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

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

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30 June, 2013

Wildlife tragedies lie at the feet of the Greenies and the food freaks

The food freaks tell food manufacturers that saturated fats and trans fats are harmful to health (both claims are a fantasy but tell a big enough lie often enough ....) so many manufacturers have moved to the next workable possibility -- which is palm oil. But now that's no good either! Using palm oil harms wildife. But it is the fanatics that have created the problem, not the food manufacturers.

If Greenpeace were a serious organization (I will wait for the laughter at that idea to subside), it is the food freaks they should be attacking. But food freaks and Greenies seem to be largely the same people so there is not much hope of that.  The Greenies themselves  want palm oil as "biodiesel".  It's "sustainable", you see.  "Green" Germany is particularly big on using palm oil as a biofuel.  If Germany stopped its environmentalist nonsense (some hope!) elephants and Orang Utans would get a big break

I find it rather despicable that the writer below blames food manufacturers without a whisper about WHY food manufacturers use palm oil.  But he is a Greenie too, you see.  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie.  He would probably now stop the palm  oil craze fostered by his fellow Greenies if he could but humpty dumpty is now well and truly off his wall

By Mark Shand

In all the 30 years I have been working in Asian elephant conservation, I thought I had seen it all – blatant corruption, the rape and total disregard of our beautiful planet and sickening wildlife atrocities, to name but a few. All due to the most dangerous animal of all: homo sapiens.

Not much shocks me any more, but something happened in recent weeks that shook me to the core when the charity Elephant Family and the Ecologist Film Unit set out to document the environmental genocide that is out of control on the island of Sumatra,  Indonesia.

Sumatra is special to me because I spent a lot of time there on expeditions when I was younger. It was a paradise – vast pristine forests, intact coral reefs and abundant wildlife.

All this has changed now and their elephants are the most endangered on the planet. In a single generation, the population has been cut in half, with countless other animals disappearing at breakneck speed.

During the filming, a helpless, emaciated baby male elephant called Raja, who was barely a year old, was found in a village, shackled with heavy chains to a tree. He had been taken hostage by the villagers, who were demanding compensation from the Sumatran  government for the damage his family had done to their crops.

Can you believe that we are now  living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom? It is almost unthinkable. But just look at the photographs – look at Raja, as he strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.

I have heard that sound of distressed calves many times in my life. It never fails to haunt me. But it is his eyes that haunt me more than anything – pleading for help – innocent, desperate and helpless.

A war is being waged across Asia. In the face of relentless deforestation, elephants are being forced out of their natural habitats and they have no choice but to share their living space with humans. As the elephants’ forest home is destroyed, stressed and starving herds flee from the chainsaws straight into villages.

They demolish everything in sight, trampling crops, flattening houses and often killing people. Frankly, you really cannot blame the villagers for taking such drastic steps in the sheer desperation to survive and feed their own families.

Capturing a baby elephant and holding it to ransom is grisly and depressing, but it is reality as humans and elephants fight for space.

People need to know why this is  happening. They need to understand what is driving this madness.

The cause is an innocently named product called palm oil. It’s a constituent part of almost everything that we use and consume – biscuits, margarine, ice cream, soap, shampoo. The list is endless.

And the blame lies firmly with the greed of the large corporations in the East that produce it as a cash crop to fuel the insatiable consumerism of the Western world.

The thirst for palm oil is apparently unquenchable and its cultivation is  ripping out the last great rainforests.

Although forest destruction and its lethal impact on endangered species are plain to see, palm oil is practically an invisible ingredient, listed under the generic term ‘vegetable oil’.

April, Duta Palma, Sinar Mas and Sime Darby may not be household names, but these are just some of  the companies producing palm oil in Indonesia and selling it on to the  market for about £500 per ton.

L’Occitane, Ferrero, Cadbury, Ginster’s pasties, Clover margarine, Pringles, Kellogg’s, Haribo, Nestlé and Mars are just a few of the more familiar names of those that use palm oil.

All the major supermarkets use palm oil in their own-brand products. Some are better than others in getting palm oil from responsible sources, but the point is that it is everywhere and in everything. It is a silent assassin. Not until 2014 will there be a legal requirement for manufacturers to label palm oil on their products.

And, to make matters worse, the only certification body to monitor the production of so-called ‘sustainable’ palm oil is immensely flawed. Consumer industries are hiding behind a fallacy.

The verdant rainforest of Aceh in North Sumatra is one of the largest left in South-East Asia. It is the only place in the world where elephants, tigers, orang-utans and rhinos all still live together – a real life Jungle Book.

But, right now, the Aceh government is close to adopting a plan that would see hundreds of thousands of hectares of this forest opened up for the cultivation of palm oil. This ironically titled ‘Spatial Plan’ is nothing more than a deforestation plan – an extinction plan, seeking to legitimise the illegal felling that is already happening.

Environmentalists agree that we need to protect about 65 per cent of Aceh’s forest if we are to save its biodiversity. The government plan would allow for only 45 per cent to be protected – that’s a difference of way over a million hectares, or more than a million football pitches. The result would be a death blow for wildlife.

Not only will these iconic species be pushed to extinction, the local communities that rely on this forest will be even more exposed to natural disasters. Devastating landslides have already washed away buildings, including entire schools.

They will become unrelenting and vast areas of land will flood.

Wildlife will be forced into ever greater conflict with people, and elephants like Raja won’t stand a chance.

Sadly for him, it is too late. He died alone, still chained to that tree, though Elephant Family worked tirelessly for a week to negotiate his release.


Greens don't like fracking because they don't like prosperity

You'd think Greens would be delighted by the shale gas bounty under our feet. Here is a plentiful energy supply which does not emit soot (as coal does), nor jam estuaries (as tidal turbines do), nor starve Africans (as biofuels do), nor slaughter rare birds (as wind farms do). It does not require public subsidies (as both nuclear and renewables do). On the contrary, it will generate a healthy stream of tax revenue for the Exchequer. It will diminish our reliance on nasty regimes, from Tehran to Moscow – precisely the sorts of regimes that Greens march against. Oh, and it will reduce our carbon emissions, by displacing coal in electricity generators.

What, then, is the problem? Some campaigners talk of water pollution; others, a touch histrionically, of earthquakes. If either was a remotely serious prospect, we'd know by now. There has been a great deal of fracking in the United States, but not a single instance of groundwater being contaminated. As for earthquakes, well, yes, technically any tremor qualifies as an earthquake, but the kind caused by fracking is, according to the most comprehensive report to date, “about the same as the impact caused by dropping a bottle of milk”. The process has been pronounced safe by the Royal Academy of Engineering and by the Royal Society.

Of course, people are more prepared to believe the worst when they live in the areas likely to be affected. And, there's no denying it, fracking will cause some disruption in the early stages, as all construction projects do. There will be lorries and workmen and general bustle. These things, though, are never as bad as opponents claim – just as, to be fair, the jobs are never as numerous as supporters claim. In any event, both the jobs and the disruption will be temporary. The gains will outweigh the inconveniences a thousand times over – and I say so as MEP for a region that will be more affected than most.

This morning's headlines warn us of electricity rationing and coming blackouts. Fracking won't just solve that problem; it will drag us back to growth, much as it has the United States. The find has come, fortuitously, at the very moment that North Sea oil and, especially, gas reserves deplete. We already have the gas infrastructure in place. Now it turns out that we are sitting on the largest shale hoard in Europe. It seems almost providential.

In much the same way, our distant fathers found a way to access almost unlimited amounts of coal just as Britain was beginning its eighteenth century expansion. In consequence, the industrial revolution happened here rather than in, say, China or Italy. We became the greatest and wealthiest nation on Earth. Coal is why the world speaks our language.

But here's the difference. Despite the horrible dangers of eighteenth-century coalmining – pit collapses, floods, explosive gas – the industry was allowed to develop, gradually becoming safer and cleaner. In our own age, by contrast, an industry safer and cleaner than even the safest and cleanest coalmines is threatened by a coalition of envious Eurocrats and Greens.

I can just about see what's upsetting the Eurocrats: they don't like capitalism, they don't like fossil fuels and they don't like Britain. Green objections are harder to understand: here is a clean, secure supply of power that will benefit everyone, but will disproportionately benefit the least well off, who spend a higher proportion of their income on energy bills. When I spoke in the European Parliament in support of fracking, most of the negative comments I received did not focus on specific safety concerns. Rather, they complained in general terms that fracking would 'poison the planet' or 'bleed Mother Earth' for no higher cause than 'greed'.

What is meant here by 'greed' is the desire for material improvement that has driven every advance since the old stone age. Someone sees an opportunity to offer a service that other people will pay for and, in consequence, wealth is created where none existed before. What happened with coal in the eighteenth century could happen again now: prices will fall, productivity will increase, and people will be released to new jobs, raising living standards for everyone. 'Greed', in this sense, is why we still have teeth after the age of 30, why women no longer expect to die in childbirth, why we have coffee and computers and cathedrals. 'Greed' is why we have time to listen to Beethoven and go for country walks and play with our children. Cheaper energy, on any measure, improves our quality of life.

But this is precisely what at least some Greens object to. What they want, as they frankly admit, is decarbonisation, deindustrialisation and depopulation. They regard the various advances we've made since the old stone age – the coffee, the computers, the cathedrals – with regret. What society needs, they tell us, is not green consumerism, but less consumerism. Which is, of course, precisely what most Western countries have had since 2008. The crash brought about all the things that eco-warriors had been demanding: lower GDP, less consumption, a decline in international trade. Yet, oddly, when it happened, they didn't seem at all satisfied. There's no pleasing some people.


  Obama throws down green gauntlet

By Rick Manning

The President’s Climate Action Plan was released in an obvious attempt to change the subject away from the various scandals that have engulfed Obama to something where he hoped to get favorable press.

The plan itself outlines Obama’s determination to push the limits of his Executive branch power through bypassing Congress and instituting policies through a series of regulations and Executive Orders.

With the Environmental Protection Agency expected to be the point of the spear in this war on American energy production, the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head that agency becomes an important test of the Senate’s support for the now declared war.

McCarthy is an EPA veteran who has come under fire for incompetence in her running of the radiation detection system, when it was discovered during the Japanese nuclear power plant meltdown that the U.S. system was largely inoperative.

She also has approved plans to actively encourage the use of a new refrigerant in vehicles that the Daimler Corporation found to be so dangerous that they voluntarily spent millions of dollars recalling vehicles in Europe that contained it.  Now, McCarthy is trying to get this coolant into every American new car under the guise of climate change.

On the coal front, McCarthy has been at the forefront of efforts to impose regulations that are designed to drive electric utility providers away from burning coal toward other fuels, particularly natural gas.

The decision by Obama to release his “Climate Action Plan” prior to an anticipated vote on the McCarthy nomination in early July, turns the already contentious confirmation into a referendum on Obama’s plan to by-pass Congress and impose draconian measures through executive fiat.

This puts two senators squarely on the hot seat.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who won election largely due to a brilliant ad where he shoots a copy of the cap and trade environmental legislation, now with the McCarthy vote, will be voting on whether he wants to approve the implementation of much of that regime.  But for Manchin, it is not enough to just oppose McCarthy, he needs to convince other energy state Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota to join him.  If he fails, his case that he can make a difference in the War against Coal will be lost.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is the other member with the most at stake in the McCarthy battle.

If McConnell fails to hold his Conference together in opposition to McCarthy and allows Obama to claim bi-partisan support for his Kill Coal campaign, it becomes very difficult for him to claim an us-against-them argument as he seeks re-election in Kentucky’s coal country.

McConnell needs to explain in no uncertain terms to his colleagues Kelly Ayotte, Lisa Murkowski, Mark Kirk, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Lindsay Graham and Susan Collins that if they choose to support McCarthy’s nomination, they are putting a knife through the heart of Senate Republican hopes to gain a majority in 2014.  Failure in this D.C. battle has real consequences in Kentucky, and if McConnell doesn’t hold his Republican colleagues together, one can bet that coal miners across the state will know about it before the week is out.

While nomination battles in D.C. are often strictly “inside the Beltway” affairs, the Gina McCarthy nomination is so much more.  If confirmed, Obama will claim a three year mandate to move his job killing environmental agenda.

And that would be disastrous for our nation’s economic future.


Obama's Climate Five-Year Plan

The president proposes ecological central planning to solve global warming

The central planners in communist governments were notorious for issuing massively detailed top-down five-year plans to manage every facet of their economies. The accumulating inefficiency and waste produced by this sort of rigid planning led eventually to the demise of those regimes.

Speaking at Georgetown University on Tuesday, President Barack Obama outlined his “new national climate action plan,” which amounts to a federal top-down five-year plan—although he has only four years to implement it. Obama’s plan ambitiously seeks to control nearly every aspect of how Americans produce and consume energy. The goal is to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases and thus stop boosting the temperature of the earth. The actual result will be to infect the economy with the same sort of sclerosis seen in other centrally planned nations.

Let’s take a look at four aspects of the Obama five-year plan: rationing carbon, boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency, subsidizing climate resilience, and negotiating international limits on emissions.

Rationing Carbon

Way back in January 2008, when he was just a senator running for the presidency, Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that he “was the first to call for a 100 percent auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter.” That way, he explained, “if somebody wants to build a [conventional] coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Five years later, Obama is doing what he said he’d do. His plan directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.” The EPA is still formulating those standards, but in their current draft form they would limit new power plants to emitting 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. Since conventional coal-fired plants typically emit around 1,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour generated, the new rule would essentially be a ban on building new coal-fired power plants.

If the EPA were to establish a uniform 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour standard, that would eliminate nearly all coal-fired plants in the United States, which generated about 37 percent of the country’s electricity last year. In comparison, natural gas plants generated 30 percent, nuclear 19 percent, hydropower 7 percent, wind 3.5 percent, biomass 1.4 percent, petroleum 1 percent, geothermal 0.4 percent, and solar 0.1 percent.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Obama did say in 2008 that he supported the development of clean coal technologies. The president’s new national climate plan includes $8 billion in loan guarantees for “advanced fossil energy projects,” presumably including clean coal technologies involving carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The Department of Energy is currently supplying $1 billion in a stimulus grant to the FutureGen CCS project in Illinois.

The FutureGen project proposes to capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by its 200-megawatt plant and inject about a million tons annually underground. If it works, the overall emissions from a coal-fired plant using CCS would certainly meet a 1,000 pounds per megawatt-hour standard. However, the Energy Information Administration’s 2013 analysis of the levelized costs (including capital, fuel, and operation and maintenance) of new power generation sources reports that in 2018 CCS would boost the cost of coal-fired electricity by about 35 percent over conventional generation. Assuming coal still accounted for 37 percent of generation, a quick calculation implies that monthly household electricity bills could jump from an average of $110 to more than $124.

The president’s national climate plan also sets “a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020.” That would mean that wind power would produce 7 percent and solar power 0.2 percent of America’s energy by then. For what it’s worth, the Energy Information Administrtion estimates the levelized costs in 2018 for conventional coal would be $100 per megawatt-hour; conventional natural gas $67; nuclear $108; wind $87; and solar photovoltaic $144.

In his Georgetown speech, President Obama declared, “Countries like China and Germany are going all out in the race for clean energy.” The president did not note that German electricity prices have soared as the country subsidized the installation of solar and wind power. German households in 2012 paid an average of 35 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared the U.S. average of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. If Americans were paying for power at German rates, our households' monthly power bills (at 940 kilowatt-hours) would average $330 instead of $110, or an additional $2,640 per year for household electricity.  The president also neglected to mention that China’s much-lauded and much-subsidized solar panel industry is going through a bit of a financial rough patch.

The president plans to mandate improvements in the energy efficiency of appliances and buildings. This makes a kind of central-planning sense. Since his new regulations will raise the cost of electric power to consumers, he wants to lower the amount they use so that their monthly bills don’t go up. The hope is that consumers won’t notice that they are paying more for less energy.

In any case, thanks to market incentives, American consumers and businesses are already engaged in continually improving their energy efficiency. The amount of energy it takes to produce a dollar of GDP has fallen by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years, mostly without the help of central planners. That’s not enough for the president, who wants to double energy productivity between now and 2030.

Despite the spectacular flameouts of numerous federally subsidized "green energy" companies—Solyndra, Ener1, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Fisker Automobile, Range Fuels, and others—the president still thinks that wise federal bureaucrats can profitably invest about $8 billion annually in “clean energy research, development, and deployment.” He also reiterated his support for the “renewable fuels standard” that requires refiners to add billions of gallons of bioethanol made from corn to gasoline. Due largely to the mandate, 43 percent of America’s corn crop ended up in our gas tanks last year. Surely, plowing up the extra farmland to grow corn for fuel ethanol can’t be good for the natural environment.

And the president commended Republicans in Congress for supporting $12 billion in tax credits for wind energy manufacturers and producers. If bioethanol and wind power really could compete with conventional power sources, they wouldn’t need mandates and subsidies.

The president’s plan proposes to aid communities to get ready for the deleterious effects of future global warming. Planners, businesses, and citizens should indeed take into account the increased possibility of floods, droughts, and rising sea levels. But it is questionable that they need a proliferation of federal rules and bureaucrats to help them.

Interestingly, the national climate action plan failed to mention two proposals that wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime and yet would strongly encourage people to take account of how the weather might affect them. One is to eliminate federal flood insurance. The program encourages people to destroy natural flood defenses such as swamps and dunes and to build in places that are prone to inundation; we'd be far better off without it. Second, in order to help communities cope better with droughts, cut all federal irrigation water and irrigation efficiency subsidies and establish water markets.

International Limits

The president did offer two good ideas on the international front. One is for the countries of the world to eliminate $500 billion in annual subsidies to fossil fuels. Another is to begin World Trade Organization negotiations toward free trade in environmental goods, such as products used for managing pollution or harvesting renewable energy. He should take the second idea further, and eliminate trade barriers for all goods. Not only would that likely increase gobal GDBP by as much as $1 trillion per year, but the added wealth would enhance community resilience to whatever climate change occurs.

His other international ideas are less inspiring. As Obama noted approvingly, United Nations negotiations are supposed to result in some kind of legally binding global treaty by 2015 to cut greenhouse emissions, a kind of global 50-year climate and energy plan. Given the utter failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the predecessor accord, there is little reason to believe that most of the rest of the world will agree to pay substantially more for energy.

At Georgetown, the president warned that "the special interests and their allies in Congress" will say his plan "will kill jobs and crush the economy, and basically end American free enterprise as we know it." I don't think Obama’s national climate action plan is going to kill American free enterprise. But its costly patchwork of programs, directives, regulations, grants, and initiatives will surely wound it.


America at War: Coal replaces Terrorists as Enemy Number One

Bob Beauprez

While the "hope" portion of the original campaign theme continues to be elusive, the evidence of what kind of "change" Barack Obama envisioned continues to mount.

For example, the "War on Terror" is no more.  Last month the President all but took a victory lap and declared it over and done.  Al Qaeda and all those other radical Islamist groups that have vowed "Death to America" no longer matter so much.

Obama's State Department turned on a dime this week and declared that Hezbollah's extensive network in Central and South America is just "confined to fundraising" activities. The new wishful thinking stands in stark contrast to volumes of intelligence data including Congressional testimony from Robert Noriega, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States in 2011:

"The more broad implication for U.S. homeland security is that Hezbollah – via Iran and Venezuela – has engaged the United States in an offensive strategy of asymmetric warfare on our doorstep. It is aiming to win the mental battle of attrition and the moral battle of legitimacy – particularly with the youth in Latin America. Unless our government recognizes and responds to their efforts, our ability to protect our interests and our homeland will be gradually and dangerously diminished."

Terrorists may have gotten a reprieve of sorts, but Obama has identified a new enemy.  Tuesday he declared a "War on Coal" – which according to a top adviser to the President is "exactly what's needed" in this country.

Obama's new War is a war against ourselves.  Virtually all of the coal isdomestically produced supporting American jobs, families and communities, and providing a huge portion of the affordable energy necessary to support citizens and businesses throughout the nation.  The U.S. also has more coal reserves than any nation in the world.

The day after the "War on Coal" speech, the Commerce Department reported a "dramatic" downward revision in first quarter GDP growth to just 1.8%.  Economic analysts saw this as an indication of "substantial weakness in the U.S. economy" even as the nation enters the fifth year of a painfully sluggish recovery.  Economists say around 3.0 percent growth is needed just to create enough jobs to keep pace with population increases.

It is anyone's guess how a "war" against the industry that is responsible for producing 40 percent of the nation's electricity makes any sense with an economy struggling, 2.5 million fewer jobs than before the recession, nearly 12 million Americans unemployed and 5 million more so distraught that they left the workforce.

It only makes sense if this is actually the kind of "transformational change" Obama wants to bring to America.  This is not all just some accident, nor the result of a couple of bad policy decisions.  It is quite intentional and quite by design.  That's the worst part.


Risk of UK blackouts has tripled in a year, British regulator  warns

"Green" policies to blame

The risk of future blackouts has trebled in the last year as Britain is facing an energy crunch that will push up bills, the energy regulator has said.

Ofgem warned there could be energy shortages in the middle of this decade as the UK has failed to build enough new wind farms and nuclear powers stations to replace old fossil fuel plants.

It also believes demand for energy may not fall as much as originally expected, as fewer households are insulating their lofts and switching to green appliances than predicted.

Ministers are so concerned that factories and large businesses may be asked to switch off their power during energy emergencies in return for compensation from bill-payers.

"Without timely action there would be risks to security of supply,” Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary admitted.  "If we didn't do anything, if we allowed this supply crunch to happen, we would see spikes in power prices and that would be very damaging for the consumer. This intervention is meant to keep the lights on, which it will, but it's also meant to protect consumers from those price spikes.”

The supply crunch is the result of Britain forcing old coal and oil plants to switch off in favour of new green wind farms and nuclear plants.

Ministers are trying to encourage companies to spend more than £100 billion on new green energy infrastructure by offering huge subsidies.  However, the new powers stations will not have arrived in time to avert the possible squeeze in 2015.

Ofgem said that the risk of blackouts in that year has trebled from the one-in-12 it estimated in October to just one-in-four, if Britain's energy demand remains at current levels.

It said any “tightening” of the electricity market would lead to an “increase in wholesale prices”.

Over the past year the situation has deteriorated as power companies have announced that they will mothball more gas-fired power plants because they are currently not profitable to keep open.  Ofgem says that no new gas-fired power plants are expected until 2016 and it expects the equivalent of just one to start generating before the end of the decade.

If Britain substantially reduced its energy demand, in line with new National Grid forecasts, then the risk of blackouts could remain close to Ofgem's previous estimates at around one-in-12.   However, Ofgem cast doubt on those forecasts, saying there was "uncertainty over projected reductions in demand".

National Grid's revised estimates would require big improvements in energy efficiency through programmes such as the Green Deal, which has seen just four households sign up since it was launched earlier this year.  One industry source described National Grid's assumptions of energy efficiency improvements as "heroic".

The attempt to prevent blackouts would involve handing National Grid new powers to pay factories to switch off and pay mothballed power plants to come back online.

National Grid said one of the new proposals involved "seeking large consumers to reduce electricity use during times of high demand [between 4pm and 8pm on weekday evenings in the winter] in return for a payment".

Manufacturing group EEF said it could cost big industrial users millions of pounds to switch off and that for the largest energy consumers the process would take several days.

The other National Grid proposal would see the company "contracting with generators that would otherwise be closed or mothballed" to keep them available as back-up reserves.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


28 June, 2013

Obama’s Radical Climate Agenda

It is remarkable that when the scientific consensus on global warming is at its weakest state in years, President Barack Obama has decided to make the issue a new focus of his troubled presidency — and, indeed, that he intends to use the issue as the launching pad for a radical extension of federal power even more significant than his health-care takeover.

President Obama campaigned as a man of science, though he himself has no scientific training. He lambasted his critics as being anti-science Luddites and even enjoyed an endorsement from Bill Nye the Science Guy, who allowed his name to be associated with dishonest and unfair attacks on Republicans. Barack Obama, of course, is not a science guy. For example, he has flattered far-left conspiracy theories about common vaccinations, saying, “The science right now is inconclusive,” which is a position about as scientifically defensible as claiming that the dinosaurs went extinct because Fred Flintstone ordered too many bronto-burgers.

Global warming, contrary to the predictions of the best climate models, is not accelerating. It is slowing, and some estimates show it having been reversed. The warmest year on record was 1998, and there has been significantly less warming in the last 15 years than there was in the 20 years before that. The Economist, which supports measures to control greenhouse-gas emissions and has been a reliable hotbed of warming alarmism, conceded: “There’s no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. . . . They will become harder, if not impossible, to sell to the public, which will feel, not unreasonably, that the scientific and media establishment has cried wolf.”

If only President Obama simply had cried wolf. Instead, the president announced that, on behalf of “all of humankind,” he is in effect directing the EPA to take over the American economy. New power plants will be subject to emissions controls, and existing plants will have to be retrofitted to comply with new standards. New restrictions on heavy trucks will affect the movement of freight and goods across the country. New subsidies will be handed down for politically connected energy firms, and federal lands will be set aside for their use. New federal impositions will affect the construction of factories, commercial buildings, and private homes. The president says that this is all enabled by the “overwhelming judgment of science.”

It certainly has not been enabled by something so mundane as the law. We rather suspect that the overwhelming judgment of Congress would be against the president’s program of regimenting the entire American economy under the management of a newly empowered EPA. But the president has made it clear that he intends to act largely through administrative fiat, subverting the democratic process and the people’s elected representatives. Unhappily, the Supreme Court has abetted this ambition by misconstruing the Clean Air Act as a warrant of action on global warming.

Every economic activity involving energy or transportation — which is to say, every economic activity — will be affected by the president’s global-warming program.

Consider the president’s thinking: While the value of vaccinations is undisputed among scientists, he believes that it requires more research, because people who are prone to lunatic theories about vaccines vote Democratic. But when it comes to the climate, he acts not only as though there were no scientific questions in dispute but as though capital-S Science had corporately blessed his policy agenda. Even if the scientific consensus on global warming had not been weakened by the past 15 years’ worth of data, the policies the president proposes would not necessarily logically follow from that consensus.

Limits on greenhouse gases in the United States are likely to have no effect at all on the atmosphere of a planet that includes China, India, and their factories and people. Even the most radical changes in the United States would likely have a negligible effect on climate change, which is if nothing else a global phenomenon by definition. Even if we had absolute scientific certainty, we would also have another kind of certainty: that China and India, and many other countries, are not going to radically reduce their peoples’ standards of living to accommodate Barack Obama’s policy preferences.

But the science is not there, either. Even our friends at The New Republic admit as much, writing of the warming slowdown: “Scientists themselves aren’t entirely sure what the evidence means. If scientific models can’t project the last 15 years, what does that mean for their projections of the next 100?” Uncertainty about the amount of warming over the next century entails uncertainty about the size, character, and cost of its effects. But the next century is not what Democrats are thinking about: They are thinking about 2014 and 2016.

But there are immediate concerns, too. Most significant, the president telegraphed his intention to torpedo the Keystone XL pipeline project, which has long been ready to go but has been snarled up by politics. President Obama has offered any number of excuses for not approving the project, and his newest one is that the pipeline and the energy it contributes to the economy must not “significantly exacerbate” the emissions of greenhouse gases, which the president likes to call “carbon pollution.” That term is itself an attempt to confuse the debate: It refers not to traditional kinds of pollution such as carbon monoxide, the stuff that comes out of your exhaust pipe, but to carbon dioxide, the stuff that comes out of your nose.

In any case, the State Department long ago concluded that the pipeline would not be a significant new contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions, which should suggest a speedy approval. (We are not inclined to take Obama’s State Department at its word, but that is no reason the president shouldn’t.) Instead, what this likely presages is another round of dilatory studies designed to hold the project hostage while Democrats studiously avoid annoying their small but generous environmental-extremist constituency.

The United States is poised for an energy renaissance, which is already under way in places such as Texas and Pennsylvania. The new energy economy stands ready not only to put millions of Americans to work and bring billions of dollars of new wealth into the economy but also to significantly change the balance of power in the world: Oil is the top contributor to our trade deficit, and energy supplies from the Middle East, Venezuela, and other unstable areas are a key security and economic vulnerability. Rather than develop what we already have, the Obama administration is threatening to hamstring our most likely source of economic growth and new jobs for the coming generation in the hopes that fads such as solar power will pay off. That is not justified by science, by economics, or by sensible policy analysis.

What it is, in fact, is an attempt by a foundering administration to change the subject from scandal to sunshine.


The Carbonated President

Obama unveils a war on fossil fuels he never disclosed as a candidate

President Obama's climate speech on Tuesday was grandiose even for him, but its surreal nature was its particular hallmark. Some 12 million Americans still can't find work, real wages have fallen for five years, three-fourths of Americans now live paycheck to check, and the economy continues to plod along four years into a quasi-recovery. But there was the President in tony Georgetown, threatening more energy taxes and mandates that will ensure fewer jobs, still lower incomes and slower growth.

Mr. Obama's "climate action plan" adds up to one of the most extensive reorganizations of the U.S. economy since the 1930s, imposed through administrative fiat and raw executive power. He wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020, but over his 6,500-word address he articulated no such goal for the unemployment rate or GDP.

The plan covers everything from new efficiency standards for home appliances to new fuel mileage rules for heavy-duty trucks to new subsidies for wind farms, but the most consequential changes would slam the U.S. electric industry. These plants, coal-fired power in particular, account for about a third of domestic greenhouse gases.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency released "new source performance standard" regulations that are effectively a moratorium on new coal plants. The EPA denied that similar rules would ever apply to the existing fleet, or even that they were working up such rules. Now Mr. Obama will unleash his carbon central planners on current plants.

Coal accounted for more than half of U.S. electric generation as recently as 2008 but plunged to a mere 37% in 2012. In part this tumble has been due to cheap natural gas, but now the EPA will finish the job and take coal to 0%.

Daniel Shrag of Harvard, an Obama science adviser, told the New York Times Monday that "Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed." At least he's honest, though in truth Mr. Obama's target is all forms of carbon energy. Natural gas is next.

The higher costs will ripple through the energy chain, which is precisely Mr. Obama's goal. Only by artificially raising the cost of carbon energy can he make even heavily subsidized "renewables" competitive.

In general every $1 billion spent complying with an EPA rule threatens 16,000 jobs and cuts GDP by $1.2 billion—and the agency is now writing scores of multibillion-dollar rules. Keep in mind that last month the Administration quietly raised the "social cost" of carbon by 60% in a regulatory filing related to microwave ovens. That means the EPA can jack up costs by 59.99% and still justify them by claiming the higher benefits.

This regressive burden won't merely be borne by average American consumers and utility rate-payers—especially in the Midwest and Southern regions that use the most coal. This also threatens one of the few booming parts of the economy, the energy revolution driven by shale gas and unconventional oil. The return of manufacturing to the U.S. depends on this cheap abundant energy, and it could as easily re-relocate overseas as the U.S. becomes less competitive.

For good measure, Mr. Obama also declared that he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline "only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." Yet the oil in Alberta won't stay in the ground if Mr. Obama blocks the route to the Gulf of Mexico. It will be shipped by rail and boat to China and elsewhere. The only question is whether America will benefit from this shovel-ready project that will create tens of thousands of jobs.

Speaking of futility, Mr. Obama's ambitions will have no effect on global atmospheric carbon concentrations. Emissions are already falling in the U.S., thanks primarily to the shale gas boom, but emissions are rising in the developing world. Mr. Obama pandered to the climate-change absolutists by saying "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society." But he never explained how his plan will reduce warming, or why climate models have failed to predict the warming slowdown of the last dozen or so years even as more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere.

Most striking about this Obama legacy project is its contempt for democratic consent. Congress has consistently rejected an Obama-style "comprehensive" anticarbon energy plan. That was true even when Democrats ran the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority in 2009-2010 and killed his cap-and-trade energy bill. The only legislative justification for Mr. Obama's new plan is an abusive interpretation of the Clean Air Act, which was last revised in 1990 and never mentions carbon as a pollutant.

So instead Mr. Obama will impose these inherently political policy choices via unaccountable bureaucracies, with little or no debate. Mr. Obama might have at least announced his war on carbon before the election and let voters have a say. Instead he posed as the John the Baptist of fossil fuels in locales such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia—taking credit for the shale fracking boom he had nothing to do with and running ads attacking Mitt Romney as anticoal.

Now safely re-elected, Mr. Obama figures he can do what he pleases. The Americans who will be harmed will have to console themselves with 99 weeks of jobless benefits, food stamps and ObamaCare.


Climate vs. Climate Change

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding in the difference between climate and climate change.

This is on very public display in the president’s recently unveiled Climate Action Plan, which details a series of executive actions designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to control the future course of the climate.

In justifying the need for these actions, and why he doesn’t have time to wait for Congress to act, the president points to numerous recent examples of extreme weather disasters while linking weather extremes to climate change brought about by anthropogenic greenhouse gases emissions.

In doing so, he goes awry of the best science. Here’s why.

The natural climate of the U.S. includes all manner of extreme weather events—hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, heatwaves, cold outbreaks, derechos, and virtually every other type of bad weather you can dream up.

This is true now, just as it was 100 years ago, before greenhouse gases were being emitted to the atmosphere in large quantities from human activities—primarily the burning of fossil fuels to produce energy.

Human-caused climate change is an incremental pressure to slightly alter the character of weather events, for example, their frequency and/or magnitude. This includes weather events both extreme and otherwise. The nature of this alteration, if it occurs at all, is scientifically uncertain for most types of weather.

In other words, every time there is some sort of weather “disaster” you don’t need to invoke climate change to explain it. A simple climate explanation will usually suffice. In fact, bringing climate change into the explanation usually runs afoul of our current scientific understanding. It is as easy to argue that climate change mitigates (or even averts) weather disasters as it is to argue that it augments them.

But folks pushing for greenhouse gas regulations don’t often let the facts get in the way. This includes the president, as well as many of his federal advisors.

For example, Roger Pielke Jr., a leader in the field of weather disaster trends, tweeted this about the president’s speech on Tuesday:

@RogerPielkeJr “Will be interesting to see if anyone on the side of climate action will care that Obama’s plan begins w/ false claims about disaster trends”

And in our recent review of the draft version of the government’s latest National Assessment report, we point out the pervasive confusion between climate and climate change within the report. For example, regarding impacts on the transportation sector, we note:

"It is not climate change, but the vagaries of the climate itself that have the greatest impact on U.S. transportation. Climate change, to the degree that it is detectable and identifiable, contributes a mix of impacts, some positive and some negative, and the net impact has never been reliably quantified or monetized.

The impacts of climate and climate change are confused and thus used interchangeably, however, such usage is incorrect and misleading."

Perhaps the biggest reason why it is easy to confuse climate and climate change, is that it appears that the weather is getting worse—that is, there are more, and more costly, extreme weather events. The climate must be changing to make this happen, right?

Wrong. What is changing, besides increased media (both mainstream and social) coverage, is that there are more people, with more (valuable) stuff, in harm’s way.

So, even in a constant climate, the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events—such as those included in the government’s annual list of “Billion Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters”—will increase. Yet the president points to this increase and links it to human-caused climate change.

This is wrong, and this is what Roger Pielke Jr. was referring to in his tweet.

And Roger should know. He has jus published a paper examining trends in tornado losses in the U.S. from 1950 through 2011. It shows that while raw damage has been on the rise, when adjusted for socioeconomic changes (like population, income, housing units, GDP), there has actually been a sharp decline. Further, the decline in damages may in fact be related with a decline in strong tornado events, although the data are not robust enough to know for sure. Quoting from the conclusions of is paper:

"The analysis presented in this paper indicates that normalized tornado damage in the US from1950 to 2011 declined in all three normalization methods applied (two are statistically significant one is not). The degree to which this decrease is the result of an actual decrease in the incidence of strong tornadoes is difficult to assess due to inconsistencies in reporting practices over time. However, an examination of trends within sub-periods of the dataset is suggestive that some part of the long-term decrease in losses may have a component related to actual changes in tornado behaviour. Further research is clearly needed to assess this suggestion."

Roger has also studied losses from hurricanes and floods and in both cases found that once demographics changes are taken into account the upward trend in losses disappears.

So the science shows that increasing losses from extreme weather events is caused by more people and more wealth, but the president tells us that it is a result of human-caused climate change and invokes executive action to try to stop it.

His efforts are doomed to fail from the outset (assuming his Climate Action Plan doesn’t drive down the population or the economy).


Parents Driven to Distraction and Death by Climate Scares

It is well known that climate agitators have been using children as a means by which to influence their parents. Some are quite happy to deploy Schneiderian Scenarios (scary, simplified, dramatic) to help that along. But it is not just children who are being scared by tall tales of a climate crisis caused by people. Some parents are succumbing to them as well, and it seems all too likely that this means more stress for their own children. In one case reported on below, suicide and child murder was the result, and in another, both of these are being contemplated.

Some parents are seized with pessimistic thoughts.

Example 1. Here is an extract from a letter to an agony aunt by a mother clearly being driven to distraction by here fears about population and climate in the year 2013:

“I love my family dearly, and my children bring me great joy. So what’s the problem then? I worry that I’ve brought them into a world whose future holds overpopulation (for which I myself feel a bit responsible) and global warming. My children have such bright futures ahead, which may be completely devastated by these global crises.”

Example 2. Here is a father also driven to distraction by his imaginings in 2013:

“When Ian Kim imagines the world his 7-year-old daughter will be living in 20 years from now, he says, it keeps him up at night. Images of ever more frequent super storms like Sandy, along with rising seas, or drought and heat waves wreaking havoc with crops haunt his waking hours.”

Example 3. Another letter to an agony aunt in 2013, one that comes across as more temperate until she gets to the bit about going up in flames:

“My issue is that now that we have a baby, all the other moms drive their kids all over the place, shopping and taking cute little day trips. I would prefer to drive only in emergencies, but our entertainment options near home are severely limited. Is it better to leave a smaller carbon footprint and make a moral statement my son might be proud of one day, or to have additional experiences with him/relationships with kids and moms across town that I will treasure until we all go up in flames?”

Example 4. Unicef has, like so many other organisations, enthusiastically jumped on the climate alarm bandwagon and has no doubt boosted its funding as a result. Here are the words of an actor doing a promotion for them in 2013:

“As a dad to a 14 year old daughter, I worry about what climate change means for her future and her children’s future. Extreme flooding, colder, longer winters and harsher summers; it’s causing chaos in the developed world and it’s threatening children’s very survival in poorer countries.”

For Some Parents It is Even More Serious

Example 5. It is only anecdotal, and it comes via another woman who is herself seriously disturbed by climate scares, but it is sadly by no means far-fetched as the next example shows:

“Should we stockpile cyanide? You think I'm exaggerating, but a close friend of mine, who has four children, said she plans to kill herself and them when it comes to it.” [The ‘it’ refers to some kind of climate catastrophe she has in mind]

Example 6. April, 2010: “BUENOS AIRES – A 7-month-old baby survived alone for three days with a bullet wound in its chest beside the bodies of its parents and brother, who died in an apparent suicide pact brought on by the couple’s terror of global warming, the Argentine press said Saturday.” As reported in Latin American Herald Tribune and the Daily Telegraph

Meanwhile ...

Meanwhile 1, the UK Met Office, a leading light for climate alarmists everywhere, has held an unscheduled get-together to see how they can best cope with the fact that the climate system is behaving just as it might if the extra CO2 was having a negligible impact on it. Given how misleading their computer models have been for them, they need to brainstorm to help them cope with ‘weather as normal’.

Meanwhile 2, the eco-organisations and others who have all helped disseminate the fears which have so disturbed parents and children, continue to harm the environment and force needless suffering and even starvation on to the world.

These two 'meanwhiles' illustrate two realities. The first reality is that the climate system is behaving much as it might if human impacts on it have been of minor consequence. The second reality is that those who screech and preach and politicise as if the opposite was the case, are themselves the major cause of concern and of suffering linked to climate change.

As Willis Eschenbach noted yesterday at WUWT:

"I say that history will not look kindly on those people and organizations who are currently impoverishing the poor and damaging the environment in a futile fight against CO2, even if the perpetrators are wealthy and melanin-deficient and just running over with oodles of good intentions …"

And in the big meantime before that happier day, we are faced with trying to stop that 'futile fight' and all the harm it is bringing to people and to the environment across the world.


British wind farms get generous subsidies for another six years

Wind farms will get generous subsidies for at least another six years, after ministers signed a deal to give them double the market rate for the electricity they produce.

The Government said onshore wind farms should get at least £100 per megawatt-hour, when the market rate for electricity is currently less than £50 per mega-watt hour.

Offshore wind farms will get triple the market rate at £155 per megawatt-hour in a deal described by City analysts as "astonishingly expensive".

The difference will be met by a subsidy from the taxpayer, which is potentially more generous than the current regime that hands developers more than £1 billion a year.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said new costs were "broadly comparable" wih 2013 prices but his department said it had not worked out whether consumers wil be paying more or less for wind power under the new system.

The subsidies will continue despite David Cameron's promise this month to "think very carefully" about green subsidies for energy sources such as wind farms and solar panels, as they "end up on consumer bills".

It is likely to anger backbench Tories, after 100 MPs campaigned to stop the spread of onshore turbines blighting the British countryside.

George Osborne ordered a 10 per cent cut in subsidies for onshore wind farms last year and senior Conservatives had hinted that there would be more to follow.

Developers have promised that they can reduce the cost of generating energy from wind substantially over the next few years to make it more affordable.

However, under the plan, subsidies will only be cut slightly in 2017 by five per cent for onshore wind and 13 per cent for offshore wind.

Peter Atherton, analyst at Liberum Capital, said the cost of offshore wind turbines in particular looks "astonishingly high".

"The costs are actually rising, rather than coming down as we'd been led to believe," he said.

The renewables industry said the level of subsidies would still mean it is "challenging" for them to make a profit.

"The most important ingredient remains investor confidence and that will take time to land," said Maria McCafferty, chief executive of RenewableUK.

"The secret is consistent long term support and investors seeing that Government is behind renewables and low carbon generation for the long term."


British birdwatchers see rare swift killed by wind turbine

Dozens of birdwatchers who travelled to a Scottish island to see an extremely rare swift have been left distraught after it was killed by a wind turbine.

Around 40 people were watching the White-throated Needletail, the world's fastest flying bird, on the Isles of Harris when the tragedy happened.

Sightings of the bird have only been recorded eight times in the UK in nearly 170 years, most recently in 1991, prompting around 80 ornithologists to visit the island in the hope of catching a glimpse.

David Campbell, from Surrey, told BBC Scotland the incident took place late on Wednesday afternoon. Speaking as he made his way home, he said: “We just watched the whole thing with dismay."

Josh Jones, of Bird Guides, a specialist website for ornithologists, said he had spoken to witnesses, who had seen the bird fly straight into one the turbine’s blades.

He said: “It is ironic that after waiting so long for this bird to turn up in the UK it was killed by a wind turbine and not a natural predator.

“More than 80 people had already arrived on the island and others were coming from all over the country. But it just flew into the turbine. It was killed instantly. The corpse will be sent to a museum but obviously this is just terrible.”

Experts said they thought the bird had got lost migrating from Siberia and it should have been as far away as Australia or Japan instead of Tarbert on the Isle of Harris.

It was spotted by chance on Monday by two birdwatchers from Northumberland holidaying on the island. Steve Duffield, a Western Isles wildlife expert, said: “The bird in Harris was hanging around for its third day – it was attracting a lot of attention from the birding community with people travelling from southern England to see it.”

During the 1991 sighting, a single bird was spotted four times in Kent, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and finally Shetland.

The White-throated Needletail, also known as the Needle-tailed Swift or Spine-tailed Swift, is known to fly up at speeds of up to 69mph, although there are unconfirmed reports of them reaching 105mph.

The birds have very short legs, which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces, and they build their nests in rock crevices in cliffs or hollow trees. They spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks.

They breed in rocky hills in central Asia and southern Siberia but migrate south to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia.

The SNP administration at Holyrood is pressing ahead with a rapid expansion in the number of wind farms after setting a target to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


27 June, 2013

Blowing Smoke: Obama Climate Speech Riddled With Lies

A dangerous, arrogant, fact-free tirade

King Canute, attempting to teach his people a lesson regarding his abilities, supposedly went to the sea and commanded the tide to stop. Twelfth-century English historian Henry of Huntington wrote that Canute took his throne to the seashore, but the tide, “continuing to rise as usual dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person.”

President Barack Obama’s naïve and error-riddled speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday clearly demonstrated that he is serious about trying to stop global climate change. However, like the tide, climate change is a natural event of such proportions that it is largely unaffected by human activities. Obama ignores that the “official climate science” on which he bases America’s climate and energy policies has been washed away by 17 years without global warming, despite atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) — the gas Obama blames for rising temperatures — continuing to increase primarily due to the emissions of China and India.

Unlike America’s hopelessly misguided president, the reasons behind Canute’s action were sensible. He wanted to reduce unrealistically elevated expectations of him. Canute’s goal was to show fawning courtiers that there were things over which he had no control. He knew the facts about tides. Sadly for our American friends, and indeed for the whole free world — which depends on a strong America — Obama lacks Canute’s humility and knowledge about nature. The president’s misunderstanding and his apparent disinterest in real climate science is leading the United States into an economic black hole from which it may take generations to recover.

Obama also seems oblivious to real-world economic evidence that the policy path on which he is setting the U.S. has already been tried and has failed in other countries. It is not surprising that when he launched his most recent climate change initiative last week in Berlin, the German public response was less than enthusiastic — they are already suffering the economic and energy consequences of “going green” in a hopeless attempt to stop climate change. Many Germans are also aware of the implications of the Climategate scandal, through which the corrupted science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was exposed through leaked emails.

In foisting many of the same policies on America that have already failed in Europe, the president appears to be counting on U.S. media to continue to hide the significance of Climategate and the recent halt in planetary warming.

In telling Georgetown students on Tuesday that he doesn’t “have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real,” Obama reveals his ignorance. Nobody is denying that climate change is “real” and that coping with such changes can be challenging. What skeptical scientists do question, however, is the degree to which human activity causes those changes. Saying that “ninety-seven percent of scientists” “acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it,” as Obama did in his speech, is both wrong and meaningless.

As ICSC policy advisor Lord Christopher Monckton just showed, the study that backs this claim is fatally flawed. First, science is never determined by a show of hands. If it were, the Earth would still be considered flat and the center of the universe and space travel impossible. Second, the only statistic that could be interesting would be the fraction of scientists who study the causes of climate change and support the idea that our CO2 emissions are causing serious climate problems. There has never been a reputable survey that asked experts this question.

As we have come to expect from this president on global warming and energy, yesterday’s presentation included many basic science mistakes and inappropriate cherry picking of data. For example, Obama’s assertions about abnormally high temperatures and the extent of Arctic sea ice melt are either meaningless or simply wrong. Last July, new average U.S. temperature records were set by one-fifth of a degree Fahrenheit. This is meaningless since the measurement uncertainty in most of the record is one-half degree Fahrenheit. Similarly, last July’s record temperature was not based on the highs of the day. A record was set merely because the nights were slightly less cool in July 2012 than those experienced in the 1930s. So, when the high and lows of the day were averaged, a record average was established. Nevertheless, the highs of the day in the 1930s still exceeded anything experienced in July 2012.

Obama also neglected to mention that Arctic sea ice coverage records began only three decades ago, when we first started to monitor the Arctic by satellite. Land-based measurements indicate that it was warmer in the Arctic in the 1930s and so ice melt was likely greater then as well, although no one knows for sure.

Obama used the erroneous phrase “carbon pollution” a total of twenty times in his Georgetown speech.

He is, of course, really speaking of CO2, an odorless, invisble gas essential to plant life and in no way a pollutant. Yet the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still designates CO2 a “harmful substance” so as to allow greater bureaucratic control of industry under the Clean Air Act. In Tuesday’s address, the president promised to expand the EPA’s CO2 regulations to cover existing power stations, an action sure to cost billions of dollars and millions of jobs for no environmental benefit. EPA’s claim is based on three lines of evidence that a recent amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court shows are invalid. Regardless, calling CO2 “carbon” helps Obama politically since it encourages people to think of CO2 as associated with soot, something that is pure carbon and is clearly dirty and undesirable.

Of course, we can and should reduce the amount of soot going in to the atmosphere, and apart from China, significant advances have occurred. Scrubber technology for coal-fired power plants has been available for a long time. If Obama really wants to help people’s health and the environment, he should encourage all possible use of scrubbers.

The “carbon pollution” mistake is often used by activists to focus negative attention specifically on coal-fired electricity generation, since “carbon” comes from the Latin carbo, meaning coal. Over 40 percent of U.S. energy comes from coal, and so killing this energy source is fundamental to the president’s apparent goals of expanding government control and redistributing wealth. Obama wants to end coal use entirely in the U.S., no matter how clean it can be made. Obama even told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008: “What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as an ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.”

Aside from his support for climate change adaptation measures, actions that make sense if carried out properly, Obama’s Georgetown speech appears to be mostly oriented towards accomplishing political objectives unrelated to environmental protection. This is very much in line with former Colorado Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth, who in 1993 summed up the strategy well: “We’ve got to ride to global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.”

It is ironic that Obama would equate his unscientific campaign to “fight against climate change” with NASA’s trips to the Moon. Unlike Obama’s dogmatic approach, always focused on reducing greenhouse gases no matter what science demonstrates about the real causes of climate change, NASA learned from their mistakes and made necessary changes.

For example, when Apollo 1 went up in flames, killing all three astronauts in 1967, engineers ended the use of high oxygen atmospheres in manned space vehicles. But, when climate models on which the global warming scare is based fail to forecast what actually happens in the real world, when cyclones and strong tornadoes diminish, when ice cover in Antarctica increases, Obama and his fellow alarmists simply raise the rhetoric.

Trying to scare us away, he labels scientists who want to base policy on real-world observations as members of “the Flat Earth Society.” Such name-calling merely strengthens our resolve to expose the most serious climate threat we face — the exploitation of public ignorance by alarmists such as Obama.

The president was, however, right to say: “This is not just a job for politicians. So I’m going to need all of you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. Tell them what’s at stake. Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation. Speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future.”

Yes, that is exactly what we will continue to do. Because you are wrong, Mr. President, dangerously wrong. America is too important for anyone, even those of us who are not U.S. citizens, to let it die because of a lie. And much of what you told Georgetown students on Tuesday was indeed a lie.


How Much Warming Will the President’s Plan Avert? (Hint: It’s way too small to be detected or verified)

President Obama unveiled his Climate Change Action Plan at Georgetown University today. As expected, the President advocated carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for new and existing coal-fired power plants, tough new energy efficiency standards for homes and appliances, and federal support for private renewable energy investment on public lands.

Congress’s failure to approve his plan would have “a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren,” Mr. Obama contended.

The President’s plan, however, provides no specifics on the EPA’s pending power plant emission standards, nor does it estimate how many tons of CO2 emissions those standards will avoid or reduce.

Surprisingly, the 21-page plan contains only four emission reduction estimates. The administration’s fuel economy standards are projected to avoid 6000 million tons of CO2; appliance efficiency standards, 3000 million tons; heavy truck fuel economy standards, 270 million tons; and improved forestry practices, 140 million tons. The grand total of itemized CO2 reductions is 9,410 million tons.

How much climate change will that avert? Too little to be detected or verified.

Cato Institute climatologist Chip Knappenberger provides a plausible way to calculate the global warming mitigation effect of any CO2 reduction proposal. He describes the underlying methodology here.

Suffice it to say, the key factors one must nail down are (1) the relationship between CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and (2) the relationship between concentrations and global temperatures.

Using both empirical correlation (how atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global temperatures have changed over time) and the mid-range of climate model sensitivity assumptions, Knappenberger deduces that it takes 1,767,250 million metric tons of CO2 (mmtCO2) to raise the global temperature by 1.0 degree C.

Thus, to estimate how much global warming the Obama plan (or at least the quantified portion of it) will avoid, we divide the emission savings — 9,410 mmtCO2 – by 1,767,250. The plan will avert 0.0053°C of global warming. Planet saved!


Climate alarmism’s 10,000 commandments

EPA fiats threaten American lives, livelihoods, living standards and life spans

Paul Driessen

The United States will “do more,” before it’s “too late” to prevent “dangerous” global warming, President Obama told Berliners last week. If Congress won’t act, he will, by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, increasing subsidies and reduce environmental overview for wind and solar projects on federal lands, and issuing other rules that will adversely affect economic growth and job creation.

Indeed, his Environmental Protection Agency is already devising new rules that will sharply curtail carbon dioxide emissions, by regulating thousands of facilities that use hydrocarbon energy – and thus ultimately almost everything Americans make, grow, ship, eat and do.

However, the manmade global warming “disasters” exist only in computer models and assertions by scientists who are addicted to billions in government Climate Armageddon grants. Moreover, the “preventative measures” are far worse than the disasters EPA claims to be preventing.

Even the most diehard alarmists have finally recognized that average global temperatures have hardly budged since 1997, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing CO2 climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades; the USA and Britain just recorded one their coldest springs on record; and satellite data show that Earth has actually cooled slightly since 2002.

The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the last century. 2012 set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no category 3 or higher hurricane making US landfall. (The vicious tornadoes of recent weeks underscore how quickly the weather can swing back to normal patterns.) Arctic sea ice is within a few percentage points of “normal” levels for the past fifty years, and the rate of sea level rise is not accelerating.

These facts completely contradict computer model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the “science” behind EPA’s ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated and even fraudulent.

EPA is supposed to protect our environment, health and welfare. Instead, it “safeguards” us from exaggerated or illusory risks – by issuing mountains of costly, intrusive regulations that endanger our health, wellbeing and wildlife far more than any reasonably foreseeable effects from climate change.

This accumulation of anti-hydrocarbon restrictions and penalties is putting EPA in control of nearly every aspect of our lives. Fuel, compliance and business costs will soar. Companies will be forced to outsource work to other countries, reduce work forces, shift people to part-time status, or close their doors.

Poor and minority families will be unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicine, take vacations, pay their bills, give to charity, and save for college and retirement.

With twelve million Americans already out of work, and another eight million working multiple lower-paying, part-time jobs, EPA’s global warming and 1,920 other rules over the past four years translate into unprecedented sleep deprivation, lower economic and educational status, and soaring anxiety and stress. That will mean greater risk of strokes and heart attacks; higher incidences of depression, alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse; more suicides; and declining overall life expectancy.

EPA’s new 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards will force more people into smaller, lighter, less safe cars – causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year – in the name of preventing illusory climate and oil and gas depletion crises.

Federal regulators use the same phony climate change and energy depletion arguments to justify letting wind turbine operators slaughter millions of birds and bats every year – including bald and golden eagles, hawks, condors and whooping cranes. They continue to promote and subsidize $50-per-gallon biofuels, to replace oil and natural gas that the world still has in abundance – thanks to new exploration, drilling and production technologies. This focus on biofuels also means more rainforests and other wildlife habitats are being cut down in the name of “renewable” energy.

EPA and President Obama never consider any of this, in calculating the supposed “benefits” of their onerous regulations. They refuse to recognize that their hysterical claims of climate cataclysms are increasingly indefensible. They ignore the damage that their heavy-handed rules impose on our health, welfare and environmental quality.

EPA finds, punishes and even targets anyone who violates any of its ten thousand commandments, even inadvertently. The agency’s climate change actions, however, are not inadvertent. They are deliberate, and their effects are harmful and far reaching. They will affect every American and 100% of our economy.

And yet, these increasingly powerful bureaucrats – who seek and acquire ever more control over our lives – remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart “sue and settle” legal actions with radical environmentalist groups, to advance ideological agendas, without regard for their impacts on our lives, livelihoods, living standards, health, welfare and environment.

They know that, for them, there is rarely any real transparency, accountability or consequences – even for gross stupidity, major screw-ups, flagrant abuses or deliberate harm.

We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA – and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we achieve this, while protecting our lives and environment from real risks, is one of the greatest challenges we face.


Yawn.... Not another food shortage scare!

These false prophecies have been going on since Malthus. Dodgy estimates combined with dodgy estimates are all we see below.

Just to put one perspective on what is possible foodwise, note that Cape York Peninsula in Australia is about the size of Britain yet is totally undeveloped agriculturally. It is not generally a high rainfall area but wheat is not a high rainfall crop. The soils are rather poor but Chinese market gardeners in the goldrush days got plenty out of them. One could go on ...


Several studies have shown that global crop production needs to double by 2050 to meet the projected demands from rising population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuels consumption. Boosting crop yields to meet these rising demands, rather than clearing more land for agriculture has been highlighted as a preferred solution to meet this goal. However, we first need to understand how crop yields are changing globally, and whether we are on track to double production by 2050. Using ~2.5 million agricultural statistics, collected for ~13,500 political units across the world, we track four key global crops—maize, rice, wheat, and soybean—that currently produce nearly two-thirds of global agricultural calories. We find that yields in these top four crops are increasing at 1.6%, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 1.3% per year, non-compounding rates, respectively, which is less than the 2.4% per year rate required to double global production by 2050. At these rates global production in these crops would increase by ~67%, ~42%, ~38%, and ~55%, respectively, which is far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050. We present detailed maps to identify where rates must be increased to boost crop production and meet rising demands.

Citation: Ray DK, Mueller ND, West PC, Foley JA (2013) Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66428. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066428


Global Cooling Causes Extreme Weather too!

Anything will do for an attention-geting scare

In an interview with Science News in 1975, C C Wallen, Head of the Special Environmental Applications Division of the World Meteorological Organization, had this to say about the consequences of the cooling trend since 1940:-

The principal weather change likely to accompany the cooling trend is increased variability-alternating extremes of temperature and precipitation in any given area-which would almost certainly lower average crop yields.

During cooler climatic periods the high-altitude winds are broken up into irregular cells by weaker and more plentiful pressure centers, causing formation of a "meridional circulation" pattern. These small, weak cells may stagnate over vast areas for many months, bringing unseasonably cold weather on one side and unseasonably warm weather on the other. Droughts and floods become more frequent and may alternate season to season, as they did last year in India. Thus, while the hemisphere as a whole is cooler, individual areas may alternately break temperature and precipitation records at both extremes.


Batty Euro ruling that's threatening churches: Directive giving protection to bats could see dozens of religious buildings closed because of damage animals cause

Medieval churches that survived the ‘ravages of the Reformation’ are under threat from a Brussels directive giving blanket protection to bats, MPs were warned yesterday.

Sir Tony Baldry, who represents the Church of England in the Commons, said dozens of parish churches were facing potential closure because of the crippling cost of dealing with bat infestations.

He told MPs that bat droppings were causing serious damage to medieval wall paintings, sculptures and wooden effigies - as well as posing a potential health hazard that has already forced the closure of one parish church.

But under the EU Habitats Directive, bats are given sweeping protections, making it impossible for the church authorities to deal with them.

Appealing to the Government to licence the destruction of bat nests, Sir Tony said: ‘Many of the churches affected by bat infestation are approaching a situation where their buildings may be unsustainable as a place of worship.

‘Now it is sometimes said that excluding bats from churches will render the bats homeless. But actually there is every chance that church congregations will find themselves homeless and without a place of worship with listed buildings left unoccupied and that is surely a solution which is undesirable for both bats and people.”

He went on: ‘I cannot believe that the European Commission would want a situation in which it was not possible for congregations to worship in churches that go back to the time of the Conqueror, because of bat infestations.

Citing an example in his constituency in Banbury, Oxfordshire, he added: ‘The church of St Peter ad Vincula at South Newington in my own constituency has some very fine, almost unique, medieval wall paintings which seem to have been spared Thomas Cromwell’s men.

‘But having survived the ravages of the Reformation they are now threatened by bat urine.

‘And these are irreplaceable parts of our natural heritage.’ Under the terms of the EU Habitats Directive, destroying the breeding sites or resting places of bats is a criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

The situation has left many churches facing huge cleaning and repair bills, and even forced them to take additional measures to accommodate their unwanted guests.

For example, the small parish church of Wiggenhall, St Germans, was forced to fit a ‘bat flap’ when replacing a small broken window pane, pushing up the cost from £5 to £140.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon acknowledged that churches faced serious problems from bats, but warned that issuing licences would lead to lengthy and costly legal challenges.

He suggested that concerned congregations should contact the ‘National Bat Helpline’ for advice on minimising the damage caused by bat colonies.

The Government is focusing on making sure that guidance issued by the helpline and by conservation body Natural England is ‘clear, proportionate and unambiguous’.

The Government is also funding research looking into bat deterrents and alternative roosting sites such as bat boxes.

Mr Benyon said so far acoustic devices are providing the best hope and further trials will be rolled out this year to prove that bats will not get used to them.

He said: ‘Since this has been brought to my attention, it’s rather changed the way I look at churches, and occasionally my mind strays from the sermon now and I look up to see the impact bats may be having in my own church and elsewhere.”

Mr Benyon went on: ‘Like you, I simply do not believe that it was the intention of those who drafted the Habitats Directive to render places of worship unusable to congregations or to impose unreasonable financial burdens to those congregations.’




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


26 June, 2013

Weak solar cycle 25 means keep your Long Johns

If the notion of global warming has gotten you all hot and bothered, here’s something to really worry about. What if just the opposite is occurring and global temperatures not only continue to remain flat, but get much colder for a very long time? In fact, that’s exactly what some highly credentialed and well-informed scientists are predicting.

Yes, and what if carbon dioxide, particularly that 3 percent of total atmospheric CO2 we humans produce, winds up being a bit player, at the very most, on the stage of climactic scene changes? Instead, imagine that the leading roles are performed by other actors, principally the Sun and oceans who follow scripts written, produced and directed by none other than that incomparable impresario, Mother Nature herself.

Where, Oh Where, Has that Global Warming Gone?

For starters, while it should be understood that climate really does change, it’s also appropriate to recognize that global temperatures have been essentially flat since at least 1998. Recent readings taken from more than 30,000 measuring stations and released in 2012 by the U.K.’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia University Climate Research Unit show that world temperatures hadn’t warmed over the past 15 years.

In fact, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time.

The past century has witnessed two generally accepted periods of warming (although whether or not the second can be proven will be debated by experts in an upcoming article…so stay tuned). The first occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.

The second possible warming, following a slight cool-down, may have begun in the late 1970s lasting until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Yet even if global temperatures actually did rise very slightly during that second period, the U.K. Hadley Center and U.S. NOAA balloon instrument analyses fail to show any evidence, whatsoever, of a human CO2 emission-influenced warming telltale “signature” in the upper troposphere over the equator as predicted by all UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global circulation models.

Climate change has been going on for a very long time…dating back to always. It actually began to occur even before the advent of flatulent dinosaurs, industrial smoke stacks and SUVs. And although temperatures have been generally mild over about the past 150 years (since the end of the last “Little Ice Age”…not a true Ice Age), we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal.

Spotlights on the Sun

Many scientific studies indicate that the global climate will soon enter a substantial cooling phase attributable to a weak new solar cycle. This is predicted due to important modulating cloud-forming influences of cosmic rays throughout periods of reduced sunspot activity. More clouds tend to make conditions cooler, while fewer often cause warming.

Solar output typically goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak. We are currently approaching the peak of “Solar Cycle 24,” yet sunspot numbers are running at less than half of those observed during other 20th century peaks. A paper released by the Met Office, the U.K.’s national weather office, projected a 92 percent chance that both Solar Cycle 25, and those taking place in following decades, will be as weak, or weaker than, a “Dalton minimum” of 1790 to 1830. That’s when average European temperatures fell by 2º Celsius.

Some prominent U.S. and Russian solar physicists predict that Planet Earth may very well be heading into a period of protracted cooling due to a lengthy spell of low sunspot activity … potentially entering another Little Ice Age. The last event of this type, which occurred in the middle of the 16th century, wasn’t broadly regarded as a good time. That period, lasting about 150 years, killed millions in Europe, ending soon after Washington’s troops suffered brutal winter temperatures at Valley Forge in 1777, and Napoleon’s experienced a bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.

Matt Penn and William Livingston of the U.S. National Solar Observatory and U.S. Air Force Laboratory believe that the Earth is entering a cooling phase based upon three different analyses of the Sun’s recent behavior. It is now in the final stages of Solar Cycle 24, “the weakest in more than 50 years.” They predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 soon arrives, “magnetic fields on the Sun will be so weak that few sunspots will be formed.”

Scientists at Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg have stated that solar activity is waning to such an extent that the global average yearly temperature will begin to decline into a very cold and protracted climate phase. Observatory head Habibullo Abdussamatov, one of the world’s leading solar scientists, member of the Russian Academy of Science, and director of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, believes that the deep freeze will last until the end of this century. He predicts that: “after the maximum of Solar Cycle 24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).

Dr. Abdussamatov points out that over the last 1,000 years deep cold periods have occurred five times. Each is correlated with declines in solar irradiance much like we are experiencing now — with no human influence. “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”

Many solar experts challenge Met Office claims that the greenhouse effects of man-made carbon dioxide are sufficiently strong to overwhelm potential solar cooling, much less to produce net warming. They point out that the Met’s assessment is based upon highly theoretical climate models that exaggerate CO2 influence, while failing to account for numerous other more important contributing factors.

Judith Curry, a well-known climatologist who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, finds the Met’s confident prediction of a “negligible” solar impact “difficult to understand”. She has stated that “The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the Sun”. As for a predicted warming pause, she said that many scientists “are not surprised”.

Curry also notes important contributions of 60-year Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperature cycles, observing that they have been “insufficiently appreciated in terms of global climate”. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific “flipped” back from a warm to a cold mode in 2008, and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip back in the next few years.

How Oceans Make Climate Waves

As pointed out in my recent article, “Meteorologist Joe Bastardi: Blaming Turbulent Weather on Global Warming is Extreme Nonsense,” changing climate and fluctuating weather consequences are driven primarily by natural changes in solar cycles, ocean temperatures and “stochastic events” such as volcanoes. The first two occur on various long-term cycles; decades and centuries with the Sun, and decades for the oceans. The stochastic events are random wild cards.

Right now we’re seeing the same kind of major events on a regional scale that occurred in the early 1950s. That was the last time the Pacific Ocean shifted its temperature phase from warm to cold when the Atlantic was in a warm phase, and globally, the Earth’s temperatures have fallen about 0.05° C in the last four years. The European and Far East winters also look very similar now to those in the 1950s. Alaska has once again turned much colder, just as it did then when the Pacific temperatures cooled and sea ice expanded.

Here in the U.S., a drop in tropical Pacific temperatures causes less moisture to be present in the atmosphere than when that ocean is in its warming state. That causes conditions to be drier, especially near and east of the Rockies, as well as in the Deep South. This is when we see hotter, drier summers; winters tend be warmer earlier, and colder later. We’re also seeing colder spring temperatures caused by a multi-decadal warming temperature shift in the Atlantic which has greatest influence in the late winter and spring, forcing what is called a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

Based upon ocean temperatures alone (not including solar influences), springs like this year in the lower 48 U.S. states, although not as extremely cold, can be expected to be more common during the next 5 to 10 years. We can also expect to witness increased tornado activity which is linked to the cold decadal Pacific shift and a cooling globe. This happens when cool air in northwest North America trying to find a pathway southeast collides with warm air coming from the south in a clash zone right in the center of our nation.

As Joe Bastardi observes, “Mother Nature is always searching for a balance she can never fully achieve because of the design of the system. It’s not unlike Aquinas’s search for the unmoved mover. We rotate around the Sun on an axis that tilts, with more land in the Northern Hemisphere than Southern Hemisphere. [Climate and] weather is a movie, so we have to keep an eye on what the director is up to.”

So while some alarmists have screamed about the northern ice cap melting due to warming, a condition actually caused by the Atlantic’s multi-decadal phase, the southern ice cap has increased to record levels. This is even a more impressive feat because, since being surrounded by water, it requires more cooling to freeze that ice than it does to warm cold dry air on continental surfaces that surround the Arctic Ocean. But as soon as the Atlantic goes into its cold mode, the northern ice cap will expand again as the southern ice cap shrinks. This is but one example of how the back-and-forth mechanism works.

Climate of Fear and Foreboding

Keep in mind that recent global warming alarmism has centered upon a temperature trend that began in the 1980s, occurring less than a decade after our planet came out of a three-decade cooling trend that led many to fear a coming Ice Age. As the late world-renowned atmospheric scientist Reid Bryson, formerly a leader in voicing Ice Age concern in the 1970s, said: “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, 2 million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” He went on to comment “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”

Also consider, as David Whitehouse at the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out, if current global temperature trends remain flat or become cooler, “it will mean that no one who has just reached adulthood, or younger, will have witnessed the Earth get warmer during their lifetime.”

Vladimir Bashkin and Rauf Kaliulin from the Institute of Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences state that warming during our past century is something we should have expected when coming out of a the Little Ice Age rather than resulting from any changes caused by human activities. Cold causes more disruptions for people than warming, and humanity has always prospered most during warmer periods.

Whether cooling continues or not, is there any reason at all to panic? No, but by the same token if, for any reason, global warming resumes as it probably will, again and again following intermittent cool-downs, let’s be grateful for the many human health and welfare benefits it brings. Let’s celebrate times when CO2-dependent agriculture flourishes over extended growing seasons, and when cold-related death rates decline. Also, in the unlikely event that we humans can and do have any influence on climate, let’s really hope that the good ol’ plant-nourishing CO2 we release will help rescue us from a truly chilling alternative.

In the meantime, however, it might be a good idea to hedge your bets. If I were you, I wouldn’t discard those flannel Long Johns just yet. There’s a very good chance that you are going to need them over the next many years.


Obama unveils his climate plan

Declaring that the world does not have time for “a meeting of the flat earth society” before it acts on climate change, US President Barack Obama has unveiled a package of measures to reduce American carbon emissions, lead global moves towards clean energy and prepare for the impact of climate change.

The President said questions about the cause and potential impact of climate change had been put to rest by the “overwhelming judgment of science”.

Mopping his brow as he spoke in 33 degree heat at Georgetown University in Washington DC, Mr Obama announced he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draft emission standards for new power plants this year and existing power plants next year. “Power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air for free,” he said. “It needs to stop.”

The plans are part of the effort to meet a previously stated goal to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The President said he would direct the State Department not to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline, planned to pipe oil from Canada’s vast tar sands oil reserves to America’s Gulf Coast, if it was shown the project would lead to “significantly” increased emissions.

And he has announced increased funding for clean energy technology with a view to doubling wind and solar production by 2020.

“The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest,” said Mr Obama. “So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late.”

He said 12 of the hottest years on record had been in the past 15 years and argued that gradually moving away from a carbon economy should not necessarily cost jobs.

Though the President called for an end to the partisan debate over climate change, he tacitly acknowledged that bipartisan action in Washington was impossible by creating a set of measures he could implement through administrative order rather than by trying to drive new laws through Congress.

He announced an end to US public financing of dirty coal fired power stations internationally and an end to tax subsidies of fossil fuels within the United States.

Tackling climate change has long been a goal of Mr Obama, though it has been delayed by his first term focus on healthcare reform and the Democratic Party’s loss of control in the House of Representatives in 2010.

The measures announced on Tuesday fulfill a promise – or threat - made in State of the Union address earlier this year, in which the President said, “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will."

“I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

The President said the United States should deepen its reliance on natural gas as a bridging fuel for the move away from dirtier energy sources.

The Republican Party’s Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell who represents the coal-rich state of Kentucky, said the plan was "tantamount to declaring a war on jobs. It's tantamount to kicking the ladder out from beneath the feet of many Americans struggling in today's economy."

Even before the White House had the announced the details the Republican House Speaker John Boehner said “I think this is absolutely crazy, why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs.' "

Before the White House had even posted a transcript of the speech on its website the President’s political machine, Organizing for Action had begun emailing its members calling on them to begin activism in support of the package.

What Obama announced:

* Cutting Carbon Emissions: Order the EPA to finish carbon pollution standards for new power plants this year and existing power plants in 2014. [Carbon pollution from power plants is currently unlimited.];

* Renewable Energy: Double electricity fueled by renewable energy by 2020 nationally and increase federal government use of renewable energy from 7.5 percent currently to 20 percent by 2020;

* Coal: End U.S. public financing of coal-fired plants overseas, exempting only those using the cleanest technology available in those countries;

* Taxes: End tax subsidies for fossil fuels;

* Autos: Develop post 2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles;

* Conduct first Quadrennial Energy Review and Climate Data Initiative to gather climate and energy data and make it publicly available;

International: Seek ambitious U.N. climate change treaty by 2015 and lead multilateral emission reduction efforts.


Green rules will leave Europe importing even dirtier fuel from elsewhere

Draconian green regulations risk putting European refineries out of business, leaving the continent importing more fuels from dirtier plants elsewhere in the world, Essar Energy has warned.

Volker Schultz, head of Essar’s Stanlow refinery, said the group was “really concerned about and will lobby hard against” a raft of EU measures that will disadvantage European refiners.

“If the EU goes out on a limb and imposes quite draconian measures on European refineries, forcing refineries to shut and therefore less environmentally friendly refineries elsewhere will have to take up slack, you don’t help local communities and you don’t help the global environment,” he warned. “We need a level playing field.”

Refineries are already struggling with overcapacity and Mr Schultz said that more refineries would close, potentially in the UK, even without the burden of green rules.

Mr Schultz was speaking as Essar Energy finally delivering some cheer for shareholders with full year results beating analyst expectations, helping the group’s share price rise 3 to 122p.

Essar also revealed that it was in early stage talks with companies exploring for "coal bed methane" gas in the north-west of the UK over possible supply arrangements for its Stanlow refinery. The site recently underwent a conversion to being powered by natural gas from the grid.


Climate Expert von Storch: Why Is Global Warming Stagnating?

Climate experts have long predicted that temperatures would rise in parallel with greenhouse gas emissions. But, for 15 years, they haven't. In a SPIEGEL interview, meteorologist Hans von Storch discusses how this "puzzle" might force scientists to alter what could be "fundamentally wrong" models.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, Germany has recently seen major flooding. Is global warming the culprit?

Storch: I'm not aware of any studies showing that floods happen more often today than in the past. I also just attended a hydrologists' conference in Koblenz, and none of the scientists there described such a finding.

SPIEGEL: But don't climate simulations for Germany's latitudes predict that, as temperatures rise, there will be less, not more, rain in the summers?

Storch: That only appears to be contradictory. We actually do expect there to be less total precipitation during the summer months. But there may be more extreme weather events, in which a great deal of rain falls from the sky within a short span of time. But since there has been only moderate global warming so far, climate change shouldn't be playing a major role in any case yet.

SPIEGEL: Would you say that people no longer reflexively attribute every severe weather event to global warming as much as they once did?

Storch: Yes, my impression is that there is less hysteria over the climate. There are certainly still people who almost ritualistically cry, "Stop thief! Climate change is at fault!" over any natural disaster. But people are now talking much more about the likely causes of flooding, such as land being paved over or the disappearance of natural flood zones -- and that's a good thing.

SPIEGEL: Will the greenhouse effect be an issue in the upcoming German parliamentary elections? Singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen is leading a celebrity initiative calling for the addition of climate protection as a national policy objective in the German constitution.

Storch: It's a strange idea. What state of the Earth's atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? Are we going to declare war on China if the country emits too much CO2 into the air and thereby violates our constitution?

SPIEGEL: Yet it was climate researchers, with their apocalyptic warnings, who gave people these ideas in the first place.

Storch: Unfortunately, some scientists behave like preachers, delivering sermons to people. What this approach ignores is the fact that there are many threats in our world that must be weighed against one another. If I'm driving my car and find myself speeding toward an obstacle, I can't simple yank the wheel to the side without first checking to see if I'll instead be driving straight into a crowd of people. Climate researchers cannot and should not take this process of weighing different factors out of the hands of politics and society.

SPIEGEL: Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, outside Berlin, is currently Chancellor Angela Merkel's climate adviser. Why does she need one?

Storch: I've never been chancellor myself. But I do think it would be unwise of Merkel to listen to just a single scientist. Climate research is made up of far too many different voices for that. Personally, though, I don't believe the chancellor has delved deeply into the subject. If she had, she would know that there are other perspectives besides those held by her environmental policy administrators.

SPIEGEL: Just since the turn of the millennium, humanity has emitted another 400 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet temperatures haven't risen in nearly 15 years. What can explain this?

Storch: So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We're facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn't happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year.

SPIEGEL: Do the computer models with which physicists simulate the future climate ever show the sort of long standstill in temperature change that we're observing right now?

Storch: Yes, but only extremely rarely. At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.

SPIEGEL: How long will it still be possible to reconcile such a pause in global warming with established climate forecasts?

Storch: If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations -- and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

SPIEGEL: That sounds quite embarrassing for your profession, if you have to go back and adjust your models to fit with reality…

Storch: Why? That's how the process of scientific discovery works. There is no last word in research, and that includes climate research. It's never the truth that we offer, but only our best possible approximation of reality. But that often gets forgotten in the way the public perceives and describes our work.

SPIEGEL: But it has been climate researchers themselves who have feigned a degree of certainty even though it doesn't actually exist. For example, the IPCC announced with 95 percent certainty that humans contribute to climate change.

Storch: And there are good reasons for that statement. We could no longer explain the considerable rise in global temperatures observed between the early 1970s and the late 1990s with natural causes. My team at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, was able to provide evidence in 1995 of humans' influence on climate events. Of course, that evidence presupposed that we had correctly assessed the amount of natural climate fluctuation. Now that we have a new development, we may need to make adjustments.

SPIEGEL: In which areas do you need to improve the models?

Storch: Among other things, there is evidence that the oceans have absorbed more heat than we initially calculated. Temperatures at depths greater than 700 meters (2,300 feet) appear to have increased more than ever before. The only unfortunate thing is that our simulations failed to predict this effect.

SPIEGEL: That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Storch: Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth. The end result is foolishness along the lines of the climate protection brochures recently published by Germany's Federal Environmental Agency under the title "Sie erwärmt sich doch" ("The Earth is getting warmer"). Pamphlets like that aren't going to convince any skeptics.

It's not a bad thing to make mistakes and have to correct them. The only thing that was bad was acting beforehand as if we were infallible. By doing so, we have gambled away the most important asset we have as scientists: the public's trust. We went through something similar with deforestation, too -- and then we didn't hear much about the topic for a long time.

SPIEGEL: Does this throw the entire theory of global warming into doubt?

Storch: I don't believe so. We still have compelling evidence of a man-made greenhouse effect. There is very little doubt about it. But if global warming continues to stagnate, doubts will obviously grow stronger.

SPIEGEL: Do scientists still predict that sea levels will rise?

Storch: In principle, yes. Unfortunately, though, our simulations aren't yet capable of showing whether and how fast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will melt -- and that is a very significant factor in how much sea levels will actually rise. For this reason, the IPCC's predictions have been conservative. And, considering the uncertainties, I think this is correct.

SPIEGEL: And how good are the long-term forecasts concerning temperature and precipitation?

Storch: Those are also still difficult. For example, according to the models, the Mediterranean region will grow drier all year round. At the moment, however, there is actually more rain there in the fall months than there used to be. We will need to observe further developments closely in the coming years. Temperature increases are also very much dependent on clouds, which can both amplify and mitigate the greenhouse effect. For as long as I've been working in this field, for over 30 years, there has unfortunately been very little progress made in the simulation of clouds.

SPIEGEL: Despite all these problem areas, do you still believe global warming will continue?

Storch: Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more -- and by the end of this century, mind you. That's what my instinct tells me, since I don't know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct. Our models certainly include a great number of highly subjective assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.

SPIEGEL: What exactly are politicians supposed to do with such vague predictions?

Storch: Whether it ends up being one, two or three degrees, the exact figure is ultimately not the important thing. Quite apart from our climate simulations, there is a general societal consensus that we should be more conservative with fossil fuels. Also, the more serious effects of climate change won't affect us for at least 30 years. We have enough time to prepare ourselves.

SPIEGEL: In a SPIEGEL interview 10 years ago, you said, "We need to allay people's fear of climate change." You also said, "We'll manage this." At the time, you were harshly criticized for these comments. Do you still take such a laidback stance toward global warming?

Storch: Yes, I do. I was accused of believing it was unnecessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the case. I simply meant that it is no longer possible in any case to completely prevent further warming, and thus it would be wise of us to prepare for the inevitable, for example by building higher ocean dikes. And I have the impression that I'm no longer quite as alone in having this opinion as I was then. The climate debate is no longer an all-or-nothing debate -- except perhaps in the case of colleagues such as a certain employee of Schellnhuber's, whose verbal attacks against anyone who expresses doubt continue to breathe new life into the climate change denial camp.

SPIEGEL: Are there findings related to global warming that worry you?

Storch: The potential acidification of the oceans due to CO2 entering them from the atmosphere. This is a phenomenon that seems sinister to me, perhaps in part because I understand too little about it. But if marine animals are no longer able to form shells and skeletons well, it will affect nutrient cycles in the oceans. And that certainly makes me nervous.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, thank you for this interview.


Energy Politics

Just a week after China agreed to buy $270 billion worth of oil from Russia over the next 25 years, America is ready to stick a knife into the ailing coal industry while teeing up regulations that will severely hamper natural gas. When the deal is announced, up to 280 coal-fired units could be forced closed, taking more than 40,000 megawatts of power offline.

If you think it's going to be replaced by wind and solar you are greatly mistaken. The coal plants affected by the unleashing of the EPA are mostly in the following states:

> Pennsylvania
> Ohio
> Georgia
> West Virginia
> North Carolina
> Kentucky
> Indiana

Those states have no solar or wind projects in the works, and it really wouldn't make a difference since only 3,000 megawatts of power is in the offing for all solar projects. Moreover, these projects have come at an immense expense to taxpayers while yielding very few benefits. It's mostly crony capitalism at its best. Take for instance the Topaz Solar project in California. After being penciled in for $1.9 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees, a series of critical management mistakes caused the loan to be pulled ... in steps Mr. Buffett.

Warren Buffett and his Mid America Energy bought out ownership from First Solar and cut a 24 year deal with Pacific Gas and Electric to purchase overpriced solar power at above market prices. PG&E has no choice since California has mandated utilities must generate one third of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This mandate is another tax on ratepayers, including taxpayers and home and business owners.

In fact, it is estimated the sweetheart deal California Valley struck with the state will result in PG&E paying $463 million above rate over the lifetime of its existence. This project received a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee and will have to pay no property tax. So, when President Obama says electricity has to go higher to fulfill his goal it wasn't a lie. On the contrary, this is going to be extraordinarily painful to average Americans. So, what are the benefits? The industry will tell you solar savings around the world have thus far been equivalent to taking 1.1 million cars off the road and planting 138.3 million trees.

Before we dethrone Johnny Appleseed, let's be clear, no trees have been planted and not a single car has been replaced.

The biggest insult is the lack of permanent jobs being created from all our taxpayer dollars ... or, as the White House calls it: "investment."Current solar projects, manufacturing, bio fuels, and wind development cost American taxpayers $17.2 billion and will yield a grand total of 1,188 permanent jobs


Obama's "war on coal"

Did the New York Times Scrub ‘War On Coal’ Quote By Obama Advisor?

Looks that way — first up, in the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper wrote:

"Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, tells the New York Times “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Later today, President Obama will give a major “climate change” address at Georgetown University.

“Everybody is waiting for action,” Schrag tells the paper. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

Obama’s speech today is expected to offer “a sweeping plan to address climate change on Tuesday, setting ambitious goals and timetables for a series of executive actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare the nation for the ravages of a warming planet,” according to the Times."

Here’s the full context of Schrag’s quotation:

"Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who is the head of Harvard University’s Center for the Environment and a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change, said he hoped the presidential speech would mark a turning point in the national debate on climate change.

“Everybody is waiting for action,” he said. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

If you follow the link provided by Halper, the quote by Schrag — and indeed any mention of his name — is missing, though it shows for the moment in the cached version in Google

The revised version of the article however, has been de-Schrag-ed, despite at least one early commenter referencing the quote:

Ever since current editor Jill Abramson famously said in 2011, “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” — only to have that quote airbrushed out hours later, it seems like the Times’ touch-up artists have gone into overdrive, removing doubleplusungood crimethink remarks, even after they’ve been quoted by dozens of blogs and Websites — and in this case, the Drudge Report and Instapundit — before the Gray Lady has tossed the original quote down the Memory Hole. But then, each time they airbrush an article, the original quote becomes magnified that much more.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


25 June, 2013

For just £2 you can stop the Arctic from melting!

Anthony Watts has up an amusing mailout that he received from some Warmist fraudsters who are trying to get their slice of the lucrative climate action. And how are they going to use all those £2 donations? They are going to use the money to "blast out of the gate".

I was not sure what that exactly meant but I found a video that shows it. Watch carefully and you will see it. Turn up your sound. What a blast!

I think that summarizes Warmists pretty well.

A lot more than 1,000 words

Dr. John Christy participated in a conference on global warming last month, and presented some power points that make several points with respect to the ongoing climate debate. All of these observations will be familiar to Power Line readers, but Dr. Christy’s visuals are effective. You can view the power point slides here, and the accompanying text here. The following are some of Christy’s slides.

Tornadoes are not becoming more frequent. On the contrary:

Snow cover in the northern hemisphere, where the most plausible claims of warming have been made, is not diminishing:

In the U.S., the climate is getting neither wetter nor dryer:

High temperature records are not being set with unusual frequency:

The climate models that are the only basis for warming alarmism are refuted by observation, and therefore are simply wrong:

And, finally, even if the U.S. were to adopt unrealistically harsh measures to restrict carbon output by impoverishing Americans, the effect on the Earth’s climate–assuming the models are right–would be close to zero:

Global warming alarmism is, in my opinion, the worst scientific fraud in world history.


Obama's Climate Plans Face Yearslong Fight

When President Barack Obama lays out plans to tackle climate change in a speech Tuesday, including the first effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, he will unleash a yearslong battle that has little assurance of being resolved during his time in office.

The president has called climate change a "legacy issue," and his speech may head off a backlash from environmentalists should his administration approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. But the address is unlikely to blunt criticism of Mr. Obama's approach from the left or the right.

He is set to propose a host of measures to help lower emissions of gases that climate scientists say contribute to climate change. These include ways to boost energy efficiency, promote cleaner energy and rein in emissions from the existing fleet of power plants, according to people briefed on the speech.

In a video released by the White House over the weekend, Mr. Obama said he would give his vision for a "national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it." Mr. Obama said earlier this year in his State of the Union address that he would use executive authority to fight climate change if Congress didn't act.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, "It is important for the president to act because the Congress is still denying the science and is not about to pass any legislation."

Industry has warned that tough new guidelines could lead to the retirement of a large number of coal-fired power plants, which could raise questions about electricity reliability. Many utility executives also say that new rules, by knocking relatively cheap coal off the grid, will lead to higher electricity prices that will disproportionately affect lower-income families.

Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, said the electric-power industry "has long understood the importance of addressing climate change," and has been working for years to clean up the industry. Of the prospective new rules, he said his trade group will be "considering whether they mesh well with this ongoing transition, contain achievable compliance limits and deadlines, and minimize costs to customers."

Environmentalists were cheered by the prospect that Mr. Obama will tackle power-plant emissions. Frances Beinecke, the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the power sector could cut its emissions by about one-quarter with this approach, meaning the U.S. could cut its total emissions by 10%.

The rules are almost certain to bring legal challenges, but even without that the process is lengthy. The Environmental Protection Agency must first complete rules for new power plants, which have been in the works since 2011. In draft form, those rules essentially blocked the construction of new coal-fired plants. Once the draft rules are finished, environmental lawyers say, the EPA would need until at least late 2014 to propose and make final rules for existing plants.

What's more, the rules would be merely guidelines for states to draw up their own plans for restricting greenhouse gases. Allowing a year for that—plus more time for the EPA to rewrite state plans if it is dissatisfied with them—means the process could easily stretch out to the end of Mr. Obama's second term and beyond.

In much the same way that states have opted out of some parts of Mr. Obama's health-care law, states that have a rationale to resist new power-plant guidelines could push back against them, said Jeff Holmstead, a former top EPA official under President George W. Bush and now a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

"EPA's guidelines have no legal effect on any particular plant, and they don't really legally bind the states," Mr. Holmstead said.

Environmental groups say EPA guidelines could give states a variety of ways to lower power-sector emissions, including energy efficiency, more renewable energy, and more efficient plants.

Environmentalists have been pressing Mr. Obama to target coal-fired power plants. Those calls have gained in urgency in recent months as an uptick in natural-gas prices has led to a revival of coal use in power generation.

Republicans say any discussion of rules for existing plants is premature because the new standards aren't complete. During confirmation hearings for Gina McCarthy, an EPA official nominated to lead the agency, Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) pressed her on this point, and Ms. McCarthy responded in writing, "EPA is not currently developing any existing source GHG [greenhouse gases] regulations for power plants."

In light of such comments, Mr. Obama is expected to avoid specifics when discussing his vision for existing power plants, but he is still hoping to assuage environmentalists who fear the president may be planning to approve the Keystone pipeline.

Tom Steyer, a wealthy investor and a leader of the anti-Keystone movement, said if that is the bargain the president is offering, environmentalists wouldn't accept it. Environmental groups "are getting something that they were always going to get anyway" on power plants, Mr. Steyer said.


Bureaucracy standing in the way of cheaper bread

Researchers in Britain have announced the development of a new strain of wheat that early reports suggest produce 30 percent greater yields than those currently in use.

Developed by the Cambridge-based National Institute of Agricultural Botany, the new strain came about as researchers mixed "ancient" seeds (from seed banks) with those from the modern era. Importantly, the process did not involve as such grains have been banned in many countries. Instead, the researchers cross-bred samples and used techniques to bring about a wholly new strain of wheat. Its developers say that thus far, they've seen yield increase of up to 30 percent. They add that the new strain is hardier as well—able to stand up to pests and drought better than conventional .

The news comes as welcome relief to people in Britain as has led to less than normal, giving way to its importation for the first time in over a decade. More importantly, an increased wheat yield has become crucial as the continues to grow. Recent estimates suggest that as many as a fifth of all calories consumed by people worldwide, come from wheat. In contrast, scientists have noted that the last 15 years have seen little increase in wheat yields. Some scientists have suggested that wheat yields will have to double over the next half-century to keep ahead of population growth. Put another way, the researchers claim that the world will have to produce more wheat over the next 50 years than has been produced over the past 10,000 years in order to keep ahead of demand.

Wheat evolved from goat grasses co-incidentally or not, around the same time as people were beginning to learn to grow their own food, the research team notes, most likely in the Middle East. Since that time, humans have reduced the varieties of wheat that are grown, resulting in an erosion of the plant's . Cross breeding modern strains with much older samples that have been preserved in seed banks will bring back some of that diversity, and in this case, hopefully lead to increased yields.

Unfortunately because of governmental regulations, the new wheat strain can't be grown commercially in Britain for five years. That time interval will give scientists and others time to more thoroughly investigate the new strain to ascertain if the initial findings hold


Where's that long awaited drought?

Now it's Canada's turn for flooding

A state of emergency remains in the western Canadian city of Calgary, after some of the worst flooding to hit the region in a century.

Officials in Alberta province have now ordered at least 75,000 people to evacuate their homes.

At least three people have been killed and one is missing after his canoe overturned in floodwaters.

The downtown area of Calgary resembles a lake and has been declared off limits. It will remain so until at least the middle of next week.

There is no electricity, railway tracks have been lifted and hundreds of houses are partially submerged.

Communities to the south and east of Calgary were on high alert as floodwaters moved across the region.

Downstream, the city of Medicine Hat, was bracing for the surge and 10,000 people there were ordered to leave.

Authorities in Calgary expect water levels to drop in the coming days, but the Bow River is still flowing at around five times its normal rate.

With rainfall easing, a few residents began returning to damaged homes and authorities were hopeful that the worst might be over.

The city's mayor, Naheed Nenshi, who was visibly tired after two days of crisis management, told residents: "If you want to help your city, the best thing you can do is stay home."

The floods followed about 36 hours of unusually heavy rainfall - some communities received six months of their normal rainfall in under two days.

They are shaping up to be significantly worse than the floods of 2005.

A spokesman for Imperial Oil, Canada's second-largest producer and refiner, said the company was working on plans to maintain essential operations, including allowing employees to work from other locations.

It was not clear when trading in Canadian crude oil would resume after little if any occurred on Friday.

Shorcan Energy Brokers, which provides live prices for many Canadian crude grades, operated out of Toronto on Friday rather than Calgary, although no trades in Western Canada Select heavy blend or light synthetic crude took place.

Net Energy Inc, the other main Calgary crude broker, was closed on Friday and no trading took place.

The flooding has affected the grounds of the Calgary Stampede, an annual extravaganza of cows, cowboys and horses scheduled to start on July 5.

Mr Nenshi insisted the rodeo would go ahead.

"We're Calgarians. We'll make it work," he said. It may look different, but the show will go on."


Britain's weather prophets should be chucked in the deep end

Homeowners lumbered with useless swimming pools know precisely who they should blame -- says Boris Johnson, the inimitable Mayor of London

The great thing about flying into London is that you get bags of time to see the countryside below. The congestion at Heathrow is so bad that many passengers circle above the Home Counties for half an hour, allowing themselves to be penetrated by the splendours of Surrey while their planes spew thousands of tons of CO2 into the upper air.

You can observe the way we live in the peri-urban world: the golf courses, the landfill sites, the pleasant whorls of detached houses; and over time the embourgeoisement of the British people has added an amenity that the Romans first introduced to this island. Look down on southern England, and you see the little winking ultramarine oblongs of the swimming pools – perhaps the greatest triumph of hope over experience in the history of English domestic architecture.

In Roman times, a swimming pool was a sign of taste, style and affluence, and in some of the biggest Romano-British villas you can see where Roman nobs frolicked and enjoyed the pleasures of water and nakedness. These days it would be fair to say that a swimming pool is a luxury – but not an unheard-of luxury. In the past 10 years there have been plenty of middle-class punters who have decided that they want a touch of Beverly Hills about their homes – and I know why they did it. They thought it would be nice for the kids and the grandchildren. They thought it might conceivably add to the value of their homes. In their secret hearts they hoped, forgivably, that it might provoke the envy of their neighbours.

But then there was an extra spur – the new and unanswerable imperative to find a way of keeping wet and cool. For more than 20 years now, we have been told that this country was going to get hotter and hotter and hotter, and that global warming was going to change our climate in a fundamental way. Do you remember that? We were told that Britain was going to have short, wet winters and long, roasting summers. It was going to be like 1976 all over again, with streakers at Lord’s and your Mr Whippy melting before you could even lick it, and Hyde Park scorched into a mini Kalahari.

They said we were never going to have snow again, and that we should prepare for southern England to turn gradually into a Mediterranean world. There were going to be olive groves in the Weald of Kent, and the whole place was going to be so generally broiling in summer that no one would be able to move between noon and 4pm, after which people would come out to play boules and sip pastis, to the whine of a mandolin, in the dusty square that had once been a village green.

That’s what they said: the BBC, and all the respectable meteorologists – and I reckon there were tens of thousands of people who took these prophecies entirely seriously. Omigod, they said to themselves, we are all going to fry. The only answer was to build a source of permanent refreshment – and so they did. They saved up, and they remortgaged, and they got in the diggers. They moved huge cuboids of earth and used them to create curious berms at the bottom of the garden, and then they lined these trenches with tiles (jolly expensive) or with a kind of blue plastic sheeting (virtually indistinguishable and much cheaper) and then they filled these holes with thousands of gallons of water that circulated endlessly by an unintelligible process known only to the people who had installed it but who seemed unfortunately to have gone bust.

They fought gallantly but in vain against the green slime, and to understand the balance of chemicals that the pool required; and they watched baffled as it oscillated – now choking with vegetation, now a glorified sheep dip of eye-stinging acid. Year after year they summoned up their courage, choked back their nausea and fished out the dead mice and the pallid corpses of worms bleached white by the chlorine. They sieved for leaves; they flipped out bugs with their hands; and all the while they were comforted with the thought that it was a sound investment.

They imagined the poolside parties they would have when the warming really kicked in: the barbecues; the bikinis; the pina coladas. They saw themselves on their lilos talking to their brokers on their mobile phones or getting up early on a glorious summer day and diving in unclothed when no one else was around. They thought they were doing the sensible thing and getting ready for a Californian lifestyle – and they were fools! Fools who believed that the global warming soothsayers really meant what they said or that they had a clue what the weather would be in the next 10 years.

I hope I don’t need to tell you that we have not experienced a Mediterranean climate – not since they started to tell us to expect it. On the contrary, we have had some pretty long and miserable winters – including the last one, in which I saw snow settle in London on four separate occasions – and our summer is at risk of becoming a bit of a farce. As I write these words, I am looking out yet again at lowering grey clouds, in what should be the peachiest time of year – and now these so-called weather forecasters and climate change buffs have the unbelievable effrontery to announce that they got it all wrong. They now think that we won’t have 10 years of blistering summer heat; on the contrary, it is apparently going to be 10 years of cold and wet.

It is outrageous. Think of all those honest hard-working folk who have sunk their resources into a pool, only to find they use it only a couple of times a summer, and even then the wind-chill is so bad that the swimmers get goosebumps as soon as they emerge. I am generally against the compensation culture, but in my mind’s eye I see a class action: aggrieved English pool-owners against the global warming prophets and the erroneous meteorologists who have, frankly, been taking the piscine.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


24 June, 2013

Greedy Africans Are Starving Our Cars

“You’ve heard of Live Aid? Well, this is Drive Aid,” an ardent young man says, as he approaches London pedestrians. “Greedy people in developing nations are eating huge amounts of food that could easily be turned into biofuel to power our cars. African acreage the size of Belgium is being used for food, and we’re saying it should go to cars here in the UK. Can we have your support?”

Londoners reacted with disbelief and outrage, the ActionAid UK video shows, and refused to sign his mock petition. The amusing stunt drove home a vital point: Biofuel programs are turning food into fuel, converting cropland into fuel production sites, and disrupting food supplies for hungry people worldwide. The misguided programs are having serious environmental consequences, as well.

Why, then, can’t politicians, bureaucrats and environmentalists display the common sense exhibited by London’s citizenry? Why did President Obama tell Africans (many of whom are malnourished) in July 2009 that they should refrain from using “dirty” fossil fuels and use their “bountiful” biofuel and other renewable energy resources, instead? When will Congress pull the plug on Renewable Fuel Standards?

Ethanol and other biofuels might have made some sense when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and established mandates (or “standards”) requiring that refiners and consumer purchase large quantities of ethanol and other biofuels. Back then, despite growing evidence to the contrary, many people thought we were running out of oil and gas, and believed manmade global warming threatened the planet. But this is not 2005. Those rationales are no longer persuasive.

The hydraulic fracturing revolution has obliterated the Club of Rome “peak oil” notion that we are rapidly exhausting the world’s petroleum. Climategate and other IPCC scandals demonstrated that the “science” behind climate cataclysm claims is conjectural, manipulated and even fraudulent. And actual observations of temperatures, storms, droughts, sea levels and Arctic ice have refused to cooperate with computer models and Hansen-Gore-EPA-IPCC disaster scenarios.

In fact, biofuels and Renewable Fuel Standards cannot be justified on any grounds.

The United States is using 40 million acres of cropland (Iowa plus New Jersey) and 45% of its corn crop to produce 14 billion gallons of ethanol annually. This amount of corn could feed some 570 million people, out of the 1.2 billion who still struggle to survive on $1.25 per day.

This corn-centric agriculture is displacing wheat and other crops, dramatically increasing grain and food prices, and keeping land under cultivation that would otherwise be returned to wildlife habitat. It requires millions of pounds of insecticides, billions of pounds of fertilizer, vast amounts of petroleum-based energy, and billions of gallons of water – to produce a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline and achieves no overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Ethanol mandates have caused US corn prices to rocket from $1.96 per average bushel in 2005 to as much as $7.50 in autumn 2012 and $6.68 in June 2013. Corn growers and ethanol makers get rich. However, soaring corn prices mean beef, pork, poultry, egg and fish producers pay more for corn-based feed; grocery manufacturers pay more for corn, meat, fish and corn syrup; families pay more for everything on their dinner table; and starving Africans go hungry because aid agencies cannot buy as much food.

By 2022, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (amending the 2005 law) requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and 21 billion gallons of cellulosic and other non-corn-based biofuels. That will monumentally worsen all these problems.

Equally insane, the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule for 2013 required that refiners purchase 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. There’s a teensy problem: the fuel doesn’t exist. A mere 4,900 gallons were produced in March, and zero the other months. So companies are forced to buy fantasy fuel, fined big bucks if they do not, and punished if they get conned into buying fraudulent “renewable fuel credits” from “socially responsible” companies like Clean Green Fuel, Absolute Fuels and Green Diesel.

Ethanol collects water, which can result in engine stalls. It corrodes plastic, rubber and soft metal parts. Pre-2001 car engines, parts and systems may not be able to handle E15 fuel blends (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline), adversely affecting engine, fuel pump and sensor durability. Older cars, motorcycles and boats fueled with E15 could conk out in dangerously inopportune places; at the very least they could require costly engine repairs. Lawn mowers and other gasoline-powered equipment are equally susceptible.

On a global scale, the biofuels frenzy is diverting millions of acres of farmland from food crops, converting millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat into farmland, and employing billions of gallons of water, to produce corn, jatropha, palm oil and other crops for use in producing politically correct biodiesel and other biofuels.

To top off this seemingly inexhaustible list of policy idiocies, all this ethanol and other biofuel could easily be replaced with newly abundant oil and gas supplies. Amazing new seismic, deepwater, deep drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other technologies have led to discoveries of huge new reserves of oil and natural gas – and enabled companies to extract far more petroleum from reservoirs once thought to have been depleted.

That means we can now get vastly more energy from far less land; with far fewer impacts on environmental quality, biodiversity and endangered species; and with none of the nasty effects on food supplies, food prices and world hunger that biofuel lunacy entails.

We could do that – if radical greens in the Obama Administration, United Nations and eco pressure groups would end their ideological opposition to leasing, drilling, fracking, Outer Continental Shelf and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge development, Canadian oil sands, the Keystone pipeline and countless other projects. We could do so, if they would stop behaving like environmentalist Bull Connors, arrogantly blocking the doors to human and civil rights progress.

This colossal global biofuels industry exists only because resource depletion and climate Armageddon ideologies do not die easily – and because politicians lavish government mandates and billions of dollars in taxpayer and consumer subsidies on firms that have persuasive lobbyists and reliable track records for channeling millions of those dollars back to the politicians who keep the racket going.

The ActionAid UK video has lent some good British gallows humor to a serious issue. As another well-known Brit might say, it is time rein in a global SPECTRE that has wreaked too much human and environmental havoc.

To get that long overdue effort underway, Congress needs to amend the 2005 Energy Policy Act, eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standards and end the taxpayer subsidies.

A few thousand farmers and ethanol makers will undoubtedly feel some pain. A few hundred politicians will have less money in their reelection coffers. However, countless wild creatures will breathe much easier in their newly safe natural habitats – and millions of families will enjoy a new birth of freedom, a new wave of economic opportunity, and welcome relief from hunger and malnutrition.


Will California finally choose greenbacks over Green ideology?

By Marita Noon

If there is any place the gang Green can expect to get its way, it would surely be California. The state has the highest renewable energy standards in the country, the legislature is currently dominated by a liberal supermajority, and Governor Jerry Brown’s environmental record runs deep.

When the Energy Information Agency reported that California’s Monterey Shale potentially contains more than 15 billion barrels of oil — a supply three times greater than North Dakota’s Bakken and the Texas Eagle Ford formations — environmental groups ratcheted up their efforts to keep the resource in the ground. The weapon of choice? Demonize the technology that allows the oil and gas to be released from the sedimentary rock: hydraulic fracturing — commonly called “fracking.”

California’s legislature had nearly a dozen different bills designed to impede, restrict, or ban fracking. With lawmakers on their side, environmentalists grew cocky. When the bills made it out of committee, Patrick Sullivan, of the anti-fracking group Center for Biological Diversity, claimed: “There’s huge momentum in the legislature to halt this dangerous practice.”

Imagine their shock when the rank and file Democrats revolted and defeated AB1323, 37-24 — with 12 Democrats voting with 25 Republicans. Another 18 abstained. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “It’s a good bet they were ‘no’ votes who didn’t want to publicly cross their leadership.” The WSJ called the vote: “a rare rout for The Sierra Club and other greens.”

It seems that California’s “politicians are beginning to wonder if cultivating greenie obsessions has been worth stopping economic development,” writes Mark Whittington for “The environmental lobby … has seen the limit of its power.”

This is especially interesting in light of the columns I’ve been writing lately. Remember Environmentalists Endangered and, more recently, Renewable Energy’s Reversal of Fortune? Then, last week, in my column The Sierra Club Exposed, I referenced a Sierra Club director who claims that Latino voters care more about conservation than energy drilling.

Yet, who are the Democrats who split with their party to block the fracking bans that would “throw thousands of Californians out of work?” Those representing poor and minority areas with unemployment rates of 12 percent or more. Six of the seven black and most of the Latino assembly Democrats refused to vote for the ban, while wealthy, mostly white Democratic coastal districts voted for it. Whittington says the vote is “dividing the state’s all powerful Democratic party, pitting rich against poor, white against minorities and coastal California against central California… powerful rich elites who have pushed an environmentalist agenda at the expense of the common people.”

Fracking has been used in California for 60 years, and is used in about a third of California’s active wells. Since the start of 2011, 974 California wells have been fracked. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, asserts: “California has never recorded a single documented instance of fracking wastewater leaking out and contaminating the surrounding groundwater supply.” Meanwhile, environmentalists, such as Adam Snow of Food and Water Watch claim “there’s no safe way to frack.”

Fracking foes want a complete ban. But, California can’t afford not to frack.

The Global Energy Network & Price School of Public Policy, the University of Southern California, and The Communications Institute recently collaborated on a study called “Powering California: The Monterey Shale & California’s Economic Future.” The study found that development of oil from the Monterey Shale using hydraulic fracturing and other recovery technologies could result in:

* The creation of 512,000 to 2.8 million new jobs,

* Personal income growth of $40.6 billion to $222.3 billion,

* Additional local and state government revenues from $4.5 billion to $24.6 billion, and

* An increase in state GDP by 2.6 percent to 14.3 percent on a per-person basis.

In a state with $167.9 billion in long term liabilities — not counting pensions and retiree health benefits, those numbers can’t be ignored. Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson wants to “unleash this magnificent potential for jobs.”

Apparently, Democrats, even with a supermajority, have accepted defeat on a fracking ban and are now moving toward taxes. A driving force in California environmentalism, State Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), author of SB 241 — which would impose a tax on harvesting oil and gas — says: “California is poised to allow fracking on a monumental scale in the Monterey Shale, and if we don’t enact an oil severance prior to the time we do that, then we’re allowing … California’s resources to be extracted without taxing it.”

It is easy to see where lawmakers like Evans are going. Texas has no state income tax, but the state does tax oil and natural gas:

* Oil production tax: 4.6 percent (0.046) of the market value of oil.

* Regulatory Tax: 3/16 of a cent ($0.001875) per barrel.

* Regulatory Fee: 5/16 of a cent ($0.003125) per barrel for report periods prior to September 2001. For report periods September 2001 and later, 5/8 of a cent ($0.00625) per barrel Reduced Oil Production Tax Rates for Certified Exemptions:

* Enhanced Oil Recovery Exemption (EOR) 2.3 percent (0.023) of market value of oil; Two Year Inactive Well Exemptions 0.0 percent (0.000) of market value of oil.

With a potential of more than 15 billion barrels of oil in the Monterey shale, saying no to fracking means saying no to California’s economic salvation.

No wonder Governor Brown has yet to take a position on fracking. In fact, he sounds like he is willing to abandon his solid Green credentials — angering environmentalists who are staging protests outside his office. Like the Sierra Club pushing President Obama to use his executive order pen to designate national monuments and block oil and gas development, California’s Greens are demanding that Brown short-circuit the democratic process and ban fracking. The Center for Biological Diversity’s Rose Braz claims: “Fracking pollution threatens our air and water and Gov. Brown’s legacy as an environmental leader.”

The Green state is going brown.

In March, Gov. Brown said: “The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary. But between now and development lies a lot of questions that need to be answered.” Last month, he seemed to move even closer to supporting fracking: “This is not about just saying, ideologically, yea or nay. It’s about looking at what could be a fabulous opportunity. . . . And if you remember about oil drilling, oil drilling in Long Beach, which was really pioneered I think when my father was governor, poured I don’t know how many billions into higher education.”

California Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff supports developing the Monterey Shale. “While everyone is giddy about the on-time budget just passed, it does not do anything to pay down the state’s unfunded pension and health care system for state employees. If we had the revenues from Monterey Shale we could pay down that debt and truly build a high class education system to continue what Governor Brown’s father began.”

While Brown doesn’t take the doom-and-gloomers all too seriously, most of the state sees through the fearmongering, too. A recent poll found that 60 percent of Californians were in favor of properly regulated hydraulic fracturing. Only 30 percent said they prefer a ban. Generally Democrats opposed fracking while Republicans support it; those on the coast and in the San Francisco Bay area oppose it while support was highest in the central valley and in Southern California counties outside of Los Angeles. Support increased if it could be shown that fracking would reduce energy and gasoline prices. Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, states: “It’s clear that a majority of voters is comfortable with the procedure, as long as they believe appropriate regulation is in place.”

Of the flurry of bills aimed at either explicit or de facto moratoria on fracking, one did make it out of the Senate after the author agreed to remove the fracking moratorium provision to get the bill to the Assembly. SB 4 originally called for comprehensive regulations and a fracking moratorium until January 1, 2015 — by which time the guidelines would be in place. The bill’s author, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) — usually an environmentalist ally, describes the bill: “This is not a bill to ban, prohibit or regulate hydraulic fracturing. It’s to provide transparency to the public.”

Investors are now buying up property in the regions surrounding the Monterey Shale, knowing that development will mean economic recovery and a need for new housing and services. The gang Green is losing to greenbacks.

Once again, energy could make California great.


Obama's Enormous Climate Lies

By Alan Caruba

Putting aside Obama’s intention to further reduce our nuclear arsenal as articulated in his June 19 speech in Berlin, he has solidified his position as the World’s Greatest Liar with his statements about climate change, aka global warming, which he called “the global threat of our time.”

Let us stipulate that the global threat of our time is the rise of Islamic fanaticism in its pursuit of a worldwide caliphate. It threatens some six billion of the world’s population that represent other faiths. It is on the rise throughout the Middle East and into northern Africa’s Maghreb. It has cells in South America and it threatens the lives of millions of Americans if the jihadists acquire nuclear arms.

Regarding the President’s call for nuclear disarmament, veteran journalist Bill Gertz observed that “The president is using a new term to support his earlier disarmament call back in 2009 in Prague, and it’s called ‘peace with justice’ which has a very Marxist-Leninist ring to it. All the rhetoric of the communist groups around refer to peace with justice, (and) now the president has employed it for the first time.”

Obama continues to conjure up global warming despite overwhelming evidence that it does not exist. Dubbed “climategate”, revelations in 2009 made clear that a small group within the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were deliberately falsifying their climate models.

There is nothing that humans can or should do regarding the Earth’s climate. It is a force that is so vast and powerful that calls for renewable energy, energy conservation, and a “carbon tax” on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are utterly false, a danger to human life, a threat to global economic development, and the work of scoundrels and charlatans.

At present, there has been no warming for almost seventeen years. The Earth is in a natural cooling cycle as the result of another natural cycle, the reduction of the Sun’s radiation that warms the Earth.

“For the grim alternative affects all nations,” said Obama. “More severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise.”

The President is lying!

In his 2008 speech in Chicago’s Grant Park following his election, Obama said, “It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America”

The change has been, not just the election of the first black American as president, but the first president to consistently lie to Americans. The change he has wrought in his first term and is seeking to bring about in his second includes the largest seizure and nationalization of the American health system in our history and a “stimulus” that wasted billions of dollars that accomplished nothing to reduce unemployment and avoid economic stagnation.

Obama’s promise of change has reduced America’s standing in the world as the protector of peace and his decisions have helped advance the spread of the Islamic jihad.

It has produced a war on coal, the energy resource that, prior to his taking office, provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans use every day. It has reduced access to oil and natural gas on federal lands. Obama will pursue more action in the name of climate change in the form of more regulation of power plants, new subsidies for so-called clean energy, and other big, futile, farcical, and costly government programs

Obama’s administration has given us scandals from “Fast and Furious” to the failure to come to the aid of our ambassador to Libya in Benghazi; the revelation that the IRS engaged in a deliberate program against Tea Party, patriot groups, and even Jewish organizations. It has reduced and degraded the U.S. military with programs to permit homosexuals to serve and women to be in combat units. An outbreak of sexual assaults—26,000 and most men-on-men—in the military has resulted.

In Berlin, the President said, “Our generation must move towards a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late, that is our job; that is our task.”

On June 25, he will announce new executive orders to implement “climate change” mandates in the face of congressional resistance. He says it will be “my vision for where I believe we need to go—a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.”

Carbon dioxide is not “pollution”; it is, along with oxygen, the other gas most vital to all life on Earth.


Don't take air conditioning for granted

Rachel Lucas reports from Italy

I’ve mentioned before we have no air conditioning because this is Italy and either A/C just doesn’t exist or if it does, you use it at your own financial risk to the tune of about 600 euros a month. Well in the last week or so, it’s reached that time of year that this means I AM IN HELL PLEASE KILL ME GOD. You think I’m being dramatic, you turn off your A/C next time it’s 92 degrees in your town, and also move to a country where there are no air-conditioned stores or restaurants for you to go hang out in. Oh and also you don’t have a car to drive anywhere in air conditioned bliss; you have to walk everywhere, including the grocery store. And then you gotta haul all that shit back on foot to your no-air-conditioning apartment. You could take public transportation but guess what, even if it advertises itself as “cooled”, it certainly is not, and you get to spend that ride standing squashed up against hundreds of other sweaty, cranky individuals.

La dolce vita, I keep hearing this called.

This is the life progressives envision for America, as well.

Energy – electrical and gasoline – used to be cheap in America. Heat in winter and cooling in the summer was available to almost everybody. And it could be again, but for the lying con artists pretending that simple human comfort is damaging the planet.

You’ll note that all of the Ruling Class who preach this gospel have air-conditioned everything, right?


British summers will be as hot and dry as 1976, the Met Office said three years ago... and now they're predicting a soaking decade

They haven't got a clue

The Met Office has been accused of damaging the UK’s tourism industry over its prediction last week that Britain faces the likelihood of a decade of soggy summers – because just three years ago it told us to prepare for repeats of the drought of 1976.

In May 2010 its climate extremes scientist Eleanor Burke warned we would roast in the summer months and be faced with tap water bans.

Yet last week yet another glimpse into the future by Met Office experts and colleagues from leading UK universities suggested rainy summers are on the cards for the foreseeable future.

Three years ago The Met Office said hose pipe bans would be needed because of continually hot and dry summers

Back in 2010, Ms Burke said the nation should brace itself for a repeat of the extraordinary 16-month drought period up to August 1976 when some parts of England suffered 45 days in a row without rain, and temperatures stayed at 90F (32C).

Emphasising the need to expect the worst, Ms Burke said preparations should include ‘designing buildings to cope with the heat, putting in place emergency plans in hospitals and schools, growing heat-resistant crops and (imposing) hose pipe bans’.

Even more recently – in January 2012 – the government’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment, compiled with the help of Met Office scientists, predicted a decrease in summer rainfall over coming decades and sizzling sunshine that would persuade holidaymakers to stay at home rather than head for the Mediterranean.

But last week meteorologists at a Met Office conference into climate change in Exeter said a warmer North Atlantic meant Britain faced a higher chance of wet summers for up to ten years.

Now tourism bosses have accused the experts of driving UK holidaymakers abroad by presenting ‘academic machinations’ as reliable weather predictions.

One even suggested delegates to last week’s conference should be made to bet their pensions on a decade of soggy summers if they were so sure of their claims.

The anger has emerged most strongly in the South West – the most popular holiday-at-home destination for Britons – where tourism leaders say a bad summer forecast wipes out £300million worth of income in Devon and Cornwall alone.

Visit Cornwall head Malcolm Bell, said: ‘I wish that these so-called experts would keep their mouths shut.

‘In recent years the Met Office got the “barbecue summer” wrong, the hosepipe ban wrong – their credibility is shot. So why not just shut up.

‘If you run a campsite or have a seaside business it’s a massive problem. People thinking of a holiday are driven abroad or simply don’t bother.

‘A bad summer forecast brings a five to ten per cent drop in business. That’s a loss of £300million to Devon and Cornwall and a lot of jobs and businesses on the line.
Pictured, a flooded road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Tourism experts say businesses could lose money after the latest warning about soggy summers. Pictured, a flooded road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

‘Are the forecasters prepared to put their salaries and pensions on that? Somehow I doubt it.’

He added: ‘There is absolutely no certainty in long-range predictions. They are just academic machinations but when they emerge they fuel British paranoia about the weather.’

The North West, Britain’s third most popular domestic holiday destination thanks to the Lake District, is less weather-dependent.

But Ian Stephens, of Cumbria Tourism, said long and medium term forecasts had ‘real potential to damage UK tourism’.

‘Meteorological organisations need to work with the tourism industry to better understand how weather influences the tourism decision-making process.’

Last night a Met Office spokesman said: ‘New research suggests long-term Atlantic currents may be playing an important role in wet summers.

‘These are understood to operate on cycles of a decade or more, and it appears we are well into the “wet” phase of this cycle. That does not mean every summer will be a washout.

‘We have worked with the tourism industry to provide detailed forecasts for 5,000 resorts, beaches and attractions so visitors can plan their day out with confidence and make the most of the great British weather come rain or shine.’


Cheap Energy: A Human Right Killed By Bad Obama Math

A few months ago, in his State of the Union address, President Obama proudly pledged to tackle climate change—despite opposition from Republicans. To date, precious little action to combat climate change has been seen from the White House—which pleases most Republicans and angers the left.

Environmental activists are some of Obama’s most ardent supporters, but they are frustrated and losing patience with the president. He hasn’t been definitive on killing the Keystone pipeline; as the Washington Post reports, he’s “fallen back from the broad clean energy agenda he envisioned when he first took office”—even to the point of supporting natural gas exploration and recently approving Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals that will increase demand by shipping US natural gas to foreign markets; and he seems to have acquiesced to a fossil fuel future by proposing adaptations to make “coastal communities more resistant to increasingly severe storms and floods.”

The environmental community wants to see bold steps toward a fossil-fuel free future.

Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, groused: “On climate, we’re worse off than we were when the president’s second term started.”

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is calling on the president to “outline exactly how he plans to combat global warming by 2016.”

In a new campaign being launched by the NRDC, filmmaker Robert Redford states: “Four months ago, President Obama spoke of our obligations to combat climate change, saying failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Ads from the NRDC feature Redford challenging Obama to live up to the “courage of his convictions.”

Even those within his own party are pressuring the president.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has called climate change “the issue of our time.” He believes that Obama should announce the implementation of strong regulatory steps that will “revive this great issue.” Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) recently pushed the president to oppose the pipeline—despite polling that shows the vast majority of the public supports it: “I encouraged him to follow through on the correct policy position, suggesting polling numbers aren’t always in support of smart policy.”

With his base is looking for immediate remedies, his popularity is plunging, and more negative news is hitting the airwaves every day, an announcement—as Whitehouse wants—of “strong regulatory steps” to “revive this great issue” could be advisable. It would give environmentalists the aggressive action they are itching for and divert the discussion from the various scandals plaguing his presidency.

Instead, when the White House made a decision to raise the social cost of carbon emissions by 60%—which will have a costly impact on the economy with wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone pipeline, there were no optics: no fanfare, no press conference, no announcement.

Tucked into a rule about microwave ovens’ efficiency standards (With everything going on in the world, we are worrying about microwave ovens?), is an increase in the figure the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The “so-called social cost of carbon,” represents the “approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops.” The Daily Caller describes this social cost of carbon dioxide emissions as “a monetary estimate of the damages caused by carbon emissions” that “all federal agencies must use when formulating regulations.” The White House Office of Management and Budget raised the cost of a metric ton of carbon from the current $23.80 to $38.00 in 2015—which gives the administration “justification to be more aggressive than they otherwise would be,” explained Jeff Holmstead, air quality chief at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

It seems that this “determination” was intended as appeasement to Obama’s agitated base while not damaging his falling popularity—though it probably fails at both.

Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University who published a book about the economics of global warming calls the social cost of carbon: “the most important number you’ve never heard of.” According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, he said: “This is a very strange way to make policy about something this important.” And added, “The Obama administration ‘hasn’t always leveled with us about what is happening behind closed doors.’”

Why bury “something this important” in an afternoon announcement about something that is virtually insignificant? The answer, I believe, is found in a small piece of the Washington Post story cited previously. Apparently, the White House’s own research found that when Obama, in his State of the Union speech, “vowed to act on climate change if Congress refused to do so,” a focus group’s “favorability” rating “plummeted.” White House transcripts reveal that Obama knows that “the politics of this are tough.” At an April fund raising event at the San Francisco home of billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer, Obama defended his lack of action on climate change: “if you haven’t seen a raise in a decade, if your house is still $25,000, $30,000 underwater … you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your number one concern.”

As a result, his Organizing for America team—“formed to advance the president’s second term agenda”—has been laying the “groundwork with the American public before unveiling a formal climate strategy.” Teasing out the increase in the social cost of carbon was likely part of the strategy, intended to test the waters ahead of the planned climate announcements from the White House. Likewise, his comments in Berlin, where he reintroduced the subject, calling climate change “the global threat of our time.” The next day, headlines read: “Obama to renew emissions push.” It is believed that the new “measures to tackle climate change” will “effectively ban new coal-fired power plants”—to which I add, will effectively ban “cheap electricity.”

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that US power generation is, once again, using more coal—reversing the trend toward natural gas: “A flood of inexpensive natural gas led to the highest-ever use of that fuel for electricity generation while coal-fired electricity fell to its lowest level in a quarter-century.” Natural gas prices have been creeping higher and have pushed an increased use of coal in attempt to keep electricity costs as low as possible—after all, progressives and career environmentalists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhous, of the Breakthrough Institute, posit: cheap electricity is a public good and a human right that has saved the forests, produced more food on less land, and lifted incomes.

Wait, wait, wait! Regular readers of my affordable energy advocacy should give pause here. It is not me saying that cheap electricity is a basic human right—though I believe it, it is Shellenberger and Nordhous whose own biographies describe them as “leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics” and whose book, Breakthrough, has been called “the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”

In a treatise, that I believe should be required reading for everyone, titled: “Has there been a great progressive reversal? How the left abandoned cheap electricity,” they outline a historic shift that’s taken the left from being champions of the poor to being “developed-world progressives, comfortably ensconced in their own modernity.”

They explain: eighty years ago, “The best forests had been cut down to use as fuel for wood stoves. Soils were being rapidly depleted of nutrients, resulting in falling yields and a desperate search for new croplands. Poor farmers were plagued by malaria and had inadequate medical care. Few had indoor plumbing and even fewer had electricity.” Cheap electricity changed all that and Senator Al Gore Sr. fought for it.

Today, “Environmentalists demand that we make carbon-based energy more expensive” and the left calls it “A threat to the planet and harmful to the poor.” Shellenberger and Nordhous state: “In the name of democracy it now offers the global poor not what they want—cheap electricity—but more of what they don’t want, namely intermittent and expensive power” which “offers the poor no path to the kinds of high-energy lifestyles Western environmentalists take for granted.”

Believers in anthropogenic global warming, they acknowledge that “modernization” does have “side effects,” but they believe that these are problems that can be “dealt with.” They claim that “energy poverty causes more harm to the poor than global warming” and that “modern energy”—a term they use interchangeable with “cheap energy”—“makes the poor vastly less vulnerable to climate impacts.”

Shellenberger and Nordhous close their eye-opening commentary by stating that the 1.3 billion people who lack cheap grid electricity should get it. “It will dramatically improve their lives, reduce deforestation, and make them more resilient to climate impacts. … Any effort worthy of being called progressive, liberal, or environmental, must embrace a high energy planet.”

Their logic is tough to dispute. While I do not agree that global warming is a manmade crisis, I certainly support their conclusions about the importance of cheap energy as a human right and public good.

This whole line of reasoning, begs some questions:

· Why did the left abandon cheap energy? (Remember, in California, it was the rich, white Democrat representatives who voted to ban fracking while the black and Hispanics, in districts in need of jobs, didn’t vote for the ban.)

· Why is the Obama administration willing to make policy that will cause its favorability rating to “plummet,” raise the price of energy, and disproportionately hurt the poor?

· Why does America continue subsidies that emphasize activity rather than outcomes and continue to follow the failed energy policies of socialist Europe?

Your answers to these questions should scare you and bring another question to your mind: How do we stop this and save America?




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


23 June, 2013

Temperature has been higher at similar levels of CO2 to today

The recent paper below shows that, in the geologic past, summer temperatures were about 10°C warmer than today, even though the concentration of atmospheric CO2 was similar. Which shows that you cannot do exactly what Warmists claim to do: Predict temperature from CO2 levels

Pliocene Warmth, Polar Amplification, and Stepped Pleistocene Cooling Recorded in NE Arctic Russia

By Julie Brigham-Grette1 et al

Understanding the evolution of Arctic polar climate from the protracted warmth of the middle Pliocene into the earliest glacial cycles in the Northern Hemisphere has been hindered by the lack of continuous, highly resolved Arctic time series. Evidence from Lake El’gygytgyn, in northeast (NE) Arctic Russia, shows that 3.6 to 3.4 million years ago, summer temperatures were ~8°C warmer than today, when the partial pressure of CO2 was ~400 parts per million. Multiproxy evidence suggests extreme warmth and polar amplification during the middle Pliocene, sudden stepped cooling events during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, and warmer than present Arctic summers until ~2.2 million years ago, after the onset of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. Our data are consistent with sea-level records and other proxies indicating that Arctic cooling was insufficient to support large-scale ice sheets until the early Pleistocene.

Science 21 June 2013: Vol. 340 no. 6139 pp. 1421-1427

LA Times editorial is straight propaganda: No facts, no reasoning, but some lies

They write as if global warmning is going on -- even though Warmist heavies like Pachauri and Hansen admit it stopped 17 years ago. How do they reconcile that fact with their first sentence below? They do not try. They also point to recent extreme weather events but make to attempt to compare the recent frequency of such events with frequencies in past periods. No mystery why. Dr. Goebbels would be proud of them

Early predictions made by climate scientists — back when much of the nation was still dubious about any kind of greenhouse effect and many denied it existed — are coming true even more quickly than expected. Although no single weather event can be laid at the door of global warming, more extreme weather throughout the nation, such as tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes in the Northeast, already is upon us, as are worsening dryness and fire seasons in the West.

Not all of the effects of climate change are expected to be negative. Certain warm-weather crops will grow in states that were once considered too cold, scientists say. But even those will demand adjustments. Farmers who shift from one crop to another, for instance, will be forced to learn new techniques and make new investments in equipment.

All of this requires first admitting reality, then planning for it and investing in the infrastructure needed to protect against the worst effects and take advantage of the new possibilities.

These might be as sweeping as planning out sources of water for the West — including desalination plants and more recycling and required efficiency in water use — or as specific as a community identifying cooled buildings where the elderly and other fragile people can go during prolonged hot spells and providing transportation to get them there. It might also include planning for crop losses and other flood-related damage in the Northeast, where precipitation has increased 67% over the past 50 years, or building levees and drainage.

Expensive? Very. But the price of doing nothing would be far greater. And that's worth remembering when President Obama releases his expected proposal for reducing the carbon footprint, which will almost surely include new restrictions for coal-burning plants, the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Adjusting to climate change will require clear thinking and significant investment, but if the nation sticks its collective head in the sand, it will find that sand covered by rising seas.


Obama Readying Emissions Limits on Power PlantsL

President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday. The move would be the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries.

Electric power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the country, responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With sweeping climate legislation effectively dead in Congress, the decision on existing power plants — which a 2007 Supreme Court decision gave to the executive branch — has been among the most closely watched of Mr. Obama’s second term.

The administration has already begun steps to restrict climate-altering emissions from any newly built power plants, but imposing carbon standards on the existing utility fleet would be vastly more costly and contentious.

The president is preparing to move soon because rules as complex as those applying to power plants can take years to complete. Experts say that if Mr. Obama hopes to have a new set of greenhouse gas standards for utilities in place before he leaves office he needs to begin before the end of this year.

Heather Zichal, the White House coordinator for energy and climate change, said Wednesday that the president would announce climate policy initiatives in coming weeks. Another official said a presidential address outlining the new policy, which will also include new initiatives on renewable power and energy efficiency, could come as early as next week.

Ms. Zichal said none of the initiatives being considered by the administration required legislative action or new financing from Congress.

In a speech in Berlin on Wednesday, Mr. Obama echoed his assertive talk on climate policy since his re-election, talk that some climate advocates have criticized as going beyond his actions. He said the United States and the world had a moral imperative to take “bold action” to slow the warming of the planet.

“The grim alternative affects all nations — more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise,” Mr. Obama said. “This is the global threat of our time.” He added, “We have to get to work.”

Republicans criticize Mr. Obama’s climate policy as government overreach that is holding back the economy. Some Democrats, including those hawkish about climate action, also worry that tough new standards on power plants could slow job growth and raise energy costs, particularly in places like the industrial Midwest that depend on cheap power from coal.

But administration officials signaled that Mr. Obama had decided the risks from climate change outweighed the potential economic and political costs from taking steps to address it.

“He is serious about making it a second-term priority,” Ms. Zichal said at a forum Wednesday in Washington sponsored by The New Republic magazine. “He knows this is a legacy issue.”

Ms. Zichal suggested that a central part of the administration’s approach to dealing with climate change would be to use the authority given to the Environmental Protection Agency to address climate-altering pollutants from power plants under the Clean Air Act.

“The E.P.A. has been working very hard on rules that focus specifically on greenhouse gases from the coal sector,” she said. “They’re doing a lot of important work in that space.”

She did not specifically mention standards for existing power plants, but other senior officials have said in recent days that Mr. Obama has decided to start work on such regulations.

A 2007 Supreme Court decision gave the E.P.A. authority to regulate greenhouse gases, and it has already done so for vehicles. Environmental advocates said that addressing power plant pollution must be the centerpiece of any serious climate policy.

“To paraphrase Joe Biden, this is a big deal,” said Daniel F. Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, an advocacy organization. “Nothing he can do will cut greenhouse gases more.”

Last year, the E.P.A. proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power plants that would essentially ban the construction of any additional coal-fired plants. The administration was required to complete that regulation by mid-April, but it missed the deadline in a sign of the pitfalls of such complex rule making. The E.P.A. has not said when it expects to complete the rules.

The timing of the new policy on existing power plants is driven in large part by the timetables the Clean Air Act sets for a major rule-making. The law requires the agency to publish proposed guidelines. States are then required to submit plans for meeting the guidelines, which the agency must review and which the public must be allowed time to comment on.

“All of that takes time, and we’re in a race against time,” said Vickie Patton, general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund.

Regulation of existing power plants is further complicated by the pending nomination of Gina McCarthy to become E.P.A. administrator. Ms. McCarthy has for the past four years run the agency’s office responsible for enforcing the Clean Air Act.

Senate Republicans are holding up her nomination over unrelated issues. Republicans and industry leaders also worry about her intentions on power plant regulation. In a carefully worded statement, she told committee members during her confirmation proceedings that the agency “is not currently developing” any such regulations.

The administration has been quietly stitching together a suite of global warming policy measures for the president to unveil this summer to make good on promises in his election night acceptance speech, his second Inaugural address and his State of the Union address.

Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, and his deputy, Rob Nabors, have regularly met with cabinet secretaries and their deputies to adapt to a changing climate and to propose new measures that do not require Congressional action.

Mr. Obama’s coming speech is also expected to highlight measures that the Department of Energy can take to make appliances and industrial equipment more efficient and to reduce the energy wasted in public and private buildings.


Boehner: Obama’s Plan for Climate Change ‘Absolutely Crazy’

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) became angry when asked about President Barack Obama’s plan to unveil new regulations to combat climate change, saying it is “absolutely crazy.”

At a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, Boehner said, “I think this is absolutely crazy!”

“Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people are still asking the question, ‘Where are the jobs?’” he said. “Clear enough?”

Obama could release a “sweeping” plan to target carbon emissions as early as next week, and is considering first-ever limits on carbon dioxide from power plants.

According to Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, the package will target reducing carbon emissions from power plants, more rules for the energy efficiency of appliances, and expanding the development of clean energy on public lands.

“Peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet,” Obama said on Wednesday. “The effort to slow climate change requires bold action.”

Obama said, “We have to do more” to bring down carbon emissions, and promised, “we will do more.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already proposed new emission standards that will make it “nearly impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant in the United States.”

The EPA rule—which would limit newly built power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions to 1,000 pounds-per-megawatt-hour—has been delayed, but if instituted would result in the shut down of 280 coal-fired generating units, according to a report.


Hydroelectric Power and Renewable Portfolio Standards

Shriek! Dams! They are only efficient source of renewable power but Greenies hate them. But maybe retrofitting existing dams might pass

Several states are taking second looks at the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) they passed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

An RPS requires utilities to obtain a specified percentage of their power from renewable sources by a certain date. Twenty-two of the 29 states with such mandates have considered changing those laws in the past two years.

States such as Connecticut and Montana have recently amended their RPS mandates by allowing more hydroelectric power to qualify as renewables. Missouri (HB 44), Oregon (SB 121), and Washington (SB 5431) are currently considering similar legislation.

Hydropower generates electricity by harnessing the rechargeable motive power of the water cycle, making it just as much a renewable resource as wind, solar, or biomass. Unlike wind and solar, hydropower is not intermittent, so it requires no fossil fuel backup generators that create greenhouse gas emissions. States that generate a large percentage of their electricity from hydroelectric power, such as Washington and Idaho, have some of the lowest electricity prices in the nation.

Fifty-six percent of U.S. renewable-generated electricity already comes from hydropower, while 28 percent comes from wind and just 1 percent from solar. Opponents say letting hydropower count toward RPS mandates will hurt development of wind and solar, which are significantly more expensive and thus less attractive to producers and consumers. RPS mandates makes electricity more expensive for ratepayers and removes the incentive for renewable energy producers to cut their own costs, inhibiting the rate at which they scale up.

Of the 80,000 dams in the United States, less than 3 percent are used to produce power, presenting an enormous opportunity to expand renewable energy by adding generators or retrofitting existing dams that were built without power-production capability. Market advocates say including all renewable sources in RPS mandates will create competitive pressure on wind and solar to reduce costs and scale up.

If lawmakers want to lower energy costs, encourage innovation, and reduce emissions, they should repeal all mandates and subsidies and create a level playing field for all energy sources. Government should not pick winners and losers, especially in the energy arena. Barring outright repeal of RPS mandates, their negative effects can be reduced by making them more inclusive and flexible.


Researchers in Finland have found a way to combat global warming: Reindeer!

Could Rudolf be the solution in the fight against disastrous global warming?

Researchers at the University of Turku, Finland, have found a way to protect humanity from dangerous global warming - Reindeer!

According to Professor Lauri Oksanen of the University of Turku, grazing by reindeer keep arctic vegetation in check, thus reducing the solar heat absorption that leads to a self-reinforcing cycle of climate change.
Snow cover and mostly barren tundra reflect large portions of the sun's rays. When darker shrubs and trees spring up in arctic areas they absorb more energy, heating up their surroundings and the earth's atmosphere.
Researchers in Finland have now carried out a comparison between an area in Norway where reindeer are not allowed to graze in the summer, and a similar area in Finland where grazing reindeer have kept shrubs and tree from growing.
They have found that the heat radiated by the overgrown area in Norway is at a much higher level.
"The heat difference between what happens there and in the Finnish area during three spring months, March, April and May, would be enough to melt a cubic kilometre of ice. That is no small matter,” explains Professor Lauri Oksanen.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


21 June, 2013

Comment on a very hairy Dutchman

Richard Tol is a very skeptical man, an economist and rather blunt, though not as blunt as I am. I am sure we would enjoy drinking schnapps together, or maybe just beer.

But he seems not to have a clue about the type of dispassionate writing required for academic journals. Or perhaps dispassion deserts him when he is discussing fraud.

I am referring to his rebuttal of "Mr 97%" John Cook (2013) a rebuttal which was recently rejected by ERL. ERL would always have found some reason to reject Richard's paper but Richard made it easy for them. His paper was blatantly political and was full of speculation (about "fatigue", for instance). ERL was right to reject it. I would have sent it back for revision, however, as there was a lot of solid data in it that stood by itself as an effective rebuttal of the Cooker. In my days writing for the academic journals I got about 40 critique articles published on politically loaded topics so I think I am a reasonable judge of what is required there.

Anthony Watts has put the paper up so you can judge for yourself. I am rather cross with Richard for spoiling the presentation of his basically sound work. I would encourage him to delete the problem passages I mentioned and resubmit to another journal. Just the first paragraph of his paper would have sufficed as an introduction, for instance. If properly done, the journal editor should not be able to guess the opinions of the author.

And when you have put up some statistics showing that the other guy is a complete fool, you don't say: "This guy is a complete fool". You say: "These discrepancies may be some cause for concern".

UPDATE: I should perhaps have mentioned for the benefit of newcomers to this topic that there have been a lot of comprehensive demolitions of young Mr. Cook's work -- e.g. here -- but getting them into the academic literature is very uphill. No matter what the merits of the piece, journal editors will rarely publish what they do not want to publish.

Nettles not fully grasped in Britain

A speech to the House of Lords by Viscount Ridley

My Lords, I begin by declaring an interest in coal-mining on my family’s property, as detailed in the register, but I shall not be arguing for coal today but for its most prominent rival, gas, in which I have no interest.

I thank my noble friend the Minister for her courtesy in discussing the Bill and welcome the fact that the Government have grasped the nettle of energy policy, especially on the issue of nuclear power, after the deplorable vacuum left by the previous Government. However, I am concerned that we are being asked in the Bill to spend £200 billion, mainly on the wrong technologies, and that we will come to regret that. We are being asked to put in place a system that will guarantee far into the future rich rewards for landowners and capitalists, while eventually doubling the price of electricity and asking people to replace gas with electric space heating. That can only drive more people into fuel poverty.

We have heard a lot about the needs of energy investors and producers. We have not heard enough about consumers. If the industry gets an 8% return on the £200 billion to be spent, just two offshore wind farms or one nuclear plant would be declaring profits similar to what British Gas declares today. That will be an uncomfortable position for the Government of the day.

The Bill is a dash for wood and wind —two medieval technologies —and it is twice as big as the dash for gas of the 1990s. Between 6 and 9 gigawatts will have to be built a year for the next 16 years, compared with 2 gigawatts a year during the dash for gas. I am not sure it can be done, let alone affordably. In the case of biomass, the only way we can source enough is by felling trees overseas. As the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, said, Drax will soon be taking more than 40 trains a day of wood pellets from North America. That is not energy security.

Under the Bill, “‘low carbon electricity generation’ means electricity generation which in the opinion of the Secretary of State will contribute to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases”.

Shades of Humpty Dumpty: a word means just what I choose it to mean. We are being asked to pretend that the most carbon rich fuel of all, wood, is not a source of carbon. According to Princeton University, trees used for biomass electricity generation increase carbon dioxide emissions by 79% compared with coal over 20 years and by 49% over 40 years, even if you replant the forest. We are through the looking glass.

Offshore wind, meanwhile, is a risky technology with a track record of engineering problems, sky- high costs, disappointing lifespan and problems of decommissioning. At the moment, we generate less than 1% of total energy, or 6% of electricity, from wind, despite all the damage it has already done to our countryside and economy. We are to increase that to something like 30% in just a decade or so, may be more if nuclear is delayed. It is a huge gamble, and if it fails, the only fallback is carbon capture and storage, a technology that has repeatedly failed to meet its promises at all, let alone affordably, a point made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Liddell.

Even if this wood and wind dash is possible, under the contract for a different system proposed in this Bill, while better than the renewable obligations that preceded it, the subsidy to renewable energy will quadruple by 2020. That is only the start. On top of that, there are system costs for balancing the unpredictability of wind; transmission costs for getting wind from remote areas to where it is needed; VAT; the carbon floor price; not to mention the cost of subsiding renewable heat and renewable transport fuels. Hence, at a conservative estimate, the Renewable Energy Foundation thinks that we will be imposing costs of £16 billion a year on our hard-pressed economy for several decades.

Why are we doing this? We are doing this because of four assumptions that were valid in 2010 but, as my noble friend Lord Lawson pointed out, are no longer valid to the same extent. First, we assumed we would not be acting alone, so we would not damage our competitiveness. Instead, not only is there no longer a Kyoto treaty, but China is planning to build 363 coal- fired power stations; India 455. On top of that, the European trading system has collapsed to less than €5 a tonne of carbon. Our carbon floor price is more than three times that: £16 a tonne, rising to £32 a tonne in 2020 and £76 a tonne in 2030. Acting unilaterally in this way does not save carbon emissions. It merely exports them and the jobs go with them. Northumberland’s largest employer, the aluminium smelter at Lynemouth, has closed with the loss of 500 jobs, almost entirely because of carbon policies.

The second assumption behind the Bill was that the cost of gas would rise, thus making the cost of energy rise anyway. The Committee on Climate Change said recently in a report that:

“Consensus projections are that gas prices will rise in future”.

This remark has been described by the utilities team at Liberum Capital as “genuinely amazing” in the light of recent events. Now that we know that gas prices have plummeted in the United States to roughly one-quarter of ours, thanks to shale gas; now that we know that Britain probably has many decades worth of shale gas itself; now that we know that enormous reserves of offshore gas near Israel, Brazil and parts of Africa are going to come on line in years to come; now that we know that conventional gas producers such as Russia and Qatar are facing increasing competition from unconventional and offshore gas; now that we know that methane hydrates on the ocean floor are more abundant than all other fossil fuels put together and that the Japanese are planning to explore them; in short, now that we know we are nowhere near peak gas, it is surely folly to hold our economy hostage to an assumption that gas prices must rise.

We will need the gas anyway. The intermittent nature of wind means that we will require increasing back-up and we cannot get it from nuclear because it is not responsive enough to fill the lulls when the wind drops. Far from replacing fossil fuels, a dash for wood and wind means a dash for gas too, only this time we will have to subsidise it because the plants will stand idle for most of the time and pay a rising carbon floor price when they do operate. Having distorted the markets to disastrous effect with subsidies to renewables, we are now being asked, under the capacity market mechanism, to introduce compensating countersubsidies to fossil fuels.

The third assumption was that the cost of renewables would fall rapidly as we rolled them out. This has proved untrue and, indeed, as the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies has shown, the cost curve for renewables inevitably rises as the best sites are used up, not least in the North Sea. I am told by those who work in the offshore wind industry that, at the moment, the industry has every incentive to keep its costs up not down, as it sets out to strike a contract with the Government. They will not have to try very hard. Even at low estimates, offshore wind is stratospherically expensive.

The fourth assumption on which this Bill is based was that the climate would change dangerously and soon. Once again, this assumption is looking much shakier than it did five years ago. The slow rate at which the temperature has been changing over the past 50 years and the best evidence from the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation about climate sensitivity are both very clearly pointing to carbon dioxide having its full greenhouse effect but without significant net positive feedback of the kind on which all the alarm is based. The noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, and the noble Lord, Lord Stern, both mentioned Professor Myles Allen and they will be aware, therefore, of his recent paper, which found significantly reduced climate sensitivity. If that is the case, the dash to wind and biomass may well continue to do more harm to the environment as well as to the economy for many decades than climate change itself will do.

However, leaving that on one side, as my noble friend Lord Lawson said, the argument against subsidising wind and biomass does not depend on a benign view of climate change. It stands powerfully on its own merits, even if you think dangerous climate change is imminent. In 1981, my noble friend Lord Lawson, ignoring the prevailing wisdom of the day, as he sometimes does, decided against the predict-and-provide central planning philosophy and instead embraced the idea of letting the market discover the best way to provide electricity. The result was the cheapest and most flexible energy sector of any western country.

We have progressively turned our backs on that. Under this Bill, the location, the technology and the price of each power source is determined by one person—the omniscient Secretary of State. Recent occupants of that position have an unhappy history of not making wise decisions. Remember ground source heat pumps? They do not work as advertised. Remember electric vehicles? They have been a flop. Remember biofuels? They have caused rainforest destruction and hunger. Remember the Green Deal? Must we go on making these mistakes?

We have returned to a philosophy of picking winners, or rather, from the point of view of the consumer, of picking losers. Not even just picking losers, but hobbling winners, because of the obstacles we have put in the way of shale gas. America has cut its carbon emissions by far more than we have, almost entirely because of shale gas displacing coal. By pursuing a strategy that encouraged unabated gas, we could halve emissions and cut bills at the same time. Instead, I very much fear we will find we have spent a fortune to achieve neither.


UK electricity prices almost twice as expensive as Germany within three years

Electricity prices in Britain may be almost double those in Germany within three years due largely to the impact of a new tax aimed at supporting renewable power generation, a report by bank Credit Suisse has claimed.

The bank's analysis showed wholesale prices, which form the backbone of energy bills, would top those in Germany by 85pc in 2016-17 and would be higher in general for the next seven to 10 years.

The bank blamed the roughly fivefold rise in the government's new tax on carbon-dioxide emitting power generation over the next seven years, while also pointing to Britain's lack of infrastructure to import power from the European mainland.

Prices in the two countries had tracked one another for years, but they diverged last year as Germany spurred a boom in renewable energy generation by pouring billions into subsidising the green sector.

The Credit-Suisse figures show that in the winter of 2016/17 UK power prices will trade at an 85pc premium to German equivalents, compared with a 25pc divergence currently.

"Our analysis suggests these differentials will continue for the next seven to 10 years," analysts at the Swiss bank said in a report to clients.

The Government introduced the mandatory tax on carbon emissions at £4.94 per tonne of CO2 earlier this year, adding to the carbon charges already in place under the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

The two costs calculated together will rise to £30 per tonne in 2020, an expense which will significantly increase British power prices, Reuters reported.

German power prices have fallen on the back of the boom in solar and wind power but the government has now moved to rein in subsidies in recognition that the expansion may have come too fast given concerns over profitability and problems with managing the flow of green energy.

Seeking to learn from that, the UK model is to cap the value of subsidies annually in the hope that taxing carbon heavily will encourage the market to invest more in the renewable sector.

But Credit Suisse said the net effect over the next decade would be to cap the growth of renewable capacity.

The lack of substantial interconnection capacity with other countries also means that the UK will not benefit from the effect of low prices on the mainland, they added.

Higher wholesale power prices in the UK have led to much better stock market performance by UK utilities compared with those in mainland Europe over the past 18 months.

Share prices in UK power utilities have increased around 28pc over the period, while European stocks are down 8pc.

SSE is the Credit Suisse's top pick for shares to buy due its diverse range of generation fuels and its business exposure in Britain as well as Ireland.


More GM crops means more nature reserves, says British minister

A big expansion of genetically-modified crops in Britain could lead to the creation of more nature reserves

The Environment secretary will say on Thursday that using GM will make use of farm land and “free up space for biodiversity, nature and wilderness”.

In a speech to make the moral case for GM foods, Mr Paterson will stress how “the farmer benefits, the consumer benefits, the environment benefits” from GM crops.

Officials briefed that if current GM food restrictions were lifted it would also mean that the price of some foods will come down in the shops.

Mr Paterson is battling to persuade officials in the European Union to lift current rules which only allow one type of maize to be grown in the UK.

Britain is pushing for scores of GM crops to be given the green light by EU regulators, including herbicide tolerant maize and sugar beet.

The Environment Secretary’s speech comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said last weekend that Britain should take a new look at GM food as part of efforts to make the UK a pro-science country.

In his speech, Mr Paterson will link increased use of GM crops with freeing up more land for nature reserves. This is because GM crops have a better yield and so means that a smaller area of land would need to be planted.

He will say: “Used properly GM promises effective ways to protect or increase crop yields. It can also combat the damaging effects of unpredictable weather and disease on crops.

“It has the potential to reduce fertiliser and chemical use, improve the efficiency of agricultural production and reduce post-harvest losses.

“If we use cultivated land more efficiently, we could free up space for biodiversity, nature and wilderness.”

He will refer to research from Rockefeller University which suggests that more extensive use of GM crops “combined with improved agricultural practices across the world, could release an area 2.5 times the size of France from cultivation”.

He will say GM crops are “safe and cost effective” adding: “Farmers wouldn’t grow these crops if they didn’t benefit from doing so.

“Governments wouldn’t licence these technologies if they didn’t recognise the economic, environmental and public benefits.

“Consumers wouldn’t buy these products if they didn’t think they were safe and cost effective.”

He will add: “While the rest of the world is ploughing ahead and reaping the benefits of new technologies, Europe risks being left behind.

“We cannot afford to let that happen. The use of GM could be as transformative as the original agricultural revolution was. The UK should be at the forefront of that now, as it was then.”

Mr Paterson’s expected comments were welcomed by the GM industry. Professor Maurice Moloney, Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research, said: “We are very happy to see clear leadership on this issue from Secretary of State Paterson.

“GM crops and the use of biotechnology in agriculture has been effectively on hold in Europe for many years.

“The Government's initiative puts the UK back into a leadership position in Europe on this issue and will promote a rational approach to the adoption of technologies that our farmers want and need in order to maintain their competitive position in world agriculture.”

But critics were sceptical about Mr Paterson’s claims. Lord Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association, said there is no evidence any GM crops provide higher yields. He said that yields could even be lower, meaning more land is taken up.

Lord Melchett, who was arrested in 1999 when he was present at an environmental protest against a GM crop trial, also said it was worse for wildlife. He said the Government's own five year farmscale testing in 2004 had found that GM was worse for wildlife.

He said: “It is dinner party gossip he [Paterson] is coming out with not science and not policy.”

Pete Riley of GM Freeze said it would difficult to export GM crops to our main markets in the EU as consumers on the Continent are against the technology and the EC insist it is on the label.


From red peril to green panic

America’s military industrial complex once chased communists. Now it obsesses over CO2 emissions

For some years, America’s armed forces, intelligence apparatus and police have listened into and infiltrated environmentalist groups. In 1997, in fact, FBI director Robert Mueller, who is still in post today, declared that environmental and animal rights agitators perpetrating criminal acts were among the agency’s ‘highest priorities’ in terms of dealing with domestic terrorism. Those priorities explain why, for instance, police in Nebraska collaborated, just last month, with TransCanada, the firm responsible for the proposed Canada-through-to the-Gulf-Coast Keystone XL pipeline. The joint mission? Profiling activist critics held likely to engage in the destruction of property and ‘monkeywrenching’ – throwing a spanner in TransCanada’s works.

So there’s long been lots of spying on Greens in America. Moreover, top leaders and experts in security matters have also long warned, in print, about the possibility of social unrest over environmental issues; and they have also long insisted on the need to control such unrest. Yet there’s a paradox here. Though the American state targets Greens, its geopolitical and strategic visions of the future reveal a conceptual framework that is deeply green. When the Pentagon and its allies draw up a forecast, what dominates the authors’ imagination are two old green bogeymen – disasters caused by climate change, and wars over scarce natural resources.

The nightmares are legion. Published in May 2010, President Barack Obama’s National Security Strategy contains no fewer than 23 references to climate change, and identifies it, along with pandemic disease and transnational crime, as a major threat to the global order. Or take the US National Intelligence Council’s December 2012 prospectus, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. Two of its four ‘megatrends’ for the next 17 years are about the world’s increasing population, its growing urbanisation, and the strains this will put on supplies of food, of water and of energy. Notably, the forecast suggests that, in a kind of feedback effect, climate change itself will ‘worsen the outlook’ for the availability of these three resources.

Of course, as in the past, such Mosaic roadmaps of the future do envisage wellsprings of upheaval that are economic, social, religious and patriotic, not just environmental. But in their growing obsession with environmentally based upsets to come, the US militarists have drawn closer than ever to Green thinking. The US state may wish to paralyse what the depleted remnants of the international left are pleased to term New Social Movements – ineffectual, anti-leadership outbursts that flaunt a modish antipathy to capitalism, globalisation, environmental damage and industrial sectors which can be termed Big. Equally, however, the US state shares the very same apocalyptic and Malthusian premises from which those ‘movements’ begin.

A one-eyed view of war in the twenty-first century

American securocrats have a naturalistic take on the world of the next few decades. For them the forces of nation or class, which motivated intelligence assessments throughout the twentieth century, are now jostled with by climate change and resource shortages. The spooks fear that, at home and abroad, global warming will increase the incidence and intensity of droughts, floods, hurricanes and perhaps, after 24 people died in minutes in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, of tornados as well. In this scenario, civil breakdown and unprecedented mass migration tomorrow justify the vigilance and mobilisation of armed force today – both outside and inside the US.

In May 2007, the US Congress commissioned a National Security Assessment of Climate Change. Nor was Congress unique in seeking counsel here: in the same month, an influential group of advisers to the German government submitted a 248-page report to it on Climate Change as a Security Risk. At the peak of the panic years of the noughties, such alarmist accounts of the likely impact of climate change were, perhaps, to be expected. Yet while anxiety about climate change in mainstream government and among the public has since ebbed away around the world, paranoia about climate in military circles has continued unabated.

In decades gone by, the US military shared some of the US environmentalism’s worries about America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and its worries, too, about the vulnerability to terrorist attack of nationwide American energy grids (2). By 2009, too, it was already clear that the West would manipulate the issue of climate change to try to control the pace and direction of growth in the East (3). Yet now things have moved on again. Impressionism about climate’s effect on weather in the US seems to have combined with impressionism about the East’s demand for oil, minerals and other commodities to produce a new wave of panic at the Department of Defense.

In meditating relatively less on nuclear conflagration and more about an overheated planet that runs out of the basics, the US military, always charged with guarding against risk, has picked up all the sensibilities of environmentalism. Under a Democratic Party president, it could hardly be otherwise. Nevertheless, the armed wing of the state in the US still betrays a tremendously one-eyed view of war in the twenty-first century. Could wars of the future have anything to do, perhaps, with America’s willingness to meddle, on humanitarian grounds of course, in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria, the better to legitimise its domestic rule and insulate it from dissent? Might wars of the future also have something to do with the increasing arbitrariness in international relations nowadays, given that the resolute, unambiguous, goal-driven search for raw materials, markets and cheap labour no longer informs aggressive foreign policy postures in quite the way it did a century ago? About these causes of wars, we hear nothing from America’s far-sighted security prophets.

Their willingness to look the other way and instead focus on squabbles originating from the fate of the Earth’s ecosystems is all the more remarkable, given that environmental stresses are, if anything, not on the rise at the rates they were. After all, though the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has passed 400 parts per million (ppm), and world energy-related emissions of CO2 increased 1.4 per cent to a record high in 2012, there is good news: moving out of coal-fired power and into gas-fired electricity generation has helped cut US emissions, while the emissions increase in China, though a large amount, was one of the lowest in 10 years. Similarly, the pressure on resources has abated somewhat. Earlier this month, the US Energy Information Administration published bullish estimates of non-US reserves of shale oil and shale gas, suggesting that, respectively, they had added an extra 10 and 48 per cent to technically recoverable reserves of conventional fossil fuels. And, for a year or more, US politicians have barely been able to contain themselves about the unlikely prospect of America enjoying complete independence from external suppliers of oil and gas.

All of this is of little moment to the martial authorities in the US. One might observe that, just as turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, securocrats have no interest in playing down the military implications of environmental problems – any more than the CIA had an interest, just before the end of the Cold War, in predicting the fall of the Berlin Wall (4). But it would be more telling to observe that 10th-grade economics, in which a world of finitude is simply consumed by a growing and ever more greedy population, infects the US authorities as much as it does the world’s Greens.

Conclusion: agreeing with the Greens they crack down on

In all the rumpus about America’s National Security Agency (NSA), whingeing over invasions of individual privacy has tended to eclipse debate on the US state’s surveillance of larger, political organisations. In Britain, certainly, the willingness of the US tax authorities to harass members of the Tea Party, for example, has taken second place to the revelations of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. But there can be no doubt that, as part of a wider culture of fear in Western society, the American state conducts plenty of electronic eavesdropping and human intelligence work on all kinds of radicals: not just on rather anarchist protesters like Occupy Wall Street, but also on green campaigners of every stripe.

Why, though, does the US state bother to do this covert and sometimes overt repression of its environmentalist critics? No doubt it exaggerates both the current and the putative influence of the more militant, ‘direct action’ end of American environmentalism just as much as it exaggerates the danger of Islamic terrorism on American soil. Yet if the peaceful language and street tactics of most of American’s environmentally-minded folk hardly inspires fear, that isn’t quite to the point. For the US state, as for very many environmentalists, narratives of the future forever revolve around a turbulent hell of shocking weather events and dog-eat-dog scraps over food, water, minerals and fossil fuels – and preparations must immediately be made for every possible consequence of that hell (5).

The only remaining question is why the US state represses environmentalists when it agrees so much with their ecological starting point. But that is just the issue: having lost a real opponent in the old Soviet Union, the US state now thrashes around trying to find new ones in Chechen losers (the Boston bombers), and also in environmentalists with whom it actually has a lot in common.

Bogged down in and trying to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s military could use some traction. From belligerent Bashir Assad in Damascus to limp opponents of fracking in the US, anyone can be drafted in to provide that traction. What lies before us with US spooks is not omniscience based on mass surveillance, but arbitrariness based on losing the plot and lacking a clear objective.


Government regs hurt passenger rail

Michael Barone

That’s the message of this paper from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The writers point out the American safety regulators require passenger rail cars to be much heavier than European regulators do. But over the years, they say, the European cars have proved just as safe, and perhaps more so.

The problem is that Amtrak and other passenger rail authorities set out to provide higher speed service, they can’t buy rail cars commonly used in Europe. Cars must be custom designed–which has produced real problems, as those Amtrak encountered with the Acela. It also means that American rail cars can’t go as fast as European cars can. European models, they say, could get from Washington to New York in two hours and 15 minutes. The Acela takes half an hour longer.

I’ve been skeptical about most U.S. high-speed rail projects. But perhaps the changes in regulation the CEI authors advocate could make it feasible in more places. It sure would be nice if a day’s DC-NY round trip took four and a half hours rather than five and a half.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


20 June, 2013

Meet the little nobody from Texas with big power at EPA

He dropped out of nowhere and landed with a crash in the director's seat of the Office of Environmental Justice at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Matthew S. Tejada, 33, Texas-born Latino, Ph.D. (History, Oxford University, 2006) and five years as a community organizer (like the young Barack Obama), was appointed director by former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in January.

Jackson pushed Matt Tejada through Big Green's revolving door from Air Alliance Houston, which was suing the EPA (Tejada's signature is on the notice of intent to sue), leapfrogging him over EPA insider candidates.

The chair of EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council welcomed Tejada as "an unpleasant surprise," according to Inside EPA.

Tejada is another Big Green plaintiff-turned-EPA defendant like Al "crucifier" Armendariz and his flip from WildEarth Guardians to an EPA regional director with a lawsuit pending, the perfect setup for a sue and settle deal.

Tejada's unexpected hiring alarmed industry leaders fearing a radical with power, and jolted the national environmental justice movement -- they didn't know this little nobody from Texas.

Who is this guy? He's actually a big somebody in a segment of the movement known as "environmental justice" or sometimes "environmental equity."

EJ denizens are Big Green's ambulance chasers, building constituencies in "Poisoned Places" -- as areas like the Mississippi River shorelines near New Orleans are claimed to be.

EJ activists are community organizers among the poor and minorities who live near refineries and industrial complexes in "fenceline communities," blame their ills on industry, and demand reform -- and, in some cases, free relocation.

EJ groups are small but their constituencies -- not members -- comprise many thousands. Tejada's six-employee Air Alliance Houston (with a $9,000 EPA grant) has a web of group affiliations and admirers that is truly astounding.

Matt Tejada's backstory is an epic of network building. It shows plainly in the lawsuit his AAH filed against EPA -- with three other groups -- including close friends, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, formerly a project of the far-left super-networked Tides Foundation. Private foundations are a powerful networking force in Big Green.

LABB is a money machine (over $1 million in 2011-2012, including over $168,000 in EPA grants) that empowers communities using a five-gallon bucket, plastic bag, and air pump rig anyone can use to take air samples as "scientific" evidence of pollution. The samples have proven unreliable, but fence-line communities, the media and donors love the politically powerful gimmick.

Ironically, of the $1.7 million in foundation grants to LABB, over $400,000 came from the Marisla Foundation, based on the Getty Oil fortune.

The bucket idea came from Tejada friends in the California-based LABB affiliate, Global Community Monitor ($726,000 in foundation grants), with chapters in over 20 states and several countries worldwide.

Denny Larson, founder and executive director, got the bucket idea in 1995 with the Refinery Reform Campaign before it reorganized as GCM. "We use science, but only in the service of organizing," he wrote in a 2006 handbook. Politics rules.

Tejada's Air Alliance Houston shows his organizing skill: He began as the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention and convinced Mothers for Clean Air to merge, blending their constituents into AAH.

He convinced a foundation based on the fortune of a developer instrumental in building the Houston Ship Channel to give AAH over half a million dollars.

He routinely piggy-backs with dozens of other groups, including the Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter and the Environmental Defend Fund. Hundreds of thousands of constituents.

America lost 66 oil refineries 1990-2010, closed by regulations that sapped their capital. Do not underestimate the "little nobody." Unelected, unaccountable Matt Tejada's pro-regulation constituencies are bigger than the EPA.


U.S. conservatives Reach Common Ground On A Carbon Tax, And That's The Problem

A much-anticipated carbon tax debate in Washington D.C. last Thursday brought some much needed clarity to assertions that conservatives should or indeed do support a carbon tax. The timing of the debate couldn’t have been better, as Senate leaders announced on that same day the Senate will hold hearings on a carbon tax next month.

Advocating for a carbon tax were Bob Inglis and Andrew Moylan. Inglis is a former Republican congressman from South Carolina who was trounced in the 2010 Republican Party primary – 71 percent to 29 percent – even though he was running with all the advantages of the incumbency. The seeds of his defeat were sown when he frustrated grassroots conservatives by frequently advocating for liberal programs. Moylan is a senior fellow with the recently formed R Street Institute. R Street advocates for free markets while frequently working closely with environmental activist groups.

David Kreutzer and I took the stage opposing a carbon tax. Kreutzer is a research fellow in energy economics and climate change at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Only a relative few conservatives support a carbon tax under any conditions. Conservatives understand there are many troubling aspects of such a levy. Also, conservative legislators understand that voters will severely punish them if they support a carbon tax. Reasonable minds can disagree about whether the totality of Inglis’ congressional voting record qualified him as a conservative, but his shellacking in the Republican primary despite all the advantages of the incumbency shows what happens to self-professed conservatives when they support such troubling policies as a carbon tax.

By the end of the debate, the two opposing sides reached some very significant common ground. Most importantly, Inglis and Moylan conceded several prerequisites had to occur before they would support a carbon tax proposal. Those prerequisites include (1) a carbon tax must be revenue neutral, with all collected revenues offset by reductions in payroll taxes and capital gains taxes (and NOT offset by liberal “targeted” tax cuts), (2) government must scrap all existing and planned regulations and restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, (3) government must eliminate subsidies for low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources and (4) government must impose similar tax penalties on other energy sources, such as appropriate tax penalties on wind turbines for bird kills and land conservation shortcomings, and solar thermal power for water depletion.

The debate clarified that those four prerequisites are absolutely crucial and non-negotiable, even among carbon tax supporters. Take any one of those prerequisites away, Inglis and Moylan pledged, and they will vigorously oppose a carbon tax. This is a very, very important point that must be emphasized each and every time the assertion is made that some Republicans or conservatives support a carbon tax. Inglis and Moylan agreed these are not initial wish-list items that are subject to negotiation. Instead, these are non-negotiable prerequisites that must be guaranteed in stone before any serious discussion of a carbon tax can occur. Any proposal that does not guarantee all of these prerequisites up front is a non-starter, Inglis and Moylan agreed.

The prerequisites that Inglis and Moylan require bring us closer to agreement on the overall question of a carbon tax. Nevertheless, serious obstacles remain.

First, there is every reason to believe liberals will consider it a political non-starter to provide an equal amount of tax relief in the form of payroll taxes and corporate gains taxes. Once conservatives signal that a carbon tax is in play, liberals will morph any proposed payroll tax relief and corporate gains tax relief into either new spending commitments or “targeted tax relief” that merely fund liberal causes. Inglis and Moylan insist they will only support a revenue-neutral carbon tax swap that provides across-the-board payroll tax cuts and corporate gains tax cuts, but there is no way liberals will allow this to happen.

Second, government would very likely jack up taxes soon after a carbon tax swap even if liberals did agree to an initial revenue-neutral tax swap that reduced payroll taxes and capital gains taxes. Our federal budget deficits remain alarming, our federal debt continues to grow, and it is quite unlikely that liberals will allow the spending cuts necessary to rein in our deficits and debt without tax increases. Ultimately, liberals will beat the drum for more taxes and will likely get them. Any short-term tax relief gained in a tax swap will be quickly abandoned. We will be left with the double whammy of higher taxes throughout the economy and new, punitive taxes discouraging utilization of our most economical, affordable energy sources.

Third, the whole point of a carbon tax is to discourage the use of inexpensive carbon-intensive energy sources. Yet when a carbon tax induces power providers to switch to expensive low-carbon or no-carbon energy sources, government collects no carbon taxes and therefore provides no carbon tax relief. The economy suffers as it is punished by expensive low-carbon and no-carbon energy, yet consumers and taxpayers receive no compensatory tax relief because the economic punishment is taking the form of higher energy prices rather than carbon tax collection. The high costs of a carbon tax will greatly exceed the limited compensatory tax relief promised.

Fourth, Inglis and Moylan did not provide a carbon tax rate or a formula to determine the rate. Once conservatives agree to a carbon tax, liberals and global warming activists will almost certainly use junk science, use junk economics and engage in political games to claim the highest possible negative externalities for carbon dioxide and place the highest possible price on carbon emissions. Accordingly, a carbon tax will not put a fair and accurate price on carbon dioxide’s negative externalities, but will instead punish and induce the abandonment of affordable energy sources far beyond what is economically and environmentally justified.

Fifth, the net effects of carbon externalities are beneficial rather than harmful. Carbon dioxide itself is fertilizer for the biosphere. As we add a little carbon dioxide to the trace amounts already in the atmosphere, crop production increases, trees and grasslands flourish and deserts recede. Moreover, a warmer planet has always benefited human welfare more than a cooler planet. Indeed, during the past several decades as our planet modestly warms and continues its recovery from the Little Ice Age, tornadoes have become less frequent and severe, hurricanes have become less frequent and severe, droughts have become less frequent and severe, crop production has set all-time records, etc. Any asserted negative externalities to carbon dioxide-induced global warming must also take into account the demonstrated benefits of global warming. The net equation is positive, rendering a proposed carbon tax economically unjustifiable and foolish.

Sixth, liberals will not abandon EPA regulations and other heavy-handed carbon dioxide restrictions. We can entertain ourselves and engage in an exercise of wishful thinking regarding a carbon tax that nullifies such heavy-handed government programs, but there is no way that liberals and global warming activists will agree that EPA cannot regulate and restrict carbon dioxide emissions. In the real world, a carbon tax will come in addition to – rather than instead of – EPA regulations, presidential executive orders and other costly and restrictive government programs for which there is no tax relief.

Seventh, liberals will not abandon subsidies for wind power, solar power, etc. See my sixth point above.

Eighth, Inglis and Moylan provided no formula for determining similar taxes to account for the negative externalities created by wind turbines and other low-carbon and no-carbon energy sources. Just as liberals and global warming activists will almost certainly assign a much higher price on carbon dioxide externalities than is economically or environmentally justified, they will almost certainly assign a much lower price on wind power, solar power and biomass externalities than is economically or environmentally justified. Proof positive is the federal government’s stringent punishment of oil and natural gas companies if they inadvertently harm a few common birds compared to their giving a free pass to wind power companies that foreseeably and by design kill hundreds of thousands of birds each year including many endangered and protected birds such as bald eagles and California condors.

Ninth, to even begin a discussion on a carbon tax before receiving iron-clad guarantees on all of the Inglis and Moylan preconditions merely encourages, and indeed guarantees, an end product that meets few if any of the Inglis and Moylan preconditions. After Congressional horse trading is over and Congress enacts a punitive carbon tax that bears little resemblance to the terms and conditions of the carbon tax advocated by Inglis and Moylan, Inglis and Moylan will tell us, “Don’t blame us; THIS isn’t the type of carbon tax we advocated.” Nevertheless, it is foolish to assume or assign plausible credibility to the notion that liberals will not use the Inglis and Moylan proposal as cover to completely transform the plan, claim conservative support, and then pick off the few Republicans necessary to impose a carbon tax that bears little resemblance to what Inglis and Moylan are now advocating. Indeed, the media ALREADY publishes story after story claiming many conservatives support a carbon tax, without even hinting at all the prerequisites Inglis and Moylan pledge to require. Moylan and Inglis encourage the media to spread such inaccurate propaganda by calling media attention to a proposed carbon tax they realize, or should realize, will never in the real world meet their necessary prerequisites.

All of these points bring us back to the most important and emphasized factor in the debate – that each and every one of the Inglis and Moylan preconditions is a non-negotiable prerequisite for a carbon tax even among the few conservatives who may support one. Media reporters and global warming activists who claim many Republicans or conservatives support a carbon tax rarely mention these necessary preconditions, even though these necessary preconditions are not included in any of the proposals working their way through Congress. This is like conservatives saying “We will support a Joe Biden-Hillary Clinton ticket in 2016 if they support tax cuts, massive spending cuts and smaller, less intrusive government,” and then having the media spin this as “Even conservatives support a Biden-Clinton ticket in 2016.”

My greatest fear about the Inglis-Moylan carbon tax proposal is that by opening up the discussion to political mischief and the machinations of politicians, Inglis and Moylan will set into motion the imposition of a punitive tax that will bear little resemblance to the one they are proposing. This political mischief is foreseeable and unavoidable. Inglis, Moylan and any other self-professed conservatives cannot thereafter claim innocence when politicians morph their fragile, idealistic plan into a liberal bludgeon with which to punish consumer living standards, conservative principles and the U.S. economy. Conservatives should know better, which is why very few true conservatives support any form of a carbon tax.


Why Doesn't The Precautionary Principle Apply to Windmills?

On June 18th Jessica Marszelek posted an article titled, “Australia:Wind power 'terrorising' rural communities, rally hear”

She reports about 150 people who “turned up to a three-hour rally at Canberra's Parliament House”because of health concerns over windmills. They complain that windmills cause“a constant rumbling and pulsing in their heads and a feeling of oppressive anxiety they attribute to wind power.” She notes in the article that “everyday farmers upset with turbines in their communities.” Why?

She cites comments by a man named David Mortimer, “retired Naval electronics engineering officer and beef farmer” $12,000-a-year to allow these avian cuisinarts on their land, and 17 more are planned. Mr. Mortimer now claims that he “suffers night-time panic attacks, acute anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus, earaches, headaches and angina-like pains and his wife has dizzy spells”.

Doctors can’t find anything wrong, but the problems continue, and he claims that he gets “this sensation of absolute acute anxiety and it feels like someone is pushing an x-ray blanket over me and weighting me down into the chair and I can't get out.” He claims to feel as if he is on narcotics. He goes on to say; “We've got this constant turmoil, constant pulsing in our head, constant rumbling ... deep, drumming rumbling”, and is afraid the added windmills will kill them.

According to the article the “Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh dismissed the claims, saying no international research had attributed health impacts to wind power”, but one lady felt “there was not enough research into the effects of wind energy.”

Okay, so now why I’m I publishing this? I have no idea if more research needs to be done. I have no idea if these monsters of the skyline are causing any or all of the health problems of these people, but does anyone besides me see the huge lack of consistency in all of this?

Aren’t these the same kind of complaints, comments and anecdotal evidence put forward by the green movement regarding just about every chemical on the market? Aren’t these the same kinds of speculative, anecdotal arguments that prompted governments all over the world to pass anti-chemical regulations such as REACH in the European Union, which has been described as "a costly, burdensome, and complex regulatory system".

Now we have the REACH inspired Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (SCA),which is intended to replace Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), both promoted by former Senator Lautenberg. He stated that the“Congress will once again discuss modernizing the country's 35-year-old chemicals laws”. He also went on to say;"Our current law forces EPA to search for dangerous chemicals”"This bill puts a mandate on companies to confirm safety before chemicals reach the market." In short, he wished to once again impose the Precautionary Principle (PP), which promotes two concepts.

First, by PP standards all products must be proven safe before they can be used, which is physically and scientifically impossible and the greenies know it. It’s called proving a negative. Can’t be done! You can only prove what things do, not what they don’t do. It’s like demanding that a spouse prove they aren’t cheating on their mate. Secondly, the PP outlines the idea that even if there is no scientific evidence of harm, everyone should assume there is harm and forbid the sale and use of…..well…… just about everything.

As one writer noted: “In precautionary principle, no evidence is needed that something is harmful or even could be harmful. No plausible reason to believe it could be harmful is needed either. In many cases no amount of scientific evidence against the thesis that something is harmful ever seems to be reasonable to counter the argument that something is “not proven safe.” Good scientists are often reluctant to state something is “impossible” - for example, the designer of a nuclear reactor may be highly confident that the reactor will never melt down and that even if it did the containment vessel would hold the material. But despite this, the designer would understandably be reluctant to say it *cannot* happen. After all, it’s not impossible that the containment structure won’t be breached by a hit by a massive meteor, even if it is astronomically unlikely.”

This brings me to the thrust of my concern. Why aren’t these speculative and anecdotal adverse health claims by these citizens as important and the speculative and anecdotal health claims by green activists regarding chemicals? Why isn’t the PP being applied in this case?

We absolutely know these monsters are chewing up avian life to the tune of “573,000birds….each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons andeagles”, and that doesn’t include the massive destruction of bat life, which are also protected species.

Why? The reality of the green movement is they have no love of facts, and consistency of logic is totally alien to them because environmentalism is the secular religion of the urban atheist. They aren’t interested in facts or consistency of logic because they "know" what is needed for all of humanity. The PP is merely a tool used to promote every form of junk science they can think of in order to destroy every advancement mankind has made over the last 100 years. Advancements that have given us better, longer and healthier lives than any other time in history. We need to understand that and stop pandering to these people. Why is that so difficult to grasp?


British Warmists now predicting cold wet weather

Even Warmists eventually have to notice the actual weather!

As the prospect of another gloomy Glastonbury and wet Wimbledon looms, leading climate scientists have warned that the UK could be set for a further five to 10 years of washout summers.

The grim conclusion was delivered after an unprecedented gathering of scientists and meteorologists at the Met Office in Exeter to debate the range of possible causes for Europe's "unusual seasonal weather" over recent years, a sequence that has lasted since 2007.

Many will have hoped for news of sunnier times ahead. But after experts brainstormed through the day they delivered the shock finding that the UK could be in the middle of a 10-20 year "cycle" of wet summers. The last six out of seven summers in the UK have seen below-average temperatures and sunshine, and above-average rainfall.

Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre and professor of meteorology at the University of Reading, stressed that the finding was not an official long-term forecast and does not automatically mean the UK will now have a further decade of wet summers. But, he said, the scientists' conclusion was that the chances of this occurring are now higher than they first thought.

"Predicting when this cycle will end is hard," said Belcher, who led the meeting of 25 scientists. "We have seen similar patterns before – in the 1950s and the 1880s – and we have hints that we are coming towards the end of this current cycle. However, it might continue for the next five to 10 years. There is a higher probability of wet summers continuing. But it's very early days in trying to understand why this is happening."

More HERE (See the original for links)

Britain should reap the rewards of GM crops

A disastrous harvest ahead and poor productivity mean farmers need all the help they can get

In an era of plenty, we risk forgetting the importance of the harvest. Once, its failure would have been devastating, ushering in a period of penury and hardship. Yet today, with our supermarket shelves groaning all year round with exotic fruits, vegetables and umpteen varieties of bread, what is there to worry about? After all, we can always rely on other sources of food from across the world to make up a shortfall in our domestic production. One day we may have cause to regret such complacency.

This year’s UK wheat harvest has been ravaged by an exceptionally wet autumn and the coldest spring for 50 years. Reported production is down by one third and the expected yield of 11-12 million tonnes will be the lowest for a generation. Normally, Britain would be exporting 2.5 million tonnes of wheat, but this year we will have to import that amount. Oilseed rape, oats and sugar beet have also suffered. Yet this calamity has merited little national attention. There was much gnashing of political teeth in Parliament last week about the rising cost of living, without the connection explicitly being made to the potential impact of food prices on family budgets.

In fact, the additional reliance on imports will not necessarily push up prices because, globally, there has been a bumper cereal crop as a result of good weather in the American Mid-West, Australia and a beneficial monsoon in India. Here at home it was a different story, as waterlogged fields made sowing impossible. Of course, the effects of unusual weather are hard to combat and were even the subject of a Met Office summit yesterday to try to explain the recent lurches from drought to deluge. It is far too early to say that a new meteorological pattern has established itself over the UK, but if it has then cereal farmers might have to consider greater diversification. We will then become even more dependent on imports that are themselves subject to the vagaries of climate change.

But the poor harvest should focus attention on another issue: productivity. A recent report from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) highlighted “the lack of progression in UK average farm yields for wheat and oilseed rape”. Whereas yields increased rapidly between 1980 and 1996, since then they have stagnated, despite improved crop protection measures minimising loss from weeds, pests and diseases. The AHDB recommends earlier sowing to mitigate drought as well as better selection and management of cereal varieties.

There is, however, another approach that might improve productivity and that is a serious scientific exploration of the efficacy of genetically modified (GM) crops. In a speech tomorrow, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, will call for a renewed debate about the use of GM, which is severely restricted in the European Union. Only two crops, a pest-resistant maize variety and a potato that mainly produces starch for industrial uses, have been licensed by the EU, and neither is grown in the UK, though they are in Spain, Germany and France, albeit not widely. Even so, around the world more than 170 million hectares of land are under GM crops, sustained by 16 million farmers in 28 countries, with no reports of apparent damage to health or the environment.

Mr Paterson’s attempt, therefore, to get the EU to reopen this subject is eminently sensible, yet it has provoked outrage among eco-campaigners. The whole “Frankenfood” scaremongering has been revived and GM supporters are accused of being in the pockets of the big multi-national, agrochemical conglomerates such as Monsanto. The people who are against GM are invariably the same crowd who are in favour of wind farms and against nuclear power. They say man-made global warming will change the climate, thereby affecting food production. Yet they won’t countenance the scientific tests that might show GM is a safe way to improve crop yields without causing a real-life Day of the Triffids.

This strange neo-Luddism, often fuelled by anti-Americanism and a distrust of corporate power, has taken a grip on the national psyche ever since the BSE scare 15 years ago. In a recent YouGov poll, only 21 per cent supported GM technology, while 35 per cent opposed it. The people who produce the food are largely in favour, however. A Farmers Weekly survey found that 61 per cent of farmers would grow GM crops if they could.

I would guess that most people who object to GM have never given a great deal of thought to the science behind it and instinctively recoil from something that looks to be tampering with nature. But with the world population growing rapidly, Europe cannot continue to ignore technology that can protect crops against pests and drought. Moreover, many African countries have emulated the EU ban for fear of being shut out of European markets; yet Africa either needs to improve productivity or put more land under cultivation, which is far more damaging to the environment.

When this debate was last reopened a few years ago, Paul Collier, the development economist, wrote: “Europe can afford romanticism, but the African poor cannot… The GM ban has already persisted for 12 years: how much more hunger must be endured before it is faced down?” That question remains unanswered; and Mr Paterson and his colleagues face a monumental fight to turn public opinion around. A few more bad harvests, however, and the argument will be made for them.



Three current articles below

Climate BS ignores the facts

All sorts of bad things are happening as a result of climate change, according to the claims below. Problem: There has been no temperature change for 17 years. So all the problems listed CANNOT be a result of "climate change". They are natural

The cost of climate change on human health has Monday been hit home with a report by the Australian Climate Commission outlining the serious threat of extreme weather.

According to the report, heat causes more deaths than any other type of extreme weather event in Australia, and the country's hottest days are still getting hotter.

"Climate change is a serious threat to our health with the elderly, the very young, rural and indigenous communities and those with pre-existing medical conditions being particularly vulnerable," said Dimity Williams, general practitioner and spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA).

According to the report, the duration and frequency of heatwaves has been increasing and is projected to continue to do so in the future -- posing risks for Australians and putting additional pressure on health services.

"During a heatwave our body is placed under extreme stress and we can experience lethargy and heatstroke, with heart attack and even death effecting vulnerable people.

"During the 2009 heatwave in Victoria there were 374 excess deaths and a surge in demand for ambulance and emergency care," said Williams.

Climate change may also lead to various other health consequences for Australians and the global population.

Changes in temperature and rainfall may allow mosquito-borne illness like dengue fever to spread south in Australia, and air quality may also be affected worldwide with increased concentrations of ozone, fine particles and dust.

"Climate change will have far reaching consequences for health and will also lead to increases in certain types of air pollutants as well as airborne allergens like pollen. These have serious impacts on lung diseases like asthma and on heart disease," Williams said.

"As a GP who has many patients with asthma I am concerned that climate change will mean an increase in the frequency and severity of asthma attacks for my patients," she added.

Climate change and extreme weather are also reported to lead to mental health issues, with increased depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide and self-harm -- as seen in the wake of recent natural disasters in Australia.

Western Australian GP George Crisp added, "we are already seeing increasing mental health problems from the impacts of extreme weather events and changing rainfall patterns particularly in rural communities and in younger people."

The Climate Commission has previously announced that 2011-2020 is the critical decade for tackling climate change -- particularly for turning around rising emissions of greenhouse gases and stabilising the climate system.

"Climate change is making many extreme events worse in terms of their impacts on people, property, communities and the environment, " said Chief Commissioner Tim Flannery in a statement.

"Protecting the community means strong preventative action through deep and swift cuts in emissions this decade, to stabilise the climate and halt the trend toward more intense extreme weather, " he added.


No drink container deposit for Qld

And the Greens are peeved that their suspect survey was ignored

AN overwhelming majority of Queenslanders want a 10c cash-for-containers recycling scheme but the idea has been rejected by the State Government.

The Federal Government is investigating a national deposit scheme which would feature a 10c refund per can or bottle.

Greenpeace campaigner Reece Turner said a decision would be made within weeks on the issue, despite opposition from Queensland.

The Newspoll, which found 85 per cent of people in Queensland wanted the scheme, was commissioned by Greenpeace and recycling group the Boomerang Alliance. [I'd like to see the wording and sampling frame]

"With state leaders due to make a decision any time in the next few weeks, this poll should send a clear message that we have had enough of trash polluting our parks and waterways and killing our birdlife," Mr Turner said.

State Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the sticking point for any refund scheme was that someone had to pay for it.

"While the Newman Government is passionate about reducing litter and improving recycling rates, we do not believe increasing the cost of living is the best way to achieve that outcome," he said.

"Rather than increasing the cost of living for Queenslanders, this Government has introduced a range of initiatives to improve recycling rates and reduce litter."

These included boosted litter clean-ups, the rollout of a bin network and grants to help councils crack down on illegal dumping.

Clean Up Australia's Ian Kiernan backs the refund scheme, which is aimed at reducing litter.

Most packaging material would be returned either through current collection systems, collection depots such as charity bins or via the retailer.

Australians use 13 billion to 14 billion drink containers a year and Clean Up Australia estimates 45 per cent of the rubbish collected every Clean Up Australia Day is beverage-industry related.

Waste such as plastic and balloons launched at functions are devastating for creatures such as marine turtles and birds.

South Australia has had a container-deposit scheme since 1977 and has a recycling rate of cans and bottles of up to 85 per cent, while other states are less than half of this.

A similar scheme in the Northern Territory was stopped after Coca-Cola, Lion Nathan and Schweppes took the NT government to court.


Financing wind power in Australia

So then, just where do these huge subsidies go? Are they used to line the pockets of those who propose these renewable plants?

Well, no, not directly, but in the long run.

Let’s do a scenario, based on virtually every renewable power plant proposal.(and here I’ll use the most common, a Wind Plant)

Here you need to realise that ALL the costs for the plant are recovered from the sale of the electricity to the grid for consumption by, well, consumers of power from the grid, in those three sectors, Residential, Commerce and Industrial. Those costs are the up front Capital cost for the construction, (all of it associated with that) maintenance, wages, upkeep, and of course the profit margin, and everything associated with the Plant. That electricity is then sold to the grid, and the retailers then add on their extras, including their profit margin as well, so that’s why there is a large disconnect between the wholesale price and the retail price.

So then let’s have a wind plant around 500MW, around 250 towers. The most recent one proposed, that for King Island comes in at around $2 Billion. That cost has to be recovered from the sale of electricity, calculated over the (hoped for) 25 year life of the Plant.

However, as is the case with every renewable plant, Governments, both Federal (the larger amount) and States will chuck in up to half that cost, so now all the plant has to recover for the sale of their electricity is only $1 Billion, making it now obvious how the cost of the electricity generated seems cheaper, now the cost has been, umm, manipulated.

Now, on top of that, in that stage when the plant is, umm, negotiating with Government, a further subsidy is now worked out. The government will subsidise that wholesale cost of electricity by giving the wind plant operators a set amount per MWH for the electricity that they generate. So now, the wholesale cost of electricity has come down again, further making it seem cheaper to generate. As part of negotiations, it is further mandated that the retailers MUST purchase ALL the power generated from the wind plant, no matter when it is generated, so, as is often the case, anything up to half and more of that power is generated while we all sleep, when consumption is at its lowest, and the plants that run all the time cover all that consumption, so, given the chance, retailers would (naturally) purchase only the cheapest power for that period, and no be locked into having to purchase the expensive wind power, which is more often than not, not even being consumed, because the load is already being covered by those 24/7/365 plants with their infinitely cheaper electricity.

This adds to the retail price, but does not make wind cheap, and in fact seemingly gives the opposite impression, adding to the out of hours electricity wholesale cost by bumping up the average cost for those hours, making coal fired power seem to be more expensive.

The third subsidy is that now this is a renewable plant, they now receive renewable energy certificates for the power they generate, and these certificates can then be on sold to CO2 emitting plants to cover their CO2 emissions debt.

So, now we have three relatively large subsidies.

All are put towards that wholesale cost for electricity, lowering it significantly, and allowing now for any slight increase adding to the overall profit margin going back to the operators, if you can see that point, because even just a couple of dollars extra amounts to a huge amount, and THAT is what goes into the pockets of the operators.

However, this is not free money for these people. Someone has to pay. The governments (both of them) get their money back by now setting their part of the return from the retailers, thus adding to the cost of every consumer’s power bill.

This added extra comes in at around 14 to 16% of your total electricity bill, not just for you in the residential sector, but for the huge consumers, those in the Commerce and Industrial sectors.

So, while 14 to 16% (some people) may see as reasonable, here’s the rub.

That 14 to 16% extra on your power bill is for only 2 to 2.5% of the power actually being provided for sale.

So, while wind power seems cheap and coal fired and even gas fired power now seems more expensive, at each stage those costs have been artificially manipulated.

Either way, it’s not cheap, because all those original costs are being paid for, by you and me and everyone who consumes electricity, and commerce and industry overheads (their electricity bills) are all passed down to consumers anyway.

WE pay. WE pay. WE pay.

Now, while all these wind plant protests concentrate on bird and bat chopping, health problems, loss of visual aspect etc, and while these problems have their own significance, by far the biggest thing we should be concentrating on is CAPACITY FACTOR, and the total inability of Wind Plants to deliver their power at better than 30to 35%, and at intermittent times instead of for times when power is being consumed the most. Wind supporters and their lobbyists can fight those first mentioned problems by quoting a lack of published evidence, and how any and all of these are (quoted off the cuff in a dismissive manner) anecdotal. What they have no answer to is a direct question about that failure to deliver, Capacity Factor, and intermittence. This was classically shown last night in an interview between Ticky Fullerton and Morton Albaek from the Vestas Company, touring Oz at the moment to drum up business. When asked about Baseload, one fleeting question, he totally ignored it, continued with the meme and mentioned the overall MIX of electricity supply.

We pay an absolute Motza for wind power in ways we don’t even realise, and yet, at every step, we are told it is cheap, and in fact getting cheaper.

If all these subsidies were totally removed, watch how proposals for wind plants would disappear, and disappear ….. IMMEDIATELY.

This is an absolute con job, and no one even mentions it.

See how they are winning.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


19 June, 2013

Study: Antarctic ice melting from below

Not melting from top-down heat re-radiated by CO2?

In what represents the first comprehensive study of all of the frozen continent's ice shelves, researchers have found that basal melt, that is, melting from underneath driven by warm ocean waters, accounted for 55 percent of shelf loss from 2003 to 2008.

This figure is much higher than previously thought. Before this study, it was suspected that much of Antarctica's ice loss was the result of icebergs splitting apart and falling into the sea.

“We find that iceberg calving is not the dominant process of ice removal. In fact, ice shelves mostly melt from the bottom before they even form icebergs,” said the study's lead author, Eric Rignot, in a press release. “This has profound implications for our understanding of interactions between Antarctica and climate change. It basically puts the Southern Ocean up front as the most significant control on the evolution of the polar ice sheet.”

The findings, which appear in the current issue of the journal Science, will help scientists better understand how Antarctic ice loss will contribute to sea level rise. Antarctica holds about 60 percent of the planet's fresh water.

Dr. Rignot, a professor at University of California, Irvine, who also works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, found that fewer than a dozen small ice sheets was responsible for half of the meltwater. Antarctica's largest ice sheets, Ross, Filchner, and Ronne, which make up two-thirds of the continent's shelves, were behind only 15 percent of the melting.


Global Warming versus Rising Sea Levels?

Will climate change raise the sea level? If so, by how much? The issue, like many related to global warming, is far from settled. The principal data come from the long-term records, going back to about 1900, from about two dozen stations around the world—not as large a storehouse of information as we would like. Since issuing its first assessment report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reduced its estimated range of sea level rise from 10 to 367 centimeters (published in 1990), to 18 to 59 centimeters (published in 2007)—a lot less than the 600 centimeter (20 feet) rise predicted by Al Gore and James Hansen. But new data and analyses suggest that global warming might slow down a rising sea level, not accelerate it, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer.

The observed rise in sea level over the past century—18 centimeters (7 inches)—reportedly comes from two main sources: thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of continental glaciers. Contrary to popular lore, the polar regions, mostly Antarctica, seem to have helped keep the sea level from rising even more through precipitation and ice accumulation. This was reported in the IPCC’s second assessment (1996). Interestingly, however, it now seems clear that 1 F (0.6 C) warming of the past 100 years doesn’t explain the observed sea level rise. Other mechanisms, including the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), seem to be involved.

If so, then expect sea levels to continue to rise at about the same rate—even though global warming itself could contribute to slowing that rise, via its effect on precipitation and ice accumulation at the poles. “And there is nothing that we can do to stop this future sea level rise!,” Singer writes in American Thinker. “It is as inevitable as the ocean tides. Fortunately, coral reefs will continue to grow, as they have in the past, to keep up with SLR. The rest of us will just have to adapt to future [sea level rise], as our ancestors did some 10,000 years ago. At least we are better equipped with technology to deal with such environmental changes.”


"Progressives" Blame Capitalism Instead of Obama For Coal Bankruptcy

The American coal industry is in free-fall and companies are being forced to do whatever it takes to keep from closing their doors. It’s a difficult situation for all involved, and the progressive media is eager to levy the blame on the free market. Even when the facts suggest big government picking winners and losers is at fault, a good crisis never goes to waste for progressives, and thus those details are unabashedly ignored.

Case in point is a recent article published by the always fair and balanced Atlantic about the bankruptcy of the Patriot Coal Company. The article lambasted Patriot’s court-approved plan to avoid complete liquidation as a scheme to rob union members of their pensions. This narrative is narrow-minded and ignores the broader trends of what is really happening to the once-proud American coal industry.

The story hinges on a May 29th ruling that allowed Patriot to shed $1.6 billion in union retiree pensions and health benefits and replace it with a several hundred million dollar healthcare trust fund. The United Miners Workers Union was also given a 35 percent ownership in the company as part of the agreement.

There’s plenty of blame to go around here. Patriot Coal is a spin-off company of Peabody Energy. When the two companies separated, Patriot was stuck with 40 percent of the pension and benefits overhead while only receiving 16 percent of the former company’s capital. This is only one element of the story, but it's what the media has chosen to focus on entirely since it's the most convenient detail for their agenda.

They’re now running wild attacking capitalism as the culprit. Indeed the title of the Atlantic article is “This Is Capitalism Now: How a Coal Company Bilked 20,000 Workers Out of Health Benefits”.

Notably missing in the media coverage, however, is the real cause of Patriot’s bankruptcy: President Obama’s war on coal.

The Patriot Coal story is a textbook example of the way progressives escape accountability. We are meant to sympathize with the unions in their plight against the company. What’s ignored is the industry’s fight to survive the regulatory onslaught from the Obama administration and the union’s previously fervent support of the President’s campaign.

Notwithstanding Peabody’s actions, it’s outrageous to ignore President Obama’s stubborn determination to bankrupt the coal industry. Recall when then candidate Obama said in 2008, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” He added, “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can – it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

Following his election, Obama doggedly pursued his anti-coal agenda with cap-and-trade. After the legislation failed, he used the EPA to issue regulations that have dramatically reduced coal use.

According to the Energy Information Administration, in first quarter of 2011, 49 percent of electricity was derived from coal. That figure dropped to 34 percent one year later –- the year Patriot sought bankruptcy protection.

An analysis by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found combined EPA regulations are contributing to the closure of more than 280 coal power units. Further, the agency’s proposed greenhouse gas rule would essentially ban construction of any new coal-based power plants.

Investors can’t ignore these details like the media can. They are reacting to the reduced demand for coal as evidenced by crashing values of coal company stocks. Peabody stock, for example, was just over $70 per share in April 2011. It’s now selling for about $19.

Despite Obama’s pledge to bankrupt coal fired utilities, the United Mine Workers Union endorsed his campaign in 2008. Following the fulfillment of his openly hostile agenda against their jobs, the union elected to sit on the sidelines in 2012 instead of fighting for their livelihoods.

Now they’re reaping what they’ve sown.

Without coal leaving the ground and being burned to produce power, the coal producers can’t fulfill obligations made when coal demand was high and the regulatory regime wasn’t tyrannical.

Given this government’s explicit policy to bankrupt the coal industry, the media and unions are naïve if they are honestly surprised that Patriot is on the verge of bankruptcy. They have no room to criticize companies doing everything possible to prevent liquidation and the mass layoffs that follow.

The Atlantic’s exploitation of this story is just another facet of an all-out media assault on free market capitalism waged without regard to inconvenient facts that completely impeach their narrative.


Jiggery pokery in climate talks

In the final minutes of COP 18, the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatari vice prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah brought down the gavel — ending the COP and snubbing delegates of nations waiting to speak. Among them was the Russian delegation which was frantically waving papers in the air demanding to be recognized.

Russia has neither forgiven, nor forgotten.

When the UN climate talks opened in Bonn last week, Russia, joined by Ukraine and Belarus, blocked adoption of the agenda of the “Subsidiary Body for Implementation” (SBI). The SBI is the key negotiating track towards signing a UN climate treaty in Paris in 2015. The SBI has been unable to conduct any business in Bonn and has announced that it has suspended its business. This has prevented the UN from considering, among other items, advancing the loss and damage mechanism (see CFACT’s report) that was perhaps the most significant outcome agreed to in Doha.

Many developing nations are not happy at seeing “loss and damage” blocked, as it is a key pathway for those seeking a global warming route to wealth redistribution.

Russia has raised a much needed question as to whether there is a fundamental lack of fairness and due process at the UN climate talks. The Doha outcome, for example, was “agreed to,” but was it ever properly voted upon? Is it proper for the UNFCCC to allow major portions of the outcome of the climate talks to be drafted behind closed doors, present them at the 11th hour and then proceed based on a “consensus” rather than a recorded vote? Can the UN lawfully slam the gavel on any nation, such as Russia, and refuse to recognize them? Reuters reports that ‘Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, said a consensus was reached,’ but Oleg Shamanov, Russia’s head of delegation, called it an “absolutely obvious violation of the procedure.”

Reuters further reports that, ‘in 2010, Bolivian chief negotiator Pablo Solon claimed that security had blocked him from attending the talks, while a year later Venezuela’s envoy had to stand on a chair to voice her objections. Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s minister of forests and environment, said she was threatened and told not to object to any text at talks in Durban in 2011. “In the past we have very negative examples where procedures were not followed … and the culmination point was Doha. It’s unacceptable,” Shamanov said.’

If the UNFCCC successfully gets its climate treaty in Paris in 2015, the treaty will govern a tremendous portion of the economic activity of all mankind. Not billions, but trillions of dollars will be at stake. Nations will subordinate major portions of their sovereignty to the United Nations. Aside from whether the climate treaty is wise (it is not), can such a thing be created without due process? Without a vote? This would seem to contravene the principles upon which the UN was founded.

Those who stand for individual freedom and the due process which protects it owe Russia their thanks. Russia’s actions, however, appear to be largely self motivated. When al-Attiyah gaveled Russia down in Doha he wounded Russian pride — something Russia is historically willing to fight for.

A larger Russian motivation, however, appears to be what is being called in Bonn the “hot air” issue. Russia was not at all pleased when the UN COP pulled the plug in Doha on all the emissions credits Russia had acquired under the first Kyoto treaty and told Russia it couldn’t carry them forward. Russia, which has announced that it will not be part of a second commitment period for the Kyoto protocol and has signaled a reluctance to sign on in Paris, wants to keep its credits anyway. Russia would like to sell its old credits to the countries which do sign aboard and would be paid effectively for nothing but hot air.

European carbon markets have recently collapsed with the price of carbon hitting record lows. The UNFCCC believes that allowing Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other former Soviet bloc nations to retain the huge stockpile of carbon credits they picked up under Kyoto would relentlessly flood and depress the carbon market in perpetuity. The irony is that in effect, the former Eastern bloc nations are claiming credit and demanding compensation for Communism, which depressed their economic development. Many of the former Eastern bloc’s carbon credits accrued during their painful transition from Communism which temporarily depressed their economies still further. If any compensation is due for the harms caused by Communism, Russia should be paying, not receiving.

Poland, which will host UN COP 19 in November, has approximately 500m tons of carbon credits which it refuses to part with. Poland generates much of its power from coal and would like to use those credits both to offset the emissions from its use of coal and to continue to sell to other nations. Poland is estimated to have sold €190 million in credits to nations including Japan, Ireland and Spain.

Poland was a victim of Communism. Should Russia and the other nations of the former Soviet Union truly be compensated for the economic destruction wreaked by Communism? The absurdity of how money changes hands through UN processes apparently knows no bounds.

The good news is that the treaty negotiating track at the UN climate talks in Bonn is temporarily suspended, although Ms. Figueres vows to be back on track by Warsaw. The bad news is that there are very few “good guys” involved. The UN climate talks have become a place where radical ideology trumps science, consensus is gaveled into policy with little regard for due process and the nations of the world are bribed to go along with handouts of other people’s money.

Who do you suppose worked for the money that everyone at the UN is so anxious to redistribute?


EPA attempts to regulate urban development

Still no recognotion that "smart growth" has turned out to be dumb growth. You want to live in a tiny house jammed up against your neighbors? The EPA has a future for you! And these clowns actually think their "report" will be useful to people! Only to people with no brain of their own

Is there a "compact, mixed-use community" in your future? Probably. But it won't be near a "sensitive area" -- lakeside, riverside, seaside, forest or farm.

Many Americans may find themselves living in a TOD -- a "transit oriented development" -- where people can walk or bike from their (compact) homes to their jobs or the shopping center.

The advantages of such planned, future development include membership in political organizations and community groups, according to an EPA report released on Monday.

In 148 pages, the EPA advocates locating new development away from "sensitive areas," choosing previously developed sites near transit hubs instead. It advocates the construction of "compact, mixed-used communities" that are convenient for bicyclists and pedestrians; and the use of "green building" techniques, such as natural lighting to conserve energy.

The report accepts "climate change," exacerbated by "human activity," as an undisputed fact (page 65); and it includes a section on "Emotional Health and Community Engagement," which outlines the "benefit to communities when its members participate in political organizations, charitable activities, community organizations, and group recreational activities"(page 73).

“This report will be useful for communities across the country looking to make smart development decisions,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Whether it’s housing, transportation, or environmental issues, this report can help communities protect public health and the environment by avoiding harmful development strategies.”

The EPA says its report is "important and timely" because population growth and demographic changes will substantially change the way the United States is developed over the next half century and beyond. The report "provides information that can help state and local governments decide how to accommodate expected population growth within their borders in the most environmentally responsible manner."

The EPA notes that the U.S. population is projected to grow 42 percent between 2010 and 2050, from 310 million to 439 million. "These new people will need additional housing and infrastructure," it says. It estimates that as much as two-thirds of the development that will exist in 40 to 45 years does not exist today.

"These projected trends present an opportunity to improve the environmental performance of our built environment. Where and how we build new housing and infrastructure needed to accommodate projected population growth will have important environmental impacts."

According to the report:

"Where we build involves locating development in a region or land area. It includes safeguarding sensitive areas such as riparian buffers, wetlands, and critical habitat from development pressures; directing new development to infill, brownfield, and greyfield sites to take advantage of existing infrastructure and preserve green space; and putting homes, workplaces, and services close to each other in convenient, accessible locations.

How we build includes developing more compactly to preserve open spaces and water quality; mixing uses to reduce travel distances; designing communities and streets to promote walking and biking; and improving building design, construction, and materials selection to use natural resources more efficiently and improve buildings’ environmental performance."

The report is the second edition of a document first published in 2001.

Just last week, the EPA announced it will offer "technical assistance" to three towns or cities interested in "smart growth" strategies.

-- In Rhode Island, EPA officials will help North Kingstown and other R.I. communities "prepare for rising sea levels and reduce the potential impact of climate change on major public infrastructure, private sector investments, and other key economic assets."

-- In Arkansas, EPA officials will help Mississippi County capitalize on the potential redevelopment opportunities related to new steel manufacturing jobs coming to the region. "The project will identify neighborhoods that are best suited for expanding housing opportunities and minimizing commuting time to new jobs. The planning effort may also focus on updates to existing infrastructure, reuse of existing buildings, and development of new public spaces for existing residents and new employees moving to the region."

-- In Washington State, the EPA will work with local governments to a'identify infrastructure, workforce training, and other economic development strategies for encouraging redevelopment in a neighborhood and industrial area south of downtown Kelso, and to create guidelines for public investments that will improve health and equity for residents.a'

Since 2005, EPA says it has supported 36 "Smart Growth Implementation Assistance projects" serving 49 communities.


Australia: Wind power 'terrorising' rural communities, rally hear

FARMERS from across the country have described a constant rumbling and pulsing in their heads and a feeling of oppressive anxiety they attribute to wind power.

About 150 people from small towns across the country turned up to a three-hour rally at Canberra's Parliament House hosted by shock jock Alan Jones, who was keen to keep the tone polite.

In scenes very different to the infamous carbon tax protest on the same spot in 2011, where protesters held offensive placards including "ditch the witch", Mr Jones reminded those gathered "to be very peaceful and make sure the argument wins the day".

"So be careful of your placards and make sure they are all in very good taste."

He told the crowd companies were terrorising rural communities and if there were no issues with wind power, turbines should be erected in his home Macquarie Street in Sydney.

But the rally also heard from everyday farmers upset with turbines in their communities.

Retired Naval electronics engineering officer and beef farmer David Mortimer said he and his wife had been "wind turbine tragics" when they accepted a $12,000-a-year deal to host them on their land at Millicent, SA.

They now have four turbines 2.5km from their home they say have robbed them of their health and 17 more are planned for close by.

Mr Mortimer now suffers night-time panic attacks, acute anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus, earaches, headaches and angina-like pains and his wife has dizzy spells, although both have been cleared by doctors.

"I get this sensation of absolute acute anxiety and it feels like someone is pushing an x-ray blanket over me and weighting me down into the chair and I can't get out ... I feel like I'm on narcotics," he said.

"We've got this constant turmoil, constant pulsing in our head, constant rumbling ... deep, drumming rumbling."

"The new ones they want to put in are going to kill us."

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh dismissed the claims, saying no international research had attributed health impacts to wind power.

When away from home, the silence was like a vacuum, he said.

Lyn Jarvis, from Wellington, is fighting plans for turbines across from her NSW stud beef farm, said she was saddened to see so many people in her position.

"The wind industry, they brand us," she said. "I'm not a bloody activist, I'm a farmer. I don't want to be here. "We're not activists, we're trying to protect what's ours."

She said there was not enough research into the effects of wind energy.

Coalition senators who spoke promised an Abbott Government would review the renewable energy target that at least 20 per cent of Australia's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2020 and claimed wind energy was costly and received too many taxpayer subsidies.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


18 June, 2013

New paper finds the oceans are a net SOURCE of CO2

In a desperate attempt to save their theory, Warmists claim that the oceans are a carbon SINK

A new paper published in Deep-Sea Research finds the ocean is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere, the opposite of claims by climate alarmists that the ocean removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

According to the authors, "At the [research] site, the ocean is primarily a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, except during strong upwelling events." The paper also notes, "Astor et al.(2005) observed the interactions between physical and biochemical parameters that lead to temporal [over time] variations in fCO2 [CO2 flux from the] sea, finding that even during periods of high production, the CO2 flux between the ocean and the atmosphere decreased but remained positive, i.e. CO2 escaped from the ocean to the atmosphere."

The paper corroborates prior work by Salby, Humlum et al, Frölicher et al, Cho et al, Calder et al, Francey et al, Ahlbeck, Pettersson, and others demonstrating that man-made CO2 is not the driver of atmospheric CO2. This new work confirms the primary source of atmospheric CO2 is out-gassing from the oceans, which is due to decreased solubility with increased temperature.

Interannual variability in sea surface temperature and fCO2 changes in the Cariaco Basin

Y.M. Astor et al


We examined the variability of sea surface carbon dioxide fugacity (fCO2sea) and its relation to temperature at the Cariaco Basin ocean time-series location (10°30’N, 64°40’W) for the period from 1996 through 2008. Periods of warm (positive) and cold (negative) anomalies at the station were related to variability in coastal upwelling intensity. A positive temporal trend in monthly-deseasonalized sea surface temperatures (SST) was observed, leading to an overall increase of 1.13°C over 13 years. Surface fCO2 sea displayed significant short-term variation (month to month) with a range of 330 to 445µatm. In addition to a large seasonal range (58±17µatm), deseasonalized fCO2sea data showed an interannual positive trend of 1.77±0.43µatmyear−1. In the Cariaco Basin, positive and negative anomalies of temperature and fCO2sea are in phase. An increase/decrease of 1°C coincides with an increase/decrease of 16–20µatm of fCO2sea. Deseasonalized fCO2 seanormalized to 26.05°C, the mean Cariaco SST, shows a lower rate of increase (0.51±0.49µatmyear−1). Based on these observations, 72% of the increase in fCO2sea in Cariaco Basin between 1996 and 2008 can be attributed to an increasing temperature trend of surface waters, making this the primary factor controlling fugacity at this location. During this period, a decrease in upwelling intensity was also observed. The phytoplankton community changed from large diatom-dominated blooms during upwelling in the late 1990's to blooms dominated by smaller cells in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The average net sea [to] air CO2 flux over the study period is 2.0±2.6molCm−2 year−1 employing the Wanninkhof parameterization, and 2.1±2.5molCm−2 year−1 based on Nightingale's model. To further understand the connection between the changes observed in the Cariaco Basin, the relationships between interannual variability in the temperature anomaly with three modes of climate variability (AMO, NAO and ENSO) were examined.


"Drought" hits India

It must be drought. The Warmists have been predicting drought for years. With unusual floods in Europe and elsewhere as well, it sure is a wet drought, though

At least 23 people have died and 50 more remain missing after torrential downpours in northern India swept away roads, buildings and vehicles.

One building collapse today killed at least three people who were washed away when an entire apartment block toppled into a river, a government spokesman said.

Most of the destruction is concentrated in the state of Uttarakhand, where the Ganges river and its tributaries are flowing at dangerously high levels.

More than a dozen people have died in the state's Rudraprayag district alone, while another 50 people were missing, according to Amit Negi, an official in Uttarakhand.

Another landslide triggered by the monsoon rains buried a bus, killing three people in Almora district.

Adding to the crisis, many more people have been left totally stranded in their homes by collapsing roads and bridges.

Heavy rains in the foothills of the Himalayas mean many residents have abandoned their homes and possessions

More than 10,000 pilgrims on a mountain pass leading to a Hindu religious site had to be evacuated by helicopter after roads to the pilgrimage spot were unusable.

In response, army and paramilitary troops are leading efforts to rescue scores of people from the rooftops of their flooded homes.

The state government has prepared food parcels and drinking water pouches to be air dropped to villages cut off now that so many roads were washed away.

'The situation is very grim. The meteorological office has predicted that the rain will continue for another three days at least,' an official said today.

State authorities were also preparing to evacuate people from the worst-hit districts to relief camps, he said.

Flood warnings have been issued across Udhampur district and in the Hindu holy city of Haridwar as rivers breached their banks.

India's capital, Delhi, has also been hit by the heavy rains as many roads were flooded after recent blistering summer heat.


EPA Fantasies Dictating our Lives, Living Standards and Life Spans


Numerous articles document how European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people's jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats and human lives. Even the IPCC, BBC and Economist have finally recognized that average global temperatures have not budged since 1997. The EU economy is teetering at the precipice, people are outraged at the duplicity and the price they have been made to pay, the Euro Parliament has voted to end subsidies for its Emissions Trading Scheme, and the global warming and renewable energy false façade is slowly crumbling.

Ignoring this, alarmist scientists, eco activists and government bureaucrats are meeting yet again - first in Bonn, Germany June 3-14 for the 38th meeting of UN climate treaty promoters and wordsmiths, then in Warsaw, Poland November 11-22 for 19th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are determined to hammer out a new treaty, demanding more restrictions on fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions, before the tide turns even more inexorably against them.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency is issuing more anti-hydrocarbon regulations and more statements detailing the coming horrors of "dangerous manmade climate change."

Two points must be kept uppermost: the global warming "disasters" exist only in computer models, Hollywood movies and alarmist assertions; and the "preventative measures" are worse than the disasters.

The issue is not whether greenhouse gases "contribute to" climate change. Scientists acknowledge that. The only relevant issues are: How big a contribution? Do these gases now dominate planetary climate variation, supplanting the solar, atmospheric, oceanic and other forces that have warmed and cooled our Earth throughout its history? And will human GHG/CO2 emissions cause dangerous climate changes that are unprecedented, worse than we have confronted since time immemorial and impossible for modern, technologically advanced societies to deal with?

No evidence supports EPA or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change positions on these issues.

Average planetary temperatures have not budged in 16 years, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing CO2 have climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades, and the US and UK just recorded one their coldest springs on record. The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the last century. 2012 set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no category 3 or higher hurricane making US landfall. Arctic climate and sea ice are within a few percentage points of their "normal" levels for the past fifty years. The rate of sea level rise is not accelerating.

These facts, and many others, completely contradict computer model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the "science" behind EPA's ruling that carbon dioxide "endangers" human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated, comical and even fraudulent. Here are just a few of numerous examples of dangerous "climatism" at work.


Mining Industry’s Fate to be Determined by Anti-Mining EPA

Empowered by a recent court ruling, the Environmental Protection Agency is coopting arcane laws to inhibit economic development and kill thousands of jobs. In order for a mining operating to begin production, developers must apply for and receive a handful of permits. One such mandatory permit is the Section 404 permit required under the Clean Water Act. Production cannot begin without the Section 404 permit, effectively giving the EPA veto authority over any proposed mining project.

A few weeks ago, a federal appeals court upheld the EPA’s decision to retroactively revoke a 2007 Section 404 mining permit issued for the Spruce Mine in West Virginia.

Granting the EPA sweeping authority, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote that the Clean Water Act “empowers him [EPA Administrator] to prohibit, restrict or withdraw the specification 'whenever' he makes a determination that the statutory 'unacceptable adverse effect' will result."

Judge Henderson’s ruling may have granted the now blatantly partisan EPA the ability to kill any mining project “whenever” it sees fit. Given the EPA’s job killing regulations and attempts to scuttle the Keystone XL pipeline, it is easy to predict how the EPA will use its newly codified authority.

It is not surprising that President Obama’s EPA is pushing legal barriers to shut down a coal mine in West Virginia. What is surprising is that a federal judge endorsed such a move, especially after a district court argued that the EPA "exceeded its authority under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act when it attempted to invalidate an existing permit by withdrawing the specification of certain areas as disposal sites."

Most mining projects require years of preparation. Before developers can even begin mining, they first must identify economically viable resources, either buy or lease land from the government or private individuals, and then apply for drilling permits from a handful of different agencies. Arch Coal received its first Spruce Mine permit in 1998 and received its Clean Water Act permit in 2007. All in all, this process requires millions of dollars, lawyers, and years of paperwork.

After the Spruce Mine ruling, job creators will have to go through this expensive, time-consuming process knowing that the EPA can pull the rug out from under them at any point during production.

Every mining investment just got a whole lot riskier.

But this is nothing new. With Congressional Republicans blocking Democrats’ anti-growth legislation, environmentalists have enlisted the EPA to inhibit domestic energy and mineral production.

Another example of the EPA’s abuse of the permitting process is evident in the agency’s consideration to preemptively kill the Pebble Mine project in Southwest Alaska. At the behest of many radical environmentalist organizations, the EPA has undertaken a “watershed assessment” of the Bristol Bay region. Unsurprisingly, the EPA’s watershed assessment warned against development of the region. This unprecedented action, which is an “extra regulatory” process, is especially odd given that the Pebble Partnership has yet to formally apply for any permits to construct a mine. Simply put, the EPA’s watershed assessment is an ecological risk analysis of a hypothetical mine that has no basis in reality.

Conservatives fear that the recent Spruce Mine decision will embolden the EPA to preemptively kill the Pebble Mine project before developers even apply for requisite permits. This exploitation of the permitting process would have real consequences. The Pebble Mine would be an economic boon for the region and:

* Create 16,175 high-paying jobs per year throughout construction process and an additional 14,715 high-paying jobs per year during production

* Contribute $1.6 billion to our nation’s GDP per year during the construction process and an additional $2.4 per year afterwards

The Pebble Partnership has invested over $150 million in developing a safe, environmentally responsible way to mine the enormous copper reserves in Southwest Alaska. Even if, and that’s a big if, construction of the Pebble Mine is allowed, the EPA can revoke the mine’s permit at any time.

Taken in combination with the Spruce Mine decision, it is impossible to see how the EPA’s new interpretation of old permitting laws will not chill investment. This is just once instance, of one agency, gunning for one industry. Extrapolated across every Obama-run agency, it is easy to understand why the U.S. unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.


EPA’s unethical human testing

By Richard Manning

“Informed consent is at the heart of ethically engaging in any kind of human testing.”

National outrage over the federal government’s abuse of power has seemingly hit critical mass over the past month as news about the Internal Revenue Service engaging in political targeting, government spying on AP reporters, the pending government prosecution of a Fox News reporter, and the revelation that the National Security Agency has likely been collecting data on every one of us has dominated the news.

Ignored in all the conversation about abuses is perhaps one of the most heinous of them all.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s continued practice of exposing human subjects to extreme levels of particulate matter and other toxins in tests designed to justify expanded air quality regulations.

Subjects in EPA studies conducted at the University of North Carolina were allegedly exposed to up to 21 times of the legally allowed fine particulate matter (microscopic soot particles) in tests that left at least one previously healthy man still wheezing for air two years later.

Shockingly, the EPA warns on their website that:

“Particle pollution – especially fine particles – contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:

“premature death in people with heart or lung disease,

“nonfatal heart attacks,

“irregular heartbeat,

“aggravated asthma,

“decreased lung function, and

“increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.

“People with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure. However, even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution.”

In addition, the EPA has gone so far as to claim that particulate matter can kill within hours of exposure even at typical levels found outdoors.

These dire warnings have been used to justify an extremely aggressive regulatory regime , and stand in stark contrast to the consent forms that North Carolina test subjects signed where the description of the risks of inhaling this “deadly” particulate matter state, “During the exposure to the concentrated air pollution particles, you may experience some minor degree of airway irritation, rough, and shortness of breath or wheezing. These symptoms typically disappear 2 to 4 hours after exposure, but may last longer for particularly sensitive people.”

The consent form continues stating, “Air pollution particles may induce an inflammatory reaction that can last for 24 hours after exposure and may increase the chance of you catching a cold.”

Dr. William Hurlbut, a consulting professor on neuro-biology at Stanford University teaching courses on bio-ethics, and a past member of the President’s Council on Bio-Ethics expresses the importance of proper informed consent asserting, “Informed consent is at the heart of ethically engaging in any kind of human testing.”

Why is this important?

If the EPA has been conducting tests using substances they have determined to be potentially lethal, and they are not telling their human guinea pigs about the danger, they are breaching the fundamental underpinning of using human test subjects.

Attorney Steve Milloy, a fellow with the American Tradition Institute, has led the effort to expose the human testing scandal within the EPA. After federal court recently found that ATI did not have standing to sue the EPA over the standards, Milloy has begun the process of filing a civil suit against the Agency on behalf of a test subject who became ill in the wake of testing.

Milloy makes the case that the EPA cannot have it both ways.

On one hand the EPA has written draconian regulations based upon the scientific claim that extreme harm and even almost immediate death may be caused by inhaling a small amount of particulate matter, while on the other hand, they are assuring human test subjects that the harm done to them will be virtually non-existent.

In fact Milloy takes it further asserting, “When you put all the pieces together at the end there are two outcomes, EPA scientists have either committed crimes or if they haven’t done that, all their regulatory programs have been based upon scientific fraud, and they ought to be done away with.”

Largely in response to Milloy’s work on this issue, the EPA’s Inspector General is auditing the human testing activities with results expected to be reported as early as December of this year.

Additionally, Milloy is aggressively seeking data from other research Universities around the country which have been conducting wide ranging human tests on behalf of the EPA involving exposure to chlorine gas (a chemical weapon from World War I), subjecting children to large doses of diesel exhaust, and exposing subjects to carcinogens, all seemingly without divulging the potentially life threatening consequences.

The results of Milloy’s inquiries and potential lawsuits will either show that the EPA’s regulatory regime is based upon fraudulent science, or that the Agency has engaged in a massive unethical human testing program that willfully subjects it’s study participants to lethal substances on a wide scale, dwarfing anything encountered in our nation to date.

The EPA testing programs are just another example of the ends justify the means philosophy that permeates big government in 21st century America.


America should learn from Europe on wind power

As the Department of Energy considers a loan guarantee for the Cape Wind Project in Massachusetts, it should learn from Europe's failed wind energy experiments – and from its own troubled experiences with renewable energy projects.

Germany and Spain are waking up to the inevitable truth about renewable energy, especially offshore wind. They are now realizing the projects cannot survive without subsidies and that they make energy much more expensive to households and businesses. In an age of austerity, they are a luxury even Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, cannot fully afford any more.

When Germany decided to close down its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the original plan was to replace most of the lost generating capacity with wind power. However, wind power is expensive, and the growing size of the industry has meant that subsidies – and energy bills – have surged. The German subsidy is paid for by a surcharge on household electricity bills. The growth in wind power meant that in January the surcharge increased to over 5 cents (euro) per kilowatt hour, representing 14% of all electricity bills.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, realizing that wind power is economically unsustainable, has proposed capping the subsidy until the end of 2014 and capping further rises to 2.5%, with the probability of further significant reform after the federal elections this year. It's a similar story in Spain, where subsidies have been cut so much that the chairman of the country´s Association of Renewable-Energy Producers said recently: "Spain's government is trying to smash the renewable-energy sector through legislative modifications."

President Obama has repeatedly said we should look to Spain and Germany for the lead on renewable energy policy. He is right, but not in the way he thinks.

Furthermore, he should look to the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound. The project will cost $2.6 billion, and it has secured funding for $2 billion of that from a Japanese bank. But this is believed to be subject to the project gaining a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. And there is every reason to believe that this would be as bad a bet as its loan guarantee to Solyndra.

The contracted cost of the wind farm's energy will be 23 cents a kilowatt hour (excluding tax credits, which are unlikely to last the length of the project), which is more than 50% higher than current average electricity prices in Massachusetts. The Bay State is already the 4th most expensive state for electricity in the nation. Even if the tax credits are preserved, $940 million of the $1.6 billion contract represents costs above projections for the likely market price of conventional power. Moreover, these costs are just the initial costs, and like in Germany, they are scheduled to rise by 3.5 percent annually for 15 years.

This massive increase in energy costs is bad news for Bay State businesses and may well drive some of them out of the state entirely. That's a disaster for jobs and for tax revenue.

The likelihood that businesses will not be willing to pay the bill means that the burden will fall increasingly on households. Yet, in all probability, this will be politically unsustainable, and the cost will therefore fall back on taxpayers across the nation, via the loan guarantee.

That's just the economic argument. When you consider the environmental arguments, the case becomes a no-brainer. As the Alliance to Protect Nantucket sound points out, "Cape Wind threatens the marine environment and would harm the productive, traditional fisheries of Nantucket Sound."

The Alliance also notes that, "Cape Wind would not make a significant contribution to the effort to reduce pollution emissions, and, in fact, could aggravate the problem by causing dirty power plants to run more often in order to be ready to generate power instantly when the wind stops blowing."

For the Department of Energy to grant the loan guarantee to Cape Wind would be a triumph of blinkered ideology over real economic and environmental concerns. The president, true to his word, should learn from Germany and turn down the loan guarantee to Cape Wind.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


16 June, 2013

Met Office withdraws article about Marcott's hockey stick

The Met Office's My Climate and Me website has removed a blog post about the Marcott Hockey Stick:

"We previously posted an article entitled “New analysis suggests the Earth is warming at a rate unprecedented for 11,300 years” covering the paper by Marcott et al in Nature. The title of our article drew on the original press release for the paper. However, we note that authors of the paper have since issued an extensive response to media coverage which includes the following statement:

"Q: Is the rate of global temperature rise over the last 100 years faster than at any time during the past 11,300 years?

A: Our study did not directly address this question because the paleotemperature records used in our study have a temporal resolution of ~120 years on average, which precludes us from examining variations in rates of change occurring within a century. Other factors also contribute to smoothing the proxy temperature signals contained in many of the records we used, such as organisms burrowing through deep-sea mud, and chronological uncertainties in the proxy records that tend to smooth the signals when compositing them into a globally averaged reconstruction. We showed that no temperature variability is preserved in our reconstruction at cycles shorter than 300 years, 50% is preserved at 1000-year time scales, and nearly all is preserved at 2000-year periods and longer. Our Monte-Carlo analysis accounts for these sources of uncertainty to yield a robust (albeit smoothed) global record. Any small “upticks” or “downticks” in temperature that last less than several hundred years in our compilation of paleoclimate data are probably not robust, as stated in the paper"

In the light of this statement from the authors, we no longer consider our headline to be appropriate.

Madness of the Met Office Summit meeting to find out why Britain's weather is... normal

As of lunchtime yesterday, the Met Office wasn’t at all sure how Britain’s weather would turn out today. According to a spokesman, some of its computer models were predicting ‘a rather miserable day for some southern areas’. Others, however, suggested it would be ‘fine and bright’. ‘Sometimes the atmosphere can provide a real challenge for forecasters,’ the spokesman admitted wearily.

The problem right now, apparently, is a phenomenon known as a ‘trough disruption’, a common type of westerly weather whose course both computers and human beings find hard to predict.

Still, the signs were that by the end of the week, temperatures would be normal for June, at about 20C. Looking further ahead, there were likely to be both some downpours and some nice, sunny days.

‘It’s what you’d term typically British weather and far from a wash-out,’ the spokesman concluded, adding that although summer only began officially on June 1, so far it has been relatively warm, a few cool days last week notwithstanding.

Pinch yourself. This deserves a headline: ‘Met Office shock announcement: Britain’s weather is normal.’

This is, of course, the same Met Office that next week is set to host what some have termed an ‘unprecedented’ meeting of climate scientists, an attempt to ‘brainstorm’ whether the ‘extreme weather’ of the past few years has been caused by ‘climate change’.

The cold winter and spring of 2013, the bitter winter of 2010, the floods of 2012 and the disappointing summers of the past seven years – all are up for discussion, together with their supposed origins.

No mention, you may notice, of the droughts and heatwaves we were once told to brace ourselves for as a consequence of what used to be termed global warming.

Then, as an analysis last week demonstrated, the period without a statistically significant increase in global average temperatures has now reached 17 years four months.

Small wonder that the nature of the world’s impending doom has had to be rebranded. At least the Met Office has the intelligence to realise that the forecasts of tropical diseases becoming endemic in England, which used to feature frequently in certain newspapers, currently look wide of the mark. But attributing every kind of weather to climate change can also be unconvincing.

Last week yet another round of UN climate talks broke up without (as usual) an agreement on how to limit emissions of carbon dioxide. They took place in Bonn, which, like Britain, was enduring a chilly spell.

‘Winter has been extended,’ explained a delegate from the Cook Islands. ‘It’s supposed to be really hot, but it’s not, because global warming is happening right now.’

Looking back to one’s childhood, it’s easy to recall a succession of golden summer days and fool oneself into thinking this was then the norm.

Indeed, occasionally they actually happened: the summer of 1976 was pretty hot, with a drought from May to September. But I also remember 1973, when the Snowdonia summer camp I was attending was hit by a six-day deluge, which forced us to strike our flooded tents and seek refuge in a barn.

The truth, revealed by the hard data of temperature and rainfall records, is that hot, golden British summers have always been the exception, and neither rainfall nor average temperatures have shown much change for several centuries.

Paul Homewood, a retired accountant turned climate historian, is an assiduous student of the Central England Temperature Record, the world’s longest continuous series of accurate readings. His graph, shown here, of the five-year running average going back to 1660 demonstrates that while the summers since 2006 have indeed got cooler, such short-term trends have happened many times before.

In January, the Met Office claimed that 2012 was the second wettest year on record, behind only 2000 – prompting claims that this must surely be evidence of climate change. However, as Mr Homewood points out, while records for the whole UK go back only to 1910, there are England and Wales figures that date from 1766, and they reveal that the wettest year was actually 1872, followed by 1767.

As for long-term trends, there have been many decades as wet or wetter than the supposedly ‘extreme’ conditions experienced recently. It’s just that the period 1965 to 2000 was unusually dry, and so we’re less used to them.

‘This is a part of the world in which climate change is pretty hard to quantify,’ Professor Myles Allen, head of Oxford University’s climate research network, said yesterday.

We are an island between an ocean and a continent, which also benefits from the Gulf Stream. As the Met Office was admitting, the UK’s location means that reliably predicting weather just 24 hours ahead can be impossible.

Centuries ago, when astronomers found it hard to square their observations with the then-orthodox theory that the Earth lay at the centre of the universe, they invented the concept of ‘epicycles’, convoluted wobbles and twists that supposedly accounted for such discrepancies.

Citing some cold British winters and unsettled summers as evidence of climate change has about as much credibility. I suppose we should be thankful that unlike the bogus epicycles, such efforts are not, as yet, being enforced by the Inquisition.


12 good reasons to scrap Britain's Met Office

By James Delingpole

I love the Met Office, as you know. That's why, I can't resist celebrating this compendium of its achievements prepared by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Whenever it's criticised, the Met Office like nothing better than to have its extensive PR operation (funded with the help of the £200 million we pay the Met Office each year out of our taxes) go into extreme denial mode, knowing that its mendacious, straw-man-filled defence will be reported uncritically everywhere from the BBC and the Guardian to the New Statesman.

So, Met Office Reality Denial Machine: get weaving with this lot…

* The Met Office’s temperature forecasts issued in 12 out of the last 13 years have been too warm. None of the forecasts issued ended up too cold. That makes the errors systemic and significant.

* Met Office To Hold Summit On Disappointing (sic) UK Weather

* The Guardian, 14 June 2013: Climate scientists and meteorologists are meeting next week to debate the causes of UK’s disappointing weather in recent years.

* Washout summers. Flash floods. Freezing winters. Snow in May. Droughts. There is a growing sense that something is happening to our weather. But is it simply down to natural variability, or is climate change to blame?

* To try to answer the question the Met Office is hosting an unprecedented meeting of climate scientists and meteorologists next week to debate the possible causes of the UK’s “disappointing” weather over recent years, the Guardian has learned.

* Met Office 2008 Forecast: Trend of Mild Winters Continues

* Met Office, 25 September 2008: The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average. It is also likely that the coming winter will be drier than last year.

* Reality Check: Winter of 2008/09 Coldest Winter For A Decade

* Met Office, March 2009: Mean temperatures over the UK were 1.1 °C below the 1971-2000 average during December, 0.5 °C below average during January and 0.2 °C above average during February. The UK mean temperature for the winter was 3.2 °C, which is 0.5 °C below average, making it the coldest winter since 1996/97 (also 3.2 °C).

* Met Office 2009 Forecast: Trend To Milder Winters To Continue, Snow And Frost Becoming Less Of A Feature

* Met Office, 25 February 2009: Peter Stott, Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: “Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future. “The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850.”

* Reality Check: Winter Of 2009/10 Coldest Winter For Over 30 Years

* Met Office, 1 March 2010: Provisional figures from the Met Office show that the UK winter has been the coldest since 1978/79. The mean UK temperature was 1.5 °C, the lowest since 1978/79 when it was 1.2 °C.

* Met Office 2010 Forecast: Winter To Be Mild Predicts Met Office

* Daily Express, 28 October 2010: IT’S a prediction that means this may be time to dig out the snow chains and thermal underwear.

* The Met Office, using data generated by a £33million supercomputer, claims Britain can stop worrying about a big freeze this year because we could be in for a milder winter than in past years… The new figures, which show a 60 per cent to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter, were ridiculed last night by independent forecasters. The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.

* Reality Check: December 2010 “Almost Certain” To Be Coldest Since Records Began

* The Independent, 18 December 2010: December 2010 is “almost certain” to be the coldest since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.

* Met Office Predicted A Warm Winter. Cheers Guys

* John Walsh, The Independent, 19 January 2010: Some climatologists hint that the Office’s problem is political; its computer model of future weather behaviour habitually feeds in government-backed assumptions about climate change that aren’t borne out by the facts. To the Met Office, the weather’s always warmer than it really is, because it’s expecting it to be, because it expects climate change to wreak its stealthy havoc. If it really has had its thumb on the scales for the last decade, I’m afraid it deserves to be shown the door.

* BBC Analysis: A Frozen Britain Turns The Heat Up On The Met Office

* Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 9 January 2010: Which begs other, rather important questions. Could the model, seemingly with an inability to predict colder seasons, have developed a warm bias, after such a long period of milder than average years? Experts I have spoken to tell me that this certainly is possible with such computer models. And if this is the case, what are the implications for the Hadley centre’s predictions for future global temperatures? Could they be affected by such a warm bias? If global temperatures were to fall in years to come would the computer model be capable of forecasting this?

* A Period Of Humility And Silence Would Be Best For Met Office

* Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, 10 January 2010: A period of humility and even silence would be particularly welcome from the Met Office, our leading institutional advocate of the perils of man-made global warming, which had promised a “barbecue summer” in 2009 and one of the “warmest winters on record”. In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”

* Met Office 2012 Forecast: Drier than average conditions for April-May-June

* Met Office 3-month Outlook, 23 March 2012: “The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier-than-average conditions for April-May-June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months. With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period… This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement.”

* Reality Check: Wettest April for 100 years

* April: 2012 had wettest April for 100 years, Met Office says “It has been the wettest April in the UK for over 100 years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show. Some 121.8mm of rain has fallen, beating the previous record of 120.3mm which was set in 2000.”

* June: June on course to be wettest in a century: Flooding, storms and persistent showers have blighted the country in recent weeks putting this June in line to become one of the soggiest in 100 years.

* 25 June: Spring is wettest in Britain for 250 years – England and Wales are on course for the wettest late spring and early summer for 250 years, experts said yesterday. June has just seen its fourth washout weekend and yet more downpours are forecast. Now it is feared combined rainfall for April, May and June will break the record of 13.2in (336mm) set in 1782 and be the highest since records began in 1766.

* Met Office 2013 Forecast: Feb-March Above-Average UK Temps More Likely

* Met Office, 20 December 2012: For February and March the range of possible outcomes is also very broad, although above-average UK-mean temperatures become more likely.

* Reality Check: Met Office confirms coldest March in more than 50 years

* Press Association, 29 March 2013: This March is the coldest in the UK since 1962, forecasters have confirmed. After weeks of speculation about whether this miserable March would top the list, the Met Office has announced it is the coldest in 51 years according to provisional statistic.

* Paul Hudson: Met Office global forecasts too warm in 11 out of last 12 years

* Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 10 February 2012: Although this discrepancy is within the stated margin of error, it is the 11th year out of the last 12 when the Met Office global temperature forecast has been too warm. In all these years, the discrepancy between observed temperatures and the forecast are within the stated margin of error. But all the errors are on the warm side, with none of the forecasts that have been issued in the last 12 years ending up too cold. And, in my opinion, that makes the error significant.

* Martin Rosenbaum: The Met Office and its seasonal problems
BBC Open Secrets, 23 December 2010

As Britain remains cold and snowy, an interesting little dispute has boiled up between the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the Met Office over the quality of longer-range weather forecasting.

And this is illuminated by documents obtained by the BBC under freedom of information from the Met Office. These shed new light on the problems faced by the Met Office in its public communications and the strategies it has adopted for tackling them.

The Met Office is under attack from the GWPF, for its “poor advice” on the likelihood of a harsh and cold winter.

The GWPF is drawing attention to a map published on the Met Office website in October which indicated that the UK was likely to experience above-normal temperatures in the ensuing three-month period.

For the GPWF, which is sceptical of the Met Office and other mainstream analysis of global warming, this is evidence of a Met Office tendency to under-predict cold weather and over-predict mild winters…..


More Green fraud

A peer caught up in a lobbying scandal is facing more embarrassing questions over claims that he was paid to host a reception costing £25,000 at Westminster on behalf of a green firm now under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Lord Laird, who was recorded by undercover reporters apparently agreeing to lobby Ministers in return for money, organised the House of Lords event to promote the Sustainable Growth Group.

Its founder and chairman, British businessman Gregg Fryett, is in prison in Cambodia after being arrested by anti-corruption police.

The Ulster Unionist peer, who resigned the party whip earlier this month in the wake of the ‘cash-for-questions’ sting by the BBC’s Panorama, delivered a speech to more than 100 guests at the four-course dinner in 2011. The party later assembled on the House of Commons Terrace to sip champagne.

Mr Fryett, founder and chairman of Sustainable Growth Group, is now in prison in Cambodia after being arrested by anti-corruption police

Praising Mr Fryett in extravagant language, Lord Laird said his vision of a world less dependent on harmful sources of energy was truly exciting.

‘We’re on the cusp of a sustainable evolution greater than the industrial revolution of the 19th Century and the digital revolution of the 20th Century,’ he told assembled guests.

However, a Mail on Sunday investigation, has discovered that the reality was shockingly different for up to 1,200 private individuals, many of whom were persuaded by independent financial advisers to unlock their pensions and move the money into eco-energy schemes run by Mr Fryett in South-East Asia.

Mr Fryett, 47, who is originally from Torquay, has lived in Thailand for several years. He was arrested in March by Cambodian investigators as he tried to resolve problems over land ownership rights. He has since been held in the tough Prey Sar Prison on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh

Solicitor Gareth Fatchett, who represents about 900 investors who fear they may have lost their savings, said: ‘These were ordinary people who were sold a dream of making a modest profit while saving the planet.’

The sums invested range from £30,000 to £400,000, according to Mr Fatchett. Total losses could be as high as £32million.

Another of Mr Fryett’s companies, Sustainable Wealth Investments UK, which marketed ecological investment schemes, invited Lord Laird to chair its oversight committee, which was responsible for ensuring ‘the highest standards of governance and professionalism’ in the firm’s dealings with the public.

Mr Fryett said yesterday that Lord Laird had sought a retainer of £3,000 a month to take on the role.

Speaking yesterday in the Cambodian jail where he has been held for the past three months, Mr Fryett said he fell out with Lord Laird when the peer allegedly asked Sustainable Growth Group to lend £100,000 to Christopher Knight, an American business associate who earlier this year was revealed to be a registered sex offender in Florida.

The invitation to chair the committee was withdrawn because of a disagreement over the decision to lend money to Mr Knight and the retainer was never paid.

At the heart of the investment opportunity endorsed by Lord Laird at the House of Lords lunch was an obscure plant called jatropha.

It was initially hailed by environmentalists as a source of a revolutionary bio-fuel and Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson once suggested that jatropha could make the high-polluting aviation industry more eco-friendly.

However, it is now seen as having limited potential. Enthusiasm for it dimmed when the respected New Scientist journal calculated that an area twice the size of France would be needed to grow enough of the shrub to power the world’s airline fleet.

The Sustainable Growth Group went into liquidation in February 2012 and the 15,000-acre site in Cambodia set aside for jatropha cultivation was abandoned.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday at the jail yesterday, the divorced father of two, who insists he is an innocent victim of corruption, said his company hired Lord Laird to organise the parliamentary reception. ‘His role was to facilitate the use of the House of Lords,’ said Mr Fryett, who is suffering from suspected tuberculosis and has lost about 2.5st in prison, where he shares a 19ft long cell with more than 20 other inmates.

‘Lord Laird was paid as a speaker. I don’t know how much money he got because my colleagues organised that side of things.’

‘When we started getting issues with Christopher Knight we stood that down [the invitation to Lord Laird to chair the oversight committee]. We had agreed a fee with Lord Laird but I am not sure if we paid him anything.’

Since his arrest Mr Fryett has had no communication with the peer.

Mr Fryett accused the SFO of being overzealous in its investigation and claimed his business would have made a healthy profit if it had been given time to grow. ‘We would have been on the US Stock Exchange. If I was corrupt, I would be on a yacht in the Bahamas rather than in jail after coming back here to Cambodia to fight for the investors.’

This newspaper has also established that Lord Laird collaborated with Mr Fryett in a proposed scheme that involved trading carbon credits with indigenous communities in the Philippines.

The peer wrote on official House of Lords notepaper to the queen of the Manobo tribe two years ago.

Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol on environmental protection, developing countries can ‘earn’ carbon credits and then trade them with Western companies. A carbon credit is defined as a certificate representing the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide.

The forests of the Philippines soak up vast quantities of CO2. This gives the Manobo tribe a valuable ‘bank’ of carbon credits.

Mr Fryett and Lord Laird are understood to have sought to acquire the right to sell some of these credits to overseas investors.

In return, the tribe would be given a proportion of the profits. Tribal leaders withdrew from negotiations, concluding that a deal would not be in their interests.

A Serious Fraud Office spokesman said this week: ‘Our investigation is ongoing. No one has been charged.’

Mr Whale, who now works as an environmental consultant, confirmed that Lord Laird had been the intermediary in arranging the loan to Mr Knight, which he said had been approved by Mr Fryett.

Mr Fryett’s UK lawyer has said his client went to Cambodia after receiving assurances from authorities that he would be treated as a victim of land fraud, not a suspect.

Panorama reporters, posing as lobbyists for a fake company, recorded Lord Laird apparently setting out ways he could press for new laws on behalf of a South Korean solar power firm.

He has denied wrong-doing and his conduct is now being investigated by the parliamentary standards watchdog.


True cost of Britain's wind farm industry revealed

Every job in Britain’s wind farm industry is effectively subsidised to the extent of £100,000 per year

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

The subsidy was disclosed in a new analysis of official figures, which showed that:

* The level of support from subsidies in some cases is so high that jobs are effectively supported to the extent of £1.3million each;

* In Scotland, which has 203 onshore wind farms — more than anywhere else in the UK — just 2,235 people are directly employed to work on them despite an annual subsidy of £344million. That works out at £154,000 per job;

* Even if the maximum number of jobs that have been forecast are created, by 2020 the effective subsidy on them would be £80,000 a year.

One source, who owns several wind farms, and did not wish to be named, said: “Anybody trying to justify subsidies on the basis of jobs created is talking nonsense. Wind farms are not labour intensive.”

There has been mounting controversy about the value of both onshore and offshore wind farms, with discontent among back-bench Conservative MPs.

The industry’s trade body, Renewable UK, has campaigned to promote the method of electricity generation as a way to create jobs. It states on its website that: “We aim to create thousands of jobs across a wide range of business sectors.”

It says the industry currently employs 12,000 people and “is set to employ up to 90,000 people by 2020”.

The promise of future jobs is dependent on the building of large-scale wind farms at sea and the construction of factories in Britain to manufacture the turbines, which are currently almost all built abroad.

Industry figures show that for the 12 months to the end of February, the latest period for which figures are available, slightly more than £1.2billion was paid through the consumer subsidy — known as the Renewables Obligation.

It was introduced by Labour to encourage investment and is added to all energy bills, meaning that besides households, industry and employers also pay, adding to the cost of all goods and services.

According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank that has criticised the cost of wind farms, it currently adds about £47 to the average household’s cost of living.

They say the total subsidy is likely to rise to £6billion by 2020 if the Government meets its target of providing 15 per cent of energy needs from renewable energy.

The industry’s projection is that by 2020 it will create up to 75,000 jobs — an effective subsidy of £80,000 a year — but failing to reach that figure will raise the effective subsidy.

The foundation claims that the subsidy will actually cost jobs because businesses will relocate abroad — or close — to save on energy bills.

Households will also have less disposable income because more money will go to pay fuel bills.

Among the examples of extremely high subsidies effectively for job creation is Greater Gabbard, a scheme of 140 turbines 12 miles off the Suffolk coast.

It received £129million in consumer subsidy in the 12 months to the end of February, double the £65million it received for the electricity it produced. It employs 100 people at its headquarters in Lowestoft, receiving, in effect, £1.3million for every member of staff.

Iwan Tukalo, general manager of Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Limited, which is co-owned by SSE and RWE, said building the farm was a £1.5billion investment in British infrastructure.

He added that “as well as supporting significant local employment during the four-year construction period”, 95 per cent of its permanent employees were local people.

The London Array, Britain’s biggest wind farm, with 175 turbines, employs 90 people at its base in Ramsgate, Kent. The array, which is 12 miles offshore, became fully operational in the spring. The foundation predicts its Renewables Obligation subsidy in its first year of full operation will be £160million — effectively £1.77million per job.

In Scotland, Fergus Ewing, the devolved government’s energy minister, published figures earlier this year showing that 2,235 jobs were “connected directly to onshore wind”. There are 203 wind farms across Scotland, and the scale of Renewables Obligation support means each post is underwritten by £154,000.

Wind farms are controversial not only because of the cost, but also because of claims that the turbines, which can be more than 400ft high, are ruining the countryside. Campaigners have said the planning system remains loaded in favour of developers and that too little of the countryside is protected from their spread.

Earlier this month David Cameron signalled that local people would have more say over wind farms in their areas. Developers would have to offer much greater compensation for building them, and planners will be compelled to take into account their visual impact and the views of locals.

But energy firms will be able to offer incentives, including lower power bills for local people, in return for planning permission, which critics say amount to “bribes”.

Campaigners also warn that turbines do not generate power when the wind is too low or too high, and cannot store it, meaning conventional generation is needed as a backup.

Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “Subsidies can create some soft jobs in the wind power industry but will destroy real jobs and reduce wages in other sectors, in the UK’s case because the subsidies cause higher electricity prices for industrial and commercial consumers. The extravagant subsidy cost per wind power job is an indication of the scale of that problem.”

He added: “Truly productive energy industries — gas, coal, oil, for example — create jobs indirectly by providing cheap energy that allows other businesses to prosper, but the subsidy-dependent renewables sector is a long way from this goal; it’s still much too expensive.”

There is even doubt within the wind industry that job creation projections can be met. Last week, Renewable UK issued a 64-page report urging the Government to “agree a long-term vision” for offshore wind or see jobs created on the Continent.

An Energy Bill, currently before Parliament, is the subject of wrangling over prices for renewable energy for the next 20 years. The wind industry says that without price and subsidy guarantees, a “green collar” jobs boom will not materialise.

Manufacturers are warning that some planned wind turbine factories are under threat without the price guarantees.

Gamesa, a Spanish company which had promised to open a factory in Leith in Scotland, said a lack of certainty was hampering its plans, while Siemens said it needed pricing guarantees before building a turbine factory in Hull.

Robert Norris, Renewable UK’s spokesman, said: “Parents are wondering where their children will find work in the future; the answer is in the renewable energy sector.

“Our studies show that by 2021, more than 76,000 people will be working in the British wind industry in full-time, well-paid green-collar jobs.

“In the last financial year we attracted private investment of £2.5billion, proving that the wind industry is an engine for growth at a time when other sectors are struggling.”


Radical Environmentalists Should Mind Their Own Business

Typically environmental organizations target consumers with overwrought warnings of how some everyday product or activity is destroying the world and threatening their health. Yet now, activists are turning their targets toward major retailers. These companies should reject these scare tactics, which will harm not only their businesses, but consumers too.

The “Mind the Store” campaign, the latest initiative of a radical environmental organization, pressures the nation’s top ten largest retailers to remove products from store shelves that contain, in any amount, a list of one hundred chemicals the organization deems hazardous. Following the alarmism playbook, the organization claims these chemicals are linked to a variety of frightening health problems like hormone disruption, cancer, and birth defects despite the overwhelming body of scientific evidence to the contrary.

Alarmism about chemicals is nothing new. Environmental groups have long disseminated their exaggerated claims through the media to consumers in the hopes that Americans would be scared into altering their purchasing habits and would start demanding chemical-free products.

This strategy had some success. Bisphenol-A, a chemical used to make plastics more durable and to prevent bacterial contamination in canned food, is no longer used in certain products. Why? Not because BPA is unsafe—it has been used in products for over 60 years and has been declared safe by every major international health agency—but because faced with myriad looming state and local bans and restrictions on the chemical, manufacturers actually asked the FDA to ban its use in certain baby products. From the manufacturers’ standpoint, it’s far easier to face one outright ban of even this useful, perfectly safe and reliable chemical, than to try to comply with thousands of regulations.

Yet, in this sluggish economy, environmental groups have found that fear mongering is less effective than it once was. Americans appear less willing to pay more for products based on flimsy science. Consequently, these groups turned their attention to the retailers--demanding retailers stop offering certain products. The logic goes: if we can’t scare consumers into behaving, we’ll take away their choices.

Americans who assume such groups are harmless distractions might be shocked to learn what compliance with the “Mind the Store” campaign actually means. Thousands of common items would be removed from store shelves and would become hard to find. In their place will be higher priced alternatives which at best don’t work as well and spoil easily, and at worst cause an uptick in food borne illnesses, skin irritations, and other infections as food and many other products are left vulnerable to dangerous bacteria.

Sure, ultimately alternative, chemical-free products might improve in price and quality as they compete for market-share, but it’s worth asking: will manufacturers be interested in developing new products when they might be targeted by similar campaigns in the future? And how long will this overhaul take? Likely years, considering the hoops through which manufacturers have to jump to bring new products to market. Meanwhile, people will be forced to pay more to use inferior products.

That’s a fact often lost in the conversation about chemicals. Organizations vilify them, and suggest that their benefits are negligible and use is unnecessary. Yet these chemicals actually make products better, safer, more durable, longer lasting, and a lot more affordable—which is why they became so widespread in the first place.

For instance, among the chemicals the campaign wants removed are phthalates, formaldehyde, and certain flame retardants. While the anti-chemical activists will tell you those hard-to-pronounce words are just harmful additives, the truth is phthalates are added to plastics to make toys less breakable, and therefore, less harmful to children. That’s important to parents who worry their children could choke on shards of a broken plastic toy. Flame retardants, which are now common in furniture and building materials, are largely responsible for the sharp decline in household fires since the 1970s. Formaldehyde, which is used in personal care products, helps prevent bacterial growth.

Consumers who want to purchase products free of certain chemicals are able to do so since there is no shortage of alternative products already in the marketplace. Yet, consumers deserve other options too: the option to make use of the most-advanced new technologies and substances, which have typically been subject to aggressive government oversight and testing.

Consumers may not be the direct targets of the “Mind the Store” campaign, but they have a lot at stake. They should encourage stores to reject the radical environmentalists’ strong arm tactics and tell those groups to mind their own business.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


14 June, 2013

Arctic Sea Ice to Grow as Global Cooling Era Takes Hold

Research into the natural atmospheric and oceanic cycles of the Arctic indicates it is poised to begin a decades-long cold era setting new records for maximum sea ice extent.

This news comes with the concurrent release of the latest quarterly edition of the Global Climate Status Report (GCSR)© produced by the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC).

The SSRC is an independent climate research organization that since 2007, has built up a public record for major climate change predictions that is among the best. The SSRC is the leading voice in the US advocating a national plan to prepare the country for the coming cold climate.

Mr. John L. Casey, SSRC President, Editor of the GCSR, and author of the internationally acclaimed climate book, “Cold Sun” was recently named “America’s best climate prediction expert” by

He explains the change in the Arctic’s future by saying, “The Global Climate Status Report just published today includes the important new prediction for the temperature and sea ice trends of the Arctic. It is one of the report’s twenty-four global climate parameters the SSRC routinely uses to assess where the Earth’s climate is headed. What we found is that the Arctic which has recently been setting new records for warm temperatures and the least amount of sea ice extent, is about to leave this past period of warmth and head into many years of deep cold.


Global Warming and the Gipper

Critics of America's policy on carbon emissions accuse it of being a prisoner of free-market ideology. On the contrary, it was the product of hardheaded pragmatism


Might it be that it was Ronald Reagan and not Barack Obama who began to slow the rise of the seas? That is one conclusion that could be drawn from a new paper by Canadian physicist Qing-Bin Lu of Ontario's University of Waterloo. Instead of carbon dioxide emissions, Mr. Lu argues that ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halocarbons caused global warming. Thanks to the Reagan administration and the 1987 Montreal Protocol, CFCs have been phased out by developed countries. After a lag, Mr. Lu argues that global temperatures peaked around 2002 and predicts they are set to gradually fall over the next five to seven decades.

Upholders of the consensus argue that increased carbon dioxide is the only way to explain rising global temperatures. Now there is a competing explanation, with a chronology that better fits the evidence.

There was always a problem with the CO2-as-cause explanation—how to explain the decline in temperatures from the mid-1940s and relatively flat temperatures until 1975 when carbon dioxide levels were rising all the time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did this by arguing that sulfate aerosols resulting from coal-fired power station emissions had a cooling effect that temporarily stopped the rise in temperatures.

There wasn't hard data on aerosols, so assumptions were used that couldn't be checked against reality. To anyone but a climate scientist, it was deeply unsatisfactory—especially as different climate modelers used different values to get similar results. Nonetheless, this was the story line the IPCC developed in its 1995 Second Assessment Report. By contrast, in Mr. Lu's telling, the effect of CFCs on the climate only became significant in the late 1970s (Mr. Lu's analysis suggests there is a delay of about nine years before CFCs reach the upper atmosphere and trap heat radiated from the Earth's surface).

More recently, reality intruded again. "The climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago," President Obama declared last month. Only it hasn't. As shown in the accompanying chart of temperature data from the U.K.'s Met Office, in the first decade of this century, the global average temperature flattened and started to decline, implying a negative correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature for the time being.

In contrast to the poor predictive record of CO2-driven warming, with CFCs it is a different story. According to Mr. Lu, global surface temperature has a "nearly perfect" linear correlation with CFCs and other halocarbons in the atmosphere since 1970. Making careful calculations of the warming effect of halogenated gases, Mr. Lu can reproduce observed temperatures since 1970 and a cooling trend for the past 10 years. But Mr. Lu cannot reconcile the observed temperatures between 1850 and 1970 or the recent cooling using the IPCC's equation for the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide.

Whether the precise physical mechanism of CFC warming claimed by Mr. Lu is subsequently modified, CFC causation more closely tracks changes in observed temperature. Perhaps climate scientists were suckered: As Mr. Lu notes, from 1970, the rise in halocarbon concentrations has a nearly identical growth shape to that of CO2, but is drastically different from the turn of this century.

Critics of America's policy on global warming accuse it of being a prisoner of free-market ideology. On the contrary, it was the product of hardheaded pragmatism. A 2007 analysis of the Montreal and Kyoto protocols by Cass Sunstein, who later became President Obama's head of regulatory affairs, shows why. Of all countries, the U.S. was expected to gain the most from the Montreal Protocol and lose the most from Kyoto. Each $1 billion the U.S. spent complying with Montreal was estimated to yield $170 billion of benefits; for Kyoto, it was a paltry $37 million.

Within the Reagan administration, a key breakthrough came with a cost-benefit analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers that showed the monetary benefits of preventing future deaths from skin cancer far outweighed the costs. When the results were presented to Reagan—together with the proviso that if the U.S. acted alone, there would be little long-term benefit—the president instructed U.S. negotiators to lower the participation threshold at which the agreement would come into force.

George Shultz told me that the Montreal Protocol was a "magnificent achievement." Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan described it as perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date. Though not designed to cut greenhouse gases, it has been far more effective at doing so than the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr. Lu's analysis is sure to come under sustained fire, as it implies the current approach to global warming is scientifically mistaken. Unless halogenated gases not covered by the Montreal Protocol are regulated, the slow temperature decline would reverse. And if he is right that CFCs, not carbon dioxide, have driven global temperatures over the last 40 years, then the Montreal Protocol will achieve far more than anyone envisaged. Chalk up another win for the Gipper.


Climate Models Veer Off Course

A new paper shows that climate models are getting worse at replicating a collection of known climate changes as incentivized efforts to improve them have them universally veering off course.

In his work “Emerging selection bias in large climate change simulations,” Swanson finds that the new generation of climate models has become worse at matching recent climate change than the generation of models which they supplant.

According to Swanson:

"[T]he current generation (CMIP5) model ensemble mean performs worse at capturing the observed latitudinal structure of warming than the earlier generation (CMIP3) model ensemble. This is despite a marked reduction in the inter-ensemble spread going from CMIP3 to CMIP5, which by itself indicates higher confidence in the consensus solution. In other words, CMIP5 simulations viewed in aggregate appear to provide a more precise, but less accurate picture of actual climate warming compared to CMIP3.
The climate model collective is becoming more precise, but more precisely wrong."

Swanson suggests that the reason for the deteriorating overall performance of a collection of somewhat “independent” models is that the model developers are focusing too intently on trying to improve a single aspect of climate model performance, that being a better replication of the observed climate changes which have been taking place in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes. Previous versions of climate models generally tend to underestimate the magnitude of the loss of Arctic sea ice in recent decades and the resulting feedbacks to other aspects of the regional climate.

There is increasing incentive for model developers to get this aspect of climate change right.

It comes from the high profile attention (from climate activists and the media) that is heaped upon observed changes in the Arctic. Just think of all the stories that you have heard about the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the threat to polar bears, seals, native peoples, etc. When it comes to a poster child for global warming, there is little better than some furry dewy-eyed arctic creature precariously perched upon the last bit of ice in an otherwise ice-free Arctic ocean. If climate models are under-predicting the extent of climate changes there, their potential as a tool to force climate change mitigation efforts (e.g., a carbon tax) is being under-realized. The sooner this situation is rectified, the sooner we can get on with saving mankind from itself. Or so it goes.

But does doing a better job in the Arctic lead to more valuable models? Swanson isn’t so sure:

"While the observed Arctic warming is spectacular and important, it is unclear why it is more important from the perspective of the evolution of the overall climate system than the relatively modest warming in the tropics and southern hemisphere. It is unclear whether the CMIP5 simulations are even getting the reason for the actual Arctic warming correct, as they are inconsistent with the strong Arctic warming but only modest warming in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes and tropics that best describes the recent evolution of the actual climate system."

So what we are left with is a giant mess. Newer models overall perform worse than older models, and in the specific region where the new models are designed to replicate the observed climate the best—the Arctic—it isn’t even clear that they are getting things right for the right reason.

This situation is not much different than the situation leading up to the Great Recession.

In that case, government incentives reduced the independence of decision-making in financial markets. With climate models, environmental incentives have reduced the independent decision-making in model development. Swanson describes the situation like this:

"[T]he proverbial ‘marketplace of ideas’ about how climate change has and will continue to occur has shrunk. Instead of 38 unique models, each responding differently to increased anthropogenic forcing, in the CMIP5 project climate simulation is evolving towards a state where there are 38 ‘unique’ models that all respond the same.

Incentives have driven a misallocation of resources towards producing an outcome which is getting ever further from the optimal one. Consequences may follow which lead to a decrease in human well-being (for example, restricting the development of inexpensive and reliable sources of energy)."

Swanson provides some suggestions as to how to get climate models back on the right course:

"Whether through re-examination of the radiative forcings that underlie climate change, the dynamical variability of the models, the sensitivity of the models to imposed radiative forcings or the heat uptake of model oceans, a healthy dose of diversity must somehow be reintroduced into climate simulation enterprise. [references removed]"

Allison also recognizes the need to have more diversity in financial decision-making to avoid looming future disasters from deficits in social security and Medicare, annual operating deficits and unfunded government pension liabilities. In his book, he lays out the steps that must be taken to get things going again in the proper direction.

Righting the ship will not be easy. Allison sums up the situation why, which in form, applies equally well to financial markets as well as climate (and all) science:

"People cannot think unless they are free to think. Government rules and regulations literally prevent thought and prevent experimentation. A free market is a massive experiment in competing ideas, the most productive of which win out. Most of the experiments fail, but even failed experiments lead to a better understanding. When intellectual elitists stop the experiments because they are smarter than the rest of us and know what is in the “public good’ the learning stops—witness the Soviet Union. By now, the elitists should know better. Often they use public good as an excuse for their own lust for power. Those of us who have had to face government bureaucrats often see the lust for power as the true motivation and the “public good” as the bureaucrat’s rationalization."


The Intolerance of Climate Change Zealots

Comment from Britain

This evening on my LBC show we discussed Ed Davey’s outrageous idea that newspapers and broadcasters should refrain from giving a platform to climate change sceptics. How very ‘liberal’ of him. I remember at 18 Doughty Street back in 2007 I phoned Greenpeace to invite them to take part in a panel discussion on climate change. They refused on the basis hat the argument was won and there was nothing to debate. It’s attitudes like this that make me very suspicious of this climate change industry, which is supported by people whose fanaticism borders on the religious.

The very same people who warned the world in the 1980s about the coming nuclear apocalypse are now warning about the end of the planet. In the 1980s we had politicians who were able to expose these zealots for what they were. We now have cabinet ministers who go along with them and give them money. And have the cheek to tell people on radio stations that they shouldn’t be providing platforms for climate change sceptics. Ed Davey agreed to come on my show tonight – first in the studio, then by ISDN, then on the phone, first at 620, then at 630, then at 720. Then not at all. A meeting, apparently. It happens. But if any of his staff were listening, they might have been rather worried to discover than with one exception, every caller expressed some degree of scepticism about global warming. I’d say that proves that the argument is far from won and that people like Ed Davey need to up their game. He’d probably say they were all brainwashed by a climate change sceptical media. of course.

Talking of brainwashing, here’s a text we received from Justin. Justin is a geography teacher. This is what he had to say.

"Until two years ago I used to teach both sides of the climate change debate and invite students to discuss the issue and reach their own conclusions based on the evidence available, I have now been stopped from doing this – apparently it confuses the students. I am now only allowed to teach the “climate change is real” evidence. So therefore I have moved to teaching students WHAT to think, rather than to THINK for themselves using the evidence available."

How chilling is that? Now, I have no evidence that what Justin says is true, but it certainly has the ring of truth about it. Can anyone enlighten us? Is this really the case? Who gave the orders? I feel a little cause coming on….

UPDATE: For the avoidance of doubt I don’t deny the existence of climate change or global warming. Nor do I deny that part of it is due to man made influences. But I do deny that the debate is over about the actual extent of man’s influence. Climate change has happened since time immemorial. That, it is safe to assume, is something surely everyone can agree on.


Britain speeding towards a dead-end of blackouts unless realistic energy investments are made soon

Everyone knows that Britain needs to invest massively in the energy sector over the next 20 years.

The National Infrastructure pipeline, put together in the Treasury last year, says that of an anticipated infrastructure spending requirement of £310 billion of energy will take £176 billion. Not all of that is new electricity generation capacity — there’s some there for gas storage and carbon capture and a lot for upgrading the transmission network — but generation remains the bulk of it.

The sums are so large partly because a lot of old plant needs to be replaced — nine out of 10 nuclear power stations (ie, all apart from Sizewell in Suffolk), plus dozens of old conventional plants and all coal-fired generation. Privatisation of the industry may have achieved many things, but the electricity price collapse of 10 years ago, when more than half the UK generating industry ended up bankrupt and in the hands of bankers, played havoc with normal plans for plant renewal.

It is true too that economic growth usually leads to more power consumption but the main element behind the spend is the commitment to go green and have the bulk of electricity in this country generated by wind, solar and new nuclear by 2030. That is now just 17 years away so we need to get on with it.

But at a conference on Infrastructure organised by think tank Reform and hosted yesterday by the Association of British Insurers the question repeatedly asked was, who is going to pay for all this? Only one speaker, Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, gave a clear and succinct answer: nobody.

He thinks the whole grand energy plan is doomed, and we are heading for big trouble in not recognising this. He questions the dangerously complacent assumptions about the effectiveness of new technologies which are expected to be deployed. But much more he thinks what is being attempted is too big and much too costly to be achieved in the time available.

Atherton has done the maths but can’t get the figures to add up in any way which would deliver a happy result. Nor, for that matter, can the electricity industry which is one reason the current annual build of new capacity is only about one-90th of what will be needed by 2020. There are further signs of disquiet as Centrica now puts most of its growth investments in the US rather than UK and SSE decides to scale back drastically on spending on UK renewables.

The slow progress so far means the spending bill will be even bigger in the future. Atherton reckons that in a couple of years’ time we will need to be spending at the rate of at least £27 billion a year to have any hope of meeting the targets for 2020 to say nothing of the targets for 2030. At present the spend is around £7 billion a year.

Where is that money going to come from? Not from the electricity companies it would appear. Though the utilities are expected by Government to make these investments, Atherton says they have neither the desire nor the money to do so.

Even if they did have the desire he says, they would be told by their shareholders to lie down in a darkened room until the feeling passed.

Shareholders have good reason to be sceptical. There is a widespread fear of being first with new technologies and with good reason. But the bigger problem is that investors have recently got very badly burned by investing in similar grand plans on the Continent. Consequently, investor portfolios are now stuffed with expensive new plant right across Europe which shows no prospect of generating a decent return and there’s no desire to repeat the experiment here.

The other problem is that no one has asked customers if they’ll be happy with much higher bills. True they have in the past when the increases were modest — for example, at present customers pay a nuclear clean-up levy. But the charges in the future when the green revolution is in full swing threaten to be massively larger than anything they have experienced before. That makes it a different game.

Future household bills could be twice as much as they are now but already there is resentment at the cost of electricity and the level of profits declared by companies. He believes when the time comes customers will rebel against the high charges and politicians will capitulate rather than stand by their promises to the electricity sector.

The risk is that any high tariffs promised to the industry to allow them to recoup the costs of these expensive investments will be revoked, leaving the industry and its investors stranded with hopelessly uneconomic plant.

So it is not a cheerful picture. Atherton might not be right of course, but as one of the leading sector analysts in Europe he is a lot better informed than most people.

At the very least, his ideas should prompt the public to thinking hard about where our present energy policy is leading us.


Fracking could mean lower energy bills for British households

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said the companies would need to develop less than one square mile of land in Lancashire to extract enough gas to supply the UK for seven years.

“Consumers should be delighted. It will lead to lower bills than they otherwise would have been,” he said, but admitted: “Whether they would be lower than they are today, I can't tell you.”

The Telegraph can reveal that Cuadrilla has hired Arup to conduct impact assessments and public consultation this summer at six new sites, where it hopes to drill early next year.

Chancellor George Osborne welcomed Centrica’s investment, describing shale gas as a “key part of the future energy mix”.

The British Gas owner paid £40m for a 25pc stake in Cuadrilla’s Bowland licence, which covers 450 square miles between Blackpool and Preston.

It will pay the next £60m of drilling costs and a further £60m to Cuadrilla and its partner AJ Lucas if drilling succeeds and the companies begin development. Cuadrilla was advised by Jefferies on the deal.

Mr Egan said he was confident the gas would be developed and could begin flowing into pipelines as early as 2016 - contrary to a prediction by Centrica chief Sam Laidlaw in January that there would be no production this decade.

Asked if Mr Laidlaw would have to eat his words, Mr Egan said: “We would hope so. I’m sure he is not going to be saying that to his employees now.”

Cuadrilla’s “conservative” estimate of the gas in the ground is 200 trillion cubic feet. Even if only 10pc could be extracted, it would be equivalent to nearly seven years’ of UK usage.

“This is a huge resource, this has the potential to go into millions of houses in the UK,” Mr Egan said.

Centrica maintained a note of caution on Thursday, pointing out it was not yet known whether shale gas would be commercial to develop.

But executive Mark Hanafin said: “With North Sea gas reserves declining and the UK becoming more dependent on imported gas supplies, it is important that we look for opportunities to develop domestic gas resources, to provide affordable sources of gas to our customers, and to deliver broader economic benefits to the UK.”

Mr Egan dismissed fears that fracking would require “industrialising the landscape”. He said 100 drilling sites of two hectares each should be “more than adequate” to extract 20 tcf of gas - occupying “a total surface footprint of 2km² across a licence area of 1200km²”.

A Cuadrilla-commissioned report by Deloitte, released on Thursday, said that shale gas in the Bowland could generate £580m of tax revenue a year and reduce gas import needs by 14pc by 2020, as well as supporting up to 23,600 jobs.

Cuadrilla will need to win planning consent before it can drill at any of the new sites, or to frack to test its existing wells. Fracking involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into the ground and is opposed by green groups who fear environmental damage.

Cuadrilla caused two small earth tremors while fracking near Blackpool in 2011, leading to an 18-month ban. However, new rules mean it must stop fracking if it causes a tremor of 0.5 on the Richter scale. Mr Egan said that was equivalent to “a bus going outside your door”.

He called on the government to help combat “scare stories”.

Analysts welcomed Centrica’s move, which they said made strategic sense. However, UBS warned it was “not without some reputational risk.”

Friends of the Earth said: “Buying into Cuadrilla is about the only way Centrica could make itself even more unpopular with the public, who are fed up with the company raking in huge profits on the back of rocketing fuel bills."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


13 June, 2013

China Translates 1,200-Page Rebuttal to Climate Change Agenda

Breitbart News can exclusively report on Tuesday night that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has translated and published a Chinese edition of two massive climate change volumes originally published by The Heartland Institute in 2009 and 2011.

The volumes, Climate Change Reconsidered and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report, are chock full of 1,200 pages of peer-reviewed data concerning the veracity of anthropogenic climate change. Together, they represent the most comprehensive rebuttal of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change findings, which have been the basis of the climate change legislation movement across the planet.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences is set to present the publication on June 15 at a major ceremony in Beijing. The Academy employs approximately 50,000 people and hosts 350 international conferences each year, and is one of the most prestigious scientific academies in the world, ranked ahead of every Ivy League school save Harvard

Jim Lakely, director of communications at the Heartland Institute, told Breitbart News, “Translating and publishing nearly 1,300 pages of peer-reviewed scientific literature from English to Chinese is no small task, and indicative of how important CAS considers Climate Change Reconsidered to the global climate change debate. That CAS has invited the authors and editors of Climate Change Reconsidered to a conference this Saturday in Beijing to introduce the studies is yet another indicator of how important it is to get this information out to a wider audience.”

A December 2012 UN meeting designed to provide climate change regulations ended in failure after China refused to sign a global climate change treaty. China was joined by the United States, as well as Canada, India, Japan, Russia, and Brazil. “Opposition to a new climate treaty is justified based upon the real science presented in Climate Change Reconsidered,” explains Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast.

While some critics have charged that China may be fostering research on climate change that facilitates its political positions, Lakely pointed out, “China doesn't need an excuse. The country can (and is) doing what it thinks is in its best interests — as are many countries in the developed and developing world.”

The New York Times noted this week that global CO2 emissions have “accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace” over the last 15 years, but global temperatures have remained flat. The Times notes “the slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists,” but Lakely said, “it becomes less mysterious when one reads Climate Change Reconsidered. The timing for CAS publishing its translation could hardly be better for the advancement of climate science understanding.”

Lakely said that this could mark the turning point in the climate change debate, and that a global consensus was beginning to form against regulation of emissions. “The latest observable climate data, new studies from scientific academies around the globe, the peer-reviewed studies one can find in Climate Change Reconsidered, and its translation and publication by the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences is making life difficult for those who declare with certainty that man is causing catastrophic global warming,” he explained. “That's the way it should be. No scientific discipline is ever ‘settled’ — especially a discipline as young, as complicated, and as diffuse as climate science. The Heartland Institute is proud to support and promote the pursuit of the classic scientific method that follows the data and continually asks questions about what is happening to the climate of our planet.”


UN climate talks collapse amid acrimony in Bonn

A vital track of the UN climate talks in Bonn has collapsed after nations failed to resolve a dispute over the meeting’s agenda.

Eight days into the two week meeting, a proposed addition by Russia to the agenda of the session dealing with the UN’s decision-making process was not accepted.

A compromise deal presented to governments in the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) meeting this morning was rejected by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

It means sensitive discussions on climate compensation, adaptation and finance will now not be discussed within the process until the main summit in Warsaw this coming November.

The issue stems from the Doha meeting last year when an extension to the Kyoto Protocol was pushed through despite concerns from those three countries. Russia now wants to reappraise the talks’ rules of procedure. In an interview with RTCC, Russia’s negotiator Oleg Shamanov said the process was “nonsense” if it ignored the rules.

Following a short break delegates returned to the hall to hear Russia compare the process to a “melting glacier” and a “haunted house”.

Governments have less than three years to agree a new universal climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding climate agreement.

A sit became clear no compromise would be found, Chair of the SBI Tomasz Chruszczow reminded delegates that the UN’s climate change convention’s main objective was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This was agreed 20 years ago. We are no closer to this goal today. I won’t let this process jump from one obstacle to another. The Chair is in the service of the Parties, but it is up to the Parties to save the world,” he said.

The session will resume on Friday with the sole purpose of officially closing it.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said she hoped the experience would be remembered when they next met so that talks could progress and delegates could “improve the manner of their work”.


Russia, Ukraine and Belarus’ refusal to accept the compromise propose triggered a series of frustrated, angry and impassioned pleas for progress.

Singapore and India stressed that a similar situation at the Durban COP meeting was resolved by pressing ahead with the talks and settling the agenda later.

Fiji and Tuvalu, both acutely vulnerable to rising sea levels and keen for the swift adoption of an effective deal, called on the Chair to push through a resolution without consensus. “We’re getting the impression these three countries are not interested in climate change,” the Tuvalu delegate said.

In an emotional intervention Fiji’s Sai Navoti urged Chruszczow to push through the agenda. “Can’t the principle of necessity be urged? Don’t tie a noose around our neck because of a procedural issue that we are the master of,” he said.

Next steps

Negotiations in other parts of the UN climate process, including the new 2015 treaty, have enjoyed a successful session in Bonn but are being overshadowed by the SBI stalemate.

“It’s important to stress that this is one element of a set of negotiations and the others have been going really well,” said Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor with E3G who remains confident that a solution to the agenda dispute can be found in good time.

“It was a bit unexpected so it’s still unclear what happens next. I’m sure it will get resolved but it’s unclear how that could get done during this session. There might need to be cooling off period but it is still a long time till Warsaw.

“It’s the politics not the process that’s at fault here. They [Russia] are using the process to politicise their point,” added Gallagher.


Denmark backtracking

Should the Liberal Party (Venstre) form the new government after Denmark’s general election, it will abandon current energy policies. And one of the first to be removed would be the financial support for onshore wind turbines.

Photovoltaics subsidies show that current energy policy is unsustainable, the party’s energy spokesman, Lars Christian Lilleholt, told this newspaper.

“We need to stop the current regime and instead use the market as an instrument so that we promote those energy sources that are the cheapest,” he says.

Soon after the summer, the Liberal Party plans to launch a discussion on post-2020 energy policy.

Lilleholt stressed specifically that the Liberals will drop support for onshore wind turbines which, in a few years time, are expected to be able to cope with market conditions.

The party’s plan is backed by the Danish People’s Party and the Conservatives.


Superstitious "Spiegel" Devolves To The Dark Ages, Blames Floods On “Deniers”

When the Little Ice Age brought widespread crop failures, mass starvation, and disease in populated Europe some centuries ago, the enlightened ones blamed the climate-related misery and misfortune on the black magic of sorcerers and witches – who were promptly tried and burned at the stake. In other cultures, people performed rain-dances, human sacrifices, or other bizarre rituals, all in a futile attempt to appease the weather gods. Of course the victims of these rituals were often political opponents.

Today nothing has changed apparently, as Spiegel poignantly demonstrates with its latest online round of hysterics titled: Flut-Drama in Deutschland: Wir sind schuldig! In English: Flood Drama in Germany: We’re to Blame! by Jakob Augstein.

According to Augstein, today’s German flooding is a result of man’s sins against the climate. Climate deniers are mostly to blame for the “Katastrophe“. He writes:

"High water of the century is rolling across southern and eastern Germany. Now is an opportunity to take the deniers of climate change for a tour of the dikes, and to take the preachers of growth to Magdeburg. But they would just say they are not to blame. And we would all agree!”

If you thought Augstein sounded like some zealot inquisitor from the Dark Ages who zealously prosecuted at witch trials, you wouldn’t be far off. His hysterical language and mindset are the same. In publishing his ridiculous commentary, Spiegel looks like it is stuck in the Dark Ages. Little wonder that renowned astrophysicists like Murry Salby are calling climate science a ”cult science“.

In describing the flooding disaster in his commentary, it’s clear for Augstein: ”Our way of living is not coming without a price.” He adds:

"The question is: What proof do the climate change deniers need before they open their eyes? What is it going to take to get the preachers of growth to learn?"

Like during the Dark Ages, weather misfortunes are proof enough for the high priests and witch-trial seeking prosecutors like Augstein. Who needs scientific data when we have Maxeiner, Miersch and Magdeburg?

Today modern climate statistics show that hurricanes/accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) are near lows, tornadoes show no trend, and global temperature has been flat 15 years. Worse, ALL the crystal ball warming projections of the “renowned” scientists have been completely wrong from the start.

Yet, Spiegel thinks we should just ignore all the hard data and simply accept a single spring flood as a “moment of clairvoyance“.

In his tirade, Augstein singles out pro-growth economics professor Karl-Heinz Paqué, who he says is to be thanked for making sure the Enquete Commission Report to the German government of last week became a “document of failure“. He goes after skeptic journalists Michael Miersch and Dirk Maxeiner for discrediting the results of climate science in the “right-wing corner” of a leading daily, saying that the German government was correct in singling them out and slandering them as infidels.

Augstein sees little hope that people will adopt the green religion (good news!) and warns us by bringing up the downfall of earlier human civilizations.

"Those who follow old ways under new living conditions will end up extinct. That’s what did in the people of Easter Island, the Vikings in Greenland, and the Mayans. We should not be surprised if we are next.”

Ironically, all of those earlier civilizations perished because of natural climate change, and for some extinction came because they tried to solve their climate problems precisely with neurotic rituals like human sacrifices, and rain-dancing. Today Augstein and Spiegel are advocating we do the same, but with different rituals: changing light bulbs, going by foot and buying locally. Ask the people whose homes were flooded in Magdeburg if their energy saving lights, carbon credits and buying locally kept the waters back. Human rituals, no matter how righteously and ceremoniously carried out, aren’t going to control the weather.

Science is not about accepting what “renowned” scientists insist we believe, and not daring to question their authority. To the contrary, it is precisely about not accepting what they insist we believe, and it is about scrutinising and putting what they tell us to rigorous test. Anything else is just the superstition of fools, which belongs to the dustbin of history - to join the Dark Ages, witch-hunters, and Augstein.


The NYT wonders: So, what’s up with this warming plateau?

That the planet has not warmed significantly in going on fifteen years is a fact that has become pretty much impossible to deny across all fronts; back in March, longtime climate fearmonger The Economist had out with it, and on Monday the New York Times opened up about some of the inconvenient truths facing the many ‘climate scientists’ whose decades of catastrophic climate models are all spectacularly failing to bear out. Granted, it was couched in the usual high-handed dismissals of those who they categorize as dismissive of their climate-change concerns, but it did include several important admissions:

"The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.

The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.

But given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean."

Read on for much more parsing of the facts and excusing of poor policies, but here’s the really important gist: We don’t conclusively know all of the causes and effects of climate change, and we might not even know what we don’t know. This isn’t to say at all that greenhouse gases are not a thing, nor that carbon dioxide emissions are definitively unimportant, nor that we don’t have serious environmental issues that we need to consider going forward. But how is it, exactly, that the community of diehard eco-radicals and the self-proclaimed party of “science” has been proclaiming for decades that we are a heartbeat away from global catastrophe, and treating dissenting scientists as heretics, and insisting that we need to forcibly curtail our economic growth to deal with it and that people who aren’t one hundred percent on board are knuckle-draggers and/or greedy extremists, is surprised and angry that anyone is “dismissive” of them when it turns out they actually can’t be sure about it all? Because, science. I’ve often wondered why it is environmentalists interpret gloom-and-dooming as the most effective strategy for endearing people to their cause, when it actually seems to be pretty counterproductive.

In other climate-related news, self-anointed environmental messenger Al Gore, after lamenting on Tuesday that that scientists “won’t let us yet” link tornadoes to climate change, once more pushed on President Obama to hop to it on getting more forceful about a global-warming agenda, reports Politico:

"The former vice president used a Google+ plus video chat Tuesday to tell supporters that Obama needs to go beyond his “great words” on the topic, and to lament that the president has yet to assemble a team to spearhead his second-term climate agenda.

“I hope that he’ll get moving on to follow up on the wonderful pledges he made in his inaugural speech earlier this year and then soon after in his State of the Union,” Gore said. “Great words. We need great actions now.” …

“He does not yet have a team in the White House to help him implement solutions to the climate crisis. He hasn’t staffed up for it,” Gore said, adding, “He’s got one person who hasn’t been given that much authority.”


Happy little Greenies in Massachusetts

In his quest to become the next senator from Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. Edward Markey is doing something that’s never been done before: campaigning for national office on the signature issue of climate change.

To be sure, it’s not risky or unusual to run for office in the liberal Bay State on an environmental agenda. Markey’s opponent in the June 25 special election, former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, calls himself a “green Republican” who believes human activity contributes to climate change.

But Markey has made climate change his political raison d’etre. In his relentless focus on the issue, he is emerging as something new: a climate candidate.

In his 37 years in Congress, Markey has worked on many legislative issues—he was a big player on telecommunications policy in the 1990s, for example.

And while he’s noted those accomplishments, he has spotlighted his work on a bill that never actually became law: In 2009, Markey teamed with Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to push a historic climate-change bill through the House. It squeaked by but failed in the Senate.

Markey was also the only chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which was established when Democrats took control of the House in 2007 and dismantled when Republicans regained the majority in 2011.

Markey’s message now is that if he is elected to the Senate, he’ll see the mission through and be a national voice for action on climate change.

On Markey’s campaign website, climate change is listed as the No. 1 issue. The top issue in most other congressional campaigns—jobs and the economy—is listed sixth on his site. It’s the reverse of the way voters in most polls rank the issues.

“Dangerous greenhouse gases are warming our planet at such a rate that we can only look at Hurricane Sandy ... and say, there but for the grace of God went the entire Massachusetts coastline,” Markey said in one campaign speech. “I want to go to the Senate to make sure we pass meaningful climate-change legislation,” he said in another.

Environmental groups see Markey’s campaign as a watershed moment and are pouring resources into electing him. To date, Markey’s campaign has drawn about twice as much outside spending as Gomez’s, primarily from national environmental groups. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics show that outside groups have spent $1.7 million in advertising and other activities to support Markey and about $843,000 to support Gomez. The vast majority of that spending--$1.2 million--has come from environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters;, which has led protests around the country opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline; the Sierra Club; and the NextGen Committee, which was founded by Tom Steyer, a Silicon Valley billionaire and Obama donor who helped fund a campaign to save California's climate-change law.

The GOP is pouncing on Markey’s green bucks. “Ed Markey’s biggest accomplishment during his four decades in Washington has been cozying up to radical environmental special interests, causing Massachusetts union workers and their representatives to worry about how extreme Markey actually is,” wrote Brook Hougesen, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in an e-mail to National Journal Daily.

Polls show Markey maintaining a comfortable lead over Gomez, although it may be narrowing a bit. A June 1 New England College poll found Markey leading Gomez by 52 percent to 40 percent, while a Suffolk College poll released over the weekend found Markey’s lead at 48 percent to 41 percent.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


12 June, 2013

Prof. Murry Salby’s Presentation In Hamburg: Climate “Model World” Diverges Starkly From “Real World”

Die kalte Sonne website here has just posted the video presentation of Murry Salby in Hamburg in April. If anyone ever demolished the dubious CO2 AGW science, it’s Salby!

Most of the presentation is very mathematical and technical. But the last 10 minutes sums everything up very nicely for the laypersons.

Die kalte Sonne writes:

"Prof. Murry Salby, climate scientist at Macquarie University of Sydney, made a presentation in Hamburg on April 18th as part of a European tour. Prof. Salby is author of the textbook Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (Cambridge University Press) and Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics (Academic Press) and is renowned worldwide as an astrophysicist. He recently caused excitement with new findings on the relationship of the 12C- and 13C isotopes and the development of CO2-concentration. From the findings he concluded that the anthropogenic emissions only had a slight impact on the global CO2-concentrations. They are are mainly a consequence of temperature changes. This relationship is known up to now only from the warming phases after the last ice ages. Prof. Salby extends this relationship to our current climate development."

The video recording of the presentation, which was organised by the host Helmut Schmidt University, is now available at Youtube (above).”

Near the end (1:02:50) Salby on CO2 and temperature:

"Their divergence over the last decade and a half is now unequivocal. In the models global temperature tracks CO2 almost perfectly. In the real world it clearly doesn’t.”

At 1:04:05 mark he sums it up neatly:

"CO2 then evolves not like temperature, as it does in the model, but like the integral of temperature. In dotted blue is the integral of observed temperature. It closely tracks observed CO2 – even after the 1990s when the observed record of CO2 and temperature clearly diverged. If CO2 tracks the integral of temperature, which it clearly does, it cannot track temperature, which it clearly doesn’t.

In the model, CO2 and temperature are related directly. In the real world they are also related, but differently. The distinctly different relationship between CO2 and global temperature represents a fundamental difference in the global energy balance between its evolution in the model world and the real world. If the global energy balance is wrong, everything else is window dressing.”

The points of Salby’s presentation lead to the following implications:

- In the Real World global temperature is not controlled exclusively by CO2, as it is in the Model World.

- In significant part, however, CO2 is controlled by Global Temperature, as it is in the Proxy Record.”

At the end of the presentation, Salby implies, quoting Richard Feynman, that CO2 science today can be described as “Cult Science”. He sums up quoting Feynman: “If it differs from observations, then it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”


Shale could fuel UK for 10 years, say experts

Britain can extract enough shale gas to meet its needs for almost a decade and can also produce shale oil, according to the most promising official estimate so far of the industry’s potential.

The US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report that it now estimated Britain’s “technically recoverable shale resources” at 26 trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared with annual UK gas consumption of about 3 tcf.

The EIA also said for the first time that it believed Britain had shale oil, estimating that some 700m barrels could be extracted.

The figures indicate the volumes that the UK should be able to extract from the ground using current technology, but do not take into account whether or not it will be economic to do so.

The report warns of opposition to shale gas extraction in the UK and says fracking “got off to an abysmal start” after Cuadrilla caused earth tremors near Blackpool in 2011.

Fracking involves blasting water and chemicals into the ground to “hydraulically fracture” the rock, extracting the gas or oil trapped within it.

The official figures will nevertheless be a significant boon for the industry, which has seen rising optimism on the back of a series of estimates from shale gas drillers of the volume of gas “in place” – the total amount that could be in the ground. The volume of gas that can actually be extracted is invariably much smaller.

In a 2011 study, the EIA put Britain’s technically recoverable shale gas resources at a more modest 20 tcf, while a 2010 official estimate by the British Geological Survey (BGS) suggested recoverable reserves of 5.3 tcf. The BGS is working on a new study that could say there is as much as 1,800 tcf of gas in the ground.

In its report on Monday the EIA said its “unrisked” estimate of shale gas in Britain was 623 tcf, while its “risked” estimate was 134 tcf.

Fracking company Cuadrilla estimates there could be 200 tcf “in place” in the Bowland shale of Lancashire, while IGas recently increased its best estimate for gas in its licences in the north-west to 100 tcf.

The EIA report warned of a series of challenges that might face shale gas development in the UK.

“Compared with North America, the shale geology of the UK is considerably more complex, while drilling and completion costs for shale wells are substantially higher,” it said.

“While the UK’s shale resource base appears substantial, commercial levels of shale production are yet to be established.”

The EIA also noted that “political opposition to shale development is greater in the UK than in Poland”, which is seen as the leader in European shale gas exploration efforts.

“Hydraulic fracturing got off to an abysmal start,” it said, noting that “the UK’s first shale production test well triggered small local earthquakes”. This resulted in an 18-month government ban on fracking, which was lifted last year.

The EIA report said that shale oil and gas were “globally abundant”, estimating there were 345bn barrels of technically recoverable shale oil – 10pc of the world’s crude oil.


Repeal, Don't Expand, Ethanol Mandate

Sometimes, big government becomes so big that even good conservatives find themselves unwittingly advocating expansions of government in response to its failures. That's precisely what U. S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) is doing with the new "solution" he has offered to the egregious humanitarian and economic scandal “The Ethanol Mandate”, officially known at the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

In the wake of rising food and feedstock prices caused by corn-based ethanol, Olson and several other members of Congress think the answer is to expand the RFS to include ethanol derived from natural gas. The result would be a spike in natural gas prices, hurting manufacturers and consumers.

The current ethanol mandate is a disaster and serves as a poster child of what happens when government attempts to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. It has already given us the embarrassment of EPA mandates for cellulosic biofuels that don't even exist, fraudulent trading of fake renewable credits, and approval of fuels with 15 percent ethanol that can damage engines (and which car warranties won't cover). We are It's now approaching a so-called "blend wall" where it will be physically impossible to blend the ever-increasing required volumes of renewable fuels into the total U.S. fuel supply.

The biggest scandal is the impact the RFS had on the food supply. Last year, 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop was burned as ethanol, a record high for our country. And combined with the drought conditions we experienced, livestock and poultry producers suffered.

Two Democratic governors — Bev Purdue of North Carolina and Mike Beebe of Arkansas — officially petitioned the EPA to grant a waiver from the RFS. They were joined by a bipartisan group of 26 senators and 156 House members.

A study by professors at Purdue University quantified the price impact, finding that a strong waiver could reduce the price of corn by as much as $1.30 per bushel.

Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization weighed in warning: "An immediate, temporary suspension of that mandate would give some respite to the market and allow more of the crop to be channeled towards food and feed uses."

But the EPA said no – so the food burning continues unchecked.

Rep. Olson deserves credit for supporting full repeal; however, he is unfortunately dividing his efforts by introducing legislation that actually expands the mandate. The Domestic Alternative Fuels Act (H.R. 1959), would expand the RFS by allowing natural gas to qualify as a renewable fuel.

That might relieve pressure on corn prices, but only by artificially boosting demand for natural gas — driving up the price of a vital feedstock and energy source that's powering the resurgence of American manufacturing.

It’s directly at cross-purposes with the idea of promoting "renewable fuels," which were supposed to be anything but fossil fuels like natural gas. The theory is that we’re running out of oil and gas domestically, and alternatives would displace imports. But American energy security is no longer in peril, with booming oil and gas production thanks to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. We're leading the world in petroleum production already and projections show continued increases. So why convert natural gas to ethanol? Why mandate ethanol use at all? What's the point?

The motivation of some corporate supporters of H.R. 1959 may be to artificially increase natural gas prices that have fallen with the production boom. While low gas prices have been a huge boon to Americans paying their home heating bills and to manufacturers, some major natural gas producers aren't as appreciative of lower prices for their product.

They tried, and failed, to support massive direct subsidies through the so-called Nat Gas Act until it crashed into a brick-wall of principled opposition from limited government conservatives. Its lead sponsor, John Sullivan of Oklahoma, even lost in a primary over the issue. Olson's bill could, for some, represent a backdoor way to accomplish the same dubious goal of higher natural gas prices.

The bottom line is that government should not be imposing mandates on the fuel supply, and as long as it does, we'll face negative economic consequences. The RFS can't be fixed by being expanded; it must be repealed.


New Study: Polar Bear Population Growing Despite Declining Sea Ice

Exciting news about polar bears in eastern Canada: the peer-reviewed paper on the Davis Strait subpopulation study has finally been published (Peacock et al. 2013). It concludes that despite sea ice having declined since the 1970s, polar bear numbers in Davis Strait have not only increased to a greater density (bears per 1,000 km2) than other seasonal-ice subpopulations (like Western Hudson Bay), but it may now have reached its ‘carrying capacity.’

This is great news. But where is the shouting from the roof-tops? This peer-reviewed paper (with its juicy details of method and analysis results), considered by some to be the only legitimate format for communicating science, was published February 19, 2013. No press release was issued that I could find and consequently, there was no news coverage. Funny, that.

There was a bit of shouting back in 2007 when the study ended and the preliminary population count was released – polar bear biologist Mitch Taylor is quoted in the Telegraph (March 9 2007) as saying:

“There aren’t just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears.”

There was also a CBC news item in January 2007 and a Nunatsiaq|Online report in October 2009 when the official government report was completed. But these were all based on preliminary information and focused on the population increase only.

This new paper (Peacock et al. 2013) reveals that the story in Davis Strait is about more than simple population growth. Small wonder no one is drawing attention to it.

Davis Strait is most southerly subpopulation of polar bears (Fig. 1), because some bears move down as far as southern Newfoundland (470N) when sea ice is at its maximum in the spring. Davis Strait, in total area, is almost as large as the three Hudson Bay subpopulations together – Western Hudson Bay, Southern Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin – according to area data given by Vongraven and Peacock (2011). However, a lot of that area is land and not all of the water is ice-covered, even in late spring. The actual “suitable ice habitat in spring” (determined by Taylor and Lee 1995) averages only 420,100 km2, which is about 16% of the total area.

[Note that Davis Strait is one of the subpopulations heavily impacted by whalers between the 1890s and the 1930s (see previous post here), so bears in this region have probably been recovering since then (discussed previously here).]

The new study, by Lily Peacock, Mitch Taylor and two other colleagues, compared data from mark-recapture studies done in 1974-1979 to those undertaken in 2005- 2007. They state that in Davis Strait, “the overall amount of sea ice declined and breakup has become progressively earlier” since the 1970s.

However, in spite of this decline in sea ice, they estimated the number of bears at about 2,158, a substantial increase over the estimate of about 1,400 bears in 1993 (Derocher et al. 1998:27 – see previous discussion here).

Peacock et al. note that the density of bears in Davis Strait comes out to 5.1 bears/1,000 km2 of sea ice habitat, which is “greater than polar bear densities in other seasonal-ice subpopulations, which are approximately 3.5 bears/1,000 km2 (Taylor and Lee 1995).” Bears in Hudson Bay, for example, also live in a ‘seasonal-ice’ habitat.


RSS Close To 30-Year Average

I did a quick post yesterday on the May numbers on RSS, which fell sharply to 0.139C. The RSS figures are anomalies from the 1979-98 baseline, and I pointed out that, against a baseline of 1981-2010, current temperatures are now only 0.039C higher.

I also mentioned that the 1981-2010 average had been artificially depressed by the two eruptions, El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991.

The above graph illustrates the effect these eruptions had. It is also worth pointing out that El Chichon coincided with the large El Nino of 1982/3. A paper by Alan Robock found :-

The eruption took place just as the largest El Nino of the century so far was beginning. (In fact the volcanic cloud in the stratosphere fooled the satellite sensors which monitor ocean temperatures into thinking ocean temperatures were normal, whereas they had warmed substantially. Thus, scientists were not aware of the El Nino until months after it had started.

As the MEI graph below shows, the 1982 El Nino was comparable to the 1998 one. Therefore, without the El Chichon eruption, the temperatures for 1982 & 83 would have been much higher than average.

Take the two volcanoes out of the equation, and it is clear that there is nothing unusual about current temperatures.


Australian lake sees little change in 7,500 years

Looks like "climate change" is not very global (or not very great) after all. Politics aside, however, it really is a beautiful lake

Scientists in Australia say they've found a unique lake that appears to be exactly as it was 7,500 years ago, untouched by climate change for thousands of years.

Blue Lake -- one of the largest of a number of lakes inside Blue Lake National Park on North Stradbroke Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia -- has remained relatively stable and resilient for millennia.

A group of researchers from the University of Adelaide studied the lake's water discharge and quality, and its fossil pollen and algae, to complete a historical record of the lake over the past several thousand years. They also compared photos of the lake over the past 117 years and published their findings in the academic journal Freshwater Biology.

The lake is so clear that even though it's more than 10 metres deep, you can see clear to the bottom, the study's lead resarcher Cameron Barr. "It's like God's bathtub," Barr said in an interview. "It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful."

The island where the lake lies is a sand island, and Blue Lake's water is continuously replenished every 35 days, he added.

"We know that there have been variations in climate in the region including North Stradbroke Island over recent decades, but during that time the depth, shoreline and water chemistry of Blue Lake has displayed little variation," Dr Barr told the newspaper.

It has remained in its current state even as the rest of the region has shifted toward a drier climate, he added.

"It appears that Blue Lake has been an important climate 'refuge' for the freshwater biota of the region, and is in the same condition now as it was 7,500 years ago," Dr Barr said. "With appropriate management, the lake could continue relatively unchanged for hundreds, possibly thousands of years to come."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


11 June, 2013

Another glimpse of the intellectual wasteland that is Warmism

UN delegate: Global warming means longer, colder winters. She is quite oblivious of her illogic. A lot of Western "scientists" are just as illogical but are a bit more apologetic about it.

Twisted logic at the Bonn climate conference. A UNFCCC delegate finds evidence the Earth is warming in a cold German Spring. Watch Now!

If video is not coming up, go here.

Green corruption in Britain

Tim Yeo was challenged in an interview last week over his role as chairman of the Commons energy and climate change committee and his lucrative work with the green industry.

A former environment minister, he airily dismissed any suggestion of a conflict of interest, even though last year alone he earned £140,000 from his commercial work, much of it to do with the booming business of green energy.

‘I think it’s hard for anyone to sustain the argument that what I’m doing is the result of financial interests. I will stand and fall by the judgment of my peers on the committee,’ he said.

Only three days after those remarks, the arrogant former minister is fighting to retain his chairmanship of the committee. And while Yeo insists he has done nothing wrong, to most Tory MPs he was an accident waiting to happen.

One of the most evangelical environmentalists in the Commons, Yeo last year angrily attacked Tory backbenchers who did not share his zeal. ‘Some Conservative backbenchers are pursuing a policy designed to prove they are not going to get into so-called costly green initiatives. It is extraordinary.’

The independent-minded Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris responded: ‘I’m sure Yeo’s genuinely worried about the subsidies for green jobs, especially as he holds so many of them himself.’

At the last count he had six and has earned more than £400,000 from the green industry since 2009, which was when MPs had to specify the income they receive.

He is a director of ITI Energy Limited, suppliers of equipment which converts waste into biofuel; AFC Energy which develops efficient alkaline fuel cell technology; Group Eurotunnel, serving on the Environment And Safety Committee; director of Eco City Vehicles; chairman of TMO Renewables which develops technology for second generation biofuels; and a management consultant with Regenesis, a California-based company which markets technologies for the restoration of natural resources.

He is also paid £40,000 by a Dubai educational group. As the MP for South Suffolk, he earns another £65,750. It’s no wonder Yeo can afford a large house in his constituency and a London flat with panoramic views of the Thames.

At the last count Yeo had six green jobs and has earned more than £400,000 from the green industry since 2009, which was when MPs had to specify the income they receive

Yet in June 2010 Yeo was elected chairman of the Commons energy and climate change committee which is supposed to examine Britain’s approach to renewable energy with a neutral gaze.

Yeo was already deeply unpopular with fellow Tories because of his unswerving support for more green taxes. He was also the sole Tory to attack Chancellor George Osborne when he cut subsidies for a new generation of wind farms.

‘We have to work harder to find places where wind farms are acceptable to communities,’ he said. ‘Frankly, we need to be prepared to bribe them.’

Unless, of course, the community happens to be in his backyard. At a meeting in September, 2010, he backed his own constituents, who were outraged by plans for a wind farm at a local beauty spot.

He’s certainly had the wind taken out of his sails now.


Senators Call Out the EPA For Leaking Private Info of Farmers to Radical Environmental Groups

We've known for months now that the Environmental Protection Agency has been leaking the private information of small farmers to radical environmental groups, some of which are full of attorneys constantly snooping around for a lawsuit.

According to a letter from a group of Senators to Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe, the EPA "released farm information for 80,000 livestock facilities in 30 states as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from national environmental organizations. It is our understanding that the initial release of data contained personal information that was not required by the FOIA request for ten states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah. This release included names and personal addresses."

The Senators sent the letter Friday to express concern over the sensitivity of the data that was released to groups like Earth Justice, Pew Charitable Trust and Natural Resources Defense Council and to ask how the EPA plans to protect the data of farms and ranches that are also homes to families.

By leaking this information to legal environmental groups, small farms not only have to fight the powerful EPA, but also all of the powerful groups the EPA collaborates with. This scenario can only be classified as bullying and an overreach of regulatory power.

It's no wonder former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used secret email accounts to conduct government business. It's pretty obvious who she was talking to.


What happens in the backroom of a sue-and-settle lawsuit?

Is Big Green running things in President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency? Wake up and smell the corruption.

A virulent 2009 sue-and-settle lawsuit, WildEarth Guardians v. Jackson (as in Lisa Jackson, former EPA administrator) is an outrageous sweetheart deal rife with collusion and manipulation to create arbitrary regulations, along with the EPA takeover of state regulatory programs and a price tag of more than $2.5 billion -- all aimed against the domestic fossil fuel industry.

William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute discovered the details after a Freedom of Information Act request produced 659 pages of EPA emails.

"WEG's lawsuit centered on the EPA's regional haze program to improve visibility, which was created by Congress, which gave the states, not EPA, primacy to choose their own standards and controls for regional haze," Yeatman told me. "A federal court confirmed that authority, so how did EPA take it away from them?" he asked.

Buried in hundreds of EPA emails was the backroom story. Beginning in 2009, 10 green groups including the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians filed lawsuits against EPA alleging that the agency had "missed the deadlines pertaining to the regional haze program."

Rather than defend these cases, EPA simply chose to settle and sign a consent decree agreeing to new enforcement deadlines negotiated with the green groups, not the states, which weren't even notified. WEG's case dealt with the south-central states including New Mexico -- EPA Region 6 -- where the administrator was Al Armendariz, the man later forced to resign after a video became public of him expressing admiration for how the Roman legions used random crucifixions to enforce obedience among Roman subjects.

But CEI's EPA emails revealed a timeline that stank of collusion and corruption. Armendariz came straight from WildEarth Guardians, where he had worked on regional haze issues with Jeremy Nichols, director of WEG's climate and energy program (Nichols' main job was "to fight fossil fuels").

In June 2009, WEG filed its lawsuit against EPA; on Nov. 5, 2009, Armendariz was appointed Region 6 administrator; on Nov. 10 EPA settled new deadlines with WEG and presented a consent decree to the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Armendariz wouldn't be at his desk for another three weeks, but his connections in government and Big Green were well-known.

The point is that an activist who worked on regional haze for a plaintiff suing EPA switched sides to become an official of defendant EPA, and a settlement was reached in less than a week.

It gets worse. Once settled in, on Dec. 8, 2009, Armendariz emailed Nichols, "I've been on board exactly 1 week, and my life is already crazy. But if I can grab a free 15 minutes sometime soon I'd like to call and talk politics."

The "politics" was spending the next year manipulating the negotiated deadlines to trap the states and steal their authority -- evidently with Armendariz thinking that negotiating legal settlements with former colleagues isn't a conflict of interest.

On Nov. 4, 2010, he emailed an EPA colleague about a different lawsuit offering that "If needed, I can call Jeremy [Nichols] at WEG and grab R6 [EPA Region 6] an extended deadline."

An alarmed EPA lawyer had to inform him that he was recused from the WEG case -- a year late.

Yeatman said, "Then it was Washington politics at its worst. On the eve of the deadlines, the agency refused to approve the states' submissions or allegedly inadequate cost estimates (produced by the same contractor green groups used). There was no time for the states to fix things. EPA took control. Its new rules cost the states $2.5 billion for almost undetectable results."

The revolving door between EPA and Big Green then flipped Armendariz into a comfy spot at the Sierra Club.


EPIC FAIL: Climate Models vs. Observations for Tropical Tropospheric Temperature

Rather than a spaghetti plot of the models’ individual years, we just plotted the linear temperature trend from each model and the observations for the period 1979-2012.

Note that the observations (which coincidentally give virtually identical trends) come from two very different observational systems: 4 radiosonde datasets, and 2 satellite datasets (UAH and RSS).

If we restrict the comparison to the 19 models produced by only U.S. research centers, the models are more tightly clustered:

Now, in what universe do the above results not represent an epic failure for the models?

I continue to suspect that the main source of disagreement is that the models’ positive feedbacks are too strong…and possibly of even the wrong sign.

The lack of a tropical upper tropospheric hotspot in the observations is the main reason for the disconnect in the above plots, and as I have been pointing out this is probably rooted in differences in water vapor feedback. The models exhibit strongly positive water vapor feedback, which ends up causing a strong upper tropospheric warming response (the “hot spot”), while the observation’s lack of a hot spot would be consistent with little water vapor feedback.


Will renewables lose their mandates?

By Marita Noon

“They told us the wind turbines were going to be good for the city; that our electric rates would go down. But that hasn’t happened. They keep putting up more and more of them and they are getting closer to the neighborhoods where you hear the noise all night while you are trying to sleep. Plus,” Monica told me last week during my Palm Springs vacation, “they look horrible; like a junk yard. It totally ruins our mountain views!”

I met Monica in a store where she works. When she found out that I write on energy issues, she told me her story. Her electric bills run as high as $700 to $800 a month in the summer for a 1600 square foot home. “I work for the electric company,” she said. “Everything I have goes to pay my bill.” With her bills so high, Monica got behind. She’s been on a payment plan for three years and doesn’t see any hope of ever getting caught up. Instead of using air conditioning, she uses the swamp cooler whenever possible—but with temperatures above 100 most of the summer, the A/C is essential. She’s cut back use of the pool pump. “The pool’s not crystal clear,” she told me, “but my bill is a little less.”

No one could have predicted the reversal of fortunes the renewable energy industry is facing.

Nearly a decade ago, in the mid 2000s, states were busy passing legislation that mandated the use of renewable energy—generally called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Today, more than half the states have renewable requirements that range from modest to aggressive with California’s being the most stringent at 33 percent by 2020.

Legislators eagerly embraced the renewable mandates based on three specific myths:

* Climate change is a man-made crisis caused by the use of hydrocarbons.

* Hydrocarbons are finite and are about to run out and, therefore, are expensive.

* Renewable energy, specifically the wind and the sun, is unlimited and free.

Since then, each of the key selling points have been wiped out.

Environmentalists have been crying “wolf” for so long that the public has become immune to their scare tactics—the disasters predicted at the first Earth Day haven’t happened and despite increasing CO2, the climate hasn’t warmed for 17 years.

The combination of new technology and new applications of old technology have unleashed a new abundance of natural gas and oil—dropping the prices and displacing the market for renewables. Last month, Atlantic magazine’s cover announced, “We will never run out of oil.”

Increasing utility bills have convinced people that even though wind and sunshine are free, converting them to electricity is not—as Monica found out. Europe, the global leader in renewable energy, is backing away from the policies that are making energy more expensive and Europe less competitive.

Combined with the hard-hitting economic collapse and ongoing sagas of taxpayer-funded Green energy failures, the public’s appetite for renewable energy has waned—producing headlines such as “Cheap natural gas prompts states to sour on renewables” and “U.S. states turn against renewable energy as gas plunges.” Compared to last year, investment in renewable energy has dropped: 54 percent in the U.S. and 25 percent in Europe—with the sharpest decline, 96 percent, in Spain. But, as long as the mandates exist, so does the rationale for subsidies, grants, and tax credits.

No wonder the 2013 legislative season was filled with renewable mandate policy action—including calls for repeals, reforms, and expansions. Wind Power Monthly reports: “there have been at least 35 bills to weaken renewable portfolio standards proposed in 16 of the 29 states that have them on the books.”

Six states introduced bills for a full repeal of the mandates: Texas, Minnesota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Kansas. While none passed, Kansas’ and North Carolina’s bills had strong support.

Eleven states—Montana, Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington—had bills aimed at reforming the mandates—several of which would have qualified hydroelectricity as “renewable energy.” Montana passed a bill to include the expansion of existing hydroelectricity as a part of eligible renewable resources. Virginia repealed incentives for electric utilities to pursue renewable energy investments. Vermont passed a zoning bill that would make it more difficult to site a wind farm.

Ten states—Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia—had bills to expand the current mandates. Two have passed: Minnesota and Colorado. The Colorado bill increases the mandate for rural electric cooperatives. The Minnesota bill establishes a 1.5 percent solar energy mandate, to be met by 2020 for investor-owned utilities. Electricity co-ops and municipal utilities are exempt. Nevada’s legislative session ends on June 3. A bill, SB123, that would force the use of more renewable electricity is still being debated. The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Editorial Board called SB123 “a tax hike on everyone” and says it “is a feel-good political initiative, not an economic one,”

While this flurry of activity doesn’t declare a definitive winner or loser, renewable energy advocates are clearly unhappy about fighting a battle they thought they’d already won. Addressing the situation they find themselves in, Wind Power Monthly offers the following insight from Jeff Deyette, assistant energy research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“These opponents have yet to make much progress in their efforts, but they have forced renewable energy advocates to expend valuable resources defending their positions. If you measure success by outright repeal of these standards, they may be successful with one or two. I don’t think they are going to get much more than that. But if you measure success in a different way, in that they are slowing our ability to do what we should be doing, which is going out and expanding these policies and creating larger markets for renewable energy, then I think they have been successful.”

Roger Freeman, a Denver-based environmental attorney who believes that the RPS needs to be protected, acknowledges: “the national trend is in the opposite direction.” Lyndon Rive, SolarCity CEO, says: “We expect in the next year or two that state-based incentives will disappear.”

Arizona’s Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities in the state, has “pulled back on incentives for rooftop solar installations” as Tucson Electric Power Co. and Arizona Public Service Co. “have reached incremental goals for such installations under the state’s renewable-energy standard.”

Without the “marching orders” from the statehouses to the electric utilities, Rhone Resch, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association, says: “Without some carrot or stick, there’s little reason to pick [renewables] up.”

With the “national trend” heading away from state-supported renewable energy mandates, some hope that Congress will set a national renewable standard. But, Karin Wadsack, director of a Northern Arizona University-based project to monitor these legislative battles, concedes: “I wouldn’t see it happening in our current set of national priorities.”

Monica thought the wind turbines would be good, that they’d lower her utility bills. Instead, she’s scared to open her bill. Advertisements featuring a glistening white wind turbine in a green field don’t match the reality that residents of Palm Springs—and other locales—are living with. “They look horrible; like a junkyard.”

As the reality of policies that promote renewable energy sets in, fewer people want it. You can be sure that the 2014 legislative sessions will be filled with additional attempts to repeal or reform existing Renewable Portfolio Standards that could bring about renewable energy’s reversal of fortune—and add to yours as cost-effective coal-fueled power allows you to pay less and your tax dollars won’t be going to green energy schemes that line the pockets of political cronies.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


10 June, 2013

Coronation Meadows: A "green" idea I thoroughly agree with

Prince Charles’s Coronation Meadows campaign aims to reclaim our once glorious grasslands. It is a fitting memorial for future generations

When humanity was young our first imprints on the land were clearings in the forests that covered it. We wanted the timber for fires, weapons and shelter, but we found that the clearings drew animals, which we hunted. The more space we made, the richer the pasture, the better the numbers of game. Later we used these clearings for everything from pastoralism to settled agriculture to war. It seems very pleasing that these ancient spaces are the latest battle cry of the Prince of Wales; in a long career of green thinking, his best idea yet may be Coronation Meadows.

A meadow in every county is to be identified for special protection and nurturing. Sixty, one for each year since the Queen’s accession, are already designated, with more to come. Further needy meadows will be given seed or green hay from the Coronation fields to invigorate them. The key idea is the protection and propagation of native plants that have suffered decades of defeats. Prince Charles would also like our assistance in mapping his mother’s kingdom’s grasslands, as no record exists.

William the Conqueror would certainly have approved of the mapping, and the idea of royally favoured meadows spreading their beneficence throughout the country is a metaphor for a relationship between monarch and subjects of which Elizabeth I would have been proud, but the Prince is motivated by a serious problem.

Changes in land use and agricultural methods have led to a dire decline in meadows and grasslands, and a plunge in the range of flower species, and numbers of individual plants. Since the 1930s we have lost 97 per cent of our wild flower meadows. As with birds and mammals, so with flowers: the damage of the last century means that Britain’s native flora and fauna needs rescuing. The alternative is a denuded Britain, where there is little to see, hear, smell or discover in the countryside.

The meadows of my Welsh childhood still survive. They are an enchanted world. The First, the Middle and Far Meadow were always known by their proper names. The rest of our acres were fields, but these three were special.

In the First Meadow was a stream, alive with the wriggles of tiny shrimps and jewelled with the mosaic chrysalises of the caddis fly. The stream smelled of cold stones, red silt, worts and asphodels, and there were mollyblobs, gold kingcup flowers. The border with the Middle Meadow took in loops of the stream: the Far Meadow was demarcated by a hedge line of mature thorns but no fencing, so all three fields were watered.

The word ''meadow’’ comes from maedw in Old English, and a Germanic root, mead or matte, and means a tract of grassland seasonally grazed by animals or used for taking hay. Ours served both purposes. The ewes lived, lambed and occasionally died on them in the winter and early spring, richly fertilising the ground in the process. The flock were then moved to other fields, allowing the hay to grow through the spring and early summer, for harvesting in July.

This is the ancient Lamas method of meadow husbandry, which also works for cattle as long as they are not left on the ground all winter. It is the abandonment of this mode of farming which has led to the near destruction of these habitats.

Although man’s interaction with the environment rarely receives much praise from environmentalists, this was the system that made the British countryside the wonderful, rich landscape our grandparents and great grandparents grew up with, its bounty hymned and proved by the songs of pipits, larks and corncrakes that have now been silenced.

Naturally, such treasure as our hay meadows was forbidden territory – woe betide walkers caught tramping ignorantly through the sward.

Jack Meredith, a distinguished farmer of our valley, born in 1903, famously held aloft one handful of spilt hay and said: “A lovely mouthful for a sheep on a winter morning.” He felt profligacy and damage to good grassland as near-physical pain.

There was no stopping the dogs, however. A grinning sheepdog, its white paws dyed gold by buttercup pollen, is one of life’s more disarming prospects. Lying down at the edges of the fields you saw worlds within the worlds of the meadows. Early on a fine day the oblique angle of the sun illumined a fairyland of a million slung spiders’ webs, glittering in the dew. The business of cardinal beetles was traced in the small flights of little vermilion insects; there were tinselled scatterings of butterflies and the buzz of hundreds of bees, whose decline is directly linked to the destruction of such fields.

The colours of a wild flower meadow are faithfully recorded in one of the National Gallery’s treasures, Van Gogh’s Long Grass With Butterflies. The artist seems to have worked every pigment of his palette into the painting. It sings and bustles with greens, golds, umbers, blues and creams.

The clover of our meadows was head-heavy, the white and the red varieties smelled sweet; there were the small gold bell-towers of cowslips and the starbursts of my mother’s favourite flower, oxeye daisies.

Meadow saffron, green-winged orchids, whorled caraway and lesser butterfly orchids are among the species that the charity Plantlife has identified as being critically endangered. They are all native to this country, and it was reading a copy of Plantlife’s report that inspired Prince Charles to take up cudgels for a Coronation memorial that this country needs more than any pomp, parade or public sculpture.

The next meadows in my life were a series of rich grasslands on the side of the Malvern Hills, near where I went to school. They were so classically beautiful and verdant that they reminded us, 16-year-olds, of a gilded advertising campaign featuring a girl with bright gold hair promoting a brand of shampoo by sitting in a meadow.

If you invited a peer from Malvern Girl’s College for a walk in what we were pleased to call “The Timotei Fields”, and she accepted, the chances were that you were on for some sort of kiss. We were a lucky generation, able to sit down in meadows and hold hands with beauty, and let the clouds and the westering light fill in for half our conversation.

Such moments tend to make you forget your English classes, but we were experiencing and benefiting from an effect long documented by the poets and playwrights of Britain. Arden, the green world, is not simply a forest or wood; it is also the clearings in the woods, where light and space and drifting thistledown make time as nothing and where inhibitions shrink to ant size.

Our folk songs and our poetry owe much to this world, and it needs to be a living, existing world, not merely a folk memory. Vaughan Williams’s Folk Songs for Four Seasons includes a cantata ''The Green Meadow’’. A joyous piece, it would make a rousing battle hymn in the cause of grace and goodness.

If, with our help, the Prince is able to make Coronation Meadows the source of such pleasure as we have known for generations to come then he, and we, will deserve their deepest thanks.


Revisiting Climategate as Climatism Falters

Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate, is on the wane. Once riding high, the ideology of man-made climate change is losing its influence in governments across the world. Climategate, the release of e-mails from the University of East Anglia, called the science of dangerous warming into question and turned the tide of global opinion.


On November 19, 2009, and unidentified hacker or internal whistle-blower downloaded more than 1,000 documents and e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom and posted them on a server in Russia. Within hours, these documents were accessed by websites around the world.

These e-mails were a subset of confidential communications between top climate scientists in the United Kingdom, the United States, and other nations over the last fifteen years. These were the very same scientists that developed the surface temperature data sets, promoted the Mann Hockey Stick Curve, and wrote and edited the core of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.

The incident was branded “Climategate” by British columnist James Delingpole, a label soon adopted by the world. These e-mails provide an insight into practices by researchers that are poor science at best and fraudulent at worst. Bias, manipulation of data, avoidance of freedom of information requests, and efforts to subvert the peer-review process are apparent, all to further the “cause” of man-made global warming. The e-mails were released on the eve of the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen.

Climatism’s Apex

Just two years earlier, Climatism had swept almost all in its path. The IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report declared that mankind was very likely the cause of global temperature increase. That same year, former Vice President Al Gore and the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

In December of 2007, The RENIXX index of the world’s largest renewable energy companies soared to over 1,900. Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008, heralding the rebirth of a more environmentally conscious nation. After securing the majority of primary delegates in June, 2008, candidate Obama declared, “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…”

The year 2009 was set to be a year of triumph for Climatism. The US House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in June and sent it to the US Senate. The Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009 was to be the major next step to control global emissions. But the release of the Climategate e-mails just one week prior to the start of the conference shook the science of man-made warming.

Climatism’s Downward Spiral

Today, the man-made global warming movement is headed for a crash. United Nations climate conferences at Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), and Doha (2012) failed to produce an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol climate treaty expired at the end of 2012 without a successor agreement. The Waxman-Markey bill was ignored by the US Senate and climate legislation is now a non-starter in the US Congress.

Contrary to climate model predictions, global temperatures have failed to increase for the last fifteen years, confounding the sirens for dangerous climate change. In January of this year, the UK Met Office revised their global temperature forecast downward for the next decade. The early release of a chart from the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC showed that temperatures are running far below IPCC projections. Scientists and leading publications, such as The Economist, now question whether the climate models are too sensitive to greenhouse gas levels.

Renewable energy subsidies have been cut in Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the US. Governments across the world are rethinking their commitment to green energy. The RENIXX index has fallen to 250, down almost 90 percent from the 2007 peak. In April, the European Parliament rejected an effort to prop up the Emissions Trading System. The price of a carbon allowances dropped to under €3 per tonne, down from €20 per tonne in 2011. Climatism has become shaky business.

The Climategate e-mail release has played an important role in shifting global opinions about the theory of man-made warming. Below are some of the most important quotes from Climategate emails. More quotes on climate change, energy, and the environment can be found here.


‘Hot air’ at the UN climate conference

By Craig Rucker

Ronald Reagan used to say the closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program. If true, the UN climate change bureaucracy presently gathered this week in Bonn is definitely a case in point.

The UNFCCC was created to carry out the climate change agreement first forged in Rio back in 1992. Since that time it has carried out its mission through regularly scheduled “conferences of the parties” every year — usually held in glamorous cities like Copenhagen, Cancun, Marrakech, and The Hague, among others. In its heyday, the UNFCCC produced a binding treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (the U.S. never joined), which, although poorly designed and scientifically meaningless, at least provided the climate bureaucracy some raison d’etre.

But the Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012 shortly after the best attempt to create a successor to it crashed and burned in Copenhagen a few years before. Since that time, Kyoto’s only been extended for those interested in continuing it (which aren’t many), and there’s been no meaningful replacement everyone can agree on. Of course, this hasn’t kept this climate bureaucracy from continuing to try.

It’s becoming apparent that so long as there’s taxpayer money and nice venues to hold conferences, there’s probably going to be no end to these regularly scheduled gatherings of international bureaucrats attempting to clamp down on our economy and regulate the weather. The confab here in Bonn has dreams of a new climate change treaty by 2015. They don’t have all the particulars down yet, but they have found a suitable city in keeping with their refined tastes when it’s ready to be signed — Paris.

To get them there, they’re relying on two different ad hoc groups working on different aspects of the new treaty. One is called the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), which looks at the proposed action plans nations are making to deal with alleged global warming. The second is called the Subsidiary Body for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA) which reviews emissions inventories, compliance and other scientific methodologies the climate bureaucrats say is necessary for carrying out their new proposed treaty. Needless to say, the subject matter for both of these ad hoc groups can be rather tedious and technical — exacerbating the impact of any jet lag one might have experienced getting to Bonn. But they are both important to follow.

Yesterday, those involved with SBI took a day off, as the Russian delegation threw a bit of a temper tantrum and held up releasing the agenda. Since there was no agenda, there was no discussion, so delegates were free to go enjoy a German beer if they chose. A Greenpeace spokesman surmised the Russian action was probably a result of their protest over what has become known as the “hot air” controversy stemming back to the negotiations last December in Doha.

It was in Doha that the UNFCCC pulled the plug on all the emissions credits Russia had acquired under the first Kyoto agreement and told them they couldn’t carry them forward into the a treaty. Russia, which said it wasn’t going along with a second Kyoto and probably a new treaty, still wanted to keep its credits anyway — presumably to sell them to whomever decides to sign aboard. The dispute was supposedly resolved when chairman Christiana Figueres informed the Russians any new document would include language they would like — but it’s unclear if the Russians were still completely happy. Yesterday it may have signaled otherwise.

The second ad hoc group spent time going over matters such as market vs. non-market mechanisms for compliance, forest issues, mitigation and a host of other similar, technical matters. Particularly vocal were small island states like Saint Lucia and Tuvalu, which repeatedly spoke up and voiced concerns that parroted green calls for greater oversight of developed nations.

A spokesman for the Philippines also commented that “climate change needs to be seen in the broader goals of sustainable development,” jargon that is increasingly common for those pushing the radical green agenda. The actions of the chair, however, was to simply pass down to various subcommittees all these items for “further discussion.” Perhaps as the conference goes on it’ll become clear how these various items pan out.

Of course, missing in the whole discussion here in Bonn is any mention of the evolving science that casts doubt on the need for a new treaty. Many of the climate models that were first used to create panic in the early ’90′s have proven to be abysmally wrong. As CFACT’s Marc Morano has shown in his Extreme Weather Report 2012, there have not been the increases in catastrophic weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and the like) global warming alarmists feared would happen, and in fact the Hadley center has not recorded any increase in global temperatures in 16 years — nearly as long as the global warming bureaucracy has been in existence!

Sadly, such data is likely to fall on bureaucratic deaf ears here in Bonn. They have a vested interest, as Ronald Reagan noted above, in seeing their climate program go to “infinity and beyond.” We remain optimistic though that the public and policy leaders will eventually catch onto the game being played. Clearly government spending priorities and the public interest are better served by not footing the bill for bureaucrats to attend expensive conferences, like this one in Bonn.

For now their intention is clear — a fully binding climate treaty signed in Paris in 2015 with the U.S. on board.


New Microwave Regs Likened to ‘Taking 12 Million New Cars Off the Road’

Microwave ovens are the newest federal target – after the government already weighed in on light bulbs, toilets, washing machines and other everyday items for Americans – in a crusade against carbon emissions.

“That’s why we are proud to announce today that the Department of Energy has finalized new energy efficiency standards for microwaves, which will save consumers billions on their energy bills over the coming decades and prevent 38 million metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of taking 12 million new cars off the road for one year,” said Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, on the White House blog.

The administration asserts that the higher energy efficiency standards for microwaves will reduce costs and pollution.

Zichal praised the importance of regulating household appliances.

“Household appliances – like refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions – are commonplace in our everyday lives, yet we rarely stop to think: how much energy are they using and at what cost,” she said in the White House blog post. “Consider this: the average household in the United States spends more than $2,000 each year on energy bills, with appliances accounting for a significant percentage of that total.”

The White House and Energy Department announced that beginning in 2016, new energy efficiency standards for microwaves will be imposed and promised it would lead to consumer savings, but federal regulations have a poor track record of producing consumer deals, said Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“If this goes the same way as government efficiency standards for washing machines, consumers can expect more expensive microwaves,” Kazman told “The basic question we should be asking about these mandates is if they are as great and cost effective as the government tells us, why do we have to have laws imposed on us?”

The new standards are supposed to save consumers $3 billion on their energy bills through 2030, according to the Energy Department. The department doesn’t address the regulatory impact specifically on manufacturing and retail but says the standards will have a “net benefit” of $4.6 billion on the economy over the next three decades.

“Appliance efficiency standards represent a huge opportunity to help families save money by saving energy, while still delivering high quality appliances for consumers,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. “In fact, the commonsense appliance standards adopted over the last four years will save Americans about $400 billion on their utility bills through 2030.”

The Energy Department press release further said, “The standards for microwave ovens will reduce energy consumption in standby mode by 75 percent in countertop microwave ovens and over-the-range microwave ovens without convection features, and by 51 percent for over-the-range microwave ovens with convection, preventing 38 million metric tons of carbon pollution over the next three decades.”


The Sierra Club Exposed

In a news cycle where the lack of transparency is revealed daily, it is refreshing when something previously opaque exposes its true motives. Such is the case for the Sierra Club and its desire to block oil and gas drilling.

I’ve written many times on environmental groups’ influence over use of public lands and how they often use claims of some endangered flora or fauna as cover for their efforts to block any beneficial economic development, such as mineral extraction or agricultural activity. They cry about some critter when in fact it is really about control—control of public lands. It is this very tactic that was the impetus for my “Smash the Watermelons” initiative. Everywhere I speak, I give out bumper stickers with the slogan and pens with a green barrel, but that write with red ink. Imprinted on the pen is: “Green on the outside, red on the inside.” When people ask about the bumper sticker’s meaning, I explain: “When you spend every day, as I do, on energy issues, you quickly realize that the environmental zealots are really about blocking development in America. While they appear green on the outside, they are red on the inside.”

But now, in a season of cover-ups, the Sierra Club has come clean.

This month they’ve launched a new campaign: Our Wild America—which will call for new national monument designations.

The Hill’s E2 Wire heralds the news: “Green groups to Obama: Designate public lands to stop oil and gas drilling.” No longer hiding behind the protection of a critter, the environmental groups have come out of the shadows and boldly proclaimed their intentions. The article starts with: “Environmental lobbyists are pressing President Obama to turn more western lands into national monuments to prevent oil-and-gas companies from drilling there. The Sierra Club is leading the charge…”

Apparently the gang green is frustrated with the lack of Congressional action in locking up lands and is now resorting to pressuring the president to take executive action. Bentley Johnson, legislative representative for the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands campaign, said his group prefers to work at the local level to build momentum with congressional delegations. But that has proven relatively fruitless in recent years. “The standstill on getting lands protected through the legislative route might have pushed the White House to go it alone in recent months.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is mandated to manage the public lands for “multiple use.” The BLM Terminology & Actions document defines it this way: “‘multiple uses’ include recreation, range/grazing, timber, minerals/oil & gas, watershed, fish & wildlife, wilderness, and natural, scenic, scientific and historical values.” But, the “century-old” Antiquities Act gives President Obama the authority to designate national monument status even if there’s no actual monument erected. A national monument designation makes the locale off limits to development. President Obama has used this “emergency” designation nine times—six times in the past year.

The Sierra Club wants it used more.

Dan Chu, the director of the Sierra Club’s Wild America campaign, explained: “Recreation, wildlife and scenic values would have much more priority in management planning if it was designated as a national monument.”

As a part of the Wild America campaign, Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, is currently on a “road trip” to “educate the public and excite Sierra Club members about getting some of these proposed areas as national monuments.”

One of Brune’s stops is Moab, Utah. Marc Thomas, a member of the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s Utah Chapter’s Glen Canyon Group, is in support of the proposed Greater Canyonlands National Monument—1.4 million acres near Moab—that he describes as “a whole swath of land that is not protected from impacts like mineral extraction or privatization.” Thomas exclaims: “That's what I'm concerned about.”

Chu agrees. Addressing the campaign he says: “We, along with our partners, are concerned about imminent threats from tar sand development, oil and gas leasing and the increase in illegal trails from off-road vehicle use.”

The Wild America campaign is described as “a grassroots movement to secure permanent protection for significant landscapes and advocating for responsible wildlife and lands management”—which is spearheaded by “the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the country.” But how grassroots is the Sierra Club really? It is not the hiking and nature club that it used to be—or that the leadership wants you to think it is. The Sierra Club is now a true political organization flexing its muscle to move its agenda with nearly a hundred million dollars in annual revenues.

In its announcement about the Wild America campaign, the United Press International said the following: “The Sierra Club, a leading environmental lobbying group in Washington…” The Sierra Club endorses candidates and policies—recently voting to support comprehensive immigration reform. In an interesting post on the website Progressives for Immigration Reform, life-long Sierra Club member and environmental activist, Philip Carfaro, bemoans the club’s reversal in its position on immigration that had been held for four decades, saying the shift “looks to have been driven by short-term politics.” Carfaro posits that Brune ignored “both the grave environmental costs of immigration-driven US population growth and the organization’s own organizational history” in exchange for La Raza’s support at the big DC rally against the Keystone pipeline and calls the leadership “short-sighted, politically correct pygmies.”

Carfaro’s point rings true. Immigration reform, specifically amnesty, is a Democratic dream come true and a presidential promise. I suspect back room deals were made for the Sierra Club’s support in exchange for executive-order national monument status to prevent oil and gas drilling. In the call for Obama to “designate public lands to stop oil and gas drilling,” Chu adds a political sweetener, suggesting Obama could help Democrats win House and Senate seats in the midterm election year: “We think there’s real opportunities for them to do additional monument designations by the midterm elections and that it’s a positive political thing for the administration and for senators and congressmen.”

There’s a La Raza connection. E2 Wire reports: “Chu argues the West is becoming ‘less purple and more blue’ because of an influx of Latino and younger voters. The Sierra Club aims to marshal those voting blocs to get new national monuments in New Mexico and Colorado. Chu said Latino and young voters care more about conservation than about energy drilling, citing a poll for the Sierra Club and National Council of La Raza that said 69 percent of Latino voters support increasing the number of national monuments.”

Yet, polling done by the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) shows otherwise. Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government affairs reports: “Our polling (conducted by the Tarrance group) shows that Latinos favor increased oil and natural gas in the US by 74%. I think they, along with a majority of Americans, realize that development creates jobs and economic opportunity throughout the US.”

Jessica Kershaw, a spokeswoman for the Department of Interior (DOI), said the administration wants to see grassroots support for monument designations before acting: “DOI, as part of the Obama administration, is certainly committed to the conservation of these designations. But it’s rooted in the partnership of these local communities,” she said. So, Brune is out trying to get Sierra Club members excited about the proposed national monuments. I believe, as the WEA poll confirms, the average American understands that more drilling means more jobs, lower-priced fuels, energy security, and a balancing of the trade deficit—which is why, as Johnson said, working “with congressional delegations” to lock up lands has been “fruitless.”

Why has the Sierra Club—a 501(c)4 public charity with the same designation as the beleaguered Tea Party groups that were “blamed” for the excessive scrutiny due to political activities—suddenly gotten transparent about their politically aggressive actions? Perhaps now that Sally Jewell, former Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) CEO, is Secretary of the Interior, the Sierra Club feels emboldened. It has a friend in the Administration. REI is a Sierra Club “benefactor.”

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, doesn’t want decisions on monuments imposed by Obama. In an email, Mallory Micetich, a committee spokeswoman, told me: “Chairman Hastings firmly believes that additions to the National Park System and major land-use decisions that impact local communities and economies should be the result of careful public review and a vote by Congress. It should not be a unilateral decision imposed by the President under a century-old, outdated law.”

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), Chairman of the Western Caucus, agrees. “Monument designations, like any other laws, should come up from the people, not down by executive decree. Conservation is at its best when it is carried out by the people: through elected representatives in a transparent, public process. When designations are instead handed down through executive order, valid concerns are silenced, the minority cannot express its concerns, and both conservation and democracy suffer.”

Remember “the administration wants to see grassroots support for monument designations before acting”—which implies grassroots opposition could prevent the designations. Call the DOI (202-208-6416) and ask Jessica Kershaw to tell Secretary Jewell that you are “grassroots” and that you oppose the designation of national monuments by executive order. Public land-use decisions that block public access to recreation and other job-creating economic activities should not be made unilaterally, behind closed-doors, and without local input.


Climate Aid: The $39 bn industry, mostly used to slow developing countries

Climate Analytics say that developed nations have paid $35.9 billion dollars into the UN Aid program called FastStart. This was the project rescued from the aftermath of the 2009 Copenhagen climate convention. Somehow $3 billion of private finance has been tossed in as well, making it nearly $39 billion since late 2009.

As usual, when other-people’s-money is spent on the poorest of the poor, the poor seem to get no say, and not much use out of it either.

[Bloomberg] “Seventy-one percent of the total finance went to emission-reduction ventures rather than adaptation projects such as water conservation or flood defense, today’s report shows.”

Sooner or later, the aid-recipients are going to suffer through a flood or a drought (thanks to climate-sameness). But two thirds of this aid money won’t add up to a dime’s worth of protection. Seventy percent of the funds were used to stop emissions of a fertilizing trace gas instead of preparing people against the ravages of the weather. Indeed most of the money was spent reducing something that would be considered an asset if not for the decree of climate models that we already know are wrong.

Hey, but it’s only $27 billion or so wasted.

A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon we’ll be talking real money.

There are a lot of things we don’t know about climate but we do know CO2 emissions are strongly linked to GDP. Countries which don’t emit much CO2, don’t have much purchasing power (or health, wealth or electricity either). So Joy! There’s a stronger link between CO2 and wealth, than CO2 and the weather.

There is more evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will keep poor people poor than there is that it will change the climate.

Strangely for a multibillion dollar project there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about FastStart. A quick search turns up atwo year old page by The Australian Government. I wrote about that in 2011. Back then there were lots of mysteries about the funding, and things haven’t got much better.

The Climate Analytics group realize it didn’t work out that well:

"One key feature was that the vast majority of the finance (more than 71%) was given for climate mitigation projects, leaving the world’s most vulnerable countries lacking the money badly needed to cope with the impacts of climate change they are already experiencing. “The world’s smallest and most vulnerable countries are not the cause of climate change, but they will be the hardest hit by the impacts. Yet the vast majority of Fast Start Finance public money has gone into mitigation projects, with little spent on adaptation. There needs to be a balanced approach for a long–‐term regime,” said de Marez."

Could it be that governments just rebadged other funds and grants and repackaged them so they could be called “climate aid”, and their government would pass the UN “good citizen” test? What if money that might have been used for foreign aid in health, microfinance or education was used to reduce the wealth of some of the poorest people in the world instead?

And all in the vain hope of warding off bad weather.

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



Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


9 June, 2013

Wind farms are a 'complete scam', claims Britain's Environment Secretary -- who says turbines are causing 'huge unhappiness'

Wind farms have been branded a ‘complete scam’ by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, reigniting coalition battle over green power.

As the government unveiled new powers for local residents to block turbines blighting their villages, Mr Paterson condemned many planned schemes as ‘deeply unpopular’ and causing ‘huge unhappiness’ across the country.

The outspoken remarks from a senior Tory minister in charge of environmental policy risks a furious reaction from Liberal Democrats pushing for more renewable power projects.

The Conservatives have taken a tougher line on wind farms in recent months, and this week unveiled plans to give communities a powerful ‘veto’ over controversial new onshore developments.

Schemes will have to gain local residents’ consent before a planning application can even be made, effectively handing them the power to prevent turbines being erected.

Planning rules are also to be changed so that the drive for renewable energy can no longer be used as a reason for overriding environmental and other concerns.

Mr Paterson signalled that plans for wind farms will have to take into account the impact on the countryside and views as well as the desire to save the planet.

In an extraordinary intervention at the Royal Cornwall Show yesterday, the Tory Cabinet minister said: ‘Turbines are regarded as a complete scam, but as of today we have given power to local communities to decide.

‘The criteria is now that environment and landscape will have to be taken into consideration as well as the national energy requirement.’

Under the new rules councils must look at the cumulative impact of wind turbines and reflect the effect on landscape and local facilities.

There is also a major increase promised in the amount developers pay local communities to win them over, including long-term electricity bill discounts of up to 20 per cent.

However, Mr Paterson suggested anger with many schemes would not be overcome by additional bribes.

He added: ‘I know there is huge unhappiness with some of these projects, both from what I hear nationally and from my own constituency in Shropshire.

‘There are places where these projects are well prepared, the community wants it and it will be worthwhile. But in inland areas they are very often deeply unpopular,’ the Western Morning News reported.

Leila Deen, Greenpeace energy campaigner, said: 'Wind farms may seem like a scam to a Government minister who questions the science of climate change and who’s pushing for his Shropshire constituency to be fracked for shale gas.

'The public disagrees - two thirds of people would rather have a wind turbine near their home than a fracking site.

'Onshore wind powered almost 2.5 million homes in 2011, is falling in cost and will play a key role in our future energy mix.'

Mr Paterson’s appointment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last September was controversial, with allies forced to deny he was a climate change denier.

In 2007, he described wind farms as ridiculous, claiming they ‘demand vast amounts of public subsidy and do not work’.


Green measures will only save £31 by 2020, says British consumer protection body

Government estimates of the savings that will be made on household energy bills from its green measures have been dismissed as "unduly optimistic".

Consumer Futures, the official UK protection body, today warned the Government its estimates of savings from encouraging consumers to use more energy efficient products and appliances were "unduly optimistic".

It urged the Department of Energy and Climate Change to make an assessment of the impact if take up of new products is lower than predicted while warning that two million low income households, many dependent on electricity for heating, would be worst affected, including many pensioners.

It wants the DECC to investigate measures to offset the costs for poorer customers reliants on electricity.

In a report - The Hardest Hit - it said the average "benefit" from encouraging more use of energy efficient appliances and other green measures would be £31 per household a year - or 2pc - by 2020 rather than the official estimate of £166.

The study estimated that if demand for these appliances is lower than expected, bills would increase on average by £93 or 7pc above where they would have been if the Government had done nothing.

Much of the DECC’s estimate is based on policies introduced in 2002, such as new rules that encourage boilers to be replaced. The Consumer Futures study was based on measures introduced after 2010.

Consumer Futures estimated that 2.1 million low income households may be significant losers from the energy policy, in particular those dependent on electric heating and including many pensioners.

Households reliant on electric heating would see their typical bill rise by £282 by 2020, the report warned. This is because the cost of energy efficiciency policies fall largely on electricity customers. Such initiatives include the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) - investment in the network - and Renewables Obligation, where households with solar panels and other energy generation devices are subsidised by other electricity customers. The schemes will have cost an estimated £4.8bn by 2020.

Consumer Futures called for intervention to protect the most vulnerable customers from unfair additional costs.

Adam Scorer, director of policy at Consumer Futures, said: "Many will be protected from such costs by benefits such as energy efficiency, microgeneration technology and bill discounts. But for those who are not protected, the impact on their bills will be significant.

"Energy policies should provide benefits to many consumers, but as they are rolled out they will also create clear winners and losers. Some of those losers will be hit hard, and will not be in a position to absorb some significant bill shocks."

He also warned that the Government assumptions on savings could prove danergous. "There is a real danger that heroic assumptions about the benefits of product policy could perform the function of an energy policy comfort blanket, providing an illusory sense of security and cost saving," he said. "Consumers cannot afford such over generous policy assumptions.

"The Government must use the current Energy Bill and forthcoming Fuel Poverty Strategy and Heat Strategy to provide greater protection to those who rely on electric heating, but who cannot rely on current protections against the cost of energy policies."

Downing Street is ploughing ahead with a range of measures to "decarbonise" the UK economy, with the costs picked up by taxpayers, businesses and consumers. It is in reaction to the consensus of scientific opinion that human activity that releases carbon into the atmosphere contributes to climate change.

The UK is bound by international agreements to achieve an 80pc reduction in emissions by 2050.

The DECC also launched the Green Deal in January, which offers loans for energy efficient measures to be undertaken on homes with the cost recouped via additional repayments on the homeowner or tenants' energy bills.

But the policy has faced fierce opposition. An amendment to the Energy Bill which would commit the UK to have a “near carbon-free power sector” by 2030 was rejected in House of Commons yesterday. The bill has now passed on to the House of Lords.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “The Energy Bill – which received overwhelming support in Parliament yesterday – and our policies to encourage investment in low carbon energy, will help cushion UK consumers from rising global wholesale oil and gas prices.

“Households with electric heating can benefit from the Warm Home Discount, which is helping over 2million households each year, the Green Deal, which will improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock and the Energy Company Obligation, which will put efficient boilers and insulation in thousands of homes each year, helping those who need it most.

"This is on top of work by Ofgem to extend the gas distribution network and a the Government’s grant scheme to help householders with the up-front cost of installing renewable heat equipment.

“We will consider Consumer Futures’ research carefully, but it does not take account the fact households – including those with electric heating - will continue to save money with energy efficiency measures installed before 2010. Our assumptions on products are also not based on expectations of a change in consumer behaviour. We do not assume or require that people replace products any faster than they already do.”


Britain committed to new nukes

Ministers and EDF still disagree on “five or six” issues over the building of Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, Michael Fallon has said, insisting the French company does not have the Government “over a barrel”.

Talks over subsidies for the £14bn Hinkley Point project in Somerset were originally due to be concluded at the end of last year.

But despite suggestions in recent weeks that the two sides were nearing agreement, energy minister Mr Fallon revealed: “We are still apart on five or six issues.”

The comment, in an interview with The House magazine, will cast renewed doubt on the project, which requires not only agreement with the government but also EU state aid approval and for EDF to secure financial partners.

EDF wants the Government to sign a long-term contract guaranteeing it a “strike price” for power from Hinkley Point, subsidised through levies on consumer energy bills. Ministers are under intense pressure not to commit households to paying too much.

Other key terms will include the duration, indexation, and clauses to protect EDF being disadvantaged by other changes in policy.

Asked at an npower event in London on Thursday about the prospect of a EDF securing a rumoured 35-year contract, Mr Fallon said: “Inevitably it is a reasonably lengthy contract if you’re going to get people to invest. I would urge you to wait and see, if we are able to strike a deal, what the terms will be.”

He insisted new nuclear plants were crucial to replace the old ones that are being retired, which produce about 17pc of Britain’s power. “We can’t afford to let 17pc disappear... We need to maintain the energy mix,” he said.

But in the magazine interview Mr Fallon rejected suggestions that the need for new nuclear plants left ministers in a weak negotiating position, citing plans by Japan’s Hitachi to build reactors in Gloucestershire and on Anglesey through the Horizon venture.

“We are not over a barrel,” he said. “We have Hitachi ready to come in... So we are not wholly dependent on Hinkley. We would like to do the deal with EDF but we are not going to do it at any price.

“It’s a very complex negotiation and we are inching closer but we are not quite there yet.”

EDF said on Wednesday that negotiations "are continuing and both sides have characterised them as positive".

Mr Fallon also made an enthusiastic case for shale gas exploitation in the UK, claiming: “It would be irresponsible not to see what’s down there.”

He described shale gas as “very important”, despite admitting its potential here is not yet known, and suggested businesses may move overseas unless Britain can cut its energy costs.

“Shale has dramatically lowered the cost of energy for industry in the States and it is very important that Western Europe is not put at a disadvantage, that we don’t start losing manufacturing processes, steel plants or chemical plants to the States because of the long term cheaper cost of energy there,” he said.

Promised tax breaks for gas explorers would be “firmed up by the summer” and “take effect from next April”, he said.


GWPF Think Tank Sets Out Areas Of CO2 Agreement And Dispute With Royal Society

Disputes magnitude of threat

Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation has set out the areas of scientific agreement and dispute about whether man’s carbon dioxide emissions pose an environmental threat.

Foundation director Benny Peiser outlined the issues in a letter to [Fellows of] the Royal Society, which defends man-made warming theory and recently offered to put the GWPF “in touch with people who can offer the Foundation informed scientific opinion”.

Peiser says [he] agrees with the dominant scientific establishment that:

* the greenhouse effect is real;

* CO2’s warming potential follows a logarithmic curve with diminishing returns at higher concentrations;

* absent of feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels would warm the atmosphere by about 1.1ºC; and

* since 1980 global temperatures have increased at an average rate of about 0.1ºC per decade.

But [he] says a lack of understanding about feedbacks means the climate sensitivity of rising CO2 concentrations is a “matter of vigorous scientific debate”.

He says the decline of summer sea ice in the Arctic has happened as sea ice in Antarctic has increased. “This is more consistent with regional albedo changes due to soot than with global temperature changes due to global warming.”

He adds: “There is no consensus that recent climate change has affected the variability of weather or the frequency of extreme weather events.”

[Peiser] says the lack a global temperature rise for the last 16 years is at odds with the so-called “scientific consensus” of man-made warming.

“Predictions of increasing humidity and temperature in the tropical troposphere, a key prediction of rapid greenhouse warming, have been falsified by experimental data, casting doubt on whether the warming of 1980-2000 was man-made,” he adds.

On policy responses, Peiser says: “Policies to decarbonise the economy using today’s technology are likely to be harmful to human welfare and natural ecology… Adaptation may be a cheaper and less harmful policy than mitigation.”


Cooling looms as earth’s true climate calamity

Although we have been enmeshed in a long debate over global warming and climate change, this controversy has been politically motivated, not a response to actual global warming, as there has been no warming for 16 years.

In fact, it is likely we will soon need to take a long, hard look at adjustments in behavior based not on warmth, which, by and large, results in good things, but, rather, on cold, which creates endless problems for both individuals and society.

Scientists from Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, stated in the Voice of Russia on April 22, that solar activity is waning to such an extent that the global average yearly temperature will soon begin to decline.

Now, there is no reason to believe there will be any warming during the remainder of this century, says Vladimir Kotlyakov, head of the Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Science, speaking with Vladimir Radyuhin for the Hindu newspaper on April 22, 2013. In the same article, Dr. Yuri Nagovitsyn, academic secretary of the Pulkovo Observatory, is quoted as saying coming generations will have to grapple with temperatures several degrees lower than those today.

On Jan. 8, on NASA's Science News website, Tony Phillips cited Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory as noting we are now in the final stages of Solar Cycle 24, which has been "the weakest in more than 50 years." By the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives shortly, they predict, "magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed," Phillips wrote.

The effects of this weak solar activity have been notable. The United Kingdom just suffered through a winter with temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Celsius below normal, and German meteorologists report 2013 has been the coldest year in 208 years. Writing April 27 in England's Sunday Telegraph, Christopher Booker noted 3,318 places in the United States that had recorded their lowest temperatures for that time of year since records began. Similar records were set in every province of Canada, and the Russian winter has seen its deepest snowfall in 134 years.

Anthony Watts, at his Watts Up With That blog, shows that, in this century, average U.S. winter temperatures have dropped by 1.45 degrees C, more than twice as much as their rise from 1850-1999 and twice as much as the net rise in the 20th century.

This cooling has come as a big surprise to many. All of mankind's new carbon dioxide emissions were supposed to make things too warm, with climate models indicating the world would heat up by 0.3 degrees C every decade.

Armed with an understanding of the solar cycles, however, Vladimir Bashkin and Rauf Galiulin from the Institute of Fundamental Problems of Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences state the warming in the past century was simply what should be expected when coming out of a mini ice age, rather than any changes caused by man's activities.

Cold causes more disruptions for people than warming, and mankind always has been more prosperous during warmer periods. However, with modern technology, we have the ability to plan accordingly and manage the slow change toward cooling that is likely upon us. But unless the governments of the world turn off the spigots that have fed tens of billions of dollars annually to support only research on man-caused warming, and begin to fund serious science intent on determining what the real global temperature trends are, it will be a decade or more before the truth is told.

The suggestion that the Earth may actually be cooling, not warming, is based not on science-fiction computer projections but, instead, on centuries of real data of how our planetary system actually works. It is time to turn away from supposing and direct our attention to reality.


Green Investors Face Bankruptcy As Spain Cuts Subsidies Even Further

Juan Antonio Cabrero is bracing for the savings he invested in a solar-energy farm in northern Spain to disappear into light.

In 2008 Mr. Cabrero put up his €20,000 ($26,200) life savings and took on a €80,000 bank loan to buy part of the solar farm, pledging his home in nearby Tafalla as a guarantee. Spain’s government was promising more than two decades of large subsidies to spur the growth of solar energy, and Mr. Cabrero thought his investment would safely provide a nest egg for his planned retirement in 2018.

Now, because of cuts in renewable-energy subsidies the government is said to be planning, the 60-year-old Mr. Cabrero may lose both his savings and his house.

“I feel cheated, misled and assaulted by my own government,” said Mr. Cabrero, who works in sales for a company that builds hybrid-electric buses. “I never would have done this if I had known what would happen.”

Under a broad energy-sector overhaul to be announced as early as June 21, Spain’s government will reduce subsidies to renewable-energy producers by 10% to 20%, people familiar with the plan said Thursday.

The move could drive tens of thousands of struggling solar-energy companies and individual investors like Mr. Cabrero into default at a time of deepening recession and eventually boost loan losses for banks that financed the projects.

A spokeswoman for the Energy Ministry declined to comment.

Spain’s renewable-energy sector includes wind- and solar-energy projects. The proposed cuts are a far bigger threat to solar-energy investors because their projects are more heavily indebted.

Deputy Energy Minister Alberto Nadal told representatives of Spanish and foreign banks late last month that the government was planning to cut the level of government-guaranteed revenue for renewable-energy production, a government-guaranteed payment that effectively acts as a subsidy because it is far above market rates, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Bank executives present at the meeting argued that they shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the energy overhaul by assuming any resulting losses, a senior Spanish banker said, adding that Spanish banks are still lobbying to soften the planned cuts.

Those government subsidies increase the costs for running the nation’s electrical system. For years, the subsidies and other overall costs of running the system have been higher than the amount of money generated by actual sales of power to households and businesses, resulting in a “tariff deficit.” Reducing the tariff deficit helps cash-strapped Madrid’s fiscal picture because the government likely would have to devote less money to filling that gap in future years.

Spain’s electricity system has registered deficits during most of the past decade. By May, the total accumulated deficit had reached about €26 billion ($34.04 billion). The government has promised to narrow the annual gap this year as it struggles to bring down its budget deficit and limit the rise in household electricity bills.

Spain began offering large subsidies and other incentives in the late 2000s to promote the growth of solar-energy projects. In addition, banks loaned the renewable-energy companies an estimated €30 billion. As a result, the amount of solar-power capacity installed in Spain far surpassed official government targets, increasing the tariff deficit.

Since 2010, the government has taken steps to curb the tariff deficit, including imposing a temporary limit on the hours of electricity generation for which most solar-energy producers receive payment above market rates. These producers say the limits adopted since 2010 could cut their revenue by as much as 40% this year.

José Donoso, managing director of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union trade association, said the subsidy cuts would also lead to a wave of defaults in the renewable-energy sector because companies managing many of the 60,000 or so solar-power installations in Spain would have trouble servicing their debt loads. He said he couldn’t estimate how many were at risk of default.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


7 June, 2013

Where's that drought the Warmists were predicting?

Global cooling? "The Danube has reached heights not seen for 500 years"

Two women hitched up their clothes as they walked through the flood water in Nienburg, Germany

More than 120 Britons were rescued last night after being stranded on a cruise ship in Austria for almost a week because of torrential rain.

The Dutch-registered Filia Rheni had just left Vienna last Saturday when shipping on the Danube was halted because the river was so swollen.

It was anchored only yards from the bank but rescuers said evacuating the passengers, mostly pensioners, would have been too dangerous because of the debris sweeping downstream.

However, last night they constructed a pontoon bridge and the holidaymakers, some tearful, were helped ashore.

The Danube has reached heights not seen for 500 years and jetties along the river have been swamped and dozens of ships abandoned.

Much of Europe has been hit by floods with some areas seeing the worst flooding for 400 years

The liner is one of about 30 moored along the river in Vienna until the water levels drop.

In Vienna, the Danube peaked Wednesday at levels above those of the 2002 floods that devastated Europe.

The city's extensive protection system held, however, although the highway to the airport was temporarily inundated.

The rescue comes after dozens of village residents had to be airlifted to safety yesterday by helicopters after the Danube reached heights not seen in over 500 years in the German city of Passau.


EU-China solar trade spat escalates as Beijing hits back with wine probe

The European Commission has confirmed its intention to impose duties on imports of Chinese solar panels from Thursday (6 June), triggering an immediate response from China, which announced the launch of an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into European wine.

Under pressure from Germany, which fears retaliation from China could hit its export-dependent economy, the European Commission had attempted to tone down the dispute by announcing an initial duty of 11.8%, far lower than the average 47% that had been planned.

The shift reflected the Commission’s desire to avoid a trade war, while also acknowledging opposition to duties from 18 of the EU's 27 member states, led by Germany and Britain.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, a Belgian lawyer and advocate of free trade, on Tuesday (4 June) defended the duties as an emergency measure to provide "life-saving oxygen to a business sector in Europe that is suffering badly from this dumping."

Chinese firms have captured more than 80% of the European solar panel market, from nearly zero a few years ago, and China's solar panel production is 1.5 times the global demand, according to the European Commission.

"This is not protectionism. Rather it is about ensuring international trade rules also apply to Chinese companies – just like they apply to us," De Gucht said.

China's Commerce Ministry said it noted the lower initial rate, but called on the EU to "show more sincerity and flexibility to find a resolution both sides can accept through consultations".

De Gucht: ‘The ball is in China’s court’

While the European Commission has the final say on trade issues, it does not want to be seen to be acting against the interests of member states.

"This is a one-time offer to the Chinese side, providing a very clear incentive to negotiate," De Gucht told a news conference. "It provides a clear window of opportunity for negotiations, but the ball is now in China's court."

De Gucht said the 11.8% duty would apply until 6 August. If no settlement is reached, the average rate will then rise to 47.6%, in effect blocking China's market access. In December, that rate will be put in force for five years.

One Chinese source close to the talks said: "If we face a loaded gun to our heads, it is not a fair negotiation, but at least it creates room for both sides to find a solution."

EU countries divided

The case has tested whether EU governments can unite behind the European Commission on global trade issues and overcome worries about retaliation.

Germany and Britain say their companies could be disadvantaged in China's growing markets such as financial services and telecoms if Brussels hinders Chinese business in Europe.

But France and Italy argue that Chinese firms are unfairly benefiting from state subsidies that allow them to flood Europe with cheap goods and undercut local producers.

The European solar energy market, the world's biggest, is dominated by Chinese suppliers including Yingli Green Energy, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, Trina Solar Ltd and Canadian Solar Inc.

China hits back on French wine

Responding to the EU solar case, China announced the launch of an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into European wine, a move that is expected to hit France and Italy hardest.

China's Commerce Ministry said it has “already received an application from the domestic wine industry, which accuses wines imported from Europe of entering China's market by use of unfair trade tactics such as dumping and subsidies".

"This is impacted upon our wine industry, and [they have] asked the Commerce Ministry to begin and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe," the ministry added.

"We have noted the quick rise in wine imports from the EU in recent years, and we will handle the investigation in accordance with the law."

China imported 430 million litres of wine last year, of which more than two-thirds came from the EU, according to Chinese customs figures. Imports from France alone came to 170 million litres.


Residents given the power to kill off new wind turbines in move British Tories claim will end controversial onshore developments

Communities are to be given a powerful ‘veto’ over wind farms in a move that Tories claim will mean the death of controversial new onshore developments.

Schemes will have to gain local residents’ consent before a planning application can even be made, effectively handing them the power to prevent turbines being erected.

Planning rules are also to be changed so that the drive for renewable energy can no longer be used as a reason for overriding environmental and other concerns.

Former energy minister John Hayes, a leading critic of onshore wind turbines who has been pushing for reform since moving to Downing Street as a senior adviser to David Cameron, told the Daily Mail: ‘No means no.
The Government has set a target of increasing the amount of power generated by onshore wind farms to 13 gigawatts by 2020

The Government has set a target of increasing the amount of power generated by onshore wind farms to 13 gigawatts by 2020

‘No longer will councils and communities be bullied into accepting developments because national energy policy trumps local opinion. Meeting our energy goals is no excuse for building wind turbines in the wrong places.’

Ministers are planning a major increase in benefits paid for by developers for communities that do give their consent– branded ‘bribes for blight’ by critics – including long-term electricity bill discounts of up to 20 per cent.

But following months of bitter argument over wind power between the Coalition parties, Tory sources said they expected the package of measures will mean few new developments are approved.
Eric Pickles will issue revised guidance for councils and planning inspectors

Eric Pickles will issue revised guidance for councils and planning inspectors

The Government has set a target of increasing the amount of power generated by onshore wind farms to 13 gigawatts (GW) by 2020. There are currently around 3,800 turbines, and at least 10,000 had been expected to be built.

But in an indication of a shift in Government policy, ministers announced last year that the subsidy for onshore wind power generation would be cut by 10 per cent.

Mr Hayes infuriated Lib Dems last year when he declared that turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for the views of communities, and insisted that England could meets its targets with those that have already been constructed and those with planning consent.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles will today issue revised guidance for councils and planning inspectors.

It will say that decisions will have to take into account the cumulative impact of wind turbines – meaning councils will be able to factor in the distance between proposed new developments and existing ones – and reflect the effect on landscape and amenities.

The Government is expected to promise an annual review of the costs of wind power, casting doubt over the level of future subsidies.

The Lib Dems, enthusiastic advocates of all forms of green energy, insist community benefits will help ensure new developments do go ahead.

Ministers plan to adopt a similar approach to the development of new nuclear power stations and ‘fracking’ rigs to extract underground reserves of shale gas.

Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted: ‘It is important that onshore wind is developed in a way that is truly sustainable, economically, environmentally and socially, and this announcement will ensure that communities see the windfall from hosting developments near to them, not just the wind farm.

‘We remain committed to the deployment of appropriately sited onshore wind.

‘This is an important sector that is driving economic growth, supporting thousands of new jobs and providing a significant share of our electricity, and I’m determined that communities should share in these benefits.’

Tory Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘We are putting local people at the heart of decision-making on onshore wind.

‘We are changing the balance to ensure that they are consulted earlier and have more say against poorly sited or inadequately justified turbines.’


America’s economic crossroad

By Rick Manning

Why is opening up America’s natural energy resources and defeating an environmental movement that has massive wealth, a pliant media and the capacity to play on emotional heart strings, the most important domestic question facing our nation?

The answer is that cheap, abundant energy may be the only way that our nation’s economy thrives in the future.

The profligate federal government spending over the past five years has put our nation on the precipice of an impending debt crisis, and growing the economic pie is the only way out.

Consider just how much it costs the federal government to make interest payments on the national debt. In 2012, total interest payments on the nation’s then-$16 trillion debt totaled $359 billion.

By 2018, Obama’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projects that the national debt will grow to $21.696 trillion and interest payments will balloon to $657 billion. The projected total revenues in 2018 are $3.65 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion in the year ending in October, 2012.

Why do these numbers matter?

If OMB is correct, normalizing interest rates combined with continued borrowing by the government will ensure that in just five years, one out of every six dollars taken in by the federal government will be spent on interest payments, including those owed to the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

The scary part of the equation is that as time moves forward, federal obligations with lower interest rates will be coming off the books, replaced by higher cost one’s. In fact, an Americans for Limited Government analysis of OMB projections shows that by 2023, gross interest payments on the debt will exceed $1 trillion a year.

It should be clear that the odds are virtually nil that the federal government will continue to show spending restraint in light of the whining and gnashing of teeth associated with the sequester-mandated cuts.

This makes increasing tax revenues through private sector economic growth, rather than job killing tax increases, imperative if we are going to have a hope of stopping our nation’s slide into a Greek-like future.

The good news is if government gets out of the way, energy development can produce the stimulative effect of lower overall costs, as well as moving Americans from being government dependents to thriving taxpayers. Hopefully generating the economic growth needed to overcome our nation’s past fiscal sins.

The proof is in the impact of low natural gas costs are already having in places like Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota, and the story is just beginning to be written.

Reuters quotes Wolfgang Eder, the CEO of Austrian steelmaker Voelstalpine, that his company chose the state of Texas out of 17 sites in eight countries because, “In the USA, re-industrialization is being promoted very consistently, ambitiously and with great conviction,” and “Low energy prices gave us the final — and not insignificant – push.”

Think energy production doesn’t matter? Shale extraction of natural gas brought prices in the United States down to just one quarter of the cost of the same energy in Europe.

Reuters continues by quoting Peter Loescher, CEO of German engineering giant Siemens Corporation saying, “The idea that energy costs in North America would always be more expensive no longer holds true. The new reality is that natural gas has turned that equation on its head.”

The private sector energy development revolution is the result of the ingenuity of individuals and private companies which took risks in developing techniques to profitably extract oil and natural gas from shale formations. And this revolution is just at the beginning stage of transforming the United States from a nation that buys goods produced around the world, to a nation that makes products here.

Maryland based Marlin Steel Wire, has been aggressively hiring and investing in new equipment to fill orders from other U.S. manufacturers. Owner Drew Greenblatt, attributes the increased number of orders to the lower price he can offer due to the drop in natural gas and electricity costs.

An NBC report quotes Greenblatt saying, “That’s making U.S. companies that used to be at a price disadvantage now uniquely positioned to win contracts they never won in the past — or haven’t for a while,” he said. “Everyone talks about what’s going on in North Dakota, but it’s filtering down now to conventional factories throughout America.”

In Minnesota, companies are expanding to meet the development needs in neighboring North Dakota, providing an economic boost to the state and increased employment to its workers.

In Youngstown, Ohio mills that have been shuttered for more than thirty years are rumbling back to life due to the need to support the oil and natural gas extraction industry. An oil and natural gas industry study estimates that by 2015, the fracking phenomenon will generate more than 200,000 jobs and $22 billion in economic output in Ohio alone.

And the renaissance of the U.S. manufacturing sector is just at its nascent stage with the lower natural resource related energy costs driving rational market decisions around the globe to expand and build factories in America.

Yet, places like California, New York and the Obama Administration itself remain almost recalcitrant in their opposition to developing the massive shale oil and natural gas resource our nation has been blessed with.

The Los Angeles Times editorialized in favor of a wait and see approach on fracking in the state after it was projected that 15 billion barrels of oil lay within the rocks beneath the San Joaquin Valley. This in spite of a University of Southern California study projecting energy extraction would result in hundreds of thousands of new jobs for a state with a persistently high unemployment rate, and billions of dollars in new revenues to the chronically broke state government.

Yet, the Times urged delay, even going so far as to endorse legislation that would shut down one oil producer who is currently using the hydraulic fracturing technique over legislation which would stop new development but leave existing operators alone.

In New York state, the government is attempting to decide whether to allow hydraulic fracturing to occur on their side of the border with Pennsylvania where they are already deriving the economic benefits. New York’s dilemma is based upon a desire to impose the most restrictive regulations in the nation on the industry, while recognizing that those very regulations are likely to discourage the development of the resource and resultant benefits within the state.

The federal government has just this year taken millions of acres of shale oil resources on federal land off the table in recent months throwing a roadblock in the path to an inexpensive, sustainable energy future.

In response, thirteen states are threatening to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency if it dips its intrusive toes into regulation hydraulic fracturing issue arguing that it is the state’s Constitutional purview to regulate the industry.

In 2013, America is at a crossroads with one path leading to certain insolvency, and the other giving us a chance to grow our way out of the hole we have dug through free market based industrial expansion, and some modest continued government cost cutting.

A natural resource extraction driven economic expansion that rapidly expands the tax base throwing off dramatically increased government revenues. Revenues generated by a private sector economy growing based upon market principles and not through higher punitive taxes on those who were willing to risk everything to create the wealth.

And that is why America’s future prosperity depends upon winning the battle against the environmentalists, who fight energy extraction at every turn. With interest payments on the debt projected to consume one out of every six tax dollars in just five years, under the rosiest of scenarios, our economy needs a game changer to turn around, and in spite of the best efforts of the green movement, the real energy industry has provided one.

But, if the green movement has its way, the goose that laid the golden egg will be cooked, and our nation’s future prosperity will end up in the same broiler.



Six current articles below

Greenie fanaticism kills hospital patient

AN engineer has linked the state government's Climate Smart program with the decision to lower water temperatures at a Brisbane hospital where legionnaires' disease has broken out.

One patient has died and another is in intensive care after being infected with the bacteria, which has been found in water taps at the Wesley Hospital.

The hospital's entire water system is now being flushed out with hot water in a bid to kill the bacteria, with surgery and new admissions cancelled until at least next week.

An electrical engineer has told ABC Radio a push to save energy was one of the reasons water temperatures were lowered at the hospital.

He said the move was part of the government's now-defunct Climate Smart program, which aimed to help businesses and homeowners cut energy consumption.

He said anyone who used the Climate Smart service would have had the temperatures on their hot water systems turned down, something he says encourages bacteria such as Legionella.

"Anybody that's had the Climate Smart service had the temperature reduced from normally about 65 to 70 degrees, down to 50," he said.

The government has said the temperature was reduced to cut the risk of patients being scalded.


$600m of Australia's foreign aid to be blown on "climate change" programs

AUSTRALIA'S foreign aid program will spend $600 million on climate change programs in Third World countries.

Pacific, Caribbean and African countries will share millions of dollars to help tackle climate change while environmental advisers will be paid $200,000 or more to help some of the world's poorest countries.

Another $3 million will be spent developing five-star green energy ratings for fridges, airconditioners and other household appliances in the Pacific as AusAID searches for ways to spend its growing budget.

Millions of dollars will be spent to retrofit houses in poor African communities, while $15 million will be pumped into helping villagers along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

The Opposition last night called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to immediately suspend the "wasteful spending" on climate change.

The $600 million spend on climate change comes as the rapidly growing aid program - managed by AusAID - has reached a staggering $13.3 billion in managed contracts, according to documents published this week.

More than 6000 separate contracts are being managed by AusAID, with 4000 contracts negotiated in just one year, 2010-11.

Documents show about $3 million is being spent to "build a group of Pacific leaders" with a greater understanding of climate change, while $20 million will be spent to help East Timor better understand changing weather patterns.

Senior government ministers keen to slow the large sums being channelled into foreign aid are likely to use Kevin Rudd's demise as foreign affairs minister to argue for budget reductions.

Coalition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop labelled the climate change spending "an outrageous abuse of Australian foreign aid".

"I call on the Prime Minister to immediately suspend this expenditure on programs that will have zero impact on global emissions," she said.


$100m - Climate change deal with Indonesia including "online forest fire monitoring system" and teaching "sustainable and adaptable" farming techniques in schools

$20m - Undertake climate change research through "Pacific Climate Change Science Program"

$3m - Develop a group of Pacific "leaders" who can better understand climate change

$3m - Help Pacific nations introduce five-star "green energy" ratings for fridges, air conditioners and lights.

$2.3m - Help Caribbean establish ``disaster management emergency" agency

$232,000 - Fund an environmental management adviser in Fed States of Micronesia

$194,000 - Provide training materials and policy briefs for Indonesian Govt officials

$182,000 - Conduct "greenhouse gas emission assessment" of Vietnam

$36,000 - Develop a DVD titled "Climate Change in the Pacific"

$15,000 - Aust booth at Climate Change Education Expo in Indonesia


Australian business group wants rethink on greenhouse gas emission targets

Australia should reconsider its pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by mid-century given the slow global action on climate change, the country's most powerful business group says.

The Business Council of Australia also wants Australia not to increase its short-term emissions target beyond the minimum 5 per cent cut backed by both major parties.

The federal government's Climate Change Authority is reviewing the national greenhouse targets linked to the carbon price.

Australia has committed to cutting its emissions by at least 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

It has said it could commit to a 15 or 25 per cent cut in that time frame, depending on the level of international action. Its carbon price legislation includes a commitment to an 80 per cent cut by 2050.

In a submission to the authority, the council says emissions pledges made at United Nations talks fall short of limiting global warming to two degrees - the level scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

The council says with the world headed towards warming greater than two degrees, Australia needs to consider less ambitious targets that reflect its fair share of cuts under less ambitious global action.

The council's deputy chief executive Maria Tarrant said the authority should carry out modelling to determine what Australia's targets should be under different warming scenarios.

"There is a big difference between what countries are pledging and committing and what is actually happening," she said.

The Climate Institute's Erwin Jackson blasted the council's logic. He said avoiding the dangerous impacts of warming would require countries to put forward targets that were ambitious, and that 80 per cent was the bare minimum Australia should commit towards meeting the two-degree goal.

Some experts have recommended Australia lift its emissions targets to reflect a growing pace of action around the world.

Professor Ross Garnaut, Labor's former climate adviser, said with the US, Europe and China making significant headway in meeting their targets, Australia should adopt a 17 per cent cut by 2020.


Disappointment for Greenies: Gas seepage could be natural in Qld

QUEENSLAND'S GasFields Commission says historial studies indicate methane gas seepage may have occured before large scale coal seam gas mining began.

The state's CSG arbiter, the GasFields Commission, says a range of soil surveys taken between the 1980s and 1990s found low levels of naturally occurring methane gas.

Commissioner Steven Raine says the historical studies of gas seepages in many coal basins undertaken by the state government, industry and research agencies show they occur naturally.

"The focus of our project was specifically to try and see what general historical data and information was available," he said in a statement.

"These soil gas surveys demonstrate that landscape gas seeps did exist naturally prior to the recent expansion of the onshore gas industry in Queensland."

Prof Raine noted that while initial evidence suggested that gas seepage could be natural, studies of seepages is some areas were yet to be completed.


KerAP, Crap and more crap: "Australia produced a record amount of renewable energy" in 2012

12% of the 13% would have been from DAMS, which Greenies hate. Australia has a lot of old hydro-electric plants (such as the Snowy) which the Greenies would not permit today. But they are very useful peak load facilities

Australia produced a record amount of renewable energy last year, with clean electricity sources such as hydro, wind and solar generating more than 13 per cent of the nation's power, new industry figures show.

A report by the Clean Energy Council says hydro electricity is still the most dominant clean-energy source, representing 58 per cent of all renewable electricity generated in 2012.

But the council's chief executive, David Green, said other sources were growing strongly, with wind energy rising to 26 per cent of renewable generation and solar to 8 per cent.

Despite the growth, the report also finds Australian investment in renewables fell by $1.3 billion dollars last year, from $5.5 billion in 2011 to $4.2 billion.

Much of the decline in investment came in solar, as government incentives to install rooftop panels were axed and the cost of systems fell. The fall mirrors a 10 per cent decline in renewable energy investment globally in 2012.

Mr Green said the findings showed technologies such as wind, solar and bioenergy were starting to make a major difference to the way electricity was produced and consumed.


Australian conservatives duck for cover over climate

(The next election is only months away)

The report below refers to various claims of sea-level rise. They may or may not be well-founded. Either way, no sea-level rise has been caused by global warming -- because there has been no global warming over the period concerned

The delegation of parliamentarians from four tropical Pacific Islands nations braved the Canberra cold last week, and that wasn't the only climate shock they suffered.

They watched the impressive intellectual exchange of question time in the House of Representatives on Wednesday and then moved on. But almost as soon as they left, Parliament started to debate a motion on whether the science of man-made climate change was real. This came as a bit of a jolt to the legislator visiting from Kiribati, a country of about 100,000 people on 33 small, low-lying islands strung along 5000 kilometres of the equator.

"Climate change is real in our places," Rimeta Beniamina, a government MP and vice-chairman of his parliament's climate change committee, told me, expressing surprise at what was going on in the chamber a few metres away.

"A few years ago it was not taken very seriously. But now quite a few villages are experiencing hardship. Beaches are eroding, houses are falling down, crops are damaged and livelihoods are destroyed.

"The intrusion of salt water is very evident. The sea level may be rising millimetres a year, but it is still rising. The strong winds and rising tides are the worst part. Once the salt water enters the land, that's it. Trees are falling along the coast, crops dying, pigs and chickens are affected."

A US study published over the weekend in the journal Nature Geoscience found the global sea level had risen by 16.8 millimetres between 2005 and 2011.

Clark Wilson, a co-author of the study and geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin, says: "There was an increase in the melting rate in Greenland starting in 2005 and that is probably the underlying story why," according to the Wall Street Journal. The academic study was funded by NASA and the US National Science Foundation.

The rising seas are whipped up by increasingly severe El Nino weather cycles, damaging the coastlines of countries including Kiribati, pronounced kee-ree-bas.

"Some communities have been forced to move backward from the coast," Beniamina says. "The problem is, there is not much land to move back to."

People are jamming into the overcrowded main island, Tarawa. Its centre has a population density estimated at three times that of Tokyo, says an April report by Australian journalist Bernard Lagan in the Global Mail. Fresh water supplies are at risk and there is not enough land to bury the dead.

Kiribati President Anote Tong has declared a policy of orderly evacuation that he calls "migration with dignity". The nation is a proverbial canary in the carbon emission coal mine, and the prognosis is unhappy.

Beniamina says: "I'd be very surprised if people here were not aware of the science of climate change." But, of course, it's not awareness that is in question in the Parliament but conviction.

The Parliament was debating a motion put by NSW independent Rob Oakeshott to try to clear that up: "That this House expresses full confidence in the work of Australia's science community and confirms that it believes that man-made climate change is not a conspiracy or a con, but a real and serious threat to Australia if left unaddressed".

Why did Oakeshott think it necessary? "I thought it was important to get everyone on the record. Some of the Coalition members run around the country playing to an audience of conspiracy theorists and deniers."

The record does show that about a quarter of the Coalition's federal MPs have, at some point, expressed disbelief or outright denial that man-made climate change is real. Among them is Tony Abbott, who, before becoming Opposition Leader, said he was "hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change", and famously called it "absolute crap".

The proportion of scientific papers published on the subject that reject the man-made origins of climate change is, however, far smaller than the proportion of sceptics on the Coalition benches.

Of about 12,000 scientific papers published worldwide in the 20 years to 2011, only 1.9 per cent did, a survey last month by James Cook University showed, and 97 per cent argued that climate change was real and man-made.

But when the Oakeshott motion was put to the House, the sceptics were nowhere to be seen. No one spoke against it in the bright glare of full national scrutiny: "We accept the science, we accept the targets and we accept the need for a market mechanism; we just happen to clearly, absolutely, fundamentally disagree over the choice of those mechanisms," Coalition spokesman Greg Hunt said. Prime among them, the carbon tax.

And when it came to the vote, the motion was carried on the voices, without dissent. This is taken as a unanimous vote. It "positions the deniers and the conspiracy theorists where they should be - on the fringe," Oakeshott says.

The topic of what to do about climate change is returning to the centre of the agenda for the world's two biggest economies and biggest carbon emitters, the US and China. It's one of the half dozen top issues at their coming California summit.

The problem will not go away for the planet, even after the Australian election, even if some would prefer to ignore it, although it's probably too late for Kiribati.


Qld. Premier sorry for soaring power prices, wants debate over Greenie concessions

PREMIER Campbell Newman has vowed to rein in the "mind-blowing, excessive" increase in electricity prices, flagging likely new charges for households with solar panels.

Submissions will go to Cabinet today regarding spending on poles and wires which has contributed to the 21 per cent price rise facing households.

It follows last year's Council of Australian Governments meeting, at which Prime Minister Julia Gillard sought agreement from state and territory leaders to reduce overinvestment in poles and wires.

Mr Newman said he was "very sorry" his Government could not deliver on his intention to soften power bills with a rebate - but he was working to limit future increases.

"There's some papers going to Cabinet which talk about all the things that will be done to take the edge off this sort of thing," Mr Newman said.

"It's a matter of national competitiveness now. People in the US and Canada and even the European Union now are paying less than us (for electricity). It has to be dealt with."

He said he also wanted a debate over the solar feed-in tariff which was "ultimately costing other Queenslanders".

"The solar feed-in tariff sees a relatively small group of households get a very lucrative deal, far too lucrative in many cases, and the rest of the households are paying for that," the Premier said.

"Roughly 180,000 households are benefiting with low power prices or getting cheques and well over 1.5 million are paying for that benefit to those people."

The Courier-Mail understands 92,600 Queensland households pay nothing for power or get money back as a result of the generous solar feed-in tariff introduced by the previous Labor government.

Under the deal, residents with solar are paid 44c a kilowatt hour for power - about 21c a kilowatt hour more than what it costs them.

The Newman Government has slashed the benefit for new solar panel installations to 8c.

Mr Newman described the situation as "just ridiculous". "The solar tariff feed-in situation is one that sees those with the financial means to pay for panels win at the expense of poorer households and disadvantaged people," he said.

"I'm just making the point today. "I'm not saying we have anything in particular in mind, but I'm saying firstly I want people to understand why we have high power prices."

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk urged caution on reduced spending on maintenance and expansion of the network.

"Now what we're seeing is a government that has no solution and has no answers when they went to the election saying they were going to lower the cost of living," she said.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


6 June, 2013

Green/Left hatred of people makes them false prophets

In order to understand the liberal and progressive agenda, one must know something about their world vision and values. Let's examine some of the evidence.

Why the 1970s struggle to ban DDT? Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, wrote in a 1990 biographical essay: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem."

Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked whether he thought a ban on DDT would result in the use of more dangerous chemicals and more malaria cases in Sri Lanka. He replied: "Probably. So what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and (malaria) is as good a way as any."

According to "Earthbound," a collection of essays on environmental ethics, William Aiken said: "Massive human diebacks would be good. It is our duty to cause them. It is our species' duty, relative to the whole, to eliminate 90 percent of our numbers."

Former National Park Service research biologist David Graber opined, "Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. ... We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. ... Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Speaking of viruses, Prince Philip -- Duke of Edinburgh and patron of the World Wildlife Fund -- said, "If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels." The late Jacques Cousteau told The UNESCO Courier: "One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it."

That represents the values of some progressives, but what about their predictions? In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome to warn that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987, and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. It turns out that each of these resources is more plentiful today. Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book, "The Doomsday Book," said that Americans were using 50 percent of the world's resources and that "by 2000 (Americans) will, if permitted, be using all of them."

In 1975, the Environment Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000." Harvard University Nobel laureate biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson, quoting Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, warned, in Look magazine (1970), that by 1995, "somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct." In 1974, the U.S. Geological Survey said the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association, is that there's more than a 110-year supply.

In 1986, Lester Brown, who had been predicting global starvation for 40 years, received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, along with a stipend. The foundation also gave Dr. Paul Ehrlich, who predicted millions of Americans would die of starvation, the "genius" award in 1990. Note that these $300,000 to $400,000 awards were granted well after enough time had passed to demonstrate that Brown and Ehrlich were insanely wrong.

Just think: Congress listens to people like these and formulates public policy on their dire predictions that we're running out of something.


Earth Guardians: Tip of the indoctrination iceberg

By Paul Driesson

“We’re from the Earth Guardians group, and we’re working on fracking and how it’s going to affect our future and our health. So we wrote this song for all the gas companies that are putting their profits ahead of our future.”

With that prelude, 12-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his 9-year-old brother Itzcuauhtli launched into an anti-fracking rap song for Evergreen Middle School students whose teacher had invited them to travel 40 miles from their home in “the People’s Republic of Boulder,” Colorado. The song was well rehearsed, spirited, clever — and no doubt assisted by their mother, the founder and executive director of Earth Guardians, and maybe even by Boulder’s former mayor, an EG advisor.

The boys have been inculcated in Aztec and Hard Green ideology from birth. As EG members, they’re dedicated to “educating” other children about “sustainability,” “dangerous climate change” and “earth-friendly” renewable energy. In an era when too many babies are having babies, it’s not surprising that children are indoctrinating children. Not surprising, but not beneficial either.

Moreover, the teacher had failed to follow school policy, get permission to bring in outside propagandists, or present other perspectives. Unhappy parents raised a stink with Principal Kris Schuh, and the school district promised to distribute “pro-oil and gas literature” to secure some balance.

Fracking, of course, is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a revolutionary technology that definitely will affect our future and our health — for the better.

Although fracking has been used for 60 years, in combination with deep horizontal drilling it has sent U.S. oil and gas production sharply upward for the first time in decades, turned “imminent depletion” into another century of affordable petroleum, generated millions of jobs and billions of dollars in government revenues, kept home heating and electricity prices from skyrocketing in the face of EPA’s war on coal, brought a resurgence in U.S. petrochemical and other industries, and helped reduce CO2 emissions (which should make Earth Guardians and other global warming true believers happy). It’s meant fewer oil imports, improved balance of trade, and more opportunities to lift more people out of poverty worldwide.

A recent IHS Global Insight report documents that, in the United States alone, fracking has already created 1.7 million new direct and indirect jobs, with the total likely to rise to 3 million jobs over the next eight years. It’s added $62 billion to federal and state treasuries, with that total expected to rise to $111 billion by 2020. And by 2035, it could inject over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues.

By contrast, $26 billion taken from taxpayers and given to wind, solar and biofuel energy projects via Department of Energy subsidies and loan guarantees since 2009 created only 2,298 permanent jobs, at a cost of $11.45 million per job, the Institute for Energy Research calculates, using DOE data.

If more of this new natural gas were devoted to generating electricity — instead of just backing up 40,000 U.S. wind turbines — millions of birds and bats would not be slaughtered every year, and vital species would not be driven to the brink of extinction in wildlife habitats that have been blanketed by turbines.

The Earth Guardians ignore all of this, and claim hydraulic fracturing is poisoning our air and water.

The facts say otherwise. As the film FrackNation and numerous articles and reports have documented, there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination due to fracking, despite numerous investigations by state agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There is no evidence of air or people being poisoned, and companies continue to improve their technologies, to reduce methane leakage and employ more biodegradable and “kitchen cabinet” chemicals.

But the Earth Guardians still deliver outright falsehoods about fracking, by children to children, in public schools funded by taxpayer dollars. Perhaps this goes on because teachers and school administrators fail to recognize the potential harm, or are themselves devoted to promoting extreme environmentalist ideologies. Certainly they failed to exercise their responsibility and authority as educators to provide a balanced curriculum and avoid being used by groups with political agendas, to inculcate a new generation of Americans in perverse Hard Green dogmas that are harmful to wildlife, people and the environment.

Why is it that the Earth Guardians, Sierra Club and similar groups detest fracking? Maybe because this technology demolishes their Club of Rome claims that mankind is about to run out of petroleum — or because it means fossil fuels are again on the ascendency, making wind and solar even less viable and further demonstrating that wind energy is a far less sustainable energy resource than petroleum.

How vulnerable are America’s youth to this brainwashing? With young people spending 7.5 hours a day viewing television, music and social media like Facebook, they’re almost ready-made targets for political groups that use these communications tools to promote narrow views. Without facts and data to counter the simplistic, entertaining and superficially persuasive messages — especially when they are delivered in schools — children tend to accept what authority figures put in front of them.

Even older students are vulnerable to being spoon-fed incorrect information. And student voters who are reluctant or too disinterested to seek truthful information can have a profound impact on U.S. elections and national policy.

In 2011 college professors Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum surveyed 925 college students about their transitions into the labor force, two years after graduation. In addition to discovering that only slightly more than half had found full-time jobs, Roska and Arum found that student “lack of awareness of current events … was startling.” Thirty-two percent reported “that they read a newspaper only monthly or never.”

It makes you wonder how many colleges are doing their most fundamental job: teaching students to think and question, rather than merely to parrot politically correct mantras — and whether they are preparing students to become intelligent, informed, active members in a functioning democratic society.

Roska and Arum wrote, “This lack of engagement is as troubling as their financial difficulties — it can hardly be a good sign for a democratic society when many of its citizens, including highly educated ones, are not aware of or engaged with what is going on in the nation and world.”

Yet, as we learned in the 2008 election, young voters have the power to select a President. If their political choices are based on a lack of knowledge — or even worse, on propaganda — the nation is in peril.

Our schools need to end the indoctrination and ensure that students are presented with and taught to ponder and debate all sides of important and complex questions. Parents need to make sure they do so.


European Institute For Climate And Energy Calls Claims Of Climate Consensus “Absurd, Baseless And False”

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) based in Germany has issued a three-part rebuttal to the German Ministry of Environment’s alarmist pamphlet, which blacklisted skeptical US and German journalists and scientists – including EIKE itself – last month.

In the last of the three-part series rebutting the scientific claims and the assertions of the made by the UBA, EIKE sums up as follows: "The claim made by the UBA over the supposed scientific consensus of dangerous climate damage caused by CO2 is ABSURD, BASELESS AND FALSE!"

Our Assessment of the UBA Pamphlet:

UBA is amiss at every level in its climate pamphlet. In view of the politically motivated propagation of anthropogenically caused climate change, the UBA has denied every factual explanation. It has one-sidedly affiliated itself with the prophets of climate catastrophe, who derive their prognoses using fictional models results, and done so without any stringent argumentation.

The UBA violates the Ockham Law where the hypothesis of fewest assumptions should be selected, the paradigm of modern natural science. The AGW hypothesis is namely not necessary for explaining the climate development after the start of industrialization. All climate changes of the last 150 years are within the range of natural fluctuations of at least the last 2000 years. Thus applying the Ockham law, the AGW hypothesis cannot be alone at the center. Only more future research can tell us what can be behind climate change.

With the publication of such dubious quality and its forcing of opinion upon others, the UBA will not succeed in ending the skepticism on ‘climate change’. Unintended by the UBA, its pamphlet has indeed lead a part of the media to inform the public of the danger to our democracy arising from the suppression of politically undesired dissenting views and from the denigration of scientists who have a different opinion, and have made it clear they will no longer stand for it.

We hope that our rebuttal to the UBA will bring more seriousness and scientific honesty to the climate debate. Not only the UBA is available for factual discussion and for questions, but EIKE as well.


EPA and IPCC: America’s greatest environmental threats

By Paul Driesson

Numerous articles document how European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people’s jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats and human lives. Even the IPCC, the BBC and The Economist have finally recognized that average global temperatures have not budged since 1997. The EU economy is teetering at the precipice, people are outraged at the duplicity and the price they have been made to pay, the Euro Parliament has voted to end subsidies for its Emissions Trading Scheme, and the global warming and renewable energy false façade is slowly crumbling.

Ignoring this, alarmist scientists, eco activists and government bureaucrats are meeting yet again — first in Bonn, Germany, on June 3-14 for the 38th meeting of UN climate treaty promoters and wordsmiths, then in Warsaw, Poland, on November 11-22 for 19th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are determined to hammer out a new treaty, demanding more restrictions on fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions, before the tide turns even more inexorably against them.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency is issuing more anti-hydrocarbon regulations and more statements detailing the horrors caused by “dangerous man-made climate change.”

Two points must be kept uppermost: the global warming “disasters” exist only in computer models, Hollywood movies and alarmist assertions; and the “preventative measures” are worse than the disasters.

The issue is not whether greenhouse gases “contribute to” climate change. Scientists acknowledge that. The only relevant issues are: how big a contribution; whether these gases now dominate planetary climate variation, supplanting the solar, atmospheric, oceanic and other forces that have warmed and cooled our Earth throughout its history; and whether human GHG/CO2 emissions will cause dangerous climate changes that are unprecedented or worse than those mankind has confronted since time immemorial.

No evidence supports EPA or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change positions on these issues.

Average planetary temperatures have not budged in 16 years, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing CO2 have climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades, and the U.S. and U.K. just recorded one their coldest springs on record. The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the last century. The year 2012 set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no category 3 or higher hurricane making U.S. landfall. Arctic climate and sea ice are within a few percentage points of their “normal” levels for the past 50 years. The rate of sea level rise is not accelerating.

These facts, and many others, completely contradict computer model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the “science” behind EPA’s ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated, comical and even fraudulent. Here are just a few of numerous examples of dangerous “climatism” at work.

The EPA and IPCC insist they rely entirely on scholarly peer-reviewed source material. However, fully 30 percent of the papers and other references cited in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) were not peer reviewed; many IPCC “lead authors” were graduate students or environmental activists; and many sources were actually master’s degree theses or even anecdotal statements by hikers and mountain guides.

The IPCC claimed Himalayan glaciers would “disappear by the year 2035,” depriving communities in the region of water. This assertion was based on a World Wildlife Fund press release, which was based on a non-peer-reviewed article in a popular science magazine — which was based on an email from a single glaciologist, who later admitted his prediction was pure “speculation.” The IPCC lead author in charge of this section subsequently said he had included the Himalayan glacier meltdown in AR4 — despite his knowing of its false pedigree — because he thought highlighting it would “encourage” policy makers and politicians “to take concrete action” on global warming.

Almost 90 percent of National Weather Service climate-monitoring stations relied on by the IPCC and EPA to prove “unprecedented” warming were placed too close to air conditioning exhaust vents, blacktop and other heat sources. The heat contamination caused the stations to report higher than actual temperatures.

Claims that 97 percent of scientists or peer-reviewed climate science papers “agree that humans are causing global warming” are just as false or manufactured. The oft-cited consensus just doesn’t exist.

EPA is using this junk science to justify actions that will be devastating for Americans. The agency is supposed to protect our environment, health and welfare. Instead, it “safeguards” us from exaggerated or illusory risks, and issues regulations that endanger our health, well-being and wildlife far more than any reasonably foreseeable effects from climate change.

EPA trumpets the benefits that GHG/CO2 regulations will supposedly bring, by preventing illusory and exaggerated climate change disasters. However, it ignores the enormous adverse impacts that GHG rules will have on people’s health, well-being, life spans, environmental justice and environment.

As anti-fossil fuel mandates put EPA in control of nearly everything Americans make, ship, eat and do, fuel and regulatory compliance costs will increase. Companies will be forced to outsource work to other countries, reduce work forces, shift people to part-time status, or close their doors. Poor and minority families will be unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay the rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicine, take vacations, pay their bills, give to charity, or save for college and retirement.

Reduced nutrition and medical checkups, along with the stress of being unemployed or involuntarily holding two or more low-paying part-time jobs, also lead to greater risk of strokes and heart attacks, and higher incidences of depression, alcohol, spousal and child abuse, and suicide. New 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards will force more people into smaller, lighter, less safe cars — causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year.

Regulators and environmentalist groups have given heavily subsidized wind turbine operators a free pass, allowing them to slaughter millions of birds and bats every year — including bald and golden eagles, hawks, condors and whooping cranes. Rain forests and other wildlife habitats are being cut down, so that “innovators” can produce $50-per-gallon biofuels, to replace oil and natural gas that the world still has in abundance and could easily produce with conventional, enhanced and fracking technologies.

U.S. forests are also being chopped down — to fuel electricity generation in Europe, where regulations prohibit both fossil fuels and tree cutting, but promote subsidized “renewable” energy. So American trees and wetland/forest habitats are being turned into wood pellets for shipment to Britain and other EU countries: 1.9 million tons of pellets in 2012, to burn in power plants that consumed over 7 million tons of wood last year and expect to double that by 2020. It’s insane. It’s not sustainable or ecological.

Climatologist Patrick Michaels wonders, “Would the IPCC, U.S. Global Change Research Program or EPA “ever produce a report saying their issue is of diminishing importance — so that EPA regulations of greenhouse gases are not needed?” Would they ever say that another UN treaty, and more restrictions on fossil fuel use, economic growth and poverty eradication, could safely be postponed for a decade or more? “Not unless they are tired of first class travel and the praise of their universities, which are hopelessly addicted to the 50 percent ‘overhead’ they charge on science grants.”

EPA finds, punishes and even targets anyone who violates any of its ten thousand commandments, even inadvertently. EPA’s climate change actions, however, are not inadvertent. They are deliberate, and their effects are far reaching and often harmful. For better or worse, they affect all of us.

And yet, these increasingly powerful bureaucrats — who seek and acquire ever more control over our lives — remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart “sue and settle” legal actions with radical environmentalist groups, to advance ideological agendas, without regard for the impacts on our lives, jobs, health, welfare and environment. They know that, for them, there is rarely ever any real transparency, accountability or consequences — even for gross stupidity, major screw-ups, flagrant abuses or deliberate harm.

We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA — and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we achieve this, while protecting our lives and environment from real risks, is one of the greatest challenges we face.


U.S. should heed failure of cap and trade in Europe

Logging was dead in North Carolina a few years ago, but it's booming now with the timber industry hardly able to meet demand. In West Virginia, mining continues despite falling domestic demand and the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory efforts to shutter the industry permanently.

Big Green environmentalists in America can thank their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic for these developments. European demand for wood and coal is up, but it can't be satisfied by sources over there due to the European Union's rigorous limits on greenhouse gases. Those limits have created a series of perverse incentives that have boosted Europe's carbon-fuel demand instead of reducing it, forcing consumers there to turn elsewhere, including the U.S., for alternative sources.

Here's how it happened: Environmentalists successfully pushed the EU to embrace a cap-and-trade system to limit carbon-based pollution. They assumed a future of renewable wind and solar energy that would shame other nations into following the EU's example. Under cap and trade, businesses have limits on how much emissions they can produce. If they produce less than their limit, they can sell the difference to others. The idea was to make reducing carbon a profitable enterprise. The EU nations were also granted credits for renewable fuel use.

But renewable energy sources produce too little energy at too high a cost to replace fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas. To offset the higher costs, EU regulators issued more carbon credits. Then the regulators recalled that harvested forests eventually grow back, so they began crediting imported America wood pellets as renewable. As a result, the Wall Street Journal recently reported, American pellet exports to Europe that were at negligible levels in 2007 soared to 1.72 million tons last year. Meantime, imports of American coal shot up 73 percent in 2012 because of limits on European coal production, according to the Washington Post.

Europe can at least point to a decline in its carbon output over this period but that has more to do with the global recession than any intentional policy. Indeed, recessions have thus far proven to be the only effective way for nations to reduce carbon output.

Some environmentalists reading this are probably thinking, "The Europe market only failed because the regulators cheated." Maybe, but they cheated because economic incentives to do so proved irresistible. There is simply no way around the fact that the low-carbon economy envisioned by environmentalists depends on renewables that do not produce nearly enough power at affordable costs for America or other advanced economies like the EU.

Liberals often brand conservatives as "anti-science" in global warming discussions, but the EU experience demonstrates that it is the Left that resists facts and logic about the limits of renewables. Remember, the EU's failed cap-and-trade system is the same basic idea that liberals shoved through Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House in 2009 and that President Obama is moving now to establish via Environmental Protection Agency regulations. It didn't work there and it won't work here.


A dangerously deluded energy policy and why the greens want to hide the truth about Britain's soaring bills

Without question, it must have been one of the dottiest public utterances ever delivered by a British Cabinet minister.

This was the extraordinary speech made on Monday — at an event staged by the Met Office — by Ed Davey, our Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

What inevitably attracted attention was Mr Davey’s attack on those ‘sections of the Press’ who dare question any aspect of the way his energy policy for Britain has become wholly skewed and dominated by the belief that the world is in the grip of global warming.

The timing of his outburst against ‘destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism’ in the Press was not accidental: it was to preface yesterday’s Commons debate on the mammoth Energy Bill by which he plans to ‘decarbonise’ our electricity industry.

Centred on his wish to focus our energy needs on building nuclear power stations and tens of thousands of wind turbines, his Bill will make it ever more cripplingly expensive for us to rely on those fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, which currently supply more than two-thirds of our electricity.

Mr Davey suggested that journalists who doubt the wisdom of his policy only do so through ‘sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness’ — probably because they are being paid to do so by nameless ‘vested interests’.

So angry does this make him that he seemed to suggest that any questioning of his policy cannot be tolerated. In other words, he will brook no opposition — at a time, we should remind ourselves, when free speech in Britain seems under threat as never before.

I should say at this point that if this remarkable attack was simply a detached assault on writers like me who are critical of the Government’s green policies, then I might let it pass.

But there are bigger issues in play here, for the decisions the Energy Secretary makes are having a direct and damaging effect on the finances of millions of households across the country, who find themselves paying ever-higher bills as a result of green subsidies.

It is those families who should be questioning virtually every line in Mr Davey’s speech.

They would not be reassured to have heard him start by paying extravagant tribute to his hosts from the Met Office, which, he said, had created ‘a weather forecasting service which is the envy of the world’.

Yet this is the same Met Office which, in recent years, has become a national laughing stock year after year for getting its long-term predictions of ‘barbecue summers’, ‘milder than average winters’ and unprecedented droughts so spectacularly wrong.

The reason why the Met Office has come such a series of croppers is that it is so obsessed with the idea that the world is in the grip of runaway global warming that it has programmed its computer models to predict heat and drought, just when we have been through some of the wettest summers and coldest winters for decades.

But the most disturbing part of Mr Davey’s speech came towards the end, where he came up with that only too familiar boast that the European Union is leading the world in the fight against the carbon dioxide that is causing all this global warming, and that Britain is leading the EU with its Climate Change Act, committing us — uniquely in the world — to reducing our ‘carbon emissions’ by 80 per cent in fewer than 40 years.

Mr Davey seems quite oblivious to the fact that the rest of the world is no longer taking any notice of what we are up to, and that China and India between them are now building more than 800 new coal-fired power stations, so that China alone is now generating more carbon dioxide every year via its new power stations than the total emitted by Britain.

Even the EU is at last waking up to the fact that ‘decarbonising’ its economy is making electricity so expensive that ever more firms are moving their operations overseas — not least to America, where the shale gas revolution has more than halved the price of gas and electricity in just five years.

So poor little Britain is left increasingly alone, with an energy policy deliberately designed to price out of the market those very much cheaper fuels which still provide most of the electricity we need to keep our homes lit and warm, and our economy running.

And all this is in the name of the dream that we can somehow rely on wind that doesn’t always blow, sun that doesn’t always shine, and, maddest of all, on ‘carbon capture and storage’ — the fanciful notion that we can somehow collect all that climate-changing carbon dioxide from our remaining fossil-fuel power stations to pipe it away safely into holes under the North Sea.

Sadly, most people still have very little idea just how dangerously crackpot Britain’s energy policy has become, not least because so few people in positions of influence — MPs and journalists much among them — have been prepared to do enough homework to ask precisely the sort of searching questions which Mr Davey thinks we shouldn’t be allowed to ask.

We are faced with a policy intended not just to make our electricity supplies increasingly unreliable, but at such a crippling cost — in ever-rising green taxes and the subsidies we must all pay through our energy bills — that ever more households will be driven into fuel poverty.

With every year that passes, yet more families will simply find that they can no longer afford to keep their homes provided with comforts we have all come to take for granted.

This is the inconvenient truth which hides behind the impenetrable jargon that fills the 208 pages of the Energy Bill Mr Davey is rushing through Parliament.

What was oddest of all about Monday’s speech was his charge that anyone questioning what he is up to might only be doing so because they represent sinister ‘vested interests’ which wish to stand in the way of him saving the planet.

For here we are into complete Alice Through The Looking Glass territory, where every charge he levels at those opposed to his assumptions and policies in fact applies in spades to the very people who are egging him on to go even further in the same suicidal direction.

Among those exhorting MPs yesterday to vote for an amendment calling for even faster ‘decarbonisation’ of our economy, no one was more conspicuous than those ‘vested interests’ which stand to make billions out of the subsidy bonanza unleashed by our renewable energy policy.

The amendment, which only narrowly failed, was moved by Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, who last year made £200,000 on top of his Parliamentary salary by working for a swathe of firms making a fortune out of ‘renewable energy’.

What few people know is that these firms include the company that owns the Channel Tunnel, which has a £500 million contract to run a cable under the sea to bring electricity from French nuclear power stations to Britain — specifically to make up for power no longer available here when there isn’t enough wind to keep our subsidised windmills turning.

It has become only too obvious that the world inhabited by the green zealots at Westminster has turned reality upside down.

The dodgy science and the vested interests Mr Davey talked of are all to be found on his side of the argument — not the one whose views he so hysterically denigrates and which he wants to see suppressed.

The role for the rest of us, it seems, is to swallow the propaganda, pay those ever-soaring bills — and wait for our lights to go out.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


5 June, 2013

AGW theory has failed all tests, so alarmists return to the `consensus' hoax

National Academies of Science defines a scientific theory as: "a well-substantiated explanation of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses."

Dr Richard Feynman, Cornell Physicist in a lecture explained how theories that failed the test of data or experiment are falsified ("wrong") and must be discarded.


(1) Warming not `global'. It is shown in satellite data to be northern hemisphere only

(2) It is now not warming. Warming (global mean and northern hemisphere) stopped in the 1990s

(3) Models suggest atmosphere should warm 20% faster than surface but surface warming was 33% faster during the time satellites and surface observations used. This suggests GHG theory wrong, and surface temperature contaminated

(4) Temperatures longer term have been modified to enhance warming trend and minimize cyclical appearance. Station dropout, missing data, change of local siting, urbanization, instrumentation contaminate the record, producing exaggerating warming. The GAO scolded NOAA for poor compliance with siting standards.

(5) Those who create the temperature records have been shown in analysis and emails to take steps to eliminate inconvenient temperature trends like the Medieval Warm Period, the 1940s warm blip and cooling since 1998. Steps have included removal of the urban heat island adjustment and as Wigley suggested in a climategate email, introduce 0.15C of artificial cooling of global ocean temperatures near 1940.

(6) Forecast models have failed with temperature trends below even the assumed zero emission control scenarios

(7) Climate models all have a strong hot spot in the mid to high troposphere in the tropical regions. Weather balloons and satellite show no warming in this region the last 30 years.

(8) Ocean heat content was forecast to increase and was said to be the canary in the coal mine. It too has stalled according to NOAA PMEL. The warming was to be strongest in the tropics where the models were warming the atmosphere the most. No warming has been shown in the top 300 meters in the tropical Pacific back to the 1950s.

(9) Alarmists had predicted permanent El Nino but the last decade has featured 7 La Nina and just 3 El Nino years. This is related to the PDO and was predicted by those who look at natural factors.

(10) Alarmists had predicted much lower frequency of the negative modes of the AO and NAO due to warming. The trend has been the opposite with a record negative AO/NAO in 2009/10

(11) Alarmists predicted an increase in hurricane frequency and strength globally but the global activity had diminished after 2005 to a 30+ year low. The U.S. has gone seven consecutive years without a landfalling major hurricane, the longest stretch since the 1860s

(12) Alarmists have predicted a significant increase in heat records but despite heat last two summers, the 1930s to 1950s still greatly dominated the heat records. Even in Texas at the center of the 2011 heat wave, the long term (since 1895) trends in both temperature and precipitation are flat. And when stations with over 80 years of temperature data were considered, the number of heat records last July were not extraordinary relative to past hot summers.

(13) Extremes of rainfall and drought were predicted to increase but except during periods of strong El Nino and La Nina, no trends are seen

(14) Alarmists indicated winter would become warmer and short. The last 15 years has seen a decline in winter temperatures in all regions. In places winter have been the coldest and longest in decades and even centuries.

(15) Alarmists had indicated snow would become increasingly rare in middle latitudes especially in the big cities where warming would be greatest. All time snow records were set in virtually all the major cities and northern hemisphere snow coverage in winter has increased with 4 of the top 5 years since 2007/08. Also among the east coast high impact snowstorms tracked by NOAA (NESIS), 11 of the 46 have occurred since 2009.

(16) Alarmists had indicated a decline of Antarctic ice due to warming. The upward trends since 1979 continues.

(17) Alarmists had indicated Greenland and arctic ice melt would accelerate. The arctic ice tracks with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the IARC shows the ice cover was similarly reduced in the 1950s when the Atlantic was last in a similar warm mode. In Greenland, the warmth of the 1930s and 1940s still dominates the records and longer term temperatures have declined.

(18) Sea level rise was to accelerate upward due to melting ice and warming. Sea levels actually slowed in the late 20th century and have declined or flattened the last few years. Manipulation of data (adjustment for land rises following the last glaciation) has been applied to hide this from the public.

(19) Alarmists claimed that drought western snowpack would diminish and forest fires would increase in summer. Snowpack and water equivalent were at or near record levels in recent winters from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. Glaciers are advancing. Fires have declined.

(20) Alaska was said to be warming with retreating glaciers. But that warming is tied intimately to the PDO and thr North Pacific pattern NP and happens instantly with the flips from cold to warm and warm to cold. Two of the coldest and snowiest winters on records occurred since the PDO/NP flipped cold again (2007/08 and 2011/12). January 2012 was the coldest on record in many towns and cities and snowfall was running 160 inches above normal in parts of the south. Anchorage Alaska set an all time record for seasonal snow in 2011/12. In 2007/08, glaciers all advanced for the first time since the Little Ice Age. In 2011/12, the Bering Sea ice set a new high in the satellite era. Latest ever ice out date records were set in May 2013.

(21) Mt. Kilimanjaro glacier was to disappear due to global warming. Temperatures show no warming in recent decades. The reduction in glacial ice was due to deforestation near the base and the state of the AMO. The glaciers have advanced again in recent years

(22) Polar bears were claimed to be threatened. Polar bear populations instead have increased to record levels and threaten the populace.

(23) Australian drought was forecast to become permanent. Steps to protect against floods were defunded. Major flooding did major damage and rainfall has been abundant in recent years tied to the PDO and La Nina as predicted by honest scientists in Australia. All years with La Nina and cold PDO composited show this rainfall. Drought was associated with El Ninos and warm PDO fro 1977 to 1998

(24) The office of the Inspector General report found that the EPA cut corners and short-circuited the required peer review process for its December 2009 endangerment finding, which is the foundation for EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gases. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report confirmed that EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program-which EPA acknowledges is the "scientific foundation for decisions" - is flawed, echoing previous concerns from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that the agency is basing its decisions on shoddy scientific work.

(25) Of 18,531 citations in the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report, 5,587 or 30% were non-peer-reviewed material, including activist tracts, press releases, and in one amazing case, "Version One" of a Draft. In important instances, IPCC lead authors chose non-peer-reviewed material, or papers of low credibility, favoring their argument, in the face of prolific peer-reviewed material to the contrary. Instances include alleged climate relevance to malaria, hurricanes, species extinction, and sea levels.

Given the failures of global warming science, just a few mentioned here, the most disreputable alarmists like Oreskes, Cook and Trenberth and the demagogue party have tried to convince the uniformed by using the consensus argument. See the latest failed attempt here. It was also described on Forbes here.

"Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics." Michael Crichton 17 January 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology


Environmentalists vs. Blue-Collar Workers

The trouble with some people, said the late Ronald Reagan, is not that they’re ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

In 1990, Michael Moore released his documentary Roger and Me, in which he futilely pursued Roger Smith, the chairman of General Motors. Moore wanted to ask Smith why he closed the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, ushering in devastation and decline.

“It is a kind of David and Goliath revenge story, in which a modest, plain-speaking nobody triumphs morally over an evil corporate giant,” said The New York Times. Roger and Me was what journalists call “a story too good to check.” After all, it was the ‘80s, and GM was the greedy corporation everyone loved to hate.

But those days are long gone. After decades of attacks in the media, GM is on life support—in part because this supposedly evil entity is so generous to its retired employees. The corporate whipping boy du jour is BP.

BP is seeking approval to expand its refinery in Oregon, Ohio, just west of Toledo, which it jointly owns with Husky Energy. The Toledo Blade, the only major newspaper in town, has offered up one-sided coverage of the project.

“BP’s recent history of major health, safety, and environmental violations warrants review…BP incurred a record $4.5 billion federal fine stemming from criminal violations from the Gulf spill,” the Blade editorialized in December.

The editorial staff used the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to imply that BP is a bad corporate citizen, one that will take risks with workers’ health and safety at the Oregon refinery—and wreck the environment as well. The citizen activist group Occupy Toledo made vague accusations that the refinery is “dirty” and dangerous.

“BP has shown utter disregard for safety with its poor record of safety equipment that resulted in loss of life in Texas City, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf, resulting in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history,” activist Keith Sadler told Toledo News Now. “They have continued the same pattern here.”

Have they? To find out, I met with the Toledo Boilermakers at their union headquarters—and they offered a very different picture of BP-Husky than Occupy Toledo.

“The anti-BP groups sound like Chicken Little,” said boilermaker Paul McGrew. He said opposition to the refinery expansion is rooted in anti-corporate bias. “It’s a transgression that they’re making money.” On the other hand, “[BP] also offers a very good living wage.”

Isn’t that what Occupy Toledo, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, says it wants for workers?

All of the Boilermakers I spoke with preferred working at the BP-Husky refinery over other refineries, in part because their safety standards are so high.

“With BP, safety is always at the forefront,” said Jaramie Hilliard. “It’s almost in-your-face. If something gets spilled, they’re all over that. Occupy Toledo isn’t even knowledgeable about what goes on at the refinery. They rely on a lack of knowledge.”

Is BP perfect? No, of course not. The oil spill in the Gulf was a disaster of epic proportions. (To date, they’ve also spent more than $14 billion cleaning it up.) But the Oregon refinery’s safety record is impeccable: employees are approaching 10 million hours worked without a lost-time injury. Safety at the refinery broke records in 2011 and reached its best ever in 2012.

What about environmental concerns? Since 2000, overall criteria air emissions from the refinery have decreased by over 45 percent. Since 2002, overall permitted water emissions have decreased by 20 percent.

I contacted Occupy Toledo—a group that has loudly opposed BP—to get their perspective on the refinery expansion. What are their main objections?

Besides claiming that the expansion would provide a “minimal” number of jobs and create pollution, an Occupy Toledo activist told me, “BP is a corporation and as a corporation it exists to maximize profits for its shareholders in order to do this all questions of ethics and morals are pushed to the side…we do not believe that they have ethics or morals.”

Groups like Occupy Toledo may sincerely believe such things, but believing doesn’t make it so. This is a conflict of knee-jerk, anti-corporate emotionalism versus the interests of blue-collar workers.

When environmentalists and left-wing activists win, workers lose.


Bakken or Green River: Two irreconcilable visions

By Rick Manning

It is the story that just keeps getting better and better for free marketers. The state of North Dakota has now passed Alaska to become the second largest oil producing state in the nation.

The Bakken Oil Field, which covers the northwest portion of the state along with northeastern Montana and areas in Canada north of the border, is proving itself to be more productive than anyone’s wildest dreams. Years of individual risk taking and human ingenuity are paying off with the end of North America’s dependency upon oil from around the world becoming closer to reality than any political sloganeer might have imagined even five years ago.

In May, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) doubled its estimate of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil in Bakken and the adjacent Three Forks Formation to 7.38 billion barrels of oil.

Even with the upgraded forecast many political and oil and gas industry leaders still believe the USGS is being conservative in its estimate of recoverable reserves.

North Dakota’s Congressman Kevin Cramer flatly states in the Williston Herald News, “What we see in the data from the Three Forks Formation is a direct result of new technologies becoming developed in the energy industry during the last five years.”

Cramer is optimistic that continued advancements in technology will drive estimates released earlier this year northward predicting, “Looking forward, the future holds even greater potential for new discovery thanks to the ingenuity of our developers.”

Note that Cramer does not thank government bureaucrats, lawyers, environmentalists, Energy Department venture socialists or even Al Gore, Jr., but instead lays credit for the new bounty of a world changing energy source to the “ingenuity of our developers.”

Men and women driven by profit motive, not dependent upon the largesse of the federal government’s Department of Energy saved the day. Very smart people, scientists and engineers challenged to use their intellect, without the backstop of a government bailout should they fail, to create technologies that are changing the world’s energy balance of power.

In mid-May, the International Energy Agency Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said, “North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world.” She continued by adding, “The good news is that this is helping to ease a market that was relatively tight for several years.”

The result of this easing market is that oil is now hovering around $100 a barrel, well below its 2008 peak of $147, which is good news for consumers not only of gasoline but of all goods produced and transported using oil.

And the acceleration of shale oil recovery efforts using hydraulic fracturing technology has only just begun, with 2000 new wells being projected for the next year, the larger issue is the continued development of pipeline and other infrastructure to deliver the oil from North Dakota to refineries on the east, west and Gulf coasts.

After all, getting it out of the ground doesn’t do any good, if it cannot get to where it is needed.

North Dakota’s junior Senator Heidi Heitkamp understands this issue saying, “Pipeline infrastructure is crucial to the safe and efficient transport of oil and natural gas and I will continue to work in the Senate to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and other crucial energy infrastructure projects. I will also continue to fight against overregulation and work to fix impediments that hurt efficient and effective oil and gas development in the Bakken.”

Beyond Administration and environmentalist attempts to engage in regulatory sabotage of the development of infrastructure necessary to get our nation off the OPEC oil needle, other possible federal actions could be equally injurious.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources identifies congressional Cap and Trade proposals as one of these impediments estimating that they could reduce production by as much as 40 percent. They also estimate some proposed changes to the federal tax law could drive production down by as much as 50 percent.

With as vast as the Bakken Field promises to be, it could be dwarfed in size by shale oil prospects in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado where initial estimates show that as much as 1.8 trillion barrels of oil potential at play in the Green River Formation.

Unlike Bakken, development of this oil resource is largely dependent upon federal government approvals as much of the land has been claimed by the federal government over the years. As the people of Alaska have found out, getting federal government approvals for extracting resources is near impossible, and the development of the Green River Formation stands as a stark contrast to the Bakken man-made miracle.

The Deseret News reports in an article titled, “Feds put clamps on land for oil shale projects,” that the U.S. Department of Interior has effectively taken the development of much of this resource off the table by “sharply reducing the amount of acreage available” for production and potential development.

Utahns decried the federal government decision with Uintah County Commission Chairman saying, “It is a tragedy for our state.” McKee wondered, “Why would the federal government want to put such a stranglehold on this when information shows it is energy-rich communities that are doing the best in this country?”

While the Interior Department used language promising additional approvals when “technology is proven on the ground,” the reality is that if this “research first” approach had been applied to Bakken, the private investment would never have come to develop the technological leaps that made it a major oil field in the first place.

The contrast between the world impacting Bakken development and the federal government foot dragging whenever they get a regulatory voice in the matter exposes the overall poison that is threatening to kill our nation’s standing as the world’s leading economy.

Those who produce goods and services, create jobs, lower energy costs and make our nation thrive can and will succeed when the laws are knowable and reasonable. But that takes the power away from Washington, D.C. and puts it in the hands of those who produce and the markets they serve.

The nature of government is to constantly seek an expansion of its power all in the guise of the public good. This very nature demands that producers pay tribute through hiring the right lobbyists and contributing to the right campaigns and committees in the hopes of tilting the scales in the byzantine world of D.C. politics to allow them to produce and create wealth.

Opposing producers are organizations which have grown powerful simply because they know how to pull the levers of power without the need to show a profit at the end of the day.

Environmentalists worry that their war on extracted energy sources oil, natural gas and coal will be lost due to technologies that allow the profitable extraction of oil not only from shale, but also from tar sands. So, they attack these technologies using scare tactics designed to justify the federal government’s insatiable desire to control all production in the name of the common good.

They attack the pipeline delivery systems with emotional and baseless cries against projects like the Keystone Pipeline. Of course, veterans of these oil wars have seen and heard it before as the same arguments used against Keystone were spouted in opposition to the Alaskan Pipeline more than thirty years earlier.

Politicians and government funded analysts and economists worry about the impact that North American energy independence will have on the balance of world power as the status quo gets uprooted urging more study of these global impacts through grants to their favored institutions.

Those with a stake in alternative energy sources whose profitability is dependent upon extremely expensive oil and natural gas demand that the government take action to prevent these relatively cheap and available new energy sources be taxed, regulated and delayed. All while they cash taxpayer checks to create a new energy future.

Bakken proves that when oil and gas producers are left with reasonable, defined rules for extracting resources, they can create miracles, and that is what scares those whose livelihoods depend upon the false notion that wealth creation requires federal government approval, oversight and planning.

The battle lines are cast between these two divergent visions for our nation’s future. One vision is vibrant, freewheeling, somewhat scary but exciting. The other a moribund future of failed five year plans conceived of and managed by lawyers, regulators and politicians leading to a continued decline of America’s economic might as we descend into a national acceptance that this is as good as it gets.

Bakken and Green River represent two irreconcilable visions for our nation’s future. And like on American Idol, there can only be one winner.


How Cook ‘n’ Lew do science

Two Australian Climate Clowns

Here’s a summary of the Scientific Method, according to John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky:

Step 1: Develop a quasi-religious belief in a particular point of view (e.g. that human-caused emissions are causing dangerous climate change);

Step 2: Convince yourself that you are morally and intellectually superior to those who hold a different view, since your view is naturally “right” and “good”, and the other is “evil” and “bad”;

Step 3: Look for ways to caricature, demean, ostracise and ridicule your ideological opponents whilst at all times avoiding any rational discussion of the subject matter in dispute;

Step 4: Find some suitably catchy phrases, like “deniers are all conspiracy theory fruitcakes who think the Moon landing was faked” or “97% of scientific papers support the ‘consensus’ on global warming“, with which to frame the “research” and portray your opponents as fools;

Step 5: Beat, batter and torture whatever data you get until it fits said phrase;

Step 6: Use said phrase in the title of your paper so that MSM journalists, who never read anything beyond the title anyway, will do all the hard work for you (especially when one of your mates writes part of the story…!);

Step 7: Continue to pretend that the research is “impartial” and of the highest standard, despite the fact that the entire world and his dog is aware of the researchers’ firmly held beliefs and biases. How? Mainly because they publish them every day on web sites.

Step 8: Sit back and wait for moonbat universities, governments and supposedly learned societies to award you great honours for doing such valuable ”research“, and for the grants to flood in.

By the way, that whirring noise in the background is Karl Popper spinning in his grave.


Global Warming Charlatans are Meeting in Bonn

By Alan Caruba

The city of Bonn, Germany is currently the location of more climate chicanery courtesy of the United Nations and an organization called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Two climate change conferences are being held there this week.

At noon, June 5, in Bonn, Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) will hold a press conference, but the likelihood that you will read about it in any U.S. newspaper ranges from slim to none. CFACT is a free market think tank for which I am an advisor and Rucker has been keeping me and its supporters informed about the conferences.

If you think ICLEI or the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has little to do with your life, think again. ICLEI is just one organization among many whose purpose is to deprive you of your property rights and your ability to influence decisions being made about the city or town in which you live.

“The ICLEI was formed in 1990 for the purpose of promoting the UN’s vision of ‘sustainable development’ as embodied in a document called Agenda 21,” notes Rucker. “It now counts more than 1,200 cities (worldwide) in its membership, the vast majority of whom use taxpayer money to pay membership dues to participate.” There are an estimated 450 member communities in the U.S. and in practical terms it means that any development efforts in those communities must meet stringent environmental and other standards even if they represent new jobs or new public facilities.

Tom DeWeese, the founder of the American Policy Center, has been an opponent of Agenda 21 for as long as it has existed and a visit to the Center’s website provides information about the UN's “sustainable development” agenda. In brief, this is how DeWeese explains that, “According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.”

Those advocating Agenda 21 “insist that every societal decision be based on environmental impact, focusing on three components; global land use, global education, and global population control and reduction.”

Its other component is “social justice” and DeWeese explains that “Social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.”

Like all fundamentally communist programs, so-called social justice includes the “redistribution of wealth” and regards “private property as a social injustice since not everyone can build wealth from it.” It is communism.

National sovereignty is regarded as social injustice and that is where the UN comes in because it has never ceased to move toward its goal of being a global government.

Rucker reports that the delegates to the ICLEI are in a sweat about local pushback here in the U.S. precisely because of the work of CFACT, comparable think tanks, and grassroots activists loosely identified as the Tea Party movement.

From June 3 through June 14, Bonn is also hosting UN climate talks aimed at creating a binding climate treaty by 2015. As Rucker points out, “This treaty will be a disaster for the economies of the free world.”

There is a reason we keep hearing about “climate change”, the replacement code words for “global warming.” As Rucker points out about the fear-mongers, “They pay no heed to real world observational data or the expense, ineffectiveness, waste, fraud, and abuse surrounding the policies being proposed. A UN climate conference is an unrealistic wonderland.”

All this would be comic if it did not affect the lives of those throughout Europe and here in the U.S. A senior advisor to CFACT, Paul Dreissen, notes that “European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people’s jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats, and human lives.” That same can, of course, be said for America.

The notion that the United Nations or the entirely of the world’s population could have any effect on the climate is so absurd that it should be dismissed out of hand, but the UN climate program and forthcoming treaty it is fashioning has nothing to do with the climate. It is about the fascist utopia being fashioned by those telling huge lies about the climate.

This is why we keeping hearing President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry issue warnings about the climate. On election night Obama said “we want our children to live in an America…that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

But the planet is not warming. It has been cooling for sixteen years at this point despite Kerry’s lies that “the science is screaming at all of us and demands action.”

“Obama and Kerry have stepped up the climate rhetoric,” says CFACT’s Rucker. “They must feel great pressure to deliver some tangible result to the Green pressure groups that supported them last fall.” And Kerry will set the agenda for the U.S. delegates to the UN climate talks.

What happens in Bonn unfortunately will not stay in Bonn.


De-hoaxing kids

The book ‘Facts, Not Fear’ covers many eco-alarms, and shows in each case how the sting may be removed from them by the simple expedient of noting contrary evidence and the informed views of subject-matter experts who are not alarmed.

Chapter 13, entitled ‘A Hotter Planet?’ addresses the global warming scare, using the same structure deployed for the other alarms. I will try to convey that structure here, using extracts from Chapter 13.

The authors lead-in with quotes illustrative of the alarm. This sets the scene, and starts from where most readers are likely to be, given the extent to which such views have been promoted in recent decades. Here is an example they use from the magazine Maclean’s in 1995:

“Imagine a world of relentlessly rising temperatures, where farmlands are scorched into desert and inland waters like the Great Lakes shrink in the heat. As global warming intensifies, the polar ice caps dissolve and ocean levels rise by more than 100 feet, swamping low-lying islands and coastal areas. Vancouver, Halifax, New York City, Amsterdam, Shanghai and other port cities are inundated. As the global floodwaters rise, more than a quarter of the world’s population is displaced.”

They take a closer look at some of the claims

‘It is true that over the past 100 years, the Earth has become slightly warmer, but only by about half a degree Celsius or 1 degree Fahrenheit. ‘

‘… most of the warming occurred before most of the greenhouse gases were put in the atmosphere’

‘As for the future, scientists do not know if the Earth will continue to get warmer. If it does, the increase may be so slight as to be hardly noticeable.’

‘Recent studies have predicted a possible rise in sea level of six to forty inches, not feet.’

‘Temperature predictions, too, have moderated.’ ‘..measurements of temperature taken by satellites (rather than measurements close to the ground) showed no warming between 1979 and mid-1996 …In fact there was a slight cooling trend..’

They take a closer look at some of the science

‘Some years ago, scientists decided to see what would happen if they assumed CO2 had doubled, as they thought it would by the end of the twenty-first century. The result: significantly higher temperatures, higher by between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius. The projections looked scientific. But scientists know that these computer models of the world’s climate have strengths and weaknesses … they miss entirely the effects of mountains such as the Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascades. According to these models, the climate of heavily forested Oregon and the climate of the Nevada desert would be about the same…. Another problem is that scientists are really guessing about how different aspects of the climate affect one another. For example:

# Water vapour is far more important than carbon dioxide in trapping heat. Carbon dioxide will increase temperatures significantly only if water vapour increases significantly. But will it?

# Clouds (composed of water vapour that has condensed into droplets) may increase if carbon dioxide goes up. Some clouds increase the warming effect and others decrease it by reflecting sunlight back into space

# Oceans and vegetation absorb CO2, but how much, how fast, and for how long? No one knows.

..Another problem is that the pattern of warming does not follow the rise in CO2 …’

They articulate a calmer perspective

‘Children’s textbooks, reflecting the popular view, discuss only the negative impacts of warming. But some scientists note that if the world gets warmer, that would not be all bad.

# “In fact,” says Andrew Solow, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, “there is some irony in the description of global warming as problematic, since it is not unreasonable to view human history as a struggle to stay warm.”

# Thomas Gale Moore, a prominent economist at the Hoover Institution, has even concluded that warmer weather would reduce deaths from heart disease and respiratory illness. Cold temperatures lead to death more often than hot ones.

# More carbon dioxide in the air will benefit many plants. It causes more luxuriant plant growth, larger flowers, and great crop yield. Some scientists think that rising levels of CO2 in the air have already contributed to the Green Revolution, that is, to the remarkable increases in food production of the past few decades.”

The chapter finishes with two headings that are used in each of the specific-topic chapters: ‘Talking to Your Children’ and ‘Activities for Parents and Children’. Here are extracts from these:

‘Talking to Your Children’

‘It is little wonder that our children are frightened. We would be, too, if we read the textbooks our children do. But now you can give your children a more balanced picture.

# Is the world going to get hotter?

No one really knows. Carbon dioxide keeps heat from being emitted into space and, because carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere, temperatures may get warmer. However, the warming may be so small as not be noticeable by the average person.

# Are human activities causing global warming?

Perhaps. By burning fossil fuel, humans add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and more carbon dioxide should keep more heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. But the increase in warmth may be very small since many, many factors affect climate. Until recently, some scientists were more worried about a coming Ice Age than too much warming.

# Has the world been getting hotter?

Yes, a little. Scientists think that the Earth’s average temperatures have increased by between three- and six-tenths of a degree Celsius or between one-half and one degrees Fahrenheit over the past one hundred years. But the increases have been irregular, not steady, and it may simply reflect natural variation in temperatures over time.

# Is carbon dioxide harmful?

No. In fact, it is a beneficial part of the atmosphere. It provides food for plants. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should increase plant growth. This will increase the amount of oxygen from plants through photosynthesis.’

‘Activities for Parents and Children’

The authors give three suggestions for helping ‘reassure your children that the world is not “out of control”’:

i) Visit a library and study books about dinosaurs, and note that int that era:

‘the Earth has an atmosphere that contained carbon dioxide levels that were five to ten times greater than now …The Earth was warmer and wetter, not burning up or drying out. (At other times, however, high carbon dioxide levels coexisted with cold temperatures). The point is that the image of global warming that many people hold may be unnecessarily grim.’

ii) Visit a commercial greenhouse. You can explain that the way they work is nothing like the so-called greenhouse effect.
‘Ask the greenhouse manager to explain how conditions in the greenhouse are controlled to help plants grow. Does this greenhouse add carbon dioxide? Why or why not?’

iii) Another trip to the library. ‘Doomsday predictions of climate change are nothing new. Your children may not be aware that in the mid-1970s many people worried about the coming Ice Age’. Suggestions are then given for articles and books to look up.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


4 June, 2013

British government braced for MPs' rebellion over new 2030 carbon energy target

Radical policy not radical enough for some

Ministers are braced for a rebellion in the Commons over when to bring in strict new carbon-free targets for Britain’s power companies.

MPs will vote on Tuesday on whether to introduce an amendment to the Energy Bill which would commit the UK to have a “near carbon-free power sector” by 2030.

The MPs’ amendment would bring in the requirement almost immediately, whereas the Government is proposing separately to agree the target in 2016.

The backbench amendment would remove coal-fire and gas-fired power stations from their network unless they can capture and store their emissions.

Backers have said that cutting carbon emissions is needed to check changes in global weather conditions.

Many scientists believe that human activity that releases carbon into the atmosphere contributes to climate change.

Tim Yeo MP, the Conservative chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, and Labour MP Barry Gardiner have been lobbying support for their amendment, which is due to be voted on around 4pm on Tuesday.

Westminster watchers said the vote could be close with the Government’s working majority of 32 slashed to just a single MP, by some calculations.

Campaigners said that as many as 20 Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs could vote in favour of the amendment. Late on Monday it emerged that Charles Kennedy, the former Lib Dem MP, was planning to back the amendment.

Lib Dem MPs are particularly likely to rebel because setting a 2030 target is party policy and is due to be discussed at a party policy meeting on Monday.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls used a speech on Monday to call on Lib Dems to back the amendment.

He said: “I call on every Liberal Democrat who supports a low carbon future to join us and vote with us to make this change happen.”

Duncan Brack MP, vice chairman of the federal policy committee, told “Many of us would like to see our MPs back the Yeo amendment because we believe the Chancellor’s stance on renewables has undermined the investment that’s needed. The Government needs to send a positive signal that it is committed to a low carbon future.”

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change secretary, said that the amendment was not necessary to hit climate targets. He said: “Everything in this Bill is based on the premise that we need to significantly decarbonise our power sector in order to meet climate targets.

“We secured a landmark agreement across the Coalition to treble support for low-carbon investment to £7.6 billion in 2020. And we are reforming the market to provide the certainty required to attract investment in renewables, new nuclear, CCS and demand reduction.

“We have listened to views and added a clause to enable us to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector in 2016. “No political party had this issue in their manifesto, and this will be a world first, an issue that this Coalition Government has addressed head on.”


Eat less meat or face food shortage: Nannying British Liberal politicians

Utter rubbish! Aegentina and Australia will supply all the meat they want

Families should stop eating meat on a daily basis, MPs warn today. Pork, lamb and beef should be 'occasional' indulgences rather than dinner-table staples.

They said the global surge in meat and cheese consumption was unsustainable, with the UK 'never more than a few days from a significant food shortage'.

The Commons international development committee said farmers should rear more animals on grass because livestock is land and energy intensive and grain should be saved for humans.

The report was branded 'naive, dangerous and bitterly disappointing' by farming unions. 'Livestock farming is an essential part of the fabric of the British countryside,' said Charles Sercombe of the NFU.

'We turn otherwise unused parts of land into food and protein that the public can eat as part of a balanced diet. We are using the land as efficiently as possible.

'With many farmers having been dealing with some of the most difficult conditions in years, to encourage the public not to eat meat is unhelpful to say the least.'

Phil Stocker of the National Sheep Association said: 'The vast majority of land used for sheep farming is not suitable for any other form of agriculture.

'Would it be more efficient just to leave the land and import our food? Of course not. Millions have grown up eating meat regularly and it is the public's right to serve what they like on their dinner table.'

But Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Lib Dem chairman of the Commons committee, said: 'With the UK never more than a few days away from a significant food shortage, UK consumers should also be encouraged over time to reduce how often they eat meat.

'There is no room for complacency about food security over the coming decades if UK consumers are to enjoy stable supplies and reasonable food prices.

'UK aid to help smallholders increase food production in the developing world is of direct benefit to UK consumers as rising world food prices will reduce living standards of hard-pressed UK consumers.'

The MPs are demanding ministers tackle food wastage – a study by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found up to half the food bought from UK supermarkets goes in the bin, often when edible.

The committee's report on global food security said: 'We recommend the Government set targets for food waste reduction for producers and retailers and introduce sanctions for failure to meet the targets.'

On the topic of GM food, dubbed 'Frankenstein foods', the MPs recognised the technique was 'controversial' but added: 'GMOs have the potential to make a valuable contribution to food security.'

The committee raised concerns about the impact of biofuels – derived from plants such as sugar cane and maize – on the environment and on food prices.

Vast swathes of agricultural land are set aside to grow fuel crops, pushing up the price of staple goods. By law, at least 5 per cent of petrol and diesel sold on British forecourts must be biofuel.

The MPs called on ministers to consider using domestic stockpiles of food to protect against price hikes.

As well as claiming grain should be fed to humans instead of animals, vegetarians and green activists tell steak lovers livestock farming is a major source of harmful greenhouse gases.

But a study in 2010 found that going vegetarian may not be as green as it seems. The Cranfield University research found that switching from British-bred beef and lamb to meat substitutes imported from abroad such as tofu and Quorn would increase the amount of land cultivated.


Fracking could make the UK self-sufficient in gas for at least 15 years

A fracking company has announced that more than ten times as much gas lies under the North West of England than previously believed - and it could make the UK self-sufficient for at least 15 years.

The exploratory energy company IGas has carried out technical studies which suggest the quantity of shale gas in parts of the UK have been vastly underestimated.

It holds a licence for an area of 300 square miles between Liverpool and Manchester and had previously calculated that more than 9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas lay beneath the ground.

Fresh technical studies now point to there being as little as 15.1 tcf and as much as 172.3 tcf under the North West. With the company’s best estimate suggesting there is more likely to be 102 tcf available through fracking.

Only a proportion of the total volume will be accessible to the shale gas industry but even if just 10 per cent of the North West’s reserves can be brought to the surface it could end the entire UK’s dependency on foreign imports for a decade.

Andrew Austin, the company’s chief executive, told the BBC: ‘We (Britain) import around 1.5 tcf, we consume around 3 tcf a year, assuming you could recover technically something like 10 to 15 percent of the shale gas in place, then it could move import dependency out for about 10 to 15 years.’

As of 2012, 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide.

He added in a statement issued by IGas: ‘The announcement of the gas in place volumes of up to ca. 170tcf in our North West acreage follows the completion of a very thorough study by the IGas Technical team and supports our view that these licences have a very significant Shale Gas resource with the potential to transform the company and materially benefit the communities in which we operate.

‘The planned drilling programme, commencing later this year, will further refine these estimates and advance our understanding of this shale basin. We will in due course carry out further analysis and reinterpretation of existing seismic and subsurface data to evaluate the potentially prospective Shale resources in the East Midlands and Weald Basin licence areas.’

Shares in IGas rose to a four-month high of 107.5 pence on Monday morning, falling slightly later in the day but by mid-afternoon were still up by about 12 per cent on the previous day.

Drilling is planned for later this year, which would refine the estimates and the potential of the basin, the company said.

Analysts at Jefferies said that while the estimate range was large, the most likely forecast of about 100 tcf showed the significance of the licence, both relative to IGas's resource base and the UK's existing gas reserves.

"While only a portion of that will be recovered even in a success case (U.S. shale recovery factors generally estimated to be about 10-30 percent with current technology/development plans), total proven gas reserves of the UK are about 7 tcf, indicating the materiality of the potential," they said.

According to government figures, the UK's total current proven, probable and possible gas reserves stand at around 25 tcf, including 17 tcf of proven and probable gas.

Another energy company, Cuadrilla, announced two years ago that it believes 200 tcf of shale gas lie in its licence areas and that up to 30 per cent could be recovered.

The IGas estimate was, however, treated with skepticism by environmental group Greenpeace


Global cooling hits Europe

Warmists always tell us that warming causes drought so let's be logical about that

Five people have been killed and thousands have fled their homes as terrifying floods hit cities in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Officials across central Europe issued disaster warnings and scrambled to reinforce flood defences today as rivers swelled by days of heavy rain threatened to burst their banks.

Nine people are also missing in the extreme conditions as offices, schools and homes are all left deserted or completely under water. The historic city of Prague in the Czech Republic is on high alert and the zoo has been evacuated.

The Danube in the southeast German city of Passau is expected to rise to its highest level in 70 years today and a spokesman for the city's crisis centre said the situation has become 'extremely dramatic'.

Czech police said this weekend at least five people had died in this spate of flooding. Firefighters evacuated homes in western regions and in villages outside the capital today and yesterday, rescuing 200 people.

Czech officials said the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in Prague and that special metal walls were being erected to prevent flooding.

The Charles Bridge - normally packed with tourists at this time of year - was closed to the public as were some other popular spots near the river at the foot of Prague Castle.

Interim Mayor Tomas Hudecek said they were shutting down eight stations of the capital's subway network and urging people not to travel to city.

The mayor said all nursery, elementary and high schools in the Czech capital will be closed today because of anticipated travel problems.

Flooding was also reported in Austria and water levels rose in Germany and Poland after heavy rain in central Europe over the past week swelled rivers.

In Germany, where at least four people have died or are missing, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised federal support for affected areas and said the army would be deployed if necessary.

The water level had risen by at least five meters in Munich.

Separately, at least three other people were reportedly missing. At least one person died and two were missing in Austria near Salzburg.

German news agency dpa reported that large stretches of the Rhine, Main and Neckar rivers have been closed to ship traffic.

Evacuations are also taking place in neighbouring Austria and Switzerland.

Rivers also were spilling over their banks in some rural areas of south-western Poland, and people have been evacuated.

Meteorologists are predicting the rainfall will ease in the coming days.


British Liberal attacks papers who report 'destructive' climate sceptics

Newspapers are wrong to give a “platform” for campaigners and groups that question whether climate change is caused by human activity, Ed Davey, the energy secretary, will say.

Mr Davey will attack “destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism” about climate change, and criticise parts of the media for the way they report that scepticism.

The minister’s comments come as MPs prepare to vote on a new legal target to cut carbon emissions from Britain’s power plants.

An amendment to the Energy Bill would commit the UK to have a “near carbon-free power sector” by 2030.

Backers of the amendment say that cutting carbon emissions is needed to check changes in global weather conditions.

Many scientists believe that human activity that releases carbon into the atmosphere contributes to climate change.

One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

Some scientists and politicians question that consensus.

Last week, Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee, said it was possible that “natural phases” in the climate may explain warming, and not human activity.

Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, has also questioned the consensus on climate change.

According to a speech text given to the BBC before its delivery, Mr Davey will attack newspapers who give what he says is undue space to reporting those who are sceptical about the climate consensus.

"Of course there will always be uncertainties within climate science and the need for research to continue.

"But some sections of the press are giving an uncritical campaigning platform to individuals and lobby groups,” the minister will say.

"This is not the serious science of challenging, checking and probing.

"This is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, publicity seeking contraversialism or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness.

"This tendency will seize upon the normal expression of scientific uncertainty and portray it as proof that all climate change policy is hopelessly misguided.

He will add: "By selectively misreading the evidence, they seek to suggest that climate change has stopped so we can all relax and burn all the dirty fuel we want without a care.

"Those who argue against all the actions we are taking to reduce emissions, without any serious and viable alternative, are asking us to take a massive gamble with the planet our children will inherit, in the face of all the evidence, against overwhelming odds."

Some Conservative MPs say that the most important change required in energy policy is to allow more “fracking”, the extraction of shale gas from the earth.

Shale gas has transformed the energy market in the US, reducing American dependency on imported oil and gas, and some MPs say Britain could follow suit.

IGas, a company licensed to explore for shale gas in northern England, today claimed that reserves in the area are much larger than previously thought.

The company said there may be up to 170 trillion cubic feet of gas in the area. That is almost 20 times more than previously thought, and equal to more than 50 years of the UK’s current annual gas consumption.


Power plant comparison – coal-fired versus wind

I would like to show you something very important here, something that supporters of Renewable Power conveniently neglect to mention. To demonstrate this, I’m going to construct a comparison between coal-fired power and wind power.

To do this comparison, I’m going to spend exactly the same amount of money both for the coal-fired plant and the wind plant, and because I live here in Australia, I’ll be doing it in Australian Dollars, but as the cost factor is not the part I’ll be drawing your attention to, that cost is mentioned just as an indicator, and for the sake of the exercise, the amounts will be the same both for the coal-fired plant and the wind plant, and at each stage I will give a careful explanation.

Pretending that money is really no object, let’s then construct one of those new technology large-scale coal-fired plants that are now being constructed in China, India, and at a number of other places around the World. These plants are the new technology USC (UltraSuperCritical) plants. The Chinese have now mastered the technology and these plants have been under construction in China for more than 4 years now.

While these plants are indeed coal-fired plants, because of the technology, they actually burn up to 15% less coal than equivalent existing older technology coal-fired plants. That’s 15% less coal being consumed, hence 15% less CO2 being emitted.

Because the technology produces larger amounts of high temperature high pressure steam, these plants can in fact drive generators that produce more power, again, another thing that the Chinese have succeeded in scaling up. While older technology plants typically can only drive generators that produce 660MW, these newer technology Chinese plants can drive generators that can produce 1000MW and more, previously only the province of large-scale nuclear power plants.

So, for the purpose of the exercise, we will be constructing a large-scale coal-fired plant with 2 of these size generators, hence the Total Capacity will be in that typical large-scale range of 2000MW plus.

Now, China can construct one of these plants for $1.2 Billion, a seemingly large amount. However, as everything is so cheap in China, especially labour costs, then there’s no way known that a plant of this nature can be constructed in the already Developed World for that price.

German Neurath new technology coal fired plant
So, we now have to look elsewhere for an actual plant of this nature being constructed in a place that could give us a good handle on what the true cost might be.
Germany is actually in the stages of constructing these new technology plants themselves. They have already gone down the path of Renewable power, and have seen, quite starkly, how it absolutely fails to deliver the power required on the basis required. So, Germany is now making plans to construct these new large-scale plants, almost 20 of them, in fact, and they actually now have a couple of them up and running, and supplying power to the grids in Germany.

One of those is the new unit at the Neurath plant. This plant actually has 2 generators capable of 1100MW, for a total output of 2200MW, so this is what I will be using for the sake of comparison.

Now, while the Chinese can do this for that $1.2 Billion, Germany has found that the cost for them is $3.4 Billion. (The plant actually cost the Germans €2.6 Billion.) Note how in the Developed World, a plant of this nature costs almost three times as much to construct as it costs in China.

So now we have a baseline for our comparison. $3.4 Billion.

Okay then, knowing that, we are now going to spend exactly that same amount of money on Wind Power.

Now, unlike some Renewable Power supporters who do all their costings on modelling, LCOE (Levelised Cost Of Electricity) these paper exercises always gives false outcomes, making coal-fired power more expensive, as I explained in my earlier Guest Post here at this site, those same models also seem to come up with Wind Plants that are artificially cheaper, hence making coal-fired power look bad, and wind power look attractively so much better.

However, unlike those who use their clever models to do their paper comparisons, I use real World costings for real World Constructions.
In the same manner as I found a real World example for a new technology coal-fired plant, let’s then use a real World example for wind power.

Currently, here in Australia, there is a new proposal to construct a large-scale Wind Plant on King Island, off the North West coast of Tasmania, that large Island just to South of Mainland Australia.

This proposed plant will cost $2 Billion. For this amount, they will be constructing between 200 and 250 huge turbines. The height at the hub of each tower will be 105 metres, (341 feet) with a swept diameter of 90 Metres. The nacelle on top of the tower will hold a generator capable of delivering 3MW.

Now, while the proposal is not solid on its numbers, let’s go with the higher amount of turbines they hope to construct (250) for this $2 Billion. So now we have to scale this up to the original outlay, so for that $3.4 Billion, we’ll get 425 of those huge towers. Each will have 3MW turbine/generators, so now we have a total Capacity of 1275MW. Keep in mind here, that there’s not many wind plants of that size, so realistically, we are looking at 2 of these large-scale wind plants, but the main thing here is the original amount of money.

Now, straight up, you notice that even though the original cost is exactly the same, the wind plant only has a total capacity of 1275MW, while the coal-fired plant has a capacity of 2200MW, so right up front, this coal-fired plant is 72% larger in its total power.

That’s just the beginning, and while that alone is important enough, what is more important is not this up front total, the Nameplate Capacity, but the actual power delivered to the grids for consumption by all the sectors actually using the electricity.

This is the important thing I want to show you.

Now, the operation of the coal-fired plant is such that while ever the crushed and powdered coal is being fed into the furnace to make the steam to drive the turbine, the generator is always turning, and always delivering its maximum power. The only down time is for maintenance, when the whole unit is totally shut down. What is happening in the Chinese plants is that they are actually running at around a 92% Capacity Factor. Now while that is early days, the lifetime capacity of a plant of this nature is around 80%, and some might even say that could be on the low side, as efficiencies in the more modern technology see these type of plant operating quite efficiently with respect to delivery of power. In fact, an Australian plant, near where I live here in Rockhampton, the Stanwell plant had one of its units in full operation for just under three years, a World’s record for any power plant generator.

However, for the sake of this exercise, let’s go with that lower figure of 80%. That means that over one full year, this coal-fired plant with both units running can actually deliver 15,428GWH. (GigaWattHours)

A typical large-scale coal-fired power plant has a lifespan of 50 years. This can be (and more often than not is) extended out by a number of years, but hey, let’s go with that lower figure of 50 years.

So now, over the life of the plant, we have an actual power delivery of 771,408GWH or converted, 771TWH. (TeraWattHours)

Keep that number in mind. 771TWH

Now, let’s look at the Wind Plant. When the proposal is first submitted, nearly all of them quote the Capacity Factor (CF) at 38%. Once operational, very few wind plants actually achieve that. Most settle down in the early years to a CF of 30%, and as data from all across the Planet is becoming more known, then a CF of 20% is actually closer to the truth, and in fact, some Countries have that CF as low as 15%. But hey, in much the same manner as I went for worst case scenario for the coal-fired plant, let’s actually go with the higher figure here of 20%, best case scenario.

So now we have this (equivalent cost) wind plant of 1275MW delivering 2235GWH per year: Note how that compares with the delivery from the coal-fired plant of 15,428GWH.

We are told that these wind plants have a life span of 25 years. So now, we have a lifetime power delivery from this wind plant of 55,875GWH or 55.875TWH.

Say, will you look at that. The coal-fired plant delivers 771TWH during its life and the equivalent costing wind plant delivers only 56TWH.

So the coal-fired plant delivers 13.8 times as much power.

That is the important thing I wanted you all to see.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


3 June, 2013

CFCs 'are the real culprit in global warming'

This is a truly remarkable paper. This guy gets the sort of correlations Warmists can only dream of. That he found CO2 to have zero predictive power over warming is not new but that he found his CFC index gave correlations above .90 more or less ends the discussion. There is basically no room for anything else to have much effect. As far as science is concerned this moves the debate about what the climate drivers are onto a new plateau, a plateau with no room for CO2. But the political gospel will continue, of course

BANNED aerosols that caused the ozone hole - not carbon dioxide - were responsible for global warming since the 1970s, according to published research from one of Canada's leading universities.

The research predicts global temperatures will continue to fall for the next 50 to 70 years and sea levels will rise for two decades before starting to retreat.

The peer-reviewed research by Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry at Waterloo University, was published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B.

The findings of Professor Lu's paper - Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules: Culprits for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change - are at odds with the consensus view that climate change is driven by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Waterloo University said Professor Lu's research provided "new fundamental understanding of the ozone hole and global climate change". Critics said it might be "nothing more than coincidental correlation", but it warranted further study.

Chlorofluorocarbons are known to deplete ozone, but conventional thinking is the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide had mainly contributed to global warming.

"But we have observed data going back to the industrial revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong," Professor Lu said. "In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays (solar activity) caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming."

By proving the link between CFCs, ozone depletion and temperature changes in the Antarctic, Professor Lu said he was able to draw almost perfect correlation between rising global surface temperatures and CFCs in the atmosphere. "The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO2 but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs," he said.

If correct, the theory would have dramatic implications for forecasting global climate change.

"Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850," Professor Lu said. "My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 degrees C from 1950 to 2002, but the Earth has actually cooled since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline."

Professor Lu said it had been known for some time that CFCs had a damaging effect on the atmosphere and "we've taken measures to reduce their emissions.

"We now know that international efforts such as the Montreal Protocol have also had a profound effect on global warming, but they must be placed on firmer scientific ground," he said.

Terry McMahon, dean of the faculty of science at Waterloo, said: "This study underlines the importance of understanding the basic science underlying ozone depletion and global climate change.

"This research is of particular importance not only to the research community, but to policymakers and the public alike."


Renewable Energy’s Reversal of Fortune

Marita Noon

“They told us the wind turbines were going to be good for the city; that our electric rates would go down. But that hasn’t happened. They keep putting up more and more of them and they are getting closer to the neighborhoods where you hear the noise all night while you are trying to sleep. Plus,” Monica told me last week during my Palm Springs vacation, “they look horrible; like a junk yard. It totally ruins our mountain views!”

I met Monica in a store where she works. When she found out that I write on energy issues, she told me her story. Her electric bills run as high as $7-800 a month in the summer for a 1600-square-foot home. “I work for the electric company,” she said. “Everything I have goes to pay my bill.” With her bills so high, Monica got behind. She’s been on a payment plan for three years and doesn’t see any hope of ever getting caught up. Instead of using air conditioning, she uses the swamp cooler whenever possible—but with temperatures above 100 most of the summer, the AC is essential. She’s cut back use of the pool pump. “The pool’s not crystal clear,” she told me, “but my bill is a little less

No one could have predicted the reversal of fortunes the renewable energy industry is facing

Nearly a decade ago, in the mid-2000s, states were busy passing legislation that mandated the use of renewable energy—generally called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Today, more than half the states have renewable requirements that range from modest to aggressive with California’s being the most stringent at 33% by 2020

Legislators eagerly embraced the renewable mandates based on three specific myths:

* Climate change is a manmade crisis caused by the use of hydrocarbons,

* Hydrocarbons are finite and are about to run out and, therefore, are expensive. And

* Renewable energy, specifically the wind and the sun, is unlimited and free.

Since then, each of the key selling points has been wiped out.

Environmentalists have been crying “wolf” for so long that the public has become immune to their scare tactics—the disasters predicted at the first Earth Day haven’t happened and despite increasing CO2, the climate hasn’t warmed for 17 years.

The combination of new technology and new applications of old technology have unleashed a new abundance of natural gas and oil—dropping the prices and displacing the market for renewables. Last month, Atlantic Magazine’s cover announced “we will never run out of oil.”

Increasing utility bills have convinced people that, even though wind and sunshine are free, converting them to electricity is not—as Monica found out. Europe, the global leader in renewable energy, is backing away from the policies that are making energy more expensive and Europe less competitive.

Combined with the hard-hitting economic collapse and ongoing sagas of taxpayer-funded green energy failures, the public’s appetite for renewable energy has waned—producing headlines, such as “Cheap natural gas prompts states to sour on renewables” and “U.S. states turn against renewable energy as gas plunges.” Compared to last year, investment in renewable energy has dropped: 54% in the US and 25% in Europe—with the sharpest decline, 96%, in Spain. But, as long as the mandates exist, so does the rationale for subsidies, grants, and tax credits.

No wonder the 2013 legislative season was filled with renewable mandate policy action—including calls for repeals, reforms, and expansions. Wind Power Monthly reports: “there have been at least 35 bills to weaken renewable portfolio standards proposed in 16 of the 29 states that have them on the books.”

Six states introduced bills for a full repeal of the mandates: Texas, Minnesota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Kansas. While none passed, Kansas and North Carolina had bills with strong support.

Eleven states—Montana, Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington—had bills aimed at reforming the mandates—several of which would have qualified hydroelectricity as “renewable energy.” Montana passed a bill to include the expansion of existing hydroelectricity as a part of eligible renewable resources. Virginia repealed incentives for electric utilities to pursue renewable energy investments. Vermont passed a zoning bill that would make it more difficult to site a wind farm.

Ten states—Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia—had bills to expand the current mandates. Two have passed: Minnesota and Colorado. The Colorado bill increases the mandate for rural electric cooperatives. The Minnesota bill establishes a 1.5% solar energy mandate, to be met by 2020 for investor-owned utilities. Electricity co-ops and municipal utilities are exempt. Nevada’s legislative session ends on June 3. A bill, SB123, which would force the use of more renewable electricity, is still being debated. The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Editorial Board called SB123 “a tax hike on everyone” and says it “is a feel-good political initiative, not an economic one.”

While this flurry of activity doesn’t declare a definitive winner or loser, renewable energy advocates are clearly unhappy about fighting a battle they thought they’d already won. Addressing the situation they find themselves in, Wind Power Monthly, offers the following insight from Jeff Deyette, assistant energy research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists: “These opponents have yet to make much progress in their efforts, but they have forced renewable energy advocates to expend valuable resources defending their positions. If you measure success by outright repeal of these standards, they may be successful with one or two. I don't think they are going to get much more than that. But if you measure success in a different way, in that they are slowing our ability to do what we should be doing, which is going out and expanding these policies and creating larger markets for renewable energy, then I think they have been successful.”

Roger Freeman, a Denver-based environmental attorney, who believes that the RPS needs to be protected, acknowledges: “the national trend is in the opposite direction.” Lyndon Rive, SolarCity CEO, says: “We expect in the next year or two that state-based incentives will disappear.”

Arizona’s Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities in the state, has “pulled back on incentives for rooftop solar installations,” as Tucson Electric Power Co. and Arizona Public Service Co. “have reached incremental goals for such installations under the state’s renewable-energy standard.”

Without the “marching orders” from the statehouses to the electric utilities, Rhone Resch, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association, says: “Without some carrot or stick, there’s little reason to pick [renewables] up.”

With the “national trend” heading away from state-supported renewable energy mandates, some hope that Congress will set a national renewable standard. But, Karin Wadsack, director of a Northern Arizona University-based project to monitor these legislative battles, concedes: “I wouldn’t see it happening in our current set of national priorities.”

Monica thought the wind turbines would be good, that they’d lower her utility bills. Instead, she’s scared to open her bill. Advertisements featuring a glistening white wind turbine in a green field don’t match the reality that residents of Palm Springs—and other locales—are living with. “They look horrible; like a junkyard.”

As the reality of policies that promote renewable energy sets in, fewer people want it. You can be sure that the 2014 legislative sessions will be filled with additional attempts to repeal or reform existing Renewable Portfolio Standards that could bring about renewable energy’s reversal of fortune—and add to yours, as cost-effective coal-fueled power allows you to pay less, and your tax dollars won’t be going to green energy schemes that line the pockets of political cronies.


Dramatic rise in plant growth in world's deserts consistent with rising C02 levels

Theory that is borne out in practice

Scientists believe a rise in carbon dioxide levels have increased the amount of vegetation in some parts of the world.

After studying satellite images taken between 1982 and 2010, researchers found there has been a dramatic rise in plant growth in the world's most driest regions including parts of Africa, North America, the Middle East and the Australian outback.

The research was carried out by Randall Donohue and his team at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia.

Between 1982 and 2010, C02 levels in the atmosphere rose by 14 per cent. But in the same period foliage increased by 11 per cent in these regions.

Carbon dioxide acts as an insulator and causes temperatures to rise but it also vital for plant growth.

Mr Donohue told The Sunday Times: 'Satellites are very good at detecting changes in total leaf cover and it is in warm, dry environments that the C02 effect is expected to most influence that.

'Lots of papers have shown an average increase in vegetation across the globe and there is a lot of speculation about what is causing that'.

Photosynthesis uses energy from sunlight to mix with CO2 with water to grow. A leaf can extract more carbon from the air during photosynthesis or lose water, or do both, when there are higher levels of C02.

Last month, C02 concentration in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million. There has been a 40 per cent increase in C02 levels in the atmosphere since man began burning fossil fuels like coal and oil.


Skiers take to the slopes in the Pyrenees in June for the first time ever as mountain bosses say 'it's just like the middle of January'

Global cooling good for skiers

Ski slopes were open in France today for what is already being viewed as the most dismally cold summer in living memory. Despite it being the first weekend in June, the Pyrenees resort of Porte Puymorens was selling piste passes ‘like hot cakes’.

‘We have hundreds of people here enjoying the snow – it’s just like the middle of January,’ said a spokesman for the ski station, where mountains peaks rise to 2,827 m (9,275 ft).

Slopes were originally shut at the end of the official season in April, but because there was so much snow left an ‘exceptional opening between June 1st and June 2nd’ was announced.

An icy Spring means that the mountains between France and Spain are still covered in snow, with Eric Charre, the director of Porte Pymorens, saying people should ‘take advantage of all the snow that has not melted’.

There were heavy falls across the Pyrenees throughout April and May, leading to regular avalanche alerts. Stations in fact had to shut down at one point during the winter because there was too much snow.

Mr Charre said that slopes running between 1600m and 2500m in altitude ‘have as much snow as there was in winter’.

He added: ‘From 2,100m upwards, everything is still pristine without any tracts of earth showing through at all. ‘The snow is on average 70cm to 80cm thick and in some places there are still drifts of up to five metres deep’.

Temperatures at the ski station reached a maximum of 1°C this week, said Mr Charre.

Some 600 skiers a day were allowed up in the resort’s cable cars this weekend, so as to avoid overcrowding.

In total, four pistes will be opened on Saturday and Sunday, after which the snow was considered too slushy for skiing.

It has been the coldest Spring in France for more than 25 years in some parts of France, meaning snow which should have melted weeks ago is still in place.

While glacier skiing is common across France in May, June skiing is normally associated with countries like Sweden.


New Energy Secretary on Climate Change: ‘I’m Not Here to Debate What’s Not Debatable’

Ernest Moniz, the nation’s new Energy Secretary, said climate change is “not debatable” in one of his first speeches on the job.

"I'm not here to debate what’s not debatable,” Moniz said at the White House Leadership Summit on Women, Climate and Energy on May 23. “The threat from climate change is real and urgent.”

“The science fully demands a prudent response,” he said, referring to recent reports that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising to levels not seen for millions of years.

“Just this month, as you know, kind of symbolically hitting essentially 400 [parts per million] CO2 -- of course, that’s not including the non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which really pump you up to about 450, in effect. So we really need to get after this,” Moniz said. “It’s an important imperative.”

Moniz said the only “legitimate debate” regarding climate change involves solutions to the problem, not its cause.

Under his leadership, Moniz said the Department of Energy will emphasize energy efficiency, which he called a “classic win-win-win situation.”

Among other things, DOE is developing new efficiency standards for appliances.

And it recently announced a new manufacturing initiative to improve wide bandgap semiconductors, which allow power electronic components to be smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient than their silicon-based counterparts.

Energy efficiency in appliance standards, buildings, industry and vehicles, is an area “that we certainly intend to try to amplify the efforts of the department and the administration with a strong full court press,” he said.

Moniz, 68, formerly a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was sworn in as Secretary of Energy on May 21. He replaces Steven Chu, who resigned on April 22.

Moniz said he took the job because of President Barack Obama’s commitment to climate change.

“The President has already stated his very, very strong commitment to clean energy, a low carbon economy, and addressing the risks of climate change,” he said. “And frankly, this is the reason I came back to town.”


The Growing Threat of Smart Meters


Sustainable Development is code for a policy designed to transform human society, essentially eliminating individual life decisions and replacing them with top - down, one-size-fits-all government control. In steady fashion, the agenda for this new policy, designed at the international level, is put into place piece by piece with a new government council here, and new regulation there, each designed to appear as a "local" development program. Like the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling pot, many Americans fail to notice the rise in government heat.

The main course of action to impose the new agenda is through the pretense of environmental protection; "Sorry about your rights, but if we don't save the planet, then we will all perish!" And so with the devastation of a thousand pin pricks, America and its form or government is being changed through the creation of non-elected boards, councils and regional governments, designed to enforce the new regulations and "assure that we protect the environment."

The pin pricks come disguised as such issues as controls on community development; controls on use of private property; controls on use of open space; creation of development areas, many times under the excuse of historic preservation; communities designed on the blue print of pack and stack housing; making it harder to drive as roads are narrowed, even forcing cars to share the road with bicycles; the enforcement of expensive mass transit boondoggle projects; and the never ending spending spree on inefficient, unworkable alternative energy, such as wind and solar power.

In fact, control of energy and water are the two most effective tools in the enforcement of the Sustainable Development agenda. Without energy and water, human society stops. Using strict controls on how, or even if, energy and water can be used provides government with the power to dictate every aspect of society.

So how is that control carried out? There are obviously several ways, including regulations and taxes on production of gasoline; EPA restrictions on energy production; and government subsidies to create and enforce the use of alternative energy, specifically wind and solar.

However, controlling energy use in individual homes provided a more difficult obstacle than mere taxes or regulations. Government needed to be able to monitor energy use and individual habits in every single home. And so, the Smart Meter was born.

The Smart Meters are being installed on homes across the country, replacing the old style analog meters. The power companies are telling their customers that the Smart Meters will help them save money on electric bills by helping control usage. They also claim that the Smart Meters will help the power companies operate more efficiently by eliminating the need for meter readers to physically read the meters as they do with analog meters. However, these sales pitches from the power companies hide the real facts behind the push to replace every analog meter in the nation with the Smart Meters.

There are several major problems for homeowners as the Smart Meters are installed. Here are just a few:

* The cost of heating and cooling homes with Smart Meters is going up because of the inefficient alternative energy that is more expensive than coal and nuclear power.

* Homeowners with Smart Meters in place are discovering that they can't heat or cool their homes during peak power usage as the electric companies control the thermostats and automatically cut back on usage.

* Property rights are being violated by Smart Meter installers who come onto property against the will of the owners.

* A 2012 Congressional Report now reveals that power companies are able to read data from the meters that reveals residents' daily schedules and their personal behavior, the types of appliances they use, even if there are certain types of medical equipment in use in the home. This information can then be sold to private concerns or placed in government files. It can lead to identity theft and unwarranted government surveillance.

* Evidence is now emerging that the Smart Meters, which operate by emitting electromagnetic signals, has become a health hazard, as thousands of Smart Meters in neighborhoods blast a non-stop signal, creating what is called Electromagnetic Smog. The electromagnetic radiation is dangerous for the elderly, children, pets, and those subject to such disorders as epilepsy, heart disease and more. It can lead to disruptive sleep patterns, chronic fatigue, depression, headaches and much more.

As Americans become aware of these threats they have begun to oppose the installation of Smart Meters on their property. Some local and state governments, when faced with the health complaints, have offered opt out provisions. Others have responded using force, resulting in arrests, as in Naperville, Illinois. In other places, power companies have shut off electricity to homes of those protesting the Smart Meters.

As the battle against the Smart Meters grows across the nation, Americans need to understand the issue, the dangers, the real reasons behind the government's drive to force them on angry and protesting homeowners, violating their property rights and endangering their health in the process.

Smart Meters are designed to provide government with detailed information of your energy use, your movements in your home, the way you use your personal private time, and even how many people are in your home at any given time. It is an unconstitutional invasion of your home by government, as set down in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

My organization, the American Policy Center (APC), has produced a comprehensive special report entitled "Sustainable Development and the Control of Energy (The growing battle over Smart Meters)." This report details the real reasons behind the government's enforcement of the Smart Meters, the health and privacy violations, and the political agenda behind it all. This special report is available free here. I urge every concerned American to get a copy.

Every American has a duty to preserve freedom by protesting and stopping the forced installation of these devises.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


2 June, 2013

Lomborg: Getting One Inch Less of Sea Level Rise By The End Of The Century Would Cost $500 Billion Anually!‏

Using Warmist assumptions and methods

EPA regs shut down DC ambulance. Patient dies

DC's ambulance service is coming under fire again. This time, a City Councilman is calling for a full investigation as to why an ambulance carrying a critically injured patient shut down on a highway .

Ambulance 19, carrying 34-year-old Nathaniel McRae never made it to the hospital. That's because it shutdown on 295 for an emissions standard called a 'regen process'

A second ambulance had to be called but the delay cost the patient 5-7 minutes. "That's unacceptable, seconds count.'

Firefighters Union President Ed Smith says newer model ambulances in the DC fleet are outfitted with a system to reduce diesel smoke

It's a 4 level warning system that goes from orange to red, and solid to flashing lights before the engine shuts off.

There are usually hours between level one and three to clean the emissions system. But that wasn't the case for ambulance 19. According to Smith, the first 2 warnings never sounded.

This particular vehicle went to the third stage and left little time. It slowed to a crawl and the engine subsequently shut down.

And what's disturbing, is that it shouldn't have been a surprise. "This issue has been reported three times prior to the incident yesterday."

But the critical question, did the 5-7 minute delay cost the patient his life?

DC Councilman Tommy Wells leads the judiciary and public safety committee. He's called for a full investigation. "this is unacceptable and we need to find out what happened so this doesn't happen again. These newer ambulances are only about three years old."

The Environmental Protection Agency gave flexibility for engine fire trucks and ambulances for this regen process. But DC Fire went ahead and ordered 10 more newer model ambulances. They will arrive this summer.

Smith, "We've had numerous failures and this is another embarrassing incident where it cost timely response and care."

Here is the EPA's response to the incident:

"A properly working and maintained vehicle should not shut down without adequate warning, and pollution control equipment does not have this general impact - as evidenced by the millions of vehicles on the road that have been operating with this technology for years. That said, to provide additional flexibility to municipalities and emergency responders, EPA last year established an exemption for new and in-use emergency vehicles that allows manufacturers and their authorized dealers to install modifications to emissions control systems so they can be operated as intended, without reduced performance during emergency situations."


Past The Tipping Point : 2014 High School Seniors Have Seen No Global Warming During Their Life

Children have been force fed Al Gore propaganda since they started public school, yet none of them have actually experienced any global warming.


Home insulations down 97 per cent in blow to British Coalition's 'green deal'

Despite government attempts to improve Britain’s fuel efficiency, industry figures show that installations of cavity wall insulation were down by 97 per cent in April compared with the same month last year.

There were 1,138 cavity wall insulations installed last month, down from 49,650 in April 2012, according to the figures from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, an industry monitoring group.

The Coalition government has tried to highlight the potential for a national insulation scheme to reduce energy use and prevent household bills from rising over the next decade.

Currently millions of homes do not have full double-glazing and most lack adequate insulation, efficient condensing boilers and proper heating controls, the Financial Times reported.

Last year, there was an average of 40,000 installations of cavity wall insulations a month under two government programmes that have since ended – the community energy savings scheme and the carbon emissions reduction target.

Companies had to insulate a certain number of homes under these schemes over a given period of time, but both ended on December 31, 2012, to be replaced by the green deal and the energy company obligation (ECO).

The ECO will force energy companies to make people’s homes more efficient through insulation and improved heating systems, and is targeted at people on benefits or on low incomes, like its predecessors.

Under the green deal, however, there is no obligation for participation, and households are simply encouraged with a £250 ‘cash back’ offer to take part in insulation schemes.

Luciana Berger, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, said the fall in installations was a “disaster for our economy”.

She said: “Labour warned nearly a year ago that the number of cavity wall installations would plummet because of structural problems with the green deal. “The fact this has now became a reality is all the more damaging.”

It was also a blow to small businesses across the country, she warned.

One industry executive put the slow start to the green deal and ECO down to early teething problems and red tape, saying: “The guidance we have to comply with is 176 pages long.”

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said the early signs for the green deal had been “encouraging”, with more than 18,000 assessments carried out – official figures are set to be published by the end of June.

The department said cavity wall insulation was just one of 45 energy saving measures available under the green deal, which was first promised three years ago.


More talk, talk. That's all Warmists are good at

China and the US, the world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, pledged to cooperate in addressing climate change amid stalled international talks on protecting the environment.

The two nations in April established a climate-change working group, National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua said today after meeting Todd Stern, the US special envoy on climate change. The working group will report its findings to US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue talks in July, Stern said.

“We will further move forward the climate change process of the world,” under the framework of the United Nations, Xie, China’s lead climate negotiator, said in Beijing. “We hope that this can become a new highlight of the China-US bilateral relationship.”

China has been reluctant to cap its carbon emissions, which scientists link to global warming, over fears doing so will curb economic growth. The country has drafted plans to put emission-intensity targets and caps in its five-year plan through 2020, the 21st Century Business Herald reported May 20.

Action by China and the US “is particularly important as we intensify efforts in the multilateral negotiations on a new climate agreement for the post 2020-period,” Stern said.

International negotiations on a climate-protection deal have so far failed to secure commitments. Envoys from more than 190 nations are scheduled to next meet at an annual UN climate summit in Warsaw in November to take forward talks on a global greenhouse-gas reduction treaty. The deal, which they aim to agree by 2015, would come into force from 2020.

Stern will return to Beijing on June 18 for more talks, Xie said.


Submitted Written Testimony of Climate Depot’s Marc Morano at Congressional Hearing on Climate Change

I want to thank Congressman McKinley for hosting this Congressional field hearing on global warming. It is so rare to see a climate debate anywhere in the world, let alone a balanced hearing like this one. I am not a scientist, although I do occasionally play one on TV . My background is in political science, which happens to be an ideal background for examining man-made global warming claims. I have been passionate about environmental issues since I began my career in 1991, having produced a documentary on the myths surrounding the Amazon Rainforest in 2000 and I was a fully credentialed investigative journalist who reported extensively on environmental and energy issues such as deforestation, endangered species, pollution and climate change.

The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim — from A-Z — the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing, and in many instances the claims are moving in the opposite direction. The global warming movement is suffering the scientific death of a thousand cuts.

Global temperatures have flat lined for more than a decade and the peer-reviewed literature is now scaling back predictions of future warming. The U.S. has had the longest spell since the Civil War without a Category 3 or larger hurricane making landfall. Strong F3 or larger tornadoes are in decline since the 1950s. Global sea ice (both poles) area is currently above normal. Antarctic Sea Ice has been at record expansion in 2013. Despite claims of snow being a thing of the past, cold season snowfall has been rising to record levels in recent years. Sea level rise rates are failing to show the acceleration and have been steady for over a century.

Droughts and floods are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind and there is no evidence we are currently having any unusual weather. Polar bears, once the poster child of the man-made climate fear movement, are at or near their historical population highs. Cholera and Malaria are also failing to follow global warming predictions.

The mainstream media cannot maintain the official man-made global warming narrative any longer. With the lack of warming and the failure to shift the climate debate to “extreme weather”, warmists are now losing once stalwart members of the media in promoting man-made climate fears. These are not good times for the promoters of global warming. Earth is failing to follow global warming predictions and the new study claiming current temperatures are the “hottest ever” may be facing a full scientific retraction.

The great warmist retreat has officially begun.

The idea that CO2 is the tail that wags the dog is no longer scientifically tenable. In the peer-reviewed literature we’re finding hundreds of factors influence global temperature, everything from ocean cycles to the tilt of the earth’s axis to water vapor, methane, cloud feedback, volcanic dust — all of these factors influence climate as well as CO2. New studies are countering the simple story we’ve been told of our SUVs creating a dangerously warm planet. In the proceedings of the National Academy of Science, there was a study blaming Chinese coal use for the lack of global warming. So, in an ironic twist, global warming proponents are now claiming that that coal use is saving us from dangerous global warming.

CO2 at 400 ppm is not alarming

Scientists note that geologically speaking, the Earth is currently in a ‘CO2 famine’ and that the geologic record reveals that ice ages have occurred when CO2 was at 2000 ppm to as high as 8000 ppm. In addition, peer-reviewed studies have documented that there have been temperatures similar to the present day on Earth when carbon dioxide was up to twenty times higher than today’s levels.

Scientists point out that there are literally hundreds of factors that govern Earth’s climate and temperature – not just CO2. Renowned climatologists have declared that a doubling or even tripling of CO2 would not have major impacts on the Earth’s climate or temperature.

Scientists also note that geologically speaking, the Earth is currently in a “CO2 famine” and that the geologic record reveals that ice ages have occurred when CO2 was at 2000 ppm to as high as 8000ppm. In addition, peer-reviewed studies have documented that there have been temperatures similar to the present day on Earth when carbon dioxide was up to twenty times higher than today’s levels. And, a peer-reviewed study this year found that the present day carbon dioxide level of 400 ppm was exceeded — without any human influence — 12,750 years ago when CO2 may have reached up to 425 ppm.

Princeton U. Physicist Dr. William Happer and NASA Moonwalker & Geologist Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt wrote on May 8, 2013 in the Wall Street Journal: “Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case.”

Coal saving the world from dangerous global warming?! Reference: Peer-Reviewed Study: Coal use has helped save the world from dangerous global warming! ‘Boston University’s Robert Kaufmann and colleagues recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining the causes of the recent dearth of ‘global warming.’ They concluded that it’s simply natural variability, augmented by increasing sulfate emissions from dramatically growing coal consumption by China.’

The UN, Congress, carbon taxes or the EPA cannot control the weather!

Movement ‘was bound to fail’

A movement that had Al Gore – one of the most divisive political figures – as the face of the movement, was bound to fail. A movement that utilized the scandal ridden United Nations – which is massively distrusted by the American people – as the repository of science, was doomed to fail. Gore and the UN IPCC are now reduced to pointing to every storm, flood, hurricane or tornado as proof of man-made global warming. The UN has been reduced to blaming man-made global warming for prostitution. See: Climate Astrology — ‘It Has Been Foretold’ of Extreme Weather: ‘UN IPCC science has a status similar to interpretations of Nostradamus and the Mayan calendars’ & Climate Astrology borrows from the past: ‘Before That Witch Moved Into The Neighborhood, We Never Had Bad Weather Or Disease’

But a scientific moment of clarity is now prevailing: The UN and the U.S. Congress do not have the power to legislate, tax or regulate the weather. See: Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer: ‘The idea that Congress can stop climate change is just hilarious’ – Warns of ‘climate change cult’ – July 8, 2009 – Prominent scientists continue to challenge the alleged “consensus.” See: Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Who Endorsed Obama Dissents! Dr. Ivar Giaever Resigns from American Physical Society Over Group’s Promotion of Man-Made Global Warming

The global warming movement continues to lose scientists, many formerly with the UN IPCC. See: More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore — See: Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ – Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified’

‘Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock reverses himself: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate change & so was Gore! ‘The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago’
German Meteorologist reverses belief in man-made global warming: Now calls idea that CO2 Can Regulate Climate ‘Sheer Absurdity’ — ‘Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us’

In February 2013, global warming activists were stunned by the retreat of one of their former UN scientists. Top Swedish Climate Scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of the UN IPCC, declared CO2”s “heating effect is logarithmic: the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase.” Bengtsson noted that global warming would not even be noticeable without modern instruments. “The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ — Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC:

In addition, New Zealand Climate Scientist Chris de Freitas revealed on May 1, 2009 that “warming and CO2 are not well correlated.” de Freitas added, “the effect of CO2 on global temperature is already close to its maximum. Adding more has an ever decreasing effect.” Dr. Chris de Freitas: ‘Current warm phase…is not unprecedented’ — ‘From the results of research to date, it appears the influence of increasing CO2 on global warming is almost indiscernible. Future warming could occur, but there is no evidence to suggest it will amount to much’

Australian Geologist Dr. Ian Plimer wrote on August 8, 2009: “At present, the Earth’s atmosphere is starved of CO2.” Plimer, who authored the skeptical book Heaven and Earth, added, “On all time scales, there is no correlation between temps and CO2. If there is no correlation, then there can be no causation.”

Professor Dr. Doug L. Hoffman, mathematician, computer programmer and engineer, wrote on August 24, 2009: “There have been ice ages when the levels of Co2 in Earth’s atmosphere have been many times higher than today’s.” Hoffman, who worked on environmental models and conducted research in molecular dynamics, co-authored the 2009 book, The Resilient Earth.

Other studies have shown carbon dioxide does not control the Earth’s temperature, but it is actually the reverse. See: New Paper: Danish Physicist Dr. Henrik Svensmark’s Cosmic Jackpot: ‘Svensmark stands the currently popular CO2 story on its head…Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around’ – ‘Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around…’The UK Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes Svensmark’s latest paper’

Many skeptical scientists point out that temperature leads CO2 in the ice core data. See: ‘The ice core data clearly reveal temperature increases generally precede increasing CO2 by several hundred to a few thousand years’

‘Temperature drives CO2’

Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, former chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke out in 2007 against fears of rising CO2 impacts promoted by Gore and others. Giegengack noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler.” (LINK) “[Gore] claims that temperature increases solely because more CO2 in the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat. That’s just wrong … It’s a natural interplay. As temperature rises, CO2 rises, and vice versa,” Giegengack explained. “It’s hard for us to say that CO2 drives temperature. It’s easier to say temperature drives CO2,” he added. (LINK) ”The driving mechanism is exactly the opposite of what Al Gore claims, both in his film and in that book. It’s the temperature that, through those 650,000 years, controlled the CO2; not the CO2 that controlled the temperature,” he added. (LINK)

Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller: ‘The Recent Temperature and CO2 Disconnect’ – Even going back ten centuries, there have been total disconnects between temperature and the CO2 impact, or lack thereof. From 1000AD to 1800, over a period of relatively stable CO2 values that bounced around the 280ppm level, temperatures plummeted in the Little Ice Age (LIA) and then rebounded over a century later. CO2 values neither led nor followed the temperature declines and recoveries…CO2 seems to have had little impact in EITHER direction on the observed temperatures over that 10k year period…If CO2 is to be considered a major driver of temperatures, it is doing a counterintuitive dance around the numbers.’

More HERE (See the original for links)



Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


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.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

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.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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