no mention of who is running it, or what organisations are involved. Isn’t that a bit odd, for ‘an expert panel of scientists’.

Looking at the final report [PDF] produced by IPSO, there is similarly little mention of the organisation’s relationship to the rest of the world, such that we can see for ourselves what kind of a panel of experts they really are. However, at the top of the report is the following text:
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) is a coalition of over 60 organizations worldwide promoting fisheries conservation and the protection of biodiversity on the high seas. The DSCC has been actively involved in the international debate and negotiations concerning the adverse impacts on deep-sea biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction from bottom trawling and other methods of bottom fishing on the high seas since 2003/2004.

Ok. So who the hell are the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition? Surprise, surprise…
A coordination team works together with a Steering Group that currently consists of the Ecology Action Centre, Greenpeace International, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Environment Group and Seas at Risk. The DSCC has developed a formidable international team of scientists, policy and communication experts, lawyers and political activists who on behalf of the deep sea have established a strong reputation and profile on the issue at the UN and in other fora.

The ‘panel of experts’ — IPSO — may well be expert. But, look, again, we see Greenpeace’s name up there, steering the research — in its own words — alongside the Pew group, and Friends of the Earth.

I don’t believe a word of it. This is not scientific research, it’s ‘grey literature’, put out by yet another grey institution, the true nature of which is concealed from first appearances. Not far behind, the agenda is revealed.


I’ve been browsing the IPSO site, which is very poorly designed. The most charitable thing I can say about IPSO is that it is a project by Dr Alex Rogers, to pass himself off as an international research programme. Here he is, talking about the end of the world, like all good zoologists should.

I made a bit of a mistake above. I thought that the front page would list its most recent research. It turns out that the research I was looking at, which was sponsored by DSCC was last year’s. This year’s project was sponsored by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). So who are the IUCN?
[The IUCN] helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.

IUCN's work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland.

So, yeah, another NGO lobbying outfit, in cahoots with government and businesses, blurring the lines between activism, scientific research, and so on.

Back to IPSO. Here’s the web-page that relates to the new report. It describes the background to the report:
The 3 day workshop, co-sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), looked at the latest science across different disciplines.

The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats - and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

So it turns out that this report took the scientists just three days of chin-wagging. Says the report:
The workshop provided a rare opportunity to interact with other disciplines to determine the net effect of what is already happening to the ocean and is projected to do so in the future. Over the three days 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries (Annex 1) assessed the latest information on impacts and stresses, and the synergistic effects these are having on the global ocean.

Through presentations, discussions and recommendations the workshop documented and described the cumulative effects of such impacts, how these commonly act in a negatively synergistic way, and why therefore concerted action is now needed to address the consequences set out in this report.

Now, this is being presented as the product of a scientific process. But it turns out that it’s a little conference of self-selecting individuals, clearly given to a particular agenda.
The scientific outcomes from this workshop will be used first and foremost to strengthen the case for greater action to reduce anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide related to climate change and ocean acidification while also reducing other stressors. The findings underscore the need for more effective management of fisheries and pollution and for strengthening protection of the 64% of the ocean that lies beyond the zones of national jurisdiction. They thereby form a major contribution to implementation of the major IPSO report on the Global State of the Ocean. This event follows on from the IPSO/Royal Society event in 2009 that focussed on the future for coral reefs.

But in what way is the product of the 3-day gloom-fest a ‘scientific outcome’? No doubt, with a fancy name like ‘International Programme on the State of the Ocean’, citations to the report it produces will impress people. Indeed, it sounds like an expensive, exhaustive survey of the world. But it was just a couple of dozen eco-warriors in a single room, chatting about their fears.


Barry Woods has emailed me with a bit more on the profiles of some of the attendees of this ‘expert panel’ — the 27 people behind the “World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline” report.

The attendees are listed on page 10 of the report. [PDF]

Barry Gardiner is Labour MP for Brent North, and Vice President Globe UK, the Global Legislators Organisation. Globe’s about pages say,
there exists a strategic opportunity to coordinate a legislative response to key global environmental challenges in advance of Rio +20. This response recognises and seeks to strengthen the central role of legislators and parliaments in tackling the major global environmental challenges, as well as placing a much greater emphasis on the role of legislators in holding governments more effectively to account for the implementation of international commitments.

I wonder what Barry Gardiner knows about marine ecology. He has a degree in philosophy, apparently, so not much then. So much for this panel of experts…

Dan Laffoley is Marine Vice Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which seems to be the current sponsor, and is discussed above. Joining him is his colleague Aurelie Spadone.

Kelly Rigg - Executive Director, Global Campaign for Climate Action. No obvious expertise in marine biology, it says here,
Kelly Rigg is the Executive Director of the GCCA, a global alliance of 250 organizations cooperating under the banner of the tcktcktck campaign. She has been leading international campaigns for nearly 30 years on climate, energy, oceans, Antarctica and other issues. She was a senior campaign director for Greenpeace International during 20 years with the organization. After leaving Greenpeace she went on to found the Varda Group consultancy providing campaign and strategic advice to a wide range of NGOs, and led the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition's campaign to protect the high seas from destructive bottom fishing.

Josh Reichert is Managing Director of the Pew Environment Group. They say of themselves,
In 1998, the Trusts established the Pew Center on Global Climate Change for the purpose of providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions to address global climate change. At the inception, the Business Environmental Leadership Council was created to engage the businesses community in the climate debate. The council included 46 companies, mainly Fortune 500 firms with combined revenue of more than $2 trillion and over 4 million employees. In 2007, the Pew Center played a major role in launching the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an unprecedented alliance of nonprofit organizations and leading businesses-including General Electric and all three major U.S. automobile manufacturers-in support of federal emissions-reduction legislation

Although Reichart “he has written more than 60 publications and co-produced films on the plight of fisheries and marine ecosystems“, it’s hard to see what expertise he has in marine ecology… “Mr. Reichert holds an undergraduate degree in applied behavioral sciences from the University of California, Davis, and master's and doctoral degrees in social anthropology from Princeton University”.

Conn Nugent is Executive Director of the JM Kaplan Fund
The Environment Program concentrates on marine conservation, especially in ocean waters that lie beyond the jurisdiction of a single national government. The program currently supports grantees working to: create international protections for species and ecoregions of the High Seas; educate scientists and the public about the value and vulnerability of the ocean as a world system; and foment civil society movements to protect Arctic waters and Arctic coastal communities.

Conn Nugent’s blog profile gives no indication of his or her qualifications in marine science:
Highlights: Exec Dir, JM Kaplan Fund (2000-present). Programs in environment, historic preservation, immigration: US, Mexico, Cuba, worldwide. Exec Dir, Intl Physicians for Prevention Nuclear War. 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Founder/editor,,, Freelance writer, editor, graphic designer. Harvard College, Harvard Law School. Peace Corps. Teacher. Exec Dir: Planned Parenthood California; Bay State Charitable Trust; New Alchemy Inst; Five Colleges; Citizens Union. Prog Dir, Nathan Cummings Foundation. Articles on land use, architecture, defense, fiscal policy, medicine, sports.

So, not much evidence of the scientific expertise that is being claimed of this team. Yet there are a number of agendas at the table. And some well-funded agendas, at that.



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


20 June, 2011

Most US States Set Their Record High Temperature Prior To 1940

Only one state set their record high during Hansen’s “hottest decade ever.” Forty-four states set their record high temperature before global warming became "dangerous" at 350 ppm.


There is no such thing as a happy Hansen

In 1988, Hansen considered his scenario C to indicate no "net climate forcing". It was in other words the ideal or safe climate situation.

But lately Hansen has been running around talking about catastrophic warming, hottest year ever, multi-metre sea level rise, death trains, extinction, end of the world as we know it…….etc.

Yet, by his own measures temperatures are below scenario C – which he considers safe. How can the climate be both catastrophic and safe at the same time?

Blue line the temperature according to Hansen. Dotted line scenario C


The moon influences temperature too

The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle and surface temperature variability in the northeast Pacific

By Stewart M. McKinnell & William R. Crawford


The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) is a significant feature of winter (January) air and sea temperatures along the North American west coast over a 400-year period.

Yet much of the recent temperature variation can also be explained by wind patterns associated with the PNA teleconnection. At Sitka, Alaska, (57°N) and nearby stations in northern British Columbia, the January PNA index accounts for over 70% of average January air temperatures in lengthy meteorological records.

It appears that the LNC signal in January air temperatures in this region is not independent of the PNA, but is a component of it. The Sitka air temperature record, along with SSTs along the British Columbia coast and the PNA index have significant cross-correlations with the LNC that appear at a 2-year lag, LNC leading. The influence of the PNA pattern declines in winter with decreasing latitude but the LNC component does not.

It appears as a significant feature of long-term SST variation at Scripps Pier and the California Current System.

The LNC also appears over centennial-scales in proxy temperatures along western North America. The linkage of LNC-moderated surface temperatures to processes involving basin-scale teleconnections expands the possibility that the proximate mechanism may be located remotely from its expression in the northeast Pacific. Some of the largest potential sources of a diurnal tidal signal in the atmosphere are located in the western Pacific; the Sea of Okhotsk and the Indonesian archipelago.


Planting trees will hardly dent global temperature

Schemes to convert croplands or marginal lands to forests will make almost no inroads against global warming this century, a scientific study published on Sunday said.

Afforestation is being encouraged under the UN's Kyoto Protocol climate-change treaty under the theory that forests are "sinks" that soak up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air through photosynthesis.

But environmental researchers, in a new probe, said that even massive conversion of land to forestry would have only a slender benefit against the greenhouse-gas problem.

This is partly because forests take decades to mature and CO2 is a long-lasting molecule, able to lurk for centuries in the atmosphere. But another reason is that forests, even as they absorb greenhouse gas, are darker than croplands and thus absorb more solar heat -- and in high latitudes, this may even result in net warming.

Vivek Arora of the University of Victoria in British Columbia and Alvaro Montenegro of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia modelled five scenarios in which afforestation was carried out over 50 years, from 2011 to 2060.

They used a Canadian programme called CanESM1 that simulated the impacts on land, sea and air if Earth's surface temperature rose by some 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to 1850.

Even if all the cropland in the world were afforested, this would reduce the warming by only 0.45 C (0.81 F) by a timescale of 2081-2100, according to the study, which appears in the journal Nature Geoscience. Fifty-percent afforestation would brake it by an even tinier 0.25 C (0.45 F).

Both scenarios are, of course, wildly unrealistic because of the need to grow food. Fifty-percent afforestation would require at least a doubling in crop yield to feed the human population because half of the crop area would be taken out of use.

The other three scenarios found that afforestation in the tropics was three times more efficient at "avoided warming" than in northerly latitudes and temperate regions.

The study said that afforestation does have other benefits, for the economy and the ecoystem. "There's nothing wrong with afforestation, it is positive, but our findings say that it's not a response to temperature control if we are going to be emitting (greenhouse gases) this way," Montenegro told AFP. The study said bluntly, "Afforestation is not a substitute for reduced greenhouse-gas emissions."

In forest programmes, policymakers would be advised to focus afforestation efforts in the tropics but also push hard against deforestation, which accounts for 10 to 20 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally.

Avoiding deforestation is under discussion for post-2012 climate action under the UN flag.


Joe Romm: That Nuclear Furnace In The Sky Is Small Potatoes

If the Sun does go into a state similar to what caused the Maunder Minimum during the Little Ice Age, the Warmists have found their groove in a way to keep pushing their failed pseudo religion. Here's Joe Romm's version, which starts off with a bit of Fox News Derangement syndrome
The anti-science disinformers are ecstatic over an analysis that says by 2020, we might be entering a long period of anomalously low solar activity. The headline at Fox Nation is:

Global Warming Be Damned, We Might Be Headed For A Mini Ice Age

No. Not even close, actually.

Yes, there is a credible prediction based on independent studies that we could possibly be entering a so-called "grand minimum" in solar activity. And yes, the last one on record, the "Maunder Minimum," which occurred between 1645 and 1715, coincided with the so-called Little Ice Age.

But the Little Ice Age wasn't just driven by a drop in solar forcing -- it was also driven by a burst of volcanic activity. And now we have human-caused greenhouse gases that have overwhelmed the much, much smaller solar forcing.

See? Al Gore flying private jets, being chauffeured in SUV limos, and purchasing McMansions on the California coastline is much worse than the ball of fire in the sky, which has just a tiny affect on the Earth.

Of course, this forgets that the Little Ice Age lasted from the 13th century till about 1850. But, you're all just anti-science disinformers (Joe sure has his progressive talking points down now that his Alarmist website is hosted by Soros funded Think Progress, eh?) for......following the science that the Sun has a huge affect on the state of the Earth's climate.

Joe then goes on to try and prove that the majority of all warming is caused by.....Mankind, and that the Sun means little. Say, what caused the last glacial period?
A Maunder Minimum can't stop catastrophic global warming -- only we can!

By "we," he means that Someone Else needs to Do Something, preferably the Government. Because Alarmists just can't be bothered to Do Something themselves, other than "spread awareness."


The Rubber Duckies: Two United Nations giants of junk

This year, we award a special joint Rubber Duckie to two giants of junk, Achim Steiner and Rajendra Pachauri. Together they are collectively responsible for uncountable thousands of reports, initiatives, policies, statements, comments, studies and panels that are based on science that is politically motivated, either in content or objective.

Mr. Steiner is head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), a font of untenable science, including his enthusiastic support for the idea that 50 million refugees would plague the world to escape climate change by 2010.

A long-term shill for junk environmental science and the green energy industry, Mr. Steiner is also an expert at sophistry. Following the 50 million refugee debacle, he took to the editorial pages of The Guardian to cover the issue with rhetoric. “Imagine if the world acted only when 100% scientific proof was in place,” he declared. “We would still be insulating buildings with cancer-causing asbestos and fuelling cars with lead additives, damaging babies’ brains.”

See the logic? Those who question “official” junk science are baby killers.

Mr. Steiner’s rhetorical arsenal also includes the reductio ad absurdum. When he was head of the IUCN, the World Conservation Union, Mr. Steiner was part of the pack ­attack on Bjorn Lomborg’s book The Skeptical Environmentalist. “Mr. Lomborg,” he wrote, “is wrong to suggest that species extinction, climate change and pollution are imaginary environmental problems.”

Mr. Lomborg had suggested none of these things.

Since UNEP is one of the parents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Mr. Steiner has stoutly defended the ­IPCC, even as that institution’s credibility sinks to zero. He has suggested that questions about the stewardship of his colleague at IPCC — Rajendra Pachauri — amounted to a “witch hunt.” The IPCC’s claim that all the glaciers of the Himalayas might disappear by 2035 was, he said, a “typographical error.”

Mr. Steiner, who accuses skeptics of being “ideologically driven,” is another global bureaucrat whose priority is reformulating humanity. “We have a misdirected economic compass,” he has said. “We have arranged our economies in a way that they destroy their environmental foundations.”

Over at the IPCC, meanwhile. Mr. Pauchauri has dug himself another hole. On top of Climategate, through which he clung to power, we now have Mr. Pachauri positioning Greenpeace as lead author on a global energy report that, amazingly, endorsed Greenpeace’s global energy plan — a plan for which Mr. Pachauri had written a glowing introduction.

All in all, Mr. Pachauri and Mr. Steiner have turned in very fine performances worthy of a rarely awarded joint Rubber Duck.



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


19 June, 2011

Hansen's Extrapolations Are Pure Fiction

GISS extrapolated that the entire region north of 80N was more than 2C above the 1958-2002 average in May, despite the fact that they have essentially no data there.

DMI actually has data north of 80N, and they showed May as below the 1958-2002 average.

GISS fabricates big numbers in the Arctic, which has the effect of disproportionately dragging the global temperature upwards. Even so, they still can’t get temperatures up to scenario C.


Global warming, 1914 style

"Rapid reduction of ice at both poles"


10 Reasons to be Cheerful About the Coming New Ice Age

James Delingpole

It’s official: a new Ice Age is on its way. In what has been described as “the science story of the century”, heavyweight US solar physicists have announced that the sun is heading for a prolonged period of low activity. This makes global cooling a much more plausible prospect in the next few decades than global warming. Indeed, it might even usher in a lengthy period of climate grimness such as we saw during the Maunder Minimum (when Ice Fairs were held on the Thames) or the Dalton Minimum (which brought us such delights as the 1816 Year Without A Summer).

Here’s how Watts Up With That reports the bad news:
A missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all…..

….“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, said of the results. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

Oh dear. Or is it “Oh dear?”. Could there yet be a glimmer of hope and joy amid this black, treacly splurge of impending climate doom?

Of course there could, and here are just a few reasons why we should welcome the arrival of the imminent Ice Age.

1. Well I’ve never ice-skated on the Thames. Have you? Also, I’d be quite interested to hear what that “expert” has to say: the one at Alan Howard’s Downing College climate conference who blithely assured us that 17th frost fairs had NOTHING to do with the Little Ice Age. (It was all because the Thames flowed in a much more turgid way back then, apparently….)

2. People will no longer merely be mildly irritated at the way their landscape has been disfigured by bat-chomping eco-crucifixes for rent-seeking toffs (aka wind farms) in the name of saving us from “global warming.” They will be incandescent. Lynch-mob incandescent.

3. As the starving polar bears march southward on the new sheet ice now extending from the North Pole to Gibraltar, desperate citizens will be forced to make tough decisions about which sacrificial victim should be fed next to the ravening beasts so that they leave the rest of us alone. Happily I have a suggestion. His name is Richard Kemp and – apparently – he is Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association. And among his taxpayer-funded functions – again, apparently – is to give quotes to newspapers telling us how grateful and happy we should be that our bins will now be emptied less often.

He said: “Weekly rubbish collection is dead and finished. I’m delighted reason has prevailed. It’s not what most local people want, it’s not what most local councils want and it’s certainly not what the advisers want. What local people want is a system that helps maximise recycling and helps to promote healthy living.”

Feed, my hungry ursine brothers! Feed!

4. Never in our lifetimes will we have to read another tendentious story about how daffodils are coming up three months earlier than usual/lambs are being born in December instead of spring/wildebeeste could soon be migrating across Salisbury Plain as a result of “global warming.”

5. The 10-foot maneating Oceanic Whitetips which have been drawn to Cornwall’s waters by the Concept Formerly Known As Global Warming will now be replaced by 30 foot maneating Greenland sharks. Which will kind of serve the Cornish right for being such impassioned early adopters of wind farms.

6. New edicts will be issued by world leaders including President Ryan of the US, Prime Minister Farage of Great Britain and Aussie premier Plimer, scrapping High Speed Rail, abandoning all renewable energy schemes (apart from, maybe, hydroelectric) and making the ownership of 4 x 4s or similar gas-guzzling vehicles compulsory by 2015. Stringent punishments to be introduced for those whose carbon footprint falls below a certain agreed minimum level.

7. Monbiot* the Musical (libretto: James Delingpole; music: James MacMillan) – a light-hearted celebration of one of the late 20th century’s great comic figures* – opens simultaneously on Broadway and in the West End to enormous acclaim.

8. Woolly mammoth steaks are said to be surprisingly delicious. They taste like chicken, apparently.

9. Britain now stands a reasonable chance of cleaning up in the medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics. As, unfortunately, do Jamaica, Bora Bora, Egypt and, of course, the 2022 Olympics’ host nation, Dubai.

10. The Prince of Wales, Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, James Hansen, Paul Ehrlich, David Cameron, Leonardo Di Caprio, Ed Begley Jr, Sir P Nurse of the Royal Society and Britain’s second most famous celebrity mathematician Simon Singh will be among the many former Warmists who put their names to a grovelling apology published in all the world’s newspapers explaining how incredibly bad and stupid they feel for all the economic damage they have inflicted, all the careers ruined, all the unnecessary fear promoted as a result of their misguided promotion of the “Man-Made Global Warming” myth. Yeah, right. Hell will freeze over before that happens. But wait: what are all those spike-tailed, horned, red figures doing gliding on blades across the surface of the Styx?


Australian broadcaster and friends versus Svensmark

Well-known German Warmists use simplistic theory to show that history was wrong. Svensmark uses better theory to explain why history is right

ABC belatedly reported (borrowing from AFP) on a study that suggests the sun is entering a quiet period similar to the Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645 and 1715, a period known as the 'Little Ice Age'. ABC's report provided reference to a recent study by Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf based on the results of climate modelling that indicated the potential affect on global temperatures may not be significant with just "a 0.3°C dip by 2100 compared to normal solar fluctuations."

In the interests of balance (lacking in the ABC's report) we decided to ask a real solar scientist. It seems the impact of reduced solar activity may be more significant than the ABC's one sided report suggesting more research is required. Correspondence below:

Dear Dr Svensmark,

ABC News cite a paper by Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf to suggest that a solar mimnimum would reduce global temperatures by 0.3 degrees by 2100. see GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 37, L05707, 5 PP., 2010 doi:10.1029/2010GL042710 On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth

"Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st-century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century."

I am interested in your opinion on the evidence for a future solar minimum based on recent results in the news and its effect on global temperature for a news story.

Dear Marc Hendrickx,

I have had a quick look at the paper, and as far as I can see the authors are only looking at solar irradiance changes, and effects like the one that I have been involved in -- like an amplification of the solar signal caused by clouds and cosmic ray modulation -- is not taken into account.

We known with good confidence that the terrestrial response to the solar signal is 3-7 times larger than from solar irradiance alone (see for example the work of Nir Shaviv, attached-Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing-doi:10.1029/2007JA012989).

Now if such effects are taken into account the result would be very different (larger solar influence). So I do not think that the present work is particularly helpful in understanding the solar impact in the near future. It is only an estimate of the impact of solar irradiance as determined from numerical modeling. In the coming years the sun will show by itself how important it is.


Australian Labor Party has fingers crossed that they can eventually sell a carbon tax to the electorate

But it's not looking good so far

THERE'S a sense of a parallel universe happening in Canberra, where the carbon-pricing debate is very up close and personal. Meetings upon meetings are held among politicians, staffers and bureaucrats at what is the business end of an almost five-month process. People from all sides report progress, albeit often agonisingly slow.

At the same time, Tony Abbott's relentless, 24/7 campaign against the carbon tax - as the "market mechanism" is universally and somewhat misleadingly known - grinds on.

To many observers who spend their thankless days inside Malcolm Fraser's monumental Parliament House there is progress, although some pointy, potentially deal-breaking issues are emerging and being fought over.

The idea the Government is "making ground" in the debate is becoming the accepted wisdom, but this bubble is soon burst after just a few conversations in any of the capital cities around Australia.

Among voters, Abbott is well and truly winning the carbon tax debate. Almost any discussion about anything in national politics quickly turns to a gripe about the proposed action on climate change. "You talk to anyone in the street and after the first sentence they'll say 'And I don't like the carbon tax'," says one Labor MP. "And because we haven't got any detail to put to them, their fears and concerns just hang there."

Every day he is in Canberra, Abbott finds a new way to attack the tax proposal. He goes to every kind of shop - from bakers to greengrocers to cafes - and every small workshop that makes things ("This tax will kill manufacturing in Australia," he warns) and even to childcare centres, which he claims will have to increase fees because of higher power bills.

When Parliament is not sitting Abbott takes this never-ending election campaign on the road, taking his case to factories, mines and any other location which has large numbers of people who in days gone by might have looked like Labor voters.

He's getting a warm reception - something acknowledged tacitly by the two unions most likely to have members affected by a carbon price, the Australian Workers Union and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which are both lobbying to minimise any impact on jobs.

Coalition strategists say Abbott's carbon tax campaign is cutting through and a series of important political messages are sticking. "The public are acutely aware of anything that adds to their cost of living at the moment - everyone feels they are running fast just to stand still in dealing with the weekly bills," says one Liberal official. "Everyone hates new taxes and have locked on to the idea of a carbon tax like a laser. They just don't like the idea which makes them hungry for information."

Because it is Abbott who's talking about the carbon tax the most, he appears to have more detail even if, as the Government says, it is highly speculative and may not match the reality if and when the carbon scheme is decided.

Abbott, who is a campaign manager's dream with a steely discipline to sticking with simple, punchy lines, has drilled three propositions into the collective consciousness of the electorate. People believe a carbon price will be a new tax on everything (a stunningly simple line first coined by Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce).

The idea that no matter what the starting price is for carbon - expected to be $20 a tonne of emitted carbon at most - it will go up year after year. This is a feature of a market mechanism to price carbon although, as the Europeans have found, the price can also go down.

The third killer line Abbott has delivered is that any compensation will disappear as quickly as it's given out.

The Government acknowledges Abbott is winning the carbon war but they remain confident that if they clinch a deal with the Greens (the other key Independents, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, are ready to sign up to the basic design of the scheme) they will be able to match the Coalition's arguments. "No one is kidding themselves people don't hate the idea of a carbon tax right now," a senior government figure says. "But in 18 months the story could be very different - at least we hope it will be."

A senior minister involved in the negotiations with the Greens and Independents says there will be plenty of hard factual information to push back against Abbott's campaign. "The policy is solid with much of the work having been done when we designed the carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2009," the minister says. "We can answer every point Abbott is making and, as long as people are engaged, we think it will hit home."

More here

Australian Labor Party apes Europe -- providing the smoke and mirrors for a carbon tax

IF a new federal tax of $11.6 billion represents economic reform, then the Australian political culture has changed fundamentally, and economic reform means roughly the opposite of what it meant under Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard.

"First, rectify the names," as Confucius said. The complete inversion of the language of economic reform under the Gillard government, especially in relation to the proposed carbon tax, is a clue to the much more fundamental question at hand.

Australia faces a profound and defining strategic choice. The carbon tax is part of that choice. Our choice is not, as international relations experts sometimes allege, between the US and China. Rather, it is whether Australia is to refashion the culture of its politics, economy and society along European lines or to continue the path we have generally followed of being somewhere along the US-East Asian continuum.

For some decades, Australia has sat between the US and Europe on a range of social, economic and cultural indicators. We provide a social safety net more generous than the US but less comprehensive than that offered by European Union nations. We are more regulated than the US, less regulated than Europe. The state is a bigger part of our life, and our economy, than in the US, but a smaller part than in Europe.

The Gillard government is taking us down a European road. The carbon tax is a part of that, both in substance and in the style of its politics.

The Rudd and Gillard governments have been big-spending, budget-deficit governments. In Labor's first term, the justification was the global financial crisis. If the carbon tax passes at $26 a tonne, the federal government will have a magnificent new gusher of money to spend, for redistribution, social policy, whatever.

The US has a chronic budget deficit but does not embrace big government as an ideal.

Gillard's is a highly regulatory government. Re-regulating industrial relations, a la Europe, is central to this.

In the National Broadband Network the government is seeking to create a major, state-owned corporation, along classically European lines.

Economic reform for the past 30 years has meant deregulation, privatisation, surplus or balanced budgets, low inflation and free trade. It also has meant welfare reform to cut long-term welfare dependency. In Europe, this never caught on. Yet just as the Gillard government is moving decisively down the European road, the European model itself is in catastrophic collapse. The model can no longer sustain itself.

The common European currency, the euro, is a central cause of the inability of peripheral European states such as Greece to respond with policy flexibility through measures such as devaluation. Numerous European nations are on the brink of debt default. Germany is in a rolling process of bailout. Unemployment is 20 per cent in Spain, 13 per cent in Greece, 11 per cent in Portugal, 10 per cent across the euro area.

Europe has made a comprehensive mess of illegal immigration, leading disenfranchised voters to parties of the far Right.

Europe plays a role in our carbon tax debate in several ways. Bizarrely, it is the government's model. The latest report by Ross Garnaut constantly extols Europe's emissions trading scheme.

Europe also sends us a steady stream of sanctimonious officials and busybodies to tell us our climate change policies are inadequate.

Even more important, perhaps unconsciously, the culture of European politics has seeped into the Gillard government's management of the carbon tax debate.

Ashton Calvert, a former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who served both Labor and Liberal governments, was perhaps the brainiest official I have met. He told me once that the EU was a menace to Australia in a quite specific way. The EU vastly over-regulated itself and thus suffered enormous, unnecessary, economic costs. It then tried to impose those costs on everybody else by transforming them into international norms and enforcing them by treaty.

The US was big enough to ignore the EU. Asian nations didn't feel bound by EU norms. But Australia and Canada were the two nations, both with wildly different economic structures from Europe, likeliest to suffer from European political imperialism.

There is always something undemocratic and tricky about the EU. If at all possible, it removes issues from democratic political bodies and puts them in the hands of Euro-bureaucrats. This fits perfectly with Garnaut's proposal that Australia's carbon reduction targets should be set by "independent", but of course appointed, officials.

The Gillard government has been consistently tricky, in a very European way, in the politics of the carbon tax. It ruled out a carbon tax before the election last year. Then it decided to introduce one three years before the voters could pass a judgment on it.

Meanwhile, it has spent a vast fortune of taxpayers' money on a series of government bodies, headed by Garnaut, Tim Flannery and other long-term friends of the Labor Party, to conduct an incessant campaign of indoctrination in favour of government policy.

With Australia having a very European-style public broadcaster in the ABC, which is ideologically in favour of the carbon tax and inherently inclined to accept the Garnauts and Flannerys as embodying a kind of wisdom and virtue above politics, this is a plausibly effective strategy.

It is much less a strategy of persuasion, however, and much more a strategy of coercion. Indeed, Garnaut rejoiced in a speech at the "narrowing" of the debate in recent months.

Now the government has gone a step further, announcing a $12 million taxpayer-funded advertising campaign to support the carbon tax. This seems to be in addition to a further $13m set aside in the budget for a similar process.

It is perfectly true that the Howard government spent money in exactly the same way. It was an anti-democratic abuse of process when Howard did it and it is an anti-democratic abuse of process now.

And of course it embodies a central paradox. If it is so overwhelmingly clear that the best way to respond to the still uncertain science of climate change is through a carbon tax, then why is the Gillard government so hopelessly incapable of winning the argument through its own powers of persuasion?

At the same time, elite opinion has simply rubbished and rejected the Coalition's direct action plans to reduce carbon emissions by 5 per cent. There is hardly a single person in Australia who knows more about this subject than the opposition's Greg Hunt, who has been studying it for many years. Yet the elite media, overwhelmed by Garnaut, Flannery and limitless other pro-government propaganda, has not given his plans any serious consideration.

But here is a deeper paradox still. Garnaut's latest report is a partisan abuse of process. It is an extremely flawed document that is misleading about the international scene. It pretends the whole world is as obsessed with reducing greenhouse gas as Garnaut himself is. The strategic object of this deception is obvious.

If the Australian people can be convinced that they alone, among all the nations of the world, do not take this problem with the proper seriousness, that they alone are redneck enemies of "economic reform", then they might be shamed into supporting a carbon tax. They might even be threatened into it.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson this week told parliament that if Australia didn't have a carbon tax then other nations would impose punitive tariffs on us.

But other nations here can only mean Europe, and it would have to impose similar tariffs on the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and all the many other nations that do not have carbon taxes.

Indeed, as the infinitely better Productivity Commission report noted: "No country imposes an economy-wide tax on greenhouse gases or has in place an economy-wide ETS."

Is it not possible there are sensible reasons no other country has an economy-wide carbon tax?

But to sustain the fiction that the rest of the world is obsessed with climate change and acting with resolution and boldness, Garnaut must take the declaratory aspiration of every other nation as though it were settled, concrete policy.

Thus Garnaut declares: "US officials at the highest levels state that the emissions reduction target will be met, despite the absence of a national market-based instrument for securing that result."

This is a heroic, indeed ludicrous, position. But here is the larger paradox. Garnaut is stating with his usual faux-infallibility that the US, where there is absolutely no bipartisan support for action, will succeed absolutely with its direct action plans. But at the same time, the routine assumption of all Garnaut's media acolytes is that Tony Abbott's direct action plan is a ridiculous fraud.

In its first six years of operation, the EU ETS has raised just $2.5bn and covered only a small part of the economy. That means the European ETS has not been central to carbon reductions in Europe.

In fact, as usual, the Europeans rigged this process from the start. They chose 1990 as their base year because that was the year of peak European emissions. The decommissioning of east European industry, the conversion in Britain from coal to gas, and the presence of nuclear power, none of which involved any sacrifice, allowed the European emissions reduction.

Even the British commitment to halve greenhouse emissions by 2025 is much less than meets the eye. Prime Minister David Cameron has made it clear he has an escape clause. This commitment will be reviewed in 2014 and if the rest of Europe is not on the same path, a highly unlikely eventuality, Britain will change its course.

In Australia the polls do not support a carbon tax. Like the US, our democracy is vigorous and the public has a history of rejecting elite solutions if they are costly and unpractical, and provided they are opposed by a portion of the mainstream political parties.

It may not be designed for this purpose but the carbon tax is part of a combination of policies that would massively increase the size of the state, bring much greater regulation to economic life, entrench European economic and political norms, and demonstrate a way for voters to be browbeaten into acceptance of a policy they don't like.

The democratic way to win a policy argument is to champion it clearly, argue for it convincingly and win an election. The European way, with its tricks and deceits, is much less attractive, and generally produces much less satisfactory policy.



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


18 June, 2011

How to mislead with slippery language

We read:
NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History

Just past the halfway point, 2011 has already seen eight weather-related disasters in the U.S. that caused more than $1 billion in damages

The devastating string of tornadoes, droughts, wildfires and floods that hit the United States this spring marks 2011 as one of the most extreme years on record, according to a new federal analysis.

The key, of course, is that little word "among" and his friend "one of". To put some flesh on Mr. "among", consider 1934:

All regions of the country were over 100 degrees.

80% of the US was experiencing drought.

1934 used to be the hottest year – before USHCN and GISS worked their magic.


IPCC used Greenpeace campaigner to write 'impartial' report on renewable energy

The United Nation’s climate change body was at the centre of a new row today after it admitted using a Greenpeace campaigner to help write an ‘impartial’ report on green energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a study last month claiming that the world could meet nearly 80 per cent of its energy by 2050 from renewable sources such as wind farms and solar panels.

But the full version of report published this week revealed that one of the lead authors was an employee of Greenpeace – a group that fiercely opposes nuclear power and which has campaigned on the perils of global warming for decades.

The revelation is another blow to the credibility of the IPCC which was set up to offer impartial, rigorous and science-based advice to politicians.

Last year, it was at the centre of a major row when it was forced to admit that it had exaggerated the threat of global warming to glaciers.

The latest report was produced by the IPPC’s Working Group 3 – a panel of experts that tries to predict the likely impacts of climate change. The working group has come under fire for relying on so-called ‘grey literature’, reports published by charities, campaign groups and environmentalists instead of high quality independent research published in academic journals.

The latest gaffe was flagged up by environmentalist Mark Lynas, author of the award-winning book Six Degrees. ‘I have lost confidence in the Working Group 3,’ he said. ‘The point needs to be strongly made to the IPCC that no campaigner should be a lead author of a report and put in charge of peer reviewing their own work. ‘That it allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by Greenpeace is an extraordinary failure and one which cannot simply be forgotten.’

The latest row centres on an IPCC report into renewables. When the summary report was published in May, the IPCC’s six page press release highlighted a key finding that green sources could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy by 2050. However, the source of this claim only emerged when the full 1,554 page report was published this week.

It appears as just one possible scenario for the future in chapter 10 and was based on a report co-authored by Dr Sven Teske, an employee of Greenpeace International. Dr Teske’s report was originally published by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council, an industry body that promotes wind turbines and solar panels. An updated version was published in a minor academic journal last year. Dr Teske was also one of 10 lead authors who wrote chapter 10 and so had a say in whether his own study was included in the finished document.


Warmist Mark Lynas comments on the above story:

And why – when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence – has the response of the world’s green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves?

That this was spotted at all is a tribute to the eagle eyes of Steve McIntyre. Yet I am told that he is a ‘denier’, that all his deeds are evil, and that I have been naively led astray by him.

Well, if the ‘deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a ‘denier’. Indeed, McIntyre and I have formed an unlikely double-act, posing a series of questions – together with the New York Times’s Andy Revkin – to the IPCC report’s lead author Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, to which he has yet to respond.

Here’s some classic closing of ranks by Stefan Singer, of WWF, riding to the rescue of his embattled Greenpeace colleagues in a comment on my original blog post:
Yes, I am biased as well, I am Director for Energy Policy at WWF, we “scandalously” dared to publish a global energy scenario a few months ago showing how the world can go to even 95% renewables by 2050 and even more “shocking” we also showed in that scenario how global energy consumption can indeed be reduced globally with substantive energy conservation and efficiency policies without curtailing growth and economic activities.....

Moreover, if we want to combat climate change effectively (which I realise not everyone supports on this exchange), what is wrong with showing that renewables can contribute 80% or even more to global energy supply? Mark Lynas, in case you take that serious [sic], you should thank Greenpeace and NGOs to drive that debate.

I suspect Mr Singer, and all my other green critics, are intentionally missing the point. I’d have loved to have had a fully independent study conducted by the IPCC on the prospects for renewable energy over the coming century. I’d have been even happier had that independent IPCC study concluded that 80% renewables by 2050 is a realistic option.

But what I don’t want are recycled campaign reports masquerading as ‘proper’ science leading the assessed scenarios – and the media – because their originator has managed to lever himself into a pole position on the team of lead authors. That stinks.

And it stinks doubly because the Greenpeace report was originally co-authored by the European Renewable Energy Council – an industry lobby group whose prospects depend on state subsidies which can be expected to be further increased once its views are given the ‘official’ stamp of approval from the IPCC. So this is in effect worse than my Exxon-Mobil scenario above – because the company employees’ report would have to have been co-authored by the American Petroleum Institute.

There are some very clear lessons here for the IPCC:

- Campaigners – or industry employees – should not be lead authors on IPCC reports, on any of the working groups

- Whilst ‘grey literature’ may be valuable to assess, it should not be assessed by those who have written it

- This rule applies more broadly: no authors should be tasked with ‘independently’ assessing their own work, across all the IPCC working groups

- Press releases and Summaries for Policymakers should not be released until the full report they are based on is also released

- A clear conflict of interest policy should be agreed by the IPCC and implemented immediately, applying to current as well as future authors

Much more HERE


By Sharon Sebastian (Website:

Two Obama policies that will clamp a vice-grip on the American economy for decades are Obamacare and insidious legislation that has been renamed under its new cover, the “American Power Act.” Once known as Cap and Trade, the benign sounding “American Power Act” is Barack Obama’s coup de gras - his economic death blow to family budgets and the American economy. Broken down, Obama’s American Power Act supports Al Gore’s global warming strategies, socialist-based green movements and the United Nation’s Agenda 21 that targets both the U.S. treasury and America’s Constitutional freedoms. Every member of Congress must be sent the LINKS posted below that detail the growing green threat. Members of Congress can no longer claim ignorance after reading the information within the following articles. All Republicans who support the Obama/UN agenda are Green RINOS waist-deep in Progressive ideology:

(See: Obama & the UN: Agenda 21 - , Lean, Mean and Green, The Smoking Gun – Part One , and Lean, Mean and Green, Takedown of America – Part Two.

Republican presidential candidates must be asked at every juncture if they support Obamacare. Republican presidential candidates must be asked at every outing if they support the American Power Act, formerly known as Cap and Trade, which promotes both the green movement and climate-change agendas. Equally revealing will be their position on the mountains of new EPA regulations coming out of the Obama administration that will stifle the personal lifestyles of average Americans while cutting off our nation’s potential for job growth and energy independence. Reams of regulations will rain down on Americans from the Obama controlled EPA that demand adherence – or face mandated fines and potential jail time. Regulations will be imposed on how much energy you use at home and at work, how much home insulation you have, if your doors and windows meet federal guidelines, the type of appliances you use, etc. etc.

Though the White House claims it is only doing what is best for America by shackling you and your employer with onerous government regulations, there is no better example of duplicity than Obama’s treatment of Israel. Under the guise of making peace, President Barack Obama insisted that Israel give up valued portions of its land and return to its pre-1967 borders. Around the time he did so, another report surfaced worldwide, with little to no mention by the American press, about vast amounts of newly discovered oil shale and gas reserves in Israel. Lawrence Solomon, Executive Director of Energy Probe, details in the Financial Post that Israel has enough shale oil reserves, estimated up to half a trillion barrels, to break the grip of the OPEC cartel. Once considered too expensive to extract, Israel is quickly developing the means to cost effectively obtain oil from oil shale that will bring projected costs down to $35 or $45 a barrel. Solomon also says that natural gas being produced by Israel will be scheduled for planned exportation to Europe. Positioned to be a new oil power, Israel opposes Barack Obama’s desired give-a-way of Israeli lands that include many of their recently industrialized cities? The new call –“Drill, drill, Israel” – is likely to put Obama’s Middle East “landscaping” plan on hold.

Americans have learned the hard way, that the public agenda of Obama rarely matches the private agenda of Obama. Green RINOS who are Obama-light or support the UN’s green agenda must be weeded out, not only from the Republican presidential field, but out of office in 2012.


Green Policies a Substitute For Anti-Capitalist, Anti-American Ideas

By Warner Todd Huston

Those anti-capitalist college professor types that used to sneer at America and supported the murderous antics of the Soviets had for a short time after the fall of the U.S.S.R. no place in which to invest their anti-American ideals. However, it is clear that they have found a new home: greenism. And so, the old left is the new left again, re-born and hiding behind climate change, mythic green energy, and environmental extremism all acting the surrogate for their failed communist-styled ideas.

One of the latest examples of this surrogacy is indulged by the University of Maryland's Gar Alperovitz with a piece in The Nation entitled "The New-Economy Movement."

In this piece, Alperovitz not only openly admits that the so-called "new economy" thinking is simply today's dumping grounds for ages old, communist philosophy -- evinced in buzz words like social justice, egalitarianism, and sustainable communities -- he claims they will never be satisfied and that as time moves on, the demands of these enviro-centric economic theories will grow "much more radical."

Alperovitz begins his piece contrasting his subject with our "American creed that capitalism as we know it is the best, and only possible, option," and his praise of those "new economy" ideas that "runs directly counter" to our national philosophy. Alperovitz posits that his "new economy" based on old anti-capitalist ideas hiding behind greenism is taking over the mindset of the elites. Why? Why else but because "the threat of a global climate crisis grows increasingly dire," of course.

Like all other communist greenies, the only thing Alperovitz has to sell is fear itself.

Gar Alperovitz is most well known for his a-historical treatise that posits that President Truman's use of the Atomic Bomb to end WWII was a crime against humanity. Alperovitz has been accused by many historians of cherry picking facts that support his point of view and ignoring all else. That fits nicely with someone that hates capitalism and America like Alperovitz does. It also perfectly fits someone that still clings to communist doctrine in the face of well over 100 years of its failure.

Back in the 1970s Alperovitz was also a legislative aide to the terminally silly Senator Gaylord Nelson, a progressive from Wisconsin and one of the founders of "Earth Day" observances. Nelson, it will be remembered, was sold on the communist idea of "zero population growth" and wished for the stagnation of American society to “save the planet.”

In his Nation piece Alperovitz reports on several large companies that are pursuing the sort of profits-killing green policies that excite him. One thing is clear after reading his piece, though. None of these businesses will be able to sustain these programs without governments shoring them up. They are all economically unsustainable. But making money is as far from Alperovitz' mind as can be. His chief concern is socialist-styled ideals, not business.

Alperovitz wraps up his piece by predicting that his communist inspired "new-economy" ideas will grow. He also takes the prosaic step of claiming that his communist green ideas are somehow just like the Civil Rights movement and gay rights. Like all enviro-communists who want a sheen of legitimacy to be spread protectively across their old, failed ideas Alperovitz is desperate to make people think that the Civil Rights movement and the green religionists are one and the same, that both are/were striving for legitimate human rights. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As I mentioned, Alperovitz ends his piece with a prediction that as greenism grows it will get bolder and begin to demand "much more radical" changes in our government, society, and economic decisions. This warning follows apace with normal left-wing maneuvers. They begin with lies on their lips saying they "only" want some small level of change, some "human rights" that need to be assured, but as they gain success their real agenda is slowly rolled out and more radical, harsher, and more anti-capitalist demands become de rigueur.

But Alperovitz' piece is instructive. It reveals that greenism is a mere facade behind which ages old communist ideas hide. Anti-capitalism is the real thrust behind the green movement and this "new economy" movement is just the latest vehicle for those creaking, failed communist-based ideas.


Writer on the Leftist "Salon" is lying through his teeth about recent weather events

Whenever there is an unusual weather pattern, members of the Holy Church of Global Warming Moonbats start spreading new scare-tactics. Usually it sounds something like:
This planet is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Old Testament real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of Gilligan's Island Re-runs! Earthquakes, volcanoes, another Rocky Movie rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner living together... mass hysteria!

And just as common is the fact that scientists dispute their contention. It happened when both Time and Newsweek blamed this spring's tornado activity on Global Warming (contradicting earlier claims by the Magazines which blamed tornadoes on Global Cooling) and it's happening now when Salon is blaming the extremely hot temperatures in the American West:
Arizona is burning. Texas, too. New Mexico is next. If you need a grim reminder that an already arid West is burning up and blowing away, here it is. As I write this, more than 700 square miles of Arizona and more than 4,300 square miles of Texas have been swept by monster wildfires. Consider those massive columns of acrid smoke drifting eastward as a kind of smoke signal warning us that a globally warming world is not a matter of some future worst-case scenario. It's happening right here, right now.

...Nonetheless, we have been experiencing a historic drought for about a decade in significant parts of the region. As topsoil dries out, microbial dynamics change and native plants either die or move uphill toward cooler temperatures and more moisture. Wildlife that depends on the seeds, nuts, leaves, shade, and shelter follows the plants -- if it can.

....Global warming, global weirding, climate change -- whatever you prefer to call it -- is not just happening in some distant, melting Arctic land out of a storybook. It is not just burning up far-away Russia. It's here now.

The seas have warmed, ice caps are melting, and the old reliable ocean currents and atmospheric jet streams are jumping their tracks. The harbingers of a warming planet and the abruptly shifting weather patterns that result vary across the American landscape. Along the vast Mississippi River drainage in the heartland of America, epic floods, like our wildfires in the West, are becoming more frequent. In the Gulf states, it's monster hurricanes and in the Midwest, swarms of killer tornadoes signal that things have changed. In the East it's those killer heat waves and record-breaking blizzards.

Gee, they left out the Giligan's Island runs and the New Rocky movie. Maybe its because what Salon is saying above is totally fraudulent.

Lets start with the western drought/hot weather claim. This is what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says about it:
This comes hard on the heels of some of the worst droughts on record across the globe, from Texas to China.

While global warming is an obvious suspect, there's no evidence that it is to blame. Though climate change models predict extended droughts and periods of intense rainfall for the end of the 21st century, they don't explain the current droughts, says Martin Hoerling at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "A lot of these extreme conditions are natural variations of the climate. Extremes happen, heat waves happen, heavy rains happen," he says.

Drought across the southern US - and heavy rains across the north of the country - are a result of La Niña, says Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. An extended holding pattern in the jet stream, the same type of "blocking event" that caused last summer's heat wave in Russia, is responsible for this year's European droughts, says Michael Blackburn of the University of Reading, UK. As for the apparent convergence of droughts worldwide, Mark Saunders of University College London says current conditions aren't that unusual

How about those horrible tornadoes this past spring? This claim is just as fraudulent, Fox News reported:
Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said warming trends do create more of the fuel that tornadoes require, such as moisture, but that they also deprive tornadoes of another essential ingredient: wind shear.

“We know we have a warming going on,” Carbin told Fox News in an interview Thursday, but added: “There really is no scientific consensus or connection [between global warming and tornadic activity]….Jumping from a large-scale event like global warming to relatively small-scale events like tornadoes is a huge leap across a variety of scales.”

Asked if climate change should be “acquitted” in a jury trial where it stood charged with responsibility for tornadoes, Carbin replied: “I would say that is the right verdict, yes.” Because there is no direct connection as yet established between the two? “That’s correct,” Carbin replied.

According to Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University:
"If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it's agreed upon by the tornado community that it's not a real increase,"he said .

"It's having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we're seeing them more often," Dixon said.

But he said it would be "a terrible mistake" to relate the up-tick to climate change.

Salon is also naming Global Warming as the reason many of us in the Northeastern US had to spend so much time shoveling snow during the past two winters. After last year's snow-filled winter the NOAA issued a report in March 2010 which said:
They [NOAA investigators] found no evidence — no human “fingerprints” — to implicate our involvement in the snowstorms. If global warming was the culprit, the team would have expected to find a gradual increase in heavy snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic region as temperatures rose during the past century. But historical analysis revealed no such increase in snowfall. Nor did the CSI team find any indication of an upward trend in winter precipitation along the eastern seaboard.....

....The CSI Team found abundant historical evidence of heavy mid-Atlantic snowstorms whenever an El Niño and a negative NAO acted in concert, further supporting their conclusion that the record-setting snowstorms were the result of natural causes. But could global warming have elevated the potency of this dynamic duo? Again, the CSI Team didn’t find a connection.

Some of you may be thinking "well that was last year," and you would be totally justified except for the fact that two weeks ago the NOAA said, just like last year, this year's snow has nothing to do with man.

I would never make the claim that I am a scientist, or a science expert of any kind, but I can read. Based in that ability I would make the simple proposal to the people at Salon that, before they make claims about global warming, climate change or whatever the moonbats are calling it this week, maybe they should try to gain proficiency at the reading thing. Because if someone like me, who's science training consists of watching Mr. Wizard on a 19 inch black and white television 40 years ago can find scientific information which proves their claim to be nothing but hype and lies they could do the same thing. And while I appreciate the material (especially now that Anthony Weiner resigned) sending out false alarms to the public is usually not the best tactic for a self-described, "award-winning online news and entertainment Web site."



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


17 June, 2011

Simple-Simon question still stumps the Warmists

As I noted yesterday and the day before, there is a site here which claims to have all the answers to "climate denier" arguments

But there is one question that was put to them 3 days ago now that they still have not even attempted to answer. It is a question perfectly well-grounded in fact but pushes them right off their mental tramtracks. The question reads as follows:
Hey guys!

I gather that the global temperature has risen by less than one degree Celsius in the last 150 years

That sounds to me like we live in an era of exceptional climate stability

What am I missing?

New scientific report shows no increase in precipitation over past 105 years, contrary to global warming theory

One of the central tenets of global warming theory is that warming of the atmosphere results in increased water vapor and thus precipitation, leading to alarmist predictions of increased flooding. A paper published online yesterday in the Journal of Geophysical Research counters this notion, showing that winter precipitation of the central Pacific coast has not increased over the past 105 years. Rather, a cyclical pattern of unknown etiology is found, which clearly shows no correlation to CO2 levels whatsoever.

Red horizontal line added to show zero anomaly level

Is energetic decadal variability a stable feature of the central Pacific Coast's winter climate?

The central Pacific Coast of the United States is one of the few regions in North America where precipitation exhibited a high proportion of variance at decadal time scales (10 to 20 years) during the last century.

We use a network of tree ring-width records to estimate the behavior of the observed decadal pattern in regional winter precipitation during the last three and a half centuries. The pattern was most vigorous during the mid and late 20th century.

Between A.D. 1650 and 1930, proxy estimates show a limited number of events separated by longer intervals of relatively low variance. The multicentennial perspective offered by tree rings indicates the energetic decadal pattern in winter precipitation is a relatively recent feature.

Until a physical mechanism can be identified that explains the presence of this decadal rhythm, as well as its inconsistency during the period of record, we cannot rule out the possibility that this behavior may cease as abruptly as it began.


Society being misled by proponents of human induced climate change

By Kelvin Kemm (Dr. Kemm is a nuclear physicist)

I believe that, in the future, when people look back at the history of current decades, they will wonder how a sophisticated, technological society could be so misled by proponents of human-induced climate change, when so much scientific evidence is available to show that clear logical alternatives are available to the hysterical incantations of the doom-and-gloom cult.

It is actually fascinating to watch global climate change science being mixed into the extreme green emotional blender to such an extent that the truth becomes passing fragments in the swirl of emotional and distorted public discourse.

Against this background, it is necessary to stand back and pick out the truth and form a coherent picture that stands the scrutiny of correct scientific assessment. Correct scientific assessment was pioneered by people such as Sir Isaac Newton. The process has a long history, and is composed of well-defined protocols.

In the midst of the climate debate of confusion and counterclaim, painfully few members of the public stop to ask for the real credentials of the people making dramatic public statements that seem to be scientific.

Prior to the well-known climate conference in Copenhagen, Belgium, then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a dramatic speech in which he said that mankind had 50 days to save the world. He was looking for political points rather than scientific truth, just as some of Sir Isaac Newton’s detractors were over 400 years ago.

In a speech delivered in October 2009, Brown said: “But the threat is not confined to the developing world. The extraordinary summer heat wave of 2003 in Europe resulted in over 35 000 extra deaths. On current trends, such an event could become quite routine in Britain in just a few decades’ time. And within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren, the intense temperatures of 2003 could become the average temperature experienced throughout much of Europe. In Britain, we face the prospect of more frequent droughts and a rising wave of floods.”

So, why did he find it necessary to refer to the summer heat of 2003, when it was 2009? He said that the high temperatures of 2003 could become the norm in Britain “in just a few decades’ time”. He had no evidence for such a statement. In the meantime, Britain and Europe have had a couple of the coldest winters ever, with airports and roads being closed owing to record snowfalls.

As I write this article in South Africa, heading into our winter, I find that our temperatures are warmer than those of the UK, which is heading into summer. Brown’s predicted curve seems to be curving away from his prediction.

But I can now make a prediction with great confidence: within 200 days, the next United Nations (UN) environment conference, the seventeenth Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Durban, South Africa, and considerable hot air will be produced by many humans at the conference.

In the mid-1970s, prestigious journals Time and Newsweek both predicted massive global cooling, and even featured covers showing a frozen planet covered in ice. Oops! That turned out to be a bad mistake. I wonder which members of their editorial teams are now kicking themselves for that blunder.

But the media continue to quote the green alarmists and to generally bypass the more stable element of the scientific community, who ask people to look at the real science. Newsweek, once bitten, twice shy, perhaps, is now taking a second look at the current global warming claims, and has said: “Some of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, news- paper articles . . . Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments.”

Yes, personal attacks on people who dare to try to tell the truth are becoming common. The Climategate scandal showed just how bad this has become, but, sadly, much of the media brushed the Climategate revelations aside.

When overt manipulation of the data occurred, that was bad enough, but then these people went on to hatch plans to threaten and intimidate journal editors who attempted to publish the truth.

In 2007, I was part of an original group of 400 scientists, internationally, who were invited to sign a historic climate document of the US Senate. We said that the so-called ‘consensus’ that human-induced global warming is an established fact, potentially leading to the downfall of mankind, is just plain and simply not true and is not supported by scientific evidence. We were jumped on, but, interestingly, the document has now grown to over 1 000 qualified signatories, and can be found here. Note that every signatory signs his or her name and clearly indicates where he or she comes from. The signatories can be found!

Many proponents of the alarmist cause sign no names, or make their affiliations so obscure that it is frequently difficult to actually find out who these people are. I wonder if Brown has a clear list of the various names and addresses of the people whose advice he used in 2009.

Well, let us see what comes out of Durban later this year.


Peer Review And ‘Pal Review’ In Climate Science

Publishing in the scientific literature is supposed to be tough. Submit a manuscript to a reputable journal and it will go through “peer review,” where your equals criticize your work, send their comments to a journal editor and then the editor will decide whether to accept your submission, reject it outright, or something in between.

In order to limit any bias caused by personal or philosophical animosity, the editor should remove your name from the paper and send it to other experts who have no apparent conflict of interest in reviewing your work. You and the reviewers should not know who each other are. This is called a “double blind” peer review.

Well, this is “the way it is supposed to be.” But in the intellectually inbred, filthy-rich world of climate science, where billions of dollars of government research money support trillions of dollars of government policy, peer review has become anything but that.

There is simply no “double blindness.” For reasons that remain mysterious, all the major climate journals leave the authors’ names on the manuscripts sent out for review.

Economists, psychologists and historians of science all tell us (and I am inclined to believe them) that we act within our rational self-interest. Removing the double-blind restriction in such an environment is an invitation for science abuse.

What about if my professional advancement is dependent upon climate change monies (which applies to just about every academic or government climatologist)? I’m liable to really like a paper that says this is a horrible and important problem, and likely to rail against an author who says it’s probably a bit overblown. May God have mercy on any manuscript that mentions the rather large elephant in the room, which is that we probably can’t do much about it anyway.

Such “confirmation bias” has been noted and studied for years, but the response of science in general — and atmospheric science in particular — has only been to make things worse.

Peer review has become ”pal review.” Send a paper to one of the very many journals published by the American Geophysical Union–the world’s largest publisher of academic climate science–and you can suggest five reviewers. The editor doesn’t have to take your advice, but he’s more likely to if you bought him dinner at the last AGU meeting, isn’t he? That is, of course, unless journal editors are somehow different than government officials, congressmen, or you.

Or, if you get wind that someone is about to publish something threatening your gravy train, maybe you can cajole the editor to keep it out of print for a year while you prepare a counter-manuscript.

That’s what the “Climategate” gang did with the International Journal of Climatology whn University of Rochester’s David Douglass submitted a paper. His work showed that a large warming at high altitudes in the tropics–one of the major ways in which the enhanced greenhouse effect is supposed to change the climate–isn’t happening. For the gory details, click here. The story on this one is still unfolding as the journal has declined to publish a sequel to the counter-manuscript.

Or you could simply ignore manuscripts sent to you that find problems with temperature histories.

But there has to be a gold standard somewhere, right? Perhaps the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)?

Dream on. If you are a member of the National Academy, you can submit four manuscripts a year, called “contributed papers” as long as you do the “peer review” yourself! That’s right: you send your manuscript to two of your friends, and then mail your paper along with their comments. Again, pal review.

The PNAS editor then rubber-stamps the results. In fact, the editor probably goes through quite a few rubber stamps a year, given that only 15 of the 800-odd contributed papers submitted in the last year were rejected. For comparative purposes, Nature would have accepted only about 50 out of that number.

A recent paper submitted to PNAS by National Academy member Richard Lindzen was afforded special treatment. The editor insisted that it be held to a different standard of review because of its “political implications.” Lindzen’s research found that carbon dioxide warming is likely to be much lower than what is being calculated by current climate models.

So what about the legion of alarmist papers from NASA firebrand James Hansen that PNAS publishes via pal review? Don’t they have “political implications” too? In the mind of our National Academy, apparently some political implications are more equal than others.

There’s a lot of confirmation bias working in Hansen’s favor, because it’s back to the back of the plane for ham-and-egger climate scientists if Lindzen is right. That’s where the “political implications” get personal.

There’s a lot more to this story. Lindzen eventually published his paper–which actually benefited from a real review–in an obscure journal. But the next time you think that peer review is unbiased, think of confirmation bias, pal review and Climategate, and try to figure a way out of the mess that climate science has gotten itself into.


If only Britain's politicians were on the side of the ordinary people - and not the green fanatics and council jobsworths

("Jobsworth" is British slang for an obstructive government employee, usually a local government employee who refuses some request or service on trivial or technical grounds)

About a year ago, Oxford City Council kindly gave me a slop bucket. It has sat unused outside our back door. The idea of scraping old potato peelings and fish bones into this small receptacle, inevitably creating an almighty mess and stink, was a bridge too far.

Now, however, we shall all be forced to use them. The Tory Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has decreed that every household in England must press a slop bucket into action. This is despite the fact that in opposition she led the anti-slop bucket movement on the grounds that they created an unholy pong. Just one more broken Tory promise.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not a recycling 'denier'. The responsibility for getting rid of waste in our house has somehow largely been devolved to me, and every week I spend some time conscientiously sorting newspapers, cartons and bits of plastic into the correct wheelie bin.

Sometimes I find myself devoting a fair bit of intellectual energy to wondering whether, say, a tattered piece of cellophane is recyclable or not.

I try to ignore the newspaper reports that there are vast warehouses full of unsorted rubbish, and ships laden with the stuff on the high seas to China, where it all ends up in a landfill site as big as the Gobi Desert. I attempt to discount stories that recycled paper is sometimes rejected by paper mills because it contains shards of glass or other unsuitable materials.

We are all in this together, I repeat to myself, as I dutifully drop the right thing into the right bin.

And, in common with many of my fellow citizens, my spirits have been sustained during this melancholy process by the solemn promise made by the Tories in opposition, and indeed in government, that they would at least restore weekly bin collections.

I have looked forward to the time when visitors to our house will not hold their noses as they pass our smelly bin, emptied every fortnight.

Recently encountering a plump rat who was shamelessly sunning himself on the pavement outside our house, I comforted myself with the thought that he would have a rough time of it once Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, had fulfilled his pledge to insist on a weekly round.

Mr Pickles, whose Pickwickian girth and manner have always endeared him to me, declared in an interview with the Mail last year that 'it's a basic right for every English man and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in their bin without having to wait a fortnight for it to be collected'.

He looks as though he has consumed a good few chicken tikka masalas in his time, and therefore spoke from the heart.

Now Mr Pickles has been overruled by the bossy-sounding Mrs Spelman and is reported to be furious — though not so furious that he is thinking about resigning. And, to be fair, why should he? If a minister in the Coalition stood down every time a pledge was broken, there wouldn't be anyone left.

But I do worry that this habit of making promises to win votes, and then almost casually breaking them, is likely to be injurious to democracy.

Mrs Spelman idiotically tries to justify herself by saying that 'in opposition you don't have a chance to see the Government's books'. Surely we all knew enough to be aware that there was a gaping black hole.

Ministers say it would cost the Government £132.5million a year to restore weekly collections since cash-strapped councils do not have the money. I accept this is quite a large amount. On the other hand, there are two quangos overseeing rubbish policy that cost £50million a year. Couldn't they be closed down, and their funding be diverted? And shouldn't a promise be a promise?

My strong suspicion is that it is not primarily a matter of cash. Mrs Spelman has gone native. Like many of her ministerial colleagues she is only nominally a Tory — if by 'Tory' we mean someone who instinctively sides with the individual against the might of the State.

She likes bossing us about. She subscribes to the notion that Whitehall — or Brussels — always knows what's best for us. If you don't want to shovel fish bones into a slop bucket, tough.

In short, she has bought into the whole recycling racket, behind which stands the European Union with its Landfill Directive which has set targets for reducing the amount of waste sent to our landfill sites by 65 per cent by 2015, set against a 1995 baseline. Please don't ask what business it is of the EU to dictate what we do with our rubbish.

Most of us can agree that there is far too much needless packaging produced by our supermarkets, as well as too many plastic bags.

We don't want the earth of England to be filled with broken bottles and drink cans. Let's recycle if it works — but don't let it become a system for oppressing the individual so that the very people who pay for rubbish collection end up by being bullied, penalised and even fined.

Anyone but the most blinkered recycler can surely see that the proliferation of bins is disfiguring the urban landscape — in other words, creating a form of aesthetic pollution that in its way is quite as obnoxious as the physical pollution of landfill sites, just as swathes of wind farms promoted by green zealots are despoiling England every bit as much as the power stations they are supposed to replace, if not more.

One overmighty local authority, Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, insists that residents use no fewer than nine separate bags, bins and buckets to satisfy its recycling requirements.

A friend of mine tells me he has to have seven. I suppose I should be grateful that our own council only demands three, though like many others it has recently started charging for the removal of garden waste, this being another way of squeezing extra cash from already hard-pressed council tax payers.

Eric Pickles has turned out to be as much use as a burst balloon. Mrs Spelman behaves as one might have expected. Instead of knocking some sense into Whitehall bureaucrats, and making councils behave in a civilised manner, she has ratcheted up the recycling nonsense one more notch by forcing us to use slop buckets. And she calls herself a Tory!

Would it be hopelessly naive at five minutes to midnight to request David Cameron to think again and honour his modest, but oft repeated, pledge? In the circumstances it does not seem much to ask.

Unlike me, I don't suppose he does much recycling these days, but there is nothing he could do more likely to re-establish his credentials as a Tory, and show that he is on the side of the ordinary people of England against the green fanatics, council busybodies and bureaucrats, than to give us back the weekly bin collections he promised.


The rise of the Green wowser

"Wowser" was originally an American term for "temperance" campaigners. It seems to have died in the USA when Prohibition was repealed. Australia never had Prohibition, however, so the term is still in common use there to decribe killjoys of all sorts

WHEN we survey some of the more controversial incidents of recent times, from the attempts to place restrictions on poker machine players to the suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia, there is a connecting thread that almost everyone has missed. This is the return of the wowser.

Wowsers (We Only Want Social Evils Remedied) are traditionally as Australian as meat pies and Holden cars.

They were responsible for Australian institutions such as the six o'clock closing and the shutting of shops on Sundays.

One would have thought that they had receded into the annals of history as Australians became more liberal on these sorts of issues. Shopping is now very much a Sunday experience and Australians are used to the idea of civilised drinking.

But wowserism has never really gone away and, like any great tradition, has bided its time waiting for new opportunities. It has simply changed its spots. Once it had a strong religious colouring; now it is taking on an increasingly secular tone.

Wowsers want to improve people and make them better. To do so they have to prevent them from engaging in activities that they find immoral: be it gambling, eating meat, drinking alcohol, smoking or consuming junk food.

My father used to say that for such people if you were enjoying yourself there must be sin involved.

I have no doubt that behind the ruckus about live meat exports there is a vegetarian agenda, based on the idea that vegetarians are better people than meat eaters. If we limit gambling we can make people better. And, as we all know, it is a fact universally acknowledged that there is not a bogan out there who could not do with some improvement.

In days gone by, the ideals of wowserdom were often linked with those of eugenics. People could be improved if only their habits and lifestyle were changed; if only they lived a more rational way of life.

Eugenics has often been misunderstood. For one thing it was embraced in countries such as Australia by people who considered themselves to be progressive, who we would describe as being on the left. For another it was as much about changing the environment as it was about selective breeding. It was about making better people.

It was not only Nazi Germany that engaged in activities such as sterilising the unfit. Many countries, including democracies, sought to improve their populations in this way.

It was not politics so much as religion that determined whether a government would seek to go down this road. Protestants generally did, Catholics did not. Fortunately, Australia had a significant Catholic minority.

In a slightly different vein it is worth observing that Hitler and his fellow Nazis were very concerned about cruelty to animals and introduced legislation that made Germany a world leader in this area. They restricted their cruelty only to those people whom they regarded as inferior, all in the name of improving the human race.

Wowsers and eugenicists generally go together as they see the key to a better world lying in the creation of better human beings. Eradicate evils and that will be possible.

The idea that it is the task of the government to improve the people who are entrusted to their care is very dangerous. Are people who do not eat meat or play the poker machines really better than those who do? Do we want the state to attempt to create a utopia of good people who have had their bad bits excised?

It is not surprising that wowserism should come to prominence again in tandem with the growing strength of the Greens. The Greens are the latest manifestation of a sort of moralistic puritanism that has been part of Australia since the First Fleet. Australians must change their evil ways. The Greens see themselves as the enforcers who will achieve that change, thereby leading the country into the sustainable utopia.

In such a utopia the status of animals would rise and that of humans fall. It is no longer necessary to sterilise the unfit. With the advance of medicine they can be detected and disposed of while still in the womb.

The only problem is that maybe ordinary Australians do not want to be improved in this way. As in the past, they enjoy their gambling, their steaks and their booze. They simply want to enjoy life.

Wowsers are part of the Australian tradition but they have always been in the minority.

Their grand plans for the people of this country have always run up against the reality that most people are happy to be less than perfect. On that rock the Greens will ultimately founder.


World of sham carbon policies exposed

With his usual mastery of critical detail, distinguished Australian economist Henry Ergas comments on Australia's proposed carbon tax

CONTRARY to repeated assertions by the Prime Minister, the Productivity Commission did not endorse an economy-wide emissions trading scheme. Rather, its recently released report on carbon emissions policies models an ETS that applies only to the electricity sector and excludes all trade-exposed industries.

As the commission shows, current policies aimed at subsidising renewable energy incur high costs for pitifully little outcome. No surprise then that its modelling finds that scrapping those policies and imposing a carbon price of $9 a tonne on the electricity sector would cause less harm.

But that is not what the government is proposing. Despite the PC finding that "no country imposes an economy-wide tax on greenhouse gases or has in place an economy-wide ETS", its ETS will extend beyond electricity to the emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries that are at the heart of our comparative advantage. And its carbon price will be three times that the PC models.

As the commission warns, without comparable measures in competitor countries, that could merely shift output and emissions to our commercial rivals.

Moreover, the government has no intention of removing the myriad measures that squander resources on uneconomic energy sources. Rather, it is committed to its Renewable Energy Target, with the changes it made last January further increasing the subsidy it provides. The PC suggests those changes alone will increase NSW electricity prices by 6 per cent, on top of the 4 per cent increase the RET has already caused.

It is important to understand that a carbon tax does not offset these distortions: rather, like turning up the volume on a faulty amplifier, it compounds the loss. This is because it amounts to an increase in the subsidies those schemes provide.

Assume an inefficient subsidy to buses; now impose a tax on using cars. The additional passengers who shift to buses valued cars more than those who shifted earlier, so the loss increases more than proportionately. At the same time, more must be spent meeting that demand, causing further losses as resources move from making cars to buses.

Even in such simple cases, cumulating distortions cause waste to rise exponentially.

Matters are even worse with an ETS because it affects not only what is consumed but how things are produced. As more efficient ways of producing are replaced by less efficient alternatives, a social loss is incurred on every unit supplied.

Nor is that loss trivial. According to a recent study by AGL, a strong advocate of an ETS, the running cost of a base-load gas plant is six times that of Victorian brown coal. Given those cost differentials, changing the generation mix requires swinging penalties on low-cost energy sources, with AGL estimating that a $30 a tonne carbon tax - not even enough to cause widespread substitution - would increase the running cost of brown coal plants by 10.2 times.

That 10-fold increase would not just hit struggling residential consumers. One-third of our direct emissions from electricity generation are associated with electricity use in manufacturing. Our trade-exposed industries would therefore suffer a double whammy as they were taxed both directly and through higher input costs.

The resulting losses might be worth bearing if they materially reduced the risk of dangerous climate change. But it is clear from the commission's report that current global efforts are derisory. True, the eight countries the PC analysed have more than a thousand policies in place, many focused on electricity generation. But in aggregate those policies yield barely 210 million tonnes of electricity sector abatement.

Take China, the world's largest and most rapidly growing emitter, which the Garnaut report says has "pledged large reduction targets, implemented reforms that deliver on its commitments, and set sail on a global mission to dominate new opportunities". But the PC finds China's abatement affects barely 1 per cent of its electricity emissions, while its abatement outlays, at one-third of 1 per cent of gross domestic product, are well below Australia's.

Moreover, the PC's measure of net abatement takes no account of subsidies to emissions. Recent estimates place subsidies to fossil fuel use in China at about 1.4 per cent of GDP. For each dollar spent curbing emissions, China therefore spends $4 promoting them.

Yes, some countries, notably Germany and Britain, devote substantial resources to emissions reduction. But even there, the PC finds high costs for modest impacts. Indeed, as the report notes, the Germans spend $150 to $300 a tonne of carbon securing emissions reductions that under the European Union's ETS are simply offset by increased emissions in Italy and Spain.

That may seem irrational. But the reality is that this is an area whose politics are now entirely symbolic. Notwithstanding sweeping promises in international forums, and regardless of the homilies of climate change's high priests, governments do not believe communities have any stomach to make real sacrifices for a goal that seems ever more illusory.

Trapped between the zealots and that brute fact, they resort to what are little more than bribes, buying, at absurdly high cost, a bit of abatement here, dispensing an exclusion from obligations there, and sprinkling the whole with scarcely credible claims to moral principle. Unsurprisingly, the policies born from this combination of shabbiness of motives and pretence to public spirit are as incoherent as they are socially wasteful. But that does not mean those policies are not privately profitable. Indeed, studies find even the EU ETS increased European generators' profits by some 30 to 50 per cent, as free permit allocations ensured revenues increased by more than costs. Such transfers merely increase the inefficiencies, as profits are dissipated in attempts to secure and protect rents, while those who would bear the costs throw further resources at self-defence.

Only in bad light, and even then only by the weak-sighted, could such policies be confused for meaningful efforts at tackling climate change. That is the sham the commission's spotlight exposes. But none are so blind as those that would not see. Forcing the government to face up to the PC's findings is the task ahead.



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


16 June, 2011

The unanswerable question?

I headlined my postings here yesterday with mention of a new "skeptic killer" website that grandly claimed to speak for "the scientific community" despite having only a tiny fraction of that community on their list of supporters. They profess to be able to refute all arguments put up by "deniers".

Their pretensions have attracted a lot of attention with a very long comment thread on which both both skeptics and Warmists post. The Warmists generally try to refute what the skeptics post.

But there is one entirely factual and super-simple skeptical question there that no Warmist had dared touch when I posted yesterday and again today is has had no answers. It goes to the very heart of their argument and would seem completely fatal to it so it is no wonder that it is the Warmists who are in "denial". The question reads as follows:
Hey guys!

I gather that the global temperature has risen by less than one degree Celsius in the last 150 years

That sounds to me like we live in an era of exceptional climate stability

What am I missing?

Wow! New Scientist is losing its religion

They have an article just up on the theme:: "Global warming not to blame for 2011 droughts". Excerpt:

While global warming is an obvious suspect, there's no evidence that it is to blame. Though climate change models predict extended droughts and periods of intense rainfall for the end of the 21st century, they don't explain the current droughts, says Martin Hoerling at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "A lot of these extreme conditions are natural variations of the climate. Extremes happen, heat waves happen, heavy rains happen," he says....

As for the apparent convergence of droughts worldwide, Mark Saunders of University College London says current conditions aren't that unusual. News media may simply be more tuned in to reporting extreme weather events.


Sun may be entering a quiet period, researchers say

Not a bad article from a MSM source below. A cautious warning of global cooling, even!

The next 11-year cycle of increased sunspot activity, scheduled to begin about 2020, may be delayed and have a reduced magnitude - or it may not occur at all, researchers said.

Three different lines of evidence suggest that the sun, which is expected to reach its maximum sunspot and magnetic activity in the current cycle in 2013, might even be entering a prolonged quiet period similar to the so-called Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 in which virtually no sunspots were observed.

That minimum coincided with the "Little Ice Age", in which temperatures were unusually low in Europe and elsewhere around the globe, and some researchers suggest that the two events were cause and effect - although evidence of that linkage is extremely limited.

Other than any potential climatic impact, the effects of reduced sunspots would have little direct impact on humans. Most of the terrestrial effects linked to sunspot activity - including interference with telecommunications, adverse effects on power transmission, reduced lifetimes of satellites and other problems - occur when sunspot activity increases.

Sunspots are caused by pockets of intense magnetic activity that disrupt the normal circulation of heated gases on the sun's surface, leading to areas of cooling and reduced brightness.

Sunspot activity is linked to the solar cycle, in which the star's magnetic poles are reversed every 22 years. As the magnetic fields shift around during these reversals, they create sunspots through mechanisms that are not yet entirely clear.

The findings, presented at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's solar physics division, represents the first wave of new data that should help physicists better understand the sun's internal workings.

Three separate studies reached the same conclusion.

Frank Hill, of the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico, and his colleagues, studied streams of fields flowing under the sun's surface, the solar equivalent to the Earth's jet stream. Using a process known as helioseismography, which monitors sound waves emitted by these solar jet streams, they found that jet streams that precede the normal beginning of a solar cycle are missing.

Matt Penn, of the National Solar Observatory, and his colleagues, used the McMath-Pierce Telescope to monitor the magnetic strength of sunspots. They observed that, for the past 13 years, the strength has been declining regularly.

And Richard Altrock, the manager of the US Air Force's coronal research program, used four decades of measurement on the sun's corona to show that magnetic activity at the sun's poles has been declining. Such declines are linked to decreased sunspot activity.

As for the potential effects on climate, Dr Altrock said, if the next cycle doesn't occur, "it will be a good opportunity to find out".


Here comes the evil denier monster

Comment from an Australian advertising man

WHEN you've run out of positive things to say in advertising, the easiest trick is to make up a monster. The uglier and more repulsive the better.

Think of toilet cleaning ads. Take those imaginary, microscopic, horrible, slimy things that make guttural noises and squirm disgustingly as they salivate over your ceramic bowl.

Animation and special effects studios have a lot of fun designing and creating these grotesque visual metaphors with which to terrify the consumer, to the delight of advertising executives and their clients alike. Ugly monsters allow you to avoid having to spell out your own positive selling points, if indeed you have any.

It would appear the advocates of the carbon tax have cottoned on to this trick. Through a relentless and combined effort they have created their very own grotesque creature to terrify us. The hideous "climate change denier" is as ugly and repulsive as any toilet germ gremlin.

The climate change denier has become the Left's favourite bogeyman, pursued with all the zeal of a witch hunt in 17th century Salem. Stupid, vain, ugly and mendacious, the climate change denier monster is anyone who questions any or all aspects of the anthropogenic global warming theory and rejects the urgent requirement of a carbon tax/ETS. This repugnant creature lurks in your neighbourhood and threatens life on earth as we know it.

"The agents of . . . planetary death will be the climate change deniers," asserted The Sydney Morning Herald columnist and ABC presenter Richard Glover recently. What, even more so than say, viral mutations, nuclear war, poverty, over-population, peak oil or even the odd asteroid? Yep. And so dangerous are these critters that Glover helpfully suggested "Surely it's time for climate change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies" before being "lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling . . . their mouths will be above water." After this piece attracted a great deal of unwelcome attention Glover apologised and pointed out the obvious; he was only joking.

But the joke's wearing a bit thin. Only weeks earlier Glover had had another stab at humorously depicting so-called climate change deniers, eagerly conflating them with the "trolls" who clutter the internet. I'm sure former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson would be flattered to know that Glover, in effect, deems him and his opinions to be of no more consequence than an "idiot who should be corralled".

And is it honestly the case that the likes of Lord Turnbull, the former head of the civil service in Britain who has demanded that his government stop terrifying the public about climate change, have their "heads in the sand and their bums defiantly aquiver as they fart their toxic message to the world"?

And is the physicist William Happer of Princeton University, who claims it is far from clear there is any real threat from global warming - let alone a catastrophic one - really just another creature from "a septic tank teeming with snapping trolls?"

Elizabeth Farrelly, also of the Herald, decided that rather than creating her own monster to terrify us with, she would borrow an existing one. Not even the best animation studios have managed to come up with anything as slimy, evil and repugnant as our very own cane toad.

With the Herald's cartoonist on hand to make sure you were suitably repulsed, Farrelly applied the metaphor to 2GB's Alan Jones. Bemoaning the fact that Australia's highest rating broadcaster was "poisoning the logic well", "lowbrow", and will "irreparably harm our civilisation, as well as our climate," she chose to dismiss out of hand the points he was making about a) Julia Gillard having lied to the electorate about imposing a carbon tax and b) the nation's ability to have any measurable effect (negative or positive) on the world's climate.

Instead, we were treated to: "[Shock jocks] are the cane toads of contemporary culture: ugly, ubiquitous, toxic to most other life forms." There's that planetary death threat again. If only Glover and Farrelly had some Toilet Troll handy. It kills 99.9 per cent of all known climate change deniers.

Farrelly then gave us an accurate, but ironic, lecture on "dishonest tricks in argument, including caricature, anecdote and non sequitur" seemingly unaware that these are the precise tactics she and her fellow climate change denier demonisers (there! I've just created my own monster!) repeatedly use to demean anyone who happens to disagree with their point of view.

Mike Carlton (also of the Herald, is there a pattern developing here?) is also a dab hand at scaring the kiddies. When George Pell had the temerity to question the climate change orthodoxy, Carlton was ready with the ugly imagery: "Pull out a few fingernails, stretch him on the rack, a bit of how's-yer-father with a red hot poker." Carlton was trying to paint a picture of the medieval religious mind-set, but you couldn't help but get the impression he wouldn't mind wielding the red hot poker himself. Particularly if any of the following monstrous individuals had been splayed out on the rack:

"The third lot of climate denial ratbags are those tabloid media pundits cynically banging the populist drum to drag in the hordes of bogan nongs out there. [A fair bit of Australian slang there: Ratbags are eccentric people; Bogans are working class people; Nongs are stupid people]

"These are people who believe they are beset by a cabal of lefties, Greenies, gays, femi-Nazis, Muslims, venal and incompetent public servants and latte-sipping intellectuals conspiring to deprive them of all they hold dear, like their inalienable right to own a jet-ski and to name their children Breeyanna and Jaxxon."

That's a lot of condescension and hate to pack into one paragraph. These wouldn't be those same people out in the western suburbs who are now lumbered with exorbitant electricity bills because of feel-good renewable schemes that, according to the Productivity Commission report, were ineffectual at best?

And let's not forget "the usual talkback shock jocks going feral and Rupert's opinionators lunging like a shoal of piranha" which, I suppose, is as good a way as any to avoid responding to those who dared question the credibility of Cate Blanchett (Hollywood millionairess) fronting Get Up's carbon tax ads (say yes to the poor being better off.) Is it possible for this debate to be conducted on the strength of the arguments alone? Or, like the toilet cleaning ads, do we have to create monsters in order to build our case?

By all means, counter every argument the climate change deniers, sceptics, carbon tax opponents and the rest put forward, and attack their opinions with passion and verve, or even better, with proven facts and irrefutable rebuttals.

But hysterically and repeatedly portraying them as ugly, stupid trolls, toads and ferals threatening life on earth as we know it, is intellectually (and morally) dubious at best.

Worthy of a toilet cleaning ad, perhaps. But not worthy of the future economic and environmental health of our country.


Electricity tsar lashes the Australian government's pet economist and his carbon tax proposals

ROSS Garnaut's proposals to transform coal-fired power generation using a carbon tax are ineffectual, too bureaucratic and create "significant fiscal risks" for power companies, according to the Gillard government's own energy commission.

In a confidential report sent to all energy ministers and the multi-party committee working on the carbon pricing legislation, the Australian Energy Market Commission says proposals in Professor Garnaut's electricity sector report for the government could threaten the energy market.

"We are also concerned that the paper does not fully consider the likely implications for retail competition and market structure of the development of a carbon price and associated policies," AEMC chairman John Pierce said.

The report by AEMC - an adviser to the Council of Australian Governments' Ministerial Council on Energy - warns that the proposals to provide power stations with government guarantees could lead to taxpayers footing the bill for failed generation businesses by assuming ownership and could "undermine rather than strengthen the stability of the national electricity market".

Compensation for electricity generators hit by a carbon price was one of the key factors in framing the government's first carbon pollution reduction scheme and is opposed by the Greens and Professor Garnaut - Labor's key climate change adviser.

Professor Garnaut's March report on the effects of a carbon price on the $120 billion electricity sector to the government and the multi-party committee on climate change rejected compensation for power stations affected by the carbon price on the grounds it was "highly unlikely" to threaten physical energy security.

He proposed commonwealth loan guarantees to keep high-emission generators operating and an "energy security council" to ensure continuity of supply and avoid instability in the electricity market.

He also found that old brown-coal power stations in Victoria's Latrobe Valley could still be required to operate intermittently on days of strong power demand.

While the AEMC said there were some useful aspects of Professor Garnaut's report, it did not address the main problems of electricity generators losing asset values, being unable to borrow funds and avoiding financial risks and market failures.

Responding to the AEMC criticisms, Professor Garnaut last night rejected suggestions his approach was bureaucratic, saying it was the opposite. "I've got much more faith in the role of the market and the market's response to carbon pricing than has been shown by the regulatory authorities," Professor Garnaut said at a community meeting in Victoria's Latrobe Valley. "I'm quite confident that our electricity market can handle the adjustments that have to be made without big handouts of taxpayers' money."

The AEMC - an independent body that sets the rules for the national electricity market - wants free carbon permits to be given to specific power-generating plants rather than cash compensation or debt guarantees to encourage investment in new technology and limit the risks of power disruption and price rises.

On renewable energy programs, the AEMC agreed with Professor Garnaut's criticism of the schemes, saying they should be reviewed to see whether they were "still required" following the introduction of a carbon price.

"The overall aim should be to find policy settings that achieve the government's policy objectives as efficiently as possible, including minimising costs to consumers."

In relation to the creation of an energy security council to oversee the implementation of a carbon tax to force electricity generators to shift to cleaner fuels, Mr Pierce said: "We are concerned that the proposed mechanism may be unduly bureaucratic and not able to operate quickly enough in the circumstances where it would be required."

Mr Pierce is a former secretary of NSW Treasury and until June last year was secretary of the federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

The AEMC report said Professor Garnaut's proposals aimed at minimising "financial contagion" in the electricity market, which could disrupt power and force up household costs, but were aimed at industry debt levels rather than damage to the value of power-generating assets.

"Rather than a financial problem, the introduction of a carbon pricing mechanism creates an equity problem through asset impairment," the AEMC report found. "If the carbon pricing mechanism is introduced without addressing the asset impairment issue, the equity of the businesses would be reduced. "If that occurs across a number of participants, it is likely to lead to financial contagion and will impede the market from functioning effectively."

Professor Garnaut said last night he did not think asset impairment was the real issue. "In the end, the question about asset impairment is where should a scarce amount of revenue from carbon pricing be spent," he said.

"Should it be spent on compensating the shareholders, whether in Sydney or Hong Kong or Paris, or should it be spent on supporting innovation to build the economy of the future, and providing tax cuts and improved benefits for Australian households?

"A choice has to be made and I'm confident I got that choice right."

The commission expressed "concern" the Garnaut report "does not fully consider the likely implications for retail competition and market structure of the development of a carbon price".

"We are also concerned the paper makes a number of proposals that would be very significant implications for the energy markets without sufficiently detailed analysis of the costs, benefits and implications of the proposals," the AEMC said.

The AEMC is also reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of renewable energy schemes with generous feed-in tariffs that underpin investments in power sources such as wind and power.


World demand for coal rising rather than falling

Coal prices are surging ahead even as most other commodities pull back, spurred on by expectations that metallurgical and thermal coal production will again fail to meet rising global demand this year. The result? Record profits for major coal producers like Xstrata, a surge in acquisitions from coal-hungry India, Chinese electricity shortages, and a raging carbon tax debate in Australia amid record investments in that country’s coal-heavy mining sector.

The price spikes in the second half of 2008, which were completely unsustainable and disappeared rapidly in the recession, distort the picture. So instead, imagine the above graph without those peaks. What you get is an almost sustained ascent in the spot prices of thermal and metallurgical coal over the last four years. Metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel and is also known as coking coal, has almost doubled in price, climbing from just above US$80 per ton in mid-2007 to more than US$160 per ton today. Thermal coal, which is burned to generate electricity, has risen from the US$45 per ton range to almost US$80 per ton.

There are a couple of countries that really take notice when coal prices start to rock. Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and relies on thermal coal for 80% of its electricity. China mines more coal than any other country in the world but still imports more to support its power and steel-making needs – the country mines and burns more than three billion tons of the black stuff annually. And India – where the economy is growing at 8% annually – is facing multimillion ton coal shortages even as it works to halve a 14% peak power deficit within two years....

It is not just coking coal that China needs. Shortfalls in thermal coal supplies are main culprit in an expected 30-million kW summer power deficit. And the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the country’s electricity pricing system has not kept up with coal price increases. Plants sell electricity to the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) at a set price, and SGCC then resells to consumers. But the set price has not kept pace with coal prices. As such, coal-fired generators lose money for every ton of coal they burn, which is not exactly an incentive to produce more power.

To continue on a familiar theme, India is also facing an acute coal shortage. In April, for example, the nation imported 32 million tons of thermal coal against a total requirement of 36.9 million tons. At the end of March, 26 of India’s thermal power stations reported having only critical stocks of coal, including ten stations with fewer than four days’ worth of fuel. On Monday the prime minister convened an emergency meeting to discuss the coal shortages, which are expected to total 112 million tons over the next 12 months.

India has been working to address the coal void for some time now. Indian firms have been scouring the globe for coal assets and the effort has secured several major deals: Indian conglomerate Adani is set to buy the 25-million-tonne-per-year coal export terminal as Abbot Point in Queensland, only a year after buying the Galilee coal project in Australia for $2.7 billion; Indian trader Knowledge Infrastructure signed a joint venture deal with Indonesian miner PT OSO International to develop thermal coal mines in Kalimantan; and three Indian firms are among those shortlisted to buy Australian coal explorer Bandanna Energy, a deal expected to top $1 billion.

Coal India, which produces 80% of the country’s coal, is not going to be left out of the shopping spree. A few months ago the company set aside $1.2 billion for overseas buys, specifically in Australia, Indonesia, and the U.S. And it has the money – net income for the first quarter totaled $931 million and full-year profits were up 13%. Shares in Coal India started trading Nov. 4 after the government raised $3.2 billion by selling a 10% stake, in the country’s largest public offering to date.

The story could go on, discussing other coal-needy countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, and so on, but perhaps the point has been made. Global production is maxed out with respect to existing infrastructure, so increases from here can only occur as quickly as new mines, rail lines, and ports can be built. Coal prices have been climbing steadily, based on real supply constraints, and most industry watchers agree that they will hold their ground or continue to climb for the next few years.

Those countries with coal should count their blessings.



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


15 June, 2011

Have the Australian anti-deniers fallen at the first hurdle?

There is a new site here which rather grandly announces that it is going to put an end to "deniers" for once and for all.

The anti-deniers seem as usual to be heavily reliant on appeals to authority and offer a long list of academics who support Warmism. Most of them are not climate scientists or anything like it however so are irrelevant authorities.

And a lot of them are the usual suspects. I note that Hoagy is there for instance. Hoagy used to be very vocal about how warming was going to destroy Australia's huge and much-loved coral reef (the Great Barrier Reef). Since his own research showed that was not going to happen, however, he has been strangely quiet.

Then there is my old sparring partner, the greatly overpaid economist John Quiggin -- who is about as far-Left as economists get.

And the list of academics would amount to only about 1% of Australia's acdemics anyway so it is pretty poor even as an appeal to authority.

Nonetheless, the site has attracted a lot of comments, both pro and anti, and a lot of the comments are "answers" to one-another.

There is however one super-simple question (by someone I know) that everybody has at the time of writing avoided like the plague. It reads as follows:
Hey guys!

I gather that the global temperature has risen by less than one degree Celsius in the last 150 years

That sounds to me like we live in an era of exceptional climate stability

What am I missing?

Is no answer possible?

Global warming is no longer about warming

It had to happen. Even Warmists have finally noticed that the globe is NOT warming, contrary to their past prophecies. So by some strange twist they claim that there are OTHER reasons for believing in global warming. It sound like loony bin stuff to me but here is part of it:

In reality, the correlation between global mean temperature and carbon dioxide over the 20th century forms an important, but very small part of the evidence for a human role in climate change.

Our assessment of the future risk from the continued build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is even less informed by 20th century changes in global mean temperature.

For example, our understanding of the greenhouse effect – the link between greenhouse gas concentrations and global surface air temperature – is based primarily on our fundamental understanding of mathematics, physics, astronomy and chemistry.

Much of this science is textbook material that is at least a century old and does not rely on the recent climate record.

For example, it is a scientific fact that Venus, the planet most similar to Earth in our solar system, experiences surface temperatures of nearly 500 degrees Celsius due to its atmosphere being heavily laden with greenhouse gases. [The fool has obviously never heard of adiabatics. The high surface temperature of Venus is ENTIRELY explicable by the greater atmospheric pressure of the huge Venusian atmosphere]

Back on Earth, that fundamental understanding of the physics of radiation, combined with our understanding of climate change from the geological record, clearly demonstrates that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations will inevitably drive global warming.

Dusting for climate fingerprints

The observations we have taken since the start of 20th century have confirmed our fundamental understanding of the climate system.

While the climate system is very complex, observations have shown that our formulation of the physics of the atmosphere and oceans is largely correct, and ever improving.

Most importantly, the observations have confirmed that human activities, in particular a 40% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations since the late 19th century, have had a discernible and significant impact on the climate system already.

In the field known as detection and attribution of climate change, scientists use indicators known as fingerprints of climate change.

These fingerprints show the entire climate system has changed in ways that are consistent with increasing greenhouse gases and an enhanced greenhouse effect. They also show that recent, long term changes are inconsistent with a range of natural causes.

Many more vague and unreferenced assertions here. It's one big wriggle -- an attempt to wriggle out of the fact that the bottom line of their theory -- a significant rise in average global thermometer readings -- is just not there.

BTW: The author above is Karl Braganza, a Kung Fu devotee (I kid you not) from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. I suppose that I had better watch out that he doesn't come and Kung Fu me

The dilemma of a Warmist

For years we were told: “nothing other than manmade warming can explain the late 20th century rise in temperature”. To which the sensible sceptic asked: “what about natural variation”. To which the alarmist replied: “there is no such thing” or if they were more informed “the hockey stick proves that natural variation is too small and could not affect global temperature”.

Now of course it hasn’t warmed for over a decade and there’s only so long that you can hide such an obvious fact before even the most gullible start asking: why? So how do they explain this?

If natural variation is so small that it cannot have been responsible for the 20th century, then it is too small to have stopped the “warming”. If natural variation is big enough to cause sufficient cooling to cancel out the warming, then it is clearly big enough (when working in the opposite way i.e. to warm) to explain all the apparent warming in the 20th century.

The reason we got this doomsday cult, is because they managed to argue from a small and scientific warming of around 1C due to CO2 doubling up to as much as 6C due to what I can only say are entirely mythical “feedback effects”. Feedback effects, with no scientific proof, but which “conveniently” multiply the real science by whatever number they needed to “prove” that all the (apparent) 20th century warming was due to CO2. They did this by saying: “it has to be CO2 that caused the 2oth century warming because nothing else can explain the change, therefore the relationship between CO2 and temperature is whatever number we need to make the increase in CO2 cause the (apparent) increase in global temperature.”

It’s not science, but it certainly fooled a lot of people into believing it was “science”. They managed to justify this nonsense scaling up of the known effects to suit their political agenda with what I call the Sherlock Holmes defence: “when you have eliminated all possible causes, what remains, however illogical, must be the cause”.

That is why the debate was so heated: they needed to “prove” that nothing else could explain the 20th century upswing. That is why they ruthlessly attacked anyone working on solar or suggesting natural variation. That is why they were forced to manufacture the hockey stick to “prove” that there was no medieval warm period, because if there had been significant warming in the past without CO2, then there could be significant warming in the present which was not caused by CO2, and did not necessitate mythical “feedback” multipliers and did not require the destruction of western economies to “save” the world.

They could do that with past climate, because they controlled how they interpreted the tree rings. The could decide how much warming they could attribute to any given change in tree ring size. In short they could remove the medieval warm period by scaling down the temperature change for any given change in tree ring size … except for the inconvenient fact that this bogus temperature record no longer matched the real record when we had actual temperature measurements hence the infamous “hide the decline” scandal.

So, it is now impossible for them to explain the 21st century pause without admitting that there is significant natural variation similar in magnitude to the change they say must be due to CO2. They cannot simultaneously argue that CO2 is the sole cause of climate change and therefore climate must “continue to change” as it did in the 20th century “due to CO2″ AND explain why it hasn’t changed in the 21st century!



In some ways Leftists never change

Let me start by quoting a famous socialist:
"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side.'
I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already…
What are you? You will pass on.
Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp.
In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'" -- Adolf Hitler

A report just in from the "Alliance for Earth Observations climate meet" below. Just as Hitler and Stalin did, they see children as the main hope for propagating their "Brave New World"

Bill Nye the Science Guy:

"Climate change is intrinsically connected to the weather we’ve been having," Nye says, although admitting that it's hard mathematically to connect 2011's record tornado outbreak with global warming. But it's "not rocket surgery" [First time I've heard of rocket surgery!], he says. "When you have 7 billion humans trying to drive to work you have the ability to change the climate.... We’re headed for a change, a huge change.” (Related: Is climate change becoming the new abortion debate?)

The Science Guy (real name: William) considers the skeptics the major problem in the ongoing debate. "It is much easier to tear things apart then build them.” Then he tells a story about trying to get his parents to quit smoking. Little Nye went to Al's Magic Shop in downtown D.C. to purchase "loads," small explosives that slip into cigarettes. “They’re like a Warner Brothers cartoon, the cigarette explodes and sort of peels back," he says. "It’s fantastic.”

The wayward scientist then inserted the loads into his parents’ cigarettes before they headed to the neighbors' place for dinner. All through the evening he could hear sharp reports as the cigs blew up in their faces. Result: No allowance for a year? Actually, "they quit," he says. Nye suggests the U.S. take a similar hard stance in psychologically conditioning people to think about climate change. Start early, he says, like in elementary school.

Says Nye: "This is it, man. This is our time. If we don’t get it in the next decade or two, things are going to change a little too much.... If we can get young people interested in climate change they can, dare I say it, change the world."


A "hard stance in psychologically conditioning people"? Stalin could not have said it better

EPA, Greens keep HARMING children

Whenever the Environmental Protection Agency or the green movement uses the term "it's for the children" as a justification for their legislative and regulatory restrictions, it is the children who are the first to suffer.

First, the EPA banned DDT. And even though this ban in the United States did not require other nations to follow, so much economic pressure was placed on countries that didn't ban it outright that it became a de facto ban in all but a few nations.

The cost to humanity has been staggering. Approximately one million people die from malaria each year. In many areas of the world there isn't a family that hasn't lost loved ones to malaria. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Each year approximately 500 million people are infected, with many people becoming infected multiple times during their lives. Children suffer the most, going months at a time sapped of the health and energy necessary to go to school and grow their bodies. In addition to physical misery, malaria imposes an economic burden that hamstrings entire nations.

Now the U.S. EPA has embarked on a program of rodenticide elimination that will prevent unlicensed consumers from using the most effective rodenticides. The number of people dying or getting sick from accidental rodenticide exposure is amazingly small. Most human poisonings from rodenticides are self induced in failed attempts to commit suicide. The attempts usually fail because it takes a lot of rodenticide to kill a person.

Yet the green activists’ ultimate goal is a complete ban on rodenticides.

By banning DDT and other safe and effective insecticides, EPA has created the regulatory nightmare that has caused the plague of bedbugs that is spreading around the nation. Children are especially at risk, as bedbugs increasingly invade public schools. Now children will be at heightened risk for diseases spread by rats and mice.

Let's hope that EPA stops banning important health and safety chemicals "for the children." When EPA does so, children end up suffering the most.


Australia: Carbon tax to hit the cost of the average shopping cart

CONSUMERS will be slugged with price rises on everyday items like milk, cheese, chocolate and pizza's as the carbon tax puts the squeeze on retailers and producers.

Even plane tickets and phone bills won't be spared when the Gillard government's greenhouse emissions scheme comes into effect as early as July 2012.

While Labor is preparing to compensate pensioners and low-income families, supermarket bosses are predicting across-the-board price rises.

Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin is also worried about the impact on the company's export business, including milk powder sales to Asia. "Anything that adds to our inability to compete is a challenge for us. The reality is that it's about our competitiveness in the international marketplace," he said.

Despite Canberra's spin that only the biggest polluters will face extra costs, the effect of a carbon tax will be felt on companies as diverse as the Uniting Church Property Trust, Nestle and Tabcorp.

Telstra, Optus and other telcos will also consider passing on higher energy costs to customers.

The Australian Coal Association claims that the carbon tax could force eight black coalmines to close, costing nearly 3000 jobs in regional NSW and more than 1100 jobs in Queensland in its first three years.

Murray Goulburn, with its 2700 dairy farmer shareholders claims it faces annual cost rises of up to $10,000 each. Robert Poole, head of industry and government affairs at Australia's biggest milk producer, said it was "highly likely" that dairy farm businesses will "still see significant additional costs from a carbon tax" due to higher costs of electricity, fertiliser and fuel.

And farmers will be forced to absorb this extra cost rather than pass it on to consumers, he said, "given that the price of dairy products is primarily set by international factors".

Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Terry Davis is also worried about the impact of a carbon tax on local manufacturing. "Any costs associated with a carbon tax would be passed on (to consumers)," he said. "Our view is that a carbon tax is discriminatory because it advantages imported goods."

Based on a $26 a tonne carbon price, Wesfarmers - owner of Coles, Target and Kmart - faces extra annual costs of $134 million. This is based on calculating the direct costs of a carbon price, known as Scope 1 emissions, along with Scope 2 emissions, which measure the indirect costs of polluting based on energy consumption.

Woolworths' annual bill will rise by $73 million, while Qantas faces a yearly rise of $108 million. The company expects domestic ticket prices to increase by up to $4.

Retailer Harvey Norman is facing extra costs of $4.7 million, with boss Gerry Harvey saying his electricity bill will likely increase by 12.5 per cent under a carbon tax. Despite the government's offer of compensation for some consumers, Mr Harvey believes it "won't be a positive for retail. The majority of retail is in a pretty sorry state. If the mining boom disappears, we are in a bad way".

Chief executive of grocery wholesaler Metcash, Andrew Reitzer, also warned that struggling families would suffer, telling the ABC: "I think it's going to push prices up - the question is by how much. All I can tell you, the consumer's going to pay for it."



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


14 June, 2011

Warmist pomposity punctured by a simple question

Warmist Chris Mooney writes, inter alia:

"As Emanuel explained in his written testimony, today’s MIT atmospheric-sciences students can do “hand calculations or use simple models” to show why global warming is a serious concern. Such calculations show that the planet will warm somewhere between 2.7 and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit if we allow carbon-dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to double. It’s a result, Emanuel observed, that scientists have understood at least since 1979, when the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released the first in what are now shelves of studies of the subject. You don’t get an atmospheric-sciences degree at MIT–with a climate focus, anyway–if you can’t show on the back of an envelope what much of Congress now calls into question."

Commenter Nullius in Verba Says:

"Can you show us this “back of an envelope” calculation, please?"

Mooney replies:

"Nullius, this is a warning. Your comments are verging on hectoring at this point."

Clearly, Warmists must not be questioned. They apparently have "Papal" infallibility. It couldn't be that their assertions are empty ones, could it?

BTW: "Nullius in Verba" is the motto of Britain's Royal Society -- meaning "Words are proof of nothing"


Another disciple of Hitler and Stalin

He admits that he can't convince people who know something about the subject so he is propagandizing kids instead. I wonder what songs he is composing for "The Warmist Youth" to sing? Let me suggest an opening line: "Forwards, forwards, loudly sounds the planet". Tune here.

They will undoubtedly have lots of campfires and outdoors activities, just as the Hitler Youth did. And maybe weapons training too?

Andrew Weaver apologizes for being late for the interview but explains he was giving a lecture to his daughter’s class at Lambrick Park secondary school in Victoria.

“It may be a provocative statement, but I’ll say it anyways: I’m fed up speaking with the stereotypical angry, retired, grey-haired engineer,” explained the University of Victoria professor and global warming guru.

“They’re stuck in their ways and think everything can be fixed and that this is not a big problem.”

Since 1989 Weaver has been studying climate issues and, more recently, trying to get governments to act decisively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, largely from burning of fossil fuels. He’s now come to the conclusion that the federal government isn’t interested, and that it’s time to concentrate on Canada’s youth — the next generation of leaders.

“Leadership will have to be grassroots, starting with the consumer and the youth of today,” he said, citing public demand for organic food and fuel-efficient vehicles as two encouraging examples. “I have absolutely given up on Ottawa ever showing any leadership on this.”

Weaver, a research chair in climate modelling and analysis, was a lead author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and, as such, a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

He’s now the author of Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming, a compact easy-to-understand book by Raven Books aimed at Grade 10 students and selling in Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia.

Weaver says that global warming is a problem created by the current generation but foisted on the next — a youthful generation that’s been slow to engage in the democratic process and elect politicians at all levels who take progressive positions on environmental sustainability.

“If you want change, you have to be part of our democracy,” he said.

Weaver believes that if youths understand the science behind the problem, they are more likely to take an interest in affecting change, and stop using the planet as a dumping ground to everyone’s detriment. “This is one of the most exciting self-empowering issues of our time,” he concluded.


The Black Hole of Global Warming Spending

In 2011, your federal government will spend $10.6 million a day on climate change. Annual expenditures will be about $4 billion on global warming research—now called climate change–despite the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998, says the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a British educational think tank.

Billions have been wasted so far, although periods of cooling and warming have occurred naturally throughout history. Fossil fuels—Petroleum, natural gas and coal are the assigned “villains.” Yet, “no conclusive evidence shows that fossil fuels to produce energy have had any significant effect on the earth’s temperature,” GWPF concludes. In December 2010, more than 1,000 international scientists challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

What is inexplicable and inexcusable is the amount of our nation’s money that has been spent on climate change since that UN Panel, composed mainly of research-money-seeking scientists, invented global warming. Al Gore helped dramatize it with dire warnings that terrorized school children, to his mega-million-dollar benefit. Even more confounding is that added U.S. dollars will be poured into continuing research in 2011.

The EPA is doing its part to continue the myth of worldwide disaster. On Jan. 21, the EPA announced it was awarding $25 million to the Health Effects Institute to help the agency study air pollution and climate change. The $25 million is pocket change by Washington standards. It just happens to be the most recent agency outlay. It plans to spend $169 million this whole fiscal year on climate change.

But the destructive consequences of the EPA’s actions are its regulations involving greenhouse gases (GHGs) because its rules are many and widespread. They involve everything from power plants to electric generating units and petroleum refineries, to natural gas, oil and coal-fired electric generating units and refineries. Climate change, brought about by greenhouse gases, seems to continue to intrigue our government—from President Obama on down.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reports on federal spending on research, including budgets for 2011 and how these figures compare with previous years. It shows the stunning fact that all agencies that conduct climate change research expect to have bigger budgets for 2011. AAAS Chapter 15 of its recent report deals specifically with climate change.

At a time when we bear the burden of a $14 trillion debt, and both the Congress and the administration talk of spending restrains, the AAAS reports 13 executive branch departments and agencies will “increase climate research 21 percent to $2.6 billion.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requests $2.2 billion, an increase of 58 percent to restore climate sensors, advance sea height monitoring, and fund a polar satellite system. NASA wants a 27 percent increase, partly to initiate a new climate related mission and re-launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory to monitor carbon sources throughout the world. Satellites are important for other purposes, but climate warming research is a stretch.

The Energy Department asks for increased funding for renewable energy (up 37 percent) and energy efficiency. And it wants to “eliminate $2.7 billion in subsidies to high emitting industries.” Its total budget would be $2.4 billion for energy R&D spending.

The Interior Department would increase its money for its Climate Change Adaptation initiative (up 26 percent) and renewable energy programs (up 24 percent). Interior wants to “identify areas and species most vulnerable to climate change and implement coping strategies.” The Agriculture Department money for climate change would be up 42 percent to $159 million. Funny to think that CO2 actually helps crops grow.

The AAAS maintains that past scientific research demonstrates that the earth’s climate is changing, that humans are likely responsible for most of the “increase in global average surface temperatures over the last half century, and that further greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide, from burning fossil fuels, will almost certainly contribute to additional widespread climate disruption.”

But EPA’s researchers have found that the tough new rules it plans to impose on industry gas emissions would reduce the global temperature by only 0.006 to 0.0015 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, reported in October. Hardly a cause for panic about global warming.

Still, even the respected National Science Foundation is looking for $10 million for climate change education for the “understanding of climate among the next generation of Americans.” One hopes the truth will be told.

Nobody wants dirty air. In October of 1948, a cloud of air pollution hung over the industrial town of Donora, PA, for five days. Some 6,000 people got sick. Illness was attributed to the pollution. Apparently, there was not enough worry for the next 16 years to create any need for legislating that our air had to be clean. Then, the original Clean Air Act was passed. It provided funding for the study and clean up of air pollution. But it was not comprehensive enough for the politicians. So, a much stronger Clean Air Act of 1970 became the law of the land.

In 1990, Congress dramatically revised and expanded the Clean Air Act, providing the EPA with much broader authority to implement and enforce regulations reducing air pollutant emissions. You would think after 48 years of study, the EPA would have found out all there is to know about air pollution and so-called global warming, or climate change if you prefer. But, no. The agency was given more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2010 to try to make the air cleaner.

the EPA is 40 years old this year and is feeling its oats. Under the Clean Air Act, it has the power to do what the Congress couldn’t do with the cap-and-trade bill and what Americans don’t want done. It is moving ahead with regulations that will destroy jobs and make everything more expensive. But the new Republican majority in the House is determined to have intensive oversight of EPA’s regulations. This may save the day for Americans.


Killing people with “concern”? Biofuels lead to nearly 200,000 deaths (est) in 2010

The precautionary principle is exposed again for the insidious mindless posturing that it is

Biofuel policies push more people into poverty as food prices rise and the poor are forced to spend more of their income on food. In a study published in Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Indur Goklany calculated the additional mortality burden of biofuels policies and found that nearly 200,000 people died in 2010 alone, because of efforts to use biofuels to reduce CO2 emissions. Bad Government is a killer.

“Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries?

Goklany (2011) estimated that the increase in the poverty headcount due to higher biofuel production between 2010 and 2004 implies 192,000 additional deaths and 6.7 million additional lost DALYs in 2010 alone.

He compared this death tally to the WHO figures for deaths attributed to global warming and finds that the biofuels policies are more deadly. (And he is not including any increase in poverty due to other anti-global warming practices).

1. Biofuel policies are retarding humanity’s age-old battle against poverty.

2. Since according to the World Health Organization’s latest estimates, 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs in 2004 could be attributed to global warming (WHO 2009), biofuel policies may currently be deadlier than global warming, especially since the inertia of the climate system means little or no reduction in these numbers from any slowing of global warming due to any increase in biofuel production from 2004 to 2010.
How many times do we hear that “it can’t hurt to reduce ‘pollution’ (sic)”?

Even if CO2 was a form of pollution there is little justification for trying to reduce it.

There are many ways that poverty kills:

In order to identify diseases of poverty, Goklany calculated for each risk factor, the ratio of its burden of disease per capita for low-income countries compared to that of lower-middle-income countries. In order to develop a conservative (lower bound) estimate for the effect of biofuel production on death and disease, it was assumed that if the ratio exceeded 5, then the risk factor was poverty dominated. Six risk factors met this criterion: global warming; underweight (largely synonymous with chronic hunger); zinc deficiency; Vitamin A deficiency; unsafe sex; and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. These six factors accounted for 7.7 million deaths and 268 million lost DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) worldwide for 2004. Of these, more than 99.3% of the deaths and lost DALYs were in developing countries.

Using a less restrictive criterion for the ratio of 2 would have added four more risk factors to the above list, namely: unmet contraceptive needs, indoor smoke from solid fuels, sub-optimal breast feeding and iron deficiency. Many consider these to be poverty-related (Brundtland, 2003). Including these in the list would increase their cumulative toll of poverty-dominated risks in 2004 to 11.3 million deaths and 384 million lost DALYs. However, to err on the side of conservatism, the more restrictive definition of “poverty-dominated” was used.


The methodology used by Goklany (2011) is as follows:
Obtain estimates of the increase in the current headcount for absolute poverty in the developing world due to increased biofuel production.

Develop the relationships (or “coefficients of proportionality”) between the poverty headcount on the one hand, and the global burden of death and disease attributable to “diseases of poverty” on the other hand. The headcount and the burdens of death and disease should be for the same time period.

Apply the coefficients developed in step 2 to the increase in poverty from step 1 to estimate the increases in death and disease from the increase in biofuel production.

For more information see NIPCC

REFERENCE: Goklany, I.M. 2011. Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 16: 9-13.


New Study Throws Water on Obama Fuel-Economy Goals

A new report says the Obama Admin.’s proposed 62 mpg (3.8 L/100 km) fuel-economy target for 2025 could kill hundreds of thousands of jobs, put a $55,000 sticker on an ordinary family car and deliver only minor savings to consumers.

The study was produced by the Ann Arbor, MI-based Center for Automotive Research, which has been a darling of the White House in recent months.

The automotive think tank has supplied much of the data that support government claims the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler saved 1.2 million jobs, billions in tax revenues and billions more in welfare and unemployment checks that never had to be paid out.

But it’s unlikely the White House will be touting CAR’s new study on proposed corporate average fuel economy standards. The paper, which forecasts what the U.S. vehicle market will look like in 2025, is expected to officially be released in the next few days.

“These mandates are so tough, why would (the White House) be interested in destroying an industry they just saved?” one of the study’s authors, Sean McAlinden, CAR chief economist and vice president of research, tells Ward’s.

Currently, auto makers must meet a U.S. fleet average fuel economy of 35.5 mpg (6.6 L/100 km) by 2016. Beginning this year with ’12 vehicles, fleet-fuel economy will increase an average 4%.

Last year, the Obama Admin. proposed new CAFE rules beginning in 2017 that would require average increases of 3% to 6% per year, achieving 47 mpg (5 L/100 km) by 2025 at the low end and 62 mpg at the high end.

Obama has been favoring standards at the high end of the scale, and some environmental groups are pressing for faster increases of 7% or more annually beginning in 2017.

If gasoline prices are $6.00 per gallon in 2025, a case can be made for continued 3% annual improvements in fuel economy beginning in 2017.

But more dramatic increases would prove catastrophic to the U.S. auto industry, says Jay Baron, president and director-manufacturing systems at CAR and a co-author of the study.

“The changes are so radical for the vehicle to make these (2025) standards, we will have to completely and utterly redesign the body and chassis, supply chain and fabrication,” he says.

The new rules would require “huge changes” in powertrains, Baron says.

“When you go to 4%, 5%, 6% and even 7% reductions, there will be hundreds of thousands of job losses per year. What we’re arguing against is extremism,” says McAlinden, pointing out a 62-mpg fleet average translates into a 71-mpg (3.3 L/100-km) average for cars and 41-mpg (5.7 L/100-km) average for trucks.

CAR says the study was completely self-funded.


Overheated planet update, June 13 edition

MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. -- Northern California search and rescue teams have recovered five people reported missing on and around Mount Shasta after a weekend snow storm.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey says two men became separated from their climbing partners Saturday at different locations on the upper slopes of the mountain, where an afternoon storm had created whiteout conditions.

While searching for the climbers, authorities received reports of two other individuals who went missing while snowshoeing and a motorist who was immobilized in deep snow in an area northeast of the mountain.


Top Australian miner likely to go to court over carbon tax

FORTESCUE Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest reckons legislating the latest mining tax draft would be "economic vandalism". Mr Forrest hit out at the proposed mineral resource rent tax on Monday, claiming the draft released late on Friday gave multinationals such as BHP, Rio and Xstrata a huge advantage over Australian home-grown companies.

"I have no issue paying the taxes which elected representatives of our great country levy against me," Mr Forrest said during a conference call. "What I have enormous issue with is this tax, because it creates a huge precedent - a tax which penalises me for being an Australian developer and protects the multinationals."

He said the MRRT legislation allows companies to uplift the market value of their assets, which they can use to make depreciation claims. "So that means if you don't have this large market value, like developers don't, then you start paying the tax immediately whereas the multinationals don't start to pay it for decades, if at all," Mr Forrest said.

He said he would seek amendments at meetings on Tuesday with the Government, Independent MPs and the Opposition in Canberra.

Fortescue described the draft legislation, which was released on Friday, as "disappointing and economic vandalism".

The MRRT will apply only to coal producers and iron ore miners, of which Fortescue is one, meaning reaction to the draft has been muted, though smaller coal and iron ore hopefuls in Queensland and Western Australia are examining their options.

Submissions on the draft will not close until July 14.

Treasurer Wayne Swan and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said on Friday: "The draft is not exhaustive and is intended to provide stakeholders with an early overview of the legislation. We encourage stakeholders to make submissions on the preliminary draft."

Asked about the likelihood of Fortescue supporting a High Court challenge to the proposed MRRT, Mr Forrest said it was not possible to say at this stage given the legislation was in draft form and "totally unfinished".

Should the draft legislation remain unchanged, Mr Forrest said he was keen to test the constitutionality of the proposed tax. "As it stands now, any Australian who has a tax which allows multinationals to pay less per dollar of profit than what they do, that should be challenged, that is totally against the Constitution," Mr Forrest said.

"If that is what finally appears, you may be assured that Fortescue and others will challenge a precedent so dangerous that it gives multinationals a major advantage over Australia home-grown companies."

They may challenge for entirely different reasons, however. If the MRRT is challengeable it will be because the Constitution says the states own Australia's mineral wealth, while it's in the ground and therefore might have an exclusive right to tax it. Not an easy case to prosecute considering mining companies have been paying tax, like anyone else, for a very long time now.



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


13 June, 2011

Global Warming/Climate Change Paradox - Why CO2 has not, is not, nor will not be an issue

COLE JEFFREY points below to the way geological history enlightens us about atmospheric CO2 levels. Very long-term history confirms that plantlife has a huge hunger for CO2. Plantlife expands and contracts greatly in response to CO2 availability. It is so good at absorbing CO2 that it created the present oxygen-rich atmosphere of the earth out of an original CO2 atmosphere.

Geological history tells us therefore that the recent rise in CO2 will also be absorbed -- as plantlife expands to soak it up. And crop yields are already rising for that reason. While plantlife exists, a high-CO2 atmosphere is therefore impossible for any length of time

Since most modeling scenarios show that earth cannot or will not be able to deal with anthropogenic CO2, it is believed that anthropogenic CO2 will cause untold disasters. The two most predominant issues for anthropogenic CO2 are, 1.) Is the increase of anthropogenic CO2 a factor for influencing the climate. And 2.) Can the planet deal with an increase of atmospheric CO2.

To look at the issue of GW/CC, a scale of 400,000 Years Before Present (YBP), 10 Million YBP, or even a 600 Million YBP is not an adequate scale to understand how Earth has dealt with atmospheric CO2 levels and volumes. There are a few mitigating factors that Earth has had to contend with that are exponentially larger factors than the small percentage of anthropogenic CO2 humans currently or will emit even if anthropogenic CO2 emissions double or triple that of today’s emission rate.

To understand the causes and effects of anthropogenic CO2, understanding how Earth evolved from 2 to 3 Billion YBP is needed. About 2 Billion YBP, Earth was a planet of water until volcanic activity breached the oceans surface to create land. Through photosynthesis, stromatolite microbes that formed in shallow waters converted the near saturated CO2 red atmosphere into the blue oxygen atmosphere similar to today’s atmosphere, and the olive green iron rich oceans into the oxygen blue oceans similar to today’s oceans.

Tectonic activity converged the land masses into the single land mass of Rodinia about 1 billion years ago, which was a barren rock surface devoid of life. It is widely accepted that since Rodinia was one large land mass stretching from pole to pole, Rodinia blocked the ocean currents from being able to circulate to the poles causing the Snowball Earth Event about 700 Million YBP, though recent findings suggest that a Gamma Ray Burst may have stripped Earth of its atmosphere causing the temperature to drop to an average mean temperature of -40 to – 60 degrees Fahrenheit causing the Snowball Earth Event.

Since Earth was blanketed in ice, it is widely accepted that Earths internal temperatures rose causing volcanic venting and eruptions about 650 Million YBP, raising atmospheric CO2 levels which allowed the atmospheric temperatures to rise, releasing the glacial blanket. This allowed for the Cambrian explosion of life on land and in water. It is estimated that the amount of water in the mantle is from 2 to 12 times the amounts of water on the surface, allowing for the release of large amounts of CO2 through volcanic venting and eruptions.

So when the atmospheric CO2 levels rose to more than 7000 PPMA due to volcanic activity, the explosion of stromatolites flora and algae that formed in the Cambrian explosion, were more than sufficient to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Due to tectonic activity and volcanic venting and eruption, Rodinia broke apart and reformed into the continent of Pangea.

About 250 million YBP, high amounts of CO2, approximately 49 billion tons of CO2 per year (1.66 X today’s anthropogenic emission rate) were vented during the Siberian Traps Event alone, and with the additional volcanic venting caused massive flora growth, which was the means that herds of tens of tons dinosaurs could exist, since flora is the base of the food chain.

Dinosaur size was a biological adaptation of favorable environmental conditions, and the abundant food supply attributed to high CO2 emission volumes and levels. The average size animal during the reign of dinosaurs was the size of a Grizzly Bear. Today, the average size animal is the size of a medium size dog.

About 65 Million YBP, the continent of Pangea was breaking up into the continental configuration we know today. During that time, a meteor struck the Chicxulub peninsula which is attributed to the demise of dinosaurs, but the meteor impact may have been the trigger of the Deccan Trap eruption, causing massive CO2 venting again, approximately equal to today’s 30 billion tons per year of anthropogenic CO2 from the Deccan Traps alone.

The Siberian Traps flowed about 1 million cubic miles of lava, which would cover the United States in 1 thousand feet of lava, and the Deccan Traps flowed about 600,000 cubic miles of lava which would cover the United States in about 600 feet of lava. Though these were not minor events, Earth’s stromatolite flora and algae and other means, were more than adequate to remove the high volumes of CO2 emitted from the mantle plumes events and other volcanic activity exceeding today’s CO2 emission rate of 1.03 trillion tons annually.

Due to the continental positions and tectonic activity, the climate was as much as twenty degrees warmer than current average mean temperatures. Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, ocean currents, and the volcanic activity all contributed to the tropical environment that allowed life to thrive.

That all changed 2 Million years ago when volcanic activity breached the ocean surface in the Isthmus Of Panama cutting off the Atlantic and Pacific ocean current creating the Gulf Of Mexico current stream, and along with Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, and the change in ocean currents, contributing to the approximate 100 thousand year cyclic climate conditions earth has experienced for the last 800 thousand years or so.

CO2 and temperatures became cyclical due to the division of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, due to the 600 to 2400 year lag in CO2 rise after the temperature rises along with the other astro factors. With higher levels of atmospheric CO2, flora stromatolite and algae populations rise abundantly.

Farmers are experiencing the highest crop yield per acre than ever in thousands of years of recorded history, partly due to farming techniques and fertilizer technologies, but more predominantly due to higher atmospheric CO2 levels.

Then comes the next part of the cycle -- when the upturn in CO2 availability has been used up, plantlife recedes

CO2 then falls below the 200 Parts Per Million Atmosphere (PPMA) threshold because when CO2 levels are above the 200 PPMA, along with other factors, photosynthesis life thrives more abundantly, causing the absorption rate of CO2 to exceed the CO2 emission rate. Then, at or slightly below 200 PPMA, growth of life that uses photosynthesis is stifled.

When CO2 levels are at 180 PPMA photosynthesis flora begin to respire (exhale) CO2, and at levels of 150 PPMA all photosynthesis flora will die, including food crops that rely on photosynthesis. With a reduction in growth of photosynthesis life due to lower atmospheric CO2 levels (at or below 200 PPMA), atmospheric CO2 levels are able to rise again.

As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, the photosynthesis organisms thrive and over populate, eventually causing atmospheric CO2 levels to drop to the levels that atmospheric CO2 cannot support the photosynthesis organisms (below the 200 PPMA threshold), causing an amount of photosynthesis organisms to stifle growth, allowing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise again.

A lag in growth and reduction of photosynthetic life is a probable factor for the rise and fall of atmospheric CO2 levels. If growth and reduction were near the rise and fall of CO2 emissions, then atmospheric CO2 levels would remain near constant levels. This is a mechanism for why the atmospheric CO2 levels rise and fall cyclically, along with Earths orbit, gyroscopic progression of Earth’s rotation, Solar activity, ocean currents, and volcanic activity.

Greenhouses deliberately use CO2 generators to keep the atmospheric CO2 levels at levels 2 to 4 times today’s CO2 PPMA rate of 385 PPMA to the levels of 1000 to 1500 PPMA. With the lag in growth and reduction of photosynthesis organisms when atmospheric CO2 levels rise and fall, there is a lag in CO2 rise after the rise of temperatures which contribute to cyclic factors – temperature rise precedes CO2 rise; CO2 rise does not precede temperature rise.

Today about 1 trillion tons of CO2 are emitted annually naturally, and humans only contribute 30 billion tons of CO2 annually, which is only 3% of total CO2 emissions. At that rate, humans would have to cease all fuel burning for cooking of foods, about 50% of electrical generation, all automotive transportation, and heating in the winter for more than 33 years to be equal to the naturally emitted CO2 annual amounts.

Above and beyond the ability for Earth to deal with atmospheric CO2 through photosynthesis and other means, there is more solar radiation (heat dissipated into space) through water vapor which is 78 to 82% of the climate influence, when temperatures rise. CO2 is only currently 0.036% climatic influential, which translates into a rise of only 0.05 Degree C in average mean temperature if atmospheric CO2 levels are more than doubled to 800 PPMA, and the influence would only be experienced at night. Earth has natural checks and balances for regulating atmospheric CO2 levels and climate.

Since 1 trillion tons of atmospheric CO2 is being presented to change climate average mean temperatures by 1 degree C, then the average mean temperatures should rise 1 degree C every year but does not, due to the fact that Earth is able to deal with much more than the 1 trillion tons of annual anthropogenic and natural CO2 emissions.

Since there is a range of 2 to 12 times the amount of water in the mantle than on the surface through oceanic subduction, thousands of tons of water are subducted and vented daily. The entire world’s oceans are cycled about every 30 million years through the crust and mantle through subduction and venting. If subduction rates were to diminish, it is very possible for venting of water vapor into the atmosphere to cause ocean levels to rise.

Without venting, the ocean level would continuously drop, and without subduction the level would continuously rise. If the estimated volumes of water in the mantle were to be vented to the surface all at once, the ocean would be about 2 miles above Mt. Everest. Subduction and venting may be a factor for the ocean’s levels varying from 430 feet lower average mean level and 30 feet higher average mean level than today’s levels, beyond glacial storage and release of reserve waters to cause ocean average mean levels to vary.

In short, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are not, nor will not be a climate issue. If Earth could deal with the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps emitting tens of billions of tons of CO2 for thousands and millions of years as well as other mantle plume events in addition to the continuous rate of venting at plate boundaries, then the 30 billions tons of annually emitted anthropogenic CO2 is not nor will not be a problem for Earth to deal with, even if anthropogenic emissions are more than doubled.

By far, the largest contributing factors for Earths climate and temperature variations are influenced by Solar Output, and Water Vapor that is 78% to 82% of the temperature influence. The bottom line is that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 are more favorable for life to flourish. Keep in mind that most GW/CC presentations deliberately omit the big picture of the CO2 cycle (cherry picking the information), and there is a deliberate reason that children and teens are selected to promote GW/CC.


Climate change should be excluded from British school curriculum, says adviser

Head of government review says school syllabus needs to 'get back to the science in science'

Climate change should not be included in the national curriculum, the government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England has said.

Tim Oates, whose wide-ranging review of the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds will be published later this year, said it should be up to schools to decide whether – and how – to teach climate change, and other topics about the effect scientific processes have on our lives.

In an interview with the Guardian, Oates called for the national curriculum "to get back to the science in science". "We have believed that we need to keep the national curriculum up to date with topical issues, but oxidation and gravity don't date," he said. "We are not taking it back 100 years; we are taking it back to the core stuff. The curriculum has become narrowly instrumentalist."

His stance marks a turning point in the development of the national curriculum. Oates' intention is to substantially reduce the national curriculum. Under the previous government, the curriculum expanded to nearly 500 pages. His remarks also show he wants to reverse a shift in emphasis, made under the Labour government, under which teachers were encouraged to place great importance on scientific "issues" and not just scientific knowledge.

Climate change has featured in the national curriculum since 1995. In 2007, the topics "cultural understanding of science" and "applications and implications of science" were added to the curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds.

But Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, warned that Oates' ideas might not be in pupils' best interests and could make science less interesting for children. "An emphasis on climate change in the curriculum connects the core scientific concepts to topical issues," he said. "Certain politicians feel that they don't like the concept of climate change. I hope this isn't a sign of a political agenda being exercised."

He said leaving climate change out of the national curriculum might encourage a teacher who was a climate change sceptic to abandon teaching the subject to their pupils. "This would not be in the best interests of pupils. It would be like a creationist teacher not teaching about evolution. Climate change is about science. If you remove the context of scientific concepts, you make it less interesting to children."

Annette Smith, chief executive of the Association for Science Education, said she agreed with Oates that the curriculum was too crowded. "However, what I wouldn't want to lose from the national curriculum is the idea that science is developing all the time and that it impinges on our lives," she said.

But Oates, who is director of research at Cambridge Assessment, one of the biggest exam boards in Europe, said the topics that engaged children in science "changed dramatically" from year to year. "The national curriculum shouldn't ever try to keep up with those, otherwise it would keep changing." Teachers knew best which current affairs topics related to science would interest their pupils, he said. "A lot should not be in the national curriculum at all. A lot of damage was done to the curriculum last time it was reviewed," he said.

"If you live in a town where there is a lot of manufacturing, then teachers can use that as a context to discuss the social effects of science; other groups of pupils might be more interested in how the pharmaceutical industry produces drugs. It's really important that children think through the social application of science, but the precise topics... do not have to be specified by the state."

Oates also called for algebra to be taught to pupils at an earlier age. "Algebra has crept later and later over the last few decades. We should start 'pre-algebra' with young children – aged eight, for example," he said. He said that by the age of 11, children could be solving simple algebraic equations.

He said this would bring England into line with some nations in Asia. "Algebra is so important because it is the foundation of so much of maths. In other nations, children operate with equations and algebraic expressions." He said some maths was taught only to older children, because teachers in primary school did not have the confidence to teach it themselves.

The curriculum review, which started in January, will look at 12 subjects, including maths, English, science, and art and design. It will consider which subjects should be compulsory and at what age.

At the launch of the review, Michael Gove, the education secretary, said the national curriculum was "too long ... patronising towards teachers and stifled innovation".

"Its pages are littered with irrelevant material – mainly high-sounding aims, such as the requirement to 'challenge injustice', which are wonderful in politicians' speeches, but contribute nothing to helping students deepen their stock of knowledge."


Those hated CHEMICALS!

Rich Kozlovich

Over these many years I have noticed a pattern of activity that I find sort of fascinating. Scares will ebb and flow, but never really go away. Even after an issue has been raised and dealt with it is clear that the activists keep these issues on the back burner for future reference as if everyone will forget what the facts actually were. And to some extent they are right because there will always be a new crop of young misinformed and uninformed potential acolytes that they can gull into the green movement; young people in search of some sense of worth; searching for something in which they can believe. Since environmentalism has become today’s secular religion they are susceptible to the Kyrie Eleison of environmentalism. Drinking the Kool Aid they soon become sickened in the fever swamps of that movement; they become filled with arrogance and a sense of self-righteous indignation at the rest of the world that no amount of valid scientific information or rational observation can cure.

I keep hearing all sorts of claims by activists and government grant chasing “scientists” that chemicals (especially pesticides) cause cancer, autism, low sperm count and a host of other unproven scares. This has been particularly true of DDT. More outrageous claims have been made against DDT than almost any product that has ever been developed, with the possible exception of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. Do chemicals really cause a drop in sperm count? Finally we can answer with a resounding NO!

In one of this week’s Daily Dispatches the American Council on Science and Health cited a study that clearly demonstrated that “the 1992 study by a group of Danish researchers that claimed sperm counts declined by 50 percent worldwide from 1938 to 1991”, was wrong! They point out that the study was “heavily criticized for its many flaws, methodological problems, and biases” at the time. “We know that the so-called decline in sperm count is just another myth promulgated by the ‘our stolen future’ crowd who say that environmental chemicals lead to infertility in men,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “But now we have proof that’s simply not true.”

This leads us to DDT, which was banned by the first administrator of the EPA, Bill Ruckelshaus in 1972. And yes….it was a ban. It is true that there were exceptions written into the ban, and yes, it is true that this ban in the U.S. was not incumbent on other nations, and yes it is true that it was not a worldwide ban…..on paper. However, so much economic pressure was placed on countries that didn’t ban it outright that it became a de facto ban in all but a few nations.

Lower sperm count was one of the claims, and yet the generation of parents who were most heavily exposed to DDT were the parents of the baby boomers. Even if there was a valid study that could show this today (which there isn’t), that study wasn’t available when the ban was imposed.

Most studies are filled with weasel word and phrases. Then there are the “conclusions in search of data” studies, much like the Hungarian studies of Trajan and Kemeny published in 1969. Using only 3 ppm in the food per day this dose was fed to five generations of inbred Balb/c mice. They claimed a higher incidence of leukemia in the test subjects over the control animals. They also claimed they started with a leukemia free strain, yet there were incidents of leukemia in the controls.

So what was disturbing about this study? Other researchers working with comparable dosages with animals of any species or strain showed no incidences of cancer of any type. The skepticism warranted an investigation into this puzzle. Although everyone agreed something went wrong in their study they couldn’t definitely point out what went wrong. However it was shown that there were design problems in the study and there was a possibility of aflatoxin (an absolutely known carcinogen) contaminated food.

Modern studies seem to have much the same problem. Conclusions in search of data! The question I keep asking is this. If DDT was banned for scientific reasons that were obvious, factual and could be replicated; then why have they been studying it since 1972 to prove that it does________(fill in the blank). Millions have been spent on studies that have been conclusions in search of data. The mere fact that so much has been spent after the ban to prove that the ban was proper is a good indicator that everyone….and I mean everyone, on both sides of this issue, know that the science was weak or invalid, and the decision to ban DDT was a political one.

The real problem with the ban on DDT isn't the fact that we lost DDT. Why? Technically it didn’t matter (at least in the developed world) because we had a large arsenal of products to defend society’s health, food and property. Philosophically it was devastating because it became the basis for all that has come into being since then. All those tools have come under attack, and as a result we have lost important chemistry. First it was the chlorinated hydrocarbons, then it was the organophosphates and carbamates and now the pyrethroids and rodenticides are under attack. All of this goes back to the ban on DDT. That ban laid the foundation for the financial and legislative power of the environmental movement.


The Energy Disaster Continues

The cornerstone belief of American liberals is that the United States is too rich and too powerful. And, if you want to make America poorer and weaker, the easiest way to do so is by preventing the development of our energy resources. Such a policy hobbles our economy and causes massive transfers of wealth from the U.S. to other countries, many of which are hostile. Liberals think this is all to the good, but pretty much every other American disagrees.

The Obama administration's energy policies have been a disaster, assuming that American decline is not your objective. We have written many times about the administration's efforts to suppress development of our oil resources, but coal is equally important. The United States is blessed with extraordinary deposits of coal, but Obama is determined to prevent us from using it to generate cheap and plentiful electricity. Obama wasn't kidding when he said, as a candidate, that his policies would cause electricity prices to "skyrocket."

U.S. News reports that Obama's EPA is promulgating regulations that will cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs:
Two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data.

Overall, the rules aimed at making the air cleaner could cost the coal-fired power plant industry $180 billion, warns a trade group. ...

Referring to the analysis of the EPA regulations from National Economic Research Associates, Miller said they would be the most expensive rules ever imposed on power plants.

That was yesterday. Today, American Electric Power announced that it will close down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions to comply with the EPA's proposed regulations:
Utility giant American Electric Power said Thursday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations. ...

The company, one of the country's largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form.

The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.

In total, AEP estimated it will have to close five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014. Six additional plants would see major changes, including retiring some generating units, retrofitting equipment and switching to natural gas.

Of course, the administration is trying to block development of natural gas, too. Of all of the Obama administration's perverse economic policies, its anti-energy agenda is most likely to make Obama a one-term president.


Get ready for electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket”

Courtesy of the Obama administration

Have you had a lot of fun watching the price of gasoline shoot out of sight this year at the pump? That will be just the appetizer. Thanks to new regulations from the Obama administration, power companies will shut down a significant number of coal-fired plants by 2014, and without any other reliable sources of mass-produced electricity, consumers will see their bills go up as much as 60% (via Instapundit and Newsalert):
Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years.

The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation’s electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.

The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.

You won’t just pay more to the utility company, either. The Chicago Tribune runs the math on public-sector cost increases in just their city:
What analysts know is that a portion of ComEd bills that pays electricity generators to reserve a portion of their power three years into the future will increase more than fourfold. That would translate into increases of $107 to $178 a year for an average residential customer in ComEd’s territory, starting in 2014, according to calculations by Chris Thomas, policy director for consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board.

In 2014 those so-called capacity costs are expected to add approximately $2.7 million over the previous year to electricity bills in Chicago Public Schools, $3.3 million for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and $5.4 million to the city of Chicago, according to an analysis by Tenaska, aNebraska-based power development company that wants to develop a coal-fed power plant in central Illinois that would meet stringent regulations because it would capture and sequester emissions.

It’s the EPA gift that keeps on … taking.

On the other hand, we can consider this a rarity — an Obama promise kept: Obama told the Chronicle:
The problem is not technical, uh, and the problem is not mastery of the legislative intricacies of Washington. The problem is, uh, can you get the American people to say, “This is really important,” and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake. Uh, and climate change is a great example.

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.

They — you — you can already see what the arguments will be during the general election. People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,” or whatever their number is. Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage, changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliance, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit.

If we can’t make that argument persuasively enough, you — you, uh, can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington. You’re not going to get that done.

Even without cap-and-trade — or perhaps more accurately, even with a backdoor carbon tax through regulatory adventurism — Obama kept his promise to have electricity rates skyrocketing, and putting the burden on consumers, business, and taxpayers. Who said that every Obama promise comes with an expiration date?


Green Economy Stillborn

Recent announcements about failing green companies have mostly flown under the major media radar. After all, when President Obama hops in Air Force One for a quick trip to a green business to make a speech about his administration's nonexistent energy policy that's worth covering—when that green business shutters its doors (after absconding with millions in tax credits) that's embarrassing, to green cheerleaders and the liberal media in general.

Sadly, failure to revive the economy not withstanding, many actually believe that, if only we could provide more billions in subsidies, good green jobs would spring up like weeds. The reality is that green business cannot exists without government largess and that green economy we have heard so much about was stillborn—killed in its government funded womb by economic reality.

According to the Center for American Progress March 2010 report, clean energy will be one of the world’s biggest industries, totaling as much as $2.3 trillion by 2020. Yet everywhere there are signs that the green economy is faltering before it has begun.

For example, consider the case of Evergreen Solar, a maker of solar wafers for solar panels. In 2008, they made a courageous decision to promote green jobs in, of all places, Massachusetts. “In 2008 we decided to build a plant in Massachusetts to be near our research and development facility,” reported CEO Michael El-Hillow. “There was a groundswell of optimism that the U.S. was going to take the lead in the drive for alternative energy.”

But things soon went awry. Market conditions changed, the economy tanked and no one was interested in pulling Evergreen Solar's fat from the fire. Bottom line, Evergreen said its manufacturing cost was $1.92 per watt, while the selling price was $1.90 per watt—even a politician should be able to do the math. As reported to Bloomsburg Businessweek, El-Hillow summed things up this way:
"One mistake was making the U.S. facility too large. We should have made it a quarter the size. I wrote to the governor of Massachusetts, and we went to everyone we could think of—Congress, our banks. Nobody could help us. Then, late last year, prices went down 10 percent in one month for the modules we sell—on top of steadily falling prices for the last three years. That left us no choice but to stop making panels in the U.S. and shift our focus to making wafers in China. The access to capital for startups there is staggering.

About 800 people in our U.S. factory will lose their jobs, but the company wouldn't have survived if we didn't make this choice. Now we'll focus on what we do best. If we had stayed here, we would have been insolvent by September. We needed to do this to survive, although my hope is that some day more jobs will come back here."

Adding insult to injury, the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council—the state board charged with overseeing the green tax breaks—unanimously voted to cut short Evergreen’s 20-year property tax break, originally estimated to be worth $15 million, and voided another $7.5 million in state tax credits after the company eliminated the hundreds of jobs it promised to create. According to a report in the Boston Globe, out of the $4.5 million in property tax breaks they received to date, Evergreen will only have to repay the current year’s value, about $1.5 million, and in addition to the property tax breaks, the now almost defunct solar manufacturer also received over $21 million in other grants. The fate of those funds is uncertain.

An isolated incident? Hardly. The Destiny USA project in Syracuse, New York, was selected as a green "demonstration" project under the 2004 Green Bonds program. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Clinton, now the US Secretary of State, and Senator Charles Schumer helped to insert the program into the “American Jobs Creation Act” of 2004. It provided $2 billion in tax-exempt bonding authority for large green-technology demonstration projects and was specifically written to favor Destiny USA and three projects in other states (both Senators represented the state of New York).

Under this special program $255 million in tax exempt bonds were issued on behalf of the project. The money raised was supposedly for implementing the oodles of green features the project developer promised. To date, none of the green features have been implemented, and the developer says they never will be. From a report posted on
There is no 45-megawatt electricity generating plant running on “biofuel” made from soybean oil and recycled cooking grease. If there were, it would be the largest such plant in the nation and consume more than one-third of the total U.S. biodiesel supply.

Nor are there 290,000 square feet of solar panels on the mall’s roofs and other surfaces, enough to blanket six football fields.

The fuel cells that were to make 7 megawatts of electricity, five times more than the nation’s largest existing commercial fuel-cell installation? Nowhere to be seen.

Given such grandiose plans, the backers should have suspected something was not on the up-and-up. In addition to the green features, the project was required to create at least 1000 construction jobs and 1,500 full time equivalent jobs to retain its tax free funding. Public monies squandered, no green features, no green jobs, and yet Clinton called the program “a strong, sensible piece of public policy.”

This is not just a problem in the US, bungled government programs abound in the EU and elsewhere. One of Britain’s biggest employers in the green energy industry ceased production within hours of a government announcement pledging 400,000 green jobs by 2015. According to The Sunday Times, the Vestas factory in Newport, Isle of Wight, Britain’s only significant manufacturer of wind turbines, closed idling more than 600 people employed at the plant, and a related facility in Southampton.

Vestas is a Danish wind turbine manufacturer and one of the largest green companies in the world. Proving government stupidity is widely distributed, the Scottish government gave £10 million in grants to save 100 jobs at a much smaller turbine factory in Argyll just prior to the Vestas announcement.

Also last year, Vestas, announced the closing of five production plants across Scandinavia and cut 3,000 jobs—green jobs. The group said the surge in demand for wind power it had hoped for in Europe had not materialized and it is closing four plants in Denmark and one in Sweden, including one in Viborg where it has been manufacturing since 1989. The company is moving production out of Scandinavia to Spain, perhaps not the brightest of moves.

A Spanish study reports that since 2000, Spain spent $759,899 (€571,138) to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than $1.33 million (€1 million) for each wind industry job. The study also calculates that the programs that created those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy. That means 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every “green job” created.

Vestas wind turbines at Meroicinha, Portugal. PhotoVestas.
In reality, green jobs are few and fleeting, and cost considerably more than true private sector jobs. Regardless, activists continue to push for green jobs—but this isn't really about building a clean, green economy. An example of such advocacy can be found on the website for the 2011 Green Jobs Conference, held this past February.

The tagline for this national conference was “good jobs, green jobs,” so one would expect to find numerous workshops on how to lure green industry to a community, how to start a green company and success stories from across the country. Instead, the lead workshop was entitled “Confronting Science Deniers: Lessons from Minnesota’s Sixth District,” a purely political propaganda vehicle for eco-leftists. Here is the description:
Across the country during this past midterm elections, clean energy supporters faced opponents who rejected the science of global warming and the potential for its solutions to create good jobs building the clean energy economy. This panel will focus on efforts to counter science deniers and to advance investments in clean energy as a positive economic agenda for the country. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster will join Tarryl Clark — the former state legislator who challenged Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s sixth district — for a discussion on how clean energy played a role in the 2010 elections.

This isn't about promoting green jobs or a green economy, it is anti-conservative political activism with a large dollop of climate alarmist balderdash. And this was not the only blatantly political topic. Other sessions covered the Gulf oil “crisis,” how wonderful new government regulations were going to force better fuel economy for large vehicles, and how to solve poverty, pollution and low union representation among truck drivers. There was precious little about how to make green business successful, and without successful green businesses there are no sustainable green jobs.

Until green jobs are about jobs, and the green economy is about economics there will be nothing but failed public programs that only enrich green scam artists. What green industry there is exists only because of government handouts and subsidies—make work projects that cost dearly and disappear as soon as government funding dries up. Time after time, program after program, governments have failed to create sustainable green jobs.

This all stems from not having a rational energy policy (also not a purely American problem). A cogent energy policy may well have salubrious effects on the environment and unemployment rates, even reducing those over-hyped CO2 emissions that global warming fanatics are forever prattling about (see “Why Global Warming is really an Energy Problem”). But being rational about energy has become even less likely in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident, with nations like Switzerland, Germany and Japan all reversing promising nuclear programs.

As politicians run for cover, like cockroaches when the light is turned on, energy policies founder. The only lucrative green jobs belong to those who travel the globe telling everyone about how great the new green economy will be; how green jobs will fix the world economy and rescue us all from penury. Just as the global warming/climate change/planetary boundaries scam has funneled public funds into the pockets of green con-artists, the green jobs scam enriches the ranks of transnational progressives, many of whom see the green economy as cover for their underlying agendas.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, that most politically correct of American presidents, continues to flog the fictional green economy, telling people that there's a great day a coming. But the Obama plan for a green economy has gone off the rails. It was supposed to bring energy independence—America is no more independent in its energy supply today than when Mr. Obama was elected. It was supposed to bring green jobs, jobs that “can not be sent offshore”—as we have just seen, when the economy sours the first jobs to go are green. It's time to wake up and smell the compost.

With the US economy possibly headed for a double dip recession and unemployment again on the rise, the time for such PC poppycock is past. Want good, green energy sector jobs? Build more nuke plants—they last for 25 years or more and provide steady high paying jobs while producing the energy the world needs. As long as green jobs mean political handouts the green economy will remain a stillborn monument to environmental delusions and political pandering.



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


12 June, 2011

IPCC’s new, improved “world leading authority on climate change” speaks

I’ve never been an early riser (truth be told, if I ruled the world, mornings would be abolished), so I didn’t catch all of the early morning local CBC radio interview with imported (all the way from Switzerland, no less) “world leading authority on climate change”, Thomas Stocker.

Stocker is the Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group I (WG1) for the forthcoming (sometime in 2013-14) 5th Assessment Report (AR5).

As I reported a few days ago, courtesy of the very well-endowed (to the tune of $94.5 million of British Columbia taxpayer funds) Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), Stocker gave a free lecture in Vancouver. [OK, OK ... in the interest of truth in posting, I had not mentioned the PICS endowment in my previous post]

Because of a prior (and higher priority) engagement, I wasn’t able to attend this lecture in person. But I did watch the webcast (which doesn’t seem to be available for those who might have missed it … so you’ll have to take my word for what I saw and heard!). To give credit where credit is due, though, Stocker in lecture-mode is smoother than either Michael Mann or IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pachauri. But that’s where the credits end.

During the course of his show (lots of graphs) and tell (much verbiage), Stocker informed his (very small from where I was sitting) audience that (inter alia): " Today’s greenhouse gases are the “highest in the past 800,000 years”; “tree-rings are a very good and widespread archive of the past”; “yes there is uncertainty, but there is agreement in sign and order of magnitude”; all attempts to dispute the “fact” that climate change is “unequivocal” have been “weathered”

But Stocker did acknowledge: “there is a problem: we cannot go back to 1900 and replicate … so we use [computer generated] models”

Never fear, though, dear reader, Stockwell has declared that: "statistical analysis “make us confident” [and that] there is “a hiearchy of validated climate models”; “uncertaintainties have been identified and estimated”; their knowledge “is subject to the scientific method”

I’m not sure what Stocker’s definition of “the scientific method” might be. But simulations generated by computers – in which Stocker appears to have such a high level of confidence – did not appear in any of the science textbooks I was required to read (sorry, science was not my fave) during the course of my pre-post-modern education.

And I won’t even mention that expertise in “statistical analysis” has been a highly conspicuous absence in the qualifications of those who have contributed to the IPCC Assessments. Oopps … I just did. Sorry about that.

But here’s the thing … Stocker was a very prominent (if not loud) voice in the IPCC’s “responses” and “task groups” who drafted the responses and/or “responded” to the early drafts in response to the InterAcademy Counci (IAC)’s review of the IPCC. (Yes I know that sounds terribly convoluted … but convolution is a hallmark of, well, just about any document that can be traced back to the United Nations (UN) and/or any of its acronymic offspring – of which the IPCC is but one of many)

In what seems to be an adherence to the “do as I say but not as I do” golden rule of the UN (and its offspring), Stocker’s claim that: "Today’s greenhouse gases are the “highest in the past 800,000 years” appears to be drawn from a paper published in 2008

YMMV, but I’m not sure how this particular proclamation from Stocker complies with the IPCC’s newly adopted “communication strategy guideline” to the effect that: "It is an essential quality of the IPCC that its reports are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. When speaking on behalf of the IPCC, individuals should take care to stay within this mandate – and not to express views beyond the scope of the IPCC reports, or to advocate specific policies. IPCC communications should be drawn from IPCC Reports [...]"

And in light of the above policy, that those who speak on behalf of the IPCC should restrict their proclamations to those which are “not policy-prescriptive”, I’d really be interested in knowing how Stocker can justify his [pre-lecture] prescription to the Vancouver Sun that: "the planet might be better off if [gas prices] soared to “three to four” times its current level."

Well, apart from Stocker’s stepping out of line (not to mention well beyond his area of experise), I’m sure that tripling or quadrupling gas prices would go a very long way towards eliminating poverty, disease and all the other scourges afflicting people on our planet.


A Fascist Swiss

Comment from Canada

Thomas Stocker is a climate modeler. He also, we are told, holds “one of the world’s most prestigious scientific jobs, co-chairing a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC).

In Switzerland, where he resides, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation refers to Stocker as “the guardian of our climate.” Based on comments he made this week to Canada’s Vancouver Sun newspaper he certainly can’t be regarded as a guardian of humanity.... he told a reporter that he thinks tripling – or even quadrupling – the price of gasoline could help save the planet. According to the newspaper, Stocker believes that:

"Much higher pump prices would help people realize there are “much smarter ways to go from point A to point B” than climbing into “three tonnes of steel and rubber” that spew greenhouse gases…"

Neither Stocker, nor the journalist who wrote the story, appears to be the least bit interested in what effect that sort of price increase might have on human beings.

So here’s a bit of a reality check. First, Switzerland is a T – I – N – Y nation. It’s population is less than 8 million and the entire country comprises less than 40,000 square kilometers.

You could fit 227 Switzerlands within Canada’s vast land mass. Moreover, Switzerland’s population density is 54 times higher than ours.

So Stocker, who gave a talk here, thinks he’s entitled to advise us Canadians that there are “smarter ways to go from point A to point B,” does he?

Perhaps before he returns home he’d care to spend some time on our prairies. Our province of Saskatchewan, for example, has two urban centers – Regina and Saskatoon. As Google maps will confirm, getting from one to the other involves a three-hour drive of some 260 kilometers (160 miles).

In comparison, from the University of Bern, where Stocker teaches, the same amount of driving will get you well inside France, Germany, or Italy.

Since the average human walking speed is 5 kilometers (3 miles) per hour and Stocker apparently prefers that mode of transportation I’m sure he’ll enjoy the 52-hour stroll between Regina and Saskatoon.

Perhaps we should warn him, though, that June is blackfly season in Canada. If he’d prefer to complete his stroll next month, that will be be mosquito season.

On the other hand, if he can’t fit us in until January, as an official government website warns immigrants, normal daytime temperatures are in the -5 to -15C range (23 to 5F). Overnight I’m sure the thermometer will drop to -25C (-13F) just to make Stocker feel welcome.

During his trek Stocker will no doubt encounter a few wheat farmers. Perhaps he can explain to these people – whose tractors are powered by gasoline – why quadrupling the price of that fuel is such a splendid idea.

No doubt he’ll also make the acquaintance of a few truck drivers. I’m sure they, too, are dying to hear the professor explain how their livelihoods will continue to be viable should the price of gasoline skyrocket.

When Stocker meets those who raise cattle, hogs, and bison for a living I’m confident he’ll have no trouble convincing them that a sharp increase in the price of everything that gets transported anywhere (including their livestock) is just what the planet needs.

We should never forget that a great deal of blood was spilled in the 20th century by people who were prepared to sacrifice their fellow human beings in the pursuit of a larger goal (let’s start with Mao and Stalin).

So what I want to know is this: how much harm is Stocker prepared to inflict on Canadians in pursuit of his larger goal – that of saving the planet?

Where does he draw the line? How many casualties are, in his view, acceptable? Really, I want to know. [Probably 6 million -- JR]


Nonsense in the New Yorker

A letter to the editor that is unlikely to be printed. From Dr. Martin Hertzberg, a former U. S. Naval meteorologist with a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Stanford and holder of a Fulbright Professorship

The anecdotal, fear mongering hysteria promulgated by Elizabeth Colbert in her "Storms Brewing" comment in the 7/13,20/11 issue is yet another example of her scientific illiteracy, the New Yorker's failure to exercise due diligence, or to your common willful blindness to real facts and data. The overwhelming evidence both scientific and historical (in the "climategate" e-mails) shows that the theory that human emission of CO2 is causing "global warming/climate change" is one of the greatest frauds in the history of science.

That the New Yorker is a vehicle for her regurgitation of the propaganda of environmental lobbyists as it ignores the real data and the opinions of real scientists, is tragic beyond belief. Your magazine is now an active participant in that fraud.

For the totality of the real data, as opposed to her anecdotal clap-trap, go to It shows nothing remarkable for the last several decades: just the normal variability in temperatures, ice cover and rate of sea level rise. Other sources show nothing remarkable in either hurricane or tornado intensity or their frequency of occurrence.

For a demolition of the fraudulent "greenhouse gas" warming theory go to "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory", coauthored by myself and seven others, and published this year by Stairway Press.

Colbert's recent article in the National Geographic that fear mongered about ocean acidification also gives her a well deserved F in basic Chemistry. In her ignorance or willful blindness she fails even to mention the word "buffer". The carbonate/bicarbonate system in the ocean serves as an effective buffer that maintains a constant pH that is insensitive to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.


Green jobs success eludes Obama

Nearly three years into Obama's presidency, the White House can't point to much solid evidence that significant numbers of Americans are scoring the green jobs the president has been touting. Monthly Labor Department employment reports say nothing about the new clean energy workforce, while an effort to document how many Americans actually make a living in the "green collar" field may not be done by November 2012.

Obama's Council of Economic Advisers suggests 225,000 clean energy jobs were either created or preserved through the third quarter of 2010 thanks to more than $80 billion in the economic stimulus package. But those are estimates at best.

White House officials say asking about the connection between the 9.1 percent unemployment rate and the administration's concerted green jobs campaign is the wrong question. A better benchmark, they say, is the exponential growth in clean technology industries, from the new car battery manufacturers that have sprung up across the Midwest to renewable energy plants, including the world's largest solar facility that's slated to break ground Friday in the California desert.

The White House figures 825,000 Americans should be building electric car batteries, retrofitting homes or doing other green collar work by the end of 2012. But that too is an extrapolation.

"It's certainly a good thing if those numbers are believable," said Jerry Webman, chief economist at the Oppenheimer Funds. "But they're not a large enough number for the nation or Obama's job creation problem."

Obama's team also touts public investments it hopes will prompt private spending and lower costs for the clean energy industries of tomorrow. And all that may take a little time. "You know, it’s just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck, it’s going to take a while for you to mend," Obama said earlier this month during a visit to a Chrysler auto plant in Toledo, Ohio. "And that’s what’s happened to our economy. It’s taking a while to mend."

While Obama may in fact end up creating millions of green jobs, it may be too late to save his. Polls show his GOP rivals have some of their best traction because of Obama's handling of the economy. A Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin administration almost certainly wouldn't give green jobs the same emphasis, if any, especially if they got elected with allies in more traditional brown collar fields like oil and gas.

Green job advocates have been making their pitch for more than a decade, offering the concept as a retort to the familiar industry warnings that environmental rules are economic killers. But the idea didn’t really take root in everyday political lexicon until the end of the George W. Bush administration as Democratic presidential candidates swarmed to the idea as an antidote to the economic collapse. Obama pledged in his 2008 campaign to create 5 million green collar workers within a decade. And he’s spent considerable time since entering the White House trying to make that happen.

But Obama is unlikely to stop talking about his commitment to the issue in the meantime. "I wouldn't be surprised if they use the green jobs story in the same way they're using the auto story, as a place where they can tell somewhat of a good story, even if they don't have the fact base to make it really compelling," said McDonald. "Here's the thing," he added. "There's not that many places where they can tell a good story about the economy, so the bar is very low for green jobs to be a centerpiece of his agenda."


Another sermon on the coming doom

Like most sermons, it assumes something in the future with no actual proof that it will happen. But this sermon assumes global warming, not hellfire -- a little cooler but equally unsubstantiated

By 2050, the coolest summers in the tropics and parts of the northern hemisphere will still be hotter than the most scorching summers since the mid-20th century if global warming continues apace, according to a new study.

Tropical regions in Africa, Asia and South America could see "the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat" even within the next decades, said the study, to be published later this month in the journal Climatic Change Letters.

Such dramatic changes in temperature would have a major impact on human health, food supplies and biodiversity, warn the researchers.

"Large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years," said lead author Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.

Scientists have long predicted that climate change driven by greenhouse gas emissions would cause more frequent heat waves, such as struck Europe in 2003, or the United States this week.
"That got us to thinking -- at what point can we expect the coolest seasonal temperatures to always be hotter than the historically highest temperatures for that season?" Diffenbaugh said in a statement.

To find out, he chose a basket of 50 climate models that accurately matched past increases and projected them into the future. The analysis assumed a scenario of a "moderate" increase in heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions as forecast by the UN's panel of climate scientists.

[Hellfire it is, then. Or is it castles in the air? Both, it seems]


Germany now embraces those evil fossil fuels

It's so hard to be Green

Faced with the dilemma of how to fill the energy gap left by its recent decision to move away from nuclear power, Germany is increasing fossil fuel power generation.

TESS VIGELAND: Today the German government unveiled a new vision for the country's energy needs. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last week that nuclear power was no longer an option, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Germany is instead going back to the future, with plans to double the number of gas and coal-fired power stations to be built.

STEPHEN BEARD: Germany is bowing to the inevitable, claims Dieter Helm, an energy expert at Oxford University. He says if the Germans do abandon nuclear power, they will have to build more fossil fuel plants. Ironic, he says, that this follows pressure from German environmentalists.

DIETER HELM: What they have succeeded now in doing is pushing Germany to a fossil fuel-dominated system. And they've committed Germany to making a bigger contribution to increasing global warming.

German and other European environmentalists don't agree. Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth says the nuclear power can be replaced with cleaner alternatives.

MIKE CHILDS: There are numerous research bodies in Germany who point to the ability of Germany to do much more work on energy efficiency and also an ability to speed up its development of renewable power.

Many energy experts point out that renewables like solar and wind power are intermittent; they depend on whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. So you need much more renewable power production capacity. Mark Nicholls, editor of Environmental Finance Magazine, warns that it will be expensive.

MARK NICHOLLS: You have to ask what the appetite is for the German taxpayer to foot the bill for such an aggressive expansion of renewables and energy efficiency.

He says because of the cost -- financial and climatic -- few other countries will turn their backs on nuclear power.



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


11 June, 2011

Warming, What Warming?

Dr. David Whitehouse

If there is one question, in my experience, that many climate scientists will avoid it is, “how long does the current standstill in global temperatures have to continue before you question some of your assumptions about global warming?” The question is a pertinent one. In the past decade there is evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased more steeply than before, so why hasn’t the temperature gone up faster than ever before?

When it was first noted some years ago that the post 2001 global annual temperature was at a standstill it aroused considerable passion. Though it was a simple description of the data often those who pointed it out were severely criticised, and their motives questioned. Even today some deny there has been a standstill, although it is now accepted as fact in the scientific literature that the Earth has not warmed at all in the past ten years. See the references in the GWPF article "nothing wrong with our graph" as well as here, also Wang et al Advances in Climate Change Research 1(1): 49-54, 2010, and here, to give but a selection of many references. Even the Royal Society has said the rate of increase has slowed.

Some will say it’s meaningless as ten years is nothing, the canonical climate period is thirty years and that the 1980s were warmer than the 1970s, the 1990s were warmer than the 80s and the past decade is the warmest of the instrumental record. What more needs to be said?

One climate scientist even said that if the temperature stayed the same for the next 50 years it would make no difference to the theory.

But clearly it does matter. Whatever its relationship to long-term climate, the standstill is important because it requires an explanation, and because nobody predicted it, or indeed has a specific explanation for it.

Some will argue that more than a decade ago they correctly predicted the average temperature of the first decade of this century and that it proves the climate models are correct. However, predicting the decadal average temperature, extrapolated from the 1980s and 1990s as part of a rising trend in temperatures is one thing. Predicting that the temperature rise would stop for a decade is another entirely. Also predictions made a decade ago, especially if ‘successful’ must be considered in the light of climatic influences we have since discovered such as solar effects, revised recently, and stratospheric water vapour variations.

The fundamental observable, in the absence of other climatic influences, of increasing levels of greenhouse gasses is rising temperature. Sooner or later the other variations in climate will average out and the long-term greenhouse gas upwards trend must re-establish itself.

How long the standstill?

It is currently at ten years. If you look at the instrumental temperature record, HadCrut3 for example, it’s obvious that there are features in the temperature curve that each require an explanation. The initial low temperatures and rough standstill between 1850 – 1910 (there was a brief warmish phase at about 1875). The rise between 1910 and 1940, the standstill between 1940 – 1980, the rise 1980 – 2000 and the standstill 2000 – 2010. Standstills are not unusual. It is also interesting that in the 50 years since 1960 when the IPCC says greenhouse gasses became the dominant climate driver, there has been temperature increases in only two of five decades! In fact, since the start of the instrumental period in 1850 only 50 of the 160 years have been part of an increasing trend.

Recently the UK Met Office conducted a series of simulations incorporating climate change models with decadal fluctuations in climate and concluded that one out of every eight decades would show a ten-year standstill, but that no standstill will last as long as 15 years. Since we have three standstill decades since 1960 this data seems to be somewhat outside the conclusions of the simulations. Each year is now significant as a prolonged hiatus in temperature acquires more and more statistical significance in taking the observations away from the theoretical predictions.

Keenlyside et al predict no increase in global temperature over the next decade whilst Smith et al made predictions for post 2009 global temperatures saying that there would be a period of stability until 2009 and thence an increase with half of the subsequent years being warmer than 2009. It remains to be seen if this will be the case.

The IPCC says there should be an increase, on average, of 0.2 deg per decade. In Hadcrut3 the increase for 1979 – 2008 is 0.18 deg per decade which seems to fit in with the IPCC estimates. However, the trend for the past decade is zero making a revised estimate for the 1980 – 2000 period as 0.27 deg per decade.

Looking at atmospheric data, which is independent of the weather station data used in HadCrut3 (I am grateful to Lubos Motl for these figures), from RMS AMU between January 1979 and 2011 the increase was 0.14 deg per decade. However, the figure for 2001 – 2011 is minus 0.04 deg per decade. That is, if anything, the world has got cooler, although still within a statistical constant line within errors of measurement.

The UK Met Office has said that it believes the standstill is probably partly caused by the low solar activity of the past decade coupled with the influence of stratospheric water vapour variations. Only appreciated very recently these variations have had the effect of reducing the increase in the past decade. However, if this is accepted then it must also be accepted that the same variations added up to a third of the temperature increase seen between 1980 – 2000.

In its last report the IPCC showed a graph showing global surface warming vs date for various greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Curiously, for a report issued in 2007, it used only global temperature data up to 2000, that is before the standstill. The actual trajectory taken by the world’s temperature is much closer to the temperature expected for constant greenhouse gas concentrations at the 2000 level, which is obviously not what is happening to our atmosphere. None of the IPCC’s scenarios are consistent with the observed global temperature standstill.

When the IPCC issues an update to this graph in their next report they should use the data up to 2010 with data that includes the standstill.

Perhaps it is temporary and a regular feature of an intermittently warming world, perhaps it is not, the global temperature standstill of the past decade is real and contains information that is crucial to the debate about global warming.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Another Warmist theory takes a tumble: Ocean Acidification is GOOD for Calcifying Clams

Discussing: Range, P., Chicharo, M.A., Ben-Hamadou, R., Pilo, D., Matias, D., Joaquim, S., Oliveira, A.P. and Chicharo, L. 2011. "Calcification, growth and mortality of juvenile clams Ruditapes decussatus under increased pCO2 and reduced pH: Variable responses to ocean acidification at local scales?" Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 396: 177-184.


In introducing their study, the authors write that "whether and how ocean acidification will affect marine organisms, ecosystems and the goods and services they provide is currently a topic of great concern," and in their specific case that concern is directed towards juvenile clams of coastal marine ecosystems, since they say these shellfish "link primary productivity with upper trophic levels" and "are also important economic resources for fisheries and aquaculture."

What was done

In an experiment designed to test the effects of increased pCO2 and reduced pH of seawater on the calcification, growth and mortality of juvenile Ruditapes decussatus clams, Range et al. conducted a 75-day controlled CO2 perturbation experiment, where the carbonate chemistry of seawater was manipulated by diffusing pure CO2 into natural seawater to attain two reduced pH levels (by -0.4 and -0.7 pH unit compared to un-manipulated seawater), hypothesizing that under these conditions the juvenile clams would exhibit: (1) reduced net calcification, (2) reduced growth of the shell and soft tissue, and (3) increased mortality.

What was learned

At the conclusion of their experiment, the eight researchers say that they found "no differences among pH treatments in terms of net calcification, size or weight of the clams," disproving the first two of their three hypotheses. Their third hypothesis also proved to be wrong -- doubly wrong, in fact -- for not only was juvenile clam mortality not increased in the low pH seawater, they say that mortality was significantly reduced in the acidified treatments, which was something they describe as a truly "unexpected result."

What it means

The Portuguese scientists conclude their paper by noting that life is intriguingly complex and that "the generalized and intuitively attractive perception that calcification will be the critical process impacted by ocean acidification is being increasingly challenged," citing Widdicombe and Spicer (2008) and Findlay et al. (2009) in this regard. And we note that the results of their own study further contribute to this emerging perception.


New Ethanol Mandates From Washington

My father founded and ran several area gas stations until his death. At first, he embraced the use of oil and gas mandates like those that regulate the ethanol industry — he saw ethanol as a possible revenue stream. However, optimism dwindled as each fall’s harvest brought bushels of despair, not what others had promised. He would one day realize the strife that comes with perverse government regulations.

Many have regarded ethanol to be the proverbial “fuel of the future,” claiming that it reduces the cost of gasoline at the pump while also emitting less pollution. Although ethanol can replace gasoline in some ways, it is less beneficial than many expect.

The Department of Energy began releasing data in 1997 determining that some of the benefits derived from ethanol don’t outweigh the costs, as researchers had previously believed. Ethanol may emit less pollution when burned in place of gasoline, but the Environmental Protection Agency reports that it releases carcinogens at far higher levels than they predicted when it’s created.

Despite the abundance of new testimonies and information, however, both the federal and state government continue to support ethanol ardently, as our country’s energy messiah.

Pointing to often-circulated claims of environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness, Rep. John Shimkus from Illinois recently introduced new legislation that would impose further government mandates for the production of ethanol. Amid another distressing year for Detroit, this governmental decree would require that 50 percent of all new automobiles be capable of running on ethanol and other non-petroleum fuels by 2014. That number would stiffly rise to 95 percent just three years later.

So, do the advantages of ethanol outweigh the costs? The answer, simply, is no. Aside from its counterproductive environmental effects and proven efficiency loss for each mile to the gallon, ethanol is a precarious investment for the government to force on us for several reasons:
First, it has been shown that increases in ethanol production are correlated with an increase in food prices. These effects can be felt not only statewide, but also nationally and internationally.

Second, and as a direct result of government mandates, a cloud of pseudo–market demand now hangs heavily above the heartland. Simply put, the current supply/demand ratio did not arise naturally from the decisions of producers and consumers, interacting voluntarily in the market. Instead, the ethanol industry is artificially bolstered by government sanctions.

Finally, both this mandate and others like it point to the essence of how government controls harm the economy. There are too many hands in the cookie jar, and, as a result, everyone’s hand gets stuck; the cookie crumbles. Automakers should not be burdened with absurd requirements such as this from legislators who seek to alter the free market for the sole benefit of their constituents, and at the expense of everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, I support the development of renewable energies and green solutions. Markets reward efficiency. However, as both a Missouri resident and an owner of my father’s businesses, I find that legislation like our own E-10 mandate and the proposal advanced by Rep. Shimkus in Illinois are harmful — especially in the long run.

Neither supply nor demand would exist at anywhere near current levels without both federal and state mandates, both of which have propelled ethanol into the forefront of the American auto and oil industries. As it stands, the eagerly pushed supply of ethanol more than satisfies current market demand. And that, folks, is just basic economic principle.



Three articles below

It's time the British Government grew up over climate change, says Nigel Lawson

The Coalition’s obsession with climate change is damaging Britain’s recovery from recession, former Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson warns today

Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Lawson delivers a scathing assessment of David Cameron’s so-called ‘green agenda’ and says it is ‘time this Government grew up’. Lord Lawson, one of the most respected Tory figures of recent decades, accuses the Prime Minister of risking Britain’s economy to make a ‘symbolic’ point.

In a devastating verdict he writes: ‘The Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on. It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: To make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration “the greenest government ever”.

His comments came after former Civil Service chief Lord Turnbull accused ministers and officials of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and piling huge, unnecessary costs on ordinary families.

Lord Lawson, Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher, goes further today, saying that plastering Britain with wind farms will push up bills to families and businesses without producing any real benefits. The switch to ‘low-carbon’ energy is expected to add £200 to annual energy bills. He writes: ‘This price increase would be economically damaging at the best of times; and these are not the best of times.’

And he warns the harm to business could be greater still, adding: ‘The economy is already recovering from the recession. ‘However, there is indeed a threat to that recovery and the bitter irony is that this is of the Government’s own making. ‘It is its so-called climate change policy of ‘decarbonising’ the British economy.’

He says it is ‘highly uncertain’ that higher carbon emissions will warm the planet to a dangerous extent and warns it is ‘futile folly’ for Britain to act alone when its emissions are two per cent of the global total.
Last weekend, some 52 (for the most part little known) economists signed a letter to the Observer newspaper calling on the Government to retreat from its commendably firm determination to reduce substantially, during the lifetime of this Parliament, the appalling budget deficit it inherited.

I am reminded of my own time as a Treasury Minister when, in March 1981, no fewer than 364 (rather better known) economists signed a letter to the Times claiming that ‘present policies will deepen the recession, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability’ and should be abandoned forthwith. In fact, from that moment, the economy embarked on eight years of uninterrupted growth.

I have no doubt that Chancellor George Osborne will, rightly, ignore the bad advice of the 52, just as we did of the 364. And indeed the International Monetary Fund has sensibly encouraged him to stand firm.

The economy is already recovering, slowly but incontrovertibly, from the recession. However, there is a threat to that recovery — and the bitter irony is that this is of the Government’s own making.

It is not the very necessary reduction and eventual elimination of the budget deficit. It is the Government’s so-called climate-change policy of ‘decarbonising’ the British economy — the replacement of carbon-based energy with substantially more expensive non-carbon energy, in particular wind power.

The ostensible purpose of this policy is to prevent what is customarily described as catastrophic global warming. Now, there are at least two major problems with this.

The first, as more and more eminent scientists are finding the courage to point out (the most recent being the distinguished physicist Professor William Happer of Princeton University), is that it is far from clear that there is a serious problem — let alone a catastrophic one — of global warming at all.

My think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has just published a devastating analysis by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Turnbull, demanding that politicians ‘stop frightening us and our children’ about the threat of global warming. He calls on Whitehall and ministers to consider the damaging economic impact of blindly following the ‘climate-change agenda’.

While it is scientifically established that increased emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the use of carbon-based energy, such as coal, oil and gas, can be expected to warm the planet, it is uncertain how great any such warming would be, and how much harm, if any, it would do.

The second major problem with the British Government’s policy is that even if it were thought to be desirable to cut back drastically on carbon emissions, this can have an effect only if it is done globally. For the UK, responsible for 2 per cent of global emissions, to go it alone is futile folly.

And the complete failure of the UN-sponsored environment jamborees — in Cancun last year and Copenhagen the year before — to achieve a global decarbonisation agreement clearly shows that this is not happening and, in my judgment, is not going to happen.

China, the biggest global emitter, has made it clear that it will not accept any restraint on its use of carbon-based energy, as has India. (The annual increase in China’s emissions, incidentally, is greater than the UK’s total emissions.) And the U.S., the second-largest emitter, has made it clear that without China and India on board, there is no prospect of the U.S. signing up to anything.

The plain fact is that the world relies on carbon-based energy simply because it is by far the cheapest available source of energy and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The major developing countries, in particular, are understandably unwilling to hold back their development and condemn their people to avoidable poverty, by moving from relatively cheap energy to relatively expensive energy.

Yet this is precisely what the present UK Government is committed to. Alone in the world, we have on our statute book a Climate Change Act. This commits us, unilaterally, to a legally binding process which is already well under way. And eventually — by 2050 — we will have near-total decarbonisation, by switching to an ever more expensive mix of ‘green’ energy sources.

To achieve this, the Government has introduced a range of measures, notably the renewables obligation, which requires electricity suppliers to buy a proportion of their power from renewable sources, chiefly wind power, at huge cost, which is then loaded onto all electricity bills.

Then there are the so-called feed-in tariffs, under which a greatly inflated price is paid to wind-farm owners and others who supply renewable energy to the grid — and again loaded onto our electricity bills.

On top of this, there are a number of other price-inflating measures, such as the so-called ‘carbon floor price’ (a commitment to ensure that the price of conventional energy stays high and goes higher, by means of a government levy on firms generating electricity based on the amount of CO2 they produce), which are yet to take effect.

What is doubly unacceptable, however, is that the public is being made to pay for this by stealth. This is why, in the cause of proper transparency, our electricity suppliers should be made to reveal in our utility bills the extent of this hidden tax element, which is costing families an average of £200 more a year.

This price increase would be economically damaging at the best of times; and these are not the best of times. And the damage is all the more serious when other countries are not doing the same.

In recent weeks, spokesmen for both the Engineering Employers’ Federation and the Energy Intensive Users’ Group have warned of investment and jobs going overseas, where energy costs are lower.

They have been joined by spokesmen for the chemical industry and the UK head of Tata Steel (Britain’s largest steelmaker, the former British Steel), which has already announced substantial lay-offs in the UK, partly for this reason. And this week the CBI, at long last, voiced its deep concern.

It is curious, to say the least, that a government that came to power saying it wished to rebalance the economy to rely less on financial services and more on manufacturing should be determined to impose the most anti-manufacturing energy policy of any government in British history.

This policy, incidentally, will also greatly exacerbate the problem of ‘fuel poverty’ (officially defined as the number of people who are obliged to spend more than 10 per cent of their household income on fuel), as the charity Age UK has pointed out.

The Government needs all the political support it can get to carry through its economic policies. Its disastrous ‘green’ energy policy can only undermine that support.

The Coalition likes to boast, as did its Labour predecessor which initiated this damaging policy, that the UK is the only country in the world to impose severe and legally binding carbon reduction requirements on its economy.

While this claim is well-founded, ministers might do well to ask themselves why the UK is the only country to do this. The answer, of course, is that no other country has the slightest intention of incurring such pointless and self-inflicted economic harm.


The answer, my friend, ain't blowing' in the wind

Following the revelation that we’re all paying a secret stealth tax to subsidise so-called renewable energy sources, it seems like a good time to check out exactly what we are getting for our money.

At midday yesterday, wind power was contributing just 2.2 per cent of all the electricity in the National Grid. You might think that’s a pretty poor return on the billions of pounds spent already on Britain’s standing army of windmills.

But it’s actually a significant improvement on the last time I checked the wholesale electricity industry’s official website. At the turn of the year, the figure was 1.6 per cent. During the cold snap the turbines had to be heated to stop them freezing and were actually consuming more electricity than they generated.
Worth it? Wind power contributes just 2.2 per cent to the overall electricity of the National Grid

Worth it? Wind power contributes just 2.2 per cent to the overall electricity of the National Grid

Even on a good day, they rarely work above a quarter of their theoretical capacity. And in high winds they have to be turned off altogether to prevent damage. Britain’s 3,426 wind turbines produce no more electricity than a single, medium-sized gas-fired power station.

Any sane individual would conclude that wind generation is hopelessly inefficient and horribly expensive and stop throwing good money after bad. But when did sanity ever have anything to do with government policy?

Ministers are planning to install another 12,500 of these worse-than-useless windmills, some of them up to three times the size of existing monstrosities.

We are paying for all this through hidden charges which now make up a fifth of all gas and electricity bills. The average household has to fork out an extra £200 a year.

That’s because the Government forces energy companies to buy from renewable sources, which are far more expensive than conventional power stations. The cost is then passed on to the consumer.

Ministers know there would be an outcry if they raised taxes to pay for windmills, so they hide the subsidies in our gas and electricity bills and hope the energy companies get the blame.

Scottish Power has just announced it is increasing gas prices by 19 per cent and electricity by 10 per cent. Although there is little the companies can do about rising world commodity prices, our bills are being artificially inflated as a direct result of the Government’s insane ‘climate change’ policies.

At a time when the price of everything from petrol to basic foodstuffs is going through the roof, it is outrageous that ministers are piling on the misery by forcing all of us to pay well over the odds for domestic fuel.
Here’s how crazy it is.

Earlier this year the National Grid was forced to pay £900,000 compensation to the owners of six wind farms which were forced to close down one especially gusty night — because they were producing too much electricity and there was no capacity to store it.

So they’re either producing little or no electricity, or else have to be switched off because they’re producing too much. Either way, we pay.

It’s not just windmills, either. Farmers are being offered £50,000 to cover their fields with solar panels, which are useless when the sun don’t shine. Given that we are told we could soon be facing food shortages, you might have thought it would make sense to encourage farmers to grow crops.

But with a guaranteed annual return far higher than if he grew wheat, you can’t blame Farmer Giles for concluding it’s not worth getting his hands dirty and taking the money. Lavish subsidies for renewable energy schemes are also making some of the country’s richest landowners even richer at the taxpayers’ expense.

Meanwhile, manufacturing industry faces a 70 per cent increase in its fuel bills — regardless of the level of world energy prices — because of a reckless levy on carbon emissions imposed by the Coalition’s tame racing driver. Some say he ran off with a lapsed lesbian and that he persuaded his ex-wife to take the rap for a speeding offence. All we know is: he’s called Chris Huhne.

The Lib Dem Energy Secretary epitomises the political establishment’s obsession with ‘man-made global warming’. Climate change has given them a catch-all excuse to grab more power and raise taxes.

Don’t take my word for it. Tony Blair’s former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Turnbull, has condemned MPs and civil servants for punishing hard-working families and jeopardising economic growth in the name of saving the polar bears.

He said: ‘We need more open-mindedness, more rationality, less emotion and less religiosity and an end to the alarmist propaganda and to attempts to frighten us and our children.’ Amen to that.

Why should Britain have the world’s toughest targets for cutting carbon emissions, especially when China is opening a new coal-fired power station every week? Meeting those targets will take £13 billion a year out of the economy.

Why should British householders, uniquely, be forced to pay higher gas and electricity bills to disfigure our green-and-pleasant with hideous War Of The Worlds windmills, simply so politicians like Huhne can preen themselves at international ‘global warming’ conferences?

It is suicidal to load unnecessary financial burdens on British businesses, which are trying to compete with cut-price Chinese products produced in factories powered by cheap electricity.

It’s not even as if there are tens of thousands of jobs being created in Britain by the ‘green economy’. The wind turbines are all built and installed by foreign firms. British taxpayers are subsidising companies in Germany, Spain and Japan.

My wife recently went for lunch in a Norfolk hotel which was overrun with Scandinavian technicians, living high on the hog, plonking offshore wind farms in the Wash and the North Sea.

Politicians are putting our economic recovery at risk by posturing over ‘global warming’ and dragging their feet over the obvious and urgent solution of building more clean, safe nuclear power stations.

Because of this madness, Britain faces the very real prospect of rolling power cuts in the not-too-distant, as our older generation of power stations come to the end of their lives.

Stuff the polar bears. Unless the politicians get a grip, sky-high gas and electricity bills will be the least of our worries.


The REAL reason fuel bills are going through the roof? Crackpot green taxes you're never even told about

Scottish Power has understandably provoked howls of protests after announcing plans to raise its gas price by a thumping 19 per cent and its electricity tariffs by an inflation-busting 10 per cent.

And over the next few days and weeks, I am sure its main competitors will announce similar price hikes — leaving Britain's unhappy householders facing annual power bills some £200 higher than they were a year ago.

Of course, the power companies will offer the normal excuses. Media-trained chief executives will point to increases in wholesale power prices, which have gone up by about 25 per cent since last winter. And no doubt one or two will blame increased demand from Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami last March.

But none of them, I'll wager, will mention one of the biggest reasons why our power bills only ever seem to be heading up and up and why — regardless of what's happening in the wholesale energy market — they could easily have doubled by 2020.

Spurred by the Government's stubborn but wrong-headed commitment to renewable energy, so-called green stealth taxes are already adding 15-20 per cent to the average domestic power bill and even more to business users. And yet, despite the growing cost of these taxes, you won't find any mention of them at all on your gas and electricity bills.

That, of course, suits the Government down to the ground. If it raised the huge sums required to encourage renewable energy and limit carbon emissions through general taxation it would make the Government itself very unpopular. But by doing it through electricity and gas bills, the Government has cleverly ensured that it's the power companies that take the blame.

So, what should be appearing on our power bills? First is the so-called Renewables Obligation, which currently requires power companies to buy 11 per cent of their power from renewable resources.

The problem is that renewable energy — most of which comes from on- and off-shore wind farms, solar panels and biomass plants (power stations fuelled by wood chippings and agricultural matter) — is between three and five times more expensive than power from conventional sources such as coal or gas.

So by obliging power companies to buy this more expensive renewable energy — and latest estimate suggests off-shore wind-farms could be up to ten times more expensive — the Renewables Obligation already starts to inflate our power bills.

Sadly, however, it doesn't stop there. Next is the European Emission Trading Scheme, which requires all energy-intensive companies to off-set their emissions with so-called carbon credits — permits which allow companies to emit a specific amount of waste. At the moment, these are free, but they won't be for much longer, with new measures due to come into force next year — another reason why our power bills are heading only one way.

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Commitment, which requires energy suppliers to invest in expensive technology to reduce their carbon emissions, also does nothing to help.

Then, at least for corporate customers, there is the Climate Change Levy, which effectively taxes businesses, companies and public bodies on the energy they use. So when added to the other climate change taxes, the average British business is already facing a power bill some 20-25 per cent higher than it should be.

But unfortunately it's not going to stop at that. The Treasury itself already admits that scheduled increases in the Climate Change Levy will see business power bills increasing by 70 per cent by 2020, regardless of what happens in the wholesale market. Outside observers, however, believe the bills will double.

And that's before the Carbon Floor Price — the controversial measure introduced by Chris Huhne in March — comes into effect in 2013. By charging power companies and heavy industry for their CO2 emissions (at £16 per tonne, rising to £30 per tonne in 2020), the Chancellor has admitted that the aim is to make power derived from fossil fuels deliberately more expensive, making both nuclear power and renewable energy look more competitive.

And yet he's done this at a time when Britain has reserves of fossil fuels for years to come, in the shape of coal, gas from shale and, of course, North Sea Oil, which may be in decline but is nowhere near to running out. And yet businesses all over Britain will be needlessly forced to pay more for power from such sources, robbing them of funds that could create jobs and pay for investment.

It's the final unseen tax, however, that is perhaps the most outrageous. It's now widely accepted that landowners and big businesses have started to invest in renewable energy projects — be they wind or solar-powered — only because of the huge subsidies being offered by the Government.

At a time when household savers are struggling to get a 0.5 per cent return on an instant access saving account, some of these renewable energy subsidies — paid in the form of generous payments for the electricity produced, so called feed-in tariffs (FITs) — are guaranteeing annual returns of 10 per cent. Small wonder that after years of disinterest and inactivity, renewable energy projects are now popping up all over the place.

These direct subsidies are paid for out of general taxation — in other words by every individual or corporate taxpayer — to the current tune of some £1.5 billion a year. But research has shown these subsidies are being paid to some of the wealthiest landowners and biggest businesses in the country, including the Crown Estate. It's one of the biggest wealth transfers — from millions of ordinary hard-working taxpayers to a few hundred of the hugely wealthy — in British history.

It's staggeringly unfair and, in the growing opinion of many, totally pointless.

Not only is much of the science behind the idea of global warming now being disputed but, at a time of such widespread economic hardship, we simply cannot afford to misdirect scarce economic resources on such a massive scale. Britain needs jobs, it needs industry. What it doesn't need is rows and rows of heavily-subsidised wind turbines.

People, however, will only realise that when the cost to each and every one of us becomes readily apparent and, at the moment, it's being deliberately hiddens. The Government has to come clean and force the power companies to make their bills fully transparent.

For residential customers, the cost of the Renewables Obligation and European Emission Transfer Scheme needs to be itemised in the same way VAT currently is. If the EETS really is costing each household an average of £100 a year, then householders have a right to know that.

For business customers, many of which pay huge power bills already, both the Climate Change Levy and the Carbon Floor Price, where appropriate, need to be separately quantified and itemised.

Only then will those facing spiralling power bills have all the information required to make the appropriate decisions. Only then will it be possible to see if a power company has been raising its prices unfairly and change supplier.

And only then will the true cost of the Government's mad rush towards renewable energy become clear, allowing voters to back or sack those who formulated the policy.

But full transparency could have also have one other benefit. It could persuade the Coalition Government to rethink this misguided and unaffordable energy policy altogether.



Three articles below

Climate policy costs large yet still underestimated

Henry Ergas

TO get an intelligent answer, ask an intelligent question. It was the failure to do so that undermined the modelling of the carbon pollution reduction scheme. From the snippets Wayne Swan released on Wednesday of carbon modelling 2.0, it has exactly the same weakness. Not that the snippets lack interest. Most striking is just how large the costs of the new scheme are estimated to be.

According to the Treasurer, per capita incomes will grow by 1.2 per cent annually. The scheme is expected to reduce that growth rate by 0.1 percentage point. That reduction, Swan claims, is a mere trifle. But it amounts to a permanent 8 per cent cut in our long-term growth rate. To see what that implies, consider the present value of the forgone income; that is, the absolute value of the cost to 2050. That present value is in the order of $1.4 trillion. The proposed policy would therefore cost Australia about 1 1/2 years' national income. But even that large amount is a significant underestimate, assuming the modelling is similar to that done for the CPRS.

First, it assumes moving to the scheme involves no transition costs. But resources are not infinitely malleable. Substantial costs would be incurred not merely in moving to the scheme but also if we eventually wanted to abandon it.

Second and even more important, the modelling assumes our commercial rivals are implementing a similar scheme. Given that assumption, the modelling does not assess the government's proposal. Rather, it models an entirely different policy: that of introducing an emissions trading scheme when such a scheme is being introduced by our competitors.

To cost the government's proposal, one therefore needs to ask a more sensible question: what are the consequences for Australia of acting unilaterally? If doing so only doubled the adverse impact on our growth rate, the policy's cost would exceed three years' national income. Of course, the government denies it is acting unilaterally. Rather, pointing to the Productivity Commission's just released report, it says many countries are implementing climate change policies.

But the PC did not examine Australia's mining competitors. And in those countries it did examine, the policies adopted are often ineffectual and inefficient. Moreover, those countries generally exempt their trade-exposed, carbon-intensive industries from paying for carbon emissions. By imposing a carbon tax on those industries, we would truly be flying alone. The government's response to this involves six arguments that are individually incorrect and collectively incoherent.

* First, it asserts, contrary to all evidence, that the world is on track to achieve credible, enforceable agreement on reducing carbon emissions.

* Second, it argues that whatever the difficulties, action by Australia would significantly speed global agreement.

However, even if the scheme did advance global agreement, the question is whether there are not cheaper options for achieving that goal. Spending even a tiny fraction of the policy's cost scaling up our participation in the global process would surely be every bit as effective in advancing international agreement. And if those efforts failed, we would not be left with a costly scheme entrenched by constituencies with an interest in its perpetuation.

* Third, the government says its proposal would reduce uncertainty and promote investment, notably in electricity generation. Uncertainty about carbon prices does create issues for electric power investment. But that uncertainty is inevitable given the absence of international agreement. Trying to deal with it by imposing needless costs on the economy as a whole is neither sensible nor sustainable. And the government's scheme, with its multiple decision points and timeframes, only adds risks to those investors already bear.

* The government's fourth tack is to cast the issue as a matter of morality. Of course, appealing to our better instincts sits uncomfortably with the government's mantra that it won't hurt a bit. But, even putting that aside, there is nothing particularly ethical about wasting resources. Nor is it especially noble to squander them on climate change.

* Fifth, the government argues that without an ETS, other countries will impose punitive tariffs on our exports. Whether that would be legal is questionable. It overlooks the fact those countries are exempting their exports from carbon imposts, making it implausible any claim against us could succeed. Even more importantly, it makes no sense: if Germany taxed imports of our low-cost ores, its industries, not ours, would mainly suffer, losing sales to competitors that did not impose such taxes. Not even the Europeans are that irrational. Even were there a risk that they are, trashing a year's national income is surely not the most cost-effective insurance policy.

* Sixth and last, the government says an ETS is more economically efficient than the alternatives. True, the wealth transfers that masquerade as climate policy are an insult to common sense. But the government is not intending to eliminate those schemes: indeed, its modelling has assumed they would stay in place. And the government and Ross Garnaut propose adding new wealth transfers, compounding the waste. Even were a completely clean-skin ETS preferable to what we have now, that is irrelevant to evaluating what is actually on offer.

Rather, if government is sincere about enhancing efficiency, let it release modelling comparing its proposal, including the existing and proposed handouts, to the wait-and-see option and to the schemes proposed by Warwick McKibbin and Geoff Carmody. Let it, in other words, address the issue of policy relevance: given global uncertainties, how does adopting this scheme compare with alternatives, including that of eliminating the wasteful policies currently in place?

That would be to answer the intelligent question. If it refuses to tackle that question, the government will doom the Treasury's modelling, no matter how competent it may be, to ultimate irrelevance.


Mine union digs in over compensation under a carbon tax

ONE of Australia's largest unions has threatened a blue-collar revolt should the nation's dirtiest coalmines fail to receive the same level of assistance as they were promised under the original emissions trading scheme.

With industry compensation still being thrashed out behind closed doors, the national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Tony Maher, said he is worried coalminers will be dudded to appease the Greens. "They want to single out mine workers as some sort of trophy hunt," he said of the Greens.

Mr Maher told the Herald that unless the government stood firm and secured the same compensation package as before, "they'll have a big problem with us".

Under the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme, there was to be assistance for 23 of the nation's 150 coalmines.

Most coalmines are open-cut, low-emitting projects, and a price on carbon would have only a minor effect on the price of each tonne of coal they produce.

But there would be a significant increase on the price of coal produced by the 23 so-called "gassy" mines, which emit large amounts of methane.

Rather than giving the gassy mines free permits as compensation, which would allow them to go on polluting, the original scheme proposed to allocate $1.5 billion to help them implement measures to lower emissions.

The Minerals Council and the coal industry have been insisting that the same deal be guaranteed, and now Mr Maher has joined the fray.

Industry compensation for the Gillard government's carbon tax is being negotiated by the government, the Greens and the independents which make up the multi-party climate change committee.

It is understood the government is again pushing for the gassy mines to be looked after, but the Greens, who are hostile to coalmining, are resisting.

Mr Maher said 5000 jobs were at stake if the Greens prevailed, and he warned that the backlash would extend beyond the mining sector.

He likened the potential reaction to the abandonment of Labor by blue-collar workers after Labor's botched Tasmanian forestry policy during the 2004 election campaign. "Australian blue-collar workers won't be salami-sliced on job security," Mr Maher said. "It's mine workers one day, oil workers the next day, cement the next." He said everyone involved in designing the carbon tax needed to realise its success depended on community acceptance.

"Job security and household compensation are paramount. The Greens are in la-la land. I am calling on all the members of the [multi-party committee] to say where they stand on miners' jobs in gassy coalmines. "The government's been really silent about coal. The Greens have been silent; they have been poisoned by prejudice."

Mr Maher's reaction is similar to that of the Australian Workers Union boss, Paul Howes, who demanded in April that the steel sector be exempted altogether from the carbon price. He also insisted that not one manufacturing job be lost.

The union pressure is indicative of fears which are building on the shop floor and being fuelled by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.


End renewables fantasy now

AUSTRALIA'S biggest carbon emitters have called for the immediate withdrawal of commonwealth and state renewable energy programs that the Productivity Commission has found cost billions of dollars for little result.

States that refused to wind back generous rooftop solar and other programs should be denied Grants Commission funds or GST payments, the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network said.

The AIGN, which represents industries responsible for more than 90 per cent of Australia's carbon emissions in mining, manufacturing and energy production, has lobbied the federal government's multi-party climate change committee for reform.

"It may be that punitive action needs to be taken through a reduced distribution of Grants Commission funds or GST revenues to states that fail to make the required reforms to existing programs or continue to adopt new ones," the AIGN says in a letter to the multi-party committee.

AIGN chief executive Michael Hitchens said this week's Productivity Commission report strengthened the case for reform.

The report found schemes such as state-based feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar cost between five and 10 times as much as a market-based scheme to cut the same amount of CO2 emissions.

All parties, including the Greens and independent MP Tony Windsor, have criticised the ad hoc approach to "complementary measures".

The issue of reform is understood to be on the table for discussion within the multi-party committee, but state reform can be achieved only through the COAG process.

The AIGN yesterday called for the so-called complementary measures to be phased out immediately to concentrate on a market-based scheme.

Mr Hitchens said the Productivity Commission report confirmed that if an economy-wide pricing approach was taken in Australia most of the 237 other policies needed to be abolished.

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet yesterday said the federal government's Renewable Energy Target scheme had already been scaled back to a significant degree. "Once we introduce a carbon price, the Renewable Energy Target will not need to do the heavy lifting in transforming our energy sector," he said. "That's because the carbon price will provide additional strong incentives for investment in renewable energy. "Final details of a carbon pricing mechanism are yet to be determined and remain the focus of negotiations in the multi-party climate change committee."

Mr Hitchens said a key challenge for the implementation of a single economy-wide carbon price was the concurrent removal of most of the other measures adopted by all governments. "In the electricity sector, on the most optimistic estimates, the Productivity Commission shows that, globally, all these policies are saving just 210 million tonnes of CO2-e for a total cost, as measured by subsidy equivalent, of over $18,000 million a year," he said.

A Greens spokesman said the party was keen for complementary measures, but it had always been critical of the ad hoc approach. The Greens have said the state-based feed-in tariffs have been very poorly designed and they wanted to see a carbon price.



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


10 June, 2011

Warming skeptics are not 'deniers'

A good commentary from a MSM source

If you are not among the global warming alarmists scared to death about a plague of boils, frogs, lice and locusts, as well as tornadoes, hurricanes and other weather events, you are to them a "denier," which is different from being a skeptic.
The terminology was stolen from anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers refusing despite endless eye witnesses and tons of evidence to agree that, during World War II, the German government slaughtered some 6 million innocent people for the Nazi-identified offense of being Jewish.

The implication of using the word to describe doomsday skeptics is that they have some deep, dark evil motive -- probably money -- to overlook scientific data piled so high that no one of ordinary intelligence possibly could. It doesn't seem to bother them that most skeptics agree that the Earth has been getting a little warmer even if they harbor doubts about an apocalypse arriving tomorrow afternoon.

One of the latest of these Holocaust-trivializing, rhetorical misadventures issued from a Newsweek article in which the writer says, "Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year." She then speaks of the U.S. tornadoes, rainstorms, drought and heat waves, telling us about "extremes" reaching "biblical proportions," though I have to admit she does not specifically say we have been revisited by the Egyptian plague of frogs and more referred to in Exodus.

She also tells us that "climate change deniers" have argued warming was a hoax and there was no need to adapt, and yes, some skeptics do think it's a hoax, thanks to articles like this one.

An online article from Newsweek's competitor, Time Magazine, is more cautious. It observes that one noted climate scientist, Judith Curry of Georgia Tech, says there has been "a downward trend" in tornadoes since recordkeeping started more than a half century ago. To connect any weather events with warming, the article argues, you need all kinds of information about weather during a long period of time in a particular location and, after seeing "an upward trend," exclude every other possible factor. It's a tough job, and not much has been done to make the case.

The Time writer also says, however, that we "already know" climate change is a fearful business that will afflict us mightily in countless ways if we do not "change the way we use energy, " and adds: "There shouldn't be any debate about that."

Bring on Leonard Solomon first, and then Freeman Dyson. Solomon wrote an ironically title book called "The Deniers" about more than two dozen internationally respected scientists who have no possible ulterior motives. He has noted that they all believe the Earth is warming, but that some doubt the warming is man-caused and that all doubt the consequence will be incredible destruction, mostly saying the warming over time will be slight.

According to Solomon, the idea of a "consensus" about catastrophic warming rests on the fact that 2,500 scientists participated in parts of a U.N. panel report that they were not asked to endorse as a whole. Curry, mentioned above, accuses the panel of "corruption," according to a Scientific American article. Solomon thinks the Kyoto anti-warming policies did enormous harm to Third World countries that bowed to new energy-production prescriptions, and has observed in another forum that some warming alarmists think we should dispense with many of our liberties to serve their cause.

Dyson, one of America's most respected physicists, once went to war in a New York Review of Books piece with scientists who dismissed other scientists skeptical of warming alarms as having nothing important to say. He noted that the majority of scientists have time and again been proven wrong in controversies, adds that warming is less about science than environmentalism as a secular religion, and says fine - the basic ethics add up. What doesn't add up, he says, is adopting "as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet."

To which I say amen.


Britain's government Ministers fall for climate folly, warns ex-Civil Service chief

Politicians and Whitehall mandarins are pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and consigning Britain to a future of inflated fuel bills and economic misery, the former head of the Civil Service warned last night.

Lord Turnbull – who served Tony Blair as Cabinet Secretary from 2002 to 2005 – accused MPs and civil servants of failing to challenge the ‘climate change consensus’. He suggested that by blindly following the green agenda, the Government had hit hard-working families with a range of costly policies.

Lord Turnbull also pointed out that ‘by and large humanity has prospered in the warmer periods’. ‘It is regrettable that the UK Parliament has proved so trusting and uncritical of the (global warming) narrative and so reluctant to question the economic costs being imposed in pursuit of decarbonisation,’ he said. ‘I am also disappointed that so many of my former colleagues in the civil service seem so ready to go along unquestioningly with the consensus.

'From our politicians we need open-mindedness, more rationality, less emotion and less religiosity; and an end to alarmist propaganda and to attempts to frighten us and our children. ‘And we want them to pay more attention to the national interest and less to being global evangelists.’

Last month Energy Secretary Chris Huhne committed the UK to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and by cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

However, David Cameron’s climate advisers warn the move to a low carbon economy will cost one per cent of GDP – £13billion a year in economic growth. The targets are the toughest of any country in the world.

The Government is committed to meeting its carbon targets by boosting home energy efficiency, installing £7billion worth of smart electricity metres and creating 10,000 wind turbines over the next decade. The cost of the wind farms is being added to household bills.

Lord Turnbull’s unprecedented assault comes in a report The Really Inconvenient Truth for the sceptical think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. In it, he describes the Government’s expansion of wind power as folly and warns that Britain was rushing too quickly into a costly low carbon future.

He condemned Britain’s self-imposed legally binding climate change targets as ‘unilateralism’ at a time when other countries are doing very little. ‘The UK, producing only two to three per cent of world CO2 emissions can have only a minimal effect on the global warming outcome,’ he said.

He singles out the Conservative Party for its ‘uncritical adoption of the green agenda’ as a way to help them escape ‘the nasty party image’.

Much of his anger is reserved for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the influential UN body of scientists which argues man-made carbon dioxide is most likely cause of global warming.

Lord Turnbull accepts that global temperatures have been rising for the past 150 years and that some of that increase was caused by rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, he claims there is still ‘huge controversy’ about the role of the of the sun, cosmic rays, clouds and oceans in climate change.

Lord Turnbull, who began his career as an economist and is now a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation set up by Lord Lawson, said the IPCC made too many dramatic claims. ‘There has been a consistent pattern of cherry-picking, exaggeration, highlighting of extremes and failure to acknowledge beneficial effects,’ he said.

On the IPCC’s work on the impacts of climate change, he declared: ‘This is where their work is at its shabbiest; lots of dramatic claims about sea levels, melting glaciers, ice, crop yields, extinction of species eg polar bears.’ He denounced the senior scientists who have become ‘campaigners, trying to close down debate’.

Dr Bob Ward, a climate change policy expert at the London School of Economics, said Lord Turnbull’s paper was ‘riddled with basic scientific errors’. ‘He misunderstands the science and the nature of risk,’ he said. ‘No one denies that there is uncertainty in the future impacts of climate change. But because the impacts are potentially so huge and economically damaging, if we wait until we are sure it will be too late to do anything about it.’


Electric cars may not be so green after all, says British study

ELECTRIC cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries, a study has found.

An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020.

Britain's Department for Transport is spending $66 million over the next year giving up to 8,600 buyers of electric cars a grant of $7700 towards the purchase price. Ministers are considering extending the scheme.

The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.

Greg Archer, director of Low CVP, said the industry should state the full lifecycle emissions of cars rather than just tailpipe emissions, to avoid misleading consumers. He said that drivers wanting to minimise emissions could be better off buying a small, efficient petrol or diesel car. “People have to match the technology to their particular needs,” he said.


EPA: Environmental Propaganda Activists—The myth of killer mercury

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued 946 pages of new rules, requiring that U.S. power plants sharply reduce (already low) emissions of mercury and 83 other air pollutants. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that, while the regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually, they will save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits.

There is no factual basis for these assertions. To build its case, EPA systematically ignored evidence and ignored clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is to punish hydrocarbon use.

Mercury (Hg) has always existed naturally in Earth’s environment. A 2009 study found numerous spikes (and drops) in mercury deposition in Antarctic ice over the past 650,000-years. Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and in trees, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants.

A further defense comes from selenium, which is found in fish and animals. Its strong attraction to mercury molecules protects fish and people against buildups of methylmercury, mercury’s biologically active and more toxic form. Thus, the 200,000,000 tons of mercury naturally present in seawater have never posed a danger to any living being, even though they could theoretically be converted into methylmercury.

Modern technologies enable us to detect infinitesimal amounts in air and water. However, quantities of mercury measured in lake waters are often no more than 0.00000001 gram of mercury per liter. Lab technicians typically wear special garments when measuring mercury levels, not to protect themselves — but to ensure accurate measurements, because even breathing on a sample can triple a reading!

How do America’s coal-burning power plants enter into the picture?

The latest government, university and independent studies reveal that those power plants emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. However, U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tpy; Chinese power plants eject 400 tpy; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year!

All these emissions enter the global atmospheric system and become part of the U.S. air mass.

Thus, U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5 percent of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe. Even eliminating every milligram of this mercury will do nothing about the other 99.5 percent in America’s atmosphere.

And yet, in the face of these minuscule risks, EPA nevertheless demands that utility companies spend billions every year retrofitting coal-fired power plants that produce half of all U.S. electricity, and 70-98 percent of electricity in twelve states. Its regulators simultaneously ignore the positive results of medical studies that clearly show its new restrictions are not needed and will not improve people’s health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which actively monitors mercury exposure, blood mercury counts for U.S. women and children decreased steadily 1999-2008, placing today’s counts well below the already excessively “safe” level established by EPA.

A 17-year evaluation of mercury risk to babies and children, by the Seychelles Children Development Study, found “no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects” in children who eat several servings of ocean fish every week, much more than most Americans do.

The World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assessed these findings in setting mercury risk standards that are 2-3 times less restrictive than EPA’s. Under WHO and ATSDR guidelines, no American children are even remotely at risk from mercury.

EPA ignored these findings. Instead, the agency based its “safe” mercury criteria on a study of Faroe Islanders, whose diet is far removed from our own. They eat few fruits and vegetables, but do feast on pilot whale meat and blubber that is laced with mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — but very low in selenium. The study has limited relevance to US populations.

Finally, EPA maintains that mercury deposition, its conversion to methylmercury, and MeHg accumulation in fish and humans is a simple process that can be controlled by curtailing emissions from US power plants. However, mercury emissions (from all sources) and raw mercury levels in fresh or ocean waters are only part of the story.

Complex, nonlinear interactions among at least 50 natural variables control the biological and chemical processes that govern elemental mercury conversion to methylmercury and MeHg accumulation in fish. Those variables, and selenium levels in fish tissue, are beyond anyone’s ability to control.

As a result, the EPA’s actions can be counted on to achieve only one thing — which is to further advance the Obama administration’s oft-stated goal of penalizing hydrocarbon use, making coal-based electricity prices “skyrocket,” and driving a transition to unreliable renewable energy.

The proposed standards will do nothing to reduce exaggerated threats from mercury and other air pollutants. Indeed, the rules will worsen, rather than improve America’s health — especially for young children and women of child-bearing age. Not only will they raise heating, air conditioning and food costs; they will scare people away from nutritious fish that should be in everyone’s diet.

America needs affordable, reliable electricity. It needs better health and nutrition. It needs an EPA that focuses on real risks, instead of wasting hard-earned taxpayer and consumer dollars fabricating dangers and evidence.


German Historian On Germany's Warmist "scientists": “We’re Dealing With Fanatics Here – Revolutionary Messianism”

Wolfgang Wippermann is a professor at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute at the Free University of Berlin. Wippermann’s main area of research is ideology history

Online FOCUS magazine interviewed German historian Wolfgang Wippermann on the subject of the WBGU and Hans Schellnhuber’s “master plan” for transforming global society.

The WBGU acts as Angela Merkel’s science advisory board (believe it or not). Schellnhuber, its director, is also director of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The Wippermann interview is the latest in a series of intense criticisms by German mainstream media aimed at the worrisome anti-democratic and authoritarian views expressed by factions of the German scientific community such as the PIK and WBGU and the German government lately, see here, here and here.

Wippermann, who is an expert on authoritarianism, fires extremely harsh words at the WBGU and its seemingly out-of-control Professor Schellnhuber, calling the authors of the WBGU social contract “fanatics” and the language “worrisome”. What follows are summarized excerpts of the FOCUS interview.

FOCUS: What does the language in the paper remind you of?

Wippermann: The language is scary and it makes me afraid. Those who speak like that behave the same way. It is a negative Utopia, a dystopia. When Utopian minds are at work, it is always dangerous.

FOCUS: What world view do you see in the text?

Wippermann: Here we are dealing with scientific fanatics who want to assert their ideas. It makes me wonder that we are discussing this for the first time, and how little it has been discussed in the public up to now.

FOCUS: What about the role of science in politics?

Wippermann: First off: the German government should have distanced itself from the WBGU long ago. It just cannot be. In short, you just cannot say that you demand some other democracy, a different state and a different world order. It is unacceptable.

FOCUS: How could scientists write such a paper?

Wippermann: I’m afraid this is not just thoughtlessness. It goes a lot further than how to make the world a better place. The authors are suggesting a climate dictatorship, the Climate State – and one that is truly extensive and far-reaching. For example, they want to abolish national states.

FOCUS: But this paper was written by leading scientists.

Wippermann: Also a science can become a religion. When they demand a transnational democracy - whatever that may be – it’ll be a dictatorship.

FOCUS: But they claim it’s for democracy

Wippermann: From history we know of enough people who wanted to make the world a better place after having prophesized the end of the world and bringing an undemocratic system that forces others to accept their views. And why is it that the Germans again have to save the planet, and not only prophesize its downfall? Does the world always have to be measured using a German yardstick? Who do the authors think they are? Such arrogance.

FOCUS: What spirit does the call to action radiate?

Wippermann: The paper disastrously follows the tradition of “Revolutionary Messianism“, which was analyzed by Norman Cohn. There’s a line of “Revolutionary Messianism“ from the Medieval Times to modern totalitarian movements.

FOCUS: Aren’t humanists more prone to all this than natural scientists?

Wippermann: Natural scientists deal directly with people. Think for a minute what emerged from “eugenics”. These scientists here can actually do politics.


I’ve brought it up before and I’m bringing it up again (and will bring it up in the future) – just a reminder for the WBGU and like-minded as to where this quality of dogmatism, arrogance and belief in having absolute knowledge can lead us.

This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some 4 million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe they have absolute knowledge with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.”


Global cooling hits me where I live

"Coldest day in 11 years" in Brisbane. And it sure was. I went out to dinner amid it last night and felt it -- JR

KEEP yourself rugged up if you're in Brisbane – the mercury plummeted below 7C in the CBD this morning and though it's warmed up, another chilly day lies ahead.

The southeast is freezing this morning following its coldest day in 11 years on Thursday – when the maximum daytime temperature struggled to warm up at 12.5C.

Weather Channel forecaster Tom Saunders said Brisbane’s outdoor temperature had plunged to 6.9C at 6am and was expected to go even lower until sunrise.

Mr Saunders said frost was likely in areas to the west of Brisbane, where the temperature got below 2C. "There is frost, even around Ipswich and there could be some frost in the far western parts of Brisbane, this morning, too,’’ he said.

"After such a cold day yesterday and with skies clearing overnight, any heat has escaped and that’s why it was such a cold night.’’

Mr Saunders said the predicted daytime top today was 16C, although there would be less cloud cover than yesterday. He said it was still an unusual daytime high for Brisbane and 6C below average. "It’s pretty unusual,’’ he said. "We don’t get many days that stay at 12.5C in June.’’



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


9 June, 2011

Ten Years And Counting: Where’s The Global Warming?

Global greenhouse gas emissions have risen even faster during the past decade than predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other international agencies. According to alarmist groups, this proves global warming is much worse than previously feared. The increase in emissions “should shock even the most jaded negotiators” at international climate talks currently taking place in Bonn, Germany, the UK Guardian reports. But there’s only one problem with this storyline; global temperatures have not increased at all during the past decade.

The evidence is powerful, straightforward, and damning. NASA satellite instruments precisely measuring global temperatures show absolutely no warming during the past the past 10 years. This is the case for the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, including the United States. This is the case for the Arctic, where the signs of human-caused global warming are supposed to be first and most powerfully felt. This is the case for global sea surface temperatures, which alarmists claim should be sucking up much of the predicted human-induced warming. This is the case for the planet as a whole.

If atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions are the sole or primary driver of global temperatures, then where is all the global warming? We’re talking 10 years of higher-than-expected increases in greenhouse gases, yet 10 years of absolutely no warming. That’s 10 years of nada, nunca, nein, zero, and zilch.

There is a difference between global warming theory and alarmist global warming theory. Global warming theory holds that certain atmospheric gases warm the earth. Unless other factors intervene, adding more of these gases will tend to warm the atmosphere. This is well accepted across the scientific community. Alarmist global warming theory entails the additional assertion that the earth’s sensitivity to even very modest changes in atmospheric gases is extremely high. This is in sharp scientific dispute and has been repeatedly contradicted by real-world climate conditions.

Most powerfully, global temperature trends during the twentieth century sharply defied atmospheric carbon dioxide trends. More than half of the warming during the twentieth century occurred prior to the post-World War II economic boom, yet atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions rose minimally during this time. Between 1945 and 1977, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels jumped rapidly, yet global temperatures declined. Only during the last quarter of the century was there an appreciable correlation between greenhouse gas trends and global temperature trends. But that brief correlation has clearly disappeared this century.

Which brings us back to the sharp scientific disagreement about whether the earth’s climate is extremely sensitive or merely modestly sensitive to minor variances in the composition of its atmospheric gases. Carbon dioxide comprises far less than 1 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. In fact, we could multiply the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere a full 25 times and it would still equal less than 1 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. The alarmists claim that the minor increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the past 100 years, from roughly 3 parts per 10,000 to roughly 4 parts per 10,000, is causing climate havoc. Real-world temperature data tell us an entirely different story.

The Scientific Method requires testing a proposed scientific hypothesis before accepting it as the truth. When real-world observations contradict the hypothesis, you go back to the drawing board. For more than a century now, real-world climate conditions have defied the alarmist global warming hypothesis. This is especially so during the past decade, when temperatures should be rising dramatically if the alarmist hypothesis is correct. Temperatures are not rising dramatically. They are not even rising at all.

Oh well, back to the old drawing board…


Evolution, religion and mankind’s impact on climate change

People carry around many misconceptions in their thought processes. They make all kinds of assumptions that have nothing to do with facts, reasons, or observations. Sometimes this becomes evident in such a way as to take one aback and make one say “huh?” I discovered this personally one day when I became involved in a rather boisterous conversation about human driven climate change.

It is interesting to note that this conversation started out as a rather friendly one in which we were all agreeing that government was growing out of control. When the other man mentioned human driven climate change, I opined my view that humans have very little, if anything, to do with climate change and that the sun was a much bigger factor. The look on his face changed from one of jovial jocularity to that of a man who had just witnessed someone kicking his dog. How dare I challenge his beliefs on human driven climate change? He grew huffy and fumed. I was a bit taken aback as I thought this man had exhibited some modicum of free thought, but I too grew huffy and knew I would have to defend my position.

The man spouted something about the UN and thousands of scientists. At least he didn’t cite Al Gore. I mentioned the emails proving that data was falsified and cooked, the fact that carbon dioxide is a life giving gas (plants use it like we use oxygen, for those who don’t know) and not a pollutant, the greater role that water vapor plays in driving climate, and the taxes the elite want to impose upon us for breathing, which produces carbon dioxide.

His face turned red as he fumed. I breathed hard, waiting for his next barb. He mentioned something about the Bible. “Excuse me?” I asked, not knowing what point he was trying to make. He accused me of being a religious zealot. I was aghast. This man believed that if I didn’t believe in the manmade climate change propaganda driven by the collectivist, one world government type agenda that I must be some kind of Bible thumper.

Flabbergasted, I stammered for a moment, then explained to him that wasn’t the case and that I had been a Geology major at the University of Illinois back in the 1980s. I knew of the ice core samples that showed high amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere long before mankind could have possibly had an impact on the environment because, I explained, mankind had not evolved enough at that time. He quieted down at that point, but I could tell he was still roiling under the surface. I said nothing more, not wishing to cause anymore of a scene than had already been acted out.

Thinking back on this exchange, it occurred to me how good an illustration it is on the human capacity to not only believe stories they’re told without further investigation, but to defend their positions even in the face of evidence to the contrary. I believe much of this phenomenon comes from the trust we put in our sources. It seems to me that as humans we tend to have an unhealthy reverence toward those we hold in great esteem. It seems that many tie their own self worth to the fallible humans or organizations that they put their faith in.

In many cases these same people or organizations are the ones informing them and telling them what to believe and how to behave. When one has tied his own goodness and self worth to another like that, it is only natural to deny evidence that the entity worshipped in such a way is not really as it seems. There is a subconscious equivocation going on that if the person or organization trusted is bad, the person or entity doing the trusting must also be bad. This is not only an untrue equivocation, but one that most probably don’t realize is happening.

This phenomenon was realized by the power elite early on in mankind’s history. For instance, there is much evidence that churches and the priest class knew long ago that the earth was round and revolved around the sun, yet the common folk were taught it was flat and that various gods were responsible for the movements in the sky. Why? Because by keeping that knowledge hidden from common people the priest class was able to better control them. They could tell frightening stories to them to convince them to hand over a portion of the food and wealth they produced to a parasitic class that did essentially nothing.

In many ways, this still goes on today. Substitute the word priest with the word scientist, and then the word church with the word government and you will have a good idea of what I believe is going on with human caused climate change. This is a complicated science with easily manipulated data and beyond the grasp of most common folk to understand, let alone test for themselves. The priest/scientist class has gotten together with the church of one world government to produce a frightening set of circumstances they can use to convince the common folk to turn over a portion of the wealth they produce.

There are many who might find it hard to believe that I could believe in the theory of evolution but not in the theory of manmade climate change. First off, I have my own experiences, studies and experiments that I participated in when I was younger to rely on. I have looked into other theories, like intelligent design, and have found them woefully lacking. Much of their time and effort seems to be spent in an effort to disprove the theory of evolution rather than proving their own case. Just for the record, disproving one thing does not necessarily prove another.

On the other hand, I have looked into the theory of manmade global warming and certain things didn’t add up, even before the deception was made clear by the email leaks that came out more than a year ago. In the late seventies, early eighties the scare was a new ice age caused by global cooling. The geologic record shows hundreds of major climate changes and millions of minor ones across the eons. Mostly, the evidence suggests that these are caused by some kind of natural cycles involving the sun and the moon, but major ones can be caused by earthen activity such as volcanism or cataclysmic events such as meteor or comet strikes.

I can’t say enough how little an effect the feared carbon dioxide has on climate, but how much of an effect water has. But then, it’s a lot harder to demonize water than it is to demonize carbon dioxide, a gas with a much scarier and scientific sounding name. Want to scare someone? Just ask them if they think the government should do something about the dangerous and deadly dihydrogen monoxide and see what they say. Tell them many die from it every year. You just asked them if they think the government should do something about water.

No, I do not kneel at the church of science just like I do not kneel at anyone’s altar. I do not blindly follow along with a crowd just because someone says something is true. I question everything, especially authority, and look into things on my own. I look into not only the science behind things, but the politics behind things and the wealth, power and control that can be derived from supporting certain agendas. It seems to me that big government and world government are quickly becoming like a modern version of “the church” as it existed and exerted its control through the dark ages. It seems that many scientists have become the new priest class and manmade climate change the new terrorizing threat of being damned to hell for all eternity.

One last thing I’d like to point out. Just because I do not believe in manmade climate change doesn’t mean I don’t believe in natural climate change. It also doesn’t mean I support the oil or coal corporations, or any energy corporation. It doesn’t mean the Koch brothers have paid me money to write about these matters. (Although I wish they would. I asked Mr. Branson for the $25 million he offered as a prize over four years ago, but he never got back to me.) In fact, I think the time has come for people to begin changing over to solar and wind energy generation combined with battery storage to power their homes. I think it is time for a viable electric car that can go eighty miles an hour and get hundreds of miles to a charge.

I think it’s time to start to get everyone off the grid and become independent from the energy companies. This has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with loosening the stranglehold energy corporations and big international banks have on humanity and the political landscape. I imagine that there are many people who will have trouble comprehending how I can deny manmade climate change and still be against big energy corporations, just like the man in the grocery store who couldn’t comprehend that I could deny manmade climate change without being a right wing religious zealot. It’s too bad so many people have trouble realizing that there are almost always more than two choices in life.


Climate Hoax Scientists Freak Out Over Schoolyard Taunts

These are all personal attacks! It's awful! You freaking deniers, who should be locked up and hung, are just big meanies!
Several Australian climate scientists have released email extracts that demonstrate the vitriol that fills their inboxes daily, saying the number of abusive emails has increased since the carbon tax was proposed.

Climate scientists from the Australian National University, the University of Queensland, the University of NSW and the University of Melbourne have reportedly received emailed death threats, threats of sexual assault and threats of attacks on family members from critics opposed to their findings.

Really? Can we see them?
Now several of the abusive emails have been published on a blog by environmental writer Graham Readfearn, after the scientists agreed to release the poison pen letters.

Oh, goody.
Most are little more than swearing and insults,

but several correspondents had a more chilling message for the scientists.

“Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT,” reads one email.

“If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you,” reads another.

That's it, folks. That's the best the alarmists can offer as proof of "death threats." Except, for that second one, let's check the full text
If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you. We will not do so if you rightfully argue against our points from a science view. But we will if you choose to stray into attacks on us as people or as a movement. The institution and funders that support you will find the attention concerning.

So, not a personal threat, just one to go after funding.

Jo Nova: To a climate scientist, *swearing* equals a Death Threat (no wonder these guys can’t predict the weather)

And Tom Nelson asks

  • Do these scientists notify the Australian Federal Police every time they get the finger for cutting someone off in traffic?

  • Do they demand to be rushed to a secure location every time they hear that "monster" making a tapping sound in the basement?

  • No wonder these people think every weather fluctuation is a harbinger of global doom...

Personally, I'm not sure why so many "deniers" are upset at scientists who push junk science which could result in heavy taxation, reduced prosperity, more government control over their lives, all so that these scientists can get more government research funding.


Sen. Lieberman believes Congress can control tornadoes

'We've got to do something about this' - 'The run of extreme weather is a real warning to us'

Excerpt from POLITICO Pro:
Extreme weather events like this spring's record tornado activity could be a turning point in the uphill climb to pass climate legislation, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Tuesday.

The Connecticut independent behind nearly every major cap-and-trade bill over the last decade also told reporters that other key preconditions for climate action include an improved U.S. economy and less partisanship.

"The other event that might bring about some climate change action would really be increasingly extreme weather, which just shakes people up so much that they say, 'We've got to do something about this,'" Lieberman said. "I hope we don't wait until then. I've always said this problem is one that challenges our capacity to deal with the problem, which we see coming, before it overwhelms us, and so far we haven't passed the test." .....

"I just think the run of extreme weather is a real warning to us," Lieberman said. "I can't specifically say that about the tornadoes, although it is true that they have been more severe than they ever have been before.

"More objectively, you can see sea levels rising, you can see water temperature rising around the globe," he added. "You can see wildlife species starting to move in response to the climate. The extreme weather is only the most extreme visible example of that."


Australia: Kill a feral camel and claim a carbon credit

LOL! Can you imagine the animal lovers steaming over this idea! How to put yet another group offside

THE Federal Government is considering awarding carbon credits for getting rid of feral camels under an initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the Carbon Farming Initiative has yet to pass parliament, three proposals are undergoing formal assessment, including one to "manage" Australia's feral camel population. The other two options include early burn-offs and inoculating cattle to stop them burping.

Tim Moore, the managing director of Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon who proposed the camel cull idea, said more than 1.2 million camels are roaming Australia's rangelands, covering Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and NSW.

Already considered a pest produce an average methane equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, making them one of Australia's big emitters. One camel produces 45kg of methane a year which is equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide. It is the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by a plane on a 7000km flight.

In comparison a cow produces 35kg of methane annually or 0.8 tonnes, while the average car emits four tonnes when driven over 20,000km annually.

"They live anywhere from 30 to 50 years in the wild, there's 1.2 million of them and that figure is doubling every nine years, so it's a huge problem," Dr Moore said.

Under his proposal, camels would be shot from helicopters or four-wheel drives, or mustered and then sent to an abattoir for either human or pet consumption.

He estimates that given their lifespan, every animal culled would save around 14 or 15 tonnes in abatement. Dr Moore said one of the best things about the scheme is that it would be market driven, potentially living outside the troublesome political cycle. He added the plan provided real scope to provide real jobs for indigenous Australians.

Dr Moore is confident the unusual proposal, which has already caught the attention of the British press, will get the go-ahead. "We're a nation of innovators and we find innovative solutions to our challenges - this is just a classic example," he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus said the government was considering various proposals to reduce carbon pollution on the land, including Dr Moore's. It will be waiting until the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee reports back before making a final decision.

Legislation helping set up the Carbon Farming Initiative is due to go before the parliament in the next sitting, which starts on Monday.


Canadian province of Manitoba bans bottled water

THE Canadian province of Manitoba has banned water bottles from all of its offices to encourage drinking of tap water, winning praise from ecologists.

"We believe by taking this step we are leading by example and encouraging Manitobans to move away from using single-use bottled water," Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie said.

The new policy bans the use of provincial funds to buy single-use bottled water in plastic containers with less than one litre of water when tap water that is safe for drinking is reasonably accessible.

Ecologists immediately praised the move, saying that the production, transport and recycling of single-use water bottles wastes energy and produces unnecessary carbon emissions.

Manitoba is the second Canadian province to enact a water bottle ban, after Nova Scotia.



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


8 June, 2011

Plus ca change ...

Rejection of Green/Left global warming prophecies is "a dangerous pathology", we read below. Leftists were saying the same about conservatives in 1950. Demonization is the Leftist's ugly substitute for facts. Much of what is paraded below as fact is false but since it is unreferenced, I will not reference my rejection of it either. My sidebar covers most of it anyway

By Haydn Washington

Denial is as old as humanity but is not the same as scepticism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a sceptic as "A seeker after truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions". We should thus all seek the truth. Genuine scepticism in science is one of the ways science progresses.

Denial is very different; it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence. Climate change deniers often call themselves "sceptics". However, refusing to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence is not scepticism but denial.

Paradoxically, as scientific evidence for human-caused climate change pours in, interest and belief in climate change within the public is on the decline. In Norway, the percentage of people who were worried dropped from 40 per cent in 1989 to less than 10 per cent in 2001. In Australia in 2009 the Lowy Institute reported that 56 per cent of those surveyed thought climate change was very important. However, this was down 19per cent from 2007. How can this be?

One can divide psychological denial into three categories literal (the denial industry, often funded by fossil fuel companies); interpretive (e.g. government spin or describing a massacre of civilians as "collateral damage"); and implicatory (denial "we the people" engage in). Implicatory denial is not denying the facts about climate change per se, but denies the implications and is a failure to transform your belief into action. People accept information about human-caused climate change as true, yet choose to ignore it. We can thus let denial prosper within ourselves, through a sort of self-interested sloth.

There are various types of denial arguments. One useful classification breaks them down into "conspiracy theories", "fake experts", "impossible expectations", "misrepresentations" and "cherry picking". Space precludes covering all the denial arguments about climate change in detail (there are 160 of them!) though you can find the full list at my co-author's website

Commonly, deniers cherry pick what evidence they present. One key example is "global warming stopped in 1998", picking one particular data source which showed a temporary levelling in air temperatures. It ignored other studies that show temperature is still increasing, and that most of the warming goes into the oceans. Global warming has not in fact gone away.

Why do we let denial prosper? Many things are involved, including fear of change, failure in values, the belief in endless growth, ignorance of ecosystem services, and also the media itself. Researchers note the "balance as bias" within the media, where a denier is given equal prominence with all climate scientists. Thus the public could be forgiven for thinking the science is in doubt when it is not, as every academy of science in the world has concluded. The media thus gives deniers prominence as it loves a controversy. It is actually even worse than this, for it is common in Australia for the media to fail to give equal time to scientists.

How do we roll back climate change denial? "Accept reality!" [Since when is a prophecy reality??] is an obvious response. Climate change denial has succeeded because we as a society let it prosper. We let ourselves be deluded by the siren song of denial. When we worry about something, if it makes us afraid, if it clashes with our self-image, then we can move into denial.

However, when denial threatens society and the Earth's ecosystems, it has become not only a delusion, but a dangerous pathology. If we abandon denial, we can both solve climate change and make the world a better place. That, nobody should deny.


Wind farms aren't just a blight, they're a folly

It's bad enough that these turbines spoil the landscape, but they don't even work, writes Philip Johnston from Britain

For the thousands of holidaymakers who visit Cornwall each year, there is a particular vista that lifts the spirits after the long and arduous drive. Just south of Bude on the A39, provided the weather is fair (a rarity, it is true), the twin peaks of Brown Willy and Rough Tor rise out of Bodmin Moor.

For those of us who have travelled to this corner of England since childhood, it is a view that has changed little. However, if developers get their way, in a year or so there will be 16 wind turbines, each of them 415 feet high – taller than St Paul's Cathedral – right across this wild and wonderful landscape. They won't be the first, either. As I saw when I visited last week, wind turbines have sprung up all along the route into Cornwall, like mushrooms on an autumn morning.

True, many of them are relatively small; and alone or in pairs they can possess a certain elegance. They are less of an eyesore than coalmines and their attendant slag-heaps. And, let's face it, our countryside has seen worse. The arrival of the steam train was greeted with horror, as the railways snaked their way across pristine meadows, and tunnels were blasted out of the hillsides. The speed of construction left contemporaries bewildered. In Middlemarch, alarmed villagers worry that the railway will tear apart the very economic and social structure of daily life. Dickens, in Dombey and Son, likens its impact on north London to an earthquake.

Nor was it just the railways. Canals, forts, roads, mines, docks, mobile-phone masts, electricity pylons, the New Towns – all have desecrated the countryside in their own way. So why does everyone get so hot under the collar about wind farms?

At the weekend, I was speaking to campaigners against the Bodmin Moor scheme who are gearing up for the public inquiry: for them, this is an all-consuming issue. In Wales, there has been uproar over plans for 800 turbines across the Cambrian Mountains. In fact, from the Isle of Wight to northern Scotland, local people are coming together to fight the windmills.

The odds, it must be said, are stacked against them. They are made to feel like latter-day Luddites, irrationally railing against the forces of progress. Worse, they are denounced as Nimbys – usually by green lobbyists secure in the knowledge that they will never see a turbine planted in the back garden of their Islington terrace. They get no backing from the Government, since it is in favour of wind power to meet its wholly unrealistic and reckless renewable-energy targets, nor from the Opposition. Indeed, when he was climate change secretary, Ed Miliband said it should be "socially unacceptable" to oppose wind farms.

Landowners love them, because they can make a packet from subsidies and rents for erecting just a few turbines on their property. Other supporters say they are really quite beautiful additions to our countryside, and will help save the planet by allowing us to switch from fossil fuels. So what's the big deal? Why don't the protesters just shut up and accept the inevitable? After all, if the early textile factories had been closed or if railway construction had been prevented, we would still be living off the land.

Except that there is one fundamental difference between the great transformative projects of the 19th century and today's wind turbines: the latter don't work. The impression is given that since wind is free, plentiful and doesn't produce CO₂, then it must be the answer to our renewable-energy conundrum.

If this were true, then it might be worth sacrificing a few views: but it isn't. To produce the same amount of electricity as one coal-fired power station, you'd need a wind farm the size of Greater London. And when there is no wind – or even when there is too much – the power produced is minuscule or the turbine has to be switched off while fossil-fuel stations take up the slack. They can be useful in powering a collection of farms, or a small industrial site, but that is about it.

So to see remote tracts of countryside that, by and large, survived the industrialisation of the landscape now threatened with defilement for no good reason is scandalous. A conspiracy of vested interests is seeking to bludgeon communities into accepting what has become a money-grabbing free-for-all masquerading as an environmental panacea.

These turbines produce small amounts of electricity at great cost to the taxpayer and electricity consumer. The money being invested would be far better spent developing nuclear power – especially thorium reactors, which have none of the risks and waste associated with the uranium fission cycle. Thorium is a cheap, clean and safe alternative, and there are plentiful deposits in Cornwall and in Wales.

Instead of covering the countryside in wind turbines, which are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, the sensible policy would be to plough money into thorium reactors, or even shale-gas extraction. But the very green lobby that has, bizarrely, allied itself to big business to push for wind turbines is also opposed to nuclear power. And its political clout is considerable, as seen in Germany recently. It is the greens, not the opponents of wind farms, who
are the true heirs of the 19th-century Luddites, standing in the way of an energy policy that would benefit us all – and protect our landscape.


After 15 Years, Europe Kills Its Unilateral Kyoto Policy

Delegates from around the world are meeting in Bonn to prepare the way for this year's climate summit in South Africa. The UN's climate chief seems to think the time has run out for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol.

It is unclear, as yet, what will happen when the first commitment period of the sole treaty setting out legally binding emissions targets expires at the end of 2012.

The plan was to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but with Russia, Japan and Canada all saying they will not sign up to a new round of cuts unless emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil get on board, that is not looking very likely.

The US, which has always refused to ratify Kyoto, is one of a number of countries which favors an approach based upon voluntary commitment.

Developing countries and many environmental groups observing the talks consider voluntary pledges to cut emissions a step backwards. "We need political commitment by the end of the year at the latest," Jan Kowalzig, climate expert with the German branch of the charity Oxfam, told Deutsche Welle. "And if that is not forthcoming, it will spell the end of the Kyoto Protocol."

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has also indicated that it may already be too late to come up with a successor to Kyoto before the existing treaty runs out.

"Even if they were able to agree on a legal text for a second commitment period that requires an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, it requires legislative ratifications on the part of three-quarters of the parties, so we would assume that there's no time to do that between Durban and the end of 2012," she told reporters at the Bonn talks, which run until mid-June.

Referring back to the climate summit in Cancun last December, when governments agreed to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, she said a target temperature range had been set, and that it was now essential to work towards it.

Worldwide levels of CO2 emissions have increased since that pledge in Mexico last year. A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report says emissions reached a record high in 2010, and that if more is not done to bring them down, the two-degree target will be beyond reach.


Big white lies amid the corn fields

"Political pandering comes in all shapes and sizes, but every four years the presidential primary bring us in contact with its purest form — praising ethanol subsidies amid the corn fields of Iowa. Though it sounds like a caricature, the photo tells the story: Mitt Romney, holding a golden ear of corn, declaring recently, “I support the subsidy of ethanol.”

We should all be forgiven that occasional white lie told to a neighbor to preserve the peace. Complimenting a display of Christmas lights that looks better suited to Times Square, for example, or agreeing to a second helping of tuna casserole that pushes the limits of edibility. Call it politeness or neighborhood diplomacy or simple compassion. It serves a purpose, avoids hurt feelings, and costs you nothing.

Politics is another story; the white lies have a cost. The nature of democracy only intensifies what for most politicians is a natural impulse: They just want to be liked.

I don’t know where every presidential candidate stands on ethanol (a hunch: Ron Paul is a “no”), but the bipartisan history is ugly. Al Gore, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all sang the same song from Ames to Sioux City. John McCain took a lonelier road bucking the trend in both 2000 and 2008. Channeling McCain, Tim Pawlenty has called for the subsidies to be phased out — in Iowa, no less. He’s positioning himself as a direct alternative to Romney, and it’s a pitch that may strike a chord this time around. With the deficit hovering around $1.5 trillion, even voters in Iowa understand the importance of cutting spending and eliminating corporate subsidies.

Ethanol hits the taxpayer in three ways. Manufacturers benefit from a 54-cent tariff that discourages low-cost ethanol imports, gasoline blenders receive a 51-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol they use, and the federal government will mandate that consumers buy 14 billion gallons this year. The 2011 price tag for taxpayers runs over $7 billion and continues to grow.

Until recently, the environmental costs associated with growing “biofuels” have avoided much scrutiny. But this year, over 30 million acres of land will be dedicated to ethanol production — an area twice the size of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Two studies released in 2008 also suggest that using land to grow corn results in a net increase in greenhouse gases. In a ruling last year, the EPA avoided the issue by simply assuming that ethanol plants would be powered by only the newest and cleanest technology available.

Despite the lingering questions about economics and environmental benefits, the political draw remains powerful. Members of Congress from corn states argue that they are just supporting their constituents. Many genuinely believe that the virtues of ethanol are endless, but about half will privately admit that the level of support is a bit over the top.

In either case, they are guilty of telling people what they want to hear. Farmers are reassured with support for investment, jobs, and “family farms”; the American people hear promises that ethanol will lead to “energy independence.” These messages have been championed to no end by the farm and environmental lobbies, and they’re not backing down now. The have too much invested in protecting the status quo — as do politicians who have voted time and again for expanding the subsidies.

They’re all at risk should the tide begin to turn. At some point, even a member of Congress should be able to set aside parochial issues when a policy fails to serve the national interest.

Republican voters are anxious for leaders that will speak hard truths. They continue to seek out candidates with specific ideas for controlling spending and remain highly skeptical of claims that government intervention will make health care less expensive. And most voters give Paul Ryan credit for at least offering a concrete proposal — unlike the president — for reining in the unsustainable growth in Medicare spending.

It’s a long road ahead, but this anxiety may provide an opening for Tim Pawlenty. A stand against ethanol in Iowa shows he’s serious about rolling back costly subsidies. It’s also a chance to weigh the environmental cost of using 30 million acres to grow fuel. Perhaps most important, by refusing to tell the white lies that many in Iowa expect to hear, he has a chance to show voters some character as well.


GM chief wants gasoline prices to go HIGHER!

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he’s confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker.

“I actually think the government will be out this year — within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months,” Akerson said in a two-hour interview with The Detroit News last week.

He is grateful for the government’s rescue of GM — “I have nothing but good things to say about them” — but Akerson said the time for that relationship to end is coming because it’s wearing on GM. “It’s kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn’t say a week,” Akerson said with a laugh.

And while he is eager to say goodbye to the government as a part owner of GM, Akerson would like to see it step up to the challenge of setting a higher gas tax, as part of a comprehensive energy policy.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards. “There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits,” he said. “What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs.”

For the years 2017-25, federal officials are considering 3 percent to 6 percent annual fuel efficiency increases, or 47 mpg to 62 mpg. That could boost the cost of vehicles by up to $3,500.

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said. “People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

With gas already over $4 a gallon in parts of the country, a higher gas tax is a hard sell.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said higher gas taxes in Europe did lead consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars. But she acknowledged that’s virtually impossible to see in the United States. “It’s career suicide for a politician to call for raising gas taxes,” Lindland said.

Akerson isn’t the first auto exec to float the idea of a gas tax to encourage consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated a gas tax increase.

On Monday, a Ford spokeswoman said the company “will leave the policy decision to Congress”; in 2009, GM CEO Rick Wagoner called a higher gas tax “worthy of consideration.”



Three articles below

Mind the gap on climate

Janet Albrechtsen

SOMETIMES the most quotidian matters tell a story. Here's one about the deep disconnect between the political class - the politicians, the activists, the Hollywood stars and the feel-gooders who are imploring us to "SAY YES" to a carbon tax - and the rest of us.

You go online to buy an airline ticket. Say it's Jetstar. You choose your flights, fill in the passenger and contact details, answer some more questions, then you are given this option: "Help reduce your climate change impact by offsetting the carbon emissions (CO2) from your flight for just $1.96." The airline tells you all its carbon offsets are independently accredited, its program is certified under the government's National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral initiative, that the airline passes on all funds and does not profit from this purchase. Sounds like a small, low-cost way to help reduce emissions?

As at January this year, 88 per cent of people said no thanks to paying less than $2 to offset carbon from their Jetstar flight. When buying a ticket on a Qantas plane, only 8 per cent of online flyers consciously ticked the "yes, offset flights" button to pay $1.82. By May this year, that figure had dropped to 7 per cent.

To make things clear for the political class, most people are saying no to spending less than $2 to apparently help the environment when they fly. Unless you're travelling through the rich hippie town of Byron Bay, where you'll find the highest uptake of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets. By contrast, those travelling through Hamilton Island, your more middle Australia holiday destination, account for the highest number of people saying a polite "no thanks" to paying for a feel-good shot of carbon offsets.

That divide tells a story that the Gillard government may want to listen to. No doubt, a large swath of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets are on flights taken by our politicians as they jet back and forth across Australia, trying to keep in touch with the voters. Apparently, the get-in-touch-with-voters exercise is not working. Let's get real here. Whether it's the politicians or their staff who tick the carbon offset options, it's easy being green with other people's money.

Yesterday, Wayne Swan was spruiking Labor's carbon tax policy to a bunch of insiders at the National Press Club. Outside Canberra, most Australians recognise that a carbon tax is nothing more than a symbolic, emotionally charged policy that will hurt our economy when most other countries are not taxing carbon. It will do nothing to help the environment, given that Australia accounts for less than 2 per cent of global emissions.

Along similar lines, in the US, eco-friendly cleaning products are nose-diving in popularity. Clorox, the manufacturer of Green Works, a line of natural cleaning products, has seen its sales drop from $US100 million in 2008 to $US60m this year. As one woman told The New York Times, buying more expensive, green products is "something you buy and think about when things are going swimmingly". Reality trumps emotion.

Irving Kristol, the American writer who died in 2009, knew something about reality principles. The editor of Commentary magazine, Public Interest and National Interest once remarked that bad politics is like bad poetry, which as Oscar Wilde said, doesn't get any better just because it springs from genuine feeling. In 1972 Kristol wrote: "It seems to me that the politics of liberal reform, in recent years, shows many of the same characteristics as amateur poetry. It has been more concerned with the kind of symbolic action that gratifies the passions of the reformer rather than with the efficacy of the reforms themselves."

The insistence, said Kristol, was "revealing, in the public realm, one's intense feelings" . We must care; we must be concerned; we must be committed. Unsurprisingly, this goes along with an immense indifference to consequences, to positive results or the lack thereof.

More than 40 years later, Kristol could have been describing the protest marches last weekend when Greenpeace, the Climate Institute, GetUp!, Climate Action Network Australia, the ACTU and their supporters took to the streets for a National Day of Climate Action.

There was plenty of passion and bad political poetry imploring us to adopt a carbon tax.

"Today is a big day because today Australians will ask their government for a price on carbon," said Simon Sheikh, rally organiser and national director of GetUp!. Australians did no such thing. The vast majority stayed home. Eight thousand people turning up to a rally in Sydney is not a success. Across Australia, the turnout was said to be about 40,000. That is not Australia talking. In May 1970, hundreds of thousands of people marched to protest against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In November 1992, 100,000 Victorians protested against budget cuts introduced by then premier Jeff Kennett. About 150,000 took to the streets of Melbourne in February 2003 to protest against a war in Iraq.

The Sunday carbon tax rallies, the second part of the Say Yes campaign, fell as flat as the opening shot when actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton fronted a misleading advertisement telling Australians to say yes to a carbon tax. While the Gillard government publicly applauded the efforts of the multi-millionaire Hollywood actor who is happy to incur the cost of a carbon tax, the grim reality is that this carbon tax will never satisfy Blanchett and the vocal activists behind her.

That's the thing about green groups. As Tony Blair wrote in his memoir, moderation is not in the lexicon of the NGO culture. Its raison d'etre depends on a continual crisis.

Nothing the Prime Minister does will satisfy the green groups momentarily supporting her carbon tax. Conversely, anything Gillard does with her tax - short of dumping it - will attract from voters deep scepticism about policy outcomes, not to mention political motives. If the overwhelming majority of people who fly are refusing to pay less than $2 for a carbon offset, you can see why Labor backbenchers are nervous about Gillard's determination to appease the Greens and press on with a carbon tax. After all, the PM who promised there would be no carbon tax under a Gillard government cannot even claim to have the bad poet's genuine feeling.


Another stupid bicycle scheme

Brisbane's CityCycle scheme costs $520 per bike per year, as less than one in five used

EVERY bike available for hire under Brisbane City Council's beleaguered CityCycle scheme is costing ratepayers more than $520 a year. A financial breakdown of the scheme provided by the council's town clerk, shows each of the 1040 bicycles is being subsidised at a cost of $132.04 a quarter.

The number of bikes for hire is due to rise to 2000 by the end of the year, increasing the total cost to ratepayers to $264,080 a quarter.

As part of deal, 192 advertising panels and signs, as well as signage on bikes, have been allocated to French advertising company JCDecaux, which runs the scheme.

As of May 13, fewer than 5000 people had subscribed to CityCycle and less than one in five bicycles were being taken out each day.

Despite the lukewarm response, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the "scheme was growing". "We've said before, it's not a revolution in growth but it is growing every month and that will continue to occur as we roll more CityCycle stations out," Cr Quirk. "There will be another 50 stations built and they will be out around the University of Queensland and South Bank, around Eleanor Schonell Bridge and that will extend cycleway opportunities for a lot of people, particularly university students."

The main criticisms of CityCycle have been the difficulty and cost of subscribing, the lack of hire helmets available and the style of the bicycles themselves.

Subscriptions cost $11 for a day, $27.50 for three months and $60.50 for a year. Users pay extra if the bikes are not returned within 30 minutes.


Carbon copying

Countries are like people: they have a childhood where they are nurtured, usually by a colonial parent; they have an increasingly strained adolescence as people argue why, how and when the tie with the parent should end; then they enjoy a prime of a self-sufficient and independent sovereignty when they both define their place in the world, and make such contributions to it as their citizens can with originality imagine, with determination develop, and with perseverance achieve. And, lastly, they have an old age, in which, weak and senescent, they loose interest in the world, which then recycles whatever remains, and the process starts again.

Australia, in 2011, is very much the pimply adolescent, still arguing about its relationship with England, our colonial mother, and America, the foster father to whom England handed us when we refused to grow up.

So what has this to do with a proposed carbon tax, an emissions trading scheme, or global warming? Well, everything actually.

We all know about or can vaguely recall the emotional traumas and hormonal difficulties we had to deal with as adolescents during what we now quaintly call the “maturation” process. Thus, our young men and women are highly critical of themselves; they love to copy trends by displaying their command of fashionable vocabulary, exhibiting their versatility with imported dance crazes, or parading in the most extreme cuts of coloured clothing, while stainless-steel rings hang from parts of their bodies, the piercing of which must have involved considerable suffering. They are also quick to sense the hypocrisy of adults, and delight in assuming the moral high ground in resulting arguments.

My argument is that in relation to climate change and our national response to it, Australia is behaving just like these adolescents. We are highly critical of the coal-fired power stations that supply our base-load energy needs, even to the extent that some Australians suggest we stop exporting coal to China and Japan. And even before the recent, predictable and very preventable problems at Japan’s Fukushima reactors, discussion on Australia’s use of our abundant uranium for the nuclear generation of energy was always discouraged. And yet, major Australian breakthroughs in photovoltaic research, such as at the ANU, have not proceeded to envisaged manufacture in the Canberra region because of the shortage of venture capital; if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, they were probably made in Germany or one China or another.

In December 2009 Australia was represented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where it lectured the world on its climate change hypocrisy. Meanwhile, anyone in Australia who queries the wisdom of legislation that, in taxing carbon, will significantly increase the costs of goods and services is accused of being a “climate change denier” with the same religious zeal and angry intolerance that the Spanish inquisition once applied to supposed heretics.

Few of us have the scientific expertise to assess either the extent of climate change, or the degree to which human activities have contributed to it. Many of us would agree that something significant is happening to the world’s climate. But we all of us should be suspicious of a theory, any theory, about which free and open discussion is either not possible, or where dissension is followed by personal denigration and ridicule.

Regardless of the price of the tax on carbon in Australia, the rigor with which we regulate, penalise, or shut down industries producing it, or the delight with which we shame people and institutions into parroting politically correct mantras about it, Australia’s net greenhouse emissions of 576 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year still only amounts to 1.5 percent of world emissions, according to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics.

In other words, because our economy is so small relative to the rest of the world, we cannot make an impact of any consequence on climate change no matter what we do. But Australian businesses involved in exporting, or in import-competition, will certainly feel an impact. Why, then, are we prepared to put so many Australian jobs and businesses at risk by forcing them to pay a carbon tax? Perhaps because (again, like those adolescents) we are critical of, and feel guilty about, our use of fossil fuels to produce energy? Perhaps because we want to demonstrate that we can take the economic pain (and the rest of the world can’t)? Or perhaps because we want to show the “adults” in that big, wide world how hypocritical they are? Whatever the reasons, they’re childish.

And the silence of our artists on this subject is deafening. Where are the plays and satirical novels about the posturing of politicians, and shenanigans of academics in climate change research? Unwritten, because the authors capable of such imaginative work know that these plays and novels would not only never attract Australia Council publishing subsidies, but would prejudice future dealings with arts bureaucracies.

Climate change has become a religion; our parliaments and universities are its temples, and their staff its high priests. Professor Garnaut has supplied the sacred texts. But whilst services are conducted daily and redemption is on offer, there is no after-life. You’re just going to have to pray you don’t need one.

Published in last week's Spectator Australia magazine. Written by Timoshenko Aslanides and illustrated by ZEG


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


7 June, 2011

IPCC between a rock and a hard place

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently adopted a major new policy for overseeing conflicts of interest among its leaders and authors. I was very supportive of the proposed policy when it was first announced. But according to several, independent colleagues inside and outside of the IPCC, the organization still has a major decision to make on the proposed policy -- when does it come into effect?

The question that the IPCC apparently has yet to resolve is whether the new policy is to apply to participants in its fifth (current) assessment report or whether to defer application of the new policy until subsequent reports. This looming decision has -- as far as I can tell -- not been reported or openly discussed. (If the details on this decision that have been reported to me are incorrect, IPCC officials invited to set the record straight.)

The challenge faced by the IPCC is significant. Under the adopted policy it is inconceivable that its current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, could continue to serve. Presumably, other participants would also fail to meet the high standards of the new policy. This would mean major change in the organization.

But if the IPCC decides to defer application of the new policy to future assessment reports it will risk being labelled unaccountable and even a farce by making a mockery of conflict of interest. A third option of implementing the policy but not enforcing it is possible, but seems unlikely, given the complete loss of credibility that would result.

What will the IPCC do? There is no easy choice. But at this point, does anyone really care?


2011 Still Cool

The HadCrut3 global temperature is now available for April so we have the first third of the year available. So far we have this year;

January (temp anomaly 0.215). Cooler than 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1992, 1991, 1988. Note: 2000 = 0.210 so it was essentially equal to 2011.

February (temp anomaly 0.275). Cooler than 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995. Note: 1991 = 0.272. 1987 = 0.266. 1973 = 0.263.

March (temp anomaly 0.328). Cooler than 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1990.

April (temp anomaly 0.396). Cooler than 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998.

This shows that 2011 has had an exceptionally cold start to the year – possibly the coldest for over a decade. January is the 15th coldest, February the 13th, March, the 14th and April the 9th.

Compare these months to the same months in 2010.

January (temp anomaly 0.599) was the 5th warmest.

February (temp anomaly 0.462) was the 6th warmest.

March (temp anomaly 0.569) was the 2nd warmest.

April (temp anomaly 0.599) was the warmest.

Last year the El Nino boosted temperatures. This year La Nina has cooled them. This did not stop some claiming that 2010 would be a record year because of global warming. I predict that if 2011 turns out to be exceptionally cold it will be because of the La Nina. It seems that to some if it’s hotter than average it’s man-made global warming, but if it’s cooler it’s a natural fluctuation.


May Arctic sea ice update: 3,500 more Manhattans of ice than 7 years ago

Average ice extent for May 2011 was 12.79 million square kilometers (4.94 million square miles). This is 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) above the previous record low for the month, set in May 2004 ....

Arctic weather in the next few months will be a critical factor in how much ice remains at the end of the melt season. New research led by James Screen at the University of Melbourne shows that the storms that move northwards into the Arctic from the lower latitudes during summer strongly influence sea ice extent at the end of summer. Years with dramatic ice loss, such as 2007, have been associated with comparatively warm, calm, and clear conditions in summer that have encouraged ice melt. Summers with slow melt rates are opposite and tend to be stormier than average. The number of storms influences how warm, windy and cloudy the Arctic summer is.


Wind power in political trouble?

Almost as soon as Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant went critical, Fox News reported that wind power had killed more Americans than nuclear energy. Meanwhile, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, issued a study that said the state's taxpayers would be $28 billion better off if Texas abandoned its pro-wind policies.

Wind, after being the darling of the media, business and state governments for much of its history, has suddenly found itself on the receiving end of negative publicity, questions about its value as an energy source and even calls for an end to wind development. The feel-good "green" story, according to the New York Times, "is now nearing extinction."

Texas, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all considered wind-friendly states, have recently pursued policies that can be seen as anti-wind.

Some of this shift is due to the industry's natural maturation process, according to David Lowman, an attorney who is co-chair of Hunton & Williams' global renewable energy practice group in Washington, D.C.

Some of the backlash against wind also stems from the recession, which has not only hampered wind development but has made even previously wind-friendly regulators and legislators question its cost at a time when state and federal budgets are being slashed.

The pushback, says attorney Jim Tynion, who chairs Foley & Lardner's energy industry team, is genuine and something that the industry needs to address.

The acrimony is being powered by a combination of small-government conservatives who see wind and other renewables as a waste of money and by others who consider wind a technology that will never be as effective as oil, coal or natural gas.

During a Texas ground-breaking ceremony for an oil and gas processing company, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told KSAT in San Antonio, "I understand that some people want to see green jobs; I think that's great. We need all of the above when it comes to energy: wind, solar, biofuels and the like. But the fact of the matter is 85 percent of our fuel consumption comes from fossil fuels."

Cornyn's comments underscore the political realities that wind energy faces.

"The political landscape has changed," Tynion says. "It's easy to take potshots at something that isn't part of the status quo, like wind. It has become an easy target."

Certainly, not all has gone badly for wind. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that the U.S. wind power industry grew by 15% in 2010 and provided more than one-quarter of all new electric-generating capacity. Also, California, despite its fiscal problems, will require one-third of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

But those are the bright spots. Some dark ones include the following:

- The Wisconsin State Legislature is considering a bill that would restrict the development of approximately $500 million worth of projects over the next two years. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Republican Gov. Scott Walker says wind costs too much and impedes on rural property rights. The legislature voted in March to suspend wind farm siting rules. The five-to-two vote tracked along party lines, with all five votes to suspend coming from Republican members;

- Texas comptroller, Republican Susan Combs, has decried wind as an expensive boondoggle that does not produce jobs. The state's GOP-controlled legislature may limit the ability of local school districts to give tax abatements, which wind advocates in the state say will limit development in rural areas; and

- The 2012 extension of the production tax credit could be in jeopardy, given the budgetary concerns on Capitol Hill. Jon Chase, vice president of government relations for Vestas-American Wind Technology, told an AWEA finance and budget workshop in April, "All the credits out there are going to be looked at very closely. Everything is going to be on the table."

"There are politicians who can make political hay by playing to that constituency," says Tom Konrad, who manages several green energy stock portfolios and is editor of

As part of this political footwork, Konrad says rhetoric debunking climate change has increased markedly over the past several years, more or less in relation to how many Americans believe that climate change actually exists. If fewer Americans believe in climate change, fewer Americans will support wind and other renewables, he says.

This goes a long way toward explaining the difference in the current political and media attitude toward wind compared to just a couple of years ago. Also important, say wind industry analysts, has been the length and depth of the recession, both in how it has slowed development and made consumers more wary of higher energy prices.

Whether or not some of these concerns may be warranted, says Tynion, the wind business should not discount the change in the political climate. "Politicians and state regulators are withdrawing their support for wind across the board," he says, citing the Wisconsin controversy as a prime example.

Walker's proposed legislation would overturn a siting compromise three years in the making, says Tynion, adding that the compromise seemed to satisfy everyone involved - developers, rural landowners and regulators.


The war on air conditioning

With summer upon us and temperatures rising, we should stop and thank our lucky stars for air conditioning — and wish upon the same stars that government won't destroy it, because it seems to be trying to do so.

Willis Haviland Carrier invented the modern air conditioner in 1902. Thomas Midgley Jr. created the first chlorofluorocarbon gas, Freon, in 1928. America got its first exposure to air conditioning at the movie theater in the 1930s during the heyday of motion pictures. After the Hoover/Roosevelt Depression and WWII were over, Americans indulged in the new technology and applied it to factories, office buildings, homes, and eventually automobiles. It was quickly noticed that air conditioning significantly increased worker productivity.

The technology and all the products based on it had a transformative effect on American life and society. Not only does air conditioning provide comfort; it also provides new possibilities in architecture, manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture. It permits good living conditions in areas that would otherwise be intolerably hot and humid, such as Dallas, Houston, and Orlando.

In architecture, buildings can be larger and thicker because window ventilation is unnecessary. We can also build higher because window ventilation is impracticable at skyscraper heights. These advantages allow us to conserve on land and live in denser concentrations. Air conditioning also allows for new styles of architecture, because windows are no longer required. Museums can be built anywhere that will effectively conserve our treasures and art for many generations longer. Prior to air conditioning, museums and libraries could not be located in hot and humid areas without risking weather-related degradation to its holdings.

Modern air conditioning was invented for the purpose of providing the correct temperature and humidity for advanced printing technology. Air conditioning was also important for improving textile production, hospital surgeries, plant and animal breeding, power plants, and of course the clean rooms used in the production of computer chips, pharmaceuticals, and bioengineering. The data centers that we all depend on are only possible because of air conditioning.

Most forms of transportation also rely on air conditioning. Air-conditioned cars and trucks allow us to travel on highways at high speeds with little net energy consumption and keep our cool. Passenger travel by planes and high-speed trains are also only possible because of air conditioning. We can go farther and faster, all in comfort, thanks to air conditioning.

Want Clean Air? Try Air Conditioning.

AC has been a boon to our health. Not only is it important for eliminating germs and viruses in surgical rooms; it also reduces infant mortality, improves recovery times, and has reduced the number of heat-related deaths in big cities. In fact the first attempt to invent the modern air conditioner was by a physician from Apalachicola, Florida, who wanted to be able to provide relief for his patients from the high heat and humidity.

Remarkably, the cost of air conditioning plummeted over the decades. The cost of air conditioning units declined, and they became increasingly reliable, safe, and efficient in turning electricity into relief from heat and humidity.

That is until recently. Twenty years ago I had an air-conditioning system (i.e., heat pump, HVAC system) installed in a house that was almost 1,000 square feet for $1,600. I just got the preliminary estimate, not an actual bid, to replace a system on a similarly sized house for $11,000. Not surprisingly, this is the reason for this article. provides you with six ways to compare dollar values in the past to dollar values in the present. The lowest estimate for $1,600 (1991 dollars) was $2,670 the high was $4,040. Two other anecdotes from friends indicate a doubling or tripling of the overall cost of heat-pump systems in nominal terms over the same time period.

Naturally, my first instinct was that the government had somehow fouled up this market like everything else. Or as Glenn Fry wrote in his 1984 hit song, "The shadows are on the darker side. Behind those doors, it's a wilder ride." In this case, it is government bureaucrats and environmentalists behind this door, in the shadows, on the dark side. I suspect some manufacturers and patent holders probably played some role along with the dealers and installers' associations.

In 2006, the Department of Energy required that heat pumps and central air conditioners meet an efficiency rating of 13 SEER or about a 60 percent increase over existing equipment. Equipment that is rated 13 SEER is also much larger and heavier than previously existing equipment so that most homes require substantial and costly modifications to the coil, electrical, gas lines, line sets, concrete pads, stands, plenum, transitions, valves, and more. This newly designed equipment is naturally thought to be less reliable, and to have a shorter life expectancy, than existing technologies.

Starting in 2010, the government began phasing out the preferred refrigerant, Freon R-22, in order to meet its obligations under the Montreal Protocol. Freon R-22 was the most efficient refrigerant for many years. Ironically, the transition from Freon to subsequent refrigerants coincided roughly with the expiration of DuPont's patent on Freon and the establishment of their new patents on replacement refrigerants.[1] The justification for replacing Freon R-22 is that it is thought by some to harm the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.

Having bigger, more complicated machines running on a less efficient refrigerant is a recipe for inefficiency. For example, every additional pound the machines weigh requires a lot of energy. It takes 6.2 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity to turn alumina into one pound of aluminum (just the smelting process) and of course it take lots of energy to turn bauxite into alumina, to mine and transport the bauxite, and to ship the aluminum to market. Even though much of the aluminum we use today is recycled, the production of aluminum still uses more than 1 percent of America's electricity.

In summary, the government has taken a wonderful product of the market that produced a highly positive transformation on human life — a product that was becoming safer, cheaper, and much more efficient over time — and turned it into something that is more expensive and less efficient overall.

Just think: if the Fed had not caused a housing bubble, there would be millions of fewer homes to heat and cool. Most of those excess homes were built bigger than ever, way out in the suburbs in precisely those places that absolutely require air conditioning, like central California, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida.

With summer temperatures headed higher, air-conditioning systems will be failing across the country. Poor people and people who have lost their jobs in the Bush/Obama depression are unlikely to be able to pay for these very expensive systems in the event that theirs break down. For them it will be one giant 80-year step back in history to the time before air conditioning, the Great Depression.


The opening of the third front – Particulates!

John Brignell

The way to bring down a modern state is to attack its energy, manufacturing and transport systems, hence the dam busters and the bombing of German railways and factories during the Second World War. Nowadays, however, developed nations are under attack from the Enemy Within, the neo-Marxist Greenies. Greenpeace, which in its inchoate form was a fairly straight environmental campaigning group, was soon taken over by political extremists and after its conversion to an apocalyptic vision lost original members such as Patrick Moore; but over time this has also happened to other mainstream parties.

The UK is the world basket case in this respect (witness the passing without comment of the destructive carbon tax, which is being strongly resisted in other western countries) and almost the entire British political class have become true believers. Nevertheless, countries far apart in both distance and character, such as Australia and Germany , are manoeuvred relentlessly by their green parliamentary minorities in the direction of economic suicide.

Carbon is the focus. Even the extreme greenies were not so bold as to declare war directly on energy, manufacturing and transport, so they launched a proxy war on this wholly benign atom, which is directly involved in those essential entities. Their motivation is revealed by the fact that they consistently oppose all realistic energy sources and support only impractical ones.

The first front

The first war front was opened under the guise of Global Warming, later transmogrified into Climate Change, Climate Catastrophe etc. This apocalyptic theory, based on tenuous logic, implausible computer models and dubious data, rapidly became dominant in world politics. Fortuitously it was convenient to a wide range of interests; the world government movement, the authoritarian socialist movement, those who promoted the transfer of wealth (from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries) various individuals and corporations (who saw it as an unparalleled money spinner), the new spate of environmental editors and journalists, finance ministers looking for new excuses to raise taxes and politicians of various shades eager to take a ride on the coat-tails of what had metamorphosed into the most powerful propaganda machine in human history.

The activists in the new movement had adopted the method of Trotskyite Entryism, but took it far beyond anything Trotsky envisaged. They penetrated and took control of political parties, establishment media organisations and leading scientific institutions. Initially richly funded by various trusts and gullible subscribers, they later found ways of diverting taxpayers’ money to their cause (so the EU, for example, gave money to the green groups to enable itself to be lobbied by them). Control of the media and scientific publications enabled them to establish The Censorship, which successfully prevented any critical discussion of the theory and data on which The Belief was based and starved any doubters of public funding.

There was one little flaw in this impeccable construct – the internet. Chance had it that, just as the Faithful had established a firm grip on all official sources of information, new technology provided a voice to those outside the charmed circle. Disenfranchised groups, such as older scientists trained in the traditional sceptical scientific method and younger newcomers resistant to being dictated to, began to examine the detail of the theories and the provenance of the data purported to support them. What they found was a can of worms about which they were able to compare notes and circulate critiques. The response from the new establishment was a torrent of invective and ad hominem attacks on the infidels.

It is impossible for anyone outside the traditional world of science to understand the shock that such grotesque behaviour caused. Disputes had hitherto been resolved by debate, often passionate but always polite. Suddenly the public conduct of science had become thuggish. Furthermore, activists within the political and bureaucratic establishment were diverting funding away from the natural progress of science and towards the new cuckoos in the nest. Claims by the outsiders of manipulation of editorial content of journals, and particularly the operation of the peer review process, were ridiculed by the new breed of environmental editors as being devoid of evidence.

Then occurred the potentially cataclysmic event that became (unimaginatively) known as Climategate. One who was either a great human benefactor or a vile robber (depending on your point of view) released into the public domain a large selection of files, including e-mails, from the computers of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia . This unit had been specifically set up by a British Government to create evidence in favour of the global warming hypothesis (quite the inverse of the scientific method). It in turn was instrumental in creating the UN IPCC, a powerful international body that produced heavily biased reports in favour of the belief that human release of carbon dioxide would cause catastrophic global warming.

The Climategate files (and especially the e-mails) showed that everything (and more) claimed by the infidels was true. The CRU and its allies around the world had been engaged in a systematic corruption of science. This included deliberate misrepresentation of data (Hiding the Decline) and ruthless suppression of dissenting views. There was initial panic among the New Establishment, but The Censorship largely held fast and the general public knew little of what had been going on. The subsequent official whitewash was so crude and prejudiced that it invited nothing but ridicule, but it is a testament to solidity of the establishment (and particularly the media) that the potential tsunami passed off with scarcely a ripple. There had, however, been a serious wobble and this led to:

The opening of the second front

The attack on carbon dioxide was faltering. Even the most unscientific of lay people were beginning to realise that all the projected catastrophes that they had been warned about for more than a decade and a half had simply not come about. Opinion polls showed that global warming had drifted down the scale of human worries and was in danger of dropping off the end. True belief was becoming restricted to the activists and their allies among the political class and the media. What was needed was another line of attack that was not so dependent on something that anyone could monitor.

So Ocean Acidification was invented. The name is, inevitably, somewhat hyperbolic, as the alleged phenomenon is but a marginal reduction in the alkalinity of sea water, which varies with altitude and other geographic features. The launch of the alarm was characteristically accompanied by a demand for billions of dollars of funding for the work of “the scientists”. As in the case of global warming, this would require an enormous data collection system to find evidence for the alleged change.

The link from absorption of carbon dioxide to impending devastation was a tenuous one. It depended on various marine animals being unable to form shells under acidic conditions. It is simply not true that shells cannot be made in an acid environment (This author once kept a tropical fish aquarium with water that was deliberately acidified to enhance the colours of the fish, for which that was the natural environment. The plant collection was completely destroyed by the accidental introduction of live-bearing snails, which had no difficulty in making shells.)

Carbonic acid is a weak one and a solution of, say, sodium bicarbonate is alkaline. It is as always, however, the measurements that are the weak point. The pH of the oceans varies from place to place and the contours of distribution are not fixed, while appending the term “acidification” to a mere alleged change of pH from 8.2 to 8.1 is, to say the least, tendentious. Even if it were true, comparing modern measurements with data from 1800 is a dubious practice and such a change could have a variety of possible causes (that year, for example, represented the last knockings of the Little Ice Age). The great weakness from the alarmist point of view, however, is that the scare is rather remote from the experiences and potential fears of the general public.

And so the third front

Many lines of attack in the proxy war have been mooted and some further promoted. As we have seen, one of them was identified and funded about fifteen years ago, but has recently sprung to life . This was based on sub-microscopic particles (implicitly of carbon) in the atmosphere that we breathe. Considering the scale of investment of funds, the data seem to be rather sparse and nebulous. Old canards, such as observations that health improves with distance from major roads, have been resurrected, but they are replete with possible confounding variables (how many rich people live near major roads?)

The alarmist community maintains excellent lines of communication and it takes no time at all for their whole world to start singing from the same new hymn sheet. In the UK the way to keep tabs on what the alarmists are up to is to read Geoffrey Lean, if you can bear to. His latest diatribe is largely directed to particles of pollution. This for example:
Mind you, Britain ’s air pollution policies have long been enveloped in a thick fog of complacency and inaction. Back in 1285, Edward I reacted to public anger over coal-burning in London by setting up a commission, which sat for 25 years and achieved nothing. In the autumn of 1952, Harold Macmillan, facing complaints about the same problem in the same city, reached for the same solution, explaining: “We cannot do very much, but we can seem to be very busy, and that is half the battle nowadays.”

In fact his committee never met, because a great pea-soup fog early that December killed 4,000 people in London over a weekend, galvanising a national clean-up. By coincidence, particulates are now officially recognised as killing much the same number in the capital each year. But, this time, little is being done.....

This is serious stuff, because air pollution kills. Research shows that smog – which is formed by sunlight working on pollution, mainly emitted from car exhausts – caused up to 700 deaths over two weeks in August 2003. Particulates and ozone, the two pollutants responsible for this week’s warning, are to blame: indeed, a Government panel concluded that particulates alone help to kill around 29,000 people in Britain each year.

For collectors of the genre, this is a fine example. Rewriting history is one of the established techniques among alarmists. There are none of us still around from the days of Edward I, but there are still a few of us who walked to school in the great smog of 1952.

Those of us who had chemistry sets then knew exactly what the problem was, as did the Government. We had all tried setting light to a small pile of sulphur and been obliged to retreat rapidly choking for air. The problem was that the Government, faced with a mountain of debt left by its Labour predecessor (sound familiar?), was exporting all our high quality coal and leaving the low quality sulphur stuff to the local populace to burn. They got away with it until a stationary high settled over the basin of London, with the said disastrous results.

Note, however, the technique behind Lean’s version of history. First there is the frequently used procedure of subreption (misleading by concealing the truth). The cause of the deaths was and is known (sulphur) it is an egregious stunt to leave it out. The second method is the non sequitur (having no relation to what has gone before). Particulates are introduced without any reasoning. There is no basis for the supposition that sulphurous coal produces any more particulates than the higher quality form.

As for the coincidence that particulates are now officially recognised as killing the same number each year, this is what we know as the body count politic, a pronouncement by a committee of politicians who are true believers with no basis of real scientific evidence (apart from epidemiology, which parted ways with the scientific method long ago). As always the response to such claims is – Name one!

So the same old dreary trench war of attrition against overwhelming forces continues, but watch out for much more of the new battle cry – Particulates!



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


6 June, 2011

Will these clowns never learn? Doomsday arriving NEXT YEAR!

If CO2 levels really did correlate with temperature rises, our little man of faith below might just have some point. That they don't he just ignores

A couple of things are certain about the latest round of UN climate change talks that begin tomorrow in Bonn. The first is that any advance toward implementing a proper commitment on reducing carbon dioxide emissions will again be what used to be known as glacial. The second is that the climate in which these talks are being held is already markedly hotter to that in which they began very nearly 20 years ago.

You don't have to be a wheat farmer in Suffolk to know that we are not waiting for climate change to happen, as we liked to believe when the UN started talking in 1992; we are in the midst of it. Every year in this century has been warmer than all but one – 1998 – in the last. Last year, the second hottest on record, an unprecedented 19 nations set new all-time temperature records and, as one consequence, extreme weather events have increased both incontrovertibly and in line with prediction.

The only temperature that remains stubbornly cool is the political one. Governments – and, by extension, all of us – know what is happening, but still, it seems, refuse to believe. Since the Copenhagen summit of two years ago, even limited progress has stalled. Inaction has become once again, because of pressing economic crises, almost addictive. Last week's announcement from the International Energy Agency that CO2 in the atmosphere rose dramatically in 2010, and at current rates will arrive the doomsday levels once predicted for 2020 by as early as next year, was the latest statistic to serve notice of that fact.


Is Green The New Tyranny?

An International Conference to be held at the University of Los Angeles, 12 -13 June 2011

The environmental movement arose in the early 20th Century in response to the demand of conservationists to protect our natural environment. As the century progressed, it achieved a number of notable successes which helped improve the cleanliness of our water and the quality of air while preserving for future generations great tracts of natural wilderness. Today few argue that our environment should not be protected against man made contaminants or that natural wilderness, where economically and socially practicable, should not be conserved.

But the contemporary Green Movement, represented by a variety of national and international institutions, may have far exceeded its original mandate to protect the Earth. In modern times it has launched aggressive campaigns against modern society, including attacks on the nuclear family, denunciation of traditional religion and the repudiation of free enterprise.

This conference will examine this movement by exploring global warming alarmism, the philosophy of sustainability, the growing clout of the animal rights movement and the enactment of supranational proclamations such as Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter. It will address one ultimate question - is the Green Movement indeed a noble cause, vouchsafing a better living environment for all humanity - or a new tyranny, determined to restructure our institutions, redefine our relationship with the natural world and stifle our freedom?

Conference programme and details here

Talk about projection! Warmist calls skeptics boneheaded

Just an excerpt from his little Fascist rant below. Nowhere in the whole article does he mention ONE FACT in support of his Warmist creed. So who is the bonehead? Skeptics never STOP citing the facts

Surely it's time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies. Not necessarily on the forehead; I'm a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, "Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?"

On second thoughts, maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy. So how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands, the sort of property that will become worthless with a few more centimetres of ocean rise, so they are bankrupted by their own bloody-mindedness? Or what about their signed agreement to stand, in the year 2040, lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling - "climate change stopped in the year 1998" is one of their more boneheaded beliefs - their mouths will be above water. If not …

OK, maybe the desire to see the painful, thrashing death of one's opponents is not ideal. But, my God, these people are frustrating. You just know that in 20 years' time, when the costs of our inaction are clear, the climate deniers will become climate-denial-deniers. "Who me? Oh, no, I always believed in it. Yes, it's hard to understand why people back then were so daft. It's so much more costly to stop it now." That's why the tattoo has its appeal.....

Each generation of people has a job to do; a burden that falls to their time. Sometimes, it's a war or depression. Sometimes, it's the work of building the first railways and roads. Sometimes, it's a plague that wipes out half the population or a fire that destroys a whole city.

Looked at through this lens, our generation has it easy. Already wealthy and armed with new technology, we need to front up to the challenge of building a low-carbon economy.

The tool we'll use is a carbon tax that seeks to subtly redirect some of our choices. Cut your power bill by more than the compensation offered and you get to keep the change. Is that really so onerous compared with a depression or war?

Our grandparents didn't fail us, even though the challenges they faced were so much greater. So why are we in the process of failing to live up to their example?

More HERE.

Flawed Food Narrative in the New York Times

Today's New York Times has an article by Justin Gillis on global food production that strains itself to the breaking point to make a story fit a narrative. The narrative, of course, is that climate change "is helping to destabilize the food system." The problem with the article is that the data that it presents don't support this narrative.

Before proceeding, let me reiterate that human-caused climate change is a threat and one that we should be taking seriously. But taking climate change seriously does not mean shoehorning every global concern into that narrative, and especially conflating concerns about the future with what has been observed in the past. The risk of course of putting a carbon-centric spin on every issue is that other important dimensions are neglected.

The central thesis of the NYT article is the following statement: "The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries."

But this claim of slowing output is shown to be completely false by the graphic that accompanies the article, shown below. Far from slowing, farm output has increased dramatically over the past half-century (left panel) and on a per capita basis in 2009 was higher than at any point since the early 1980s (right panel).

The article relies heavily on empty appeals to authority. For example, it makes an unsupported assertion about what "scientists believe": "Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming."

Completely unmentioned are the many (most?) scientists who believe that evidence is lacking to connect recent floods and heat waves to "human-induced global warming." In fact, the balance of evidence with respect to floods is decidedly contrary to the assertion in the article, and recent heat wave attribution is at best contested. More importantly, even in the face of periodic weather extremes, food prices -- which link supply and demand -- exhibit a long-term downward trend, despite recent spikes.

Even the experts that Gillis cites don't really support the central thesis of the article. For instance: “The success of agriculture has been astounding,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a researcher at NASA who helped pioneer the study of climate change and agriculture. “But I think there’s starting to be premonitions that it may not continue forever.”

Some important issues beyond carbon dioxide are raised in the article, but are presented as secondary to the carbon narrative. Other important issues are completely ignored -- for example, wheat rust goes unmentioned, and it probably has a greater risk to food supplies in the short term than anything to do with carbon dioxide.

The carbon dioxide-centric focus on the article provides a nice illustration of how an obsession with "global warming" can serve to distract attention from factors that actually matter more for issues of human and environmental concern.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Germany’s Biogas Bhopal? Deadly E. Coli “Home-Made” Says Expert

The German Die Welt online here reports that veterinary and medical experts are now saying that biogas plants may be the source of the lethal E. coli bacteria now running rampant through Germany. Although the disaster is nowhere the scale we saw in Bhopal, India, so far we have seen 18 dead and over 500 hospitalized. And needless to say, millions of Europeans are spooked.

Manure and biogas plant-waste on food would be unthinkable inside a food factory, but not out in the field? Die Welt writes: "Ernst-Günther Hellwig, director of the Agricultural and Veterinary Academy in Horstmar, warns that the bacteria likely comes from new sources, saying the epidemic is a house-made German problem. ‘It is possible that the EHEC contagion comes from biogas plants,’ he said.”

Die Welt also reports that Hellwig has long been critical of biogas plants. Yet biogas industry proponents claim there is no connection between the current E. coli outbreak and biogas plant operations.

Hellwig is not alone in this belief. Die Welt also writes that laboratory director Bernd Schottdorf, founder of the 1500-employee private medical laboratory Schottdorf MVZ in Augsburg, the biggest in Europe, also thinks the connection is possible. “Spores survive the biogas plants’ prescribed hygienization of 70°C without a problem“, he says. “We don’t know if the hygienization is properly carried out at all biogas plants.” When waste product from biogas plants is spread on fields, they can contaminate the vegetables.

North Germany’s unusual dry weather and drought conditions, where it did not rain for weeks during the springtime, may have played a role in the spread of the deadly bacteria. Spores can stay on plants for a long time, as they don’t get washed off by rain. The biogas plant substrate, which is a by-product and is used as a fertilizer, probably didn’t get washed off the crops by any rain. Currently there are 6800 biogas plants in Germany and their inspection is disorganised.

North German drought and dirty irrigation and “unwashed” crops

Die Welt also writes that experts believe the unusually dry spring weather also may have led farmers to irrigate their crops using their liquid-manure spreaders. Farmers sometimes irrigate crops during dry spells using liquid manure spreaders, as this German manufacturer suggests here (scroll down to Liquid manure Distribution and irrigation systems).

The problem is that these liquid manure tanks are of course dirty and so contaminate the water, which in turn contaminates the crops. And then if it doesn’t rain for days or weeks, the crops stay contaminated through the time they are harvested.

Some points are clear: 1) The source of the E. coli is Northern Germany, which is home to many biogas plants and where agricultural manure fertilizer is widely used. The weather in the run-up to the start of the epidemic was very dry. Indeed, more detective work is needed to trace back the cause.

The online FOCUS magazine here also brings up the biogas plant issue.

Biogas plants are also suspected of causing DEADLY BOTULISM in North German Agriculture, read here. Looks like all the well-intentioned green agriculture is leading to a trail of death and illness instead of natural health and cleanliness.


Australia: Green/Left government feels the heat over carbon tax backlash as voters call for new election

AUSTRALIANS are demanding Julia Gillard call a fresh election, saying she has no mandate for a carbon tax. With less than a third of all voters now claiming to support the tax, the federal government is facing a nationwide backlash if it proceeds.

An exclusive Galaxy poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph has revealed 73 per cent of people claim they will end up worse off under the tax. Just 7 per cent believe they could end up better off in some way.

More fatal for the Prime Minister, however, was the overwhelming support for an election to be called on the issue - confirming widespread anger over her broken election promise not to introduce a carbon tax. A total of 64 per cent said they wanted a fresh election. Only 24 per cent believed the PM had a mandate.

And in a growing sentiment that the tax would not help solve the climate change problem, 75 per cent believed it would have only a minor impact on the environment - or no impact at all.

The devastating poll results, showing total opposition now at 58 per cent, confirm the government has so far failed to make an effective case for its tax.

They also reflect Liberal Party internal polling showing support for Tony Abbott's campaign to force the government to an early election, despite analysis showing the Coalition's alternative direct action plan would be even more costly.

Galaxy pollster David Briggs said opposition to the tax was entrenched. "The problem for the government is that most voters believe the personal cost outweighs the environmental benefits," he said. "Such is concern over the carbon tax that the majority of voters believe Julia Gillard should call an early election to seek a mandate for the tax rather than have the legislation passed in this parliament."

The federal government is expected to announce details of the tax within weeks. It will not only set the carbon price - believed to be between $20 and $30 per tonne - but also the level of compensation households will receive to offset the cost of living rise that will accompany the tax.

The carbon tax is only planned to be an interim measure before a transition to a market-based price - an emissions trading scheme.

Opponents of the scheme have succeeded in casting fears that the price is likely to rise significantly no matter what is set in the short term. The government has tried to assuage fears by assuring people that lower and middle-income families will be compensated for the associated price rises - particularly around electricity bills, which could rise by between $300 and $500 a year in Sydney. Ms Gillard has said the political fight over climate change policy was "a long game". The poll was conducted between June 1 and 2, based on a national sample of 500 voters.



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


5 June, 2011

“Media Too Fair to Climate Skeptics”, say reporters who’ve been unfair to skeptics


Repeat after me: “the media is too balanced on global warming, the media needlessly gives two-sided reports on global warming…..” When ordinary people learn why mainstream media journalists repeat this and where it originates, they will understand how the overall smear of skeptic scientists threatens to turn from the success it is into a failure that can bring the whole so-called global warming crisis to a halt.

What “balance”?! We’ve heard non-stop, one-sided coverage of our certain demise from man-caused global warming for the last decade! In my first American Thinker blog on this in late 2009, I pointed out the sheer lack of skeptic scientists appearing on the PBS NewsHour, while noting instances of this repeated ‘too much balance’ assertion going back to 1995.

Eight months later, I was amazed to see a blogger link to a set of graphics supposedly proving skewed media reporting of global warming compared to an ‘overwhelming scientific consensus’, yet when I looked into it, I found immediate problems with the citation about the media researchers, the Boykoff brothers, and what certainly looked like a circular reference between the Boykoffs and the main promoter of the accusation saying skeptic scientists are corrupted by fossil fuel industry money, Ross Gelbspan. In a 2004 paper, the Boykoffs not only cited Gelbspan’s work four times, they also thanked him for his help in their acknowledgments section. I wrote about those problems at a pair of Heartland Institute blogs.

Such problems are incredibly easy to spot. Consider the following:

A search of the words “balance in the media” turned up one of the most recent repetitions of it at Nature magazine on April 19, 2011, where it says:

Nisbet’s report, Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate, published by American University, also analysed another common complaint of climate scientists, that attempts at ‘balance’ in the media gives too much coverage to the small minority of climate-change sceptics.

The report author, Matthew Nisbet, used quotes from Al Gore’s movie to set up his premises about media balance in Chapter 3 of his study, the first sentence of which contains Ross Gelbspan’s infamous “reposition global warming” accusation phrase:

Gore then goes on to discuss an industry-linked memo that planned to “reposition global warming as a theory rather than fact.” “There was another study of all the articles in the popular press,” says Gore, referring to a 2004 study by social scientists Max and Jules Boykoff. “Over the last 14 years they looked at a sample of 636. More than half of them said, ‘Well, we are not sure. It could be a problem, may not be a problem.’ So no wonder people are confused.”

Further in the chapter, Nisbet claims he replicated the Boykoffs’ study to determine that the same publications were now properly reporting the issue as settled, noting in footnote 19 how this remains true despite people like me who attempt to point out places where skeptic scientists have an audience:

"…blog reading also is highly selective and strongly motivated by ideology and identity. If online users encounter information that is falsely balanced or outright misleading at a conservative blog such as Climate Depot, it likely serves to reinforce already strongly dismissive views on climate change."

Thanks for pointing out how I’m simply an ideologically motivated idiot. Nothing to see here, move along. But, back to the problems.

Another internet search variation such as “two-sides approach” turns up a George Washington University 2003 Up Front article titled “Deciding Who Should Speak on Campus” (pdf file) by Deborah Tannen:

The two-sides approach creates a need to find spokespersons to represent “the other side,” even if it is a widely discredited position. For example, as Ross Gelbspan demonstrated in his book The Heat Is On, there is widespread agreement among experts and ample scientific evidence about the reality of global climate change, yet some Americans still consider this issue “controversial” because any article or program about it includes the same few fringe researchers who question its reality based on dubious research paid for by the fossil fuel industry.

She concludes her article with:

"All individuals have a right to say what they want, but universities have no obligation to amplify the message of any particular individual by providing a platform and the credibility implied by the invitation to speak. On the contrary, all members of a university community have a responsibility to ensure that the halls of learning do not become an echo chamber for the spread of disinformation in the name of free speech."

A combined search of her name and “ross gelbspan” results in her October 2004 Christian Science Monitor article lamenting the manner in which ‘voices of true opposition are muted by the din’ of balanced reporting. And she cites proof to back this up:
A single-minded devotion to “balance” also creates the illusion of equivalence where there is none. For example, as shown repeatedly by journalist Ross Gelbspan as well as in a recent article by Maxwell and Jules Boykoff…

And then we have the Boykoff brothers’ own words in their November/December 2004 article at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting:

…”balance” may allow skeptics – many of them funded by carbon-based industry interests – to be frequently consulted and quoted in news reports on climate change. Ross Gelbspan, drawing from his 31-year career as a reporter and editor, charges in his books The Heat Is On and Boiling Point that a failed application of the ethical standard of balanced reporting on issues of fact has contributed to inadequate U.S. press coverage of global warming…"

Last but certainly not least, Jules Boykoff told Environment Writer Bill Dawson in a December 2004 phone interview:

"You’ve got 1,600 to 2,500 scientists …, saying global warming is a serious problem and needs serious actions. On the other side is a small collection of scientists, many of whom are funded by oil and … fossil-fuel interests."

To repeat that ‘the media gives too much equal weight to a minority of fossil fuel-funded skeptics as it does to the consensus of mainstream scientists’ is to repeat a strawman argument of epic proportions. It relies on outright faith that somebody actually quantified who the ‘scientific consensus’ is, that fossil fuel money is irrefutably proven to skew skeptic scientists’ reports, and that the media actually presented those skeptic viewpoints in equal proportion to the other side. And it is nothing more than a regurgitated 1991-era talking point. Ad-libs about Climate Depot, Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News pushing lies, or swipes about people like me being ignorant mind-numbed ideology-driven robots simply invites a two word response: Prove it!

Give “Pulitzer winner” Ross Gelbspan kudos for the 2004 brilliant admonition, and all its prior versions, “For many years, the press accorded the same weight to the “skeptics” as it did to mainstream scientists. This was done in the name of journalistic balance. In fact, it was journalistic laziness.”

Can anyone guess how many journalists read those and vowed not to be lazy? Problem is, it goes beyond journalistic laziness into journalistic malfeasance when we see a long-term failure to report how Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer, he wasn’t the first to publicize coal industry memos proving skeptic climate scientists are corrupt, those memos prove nothing when they are read in their complete context…… and it turns out Al Gore received the memos long before Gelbspan, at his Senate office around 1991-92.


Explaining Germany’s Anti-Nuclear Fanaticism

Uwe Siemon-Netto

Germany’s radical decision to quit nuclear power by 2022 has me worried, and not just for economic reasons. My concern is primarily philosophical for this development suggests the robust return of a troubling mindset that has served Germany and the world badly for centuries. It is called Schwärmerei and translates literally into “swarming.” Martin Luther invented this term for a murky combination of utopian mass enthusiasm and fanaticism.

Luther used the word, Schwärmerei, to describe 16th-century theological-political movements that taught that man should give God a helping hand by establishing Elysian entities already here on earth in anticipation of His ultimate paradise. The quintessential “Schwärmer” was Luther’s antagonist Thomas Müntzer (1489-1525), chief ideologue of the 16th-century peasants’ wars in Germany. Müntzer had a great influence on the bloodiest political movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, Marxism and National Socialism.

Both Friedrich Engels, the father of Communist theory, and Nazi chief ideologue Alfred Rosenberg deferred to Müntzer, even though they were atheists and he was not. But it was from Müntzer that they inherited the idea of having to create a miniature paradise with limited access here and now. The Communist self-declared goal was to create a “Worker’s and Peasants’ Paradise;” the Nazis tried to establish an idyllic reservation for one particular tribe, the Aryans. Both proved to be irrational and ultimately lethal schemes.

It would be unfair to suggest that the unattractive alliance between environmentalists and dull populists driving Germany’s exit from atomic power is in a league with genocidal fiends such as the Communists and Nazis. My point is merely that, like those movements, they are responding to irrational sentiments like fear, envy and insularity; the dreaded German word, Sonderweg, springs to mind.

That the earthquake and tsunami disaster in faraway Japan should send a majority of Germans, whose country rarely experiences seismic tremors of a magnitude of minor itches, into mass hysteria, and that their center-right government now responds to this frenzy in the manner of populist Pavlovians, is a disturbing development indeed. It seems no less alarming than Chancellor Merkel’s and Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s flip-flop policy of breaking solidarity with Germany’s partners in NATO and the European Union in the Libyan crisis, thus catering to the mushy pacifist mindset that has taken hold of the German people since World War II.

The spectacle of the world’s most successful economic power succumbing to its people’s angst seems unbecoming, all the more so as there is no European nation more dependent on electricity that Germany, and none with more open borders; Germany has 10 immediate neighbors, all with nuclear reactors whose radiation clouds, if there were ever to be a disaster, would not ask Berlin for permission before traversing German territory. Thus it is fallacious Schwärmerei to assume that a nation of 80 million surrounded by ten other nations could be turned into a nuclear-free land of bliss.

Not that concerns about atomic power lacked legitimacy; particularly the issue of what to do with the nuclear waste remains unresolved. But it surely makes no sense to act according to the motto of “stop the world I want to get off.” By all means let’s accelerate the search for alternative energies, but in the meantime build the safest reactors imaginable, which is precisely what German manufacturers have been doing thus far.

It seems sad that the German genius to which my country owed its postwar success has evidently deserted the political arena. But at least it is still present in the economy and in industry, where imaginative minds will doubtless find a response to the mess our latter-day Schwärmer and populists are currently causing. This is of course a statement of faith of sorts. Would it be that I could be as confident about my country’s future leaders!


Germany: An Eco-Dictatorship

It's not just nukes that they are freaky about

Winfried Kretschmann (Green Party) is the new Prime Minister of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. He is the face of the green revolution which forces biofuels, thermal insulation and solar power upon citizens. Resistance? Absolutely useless.

Green minister Winfried Kretschmann has a friendly, innocent face. Last Thursday, when he was making history, he took the oath, "So help me God." He is down to earth, conservative, morally grounded and humble. This is also what his friends say. "I am a slow politician," he says. He fits quite well into the federal state which he now leads. But, he will not be chauffeured in a Mercedes S-class, inherited from his predecessor, for much longer. It is indeed possible to travel leaner and cleaner. Kretschmann and his cohorts draw a picture of a change of power that does not appear to be more radical than a staff car-downgrading.

But Kretschmann deserves a second look. If you compare and contrast top green politicians, then there are those who talk about sustainability but actually denote power, and those who talk about sustainability and are serious about it. Kretschmann belongs to the latter group, who claims that "the emphatic love of nature" drove him to co-found the Green Party. Therefore, his sentences are not tactical political provocation or pure balm for the party base. They have to be taken seriously: "We must bring our way of life in line with the basics of the planet. With our economic model, we damage the planet.” For the car industry, this means: "If the automobile industry is not able to get greener, then it will have no future."

Then the Prime Minister gets serious about the energy company EnBW, which is part-owned by the state. It must be converted to a green electricity supplier, which is the clear goal. Kretschmann's environment minister has already designed the corporate strategy: The energy company EnBW could sell its electricity grid and invest the proceeds in green energy.

Keyword consumer sovereignty

All of this is not harmless: Barely in office, the new government has already started a mental nationalisation of corporations in which the state does not hold majority stake. But nobody has dared to criticise such interventionist plans at a time where the champions for the environment and against nuclear power have both the voters and the morality on their side. It is no longer just the Greens who intervene into private and entrepreneurial freedom in order to jolt the nation into an ecological lifestyle. An eco-tyranny is growing in Germany; it is based on a large majority. And the federal government is at the top.

Examples? Keyword consumer sovereignty: Germany is forcing its drivers to consume a product that they do not want. They are forced to use biofuels (which, incidentally, are ecologically highly controversial), that have been blended into conventional petrol long before the introduction of E10 ethanol.

Keyword tenants' rights: Germany’s federal government wants to restrict the right of tenants if a landlord ‘eco-renovates’ his property. Usually tenants are allowed to reduce rent if they are severely affected by a renovation. They may not do so anymore if the renovation is beneficial to the climate. That homeowners are not yet forced to insulate their homes, as the Christian Democrats (CDU) have planned, is only due to their liberal coalition partners. The proposal will come up again once it transpires that households are saving less energy than the federal government estimates.

Keyword green power: citizens are not only forced to pay for expensive solar and wind power plants, which they did not request in the first place. The massive payments with their long lifespan are - once approved by parliament – largely beyond democratic control, which distinguishes them from traditional subsidies.

"We are moving towards an eco-dictatorship'

However, the preferential treatment of green schemes goes even further: in construction law, wind farms are already privileged. Now the governments plans to speed up the approval of hotly contested high-voltage pylon lines because they have been opposed by citizens campaign groups. The power lines are needed to bring wind power from northern Germany to the south. To achieve this goal, citizens’ legal rights are to be limited. The economist Carl Christian von Weizsäcker calls this style of government "force-feeding the public with environmentally-correct products." This policy ignores consumer sovereignty and freedom of choice. Those who dissent are vilified. The Porsche driver, the long-distance travellers, the meat eaters, none of them can be secure from public pillory. "It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority," wrote the British liberal Lord Acton more than 100 years ago. "We are moving towards an eco-dictatorship," says Weizsacker today.

Some say that this is not all that bad. Above all, climate scientists lose patience with tough democratic processes. The world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, director of the prestigious NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, regularly raises doubts that democracies can stop global warming. Recently, he praised China's autocratic regime as a hope. There, sustainable living could be simply prescribed. Angela Merkel's supreme climate advisor, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has proposed to supplement Parliament with a non-elected Zukunftsrat (Future Council), which co-legislates and acts as a representative for future generations - a kind of welfare committee.

Modesty is called for

The "Scientific Advisory Council on Global Change", which is chaired by Schellnhuber, has presented the Cabinet with a 32-page paper which bears the title "Social contract for a Great Transformation." It is the short version of a list of recommendations that will be published in June. It is full of morality and revolution. The authors consider the German economic model ("fossil industrial metabolism") to be ethically unacceptable. "The transformation to climate sustainability is morally as necessary as the abolition of slavery and the outlawing of child labour." The decarbonisation of the global economy has to happen fast, nuclear power and coal have to be abandoned at the same time.

And because emergency rules, and it has to happen quickly, it needs a strong state that provides for the necessary conversion of today’s life styles and the "social problematisation" of unsustainable lifestyles. It overcomes "stakeholders" and "veto players" who "impede the transition to a sustainable society."

This is nothing less than a social re-education program. The legitimacy of this agenda is also presented in the paper. "It is immoral to limit the life opportunities of future generations by an unsustainable lifestyle," argues the social scientist Claus Leggewie, one of the co-authors of the report. "The enjoyment of freedom by individuals shall not lead to the blockade of third parties," he says. Modesty is in right now, if not asceticism: "Freedom can also be in the self-restraint. One doesn’t have to buy asparagus from Chile in winter if this leads to excessive greenhouse gas emissions."

Green Prime Minister with ambitions

The sociologist argues very cunningly with the "but-you-want-this-too" argument. Since lifestyles are changing anyway towards sustainability, it’s not that bad if the state uses its powers to push things further along. This, however, belittles the issue since the populace of developing and emerging nations are reluctant to restrain activities that affect the climate.

Leggett is a renowned critic of capitalism and growth who has allied himself with the climate scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He senses momentum. The scientists reshape the whole world on paper as if it were inevitable.

But there is also criticism. "The report reveals a problematic understanding of democracy, says climatologist Hans von Storch. He adds: "The authors reduce the world's problems to the topic of carbon. This is one-dimensional and even quite arrogant." There is, for example, also world hunger, but this topic is not on the agenda at the moment.

Ecology and criticism of economic growth fully correspond to the German zeitgeist. This zeitgeist has brought Germany an ambitiously Green prime minister. Even federal ministers who seemed all but adrift before the Fukushima accident smell their chances: "The proposals of the Scientific Advisory Council are a support for our pending government actions for the development of renewable energies, energy efficiency and climate protection," said Germany’s Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen (CDU).

SOURCE. (translation Philipp Mueller)

Emissions For Me But Not For Thee

Meet Britain's new anti-tax activists: government-funded scientists researching low-carbon technology and the union that represents them

This least likely of lobbies is fighting for exemptions from the government's new "carbon reduction commitment," a cap-and-trade scheme targeting those industries that are not already subject to Britain's and Europe's other anti-carbon laws. The new regime will hit banks, hospitals, fire stations, schools, hotels, and thousands of other organizations whose annual electricity bills top roughly £500,000. To the dismay of those same groups that have spent years pushing for cap-and-tax, it will also include research facilities working to develop low-carbon energy sources.

All these groups will have to pay £12 per ton of CO2 that they emit in excess of their government-mandated limits. Whitehall expects the rule to yield nearly £1 billion annually in additional revenue, which is almost as much as Britain spends every year subsidizing low-carbon technology. But the Prospect union, which represents some 50,000 scientists and engineers, is now lobbying for a carve-out that would exempt carbon-generating activity from the tax, if the activity aids the low-carbon cause.

"Otherwise this means they can't do their research to the same extent, their experimental work to the same extent, because of the additional financial cost they now face," Sue Ferns, head of research at Prospect, told us yesterday.

That's a decent summary of the effects of all taxes on all industries. So why not scrap cap-and-tax for everyone? Because, as Ms. Ferns put it, low-carbon research contributes so directly to "the public good." While one could make the same argument for many other activities, Ms. Ferns also notes that much low-carbon research would be impossible on a low-carbon diet.

A case in point is Oxfordshire's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, where research into zero-carbon energy requires one of the world's largest fusion reactors—and a lot of electricity. The lab is now facing hundreds of thousands of pounds in additional costs to pay for its emissions, which are unavoidable given the current state of technology and the nature of the lab's work.

It's hard to miss the irony of a tax hitting organizations trying to accomplish precisely what the tax is meant to encourage. Given that Britain's low-carbon research projects receive the overwhelming majority of their funding from the government to begin with, would it not make more sense to just decrease public subsidies to such research?

Little surprise, Prospect doesn't like that prospect one bit.


The unhappiest Greenie

There is no such thing as a happy Greenie but David Suzuki must be the unhappiest Greenie of all, NOTHING is right according to him. I diagnose him as a screaming neurotic. See the hype below:

Our collective ecological impact far exceeds Earth's capacity to sustain us at this level of activity.

We are facing a challenge unlike any we’ve ever had to confront. We are in an unprecedented period of change. Exponential growth is causing an already huge human population to double in shorter and shorter time periods.

When I was born, in 1936, just over two billion people lived on the planet. It’s astounding that the population has increased more then threefold within my lifetime. That staggering growth has been accompanied by even steeper increases in technological innovation, consumption, and a global economy that exploits the entire planet as a source of raw materials, and as a dumping ground for toxic emissions and waste.

We have become a new kind of biological force that is altering the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. Indeed, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen has suggested that the current geologic period should be called the Anthropocene Epoch to reflect our new status as a global force – and a lot of scientists agree.

As noted in a recent Economist article titled “Welcome to the Anthropocene,” we are altering the Earth’s carbon cycle, which leads to climate change, and we have sped up the nitrogen cycle by more than 150 per cent, which has led to acid rain, ozone depletion, and coastal dead zones, among other things. We have also replaced wilderness with farms and cities, which has had a huge impact on biodiversity.

On top of that, according to The Economist, a “single engineering project, the Syncrude mine in the Athabasca tar sands, involves moving 30 billion tonnes of earth – twice the amount of sediment that flows down all the rivers in the world in a year.” As for those global sediment flows, the article goes on to point out that they have been cut by nearly a fifth, eroding the Earth’s deltas “faster than they can be replenished,” thanks to the almost 50,000 large dams built in the world over the past half-century.

We now occupy every continent, and are exploring every nook and cranny of the Earth for new resources. Humanity’s collective ecological impact far exceeds the planet’s capacity to sustain us at this level of activity indefinitely. Studies suggest it now takes 1.3 years for nature to restore what humanity removes of its renewable resources in a year, and this deficit-spending has been going on since the 1980s.

For the first time in human history, we have to respond as a single species to crises of our own making. Until now, this kind of unified effort has only been seen in science-fiction stories, when space aliens invade Earth. In those stories, world leaders overcome human divisions and help people work together against a common enemy.

Now, as comic-strip character Pogo said (via a poster created for Earth Day) in the 1970s, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Humans have long been able to affect the environment, but never before on such a large scale. In the past, even people with primitive tools and weapons had impacts on local flora and fauna, as Tim Flannery outlined in The Future Eaters and Jared Diamond described in Collapse. But diminishing resources forced those people to come to grips with the need to sustain their resources or to move in search of new opportunities.

The only way to come to grips with the current crises, and to find solutions, is to understand that we are biological creatures with an absolute need for clean air, clean water, clean food and soil, clean energy, and biodiversity. Capitalism, communism, democracy, free enterprise, corporations, economies, and markets do not alter those basic needs. After all, those are human constructs, not forces of nature. Similarly, the borders we throw up around our properties, cities, states, and countries mean nothing to nature.

All the hopes that meetings such as the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (1992), and the climate conferences in Kyoto (1997), Copenhagen (2009), and Cancun (2010), would help us resolve major ecological challenges will be dashed as long as we continue to put economic and political considerations above our most fundamental biological, social, and spiritual needs. We humans may be heavy hitters, but we must remember that nature bats last.


Australian National University Warmists moved to safe location after threats

The proposed carbon tax is threatening a lot of jobs so it is no wonder some workers are angry

A CANBERRA university has increased security following death threats to its climate scientists, some of whom were moved to a safer location. The Australian National University has received a large number of e-mails with threatening and abusive language directed at some of its scientists.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Young, said staff should not have to put up with such behaviour.

"Obviously, climate research is an emotive issue at the present time, but these are issues where we should have a logical public debate," Professor Young told ABC News 24. "In fact, it's completely intolerable that people be subjected to this sort of abuse and to threats like this."

Professor Young said the threats had unsettled the scientists. "Academics and scientists are actually really not equipped to be treated in this way," he said. "The concept that you would be threatened for your scientific views and work is something that is completely foreign to them."

The Australian Federal Police said it had not been contacted by the university although it was aware that threats had been made.



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


4 June, 2011

Fascist Germany lives on

Hitler was a Greenie, after all. From the quotes below it would seem that greenshirts are just as dangerous to liberty as were the brownshirts of the '30s. Will we be hearing "Heil Klima" soon?

During the Cold War between the Free World and the Communist USSR, many in the Free World argued it was better to be red than dead after nuclear Armageddon. Today, fearing the planet’s annihilation from another source – global warming — scientists in elite government circles in Germany are saying we’re better off green than free.

The scientists – in the form of Germany’s Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change – form German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s advisory committee. The chairman of this council is one of the country’s top climate authorities, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The council’s report, published last month under the title “World in Transition – Social Contract for a Great Transformation,” argues that “The transformation to a climate friendly economy… is morally as necessary as the abolition of slavery and the outlawing of child labour.”

The great transformation will require that “The world citizenry agree to … surrender spontaneous and persistent desires” – i.e., citizens will need to accept that their lifestyles are unsustainable and collectively accept the need for government to make decisions on their behalf, without the public having a veto over government decisions that could “impede the transition to a sustainable society.”


Director Admits He Withheld Key Evidence From Final Cut of Oscar-Nominated Documentary

Josh Fox, the director of Gasland, an Oscar-nominated documentary, has admitted he withheld evidence that showed gas can occur in water naturally and is not a result of fracking, the natural gas drilling technique that enables recovery of natural gas from previously-untappable rock formations. The video below captures Fox’s disclosure:

In the documentary, Fox claims that fracking has polluted water so badly that it has become flammable, according to a news release issued by Phelim McAleer, a journalist and documentary filmmaker whose efforts have been chronicled on this blog in several posts during the past three years. He specializes in asking difficult questions of the mainstream environmental movement.

In the remainder of his news release, the co-producer of the 2008 feature-length documentary, Not Evil Just Wrong, outlines the problems he found in the Big Oil-bashing documentary:

In some of the most dramatic scenes in the documentary Fox shows a number of families lighting their water.

They claim that the gas has only been present in the water since gas companies started fracking a few years ago. Fracking involves retrieving gas rocks using high powered water.

However, under close questioning during a Q&A at a screening at Northwestern University Fox first denied but then admitted that scientists had found gas in water before fracking had occurred in Colorado.

Journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer asked him about a report from 1976 by the Colorado Division of Water which said there was a “troublesome amount of methane” in the aquifer close to two families, the Markhams and the McClures, who are featured in the documentary as having problems with their water.

Mr Fox initially denied the existence of the 1976 report, but eventually admitted that there have been reports of “flammable water” in the US since at least 1936.

He said such scientific reports were not relevant to his documentary because he believed the families and accepted their accounts of their situation.

“The point is this.. The citizens [in Colorado] reported they could not light their water on fire before the drilling. And after the drilling they could light their water on fire. (…) I don’t care about reports from 1976, there are reports from 1936 that people said they could light their water on fire in New York City, but that’s no bearing on this situation at all. “

Speaking after the Q&A the journalist Phelim McAleer said the exchange with Fox showed he would withhold facts that did not suit his story.

“This is another example of journalists and filmmakers showing half the story and smothering science that does not suit their narrative. Josh Fox owes it to frightened families to reveal all the facts. He should let them know that some water across the US has gas in it and always has had gas in it. It has nothing to do with fracking,” he added.

“He knew about these reports but chose not to include them – that is not journalism.”


Obama Reversed The Decline In Sea Ice!

Is Obama the only Green prophet who (sort of) got it right? He said that his presidency would mark the moment when "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"

Prior to the election of Barack Obama, Arctic ice was in a free fall. Leading experts had forecast that the ice would be gone by 2008, 2011, 2013, and even 1960.

After Obama was elected, the sea ice made a sharp reversal – which embarrassed the experts. They failed to consider the Obama healing factor. It is now believed that after Obama’s 12th term as commissar, Canada will be completely covered with ice.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Legislation to Create Jobs and Increase American Energy Supplies

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved bipartisan legislation to increase the production of American-made energy by eliminating unnecessary federal red tape that stalls exploration and stands in the way of job creation. The bill is part of the GOP’s American Energy Initiative, which aims to increase American energy production, create jobs, and create a more secure energy future.

The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021), introduced by Reps. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gene Green (D-TX), would eliminate red tape and expedite EPA's permitting process to allow for increased oil and gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 34 to 14.

The administration’s bureaucratic permitting process under the Clean Air Act has held up oil exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf for years, keeping valuable energy supplies locked away. The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act clarifies the law to correct the permitting process and remove uncertainties creating these delays.

“The Gardner-Green bill will end the perpetual circuit of permits, reviews, and appeals created by EPA’s current system for offshore exploration. Production off the coast of Alaska could make enormous strides to decrease our foreign oil imports, refill the declining Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and create tens of thousands of jobs,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “This common-sense legislation is an important part of House Republicans’ efforts under the American Energy Initiative and I look forward to a vote on the House floor soon.”


Obama Commerce Nominee is a Warmist nut

Obama wants John Bryson to lead an agency that is responsible for promoting and fostering business and industry. Why Obama would choose to put an anti-business anti-jobs and anti-economic growth nut in charge of our economic recovery - who was a co-founder of the wildly anti-everything Natural Resources Defense Council - is quite insane!

John Bryson, President Barack Obama's nominee to be secretary of commerce, said it was “incredibly important” that the United States pass cap and trade legislation and that America needed to be a global leader in combating man-made global warming.

“I regard it as incredibly important that the United States comes forth in this year with federal climate change legislation as a foundation for moving ahead,” Bryson told the U.N. International Energy Conference in late August 2009. “I think we in the U.S. have an obligation to assist in significant ways in providing leadership in this community of nations that you represent and addressing energy and climate change.”

Bryson, in stating “in this year,” was speaking about the U.N. Climate Change Conference scheduled for December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Formerly the CEO of Edison International, Bryson has long been an advocate of some sort of federal plan for regulating greenhouse gasses. While still at Edison, he called for a national cap and trade system.

Under cap and trade, in general, the amount of carbon an industry could emit into the air would be capped. For companies that expect to exceed that cap, they could buy (“trade”) carbon credits to supposedly offset their emissions; the money spent for the credit would be redirected to supposedly greener, less polluting companies.

“A deliberate and coordinated effort is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the entire energy sector,” Bryson said in a July 2004 Edison press release.

“Long term, a reasonable and balanced ‘cap-and-trade’ system for reducing carbon dioxide emissions could be adopted once new carbon- dioxide removal technology has been developed and becomes commercially available.”

Bryson, a co-founder of the liberal environmentalist group Natural Resources Defense Council, was most recently a member of the United Nations’ Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, a panel of scientific and industry experts tasked with providing advice on combating global warming.

Bryson’s nomination to head Commerce must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


Greenie nonsense leads to bad government

But if it leads to distrust of Greenie policies, that may be a price worth paying. Robert Carling comments from Australia:

The rule of law stands as a bulwark against the arbitrary exercise of power by government. As such it is fundamental to fairness, the freedom of the governed, and the success of the liberal market economy – but it is frequently under attack, sometimes from unexpected quarters. Two recent examples spring to mind.

Retrospective legislation is antithetical to the rule of law. It is like changing the rules of the game after it has been played. But governments sometimes resort to it, citing extraordinary circumstances as the justification.

The freshly minted O’Farrell government in NSW is planning to tear up contracts entered into by its predecessor, which had promised to pay participants in the solar energy scheme a very generous 60 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generated (the ‘feed-in tariff’). It plans retrospective legislation to invalidate the old contracts, cut the price paid, and deny participants in the scheme any legal recourse against the government.

The solar scheme was an atrocious act of public policy, adopted by the previous government in the expectation that the nasty fiscal consequences would be someone else’s problem.

But can an action of one government be so bad that it justifies retrospective legislation by a successor government? Opinions will differ on this, but the avoidance of retrospectivity is such an important principle that the justification should be very strong indeed, and in my opinion stronger than in this case.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 3 June. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


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


3 June, 2011

Enviro elitists keep America unemployed

This Friday will mark the release of the May unemployment report. A report that will reflect the last effects of the Obama trillion-dollar stimulus and of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE2).

The report is likely to show that job creation is mediocre at best, with unemployment insurance claims continuing well above the 400,000 weekly level, housing in a double-dip recession and the gross domestic product contracting to a paltry 1.8 percent growth rate for the second quarter of 2011.

The situation is so dire on the economic growth front that The New York Times has awoken from its slumber to opine, in a May 30 piece titled “The Numbers Are Grim,” that:

“Republican lawmakers have responded to renewed signs of weakness with a jobs plan that prescribes more of the same 'fixes' that Republicans always recommend no matter the problem: mainly high-end tax cuts, deregulation, more domestic oil drilling and federal spending cuts.

"The White House has offered sounder ideas, including job retraining, plans to boost educational achievement and tax increases to help cover needed spending.”

In just a few lines, the Times managed to encapsulate the left’s complete lack of understanding of why jobs are created.

To be clear, jobs get created in private enterprise when additional labor is required to produce goods or services that will increase the profit of the enterprise.

Jobs don’t get created:

A: because people are trained to do them.

B: because people have higher educational attainment.

C: by raising taxes on those who we hope will create the jobs.

So why aren’t private employers employing more people? Perhaps this real-life example will help shine a light.

In Alaska, one of the most significant finds of copper, gold and molybdenum (hardens steel) in U.S. history was discovered. Yet almost a decade later — and more than $125 million of environmental and cultural studies later — the Pebble Mine is still being subjected to Environmental Protection Agency review. A review that is at best likely to demand that tens of millions more dollars be spent for additional studies encompassing an area roughly equal to the states of Maryland and New Jersey combined. All to open one mine and put 2,000 miners to work.

To make matters worse, the ore won’t be processed in the U.S., because our domestic copper smelting capacity has been cut by about 60 percent in the past 20 years. More jobs lost largely on the altar of environmental regulation.

This is just one of myriad examples of how our nation’s obsession with litigation and environmental regulation has turned us into a place where employers cannot afford to create jobs. It is cheaper and more profitable to do it elsewhere.

As we approach this Friday’s unemployment report, our leaders are already telling us that 9 percent unemployment might be the “new normal.” It will be interesting to see if the real story that America’s failure to create jobs is largely a self-inflicted choice by a college-educated elite who would rather consign millions of Americans to government dependency rather than get out of the way and allow them to work.

Somehow, I don’t think so.


Don’t look behind the green curtain

Warmists champion secrecy while skeptics hold open conference

Global warming alarmists are throwing a temper tantrum this week after a Virginia judge affirmed that scientists who receive public funds to study global warming are subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding their taxpayer-funded research. The alarmists’ outrage at being required to divulge and justify the data and theories that lead to their predictions of doom and gloom stands in stark contrast to the often-vilified skeptics who welcome scientific transparency with open arms.

A Virginia state judge issued a May 24 order requiring the University of Virginia to produce by Aug. 22 documents the university acknowledges are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. A separate order sets the stage for the American Tradition Institute to review and challenge the withholding of documents the university claims are exempt from disclosure owing to asserted academic freedom or proprietary research claims.

One might expect that Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia professor whose research and documents are at the heart of the FOIA dispute, and other prominent alarmists would welcome scientific transparency as a means of affirming their global warming predictions. Of course, that presupposes the scientific evidence they refuse to disclose actually supports those claims.

Mr. Mann has led or participated in panels that have received more than $5 million in taxpayer-funded research grants. Instead of expressing gratitude at receiving public funding and committing to transparency in his taxpayer-funded research, Mr. Mann said, “I think it’s very unfortunate that fossil-fuel industry-funded climate-change deniers … continue to harass UVa., NASA and other leading academic and scientific institutions with these frivolous attacks,” according to the Washington Examiner.

Is it really “frivolous” and “unfortunate” that the public requests openness and transparency from the people who apply for and receive public funding for their research?

Compare Mr. Mann’s recalcitrance with the openness of the scientists who will be speaking later this month at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), which starts June 30. Prominent scientist Roy Spencer will happily answer questions about how he collects and reports global temperature data on behalf of NASA and its Aqua satellite instruments. Meteorologist Anthony Watts will talk your ear off if you ask him about how he assembled and reported data documenting the strong urban heat-island effect that alarmists claim is a myth. Numerous others will be equally transparent.

While alarmists like Mr. Mann fear the disclosure of their methods and data, skeptics have long championed transparency and openness. What does that tell you about who is and who is not confident the data back them up?

Just as importantly, skeptical scientists are far from the ill-informed mavericks that alarmists allege. Scientists from MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Duke, NASA, NOAA and a plethora of other prestigious universities and research institutions have spoken at past ICCCs. Not only have they voiced their skepticism regarding alarmist global warming predictions, but they have assembled for ICCCs precisely because they welcome and encourage the sharing of scientific information at the heart of the global warming debate. Ask them a thoughtful question about their data and methodology, and you will not be slapped with a cease-and-desist order.


Cooler heads contend with climate panic

by Jeff Jacoby

THE MAY 21 APOCALYPSE foretold by the fundamentalist minister Harold Camping may not have materialized, but end-of-the-world doomsaying goes on as usual among the global warmists.

The climate fearmongering persists, as in this story from the Guardian, but polls show that fewer people find it convincing.

"Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink," a story in The Guardian was breathlessly headlined over the weekend. It reported -- hyperventilated might be a better verb -- that greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010 "to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach."

The Guardian attributed word of this "shock rise" to the International Energy Agency, whose chief economist is "very worried" because "this is the worst news on emissions" and the climate outlook "is getting bleaker." It cites another expert's "dire" warning that if carbon dioxide isn't drastically reduced, global warming will "disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict."

All that is nothing, however, to the climate fearmongering in Newsweek, which insists the global-warming Rapture is already underway.

"Worldwide, the litany of weather's extremes has reached biblical proportions," Newsweek intones, pointing to tornadoes in the US, floods in Australia and Pakistan, and drought in China. "From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone." This is what comes of burning fossil fuels for energy, which has increased atmospheric CO2 levels by 40 percent above what they were before the Industrial Revolution. "You haven't seen anything yet," Newsweek preaches. "Batten down the hatches."

By now, of course, few things are more familiar than predictions of the environmental catastrophe to which the use of carbon-based energy has supposedly condemned us. In 1992 Al Gore claimed that "evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin;" nearly 20 years later he is still warning of "an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it." Like Camping, Gore and other climate alarmists keep forecasting a Day of Doom that never arrives. And like Camping -- who now says the world will end on Oct. 21 -- they continue to be sure that disaster is just around the corner.

But hyperbolic climate rhetoric doesn't scare as many people as it used to. Gallup reported in March that of nine leading environmental issues, global warming is the one Americans worry about least. In Britain too, as The New York Times noted last spring, fear of climate change has receded, as more and more people conclude that the dangers have been over-hyped.

Take the recent increase in global CO2 emissions. Is the Guardian's panicked anxiety -- Climate on the brink! -- really a sensible response? Writing in the journal First Things, the distinguished Princeton physicist William Happer makes a compelling case that rising carbon-dioxide levels are neither unprecedented nor anything to fear.

"Carbon is the stuff of life," he points out. "Our bodies are made of carbon." Yes, atmospheric CO2 is higher today than it was before the industrial age -- 390 parts per million now vs. 270 ppm then -- but there was a time when "CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly." Indeed, greenhouse operators artificially boost CO2 concentrations in order to grow better flowers and fruit.

Climate change is natural; long before humans were burning fossil fuels, planetary temperatures ebbed and flowed.

So why recoil from the modest increase in carbon emissions caused by fossil fuel use? Because more CO2 means more climate change? Happer shoots down that idea. The earth's climate is always changing, sometimes dramatically. During the medieval warming of a thousand years ago, temperatures were much higher than they are now; during the Little Ice Age six centuries later they were much lower. "Yet there is no evidence for significant increase of CO2 in the medieval warm period, nor for a significant decrease at the time of the subsequent little ice age."

Newsweek's "stable climate of the last 12,000 years" is a myth. So is the notion that higher carbon emissions are a prescription for climate disaster. Carbon dioxide is only one of several factors that influence the earth's temperature, Happer writes, and "seldom the dominant one."

The global-warming alarmists have had a good run, as the global-cooling alarmists did before them, but fewer and fewer people are finding the doomsday prophecies persuasive. Scaremongering wins headlines; fact-based skepticism eventually wins arguments.


"Green" Google under fire

Today, at Google's annual shareholder meeting in Mountain View, California, the National Center for Public Policy Research challenged CEO Larry Page over the perception that there may be a conflict of interest between the company and a member of its board of directors.

On behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research, General Counsel Justin Danhof presented a Conflict of Interest Report shareholder proposal. Danhof asked Page to disclose board member investments that conflict with the company's finances and to report any incidents of board member activity that breached Google's Code of Conduct Policy.

"Today, shareholders were told how Google Board Member John Doerr's personal investments, coupled with Google's new green energy outlays, raise questions of conflict and impropriety," said Danhof.

Doerr is a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that is heavily invested in alternative energy. Doerr's firm and Google have both invested large sums in the same small geothermal company, AltaRock.

"Even though our proposal did not pass, our call for transparency received a rousing ovation from the shareholders in attendance. Google executives heard loud and clear that shareholders want to know more about what is motivating the company's alternative energy investments," said Danhof.

At the meeting, Google executives made repeated claims that they spent little shareholder money on "so-called speculative" investments.

"Google's explanation dodges the issue. If Google and Doerr have nothing to hide, why did they fight our shareholder proposal?" said Danhof. "Shareholders should be outraged at Google's shroud of secrecy. Without transparency, it appears either that Doerr is pulling the strings on Google's alternative energy spending, or that Google is using shareholder money to boot Doerr's investments. Each scenario is a losing proposition for Google investors" said Danhof.

Google has been spending millions of shareholder dollars in the volatile alternative energy markets. Reuters reported in October 2010 that Google invested an undisclosed amount in a $5 billion offshore wind energy project to be built in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Google is a technology and Internet company. By focusing on its core business it has created great shareholder value. Alternative energy markets are speculative and rely on government subsidies. Google shareholders shouldn't be at the mercy of Washington politicians who may well decide to limit or reduce green energy subsidies in the future," said Danhof.

"Nothing truly worthwhile hides in the dark. I hope today's meeting serves as a wake-up call to Google's leadership that its members are responsible to the company's true owners – the shareholders."


10 Reasons to abandon ethanol as a motor fuel

The ongoing turmoil in the Middle East has resulted in higher gas prices, inconveniencing Americans who are already attempting to pick up the pieces following the recent economic downturn. In recent years, ethanol has become a popular alternative to gasoline because of its low cost and ability to burn cleanly. However, with the government's quest to increase ethanol production and reduce our dependence on oil, the latter of which is a necessary goal, many of ethanol's flaws have been overlooked. Whether you're concerned for the environment or just a college kid on a budget, you should first consider the following 10 reasons to steer away from the corn-based fuel before making it a regular purchase.

* Ethanol is less efficient than gasoline: It requires 1.5 gallons of ethanol to drive the same distance as you would with one gallon of gasoline. Depending on the vehicle, that can translate to about five or six miles per gallon fewer on highway driving and four or five miles per gallon fewer during city driving, a major inconvenience for people who are already tired of filling up more often than they should.

* Although less expensive, ethanol ultimately costs the same as gasoline: When this article was written, the average price of e85 was $3.34 and the average price of gasoline was $3.80. Given ethanol's aforementioned relative inefficiency, the cost of filling up a tank with ethanol ultimately costs the same as filling it up with gasoline. So drivers of Flex Fuel vehicles, many of whom may not even know they have such a vehicle, should think twice before driving all over town looking for a filling station with ethanol.

* In many regions, too few filling stations offer e85: It's necessary for e85 users to have a go-to filling station on or near the route of their daily commute because of its relative inefficiency. But with too few stations nationwide, driving a vehicle on e85 is even less efficient. The sprawling Houston area, for example, the sixth largest metro area in the country, has 16 stations serving e85, including surrounding towns such as Katy and Tomball. It would require lots of fuel just to find a station with ethanol.

* The U.S. is years away from gaining the capacity to become reliant on ethanol: In 2010, Americans consumed more than 138 billion gallons of gasoline. In February 2011, production capacity of ethanol in the U.S. was more than 13 billion gallons (12 billion gallons is almost equivalent to nine billion gallons of gasoline), meaning that if we were to become more dependent on it in the near future, we'd either have to make rapid strides in production or consider importing more of it — there's currently a tariff on ethanol produced in Brazil. Although ethanol production is expected to continue to expand, land use is a real issue (as mentioned below), particularly relating to indirect land use change and its effect on grain supply.

* One bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol: That's from a 56-pound bushel of corn, which also produces 18 pounds of feed for livestock and poultry and corn oil used in many human foods. The U.S. demands 4.9 billion bushels per year. Again, it would require a vast amount of resources, including land, to meet the requirement ethanol dependence would place upon us. Currently the U.S. is using 30 million acres of cropland for that purpose, fueling the food versus fuel debate.

* Ethanol can have a negative impact on food production and prices: Since roughly 2008, there has been much debate regarding ethanol's effect on food prices. This year, the U.S. will consume 15 percent of the world's corn supply, five percent more than three years ago when corn prices peaked. Of the corn produced in the U.S., 24 percent is mandated for ethanol production, reducing the worldwide availability of the veggie. Poor countries with citizens who spend a large portion of their daily incomes on food would be affected the most by expensive corn.

* The increased production of ethanol results in deforestation, more carbon dioxide: The increased use of land worldwide for ethanol results in the upheaval of forests and savannahs, releasing more carbon dioxide and causing the clean-burning fuel to have a minimal positive impact on the environment. In fact, a 2008 paper asserted that in the short term, ethanol could be twice as carbon-intensive as petrol. This fact is often overlooked because there's such a strong, unified lobby for ethanol, and it has long been looked upon as the most viable clean alternative.

* The production of ethanol could negatively affect topsoil: The process by which ethanol is produced involves the growing of corn to make hybrid seeds and the subsequent planting and harvesting of them. The cycle results in the depletion of topsoil, an invaluable and irreplaceable resource needed to sustain agriculture. Although the depletion of topsoil for food purposes is inevitable, it should be preserved as much as possible. It goes without saying that food is more important than fuel.

* Ethanol produces a large water footprint: According to Environmental Science & Technology magazine, the amount of ethanol needed to fuel a vehicle for one mile is 50 gallons, a high number when you tally what's used for an entire crop. Of course, the water use comes almost entirely during the agricultural cycle. With the expansion of irrigated agriculture in dry Western areas, many are concerned about the potential impact that would come with a major demand for ethanol.

* The production of ethanol could negatively affect water quality: Fertilizers widely used for crops in the U.S. include phosphorus, nitrogen, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides, each of which, to some degree, is absorbed into our waterways. The highest concentrations of these chemicals are found in the Corn Belt, located in the Upper Midwest, and in the Mississippi River, contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In that area, giant algae bloom, feast on the fertilizer and consume oxygen in the water, killing sea life.


Carbon tax baloney

Henry Ergas comments from Australia

ROSS Garnaut's new report released this week starts with an episode of enlightenment. "I" the report opens (and suitably so, for the personal pronoun appears to be the professor's closest friend), "was explaining to the Multiparty Climate Change Committee how I had worked out the costs and benefits of reducing emissions.

"The costs come straightaway. The benefits come later. So I needed a way of comparing income now with incomes of young Australians later in their lives and who are not yet born. 'So we had to choose the right discount rate', I said.

"Then I said something that brought back the Prime Minister's attention. 'If we used the sharemarket's discount rate to value the lives of future Australians,' I said, 'and if we knew that doing something would give benefits now but cause the extinction of our species in half a century, the calculations would tell us to do it'."

Triumph! "The smile on the Prime Minister's face became a hearty laugh. 'You've got us there, Ross', she said, as the others were infected by the lift in spirits. 'That's a unanimous decision. We're all against the extinction of the human species'."

Thank God you're here, Professor Garnaut! But had Julia Gillard known any economics, she would have known the claimed demonstration makes no sense.

If an outcome is certain, its consequences should be discounted to the present at the risk-free rate, not at the market rate that has uncertainty built into it.

Moreover, if an action causes certain death, it should be assessed as costing at the very least the entire wealth of the generations affected. It should therefore be treated entirely differently from small or marginal changes in exposure to harm. Thus done properly, the standard analysis works perfectly well. But had Garnaut explained this, he would not have had his story.

And that sets the pace for the economics in this report, in which loose assertions fly thick and fast.

We are told, for example, that so as "to improve the tax system through reducing tax disincentives to work", carbon revenues should be used to substantially increase the income tax's tax-free threshold. But the inevitable consequence would be to raise effective marginal tax rates as the threshold tapers.

Indeed, although this is nowhere noted in the report, Garnaut's proposal would raise effective tax rates in the middle-income bracket by about 5 percentage points, that is by 17 per cent. Such an increase, affecting more than 60 per cent of taxpayers, would greatly reduce incentives to work and save.

Nor does the looseness end there. In discussing the resources boom, the report says that "for each new mine or gas plant, there must be a cut in jobs and investment in other businesses".

Yet that is only true if we cannot import capital and labour, as we have ever since European settlement: but here too, the vital caveat is not added, presumably for fear of spoiling a good story.

Looseness then reaches Himalayan heights in the discussion of innovation, where the report tells us that at a time of large changes in relative prices and in economic structure, private expenditure on innovation falls short of socially valuable levels by an especially large amount, so the case for public subsidy is especially strong. But this unbacked claim is inconsistent with economic theory and with a mountain of studies starting in the 1930s.

Or consider electricity networks, where the report says that "it is clear from market behaviour" that over-investment has occurred because "the rate of return that is allowed exceeds the network's cost of capital". But economists have developed powerful tests for assessing this precise issue. The report does not apply a single one of these tests to back up its airy claims, nor cite any careful studies that do.

And take the question of comparing "direct action" with market instruments such as emissions permits. Here the report is unequivocal: "Using direct action measures would raise costs much more than carbon pricing". Yet growing research shows that (in the words of leading environmental economist Ian Parry) in the presence of market imperfections, "the superiority on cost-effectiveness grounds of permit systems over technology mandates and performance standards could be overturned".

On a matter of such political sensitivity, it would have behoved the report to at least acknowledge those results; it doesn't. And it would equally have behoved it to treat the comparison between alternative policy instruments as an empirical matter; again, it doesn't.

In fact, to do so would be inconsistent with the report's style, which is to demonise its opponents. They are, it says, "spoiling voices" who live in "isolation from reality".

Unlike Garnaut, they have not "joined Jiang Zemin in reciting the Gettysburg Address with the fruit at the end of a meal"; how could they understand China's actions?

As for their arguments about what Australia should do, they do not reflect a genuinely held alternative view of the public interest: rather, theirs are "narrow interests", while Garnaut speaks for " objective truth" representing the "informed centre that has no sectional interest that leads it to oppose the national interest."

Such claims are the hallmark of a fatal pretence: the pretence of embodying the "general will" that alone can soar above the "will of each". But even putting aside their inherent flaws, these claims of disinterestedness would be more credible were the report not knee-deep in proposed wealth transfers, showering largesse on beneficiaries ranging from the solar industry to the climate scientists who have been Garnaut's vocal supporters.

Yet the best comes towards the end. Here Garnaut paints a glowing picture of 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons, whose 1865 book The Coal Question argued that Britain's dependence on coal meant "the maintenance of Britain's economic position is physically impossible". These words, Garnaut comments, "have a special resonance for Australians, as we face the same choice outlined by Jevons".

But the The Coal Question was entirely wrong. Britain did not run out of coal in 1900: indeed, it is unlikely to do so in 2100. Little wonder The Coal Question is long forgotten. Could its fate be this report's future?



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


2 June, 2011

Beware Malthusians in reasonable clothing

The green critics of population control are just as misanthropic as their condom-promoting opponents. The "consumption bomb" just replaces the "population bomb"

The ambient jazzy, folky music - possibly nicked from a nearby Starbucks - had been turned to mute. The lights were dimmed. And the effect was near instant. The postgraduate-dominated audience under-populating the Bloomsbury Theatre in London was finally settling down in glum anticipation of ‘My vision for the future’, the first public event of ‘Population Footprints’ – a ‘UCL and Leverhulme Trust conference on human population growth and global carrying capacity’.

So, given this current cultural climate, in which it’s almost conventional to view the propagation of the species as an act of self-destruction, what the audience was probably not expecting was the opening gambit of Fred Pearce, environment consultant for the New Scientist, author of Peoplequake, and, most important of all, someone who doesn’t think population growth is much of a problem. ‘We are defusing the population bomb’, he declared. There was no booing. But there was no applause either.

Not that Pearce would mind, of course. He seems to be enjoying making a name for himself as the debunker of overpopulation hype. A few weeks ago, for instance, he took on no less a source of procreation anxiety than the United Nations Population Division (UNPD). The problem for Pearce was that in 2009, the UNPD had estimated that the global population, currently just under seven billion, would reach nine billion by 2050 before levelling off. At the beginning of May, however, it revised its predictions. Now global population was not only going to reach nine billion by 2050, but it was going to keep on rising until it reaches over 10 billion by 2100.

Pearce was not convinced that there was much evidence to support such a revision. In fact, as he points out in Nature magazine, current world population and current global fertility rates are actually lower than the UN predicted they would be at this stage two years ago. So why, contrary to actual population trends, does the UN now envisage a further rise in future fertility rates? None of this makes sense, argues Pearce: women are now having half as many babies as their grandmothers and world fertility has fallen from 4.9 children per woman in the early 1960s to its current level of around 2.45. The only way the UN can come up with such groundless population projections is by assuming that many developed countries currently with fertility rates well below the replacement level of 2.1 will suddenly start, contrary to all expectations, to produce more and more children. As Pearce observes, this assumption has simply been imposed on to the modelling system. Hence the revision ‘looks more like a political construct than a scientific analysis’.

All of which sounds like a rational voice amid the cacophony of overpopulation doom-mongering. This is surely a good thing, right? What could be better than an award-winning science journalist and author calling out the prophets of overcrowding?

The problem is that while Pearce is correct regarding the population-hyping models used by the UNPD, he has not come to destroy the Malthusian core of green-tinged thinking; he has come, whether he knows it or not, to save Malthusianism, not damn it. Save it, that is, from its overexcited champions who see the threat of ‘catastrophic’ population growth as a stick with which to beat people the world over into prophylactic-using submission.

As Brendan O’Neill has argued before on spiked, what sets Pearce apart from his birth-controlling fellow travellers is that he is savvy enough to know that the Malthusian enthusiasm for population control has a thoroughly horrific history. His eighteenth-century master, the Reverend Thomas Malthus, had nothing but contempt for the proliferating (and increasingly radicalised) lower classes. Malthus thought destitution and starvation were happy correctives to there just being too damn many of Them. The late nineteenth century saw a rise in the popularity of eugenics, a surge that culminated in some of the nastiest proposals and practices of the twentieth century. In every case, these Malthus-referencing, population-fiddling ideas have exemplified man’s inhumanity to man. And no wonder. Interpreting social and economic problems, from unemployment to food shortages, in terms of human reproduction means that the solutions must also take a biological, naturalised form - whether that’s contraception, sterilisation or extermination.

Pearce knows this. He knows that the current vogue for the idea of overpopulation has the potential to be bad PR for environmentalism. As he admitted last week, the notion of ‘global carrying capacity’ does have a tendency to turn into Third World bashing. Enter United Nations special adviser Jeffrey Sachs, whose recent response to the UNPD’s revised population projection for Nigeria captured Pearce’s fear: ‘It is not healthy’, Sachs said, adding: ‘Nigeria should work towards attaining a maximum of three children per family.’ The reported retort from one Nigerian woman was completely understandable: ‘[The UN] should try to advise the government how to make the lives of Nigerians better, not telling Nigerians not to have children – that is not their business.’ Or take the comments of two university health lecturers in America who lamented of Africa: ‘even Uganda — with one of the highest numbers of AIDS cases in sub-Saharan Africa — is projected to almost triple its population by 2050’. That AIDS can be seen as a population check, albeit an unsuccessful one, is testament to the willingness of the demography-obsessed to see anything that limits population numbers as a Good Thing.

So, seeing human reproduction as the source of social and economic problems, as an increasingly vociferous number of people in the West do, means that population and reproductive habits become the locus of the solution. And as Pearce recognises, this is an approach that historically has had ugly results. But Pearce does not really jettison Malthus. He just wants to excise the bits that would make even the meanest liberal choke on their organic leeks, you know, the bits that are a bit racist, a bit cruel, a bit, well, illiberal. And this is the point that he performs his sleight of hand: he flips his Malthusian emphases, from the number-of-people side of the equation to the other, number-of-resources side. Hence his doom-mongering comeback at last week’s event: ‘we haven’t even begun to defuse the real threat – the consumption bomb’.

That’s right; it’s not that there are too many people, it’s that there are too few resources. The limits that the unabashedly Malthusian ascribe to population are ascribed by the surreptitiously Malthusian to resources. It doesn’t seem to matter that the supposed limits to resource-use have been transgressed time and time again by advances in human productivity, from the discovery that coal could be used not just for jewellery but for energy creation, to the so-called ‘green revolution’ in agriculture during the 1960s and 1970s. For Pearce, as with the environmentalist cohorts he wants to save from open Malthusianism, socio-economic limits appear so natural that the only future he can envisage is one in which we adjust to those limits. Or as he put: ‘It’s the world’s consumption patterns that we need to fix, not the world’s reproductive habits.’

The thing is, we - human beings - are not the problem. In fact, I’d confidently wager that we’re the only species on the planet capable of coming up with solutions. And by solutions, that does not mean sacrificing either a portion of our number to misery and death or demanding that another portion of humanity restricts its material aspirations. For those are not solutions, they are the products of the exhausted consciousness of an elite that cannot envisage the future except in terms of decline and disaster.


British charity is wrong about food prices

Questioning Oxfam is a bit like questioning Bambi. But if its claims risk creating hunger, they need to be addressed. In its new report, Growing a Better Future, Oxfam pleads for more government intervention to alleviate rising food prices. It predicts food demand will increase by 70% by 2050, and food production only by 1% by 2020. Throw in global warming and you've got enough cataclysmic predictions to make a few headlines.

Predictions linking scarcity to calamity are old hat – the Club of Rome’s 1972 Limits to Growth report springs to mind. As a good Catholic boy I was taught this by my Religious Education teacher in school. (I also know all about the ringing success of Julius Nyerere’s communist villages from the same source.) The Limits to Growth predicted the imminent collapse of life on earth because of rising demand and no production increase. Sounds familiar? It even came up with years in which certain raw materials would run out. Didn’t you know that oil ran out in 1992? Today’s report by Oxfam proves that doomsday neo-Malthusianism has not gone away.

Contrast the prophets of doom with the progressive optimism of free marketeers. Leaving people free leads to ever greater inventions, ever increasing production, and an ever improving standard of living for the multitudes. And yes, it applies to food production, too.

The free market feeds the world. Market prices are key: when food prices go up, people switch to alternatives or re-arrange their priorities; and investors are incentivised to increase production. It is the best method to allocate scarce resources in the most efficient manner for the greatest number of people. Yes, it is as simple as that.

Drought? The market ships the food. Poverty? The market produces cheap food in abundance. Increased food prices? Entrepreneurs all over the world jump on the band-wagon and increase food production to make some money, which makes the price go down.

Oxfam believes government intervention can do better. State intervention in food production has been tried before – in Soviet Russia and Mao’s China, where it was not exactly a roaring success. But when interventionists are on the attack no historical facts must stand in the way. Oxfam pleads for more state aid to small farmers. They seem uninterested in such trifles as economies of scale or efficiency. But they should be: relying on small farmers to provide the world with food guarantees worldwide hunger.

The Oxfam report calls for transparency in commodities and regulation of futures markets. But futures markets are precisely where farmers can insure themselves against a bad harvest! Commodities markets are where enterprising individuals take risks and make or lose money in the business of providing food when and where there is demand. Multiple producers guarantee that there is never a monopoly.

The report calls for controls on the fluctuation of prices. Price controls have never worked, and always create shortages: producers are simply not incentivised to produce anymore. Price controls dry up supply and create a black market where the poorest are even worse off.

However, on one point Oxfam is right: it wants to end policies promoting bio-fuel. This is a form of government intervention which subsidizes one sector, energy, at the expense of another, food. This state intervention should indeed be abolished, so we can return to the only successful method to feed the world: the free market price mechanism.

It’s sad that people whose business it is to alleviate hunger and poverty hark back to the failed interventionism of yesteryear. There is an alternative: freeing up people by introducing free foreign ownership, allowing free trade, and abolishing all agricultural subsidies.


Global Warming Has No Significant Impact on Disaster Losses, Study Finds

Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth bombarded audiences with image after image of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, and drought, creating the impression of a world in climate chaos. Gore blamed the alleged upsurge in extreme weather on global warming, that is, mankind’s sins of emission. One of Gore’s mighty pieces of evidence was a dramatic increase insurance payments for weather-related damages. As he writes in his best-selling book of the same title:
Over the last three decades, insurance companies have seen a 15-fold increase in the amount of money paid to victims of extreme weather. Hurricanes, floods, drought, tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters have caused these losses [An Inconvenient Truth, p. 101].

Seeing is believing, right? The problem, of course, is not merely that correlation (warmer weather/bigger losses) does not prove causation. More importantly, the economic data depicted in the chart have not been adjusted (“normalized”) to offset increases in population, wealth, and the consumer price index.

Consider this fact: More people today live in just two Florida counties, Dade and Broward, than lived in all 109 coastal counties from Texas to Virginia in 1930. Florida’s population grew by more than 17.5% in the past decade alone and today is 48% larger than in 1980. There’s tons more stuff in harm’s way than there used to be. No wonder damages are bigger than in the good old days!

Most studies that “normalize” economic loss data find no evidence of a trend towards more violent or destructive weather. Here, for example, is a chart from a study on normalized hurricane damages by Pielke, Jr et al. 2008:

Figure description: U.S. hurricane damages, 1900-2005, if all hurricane strikes had hit the same locations but with year 2005 population, wealth, and consumer price index

A study published earlier this year in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Bouwer, L.M. 2011. Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?) examines 22 previous studies on the oft-asserted link between climate change and weather-related damages.

Here’s what the researcher, Laurens M. Bouwer of the Institute for Environmental Studies in the Netherlands, found:
All 22 studies show that increases in exposure and wealth are by far the most important drivers for growing disaster losses. Most studies show that disaster losses have remained constant after normalization, including losses from earthquakes (see Vranes and Pielke 2009). Studies that did find increases after normalization did not fully correct for wealth and population increases, or they identified other sources of exposure increases or vulnerability changes or changing environmental conditions. No study identified changes in extreme weather due to anthropogenic climate change as the main driver for any remaining trend.

Bouwer concludes:
The studies show no trends in losses, corrected for changes (increases) in population and capital at risk, that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters.

CO2Science.Org has an excellent review of the Bouwer study. On a related issue, World Climate Report reviews a recent study finding no long-term increase in the number of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes over the past 130 years. The apparent increase in storm frequency turns out to be an artifact of the data, that is, a product of the increase in spatial coverage and accuracy of hurricane monitoring systems.


Renewable energy is a thing of the past

Michael Lind (Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation) has written an article about the U.S. and world energy future that everyone - particularly our political decisions makers - should read. He makes a convincing case for the assumption that conventional wisdom about our energy future is completely wrong.
The arguments for converting the U.S. economy to wind, solar and biomass energy have collapsed. The date of depletion of fossil fuels has been pushed back into the future by centuries -- or millennia. The abundance and geographic diversity of fossil fuels made possible by technology in time will reduce the dependence of the U.S. on particular foreign energy exporters, eliminating the national security argument for renewable energy.

And if the worst-case scenarios for climate change were plausible (which they are not), then the most effective way to avert catastrophic global warming would be the rapid expansion of nuclear power, not over-complicated schemes worthy of Rube Goldberg or Wile E. Coyote to carpet the world’s deserts and prairies with solar panels and wind farms that would provide only intermittent energy from weak and diffuse sources.

The mainstream environmental lobby has yet to acknowledge the challenge that the new energy realities pose to their assumptions about the future. Some environmentalists have welcomed natural gas because it is cleaner than coal and can supplement intermittent solar power and wind power, at times when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. But if natural gas is permanently cheaper than solar and wind, then there is no reason, other than ideology, to combine it with renewables, instead of simply using natural gas to replace coal in electricity generation.

Without massive, permanent government subsidies or equally massive penalty taxes imposed on inexpensive fossil fuels like shale gas, wind power and solar power may never be able to compete. For that reason, some Greens hope to shut down shale gas and gas hydrate production in advance. In their haste, however, many Greens have hyped studies that turned out to be erroneous.

In 2010 a Cornell University ecology professor and anti-fracking activist named Robert Howarth published a paper making the sensational claim that natural gas is a greater threat to the climate than coal. Howarth admitted, "A lot of the data we use are really low quality..."

Howarth’s error-ridden study was debunked by Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations and criticized even by the Worldwatch Institute, a leading environmentalist organization, which wrote:

"While we share Dr. Howarth’s urgency about the need to transition to a renewable-based economy, we believe based on our research that natural gas, not coal, affords the cleanest pathway to such a future."

All energy sources have potentially harmful side effects. The genuine problems caused by fracking and possible large-scale future drilling of methane hydrates should be carefully monitored and dealt with by government regulation. But the Green lobby’s alarm about the environmental side-effects of energy sources is highly selective.

The environmental movement since the 1970s has been fixated religiously on a few "soft energy" panaceas -- wind, solar, and biofuels -- and can be counted on to exaggerate or invent problems caused by alternatives. Many of the same Greens who oppose fracking because it might contaminate some underground aquifers favor wind turbines and high-voltage power lines that slaughter eagles and other birds and support blanketing huge desert areas with solar panels, at the cost of exterminating much of the local wildlife and vegetation.

Wilderness preservation, the original goal of environmentalism, has been sacrificed to the giant metallic idols of the sun and the wind


Greenland Ice Cap’s Melting Not Unusual

If a slightly longer perspective is used

The Greenland Ice Cap covers 660,000 square miles and is the second largest body of ice in the world [A distant second to Antarctica]. It probably formed a little over 100,000 years ago. Its thickness is usually more than a mile and at its thickest almost two miles. Clearly it is important to monitor it to understand mankind’s effects on our planet, especially when we observe that the largest increases in temperature in recent decades are observed in Arctic regions. If all the ice were to melt sea level would rise by 24 feet.

You don’t have to look far to find popular accounts of the life and times of this vast ice sheet and suggestions that it is melting at a record rate. The ice caps Wikipedia entry is especially unbalanced and alarmist.

A recent paper by Xavier Fettweis et al is interesting in that it has studied near surface melt on the Greenland ice cap since 1979 (when the first satellite-based data became available) comparing two models with microwave observations. When snow melts the percentage of liquid water increases and increases its microwave emissivity. The microwave temperature observed by a satellite is snow temperature multiplied by the emissivity. Fettweis et al says the results are consistent and can be used to extend models before the satellite era.

Looking in detail at their simulations one is struck by several things. One model of ice sheet melt (their Fig 2) looks a lot like HadCrut3 with 1998 being the hottest year, followed by two much cooler years and then a rise to a rough plateau.

Their fig 8 shows the trend in the melting that they say is increasing. Their line is said to show (at the 99% confidence level) a trend in the cumulated melt extent from about 8 million sq km in 1980 to about 18 million sq km in 2010.

The researchers say that the melt recorded in the years 1998, 2003, 2005, and 2007 is unprecedented. However there is more to this data.

Firstly, I note that there have been no ‘unprecedented’ melt rates since the widely reported warm year 2007. Four ‘unprecedented’ years in nine years (1998 -2007) and then none in the following three since is interesting. Let’s see what 2011 will bring. Is this the start of something or an episode?

Considering their figure 8. Melting was higher than the 1990s and the 1980s, but we need to look on a longer timescale. The 1960 figure is 1.4 million sq km and that might itself not have been the highest as it is possible it was declining at the start of the data. Looking at the graph the recent rise might be counterbalanced by a fall in the earlier part of the data. The start of the trend line is 1979 (presumably the start of satellite-based data) but I would maintain that there is no trend between 1972 – 1996.

That the ice melt extent was declining in 1960 was the conclusion in a previous paper by Fettweis et al showed that the high surface mass loss rates of the Greenland Ice Cap in recent years are not unprecedented when looked at over the past 100 years. The mass loss rates in the 1930s are likely to have been more significant than current rates.

It has been suggested by some that a cynic would use such figures to cast doubt on some people’s assessment of the effect of anthropogenic global warming. It is surprising to me that some seem to think that in matters of such importance a cynical viewpoint is unscientific!

Also, Frauenfeld et al 2011 is an interesting paper that has attracted much discussion. It says that the total extent of Greenland ice melt has been increasing over the past three decades with the greatest melt extent observed in 2007. However they found that the recent period was shorter in duration than a period of high-melt lasting from the early 1920s through to the early 1960s. Although the greatest melt extent in the past 226 years occurred in 2007 it was not statistically significant from 20 other melt years between 1923 – 1961.

So, is the recent decade unusual in the recent life of the Greenland Ice Sheet? The answer is either no, or suggestions to the contrary have not been proven.


Australia: Prominent State politician under fire for disrespecting Warmist scientists

THE state government's whip in the upper house, Peter Phelps, has been accused of likening scientists to Nazis in a speech to Parliament.

In an address attacking global warming, Dr Phelps said it should not be forgotten that "some of the strongest supporters of totalitarian regimes in the last century have been scientists". "We should not be so surprised that the contemporary science debate has become so debased," Dr Phelps, pictured, said. "At the heart of many scientists - but not all scientists - lies the heart of a totalitarian planner."

He once compared the former army officer and federal Labor MP Mike Kelly to the guards at a concentration camp. Dr Phelps was chief-of-staff to the then special minister of state Gary Nairn in 2007 when he accused Mr Kelly of using the Nuremberg defence, like the guards at the Belsen concentration camp.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Dr Phelps quoted an unidentified writer whom he described as "speaking about the rise of Nazism" and its similarity to "scientists agitating for a scientific organisation of society".

Dr Phelps then went on to say: "One can see them now, beavering away, alone, unknown, in their laboratories. "Now, through the great global warming swindle, they can influence policy, they can set agendas, they can reach into everyone's lives; they can, like Lenin, proclaim what must be done."

The Greens MP John Kaye said Dr Phelps had created "a massive political headache" for Barry O'Farrell. "The Premier can either dissociate himself from the remarks made by his whip in the upper house or forever be a party to the most virulent science-denying libel yet seen in the climate debate," Dr Kaye said.

The Labor MP Luke Foley said Dr Phelps had not learnt from his earlier mistakes. "In the 2007 federal election campaign, Peter Phelps became an infamous figure nationally when he compared Mike Kelly to a Nazi concentration camp guard," Mr Foley said.

"The then Howard government was forced to apologise for Dr Phelps's outrageous comments but he hasn't learnt his lesson and he's back, likening scientists who report the facts on global warming to Nazi propagandists."

Dr Phelps last night denied he was likening scientists to Nazis. "This is not an issue of Nazism or Communism but an unhealthy relationship between scientists and governments that can lead to totalitarianism," Dr Phelps said.

A spokesman for the Premier declined to comment.



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


1 June, 2011

Ocean acidity 'turning fish deaf'

The headline above is the dishonest original. What actually happened was that the unfortunate fish were artificially reared in a tank that was pumped full of CO2. And that did harm them.

Any proposal that the experiment models any real-world probability, however, is absurd. If the oceans really DID warm, they would outgas CO2, thus REDUCING acidity (CO2 plus water gives carbonic acid). If you doubt that warmer water holds less CO2, just open a can of coke warm instead of cold. You will be showered with CO2-bearing froth

Ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel emissions may be turning fish deaf. Clownfish reared in seawater acidified by carbon dioxide grow up with impaired hearing, a study has found.

This could have "devastating" consequences for the colourful star of the 2003 animated movie Finding Nemo, say scientists. Not only would it leave the coral reef fish vulnerable to predators, but it could impact on their early development and survival.

For the experiment, researchers reared newly hatched clownfish in water with different levels of acidity. After 17 to 20 days, the juvenile fish had their hearing tested by being played the sounds of a predator-rich coral reef.

"We kept some of the baby clownfish in today's conditions, bubbling in air, and then had three other treatments where we added extra CO2 based on the predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 2050 and 2100," said Dr Steve Simpson, from the University of Bristol.

"We designed a totally new kind of experimental choice chamber that allowed us to play reef noise through an underwater speaker to fish in the lab, and watch how they responded.

"Fish reared in today's conditions swam away from the predator noise, but those reared in the CO2 conditions of 2050 and 2100 showed no response."

The findings were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.


Why Germany said no to nuclear power

This spells out in more detail some observations I made yesterday

'Politics is the art of the possible," said Bismarck, the first German Chancellor. His present-day successor, Angela Merkel, knows perfectly well that her decision to phase out all nuclear power stations by 2022 makes no scientific or economic sense. In fact, she said so herself as recently as two months ago, when she promised that Germany would not let itself be rushed into abandoning nuclear power by the Fukushima accident in Japan. "I am against shutting down our nuclear power plants only to have atomic power imported into Germany from other countries," she told the Bundestag in March. "That won't happen on my watch."

Well, as so often happens to politicians, she has been forced to eat her words by political necessity. An irrational fear of nuclear energy runs deep in Germany, and electoral defeats for Chancellor Merkel's conservative coalition at the hands of the Greens have convinced her that it is no longer politically possible to hold the line. As Bismarck might also have said: saying no to nuclear technology may be unreal, but in Germany it is realpolitik.

The nuclear debate in Germany has always been about much more than the relative merits of different forms of power generation. The enduring influence of romanticism, the love of forests and the worship of nature all contribute to the highly charged atmosphere in which the issue is discussed. The Nazis knew how to tap into this nature mysticism, yet they also secretly pursued nuclear weapons – despite publicly dismissing the "Jewish" physics on which the technology was based.

Unlike Japan, Germany surrendered before atom bombs could be used against its cities, but during the Cold War the nation was divided by the Berlin Wall and Germans knew that their country was a potential nuclear battleground. American, British and French forces on German soil were equipped with nuclear weapons to deter a Warsaw Pact invasion. While Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's postwar leader, was desperate to join this nuclear club, his Nato allies only permitted Germany to possess nuclear power, on which the resurgent German economy rapidly became dependent for cheap energy.

At first, nuclear power was seen as peaceful, in contrast to nuclear weapons. But as anti-Americanism emerged on the German Left as a by-product of the 1968 student rebellions, so too did resistance to nuclear power as a symbol of capitalism, which was now equated with militarism.

In the mid-1970s, so-called citizens' initiatives began to organise protests at nuclear plants. Their symbol, a laughing sun with the slogan Atomkraft? Nein Danke ("Nuclear power? No thanks!"), appeared on stickers and T-shirts everywhere. Anti-nuclear protest was suddenly cool.

Hence by the late 1970s, German public opinion was turning against nuclear power. Belatedly, the far-Left leaders of the student movement capitalised on this popular cause to create the Greens, the world's first major environmentalist political party. The terrorism of the Baader Meinhof gang had turned out to be a dead end, but the politics of anti-nuclear protest had a lasting appeal to middle-class Germans. In the propaganda of the Greens, Nato Cruise and Pershing missiles stationed in Germany were indistinguishable from the plants that produced cheap electricity.

Then came Chernobyl. The meltdown of an antiquated Soviet reactor in 1986 caused such hysteria in Germany that the nuclear industry has never recovered, despite the fact that fears of radioactive clouds proved greatly exaggerated. Green politics gained new momentum: "Red-Green" coalitions of Social Democrats and Greens began to be formed in the German states and eventually, in 1998, Greens took office at federal level, too.

By this time climate change had taken over as the fashionable new cause for environmentalists, bringing with it the problem of how, without fossil fuels or nuclear power, energy supplies could be maintained. Despite its promise to close down all nuclear plants, the coalition of Social Democrats and Greens had no alternative policy, because "renewables" simply could not provide sufficient cheap, reliable energy. After Merkel took over in 2005 as leader of a coalition with the Social Democrats, she quietly reversed plans to phase out nuclear power. Even today, domestic nuclear plants supply about a quarter of all electricity in Germany.

Now, however, she has taken an irreversible decision to distance her Christian Democrats from a political association that is far more toxic than any nuclear fallout. In doing so, she has succumbed yet again to the hypocrisy that surrounds this issue in Germany.

Take Iran. For decades, German industry has assisted Iran's "peaceful" pursuit of nuclear power, even though it has been obvious that the Islamic Republic's aim was to develop nuclear weapons. The computers that ran the Iranian nuclear facilities until they were sabotaged by the Stuxnet virus were supplied by Siemens. At international conferences, Germany adopts a high-minded stance on nuclear proliferation as well as nuclear power, but in practice German exports take priority over the security of Israel and other neighbours of Iran.

Or take France. In public, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel are diametrically opposed on the nuclear power issue. But in reality, her decision to get out of the nuclear power business means that France will be supplying a growing proportion of German energy needs over coming decades. Most Germans are either unaware of the fact that much of their energy is imported from French, Swiss or Polish nuclear plants, or they just don't care, as long as the reactors are sited far from their own back yards. Germany has become a nation of nuclear nimbys.

So should it matter to us if Germany chooses to impose unnecessary costs on its own industrial and domestic energy consumption? Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the European Union has a habit of imposing German prejudices on the rest of its member states. Enemies of nuclear energy will be emboldened to pressurise other governments, including our own, to follow the German lead.

Ironically, not all Greens share the conclusion the German government drew from Fukushima. Our own George Monbiot, a Green fundamentalist if ever there was one, has been persuaded to drop his opposition to nuclear power by the facts of the case. This is his logic: if an ageing nuclear plant, incompetently managed and with obsolete safeguards, is hit by one of the worst earthquakes in recent history, yet hardly anybody is killed, then we must conclude that nuclear power has a lot to be said for it.

Logic, however, had little to do with yesterday's announcement: realpolitik dictated the decision. The grandchildren of the Nazis, born long after the war, have made the fatal mistake of identifying evil with a particular technology, rather than with the human beings who make use of it.

Germany is one of the most admirable countries in the world, but Germans, like other nationalities, are not immune to irrational attitudes. Decent Germans have reason to worry about the fact that, according to a recent poll, nearly half of their compatriots express anti-Semitic opinions, such as that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against Palestinians, or that "Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era".

But Germans have no reason to fear nuclear power. Mrs Merkel's appeasement of nuclear hysteria is disturbing far beyond Germany's borders because it represents a capitulation to irrationalism by the leader of a nation that once led the world in science and technology. The land of Leibniz and Humboldt, of Goethe and Gauss, is now indulging the fantasies of cynical scaremongers.


I don’t fit their narrative

Wendy McElroy encounters the dogmatism of NPR

Over the last several months I've seen several climate-alarmist articles trying to tackle the question of "why aren't people accepting our [alarmist] message?" It has been suggested that the "framing" is wrong, that skeptics are better funded (ha!), that pessimism doesn't sell, the oil companies buy big P.R., that Christianity is opposed to science, that Republicans are opposed to government control (ha!), or just that the message has not been competently delivered.

But never, in all these articles, is there the tiniest mention of one other possible explanation: "we're wrong." They assume, with a subliminal rectitude quite apparent to the skeptic, that their beliefs are the absolute Truth, and that anyone who doesn't share those beliefs must be somehow flawed.

So, when NPR posted an article "What Motivates Climate Change Deniers?", I felt impelled to help out the author by posting a reply, even though I've never denied that the climate changes. Yet while several comments about hoaxes and liberal big-government agendas were permitted on that thread, my comment got killed by the moderator [1]. Here it is, in full, with my academic credits elided for modesty:
You would probably classify me as a "denier," though I'm not sure what you mean by that term. I've identified six different propositions* that make up the global-warming theory, and questioning any of them earns one the "denier" tag.

As to what motivates me? A passion for science, and a skepticism towards bogeymen. Yes, a passion *for* science and the scientific method. I've been trained in science and engineering, and I am appalled at the pseudo-science and the unscientific methods that underlie AGW theory. I'm not motivated by sirens or scary pictures or fear; I'm motivated by a desire to know how the universe really works. And, I admit, I'm also motivated by a desire to make the world a better place in which to live; a goal which also prompts me to look askance at the prescriptions of climate-change alarmists.

Just for the record: I'm not a Christian, or a Republican, nor do I work for or receive any compensation from the energy industry. I have [college degrees], so I'm not what you would call "uneducated." Sorry if that ruins any illusions.

* See here and here for my list.

I think that was reasonably civil, and it was certainly on point. But it conflicts with their narrative. They want to believe that their opposition is uneducated, or religious, or anti-science, or receiving payola. The idea that someone would oppose them for reasons of science -- that an educated, semi-liberal, atheist could, after evaluating their methods, conclude that they are wrong -- is, apparently, too disturbing to contemplate.

Update, 8:40 am: I successfully put a link to this blog post as a new comment to the article. And now, I am unable to post ANYTHING at!


A Record To Celebrate!

Someone alert the Guinness Book of World Records! In 2010, humans set a new all-time high for global greenhouse gas emissions, according to an International Energy Agency analysis released yesterday.

If you are an alarmist, then this is one of your many causes for concern. If, however, you are a global warming “denier” like me, then this is a cause for celebration, because more emissions translate into more wealth creation!

Allow me to explain. About 85 percent of the world’s energy is derived from the combustion of fossil fuels, which is also the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions. Because every act of economic production requires an energy input, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions increase together in lockstep. Reports Reuters:
Global emissions of carbon dioxide hit their highest level ever in 2010, with the growth driven mainly by booming coal-reliant emerging economies, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist said on Monday.

…“It’s a very strong rebound in CO2 emissions, driven mainly by the non-OECD countries,” [Faith] Birol [IEA’s chief economist] told Reuters in an interview, adding three quarters of the growth came from emerging economies such as China or India.

Poor people are getting less poor. To me, that’s a great thing. Any warmer winters are merely a bonus.



Four current articles below

Climate report an assault on democracy, says Abbott

TONY Abbott has rejected the latest climate change report from economist Ross Garnaut as an assault on democracy, warning that it proposes to give a committee of unelected appointees the power to set tax rates.

As the Opposition Leader yesterday complained of a "democratic deficit" over Labor's proposed carbon tax, Julia Gillard noted the report rejected Mr Abbott's proposal to tackle climate change through direct action measures such as planting trees.

Delivering his final climate change update report at the National Press Club yesterday, Professor Garnaut said the direct action approach risked entrenching the political culture of vested interests that had resisted economic reform for eight decades.

"The big rewards in low-emissions investments in regulatory approaches would go to those who persuaded the minister or the bureaucrat that their idea was worthy of being included in the direct action plan," he said.

"If not under the government that introduced the direct action policies then under the governments that followed."

In his report, Professor Garnaut proposed the establishment of an independent committee to set Australia's carbon emission reduction levels -- a proposal that could break the deadlock preventing Labor from winning Greens' support for the tax.

Mr Abbott seized on the proposal, warning it would put the power to set tax rates out of the hands of accountable politicians.

"There is a developing democratic deficit here," he said. "First of all the Prime Minister wasn't upfront with the Australian public before the election. Now the idea that taxes in this country should effectively be set by people who are outside the parliament, and who are not accountable to the people, I think, is just odd.

"This just goes to show how out of control the government is on this whole climate change question."

Later, the Opposition Leader continued his attack in question time, noting that the report said: "Australian households will ultimately bear the full cost of a carbon price".

"So how can (the Prime Minister) continue to maintain that her tax only makes big polluters pay?" Mr Abbott asked parliament. "Who pays? Big polluters or households? The truth is: households."

Ms Gillard accused Mr Abbott of misrepresenting the report, and hit back by pointing out that the report criticised Mr Abbott's direct action policy.


No pain, no gain: compensation vitiates carbon tax

"Compensation" means that the tax will not have the effect that is its only justification!

ANYONE who thinks the proposed carbon tax is mainly about the environment is mistaken. That may have been where the debate started. But due to political pressure on the minority government, it has morphed into an exercise in wealth redistribution, not environmental action. And Labor has many environmental groups and advocates fooled.

Because Labor can't afford to lose seats at the next election (in fact, it needs to win seats to gain a majority), but also has to be seen to be doing something as a government, it is trying to convince voters it is acting on the environment while also compensating them for that action to a point where the action itself becomes meaningless.

Cate Blanchett is a fine actor, and as Coalition MPs have said -- before launching scathing attacks on her -- she is certainly entitled to her opinion. Blanchett is also entitled to use her hard-earned fame to spruik ideas and policy positions that matter to her. And the third parties that have funded the pro-carbon-tax campaign Blanchett is part of -- GetUp, the ACTU and the Australian Conservation Foundation -- are entitled to approach her to help.

There is nothing wrong with such campaigns. After all, the miners campaigned against the super-profits tax, and retailers and the tobacco industry are campaigning against plain packaging of cigarettes. What's wrong with individuals doing the same?

What I question, however, is the value of Blanchett taking part in a campaign aimed at convincing ordinary voters of the carbon tax's merits. I am not sure an actor of her international standing is the best person to front a campaign that affects the cost of living. It contrasts sharply with the very impressive campaign against Work Choices the union movement organised with voices from real workers under threat from the Howard government's laws in the lead-up to the 2007 election.

For that matter, I wonder whether Blanchett has thought things through. Blanchett is no dummy. She completed a degree in economics before deciding acting was her calling. However, the logical thinking necessary for an economics degree seems to have deserted Blanchett on this matter.

She has been blinded by her passion for environmental action on climate change. Consider the interview she gave yesterday to a rival newspaper.

Blanchett said "everyone will benefit if we protect the environment". Yes, but does a carbon tax do that? It won't if it causes no fiscal pain to consumers, because the whole point of a carbon tax is that it creates a price pressure on the use of dirty energy, thereby encouraging consumers and businesses to change their ways.

But Blanchett also wants to be the people's princess -- in the interview she said her support for a carbon tax was conditional on "generous assistance" for low- and middle-income earners. She has fallen for the trickery of the carbon tax and her own attempt to stay popular when advocating it.

Take with one hand (carbon tax), give with the other (compensation). The result? No price pressure or incentive for people to change their energy use.

Make no mistake, when the carbon tax is applied to businesses, they will pass on that cost to consumers to maintain their profitability. Consumers will tolerate that price rise if they are rich, and go on burning energy but simply pay more. Mainstream voters and the disadvantaged will secure generous compensation from the government (don't believe Tony Abbott when he says otherwise), which will allow them to keep consuming dirty energy without changing their ways.

The government may claim there is pricing pressure, regardless of compensation, because polluting companies will have to raise prices, but the carbon tax would have to be much higher to have a real effect.

What does all of this add up to: wealth redistribution with little impact on the environment unless the compensation is rescinded and consumers are thereby forced to change their ways -- or unless the price on carbon goes up quickly and the compensation packages don't.


"Eco" resort bombs

It got all sorts of awards -- from everybody except paying customers. Nice when Green/Left elitists feel in their hip pocket how out of touch they are

THE Gold Coast's embattled tourism industry has copped another blow with multi-award-winning eco-tourism retreat Couran Cove Island Resort closing its doors.

Hailed as a benchmark tourism facility when it opened 13 years ago, the South Stradbroke Island resort is to be placed into voluntary liquidation. Its owner, InterPacific Group, yesterday announced that it was putting the resort up for sale after a "sustained period of low occupancy" and years of operating at a "considerable loss".

Staff have been laid off, with those eligible provided with redundancy payments and full entitlements. It is understood a skeleton crew has been retained to maintain the sporting and eco-friendly resort's facilities.

In a statement, InterPacific said that, although Couran Cove had stopped operating as a resort, its facilities would remain accessible to owners of the private residences within the resort.

"Over the past 13 years, considerable time, energy and money has been invested to create the premium resort Couran Cove is today," it said. "However, this hasn't been enough to combat a volatile global economy, weak local tourism conditions, a lack of industry support and rising operating and infrastructure costs.

"The resort has been operating at a considerable loss for a number of years and, sadly, despite our best efforts, this is an unsustainable position for any business operation. "This is the most sensible course of action for the business and its shareholders."

Couran Cove's development on a 151ha site was spearheaded by former Olympic runner Ron Clarke before he was elected Gold Coast mayor. Billionaire American philanthropist Chuck Feeney, who bankrolled the project but later had a falling-out with Cr Clarke, reportedly has been propping up the resort - pouring $283 million into it since 1998.

InterPacific is owned by Mr Feeney's Bermuda-based charity foundation Atlantic Philanthropies.

Corporate doctors Ferrier Hodgson will be appointed liquidators today to facilitate its sale.

Industry sources said InterPacific had been unsuccessfully trying to offload the South Stradbroke Island resort for several years.

The resort has won more than 50 domestic and international awards for excellence.


Global cooling hits South Australia

ANYONE shivering in Adelaide this morning had good reason to do so it is the coldest start to June on record. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Vince Rowlands said the minimum temperature was a chilly 3.7C at 7.24am at Kent Town on the first day of winter. "I think it's the coldest start to a June that we've ever had at Kent Town," Mr Rowlands said.

Elsewhere around the state the mercury dropped to -2.7C in Yunta, -1.3C in Renmark, -1C in Clare and Coonawarra was -0.6C.

"Around Adelaide itself, Elizabeth got down to 4C, as far as the Hills go, Mt Lofty stayed a touch warmer because of the winds but I'd certainly expect the back of the Ranges to be pretty cold Murray Bridge got down to 1C," he said.

Mr Rowlands said the cold was to be expected with winter. "Obviously the atmosphere is a lot colder and then we get the really clear nights like we've had over the last couple of days, there's nothing stopping the heat from escaping into the atmosphere and we get these really cold conditions."



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize.