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, 2015

Things Warmists don't want to know

The more I study climate change economics, the more astounded I become at the chasm between reality and what has been sold to the American public. I give another example in my IER analysis of a recent book review by William Nordhaus. Here’s an excerpt:

What is fascinating is that if you go to the actual book review and read the full discussion, you will see that people like Weitzman and Nordhaus are discussing whether people should even be conducting cursory research into geoengineering options.

Why in the world would interventionists who think the fate of humanity hangs in the balance not want scientists to broaden the options at our grandchildren’s disposal? What they fear is that if the public realizes there are techniques “on the shelf” that could very quickly and cheaply bring down global temperatures, then it would be hard to get humanity whipped up into a frenzy in spending trillions of dollars to merely reduce the probability of a future unlikely “fat tail” catastrophe.

Remember, the cutting-edge case for aggressive intervention against emissions has stopped trying to claim that a high carbon tax will likely produce large net benefits….

So already the aggressive interventionists have to make the “fat tail” argument of Weitzman and others—they have to say a disaster might occur if humans keep pumping lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But then in that case, it becomes very relevant to know that one of the leading geoengineering proposals would cost $250 million total to limit Earth’s warming. That’s less than Al Gore’s foundation is spending to “raise awareness” on the issue of climate change.

In contrast, if governments around the world implemented Nordhaus’ suggested “optimal carbon tax,” then his own model (in the 2008 calibration which I study here) shows that it would impose economic costs on the world of $2.2 trillion (see Table 4 at the link) in present-value terms.

Does anyone like that deal? Spending $2.2 trillion (in the form of forfeited conventional economic growth) merely to reduce the probability of catastrophe—because after all, we still might have a disaster even with a carbon tax—rather than waiting a bit longer to get more information, knowing that we’ve got the ability to indefinitely postpone global warming for a total cost of $250 million?


Paper finds 'pronounced influence of solar activity on global climatic processes'

A paper published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology finds "a pronounced influence of solar activity on global climatic processes" including in "Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia, and the Arctic and Antarctica."

The authors find evidence from spectral and wavelet analysis of influence of the de Vries (? 200-year) solar cycle on climate variation in Central Asia, and that:

"Analysis has shown that climate response to the long-term global solar forcing has a regional character. An appreciable delay in the climate response to the solar signal can occur (up to 150 years). In addition, the sign of the climate response can differ from the solar signal sign. The climate response to long-term solar activity variations (from 10s to 1000s years) manifests itself in different climatic parameters, such as temperature, precipitation and atmospheric and oceanic circulation. The climate response to the de Vries cycle has been found to occur not only during the last millennia but also in earlier epochs, up to hundreds of millions years ago."

The influence of the de Vries (? 200-year) solar cycle on climate variations: Results from the Central Asian Mountains and their global link

O.M. Raspopova et al.


Long-term climatic changes related to solar forcing were examined using millennium-scale palaeoclimatic reconstructions from the Central Asian mountain region, i.e. summer temperature records for the Tien Shan mountains and precipitation records for the Tibetan Plateau. The reconstructions were based on juniper tree-ring width records, i.e. Juniperus turkestanica for the Tien Shan and Sabina przewalskii for the Tibetan Plateau. The data were processed using spectral and wavelet analysis and filtered in the frequency range related to major solar activity periodicities. The results obtained for various tree-ring chronologies indicate palaeoclimatic oscillations in the range of the de Vries (? 210-year) solar cycles through the last millennium.
The quasi-200-year variations revealed in the palaeoclimatic reconstructions correlate well (R2 = 0.58–0.94) with solar activity variations (?14C variations). The quasi-200-year climatic variations have also been detected in climate-linked processes in Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia, and the Arctic and Antarctica. The results obtained point to a pronounced influence of solar activity on global climatic processes.
Analysis has shown that climate response to the long-term global solar forcing has a regional character. An appreciable delay in the climate response to the solar signal can occur (up to 150 years). In addition, the sign of the climate response can differ from the solar signal sign. The climate response to long-term solar activity variations (from 10s to 1000s years) manifests itself in different climatic parameters, such as temperature, precipitation and atmospheric and oceanic circulation. The climate response to the de Vries cycle has been found to occur not only during the last millennia but also in earlier epochs, up to hundreds of millions years ago.


The Greenie crookedness never stops

A US environmental group has written to Lancashire County Council urging it to refuse permission to allow test drilling for fracking.

The letter, signed by 850 elected officials in New York State, comes days before the council decides whether to approve test drilling at two locations….

Elected Officials to Protect New York – made up of current and former politicians – has written to Lancashire’s councillors asking them to note the findings of a two-year study by New York State Department of Public Health.

In fact, the letter was not signed by “850 elected officials”, but just 10, not all of whom are elected either.

Many are no more than what we would call parish councillors. For instance, Cooperstown boasts an impressive population of just 1852, yet offers us two trustees to sign.

They have written the letter on behalf of a ragtag bunch of anti fracking lobbyists, called “Elected Officials to Protect New York”. They claim to have 850 members, though the website offers no confirmation or list to back this up.

Apparently, the other 840, if they exist, could not be bothered to sign the letter.

New York state has a population of over 19 million, so a collection of even 850 town and parish councillors is barely scratching the surface.

There is also evidence that some of these are not quite the “non-partisan” grouping they claim to be.

For instance, we find that Susan Zimet was out protesting in an Occupy Rally in 2012.

The BBC, of course, would like you to believe that hundreds of top rank New York politicians from all parties feel it their duty to warn us of t


Professor Murry Salby: CO2, whether man-made or not, does not 'drive' the climate system

Author of the seminal book on climate: "Physics of the Atmosphere & Climate," Professor Murry Salby is without doubt one of the best Climate Scientists on the planet.  In a lecture in London on the 17th March, 2015, he reveals new work which shows that:

* The climate sensitivity is below 0.2c - confirmed by 3 independent methods.

* Most of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is not anthropogenic.

* CO2 movements and concentrations are largely determined by nature, not man; consequently, any cuts we make to our CO2 emissions will not have the desired effect, and are a costly waste of time.

* CO2, whether man-made or not, does not 'drive' the climate system.Professor Murry Salby has been vilified by enviro-alarmists and the left for his scientific results. Salby was disenfranchised and exiled from academia in Australia for daring to speak such “sacrilege.”

In a case similar to many others we have seen in Australia, and across the west, he was the subject of University hate and was finally sacked while he was on a lecture tour in Europe; his employer, Macquarie University of NSW, sacking him from his position as Professor of Climate Science. The University board cancelled his return ticket home, stranding him in Paris. All Salby's work was confiscated and has still not been returned to him.

The pursuit of genuine Science in the field of climate - and free speech -- are dead in most Western Universities

Other cases where top scientists were vilified and sacked or demoted by a University for the results of their science or for their views on the climate include: Bob Carter, Lennart Bengtsson, David Legates, George Taylor, Caleb Rossiter, Bjorn Lomborg, Henk Tennekes, Askel Winn-Nielsen, Alfonso Sutera, Anonio Speranza and scores of others.


Global warming attributed to CO2 emissions a hoax

Bill Sandt replies to Warmist believers in his local paper

Global warming is a hoax particularly when attributed to CO2 emissions and the goals of those advocating an anti-fossil fuel agenda are totally ineffective in reducing alleged global warming. If anything they are destructive of the environment and they most certainly hurt our economy! The president’s assertions on Earth Day of global warming and its effects are false and misleading! There has been no global warming in the last 17 years despite increases in CO2 concentrations and even the United Nations environmental experts had to admit that there was no relation between any global warming and severe weather occurrences.

I read with interest a recent article by Jim Crissman, leader of the Midland group of the Citizens Climate Lobby, in your Sunday, March 1, edition and some of the later letters published In your paper on global warming. Mr. Crissman asserts that there are 10,000 papers published every year supporting the concept of global warming as being caused by human activity, i.e., carbon dioxide emission. But what he fails to mention is that there have been an increasing number of statements by environmental scientists that either outright deny the existence of global warming or at least state it to be premature (

And it is easy to see why. Average global temperatures have been at about 0.5 to 0.60 C above the average global temperatures for the last century for at least the last seventeen years despite increasing concentrations of CO2. Most recent data indicate that the trend is continuing. In other words, there has been no significant global warming in this century. Whatever slight increases there have been have been no larger than average increases in temperatures over the last hundred years and are less than the experimental error inherent in such data. This trend has occurred despite increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. If you don’t believe me, just Google global temperature charts. When doing so disregard those generated by clearly biased organizations such as the EPA and rely more on those of scientific organizations such as NASA.

Attached is one that clearly shows the lack of global warming (Chart 1). Funny thing about most charts used by global warming advocates, i.e., warmists, is that they stop the charts at the year 2000 when it became obvious that the warming predictions were not holding true.

Most recently a hue and cry has been raised about the melting ice in West Antarctica as proof of global warming and the rise of the oceans as a result of that. But what is conveniently ignored is the record growth and size of sea ice in the rest of Antarctica, as measured by NASA, which exceeds by far the amount of ice melted. Warmists point to record high temperatures in various places but what about the record low temperatures we experienced this last winter? Clearly neither can be attributed to CO2.

The assertion by the president and others in his administration that increases in CO2 concentration are responsible for increased severe weather disturbances, such as tornadoes, can similarly be shown to be false. Even one of the greatest apostles of global warming, the UN, had to admit that weather disasters could not be attributed to changes in CO2 concentrations. ( 2012 Report on Extreme Weather Events by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

I wonder how many of the thousands of scientists alleged to support global warming are beholden to governments having ulterior motives in pushing global warming, none probably as extreme as our own federal government, which threatens to withhold FEMA funds to governors who do not agree with global warming. This is not surprising considering we have a president who blames global warming, i.e. CO2 emissions, for the asthma of his daughter.

I wonder how many of these thousands of the global warming scientists developed and/or supported the warming model published in 1995 by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading agency for global warming, that predicted a rise of 2.780 C for the century and a rise of 0.70 C for the decade. This has been demonstrated to be absolutely wrong (see attached Chart 2) even though CO2 concentrations have continued to increase. Even the IPCC had to admit that they were wrong and modified its model in 2005 to show a significantly lower 10-year temperature rise of 0.170 C for the decade and a 1.670 C rise for the century.

Guess what? Even that modified model is way off base! The actual temperature rise has been 0.030 C or less in the last 10 years amounting at most to a 0.750 C rise for the century. So much for the reliability of the publications of 10,000 global warming scientists.

Not surprisingly, the president and his favorite agency, the EPA, continue to base their policies on the original erroneous predictions of these models. Thus Instead of being thankful to the fossil fuel technology and industry which now allows him to boast of accomplishing the current economic recovery, he is trying to throttle that industry. The most recent attempt by the Obama administration has been to force the NOAA to do something about the ever increasing evidence of lack of global warming. So after acknowledging the absence of global warming in the last 17 years but explaining it as a pause, the NOAA has “recalculated” its data and lo and behold discovered that there was global warming throughout that period. Critics claim that this was done by fudging and disregarding valid data.

Most recently, the president pledged arbitrarily and unilaterally to commit this country to a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 25 percent by 2025 and more than 80 percent by 2050 without specific details on how this is to be accomplished. It is clear, however, given his anti-fossil fuel policies that he will in large measure force the utility industry to provide that reduction in CO2 emissions. The result will be tremendous cost increases in energy generation, unreliable energy supplies and energy rationing, all of which will be passed long to the consumer, you and me.

What is most upsetting is that essentially nothing will be accomplished by this program in so far as asserted global warming is concerned. In testimony before Congress, climate scientist Judith Curry stated that the president’s pledge is estimated to result in a reduction of about 0.030 C, hardly a drop in the bucket. Also administration officials in testimony before Congress indicated that the president’s clean power plan would reduce any sea level increase by less than half the thickness of a dime. The plan advocated to compensate the public for the increased cost in energy as a result of the anti-fossil fuel policies of the administration is a carbon tax on the use of fossil fuels which undoubtedly will be passed on to the consumer through increased prices in energy, however with subsidies for the “poor.” The president probably loves the idea since it is nothing more than another entitlement program where those who work for a living subsidize those who do not.

The anti-fossil fuel agenda proposed by warmists is also disastrous to the environment and human health as well. In particular using ethanol as an automotive fuel reduces little, if anything, in CO2 emissions, when considered from an overall production, and removes acreage that could be used for the production of edible crops to alleviate hunger and starvation. In Brazil, the use of ethanol is decimating the Amazon jungle, an environmental disaster. Preventing cheap fossil fuels to be used in Africa will force the continued use of wood fires for cooking in the simple homes prevalent there, that lack ventilation and cause continued disease and death as a result of smoke inhalation. Obviously the use of such wood will cause further deforestation.

What is most disturbing in this issue of climate change is the intolerance of those who believe in it against those who do not agree, not unlike religious extremism. Warming activists will not enter into any meaningful debate on the subject but try suppress the efforts of any scientist disagreeing with global warming. They maintain that debate is over and they have been saying this since about 2000 when they realized that they could no longer support their claim of global warming from CO2. They have gone so far as to lobby governments to stop funding such scientists, to prevent the publication of any paper contrary to their warming beliefs and ostracize them at meetings. (See If I am wrong on these points I raised I suggest we have a televised debate on these issues involving both scientists who believe in global warming as a result of CO2 emissions and those who do not.

One of the worst recent decisions of the Supreme Court has been to define CO2 as a pollutant. The fact is that life could not exist without it. Its called a greenhouse gas because it is used in greenhouses to grow bigger, healthier plants faster. Clearly higher CO2 concentrations are beneficial in agriculture to result in better and bigger crops thus alleviating hunger and starvation. If the Supreme Court knew its basic biology for a minimum they should have required the government to define the point at which CO2 turns from a life giving substance into a pollutant.

Stop following the pied piper of global warming, his tune is false and he will lead us into an economic abyss.


Papal Nonsense

Pope Francis’ much ballyhooed encyclical on the environment is, unfortunately, riddled with error, unsound science and unwarranted visions of an imminent apocalypse generated to a large extent by free market economics. Like so much information spread by radical environmentalists, the encyclical makes numerous assertions that are either false or dubious, at best. Let’s examine some of the more egregious flaws in the encyclical:

1) The encyclical states, “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” It’s true that there’s a consensus that the earth warmed about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century or so, but whether this is “disturbing” – or even unusual – is a matter of great uncertainty, even among participants in the UN’s alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In April, Philip Lloyd, who has served as an IPCC Lead Author, published a peer-reviewed paper that found that over the past 8,000 years temperature has varied an average of 1.7°F.

2) Moreover, most global warming scientists, even avid believers, now agree that global warming has stalled since about 1988. Even the IPCC admitted in its latest report the existence of what it called a “hiatus in GMST [global mean surface temperature] trend during the past 15 years” – although it buried this admission on page 769 of the report. Climate scientist Hans von Storch, Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at Germany’s Helmholtz Research Centre, agrees. He said in 2013, “according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45°F) 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°F) — a value very close to zero.” (Emphasis added)

3) Despite what the encyclical says, the best information that science has to offer today reveals that the earth has actually warmed far less than the models used by alarmists to predict catastrophe. For example, James Hansen of NASA, a leading propagandist for the climate change enthusiasts, kicked off the global warming scare in 1988 with scary testimony before Congress and an even scarier climate model that forecast temperature by 2014 a scary 2.34°F warmer than the 1951-1980 average. Now we know, thanks to NASA itself, that the actual temperature increased only about half as much as Hansen’s model projected – even though CO2 emissions were actually higher than in his projection. Observations suggest that the a doubling of atmospheric CO2 might lead to a relatively mild warming closer to the original 3.6°F projected by Manabe and Weatherald in 1967 than to Hansen’s frightening 1988 prediction of up to 9°F.

4) Despite the Pope’s suggestion that recent decades have seen “an increase of extreme weather events” and “melting in the polar ice caps,” the U.S., where records are good, has seen no significant increase whatsoever, for instance, in hurricanes or tornadoes, nor has the world seen any significant decrease in global sea ice. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concludes “there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.” Similarly, NOAA data record that during 1911-1960, the U.S. averaged 7.8 major hurricanes per decade, declining to 5.2 major hurricanes per decade during 1961-2010.  Likewise, NASA satellite data show global sea ice today at about the same level as when satellites started monitoring it in 1979.

5) The encyclical’s claim of a “very solid scientific consensus” that recent warming is “disturbing” is also false. While there is broad agreement that we have seen warming, and that some portion of this warming is attributable to human activities, there is great uncertainty regarding the size of this proportion, and how great a risk it poses.

Following the 1995 Kyoto Conference, some 80 scientists, including Frederick Seitz, former President of U.S. National Academy of Sciences and several who participated in the IPCC process, signed the Leipzig Declaration, stating in part, “We believe that the dire predictions of a future warming have not been validated by the historic climate record, which appears to be dominated by natural fluctuations, showing both warming and cooling. These predictions are based on nothing more than theoretical models and cannot be relied on to construct far-reaching policies.” (Emphasis added)

In the wake of that conference, more than 9,000 PhDs, among them Edward Teller, “father of the hydrogen bomb,” signed the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s Global Warming Petition, which reads in part, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

6) More than 1,000 skeptical scientists are identified in a 2010 report by former Senate Committee on Public Works staffer Marc Morano. Many are former alarmists. Among those cited are:

-Richard Keen, climatologist, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado. (Global warming ranges from “minor inconvenience that’s overblown” to “nothing – it doesn’t exist” or “a good thing.” “Earth has cooled since 1998 … in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC.” Observing that the most Antarctic sea ice on record was recorded in 2007, Keen asked, “Did you see [that fact] reported in the news?” “U.S. carbon emission growth rate has slowed to 0.2 % per year since 2000,” Keen wrote.

-Douglas V. Hoyt, solar physicist and climatologist, formerly of NOAA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research; coauthor, The Role of the Sun in Climate Change (“Starting in 1997, we created a scorecard to see how climate model predictions were matching observations. The picture is not pretty with most of the predictions being wrong in magnitude and often in sign.”)

-John T. Everett, former IPCC Lead Author, ocean researcher, former senior manager, NOAA (“It is time for a reality check … Warming is not a big deal and is not a bad thing…. The one degree F rise since about 1860, indeed since the year 1000, has brought the global average temperature from 56.5 to 57.5 degrees. . . .The NOAA PaleoClimate Program shows us that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, the earth was much warmer, the CO2 levels were 2 to 4 times higher, and coral reefs were much more expansive.”)

7. Prominent among former alarmists is Green guru James Lovelock, best known for the “Gaia hypothesis.” In 2006, Lovelock wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”

Lovelock was immediately feted as a sage and a prophet: from the Washington Post, to Time magazine, to Rolling Stone, the media could not praise him enough. The UK Geological Society even awarded him its prestigious Wollaston Medal. But in 2012, Lovelock reversed himself, according to MSNBC:

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said…

“We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

8) Perhaps most noteworthy among the skeptics is Freeman Dyson, emeritus professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where he worked with Albert Einstein. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Dyson is a member of “Jason, a small government-financed group of the country’s finest scientists, whose members gather each summer near San Diego to work on (often) classified (usually) scientific dilemmas of (frequently) military interest to the government.” According to the New York Times:

Dyson has been particularly dismissive of Al Gore, whom Dyson calls climate change’s “chief propagandist,” and James Hansen … an adviser to Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Dyson accuses them of relying too heavily on computer-generated climate models that foresee a Grand Guignol of imminent world devastation as icecaps melt, oceans rise and storms and plagues sweep the earth, and he blames the pair’s “lousy science” for “distracting public attention” from “more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet….”

9) The Pope’s call for the “gradual framing and acceptance of binding commitments” has been read as reproaching the U.S. for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. But Canada did ratify the protocol in 1997; a decade later, 60 scientists signed a letter urging withdrawal from Kyoto, arguing, “Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.” One signatory, Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist at the University of Auckland, N.Z., and a former supporter of Kyoto, wrote:

At first I accepted that increases in human-caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would … lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ but with … the results of research, I formed the view that … it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation….

… the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying … could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people.

10) Even before the Pope embraced current scientific orthodoxy, defenders of this new faith were demanding that “heretics” be arrested, prosecuted, and punished. But as another heretic who challenged the scientific orthodoxy of his day put it, “in questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” It took 350 years for the Vatican to admit Galileo was right. What will our descendants think of today’s orthodoxy 350 years from now?



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29 June, 2015

The crooked Mike Lockwood (Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University, England

In Christopher Booker’s book, The Real Global Warming Disaster, (page 186/7), he writes about the Channel Four programme, “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, produced by Martin Durkin:

What enraged the upholders of the ‘consensus’ more than anything else, however, was the publicity Durkin’s film gave to those scientists who believed that the real cause of global warming (and cooling) lay in the activity of the sun, particularly the theories of Friis-Christensen and Svensmark. Friis-Christensen’s work, it was pointed out on various blogs, had been wholly discredited. One graph shown in the film, it was claimed, had deliberately omitted the last few years of solar activity, because to have included these would have shown that it had been declining just when global temperatures were rising, thus exposing the theory as false (Durkin amended this for the DVD version of his film by adding the missing years).

So concerned were the advocates of the ‘consensus’ by the interest now being shown in the view that global warming might be related to the activity of the sun that some more formal riposte was inevitable. On July 11 2007 it came. Bearing all the signs of a carefully planned operation, the media, led by the BBC and Nature, suddenly came out with a rash of news items trailing a new study which, it was claimed, had completely demolished the ‘solar warming’ thesis.

The paper, published online by the Royal Society, was by Professor Mike Lockwood, a physicist at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory, and Claus Fr?hlich of the World Radiation Center in Davos, Switzerland.They claimed that a fresh look at the data for the previous 100 years showed that Svensmark’s solar data were seriously wrong. They conceded that the sun’s magnetic activity had been higher in the 20th century than in previous centuries, and also, perhaps surprisingly, admitted that in earlier years this had significantly influenced global temperatures. But in 1985 it had peaked and started to decline, and it was at just this time that global surface temperatures had continued to rise, higher than ever. This was the proof, they claimed, that solar activity could not be the cause of recent warming.

Supporters of the ‘consensus’ were exultant at their coup. ‘This paper is the final nail in the coffin for people who would like to make the Sun responsible for present global warming’, one German climate scientist told Nature‘This should settle the debate’, said Lockwood himself, expressing particular anger at the Channel Four programme, which he described as ‘so bad it was almost fraudulent’

Yet the Royal Society’s paper had a number of odd features. One was that its seven pages of text were written so opaquely, citing so many sources, that it looked as though the authors’ chief purpose was just to put across their central headline message.  

They were at pains, for instance, not to argue with the mass of research showing that, up to recent times, solar effects had played a significant part in influencing global temperatures (‘it is becoming feasible’, they conceded, ‘to detect genuine solar forcing in climate records’). The focus of their concern was the period since 1985, in assessing whether ‘solar variations could have played any role in observed present-day global warming’. Here, having established that solar activity had weakened, they could put across their central message: that, because surface temperatures had continued to rise, there could be no connection between current warming and the Sun.

But herein lay several disconcerting features of their argument. One was that a graph allegedly showing the cosmic ray count (gleefully reproduced by the BBC) in fact showed something quite unrelated to cosmic rays. A graph of the actual cosmic ray count (from the Climax neutron monitor) showed, for instance, that in the early 1990s it was very low, indicating the likely onset of a strong warming phase over the following years. Why had this evidence been misrepresented and omitted?

Then why had they only included a graph of recent surface temperatures and not one showing satellite data? The latest satellite record of lower air temperatures since 1979 showed that, following the El Nino year 1998, levels had fallen markedly, even, in 2000, by as much as a full degree, Although it had risen again, with a spike in 2006, a further sharp fall in 2007 had already taken it down to a level 0.6 of a degree lower than it was in 1998, Indeed it was slightly lower than a level it had reached in 1983.

Not to include this was suspect enough. But even more so was the way in which the record of surface temperatures on which Lockwood and Fr?lich hung their case, instead of giving year-by-year figures, was smoothed out to show a continuous warming. Looked at on a year-by-year basis, the latest data from the Hadley Centre gave a very different picture. These showed that, in the six years between 2000 and 2006, even the trend line of surface temperatures had not continued to rise, flattening out around an average level more than 0.2 degrees lower than in 1998. Now in 2007, as was already apparent, it was falling further still.

Why did the authors prefer such long-term averages to the simpler message of year-by-year data? The latter would have exposed a crucial flaw in their argument. If rising CO2 levels were the main driver of global warming, then temperatures should also have continued to rise. If temperatures were flattening out at a time when CO2 levels were still increasing, this questioned the entire case for CO2-driven global warming.

Despite such determined efforts being made to discredit the findings of Svensmark’s SKY experiment, not all the world’s more established scientists were so easily satisfied. It had already been announced that in 2010 an international team at CERN, the world’s largest sub-atomic particle laboratory based in Geneva, would be carrying out a very much larger-scale test of Svensmark’s theory, in a project named CLOUD.

A quick glance at the HADCRUT trends from 2001 to 2007 show that, far from continuing to rise as Lockwood claimed, temperatures were if anything dropping.

As we know, the pause in satellite temperatures can be traced back even earlier to 1998, blowing a huge hole in Lockwood’s argument. Given the time lags and state of the ocean cycles, the rise in temperatures between 1985 and 1998 would not have been incompatible with the Svensmark theory.

It appears then that the Lockwood paper of 2007, rather than being an objective piece of science, was simply an attempt to discredit Svensmark's theory and the Channel Four programme.


In September 2007, two months after the Lockwood paper had been released, Svensmark & Friis-Christensen issued a trenchant rebuttal to Lockwood’s conclusions, finding many flaws in his work.


The green energy mirage – and con job

Musk, Schmidt, Simons and billionaire buddies build empire based on climate and energy BS

Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin

Elon Musk and his fellow barons of Climate Crisis, Inc. recently got a huge boost from Pope Francis. Musk et al. say fossil fuels are causing unprecedented warming and weather disasters. The Pope agrees and says Catholics must “ask God for a positive outcome” to negotiations over another UN climate treaty.

It matters not that the predicted calamities are not happening. There has been no warming in 19 years, no category 3-5 hurricanes making US landfall for a record 9-1/2 years, indeed none of the over-hyped climate disasters occurring in the real world outside the alarmists’ windows. In fact, poor nations support the treaty mostly because it promises some $100 billion per year in adaptation, mitigation and compensation money from FRCs: Formerly Rich Countries that have shackled their own job creation, economic growth and living standards in the name of stabilizing Earth’s perpetually fluctuating climate.

Any money that is transferred will end up in the pockets of governing elites. Poor families will get little or no cash – and will be told their dreams of better lives must be limited to jobs and living standards that can be supported by solar panels on their huts and a few wind turbines near their villages.

Simply put, the Musk-Obama-Pope-Climate Crisis schemes will save humanity from exaggerated and fabricated climate disasters decades from now – by impoverishing billions and killing millions tomorrow.

For the catechism of climate cataclysm coalition, the essential thing is that we believe the hysterical assertions and computer models – and support endless renewable energy mandates and subsidies.

Musk and his Tesla and SolarCity companies have already pocketed $4.9 billion in taxpayer-financed subsidies, and even long-elusive profitability has not ended the handouts. Now he claims a small “blue square” on a map represents the “very little” land required to “get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation” in the USA and prevent a non-existent climate cataclysm. We just need rooftop solar panels linked to wall-mounted battery packs – a mere 160 million Tesla Powerwalls – to eliminate the need for all coal and natural gas electricity generation in the United States, he insists.

Hogwash (from pork barrel political pig farms). As a careful and extensive analysis demonstrates, even without considering the monumental electricity demand required to convert America’s vehicles to electric-battery versions, providing today’s baseload and peak demand electricity would require 29.3 billion one-square-meter solar panels. Assuming adequate yearlong daily sunlight, that’s 29,333 square kilometers of active solar panel surface area: 7.2 million acres – or nearly all of Maryland and Delaware!

The analysis is technical, beyond the ability of most voters, journalists, politicians and regulators to comprehend fully. Read it anyway, if only to understand the enormity of financing, raw materials, mining, manufacturing and electricity required to make and ship the panels (some 40 million per year), battery packs and inverters (to convert low-voltage solar electricity to 120 or 240 Volt alternating current).

We are clearly dealing with an unprecedented green mirage and con job. It will drive average retail electricity prices from the 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour in coal and gas-reliant states, to the 15-17 cents per kWh in California, Connecticut and New York – or even the 36-40 cents in Germany and Denmark, where unsubsidized rates are 70-80 cents per kWh! The impact of such prices on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare would be devastating. But Musk and his “clean” energy friends ignore this.

Musk has a BS in physics – and obviously holds advanced BS degrees in lobbying and con-artistry about climate disasters and renewable energy solutions, mandated by government decrees and financed by endless billions in subsidies. He has made numerous personal visits to legislative offices in Sacramento and Washington, to promote more such schemes, and aligns his efforts with those of Eric Schmidt, Nat Simons, Tom Steyer, Al Gore and members of the Clean Tech Syndicate: eleven secretive families with total wealth of over $60 billion, who want to get even richer off taxpayers and consumers.

They assume (demand) that bogus climate cataclysms will continue to bring them billions in climate cash payouts from Washington and state capitals, along with more exemptions from endangered species and environmental cleanup laws and regulations that are applied with a vengeance to fossil fuel projects.

Google scientists finally admitted that existing and near-term renewable energy technologies simply do not work as advertised and cannot meet their political or climate promises. The technologies are all hat, no cattle. However, the Climate Crisis and Clean Tech industries are determined to push ahead – using our money, risking little of their own, and getting reimbursed by us when their investments turn sour.

Google and NRG now want a $539-million federal grant to bail them out of $1.6 billion in taxpayer loans for the bird-roasting Ivanpah concentrated solar power project in California, because it does not work and needs so much natural gas to keep its water hot that it doesn’t meet state renewable energy standards. Other Obama “greenbacks” energy “investments” have also drowned in red ink, leaving taxpayers to pay the tab: Solyndra, Abound Solar, Solar Trust, Ener1, Beacon Power, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Musk is nevertheless lobbying for SB-350, which would require that 50% of California’s electricity be produced via “renewable” sources, such as wind, solar, biofuels and politicians’ hot air. Meanwhile, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family and corporate foundations give millions to alarmist climate scientists, the ultra-green Energy Foundation, and rabid anti-fracking groups like the World Wildlife Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC also gets millions from EPA, to promote the agency’s anti-fossil fuel agenda and place 33 of its employees on 21 EPA “advisory” committees.

Schmidt and Warren Buffett also support the secretive far-left Tides Foundation, which has given millions to groups opposed to coal and hydraulic fracturing, the Keystone XL and Sandpiper pipeline projects, and countless other job-creating hydrocarbon programs. Canadian researcher Cory Morningstar accurately describes Tides as a “magical, money-funneling machine of epic proportions.”

Billionaire Nat Simons and his Sea Change Foundation spend tens of millions annually promoting and lobbying for “renewable” energy policies, mandates and subsidies; investing in wind, solar and biofuel companies; supporting environmentalist pressure groups; and contributing to Democrat politicians who perpetuate the crony corporatist arrangements. Simons, his wife and various Vladimir Putin cronies (via Klein, Ltd. and the shadowy Bermuda Wakefield Quin law firm) are the only contributors to Sea Change.

We often rail against Third World corruption. Our American (and European) environmental corruption is simply more subtle and sophisticated. It is legalized deception and theft – a massive wealth transfer from poor and middle class consumers and taxpayers to billionaires who are raking in still more billions, thanks to brilliantly crafted alarmist campaigns. And let’s not forget Al Gore, Mike Mann, Tom Steyer, James Hansen and all the others who likewise profit immensely from these arrangements – and the constant vilification of scientists who question climate catastrophe mantras.

Pressure groups and governing elites used to argue that we are running out of oil and natural gas. That ploy no longer works. While fossil fuels may eventually prove finite, fracking has given us vast new supplies of petroleum – and huge coal, oil and gas deposits have been placed off limits by government decree. We have at least a century to develop alternative energy sources that actually work – that create real jobs, actual revenues, lower energy prices and true prosperity – without the mandates, subsidies, deception, fraud and corruption that are the hallmark of “green” energy schemes.

No wonder the “clean tech” crowd is financing anti-hydrocarbon and climate chaos campaigns. But despite the Pope’s belated rescue attempt, the pseudo-science of “dangerous manmade global warming” is slowly succumbing to climate reality. And any new UN climate treaty will founder once poor nations realize the promised hundreds of billions a year will not materialize.

Those still impoverished nations should not do what rich countries are doing now that they are rich. They should do what rich countries did to become rich.

Via email

Pentagon Ships Military Off to Battle 'Climate Change'

In January 2012, Barack Obama said, “As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan … we’ll be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces.” In other words, even though America’s military is being downsized, our military prowess will remain untarnished. “[Y]es, our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats,” he explained.

Who knew that meant documenting the effects of climate change — even as terrorism-fueled crises in the Middle East rage on? According to The Washington Times, “Though stretched thin by the aftermath of two wars and the current fight against the Islamic State, the Obama administration has enlisted the Pentagon to measure the shrinking ice in the Arctic in the latest example of the president’s climate agenda being extended to the military.

A recent Government Accountability Office report examined the Defense Department’s role in the Arctic, which increasingly will include ‘monitoring the changing Arctic conditions,’ such as ice levels.” America’s retreat — not climate change, as this administration posits — facilitated the Islamic State’s rise. And pulling even more resources away from the real fight to wage war on a straw man isn’t going to make them go away.


Rep. Smith (R-TX) Rips Secret Science, Unconstitutional Regulations

Stuart Varney, host of FOX Business’ Varney & Co., complained about President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders during the June 10 broadcast of the show, focusing specifically on the administration’s climate change regulations.

Varney said to his final guest, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, “My point is that there’s nothing you can do about this, is there?”

Smith responded with a long list of actions his committee was undertaking to rein in the administration.

In his luncheon keynote address at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, Smith detailed his efforts to counteract the Obama administration’s executive actions and graciously opened his remarks with “appreciation of the Heartland Institute’s fact-checking of the administration’s claims about climate change.”

Reining in the EPA

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Smith said, “As chairman, it is my responsibility to ensure that the federal government is efficient, effective, and accountable to the American people. Regulations should be based on sound science, not science fiction.”

EPA behaves otherwise, hiding regulatory data and silencing its taxpayer-funded scientists.

Smith told the conference, “Earlier this year, the House passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, which will greatly improve transparency and accountability at EPA. The bill simply requires EPA to base its regulations on publicly available data, not secret science.”

Smith says EPA has gone rogue.

“When EPA refused to release the data it uses to justify its Clean Air Act regulations, the Science Committee issued its first subpoena in 21 years to retrieve the information,” said Smith.

Reports then surfaced EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deleted almost 6,000 text messages sent and received by her on her official agency mobile device.

In response, Smith delivered the laugh line: “Yet she claimed—unbelievably—that only one was official. That was when we realized that she and Hillary Clinton must share the same private e-mail server.”

EPA ignores the Law

Despite issuing a second subpoena in March 2015 to obtain McCarthy’s documents, the committee is still awaiting for delivery. Smith says McCarthy is not the first EPA official to disdain Americans’ right to know.

“In 2014, a federal judge held EPA in contempt for disregarding a court order not to destroy records,” said Smith.

“Last March, a federal judge called the EPA’s handling of a 2012 Freedom of Information Act request ‘suspicious,’” said Smith.

The court found, according to Smith, “‘The agency either intentionally sought to evade the [Freedom of Information Act] request in order to destroy documents or demonstrated extreme apathy and carelessness.’

“This same discredited EPA now seeks to pursue the most aggressive regulatory agenda in its 44-year history,” said Smith. “One regulation on the horizon is the Obama Administration’s sweeping new electricity regulation, the so-called Clean Power Plan. The president’s power plan is nothing more than a power grab to give the government more control over Americans’ daily lives. These regulations stifle economic growth, destroy jobs, and increase energy prices. That means everything will cost more—from electricity to gasoline to food.”

Control Water, Control People

In May, Smith said, “The EPA submitted its final rule to define the ‘Waters of the United States.’ This is the EPA’s latest attempt to expand its jurisdiction and increase its power to regulate American waterways, claiming unprecedented jurisdiction over many different bodies of water, including those that temporarily result from a ‘drizzle.’ The EPA actually uses the word, ‘drizzle.’

“The [Obama] administration’s regulations appear to be designed to achieve more government control of the lives of the American people, with little environmental benefit. This is the definition of all pain and no gain.”

Americans are noticing.

“Despite the intense media coverage given to climate change, the American people, for good reason, still are skeptical,” said Smith. “A recent Gallup survey revealed a 43 percent plurality of Americans feel climate change is ‘generally exaggerated,’ and only 31 percent think it is ‘generally underestimated.’”

The public has the power to change things.

Smith closed by saying, “That is why we need The Heartland Institute to continue to provide a fact-filled perspective that benefits the public and informs scientific debate. Thank you again for trying to prevent Americans from being burdened by many costly and unnecessary regulations that are often justified by spurious science and a liberal political agenda.”

True to his word, four days after the conference, Smith demanded EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy provide long-withheld documents by June 22, 2015, or face a court order to compel their production.


Poll Shows the Public Supports Fracking

A new poll from Robert Morris University (RMU) shows the public overwhelmingly supports fracking for natural gas and oil production. Even before the EPA released its long awaited report largely exonerating fracking from charges it was causing water pollution, the poll showed more than 57% of Pennsylvanians support fracking. Nationally, 56 percent of those survey supported fracking.

Among those surveyed in Pennsylvania, 74 percent said fracking would have a positive economic impact on the country, compared to 73 percent nationwide.

When asked whether fracking can “move the US to energy independence“, nationally 69 percent of those polled agreed, compared to 70 percent of Pennsylvanians.

The poll indicated a number of those surveyed were concerned fracking could cause or was causing air and water pollution and earthquakes. This fear evidently reduced support for fracking from the more than 70 percent who agreed it was good for the economy and national security, to the 56 percent nationally who supported fracking overall.

Shale Energy Insider quoted Tony Kerzmann, professor of engineering at RMU, saying “I think probably the biggest thing you can make of these findings is people want cheap energy and are willing to accept environmental impacts.”

Awareness Breeds Comfort not Contempt

In a positive sign for the oil and gas industry, which is spending millions of dollars to raise awareness of the fracking’s economic benefits and the fact it is environmentally benign, it seems the more the public knows about fracking, the more comfortable and supportive they are of the activity. Support for fracking grew nationwide from 42 percent in 2013, to 56 percent today, coinciding with an 25 percent increase in the awareness of fracking. Seventy percent of those surveyed in this year’s poll were aware of fracking, up from 45 percent in 2013.

“One of the things we have to realize is that the awareness is mostly industry driven. I think the fracking awareness and the increase in support go hand-in-hand,” Kerzmann suggested.

The poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute and sponsored by Trib Total Media, sampling the opinions of 1,003 adults nationwide resulting in a +/- 3.0-percentage point margin of error. RMU also polled 529 Pennsylvania residents separately during the same time period.


Climate skeptics vocal within Australia's main conservative  party

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a push from inside the Liberal Party to prevent Australia signing up to any binding emissions reduction targets at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

A cabal of regional and rural Liberal members, centred in Western Australia and supported by a number of conservative MPs, will force a vote at Saturday's federal council meeting in Melbourne on whether Parliament should "examine the evidence" around climate change before agreeing to any post-2020 emissions cuts.

Liberal sources told Fairfax Media that Environment Minister Greg Hunt is likely to be forced to step in and fight off the motion on Saturday by asserting the Abbott government accepts climate change is real and is willing to work with other nations to combat its effects.

The timing of the intervention will be a headache for Mr Hunt who has over recent months moved the government towards accepting tougher emissions targets, as revealed by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

A Liberal moderate who will attend the federal council meeting said the group of elected Liberals and members behind the motion should be given an audience with the Pope so they can be "brought up to speed by a new age person living in this century".

The party's regional and rural committee, chaired by WA farmer Brian Mayfield, has submitted the motion, which will call for a House of Representatives committee to "examine the scientific evidence that underpins the man-made global warming theory".

It also calls for investigation into "the reasons for the failure of computer models, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and prominent individuals to predict, among other things, the pause in global warming this century".

"In light of the uncertainty around this issue, Australia does not sign any binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year," it says.

Mr Mayfield declined to comment but Liberal Senator Chris Back and Western Australian colleague Dennis Jensen both told Fairfax Media that an examination of whether the science supported climate change was worthy of party debate.

Mr Jensen said the push was coming out of WA because the state has a "reputation for independent thinking". In 2009, a similar campaign was aimed at then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull who was urged by WA members not to negotiate with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ahead of the Copenhagen summit.  "The science is absolutely not settled. This argument that it's all done and dusted is rubbish," he said.

Farmers see more climate variability in their working lives than most people and the view that everything is in stasis except for the human influence on the climate was nonsense, he said.

A senior Liberal source said the motion would have to be "derailed" by Mr Hunt. "It's something that will appeal to some conservatives but he will have to head it off. There is more and more a view that Hunt has got the government to a point of being ready to act and accept the climate science, so the timing could not be worse."

"This sort of talk takes us back to the Neanderthal age. It's flat earth stuff."

But Senator Back said: "I think it is certainly worthy of debate but the question is can you get all the information between now and Paris [in December]."

Climate sceptic Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said he expected the motion would "dead batted" on Saturday. "It's not a can of worms I would want to open up," he said.

Mr Hunt said: "We firmly and absolutely accept that climate change is real and taking action to combat it as imperative. We are already taking strong action and achieving significant reductions through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

"We will shortly announce our post-2020 target. There should be no doubt that our target will be significant and Australia will play a constructive role in global talks in Paris."



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28 June, 2015

Pope Francis versus the scientific facts

James Rust


The 184-page letter consists of 246 paragraphs of which 7 (paragraphs 20-26) are devoted to POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

Paragraph 20 deals with pollution caused by all forms of human activity.  The serious pollution due to energy use is uncontrolled pollution in homes and urban areas where environmental controls are unavailable on combustion products. Central power generation allows these controls such as electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers, etc. use on electric power generation.  Thus modern society energy sources using fossil fuels are clean energy sources as demonstrated by vast improvements in the United States air quality the past forty years.

Paragraph 21 deals with pollution caused by waste—residues from home and industrial activities that produce garbage that is not properly disposed.

Paragraph 22 deals with waste due to our throwaway culture.  This can be alleviated by stringent recycle programs.

The rest of the paragraphs are listed under the sub-heading “Climate as a common good”.

Climate as a common good

Paragraph 23 is written as follows:

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.  At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life.  A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon.  Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.  It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.

Paragraph 23  is given in entirety due to many errors in statements.  The constant rise in sea level has been constant across the planet for more than a century as shown by tidal gauge measurements posted on the Internet by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The rate of rise averages about 8 inches per century.   For many weather events, rates of occurrences have declined in recent decades.  The U. S. government provides data on various climate events Pope Francis claims are increasing—heat waves, record high temperatures, flooding, drought, wildfires, reduced snowfall, tornadoes,hurricanes, sea level rise, and Arctic ice melting.  Paragraph 23 states recent warming is mostly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which “do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space”.  Greenhouse gases don’t influence the sun’s rays because they are transparent to high wavelength energy from the sun.  The scientific community acknowledges increased global warming due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use has only been a factor since 1950 when carbon dioxide was 310 parts per million (ppm) and rising to 400 ppm by 2015.  The alleged dangers from global warming cited by Pope Francis have not occurred.

Paragraph 23 demonstrates Pope Francis did not have expert advice in writing about climate change.

Paragraph 24 is written as follows:

Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

This paragraph complains about loss of tropical rain forests which may be caused by Pope Francis’ suggestion fossil fuels be replaced by solar and wind energy sources that require vast land areas for their implementation. 

Examination of land requirements show it takes 6 acres per megawatt for solar energy and 60 acres per megawatt for wind energy.  The typical megawatts of solar and wind energy to produce the same output of a 1000 megawatt nuclear power plant would be 5000 megawatts solar and 3000 megawatts wind, respectively.  Thus land requirements for the solar plant are 47 square miles and 281 square miles for the wind farm.

The United States’ annual electricity production is a little greater than 4 billion megawatt-hours.  It would take 500 1000-megawatt nuclear power plants to generate that amount of electricity.  Dividing that electric power production equally with solar and wind energy would require 11,800 square miles of solar farms and 70,000 square miles of wind farms.  No mention is made about energy storage problems.

[Rusty James above has been polite enough above not to spell out fully the land use requirements of "alternative" energy. Note that 70,000 sq miles for wind farms adds up to over 40 million acres.  That's a lot of acres to pull out of other uses]                                
Problems with ocean rise were covered in the discussion of Paragraph 23.  The expected rise of about 8 inches per century is a known quantity and takes place without regards to carbon dioxide increases.

In reality carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is a positive benefit to society as explained by Princeton University Emeritus Professor William Happer in his October 15, 2014 lecture “The Myth of Carbon Pollution”.  Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is an airborne fertilizer that causes increased plant growth, larger plant root systems that decrease plant water demands, and decreases in plant water expiration which also decreases plant water demands.  The slight increase in global warming by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is a positive benefit producing longer growing seasons.

A report on social benefits of carbon dioxide for agriculture alone is estimated at $3.2 trillion from 1961 to 2011.  Benefits from 2012 to 2050 are estimated $9.8 trillion.  These economic benefits from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide make any suggested economic benefits from carbon dioxide curtailment by Pope Francis, President Obama, or others irrelevant.

Paragraph 25 contains the following statement:

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.

Migrants fleeing to better lands isn’t because of “environmental degradation”; but wars that threaten their survival. Christians are being beheaded by Muslim terrorists, various Muslim sects won’t peacefully resolve differences, etc.  Pope Francis has failed to observe the distinguishing feature between poor and rich countries is rich countries have successfully developed their fossil fuel energy resources to provide low cost and abundant transportation, heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration,  vast communication systems, entertainment, etc. that practically eliminates the burdens of daily living.  By denying poor countries access to fossil fuels, Pope Francis condemns them to perpetual poverty.

Paragraph 26 contains the following statement:

Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. However, many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worsen if we continue with current models of production and consumption. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies. Some countries have made considerable progress, although it is far from constituting a significant proportion. Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread.

Pope Francis wants to replace fossil fuel energy sources with solar, wind, biomass (wood), ethanol from corn, other biofuels, etc. as future energy sources.  These energy sources are too expensive for developing nations.  Solar and wind energy are available for small periods of time and require backup energy sources when unavailable.  Present technology has not given us economical and practical energy storage systems.  Environmental issues from vast wind and solar farms ruing nature’s beauty, incorporating hazardous materials, and having useful lifetimes of about 25 years are not addressed.

In addition, these energy sources require vast land areas in order to produce significant amounts of energy.  This requires destroying millions of square miles of forest land that cleans our air and water, creates oxygen, helps cool the planet, and provides recreation.  Forest land is a sink for carbon dioxide; thus renewable energy sources may add to global carbon dioxide.


Positive issues from Pope Francis’ encyclical are stop wasting food, recycle all that is practical, practice energy efficiency, and clean up our environment.  These are attributes taught by good parents to their children.  My parents never wasted food, made us turn off light bulbs upon leaving a chair after reading, make your beds and allow no cloths strewn on bedroom floors, recycled all paper and cans, etc.  These issues can be resolved by global education and reducing carbon dioxide levels is of no importance.

Pope Francis is making a grievous mistake entering the debate on fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming due to live-giving combustion gas carbon dioxide.  His policies will leave the planet poorer, less healthy, drudgery for a lifestyle, and lacking creature comforts.  History has not forgotten the Church’s 17th century involvement with science caused the Inquisition in 1633 to force Galileo Galilei to recant the Sun was the center of our universe instead of the Earth.  Galileo was held in house arrest until his death in 1642.  The consequences of the Church’s actions may have set astronomy back a few years; but did not lead to a calamitous future for the planet by denying our population life-giving energy sources of abundant, inexpensive, and geographically distributed fossil fuels of coal, oil, and natural gas.  In 1992 the Vatican formally announced its mistake in condemning Galileo.

The attack on life-giving carbon dioxide may require new attitudes on its existence.  We might paraphrase the famous song of the 1970s peace movement by John Lennon “Give Peace a Chance” with “All we are saying is give CO-2 a chance”.


NOAA Says It’s a Record: No Major Hurricane Has Struck U.S. Mainland in 10 Years

Hey Popey! Are you listening?

No “major” hurricane--defined as a Category 3 or above--has made landfall on the continental United States since 2005, according to records compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division.

That is the longest stretch of time the United States has gone without a Category 3 or above hurricane striking somewhere on the mainland of the country, according to NOAA hurricane records going back to 1851.

“It’s easily the record -- with all the necessary caveats,” the National Hurricane Center’s Eric Blake told

Blake, a specialist with the center, is the co-author of The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010.

Blake said that the ability to measure hurricanes is better now than it was in the past.

Prior to the current pause in major hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland, the longest pause had been the eight years between 1860 and 1869—146 years ago. NOAA has published its calculation of the categories of all hurricanes striking the U.S. going back to 1851.

In the 164 years for which hurricane data has been collected, 72 have had at least one major hurricane. There have also been two periods of five-straight years (1915 throuhg 1919 and 1932 through 1936) where at least one major hurricane has struck they U.S. mainland each year. (See chart below.)

The U.S. Census Bureau noted the fact that it has now been ten years since the last major hurricane struck the U.S. mainland in information it published this month to mark the beginning of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.

The last major hurricane to strike the U.S. “was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 over Southwest Florida,” the Census Bureau said.

In 2005, according to NOAA, a greater number of major hurricanes struck the U.S. mainland than any year on record. That year, four Category 3 storms hit the U.S.: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

Sometimes major hurricanes--such as Ike in 2008--are Category 3 or higher before they strike the U.S. mainland, but then they diminish to a lower category of storm before they do strike.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale rates hurricanes according to their sustained wind speed and potential for damage. Category 1 storms produce wind speeds between 74-95 mph. Category 2 winds are between 96-110 mph.

While Category 1 and 2 storms are still considered dangerous, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major” because their sustained wind speeds of 111-129 mph, 130-156 mph, and more than 157 mph respectively can produce catastrophic damage.

In describing Category 2 storms, with sustained winds of 96-110 miles per hour, NOAA says: “Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.”

In describing Category 3 storms, with sustained winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour, NOAA says: “Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.”

The National Hurricane Centers’ Eric Blake told that the criteria for hurricane categorization has been altered over the years.

According to Blake's report, “category assignment is based on wind speed from 1851-1930 and 1990-2010 and on a combination of wind, pressure and storm surge from 1931-1989.” The Saffir-Simpson Scale was developed in 1969, and hurricanes prior to that were assigned categories retroactively, using the available data.

"Small differences today that we could detect, you couldn’t detect a long time ago,” Blake told “Given that we just see things a little better, we‘ve got more data and better satellite data, we can give a little better estimate than we could a generation ago.

“But nonetheless, it is a record,” Blake said of the 10-year pause in major hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland. “It’s easily the record--with all the necessary caveats.”


Atlantic Ocean's Circulation Yields Inevitable Surprises

The term “settled science” gets tossed around in the media a lot these days. Mostly by non-scientists, who know no better, and by some errant scientists, who should. In 2002, the U.S. National Research Council Committee on Abrupt Climate Change published its findings in a book entitled Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. A new report in Science recaps the surprising discoveries made since then, and they are big. So big that ocean circulation models, integral parts of all climate models, do not accurately predict reality. The observed change in AMOC strength was found to lie well outside the range of interannual variability predicted by coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models. Sounds like circulation in the Atlantic Ocean is not so settled.

I have reported on ocean circulation before, popularly known as the great ocean conveyor belt, and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in particular. While the simplistic conveyor belt model, origonally described by Wally Broecker, has fallen out of favor in recent years, study of ocean circulation patterns is more intensive than ever. This is because ocean currents are the major movers of heat energy around the globe, and as such are a primary influence on Earth's climate. A review article published in the journal Science, titled “Observing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation yields a decade of inevitable surprises,” by oceanographers M. A. Srokosz and H. L. Bryden, reviews some surprising new findings from the past decade of observation. The importance of recent findings is revealed in the report's abstract:

The importance of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) heat transport for climate is well acknowledged. Climate models predict that the AMOC will slow down under global warming, with substantial impacts, but measurements of ocean circulation have been inadequate to evaluate these predictions. Observations over the past decade have changed that situation, providing a detailed picture of variations in the AMOC. These observations reveal a surprising degree of AMOC variability in terms of the interannual range, the amplitude and phase of the seasonal cycle, the interannual changes in strength affecting the ocean heat content, and the decline of the AMOC over the decade, both of the latter two exceeding the variations seen in climate models.

The major characteristics of the AMOC are a near-surface, northward flow of warm water and a colder southward return flow at depth. As the ocean loses heat to the atmosphere at high latitudes in the North Atlantic, the northward-flowing surface waters cool and become denser. These waters then sink and form the deep return flow of the overturning circulation. This is shown in the figure below, taken from the report.

Scientists are interested in the AMOC because changes in ocean circulation can have significant impact on global and regional climate. Unlike the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where the ocean transports heat away from the equator toward the poles, the AMOC transports heat northward across the equator. The maximum northward oceanic heat transport in the Atlantic is 1.3 petawatts (1 PW = 1015 watts) at 24° to 26°N, which is ~25 percent of the total heat transport toward the pole at these latitudes. Further north, at mid-latitudes, the temperate climate of northwest Europe is maintained by the strong transfer of heat from ocean to atmosphere. Even sea level changes are affected by the AMOC.

Scientists discovered that the flow of water in the Atlantic was much more complex than the old conveyor belt model when they started deploying an observing system across the Atlantic at 26.5°N in 2004. Last year that system marked a decade of measurements, the highlights of which are the subject of the M. A. Srokosz and H. L. Bryden report. The 26.5°N AMOC observations have produced a number of surprises on time scales of less than a year to several years. Here are the four major observation made by the author's (note that the standard unit for measuring ocean circulation is the Sverdrup (Sv), a million cubic meters per second):

The range of AMOC variability found in the first year, 4 to 35 Sv, was larger than the 15 to 23 Sv found previously from five ship-based observations over 50 years. A similarly large range to that at 26.5°N has subsequently been observed at 34.5°S.

The amplitude of the seasonal cycle, with a minimum in the spring and a maximum in the autumn, was much larger (~6.7 Sv) than anticipated, and the driving mechanism of wind stress in the eastern Atlantic was unexpected as well. The conventional wisdom was that seasonality in the AMOC would be dominated by wind-driven northward Ekman transport, but this was found to be small.

The 30% decline in the AMOC during 2009–2010 was totally unexpected and exceeded the range of interannual variability found in climate models used for the IPCC assessments. This event was also captured by Argo and altimetry observations of the upper limb of the AMOC at 41°N. This dip was accompanied by significant changes in the heat content of the ocean, with potential impacts on weather that are the subject of active research.

Finally, over the period of the 26.5°N observations, the AMOC has been declining at a rate of about 0.5 Sv per year, 10 times as fast as predicted by climate models.

AMOC flow reduction during 2009–2010 had a considerable impact on the heat transport into the North Atlantic. The heat transported north by the AMOC at 26.5°N in previous years was ~1.3 PW, but this transport was reduced by 0.4 PW. This resulted in cooler waters in the north Atlantic and warmer waters to the south. Observations showed that there was an abrupt and sustained cooling of the subtropical North Atlantic in the upper 2000 m between 2010 and 2012. Because the AMOC carries ~90% of the ocean heat transport at this latitude, the cooling seems primarily due to the reduction of the AMOC. This cooling has affected weather in the eastern US and the formation and paths of Atlantic hurricanes.

Indeed, the more observations reveal about the AMOC the more questions arise. Scientists worry if the AMOC will continue to decline or even stop all together. Such events are thought to have happened in the past, for example at the very start of the current interglacial period. Another possible effect of the AMOC slowdown may be the “hiatus” in global warming. In “Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration,” Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung conclude that the deep Atlantic and Southern Oceans, but not the Pacific, have absorbed the excess heat that would otherwise have contributed to global temperature rise. But the role of the AMOC in the hiatus remains uncertain and others have denied that there is any “missing heat” at all.

Srokosz and Bryden speculate on the implications of the past decade of observation—real science, the actual study of nature—and the impact the resulting data may have on climate models. Some of their comments focus on the possible bistability of the AMOC. They cast doubt on the predictive ability of today's crop of climate models.

On a more speculative note, one possibility for future AMOC surprises is the issue of the bistability of the AMOC noted earlier. This is related to the transport of freshwater in and out of the South Atlantic. Observations suggest that the AMOC transports freshwater southward in the South Atlantic, implying that the AMOC could be bistable with on and off modes. Most climate models exhibit northward freshwater transport, seemingly at odds with the observations, implying that the AMOC is stable. Some recent climate model results show that their freshwater transports can match the southward freshwater transport in the observations, but in such climate models the AMOC does not shut down under greenhouse gas forcing. In point of fact, most climate models do not include a dynamically interactive Greenland ice sheet, so they are unlikely to correctly account for freshwater input into the Atlantic from Greenland melting. In addition, the Arctic Ocean supplies freshwater to the North Atlantic, which would affect the stability of the AMOC. If the rate of freshwater input were to be greater than currently anticipated, that could lead to unexpected changes in the AMOC. Thus, there is a possibility that the ocean might respond in a way that most climate models cannot. This point has been made previously from a paleoclimate perspective, because paleoclimatic evidence suggests that the AMOC can undergo rapid changes that are difficult to reproduce with climate models.

This is more unsettling science than settled science. What does the future hold in store? Science in general, and climate science in particular, has a poor record when it comes to predicting the future. As much as we think we know about Earth's climate system there is much more that we do not know. Here are Srokosz and Bryden's list of immediate unknowns:

Despite the observational efforts over the past decade, many questions remain unanswered. First, the AMOC is changing, but will these changes persist or will the AMOC “bounce back” to its earlier strength? Second, are the changes being observed at 26.5°N coherent latitudinally in the Atlantic? Third, was the 2009–2010 decrease in the AMOC unusual or not? Fourth, is the AMOC bistable? Could it “flip” from one state to another? Finally, and perhaps most important, what are the effects of changes in the AMOC?

So there we have it, in the words of scientists involved with actually studying nature, not a bunch of armchair climatologists playing with computer models—models that have been based on false assumptions and data for years. There are questions galore that need to be answered before we even begin to understand the AMOC, one of the most important factors regulation our planet's climate. The lie that climate science is settled science can not be exposed more plainly than this.

SOURCE.  (See the original for links and graphics)

The sun raises the seas

Nir Shaviv

For many years we have been told that global warming is unprecedented over the past 100 years, that human industrial activity is by far the dominant driver of 20th century climate change, and that nothing else is important.

Years ago, I too accepted this idea. After all, it came from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was supposed to summarize the leading consensus on the subject. Having grown up in a solar house, it also naturally fit my environment-friendly background.

However, a casual question back in 2000, from a colleague while I was doing post-doctoral work at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Toronto, led to surprising revelations on climate change. My colleague, an astrophysicist, asked me how cosmic rays from supernovae could affect life on earth, which led me to explore this area of study. I found that the sun’s variability as well as unrelated cosmic ray variations, explain a surprisingly large amount of the observed climate variations, from the 11-year solar cycle to geological time scales. In fact, models including the real effect of the sun also do a much better job in explaining 20th century global warming than those limited to the influence of human carbon dioxide emissions alone.

Most importantly, empirical evidence shows that the sun’s influence on climate is very large, much larger than expected from variations in the Total Solar Irradiance — the only solar forcing that is considered by the IPCC. The full forcing, which is large, can be quantified by studying the sea level as it is linked to heat going into the oceans and therefore the radiative forcings through thermal expansion.

This can be seen in the figure, where the tide-gauges-based sea level change rate is seen to vary in sync with the solar cycle, averaging close to 2 mm a year. The amount of heat inferred from this large correlation corresponds to at least six times the forcing of the irradiance alone. However, this empirical evidence and its implications are ignored in models considered by the IPCC.

As an astrophysicist, I see that the scope of solar effects considered by the IPCC is very limited; thus it arrives at wrong conclusions about what causes climate change.

For instance, the increase in solar activity over the 20th century implies that more than half of the warming should be attributed to the sun, not to emissions from human activity.

I have reviewed the IPCC climate models and the evidence shows that their “climate sensitivity,” such as to CO2 variations, is far too high. Models which exclude the real effect of the sun require an artificially high climate sensitivity to explain 20th century warming. This high sensitivity then predicts a high temperature rise for any given scenario over the 21st century.

But models are computer simulations of which the predictive power is limited by large uncertainties in the input physics, such as feedbacks through cloud cover variations. Cloud modelling remains a major challenge and an uncertainty factor in climate modelling.

Instead of the model simulations, if we look at the evidence we see a different story.

A range of empirical evidence points to a low climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2), meaning that CO2 has limited effect on warming. In particular, large CO2 variations over geological time scales give rise to no apparent temperature variations and large volcanic eruptions cool the planet by only 0.1°C on average (compared with 0.3-0.5 predicted by models employed by the IPCC).

And of course there is the “hiatus.” The IPCC concluded in Chapter 9 of its September 2013 Working Group I report that there had been a 15-year hiatus in Global Surface Meant Temperatures (GSMT) that had not been predicted by a single computer model.

Currently, satellite data show that the hiatus has continued over 18 years, even though carbon dioxide has risen significantly. This implies that Earth’s temperature increases less (from the influence of CO2) than IPCC predictions, because those were based on a high climate sensitivity ascribed to CO2.

In my research, when the sun’s role is considered, 20th-century warming is much better explained and has a better fit to the observed data while requiring a low climate sensitivity.

The low climate sensitivity implies that typical emission scenarios will result in about a 1°C increase between the present temperature and that which is likely in 2100.

Some aspects of solar activity that affect global climate change are too complex to explain in a short newspaper op-ed. I have a blog called “ScienceBits” where I explain my work in lay terms, including links to the scientific papers supporting those conclusions.

In short, the research work that my colleagues and I carry out shows that the leading mechanism to link solar activity with climate is that of cosmic ray modulation. This is supported by a range of empirical evidence including paleo-climate variations associated with variations in the cosmic ray flux density around the solar system (from spiral arm passages and the motion of the solar system perpendicular to the galactic plane).

There are many good reasons why we should reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but carbon dioxide emissions is not one of them.

I am optimistic that humanity will switch to alternative energy sources within a few decades once they become cheaper than fossil fuels, which they will. Based on the significant costs and market disruptions caused by extreme carbon reduction policies, it would be best if this transition happen due to innovation and technological advances, without the current large subsidies, most of which are driven by fear of a climate catastrophe. Such irrational behaviour has already led to many negative, unintended consequences for the environment and national economies. Thus, the precautionary principle could have detrimental repercussions.

Based on my “galactic view” of climate change, the good news is we’re not doomed. The “carbon risk” of catastrophic global warming or climate change is low. The sun has a far greater, natural influence on climate than many are willing to admit.


Hey Liberals: Your "Economically Friendly" Cars Are Actually Causing More Pollution

So often the left entices their party with "Eco-friendly," science savvy, earth loving phenomenons. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research just found that on a per-mile basis electric cars are on average worse for the environment when compared to their gas-powered friends.

This new study proves that subsidizing these environmental "friendly" cars should be put to a halt.

In monetary terms, electric cars are about half-a-cent worse per mile for the environment than gas-powered cars, on average. This means that if a government wants to tax a car based on how much it pollutes, electric cars should be taxed half of one cent more per mile driven than gasoline cars.

While much is dependent on where exactly the cars are driven, this finding that electric cars are on average half-a-cent worse per mile than gas-powered cars blows out the common assumption that electric cars are the "clean" thing to do.

This past Tuesday the Obama administration gathered to rally support on climate change mainly stressing the impacts of on public health and the shortening of life:

casting "climate change as a moral issue, saying its health effects target society's most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and the poor.

Contrary to Obama's measures is the ever true reality that in purchasing an electric car it actually "makes society as a whole worse off because electric vehicles tend to export air pollution to other states more than gasoline vehicles."

Ironically, in 2008 Obama promoted electric cars by administering "an ambitious goal of putting 1 million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015."

With these efforts Obama was trying to reduce oil consumption, however this new study proves that the power for electric cars has a new source of energy that needs tackling: coal.

Although the typical assumption is that electric cars are cleaner than gasoline-fueled cars, the power for electric cars has to come from somewhere, and it's often from coal-fired power plants. "Rather than simply accepting the assertion of environmental benefits from electric vehicle use, this paper conducts a rigorous comparison of the environmental consequences of gasoline and electric powered vehicles, specifically by quantifying the externalities (both greenhouse gases and local air pollution) generated by driving these vehicles," the authors write.


House challenges Obama on climate change

 The House passed legislation Wednesday that would delay emission rules that are the centerpiece of President Obama's plan to combat global warming.

The Ratepayer Protection Act was approved 247-180. It would allow states to opt out of complying with rules to cut carbon dioxide from existing power plants. Many scientists say the emissions are causing manmade climate change. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Sponsors of the bill say the Environmental Protection Agency's emission rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, would harm consumers by driving up energy costs and creating the potential for rolling blackouts.

Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., the author of the bill, said the Clean Power Plan is an example of regulatory overreach that his colleagues, states and many others believe is illegal. The bill also would allow states to delay compliance until judicial review has concluded.



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

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


26 June, 2015

Will the Pope follow his own advice and turn off Vatican air-conditioning?

Or is he just another Green/Left hypocrite?

Unlike Pope Francis, I believe that air-conditioning and the capitalists responsible for the technology are blessings to the world.

Perhaps the head of the Catholic Church, who condemned "the increasing use and power of air-conditioning" last week in a market-bashing encyclical, is unaware of the pioneering private company that has donated its time, energy and innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment to the Vatican's most famous edifice for more than a decade.

That's right. While the pontiff sanctimoniously attacks "those who are obsessed with maximizing profits," Carrier Corporation — a $13 billion for-profit company with 43,000 employees worldwide (now a unit of U.S.-based United Technologies Corp.) — ensures that the air in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel stays clean and cool.

Last fall, Carrier unveiled a groundbreaking HVAC system for the Vatican to help preserve Michelangelo's masterpieces against pollution caused by the estimated six million visitors who descend on the Sistine Chapel every year to see its famous frescoes.

As the company described it, their new solution "uses two Carrier AquaForce(r) 30XWV water-cooled chillers with Greenspeed(r) intelligence, each with 580 kilowatts of capacity. It leverages specially designed software and components, as well as patented, energy-saving technologies to maintain optimal climate conditions for the protection of the paintings within the chapel." State-of-the-art intelligent controls "anticipate visitor levels and adjust its performance intuitively." It also "delivers twice the efficiency and three times the capacity of the former system, which was built and installed by Carrier in the early 1990s."

Here's the lesson about air-conditioning capitalists that Pope Francis fails to appreciate: Carrier's technological know-how and breakthroughs didn't just descend from the clouds. As I recount in my latest book, "Who Built That," every perfectly chilled home, office, movie theater, mall, factory, hospital, lab and museum owes its existence to the profit-seeking pioneers of manufactured weather: Willis Carrier and Irvine Lyle.

These early 20th-century inventive giants brought air-conditioning to the market and to the masses. Willis Carrier was the scientist-tinkerpreneur whose prolific stream of experiments and epiphanies, beginning in 1902, fueled historic technological advances in heating, refrigeration and air-conditioning. Irvine Lyle was the mechanical engineer-turned-salesman who imagined countless new commercial applications for Carrier's work — and successfully turned those ideas into a multibillion-dollar business through relentless promotion, pitches, networking, advertising and outreach.

The scientists and their core team begged, borrowed and made stock sales to friends and neighbors. Carrier even enlisted his dentist for cash to get Carrier Engineering Corporation up and running in 1915. Carrier, Lyle and five founding engineers together pitched in $32,600 in start-up funds.

The Carrier capitalists risked it all in defiance of an economic depression and amid the tumult of world war. They couldn't afford their own factory and scrounged for made-to-order parts wherever they could find them. They dug into their own pockets to cover salary shortfalls. The wealth wasn't handed to them. Carrier and Lyle, farm boys who both graduated from Cornell, drove their men hard and themselves harder.

The Carrier team sold its products to businesses, large and small, that spanned the spectrum of human needs and wants. The pope should know that in addition to sparing countless lives from death by heat wave, Carrier designed a special system for Jonas Salk that helped maintain constant temperatures in the vats where Salk's poliovirus strains grew. The Salk vaccine saved thousands of lives and spearheaded the vaccine revolution.

From Hollywood to the pharmaceutical industry to textiles to the retail industry to the military to homeowners, there isn't a sector of the American economy that Carrier and Lyle didn't help transform. Their zealous focus on helping businesses provide better products at cheaper costs resulted in the invaluable byproducts of increased health, comfort and happiness.

While the pope blames commercial enterprises and the "global market economy" for causing "environmental degradation," it is a worldwide commercial enterprise made in America that solved the  human-caused degradation of, and environmental damage to, the Vatican's most prized art and assets.

If the pontiff truly believes "excessive consumption" of modern conveniences is causing evil "climate change," will he be shutting down and returning the multimillion-dollar system Carrier generously gifted to the Vatican Museums?

If not, I suggest, with all due respect, that Pope Francis do humanity a favor and refrain from blowing any more hot air unless he's willing to stew in his own.


New paper finds another non-hockey-stick in central Asia

A paper published today in Quaternary Science Reviews reconstructs temperatures in central Asia over the 1074 years from 931 A.D. to 2005, and which shows another non-hockey-stick with temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period around 1000 AD of 18C, the same as reconstructed temperatures of 18C at the end of the record in 2005.

Comparison of temperature observations to reconstructed temperatures since 1940 is shown in the first graph below, and shows observed temperatures in 1940 (~17.2C) were the same as at the end of the observational record in 2010.

Although the authors claim "recent warming exceeds any other time in the reconstruction," the observational data shows that the warming peak from 2000-2005 resolved by the end of the record in 2010 to the same temperatures observed in 1940. Further, the warming peak 2000-2005 is within the error estimates (shown in grey below in graph b) during the Medieval Warm Period ~1000 years ago, and the rate of warming from ~950 to 1050 faster than during the 20th century.

A long-term context (931–2005 C.E.) for rapid warming over Central Asia

By N.K. Davia et al


Warming over Mongolia and Central Asia has been unusually rapid over the past few decades, particularly in the summer, with surface temperature anomalies higher than for much of the globe. With few temperature station records available in this remote region prior to the 1950s, paleoclimatic data must be used to understand annual-to-centennial scale climate variability, local response to large-scale forcing mechanisms, and the significance of major features of the past millennium such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA) both of which can vary globally. Here we use an extensive collection of living and subfossil wood samples from temperature-sensitive trees to produce a millennial-length, validated reconstruction of summer temperatures for Mongolia and Central Asia from 931 to 2005 CE. This tree-ring reconstruction shows general agreement with the MCA (warming) and LIA (cooling) trends, a significant volcanic signature, and warming in the 20th and 21st Century. Recent warming (2000–2005) exceeds that from any other time and is concurrent with, and likely exacerbated, the impact of extreme drought (1999–2002) that resulted in massive livestock loss across Mongolia. [note other papers have blamed this upon concurrent La Nina conditions]


Black Chamber of Commerce says EPA Clean Air Plan Will Increase Black Poverty 23%, Strip 7,000,000 Black Jobs

A study commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, which represents 2.1 million black-owned businesses in the United States, found that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan would increase black poverty by 23 percent and cause the loss of 7 million jobs for black Americans by 2035.

The study also found that the EPA' plan would increase Hispanic poverty by 26 percent and cause the loss of 12 million jobs for Hispanic Americans by 2035.

The EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan on June 2, 2014 to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The National Black Chamber of Commerce commissioned the study to evaluate the potential economic and employment impacts of the plan on minority groups.

National Black Charmber of Commerce President Harry Alford explained the results of the report, “Potential Impact of Proposed EPA Regulations on Low Income Groups and Minorities” at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Tuesday.

“The study finds that the Clean Power Plan will inflict severe and disproportionate economic burdens on poor families, especially minorities,” said Alford in his prepared statement. “The EPA’s proposed regulation for GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from existing power plants is a slap in the face to poor and minority families.

“These communities already suffer from higher unemployment and poverty rates compared to the rest of the country, yet the EPA’s regressive energy tax threatens to push minorities and low-income Americans even further into poverty,” Alford added.

"According to a recent study commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce," Alford said, "the Clean Power Plan would: increase Black poverty by 23 percent and Hispanic povety by 26 percent; result in cumulative job losses of 7 million for Blacks and nearly 12 million for Hispanics in 2035; and decrease Black and Hispanic median household income by $455 and $515 respectively, in 2035."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) rebutted this view, saying that states who have taken action on climate change have seen their economies grow.

“Many states, such as New York and Delaware, have already taken action to reduce the largest emitter of carbon pollution - power plant emissions,” Carper said. “As we will hear today, the economies of these states continue to grow at a faster rate than the states that have yet to put climate regulations in place. However, we need all states to do their fair share to protect the air we breathe and stem the tide of climate change. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan attempts to do just that.”

Opponents of the plan like Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) say that the Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices and hurt businesses in her state.

“I introduced ARENA [Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act] and am holding this hearing today because of the devastating impact that EPA’s proposed regulations will have on the families and businesses in my home state and across the nation,” said Capito. “I am not exaggerating when I say almost every day back home in  West Virginia, there are new stories detailing plants closed, jobs lost, and price increases.”

One of the businesses in Capito’s home state, Ammar, Inc., a family-owned company that operates 19 Magic Mart stores in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky wrote Capito a letter about the EPA regulation.

“There was a time when your greatest obstacle was your competitor, but if you worked hard, took care of your customers and offered quality merchandise at a fair price, you could compete successfully,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, that is now not the case… The largest impediment we have to operating our business successfully is our own government, particularly the EPA. The rulings issued by the EPA have devastated our regional economy.

“Coal provided 96 percent of West Virginia’s electricity last year. West Virginia has among the lowest electricity prices in the nation: last year, the average price was 27 percent below the national average,” said Capito. “But that advantage will not survive this administration’s policies. Studies have projected the Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices in West Virginia by between 12 and 16 percent.”

“Put simply, there is no way that this massive, largely EPA-driven reduction in coal fired electricity generation is going to impact only coal states. It’s going to impact the majority of states, and the families and businesses within them. Often, the poorest and most vulnerable populations will bear the brunt of this increase,” she said. 


A totally deluded man

Obama listens only to the loons of the far-Left

Speaking at an event held in a private home in San Francisco on Friday evening, President Barack Obama warned: "Well within our children’s lifetimes, on our current pace, the oceans go up maybe two, maybe three, maybe four feet."

In the speech, the president said: "There are two things in particular that these days I'm spending a lot of time thinking about. The first is the changing nature of the economy." The other, he said, is "climate change."

Here is an excerpt from the transcript of the president’s speech, which was posted on the White House website:

And the second thing I spend time thinking about is climate change--because if we don’t get this right, then no matter how good we do on the other stuff, we’re still going to have some big problems.

John Holdren, physicist and professor at Harvard, is the head of my Office of Science and Technology--OSTP.  And John, every couple of days, sometimes once a week, will send out a missive from the world of science. And sometimes he’ll circulate among our staff the latest picture from the Hubble of some cluster in a galaxy, and it will evoke wonder and remind us of what Americans can do when they put their minds to it.

But a while back, I guess a couple weeks ago, he put out the new report, new information about what the climate science is telling us. And I have to say, it wasn’t something I should have read right before I went to bed. Because the basic estimates were that by 2050, well within our children’s lifetimes, on our current pace, the oceans go up maybe two, maybe three, maybe four feet. By 2300, which is not in our children’s lifetimes--although the science is moving pretty quick--but certainly within the lifetimes of grandchildren or great grandchildren, it could be 10 feet, 16 feet. The magnitude of the changes that could be taking place if we don’t get a handle on this are irreversible.


New Fuel Standards for Big Trucks Won’t Help the Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently  proposed fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

In the press release Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx remarked, “Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big-vehicles. In fact, these efficiency standards are good for the environment—and the economy. When trucks use less fuel, shipping costs go down. It’s good news all around, especially for anyone with an online shopping habit.”

EPA Secretary Gina McCarthy echoed those sentiments, saying, “With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money; and at the same time spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul.”

If that’s the case, why do we even need a private sector? If Washington bureaucrats know how to best provide for people and businesses, let’s just nationalize the trucking industry since they know how to maximize the operating efficiency of America’s long-haul vehicles.

The reality is the new mandate does nothing but take decisions away from private individuals and places them in Washington.

Auto manufacturers and the freight and long-haul transportation industry already understand the importance of fuel efficiency. Nearly 3 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks carry approximately 70 percent of America’s freight, consuming more than 50 billion gallons in fuel and spending more than $140 billion in diesel costs. The industry operates on razor-thin margins and plans its driving routes down to the tenth of a mile to save on fuel costs.

Companies are driven to invest in innovative technologies or alternative fuel to lower costs when it makes sense for them to do so. Of course, the industry will support such programs, whether paid outright by the taxpayer or cost-shared with the taxpayer, because it substantially reduces their risk. The problem, however, is that the taxpayer money spent would have already been spent by the private sector if the idea was worthy of investment.

Americans pay for these regulations in other ways, too. For instance, to help the trucking industry meet these mandates, the Department of Energy budget funds “cost-shared projects with industry under the SuperTruck II Initiative to develop technologies to improve the freight hauling efficiency of heavy-duty Class 8 long-haul vehicles by 100 percent in 2020, compared to a 2009 baseline vehicle.”

The new mandate will be not be beneficial to the economy or the environment.  New climate change-motivated fuel efficiency standards will simply mandate pricier technology that drives up the cost of trucks and takes choices away from producers, who then pass the costs onto consumers.

And no matter how much the administration chooses to regulate our economy for to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (cars, new power plants, existing power plants, fracking, airplanes, trucks), it will have virtually no impact on global temperature change.


Australia: Legal nonsense about CO2

Will island nations be able to sue for damages if their lands become inundated by rising sea levels caused by climate change, and if so, who should pay?

Justice Brian Preston, chief judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, is among leading jurists exploring how domestic and international law might be used to address or remedy such "warm crimes" - and many others - caused by human activities.

He co-chairs an International Bar Association group that is developing a model legal statute which could be applied a range of jurisdictions. It builds on the IBA's landmark report last year - Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption

"It's an enormously difficult task," Justice Preston told Fairfax Media from his chambers on Sydney's Macquarie Street. "You've got so many different legal systems, you've got so many different countries at different stages of economic, social and legal development."

The legal work is seen by some as a fallback plan should nations fail to sign up to ambitious cuts to carbon emissions at the Paris climate conference late this year.

Fresh proof of the legal option may be on show this week with a Dutch court due to rule on whether the government can be forced to cut national greenhouse gas emissions.

The class action lawsuitargues the government has failed to protect Dutch citizens in a country with about a quarter of its territory below sea level.

In Australia, groups such as the Institute of Public Affairs and the Minerals Council last year responded to the IBA report by questioning whether environmental rights should have equal same standing with other rights, and warned against judges grabbing power from the people.

Obstacles to successful lawsuits are many, including the challenge of proving causation of damages from another's actions, potentially committed a century ago, and the limited ability to sue outside one's own jurisdiction.

"We'll identify the hurdles and match them with the course of action, and then say what we need to do about it," Justice Preston said, adding his group plans to complete a report on the "menu" of options by September 2016.



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

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


25 June, 2015

Doctors: We were wrong

Below is an excerpt from the latest issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association".  It is about as close as you can get to an official admission that the official diet advice given to Americans for many decades was totally wrong and probably harmful. 

The message from that is a hard one:  Don't rely on official science about anything. You have to look at the evidence for yourself.  I have been reading health and diet advice from the early days of Lelord Kordell (he recommended lots of protein) and my response has always been to eat whatever I like whenever I like it.  So at age 71 I have had a lifetime of good dinners and only iatrogenic health problems. 

On my reading of the evidence, I doubt very much that it makes much difference what you put into your mouth. The small differences that medical researchers find in their research results are almost certainly as trivial in their importance as they are trivial in their size. The lessons for global warming believers are obvious. Long live good dinners!  The planet won't notice one way or the other


Air pollution not so bad for you

Ozone in the lower astmosphere has been demonized for a long time as a dangerous polluter.  And one of its supposed effects is to worsen asthma. The study below, however, demonstrates that when proper statistical controls are applied to the data, high levels of ozone do NOT worsen asthma.

Aerosol Optical Depth As a Measure of Particulate Exposure Using Imputed Censored Data, and Relationship with Childhood Asthma Hospital Admissions for 2004 in Athens, Greece

Gary Higgs et al.


An understanding of human health implications from atmosphere exposure is a priority in both the geographic and the public health domains. The unique properties of geographic tools for remote sensing of the atmosphere offer a distinct ability to characterize and model aerosols in the urban atmosphere for evaluation of impacts on health. Asthma, as a manifestation of upper respiratory disease prevalence, is a good example of the potential interface of geographic and public health interests. The current study focused on Athens, Greece during the year of 2004 and (1) demonstrates a systemized process for aligning data obtained from satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) with geographic location and time, (2) evaluates the ability to apply imputation methods to censored data, and (3) explores whether AOD data can be used satisfactorily to investigate the association between AOD and health impacts using an example of hospital admission for childhood asthma. This work demonstrates the ability to apply remote sensing data in the evaluation of health outcomes, that the alignment process for remote sensing data is readily feasible, and that missing data can be imputed with a sufficient degree of reliability to develop complete datasets. Individual variables demonstrated small but significant effect levels on hospital admission of children for AOD, nitrogen oxides (NOx), relative humidity (rH), temperature, smoke, and inversely for ozone. However, when applying a multivariable model, an association with asthma hospital admissions and air quality could not be demonstrated. This work is promising and will be expanded to include additional years.


Published measurements of climate sensitivity declining

CO2 not so bad after all

The climate sensitivity due to CO2 is expressed as the temperature change in °C associated with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.  The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the average temperature response over a twenty-year period centered at CO2 doubling in a transient simulation with CO2 increasing at 1% per year. The transient response is lower than the equilibrium sensitivity, due to the “inertia” of ocean heat uptake.

Scientists made numerous estimates of climate sensitivity over the last few decades and have yet to determine the correct value.  The figure shows the change in published climate sensitivity measurements over the past 15 years (from here).  The ECS and TCR estimates have both declined in the last 15 years, with the ECS declining from 6C to less than 2C.  While one cannot extrapolate from past results, it is likely that the true figure is below 2C, and may continue to decline.  Based on this historic pattern we should reject the studies that falsely exaggerated the climate sensitivity in the past and remember that global warming is not the most serious issue facing the world today.


Mini Ice Age may be heading our way! Met Office issues warning that temperatures could plummet as Sun enters cooler phase

Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, the Met Office warned yesterday.

The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames.

Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which looks at long term forecasts, said there was a 15-20 per cent chance that we could match the temperatures last seen in 1645-1715 – sometimes called the Little Ice Age - when the River Thames froze over. This could take place at some point within the next 40 years.

The prediction is based on counting sun spots – dark patches on the sun – that are hot spots and signs of increased solar activity.

The decrease in the sun’s heat is known as a ‘Maunder minimum’ after Walter Maunder - the astronomer who first noted sunspots were at their lowest during the cold period between 1645 and 1715.

Studies by the Met Office and others have found a decrease in sun spots - suggesting the sun may be going through a cooler phase.

The cooling effect is expected to be strongest in northern Europe, the UK and eastern parts of North America - particularly during winter. For example, for northern Europe the cooling is in the range -0.4 to -0.8 °C.

This is because computer simulations predict a big fall in solar activity would disrupt winds and suck cold air southwards from the Arctic.

Worst case scenarios for global warming are a 6 degree increase by 2100 – although campaigners hoping to limit on greenhouse gases hope that temperature rises will be limited to two degrees.

Sarah Ineson, a Met Office scientist and lead author of the research, said the impact of a grand solar minimum would only temporarily moderate the future warming we expect from climate change.

‘This research shows that the regional impacts of a grand solar minimum are likely to be larger than the global effect, but it’s still nowhere near big enough to override the expected global warming trend due to man-made change.

‘This means that even if we were to see a return to levels of solar activity not seen since the Maunder Minimum, our winters would likely still be getting milder overall.’  [Rubbish! Since warming has stopped, the result would be COLDER winters]


EPA Thinks Regulation Leads to Economic Growth

In the early days, fighting “global warming” was environmentally responsible; fast-forward a few years, and addressing “climate change” was socially just. Now, with only so much rhetoric left in the eco-friendly arsenal, battling supposed anthropogenic climate change has become economically advantageous.

At least, that’s what EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy argues in a piece published this week on Medium, in which she claims the administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) — a pleasant sounding name for sweeping additional government regulations of carbon emissions — is important to America’s economic strength. Notwithstanding the fact this administration doesn’t have the best track record on policies leading to economic robustness, McCarthy points to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute that found “the CPP is likely to lead to a net increase of roughly 360,000 jobs in 2020, but that the net job creation falls relatively rapidly thereafter, with net employment gains of roughly 15,000 jobs in 2030.”

Those jobs are the new regulators who will be hired to enforce the new regulations, nothing more.

In other words, forget hoping a free market will drive economic growth; what’s really needed is new regulations on carbon emissions! As McCarthy writes, “When we set ground rules to limit carbon pollution, we send a long-term market signal that propels innovation and investment in cleaner energy technologies, expanding new industries and creating good-paying jobs.” She’s right that the administration is sending a market signal, but it’s not the one she claims.

Indeed, according to labor union leader Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), “The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.” The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers echoed this concern, cautioning against “focus[ing] solely on the environmental aspect of public policy at the expense of balancing our nation’s economic and energy needs” and noting, “The jobs of thousands of working men and women and the well-being of their communities are also worthy of saving.”

Furthermore, per a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, CPP’s regulations “threaten to suppress average annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $51 billion and lead to an average of 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs every year through 2030, relative to baseline economic forecasts.” And according to The Heritage Foundation, the economic impact would be even worse, with EPA regulations eliminating an average of $155 billion annually in GDP through 2030.

Of course, before the EPA rams regulations down the nation’s throat, the administration wants to hear from Americans — sort of. When the public comment period opened regarding the then-proposed regulations on coal power plants last year, McCarthy wrote, “We expect great feedback at these sessions. And unfortunately, we also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” Ah, yes, agree with us or else you’re wrong.

But as Brooking Institution Fellow Phil Wallach wrote in Newsweek, by the time the comment period closed in December 2014 more than four million comments had been submitted. By comparison, Clean Air Act regulations usually garner a few dozen to a hundred. Instead of ceding that millions of Americans may have serious concerns with CPP, however, Wallach proposed that the “barriers to ‘participating’” in commenting might be a “bit higher, thereby saving our public servants a great deal of unnecessary work.” Yes, nothing like wasting the government’s time addressing the people’s tired, false and worn out petitions.

Public concern notwithstanding, the administration is plowing ahead with CPP, effectively claiming that by picking winners (solar and wind energy) and losers (fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas) Washington regulators can create a strong economy. Because, you know, this approach has worked oh so well before.


To win, Republican candidates must be strong on energy

By Marita Noon

two oil wellsNew polling emphasizes support for traditional energy concerns has become a partisan issue. Large majorities of Republicans favor key energy issues — but voters of every ideological stripe say energy will be an important part of their voting decisions.

Hickman Analytics Inc., for the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), has done polling on energy issues in several key states: Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. While the exact questions asked are not identical in each of the six states, the responses are so similar that assumptions can be made.

For the 2016 presidential candidates, lessons should be learned — to win, Republican candidates must be strong on energy.

In all states polled, the majority of respondents indicated that energy issues will be at or near the top when asked, “Looking ahead, how important are energy issues in terms of how you will vote in the Presidential election next year?” In each state, except West Virginia, 80 percent or more answered “very important” or “somewhat important.” In West Virginia, while still a majority, the percentage is only 54 — though a smaller percentage of West Virginians, 10 percent, claim energy issues will be “not very important” or “not important at all.”

The polling took place in Iowa and New Hampshire in April, South Carolina in May, and in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina in June.

In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Hickman asked how they feel about “allowing offshore oil and natural gas drilling north of Alaska, in U.S. waters inside the Arctic Circle.” Overall, a majority of registered voters support it, but opposition is higher among Democrats.

In Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, Hickman asked about the Atlantic Coast pipeline project — a 550-mile pipeline that will bring natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina—and found that support is strong and extends across almost every group. As with Arctic drilling, Hickman found that support for this important energy infrastructure project is stronger among Republicans, but even among those who self-identify as liberal, more support than oppose it.

When asked why they support the Atlantic Coast pipeline project, “jobs” was mentioned most frequently with “a positive impact on the economy” being next. “Contribution to energy independence” was also mentioned.

Presidential candidates can learn from the Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina numbers and a similar response could be assumed in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — though they were not asked a parallel question on Arctic drilling.

The lesson? Republican and Independent voters understand that energy projects create jobs and help the economy and energy security.

In Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, Hickman asked about other energy issues, such as coal-fueled power plants, the Keystone pipeline, offshore drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. Again, support among Republicans and Independents — even many Democrats — is strong on a wide range of energy issues.

“As the primary season approaches, presidential candidates will need to take a strong stance on energy issues for the 2016 election,” CEA President David Holt said. “As we have seen in the past, the success of candidates in 2016 will hinge on their ability to promote issues that foster economic and job growth, while ensuring safety and the protection of our environment. This can be achieved through the promotion of energy infrastructure and production, which will contribute to U.S. self-sufficiency, stimulate the economy, and create jobs.”

Energy provides Republican candidates with an opportunity to stand with voters and offer contrast to Hillary Clinton — whose previous speeches indicate that she will continue President Obama’s energy policies. At her Roosevelt Island rally, she repeated one of Obama’s reoccurring themes: “climate change, one of the defining threats of our time.”

As the Hickman/CEA polling shows, the frequently touted fixes for climate change — opposing coal-fueled power plants and blocking fossil-fuel development and infrastructure — are in direct conflict with what most Americans, especially Republicans and Independents, want.

The Hickman/CEA conclusions are supported by previous polls.

Earlier this year, Pew Research Center did its annual Public Policy Priorities Survey, “Dealing with global warming” remained a low priority — with only “Dealing with global trade issues” being lower. However, when looking at the issues to discern the partisan differences, the message is obvious. A slight majority of Democrats, 54 percent, view global warming as a top priority, compared to 15 percent of Republicans (an 8 point drop from 2007) and 39 percent of Independents (a 1 point drop from 2007).

Similarly, a March 2015 Gallup poll on “U.S. concern about environmental threats” found that “Americans worry least about global warming.” Again the partisan divide is telling. In 2000, 29 percent of Republicans/Republican leaners worried about “global warming or climate change”; in 2015, 13 percent — a 16 percent drop. For Democrats/Democrat leaners: 2000, 48 percent; in 2015, 52 percent — a 4-point increase.

“It is clear from the Hickman/CEA polling,” Holt added, “that energy policy will be top of mind when voters cast their ballots in this upcoming election. Voters clearly support the development of energy infrastructure, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. In order to win, candidates will have to make clear to voters that they understand and support the issues voters care about.”

As we head into the important 2016 election, it is imperative that whoever becomes the 45th president understands energy. Gratefully, as the Hickman/CEA polling indicates, the American public understands the importance of energy and is prepared to vote accordingly.



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

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


24 June, 2015

The Warmists have no shame

They utter the most transparent lies.  Every hospital administrator knows that it is colder weather -- winter -- that brings on illness and death -- not warmer weather.  But Warmists still claim the opposite. 

In the best Leftist tradition, theory trumps evidence every time.  So I suppose it's no good quoting evidence to show that warm years are on balance better for you. 

And the claim of rising extreme weather is simply false.  Climatologist Dr. John Christy who has looked back to the 1850s told the MRC in 2013 “there is no trend in hurricanes.” He said, “[I]f you look at the last seven years, there has not been single major hurricane hit the United States. This is the longest period of such a dearth of hurricanes in that entire record.”

In early 2014, when the networks hyped a drought in California as the “worst drought on record,” Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagreed and told the MRC it was consistent with previous California droughts. California would have NO water shortage right now except for its Greenie policies -- sending dam water straight out to sea, for instance.  See also here and here

 And poor nutrition in a warmer climate?  Give us a break!  A warmer world would open up Northern Canada and Siberia to farming and food production.  Warming would most probably produce a GLUT of food!

These guys are utter crooks.  But British medical journals have long been laden with Green/Left propaganda.  "Lancet" even opposed George Bush's Iraq intervention.

The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warned on Tuesday.

Extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves bring rising risks of infectious diseases, poor nutrition and stress, the specialists said, while polluted cities where people work long hours and have no time or space to walk, cycle or relax are bad for the heart as well as respiratory and mental health.

Almost 200 countries have set a 2 degrees C global average temperature rise above pre-industrial times as a ceiling to limit climate change, but scientists say the current trajectory could lead to around a 4 degrees C rise in average temperatures, risking droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels.

"That has very serious and potentially catastrophic effects for human health and human survival," said Anthony Costello, director of University College London's (UCL) Institute for Global Health, who co-led the report.

"We see climate change as a major health issue, and that's often neglected in policy debates," he told reporters at a briefing in London.

The report, commissioned and published by The Lancet medical journal, was compiled by a panel of specialists including European and Chinese climate scientists and geographers, social, environmental and energy scientists, biodiversity experts and health professionals. {And uncle Tom Cobley and all]


EPA proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks

The Obama administration on Friday proposed tough new standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide pollution from trucks and vans, the latest move by President Barack Obama to address global warming.

The new rules are designed to slash heat-trapping carbon emissions by 24 percent by 2027 while reducing oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the rule.

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles account for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. The trucks and vans comprise only 5 percent of vehicles on the road.

The proposal comes amid a flurry of recent actions by Obama on the environment, including a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands and a separate rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes.

The administration also is expected to move forward this summer on its plan to curb carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, a rule Republicans in Congress have vowed to stop.

The long-expected trucks rule comes one day after Pope Francis issued a teaching document calling for the world to take action to slow climate change.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rules would help the environment and the economy, as trucks use less fuel and shipping costs go down. Foxx called the rules “good news all around.”

Gina McCarthy, chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the plan would deliver “big time” on Obama’s call to cut carbon pollution.

“With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money,” McCarthy said. At the same time, the rules will “spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul,” she said.

Under the new rule, a best-in-class, long-haul truck carrying 68,000 pounds of cargo is expected to get at least 10 miles per gallon, up from a range of 5 to 7 miles per gallon today, the EPA said. Vehicle owners would recoup costs associated with the rule within two years because of reduced fuel consumption, officials said.

Partly because of those expected savings, the truck rule appeared to generate less controversy than some of the previous regulations the EPA has issued on climate change, although the industry was still reviewing the proposal.

The American Trucking Association said industry generally supports the new rules, but remains concerned that it may result in use of technologies on vehicles before they can be fully tested. Trucks carry goods from produce to timber and oil, as well as packages from major companies such as Amazon, on highways across the country.

“Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry - and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “That’s why our industry supported the Obama administration’s historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards.”

Still, Graves and other officials said truck and engine manufacturers need time to develop solutions to meet the new standards.

The proposed standards would cover model years 2021-2027 and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks, officials said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers blasted the rule, saying it would add an average of nearly $12,000 to the cost of a new truck.

“Recent history has shown that mandates with underestimated compliance costs result in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles, and force fleet owners and operators to seek out less-expensive and less fuel-efficient alternatives in the marketplace,” the groups said in a statement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association of Grain Valley, Missouri, which counts 150,000 members, said it was concerned that the rules would “push truckers to purchase technology that is not fully tested and may lead to costs such as increased maintenance and down time that will eclipse the potential savings estimated in the proposal.”

Once completed, the rules are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by about 1 billion metric tons.

The rule builds on fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. Those rules are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons and save vehicle owners more than $50 billion in fuel costs, compared to previous standards.

Environmental groups cheered the new rule.

“Anyone who’s ever been stuck behind a truck or bus knows how much they pollute,” said Travis Madsen of Environment America, an advocacy group. “Making trucks go farther on a gallon of fuel can curb pollution, help save the planet and save money,” he said.

The proposed rules will be open to public comment for at least two months and would be completed next year.


Greenpeace co-founder: No proof that carbon dioxide is causing global warming

While he was in Toronto to speak at IdeaCity, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore talked to me about the Pope's climate change encyclical, and other timely topics.

Moore, who has a Ph.D. in ecology, says it's vital to challenge the so-called "scientific consensus" on global warming.

He says that while we have no proof that carbon dioxide is causing climate change, we do know for certain that Co2 "is the most important food for all life on earth."

On the topic of food, Moore told me about his new campaign:

Getting nutritionally enhanced, genetically modified (GM) "golden rice" into the hands of those who need it most, in developing countries like India.

Moore says India's PM Modi has "basically censored [anti-GM activists] Greenpeace and said, 'Get out of the country.'" Greenpeace India has been "deeply discredited" further following sexual harassment and rape allegations from within its ranks.

Moore explains that his former colleagues at Greenpeace are driven to stop the adoption of GM foods by a combination of greed and stupidity. However, he's noticed a "sea change" in the conversation about genetically modified foods, and adds that there is "no actual documented evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful, especially 'golden rice,' which is just rice with extra Vitamin A in it.


Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.

A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.

Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.

During the modest decline in 2005 through 2012, the media presented a daily barrage of melting ice cap stories. Since the ice caps rebounded – and then some – how have the media reported the issue?

The frequency of polar ice cap stories may have abated, but the tone and content has not changed at all. Here are some of the titles of news items I pulled yesterday from the front two pages of a Google News search for “polar ice caps”:

“Climate change is melting more than just the polar ice caps”

“2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse”

“An Arctic ice cap’s shockingly rapid slide into the sea”

“New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at ‘unprecedented rate’”

The only Google News items even hinting that the polar ice caps may not have melted so much (indeed not at all) came from overtly conservative websites. The “mainstream” media is alternating between maintaining radio silence on the extended run of above-average polar ice and falsely asserting the polar ice caps are receding at an alarming rate.

To be sure, receding polar ice caps are an expected result of the modest global warming we can expect in the years ahead. In and of themselves, receding polar ice caps have little if any negative impact on human health and welfare, and likely a positive benefit by opening up previously ice-entombed land to human, animal, and plant life. Nevertheless, polar ice cap extent will likely be a measuring stick for how much the planet is or is not warming.

The Earth has warmed modestly since the Little Ice Age ended a little over 100 years ago, and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors. As a result, at some point in time, NASA satellite instruments should begin to report a modest retreat of polar ice caps. The modest retreat – like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 – would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis. Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age. Such a recovery – despite alarmist claims to the contrary – would not be uniformly or even on balance detrimental to human health and welfare. Instead, an avalanche of scientific evidence indicates recently warming temperatures have significantly improved human health and welfare, just as warming temperatures have always done.


Is EPA Helping Green Groups Raise Funds in Exchange for Favorable Research?

On first glance, this is a rather routine story in the environmental policy wars.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said researchers had found that if rules being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions were enacted, it would mean 3,500 fewer premature deaths per year.

This was a necessary piece of the puzzle for the EPA as it works to implement regulations it says would, by 2030, reduce carbon emissions to 30 percent below their levels in 2005. Industry experts say these regulations would drive a final nail into the coal industry, which currently supplies almost half the nation’s electricity. So, to justify the regulations, significant health benefits must be demonstrated.

Such stories have become expected in environmental policy. The government announces an aim or policy change, and the research community gets together, using taxpayer dollars, to confirm the government’s approach is the best option. Those who support it post it to their Facebook pages; those who don’t ignore it.

Researchers from Harvard University, Syracuse University and four other institutions used climate models to predict the impact the EPA’s proposed carbon emissions reductions would have on human health. And not surprisingly, it turned out the government’s plan was not just among the options that would produce positive results but was, in fact, the best way to achieve the goals.

But there was a line in this story that sets it apart. Jonathan Buonocore, a research fellow at Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, told U.S. News the EPA did not participate in the study or interact with its authors.

But it seems the agency did participate and did interact with the authors.

Emails discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request by Steve Milloy, a former editor at, found a string of correspondence to set up meetings and conference calls to, in the words of one such email, “discuss methods for our next set of analyses.”

The chain of emails went back and forth as the researchers and the agency both sought to add participants to the call. The fact the research showed precisely what the government wanted it to and that the government’s own proposal, when mimicked by researchers, produced the best results further raise suspicion.

Driscoll seemed to grasp this when he told the New York Times it was “a coincidence” that one of the models so closely resembled the federal proposal.

Milloy does not buy that explanation, and he doesn’t buy that this research was not coordinated with the agency to maximize effectiveness in promoting the coal regulations.

Despite the fact the study’s authors “received or were involved in $45 million worth of research grants from the EPA,” The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Associated Press described the researchers “simply and innocuously” as researchers and scientists, Milloy lamented in a recent post at

“Absent some unimagined explanation, these emails flatly contradict the claims [of independence] made in the Harvard and Syracuse media releases and in statements to media [by the researchers themselves].”

The Daily Signal asked both the Harvard School of Public Health and Syracuse University if they stand by their characterization of the researchers as “independent” in press releases on the study. Neither responded.

The scientists who produce this government-favored research not only have begun to cash in at taxpayers’ expense, but they’ve also begun to ask the agency for help with fundraising.

Milloy uncovered an email in which Driscoll asks Ellen Kurlansky, an agency staffer, for her assistance and advice on raising money for another project.

“I wanted to see if I could arrange a short call with you to discuss fundraising [on a meeting related to mercury poisoning]. We are making some progress on the planning for this meeting, but it would help if I could raise a little a money to help pay for some initial expenses.”

This coziness is not healthy, said David Kreutzer, an energy economics and climate change policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation.

“The science can be judged on its own, but the independence of the researchers is undermined when emails show they were soliciting funds from the EPA even as they were writing up their study reviewing the impact of significant EPA rules.”

The government is not nearly so accommodating for scientists who don’t toe its preferred line.

Willie Soon, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, co-authored a paper published in January that found the models used in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are laced with mathematical errors. Soon then endured an avalanche of criticism of his funding sources and implications he had shaped his findings to please them.

It mattered not that he got only about $60,000 per year from the one “compromised” source or that the compromised source was the Smithsonian or that he had not known where the Smithsonian got the money it paid him.

Then, a few days after the New York Times piece on Soon appeared, Congress got into the act. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., ranking minority member on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent letters to seven universities asking for documents on climate change research connected with scientific skeptics who have questioned the premise of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.

This was followed by a letter from Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., to 100 fossil fuel companies, trade groups, and other outfits “to determine whether they are funding scientific studies designed to confuse the public and avoid taking action to cut carbon pollution, and whether the funded scientists fail to disclose the sources of their funding in scientific publications or in testimony to legislators.”

Indeed, the deck remains stacked against those who dare to stray from the government message on global warming, and the conflicts of interest seem concentrated on the researchers and scientists who accept government money, according to William Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton University.

“Unless you accept the alarmist position and the dictates of the [Obama] administration, you cannot typically receive government funding,” said Happer.


Britain's Tories must seize the chance to rethink climate change policy

David Cameron and George Osborne have just defeated Ed Miliband electorally; now they have to defeat him intellectually

When Benedictine monks first arrived to restore Pluscarden Abbey, a beautiful ruin in northeast Scotland, they faced a battle against the elements. It had no roof, let alone heating, and even when restored to its medieval glory it cost a fortune to keep warm. But when I visited last month, I learned that a miracle has happened. A biomass boiler has arrived, tucked away next to the organ, with a subsidy scheme that turns cost into profit. For every £1 spent in woodchip, the monks receive £4 in subsidy. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but nothing is more mysterious than the financing of green energy.

The economics will be familiar to any wily aristocrat with a ballroom to heat. The boiler is expensive, but the cost is recovered in about five years; and subsidies are guaranteed for 20 years. Owning an eco-boiler is as close as you get to a licence to print money. “Every stately home I know is now like a sauna in winter, with windows wide open,” one Conservative peer tells me. Little wonder the Pope is so enthusiastic about the environmental agenda; it's saving monasteries. But for George Osborne, all this makes less sense. The Chancellor senses an expensive problem, in need of a conservative solution.

Just two months ago, the Tories could not have hoped to do much. They expected to either lose the election, or be forced into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats, whose enthusiasm for the green agenda precluded serious Tory reform in the last parliament. So they didn’t bother coming up with a modern environmental policy, given the negligible chance of being able to implement one.

Lord Cooper, Cameron’s former chief strategist, put the chances of outright Tory victory at 0.5 per cent, which gives a sense of how little they prepared for one. Now, majority has emerged - but a proper Conservative agenda has not.
We heard some rumblings yesterday: Amber Rudd, the new Climate Change Secretary, has decided to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms from next year. She is in a position to apply a common sense test to much of what was signed off by Ed Davey, her Lib Dem predecessor. But like so many Tory ministers she has not, yet, worked out what she will do instead. She intends to take the summer to come up with a proper Tory plan, after taking stock of what we have learned in the last five years.

Plenty has changed. The climate debate, so long polarised between zealots and deniers, has cooled. It is now (just about) possible to question the wisdom of an environmentalist policy without being denounced as a global warming denier. This applies to scientists, too: global temperatures have not been warming significantly for about 17 years now, encouraging a closer look at climate variability. The fracking revolution in the United States mean its natural gas prices have fallen to less then the average in Europe. As a result, heavy industry (and jobs) are flooding back to former rustbelt states. The scientific consensus has not changed: the planet is warming and mankind is, at least in part, responsible. Action is certainly needed. But how to help, without hurting too much?

There is another climate problem: the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of “fuel poverty” is being more widely recognised – and green subsidy is compounding the problem. Much of it is raised by slapping an invisible tax on energy bills, costing the average household some £150 a year – a figure that is only set to rise.

The Renewable Energy Foundation has found that, since green levies first started fattening energy bills, some £13 billion has been raised in hidden bills. And for what? Emily Gosden, this newspaper’s energy editor, recently revealed that on January 19, the coldest day of the year, wind accounted for just 1 per cent of our electricity. The need for energy was there, but if the winds don’t blow the turbines are useless. As she put it, for all the expense, wind farms “cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on when they are needed the most.” This is not just about the cost of living, but basic energy security.

The last five years have also allowed us to see, in far greater detail, what harm green levies can inflict on a nation’s economy. Germany stands as a salutary lesson in what not to do. As Der Spiegel magazine once put it, green levies are so high that energy there has become a “luxury item”. BASF, the German chemicals giant, is one of many to have admitted it is mulling a move somewhere else. SGL, which makes carbon fibre for cars, is now investing in the US rather than its native Germany because American electricity is a third of the price. If Britain is engaged in a “global race”, energy costs are very much part of it.

The Chancellor is all too aware of this. When he was asked about British shale in Prime Minister’s questions this week, he spoke of two considerations: to respect “environmental standards” while making sure not to “condemn our country to higher energy bills and not as many jobs”. This is a crucial caveat, and could be the basis for a new Conservative environmental policy. Insisting upon proper care for the environment, while taking care not to inflict too much financial pain on employers, or on households. It would be a sensible, conservative compromise.

The obvious opening for new British energy policy is after the United Nations climate conference in Paris in November. It’s likely to be a fiasco: India and China are highly unlikely to sign up to any legally binding target to cut down on emissions. And why should they? Millions remain in abject poverty in those countries; why slow down growth? Advances in technology mean that energy is becoming greener all the time. The United States was condemned by environmentalists for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, yet ended up yet ended up lowering its carbon emissions more than any other country. Not by taxing its poor out of the sky, but by leading the world in the development of shale gas.

There is little chance of a new Kyoto Treaty, given the abject failure of the last one. So it will be time for a new conversation – and George Osborne has already started it. In his 2011 Tory conference speech he suggested that Britain would cut carbon emissions “no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe”. This can be seen as an Osborne Doctrine; a sensible idea, but strikingly different to the 2008 Climate Change Act, which committed Britain to eye-wateringly carbon reduction target no matter what happened overseas.

The Act was written by Ed Miliband; we’ve been playing by his rules ever since. Yet it gives the government the power to set a new target, if there have been “significant developments” in scientific knowledge or European policy. There have been developments aplenty: the shale revolution means that global energy market has changed almost beyond recognition. As Germany realises, to its cost. Several pieces of research have questioned whether climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide emissions is quite as tight as the government originally assumed.

It’s time, in short, for a rethink – and for the Conservatives to come up with their own ideas on energy. David Cameron and George Osborne have just defeated Ed Miliband electorally; now they have to defeat him intellectually. It should be a far easier task.



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

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23 June, 2015

Schellnhuber's Papers that were presented at the Vatican?

The papers are here.

Don Easterbrook  comments:

Cleverly written nonsense. Virtually everything he says is contrary to real data, but a non-scientist reading this might think the graphs and rhetoric are real. Most of his claims are completely ludicrous. For example:

“As the latest IPCC Assessment Report demonstrates, the global mean surface temperature could rise above pre-industrial values by more than 4°C by 2100.”

Even the IPCC has had to admit that computer modeling predictions have been a total failure, not even close to reality, so this negates all his conclusions that follow.

“Using both computer simulations and sediment data, one can expect sea level rises by at least 2 meters per degree of warming.”  2 meters = 6.7 feet x 4 = 27 feet by 2100!  That’s 3 feet per decade! (Sea level has been rising at about 7 inches per century). 

The real question is where is all that water going to come from? Even under the rate of warming (20F in 40-100 years) and drastic melting of the gigantic ice sheets covering huge areas at the end of the Pleistocene, the rate of sea level rise was only about 3 feet per century.

Those melting ice sheets as a source of water to sea level rise are now gone and Antarctic ice is growing, not melting, yet he is predicting 10 times the rate of late Pleistocene sea level rise with no source of meltwater!

“The East Antarctic ice sheet – so far believed to be utterly stable – might “tip”, once a critical ice plug near the coast melts away and thereby “uncorks” the basin upstream which would lead to additional 3-4 meters of global sea-level rise.”

This pathetically uninformed view, pushed by some engineers who know very little about glaciers (e.g. Rignot et al., Joughin) consider glaciers to be held up by ‘dams’ at their mouths and their removal will cause the entire glacier to slide into the sea, totally ignoring the physical dynamics of glacial systems whose termini are controlled by equilibrium of snow accumulation and melting.


Via email

EPA Causing This Summer's Rising Electricity Rates

Due to EPA regulations, you’ll start to notice that your electricity bill is more expensive this summer. The Energy Information Administration predicted that Americans will spend 4.8% more on electricity this year than the last.

Is global warming causing air conditioners to run more? Nah, it’s just EPA regulations that are causing power plants to close because they are not deemed green enough. “Consumers are receiving the dim news as utilities take tens of thousands of megawatts of coal-generated power offline to comply with a host of EPA regulations and because of the sharp increase in cheap, domestic natural gas,” The Washington Times reports.

“Regulations such as the EPA’s mercury and air toxic standards already are having an effect on the power sector, utilities and analysts say, and the impact will be greater after the agency releases further limits on carbon emissions from power plants this summer.”

The EPA argues the effects will be minuscule — people will hardly notice the bill. It’s all part of a fight against the boogey man of “global warming,” and old electricity plants must shutter to make way for politically correct plants — an expensive undertaking. But when has the EPA ever acted in the best interests of U.S. citizens?


Scientists are creating ‘low carbon cows’ to try and reduce greenhouse gases generated by herds

Scientists have created three herds of 'eco cows' as part of an experiment to reduce the amount of greenhouses gases generated by the production of beef.

The researchers have 90 cows at North Wyke farm near Okehampton in Devon for the project, where they will closely examine every aspect of their environment - particularly what they eat - to try and reduce the amount of harmful gases they produce by up to 50 per cent.

As well as measuring the amount of fertilizer used and rain that falls on the fields, scientists will weigh each of the animals and the size of their cowpats as part of the tests.

The scientists at Rothamsted Research said they hope to show beef can be produced with less damage to the environment and a carbon footprint smaller than growing cucumber

In addition specially-fitted gas analysts will monitor how much methane and nitrous oxides is being produced from each of the herds.

One of the fields has been sown with 'novel' grasses, Professor John Crawford told The Sunday Times, because it is packed with sugar and easily digested, and so produces less methane.

A second herd will be fed plants that produce lots of protein.

'It is inefficient to grow cows using grains that humans could eat; but keeping them on grassland where crops cannot grow creates a valuable source of food', Professor Crawford said.

Cows produce a lot of methane and the less harmful carbon dioxide because of the way they process food.

As cows digest food in their stomachs, rather than in their intestines, they regurgitate their food before eating it again, resulting in bacteria in their stomachs that contain methane being released into the air. Flatulence by cattle also contributes to the amount of gas released into the atmosphere.

A tenth of the 570million tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by Britain every year comes from farming, with 28m tonnes attributable to cattle and livestock.


Why We Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs

Electric cars are quick and quiet, with a range more than long enough for most commutes. If you want a car with extremely fast acceleration, the Tesla Model S is hard to beat. And, of course, electric vehicles avoid the pollution associated with conventional cars, including emissions of carbon dioxide from burning gasoline. Yet they account for a tiny fraction of automotive sales, mainly because the batteries that propel them are expensive and need to be recharged frequently.

A better battery could change everything. But while countless breakthroughs have been announced over the last decade, time and again these advances have failed to translate into commercial batteries with anything like the promised improvements in cost and energy storage. Some well-funded startups, most notably A123 Systems, began with bold claims but failed to deliver (see “What Happened to A123?”).

The Powerhouse, a new book by journalist Steve LeVine, chronicles the story behind one of the most dramatic battery announcements of recent years and explains how it came to nothing (see “The Sad Story of the Battery Breakthrough that Proved Too Good to Be True”).

The announcement was made in February 2012, at a conference in Washington, D.C., where a crowd of researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors had come to hear the likes of Bill Gates and Bill Clinton expound on the importance of new energy technology—and also to tap into one of the newest funding sources in Washington, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, or ARPA-E.

Founded in 2009, ARPA-E had been tasked with identifying potentially transformational research. The head of that agency, Arun Majumdar, was ready to unveil one of its first major successes: a battery cell, developed by the startup Envia, that could store twice as much energy as a conventional one. The cost of a battery that could take a car from Washington to New York without recharging, Majumdar said, would fall from $30,000 to $15,000. Electric cars would become far more affordable and practical (see “A Big Jump in Battery Capacity”).

Within months, GM licensed the technology and signed an agreement to support its development, gaining the right to use any resulting batteries. The deal was potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Envia, LeVine writes. But soon Envia was getting frustrated messages from GM engineers who couldn’t reproduce the startup’s results. The year after the announcement, the deal was scuttled. Envia’s impressive battery had been a fluke.

LeVine’s account of Envia’s work shows why major progress in batteries is so hard to achieve and why startups that promise world-changing breakthroughs have struggled. Over the last decade we’ve seen remarkable improvements in this industry, but they’ve come largely from established companies steadily making small advances.

Envia’s cell was a new type of lithium-ion battery. Invented in the late 1970s and early 1980s and commercialized in the 1990s, these batteries generate electrical current when lithium ions shuttle between two electrodes. Light but powerful, they have transformed portable electronics. Their use in electric cars, however, is recent. In the 1990s, GM used cheaper lead-acid batteries for its electric EV-1; each battery weighed a bulky 600 kilograms and delivered only 55 to 95 miles before it needed to be recharged. When Tesla Motors introduced one of the first lithium-ion-powered electric cars in 2008, it could go 250 miles on a charge, roughly three times farther than the EV-1.

But the vehicle cost over $100,000, in large part because the batteries were so expensive. To cut costs, the lithium-ion-powered electric cars made today by companies such as Nissan and GM use small battery packs with a range of less than 100 miles.

While countless breakthroughs have been announced over the last decade, time and again these advances failed to translate into commercial batteries.

One difficult thing about developing better batteries is that the technology is still poorly understood. Changing one part of a battery—say, by introducing a new electrode—can produce unforeseen problems, some of which can’t be detected without years of testing. To achieve the kinds of advances venture capitalists and ARPA-E look for, Envia incorporated not just one but two experimental electrode materials.

LeVine describes what went wrong. In 2006 Envia had licensed a promising material developed by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory. Subsequently, a major problem was discovered. The problem—which one battery company executive called a “doom factor”—was that over time, the voltage at which the battery operated changed in ways that made it unusable. Argonne researchers investigated the problem and found no ready answer. They didn’t understand the basic chemistry and physics of the material well enough to grasp precisely what was going wrong, let alone fix it, LeVine writes.

With its experimental material for the opposite electrode, this one based on silicon, Envia faced another challenge. Researchers had seemingly solved the major problem with silicon electrodes—their tendency to fall apart. But the solution required impractical manufacturing techniques.

When Envia made its announcement in 2012, it seemed to have figured out how to make both these experimental materials work. It developed a version of the silicon electrode that could be manufactured more cheaply.

And through trial and error it had stumbled upon a combination of coatings that stabilized the voltage of the Argonne material. Envia cofounder Sujeet Kumar “understood that the answer was a composite of coatings,” LeVine writes. “But he still didn’t know what the composite was arresting or why it succeeded in doing so.” Since Envia was a startup with limited funds, he “didn’t have the instruments that could figure it out.” But once it became obvious that the results Envia had reported for its battery couldn’t be reproduced, understanding the problem became crucial. Even tiny changes to the composition of a material can have a significant impact on performance, so for all Envia knew, its record-setting battery worked because of a contaminant in a batch of material from one of its suppliers.

The story of Envia stands in sharp contrast to what’s turned out to be the most successful recent effort to cut the price of batteries and improve their performance. This success hasn’t come from a breakthrough but from the close partnership between Tesla Motors and the major battery cell supplier Panasonic. Since 2008, the cost of Tesla’s battery packs has been cut approximately in half, while the storage capacity has increased by about 60 percent. Tesla didn’t attempt to radically change the chemistry or materials in lithium-ion batteries; rather, it made incremental engineering and manufacturing improvements. It also worked closely with Panasonic to tweak the chemistry of existing battery materials according to the precise needs of its cars.

Since 2008, the cost of Tesla’s battery packs has been cut approximately in half, while the storage capacity has increased by about 60 percent.

Tesla claims that it is on track to produce a $35,000 electric car with a roughly 200-mile range by 2017—a feat that’s equivalent to what GM hoped to achieve with Envia’s new battery. The company anticipates selling hundreds of thousands of these electric cars a year, which would be a big leap from the tens of thousands it sells now. Yet for electric cars to account for a significant portion of the roughly 60 million cars sold each year around the world, batteries will probably need to get considerably better. After all, 200 miles is far short of the 350-plus miles people are used to driving on a tank of gasoline, and $35,000 is still quite a bit more than the $15,000 price of many small gas-powered cars.

How will we close the gap? There is probably still plenty of room to improve lithium-ion batteries, though it’s hard to imagine that Tesla’s success with minor changes to battery chemistry will continue indefinitely. At some point, radical changes such as the ones Envia envisioned may be needed. But the lesson from the Envia fiasco is that such changes must be closely integrated with manufacturing and engineering expertise.

That approach is already yielding promising results with the Argonne material that Envia licensed. Envia’s battery operated at high voltages to achieve high levels of energy storage. Now battery manufacturers are finding that using more modest voltage levels can significantly increase energy storage without the problems that troubled Envia. Meanwhile, battery researchers are publishing papers that show how trace amounts of additives change the behavior of the materials, making it possible to edge up the voltage and energy storage. The key is to combine research that illuminates details about the chemistry and physics of batteries with the expertise that battery manufacturers have gained in making practical products.

It’s an industry in which it’s very difficult for a startup, however enticing its technology, to go it alone. Andy Chu, a former executive at A123 Systems, which went bankrupt in 2012, recently told me why large companies dominate the battery industry. “Energy storage is a game played by big players because there are so many things that can go wrong in a battery,” he said. “I hope startups are successful. But you can look at the history over the past few years, and it’s not been good.”


Not so Green

Do as I say, not as I do?

His environmental credentials are well known – but then so is his taste for some of the finer things in life.

So Prince Charles will be braced for scrutiny when figures released this week reveal he has spent more than £1million of public money on air travel in the past year, thanks in part to his use of a luxury French jet named Head of State.

Boasting a double bed, shower room, ‘presidential’ area and an array of plush, clubman-style recliner seats, the converted Airbus A320-232 has been hired for three of the Prince’s foreign trips. One of these alone – to America – cost almost a quarter of a million pounds.

Charles and Camilla used the lavish jet, based at Le Bourget airport outside Paris, for their tours of Mexico and Colombia in October last year, the Middle East in February and America in March.

For their four-day trip to the US, the aircraft was flown to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire before travelling to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

The Sovereign Grant accounts to be published on Tuesday, which calculate the Royal Family’s cost to taxpayers, will show this is the first time the Prince has broken through the £1million barrier for flights.

It is also expected to reveal a rise in his private income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

But a Palace spokesman said the total cost of flights had increased because, unlike the previous year, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have undertaken three transatlantic trips, as well as trips to the Middle East and to France to mark the D-Day landings.

‘They have been on official visits to Colombia and Mexico, as well as the US and a visit to Canada at the invitation of the Canadian government,’ the spokesman added.

Last year, Charles and Camilla spent £906,662 on air travel, including two Foreign and Commonwealth trips to the Middle East and India and a much criticised £246,160 flight to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

That’s not to mention £96,649 on staff reconnaissance trips and £123,083 on the Royal Train.

This year’s figure is higher, also, because Charles is increasingly standing in for the Queen on foreign tours. She has been gradually handing over her more arduous jobs in a ‘gentle succession’ by the Palace.

The Head of State Airbus is owned by Masterjet and, according to its website, a flight from London to Maryland, returning four days later would cost £205,187. With VAT added at 20 per cent, the cost increases to £246,224.

Specially adapted, the plane seats 26 instead of the usual 180, has wi-fi and satellite phones, a ten-channel TV system with 200 movies on demand, and even Nespresso coffee machines.

Sources within the Palace, however, were keen to downplay the Prince’s use of the Airbus.

‘A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding which form of travel to use, including security, availability, punctuality and logistics,’ one said.

‘To allow Their Royal Highnesses to fulfil a busy programme and to meet the inevitable security requirements, using scheduled services is not always possible although always carefully considered.

‘In the case of all tours, after careful consideration, charter flights are often the only practical option.’

In the past, courtiers have privately admitted the Prince needed to ‘substantially curb’ his use of gas-guzzling jets. One explained it as ‘a generational thing’, admitting the younger Royals were more inclined to board scheduled flights.

The Prince’s spending on air fares is in direct contrast to his son William, who often takes scheduled flights. Last December, he travelled to New York with his wife Kate on a scheduled British Airways flight, while the pair also flew to Mustique for a family holiday in February aboard a commercial aircraft.

In May last year, William chose to fly economy class on an American Airlines flight from Memphis to Dallas as he returned home from a friend’s wedding.

A passenger tweeted: ‘I am still amazed. Prince William flies [economy]. That’s pretty humble/awesome. Who knew?’



Three current articles below

Response to BOM whitewash from good ol' boy, Ron Sandland

Remarks below by Dr Jennifer Marohasy

FOLLOWING  are my initial comments in response to the release of the report by the Technical Advisory Forum on the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network (ACORN-SAT):

Dr Sandland chairs 'The Forum' that has so far refused to hold an open forum.

I NOTE that The Forum, chaired by Dr Ron Sandland formerly of the CSIRO, concurs with the Bureau that:

“There is a need to adjust the historical temperature record to account for site changes, changes in measurement practices and identifiable errors in measurement…  To this end, the Forum supports the need for the Bureau’s homogenisation process to incorporate both metadata-based adjustments and adjustments based on the statistical detection of atypical observations. In the opinion of the Forum members, unsolicited submissions received from the public did not offer a justification for contesting the overall need for homogenisation or the scientific integrity of the Bureau’s climate records.”

As a member of the public who made an unsolicited submission, I would like to clarify that at no time did I suggest there was no need for adjustments, rather I have queried why there are adjustments made when, in fact, there are no documented site changes, no changes in measurement practices, and no identifiable errors.  Yet adjustments are still made.

The Forum appears to have overlooked many examples of this provided in the public submissions, and published by The Australian newspaper late in 2014.  For example, the Forum has completely ignored the notorious example of Rutherglen, where a slight cooling trend was converted into a warming trend, despite an absence of any metadata providing justification.

The Forum has also made no comment on the actual choice of stations for inclusion in ACORN-SAT, nor how the selection of stations has changed in recent years.  For example, in his submission to the panel, retired chartered accountant Merrick Thomson showed how the choice of ACORN-SAT stations changed from 2012 to 2013 and, how this could generate a large increase in global warming.

The Forum has suggested that the Bureau consider pre-1910 data in its analysis of climatic trends.

“Recommendation 5: Further, the possible availability of pre-1910 data at south-eastern sites may allow for a comparative analysis to be performed for south-eastern Australia to assess whether the inclusion of pre-1910 data is worthwhile in attempting to understand current temperature patterns.”

This is currently listed as a low priority by The Forum, but its inclusion is nevertheless welcome, and was a key recommendation in my submission.  I also recommended that all temperature series start at the same date.  For example, I provided the example, in my submission, of the Bureau adding in the very hot town of Wilcannia only from 1957, when there is data available from the late 1800s.

I also welcome the recommendation that the Bureau:

“Address two key aspects of ACORN-SAT, namely: a) improving the clarity and accessibility of information provision—in particular, explaining the uncertainty that is inherent to both raw and homogenised datasets, and b) refining some of the Bureau’s data handling and statistical methods through appropriate statistical standardisation procedures, sensitivity analyses, and alternative data fitting approaches.”

I note that The Forum state in their report that:   “It is not currently possible to determine whether the improvements recommended by the Forum will result in an increased or decreased warming trend as reflected in the ACORN-SAT dataset.”

I would suggest that if the committee’s recommendations were properly implemented, and the Bureau abandoned some of its more creative accounting practices (e.g. adding in particularly hot locations for later years in the time series), then it would become apparent that there has been an overall trend of cooling over much of central and eastern Australia from 1880 to 1960, more dramatic warming than previously documented from 1960 through to about 2002, while more recently temperatures have plateaued, with some evidence of a cooling trend establishing in north eastern Australia since 2002.

I note The Forum intends to operate for another two years, and urge them to be honest to their title of “The Forum” and actually meet with some of those who have so far provided unsolicited public submissions.  Indeed, I urge Dr Sandland to immediately set up an open and transparent Forum process whereby these submissions can be presented allowing any accusations of scientific misconduct by the Bureau to be both defended and contested before the Australian public, and media.

The committee makes five recommendations, but puts emphasis on the importance of the first two components of the first recommendation.

I applaud the first component of the first recommendation of the committee that in full states:

“Expediting the Bureau’s current work on developing uncertainty measures in closer consultation with the statistical community. The Forum recommends the Bureau seek to better understand the sources of uncertainty and to include estimates of statistical variation such as standard errors in reporting estimated and predicted outcomes, including: quantifying the uncertainty for both raw and adjusted data; prioritising the provision of explicit standard errors or confidence intervals, which should further inform the Bureau’s understanding and reporting of trends in all temperature series maintained by the Bureau; examining the robustness of analyses to spatial variation; and articulating the effect of correcting for systematic errors on the standard error of resulting estimates.”

Of course, that such basic statistical information is not currently available is impossible to reconcile with the overall conclusion in the report that, “the analyses conducted by the Bureau reflect good practice in addressing the problem of how to adjust the raw temperature series for systematic errors.”   Then again, the executive summary of The Forum’s report appears to have been written by someone straight out of the BBC television series ‘Yes Minister’.

The second component of the first recommendation is also applauded, which reads in full:

“Developing a clearer articulation of the purpose for the ACORN-SAT exercise to enhance public understanding of the program, and communicating processes for developing and using ACORN-SAT in a way that is appropriately clear, broad and supported by graphics and data summaries. In particular, the central focus on the Australian annual mean temperature anomaly as the primary end point of the ACORN-SAT exercise should be reconsidered and a broader narrative around including regional effects should be developed.”

Indeed, it has become apparent over the years that the entire focus of the work of the small ACORN-SAT unit is not the provision of higher quality individual temperature series, but the remodeling of the raw data, and the compilation of a select few station, to suggest that it is getting hotter and hotter across the Australian landmass with such announcements made with great fanfare by the Bureau’s David Jones at the beginning of each year.

Recommendation No. 2, has several components including comment that:

“Releasing the Python computer code for ACORN-SAT as a downloadable link along with all supporting documentation and listing of the technical requirements for the software. The Bureau should also monitor and gather download statistics to gauge demand for this software.”

Of course, without access to this software it has been impossible to reproduce any of the adjustments made by the Bureau. Yet if the method is scientific, it should be reproducible.   For many years, the Bureau has erroneously claimed its methods are transparent.   It should be noted, however, that even with the provision of this software, it will be impossible to justify ACORN-SAT because it is unclear why the Bureau chooses some stations above others for its comparisons.  For example, despite endless requests for clarification, the Bureau has never explained why it uses the distant location of Hillston to make comparison, and then changes, to the raw temperature data for Rutherglen in north eastern Victoria.

Recommendation 2 also includes comment that:  “Publishing a brief, plain-language (as far as possible) description of the criteria for adjustment and the basis for adjustment itself.”    Of course this should have been available since the very first adjustment was made in the development of ACORN-SAT.  That such a document still does not exist is evidence that ACORN-SAT is poorly documented.  So, how could The Forum endorse the Bureau’s claims that it represents world’s best practice?


Pope's climate adviser lambasts Australia

If you think he looks like something that has recently emerged from the anus of a zoo animal, I will not contradict you, "ad hominem" though that is.  Apologies but the pompous fraud has certainly succeeded in irritating me.   More temperately, exactly what qualifies a theoretical physicist to pontificate on the Australian economy?  Also see above for a comment on his "science"

A leading German climate change authority and adviser to the Pope on the effects of global warming has lambasted Australia over what he perceives as its failure to address an inevitable process of de-carbonisation.

Professor Hans Schellnhuber, head of the highly-regarded Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research outside Berlin, told reporters Australia's reliance on coal exports to China was a "suicide strategy".

"I don't think Australia can be sustained based simply on raw materials he says. "Just pursuing the carbon path is a red herring."

Professor Schellnhubner will be in Rome Thursday for the release of an eagerly awaited papal encyclical on the effects of climate change.

An adviser to both the Pope and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prof Schellnhuber is one of Europe's leading climate change scientists in his capacity as Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Potsdam.

He was interviewed in his study where Albert Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity.

In good natured remarks about the challenges facing a country like Australia, Prof Schellnhuber said it was "not responsible to run a country like a lottery."

He compared Australia unfavorably with resource-rich Norway which is being run almost completely on renewable energy [mostly hydro, which Greenies hate] and was making use of its vast sovereign wealth fund to build new and innovative industries.

Australia, he says, was excellently-placed to make the most of its renewable potential in solar, wind-power and other forms of renewable energy.

Asked why Germany experienced a low level of climate skepticism compared with countries like Australia and the United States, Prof Schellnhuber says "Anglo-American" societies tended to be dominated by ideas of entrepeneurship and free market impulses.

The Anglo-American world believed technology and innovation would help it to overcome its challenges. Germany, with its "different history", was more "cautious."  [Germany has a cautious history?  You could have fooled me!]

"Australia and Canada suffered from the curse of bounty," he says. "We will be fine forever: why should we change?"

"In the end," he adds. "it [the curse of bounty] makes you complacent. Unfortunately paradise doesn't last forever".

Africa and South America also have bountiful natural resources, so how come they are not in "paradise"?  Schellnhuber hasn't even asked himself that question.  His economics and sociology are on a par with his climatology]


Electric cars in Australia

Tesla may have ambitious plans for battery technology for the home but it is also looking to upgrade its electric vehicle batteries, which will allow them to travel twice the distance they currently do. So what will be the implications for Australia?

While Australia has generally been an early adopter of new technology, electric vehicles pose more of a problem. Anybody who has grown up in regional Australia knows that being the family taxi at weekends for children’s sporting events can regularly mean a round trip of more than 200km.

The current battery life of an electric vehicle is around 160km – the Nissan Leaf is quoting an average even lower at 135km – so they are still not an option as the primary vehicle for even the most die-hard regional environmentalist.

There has been some take-up of hybrid vehicles – and they are more suitable to Australian conditions – but what is needed for those who would love to move to a fully electric vehicle?

Electric is more suited to the major cities, where they can be used for the daily commute to work (and may provide an alternative for the second family vehicle).

But the uptake of new electric vehicles is slow according to one recent report, with limited sales in the first few months of the year, although BMW claimed the most with 70 of its i3 model. (It’s a similar story in other countries where sales are far less than predicted.)

One of the reasons for the slow take-up in Australia has been identified as a lack of infrastructure to keep electric vehicles powered, especially on the longer journeys that are typical here.



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

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


22 June, 2015

The sixth mass extinction on Earth has officially begun and could threaten humanity's existence, famous false prophet says

Ya gotta laugh.  Paul Ehrlich just cannot give prophecy up, despite all his previous failed predictions.  And the species loss count is highly speculative.  New and previously uncounted species are still being discovered all the time.  And straight-line predictions are rarely justified in the life sciences anyway.  An ogive is a more common trendline, with an approach to an asymptote towards the end of it.  In less precise but plainer language, an upwards trend may level out in future.

We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence, researchers have declared.  Researchers say a new study shows 'without any significant doubt' that we are entering the sixth great mass extinction on earth.  The study says that the window for conserving threatened species is rapidly closing. 

'The study shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event,' said Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment who led the research.

The new study, published in the journal Science Advances, shows that even with extremely conservative estimates, species are disappearing up to about 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions, known as the background rate.

'If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on,' said lead author Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Autónoma de México.

Using fossil records and extinction counts from a range of records, the researchers compared a highly conservative estimate of current extinctions with a background rate estimate twice as high as those widely used in previous analyses.

This way, they brought the two estimates – current extinction rate and average background or going-on-all-the-time extinction rate – as close to each other as possible.

Focusing on vertebrates, the group for which the most reliable modern and fossil data exist, the researchers asked whether even the lowest estimates of the difference between background and contemporary extinction rates still justify the conclusion that people are precipitating 'a global spasm of biodiversity loss.'

The answer: a definitive yes.

'We emphasize that our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis, because our aim was to place a realistic lower bound on humanity's impact on biodiversity,' the researchers write.

To history's steady drumbeat, a human population growing in numbers, per capita consumption and economic inequity has altered or destroyed natural habitats. 

Now, the specter of extinction hangs over about 41 percent of all amphibian species and 26 percent of all mammals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which maintains an authoritative list of threatened and extinct species.

'There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead,' Ehrlich said.

Despite the gloomy outlook, there is a meaningful way forward, according to Ehrlich and his colleagues.

'Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations – notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change,' the study's authors write.

In the meantime, the researchers hope their work will inform conservation efforts, the maintenance of ecosystem services and public policy.


More Greenie people hatred

'Meat eaters don't deserve to live' says a nasty little eco-Fascist

She’s known for her controversial diet, which can see her eat nothing but 51 bananas and two kilograms of potatoes in a day while sticking to raw food until 4pm.

And self-proclaimed YouTube ‘diet guru’ Leanne Ratcliffe, also known as ‘Freelee the Banana Girl’, from Adelaide, South Australia, has now claimed meat eaters ‘don’t deserve to live’.

The 35-year-old has previously drawn criticism for endorsing the so-called ‘raw until four’ style of eating – meaning she has no cooked meals until the evening and advocating a low processed food, low-fat and high-carbohydrate vegan diet.

But she takes her views a step further in her recent video, slamming educated people who ‘continue to eat meat and dairy’ every day despite knowing the ‘impact of their diet choices on the planet and animals’.

‘They know all the facts – they’ve been educated but they choose to continue eating animal products – whether they actually deserve to continue living?’ she claims.

‘And that might mean so extreme sounding to you and so dramatic but I’ve got to break it to you – we live in an extreme, dramatic world. There’s a lot of f***** up s*** going on.’

The social media diet star, who shared the video to more than 370,000 of her followers, took aim at animal cruelty, saying slaughterhouses 'are still there regardless of you turning a blind eye to them.’

‘Animals are still having their fur ripped off their back. Animals are still having a*** electrocution. They’re still having their throats slit. Their skulls crushed,’ she said while posting graphic animal cruelty photographs along with her video.

‘Yes it’s negative. We need to bring attention to it to make a positive change. That’s what’s positive about the focus of animal rights activists and people who actually give a s*** about the planet.’

Freelee didn't spare those closest to her, singling out family members who ‘continue to eat meat and dairy’ every day.  ‘I love them very much but we are in this situation where drastic change needs to happen and people aren’t taking it f*****g seriously enough,’ she said.

‘If their position on the planet was threatened because of their dietary choices, they would change to vegan in a heartbeat. That’s the truth of the matter because it’s so f*****g easy to be vegan as well.

‘You shouldn’t have a choice. You should absolutely be forced to be vegan. The situation the planet is in – we cannot wait for you to get your f*****g s*** together. We cannot wait. The animals cannot wait.

‘As you can see I’m very passionate about this and do I want to kill people? No, I don’t want to kill people and yes, I was in that situation before where I didn’t know about the meat and dairy industry. I didn’t have a f*****g clue but I educated myself.

‘So there’s people who have educated themselves but they are like “I don’t feel like doing it right now. I knew a vegan once and they were a little bit weak and they couldn’t do this and that”.'

The health blogger continues ranting about people ‘looking for excuses’ to avoid becoming vegan and claims they should ‘not have that option’ to choose.


Warming is GOOD for you

The academic study below finds that lower all-cause death rates were correlated with warmer years.  Warmists are always trying to show the opposite -- though any hospital administrator knows that winter is where the deaths and illnesses are most frequent

Air Temperature and Death Rates in the Continental U.S., 1968–2013

John Hart


A previous test of global warming theory, on a local level, for Texas revealed inverse correlations between air temperature and death rates. The present study expands the test field to the continental U.S. Using an ecological design, mean daily maximum air temperature (“temperature”) in the 48 contiguous states plus the District of Columbia by year from 1968–2013 was compared to age-adjusted all-cause mortality (“deaths”) in these same jurisdictions for the same years using Pearson correlation (n = 46 years). The comparison was made for three race categories, white, black, and all races, where each category included all ages and both genders. There was 5.0 degree F range for the years studied (62.7–67.7 degrees F). Correlations were moderate strength, inverse, and statistically significant, as follows. Whites: r = ?0.576, p < 0.0001; Blacks: r = ?0.556, p = 0.0001; and all races: r = ?0.577, p < 0.0001. These correlations are consistent with the Texas study, both of which indicated that warmer years tended to correlate with decreased death rates. A limitation to this research is its (ecological) design, but is an initial step towards further investigation.


Shell Oil Foots Bill for Environmental Disaster Created by Environmentalists

A group of Greenpeace “kayaktivists” took to the waters of the Puget Sound a few short weeks ago in an attempt to stop the Polar Pioneer, Shell Oil’s newest Arctic drilling rig, from taking a breather in port on its way up to Alaska. They were ultimately thwarted by the Coast Guard’s concern for their safety and Shell Oil’s determination to continue on its mission, and just a few short days ago, the last kayaks finally pulled back.

Little did we know, as they left, that our story on Greenpeace’s hypocritical opposition to Arctic drilling – they get plenty of funding from their own team of petroleum profiteers – wasn’t the end of our coverage of the odd ironies of #ShellNo. As Greenpeace pulled away, they left behind an environmental disaster, littering a popular dive site and rolling over a marine wildlife habitat, causing around $10,000 in damage to a protected locale, and angering local environmental groups who had been working to save the natural resource and its inhabitants.

Near the kayak line, divers cleaned up a site damaged by the activists’ barge. Used for staging their protests, the barge anchors were originally dropped into a popular dive spot. They dropped 4,000-pound anchors into a habitat known for several different kinds of marine species.

“A lot of people come here to see Giant Pacific Octopus,” said Koos Dupreez.

Dupreez works with Global Underwater Explorers. They coordinated the clean-up, asking the activists to cut their lines so as to avoid any further damage. Divers removed huge cement blocks and chords, worried for the safety of people and animals

It cost $10,000 and created some wake among environmental groups.

“Having someone else who is concerned about the environment trash the environment, some people were upset, understandably so,” Dupreez said.

The cement blocks the activists used as anchors weighed between 1 and 2 tons, and the “Solar Pioneer,” the barge the environmentalists were using, was moored using strong cables that weren’t secured well enough to withstand tidal swings. As a result, the cables wrapped around structures in the dive area, Alki Cove 2, and destroyed marine life habitats.

The damage was obviously very expensive, and despite their substantial budget, Greenpeace was either unwilling or unable to foot the bill. Instead, Shell Oil, the company the environmentalists were protesting, stepped in to fund the environmental cleanup efforts, joined by Foss Maritime, the company that helped to house and repair the oil rig as it made its scheduled stop in Seattle. Those two companies provided teams of divers who helped to untangle and clear the cables and pull up the cement blocks as the Greenpeace “kayaktivists” floated out of the harbor.

A popular contention among environmentalists in favor of regulation is that no corporation is willing to clean up their environmental mess without prompting and oversight from the Federal government. Perhaps next time the issue is raised, someone should ask the environmentalists if the same presumption applies to them.



Green Policies Kill Military Readiness and Vets

New attention has been focused on how the Obama administration's green energy policies are undermining U.S. military readiness and diverting resources from caring for America's veterans.

We reported [1] recently that the Obama administration didn't have time to develop a strategy to fight against global Islamic terrorism because it was too busy putting homosexuals into the Armed Forces and celebrating gay pride. In fact, there was something else on the agenda that Obama had ordered the military to handle that had assumed more importance than global terrorism-climate change.

On May 20, in his remarks [2] to the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement, Obama actually told the Coast Guard grads that "It is a dereliction of duty" for them to ignore this alleged problem.

The speech got enormous favorable attention from our media. "Obama Recasts Climate Change as a Peril With Far-Reaching Effects," was The New York Times headline over a story [3] covering the speech. CNN reported [4], "In Coast Guard commencement address, Obama buoys climate change."

Obama even went so far as to imply that climate change was behind terrorism. He said, "...climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram."

The bizarre claim that Islamist terrorists kill Christians because of climate change has been echoed by the British Guardian [5] and Mother Jones [6], both of them far-left outlets.

The other side of the story was provided by two excellent speakers at the recent 10th International Conference on Climate Change [7] in Washington, D.C. Jay Lehr, Ph.D., who is the science director at The Heartland Institute, said the U.S. Navy is being transformed into a "Green Navy" that will cost $1.9 billion in alternative fuels alone. The same money, he said, could buy a new aircraft carrier.

"The money that we are spending in this manner is going to reduce our weaponry and reduce our ability to protect our fighting men and women, and it is entirely disgraceful," Lehr said.

James M. Taylor, vice president for external relations and senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, discussed his group's publication of the report, "Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power [8]." It was written by three retired military officials who argue that the Obama administration's so-called National Security Strategy pays lip service to a balanced energy strategy, while in reality it is actually "defaulting on its responsibility to develop and execute a credible national energy policy."

In his own talk, Taylor discussed in detail how the costly energy schemes being imposed on the U.S. military impede military readiness and waste resources, even at the expense of veterans in need of health care.

Dominance in the world, he said, requires the projection of military power, which rests on a strong and growing economy. But Obama's plan for less reliance on fossil fuels and the increased usage of so-called renewable sources such as solar and wind power can only weaken the U.S. economy, he said. He noted that Russia is already moving into the Arctic area, with no credible U.S. military response.

What's more, Taylor noted, Obama has ordered the Defense Department to rely increasingly-as much as 25 percent of its energy-on "grossly expensive" solar and wind power that detracts from military preparedness. "This is coming out of the defense budget," he said. "It's a budgetary boondoggle that takes away from money that could be spent on men, machinery and weaponry, and instead is being spent on more expensive power."

He cited a machine [9] made for the military that is supposed to be dragged around on a battlefield and transforms trash into electricity, rather than being buried or burned. The contraption was highlighted [10] by the Mother Nature Network news service as one of the "6 green things the U.S. military is doing."

Citing another boondoggle, he said the Navy is paying an incredibly high price of $67.50 per gallon for a "camelina-based fuel" made from a plant in the mustard family.

Even more shocking, he cited a case of money from the Department of Veterans Affairs intended for military care that is instead being used to purchase solar panels. "That's coming at the expense of folks who are not getting the care they should be getting," he said.

Indeed, the VA announced [11] in 2011 that it had awarded $56.7 million in contracts to build solar panels.

However, it was reported [12] in Arkansas in April of this year by local television station KATV that a section of solar panels at the Little Rock Veteran's Affairs Hospital was being torn down after being built only two years ago and never turned on. The panels had cost $8 million.

The VA Secretary at the time, Eric Shinseki, said that "in order to continue providing Veterans with the best health care and benefit services, VA must adapt to climate change."

Shinseki's green campaign included installing a wind turbine [13] at the Massachusetts National Cemetery. The turbine cost $533,000 and was funded under Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The VA issued a news release [14] about this development, saying, "Under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, who flipped the switch at today's wind turbine dedication, VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America's Veterans."

The VA scandal over poor or non-existent care for veterans forced Shinseki's resignation more than a year ago.

But he has bounced back, recently joining the board [15] of First Hawaiian Bank. Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "He is a man of great integrity and character who has dedicated his entire career to serving our nation."


Questions remain on official Australian meteorology records

"Fiddling" of the records to show warming not addressed

The results of an independent ­review of the Bureau of Mete­or­ology’s national temperature records should “ring alarm bells” for those who had believed the bureau’s methods were transparent, says a key critic, Jennifer ­Marohassy.

Dr Marohassy said the review panel, which recommended that better statistical methods and data handling be adopted, justified many of the concerns raised.

However, the failure to ­address specific issues, such as the exaggerated warming trend at Rutherglen in ­northeast Victoria after homogeni­sation, had left ­important questions ­unresolved, she said.

The review panel report said it had stayed strictly within its terms of reference.  Given the limited time available, the panel had focused on big-picture issues, chairman Ron Sandland said.

The panel was confident that “by addressing our recommend­ations, most of the issues raised on the submissions would be ­addressed”, Dr Sandland said.  The panel is scheduled to meet again early in the next year.

Dr Sandland said that, overall, the panel had found the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature was a “complex and well-maintained data set that has some scope for further improvements”.  It had made five recommend­ations that would boost transparency of the data set.

Although the panel reviewed 20 public submissions, Dr Marohassy said it had failed to address specific concerns.  “While the general tone of the report suggests everything is fine, many of the recommen­dations (are) repeat requests made by myself and others over the last few years,” Dr ­Marohassy said.

“Indeed, while on the one hand the (bureau’s technical ­advisory) forum reports claims that the bureau is using world’s best practice, on the other hand its many and specific recommend­ations evidence the absence of most basic quality controls in the many adjustments made to the raw data in the development of the homogenised temperature series.”

BoM said it welcomed the conclusion that homogenisation played an essential role in ­eliminating artificial non-clim­ate ­systematic errors in temperature observations, so that a meaningful and consistent set of records could be maintained over time.



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

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


21 June, 2015

Yes. I have read the latest encyclical

I put on a string of Bach cantatas to keep me in a serene mood while I read a very long document (over 100 pages) and below is what I found in it.  Below are selected phrases and sentences as written by Pope Frank himself.  You don't need to rely on journalists to interpret the document for you.  You can do it yourself from his own  politically relevant words that I have picked out.  I believe they summarize the whole, as far as secular issues are concerned.  I will have something to say about them following them:

"faced as we are with global environmental deterioration...

for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate...

 bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development...

the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle....

There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general.

 We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them

A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon

 scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space.

Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.

There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy

Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true “ecological debt” exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time.

The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.

 Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.

It is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars

aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view

The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct

 It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit.

The specialization which belongs to technology makes it difficult to see the larger picture. The fragmentation of knowledge proves helpful for concrete applications, and yet it often leads to a loss of appreciation for the whole, for the relationships between things, and for the broader horizon

There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm.

All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution

 there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world’s peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing. Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops.

 Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated.

Economic growth, for its part, tends to produce predictable reactions and a certain standardization with the aim of simplifying procedures and reducing costs. This suggests the need for an “economic ecology” capable of appealing to a broader vision of reality.

Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood, but also undo the social structures which, for a long time, shaped cultural identity and their sense of the meaning of life and community.

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro is worth mentioning. It proclaimed that “human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development”.

The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy

 Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper,


Before beginning a discussion of the above, it is obviously of interest to ask whether dangerous global warming now has the imprimatur of Papal infallibility. Is the encyclical an infallible pronouncement on the matter?  It is not.  The Vatican Council taught that the Bishop of Rome makes an infallible ex cathedra definition when he defines “exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians as pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate.” The encyclical must not be considered, then, as a document containing ex cathedra definitions except where the Holy Father speaks and teaches in them using “his supreme apostolic authority.”  Simply put, he's got to say, "This teaching is infallible".

Note however that Catholics are bound not only by doctrines defined as infallible but by all the teachings of the church.  They are therefore now bound to sincerely accept the reality of dangerous global warming if they are to be true Catholics.  See here

So much for the theology. On to a consideratiion of the teachings for those who are not Catholics:

It's clear that Frank hasn't got a blind clue about how the modern world works.  I had expected a better brain from a Jesuit.  As it is, the above is a pretty good enchiridion of modern Green/Leftism.

Frank hates the world about him as passionately as any Leftist.  He sees disasters and wrongs everywhere he looks.  He fortunately does not call for any specific political policies other than "discussion" but he has lumbered the church with a belief in the false doctrine of imminent and catastrophic global warming.

With typical Leftist overgeneralization, he treats the world as a whole, with little recognition that different parts of the globe are very different. Any American living in the border states knows that you just have to cross a political border to enter a very different world.  And if it is crass to treat the USA and Mexico as just one undifferentiated whole, how much sense does it make to treat (for instance) the Central African Republic as no different from Norway?

Frank just has no time for detail.  And yet detail is all-important in the greatly differentiated world we inhabit.  It is true, for instance, that Indonesia is cutting down its native forests at an alarming rate but it is also true that the USA has more tree cover today than it did 100 years ago. So when Frank rails against the global loss of forests he is making a generalization that is both wrong and stupid.

And the irony escapes him that it is places like Indonesia where people  mostly live the simple village life that he extols. If he really did like trees he would be praising the  USA and condemning Indonesia.  No hope of that, of course.  Frank just hates the modern world so much that he has no inclination to learn of its real diversity and complexity.  You will see no recognition in his words that it is in precisely the capitalist world which he condemns where the environment is best cared for.  He knows nothing.  All he has are prejudices and hatreds -- JR.

A comment received from a reader of the above that I like:

Now we see revealed to the world why the nethermost Americas are so poorly governed when a leading intellectual can reel out the warmist pap as an article of faith.

As you say, we all expect better of a Jesuit. There wasn't the slightest hint of critical thought, or scientific investigation. There was no attempt at balance or dispassionate analysis. The language is the intemperate bile of the zealot. No hint of a document revised time and again by the finest minds in the Vatican to ensure intellectual respectability or philosophical thoroughness. It's a schoolboy's first draft, an outpouring of passionately held, but not critically examined ideas.

Encyclical began as "rough draft sketched out by Pontifical Council on Justice & Peace, Vatican’s social justice arm"

And it shows.  It is still full of Leftist whining and stupid non-solutions to the problems of the world -- offering in passing only boilerplate "science"

The encyclical itself has been in development since the start of the pope’s two-year-old tenure, beginning as a rough draft sketched out by the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, the Vatican’s social justice arm. Cardinal Peter Turkson said he delivered a first effort to Francis in July 2014, at which point the pontiff took over authorship.

The extensive amount of time that’s passed since then, Turkson said in April, might be a clue as to how many people Francis was consulting with, and how deeply he was considering their input. “This is the pope writing this from his own gut feeling,” he said.
The pope can’t single-handedly stop desert from overtaking northern Nigeria. He can’t cool India, irrigate California, drain Texas, or keep Arctic sea ice frozen.

The pope may have what St. Francis of Assisi called “Brother Wind” at his back this week. But picking a fight with the guardians of business-as-usual isn’t going to be easy. Many may change their view of the pope or the church rather than change their views on climate change or UN-led antipoverty measures.


The Pope’s encyclical provides the wrong answers

Bjorn Lomborg

The Pope derides those who have “blind faith” in technological advances as a solution to climate change. Instead, his encyclical declares that the world must stop consuming so much. That, he says, will help the poor people who stand to be affected most by global warming. That is troubling, because technical innovation is exactly what we need more of.

Humanity’s answer to huge levels of famine wasn’t to insist we should eat less. The Green Revolution, one of the great achievements of the past century, saw scientific and technological advances dramatically increase the productivity of food — not the least through fertilisers and pesticides. Unfortunately, this very technology, which saved hundreds of millions of lives, is stigmatised as harmful in the encyclical.

The Green Revolution is hardly the only example of human ingenuity resolving a major challenge. Consider the world’s most deadly environmental problem: indoor air pollution from cooking and keeping warm with smoke-inducing wood and dung. It is all but forgotten in the rich world. Likewise, air pollution from cars that caused dangerous smogs, in cities such as Los Angeles, was tackled not with fewer cars but with the catalytic converter.

Yet 4.3 million people die each year in poor countries because of indoor air pollution. The world’s most destitute, who do not have access to modern energy sources, rely on burning biomass and dirty fuel for cooking and heating. The Pope mentions the problem in the encyclical, but he does not embrace the obvious solution: the world’s poor need more access to modern cooking fuels, which will mostly be fossil fuel-based. Renewables like wind and solar energy have a small role to play but mostly remain too expensive and intermittent.

A recent study found that by increasing access to gas, we could lift four times as many people out of darkness and poverty compared with renewables. Clearly, we need to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels. But that will come only from technological invention and innovation.

We need to significantly increase global investment in a green energy R&D fund to speed the day when renewable energy sources can outcompete fossil fuels on their own merits.

But we need to fund the basic research that will make green energy too cheap and easy to resist.

We also need to end fossil fuel subsidies — something the Pope is silent on, but they are concentrated in the developing world, with a disproportionate share going to richer people who can afford a car in poor countries. Phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels would not only cut pollution and CO2, it would reduce inequality and free government budgets to spend more on education and health.

And that is the other problem with the Pope’s encyclical: it is largely silent on the non-climate investments that would do a lot more for the world’s poor than any responses to global warming.

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre recently commissioned research from 60 teams of economists, plus representatives from the UN, NGOs and business, reviewing the UN’s global targets for the next 15 years. With several Nobel laureate economists, the analysis shows that most of the smartest targets have nothing to do with global warming.

That also fits a survey of 7.5 million people around the globe who were asked by the UN about their top priorities. Education, health, jobs, corruption and nutrition were mentioned most often, whereas climate was rated the lowest priority of 16 problems.

One of the most powerful things that could be done today is the removal of barriers to international trade. Reducing trade restrictions would increase the average income by $1000 per person per year in the developing world, lifting 160 million people out of poverty.

Another way of changing lives is one that is unlikely to be embraced by the Catholic Church: achieving universal access to contraception and family planning. At an annual cost of $3.6 billion, allowing women control over pregnancy would mean 150,000 fewer maternal deaths and 600,000 fewer children being orphaned that way.

The reduction in the number of children would mean relatively more people would be of working age, leading to slightly increased economic growth. Adding all of those different benefits, each dollar would achieve $120 of social good.

Pope Francis’s encyclical is rightly concerned with helping the world’s poorest. Climate change will have a bigger impact on poorer people. But that is true of almost every significant challenge on Earth. The question then is which policies and investments would make the most difference for the most vulnerable. To that question, the Pope’s encyclical provides the wrong answers.


The Pope's Encyclical Isn't That Revolutionary

We've heard it all before from the Left

Pope Francis released his much-discussed 184-page papal encyclical on climate change Thursday and the Leftmedia have already distilled the message down to a one sentence quote: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Liberals embrace the Pope, or any aspect of religion in general for that matter, when it suits them. The rhetoric surrounding this encyclical is no different.

An encyclical, for those of us who are not Catholic, is an open letter written by a pope. They are not considered infallible. Think of it as an opinion piece written by the pope.

The document, entitled “Laudato Si” (Praise Be to You), states, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Francis blames the problem on consumerism, corporate greed, overreliance on technology and the poisonous political atmosphere in and among many nations. He called for a radial change in how people conduct their political and economic affairs and suggested that the time has come for each of us to alter our individual lifestyles in response to climate issues.

The encyclical was leaked earlier this week by the Italian magazine L'Espresso, which set off half-baked opinions and speculation about what the document was going to say, with liberals pre-embracing Francis' message and conservatives expressing concern about the injection of the Vatican into a debate that is far from settled, despite what environmentalists would have us believe.

It is interesting how liberals, who have always rejected religion in favor of worship of the state, have embraced Francis since his ascension in Rome. Francis, who comes from Argentina, is the first pope from the developing world, and, coming from a poor nation as he does, his worldview is shaped accordingly. He has frequently spoken on issues of poverty and inequality, often excoriating capitalism and calling on Western democracies to do more for the world’s poor.

This message of taking from the rich and giving to the poor combined with his latest writings on climate change fall right into line with the liberal narrative, and they have fallen over themselves to praise the pope’s latest message.

Of course, the liberal media has been quite selective in its adoration for Francis, choosing to promote his words that match their ideology, but somehow failing to report on other parts of the pope’s message that don’t swing with the liberal dogma.

Here are a few excerpts from “Laudato Si” that are unlikely to make the front page of the major daily newspapers:

“A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable.”

“When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously.”
“Concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion … It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life.”

“Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work.”
While the document does reveal a more considered and practical view of the Catholic Church’s stand on environmental and cultural issues than the media would have us believe, there is still cause for concern as to the sources Francis has chosen for his own climate change education.

The pope has relied on some less than reputable sources for his encyclical. Jeffrey Sachs, an economist with a lifelong adoration of socialist policies, has been a vocal supporter of abortion and just the kind of redistributive activities that make him a darling of the Left. The Vatican invited him to speak at its conference on climate change.

Another “gem” the Vatican has listened to is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Schellnhuber, director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute and the WBGU, a German climate change advisory council, authored the two-degree-trigger, which stated that a two-degree-Centigrade average rise in global surface temperature was the point of no return in terms of climate change. He claimed that we would reach this point by 2020. Of course, the 18-year lull in rising temperatures forced Schellnhuber to revise his doomsday date to 2030.

Whether or not Francis chooses to surround himself with real scientists or enviro-Nazis is his choice, but has the pope stirred a storm by injecting the Catholic Church into the environmental debate?

The Catholic Church has always been part of the political debate in Europe and around the world. Hundreds of years ago, Church decisions drove politics and individual nations followed its lead. Today it’s a different story, though. Christianity is facing a withering ideological attack in the U.S. and Western Europe by secularists who preach the primacy of the state or the individual above God. Except when it suits them, like with “Laudato Si.”

It could be that Pope Francis is not the liberal activist the Left wishes him to be. He still holds dear many tenets of the Church that rankle liberal ideologues, such as his beliefs onheterosexual parents and abortion. And even if Francis chooses to embrace the radical liberal environmental agenda, there will always be room for a loyal opposition within the Catholic Church.


Pope improves Armageddon with Climate Change prophecy

Today the Vatican released a highly anticipated Papal encyclical containing a carefully worded prediction of the imminent destruction of Earth's environment at the hands of wealthy countries and individuals. Titled "Laudato Si," ("Be Praised"), the new encyclical leaves little doubt that its author, Pope Francis, is attempting to bridge the widening gap between the boring and preachy Epistle of Jude and the still popular and hardcore Book of Revelation, while also courting a younger, progressive generation of Mother Earth worshippers by adding a cool new "Horseman of Global Warming" to the existing Doomsday scenario, bringing the total number of Horsemen of the Apocalypse to five.

Prior to the release, a senior Vatican official explained the purpose of the encyclical as a good faith effort by the Pope to demonize unbridled capitalism as the sole threat to our common planet, thus endearing himself and the Church he shepherds to the largely untapped progressive community. "If this encyclical receives the popular support it deserves, it may well find its way into the Canon of Scripture, and possibly into movie theaters worldwide," the source told the press on condition of anonymity, explaining that "stealing the Holy Father's thunder" is an excommunicable offense.

"It may seem odd to suggest that St. John, author of the Book of Revelation, shared a common failing with the early prophets of Climate Change, but it's true. In his eagerness to steer readers to God, John wrote as though it was essential that people immediately embrace holy living so as to avoid the fast-approaching horrors of Armageddon. Likewise, until recently, the harbingers of carbon-based annihilation demanded drastic lifestyle changes among the world's consumers to prevent climate cataclysm," said the insider of an increasingly enlightened and once again relevant Catholic institution.

"Their mutual mistake was the specificity of predictions and deadlines for action, which have all passed without any noticeable impact. New York remains above water and natural disasters have not increased, while the seven seals remain unbroken and the stars are still attached to the firmament," the Vatican source said.

And yet we shouldn't lose hope: "The infallible Vicar of Christ won't repeat those mistakes. His encyclical skillfully combines compelling, Revelationesque doomsday scenarios with a generous use of tempering vagaries such as 'may' and 'potential.'"

Even though none of the earlier predictions have materialized, there is still reason for optimism, as Revelation and Climate Change Science both continue to be wildly popular among the respective groups of believers.

"The encyclical capitalizes on that popularity while serving as a long overdue segue between the present time, where nothing of note is happening, and the apocalyptic events which may still be decades away," said the Vatican official, ending the anonymous statement with a prediction that the eventual Hollywood screenplay may potentially feature a snappier, dire-sounding title.


The end of the world is nigh!

The prophecy hasn't changed -- just the religion.  But all such prophecies have failed in the past so there is no reason to take this one seriously. Fenner knew a lot about viruses but had no known skill as a prophet.  He was however a lifelong Greenie and probably senile when he made his prophecy

Humans will be extinct in 100 years due to overcrowding, declining resources and climate change, according to a prominent scientist.

The comments were first made by Australian microbiologist Dr Frank Fenner in 2010, but engineer and science writer David Auerbach has reiterated the doom-laden warning in his latest article.

He criticises the recent G7 summit for failing to deal with the problems facing the survival of humanity, such as global warming and exhausting Earth's resources.

Mr Auerbach goes on to say that experts have predicted that 21st century civilisation faces a similar fate to the inhabitants of Easter Island, who went extinct when they overexploited their natural habitat. [Rubbish. Piracy and disease were their problem]

‘Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years,’ Dr Fenner told The Australian in 2010. He later passed away in November 2010 at the age of 95.

‘A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation.   'I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

At the G7 talks in Bonn in Germany earlier this month, governments failed to come up with a clear plan to cut emissions in the coming years.

It emerged that countries' current pledges for greenhouse gas cuts will fail to achieve a peak in energy-related emissions by 2030.

This will likely result in a temperature rise of 2.6°C by the end of the century, the International Energy Agency said.

‘When the G7 called on Monday for all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next 85 years, the scientific reaction was unanimous: That’s far too late,’ Mr Auerbach wrote.

‘At this point, lowering emissions is just half the story - the easy half. The harder half will be an aggressive effort to find the technologies needed to reverse the climate apocalypse that has already begun.’

He noted that ‘dangerous’ climate change was already here, but the question now was whether ‘catastrophic’ climate change could be avoided.

The widely agreed goal is that global temperatures must be kept below a rice of 2°C by the end of the century.

A 5°C increase, as predicted to occur by 2100 at the moment, would cause widespread flooding, famine, drought and mass extinction.

‘Even the 2°C figure predicts more than a metre’s rise in sea levels by 2100, enough to displace millions,’ Mr Auerbach noted in his Reuters article.

But he said that current targets are simply not enough to keep under this 2°C target.

The US has suggested cutting emissions by up to 28 per cent by 2025 from 2005 levels, the EU 40 per cent from 1990 to 2030, and China an unspecified amount.

‘Ultimately, we need a Cold War-level of investment in research into new technologies to mitigate the coming effects of global warming,’ he concluded.  ‘Without it, the UN’s work is a nice gesture, but hardly a meaningful one.’



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20 June, 2015

Alan Caruba is gone!

I knew him only by his writings, which I often put up here, but I did shed a tear when I heard the news.  It is hard to imagine that I will be getting no more of his frequent feisty emails.  He was a great battler against the global warming fraud and against nonsense of all sorts.  There are tributes to him here and here

19 June, 2015

Senate Environment Committee Chairman: God, Not Man, Drives Earth's Climate Patterns

This will give Warmists orgasms.  They hate any religion that is a rival to their own.  It will give them great comfort to think that two of their enemies -- Christians and skeptics --  can be compacted into one.  They are great lovers of simplifications.  They will henceforth tend to believe that all skeptics are Christians.  That skepticism is rather inimical to all sorts of religion will pass them by

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said that man-made global warming is not scientifically proven and that God, not man, ultimately drives cyclical climate patterns.

Referring to the observed 18-year hiatus in global warming, Inhofe noted that “we’ve had this levelling for a long period of time...If you look, you’ll see that God’s still up there, and we’re gonna have these cycles that have always been there.”

“We are winning,” Inhofe said in a keynote address at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change held in Washington, D.C. last week. Arguments for man-made global warming and predictions of its disastrous consequences “have been refuted over and over again” by the “truth” and “logic” that is on the side of climate realists, he said.

Inhofe, who was given the Political Leadership on Climate Change Award at the conference, said he has been combating the global warming political agenda in the Senate since the 1990’s.

“I have to confess that way back in the ’90’s…[when] everyone said the world’s coming to an end, it’s global warming -- I thought it’s probably true, until MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and the Charles River Associates...suggested down at Rio de Janeiro with Al Gore the cost for the American people would be...between $300 and $400 billion a year,” Inhofe said.

The United States joined 171 governments at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to discuss stresses to the environment, including poverty, excessive consumption by the wealthy, CO2 emissions, and toxic materials. Climate change scholars from MIT, Charles River Associates, and other institutions predicted large expenditures were needed to meet the UN’s standards for environmental sustainability.

“I did my calculation in my state of Oklahoma as I always do, and that would mean that each family of four in my state of Oklahoma who filed a federal income tax return would have to pay $3,000,” Inhofe said. “And I thought, let me make sure the science is there.

“So I started checking, and I started questioning it. Then the phone calls started coming in from scientists all over and we started publishing this [science] to show that it [man-made global warming] in fact was not a reality,” he continued.

Inhofe mentioned the 1895 “ice age,” followed by a warming trend and another cooling period after 1945, and said the warmer weather at present is just another example of cyclical global temperature variations.  He pointed out that the cooler weather which occurred  after “the largest surge of CO2 emissions” right after World War II directly contradicts “warmist” claims that CO2 emissions cause global warming.

Inhofe accused the United Nations of having a financial incentive for pushing the world’s industrialized nations into spending billions of dollars to combat what it claims is man-made global warming.

“The United Nations is the reason that all of this has come along,” he said. “They want independence. They don’t want to be accountable to anybody -- the United States, or any other country. So how do you do that? You have your own funding source. What’s the best way to do that? Global warming.”

While the UN was able to advance its global warming agenda, warmists in Congress “lost the battle in terms of getting legislation passed,” Inhofe said, citing the 2003 defeat of the McCain-Lieberman bill to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as the “Climategate” scandal, when leaked emails from climate scientists at East Anglia University revealed data manipulation and fraud behind the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

However, Inhofe expressed his concerns that climate change alarmists have money and the bureaucracy on their side, quoting MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen who said: “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream...If you control carbon, you control life.”

Inhofe informed his audience that Republican entrepreneur Jay Faison has donated $175 million to a campaign to get the GOP to acknowledge the supposed dangers of global warming. Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer previoulsy donated $100 million to make climate change a priority in the 2014 elections.

“It’s all about money,” Inhofe said. “This is why you have this last guy [Faison] with $175 million claiming to be a Republican, and he’s gonna be using that to try to influence. And all it takes is one or two or three of the senators to say, you know, maybe I should appease him.” 

“An appeaser is someone who feeds his friends to the alligators hoping that they’ll eat him last,” Inhofe added.


Pope Ponders Paganism

Not since the rule of Emperor Constantine, during the Roman Warm Era, have pagan gods been tolerated in Rome.

Before Constantine, Romans worshipped 12 main gods including Apollo (the Sun), Diana (the Moon), Flora (the plants), Uranus (the sky), Ceres (the crops), Gaia (the Earth) and of course Bacchus (wine), Venus (love) and Mars (war). Some of these gods demanded tribute and sacrifice.

Christianity, the worship of one forgiving God, slowly absorbed or eliminated its pagan rivals. The Popes in Rome came to lead a Catholic empire of Christians.

In modern times, the old Greek/Roman goddess, Gaia, has been resurrected by the world green movement.

Pope Francis seems to seek an alliance with these nature worshippers.

Unfortunately the Green wolf will never lie down with the Christian lambs.

Christians promote care for humanity especially the weak and the poor. The Gaia worshippers have subordinated humans to “nature” and their attitude to other humans ranges from contempt to deep hatred. Under their extremist Agenda 21, the priests of Gaia would sacrifice humans by restricting their access to land, oceans, food, minerals and energy, and then concentrate the survivors in soul-destroying dormitory cities and food factories. Greens want all descendants of Adam and Eve expelled from our Gardens of Eden.

Christians generally value individual freedom and private property. The Green priesthood will not rest until there is a world government in which there is no private property and all humans are numbered, controlled and planned. They are using climate alarmism to achieve these goals.

Priests and Pontiffs have no place in dictating questions of science and engineering. Climate forecasts and energy policy should be determined by scientific enquiry and sound engineering, not by high-priests dabbling in politics.


UK: Residents to be given onshore wind farm veto: Tories vow to 'halt the spread' of turbines by preventing them being 'imposed on communities without consultation'

Residents are to be handed powers to stop onshore wind farms being built, ministers will announce today.

The Tories have vowed to ‘halt the spread’ of unsightly turbines by preventing wind farms from being ‘imposed on communities without consultation or public support’.

Changes to the planning laws will ensure that councils in England and Wales – in consultation with residents – have the final say over whether windmills get the green light.

It follows opposition by local campaigners and Tory MPs to the spread of new turbines up to 400-feet high, which they say blight the landscape and cause noise to nearby households.

There are more than 5,000 onshore turbines across the UK, of which around half are in Scotland. About 3,500 more have planning permission.

But just under 3,000 are awaiting consent, and could be affected by the new rules if the operators cannot prove they have the support of residents who are affected.

Greg Clark, the Local Government Secretary, said: ‘Communities should be free to decide whether they want wind turbines in their local area and, if so, where they should go.’

Currently, at least half of wind farm applications are rejected by local planners due to local opposition or because their location is considered inappropriate.

But many of these decisions are then overturned on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate, on the grounds that Britain needs renewable energy to meet climate change targets.

The changes mean that wind farms will only get the go-ahead if they are included in the council’s local plan for the area, which is drawn up every few years in consultation with residents.

Even if turbines meet the criteria set out in the plan, if there is considerable concern from residents about noise or the local environment, the application will need to be amended.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the new rules would ‘reassure a local community that… any concerns they have about its impact will be addressed.’

Generous subsidies paid to landowners who allow wind farms to be built will also be cut, under proposals announced in the Tory manifesto. This is expected to be announced soon.

In 2014, 57 per cent of all onshore wind applications were rejected, according to figures published in January. This compares with only 37 per cent rejected in 2013, and 24 per cent back in 2009.

The rate of wind farms being rejected more than doubled in the last Parliament, amid concerns from more than 100 Tory backbenchers that they blight the landscape and upset residents.

Wind farms will continue to be built offshore, where they are more expensive but they attract far less opposition from voters. Small turbines on farm land will not be affected by the rules.

Britain has a legally-binding target to produce 15 per cent of energy from low-carbon sources – such as wind, solar and nuclear plants – by 2020.

But ministers say there are enough wind farms which have already been approved or applications put in, to meet this target.

Exceeding it would pile more costs onto household electricity bills.

Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, said: ‘Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix but we now have enough projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments.

‘We have a long-term plan to keep our homes warm, power the economy with cleaner energy, and keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families.’

The wind industry trade body Renewable UK expressed concerns about the new planning rules.

Deputy chief executive Maf Smith said introducing tough new rules for wind farms would ‘tilt the playing field’ towards fracking which deeply concerns residents.

He said: ‘We support local councils taking decisions about local projects.

'Onshore wind is the most cost effective way to generate clean electricity, consistently enjoying two-thirds public support in all the opinion polls, so councils will want to take this into consideration.

‘The Government will wants to keep the lights on at the lowest possible cost – that has to include supporting onshore wind.’

But Councillor Gary Porter, vice chairman of the Local Government Association, said: ‘Local people should have a say on development that affects them.

‘The local planning system provides a democratically accountable and effective means for councils to consult local people and take decisions based on local planning policies.’


Greenpeace: global warriors against development

Who can blame India for wanting to get rid of these eco-meddlers?

Greenpeace is back in the news. Not because its members have once again dressed up as orangutans or scaled skyscrapers in protest of some impending environmental disaster. This time it’s Greenpeace’s allegedly unfair treatment at the hands of the Indian government that has hit headlines.

Last week, Greenpeace activist and Australian national Aaron Gray-Block was denied entry into India by immigration officials in New Delhi, who were acting on a directive issued by the Indian government. This wasn’t the first time that the government has attempted to scupper Greenpeace’s activities. Last year, British Greenpeace activist Ben Hargreaves was also denied entry. Meanwhile, Greenpeace India staffer Priya Pillai was prevented from travelling to the UK earlier this year, where she was set to talk to British MPs about the environmental harm presented by coal mines in India.

Greenpeace is expressing outrage at the clampdown, crying that the Indian government’s actions are an affront to freedom and democracy. But, while it is fair to suggest that the Indian government is suppressing Greenpeace’s activities in India, it is hard not to sympathise with its attitude towards Greenpeace and its ilk. Besides, cries of censorship and undemocratic behaviour are rather rich coming from an organisation that rejects democratic debate, is not representative of any electorate and would rather appeal to the British state to help curb India’s coal-mining activities than attempt to win support from the Indian masses for its cause.

India’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, headed by prime minister Narendra Modi, has frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace India and stopped the inflow of foreign funds. It is also contemplating revoking Greenpeace’s charity status. The government, which won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in last year’s election, on a manifesto committed to economic growth and development, is accusing Greenpeace of undermining India’s economic progress by stalling mining, GM and energy projects.

This is not an unfair accusation, and India is not alone in its distaste for Greenpeace and its high-profile antics. Russia arrested and imprisoned 30 Greenpeace activists for preventing oil drilling in Arctic waters. New Zealand decided to revoke the charity status of Greenpeace because its activists routinely trespassed on private property. In the past few years, Indonesia has also detained, deported or simply refused entry to numerous Greenpeace activists who were campaigning against its palm-oil industry, including Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven.

According to Samit Aich, Greenpeace India’s executive director, there is a direct parallel between the attack on Greenpeace and India’s recent banning of India’s Daughter, a documentary about the 2012 Delhi gang rape. Both events, he claims, reflect the Indian government’s refusal to face up to the country’s problems. Maybe. But a far more likely explanation is that the Indian government does not want Western agendas and prejudices to determine its affairs.

When justifying the decision to deny Sauven entry to Indonesia, Maryoto Sumadi, the spokesman for Indonesia’s immigration department, summed it up well: ‘It is the right of our country, just like any country, to deny entry to people in accordance with our national interests.’ He’s got a point. Picture a staunchly republican group of Indian activists, generously funded by thousands of Indians, coming to Britain to disrupt the royal wedding and hector the British government for maintaining such a backward institution. I can’t imagine it would go down well.

The Indian government has alleged that international NGOs like Greenpeace are pushing an anti-development agenda drawn up in Western nations. A leaked report from the Indian Intelligence Bureau said that ‘a significant number of Indian NGOs, funded by donors based in the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands, have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects’. This is all, of course, true. Groups like Greenpeace enjoy the support of the Western political elite, and their campaigns echo elite views and prejudices. As a result, Greenpeace oversimplifies complex issues in foreign countries, ignoring the political and material desires of the people.

While renewable energy might be all the rage in the West, 35 to 40 per cent of the population of India still live without electricity. Coal meets 54.5 per cent of India’s energy needs, and 61.5 per cent of the installed power-generation capacity. It also plays a key role in industries like steel and cement. India has the fourth-largest coal reserve in the world, and yet this potential is untapped because of delays and disruption, necessitating the import of coal from Indonesia and Australia. It is ludicrous for groups like Greenpeace to talk about India switching to expensive renewable energy when the country needs cheap coal-fired power in the here and now.

As in most developing countries, big development projects in India are fraught with problems thrown up by displacement, land acquisition, conflicts with locals and tribes, compensation, permits and bureaucracy. Greenpeace often exploits and exacerbates these difficulties. Rather than trying to open up the debate, win the argument and rally the Indian masses to its cause, Greenpeace merely pretends to act on behalf of blighted locals. Greenpeace India may brag that 77,768 Indian citizens donate to its cause, but this is still a minuscule constituency in a country of over 1.2 billion.

Unfortunately, in resorting to using state machinery to restrict the activities of Greenpeace, the Indian government is also guilty of bypassing the demos in order to tackle challenges to its political programme. In the process, Modi’s government is also allowing Greenpeace to play martyr. The issues that are stalling development projects in India often centre on the concerns of local populations. These are people that need to be engaged with. It is the vacuum left by the mainstream parties’ withdrawal from public discussion of these issues that Greenpeace seeks to fill.


WH Science Adviser: ‘Cars, Trucks and Planes Are Going to Have to Run on Electricity, Biofuels or Hydrogen'

John Holdren is not so much Obama’s science and technology advisor as Obama's science and technology ignoramus.  Making prophecies is no part of science

John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s top science and technology advisor, said at a White House summit on clean energy on Tuesday that a “global low-carbon economy” by the year 2050 means that “cars, trucks and planes” will be powered by “electricity, biofuels or hydrogen.”

“As we all know, a global low-carbon economy in 2050 is going to have to meet the energy needs of 9 or 10 billion people using technologies that will have to be more advanced than the technologies that are in place today,” he said. “Buildings, agriculture, machines must be dramatically more energy-efficient.”

“Cars, trucks and planes are going to have to run on electricity, biofuels or hydrogen,” Holdren said. "Electricity generation is going to need to come primarily from renewables and nuclear energy.

“The emissions from most of the remaining fossil fuel combustion are going to need to be diverted permanently from the atmosphere,” Holdren said.

At the summit, staged to announce $4-billion in private sector investment in clean energy research and development and announce executive actions taken by Obama to increase the federal government’s role in investing and developing clean energy, Holdren said money is needed to get new technologies through the “valley of death.”

“Even bigger than the challenge of funding for research, development and demonstration is the challenge of the valley of death – finding the capital to move innovations through that valley across to commercial success on the other side,” Holdren said. “And this, of course, is where the role of financing and the focus of this summit.”

According to the Institute for Energy Research, using data from the federal U.S. Energy Information Administration, 95 percent of the U.S. transportation sector consumption is fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – with only five percent coming from alternative energy sources.

Fossil fuels also meet around 82 percent of U.S. energy demand, according to the federal government.

The IER website also states: “Despite the rapid growth of global demand for petroleum products, the EIA estimates that less than half the world’s total conventional oil reserves will have been exhausted by 2030. These estimates include existing oil reserves and anticipated reserves resulting from new technologies and discoveries. World oil reserves at the end of 2014 totaled 1655.56 billion barrels, over 3.1 times their level in 1971. The world’s oil reserves have steadily increased even in the face of rising consumption.”


French minister blames climate change on NUTELLA… prompting anger in its home country of Italy where politician vows to eat it for dinner in response

The French environment minister has slammed Nutella chocolate spread saying it is contributing to 'massive deforestation' - sparking a feud her Italian counterpart.

Ségolène Royal was being interviewed by French broadcaster Canal+ on Monday when she took aim at the much-loved dip-come-spread for relying on palm oil as a key ingredient.

She said that the manufacture of the hazelnut product was helping drive global warming as it meant the downing of trees, urging foodies to boycott it.

The Guardian reported that - in a conversation about saving the environment - Royal said: 'We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it's made with palm oil.'

She is then alleged to have said that the product should be made with 'other ingredients'.

Made by Italian company Ferrero, Nutella contains the edible oil derived from palm fruit, grown in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America.

However, 85 per cent of all of the world's palm oil is made in Indonesia and Malaysia, where acres of forest have been destroyed to make way for manufacturing plantations.

After hearing of Royal's comments, Italian environment minister Luca Galletti responded, asking that Royal 'leave Italian products alone'.  He then posted on Twitter: 'Ségolène Royal is worrying. Leave Italian products alone. For dinner tonight … it's bread with Nutella.'

His retort was supported by fellow Italian politician Michele Anzaldi, who himself accused her of insulting 'Italian excellence'.

Ferrero also responded, stressing how committed it was as a company to sourcing the palm oil it uses in a responsible manner.

After appreciating the chocolate bomb she'd exploded, Royal took to her Twitter to give 'a thousand apologies' for her comments, vowing to make public the 'progress' the firm had made in recent years.

The fall-out couldn't have come at a worse time for the neighbouring countries, with the ever-worsening migrant situation in the border city of Ventimiglia, where hundreds of Africans are trapped after being banned from entering France.

As well as featuring in Nutella, palm oil is also an ingredient in shampoo, ice cream, toothpaste and shaving foam.



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

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


18 June, 2015

Warmists still longing for Zion

Their Zion is an actual increase in global temperature. "2015 May Bring Long-Awaited Step-Jump In Global Temperatures", says paid propagandist Joe Romm.  But the figures he is getting his kicks from are the much-massaged surface records. Strange that he  doesn't mention the much more accurate satellite data which shows that this year and last are nowhere near record temperatures.

Historically, the global temperature trend-line is more like a staircase than a ramp. We now appear to be headed for a step-jump in global temperatures — one that scientists have been expecting.
NASA reported this week that this was the hottest five-month start (January to May) of any year on record.

The recent study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” explains why a speed up in the rate of global warming is imminent — with Arctic warming rising up to 1°F per decade by the 2020s.

More than 90 percent of global heating goes into the oceans — and ocean warming down to 2000 meters (1.24 miles) has accelerated this century.

Climatologist Kevin Trenberth has explained that “a global temperature increase occurs in the latter stages of an El Niño event, as heat comes out of the ocean and warms the atmosphere.”

This week, NOAA released its monthly El Niño Southern Oscillation [ENSO] report, which concludes, “There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere fall 2015, and around an 85% chance it will last through the 2015-16 winter.”

So — barring a massive volcanic eruption in the next few months — 2015 is all but certain to become the hottest year on record by far. And if the growing El Niño does extend into next year, than 2016 will be another blistering year.


Little Sir Echo -- pathetic

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday launched a crusade against climate change – two days before the Pope.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby issued a green declaration signed by British faith leaders, which asserted that climate change has hurt the poor of the world.

The Anglican statement called on people of all faiths to ‘recognise the urgency of the tasks involved in making the transition to the low carbon economy’ and demanded that national leaders make laws to ‘limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of two degrees celsius’.

Pope Francis’s teaching document is due to be officially released tomorrow, but it has already been widely discussed.

The Papal encyclical is understood to tell Roman Catholics that climate change is damaging the earth and hurting the poor.

It will say harm is being done to the poorest countries ‘because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods God has placed on her’.

According to a leak of the 192-page document, the Pontiff will say that climate change is largely a result of human activity.

He will also equate climate change scepticism with sin. A draft of the document, acquired by the Italian magazine L’Espresso, condemned ‘attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers’, and quoted a prominent theologian saying ‘a crime against nature is a crime against ourselves and a sin against God’.

The Anglican intervention, the timing of which may raise eyebrows in the Vatican, spoke to all faiths, and was also signed by Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Roman Catholic leaders in Britain.

It said: ‘As representatives of the vast numbers of people of faith across the globe we urge our government to use its influence.’

The Anglicans’ Lambeth Declaration echoed an original declaration organised by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, which the Church of England hoped would persuade leaders at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. The Copenhagen meeting proved a failure.

Both the Vatican and the CofE are trying to put pressure on ahead of the UN climate change summit in Paris in December.

But the assumption in both the Vatican and Lambeth Palace that man-made climate change is harming the world and the poor in particular, and that radical efforts to reduce carbon emissions are necessary, is likely to irritate a number of prominent Catholics and Anglicans.

Some Christians will also resent the implication that those unconvinced about man-made climate change are sinners.


Austin’s Plastic Bag Ban Worse for Environment Than Bags It Outlaws

In an effort to protect the environment, Austin,Texas passed an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in 2013.

However, a recent review concludes that Austin’s bag ban has backfired, creating more negative effects on the environment than the plastic bags it outlawed.

“Beginning March 1, 2013, no person may provide single-use carryout bags at any City facility, City-sponsored event, or any event held on City property,” the ordinance reads. “Beginning March 1, 2013, a business establishment within the City limits may not provide single-use carryout bags to its customers or to any person.”

Two years after the bag ban was implemented, the city asked the Austin Resource Recovery group to investigate its effectiveness. Their June 10 report, written by Aaron Waters, states that while the ban was successful in lowering the amount of single-use plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene in city landfills, it was actually worse for the environment overall.

“The amount of single use plastic bags has been reduced, both in count and by weight,” Waters states. “However, in their place, the larger 4 mil [4/1,000ths of an inch] bags have replaced them as the go to standard when the reusable bag is left at home. This reusable plastic bag, along with the paper bag, has a very high carbon footprint compared to the single use bag.”

The 4 mil reusable bags are often made from non-recycled low-density polyethylene and require more resources to manufacture than the single-use bags, Waters explained. Many of the heavier gauge 4 mil bags are also shipped from overseas, which increases their carbon footprint compared to the single-use bags.

Waters also reported that the ordinance increases costs for both consumers and retailers. Consumers are spending more money purchasing reusable bags and some businesses are losing customers due to the ordinance.

For example, a Here Everything’s Better (HEB) grocery store within Austin city limits must adhere to the ordinance. However, it is surrounded by neighboring towns that have no such restrictions. 

“The close proximity of the other grocery stores has proven problematic for the HEB in this area of Austin, as they have reported that upon the implementation of the Single Use Bag Ordinance, this store lost between $60,000 to $70,000 per week in revenue as a result of customers choosing to shop at a store which would provide single use bags,” Waters reports.

Waters recommended that the city eliminate the 4 mil reusable bags, educate consumers on recycling, and encourage surrounding areas to ban plastic bags as well.

There has been some backlash within Texas in the nine jurisdictions that currently have some type of bag ban.The Texas Retailers Association initially sued Austin over its bag ordinance, but later dropped the case. However, earlier this month the Dallas City Council voted to repeal its plastic bag ordinance after a group of bag manufactures filed a similar lawsuit.

Then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also argued that state law prohibits local governments from enacting such ordinances, which have been passed in nearly 200 cities and towns in 17 states. A ban on plastic bags was first imposed at the state level in California.

“Texas is being Californianized and you may not even be noticing it,” now Governor Greg Abbott said earlier this year. “It’s being done at the city level with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. We’re forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model.”

A June 2014 report by the Reason Foundation also found that “for the main environmental effects of concern—i.e. non-renewable energy consumption, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions—HDPE [ high-density polyethylene] plastic bags are superior to the alternative options currently available….

“Advocates of restrictions on plastic bags frequently assert that their preferred option is for people to use reusable bags. When the impact of washing such bags is taken into account, the environmental effect of such bags is likely worse than HDPE plastic bags—especially in places such as California where fresh water is relatively scarce.”


Jeb Bush: Pope Francis should steer clear of climate issue

In his first official day on the presidential campaign trail on Tuesday, Republican Jeb Bush, a Catholic, had sharp words on Pope Francis’ decision to leap into the climate change debate, saying the pontiff should steer clear of political issues.

Bush, at a town hall event in New Hampshire a day after formally announcing his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, said he was eager to read an encyclical the Vatican is set to release Thursday on climate change, but will take it with a grain of salt, even as he called Francis an extraordinary leader.

"I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home,” Bush said. “But I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope."

Bush, a former Florida governor who converted to Catholicism 25 years ago, said religion "ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm."

In an appearance in New Hampshire last month, Bush said it was arrogant for people to insist that science on climate change is clear.

In Derry on Tuesday, Bush said he did not think the science on climate change was "complete."

More than 70 percent of U.S. Catholics believe the planet is getting warmer, though only 47 percent attribute that warming to human causes, according to the Pew Research Center. The views of Catholics on the issue are similar to those of Americans overall.


UK: European Court bars discounts on Greenie products

The European Court of Justice has today handed down a bizarre ruling to the British government, demanding that despite Europe’s constant hectoring over carbon emissions, the UK may not seek to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on energy-saving materials to increase its uptake amongst consumers.

The ruling, which has already been criticised by Conservative Party MEPs, states that Britain would breach the EU’s VAT Directive by applying a reduction in the rate of VAT applied to energy-saving materials for housing.

The EU has decided that the policy, introduced by the coalition government last year, can only apply to social, or government housing. Today’s ruling says:

    “…the Court states that, while it is true, as asserted by the UK, that a policy of housing improvement may produce social effects, the extension of the scope of the reduced rate of VAT to all residential property cannot be described as essentially social. By providing for the application of a reduced rate of VAT to supplies of energy-saving materials and installation of such materials, irrespective of the housing concerned and with no differentiation among people living in that housing, the UK measures cannot be regarded as having been adopted for reasons of exclusively social interest or even for reasons of principally social interest.”

The policy of a 5 percent reduction in VAT applied to households’ heating controls, water turbines, wind turbines, insulation, heat pumps, and boilers.

The new ruling flies in the face of the government’s other, both self-imposed and EU-imposed obligations to attempt to reduce overall carbon emissions.

The 5 percent VAT reduction formed part of the last government’s “Green Deal” initiative. Today’s ruling will increase the cost of the materials and installation, with experts claiming that it threatens “to make the Green Deal unviable in many cases.”

Conservative MEP Ashley Fox said: “When you consider the importance these days of promoting energy-saving, this judgment is most unfortunate and thoroughly unwelcome. It defies common sense.

“People will be aghast when they see the EU on the one hand hectoring member states about carbon reduction while on the other handing down judgments like this.”


Coal seam gas: How left-wing groups are closing Australia to business

The latest blow to the economic wellbeing of the nation and future generations is the proposal by some members of the NSW National Party to buckle before Green extremists and oppose coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers region as outlined before the State election.

Without any exaggeration, the growth of CSG as an energy source has been an international game changer, reducing the dependence of Western nations on Arab and Russian energy supplies and subservience to the oligarchs who run the petroleum cartel.

Locking up our own gas reserves and artificially forcing a reliance on imports is a no-brainer, but then no-one ever accused the Green lobby of being either smart or putting the interests of the nation before its international agenda to end fossil fuel consumption.

The Nationals, having lost their formerly safe Northern Rivers seat of Ballina to the Greens at the March election have been spooked but a blanket ban on CSG in any area hits at investment security across the nation as surely as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew’s decision to tear up the contracts for Melbourne’s $6.8 billion East West Link.

The decision by NSW Nationals leader and deputy Premier Troy Grant may have something to do with the shrill anti-CSG campaign mounted on the Leftist anti-social media networks but the Nats have traditionally shown more backbone.

NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee, said expressed alarm at the move yesterday.

“Calls for an end to CSG drilling in the Northern Rivers region are concerning,” he said, “because the chief proponents are the anti-mining Greens who have used fear and misinformation to whip up community uncertainty about CSG in order to generate opposition to mining more generally. The Greens agenda to end the NSW resources industry would result in tens of thousands of job losses, devastate regional communities, and put NSW into recession.

“With the right policy settings, the resources sector can continue to underpin the strength of the NSW economy for many decades to come. The International Energy Agency predicts that global electricity demand could double by 2035 and that coal is likely to fuel more of that supply than either oil or gas for the foreseeable future. This is because coal is superabundant, easy and safe to move, and it is cheap compared to other energy options.”

The activists have as usual relied heavily on hysteria generated by the anti-fracking lobby in the US and falsehoods peddled in emotional pseudo-docos like the recently produced Frackman, which was hyped by the taxpayer-funded ABC and funded with the assistance of the Australian taxpayer.

Naturally, it made no mention of the fact that fracking has been practised widely in the US and Canada since 1947 and in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland without incident since the late 1960s.

Just last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency released a draft assessment of a study on fracking which concluded that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources”.

Thomas A. Burke, the EPA’s science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, acknowledging that potential water vulnerabilities exist said the study was intended to help identify those vulnerabilities so the nation could take measures to reduce risks and better protect its water.

The evidence gathered by five-year, multi-million dollar study underscored the reality that in the US, fracking is being conducted safely under the environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices.

The EPA, following a congressional request, studied all aspects of the use of water in fracking, from the acquisition of the water, chemical mixing at the well, injection of fracturing fluids, the collection of fracturing wastewater, and wastewater treatment and disposal.

There is no reason why Australian environmental regulators and CSG operators could not follow the same practises and permit ordinary Australians to enjoy the economic benefits of a thriving CSG industry.

The Australian public has been lured down a very dangerous path the koala-suited extremists.

Renewable energy is not the answer for this nation.

Solar, windpower, even hydro, are inherently unreliable. There are cloudy days, there are windless days and there are droughts. Those are the facts the Greens will not face.

We have an abundance of coal, a cheap source of energy, and we have gas. The Greens are opposed to the use of both forms of fuel – and, of course, they hate uranium, which is probably the best long-term fuel available and again, a mineral which is found here in copious quantities.

Thanks to the Greens and Labor, taxpayers are still being slugged billions to keep the renewable energy sector afloat through generous subsidies, most of which are sent to offshore manufacturers.

On a cost-basis, the renewable energy alternatives just don’t stack up.

The Nationals haven’t helped by caving in to the apocalyptic Greens on CSG.



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

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


17 June, 2015

Our scorched Earth in 2100: Nasa maps reveal how climate change will cause temperatures to soar

That the Warmists keep issuing these extreme prophecies is compellingly reminiscent of chiliastic religions.  Warmism is merely the latest of the many doom religions that have sprouted  over the centuries.  It is pure religious faith.   You HAVE to be religious to think you can predict the future.  Scientists can't.

New data released by Nasa scientists is revealing how temperature and rainfall patterns around the world may change by the year 2100.

Using climate change predictions based on increasing levels of carbon dioxide, the data reveals what may happen to the climate in individual towns and cities.

Much of the data is still in raw form for now to allow scientists to run models on a daily timescale.

However, a map of the world released by Nasa, which shows the predicted temperature for July 2100, provides some clues for what the world may look like.

By that time, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will have reached 935 parts per million, meaning the gas comprises nearly 0.1 per cent of the atmosphere.  Earlier this year carbon dioxide levels reached 400 parts per million.

If by the end of the century carbon dioxide in the atmosphere more than doubles, much of Africa, South America and India will endure average daily maximum temperatures of more than 45°C.

Jerusalem, New York, Los Angeles and Mumbai could see summer temperatures reaching these levels too.

London will experience temperatures in the mid 20s and Paris could see its July temperatures reaching the low 30s.

Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at Nasa, said: 'Nasa is in the business of taking what we've learned about our planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard our future.

'With this new global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use in planning how to cope with a warming planet.'

The new dataset is the latest product from Nasa's Earth Exchange (NEX), a big-data research platform within the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Centre its Ames Research Center in California.

The data shows projected changes worldwide in response to rising carbon dioxide levels and can be viewed on a daily timescale for individual towns and cities.

Unlike other climate prediction maps, which tend to show how global temperatures will differ from a pre-industrial average or current levels, the data gives predicted values.

Nasa says the data will help scientists and planners better understand the risks facing the world due to climate change.


Ecoalarmists Were Wrong. Again.

In 2009, Al Gore said the Arctic would be ice-free by summer 2014. He was wrong. A year before that, ABC News warned that climate change would flood the City of New York by 2015. That was wrong too. Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock explains: “New York City underwater? Gas over $9 a gallon? A carton of milk costs almost $13? Welcome to June 12, 2015.

Or at least that was the wildly inaccurate version of 2015 predicted by ABC News exactly seven years ago. Appearing on Good Morning America in 2008, Bob Woodruff hyped Earth 2100, a special that pushed apocalyptic predictions of the then-futuristic 2015.”

The show was taped in 2008, though the network held off airing the program until a year later — and probably now wishing it had delayed it permanently.

“The program showcased the terrible impact of global warming from 2015 through 2100,” adds Whitlock. “In the special, a ‘storm of the century’ wiped out Miami. Other highlights included a destroyed New York City and an abandoned Las Vegas. By 2084, Earth’s population will apparently be just 2.7 billion.” Trust them. They’re experts.


Is climate change affecting birth weights?

If there were any truth in this scare, babies born in the tropics would all be underweight.  They are not.  I am from a population of British origin that has existed in the tropics for many generations and I can assure all that the normal experience there  -- as elsewhere -- is of 8lb boy babies and 7lb girl babies

A link between air temperature and birth weight has been discovered by researchers.  They have found that exposure to high temperatures during pregnancy increases the risk of giving birth to smaller babies.

The study could be seen to have worrying implications for pregnant women in heatwaves and hints that dramatic global warming may lead to less healthy babies in the long-term.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Harvard University studied the relationship between birth weight and ambient air temperature during pregnancy in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2008.

‘We found that exposure to high air temperature during pregnancy increases the risk of lower birth weight and can cause preterm birth,' Dr Itali Kloog of BGU said.

‘An increase of 8.5 °C (47.3°F) in the last trimester of average exposure was associated with a 17g (0.6 ounce) decrease in birth weight of babies born full term after adjusting for other potential risk factors,’ he said.

For the experiment, experts developed a ‘high resolution air temperature estimation model’ technique to predict daily air temperature in regions.

This helped scientists analyse how women were exposed to differing temperatures from the date of conception to the birth of their babies.

Dr Kloog believes the research, which is published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, is important as the Earth is said to be heating up.

‘With the increase in temperatures over the last century and continued emissions from greenhouse gases, more attention is being focused on effects from heat,’ he said.

G7 leaders’ absurd 2100 commitment

The G7 group of world leaders last weekend committed to eliminating fossil fuels’ usage by 2100, as well as to cutting their use by 40-70% by 2050. That commitment is absurd; neither the world leaders nor anyone else knows anything about what the world economy or its technical capabilities will look like by 2100, yet in this area they are attempting to micromanage it. The world has already suffered eight years of lousy economic performance because of politicians’ mismanagement of fiscal, monetary, and environmental policies. It is time to call out the intellectual bankruptcy of these attempts to wreck our living standards.

First, a political commitment that stretches to 2100, or even 2050, is completely meaningless, given that all seven of the G7 countries are democracies, with evidence of hereditary leadership only in the United States. All but one of the G7 politicians at last week’s meeting are in late middle age; even with science perhaps lengthening lifespans, they will not be in office by 2100, or even 2050.

For one thing, their countries’ political cycles forbid it. Barack Obama leaves office in 2017; it seems unlikely that Michelle will succeed him, as Hillary is attempting to succeed Bill Clinton. David Cameron seems likely to pass his “sell-by-date” by about 2020, and indeed he has promised to stand down then. German leaders last longer, but Angela Merkel is 60 and has been in office for almost a decade. Francois Hollande is also 60, and French tradition doesn’t lead to long leadership terms. Stephen Harper is younger, only 56, but after 9 years in office is surely reaching the limits of the Canadian electorate’s tolerance. Shinzo Abe is also 60, and Japanese leaders are lucky to survive even 5 years – no Japanese prime minister has ever made it past a decade.

Only Matteo Renzi of Italy has a shot at being in office in or after 2050. He’s only 40, and will be 75 in 2050, a plausible leadership age. What’s more, Italian leaders can go on and on (though not consecutively) – Giulio Andreotti’s terms of office stretched over 20 years, ending in a conviction for organizing a Mafia murder (later reversed) while Amintore Fanfani’s terms of office stretched over 33½ years (which wouldn’t quite take Renzi to 2050) and ended when he was 79 (which would take Renzi triumphantly to 2054.)

Still, that’s 2050; even if we grant that today’s politicians have some marginal credibility making commitments for 2050, they have none whatever in making such commitments for 2100. Only if we were ruled by hereditary monarchies, with heirs bound by their ancestors’ actions, would such long-term commitments have any meaning – and even in that case, Queen Victoria in her old age in 1900 did not feel herself bound by commitments made by her uncle as Prince Regent in 1815.

The second problem with the G7 leaders’ commitment is that they are relying on pretty unsettled science and, with political enthusiasm exceeding scientific competence, going beyond it. No reputable scientist has suggested that we need to reduce carbon emissions to zero to eliminate the possibility of global warming. There are innumerable natural sources of carbon dioxide, include human exhalation, so short of wiping out human life (and much animal life) entirely we will not prevent CO2 emissions.

In reality, the main danger of destabilizing the global ecosystem is the inexorable increase in world population. By 2100 on current projections, we will have 10 billion people on the planet. Their natural carbon dioxide emissions would thus have multiplied by a factor of ten the natural emissions of 1800’s 1 billion people even if the Industrial Revolution had been conducted entirely on the basis of clean technologies.

What’s more, unlike a policy of switching to more expensive and unreliable sources of energy, a policy of reversing population growth would actually increase the standards of living of ordinary people over the long term, as global resources would be less heavily utilized and would consequently be reduced in price. Merrie England was most Merrie in about 1470, after the Black Death had wiped out more than a third of the population; similarly among the richest societies in human history have been late Colonial America and 1880s Australia, both of which benefited enormously from very low population density and massive availability of resources per individual.

A third objection to the G7 proposal is the rigidity of the technologies themselves. It’s by no means certain that even with all the subsidies we are doling out to Elon Musk, we can get solar cars to the efficiency and affordability necessary for their universal use. Aircraft are even more difficult to imagine without fossil fuels; the Solar Impulse 2, an experimental solar powered aircraft, is in the process of flying one pilot round the world over a period of five months (since extended because atmospheric conditions need to be exactly right, with winds of no more than 4 mph.) Of course, we could revert to dirigibles, and to taking a week or so to circumnavigate the globe. Plastics, too, are difficult to imagine without hydrocarbons. Overall, the technical difficulties in moving to zero fossil fuel usage appear insuperable, even by 2100. The last 10% is the devil, technologically speaking.

Finally, there is the problem that the goal of abolishing fossil fuel usage is based on climate science that has yet to prove conclusively that a problem exists that is close to warranting these draconian solutions. No, I am not a climate change denier – heaven forbid I should attract that noxious epithet! But the scientific evidence so far shows only a modest warming effect, and the 17-year pause in warming since 1998, together with the further cooling that climate scientists are now postulating between now and 2050, suggest strongly that the warming effect will continue to be modest, probably no more than 1 degree Celsius per century, easily solvable at minimal cost by a few sandbags on the sea walls.

The credibility of the “global warming” hypothesis is seriously damaged for all thinking people by the tactics used by climate change extremists, most of the scientists among whom are dependent on the problem for their livelihood. The left has seized on global warming as an unparalleled opportunity to shift the world into a planned economy, with them doing the planning, at infinite cost to our living standards. The regulations they impose are extortionately expensive, and have little or no effect on carbon levels; one shudders to think of the regulations they could come up with if anybody took the zero fossil fuel usage goal seriously.

Their attempts to befuddle dozy politicians into doing their bidding, and to shut down debate among the rest of us, are typical of the left’s modus operandi in any economic or social debate. There is indeed “settled science” in the global warming debate – a little of it – but it doesn’t say what the fanatics claim it says.

Far from devising ever more fanciful and more distant goals which would require the Sovietization of our economy, sensible statesmen should take global warming seriously as a problem, but meet it with a modest carbon tax, which could be ratcheted up if the problem appeared to be becoming more serious and ratcheted down if as at present it appeared to be receding. That would eliminate the cost of regulation, and the gigantic costs of such follies as shutting down the German steel industry or devoting the entire coast of Britain to wind farms. By all means discuss the problem at G7 meetings, but with a sensible 10-year time horizon and without all the gigantic intellectually dishonest bureaucracies whose livelihoods are fueled by alarmism.


Whose Fossil Fuel Use Will G7 Leaders Reduce by 70%?

Our global political masters met in Germany this week: see how green they are? They’re walking … in a field: can’t get any greener than that!  And, as usual, they are coming up with the definitive solutions to the greatest threats of today: the end of the use of fossil fuels—in 85 years.

No worries if that sounds a little pie-in-the-sky: they also promise to hit a 30-70% reduction by…2050!

The reduction certainly won’t come from the G7 leaders: no cutbacks in motorcades, fleets of presidential 747s, entourages of hundreds:  Obama’s one-night trip to Brussels last year entailed an entourage of 900, with 45 vehicles transported in three cargo planes (not to mention Air Force One and the Presidential Airlift Group), and his trip through Africa included hundreds of Secret Service agents, 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks, and fighter jets flying in shifts.

As also reported, last year’s UN summit on climate change held in Peru generated more CO2 than a small country.

So, if we can’t look to our “leaders” to set the example of conservation, just whose use of fossil fuels will Obama et al. restrict to achieve their lofty goals?

I’ll give you three guesses. (G7 leaders to their subjects: “Conservation for thee but not for me!”)

Then, start contemplating how a centrally mandated 70% reduction in today’s cheapest and most readily available energy will likely play out your daily life.

Meanwhile: these folks say no carbon use by 2100 is too late; while others point out there’s been no increase in warming in 18 years.


EPA Fails to Punish Corrupt Workers, Lets Them Keep Full Pay

The scandal-plagued agency that's wasted millions to bring underserved and minority communities "environmental justice" fails to punish corrupt employees and allows them to keep their government paychecks, according to a new federal audit.

It involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which just a few years ago was investigated for dodging potential public scrutiny and possibly congressional oversight by using bogus electronic mail accounts to conduct official business. This occurred under President Obama's first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, who dedicated tens of millions of dollars to an "environmental justice" movement that helps minority communities get green. Under the program the EPA has doled out large sums to leftwing community groups that help poor, minority and indigenous people increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions through "weatherization," participate in "green jobs" training and avoid heat stroke.

Other EPA transgressions have been reported by Judicial Watch over the years, including agency funds going to groups that help illegal immigrants. In fact, JW uncovered documents that show a New Jersey nonprofit (Lazos America Unida) that advocates on behalf of the "Mexican immigrant community" and a Missouri farm workers' group that aims to increase awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure in migrant populations were among EPA grant recipients. A few years ago the EPA gave Tijuana $93,000 to launch Mexico's green transformation.

Earlier this year the EPA served as an inspiration for a bill introduced in Congress to curb an epidemic of federal employees watching pornography on government computers during work hours. The congressman who introduced the law disclosed that various EPA Inspector General probes have uncovered multiple cases of employees working hard at watching porn. "One EPA employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his office," the congressman said. "The same federal employee was found to have downloaded as many as 7,000 pornographic files onto his government computer."

With this consistent record of perpetual lapses over the years, it's hardly surprising that this bloated agency with an annual budget of nearly $8 billion sits idly by while its workforce engages in illegal behavior. The EPA does little to discipline employees for misconduct, according to the latest report issued by the agency's inspector general to Congress. It includes a multitude of examples in which the agency failed to take action against workers who committed wrongdoing. For instance, a senior executive simultaneously worked in a private-sector job while he was supposedly performing tasks at the EPA. Agency brass took no action for nearly a year and ultimately put the executive on "paid administrative leave," allowing the worker to collect full pay for doing nothing.

Other cases include eight employees accused by the EPA of misconduct who are also on paid leave and have accrued around 21,000 hours at a cost of more than $1 million and two employees who got busted watching porn during work hours. Each of the porn viewers has an annual salary of $120,000 and both were placed on administrative leave for a year before they were even reprimanded, according to the audit. One of them retired with full benefits without any punishment and the other is still collecting a full government paycheck. The anecdotes go on and on. "Recent events and activities indicate a possible ‘culture of complacency' among some supervisors at the EPA regarding time and attendance controls, employee computer usage, real property management, and taking prompt action against employees," the report says.



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16 June, 2015

Aha!  The new encyclical is going to be just like the old ones!

Encyclicals are normally very cautious documents -- which have something for everyone -- and this one will be no different. As with the utterances of the previous Pope (Ratzinger) it will say that, yes, the environment is important but we must have economic growth too in order to lift the poor out of poverty. 

There is no known way of combining Greenie ideas with economic growth so you certainly won't be able to have both but there is no harm in saying we must have both.  An encyclical is not legislation.  It is just overall guidance. 

I predict this one will be rather fun.  The Warmists will say the Pope is on their side and business groups will say the Pope is on their side -- just as both Left and Right claimed victory over
De rerum novarum and Centesimus annus

A new development model [such as?] is needed to combat global warming, one that marries economic growth to combat poverty with a sustainable use of resources, Pope Francis' deputy said Wednesday.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, said both political and economic commitment will be required to ensure the Earth's health for future generations.

Parolin's remarks came in a message Wednesday to a conference of business and church leaders on how sustainable actions can drive the economic growth needed to lift people out of poverty. It's a theme that Francis is expected to explore in his environment encyclical, which is due in the coming weeks.

"When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation," Parolin's message said. "There is no room for the globalization of indifference, the economy of exclusion or the throwaway culture so often denounced by Pope Francis."

Parolin's intervention was a clear indication that Francis endorses economic development proposals which help the poor but use new, clean-energy, low carbon and efficient technologies.

The conference was organized by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which aims to drive economic prosperity while addressing climate change. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who chairs the commission, said global action to stop climate change had long been stymied by fears that economic growth and jobs would be sacrificed. The commission's studies, he said, had found the opposite.

"We can foster economic growth and mitigate climate risk at the same time," he said. "In fact, this is the only way to achieve long-term, sustained economic growth, and through it to alleviate poverty for the millions of souls that need, demand and deserve it."


"Food security" -- wotta lotta ...

We are told below that groundwater depletion in semi-arid regions of Texas and California threatens US food security.  I know nothing about groundwater in Texas and California but I do know that food security is a snark.

The characteristic problem of international trade in farm products is GLUT!  Too much food.  It's the reason the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture pays tens of thousands of American farmers not to produce.  That started back in the '30s with FDR.  It's why the EU has a "lake" of unsold wine. Even chilly old Canada is a major food exporter -- of grains in particular.  

If we DO get some global warming and another couple of million extra acres of Northern Canada become warm enough for farming, food prices will hit an all-time low because supply will so far outstrip demand.  Canada might prohibit all slimming advertisements as hostile to its farmers

The nation's food supply may be vulnerable to rapid groundwater depletion from irrigated agriculture, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere.

The study, which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, paints the highest resolution picture yet of how groundwater depletion varies across space and time in California's Central Valley and the High Plains of the central U.S. Researchers hope this information will enable more sustainable use of water in these areas, although they think irrigated agriculture may be unsustainable in some parts.

"We're already seeing changes in both areas," said Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology and lead author of the study. "We're seeing decreases in rural populations in the High Plains. Increasing urbanization is replacing farms in the Central Valley. And during droughts some farmers are forced to fallow their land. These trends will only accelerate as water scarcity issues become more severe."

Three results of the new study are particularly striking: First, during the most recent drought in California's Central Valley, from 2006 to 2009, farmers in the south depleted enough groundwater to fill the nation's largest human-made reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas -- a level of groundwater depletion that is unsustainable at current recharge rates.

Second, a third of the groundwater depletion in the High Plains occurs in just 4% of the land area. And third, the researchers project that if current trends continue some parts of the southern High Plains that currently support irrigated agriculture, mostly in the Texas Panhandle and western Kansas, will be unable to do so within a few decades.

California's Central Valley is sometimes called the nation's "fruit and vegetable basket." The High Plains, which run from northwest Texas to southern Wyoming and South Dakota, are sometimes called the country's "grain basket." Combined, these two regions produced agricultural products worth $56 billion in 2007, accounting for much of the nation's food production. They also account for half of all groundwater depletion in the U.S., mainly as a result of irrigating crops.

In the early 20th century, farmers in California's Central Valley began pumping groundwater to irrigate their crops. Over time, groundwater levels dropped as much as 400 feet in some places. From the 1930s to '70s, state and federal agencies built a system of dams, reservoirs and canals to transfer water from the relatively water-rich north to the very dry south. Since then, groundwater levels in some areas have risen as much as 300 feet. In the High Plains, farmers first began large-scale pumping of groundwater for crop irrigation in the 1930s and '40s; but irrigation greatly expanded in response to the 1950s drought. Since then, groundwater levels there have steadily declined, in some places more than 150 feet.

Scanlon and her colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey and the Université de Rennes in France used water level records from thousands of wells, data from NASA's GRACE satellites, and computer models to study groundwater depletion in the two regions.

GRACE satellites monitor changes in Earth's gravity field which are controlled primarily by variations in water storage. Byron Tapley, director of the university's Center for Space Research, led the development of the GRACE satellites, which recently celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Scanlon and her colleagues suggested several ways to make irrigated agriculture in the Central Valley more sustainable: Replace flood irrigation systems (used on about half of crops) with more efficient sprinkle and drip systems and expand the practice of groundwater banking -- storing excess surface water in times of plenty in the same natural aquifers that supply groundwater for irrigation. Groundwater banks currently store 2 to 3 cubic kilometers of water in California, similar to or greater than storage capacities of many of the large surface water reservoirs in the state. Groundwater banks provide a valuable approach for evening out water supplies during climate extremes ranging from droughts to floods.

For various reasons, Scanlon and other experts don't think these or other engineering approaches will solve the problem in the High Plains. When groundwater levels drop too low to support irrigated farming in some areas, farmers there will be forced to switch from irrigated crops such as corn to non-irrigated crops such as sorghum, or to rangeland. The transition could be economically challenging because non-irrigated crops generate about half the yield of irrigated crops and are far more vulnerable to droughts.

"Basically irrigated agriculture in much of the southern High Plains is unsustainable," said Scanlon.


The disgusting little worm that is Schellnhuber says Earth Overpopulated by 6B


Hans Joachim Schnellnhuber, a leading German climate scientist who is set to speak as Pope Francis unveils his long-awaited climate change encyclical,  once said the world is overpopulated by 6 billion people, reports.

At the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, Schnellnhuber, who is founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, said that if greenhouse gas buildup caused a rise of 9 degrees Fahrenheit of global temperatures, much life on earth would be threatened. Six billion members of the 7 billion human population would die, he said, according to a New York Times report on the conference.

"In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something – namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people," said Schellnhuber, who is described by the Times writer as using dark humor throughout the talk.

"What a triumph," Schellnhuber said. "On the other hand, do we want this alternative? I think we can do much, much better."

Francis' encyclical comes out on Thursday in Vatican City , and many on the left have hoped it would link the global warming fight to religious obligation, Breitbart notes. With Schellnhuber, one of the word's most aggressive anti-climate change scientists, scheduled to speak, the left may be getting what they hope for.

Schellnhuber said, "The scientific, economic, and moral dimensions all belong together."

Skeptics of man-made climate change already are voicing concern about the encyclical, and Schnellnhuber's presence at the announcement isn't likely to allay their fears.

Breitbart notes he is also the author of the "two-degree target," that calls for nations to keep the global temperature within two degrees of what it was before the industrial revolution.

He also has called for an Earth Constitution that would transcend the U.N. Charter and a "Global Council … elected by all the people on Earth" and a "Planetary Court … a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution."


Twin peaks – twin lies

Supposedly record-high temperature and carbon dioxide levels supposedly bring record chaos

Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin

A recent NOAA article is just what Doctor Doom ordered. It claims the 18-year “hiatus” in rising planetary temperatures isn’t really happening. (The “pause” followed a 20-year modest temperature increase, which followed a prolonged cooling period.) The article states:

“Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

Published in Science magazine to ensure extensive news coverage before critics could expose its flaws, the report was indeed featured prominently in the national print, television, radio and electronic media.

It’s part of the twin peaks thesis: Peaking carbon dioxide levels will cause peaking temperatures, which will lead to catastrophic climate and weather. Unfortunately for alarmists, the chaos isn’t happening.

No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2.  And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change – allergies, asthma, Islamic State and Boko Haram – don’t even pass the laugh test.

The NOAA report appears to have been another salvo in the White House’s attempt to regain the offensive, ahead of the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Climate Conference. However, a growing number of prominent analysts have uncovered serious biases, errors and questions in the report.

Climatologists Pat Michaels, Dick Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger point out that the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius, to make them “homogenous” with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are “clearly contaminated by heat conduction” from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use – whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.

So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration.” However, it will not be “particularly useful” for improving our understanding of what is happening in Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Curry and the previously mentioned scientists also note that the buoy network has covered an increasingly wide area over the past couple decades, collecting high quality data. So again, why did NOAA resort to shipboard data? The ARGO buoys and satellite network (both omitted in this new analysis) do not show a warming trend – whereas the NOAA methodology injects a clear warming trend.

Canadian economist and statistical expert Ross McKitrick also analyzed the NOAA approach. He concluded that it wipes out the global warming hiatus that eight other studies have found. Its adjustments to SST records for 1998-2000 had an especially large effect, he says. Dr. McKitrick also recaps the problems scientists have with trying to create consistent temperature records from the multiple measurement methods employed over the centuries.

Theologian, ethicist and climate analyst Calvin Beisner provides an excellent summary of all these and other critiques of the deceptive NOAA paper.

It is also important to note that, in reality, NOAA is quibbling about hundredths of a degree – essentially the margin of error. On that basis it rejects multiple studies that found planetary warming has stopped.

Britain’s Global Warming Policy Forum succinctly concludes: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA,” as well as by other exhaustive data monitoring reports over the past four decades.

The vitally important bottom line is simple.                                                                        

The central issue in this ongoing debate is not whether Planet Earth is warming. The issue is: How much is it warming? How much of the warming and other climate changes are due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases – and how much are due to the same powerful natural forces that have driven climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history? And will any changes be short-term or long-term … and good, bad, neutral or catastrophic?

At this time, there is no scientific evidence – based on actual observations and measurements of temperatures and weather events – that humans are altering the climate to a significant or dangerous degree. Computer models, political statements and hypothetical cataclysms cannot and must not substitute for that absence of actual evidence, especially when the consequences would be so dire for so many. In fact, even the “record high” global average temperature of 2014 was concocted and a margin of error.

Simply put, the danger is not climate change – which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate.

Moreover, the IPCC’s top climate official says the UN’s unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global capitalist] economic development model.” Another IPCC director says, “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

That summit could give government officials and environmental activists the power to eliminate fossil fuels, control businesses and entire economies, and tell families what living standards they will be permitted to enjoy – with no accountability for the damage that will result from their actions.

For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do.

For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.

Countries, communities, companies and citizens need to challenge and resist these immoral, harmful, tyrannical, lethal and racist EPA, IPCC, UN and EU decrees. Otherwise, the steady technological, economic, health and human progress of the past 150 years will come to a painful, grinding halt – sacrificed in the name of an illusory and fabricated climate crisis.


Climate-change skeptics reveal fudging of temperature data;
Senators blast global-warming alarmism based on fraud

The entire purpose of global-warming alarmism is to consolidate more power and control in the federal government, according to former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

“I find it very convenient that the politicians who would seize power from the people and heavily regulate businesses on the threat of ill-defined climate catastrophe are usually the ones who wanted to control everything anyway,” DeMint told a large breakfasting crowd at the Washington Court Hotel Thursday. “It’s funny how that works out, and it’s clear what the goals are. It really is central power.”

The crowd was gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 10th International Conference on Climate Change, which took place Thursday and Friday. Hosted by the Heartland Institute, the event brought together skeptics of man-caused climate change from all over the world for two days of expert panels and keynote addresses.

“The facts are these: climate always changes,” said DeMint, now the president of the Heritage Foundation “Human activity might play a role, and … that’s not always a problem, especially not one to be solved by policies which could impoverish prosperous societies and destroy poor ones and not improve the environment. Contorting models and predictions to lie about this so one can advance a centralized political agenda is not simply an insult to science, it’s an offense against democracy.”

In a Thursday morning panel presentation, attendees learned exactly how models and predictions are contorted to make global warming appear to be a huge problem. Meteorologist and blogger Anthony Watts revealed the climate change data gatekeepers – those entities who filter information before it is disseminated for public consumption. He said there are four main types of gatekeepers – dataset curators, such as NOAA; organizations, such as the IPCC; press release services; and science journals.

What most people don’t know, according to Watts, is there is only one source of data on the Earth’s surface temperature – the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). That is why all of the dataset curators produce the same data. However, there exists independent satellite data that doesn’t agree with the single-source surface temperature data on temperature trends over the past 18 years. The latter shows an increase, while the former shows mostly steady temperatures.

Watts said the various gatekeepers adjust data sets all the time. Specifically, they adjust past temperatures downward so it looks like there has been a greater increase in temperature over time. Watts showed that the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, for example, has gradually adjusted the Earth’s past temperatures downward since 1980.

In addition to adjusting data, gatekeepers also infill missing data, according to Watts. Some temperature reporting stations have stopped reporting over time, and instead of simply skipping over them, dataset curators fill in a value.

Not only have some stations stopped reporting, said Watts, but others produce unreliable readings. He showed the audience photographs of two reporting stations in Arizona, both located in asphalt parking lots, which are naturally hotter than more remote areas. Meanwhile, the U.S. Climate Reference Network, with about 150 stations situated away from human beings, has reported essentially stable temperatures over the past several years, he said.

Watts said it can be misleading when agencies show the public only the average annual temperature of an area. As an example, he cited Las Vegas, where the average annual temperature has been rising since 1937. However, the average annual maximum temperature in Vegas has been flat or slightly decreasing. It is the average annual minimum temperature that has been rising, suggesting nights have gotten hotter while days have not.

Watts noted very few states saw record high temperatures in the past two decades. In fact, a plurality of record highs occurred in the 1930s. He also presented a graph showing the number of 90+ degree readings at all U.S. Historical Climate Network stations has been going down since the 1930s.

Recently, NOAA “erased” our current 18-year pause in global warming by adjusting past temperatures downward and recent temperatures upward. Watts claims the latter adjustment relied on problematic data from ship-based temperature readings, which can be driven upward by the ship engine’s heat. He said the 18-year warming hiatus remains in the satellite record.

“We’ve got the temperature record a victim of gatekeeping activity since its production methodology is not fully reproducible outside of the government,” Watts concluded. “We need a third party investigation. The surface temperature record has an overzealous adjustment scheme that adds warming. The resultant temperature data set is, in my opinion, not fit for purpose and not truly representative of the temperature history of the globe or the United States.”

Watts’s fellow panelist, Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, argued global warming alarmists do not follow a rational climate policy because they don’t adhere to “cumulative,” evidence-based methods. In fact, Armstrong said, the IPCC has stated “long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” So instead of scientifically forecasting the future climate, they create computer-simulated scenarios about the future based on “expert judgments.” And he contended expert judgments are useless when it comes to complex, uncertain situations.

“The mass media keeps blaring this thing, and it’s very convincing to people,” Armstrong said. “It’s going to fail as this becomes a more high-involvement situation. It also is going to fail because repeating lies – you can repeat lies as long as people aren’t interested. Once they get interested, then repeating lies harms them.”

One message that has been repeated over and over in the media is that 97 percent of climate scientists agree global warming is very likely due to human activity. But Dr. Roy Spencer, another panelist and climatologist, seemed unimpressed by that data point.

“That 97 percent – even if it was 99 percent, it really doesn’t matter because it’s a herd mentality in climate science,” Spencer asserted. “Most of those people don’t know enough about the climate system, about feedbacks, to give an independent view on whether humans are causing significant climate change.”

Indeed, most of the speakers at the conference seemed to understand the massive mainstream opposition they face. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who spoke at Thursday’s breakfast, said he’s been called a “prostitute” and accused of treason for his views on climate change. But he essentially laughed it off.

“If you don’t have the truth on your side, and you don’t have logic on your side, you do two things: you insult and you call names,” Inhofe told the crowd. “So this is what’s going on, and that’s always an indication that you’re winning, when they start that. It really is. You can’t let it bother you.”


High-tech solar projects fail to deliver

Ivanpah has set such a bad example that other similar projects have been scrapped.  A lot of the time it actually runs on a "fossil fuel" -- natural gas

Some costly high-tech solar power projects aren't living up to promises their backers made about how much electricity they could generate.

Solar-thermal technology, which uses mirrors to capture the sun's rays, was once heralded as the advance that would overtake old fashioned solar panel farms. But a series of missteps and technical difficulties threatens to make newfangled solar-thermal technology obsolete.

The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California's Mojave Desert is supposed to be generating more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. But 15 months after starting up, the plant is producing just 40% of that, according to data from the U.S. Energy Department.

The sprawling facility uses "power towers"--huge pillars surrounded by more than 170,000 mirrors, each bigger than a king-size bed--to capture the sun's rays and create steam. That steam is used to generate electricity. Built by BrightSource Energy Inc. and operated by NRG Energy Inc., Ivanpah has been advertised as more reliable than a traditional solar panel farm, in part, because it more closely resembles conventional power plants that burn coal or natural gas.

Turns out, there is a lot more to go wrong with the new technology. Replacing broken equipment and learning better ways to operate the complex assortment of machinery has stalled Ivanpah's ability to reach full potential, said Randy Hickok, a senior vice president at NRG. New solar-thermal technology isn't as simple as traditional solar panel installations. Since older solar photovoltaic panels have been around for decades, they improve in efficiency and price every year, he said.

"There's a lot more on-the-job learning with Ivanpah," Mr. Hickok said, adding that engineers have had to fix leaky tubes connected to water boilers and contend with a vibrating steam turbine that threatened nearby equipment.

One big miscalculation was that the power plant requires far more steam to run smoothly and efficiently than originally thought, according to a document filed with the California Energy Commission. Instead of ramping up the plant each day before sunrise by burning one hour's worth of natural gas to generate steam, Ivanpah needs more than four times that much help from fossil fuels to get plant humming every morning. Another unexpected problem: not enough sun. Weather predictions for the area underestimated the amount of cloud cover that has blanketed Ivanpah since it went into service in 2013.

Ivanpah isn't the only new solar-thermal project is struggling to energize the grid. A large mirror-powered plant built in Arizona almost two years ago by Abengoa SA of Spain has also had its share of hiccups. Designed to deliver a million megawatt hours of power annually, the plant is putting out roughly half that, federal data show.

NRG and Abengoa say their plants will reach power targets once the kinks are worked out.

In contrast, incremental improvements to traditional solar panels have allowed SunPower Corp. to get more electricity that it originally thought it could from its 1,500-acre solar farm. California Valley Solar Ranch was designed to produce 600,000 megawatt-hours a year in 2013 when it started operating, but today it can generate up to 4% more.

"It's years of learning from experience," said Tom Werner, chief executive of SunPower, adding that his employees have been building large-scale solar farms for more than a decade.

Solar-thermal developers including Abengoa and BrightSource continue to build new plants in South Africa, Chile and China. But Lucas Davis, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says it is unlikely more U.S. projects will gain traction as utilities opt for cheaper solar farms that use panels.

"I don't expect a lot of solar thermal to get built. It's just too expensive," he said.

American solar farms generate 15 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. That satisfies less than 1% of U.S. electricity demand, but six times the amount of power that solar-thermal plants currently produce. And the vast arrays of solar panels that blanket the ground cost roughly half as much to build as new mirror-powered plants, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Electricity prices from new solar farms average around 5 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to GTM Research, which tracks renewable energy markets. That compares with between 12 and 25 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by the Ivanpah power plant, state and federal data show.

It is unclear how much power would cost from a brand new solar-thermal plant, but it would be more than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour, said Parthiv Kurup, an analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Denver.

The cost of solar panels has plunged in recent years amid a world-wide glut of equipment as China, Taiwan and other countries rapidly developed solar manufacturing centers. A few years ago solar-thermal technology was heralded as a better way to deliver carbon-free renewable energy; some utilities even predicted the technology would replace traditional solar farms.

Even if solar-thermal developers could offer the same power prices as their solar-panel rivals do, solar-thermal plants face environmental hurdles in the U.S.

The Ivanpah plant was delayed several months and had millions of dollars in cost overruns because of wildlife protections for the endangered Desert Tortoise. Once built, U.S. government biologists found the plant's superheated mirrors were killing birds. In April, biologists working for the state estimated that 3,500 birds died at Ivanpah in the span of a year, many of them burned alive while flying through a part of the solar installment where air temperatures can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bird carnage combined with opposition by Native American tribes to industrial projects on undeveloped land has made California regulators wary of approving more. Last September, Abengoa and BrightSource abandoned their quest to build a solar-thermal project near Joshua Tree National Park when the state regulator told them the plant's footprint would have to be cut in half.

In March the Board of Supervisors of Inyo County, a sparsely populated part of California that is home to Death Valley National Park, voted to ban solar-thermal power plants altogether. "Ivanpah had a significant effect on the decision making," said Joshua Hart, the county's planning director.



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

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


15 June, 2015

Britain burning its historic forests to save the planet

Who said Greenies like trees?

One gloomy day in March 2012, Pip Pountney, recently retired from Warwick University, went for a walk in Ryton Wood near Coventry with Ann Wilson, a former textile chemist.

Ryton’s 216 acres are described by its owners, the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, as ‘one of the largest semi-natural ancient woodlands in Warwickshire’. A Site of Special Scientific Interest, it has long been famous for its bluebells, which flourished every spring beneath a canopy of English oaks.

But what ex-teacher Pountney and Wilson saw looked to them like utter desolation. They came across a stand where about 50 mature oaks, some 300 years old, had been felled the previous winter. Their trunks lay in ragged piles, some sawn into roundels.

The oaks’ fate, the Trust has confirmed, was to be burnt: as ‘sustainable’ heating fuel in log-burning stoves – a market which is expanding rapidly. According to trade group HETUS, almost 200,000 such stoves are installed every year – a five-fold increase since 2007.

Logs, however, feed only a part of Britain’s expanding appetite for ‘green’ wood-sourced energy. Adding to demand is the even faster-growing market for heating and hot-water systems fuelled by wood chips and pellets – which is heavily subsidised by taxpayers.

The Forestry Commission and the biomass industry’s lobby group, the Woodland Heat Association, insist this policy is justified on environmental grounds. They say the new ‘biomass’ energy market can improve the quality of forests, by creating new financial incentives to ‘manage’ woods that have been neglected and allowed to run wild.

However, other experts fear that in some forests, the consequences will be disastrous. Oxford University ecologist Clive Hambler said: ‘Subsidising biomass is one of the most counter-productive policies ever invented, and about the most bizarre thing you could possibly do to counter climate change.’

In his view, felling British hard wood forests in order to burn them is harming biodiversity, destroying habitats, and may well increase emissions. He said: ‘Big, hardwood trees are enormous carbon sinks, and take hundreds of years to be replaced.’

Dr Mark Fisher, research fellow at the Wildland Research Institute at Leeds University, agreed, saying: ‘Forests are being butchered in the service of an ideology. This new industry incentivises devastation, and no one is looking at the long-term consequences for our woods.’

Overall, more wood is now being burnt from British woods than at any time since the industrial revolution

Last week, this newspaper revealed how the burning of millions of tons of wood pellets at the heavily subsidised Drax power plant in Yorkshire is destroying forests in America. Today the focus is closer to home – the impact on domestic woodlands of the vogue for burning wood.

Under EU rules, wood fuel qualifies as ‘zero carbon’, because felled trees will supposedly grow back and re-absorb the CO2 emitted by burning them. Burning wood to generate electricity or heat counts towards emissions targets, so that chips, pellets and sometimes logs qualify for a ‘green’ subsidy.

Known as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), this has rewarded the owners of wood burning boilers with a sum close to £200 million since it started in April 2012. And such installations, despite the cheapest system for an average farmhouse costing about £6,000, are growing exponentially: the 1,667 domestic units registered in the first quarter of 2015 represented a 96 per cent increase on the previous year.

Overall, more wood is now being burnt from British woods than at any time since the industrial revolution. The Government’s target is that the annual fuel harvest should reach two million tons by 2020 – about 18 per cent of the current total cut from British forests.

At present trends, it will easily be surpassed, because the RHI is astonishingly lucrative. Piping Hot, a wood-heat company in Daventry, 15 miles from Ryton, says on its website that it ‘will not only give you free heating, but also generate staggering paybacks, often paying for a biomass installation within 3 years, and then years of free heating. The fact that RHI is linked to inflation means that you are virtually protected against increases in fuel prices.’

Under the RHI, householders, businesses or public bodies with a biomass boiler make a profit every time they use it. The rates are different for domestic and commercial premises, and they vary with the size of boiler. But they work out as about 8p per kilowatt hour of heat produced for homes, and 6p for most businesses. But the cost of chips is much lower – between 2.7p and 3.5p per kilowatt hour, depending on the size of a delivery. The subsidy is index linked, tax-free and guaranteed for 20 years in the case of businesses and seven for homes.

However, unlike the subsidies for other ‘renewable’ energy, the RHI is met not by levies on consumers’ energy bills, but general taxation. A part of every VAT or income tax receipt goes towards it – cash which could have been spent on the NHS or schools.

The argument over whether the RHI is justified is focused especially on hardwood forests such as Ryton. According to the Forestry Commission, 75 per cent of British hardwood cut in 2013 – some 400,000 tons – went to fuel.

But conservationists have been sharply divided for years as to how such woods should be managed.

One view, held by the Warwickshire Trust and others, is that in woods which have been left ‘unmanaged’, trees such as oaks should be reduced in density, to allow more light to penetrate the canopy. This, the Trust says, will help butterflies and certain flowers flourish.

The Trust says it is also trying to restore traditional ‘coppicing’ – cutting trees such as hazel close to the ground, so they rapidly sprout multiple stems. In past centuries, coppicing supported rural crafts, such as fencing.

Clive Hambler said that sometimes, this was ‘defensible’. But often, he added, it ignored the many species that flourish in shady broadleaf woodland, including bats, woodpeckers, many kinds of moth, stag beetles and several rare mosses. Moreover, restoring coppiced woods which had been left to grow for decades was extremely difficult. Dr Fisher said: ‘You can’t just recreate conditions that existed 40 years ago or more. The effect of bringing back coppicing to woods like these can be to wipe out the entire ecosystem which is actually there. When you cut down the trees, you remove the homes of animals, birds and plants.’

Woods where there has been recent felling never look pretty, and in Ryton last month, it wasn’t hard to tell felled and untouched areas apart. Where no trees had been cut, there was still a lush canopy, and carpets of flowers. Elsewhere were dozens of newly felled oaks, their stumps still coated with sawdust. Just a few isolated examples had been allowed to remain – in forestry parlance, ‘standards’. Many of these trees, no longer protected from the elements by the oaks that had surrounded them, seemed to be dying.

At nearby Wappenbury Wood, also owned by the Trust, the scene looked still worse. There too, the Trust is trying to restore coppicing and thin out mature hardwoods. In one spot, a huge grove of aspens had just been felled, leaving almost no vegetation at all. In its place was just several acres of black mud.

At least in Warwickshire the intention is to preserve, not destroy, the woodland. But at Bickerton Hill, on Cheshire’s Welsh border, the owner – the National Trust – is trying to wipe out huge swathes of a much loved birch wood altogether. Here, the plan is to ‘re-heath’ – restore the heathery, open slopes that existed before the birch trees began to grow 80 years ago.

A local forest contractor said that last winter he helped remove 3,000 tons of birch that had been felled – all sold for logs and biomass. Yet according to Hambler, the scheme is doomed. It takes centuries to create the biological conditions that had created a heath, he said – not just a few years. Indeed, in areas felled in 2008, it could be seen that when resilient birch seedlings had started to sprout the Trust had them doused in powerful herbicide, wiping out all the vegetation – birch and heather alike. A Trust spokesman acknowledged the concerns of locals but insisted that eventually, the re-heathing would be successful.

Either way, although the NT also received a grant, it is clear that demand for biomass has made this scheme more economically viable.

The same is true for the felling and coppicing at Wappenbury. Wildlife Trust woodland officer Eddie Asbery said that there a deal was done with a contractor: in return for removing the trees for free, he sold the wood for biomass.

Hambler said: ‘British forest wildlife has been on a downward spiral for thousands of years. A massive new market for wood should be ringing very loud alarm bells. We should not be complacent just because removing wood is a defensible management in some sites.’

Be that as it may, the results dismay Pip Pountney – who along with Ann Wilson, has formed a campaign group to preserve Warwickshire’s forests, and taken an ecology diploma at Warwick University.

‘This is where I played as a child,’ she said in Ryton Wood. ‘They call it an ancient woodland. The way things are going, it’s going to end up as an oak forest with no oaks.’


EPA moves toward regulating aircraft emissions

The Obama administration on Wednesday released a scientific finding that greenhouse gases from aircraft pose a risk to human health, paving the way for regulating emissions from the U.S. aviation industry.

The "endangerment finding" by the Environmental Protection Agency would allow the administration to implement a global carbon dioxide emissions standard being developed by the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization.

In its 194-page finding, the EPA said it took "a preliminary but necessary first step to begin to address greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector, the highest-emitting category of transportation sources that the EPA has not yet addressed."

The ICAO is due to release its CO2 standard in February 2016, with the aim of adopting it later that year.

But the requirement is expected to apply only to new aircraft designs certified from 2020, leaving most of the world's existing fleets unaffected for years to come.

Aviation accounted for 11 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector in 2013, and nearly 30 percent of global aircraft emissions in 2010, the latest year with complete global emissions data.

The EPA's ruling will mark the first step toward regulating aviation's greenhouse gas emissions, and aviation will become the latest industrial sector to be regulated under the Clean Air Act after cars, trucks and large stationary sources like power plants.

But it came only after a federal court ruled in 2012 in favor of environmental groups that had sued the EPA, saying it was obligated to regulate aircraft emissions under the law.

The airline industry favors a global standard over individual national standards since carriers operate all over the world and want to avoid a patchwork of rules and measures, such as taxes, charges and emissions trading programs.

"If you're a big airline and you're flying to 100 countries a day, then complying with all those different regimes is an administrative nightmare," said Paul Steele, senior vice president at the International Air Transport Association, the industry's main global organization.

But some environmental groups are concerned that the standard being discussed at ICAO will do little to change the status quo right now.

"The stringency being discussed at ICAO is such that existing aircraft are already meeting the standard they are weighing," said Sarah Burt, a lawyer at Earthjustice, one of several groups that sued the EPA.

Planes generally stay in service for 20 or 30 years, she added.

International Council on Clean Transportation Program Director Dan Rutherford said that to ensure real emissions reductions from airlines, ICAO should apply a carbon dioxide standard to all new aircraft delivered after 2020.

But ICAO is weighing a standard that would apply only to new designs certified after the expected application date of Jan. 1, 2020.

Such an approach would mean the standard would only cover about 5 percent of the global aircraft fleet in 2030, he said.


The Warmist mental bubble

Writers in America have come out with research which could explain why the debate on climate change continues to rumble on, even though there is a solid consensus on the facts of the matter.

Essentially, according to the researchers, people tend to live in "echo chambers" as far as climate matters go, seeking out information and advisers who agree with what they already believe. Thus, they may persist in deluded views regardless of what others think.

"Individuals who get their information from the same sources with the same perspective may be under the impression that theirs is the dominant perspective, regardless of what the science says," explains Professor Dana Fisher, the corresponding author who led the research.

The prof is of course correct: people will continue to believe marginal bloggers on climate matters, even when their "information" is debunked by proper climate scientists: here's a case from last year in which various dubious lunatic-fringe blogs - "DeSmogBlog"*, "Climate Central" etc - were found to be peddling misinformation on hurricanes in defiance of qualified  climatologists. And yet many people continue to believe what these bloggers say.

On a larger scale it's been repeatedly established in recent surveys that most people don't agree with the idea that climate change is mainly caused by human activities. The United States Senate recently declined to endorse this position, also. And it's well known that nations around the world have consistently failed to sign up to any binding agreement on significant cuts to carbon emissions, no matter what position they may espouse on climate change.

So it's pretty clear that the "dominant perspective" here is the sceptical one: the belief that climate change certainly occurs, but it's not been proven to be primarily driven by carbon emissions - and in any case that the theorised consequences of carbon-driven change have not been shown to be such as to require urgent and economically painful action.

And yet many people, living inside their misguided "echo chamber", keep on insisting that the science is settled in the alarmist direction and the case for economic pain is made - or alternatively, that no pain is involved in emissions cuts, quite the reverse (though in that case it seems odd that people haven't just cut emissions on their own). These people obdurately persist in their denial of the consensus position.

“We find that the occurrences of echo chambers are indeed statistically significant, meaning our model provides a potential explanation for why climate change denial persists in spite of the consensus,” says Dr Lorien Jasny, a computational social scientist at the US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).

Jasny, Fisher and their colleagues have laid out their research in full, in a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The two social scientists acknowledge that, of course, the echo chamber problem exists on both sides of the debate and it is important for those holding majority beliefs to realise that there is some chance - tiny as it may be - that the alarmist position may be correct, or more plausibly may have elements of correctness in it.

"Our research underscores how important it is for people on both sides [our emphasis] of the climate debate to be careful about where they get their information. If their sources are limited to those that repeat and amplify a single perspective, they can't be certain about the reliability or objectivity of their information," Jasny says. ®


*DeSmogBlog is especially unscrupulous. It is funded by convicted criminal John Lefebvre and other individuals linked to the site have been noted to employ legally dubious tactics.

We have not used the word "boffin" in this article as the researchers involved - sociologists, and as such from the soft-studies sector - do not qualify for that noble appellation.


Methane no danger

Recent scientific studies on the behaviour of methane released into the environment contradicts climate science predictions about the gas as a global warming risk. gulf oil spillAnalysis of the impact of the terrible 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster (picture right) and a study of peat bogs, shows climate scientists may be wrong to claim such “greenhouse gases” can cause catastrophic long term impacts.

For years computer models used by climate scientists have predicted alarmist outcomes if humans permit levels of “greenhouse gases,” such as CO2 and methane in the atmosphere, to rise.

Melting permafrost due to CO2-driven global warming is said to be one of the major dangers to humanity due to its release of greenhouse gases, which they claim causes a worrying “positive feedback” loop of warming.

In particular, it was believed the release of methane (CH4), along with CO2, would boost the warming feedback leading to “runaway” warming. But findings by experts studying global peat bogs, a main emitter of methane, shows that this particular scare story is not supported by the science.

Due to recent advances in scientific understanding of permafrost and the effects CH4 has on the atmosphere, there is no evidence to warrant concern about dangerous climate change.

Making the position plain in the renowned book ‘Peatlands and Climate Change,’ Maria Strack, of the International Peat Society, disavows the unfounded fears trumpeted among climate scientists. In fact, the best evidence shows peatlands will actually become a sink for any increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, man-made global warming's biggest "threat." So rather than there being more CO2 escaping into the atmosphere, there will likely be less due to the increased uptake potential of further exposed peatland.

Strack reports, “Several studies have documented increased rates of C [carbon] storage as peat following surface permafrost degradation….Currently peat-lands globally represent a major store of soil carbon, a sink for carbon dioxide.”

It seems Nature may have its own inbuilt safety mechanism, after all. The eminent expert adds: “Thus in response to permafrost degradation peatlands are likely to become larger sinks for CO2.”

In short, if melting permafrost continues, as it has being doing steadily since the last Ice Age, then more carbon dioxide will be absorbed. This represents a massive natural buffer to any “tipping point” predicted by climate change doomsayers.

Mother Nature’s ‘Self-cleaning’ Mechanism?

So what else have independent experts been learning about methane, this most powerful “greenhouse gas”?

Well, it appears something good came out of the shocking BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of April 20, 2010.  On that day eleven people lost their lives and an enormous fire burned for 36 hours before the rig sank and a vast quantity of hydrocarbons leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. But the tragedy afforded an opportunity for scientists to study the large scale release of methane first hand. And researchers found that Methane (CH4) released into the environment doesn’t act the way climate science models said it would. [2]

Calling the results “extremely surprising,” scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Texas A&M University showed that methane gas concentrations in the Gulf of Mexico returned to near-normal levels only months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

Oceanographers John Kessler of Texas A&M and David Valentine of UCSB reported:

 “We were glad to have the opportunity to lend our expertise to study this oil spill. But also we tried to make a little good come from this disaster and use it to learn something about how the planet functions naturally. The seafloor stores large quantities of methane, a potent ‘greenhouse gas,’ which has been suspected to be released naturally, modulating global climate. What the Deepwater Horizon incident has taught us is that releases of methane with similar characteristics will not have the capacity to influence climate.”

So here the scenario of “catastrophic” global warming causing the melting of the Arctic permafrost, thawing the peat-lands and releasing yet more “dangerous" gases to poison the environment falls flat on its face. The true scenario is more likely that Nature has, for billions of years, evolved its own "self-cleaning" mechanism.


Coral not co-operating with Warmist theory

As the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the burning of fossil fuels, its chemistry is changing. The CO2 reacts with water molecules, lowering the ocean's pH in a process known as ocean acidification. This process also removes carbonate ions, an essential ingredient needed by corals and other organisms to build their skeletons and shells.

Will some corals be able to adapt to these rapidly changing conditions? If so, what will these coral reefs look like as the oceans become more acidic?

In addition to laboratory experiments that simulate future ocean conditions, scientists are studying coral reefs in areas of the ocean where low pH is naturally occurring to try and answer important questions about ocean acidification, which threatens coral reef ecosystems worldwide.

One such place is Palau, an archipelago in the far western Pacific Ocean. The tropical, turquoise waters of the Palau Rock Islands are naturally more acidic due to a combination of biological activity and the long residence time of seawater within its maze of lagoons and inlets. Seawater pH within the Rock Island lagoons is as low now as the open ocean is projected to be as a result of ocean acidification near the end of this century.

A new study led by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that the coral reefs there seem to be defying the odds, showing none of the predicted responses to low pH except for an increase in bioerosion -- the physical breakdown of coral skeletons by boring organisms such as mollusks and worms. The paper is to be published June 5 in the journal Science Advances.

'Based on lab experiments and studies of other naturally low pH reef systems, this is the opposite of what we expected,' says lead author Hannah Barkley, a graduate student in the WHOI-MIT joint program in oceanography.

Experiments measuring corals' responses to a variety of low pH conditions have shown a range of negative impacts, such as fewer varieties of corals, more algae growth, lower rates of calcium carbonate production (growth), and juvenile corals that have difficulty constructing skeletons.

'Surprisingly, in Palau where the pH is lowest, we see a coral community that hosts more species, and has greater coral cover than in the sites where pH is normal,' says Anne Cohen, a co-author on the study and Barkley's advisor at WHOI. 'That's not to say the coral community is thriving because of it, rather it is thriving despite the low pH, and we need to understand how.'


A fallacy about polar bears

They are adaptable -- don't need an invariant environment

My new Arctic Fallacy paper- Sea ice stability and the polar bear
Posted on June 8, 2015 | Comments Off on My new Arctic Fallacy paper- Sea ice stability and the polar bear
I have a new paper out that explains a fundamental problem with polar bear conservation.

Chukchi June 15 2014_USGS_Brian Battaile_after swim_sm

I’m convinced that a flawed and out-dated ecological concept — that sea ice, under natural conditions, provides a stable, predictable habitat — is what has allowed the present doom and gloom attitude of most polar bear specialists to develop.

Sea ice changes, of course, from season to season. However, the concept that sea ice is a stable habitat assumes that these seasonal changes are predictable and virtually the same from one year to the next – at least, similar enough that the differences are not responsible for causing marked declines in population size.

The assumption is that under natural, stable conditions populations of Arctic animals will either stay the same over time or increase. Biologists were taught at university that sea ice should be a stable habitat and as a result, they’ve glossed over evidence they collected to the contrary. [see recent posts here and here, for example]

Negative effects on populations of short-term natural variations in spring sea ice or spring snow cover on sea ice have been entirely ignored in modeled predictions of future conditions. The focus has been on summer ice extent.

I have summarized this evidence in a fully referenced, peer-reviewed essay that explores how the acceptance of this fallacy (“sea ice is a stable habitat”) has so skewed the conservation biology of polar bears that to outsiders it may look like a scientific integrity issue.



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

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


14 June, 2015

Derisive conference comments about global warming -- and the Pope

I like the quote from Inhofe at the end of the article below.  Inhofe said that the Pope should stick to his own specialties and leave the climate to people who know something about it.  Pope Frank would only be taking his own advice if he did that.  In his apostolic exhortation of late 2013, Frank said that the church needs to stop talking about homosexuality etc. and start talking about salvation.  I quote from Evangelii gaudium:

"34. If we attempt to put all things in a missionary key, this will also affect the way we communicate the message. In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. In this way certain issues which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects which, important as they are, do not in and of themselves convey the heart of Christ’s message. We need to be realistic and not assume that our audience understands the full background to what we are saying, or is capable of relating what we say to the very heart of the Gospel which gives it meaning, beauty and attractiveness.

35. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing."

I don't attempt to track all Roman documents but I try to wade through the major ones.  It can be amusing --JR.

Award winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears to be “a house of cards” and a “truly a mad issue.”

“This is truly a mad issue,” Happer told the crowd of several hundred at the global warming skeptic conference in Washington DC on Thursday night. The event was sponsored by the Heartland Institute. Happer has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, nor will it cause catastrophic global warming,” Happer explained to the audience at the The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (#ICCC10). “This whole climate scare is a house of cards,” Happer said.

“The social cost of carbon is probably negative. There is no social cost of carbon,” he added. Happer has previously testified to the U.S. Congress. See: Flashback 2009: Will Happer Tells Congress: Earth in ‘CO2 Famine’ — ‘The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind’ — ‘Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science’

Earlier in the day, Atmospheric Physicist Dr. Fred Singer told the summit that the effect of CO2 emissions on climate is “negligible, not important” but very beneficial for agriculture.

Also attending the summit was U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee chairman Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe advised Pope Francis to stay out of the climate debate.

“Everyone is going to ride the pope now. Isn’t that wonderful,” Inhofe told reporters. “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.”


Are Airline Prices Going to Rise Because of the EPA?

If we see airline prices go up in 2016, you might be able to thank the lawyers at radical environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth.

In response to a lawsuit by these organizations, the EPA has unsurprisingly announced a proposal that airplane emissions do “endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”

While the EPA is selling this regulation as being about the health of the American people, it’s not. The EPA’s conclusion is the latest assault on the consumer in the name of impacting global warming.

The groups, along with other extremist organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, petitioned the EPA in 2007 to determine the effects of airplane emissions on air quality, and subsequently sued the EPA for not doing so. The D.C. District Court mandated that the EPA make a determination and the environmental groups again threatened to sue if EPA did not make a determination by February 2015.

Why was EPA’s conclusion unsurprising? Well, the EPA issued an “endangerment finding” in 2009, stating that carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles was a pollutant dangerous to public health. Consequently, EPA issued a series of greenhouse gas regulations on cars and light-duty trucks. This led to regulations on existing and future power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, to be finalized jointly this summer. The next moving thing to regulate was clearly planes.

EPA has already initiated a rulemaking process considering how it might regulate airplanes to be in conformity with the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards on airline greenhouse gas emissions. EPA has been a part of discussions to set ICAO standards, which are expected in February 2016.

These actions are entirely unnecessary, however.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airplanes have outpaced cars and transit buses to be one of the most energy efficient modes of transportation. Airlines are inherently interested in finding ways to use energy more efficiently (and consequently reduce carbon dioxide emissions) as fuel expenses are the largest source of operating expenses.

From 2004 to 2012, airlines have increased energy efficiency by over 24 percent, and by 70 percent since the 1960s. Airlines have cut costs and increased energy efficiency by using lighter materials, engine control systems, and winglets to improve aerodynamics. Airlines have even reduced the amount of ice carried onboard for complimentary drinks.

Fleets are only going to become more efficient as new planes naturally replace older, retiring planes—according to the Federal Aviation Administration, over half of today’s fleet of airplanes will be retired and replaced with new planes in 10 years.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airplanes have outpaced cars and transit buses to be one of the most energy efficient modes of transportation.

When it comes to real pollutants like particulate matter, nitrous oxides, volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide—pollutants which EPA regulates because at some level these do have negative effects on human health—airplanes create a miniscule fraction of emissions compared to ships, rail and road transportation.

But the EPA’s endangerment finding today has very little, if anything, to do with these pollutants. It has everything to do with the EPA’s dubious conclusion that manmade greenhouse gas emissions—particularly from carbon dioxide—are causing and accelerating catastrophic global warming.

In coming to its endangerment finding for airplanes, the EPA relied on its initial endangerment finding in 2009 that carbon dioxide emissions were harmful to human health because of the alleged connection with global warming, and therefore able to be regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. However, the climate science was dubious then and over the six years since even more scientific data has shown the endangerment finding to be on shaky ground.

Even if carbon dioxide emissions were a problem, airplane emissions aren’t exactly America’s Most Wanted. EIA records carbon dioxide emissions from energy use and jet fuel amounted to just 4 percent of the total in the U.S. for 2014. For comparison, gasoline amounted to 20 percent.

EPA has yet to propose regulations on airplane carbon dioxide emissions. However as with its expensive vehicle and power plant regulations, the costs will ultimately be borne by American consumers, families and businesses unless Congress intervenes first.

When costs of compliance increase, it also means less opportunity (fewer jobs to go around) and forcing people to make tough decisions about their family budgets (in order to pay the higher utilities bill).

EPA’s global warming agenda will affect quality of life. So what are we getting for the costs? Unfortunately, not much.


The Surprising Economic Benefits of Frac Sand Mining

Hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production has dramatically increased the demand for industrial silica sand, known as “frac sand,” available in great abundance in the Upper Midwest. As new sand mines and processing facilities are proposed, the policymakers and citizens of counties with frac sand resources are being asked to evaluate the potential economic benefits and costs of industrial sand mining.

In this Policy Study, the second in a series addressing frac sand mining topics, Heartland Institute Research Fellow Isaac Orr and geologist Mark Krumenacher address the key issues with which local policymakers and their constituents must contend:

The authors focus their analysis on Wisconsin, the largest producer of industrial silica sand in the nation, accounting for approximately two-thirds of U.S. frac sand production. They note the state “has strong agricultural and tourism sectors and therefore provides valuable insight into claims industrial sand mining could negatively affect these industries.” They conclude:
Industrial sand mining has been a significant driver of economic growth across the Upper Midwest. If done in an environmentally responsible manner, it can be an important source of employment and earnings for decades to come.


Green Groups’ Deceptive Con Game

As several business owners in North Carolina recently found out, “green” nonprofits aren’t always forthcoming about their agendas. Despite receiving tens of millions of dollars from billionaires like Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, many of these environmental groups have taken to desperate measures to attract support from the general public for their unpopular agendas.

Recently, investigative journalists at the Asheville Citizen-Times and National Review revealed that the Sierra Club had allegedly added signatories to a petition demanding that Duke Energy cease the operations of one of its coal-fired power plants in Asheville, North Carolina. Of the 80 businesses listed on the petition, at least six had never agreed to lend their support to the Sierra Club at all, several claimed to be victims of bait-and-switch, strong-arming tactics and one didn’t even exist.

These businesses reportedly signed up for information relating to the Sierra Club’s environmental agenda, which included helping the group address concerns about the Duke plant’s waste management. Calling for the plant’s outright closure, however, was not something they signed their names to.

These questionable and unethical practices have earned the Sierra Club a spot on Charity Navigator’s “watch list,” a major warning to potential donors and signatories that they may want to think twice before supporting groups that engage in dishonest behavior. Disturbingly, the Sierra Club is only the latest environmental nonprofit to exhibit bad behavior and be forced to address public relations nightmares over the last year.

Last December, Greenpeace “climate activists”damaged Nazca, a world-renowned United Nations World Heritage site, by traipsing across the drawings that are carved into the desert of this ancient Peruvian city.

Greenpeace claimed it was trying to spread the good word about climate change to a nearby conference, whose attendees would fly over the ancient artifact. It also claimed that it was saving the Incan monuments for future generations, all the while blatantly disregarding the fragility of this sacred site by using it as the latest backdrop for a publicity stunt.

Green groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, lobbied last year for the government to brand grocery store steaks with warnings similar to those that appear on cigarette cartons. They have shown how disconnected they are from most Americans with their efforts to ban lead in ammunition and by pursuing other restrictions and even bans on plastic grocery bags, bottled water, fireworks, salt and common household products like pesticides and plastics. These groups once even tried to ban the capture and release of butterflies.

Equally troubling are the actions of these groups’ allies in the government who regularly work to advance their shared objectives through the use of the heavy-handed government regulatory process.

A hard hitting New York Times exposé last year revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency received extensive assistance from the Natural Resources Defense Council in drafting its highly-criticized proposal to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. It is troubling that the federal government would allow a biased environmental organization to offer input into a regulation that will affect much of the power sector.

Alarmingly it seems the EPA is taking things a step further, as outlined in a new New York Times investigative piece. The article reports on the EPA’s efforts to manufacture public support for its own rules and regulations. In the most contentious rulemaking efforts, the EPA has spent taxpayer funds to allegedly generate favorable comments to its official docket in an organized campaign that some have indicated could be a violation of the federal Anti-Lobbying Act.

The EPA’s efforts to confuse the general public on the true level of support for the very regulations the environmental community is alleged to have drafted should outrage every taxpayer.

While most Americans see themselves as compassionate stewards of the environment, they must be aware that the nonprofit green groups many of them support may actually be engaged in a deceptive con game to further their own agendas.

Given the new allegations of collusion between green groups and the EPA, perhaps there should be a Charity Navigator watch list for the federal government.


Mark Levin: EPA 'Pretends to Be Green, When In Fact It’s Red'

Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “a radical outpost that pretends to be green, when in fact it’s red.”

“It’s shutting down coal mines, it’s shutting down coal-fired plants, it’s shutting down utilities, it is shutting down businesses and operations, it’s putting people out of work, it’s putting families on welfare lines, on Medicaid lines,” Levin said on his June 9 broadcast.  Here’s a transcript of what Levin said:

“So you had an editorial yesterday. And keep in mind, the editorial board of the New York ‘Slimes’ [The New York Times]  is made up of individuals -- left wing, radical, extreme editorial writers. And they go on about President Obama. The title of the editorial is ‘GOP Assault on Environmental Laws.’ Now, if you’ve listened to this program for any length of time, you know it’s the other way around.

“The Environmental Protection Agency is assaulting you. It’s shutting down coal mines, it’s shutting down coal-fired plants, it’s shutting down utilities, it is shutting down businesses and operations, it’s putting people out of work, it’s putting families on welfare lines, on Medicaid lines,” Levin said.

“That’s what the Environmental Protection Agency is doing, because it’s a radical outpost that pretends to be green, when in fact it’s red. It’s red, it’s commie, that’s what it is! And it has no respect for private property rights. None!

“And they go through on the Republican attack on clean water, on the Republican attack on climate change, the Republican attack on natural resources. You people are a bunch of creeps!

“What a joke at this New York “Slimes”! Not a word about private property rights, and the case I just told you about! Not a word about all those people being put out of work! Not millionaires and billionaires -- hard-working men and women who get dirt under their nails.”


Land Control: Feds Announce Sweeping Plan to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), part of the Interior Department, will decide by September 30 whether to list the greater sage-grouse as an endangered or threatened species under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The stakes are huge: Greater sage-grouse (or prairie chicken) habitat covers 165 million acres across 11 western states, but that is only half of what it used to be, the federal government says. At one time, the greater sage-grouse population likely numbered in the millions, but it is now estimated to be in the 200,000 to 500,000 range.

The enormous sage grouse habitat also is home to American ranchers and other private land-owners, commercial interests and outdoor recreation spots. To balance those interests with a thriving sage grouse population, the federal government has been working with states and ranchers for several years on “landscape scale” conservation plans.

Two weeks ago, on May 28, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service released a proposed land use plan that will conserve sagebrush habitat, address threats to the greater sage grouse and “promote sustainable economic development in the West.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will now review the federal plan to see if the efforts go far enough in conserving the greater sage grouse habitat so that listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is unnecessary.

Either way, westerners can expect new restrictions on the lands where they work and play.

“We have confidence that these plans will not only benefit the greater sage-grouse, but will also preserve the West’s heritage of ranching and outdoor recreation; protect hundreds of wildlife species such as elk, mule deer and golden eagles that also rely on sagebrush habitat; and promote balance between conservation and development,” the BLM said.

"The BLM and U.S. Forest Service play a very important role in greater sage-grouse conservation,” Dan Ashe, director of the FWS, told via email. “We at Fish and Wildlife Service are pleased that BLM and the Forest Service recognize that strong, effective federal land management plans are vital to successful greater sage-grouse conservation.

“These plans are essential for the service’s evaluation of whether the species still warrants federal protection,” Ashe said.

Ashe has called this the “biggest conservation effort” of his career.

According to the FWS, 64 percent of sage-grouse-populated land is owned by the federal government, 31 percent is privately owned, and 5 percent is under state jurisdiction.

The Bureau of Land Management notes that most oil, gas and other energy resources are outside of the greater sage-grouse habitat.

Federal land-control

The federal plan to save and expand the greater sage grouse habitat has three objectives:

-- Minimize new or additional land-surface disturbances (i.e., restrictions on roads, oil and gas wells, mining, large-scale wind and solar projects, buildings, etc.)

-- Improve habitat condition (restrictions on livestock grazing as well as "monitoring" and assessment of voluntary and required conservation actions)

-- Reduce the threat of rangeland fire to sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, calls the federal land-use plan “just flat out wrong.” He said if the Obama administration really cared about the greater sage grouse, it would adopt the state plans, because “the state plans work.”  “This proposal is only about controlling land, not saving the bird,” Bishop said.

 “More than 40 years ago, the Endangered Species Act was enacted with good intentions and bipartisan support to recover species at the brink of extinction,” Bishop said in his opening remarks. “Unfortunately, with less than two percent of the more than 1,500 listed species ever recovered, the law is failing.”

“Cramming thousands more species onto the list and blocking the use of millions of acres of land—including restricting even how our military servicemen can use lands for military training and readiness -- cannot be a measurement of success,” Bishop said. “States are using resources wisely to recover species and keep them off the list.  We should do more to encourage them.”

States’ Rights

For years, the leaders of western states, as well as ranchers, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts have tried to keep sage habitat conservation efforts at the state level.

In March 2015, western governors released a report arguing against an ESA listing for the sage grouse.

“The Governors believe that a listing of the greater sage-grouse by FWS later this year will diminish the amount of new voluntary conservation work undertaken and have a significant, negative economic impact across the West,” the executive summary of the report states.

The report provides “compelling evidence that a listing of the bird as threatened or endangered under ESA is counterproductive and unnecessary.”

The governors’ report offers details about sweeping conservation efforts made by the states, including comprehensive sage-grouse conservation plans in place in Colorado, Nevada and North and South Dakota.

Members of the Nevada Mining Association have developed habitat conservation plans on 1.2 million acres, according to the report.

Colorado, Idaho and Montana, collectively, have put in place 350,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat through purchase or conservation easements.

In Idaho, state agencies have invested $4 million in improving and restoring habitat. The sate of Utah has completed 85 percent of a 560,000-acre project to manage tree encroachment on sage-grouse management areas.

And the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has funded more than 90 projects that treat sagebrush habitat over 83,000 acres across eight western states.

The BLM itself acknowledges that more than 1,100 ranchers and partners across the West have already worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Sage Grouse Initiative to restore more than 4.4 million acres of habitat while maintaining working landscapes.

“The West is rapidly changing – with increasingly intense wildfires, invasive species and development altering the sagebrush landscape and threatening wildlife, ranching and our outdoor heritage,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said last month, when the federal conservation plan was announced.

“As land managers of two-thirds of greater sage-grouse habitat, we have a responsibility to take action that ensures a bright future for wildlife and a thriving western economy,” she said.  “Together with conservation efforts from states and private landowners, we are laying an important foundation to save the disappearing sagebrush landscape of the American West.”



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

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


12 June, 2015

"Skeptics" Gather in D.C.

By Alan Caruba

On Thursday and Friday, June 11-12, there will be a gathering of some of the nation’s and the world’s leading climate change “skeptics” in Washington, D.C. and joining them will be members of Congress and their staffs. The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change will occur and the odds are that the mainstream media, as it has done for all the previous conferences, will do its best to ignore it.

In attendance as well will be scores of scientists, economists, and policy experts for a conference being held just two blocks from a White House in which the President of the United States resides while lying about “climate change” as the greatest threat to the planet.

In March, the Gallup Poll revealed that “Although climate scientists have been in the news describing this winter as a strong signal that global warming is producing more extreme weather, Americans are no more likely today (55%) than in the past two years to believe the effects of global warming are occurring.”

The Conference is sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market think tank and, while most of us have heard of the Rand Corporation or the Heritage Foundation, Heartland is one of the those power houses that labors without the “image” accorded others.

Founded in 1984, it has a full-time staff of 31 with approximately 235 academics and professional economists who participate in its peer-review process, plus more than 160 elected officials who serve on its Legislative Forum. In addition to the environment, its scholars also focus on education, health, budget and tax issues.

I have been a Heartland policy analyst for so long I can’t recall when I joined. Approximately 8,300 supporters contribute to its annual budget of $6 million. It does not accept government funding.

Without your knowing it, the nine conferences that preceded the current one have had a dramatic impact on your life and wallet. For one thing, you’re not being robbed by a “carbon tax” aimed at “reducing greenhouse gases.” On the other hand, you may be at risk of losing a coal-fired plant that provides your electricity if the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to continue its vile attack on our energy resources.

It has been Heartland and a handful of other think tanks that labored to inform the public about the science that utterly debunked the lies about “global warming” and now works to do the same for those applied to “climate change.”  Heartland’s power is seen in its conferences.

The problem for Heartland and the rest of us is that we are up against the U.S. government whose Obama administration is completely committed to the lies; agency by agency within the government have budgets and programs to continue to telling the lies. Beyond them is the entire system of government schools and, beyond them, much of the higher education community.

In early June the Daily Caller reported that “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have found a solution to the 15-year ‘pause’ in global warming: They ‘adjusted’ the hiatus in warming out of the temperature record.”  This is what Heartland and others have been fighting against and exposing since the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s. And we are beginning to see the Congress respond.

As reported by CNS News, appropriators in the House of Representatives have let it be known that they are taking aim at one of the Obama administration’s most cherished priorities—international climate change funding. An appropriations bill for the State Department and foreign operations excluded the Green Climate Fund, the Clean Technology Fund, and the Strategic Climate Fund, while also removing funding for the U.SN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s millions in U.S. taxpayer funding that will not be wasted on the climate change hoax.

The Conference will honor some of the world’s leading “skeptics”—the alarmists call them “denier.” They include Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as the winner of the Political Leadership on Climate Change Award, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. My friend, Robert M. Carter, Ph.D. will receive Heartland’s Lifetime Achievement in Climate Science award. Others whom you may not have heard of include William Happer, Ph.D., David Legates, Ph.D., and Anthony Watts, all of whom have been on the front lines of the battle for the truth about the planet’s climate.

An entire generation has grown up and graduated from college since the first lies about global warming were unleashed. That’s how long Heartland and others have labored to present the truth. If the media fails to take notice of this week’s conference, you will know that the battle will continue for a long time to come.


Truth About Climate Change - British MP Exposes Government Sophistry

On the 10th of June 2015, UK Member of Parliament, David TC Davies MP rose to tell the Government The Truth about Climate Change, during the debate. The Government refused to deny his well founded assertions, even though he asked the Climate Minister to correct him if he was mistaken, and if she knew any different.

A red faced Labour Party MP was embarrassed to hear that his own fatuous assertions were actually contradicted by the UNIPCC itself, in documents read out by Mr. Davies.

"Top Cat" Davies is a smart lad.  He is English but when he won election to a Welsh constituency, he promptly learned fluent Welsh.  And Welsh is as foreign as German, perhaps more so

Sea Shepherd to pay $2.55 million in damages as Japan’s research whaling set to resume

The hard-line anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said it has agreed to pay $2.55 million in damages to Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research over its continued obstruction of whaling vessels despite an injunction.

The agreement concerns a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last December that held Sea Shepherd in contempt of an injunction banning the body from attacking the Japanese government-funded whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean and approaching the fleet on the open sea.

The Institute, which manages Japan’s whaling operations in the Antarctic, and Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd., the provider of vessels and crew for the whaling activities, sued Sea Shepherd in a U.S. federal court in 2011.

In December 2012, the appeals court issued the injunction. But the anti-whaling group continued to obstruct the whaling fleet, prompting the court to find it in contempt of its order last December.

“Sea Shepherd does not agree with the Ninth Circuit’s holding that it was in contempt, but after more than two years of litigation, we are very pleased to be putting the contempt action behind us,” Sea Shepherd said Monday on its website.

Given that the lawsuit filed by the Japanese side is still pending, the group looks forward to focusing on the case, which “provides Sea Shepherd with the opportunity to expose (the institute’s) dangerous and illegal activities in the Southern Ocean,” it said.

The development came the same day the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal from Sea Shepherd over the appeals court’s decision that found the group in contempt of the injunction.

The group had argued that a U.S. court does not have jurisdiction over the case because it has transferred its vessels and other assets to Australia and other countries.

On Tuesday, the Fisheries Agency said Japan will conduct so-called research whaling in the northwestern Pacific starting Thursday. The catches will run through late August.

The program will be on a similar scale than last year, when it was scaled down from 2013. It will aim to take up to 90 sei whales and 25 Bryde’s whales, the agency said.

The agency restated its purported reasons for carrying out “research whaling,” calling it an ecological study of factors such as whales’ internal organs and the contents of their stomachs. It claims the program will contribute toward resource management.

Japan halted its southern “research whaling” after the International Court of Justice ruled in March last year that the Antarctic program violated the International Convention of the Regulation of Whaling. However, it continued to hunt whales in coastal waters and the northwestern Pacific.


Seattle Attention-seekers trying to Block Access to Shell Arctic Rig

A group of protesters gathered at the Port of Seattle on Tuesday seeking to block workers attempting to reach a Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig that could depart this week to resume fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic.

Over the past month, activists have staged demonstrations against the oil company's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, including on May 16 when hundreds of protesters in kayaks and small boats fanned out on a Seattle bay.

Several dozen protesters gathered early on Tuesday to block entrances to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle where the rig is being outfitted for its trip north to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. Shell did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the protest.

There have been no arrests, Seattle police said.

Environmental groups say drilling in the icy Arctic region, where weather changes rapidly, could lead to a catastrophic spill.

They also say drilling would threaten the Arctic's vast layer of sea ice that helps regulate the global temperature and which they say has already been disappearing as a result of global warming.

The activist group ShellNo has helped organize a series of "rapid response" protests as Shell readies its drilling rig in Seattle, a city known for its support for environmental causes.

The group said on its website on Tuesday that the rig, the Polar Pioneer, could begin moving north as early as Wednesday. Neither Shell nor shipping company Foss Maritime has commented publicly on the schedule.

Activists say they want to get boats on the water as soon as they learn the rig is leaving the terminal. A mandatory safety zone enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard will keep watercraft at least 100 yards away from the rig. The zone will expand to 500 yards when it hits the broader Puget Sound on its way to Alaska.

On Monday, Seattle police dismantled but did not seize a large tent used by demonstrators to organize the launch of a planned rig-stopping flotilla, law-enforcement officials and activists said.

Late last month, Alaska Governor Bill Walker toured the rig, saying Shell's resumption of drilling in the Arctic will bring jobs and money to his state.


Shipping company bows to Greenie demands

That's the gloss they put on it, anyway

The Interlake Steamship Company announced that it will repower its last steamship, the S.S. Herbert C. Jackson, with a highly automated diesel propulsion system in the final phase of a 10-year, $100 million modernization effort to create the most efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly fleet on the Great Lakes.

The six-month diesel conversion, which is slated to begin in mid-December, is the fifth major overhaul to Interlake’s fleet and its fourth steam-to-diesel conversion since 2006.

“This repowering illustrates Interlake’s continuing commitment to shrink its environmental footprint by reducing emissions throughout our fleet,” said Interlake President Mark W. Barker. “We have a long-term vision for our industry and we are investing in our equipment and our ships to offer the most reliable, efficient delivery within an industry that is the greenest form of transportation available.”

Since 2007, Interlake has reduced its emissions dramatically. For example, through 2014, the company estimates it has lowered its particulate matter by 30 percent, sulfur oxides by 54 percent and carbon dioxide by 47 percent. In April 2015, Interlake debuted the installation of exhaust gas scrubbers on the bulk carrier M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, becoming the first U.S.-flag fleet to test the emission reduction technology on the Great Lakes.

Built in 1959, the Jackson’s vintage steam turbines and automation would require costly upgrades for the ship to remain a reliable workhorse in the fleet.

“It’s a sad day leaving the era of steamships behind but it’s a good day as we move forward,” said Barker about the last steamship being repowered. “We only have nine months a year to carry close to 20 million tons of cargo for our customers. It’s critical for us to be able to do that without any delays. To meet that goal, we have to invest and keep our ships outfitted with the best equipment in the industry.”

The company is in discussions with potential shipyards to do the repowering work. The 6,250-BHP propulsion package will include a pair of MaK – six-cylinder M32E engines which will give the ship enhanced propulsion capabilities and reliability. In addition, the repowered Jackson will receive a twin-input, single-output Lufkin gear box with twin pto shaft generators, a Schottel controllable-pitch propeller system and Gesab exhaust gas economizers along with an auxiliary boiler. The Economizers allow the ship to harness the waste heat and energy from the main engine exhaust and produce “free steam” to heat the accommodations and for heating various auxiliary systems and fuel oil services. These installations will net the Company even greater emission reductions.

ISO 9002 certified, Interlake’s fleet of nine vessels deliver raw materials to ports throughout the Great Lakes region.


Conservative Australian PM wishes he could have further reduced wind power growth

Tony Abbott says the government has done its best to slow the growth of wind power, but has to continue subsidising the sector because of the Senate.

Describing wind turbines as “visually awful” and noisy, the Prime Minister said the government wanted to further reduce its support for the renewable sector.

“What we did recently in the Senate was ... we reduced the number of these things that we are going to get in the future,” he told 2GB radio.

“I would frankly have liked to have reduced the number a lot more, but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate, and if we hadn’t had a deal … we would have been stuck with even more of these things.”

Mr Abbott said he was aware of concerns raised about the potential health impact of wind turbines that are the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Yesterday, Liberal Democrats senator for NSW David Leyonhjelm compared the wind industry to big tobacco for brushing off concerns about the health impact on those living near turbines.

“It is ... well established that inappropriate levels of infrasound, regardless of the source, cause adverse health impacts,” Senator Leyonhjelm wrote in The Australian.

Mr Abbott said he accepted the argument.  “I do take your point about the potential health impact of these things; when I have been up close to these wind farms not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the government had inherited the renewable energy target (RET) policy from the Howard government, which established the program in 2001 to encourage growth in renewable energy.

“Knowing what we know now, I don’t think we would have gone down this path in this way, but at the time we thought it was the right way forward,” Mr Abbott said.

“What we have managed to do, through this admittedly imperfect but better than the alternative deal with the Senate, is reduce the growth rate of this particular sector as much as the current senate would allow us to do.”

The Australian Wind Alliance said the comments exposed the government’s true intentions on the Renewable Energy Target.

“These comments are extraordinary. Our Prime Minister has just admitted to setting out deliberately to destroy a viable industry in Australia, one that could provide jobs to many Australians, investment to regional communities and new income to farmers,” national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said.



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

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


11 June, 2015

On Climate, Science and Politics Are Diverging

Rupert Darwall puts it all rather politely

The good news for global-warming alarmists is that they can pretty much be guaranteed that there will always be something happening somewhere in the world to get alarmed about. “It has been a really bad week for the ice shelves of the quickly warming Antarctic peninsula,” the Washington Post’s resident alarmist Chris Mooney wrote a week ago. In a few years, a very warm summer will see the Larsen B ice shelf shatter into thousands of smaller icebergs, a researcher told him.

However, Mooney did not report that the same team that had detected Antarctic warming also said that the warming had not been reproduced by climate models. “Until the past warming can be properly simulated, there is little basis for prediction that rapid warming will continue in future,” according to the British Antarctic Survey.

Neither does the alarm extend to the total area of ice floating on the seas surrounding Antarctic and the North Pole. There was a sharp recovery from the low recorded in 2012, and global sea-ice area is currently above the 1979–2008 average. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reckons that Antarctic sea ice has expanded at an average of 4.1 percent per decade since 1979. This slightly more than offsets shrinkage of the larger area of sea ice at the North Pole, which the NSIDC says has declined by 2.4 percent a decade.

Sea ice at the North Pole has long been a focus of alarm. Just after collecting his Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Al Gore jetted off to the Bali climate conference to declare a planetary emergency, predicting that the entire north polar ice cap would disappear in as little as five to seven years. The Arctic should have been ice-free by last summer.

Predictions of an ice-free North Pole are frequently accompanied by warnings of climate-change tipping points, tripping the planet into uncharted — and, by implication, scary — climate scenarios.

A new paper by two scientists at the Scripps Institution suggests that previous concern about the irreversibility of the melting of the Arctic ice cap left out two key physical processes that had led previous studies to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.

Selecting isolated phenomena — an iceberg here, a typhoon there, even the disintegration of Syria into barbarism — is a substitute for the real thing, namely, the eighteen-plus years’ failure of average global temperature to rise in line with climate-model predictions. The pause, or hiatus, is a problem for climate scientists in the sense that nature is presenting them with something they had not anticipated and want to understand.

For climate alarmists led by President Obama, it is a bigger problem than that. “The science is indisputable,” the president said Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy commencement address. “The planet is getting warmer,” he falsely claimed. The non-warming is rattling alarmists who are adopting two distinct coping strategies.

Nassim Taleb of black-swan fame argues that the less we understand about climate change, the more we ought to try and stop it. Climate models don’t need to tell us that pollution puts the planet into uncharted territories, he argues. Invoking the case for precaution, Taleb’s convoluted logic places the burden of proof with deniers to demonstrate absence of harm.

Twenty years ago, the political scientist Aaron Wildavsky called the precautionary principle a marvelous piece of rhetoric: “It assumes what actually should be proved.” He cited Harvey Brooks, the senior statesman of the science, technology, and policy field, according to President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren.

Brooks observed that the only proof of a negative is an impossibility theorem demonstrating that the contemplated action or reaction is contrary to the laws of nature.

Far from buttressing a reasoned policy case, Taleb’s position, in requiring climate skeptics to prove a negative, merely underscores the weakness of current scientific understanding of the climate. If temperatures had been rising faster than climate-models prediction, nature itself would have provided a stronger rationale for action than does the precautionary principle.

A second strategy is to claim that the pause is a false artifact created by vested interests and political agents hostile to regulation. “Mainstream scientific discourse has inherited, and is now extensively using, a framing that was demonstrably created by contrarians,” argue psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes in a new paper. The skeptic meme of the pause has seeped into how climate scientists frame their research. “Pressures of climate contrarians has [sic] contributed, at least to some degree, to undermining the confidence of the scientific community in their own theory,” the authors conclude.

Their argument that climate scientists were researching the impact of natural variability at the behest of skeptics received short shrift from Richard Betts, a climate scientist at Britain’s Met Office. The observed temperatures in the 1990s were much as had been anticipated. In contrast, the trajectory of global temperatures in the last fifteen years or so had not been specifically predicted. “This time, there is an interesting puzzle to be investigated,” Betts wrote.

In the last chapter of her book Merchants of Doubt (2010), co-written with Erik Conway, Oreskes outlined a “new view” of science. It was certainly novel. History, she claimed, showed that science does not provide certainty; it does not provide proof; it provides only “the consensus of experts, based on the organized accumulation and scrutiny of evidence.”

Oreskes’s new science jettisons the standards and methods established during the scientific revolution. Indeed, it’s a view of science that could also be applied to the study of theology or any other body of knowledge.

Global warming is preeminently a political project. On Tuesday, the leaders of France and Germany met to set a goal for the December climate summit in Paris: to fully decarbonize the world economy by the end of the century. It required, Angela Merkel and François Hollande declared, “a profound transformation of the world economy and society.”

The role of experts is to provide a scientific consensus to support the drumbeat of alarm. When the president of America declares climate change an immediate threat to national security and accuses skeptics of “negligence” and “dereliction of duty,” scientific skepticism becomes an enemy of the state.

The shrillness of the president’s rhetoric draws attention to the weakness of the science. The true believers have given up trying to win over the undecided.



The German government appears to have abandoned the planned carbon tax on coal power plants. This is the result of a meeting on Wednesday of German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) with the head of the mining union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, and ministers of those states where lignite is produced.

The ministry’s original plan was to avoid emitting additional 22 million tons of CO2 by 2020. This plan was opposed by trade unions and energy companies who saw this as a  threat to Germany’s entire lignite production. These interest groups seem to have won the battle for now.

During the discussion, a different set of measures was agreed, including the promotion of co-generation. Were the coal tax to go for good, it would be a bitter defeat for Rainer Baake, a Green Party member and Economics Secretary to the ministry,  who is a strong promoter of the tax. On Tuesday, the negotiators will meet again to complete the agreement.


Obama's EPA Regulations: 6,552x As Long As Constitution; 46x As Long As Bible

Since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued 3,373 new final regulations, equaling 29,770 pages in the Federal Register and totaling approximately 29,770,000 words, according to a count of the regulations published in the Federal Register.

The Gutenberg Bible is only 1,282 pages and 646,128 words. This means the new EPA regulations issued by the Obama Administration contain 23 times as many pages as the Bible and 46 times as many words.

The Federal Register publishes documents, including proposed rules, notices, interim rules, corrections, drafts of final rules and final rules. The tabulation included only final rules from the EPA. found 3,373 distinct rules published by the EPA since January 20, 2009 covering greenhouse gases, air quality, emissions and hazardous substances, to name a few.

To give an example, on Jan. 13, 2015 the EPA released a final rule entitled, “Definition of Solid Waste,” which totaled 122 pages and was issued to revise “recycling-related provisions associated with the definition of solid waste used to determine hazardous waste regulation.”

The Obama EPA regulations have 27 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter book series, which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.

The EPA regulations have more than double the number of words of the Obamacare regulations, which have 11,588,500 words and are 78 times as many words as the Obamacare law itself, which contains 381,517 words.

The EPA regulations, to date, have 6,552 times as many words as the U.S. Constitution, which has 4,543 words, including the signatures; the regs also have 20,418 times as many words as the Declaration of Independence, which has 1,458 words including signatures.

Over the course of Obama’s presidency, the EPA has greatly expanded its regulatory overreach. In President Obama’s first year in office in 2009, the EPA issued 365 regulations, averaging one rule per day. In 2010, the EPA issued 454 regulations and in 2011, the EPA issued 557 regulations.

The number of rules issued during the Obama years peaked in 2012 with 646 final rules issued--76.9 percent more than issued in Obama’s first year. In 2013, the EPA issued 548 regulations and in 2014 the EPA issued 564 regulations.

So far, in 2015, the EPA has issued 241 regulations.

The EPA has issued 3,373 regulations over the 1,665 business days since President Obama took office. This means that the EPA has issued an average of about 2 regulations per work day, Monday through Friday, during Obama's presidency.

There have been 2,329 calendar days since Obama has taken office, meaning the EPA has issued an average of about 1.45 regulations per calendar day.

To get an approximate word count for the EPA rules in the Federal Register, evaluated a few random rules from the 3,373 EPA regulations published since Obama took office. In these rules, as published in the Federal Register, each page averaged approximately 1,000 words. From this, calculated that the 29,770 pages in the 3,373 new final EPA rules issued during the Obama administration equal 29,770,000 words.

This is only an approximation because some pages in the Federal Register carry more words than others, and some regulations end in the beginning or middle of a page. For example, one of the regulations was five-pages long and totaled 5,586 words, an average of 1,117 words per page.


'Independent' EPA Study Not So Independent After All

In May, a new study commissioned by Harvard and Syracuse University claimed that the EPA’s soon-to-be-released Clean Power Plan will eliminate around 3,500 pollution-related deaths annually. The celebratory reaction quickly went mainstream. The EPA, whose proposal it already posited will save lives, suddenly had the benefit of an independent verification.

Or did it? Writing in Breitbart, publisher Steve Milloy found that the researchers of said study had personally partaken in various multi-million dollar EPA-funded studies. Furthermore, one author’s assertion that the agency “did not participate in the study or interact with its authors” was found to be complete hogwash. Says Milloy, “I submitted a request to EPA under the Freedom of Information Act for email between the study authors and EPA staff. Although subsequent wrangling with agency staff gave me doubt that I would ever get anything, I received, much to my surprise, 99 pages of emails after mere weeks. The emails reveal that [the] study co-authors … were definitely in contact with key EPA staff regarding this research.”

“This issue goes deeper than mere truth-telling,” he adds. “The EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan hinges on the notion that shuttering coal plants will save lives.” In fact, shuttering coal plants may very well cost lives. Yet EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently postulated, “We can speak to the science because it’s complicated and we do a lot of research and we do a lot of translation of the science into what it means for people so that the decisions can be made on the basis of real science and on the basis of a real technical understanding.” In other words, “Trust us.” But they keep giving us every reason not to.


Global Warming: The Theory that Predicts Nothing and Explains Everything

Robert Tracinski below re-runs some of the criticisms of the Karl et al. claims and then goes on to say:

I realize the warmists are desperate, but they might not have thought through the overall effect of this new “adjustment” push. We’ve been told to take very, very seriously the objective data showing global warming is real and is happening—and then they announce that the data has been totally changed post hoc. This is meant to shore up the theory, but it actually calls the data into question.

Anthony Watts, one of the chief questioners of past “adjustments,” points out that to make the pause disappear, they didn’t just increase temperatures since 1998. They also adjusted downward the temperatures immediately before that. Starting from a lower base of temperature makes the “adjusted” increase look even bigger. That’s a pattern that invariably shows up in all these adjustments: the past is always adjusted downward to make it cooler, the present upward to make it warmer—an amazing coincidence that guarantees a warming trend.

All of this fits into a wider pattern: the global warming theory has been awful at making predictions about the data ahead of time. But it has been great at going backward, retroactively reinterpreting the data and retrofitting the theory to mesh with it. A line I saw from one commenter, I can’t remember where, has been rattling around in my head: “once again, the theory that predicts nothing explains everything.”

There is an important difference between prediction before the fact and explanation after the fact. Prediction requires that you lay down a marker about what the data ought to be, to be consistent with your theory, before you actually know what it is. That’s something that’s very hard to get right. If your theory is going to be able to consistently predict data before it is gathered, it has got to be pretty darned good. Global warming theories have a wretched track record at making predictions.

But explanations of data after the fact are a lot easier. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. It’s a lot easier to tweak your theory to make it a better fit to the data, or in this case, to tweak the way the data is measured and analyzed in order to make it better fit your theory. And then you proclaim how amazing it is that your theory “explains” the data.

If this difference between prediction and explanation seems merely technical, remember that the whole political cause of global warming is based on the theory’s claim to make predictions before the fact—way before the fact, projecting temperatures for the next century. We’re supposed to base the whole organization of our civilization, at a cost of many trillions of dollars, on those ultra-long-term predictions. So exulting that they can readjust the data for the last few years to jibe with their theory after the fact is not exactly the reassurance we need.

Anyone with the slightest familiarity with science ought to be immediately skeptical of this new claim, so naturally mainstream media “science reporters” repeat it with complete credulity and even pre-emptively inoculate us against the sin of doubt. The Washington Post report/press-release-transcription has a nice little passive-aggressive twist, sneering that “The details of the data adjustments quickly get complicated—and will surely be where global warming doubters focus their criticism.” Those global warming doubters, always finding something to kvetch about! What are you gonna do?

Worse, the Post ends by passing along a criticism of mainstream scientists for even discussing the global warming pause before now.

Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes recently co-authored a paper depicting research on the “hiatus” as a case study in how scientists had allowed a “seepage” of climate skeptic argumentation to affect the formal scientific literature. Of the new NOAA study, she said in an e-mail: “I hope the scientific community will do a bit of soul searching about how they got pulled into this framework, which was clearly a contrarian construction from the start.”

Remember that everybody’s data was showing a plateau in global temperatures, and many of the studies focused on this were attempting to uphold the global warming theory in the face of that evidence. Yet now some of the theory’s own supporters are going to be thrown under the bus for showing too much faith in the data and too little faith in the cause. They will get the message stated bluntly by Oreskes: science must never be contaminated by skepticism.

That gives us a pretty good idea of what is going on here. Because any field where people say this sort of thing is by that very fact not a field of science any longer.


Australian cities at increased risk of flash flooding as temperatures warm and deluges intensify, experts say

The headline above and the article below rather over-egg the pudding.  If you look at the underlying journal article (also below) it contains nothing about the future at all.  All that the authors found was that storms are more intense and more sudden if the temperature is warm.  Not terribly surprising. I've seen some mighty storms arrive suddenly in the tropics. We don't get much else, in fact

It's only if the globe warms that the findings might have some implications of concern.  Fortunately, the globe is NOT warming, despite the many assertions to the contrary

Conclusions published in the journal Nature Geoscience suggest peak downpours during storms are intensifying at warmer temperatures, leading to greater risk of flash flooding in urban centres.

The study's authors have pointed to recent extreme weather events in Sydney and Queensland as examples of what they have documented.

They are urging local councils to redesign sewerage and road infrastructure as a result.  "Unless you fix the sewers and the storm drainage network you will have problems," study co-author Ashish Sharma said.

"If you're having bigger floods coming along in the future, the existing infrastructure cannot handle it. It will spill over."

Civil engineers from the UNSW analysed 30 years of weather records from 79 locations across Australia.

They looked at the 500 largest storms by rainfall volume from each of these locations and measured the corresponding near-surface temperature at the time of the storm.

The research found that the most intense downpours of rain are getting more extreme at warmer temperatures, dumping larger volumes of water over less time, leading to more flash floods.

"This is the first study in the world, to our knowledge at least, that looks at what will happen within an individual storm," Professor Sharma said.

"While it uses data from Australia it is actually very global in its reach because what we have gone about doing is we have just picked data from a lot of high quality rainfall stations in Australia.

"This holds across Australia so you can expect that this change is universal. And it's a mechanism nobody has really looked at until now.  "We certainly didn't expect it to be universal across Australia, which was a big surprise, and which basically says that you should see some other types of patterns in other climate zones around the world."


Steeper temporal distribution of rain intensity at higher temperatures within Australian storms

Conrad Wasko & Ashish Sharma

The mechanisms that cause changes in precipitation, as well as the resulting storm dynamics, under potential future warming remain debated1, 2, 3. Measured sensitivities of precipitation to temperature variations in the present climate have been used to constrain model predictions4, 5, debate precipitation mechanisms2, 3 and speculate on future changes to precipitation6 and flooding7. Here, we analyse data sets of precipitation measurements at 6-min resolution from 79 locations throughout Australia, covering a broad range of climate zones, along with sub-daily temperature measurements of varying resolution. We investigate the relationship between temporal patterns of precipitation intensity within storm bursts and temperature variations in the present climate by calculating the scaling of the precipitation fractions within each storm burst. We find that in the present climate, a less uniform temporal pattern of precipitation—more intense peak precipitation and weaker precipitation during less intense times—is found at higher temperatures, regardless of the climatic region and season. We suggest invigorating storm dynamics could be associated with the warming temperatures expected over the course of the twenty-first century, which could lead to increases in the magnitude and frequency of short-duration floods.

Nature Geoscience (2015) doi:10.1038/ngeo2456


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10 June, 2015

Global warmer Michael Milillo replies to skeptic Joseph Bast

I put up yesterday Joe Bast's comment on the the ramble about  global warming by apparent Catholic Michael Milillo.  Rather surprisingly, Milillo has replied to Bast  -- see below.  But he does not quote a single fact or statistic about climate. If there was any room for doubt, Milillo now makes clear that for him it is all about authority. Papal authority and global warming authority are his guiding lights.  Blind respect for authority gave us the armies of Nazism and Communism so Milillo is a disturbing phenomenon.  Respect for authority is indeed very Catholic but,  after the Protestant revolt against that, the church seems to have lost most of its authority.

It now asserts authority only for pronouncements made by the Pope speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals.  But the Pope has made no such pronouncements about climate change, though he has offered vague pastoral guidance. An encyclical is said to be forthcoming but nobody yet knows what will be in it. From De rerum novarum to Centesimus annus (Yes. I have read both) encyclicals have always trod a middle path on the political controversies of the day.  Even Mit brennender Sorge was very cautious and limited in its aims. So the best bet is that any future encyclical will do the same, with nothing specific offered. So Milillo imagines Papal authority where none has been claimed.

So Milillo is not a modern Catholic.  He is a throwback to the sort of authoritarian Catholic who provoked the Protestant reformation.  Not much good can come of that -- but one wonders whether it is really defence of Papal authority that calls forth his energies. His trust in the authority of the global warmers is certainly trust in a very secular creed.  I think it is he who has put his trust in Mammon.  It is the church of global warming to which he owes his primary loyalty, not the Pope

The ill manners of his greeting to his bishop is also revelatory.  Even I address a bishop as "Your Grace"

My email to Bishop Baker regarding the "Climate Change Debate" hosted by The EWTN Global Catholic Network that aired on "The World Over with Raymond Arroyo" on May 15, 2015 has more to with EWTN's disobedience to Pope Francis rather than with the lies, inaccuracies, and corruption promoted by The Heartland Institute as documented in referenced items [1] [2] [3].  If this contempt and insubordination that was displayed toward The Holy See by EWTN in general and Raymond Arroyo in particular had occurred 500 years ago, Arroyo would have been excommunicated at best or executed at worst.  As The Heartland Institute is NOT a Catholic institution -- and most likely doesn't believe in God either -- due to its worship of Mammon, God would in do time punish The Heartland Institute for its sins.

Until the Papacy of Pope Francis, EWTN has repeatedly told its Catholic audience to obey the Pope without question.  Neither did EWTN televised any debates concerning either abortion or homosexuality in which those who disagree with Pope John Paul II on these moral issues can have their opinions heard.  Without any precedent established by EWTN's past actions under Pope John Paul II, there exist NO justification for EWTN's scornful behavior now in which EWTN has openly proclaimed that Pope Francis' "Encyclical on the Environment" is wrong.  As EWTN did NOT debate the moral pronouncements of either Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI, EWTN should NOT do so now with Pope Francis.  What Arroyo has done in defying Pope Francis is worthy of excommunication by The Catholic Church.  But in my letter to Bishop Baker, I did NOT urge excommunication.  However, I did exhort the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama to sever all connections with, support for, and ties to EWTN.

Although The Heartland Institute believes it can openly debate a moral issue with Pope Francis, Catholics have learned from both Pope John Paul II and EWTN that there is absolutely NO room for debating a moral issue with the Pontiff once the Pope has reached a decision.  Pope Francis has declared that the "Protecting the Environment" is a moral issue of the utmost importance which includes the issue of Global Warming.  The Heartland Institute has publicly attack Pope Francis for declaring Global Warming a moral issue.  When having a choice between the Pope and The Heartland Institute on matters of morality, I will defer to the Pope.

As you wrote that The Heartland Institute "mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic issue", this does NOT provide "moral" solutions to social and economic issues.  Nevertheless, "free-market solutions" do NOT have as its goal the moral obligation which humans owe to God.  With this lack of morality as stated in its mission, The Heartland Institute is -- as I have written -- a lover of Mammon.  By putting profits and wealth ahead of one's love of God, The Heartland Institute is the very essence of an "abomination in the sight of God" [4].

This "love of Mammon" is best illustrated by The Heartland Institute refusal to accept the fact that man-made Greenhouse Gases is the root cause of "Global Warming".  This induces me to ask you if you believe in Dick Cheney's "One Percent Doctrine" which was the basis for the unprovoked invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2003?  The Cheney doctrine states that "if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction — and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time — the United States must now act as if it were a certainty" [5].

With stakes so high from the consequences of Global Warming, should NOT a reduction in "CO2 emissions" be called for even if there was only a 1% probability --  Dick Cheney's "One Percent Doctrine" -- that man-made Greenhouse Gases were responsible for Global Warming?  For "CO2 emissions" made by human activity is the only variable that Mankind can control.  What does Humanity have to lose in reducing man-made "CO2 emissions"?  You will argue profits, wealth, and GDP.  But when weight against the lost of lives and the human suffering that are the consequences of Global Warming, profits, wealth, and GDP are a small price to pay with the knowledge that Jesus paid a much higher price on being nailed to the Cross.  This is the moral rationale behind limiting man-made Greenhouse Gases that The Heartland Institute has repudiated.

I would rather trust the overwhelming number of Climate scientists -- as well as the overwhelming number of non-Climate scientists -- who say that Greenhouse Gases are the root cause for Global Warming more than I will trust the pitiful small number scientists that The Heartland Institute uses to deny Greenhouse Gases as the root cause for Global Warming.  With so many lives at risk and the possibility of the extinction of Humanity as a result of Global Warming, the number of scientists do matter.  By purposely ignoring this moral rationale, the only reason for The Heartland Institute to deny that man-made Greenhouse Gases are responsible for Global Warming makes suspect that The Heartland Institute is indeed receiving its funding from the toxic polluters of the environment.

You claimed that this is NOT the case.  if you are being honest and sincere about NOT loving Mammon, open the books of The Heartland Institute for inspection by the Environmental Defense Fund and the other environmental groups to ascertain if you are telling the truth.  For contributions from the Koch Brothers and other toxic polluters are being funnel to The Heartland Institute by way of "Donors Trust, the shadow operation that has laundered $146 million in climate-denial funding" [6].  All I can say to you, "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Matthew 16:23).

Via email

Philosopher says global warming is "truth"

I did a major in philosophy way back in my student days and I have had papers on mainstream philosophical topics published in the academic journals so this amused me.  Good philosophers -- and by that I mean analytical philosophers -- are great critics.  They tear every statement apart in an effort to get clarity about a field of discourse.  They would laugh at simple acceptance of authority as a criterion of truth.  Yet in his discussion of truth below this galoot does precisely that.  All his erudition crumbles before his credulity.  He thinks he can detect the truth about global warming just by checking what the authorities say.  He would have been a good Catholic in Galileo's day.  Any thought that he might check the facts of the matter is clearly alien to him.  He figuratively refuses to look through Galileo's telescope.  He is not even a philosopher's anal orifice.  Has he even heard of epistemology?

By Lee McIntyre

To see how we treat the concept of truth these days, one might think we just don’t care anymore. Politicians pronounce that global warming is a hoax. An alarming number of middle-class parents have stopped giving their children routine vaccinations, on the basis of discredited research. Meanwhile many commentators in the media — and even some in our universities — have all but abandoned their responsibility to set the record straight. (It doesn’t help when scientists occasionally have to retract their own work.)

Humans have always held some wrongheaded beliefs that were later subject to correction by reason and evidence. But we have reached a watershed moment, when the enterprise of basing our beliefs on fact rather than intuition is truly in peril.

It’s not just garden-variety ignorance that periodically appears in public-opinion polls that makes us cringe or laugh. A 2009 survey by the California Academy of Sciences found that only 53 percent of American adults knew how long it takes for Earth to revolve around the sun. Only 59 percent knew that the earliest humans did not live at the same time as the dinosaurs.

As egregious as that sort of thing is, it is not the kind of ignorance that should most concern us. There is simple ignorance and there is willful ignorance, which is simple ignorance coupled with the decision to remain ignorant. Normally that occurs when someone has a firm commitment to an ideology that proclaims it has all the answers — even if it counters empirical matters that have been well covered by scientific investigation. More than mere scientific illiteracy, this sort of obstinacy reflects a dangerous contempt for the methods that customarily lead to recognition of the truth. And once we are on that road, it is a short hop to disrespecting truth.

It is sad that the modern attack on truth started in the academy — in the humanities, where the stakes may have initially seemed low in holding that there are multiple ways to read a text or that one cannot understand a book without taking account of the political beliefs of its author.

That disrespect, however, has metastasized into outrageous claims about the natural sciences.  The strategy is to say, "I refuse to believe this," and then filibuster in the court of public opinion.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the fault lines of academic debate for the past 20 years already knows that the "science wars" were fought by natural scientists (and their defenders in the philosophy of science) on the one side and literary critics and cultural-studies folks on the other. The latter argued that even in the natural realm, truth is relative, and there is no such thing as objectivity. The skirmishes blew up in the well-known "Sokal affair" in 1996, in which a prominent physicist created a scientifically absurd postmodernist paper and was able to get it published in a leading cultural-studies journal. The ridicule that followed may have seemed to settle the matter once and for all.

But then a funny thing happened: While many natural scientists declared the battle won and headed back to their labs, some left-wing postmodernist criticisms of truth began to be picked up by right-wing ideologues who were looking for respectable cover for their denial of climate change, evolution, and other scientifically accepted conclusions. Alan Sokal said he had hoped to shake up academic progressives, but suddenly one found hard-right conservatives sounding like Continental intellectuals. And that caused discombobulation on the left.

"Was I wrong to participate in the invention of this field known as science studies?," Bruno Latour, one of the founders of the field that contextualizes science, famously asked. "Is it enough to say that we did not really mean what we said? Why does it burn my tongue to say that global warming is a fact whether you like it or not? Why can’t I simply say that the argument is closed for good?"

"But now the climate-change deniers and the young-Earth creationists are coming after the natural scientists," the literary critic Michael Bérubé noted, "… and they’re using some of the very arguments developed by an academic left that thought it was speaking only to people of like mind."

That is the price one pays for playing with ideas as if doing so has no consequences, imagining that they will be used only for the political purposes one intended. Instead, the entire edifice of science is now under attack. And it’s the poor and disenfranchised, to whom the left pays homage, who will probably bear the brunt of disbelief in climate change.

Of course, some folks were hard at work trying to dispute inconvenient scientific facts long before conservatives began to borrow postmodernist rhetoric. In Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury Press, 2010), two historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, have shown how the strategy of denying climate change and evolution can be traced all the way back to big tobacco companies, who recognized early on that even the most well-documented scientific claims (for instance, that smoking causes cancer) could be eroded by skillful government lobbying, bullying the news media, and pursuing a public-relations campaign. Sadly, that strategy has largely worked, and we today find it employed by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle organization advocating that "intelligent-design theory" be taught in the public schools as balance for the "holes" in evolutionary theory, and the Heartland Institute, which bills itself as "the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change."

What do such academically suspect centers have to offer by way of peer-reviewed, scientifically reputable evidence? Almost nothing. But that is not the point. The strategy of willful ignorance is not to fight theory with theory and statistic with statistic. It is instead to say, "I refuse to believe this," and then filibuster in the court of public opinion. It is not crackpot theories that are doing us in. It is the spread of the tactics of those who disrespect truth.


Retired NASA Scientists Warn Pope Against Global Warming Alarmism

A group of retired NASA scientists and engineers has written a letter to Pope Francis urging him to be skeptical of global warming claims coming from Vatican advisers.

“This letter is respectfully submitted on behalf of an independent, all-volunteer team of more than 20 retired NASA Apollo Program veterans, who joined together in February 2012 to perform an objective, un-funded, independent study of scientific claims regarding significant global warming caused by human activity, known as anthropogenic global warming (AGW),” wrote Dr. Harold Doiron, a retired NASA scientist who now chairs the The Right Climate Stuff Research Team.

“We feel compelled to write you because we are deeply troubled by the statements generated by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) advocating that man-made CO2 is likely to cause a climate disaster that must be immediately mitigated by adopting United Nations’ proposals to enact world-wide CO2 emissions controls,” Doiron wrote.

Pope Francis is set to release an encyclical in this month focusing on global warming. It’s expected that Francis will support the United Nations goal of phasing out fossil fuels to limit warming in the coming decades.

Francis’s own Pontifical Academy of Sciences and others who attended a Vatican climate conference in April wrote that “[f]ossil fuel exploitation has also taken a huge toll on human well being.”

But Doiron and others say such claims rely on highly uncertain climate models and ignore the huge benefits carbon dioxide beings to life on Earth.

“Such statements ignore a large body of empirical evidence that calls this recommendation into serious question,” Doiron wrote, pointing to a study his group published last year.

“Available data indicate we have time to improve the scientific understanding of the AGW issue before making critical decisions regarding CO2 emissions, with potentially severe adverse consequences,” Doiron wrote. “This is especially true for the poor in developing nations who need unfettered access to relatively inexpensive fossil fuel energy sources to improve their quality of life, while benefitting from higher atmospheric CO2 levels that provide for immediate needs of increased food production.”

Global warming skeptics have already tried to convince the pope there’s no need to believe alarmists. American conservative groups and UK skeptics went to the Vatican earlier this year to warn against blindly following the United Nations.

Skeptics claimed a small victory when it was announced Francis was delaying his encyclical over concerns the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “would have demolished it” in their review. The Vatican, however, denied such speculation.

Doiron and his fellow NASA retirees hope their 11th-hour letter will help convince Francis to not back the U.N.’s climate agenda.

“There is no compelling scientific or humanitarian reason for immediate enactment of world-wide CO2 emission controls, as the UN is urging you to recommend in your soon to be released encyclical on the environment,” Doiron wrote.

“This is especially true when we know that CO2 is a very special colorless, odorless and non-polluting gas designed by our Creator to be an essential chemical compound for sustaining all plant, animal and human life,” he added.

“So far, fossil fuels have been an extremely important gift from God,” Doiron wrote. “Do we really understand God’s preference regarding CO2 emissions? To do so will require a much better understanding of the climate vs. food production issues resulting from further scientific research and prayer for wisdom and discernment on this issue.”


NOAA Lies to Justify UN Climate Treaty

Political hackery. That’s the only proper explanation for the sheer deceit being perpetrated by NOAA today, the magnitude of which is becoming exceptionally clearer as we get closer to the UN climate conference in Paris later this year. Upon further review, NOAA — in direct contrast to the IPCC — now claims the global warming hiatus that began in the late 1990s never actually happened. In a new study, a team of researchers conclude, “[A]n updated global surface temperature analysis … reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and … the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.” What are the chances the suddenly-non-existent pause being announced just months before the UN tries to reach a universal climate deal is nothing more than convenient timing? About a snowball’s chance in hell.

According to The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch, “New climate data by NOAA scientists doubles the warming trend since the late 1990s by adjusting pre-hiatus temperatures downward and inflating temperatures in more recent years.” He adds, “To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well.” It’s also worth noting that satellite measurements contradict NOAA’s claim and actually put the global warming hiatus now at 18 years six months. This marks the second “bombshell” announcement, as The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang dubbed it, the agency has made over the last six months — the first being that 2014 was reportedly the globe’s warmest yet, which is also untrue. And it’s all to support the UN agenda in Paris.


The Climate Warming Pause Goes AWOL (Or Not)

Fred Singer points out below, inter alia, that even if we accept the Karl et al. claims, their findings still discredit the models

The renowned National Climate Data Center (NCDC), a division of NOAA located in Asheville, NC, claims that the widely reported (and accepted) temperature hiatus (i.e., near-zero trend) is an illusion—just an artifact of data analysis—and that the global climate never really stopped warming. If true, what a blessing that would be for the UN-IPCC—and for climate alarmists generally, who have been under siege to explain the cause of the pause.

This paper is turning out to be a “big deal.” The publisher of Science has even issued a special press release, promoting the NCDC claim of continued slow but steady warming.

Of course, NCDC-NOAA and Science may end up with egg on their collective faces. It does look a little suspicious that NCDC arrived at this earth-shaking “discovery” after all these years, after “massaging” its own weather-station data, just before the big policy conference in December in Paris that is supposed to slow the rise of CO2 from the burning of energy fuels, coal, oil, and gas.

Now watch the sparks fly—as there are two major constituencies that have a vested interest in the pause:

There are at least two rival data centers that may dispute the NCDC analysis: the Hadley Centre in England and the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).In fact, Hadley’s partner, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was the first to announce, on the BBC, the existence of a pause in global warming.

Then there are also dozens of scientists who have published research papers, purporting to provide an explanation for the reported pause.Yours truly turns out to be amongst these.They will all be mightily disappointed if their intellectual efforts turn out to be for naught.

But hold on. NCDC may turn out to be quite wrong. Not surprisingly, they used the surface temperature record, with its well-known problems. Not only that, but a look at the detailed NCDC evidence shows that much depends on polar temperatures—which are mostly guessed at, for lack of good observations. If one uses the (truly global) satellite data, analyzed either by UAH or by RSS, the pause is still there, starting around 2003 [see Figure; it shows a sudden step increase around 2001, not caused by GH gases].

Not only that, but the same satellite data show no warming trend from 1979 to 2000—ignoring, of course, the exceptional super-El-Nino year of 1998.This finding is confirmed by other, independent instrumental data—and also by (non-instrumental) proxy records (from tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments). This leads to important far-reaching consequences that are more fully discussed and referenced in the reports of NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) [search, esp. the CCR-II report of 2013].

UN-IPCC claims for AGW undermined

IPCC-4 [2007] and IPCC-5 [2013] both present claims for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) that are based mainly on reported surface warming from 1979 to 2000. In the absence of such a warming trend, the IPCC claims become invalid; there would be no human-caused greenhouse warming in the 20th century—and certainly not earlier.

It is worthwhile, therefore, to re-examine carefully the absence of warming in the last two decades of the 20th century.

The satellite results of near-zero warming trend are fully backed by radiosonde data from balloon flights—notwithstanding spurious claims by Santer et al [in Int’l J of Climatology 2008; see full discussion by Singer in Energy&Envir 2013].The absence of a tropical “Hotspot” (a once-controversial upper-troposphere warming trend) “makes the cheese more binding.”

Sea-surface temperatures (SST) show only a slight warming—as do night-time marine air temperatures (NMAT), assembled by the Hadley group. Data on ocean heat content before 2000 are spotty and not very useful. In any case, the interpretation of vertical temperature profiles would require factoring in ocean circulation at different levels.

Proxy data of various types, assembled by Fredrik Ljungqvist in Sweden, and independently by NOAA scientist David Anderson, generally show no warming; Michael Mann never released his post-1979 proxy data, and has even denied their existence (in a personal 1990 email); one suspects that the reason is they show no warming.

A quick word about the observed (and genuine) warming interval 1910-40. It can be seen not only in surface thermometers at weather stations, temperature records from ships, but in all published proxy records. Alas, I could not find any atmospheric temperature data for that period. It is generally agreed, however—including by IPCC—that this warming is of natural origin and not from GH gases.

Thus there is no evidence whatsoever of any warming from human-released CO2 during the whole of the 20th century or earlier.

The bottom line

One can certainly argue about whether the NCDC results are correct—and I expect many months of back-and-forth. So, has global warming really stopped? We will know for sure in just a few years.

There will certainly be debate also about my proposition of no evidence at all for AGW. We will need a persuasive answer to the puzzle—why do land thermometers show a warming before 2000, but not after 2000? I may have an answer, but must first try to convince my colleagues.

One thing is quite certain, however: Current IPCC climate models cannot explain what the observations clearly show. This makes the models unsuitable for climate prediction — and for policy purposes generally.


EPA says no evidence that fracking has 'widespread' impact on drinking water

Even the EPA can respect the facts sometimes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a Thursday report that it found no evidence fracking has a "widespread" impact on drinking water.

The EPA report—a draft assessment of its findings—concluded that there are above and below ground mechanisms by which fracking have the potential to impact drinking water resources, but that the number of identified cases were "small" compared to the number of fracking wells.

"We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [of potentially affecting water] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States," the report said.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process that involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas. Environmentalists say fracking poses health risks, often citing the affects on drinking water reserves.

In its report, the EPA notes that its findings could have been limited because of an insufficient amount of data and the presence of other possible contaminates that made it impossible to conclude fracking's effects on certain areas.

"The study was undertaken over several years and we worked very closely with industry throughout the process," Tom Burke, EPA's science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development, said on a conference call hosted by the agency.

He added that the limitations in data were not a function of companies' cooperation, but were—in many instances—a question of scientific capabilities.

Still, members of the energy industry were already celebrating the report.  "With this new report, it couldn't be clearer that shale development is occurring in conjunction with environmental protection and the claims by anti-fracking activists have been thoroughly debunked," a post from the Independent Petroleum Association of America's outreach campaign said.

In fact, the assessment includes several examples of fracking activities contaminating drinking waters, Burke said, adding that the report is not meant to issue a final conclusion on the process's safety.

"This is a study of how we can best protect our water resources. It's not a question of safe or unsafe," he said.

The EPA report was the result of Congress urging the group to conduct an assessment, and includes meta-analysis of prior studies and original agency research, Burke explained.

He emphasized that the draft assessment is not meant to directly inform policy, but is simply an advance in scientific understanding that can serve as a "foundation for future decisions."

Other than in a few select areas, the report founf fracking's potential impact on drinking water quality is relatively low, but not eliminated.

"Future problems could arise if hydraulic fracturing increases substantially in areas with low water availability, or in times of water shortages," the report said.

In March, the federal government unveiled its first set of fracking safety mandates. Affecting only federal and Indian lands, the Bureau of Land Management rule includes provisions for ensuring groundwater protection though well integrity standards, increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use, higher storage standards, and requiring companies submit more detailed information on preexisting wells.
Read MoreFracking or water? One report says that may be the choice
The BLM estimated that those new policies will cost about $11,400 per well. Industry representatives, however, told CNBC they see compliance as potentially much more expensive.

The industry has decried the regulatory changes as redundant and based on unsubstantiated concerns. Two groups, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, filed a lawsuit against the rule in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

The study is set to be finalized after it is reviewed by the Science Advisory Board and submitted for public review and comment, the agency said in a press release.



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

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


9 June, 2015

Joe Bast replies to a lying "Catholic"

I have put "Catholic" in quotes above because a true Catholic would try not to break the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not bear false witness  ..." in particular.  Joseph Bast is President of the Heartland Institute and he is referring below to the widely-circulated letter from the ill-mannered and far-Leftist Michael Milillo that I posted yesterday

I’ve very disappointed that Mr. Michael Milillo would write such a wildly inaccurate and defamatory piece and Mr. Eric Pooley would not take the opportunity to distance himself from it. Alas, such is the state of the debate over climate change today.

The Heartland Institute does not “worship Mammon” any more than EDF and other environmental advocacy groups “worship Gaia.” We celebrate human freedom, ingenuity, and volunteerism. Like the Catholic Church, we are a nonprofit organization. Our mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic issues. My staff includes Catholics, Jews, Protestants, atheists, and agnostics. No one here “worships Mammon.”

We receive less than 5% of our funding from the fossil fuel industry, and are glad to have it. We’ve received just one grant of $25,000 from the infamous “Koch brothers” in the past 15 years and it was earmarked for our work on health care reform. The sources Mr. Milillo cites – mostly Greenpeace and the Guardian – are serial liars about our funding and the funding of other center-right groups. We’ve tried to set them right many times (see here and here) but it’s apparently their goal to defame us without regard to the truth.

More importantly, the sources of our funding do not affect our research or the positions our writers take. We have a mission (stated above) that we have never deviated from in my 31 years as cofounder, executive director, and now president and CEO. We have policies in place that protect our authors from undue influence of donors. A little bit of research would quickly reveal that claims that free-market think tanks are asked by donors to lie about the global warming is a myth started by Al Gore and repeated ad nausea by groups on the left.

Finally, we have been very careful not to criticize or show disrespect toward Pope Francis. Our message in Rome and now is that the pope is being poorly served by those advising him on this controversial subject. We urge him to listen to real scientists and other experts who say climate change is not a crisis and the billions of dollars being spent on this matter could better be spent solving real environmental and public health problems.

Past experience predicts this message won’t produce an apology and retraction from Mr. Milillo, though one might suppose his Catholic faith would prompt him to do so. But perhaps others reading it will be prompted to seek the truth by following some of the links above, and moderate their rhetoric in the future.

Via email

NOAA Study Takes World by Storm: No Global Warming Pause!

By E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.

That’s how most of the media are treating a new study, anyway. Even the Wall Street Journal ran a news piece titled “Study Finds No Pause in Global Warming.”

The source? “Possible artifacts of data bias in the recent global surface warming hiatus,” published this week in Science, by long-time global warming alarmist Tom Karl et al.

Proper first impression response (though I confess it didn’t dawn on me first thing): “These results do not support …” does not entail that no other results do. I could study the colors of cats’ eyes in my neighborhood and conclude, “These results to not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

That conclusion would be true. But it would also be irrelevant to the question whether “the pause” is real.

Imagine for a moment that you’re investigating the question, “Is there an elephant in the house?” It’s a 9-room house. Each of eight investigators finds an elephant in a different one of eight rooms. Eight rooms, eight elephants. But one investigator finds no elephant in the bathroom. Would you conclude from his finding, “No elephant in the house”?

So the crucial, first question we should ask is, “Do other results support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature”? And the answer, we shall find, is, “Yes.”

But I’ll go there in a moment. First a quick list of early critiques of Karl et al.’s article. Within a day or two of its appearance, the following critical articles had already appeared:

The most technical so far (not surprising granted the author, my friend) Ross McKitrick’s “A first look at ‘Possible artifacts of data bias in the recent global surface warming hiatus’ by Karl et al. Science 4 June 2015. Ross begins (perhaps having thought of the point I just made about “These results do not support …”) by listing eight datasets that do “support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature” (HadCRUT [land surface and ocean], HadSST [ocean surface only], NCDC [land surface and ocean], GISS [land surface and ocean], RSS satellite [lower troposphere], UAH satellite [lower troposphere], and, together in the final graph, Ocean heat content 0-2000 meter [Argo floats] and NOAA SST estimates) and provides nice graphs of all seven. Then he points out all kinds of statistical and data-quality problems in the article and concludes:

Are the new K15 adjustments correct? Obviously it is not for me to say – this is something that needs to be debated by specialists in the field. But I make the following observations:

* All the underlying data (NMAT, ship, buoy, etc) have inherent problems and many teams have struggled with how to work with them over the years

* The HadNMAT2 data are sparse and incomplete. K15 take the position that forcing the ship data to line up with this dataset makes them more reliable. This is not a position other teams have adopted, including the group that developed the HadNMAT2 data itself.

* It is very odd that a cooling adjustment to SST records in 1998-2000 should have such a big effect on the global trend, namely wiping out a hiatus that is seen in so many other data sets, especially since other teams have not found reason to make such an adjustment.

* The outlier results in the K15 data might mean everyone else is missing something, or it might simply mean that the new K15 adjustments are invalid.

It will be interesting to watch the specialists in the field sort this question out in the coming months.

Likely to be the most troubling to the climate alarmist establishment (because she’s the least identified as a “denier”) so far is Judith Curry’s “Has NOAA ‘busted’ the pause in global warming?” She points out that the datasets on which Karl et al. rely have greater uncertainties than others that they purport to correct. She then writes,

“My bottom line assessment is this.  I think that uncertainties in global surface temperature anomalies is substantially understated.  The surface temperature data sets that I have confidence in are the UK group and also Berkeley Earth.  This short paper in Science is not adequate to explain and explore the very large changes that have been made to the NOAA data set.   The global surface temperature datasets are clearly a moving target.  So while I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on.”

Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Paul C. Knappenberger take on Karl et al. in “@NOAA’s desperate new paper: Is there no global warming ‘hiatus’ after all?” They begin with what ought to be an obvious point but in our innumerate society (and it’s amazing how many scientists, even, are innumerate, not in that they don’t know how to do complicated math but in that they forget basic math principles, like statistical significance levels, especially when forgetting serves their purposes):

“The main claim by the authors that they have uncovered a significant recent warming trend is dubious. The significance level they report on their findings (.10) is hardly normative, and the use of it should prompt members of the scientific community to question the reasoning behind the use of such a lax standard.”

Then they point out various weaknesses in the reliability of the data on which Karl et al. rely. They conclude, “… even presuming all the adjustments applied by the authors ultimately prove to be accurate, the temperature trend reported during the “hiatus” period (1998-2014), remains significantly below (using Karl et al.’s measure of significance) the mean trend projected by the collection of climate models used in the most recent report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is important to recognize that the central issue of human-caused climate change is not a question of whether it is warming or not, but rather a question of how much. And to this relevant question, the answer has been, and remains, that the warming is taking place at a much slower rate than is being projected.”

That’s an important point. The climate models are the only grounds for fearing dangerous manmade warming. The eight more commonly used datasets show that they grossly exaggerate CO2’s warming effect. Karl et al.’s fiddled–er, reconstructed–dataset only shows that they somewhat less grossly exaggerate. That’s not exactly a ringing vindication. It still leaves us with no rational basis to fear dangerous warming, and so no rational basis for policy to mitigate it.

Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts take on the new study in the aptly titled “NOAA/NCDC’s new ‘pause-buster’ paper: A laughable attempt to create warming by adjusting past data.” In addition to pointing out all kinds of uncertainties about the datasets on which Karl et al. rely–uncertainties much greater than those that show the “pause”–they point out that Karl et al. choose 1951 to 2012 and 1950 to 1999 as the reference period against which to compare the period of the alleged pause. But of course, there was significant global cooling going on in the 1950s through early 1970s–enough to cause panic about a coming ice age.

As Tisdale and Watts say, “If NOAA would like to revise their estimates of future global warming to reflect the more benign warming rate of 0.1 deg C/decade from 1950 to 1999, it would be a big step toward their coming to terms with reality.” Right. That would be essentially cutting IPCC’s estimates of CO2-induced warming by a third, which would put NOAA and Karl et al. solidly in the camp of–horror of horrors!–AGW deniers!

The Global Warming Policy Foundation chimes in with “Reports of the death of the global warming pause are greatly exaggerated.” (Hat tip to Mark Twain.) The article summarizes “Key pitfalls” of Karl et al.’s paper thus: “The authors have produced adjustments that are at odds with all other surface temperature datasets, as well as those compiled via satellite.” “They do not include any data from the Argo array that is the world’s best coherent data set on ocean temperatures.” “Adjustments are largely to sea surface temperatures (SST) and appear to align ship measurements of SST with night marine air temperature (NMAT) estimates, which have their own data bias problems.” “The extent of the largest SST adjustment made over the hiatus period, supposedly to reflect  a continuing change in ship observations (from buckets to engine intake thermometers) is not justified by any evidence as to the magnitude of the appropriate adjustment, which appears to be far smaller.”

Then they expand on those in eight numbered points and conclude: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA. Caution and suitable caveats should be used in using this paper as evidence that the global annual average surface temperature ‘hiatus’ of the past 18 years has been explained.”

Not to be left out, the inimitable Lord Christopher Monckton weighs in with “Has NOAA/NCDC’s Tom Karl repealed the laws of thermodynamics?”

He begins with a humorous rehearsal of a Congressional committee hearing at which both he and Karl were expert witnesses and he had shown that global average temperature had actually been falling for the past eight years, which Karl contested but the data showed true, and that hurricane frequencies hadn’t risen in 100 years, which Karl challenged, whipping out a chart that to his horror showed that Monckton was indeed wrong–they actually hadn’t risen for the last 150 years. The history is entertaining, and I can vouch for its general accuracy–I was there, as another expert witness.

Then Monckton zeroes in on the topic suggested by his title. Even assuming Karl et al.’s temperature reconstruction is right, the resulting scenario is that the ocean near-surface temperatures rose at a rate that would require considerable movement of heat into that region from above or below, but neither the troposphere nor the deep ocean showed sufficient warming to be the origin of that migrating heat. Hence, for Karl et al.’s scenario to be accurate, we must assume, as I shall here try to summarize as concisely and simply as I can, that heat radiated, both upward and downward, from cooler to warmer masses, which conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics.

Meanwhile, what seems to me about the most obvious response is this: We should keep comparing apples and apples as much as possible.

The most reliable global temperature data from 1979 to the present come from satellites. They are least subject to local contamination, sample change or inadequacy, and variation in method and instrumentation over time. And they show, as Monckton points out in “El Nino strengthens: the Pause lengthens,” that “For 222 months, since December 1996, there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS temperature – still unaffected by a slowly strengthening el Niño, which will eventually cause temporary warming – passes another six-month milestone, and establishes a new record length for the Pause: 18 years 6 months.”

By the way, keep in mind the psychological effect of the WSJ headline: “Study finds no pause in global warming.” That sounds so conclusive!

But had WSJ reported on the last-cited article, which appeared at essentially the same time as NOAA’s, it could have run the headline “Study finds pause in global warming.”

Indeed, WSJ could have run the two stories exactly parallel to each other on the same day.

No single study settles a matter.

And finding no elephant in the bathroom does not mean there’s none in the living room.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

October-March Snow Cover At Record High Levels

ScreenHunter_2303 Jun. 07 09.20

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past – Environment – The Independent

Fifteen years ago, climate experts said that snow is a thing of the past. Since then, Northern Hemisphere snow cover has soared to record levels.
ScreenHunter_2301 Jun. 07 09.15Rutgers University Climate Lab :: Global Snow Lab

What this tells us is that cold air is intruding further south during the snow season. It also tells us that Tom Karl at NOAA is lying about global temperatures.


GISS Guessing Arctic Temperatures “Introduces Substantial Errors”

As we know, the Arctic is supposed to be one of the fastest warming regions on the planet. According to GISS, above, most of it is between 2 and 4C warmer than it was in 1979.

Annual anomalies appear to have steadily increased since 1979 at a rate of 0.54C/decade.

However, we also know that there are next to no temperature monitoring stations anywhere near the North Pole. To fill these gaps, GISS rely on temperature readings from land stations up to 1200km away.

  The whole process of gap filling is highly controversial, but in the Arctic it carries particular problems, as Judith Curry explains:

"I am also unconvinced by NOAA’s gap filling in the Arctic, and in my opinion this introduces substantial error into their analysis.  I addressed the issue of gap filling in the Arctic in this recent publication:  Curry JA, 2014:  Climate science:  Uncertain temperature trends. Nature Geoscience, 7, 83-84.

Relevant text: "Gap filling in the Arctic is complicated by the presence of land, open water and temporally varying sea ice extent, because each surface type has a distinctly different amplitude and phasing of the annual cycle of surface temperature. Notably, the surface temperature of sea ice remains flat during the sea ice melt period roughly between June and September, whereas land surface warming peaks around July 1. Hence using land temperatures to infer ocean or sea ice temperatures can incur significant biases."

Put simply, the presence of sea ice moderates air temperatures above it, thus reducing volatility. This effect can be seen on the DMI reanalysis of temperatures north of 80 degree.

Daily mean temperature (degrees Kelvin) and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year

In summer months, temperatures rarely vary much from the mean (1958-2002), and stay only just above zero. This is the chart for last year, but most preceding years show similar patterns.

The situation on land is totally different. There, a puff of wind from the south or a bit of sunshine can dramatically increase temperatures. This effect is accentuated by low humidity in the Arctic, where a given increase in heat content will have a much larger effect than at lower latitudes.

Given these facts, there is no justification at all for gap filling from land stations in the Arctic, and it can only lead to substantial errors, as Judith Curry notes.

It is worthwhile, then, comparing the GISS temperature trends with the UAH lower troposphere ones. (UAH start from 60N, rather than 64N, but this should not make any significant difference.)

We find that the GISS trend of 0.54C per decade has been dramatically reduced to 0.23C. Unfortunately GISS do not publish monthly anomalies for the Arctic, so we cannot see whether the difference is a seasonal one.

However, if we put the two trends together, we find that most of the divergence has occurred since 2004. In comparison with GISS, UAH shows little trend since 2001.

I understand from the Karl press release that he is now working to “correct” Arctic temperatures for his next NCDC update. If he follows the GISS process, it will only lead to more spurious upward adjustments to the global temperature trend.

It is surely time that the climate establishment accepted that they have absolutely no clue what temperatures are in the Arctic, and take these out altogether from their global calculations. This will, of course, reduce global warming trends, and may even result in cooling in the last decade or so.

In any event, any warming in the Arctic means diddly squat in terms of heat content.

Unfortunately, the “melting” Arctic is their poster child. Take that away, and they have little left.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Insane, crazy – tidal power in Wales

Last week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time produced yet another twist to what is one of the strangest political riddles in Britain today. A Tory MP was put up to ask David Cameron what he thought about the £1 billion Swansea Tidal Lagoon project, in which it had just been announced that a giant Chinese firm, the China Harbour Engineering Company, is to take a £300 million stake. Mr Cameron’s response was that, although Swansea still has to be given planning permission, in general he couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the Chinese involvement in the future of generating electricity from the tides round Britain’s coasts.

This was only the latest indication of the Government’s determination to push through the Swansea Lagoon scheme as fast as possible. It was highlighted in George Osborne’s March Budget and the Tory manifesto. Mr Cameron has visited Swansea more than once, and planning permission may be given as early as this week.

Yet, as I reported on April 18, under the headline “Will Welsh eels scupper the craziest 'green’ project ever?”, in practical terms this scheme should be a non-starter. On the developer’s figures, the 16 tidal-powered giant turbines, built into a six-mile long breakwater round Swansea Bay, will intermittently generate only a pitiful amount of the most expensive and heavily subsidised electricity in the world. They will require constant back-up from fossil-fuel power stations for all the many hours when they are producing little or no power.

In return for the developers receiving a mind-boggling £168 per megawatt hour for electricity, including a subsidy of 240 per cent, even more than that for offshore wind, we shall on average get just a derisory 57 megawatts. Yet the £1 billion gas-fired power station recently built down the coast at Pembroke can produce 35 times as much electricity, whenever needed, without a penny of subsidy.

There are now reports that, with the Chinese involvement, many of the added amenities used to sell the lagoon to the local community, such as a yachting marina, may now be dropped from the scheme. Engineers have expressed doubts over the viability of the 16 giant turbines. A distinguished expert on tidal silting wrote in March that neither he nor any of his “international colleagues” can imagine that the project will not be plagued by its build-up of a million tons of silt a year, to be dumped at a site as yet unspecified.

In every respect, say many experts, this project should be laughed out of court, as should the developer’s plans to ship 1.2 million tons of stone a year from a disused Cornish quarry to build the breakwater. We still have to see the answers the Government gave to the 25 searching questions on the scheme’s environmental impact put to it just before the election by the head of its own Planning Inspectorate.

Yet the project is tipped to be given the go-ahead by our new Energy and Climate Secretary, Amber Rudd, possibly as early as Wednesday. The real mystery crying out for an explanation is why the Tory establishment should seem so recklessly hell-bent on pushing through a project the experts seem to think is ludicrously impractical, absurdly costly, environmentally damaging and utterly insane.


Santorum gets it

Says Climate change about 'political science'

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on Sunday science behind climate change arguments is far from settled.

“This is what bothers me about this debate – the idea that the science is settled,” he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Anytime you hear a scientist say, ‘the science is settled,’ that’s political science and not real science,” Santorum added. “No scientist in his right mind would ever say the science is settled.”

Santorum, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, was responding to reports that Pope Francis will release an encyclical addressing mankind’s role in climate change on June 18.

“The pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about,” Santorum said when asked about his earlier criticism of the religious leader’s stance on climate change.

“It’s about what he should put his moral authority towards,” he said. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the Earth than climate change.”

“We have to make public policy in regards to environmental policy,” he added.

Santorum said his position on the issue stemmed from his concern for American workers.

Implementing more environmental regulations, he argued, was not always in their best interest.

Santorum reiterated his support for a flat tax to stimulate America’s economy and help its labor force.

“The bottom line is we have to create growth,” he said.

“The Republican message is a good message on growth,” Santorum added, citing the GOP’s penchant for tax cuts and eliminating regulations.

“We have to orient that message on areas that are hurting in America today.”



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

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


8 June, 2015

Reviving the global warming "hiatus"

"Hiatus" is actually a Warmist term.  "Halt" would be less inferential.  Orwell taught us about how language can aid thought control but for the sake of continuity I will use "hiatus".

The skeptical blogosphere has erupted in a storm of scorn at the attempt by Karl et "adjust" the sea surface temperature record so that the terrestrial surface temperature shows some marginal warming in the 21st century.

I liked David Middleton's comment under the heading "Gavin says the funniest things!".  He says in one short paragraph what I used a lot of paragraphs to say yesterday. Gavin Schmidt is Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), a great temple of Warmism.  He is its High Priest.

The cleverest man on either side of the whole warming discussion is undoubtedly Lord Monckton. Everything seems easy for him.  I will even admit that he is cleverer than I am -- which is not something I do often.  So his contribution to the chorus must be looked to. 

He makes a number of points that others do -- such as the fact that both sets of satellite measurements show no warming -- but he also makes a major point that I would like to draw maximum attention to.  He points out that around 70% of the earth's surface is ocean and that the ocean surface is bounded by two great oceans, the water underneath it and the mainly nitrogen ocean above it that we refer to as the atmosphere. 

Yet the temperature readings for the atmosphere show no warming at all and the temperature readings for the whole body of ocean water show much less warming than the surface readings that Karl et al. report.  So where is Karl's warming coming from?  The laws of thermodynamic undoubtedly apply to convection so any surface warming must in some way be reflected by warming above or below. 

But it is not.  There just does not exist the heat in the system that would be needed for the Karl et al. figures to be correct.  With its emphasis on new adjustments, it was always pretty obvious that the Karl et al. work was another episode in a long line of Warmist "fudges" and Monckton's analysis proves it -- JR.

A new Index expurgatorius?

The Catholic church relied for centuries on an  Index expurgatorius -- a list of books and writings that faithful Catholics were not allowed to read.  The index protected them from "error" that might risk their immortal souls.  It seems to have died of shame some time in the '60s

But will it be revived? Far-Left Catholic Michael Milillo (He favours the communistic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont) is doing his best to revive it.  Maybe old habits die hard.

He has written as follows to the Bishop of of Birmingham in Alabama.  His greeting is strange enough to suggest that he is actually not much of a Catholic.  Even I address bishops as "Your Grace" on the rare occasions that I write to them.  If he IS a real Catholic he has no manners

Dear Bishop Baker:

The Diocese of Birmingham should immediately sever all connections with, support for, and ties to The EWTN Global Catholic Network [5817 Old Leeds Road, Irondale, AL 35210] that is located within the Diocese of Birmingham.  My reason for insisting that the Diocese of Birmingham take such a harsh stance against EWTN is due to the controversial "Climate Change Debate" hosted by EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo on May 15, 2015 [1].  This "Climate Change Debate" was to both discredit the Papacy of Pope Francis as well as used EWTN to deny that Global Warming is genuine and factually based on scientific evidence.

This EWTN "Climate Change Debate" was between Marc Morano and Carol L. Andress.  Morano is connected with the Heartland Institute, a libertarian organization that worships Mammon.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Mason University.  Andress is the Director of Legislative Operations for the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental organization.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Duke University.  Neither one of these debaters are scientists capable of discussing the scientific evidence of Global Warming.  Due to their own lack of credentials in the science of Global Warming, all the debaters could do was present the findings by the scientists who are actually engaged in the science of Global Warming.

Jim Lakely -- also with the Heartland Institute -- reported that Morano embarrassed [beat] Andress in this "Climate Change Debate" [2].  Lakely wrote in this blog that "EWTN, America’s leading cable network for Catholics broadcast to 148 millions homes around the world, hosted a debate Thursday night about Pope Francis' plan to insert himself into the center of the global climate debate on 'The World Over with Raymond Arroyo.'"  On the Morano's webpage -- "Climate Depot : A project of CFACT", Morano wrote that he "'kicked warmist [Andress] butt on EWTN -- now warmists want him banned. [3]"  The warmists that Morano is referring to is "Faithful America" [4].  Morano also wrote on his web site that "'Eternal Word Television Network (ETWN) just invited notorious climate denier Marc Morano to 'debate' whether climate change is real. Worse yet, during the program, ETWN’s own host [Raymond Arroyo] denied man-made climate change and attacked the Pope for meeting with top scientists. Tell the world's largest religious media outlet, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN): Stop broadcasting climate denial.'"

What was implied by EWTN in this "Climate Change Debate" was that Andress was the surrogate for Pope Francis.  This "Climate Change Debate" was an attempt by EWTN to either discredit or undermine the Papacy of Pope Francis.  To the best of my knowledge, EWTN never held such a debate on the merits of either abortion or homosexuality during the Papacies of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.  EWTN never invited Michael Sherrard of Faithful America to debate any of the issues that were supported by Pope John Paul II.  So why did EWTN do so now with Global Warming before Pope Francis issues his Encyclical on The Environment?  This affront toward Pope Francis by EWTN is totally unwarranted.  To understand why EWTN disrespected Pope Francis, one must examine who is pulling the strings of the deniers of Global Warming and also who maybe giving monetary contributions to EWTN.

To this end, the Idiom that "don't bite the hand that feeds you" is applicable to The Heartland Institute [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] .  The question is does EWTN obtain its donations from the same entities as The Heartland Institute?  With the frequent appearances of persons that are associated with The Heartland Institute appearing as expert guests on EWTN, it will appear that EWTN does.  As Pope Francis has stated that "protecting the Earth is a requirement of Christianity" [16], EWTN as a Catholic organization should be supporting Pope Francis rather than being a cheerleader of those who disagree with the Pontiff.

With Pope Francis about to make the environment as important an issue -- if NOT more important -- to Catholics than either abortion or homosexuality, the Conservative and Libertarian organizations, politicians, and individuals are set to oppose the Pontiff [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21].  EWTN should NOT be used as an instrument by these entities to entice faithful Catholics to ignore Pope Francis.  Advisers to Pope Francis on the environment have responded to these critics [22] [23].  Because these critics of Pope Francis would need to sacrifice a portion of their wealth and income due to the expense incurred for the action needed to be taken in order to protect the environment -- and Humanity itself -- from the current unrestricted and unregulated toxic contamination of the environment by the environmental polluters, they are fighting back [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31].  The toxic polluters of the environment love Mammon more they love God.  Does EWTN also love Mammon more than God?

It appears so.  This is based on EWTN's blatant disregard for considering that Pope Francis prayed for guidance in his decision to release his Encyclical on the Environment.  As every religious leader of Christendom does pray to God for guidance, Pope Francis will also do the same.  EWTN's purposely ignoring this important factor of prayer severely diminishes EWTN's own credibility.  In all other matters, Catholics accept the word of the Pope as final.  Up to now, that is actually what EWTN has been telling its Catholic viewers since the Papacy of John Paul II.  EWTN's actions to undermine the Papacy of Pope Francis before other Catholics is an offense to Pope Francis, The Catholic Church, and God.  This is why I urge the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama to cease all connections with, support for, and ties to The EWTN Global Catholic Network.

Milillo is certainly prolix.  The letter was copied to me in an email.  Below is the interview Milillo is steamed about.  I mentioned it here on 20th. -- JR

How world's biggest "green" power plant is actually INCREASING greenhouse gas emissions

It is touted as the flagship of Britain’s energy future: the world’s biggest green power plant burning wood pellets to generate renewable biomass electricity that will safeguard the planet for our children.

But today The Mail on Sunday can expose the hypocrisy that underpins the Drax power station in North Yorkshire – which far from curbing greenhouse emissions, is actually increasing them, while adding huge sums to the nation’s power bills.

Drax was once Britain’s biggest coal-fired power station. It now burns millions of tons of wood pellets each year, and is reputed to be the UK’s biggest single contributor towards meeting stringent EU green energy targets.

But astonishingly, a new study shows that the switch by Drax from coal to wood is actually increasing carbon emissions. It says they are four times as high as the maximum level the Government sets for plants that use biomass – which is defined as fuel made from plant material that will grow back again, therefore re-absorbing the CO2 emitted when it is burnt.

At £80 per MW/hr, Drax’s biomass energy is two-and-a-half times more expensive than coal – a cost passed on to customers. Last year Drax soaked up £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies that were added to British consumers’ power bills – a sum set to rocket still further. Without these subsidies, its biomass operation would collapse.

Perhaps most damningly of all, its hunger for wood fuel is devastating hardwood forests in America, to the fury of US environmentalists, who say that far from saving the planet, companies like Drax are destroying it. Drax denies this, saying it only uses dust and residues from sawmills, as well as wood left over when others log trees for purposes such as construction. Inquiries by The Mail on Sunday investigation suggests this claim is highly questionable.

Drax qualifies for subsidy because under EU rules, biomass is rated as ‘zero carbon’ – on the basis that trees used can be grown back.

Yesterday, the plant’s spokesman Andrew Brown refused to say how much subsidy it is being paid now, claiming this information was ‘commercially sensitive’.

But a Mail on Sunday analysis shows that in 2014, with two biomass units operational, the subsidy rose to at least £340 million – about three-quarters of Drax’s gross profit. The figure was calculated from the plant’s own public declarations of how much power it has generated from biomass, and known details of how much the subsidies are worth per MW/hr.

Now, with a third 650MW biomass furnace due to be lit in the next few weeks, the subsidy will grow again, in step with Drax’s output. By 2016, the total it has received will be well over £1 billion, with about half a billion being paid annually.

Drax is proud of its green credentials, and claims that it uses sawdust from sawmills and ‘waste wood’ or ‘leftovers’ – branches and smaller sections – discarded by commercial logging operations.

In fact, according to Drax’s own website, last year sawdust made up just 9.5 per cent of its pellets. A much bigger source is American hardwood trees – such as oak, sweetgum, cypress, maple and beech – supplied by US firm Enviva, which sells Drax a million tons of pellets a year, a quarter of the plant’s 2014 supply. Drax claims the wood it is supplied with is ‘sustainable’.

However, the Dogwood Alliance, a US environmental group, has investigated Enviva operations on the ground several times and found evidence to the contrary.

Late last month, Dogwood campaigner Adam Macon travelled with colleagues to the Enviva pellet plant at Ahoskie, North Carolina, where he saw piles of hardwood trunks 40 feet high being fed into the plant’s hopper – the start of the process where the trees are pulped and turned into pellets. These could not be described as ‘leftovers’.

Macon recorded the number plate details of an empty truck leaving the plant and followed it to a forested area 20 miles away. He waited as numerous other trucks, laden with tree trunks, left the forest for Ahoskie. Then, the truck he had been following left too, carrying its load back to the plant. The next step was to visit the area being cut. ‘To avoid detection, we trekked in from the back, through a forested swamp,’ Macon said.

‘We trudged through mud and water up to our knees. Wildlife buzzed, chirped and splashed all around as huge hardwood cypress trees towered above – a testament to the incredible biodiversity that exists in this region.’

Finally they reached the cut: ‘All that was left were the stumps of once great trees. They had destroyed an irreplaceable wetland treasure.’

MACON described how on another occasion last year, he hid closer to the actual cutting. ‘We saw the trees being cut, all the way to the bottom, then being put into a machine that cut off all the branches. The trunks were loaded into trucks, which we followed to Ahoskie.’

This operation is not illegal. Although they are home to dozens of species of animals and birds, some of them endangered, the forests are not protected. But US environmentalists claim that demand for biomass is hugely increasing the rate at which they are felled.


Unreliable science

News outlets across the globe were embarrassed last week when Dr John Bohannon announced his widely publicised study on chocolate and weight loss was fake.

Stories about the Bohannon study had appeared in dozens of outlets from Shape magazine to the Times of India, under headlines such as “Scientists Say Eating Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight” and “Dieting? Don’t Forget the Chocolate.”

The study itself was real enough, in the sense that it involved real test subjects, randomised trials, and honest data. When Bohannon says his study was junk, he means that “it was terrible science. The results are meaningless.” His team deliberately went fishing for statistically significant differences in a way that virtually guaranteed they would find one, and they packaged their results in a way designed to keep lazy journalists from asking too many questions.

But the story gets even more complicated: Bohannon’s study may have been a gonzo prank, but real studies involving hundreds and even thousands of subjects have found that moderate chocolate consumption is associated with lower BMI and better health. People who found Bohannon’s study plausible were not necessarily gullible dupes.

So does chocolate help you lose weight or doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there is no conclusive proof either way just yet. That’s one reason why government should stay out of people’s diet decisions—nutritional science is constantly evolving. The diet bugaboo of yesterday often becomes the diet hero of tomorrow. There is very little we know for certain, even about something as simple as whether chocolate is good for you.


Putin and Buffett’s war on U.S. pipelines

Billionaires use secretive foundations to finance anti-pipeline protests – and get even richer

Paul Driessen

Abundant, reliable, affordable oil and natural gas empower people. They support job creation, mobility, modern agriculture, homes and hospitals, computers and communications, lights and refrigerators, life and study after sundown, indoor plumbing, safe drinking water, less disease and longer lives.

Hydrocarbons make plastics, pharmaceuticals and synthetic clothing. They create fertilizers and pesticides, to improve crop yields, reduce food prices and improve nutrition.

But Sierra Club, and other radicals want to keep America’s oil and natural gas bounties in the ground. They block leasing, drilling and fracking. They block pipelines that transport oil and gas to refineries, power plants, factories and homes. And the more their “dangerous manmade climate change” mantras fall on deaf ears, the more absurd their anti-energy campaigns are getting.

Hydraulic fracturing and Canadian oil sands development made North American petroleum production soar, created millions of jobs, sent oil, gasoline and natural gas prices plunging, and provided some of the few bright spots in the 2008-14 Obama economy.

New pipelines were approved and constructed, including the Keystone system’s first three phases. They augmented 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution pipelines that already crisscross the United States.

But when the Keystone XL segment was proposed, intense opposition suddenly materialized. Protesters railed that habitat disturbance, potential leaks, climate change and ending fossil fuel use necessitated “no more pipelines.” Now the Sandpiper Pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin is meeting similar resistance.

As with Keystone, the protesters say they’re just concerned student, hiker and Native American grassroots activists: average citizens who just care about their environment. The facts do not support their claims.

In reality, they are being bankrolled by billionaires, fat-cat foundations and foreign oil interests.

Putin-allied Russian oil billionaires laundered $23 million through the Bermuda-based Wakefield Quin law firm to the Sea Change Foundation and thence to anti-fracking and anti-Keystone groups, the Environmental Policy Alliance found.

Sandpiper opponents are also being funded and coordinated by wealthy financiers and shadowy foundations, researcher Ron Arnold discovered.

It’s true that several small groups are involved in the anti-Sandpiper protests. However, the campaign is coordinated by Honor the Earth, a Native American group that is actually a Tides Foundation “project,” with the Tides Center as its “fiscal sponsor.” They’ve contributed $700,000 and extensive in-kind aid. Out-of-state donors provide 99% of Honor’s funding.

The Indigenous Environmental Network also funds Honor the Earth. Minnesota corporate records show no incorporation entry for the Network, and 95% of its money comes from outside Minnesota. Tides gave IEN $670,000 to oppose pipelines.

Indeed, $25 billion in left-wing foundation investment portfolios support the anti-Sandpiper effort. Vastly more backing makes the $13-billion-per-year U.S. environmentalist movement a power to be reckoned with, Arnold and I document in our book, Cracking Big Green.

These tax-exempt foundations do not simply give money to pressure groups. They serve as puppeteers, telling protesters what campaigns to conduct, what tactics to use. Meanwhile, donors enjoy deductions for “charitable giving” to “education, conservation and other social change” programs.

Tides Foundation combined cash flows exceed $200 million annually, Canadian investigative journalist Cory Morningstar reported (here and here). Like Arnold, she and fellow Canadian sleuth Vivian Krause have delved deeply into troubling arrangements among Big Green, Big Government and Big Finance.

Morningstar calls the San Francisco-based Tides operation “a priceless, magical, money funneling machine of epic proportions.” It enables über-rich donors to distribute funds to specific organizations and campaigns of their choice, without disclosing their identities.

Even more interesting, among Tides’ biggest donors is Obama friend and advisor Warren Buffett. Beginning in 2004, Buffett funneled $30.5 million through his family’s NoVo Foundation to Tides. The cash ultimately went to selected pressure groups that led campaigns against Keystone, Sandpiper and other projects, Morningstar and Arnold found.

By donating the market value of greatly appreciated Berkshire Hathaway shares to NoVo, the Omaha billionaire avoided income taxes on his gains. Even more important, while public, media and political attention was riveted on Keystone, Berkshire Hathaway quietly bought the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Tank Car manufacturing company – with no notice, dissent or interference, Morningstar observed.

When Keystone XL et al. were blocked, more oil was shipped by rail – much of it via Buffett companies. In fact, oil-by-rail skyrocketed from 9,500 carloads in 2009 to 450,000 carloads in 2014. Mr. Buffett’s “investment” in anti-pipeline activism garnered billions in rail revenues.

The anti-pipeline campaigns blocked thousands of jobs and increased risks of tank car derailments, like the Lac Megantic, Quebec spill that destroyed much of the town and incinerated 47 people.

That may help explain why Mr. Buffett recently criticized President Obama’s veto of Keystone XL legislation. He now says the pipeline would be good for both Canada and the United States, and it is a mistake to jeopardize trade relationships with our northern neighbor.

But the campaigns rage on. Mr. Buffett helped unleash a beast he cannot control. The campaigns are not grassroots, or even Astroturf. Their “green” tint is the color of unfathomable behind-the-scenes wealth.

The clandestine Buffett-Berkshire-NoVo-Putin-Tides-activist-railroad arrangement reflects “a devious strategy on the part of both benefactor and recipient,” Morningstar concludes. “At minimum, it demonstrates an almost criminal conflict of interest.” Legislative investigations are needed, especially since the Justice Department is hardly likely to look into what its key allies are doing.

Meanwhile, pro-Sandpiper students from the Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow presented these inconvenient financial truths to pipeline protesters at a recent University of Minnesota rally. “Buffet’s Puppets,” the CFACT students called the protesters.

How did the Buffett-Tides-Putin allies react, when they learned they are being used by billionaires? They dug in their ideological heels and shouted insults.

One red-faced protester walked away. Others intensified their chants or shouted racially tinged epithets at the multi-ethnic CFACT students. None wanted to discuss funding issues, America’s need for oil and jobs, or how best to transport fuels safely.

This is what passes for “environmental studies,” “robust debate,” “higher education” and compassion for blue-collar families on campuses and picket lines today. No wonder “environmentalism” and “liberalism” have become such pathetic political philosophies.

Via email

Surprise: UN Climate Talks Deadlocked

India & China want EU and other rich countries to revise their targets

The European Union (EU) has said it is unlikely to enhance before 2020 its commitment to reducing emissions linked to climate change. The statement at the ongoing climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, has led to a war of words between the EU and the developing countries under the G77+ China grouping. India and China are taking the lead.

These mid-year talks are meant to tighten the negotiating text that will be the basis for the global Paris agreement on climate change, to be inked in December this year. The talks, however, were a little strained on Thursday as the EU suggested that countries move focus away from what was termed the ‘pre-2020’ action, and look only at the post-2020 scenario to be covered by the Paris agreement.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has often said that the developed countries’ enhanced commitment to reducing their emissions, as required by science, in the pre-2020 stage, is important to reaching a successful conclusion at Paris in December.

In the pre-2020 stage, only developed countries are required to take action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. After the year 2020, all countries, especially emerging economies like China and India, will be expected to do so. If the gap between the required reductions and developed countries’ commitments are not met in the pre-2020 phase, an additional burden will get shifted to the emerging economies.

The EU has, however, said the grounds and conditions for it to increase its existing pledge, to reducing emissions by 20 per cent below the 1990 level by 2020, do not exist. The EU, which is yet to formally ratify the pledge under the Kyoto Protocol, has claimed the process is complex.

Official Observers taking notes at the meetings behind closed doors in Bonn recorded: “EU representatives said anything additional (to existing commitments) would come only after 2020.”

The EU has said it is “concerned” with repeated questions on the revisit mechanism. “If there are issues that are beyond what is possible to reach consensus on, for instance the revisit mechanism, that will not happen,” the EU representative said.

‘Revisit mechanism’ is a term used for review of existing commitments of rich countries and to see how these could be ramped up for meeting the expectations set by science. The reference to negotiations dropping issues on which the EU is not on board has not gone down well with countries like India and China.

The Indian negotiator is learnt to have warned: “Everyone wants to know what will happen in the pre-2020 period before committing to the post-2020 scenario. We need a clear decision text on workstream-2 (the leg of negotiations where decisions regarding the pre-2020 period are to be firmed up).”



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

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7 June, 2015

More on the Karl et al. attempt to abolish the warming "hiatus"

There is no doubt that the work of Thomes Karl and his colleagues as publicized by NOAA will be welcomed with a gladsome heart by Warmists. It purports to wipe away their biggest embarrassment.  As such it will be seized on and recalled triumphantly for years.  No doubt will ever be attached to it.  It will be treated as unassailable truth.

But even if Warmists close their eyes to the various weaknesses of the study, it still seems important to let conservatives know what a piece of junk the study is.  I put up on Friday an account of some of the huge holes in it but there is one thing more about it that is, I think, worth saying.

The authors have in fact supported their basic point by their findings.   They say that the rate of warming observed in the 21st centory is quite similar to the rate of warming in the late 20th century.  But that in fact throws the spotlight on how weak was the warming in the late 20th century. If their findings for the 21st century did not meet the normal criteria for statistical significance, what does that say about warming in the late 20th century?  It clearly says one thing:  The effects observed in both the late 20th and 21st century were extremely feeble:  So feeble that even their statistical significance is in doubt.

Statistical significance is only a minor type of significance.  It is simply the first step in assessing overall significance. It rules on whether an observed effect was of a size that could be due to chance fluctuations alone.  Any effect robust enough to take seriously should demonstrate statistical significance with the greatest of ease.  Statistical significance is simply an initial filter to enable us to toss out absolute junk.  It guarantees no other form of significance.  Lots of correlations can be statistically significant without being of any importance to the world at all.

So when do we say:  "No warming"?  The easiest and least controversial answer is "when any observed warming is so slight that it does not even reach statistical significance".  But that is in a way something of a cop-out.  What we really need to say is "When the effect is so weak as to be of no practical importance".  And when we are looking at warming of less than one degree Celsius per century, that condition is clearly fulfilled.  And there is no dispute that warming as weak as that is exactly what has happened.  The whole Warmist religion has been based on a triviality from the get-go.

Nobody noticed the tiny temperature rise of the 20th century until Warmists started jumping up and down about it and nobody will notice a similar rise in the 21st. century if it occurs.

Climate scientists in new controversy

More reactions to the Karl et al. paper

A fake pause, a looming cooling and an inconvenient graphic neatly frame the Bonn climate change talks where, like all such gatherings, the political spin was applied to serious science.

It is noteworthy but not surprising that a lot of attention was given to a paper by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that found the 15-year hiatus in global surface temperatures did not, in fact, exist.

The pause has gained widespread acknowledgment, not least in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change synthesis report, but sharp differences remain about its cause and significance.

But NOAA researchers re-­analysed (mostly oceanic) temperature records and, after adjustments, made the pause disappear. According to the paper, the “thousands of updated and corrected temperature observations” show temperatures did not plateau and the rate of warming has been at least as high as in the second half of the 20th century.

The findings predictably have been met with scepticism from many who already question the homogenisation of land-based surface records by world weather agencies. A review of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s homogenisation practices for the national average surface temperature data, ACORN-SAT, has been completed and is expected to be made public in about two weeks.

But as the latest NOAA paper shows, the real action has moved from land to the sea. The most important new adjustment made by the NOAA authors was to account for the changing coverage of ships and floating buoys, which differ slightly in their readings. A key change was the method of taking the temperature recordings.

NOAA researchers found that accounting for this discrepancy increases the temperature trend over the oceans for the most recent period (since 1998) and makes recent global warming trends indistinguishable from those across the 1950-99 period.

Matthew England, chief investigator at the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW, says the findings are no surprise. “There’s nothing all that new in this paper and nothing that surprises me,” he says. “The bottom line is that multiple datasets and multiple lines of evidence have shown that global warming hasn’t stalled at all.”

But other scientists urge caution. Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre, says the slowdown has not gone away. “The warming trend over the past 15 years has been slower than previous 15-year periods,” he says. “While the earth continues to accumulate energy as a result of increasing man-made greenhouse gas emissions, these results also confirm that global temperatures have not increased smoothly.

“This means natural variability in the climate system or other external factors have still had an influence and it’s important we continue research to fully understand all the processes at work.”

David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation says the new research is “a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA”.

“The authors have produced adjustments that are at odds with other all other surface temperature datasets, as well as those compiled via satellite,” Whitehouse says. “They do not include any data from the Argo array that is the world’s best coherent dataset on ocean temperatures.”

Tim Osborn, professor of climate science at the University of East Anglia, says he would caution against dismissing the slowdown in surface warming on the basis of the NOAA study or downplaying the role of natural decadal variability for short-term trends.

“There are other datasets that still support a slowdown over some recent period of time, and there are intriguing geographical patterns such as cooling in large parts of the Pacific Ocean that were used to support explanations for the warming slowdown,” Osborn says.

Nonetheless, the NOAA paper certainly has drawn a good deal more scientific attention than another one from scientists at Britain’s Southampton University and National Oceanography Centre that implies global climate is on the verge of broadscale change that could last for decades.

The new climatic phase, the researchers say, could be half a degree cooler, more than half of the temperature rise claimed by global warming. But whereas the NOAA paper was accompanied by a publicity release from international science media organisations, they could offer no guidance on the Southampton paper, which is at odds with the warming theme.

This is despite the paper saying the change is associated with a cooling of the Atlantic, something entirely compatible with early attempts to explain the pause.

The study, published in Nature, indicates ocean circulation is the link between weather and decadal-scale climatic change. It is based on observational evidence of the link between ocean circulation and the decadal variability of sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.

Both the NOAA and Southampton papers address the big question in climate change science: why have climate model ­predictions not matched the measured facts?

The question was most recently highlighted by Patrick Michaels, director of the Centre for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute and past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

Michaels was commenting on a graph presented to the US House of Representatives committee on natural resources by the University of Alabama’s John Christy on May 15. “It’s impossible, as a scientist, to look at this graph and not rage at the destruction of science that is being wreaked by the inability of climatologists to look us in the eye and say perhaps the three most important words in life: we were wrong,” Christy says.

Instead, the latest research from NOAA contends it is not the models that are wrong, just the data.


What’s Really Wrong With the Global Surface Temperature Record

Recently there has been much discussion as to whether the homogeneity adjustments applied to raw surface air temperature records by GISS, NCDC, CRU and BEST might not have manufactured a lot of the global warming allegedly caused by man-made greenhouse gases. Here I look briefly into this question, but more deeply into into the question of whether the published “surface temperature” time series that are presently used to evaluate global warming, such as HadCRUT4, GISS LOTI and NCDC land & ocean, are fit for purpose. And without further ado here are the conclusions I have reached based on an analysis of HadCRUT4, the most commonly-used of the published “surface temperature” series:

1. The homogeneity adjustments applied to the raw surface air temperature records are suspect but have little impact on HadCRUT4.

2. The bias adjustments applied to the raw sea surface temperature records are equally suspect and have a larger impact. They don’t add warming (they actually apply a net cooling adjustment between 1880 and the present) but they significantly change the shape of HadCRUT4.

3. HadCRUT4 combines surface air temperatures and sea surface temperatures that show quite different trends into an apples-and-oranges average that does not provide meaningful results. Consequently HadCRUT4, along with its sister GISS, NCDC and BEST combined land and ocean “surface temperature” series, must be deemed unfit for purpose, particularly when the purpose is to quantify global warming and to guide the world’s multi-trillion-dollar efforts to combat it.

4. When surface air and sea surface temperatures are considered separately – which is the way they should be evaluated – we find that climate models do a generally good job of hindcasting surface air temperatures but a conspicuously poor job of hindcasting sea surface temperatures.


New Book

A Kindle book, "The Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer for Critical Thinkers," has just been released at the Amazon Kindle store

It presents the skeptical position from the perspective of an informed layman. I've made every effort to make the case with minimal recourse to ideological rhetoric, and maximal reference to generally accepted mainstream scientific research. A distinctive feature of this book is the emphasis placed on fundamental scientific principles, such as correlation, cause and effect, model building, Occam's Razor, etc., plus, of course, simple logic and common sense.

Via email from the author

Research – Bees and wind turbines

This is an amusing study.  Greenies have it as an item of faith that things they don't like -- such as pesticides -- are responsible for shrinking bee populations.  What if the real culprits were the Greenies' beloved windfarms?  The research below is suggestive, though hardly conclusive

It is a known to everyone that noise from wind turbines generates sound both heard and inaudible to humans. Sounds emitted that are not within the scope of being audible to humans, basically come in the form of vibrations. These vibrations can travel much further than audible sound and affect a vast area, several miles from the wind farm itself. Downwind, these low frequency vibrations can travel up to 50 KM from the source.

Wind turbine mapThe drastic increase in the number of wind farms in the United States began between 2004 and 2005, and has blossomed to cover vast sections of the country today, as seen on the blue map below.

Interesting to note is the time frame of drastic increases of the number of wind farms from 2004 to 2005. This time frame becomes very important, because it is also the exact time when massive disappearances of honey bees began to be reported, beginning in 2005, with drastic increases in the years to follow.

The next map shows the states where the most losses of honeybees have occurred.

The orange map below is also an interesting map, because if you didn’t know better, you would believe it is another wind farm map. Although the southeast area of the United States, such as Florida does not have large numbers of operating wind farms, the honeybee disappearances in that area are attributed to weather events.

Wind turbine mapA series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, including hurricane Katrina virtually wiped out this area’s honeybee population. With this in mind, the direct link to wind farms for the massive die off can be made.

While scientists scramble trying to find answers and offer theories ranging from a new form of virus, the earth’s magnetic shift, to perhaps solar flares. It would be wise for them to look into the effects of sound vibrations emitted from wind turbines.

In a report by WH Kircher, titled Acoustical Communication in Honeybees on 02/05/1993, finds that airborne sounds and vibrations play an important role in honeybee communication. It is also coming to light that honeybees use sound vibrations to navigate, similar to sonar used by marine life and bats.

Since vast areas are within affective range of low frequency sound levels emitted by wind turbines, it becomes clear that there is a connection between low frequency sound produced by wind turbines and the disappearance of honeybees. The areas with the most disappearances of honeybees directly

correspond with that of operating wind farms.

California is second, behind North Dakota for honeybee losses and first in wind farm operations, within range of areas where honeybee colonies are located. As of 2007, most North Dakota wind farms were concentrated within a small area in the southeastern portion of the state. Since then, wind farms have spread to many other sections of the state, and the resulting losses of honeybees will most likely increase as well.

On a world scale, areas of honeybee disappearances does correlate with operating wind farms in particular regions. It isn’t enough that the wind industry continues to operate under the guise of being a renewable energy source that will help in getting us off fossil fuel, when in reality they use more fossil fuel than they will ever produce.

The sad fact is this industry is only responsible for degrading our countryside with useless spinning towers. While the building and operations of the wind farms are killing millions of endangered bird species, raping pristine land and turning it into nothing more than a cluttered mess of steel and fiberglass. Turbines are destroying the natural habitat of wildlife in such areas. It seems now, that it may be responsible for the near destruction of the world’s honeybee population.


House Committee Drops Funding for State Department Climate-Change Programs

Just months before the most important U.N. climate conference in years, Republican appropriators in the House of Representatives are taking aim at one of the Obama administration’s most cherished priorities – international climate change funding.

An appropriations bill for the State Department and foreign operations, released Tuesday, excludes funding for three major climate initiatives – the Green Climate Fund, the Clean Technology Fund, and the Strategic Climate Fund – and also removes funding for the U.N.-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Also in the firing line is funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and debt relief.

The bill eliminates funding for these “lower-priority international programs,” the House Appropriations Committee said in a statement, in order to meet what it views as top priorities – including “funding for security activities around the world,” support for key allies, and increased funding “for embassy and diplomatic security to address new needs identified after the Benghazi terrorist attack.”

“This legislation is first and foremost a national security bill,” said Rep Kay Granger (R-Texas), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on State and foreign operations.

Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said it provides funding for “critical endeavors – bolstering the fight against terror, strengthening our allies, helping innocent lives facing conflict and strife, and protecting our democracy, our people, and our way of life.”

In doing so, the drafters decided climate change programs did not merit funding.

The Green Climate Fund, launched in 2011, is designed to help developing countries curb “greenhouse gas” emissions and cope with occurrences attributed to climate change, such as rising sea levels.

With the aim of reaching $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020, it is one of the most ambitious elements of the global climate campaign.

President Obama last November pledged $3 billion for the GCF, a promise touted by Secretary of State John Kerry at subsequent U.N. climate talks, even as Republican lawmakers slammed the move.

The U.S. pledge is by far the largest announced contribution to date for the fund, which now has pledges totaling some $10.2 billion, from 33 countries.

In its fiscal year 2016 budget request, the administration asked for $500 million – $350 million for the State Department and $150 million for the Treasury Department – as a first step towards meeting that $3 billion objective.

The Clean Technology Fund aims to provide financing for low-carbon technologies, aimed at reducing the emission of the “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change.

The administration’s FY2016 request included $170.68 million for the CTF.

The Strategic Climate Fund is a multi-faceted initiative meant to help countries deemed most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, to respond to the potential risks they face. It includes programs aimed at helping them become more resilient, to combat deforestation, and to access renewable energy.

The administration requested $59.6 million for the SCF in FY2016.

The State and Foreign Operations bill also eliminates funding for the IPCC (the administration’s FY2016 request was for $11.7 million); for the IMF ($62 million requested); and for the UNFPA ($35 million requested). UNFPA funding has long been controversial over alleged links to China’s coercive population limitation programs.

Elsewhere, the bill includes a raft of provisions that would make specific funding contingent on changes in the way business is conducted at the U.N. and by certain governments.

Targets include the U.N. Human Rights Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel; Pakistan’s counterterrorism cooperation with the U.S.; the Palestinian Authority’s June 2014 unity agreement with Hamas; and Iran’s compliance with nuclear agreements.

The bill also prohibits any additional funding of a U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba; forbids funding to implement the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty; and reinstates the “Mexico City policy,” a Reagan administration measure prohibiting federal funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions around the world.

‘Tight budget environment’

France is hosting a U.N. international climate conference in November and December this year, and the Obama administration is energetically supporting efforts to produce a new global climate treaty.

At a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing last month, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Acting Assistant Secretary Judith Garber about the administration’s climate change requests in what he called a “tight budget environment.”

“Given the increasing need for humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion, embassy security measures, countering global terrorist threats, I’m wondering why the administration is requesting such a large increase for global climate change, when most people think this could be better spent [on those other issues],” Barrasso said.

Garber defended the GCF, saying it differed from existing climate investment funds in key respects. It draws in the private sector, will have a much broader donor base, focuses on the most vulnerable, and will be more transparent, she said.

In an op-ed Wednesday, three former deputy assistant secretaries of environment and energy, Matthew Kotchen, Gilbert Metcalf and William Pizer, argued that support for the GCF was in the U.S. national interest.

“When poor, vulnerable countries pursue climate-resilient growth, they are better able to cope with extreme weather events and experience fewer disasters. And when emerging economies build out more clean energy infrastructure, we all avoid the worst of climate change in the first place,” they wrote. “The result is a more secure and stable world, benefiting our nation and all countries.”

A Feb. 2015 Congressional Research Service report highlighted likely congressional concerns about climate-related budget requests: fiscal constraints, potential for misuse by “inefficient and bloated bureaucracies,” uncertain results, and uncertainties in climate science.

“Prevailing scientific research on the current and future impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate exhibits varying degrees of analytical uncertainty,” it said.

“The lack of definitiveness in some data and in certain model projections has been offered by some as a reason to postpone and/or reconsider both domestic and international climate change assistance policies and programs.”


Lessons from Europe: Recipe for a High-Cost Energy System

While President Obama promotes renewable energy and members of Congress argue about energy policy, a renewable energy disaster is unfolding in Europe. Driven by a desire to halt climate change, Europe has created a high-cost energy system where everyone loses. U.S. policy leaders should learn from the debacle occurring overseas.

European energy policy today is dominated by the European Climate Change Program (ECCP), which was established by the European Community in 2000. The program called for the nations of Europe to adopt measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The goal was for Europe to collectively meet the targets of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty signed in 1997.

The ECCP was based on two assumptions. The first was that changes to national energy systems were needed to fight global warming. Second, that coal, gas and oil fuels would become more expensive, allowing renewable energy to compete. But policies to promote renewables resulted in substantially higher electricity prices for Europe.

Europe used subsidies and mandates to promote renewables. Feed-in tariffs were enacted in most nations, providing a payment to homeowners and businesses for electricity fed into the grid from solar or wind facilities. Governments paid a fixed subsidy of four to 10 times the wholesale electricity price, guaranteed for up to 20 years, for generated electricity.

Electricity from renewables is also granted grid priority. Utilities are required to accept wind and solar-generated electricity as a first priority, regardless of market demand. Output from traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear plants is scaled back or shut down when renewable output is high. Wholesale electricity prices, once driven by market demand, are today dominated by the weather. When the wind blows and the sun shines, large amounts of electricity are dumped onto the grid from wind and solar installations, forcing wholesale electricity prices negative.

Other factors added to the growing debacle. In 2011, Germany announced a complete phase-out of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, closing nuclear power plants and straining the electrical system of Europe’s largest economy. In addition, Germany and France banned hydraulic fracturing, ensuring that European natural gas prices will remain high for the next decade.

The results of Europe’s green energy measures have been bizarre. Feed-in tariffs in Germany stimulated more than one million rooftop solar installations. But Germany is not exactly the sun belt. The latitude of central Germany is the same as that of Calgary, Canada. As a result, German solar installations generate electricity at less than 10 percent of rated output. Over a million solar installations provide only 6 percent of Germany’s electricity and 1 percent of the nation’s energy. For this solar miracle, German citizens are obligated to pay over $400 billion in current and future payments to solar providers through higher electricity rates.

Denmark erected over 5,000 wind turbine towers, one for every thousand Danish citizens. Turbines blanket the nation, providing a beautiful view of a 300- to 500-foot tall tower from almost every house, farm, field, forest and beach. But the turbines produce only 1.3 gigawatts each of electricity on average. All could be replaced by a single large conventional power plant. Today, Denmark has the highest electricity prices of the developed nations.

Europe has created an energy system where everyone loses. Consumers, industry, traditional power plants and even renewable energy companies are now losing. Even though wholesale electricity prices are falling, consumer electricity prices have doubled over the last 10 years due to large subsidy payments to renewable companies. Nations with the largest percentage of renewable energy also have the highest electricity prices. Citizens of Spain pay 23 eurocents per kilowatt-hour, three times the U.S. price, and citizens of Germany and Denmark pay more than 25 eurocents per kilowatt-hour, four times the U.S. price.

European industrial companies are also big losers. French firms pay more than twice the U.S. electricity rate and German firms pay three times the rate. European industrial electricity rates have risen more than 50 percent since 2007, while U.S. industrial rates have been flat. European firms also pay double the U.S. price for natural gas. European chemical firms are now building plants in America to utilize low-cost ethane from shale fracking, a technology not available in Europe.

Traditional European electrical power companies are losing as well. The wholesale price of electricity is down 50 percent in the last five years and conventional plants can no longer break even. An example is the Irsching high-efficiency natural gas plant in Germany. Built in 2010, it can operate at 60 percent efficiency. But the plant is not profitable as a backup to renewables. In March, the owners announced a shutdown of the plant.

Last year, E.ON, the largest German utility, suffered its first loss in more than 50 years. Both E.ON and Swedish utility Vattenfall have announced plans to exit their conventional power plant business in Germany in favor of renewables. Magnus Hall, president of Vattenfall, stated last year, “It makes it difficult to see how you could invest in conventional generation under these circumstances.”

Finally, even renewable energy companies are now losing. European governments have realized that they can no longer afford the green energy revolution. Subsidies have recently been cut in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. In Germany, solar employment dropped 50 percent and many renewable companies declared bankruptcy. Spain ended its feed-in tariff subsidy and placed a cap on renewable industry profits, resulting in 75,000 lost renewable jobs and a 90 percent reduction in solar installations.

U.S. energy policy makers should learn from Europe’s energy experience and pursue sensible energy economics.



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

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5 June, 2015

Ya gotta laugh at the latest excitement from NOAA

Big news: NOAA has used newly fiddled data from many locations to row back what they told the IPCC -- so they can now claim that there has been no warming slowdown in recent years.  But they might as well not have bothered. I quote:

"For the full period of record (1880–present), the new global analysis has essentially the same rate of warming as the previous analysis (0.068°C dec?1 and 0.065°C dec?1 respectively)"

So the warming per century still comes out at only two thirds of one degree Celsius.  If that continues for another century, who is going to be bothered?

A few comments anyway:  The big change they made was extensive "corrections" to the sea-surface temperature data, which is pretty haphazard data at the best of times and hence not much to be relied on.  And guess what? I quote:

"the new analysis exhibits more than twice as much warming as the old analysis at the global scale... This is clearly attributable to the new SST analysis". 

The new conclusions rely, in other words on "adjustments" and the adjustments are to what is in any case a very shaky dataset.  Not a lot to hang your hat on there, is there? 

And, don't laugh:  The revised temperature rise shown for the early 21st century (2000-2014) is 0.116°C -- which is just a touch over one tenth of one degree.  That's 8 THOUSANDTHS of a degree per year or eight tenths of a degree per century: Totally trivial.  When you have to express your findings about change in tenths of one degree over a 14 year period, you might as well say "no change", might you not?  Very pesky of me to go back to the actual numbers, isn't it?  I have always found that an amusing thing to do when dealing with ideologues.

And, finally, they get statistical significance for their new trend only by accepting a 10% probability of error  -- versus the usual scientific standard of 5%.  In other words, by normal scientific criteria, there has STILL been no significant warming this century.  What an anticlimax to their big fiddle!

The sad thing is that these galoots probably do really believe that they have found something important

A new study published online today in the journal Science finds that the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than that seen during the latter half of the 20th Century. The study refutes the notion that there has been a slowdown or "hiatus" in the rate of global warming in recent years.

The study is the work of a team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information* (NCEI) using the latest global surface temperature data.

"Adding in the last two years of global surface temperature data and other improvements in the quality of the observed record provide evidence that contradict the notion of a hiatus in recent global warming trends," said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., Director, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. "Our new analysis suggests that the apparent hiatus may have been largely the result of limitations in past datasets, and that the rate of warming over the first 15 years of this century has, in fact, been as fast or faster than that seen over the last half of the 20th century."

The apparent observed slowing or decrease in the upward rate of global surface temperature warming has been nicknamed the "hiatus." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released in stages between September 2013 and November 2014, concluded that the upward global surface temperature trend from 1998­­-2012 was markedly lower than the trend from 1951-2012.

Since the release of the IPCC report, NOAA scientists have made significant improvements in the calculation of trends and now use a global surface temperature record that includes the most recent two years of data, 2013 and 2014--the hottest year on record. The calculations also use improved versions of both sea surface temperature and land surface air temperature datasets. One of the most substantial improvements is a correction that accounts for the difference in data collected from buoys and ship-based data.

Prior to the mid-1970s, ships were the predominant way to measure sea surface temperatures, and since then buoys have been used in increasing numbers. Compared to ships, buoys provide measurements of significantly greater accuracy. "In regards to sea surface temperature, scientists have shown that across the board, data collected from buoys are cooler than ship-based data," said Dr. Thomas C. Peterson, principal scientist at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and one of the study's authors. "In order to accurately compare ship measurements and buoy measurements over the long-term, they need to be compatible. Scientists have developed a method to correct the difference between ship and buoy measurements, and we are using this in our trend analysis."

In addition, more detailed information has been obtained regarding each ship's observation method. This information was also used to provide improved corrections for changes in the mix of observing methods.  

New analyses with these data demonstrate that incomplete spatial coverage also led to underestimates of the true global temperature change previously reported in the 2013 IPCC report. The integration of dozens of data sets has improved spatial coverage over many areas, including the Arctic, where temperatures have been rapidly increasing in recent decades. For example, the release of the International Surface Temperature Initiative databank, integrated with NOAA's Global Historical Climatology Network-Daily dataset and forty additional historical data sources, has more than doubled the number of weather stations available for analysis.

Lastly, the incorporation of additional years of data, 2013 and 2014, with 2014 being the warmest year on record, has had a notable impact on the temperature assessment. As stated by the IPCC, the "hiatus" period 1998-2012 is short and began with an unusually warm El Niño year. However, over the full period of record, from 1880 to present, the newly calculated warming trend is not substantially different than reported previously (0.68°C / Century (new) vs 0.65°C / Century (old)), reinforcing that the new corrections mainly have in impact in recent decades.


Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus

Thomas R. Karl et al.


Much study has been devoted to the possible causes of an apparent decrease in the upward trend of global surface temperatures since 1998, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the global warming “hiatus.” Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a “slowdown” in the increase of global surface temperature.


"Extreme weather" this year?

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi draws on past weather events for perspective

We believe this year will be similar to the 1957 and 1965 ENSO [El Niño Southern Oscillation] peaks. In the case of 1957, it was a strong event with an anomaly of 1.8.

Lo and behold, guess what is showing up again: A similarity to the 1950s, which people pushing disaster du jour either have no idea about, or do and try to hide it.

We have an amazing linkage to the 1950s. The drought of the early part of that decade, which we have showed countless times is linked to the same kind of PDO flip we recently had, was worse than the drought that was heralded as the new dustbowl.

One can see that the lack of rain in those summers and the amount of rain in bounce-back year of 1957 was more extreme in the larger sense than what we saw recently. It is true in individual sites this year that there are some all-time wettest springs. But overall it is not true that this reversal is more extreme. Look at the area of dry in the 1950s versus the “New Dustbowl Drought” three years ago, and then look at how much wetter it was in the spring of 1957 in a larger area, including the Gulf. Think about this. Three years after the dry spell, the spring rains of 1957 wiped it out. The pattern is similar now. We started picking up more rain last year (and we wrote about it), and three years later the spring rains came. Just like clockwork! Moreover, CO2 was far lower in the 1950s; it’s just that Pacific SST’s were oscillating in a similar fashion to now!

That said, there is one event in 1957 that had never been seen before and hasn’t been seen since; an event so off the charts, in my opinion, that I would not believe it if it had not been recorded: Category 4 Hurricane Audrey with 145 mph winds making landfall on the southwest Louisiana coast IN JUNE OF 1957!. Not only is it the only category four storm on record in June, but a storm making landfall at that strength in June boggles the mind. In baseball terms, that’s like hitting a walk-off grand slam in Game 7 of the World Series while standing on your head, considering the closest parallel in June was Hurricane Alma in 1966 that reached Florida as a Category 2.

You can see why I am the way I am when I hear people making outlandish claims. It takes no time for me to go right to the maps to pull out something more extreme. The drought in the 1950s was worse. The area of heavy rain, which included the Gulf states in the spring of 1957, was larger and had much more implication.

Hurricane Audrey never fails to leave me in awe of what the weather can do ( to me she should be renamed AWEdrey. That some people seem to have no idea of this, or simply wish to ignore it if they do, speaks volumes as to what we are dealing with today when it comes to the climate issue. Is their stance an honest argument, delusion, or deception? The reader can make the call.


Obama Going Around Congress to Enact UN Climate Agenda

We knew this was coming but now it is unavoidable. Barack Obama has teamed up with foreign governments to force an international climate change agreement onto the American people WITHOUT going through Congress.

Emboldened by the success of the Iran negotiations avoiding a treaty vote in Congress, the President has found a new way to force his agenda onto the country without obeying the Constitution.

Even worse, European leaders are joining into Obama’s plan as well. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius came out yesterday and said, “we must find a (climate change) formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the U.S. without going to the Congress.” Everyone in attendance agreed.

There you have it. The international community has joined forces Obama to create a new Climate Change agreement that deliberately circumvents Congress’ treaty powers! This cannot be allowed to happen!

This is how the left operates. They do everything in their power to enact their agenda through extra-constitutional means.

Earlier this year, I warned you that Barack Obama was conspiring with his allies in the United Nations to push through a U.N. Global Warming “treaty” without even asking for Congress’ approval. Now, our fears have been confirmed. Barack Obama is going to force his radical climate change agenda on the American people using executive orders!

Before you say anything, yes that is extremely unconstitutional! The Constitution dictates that all international treaties must be ratified by a 2/3 vote in the United States Senate. That isn’t a suggestion… it isn’t a guideline… it is the law!

To say that Barack Obama doesn’t have the votes would be an understatement. Obama doesn’t have nearly enough votes in Congress to pass his radical climate change agenda. Not even close. Yet, the Constitution dictates that Obama MUST put a treaty up for a vote before it can become U.S. Law.

But – surprise, surprise – Barack H. Obama isn’t going to follow the Constitution! He is going to help enact a U.N. climate change treaty on his own!

Obama knows if he puts this climate change agenda to a vote, it will fail. So instead of obeying the Constitution and accepting defeat, the President is going to amend a climate treaty ratified in 1992 to create a politically binding “accord” that will force his climate change agenda not only on Americans, but the rest of the planet!

And thanks to the French Foreign Minister’s slip of the tongue, we now know that Obama has help.

Obama is deliberately going around Congress in order to force the United Nations’ radical climate change agenda on YOU! This is going to be worse than Agenda 21!

Raise your voice and demand that Congress STOP Obama from trampling on the Constitution and implementing the United Nations’ climate change agenda!

The American people don’t want this radical agenda! Barack Obama knows this, but he is going to force it on the country anyway. By circumventing Congress to enact this treaty, this will give the President the authority to use taxpayer money to fund his and the UN’s bogus climate agenda.

No one wants this. Republicans sure don’t want this… Democrats realize that they can’t afford to want this… yet no one is stopping King Obama from stomping on the Constitution and illegally enacting this treaty!

Personally, I believe that the United Nation’s climate change agenda is a joke. It is less about ‘saving the planet’ and more about forcing states to cede their sovereignty. The United Nations wants to force the United States to adopt a radical climate change agenda that would only hurt the American economy.

But this really isn’t about climate change… This is about a President who doesn’t care about the oath of office he took to defend the Constitution. He proved this by signing the UN Arms Trade Treaty without Congressional approval and he proved it by refusing to introduce the Iran nuclear treaty to Congress as a treaty. Now he is planning to do the same with the Left’s climate agenda.


EPA Proposes More Corn for Fuel, Not Food

Compared to this time last year, Americans are paying much less at the gas pump. Enjoy it while you can, though, because gas prices are about to rise. The expected price increase isn’t due to chaos in the Middle East or a shortage of fossil fuels. No, it’s due to the Environmental Protection Agency and its newly released proposal to increase ethanol production. By the way, do you like your food bill? Get ready, because that’s about to increase too.

The EPA’s proposed three-year ethanol mandate will increase the amount of biofuel mixed into the gasoline supply. This may sound great to supporters of so-called renewable energy, but it’s actually doubling down on a terrible idea.

Why? Well, there are several problems with requiring more ethanol in America’s fuel.

First, several gasoline refiners have warned that the proposal “moves more quickly than the market can support.” In 2007, when Congress expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard, only half of all gasoline contained 10% ethanol. Right now, nearly all of the gasoline produced and used in the U.S. contains 10% ethanol. However, the decrease in demand for gasoline due to more fuel-efficient vehicles means a corresponding decrease in demand for ethanol. The EPA would rather ignore reality and aims to increase ethanol production anyway.

According to The Hill, the EPA “set its overdue 2014 requirements at the actual level of production — 15.93 billion gallons of biofuel — increasing the total to 16.3 billion gallons this year and 17.4 billion gallons in 2016. The statutory requirement for 2016 is 22.25 billion gallons.” Under the EPA’s new proposal, about 4.7 billion gallons of renewable fuel are expected to come from advanced forms of biofuel such as cellulosic ethanol derived from plant mass material, despite its slower-than-expected development. The remainder will be corn-based ethanol, which brings us to problem number two: increased food costs.

The mandate drives up food prices because corn is a staple food and is also used by livestock for feed. Has anyone noticed the skyrocketing price of beef over the last several years? Furthermore, if more corn is used for ethanol, then there is less food for people in the world who are starving. Quite the double standard for progressives and environmentalists who rage about the human population dying from climate change. No doubt hungry people would love to have some corn to eat, but, nah, let’s burn it for fuel so we can save mankind in the future.

Last year, Mark Alexander noted some staggering statistics that are worth repeating: More than 90% of our nation’s corn crop went toward feeding people and livestock in the year 2000, with less than 5% of the crop going toward ethanol. In 2013, however, a whopping 40% went toward ethanol. To illustrate this grossly inefficient use of our natural resources, the amount of grain required to fill a 25-gallon automotive fuel tank with ethanol is enough grain to feed one person for an entire year.

The third problem with the EPA proposal is that ethanol itself is more costly for drivers and consumers. Despite auto engines being built to better handle ethanol’s corrosive effects, ethanol gasoline causes significant and costly mechanical problems for small boat engines and yard equipment. But auto engines are about to be impacted in the near future, too. How so? It turns out that Barack Obama is set to pledge $100 million to expand the use of ethanol blender pumps to allow drivers to mix more ethanol into their gasoline. Sure, it may work for new flex fuel vehicles, but not so well for older cars. Some people won’t discover that until it’s too late.

This is a pathetic pledge and ultimately pathetic policy, funded by the American taxpayer. People will have to pay a little more in taxes to pay for these pumps, pay a little more for the ethanol that comes out of the pumps and then pay more to fix what the ethanol destroys.

The final problem with the EPA’s proposal — and perhaps one of the primary reasons for it — is that there are subsidy recipients who stand to profit handsomely. In other words, the government is picking winners. While we’re not opposed to people and businesses making profits, we are adamantly opposed to the central planners who by regulations and fiats force products into the market. Some farmers and ecofascists stand to benefit, but when free market principles are cast aside America loses.

In the coming months, we’ll be watching to see where the Republican presidential candidates stand on this issue. So far, most of them are singing praises of the ethanol mandate. It seems they’re more concerned about getting votes in Iowa and bowing to King Corn than they are for standing for free market principles. Note to Republican presidential candidates: Try not to get on board with the ethanol mandate, because it’s ultimately part of Obama’s climate change agenda.


Coral growth and thriving shows no clear connection to temperature variations

The paper below is not easy for a non-specialist to follow but my heading above sums up its major finding. Global warming won't bother it, in other words

Regional coral responses to climate disturbances and warming is predicted by multivariate stress model and not temperature threshold metrics

Timothy R. McClanahan, Joseph Maina, Mebrahtu Ateweberhan


Oceanic environmental variables derived from satellites are increasingly being used to predict ecosystem states and climate impacts. Despite the concerted efforts to develop metrics and the urgency to inform policy, management plans, and actions, few metrics have been empirically tested with field data for testing their predictive ability, refinement, and eventual implementation as predictive tools. In this study, the abilities of three variations of a thermal threshold index and a multivariate stress model (MSM) were used to predict coral cover and community susceptibility to bleaching based on a compilation of field data from Indian Ocean reefs across the strong thermal anomaly of 1998. Field data included the relative abundance of coral taxa 10 years before the large-scale temperature anomaly, 2 years after (1999–2000), and during the post-bleaching recovery period (2001–2005) were tested against 1) a multivariate model based on 11 environmental variables used to predict stress or environmental exposure (MSM), 2) estimates of the time until the current mean maximum temperature becomes the mean summer condition (TtT), 3) the Cumulative Thermal Stress (CTS) for the full satellite record, and 4) the 1998 Annual Thermal Stress (1998 ATS). The MSM showed significant fit with the post-1998 cover and susceptibility of the coral community taxa (r2?=?0.50 and 0.31, respectively). Temperature threshold indices were highly variable and had relatively weak or no significant relationships with coral cover and susceptibility. The ecosystem response of coral reefs to climatic and other disturbances is more complex than predicted by models based largely on temperature anomalies and thresholds only. This implies heterogeneous environmental causes and responses to climate disturbances and warming and predictive models should consider a more comprehensive multiple parameter approach.

Climatic Change, April 2015

Waning Support For Wind Energy Handouts On Capitol Hill

Washington’s penchant for brinksmanship has certainly benefited the wind energy industry. Whenever Congress faces a serious deadline, lobbyists for the wind energy industry are able to convince their friends on Capitol Hill to extend their main handout, the controversial wind production tax credit (PTC), in a last-minute backdoor deal.

Most recent was last December’s “CRomibus,” the trillion-dollar spending bill passed during lame duck session that averted federal government shutdown. Congress quietly included a 1-year retroactive extension into the package, at a cost of $13 billion over the next decade. The time before this was in early January 2013, when Congress approved a 1-year extension in the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” deal – another large “must-pass” bill, this one preventing an automatic, across-the-board income tax hike.

Congress can and should stop this cycle. Extending handouts squanders billions in taxpayer dollars and restricts Americans’ access to affordable and reliable energy. It distorts price signals, allowing wind producers to pay the electricity grid to take their power and still turn a profit. It consistently fails to deliver on its promises in terms of long-term job creation, or turning wind energy into an economically viable industry that can stand on its own two feet without permanent taxpayer support.

It’s no accident why special interests in the wind energy industry pursue these under-the-radar extensions — it’s because there’s waning support on Capitol Hill for wind subsidies. After over twenty years of extending these expensive taxpayer handouts, Congress is beginning to wake up to the problems of endlessly propping up wind energy using the tax code.

Earlier this year, Senator Heidi Heitkamp sponsored an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the PTC subsidy to the wind industry should once again be extended. It failed on a 47-51 vote. Later on the budget resolution, Senators Jeff Flake and Lamar Alexander submitted a competing measure that would put an end to Big Wind’s sweet-heart tax giveaway by repealing the recent retroactive extension approved last year. Theirs didn’t make it to the floor during vote-a-rama, but it’s believable that it would have met a better fate than the Heitkamp measure.

On House side, Representative Kenny Marchant recently introduced legislation that would close this special wind subsidy loophole in the U.S. tax code entirely going forward, and rein in the handout for current beneficiaries by tightening eligibility definitions and repealing the inflation adjustment for current PTC recipients. These changes will reduce the amount that American taxpayers are forced to subsidize wind companies by approximately 35 percent. The bill also includes a sense of Congress that the PTC should not be extended and should remain expired.

The PTC Elimination Act boasts an impressive list of cosponsors, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores, and Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster. It also includes Representative Mike Pompeo, who has consistently championed ending wind energy subsidies through other legislation and Dear Colleague letters.

Americans for Prosperity applauds these members of Congress for their leadership on the issue of reining in wind energy subsidies, and we encourage their colleagues to follow. Lawmakers should reject efforts to extend this handout for special interests in the wind energy industry. We can’t solve our country’s energy and spending policies unless lawmakers are willing to cut corporate welfare that benefits special interests at the expense of American taxpayers.


A taste of things to come for electricity consumers and generators

By Marita Noon

One year ago, Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, announced the controversial centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate change legacy: the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The rule is slated for finalization this summer.

Unions have protested against it. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is the international regulatory body devoted to ensuring outage-free electric service for Canada, the U.S., and parts of Mexico, as highlighted in a recent study, believes it risks the reliability of the grid. States, encouraged by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are boycotting it. Yet, the EPA is pushing ahead, touting the plan’s built-in flexibility for individual states in devising a compliance plan — uniquely suited to each specific state. If states, as McConnell advocates, refuse to comply, the EPA will impose a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP).

While no one knows what the final plan will be, we can be sure that, at the very least, it aims to severely reduce coal-fueled power generation and dramatically increase the implementation of renewables such as wind and solar. Industry experts expect the CPP will possibly force the premature closure of hundreds of coal-fueled power plants — and that alone, without factoring in the higher-cost renewables, will raise costs to all consumers.

The anti-fossil fuel movement would like us to believe we are just replacing one power source with another. The problem, however, is far bigger.

After attending a recent workshop at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Phillip A. Wallach, a Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute, wrote a report titled: The confounding complexities of the Clean Power Plan — reliability concerns aired at FERC. In it, Wallach addresses the technical problems that the CPP will have to overcome — which he calls “staggering.” He then points out that “the interplay of federal laws set off by the CPP is enough to make one’s head spin.” He continues, “It can take a remarkable 12-14 years to site a new high-voltage transmission line. Unless federal regulators (and possibly Congress) somehow facilitate streamlined development, it is hard to see how states will be able to achieve big emissions reductions in time to meet the first compliance goals in 2020. Amidst this cacophony of legal requirements, states are not currently able to plan for compliance with any confidence.”

Wallach’s predictions about the “complex, EPA-mandated process of energy sector transformation” are hypothetical, but totally believable — especially given the real-world example of New Mexico’s ongoing experience.

* * *

In New Mexico’s Four Corners region, negotiations regarding bringing the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) into compliance with Regional Visibility Rules under the Clean Air Act have been underway for more than a decade — with the bulk of the shenanigans taking place during the past five years. Note: SJGS’s back and forth with the EPA, the New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED), and anti-fossil groups have been over just one small rule that would improve visibility in wilderness areas and national parks to such a small degree that it would not be detected by the human eye. One can easily imagine how this process would be exacerbated by policy so extensive that it strives to transform the entire energy sector.

You may want to just skim over the following abbreviated timeline as it will “make your head spin” — which is my goal. The reality is far more overwhelming than what I am presenting here. (Thanks to James Crawford for the use of his background research on the SJGS.)

SJGS is a coal-fueled power plant near Farmington, N.M. that produces 1,683 mega-watts (MW) of electricity through four units. The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is the majority owner and takes 783 MW for New Mexico customers. The coal for SJGS comes from an adjacent coal mine operated by BHP Billiton. The current contract for coal expires in 2017.

To meet Regional Visibility Rules, the EPA requires that states develop a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that must be approved by the EPA. The NMED submitted its first SIP back in 2003. However, due to evolving regulations, it was never approved.

In 2010, NMED submitted another, revised SIP but had to withdraw it again due to those changing regulations. Once again, in February 2011, NMED submitted a new SIP for EPA approval—which the EPA ruled was invalid because it wasn’t approved by the required 2009 date.

The EPA further decreed that because of sue-and-settle cases brought by Wild Earth Guardians and others, EPA was under court order to implement a FIP by January 2011 — which the EPA did finally issue in September 2011 (well after the SIP submittal that wasn’t even considered). Now, SJGS was subject to the dictates in the FIP without any due consideration of the SIP.

The February 2011 SIP called for compliance-achieving emissions controls costing about $80 million. The FIP required a different approach that costs almost $1 billion — or, PNM could close down two perfectly good, reliable generating units with years of life left.

PNM and the NMED filed suit against EPA and, after a couple years of legal wrangling, settled on closing the two units and lesser-cost equipment for the two remaining units. In September 2013, NMED submitted a revised SIP, which reflected the agreement, and was approved by EPA a year later.

However, the antis were not happy with this agreement for replacing the lost electricity which, for PNM, would be met by assuming a greater share of the electricity from the two remaining units (Remember: PNM didn’t use all that was generated; there are other owners; some plan to leave.), constructing a new natural gas peaking plant, bringing in nuclear power from Arizona, and adding 40 MW of solar. They wanted the deficit made up strictly with renewables. (In fact, the antis want all four units closed — this, after PNM already spent $320 million in 2009 on extensive emissions remodeling.)

Just before the October 2014 Public Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) meeting to approve the SIP, environmental groups filed a series of legal blockades that ultimately changed the agreed-upon plan.

Finally, in January 2015, when the PRC held hearings on the plan almost everyone agreed on, environmentalists still protested outside the hearing and demanded the closure of all four units. Addressing their views, Paul Gessing, President of New Mexico’s free-market think tank, the Rio Grande Foundation, said, “The radical anti-modern-society types were out in force … While the PNM plan is not perfect, the radical anti-energy crowd would love nothing more than to completely kill New Mexico’s economy.”

In April, a hearing examiner advised the PRC to reject the plan unless changes were made. His concerns, according to the Associated Press report, were in part because PNM didn’t have a “contract to provide coal for the plant beyond 2017.” The adjacent coal mine is the subject of negotiations between current owner BHP Billiton and several proposed new owners.

On May 5, a deal was struck. Westmoreland Coal Company would purchase the mine and take over operations — resulting in a $300 million savings over the next six years for PNM and its customers. However, the PRC must approve this deal before the sale goes through.

Business leaders, coal miners, power plant workers, and elected officials from the Four Corners area have united in support of the plan that would allow SJGS to continue operating. At a recent Albuquerque City Council meeting, Ray Hagerman, Four Corners Economic Development CEO, “emphasized that 740 jobs — 400 coal miners and 340 power plant workers—would be jeopardized if the plan is not approved.” According to the Farmington Daily Times, Hagerman said, “The generating station and the coal mine that feeds it also represent around 2,400 indirect jobs.” Unemployment in the region would double.

Because getting all parties — including minor-percentage owners in SJGS such as the City of Anaheim and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems—on board is essential to approval of the deal, the PRC voted, on May 27, to give PNM more time to finalize an ownership restructuring agreement. Sources tell me that many of these co-owners don’t meet regularly and the new July 1 deadline has the potential to scuttle the entire decade-plus procedure.

Hagerman believes that “if the utility supplies regulators with the documentation they need, then approval of the plan is likely.”

PNM spokesman Pahl Shipley, according to the Farmington Daily Times, “reiterated that the revised plan, with new tentative agreements in place, represents ‘the most cost-effective path forward, balancing reliability, affordability and environmental responsibility. The ownership restructuring and coal supply agreements would further increase the cost benefit to customers.’”

While there will be a “cost benefit to customers,” rates will still increase. The PRC hearing officer “warned that the changes spurred by the partial closure of San Juan would result in substantial rate increase for customers over the next 20 years.”

In a recent op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal, Carla Sontag, executive director of the New Mexico Utility Shareholders Alliance, addressed the cost factors: “It is estimated that the shutdown will cost about $5.25 a month for the average residential customer. PNM plans to replace lost power generation with cleaner energy sources and significantly less coal. Those costs will be filed with the PRC later, and that increase would take effect in 2018. … PNM recently filed its first rate increase in almost five years. Beyond the need to maintain system integrity, the biggest driving force behind the increases is environmental initiatives.” Environmental groups acknowledge a 7 percent increase to monthly bills.

So now we wait.

Will the PRC approve the plan? Will good-paying jobs be saved? Will cost increases be minimized? Will the anti-fossil fuel groups sue? Will New Mexico have enough power for the future?

* * *

This is a New Mexico story. It is about just one power plant, in a sparsely-populated state. It is the story of that power plant, in that state, trying to meet just one EPA regulation dealing with regional visibility — even though improvements will not be detectible to the human eye. (The American Lung Association’s 2015 State of the Air report just ranked Farmington number 1 for cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for 24-hour particle pollution and number 2 for cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for annual particle pollution.)

Under the CPP, similar scenarios will have to take place in every state, over every coal-fueled power plant — not with just one regulation, but with a massive plan designed to transform the entire energy sector. The CPP, which is not yet final, is supposed to be implemented in less than five years. This New Mexico story is a taste of what is to come: years of legal wrangling, cost increases for consumers, loss of good-paying jobs — for reductions in CO2 emissions that will make no temperature difference on a global scale.

It makes my head spin.



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

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


4 June, 2015

Is India’s Heat Wave Climate Change?

by Emily Atkin

Emily says so below.  I am sure Emily is a dear little soul but she would fail basic logic.  As I wrote a couple of days ago about India:   "Just one problem:  Even Warmist scientists admit that there has been no terrestrial warming for 18 years.  So how can something that doesn't exist cause anything?"

But I am a lover of the facts, the whole facts and nothing but the facts so let me mention something more.  The graphs below say it all. India has just come out of an unusually COLD and wet winter.  It looks like we are just seeing some sort of bounceback.  Emily did not look very deeply did she?

Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo emails:


Isn't it nice to have some informed comment -- even if it is in meteorological capitals?

But wait! There's more! (As the salesman said).  The number of 40C days in New Delhi peaked during the first two years of their GHCN temperature record - 1944 and 1945.  See below:

And even more:  I am reading an academic journal article about extreme weather in India.  And I read: "On 10th May, the maximum temperature at Gannavaram (Vijayawada) reached 49.0C" (p.178).  That was in 2002, when global warming had stopped.  But the maximum temperature reported by the dear soul below was 117.3 Farhenheit, which is 45.3 Celsius.  So it was actually hotter in 2002 than in 2015!

Aren't facts pesky things?

A searing and continuing heat wave in India has so far killed more than 2,300 people, making it the 5th deadliest in recorded world history.

If the death toll reaches more than 2,541, it will become the 4th deadliest heat wave in the world, and the deadliest in India’s history. As temperatures soared up to 113.7 degrees Fahrenheit and needed monsoon rains failed to materialize, the country’s minister of earth sciences did not mince words about what he says is causing the disaster.

“Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon,” Harsh Vardhan said, according to Reuters. “It’s not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change.”

According to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, India is getting hotter as humans continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With these increases in heat, the report — produced by 1,250 international experts and approved by every major government in the world — said with high confidence that the risk of heat-related mortality would rise due to climate change and population increases, along with greater risk of drought-related water and food shortages.

While he said it was too soon to directly attribute India’s current heat wave to climate change, University of Georgia atmospheric sciences program director Marshall Shepherd agreed that climate change is having an influence on many extreme heat events across the world.

“Attribution of events to climate change is still emerging as a science, but recent and numerous studies continue to speak to heat waves having strong links to warming climate,” Shepherd said in an email to ThinkProgress. He cited a 2013 report from the American Meteorological Society (of which is is the former President), which showed that in some cases, extreme heat events “have become as much as 10 times more likely due to the current cumulative effects of human-induced climate change.”

Blah, blah ...


But if we are talking about weather events having climate implications, how about this?

Any bets on ANY Warmist site covering this?

Record Report
Issued by NWS Boston, MA

523 PM EST TUE JUN 2 2015






SOURCE. (Capitals and formatting as in the original.  The National Weather Service is obviously relaxed about standards of English expression.  Or is it because they are still using FORTRAN programs that output only capitals?)

Scientific hoaxes and retractions

Pielke the younger writes reasonably below.  His final paragraph below is something I have always advocated -- and practicing it does wipe out global warming.  The statistics on it show only the feeblest effects so the claim should be regarded as "Not Proven" (To use an old Scottish verdict)

Recent controversies surrounding the public portrayal of science suggest that we are too reliant on its fragile findings

The past few weeks have seen some remarkable episodes in science.

Through a hoax, evocative of the Sokal Affair of the mid-1990s, John Bohannon showed how trivially easy it is to start a popular meme based on science. Bohannon ginned up a fake study showing that eating chocolate leads to weight loss, got it published and then was able to promote it onto the pages of several newspapers and television news outlets.

Far more significant than the hoax was the unraveling of a major study published in Science by Michael LaCour and Donald Green. LaCour and Green found that a single conversation with activists on the subject of same-sex marriage was “capable of producing a cascade of opinion change.”

The study was celebrated by major media across the United States, just talking to people who were until that point opposed to same-sex marriage was apparently enough to change their minds, leading to political change. The New York Times was quick to generalize the paper: “The findings could have implications for activists and issues across the political spectrum, experts said.”

Unfortunately, LaCour and Green was too good to be true. Last week Science retracted the paper, based on irregularities and false claims. The retraction led to a series of corrections among US media giants, including The New York Times, the Washington Post and National Public Radio, which had trumpeted the paper’s conclusions when it was released.

The Bohannon hoax and LaCour/Green retraction have a lot in common. Scientific research was manufactured, which resulted in claims that appealed to some popular views, and the media broadly and uncritically promoted the results, advocating popular actions in response.

These two episodes highlight a more general problem: a lot of nonsense is published in the name of science. Writing in The Lancet last month, editor Richard Horton argued that as much as half of all scientific papers may simply be “untrue.” He writes: “The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.” The media, journal editors and universities also share blame, he wrote.

Our considerable talents at doing science means that pretty much everything that can be predicted to occur has been predicted to occur by someone. Similarly, just about any combination of factors can be used to explain observed outcomes, even if those explanations turn out to be among the 50% of scientific findings that Horton argues are false. Consequently, using real world outcomes to select the science that we prefer is a recipe for being fooled by randomness.

As researchers, we should recognize that meaningful relationships ought to be detectable with simple methods and robust to alternative methodological approaches. If the effect you are looking for requires a complex model, data transformed away from intuitive units or sophisticated statistics to detect, then the effect that you think you have found is probably not practically significant, even if you are convinced that it truly exists. Consider that the effects of vaccines or the consequences of smoking are easily seen with understandable data and simple statistics, under a variety of experimental designs.

More HERE  

Why do people believe stupid things?

Jose Duarte continues to mine a productive seam on the shameful behaviour of, on the one hand John Cook and his team, and on the other Stephan Lewandowsky. His post a couple of days ago was on the subject of the true value of the climate consensus and he puts the proportion of climate scientists who think that most warming is caused by carbon dioxide at 80%. I had previously thought that the true figure was around the 75% mark, so we are in the same ballpark.

But as Judith Curry points out in an update to Jose's post, this is all slightly beside the point. Many or even most of the the people who call themselves climate scientists are not actually working on anything relevant to the question at hand - they are specialists in impacts and responses and the like. They only believe that most warming is caused by carbon dioxide because their colleagues specialising in the atmospheric sciences tell them so.

The proportion of atmospheric scientists who adhere to the consensus appears to be a little over half according to the same update. But even then, we have to wonder if someone who is working on, say, atmospheric chemistry is getting his opinions on the extent of human influence from the tiny number of people who are working on detection and attribution - a couple of dozen was Mike Hulme's estimate if I recall correctly.

And even then we have to ask how this tightly knit group arrives at the conclusion it does about the proportion of warming that is manmade. Of course the answer is with climate simulations, leavened with parameterisations, assumptions and fudges, and larded with unknowns, both known ones and unknown ones.

The idea that most of the warming at the end of the last century was human caused is not in itself stupid. The stupidity referred to in the title of this post is that a consensus formed by people who know little of a subject, based on the opinions of a tiny group of people who claim to have discerned the truth from a simulation of an impossibly complex system, has any meaning or relevance to the public policy debate.


Climate Policy Models Are ‘Useless’

Models used to craft climate models are “close to useless” when it comes to crafting policies to combat global warming, according to a recent paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Economist Robert Pindyck writes that integrated assessment models (IAMs) used to craft global warming policy “have flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis” and trick government officials “into thinking that the forecasts the models generate have some kind of scientific legitimacy.”

Why are IAMs poor tools for figuring out the impacts of environmental policies? In the case of global warming, Pindyck argues scientists know very little about “climate sensitivity” and the “relationship between an increase in temperature and GDP.”

“IAMs can be misleading — and are inappropriate — as guides for policy, and yet they have been used by the government to estimate the social cost of carbon (SCC) and evaluate tax and abatement policies,” Pindyck writes.

The federal government’s “social cost of carbon” estimate is a key component of evaluating the costs of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human activities. The basic idea goes that CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, causes a certain amount of warming and drives certain events that impact the economy.

Scientists and environmental activists tend to argue that global warming will drive more “extreme weather” like hurricanes, cyclones, floods, snowstorms, droughts and tornadoes. There are also predictions that disease could become more widespread from global warming, and warnings that food and water supplies could be endangered.

So far, the evidence does not support claims that weather is getting more extreme or many of the other catastrophic claims made by some scientists and activists. But the government has gone ahead and increased the SCC based on models that Pindyck argues are misleading.

Even the Working Group that developed the SCC acknowledged that “[t]here is currently a limited amount of research linking climate impacts to economic damages, which makes this exercise even more difficult.”

In 2013, the Obama administration increased the SCC from $21 per ton to $37 per ton — a move that inflates the benefits of pending federal regulations on CO2 emissions from power plants and other administration actions to cut emissions.

“Claiming that IAMs can be used to evaluate policies and determine the SCC is misleading to say the least, and gives economics a bad name,” Pindyck writes. “If economics is indeed a science, scientific honesty is paramount.”

Other economists have also criticized the Obama administration’s SCC estimate. Economist Robert Murphy with the Institute for Energy Research has argued the SCC is “a very malleable concept that can be inflated or deflated by turning certain wheels.”

“In any event, the public should realize just how ‘unsettled’ the economic side of the carbon debate is,” Murphy said. “The estimates keep bouncing around all over the place, and the estimates are driven by very controversial parameter choices, not objective assessments given by physicists and climatologists.”

So what does Pindyck give as a solution to IAMs?

“I have argued that the best we can do at this point is come up with plausible answers to these questions, perhaps relying at least in part on consensus numbers supplied by climate scientists and environmental economists,” Pindyck wrote.

“It might not inspire the kind of awe and sense of scientific legitimacy conveyed by a large-scale IAM, but that is exactly the point,” he added. “It would draw back the curtain and clarify our beliefs about climate change and its impact.”


Australia May Need to take in many Pacific islanders as their islands sink under the waves?

More nonsense from far-Leftist "New Matilda".  They quote all sorts of "authorities" who say that many low-lying islands will be flooded as global warming melts polar ice. Their reliance on authorities is amusing.  Leftism has always been authoritarian.  Once freed from democratic restraint, we see just how authoritarian.  What were Soviet Russia, Mao's China and Pol Pot's Kampuchea if not authoritarian?.  And the Kim dynasty in North Korea is still providing us with a graphic example of Leftist authoritarianism.

To any reasonable person, however, it is the facts that are the ultimate authority and the facts are pesky for the alarmists.  For a start, global warming stopped 18 years ago.  Even Warmist scientists like Jim Hansen recognize that.  They call the last 18 years a "pause" -- which acknowledges the halt but adds a prophecy that warming will resume.  But prophecies are so far from facts that they are almost always wrong.  So no warming means no flooded islands and no humanitarian crisis.

And even if warming does resume, it probably will not be a problem.  While there are thousands of articles online shouting the theory of submerging islands, the reality is a little different. 

Lots of low lying islands and shorelines have in fact been GROWING.  Gradual rises in sea-levels have been going on for a couple of hundred years as a correction to the little ice age but accretion of island-building material has more than cancelled that out in many places.  And its not only Pacific islands that have been GAINING land mass.  It has even been happening in Bangladesh, contradicting many prophecies.  See here and here and here and here and here and here

Countries like Australia and New Zealand may have to provide special humanitarian visas and put in place international evacuation plans as less developed nations in the region are hit by “disasters on steroids” occurring as a result of man-made climate change, the United Nations has been told.

In a submission to the UN’s World Humanitarian Summit, the UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law has warned the impacts of anthropogenic warming are already being felt in the region, and that governments must prepare for large population displacements as the intensity of natural disasters increases.

“The people most affected are generally the most vulnerable already – the poor, living in environmentally precarious parts of the country, without the social networks or resources to get out of harm’s way early,” a written submission by the Centre’s director Jane McAdam said.

“Humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of disasters is essential, but it is ultimately a band-aid solution and is not enough.

“The cost of inaction will be higher than the cost of implementing measures to reduce displacement now, both in financial and human terms.”

Simon Bradshaw, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator at Oxfam Australia, said it was not clear what ongoing support Australia was providing to Pacific nations to help them deal with the threat of climate change.



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

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


3 June, 2015

More Warmist lies

What they say is cautiously worded.  They know they are skating on thin ice. They say only that CO2 is causing changes.  But how is CO2 supposed to cause anything?  Only through its alleged effect on global temperature.  And there have been NO global temperature changes for over 18 years.  So the effects that they allege CANNOT be caused by temperature changes.  Things that don't exist don't cause anything.  Does CO2 make it rain through some other mechanism?  Crickets! 

That rainfall has improved in much of Africa is not disputed. But it is certainly not an effect of global warming.  It could however be a cyclic change in ocean currents that is responsible

Climate change means rain is returning to previously drought-stricken areas of Africa exactly 30 years since Live Aid raised £150million to help starving people there, a new study has revealed.

A severe lack of rainfall during the 1970s and 80s led to a persistent drought and famine, killing more than 100,00 people in countries such as Ethiopia.

The crisis prompted singers Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to organise the Live Aid concerts in July 1985 to raise cash for the relief fund.

But now research by scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, has shown how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have caused climate change, have triggered a return of crucial seasonal rains to the Sahel region.

The researchers used a supercomputer climate simulator to study different influences on North African rainfall.

And when they examined the increases in rainfall since the 1980s, they found around three-quarters of the additional rain was caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

Professor Rowan Sutton, who led the research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said: 'Scientists often study how greenhouse gas levels in the future will influence the climate.

'These findings show how even the greenhouse gases already emitted by humans, while only a fraction of those projected for the future, have nevertheless affected rainfall on a continental scale.

'This shows how climate change can hit specific countries and regions in a much more complicated way than the simple idea of "global warming" might suggest.

'In particular, we are beginning to discover how climate change is influencing rainfall patterns. What we are learning shows that human activity is already having a major impact.'

But despite the beneficial impact of global warming on Africa, the scientists have warned that the long term impacts will be very differenct as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.

It comes as the latest UN assessement of climate change impacts, shows Africa will face increased risk from heatwaves, sea level rises, flooding and drought, leading to potential crop failures, water shortages and disease.

Professor Sutton added: 'These positive short-term impacts were accidental. No-one was trying to bring them about. 'Nevertheless, such major changes show that by continuing to emit greenhouse gases, we are seriously upsetting a natural system that we don’t even fully understand, and this system is our home.

'Our new study shows that our activities are not just causing problems for future generations. They are causing major changes now. 'Continuing on the current path of greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more serious and widespread impacts.

'I trust the governments meeting later this year in Paris will appreciate the gravity of this message.'


It takes "vibrant graphics" to explain global warming

When the book is not vibrating, one wonders if the triviality of global average temperature change over the last 150 years gets a mention

If you find it difficult to fully grasp the concept of climate change, you’re not alone. But, thanks to esteemed climate scientists Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump at Pennsylvania State University, understanding the reality of climate change has never been easier.

Mann and Kump’s new book, Dire Predictions, expands upon the essential findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th assessment—which evaluates the risk of climate change brought on by humans—in a visually stunning and extremely powerful way. If you’ve always wanted to better understand the data behind climate change and be able to share this information with your family and friends, this illustrated guide is for you.

I had the chance to interview Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, last week about his book and here’s what he had to say:

Q. Your book provides difficult to understand information in a very digestible way. What was your biggest challenge in boiling down the IPCC data in a clear-cut way?

A. Yes indeed. As a scientist who does research on this topic, it is always a challenge to look that at the data, graphs and projections, not as I would as a practicing climate scientist, but as someone who is not familiar with the topic, does not have a technical background and is seeing this stuff for perhaps the first time. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience in doing that now because of the time I spent on public outreach more generally. This book is a joint venture of both Pearson (a traditional academic publisher) and DK (who specialize in picture/photo-driven guides and books), and the supporting cast at Pearson and DK really helped us digest the information and bring it alive in the form of vibrant graphics that come out of the page, and supporting prose pitched at the right level for our audience.


No, Rains in Southern Plains Not Linked to Global Warming

It’s been an amazing month in the southern Plains, particularly in states like Texas and Oklahoma, where a major atmospheric pattern shift has channeled a steady stream of moisture, leading to record rainfall and, unfortunately, fatal flooding.

One good thing we can say about all the rain is it has largely eviscerated the multi-year drought (and some meteorologists say moisture-laden California will see relief soon). But not everyone is celebrating, and, all too predictably, the Leftmedia, which blamed the Texas and Oklahoma drought on global warming, is now blaming our addiction to fossil fuels on exceptional rainfall.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews this week said “climate change contributes to harsh climate conditions like the flooding in Texas and drought in California happening right now.” Huffington Post editor James Gerken posited, “At minimum, the recent downpours in Texas probably offer a glimpse of what certain parts of the U.S. can look forward to in the coming decades.” Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News laughably claimed, “[I]t’s amazing how accurate many of [Al] Gore’s predictions have turned out to be.” The Christian Science Monitor asserted that extreme conditions “may grow more pronounced as nature adjusts to climate change.” And according to Think Progress, “Going from one extreme to another is a hallmark of climate change.”

But there’s at least one group of scientists — from a government agency, no less — that isn’t linking the abrupt weather shift to man-made global warming, or at least they’re not being forthright about it. In a report released this week, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center explained, “This type of pattern along with the excessive rainfall anomalies evident over the eastern equatorial Pacific offers a strong clue as to a potential culprit – El Nino. Anomalous rainfall over the eastern equatorial Pacific with alternating areas of above and below normal rainfall extending into midlatides is a classic El Nino teleconnection pattern.”

Recall also that last year Martin Hourlong, a NOAA researcher, likewise downplayed the California-global warming link. El Ninos typically bring wet weather to the southern half of the United States, and this one appears no different. It’s not global warming; it’s science.


EPA’s Latest Target Has 18 Wheels

Whether you watch the regulatory actions of the Environmental Protection Agency with support, amusement, disbelief or horror, it’s worth noting what’s coming next.

In this case, it’s the rumble of the tractor trailer that could be the next target of EPA’s chomp-chomp-chomp regulatory battle against global warming.

This week, EPA is likely to propose regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, reported Aaron M. Kessler and Coral Davenport in The New York Times.

It means the government will provide a steeper challenge for tractor-trailer fuel efficiency, seeking to raise the average from the current five to six miles a gallon of diesel up to nine miles a gallon by 2027.

This could be a welcome development for those who’ve gotten stuck behind exhaust-heavy tractor-trailers in traffic, but it’s a worry for America’s transportation industry -- including plenty of trucking companies that hit the highway on West Virginia’s strategically-located interstates.

“Talk is cheap, but I don’t see how they get there,” John Yandell Jr., president of Yandell Truckaway in Pleasant Hill, Calif., told the Times.

The Times story calls the trucking industry “the beating heart of the nation’s economy,” noting the food, raw goods and freight crisscrossing America’s highways.

It’s worth watching how much cost of meeting new regulations gets passed on to consumers.

The new rules could add $12,000 to $14,000 to the cost of building each new tractor-trailer. EPA estimates, though, that the cost could be recouped after 18 months through fuel savings.

EPA helpfully suggests that truck operators could benefit from regulation in a way that the market presumably could not point. “Fuel is either at the top or near the top of truck operators’ costs,” Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told the Times.

This next regulatory chapter is in its early stages. Once the proposed regulations are introduced, there’s still a public comment period ahead before EPA comes out with a final version.

There’s always something new up around the bend with EPA. It pays to keep your eyes on the regulatory road.


Big business is running scared

Big business is not your friend

Shell and BP call for international carbon pricing deal
Oil majors are pushing for scheme to limit emissions as they face growing criticism surrounding global warming

Europe’s biggest oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have written an open letter calling for a binding global system of carbon trading in a bid to head off climate change critics.

In a joint statement, the chief executives of Shell, BP, Total, Eni, Statoil and BG Group said: “We need to meet greater energy demand with less CO2. We are ready to meet that challenge and we are prepared to play our part. We firmly believe that carbon pricing will discourage high carbon options and reduce uncertainty that will help stimulate investments in the right low carbon technologies and the right resources at the right pace.”

Oil majors have been targeted in a growing campaign by activists to force institutions such as the Church of England and large university endowments to disinvest from fossil fuel producers in order to limit global warming.

The statement by the five European oil and gas giants also comes ahead of crunch UN talks scheduled for December that are aimed at creating a binding deal among world powers and emerging nations to limit global warming and emissions.

According to the so-called “carbon bubble” theory, billions of pounds worth of investors’ money becomes stranded as more fossil fuel reserves are left unexploited in an effort to reduce the impact of climate change.

“We now need governments around the world to provide us with this framework and we believe our presence at the table will be helpful in designing an approach that will be both practical and deliverable,” said the statement by the oil majors.

Despite the call by oil companies to create more robust international frameworks to govern carbon trading, in practice the system has so far proved ineffective in limiting global warming.
Last month, President Barack Obama caused controversy in the US when he claimed in a speech that global warming posed one of the biggest threats to America.

“Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security,” he warned.


German doctors push to halt building of wind turbines

The “parliament” of Germany’s medical profession has called on its leaders to support a halt to further wind farm developments near housing until more research has been undertaken into the possible health impacts of low-frequency noise from wind turbines.
The issue was debated at the German Medical Assembly in Frankfurt on Friday and transferred to the executive board of the German Medical Association.

Association policy adviser Adrian Alexander Jakel confirmed a motion calling for ­research had been forwarded to the board “for further action”.

Germany is considered a world leader in adopting renewable ener­gy and the minutes of the Medical Assembly meeting said that, with the phase-out of nuclear power, more wind energy would be used in future. But it said the entir­e life cycle of renewable technologies, from the initial raw mater­ial supply to disposal and the planning and risk considerations, should be considered in advance.

The Medical Assembly motion said this required “scientifically sound findings of potential health effects, and a deliberate balance between benefit and validity to be able to make conscious weightings between the benefits and of the disadvantages and risks”.

“In particular regarding emissions in the low frequency and infra­sound range there are no reliab­le independent studies that investigate field measurement methodology suitable for this sound field below the threshold of hearing,” they said.

The assembly called for the federal government to close the gaps in knowledge about the health effec­ts of infrasound and low-frequenc­y sound from wind turbines through scientific research.
It said research should clarify open questions concerning meas­urement methods and, where approp­riate, adjust regulations to “allow the expansion and the operation of wind turbines wisely, carefully, with integrated expertise, sustainability and overall societal responsibility”.

It said the health effects of infra­sound (below 20 Hz) and low-frequency sound (below 100 Hz) in relation to emissions from wind turbines were “still open questions’’, as were “the effects of noise below the hearing threshold or lower frequencies with increasing exposure duration”. The assembly said the erection of more turbines close to settlements should be stopped until there was reliable data to exclude a safety hazard.



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

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


2 June, 2015

Some more climate wisdom

An undated bulletin below which appears to have been issuied last February --from Gary McManus, Associate State Climatologist, Oklahoma Climatological Survey  -- relying at least in part on the National Weather Service.  Continuing drought was predicted but we all know about climate predictions, don't we?  This one was no different.  Last month Oklahoma had 6-24 inches of rain, with flooding in parts.

Despite moisture from recent wintry weather, drought conditions continue to persist and intensify across Oklahoma. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released on January 20 indicates severe drought is now present in central Oklahoma, centered on Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. Moderate drought extends through much of the central one-third of the state through the southwest, with other moderate drought areas in the Panhandle and far southeastern Oklahoma.

The prospects for relief over much of the state are not great according to scientists at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, thanks in large part to the continuing moderate-to-strong La Nina occurring in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Their latest drought outlook has the drought persisting, with possible further development, through April in the northwestern two-thirds of the state. Some improvement is possible in the southeast, however.  In addition, they expect an increased chance of above normal temperatures through the entire state during that period as well, especially in western Oklahoma.

This La Nina event is expected to last through spring, but scientists are seeing some indications it might begin to wane over the next several months. Drought extending into the spring months would have significant impacts on Oklahoma’s agricultural producers, especially the Oklahoma wheat crop.


NASA discovers LUCK NOT GLOBAL WARMING causes landfalling hurricanes.

See below where climate prostitute Seth Borenstein tries to make good news frightening

 For millions of Americans living in hurricane zones on the Gulf and East coasts, recent decades have been quiet — maybe too quiet.

Cities like Tampa, Houston, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach historically get hit with major hurricanes every 20 to 40 years, according to meteorologists. But those same places have now gone at least 70 years — sometimes more than a century — without getting smacked by those monster storms, according to data analyses by an MIT hurricane professor and The Associated Press...

"We've been kind of lucky," said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, who along with the AP crunched numbers on how often hurricanes have hit metro regions and compared them to when the last time they were hit. "It's ripe for disaster. ... Everyone's forgotten what it's like."

"It's just the laws of statistics," said Emanuel. "Luck will run out. It's just a question of when."

This hurricane season, beginning Monday, doesn't look to be as busy as past ones. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a 70 percent chance of fewer than normal hurricanes, mostly because of an El Nino weather oscillation.

But even a quiet season can have one devastating storm hit. That's what happened when Andrew smashed parts of Miami in 1992; it was the second costliest hurricane on record, in a below average year for overall hurricane activity.

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is preparing for the worst and worrying that other people aren't.  Inexperienced people "generally underestimate how bad it will be and made decisions about staying when they should be evacuating," Fugate said. "You have to accept the fact that every time a major storm threatens it's a new experience for 99 percent of the people involved."

Experts are especially worried about the Tampa region. Emanuel calculates using past storm data and computer simulations that a major hurricane in general should hit Tampa every quarter century or so. The National Hurricane Center, calculating on past storms a bit differently, says a major hurricane should hit every 30 years or so. But it's been decades upon decades since the big one hit.

"It's a real big concern," said Christopher Landsea, science operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "My worry is that we'll have hundreds or even thousands dead the next major hurricane that hits the Tampa Bay area."

It has been more than nine years since the U.S. was struck by a major hurricane — Superstorm Sandy did major damage but didn't qualify meteorologically as a major hurricane. That's a streak that is so unprecedented that NASA climate scientist Timothy Hall went looking to see if it could be explained by something that has happening with the weather or climate. He found that big storms formed, they just didn't hit America, coming close and hitting islands in the Caribbean and Mexico. The lack of hurricanes hitting the U.S. "is a matter of luck," Hall concluded in a peer-reviewed study.....


The NYT is still quoting a false prophet

The second half of the 1960s was a boom time for nightmarish visions of what lay ahead for humankind....

No one was more influential — or more terrifying, some would say — than Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist. His 1968 book, “The Population Bomb,” sold in the millions with a jeremiad that humankind stood on the brink of apocalypse because there were simply too many of us. Dr. Ehrlich’s opening statement was the verbal equivalent of a punch to the gut: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.” He later went on to forecast that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s, that 65 million of them would be Americans, that crowded India was essentially doomed, that odds were fair “England will not exist in the year 2000.” Dr. Ehrlich was so sure of himself that he warned in 1970 that “sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come.” By “the end,” he meant “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

As you may have noticed, England is still with us. So is India. Hundreds of millions did not die of starvation in the ’70s. Humanity has managed to hang on, even though the planet’s population now exceeds seven billion, double what it was when “The Population Bomb” became a best-seller and its author a frequent guest of Johnny Carson’s on “The Tonight Show.”

After the passage of 47 years, Dr. Ehrlich offers little in the way of a mea culpa. Quite the contrary. Timetables for disaster like those he once offered have no significance, he told Retro Report, because to someone in his field they mean something “very, very different” from what they do to the average person. The end is still nigh, he asserted, and he stood unflinchingly by his 1960s insistence that population control was required, preferably through voluntary methods. But if need be, he said, he would endorse “various forms of coercion” like eliminating “tax benefits for having additional children.” Allowing women to have as many babies as they wanted, he said, is akin to letting everyone “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

Dr. Ehrlich’s ominous declarations cause head-shaking among some who were once his allies, people who four decades ago shared his fears about overpopulation. One of them is Stewart Brand, founding editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. On this topic, Mr. Brand may be deemed a Keynesian, in the sense of an observation often attributed to John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind, sir. What do you do?” Mr. Brand’s formulation for Retro Report was to ask, “How many years do you have to not have the world end” to reach a conclusion that “maybe it didn’t end because that reason was wrong?”

To some extent, worrying about an overcrowded planet has fallen off the international agenda. It is overshadowed, as Mr. Pearce suggests, by climate change and related concerns. The phrase “zero population growth,” once a movement battle cry, is not frequently heard these days; it has, for instance, appeared in only three articles in this newspaper over the last seven years.

But Dr. Ehrlich, now 83, is not retreating from his bleak prophesies. He would not echo everything that he once wrote, he says. But his intention back then was to raise awareness of a menacing situation, he says, and he accomplished that. He remains convinced that doom lurks around the corner, not some distant prospect for the year 2525 and beyond. What he wrote in the 1960s was comparatively mild, he suggested, telling Retro Report: “My language would be even more apocalyptic today.”


UK: Wind farm subsidies facing the axe

Amber Rudd should really be called Lettuce-green Rudd -- but at least she is not deep Green

Generous taxpayer subsidies will be cut off earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from being built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the energy secretary

Subsidies that have fuelled the spread of onshore wind farms are to be dramatically curtailed, under Government plans to be unveiled within days.

The Telegraph has learnt that a generous subsidy scheme will be shut down earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from getting built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary.

The proposals, which could be announced as soon as this week, will set out for the first time how the Conservatives will implement their manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms - amid concerns that turbines are unpopular with local communities.

Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built before the end of March 2017 would automatically be able to qualify for generous payments through a scheme called the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is funded through green levies on consumer energy bills.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed it plans to “reform” the RO scheme. It is understood to be looking at ending the free-for-all by shutting the scheme down early – effectively preventing thousands of turbines getting built. The action follows similar moves taken to curb subsidies for solar farms last year.

After the RO shuts, the only possible subsidies for wind farms will be through a new scheme that is less generous and also much more strictly rationed, with ministers deciding how many projects – if any - are awarded subsidy contracts, enabling them to block further onshore wind if desired.

As well as big wind farms, subsidies for small individual wind turbines such as those popular with farmers – funded through a separate scheme called the Feed in Tariff - are expected to be limited under the plans.

A spokesman for the DECC said: “We are driving forward plans to end new public subsidy for onshore wind farms.  “We will shortly be publishing our plans to reform the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme to implement this commitment. With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate.

“We have supported new technologies when they’ve been a good deal for the consumer – providing start-up funding and certainty about future payments to help them become competitive. However, those subsidies won’t continue when costs come down – that’s not value for money for billpayers in the long run.”

Ms Rudd said: “We promised people clean, affordable and secure energy supplies and that’s what I’m going to deliver. We’ll focus support on renewables when they’re starting up - getting a good deal for billpayers is the top priority.”


Should We Decarbonize As U.N. Demands? The Science Says No

Hysteria: The United Nations climate chief says that the world has no choice but to "decarbonize." That's her opinion. But it shouldn't be mistaken for unimpeachable advice.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, told the attendees of a carbon market conference in Barcelona on Tuesday just what they wanted to hear.

She said, "A decarbonized world is now irreversible, irrefutable," and "We are going to do it, because frankly we don't have any other option."

This is the same woman who wants to use the global warming scare to destroy capitalism , so we know what she's motivated by, and it's not the pursuit of pure, truth-seeking science.

Meanwhile, an astrophysicist who studies the sun will present a lecture Monday that outlines how solar activity affects our climate. He makes more sense.

Nir Shaviv from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a scientist, and he believes that the sun is the primary driver of the slight warming across the 20th century that some have observed.

"What is the evidence supporting the claim that most of the warming is anthropogenic?" Shaviv asks in the ScienceBits blog.

"It turns out that there is no direct evidence supporting this link! There is no fingerprint which proves that the warming is caused primarily by CO2 or other anthropogenic greenhouse gases."

Shaviv insists, "The culprit responsible for the warming" is not a mystery but "is as clear as the light of day." "It is the sun," he says.

Shaviv will advance his theory on Monday when he speaks about "solar forcings and climate change past and present" at the Friends of Science Society climate change event in Calgary, Alberta.

He is no over-the-edge academic but a true scholar who has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers and whose work was placed in Discover magazine's top 100 science stories of 2002.

Nor is he a lone fanatic. Other distinguished scientists believe that the sun is the primary driver of any warming we've experienced.

Friends of Science itself is made up of "Earth, atmospheric, astrophysical scientists and engineers" who "spent a decade reviewing a broad spectrum of literature on climate change and have concluded the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide."

Perhaps most interesting is that Shaviv was at one time a believer in the man-made global warming story.

"But a closer look revealed this was not so," Michelle Stirling-Anosh reports on Troy Media in Canada. "Further astrophysical work demonstrated to him that the sun is the main driver of climate change."

Figueres' demand that the world decarbonize — really a call for deindustrialization — is also hurt by a study just published online that projects there will be a "brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures."

The blog Watts Up With That reports that University of Southampton researchers also imply that "the natural variability of the North Atlantic contributed to the global warming we have seen since the mid-1970s."

Blogger Bob Tisdale notes, "As could be expected, the alarmist mainstream media have so far chosen to ignore a paper that discusses an upcoming multidecadal natural suppression of global warming ... probably because it indicates the slowdown in global surface warming should continue." The same goes for the U.N., which will continue its programs, as usual.

Even so, there is so much science contradicting its claims that it's clear that its climate-change agenda is a sham, a ruse to cover its real agenda: crippling a liberty-based economic system and replacing it with one run from the hard left.


Germany getting steadily colder

Despite official lies

Spring in Germany arriving later and later every year. Also forsythia blossoms in Hamburg arriving later and later

In our previous article we showed that mean temperatures for the months of January, February and March have been cooling for almost the past three decades, this according to the German DWD National Weather Service. And this is the result without applying any urban heat island adjustments to the measured temperatures.

As a result we are seeing increasingly delayed spring starts – especially spring blossoms in open areas where the cooling is even more pronounced. We confirmed this with our own vegetation observations in the article, e.g. the blossoming of winter aconites out in the open.

Some readers from the over 100 comments left cast doubt on our observations, and pointed out that the official authorities such as the State Office for Environmental Protection in Karlsruhe or the DWD claimed the opposite was in fact occurring, i.e. spring was arriving earlier and earlier. However these readers failed to provide any measured data from these officials.

We took the time to look more deeply into the matter and found something astonishing. The State Environment Office in Karlsruhe itself does not even keep any such long-term observations. Instead it gets the results from the DWD. And the DWD appears to have the habit of regularly citing forsythia blossoms in the City of Hamburg as an example of spring arriving earlier. The blossoms are earlier and earlier, the DWD claims, at least those that the DWD always likes to invoke. This claimed early blossoming indeed must be evidence of climate warming, a few of the readers believed.

Well, a former DWD employee recently provided us with the following diagram of the forsythia blossoming data for the Hamburg Lombard Bridge from the DWD itself. The surprise is great:

Fig. 1 The left side vertical axis depicts the number of days after the start of the year. The higher the number, the later the start of forsythia blossoms. The chart shows they are arriving almost 20 days later than 25 years earlier.

Although the observation series were recorded right in the middle of heat island Hamburg, and thus did not even fulfill the conditions for an objective observation, the start of blossoms turns out to be precisely as those in the completely open exposed areas that we looked at in our previous article: Since 1988 spring has been arriving later and later. The start of springtime forsythia blossoms is also arriving later and later in the large urban heat island of Hamburg.

The constant claims that forsythia blossoms are coming earlier and earlier are false.

Result: Spring in Germany is beginning later and later. All March blossoms are delayed. We trace this back to the months of January, February and March becoming colder and colder over the past 28 years.

More HERE 


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

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


1 June, 2015

You knew it!  The Indian heatwave is caused by global warming

"The Guardian" (below) is being entirely predictable.  Just one problem:  Even Warmist scientists admit that there has been no terrestrial warming for 18 years.  So how can something that doesn't exist cause anything?

Roads have twisted in the heat. Hospitals are overwhelmed by thousands of dehydrated people, the poor, the elderly and children among the worst hit. Urgent instructions to wear wide-brimmed hats and light-coloured cotton clothes, use umbrellas and drink lots of fluid have been issued by the government.

India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common?

In only 10 days, the death toll is reported to have reached around 1,800, a 20-year high. The brunt of the burden has fallen on the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where 1,300 people have died, the highest loss of life due to heat the state has known, according to officials. By comparison, 447 people in the state died from the heat last year.


Merchants of Doubt: A Climate Change Dud

Financially speaking, Merchants of Doubt, which purports to debunk global warming skeptics by revealing their nefarious sources of funding, is a dud. Three box office sales reporting sites, The Numbers, Box Office Mojo, and Pro Box Office all show ticket sales of barely over $190,000 from its March 6 opening date through the first weekend of April. It is still showing in a handful of theaters through June 20th, but my inquiry to The Numbers site yielded a response from Nash Information Services, LLC in Beverly Hills that “Sony Pictures Classics hasn’t reported any box office for this film since the weekend of April 3.”

Content success is an entirely different matter. In any movie review, the reviewer’s objective is to explain how the movie succeeded or failed to tell its intended story. Documentaries face a tougher challenge than fictional movies, namely to successfully and accurately tell the story of a real-life situation.

Merchants of Doubt does indeed succeed at telling a tale in an attention-keeping way. People who accept its assertions without question say they have all the information they need to justify animosity against scientists who express skepticism about catastrophic human-induced global warming. However, if anyone deeply questions its assertions, the movie unravels.

Merchants of Doubt is no dud on presentation. Director Robert Kenner provides us with an entertaining opening, a consistent theme using a sleight-of-hand metaphors from “close-up card trick magician” Jamy Ian Swiss, and effective visuals, leaving viewers with a memorable impression about skeptic climate scientists being little more than the latest in a lineage of industry-paid and directed shills. So long as nobody checks the veracity of that impression, the movie accomplishes its goal.

For example, the movie claims the ClimateGate scandal was not a scandal but instead nothing more than a few leaked email statements taken out of context. But people can easily read those leaked emails in their full context and read analysis at so intensely detailed about ClimateGate scientists’ actions that they might get migraine headaches from doing so. The movie also features former Greenpeace USA executive director John Passacantando, speaking vaguely about his role in ‘discovering industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’, but people can check for themselves whether this so-called discovery happened while he was at Greenpeace, or at another organization, and whether that particular situation ever actually produced evidence proving its accusation was true.

There’s more: Merchants of Doubt portrays the Oregon Petition Project as worthless because of the fake scientist signer names found within it, but people can check for themselves to see if a certain organization played a role in planting a fake name in the petition, whether the other ‘fake’ names are actually in the petition, or just how many legitimate PhD-level scientists signed it.

For me, one of the more amusing instances in the movie came from former Republican South Carolina Representative Bob Inglis’ claims that he, as an affirmed conservative, lost his election solely because of his pro-global warming beliefs. Among the visuals for this passage was news video of the other completely unnamed Republican primary challengers he faced, which comically prompted a movie viewer seated near me to audibly gasp the name of one of those challengers: Trey Gowdy! People can do their own objective analysis to see whether Inglis was just as conservative as Gowdy, of course…. to the detriment of the movie.

Therein lies the problem with Merchants of Doubt. In what turned out to be a pair of hugely ironic statements, John Passacantando said the public will ultimately catch up on what is truly going on in the global warming issue, and at the 1:28 point of the movie’s trailer, Naomi Oreskes — who wrote the book the movie is based on — said, “It’s all about preventing you from looking at where the action really is, which is in the science.”

Problem is, the public may very well catch up to the fact that the collective two-decade effort to portray skeptic climate scientists as ‘paid shills of industry’ is all about distracting everyone from looking at what the issue actually is, an unsettled debate over whether human activity is the primary driver of what little global warming there’s been over the last century.

From my knowledge about the issue, Merchants of Doubt employs outright misdirection to tell the story of skeptic climate scientists’ alleged “misdirection.” Essentially anybody having full familiarity of the issue could do a Rush Limbaugh-style “stop the tape!” point-by-point dissection of the movie’s misdirection attempts. I’ll finish with one more item: the movie wants us to believe the issue is a battle of settled science versus ‘paid industry shills’ who have no credibility because they aren’t scientists, a sleight-of-hand trick specifically described within the movie as “once revealed, it cannot be concealed.” The problem is, Oreskes herself appears toward the end of the movie authoritatively proclaiming the near-certainty of a future plagued by rising seas from melting ice sheets, droughts, and other extreme weather. But she has no scientific expertise, she is no more than a history professor.

Indeed, a problem once revealed that now cannot be concealed.

Believers in human-induced global warming heartily recommend that you see the movie and trust all of what is said within it. For anyone near the handful of theaters still showing it through June, I also recommend that you see it, but that you also look deeper into every assertion it makes and see how many other problems are found in it that, once revealed, cannot be concealed.


Curbing EPA abuses

Action needed now to end EPA deception, fraud, collusion, tyranny and destruction

Paul Driessen

Russian President Vladimir Putin is outraged that the United States has indicted 14 FIFA soccer officials, accusing them of corruption, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy, involving bribes totaling over $150 million in kickbacks for awarding tournament rights. He says the US is meddling in Russian affairs and plotting to steal the 2018 World Cup from his country. What chutzpah.

This is the same Mr. Putin who annexed Crimea and parts of Ukraine, and whose close cronies have been secretly channeling millions of dollars to US and EU environmentalist groups to oppose both American oil drilling in the Arctic and hydraulic fracturing – the game-changing process that is producing so much oil and gas that it’s slashed energy prices … and Russian revenues.

The Justice Department indictments generated global applause. Now the DOJ needs to conduct an equally zealous investigation into corruption, fraud and collusion in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, that will never happen – no matter how rampant or flagrant the abuses have been.

As Kimberly Strassel documents in May 14 and May 21 articles, EPA emails and other documents reveal that the agency had already decided in 2010 to veto the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska on ideological grounds, “well before it did any science” on the project’s potential environmental impacts. Meanwhile, an EPA biologist was working with eco-activists to recruit Native Americans to oppose the mine. “It’s not much of a leap,” Strassel writes, “to suggest that the EPA encouraged [petitions against the mine] so that it would have an excuse to intervene, run its science as cover, and block a project it already opposed.”

At the same time the biologist was aiding the petition drive, he was also helping to write EPA’s “options paper” for the mine – and lobbying his co-authors and report contributors to veto the mine, Strassel notes. Now, contrary to newly discovered agency emails, EPA bosses are pretending they never saw the options paper and trying to put the blame on low-level functionaries, when they were deep in cahoots all the way.

This represents incredible collusion, deception, fraud and abuse of power – to impose agency edicts and appease environmental ideologues in and out of EPA. Moreover, it is just the latest in a long line of abuses and usurpations by this Obama agency, under a culture of corruption and secretive, manipulated science used to justify regulatory overkill that imposes extensive damages for few or no benefits.

On climate, EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and living standards, even if China, India and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to alleged national security and asthma threats from climate change.

Just this week, EPA announced that it will henceforth regulate any ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches and other waters that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways, even if that ill-defined connection enjoys six degrees of separation from streams in which you can actually paddle a kayak. EPA itself recognizes that “science” does not support its new regime, so now it says its “experience and expertise” justify regulating virtually all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) – and thus of all lands, land uses, and family, farm and industrial activities not already covered by its climate and other rules.

Homeowners, farmers and businesses will now have to apply for permits to do almost anything that might theoretically pollute or affect waterways. Even taking a shower is now subject to EPA regulation.

On mercury, EPA is shutting down coal-fired power plants that emit barely 3% of all the mercury in US air and water. It claims this will prevent “0.00209 points” in American IQ losses and protect nonexistent “hypothetical female subsistence consumers” who every day for 70 years eat a pound of fish that they catch themselves in US navigable or “nexus” waterways.

For fine particulates, EPA wasn’t satisfied with regulations that prohibited more than one ounce of soot spread evenly in a volume of air a half-mile square by one story tall. When illegal experiments on humans failed to demonstrate that these levels were not actually “dangerous” or “lethal,” it imposed tougher standards anyway, as part of its war on coal.

Before he landed in jail for fraud, high level EPA bureaucrat John Beale concocted the sue-and-settle tactic, under which agency lawyers meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors, agree to new regulatory standards, and then settle a friendly lawsuit whereby a court orders EPA to adopt the rules. Parties actually impacted by the new regulations never find out about them until it’s a “done deal.”

As presidential candidate Obama promised, under his policies electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” But this means poor families, small businesses, factories, school districts, hospitals and churches must pay far more to keep their lights, heat, air conditioning and equipment running. That means people get laid off, fewer jobs are created, living standards decline, people’s health and wellbeing suffer, stress, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse increase, more people die during heat waves, and far more die during much deadlier winter cold snaps.

However, EPA ignores all these cold, hard realities – as it cherry-picks research and pseudo-science to support its agenda, ignores contradictory studies, and pays advisory boards and activist groups like the American Lung Association millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its decisions.

What can be done to curb these abuses and usurpations, and rein in this renegade agency?

Congress should cut EPA’s budget, to eliminate money that it routinely gives to activist and propaganda groups – and prevent the agency from spending any further taxpayer funds to regulate carbon dioxide, impose its new ozone, mercury and WOTUS rules, or participate in new sue-and-settle lawsuits.

Congress should also pass the Secret Science Reform Act, to ensure greater honesty and transparency in EPA rulemakings – and hold hearings on the Pebble Mine and other questionable agency actions, with EPA officials under oath and subject to penalties for perjury, malfeasance and criminality in office.

Presidential candidates must become well versed in these issues, discuss them during interviews and debates, and be prepared to amend, suspend and upend EPA decisions and regulations that were implemented in violation of transparency, integrity, and honest, robust science.

They should also examine how the federal EPA behemoth can be systematically dismantled and replaced with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies – so as to balance and protect our needs for air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare.

State legislators, governors and attorneys general, companies and other aggrieved parties should continue to file lawsuits to block EPA excesses. However, they should stop relying on “abuse of discretion,” as courts almost always bow to government agencies. Instead, they need to demand that every agency decision is grounded in reliable, replicable, testable, peer-reviewed evidence, data and standards – as set forth in the Supreme Court’s Daubert, Joiner and Kumho decisions – and that the agencies demonstrate that they have fully accounted for the negative job, economic, health and welfare impacts of their rulings.

Meanwhile, as Charles Murray (author of By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission) and others have suggested, states, communities, companies and individuals should engage in a new form of “systemic” civil disobedience: refusing to bow to harmful, nonsensical, tyrannical EPA regulations.

In short, we should take Dylan Thomas’s advice – and rage, rage against the dying of the light – due to regulations that are dimming the lights in our homes and the light of liberty and American exceptionalism.

Via email

The Climate Alarmists’ Latest Argument About Polar Ice – And Why It’s Wrong

That journalist Mooney gets it wrong is simply in form for him but it is disappointing that "Bad astronomer" Plait lives up to his name

by James M. Taylor

Expanding polar ice caps are defying alarmist global warming claims, sending global warming alarmists into desperate damage control. Since late 2012, polar ice extent has averaged greater than the long term mean. When I pointed this out in a recent column, and after more than a quarter million people learned the truth by reading my column, the alarmists predictably began searching for ways to spin the expanding polar ice. Fortunately, the truth will always win out over scientifically unsupported spin and fearmongering.

In an article posted yesterday at the Washington Post, climate alarmist Chris Mooney tries his hand at damage control. Responding to my article, “Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat,” Mooney makes three arguments: “1) total (or global) polar sea ice is in fact declining, according to both NASA and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Cryosphere Today; 2) if you analyze the Arctic and Antarctic separately — which makes more sense to do, as very different things are happening to sea ice in the two places — you realize that the Arctic sea ice decline in particular is very stark; 3) there is also bad news about the melting of ice atop land, based on data that are completely outside of this discussion, but that are perhaps the most worrying of all.” Let’s examine Mooney’s arguments one-by-one.

(1) Government-funded spokespersons at NASA and the University of Illinois’ Polar Research Group indeed have attempted to spin the latest polar sea ice data to preserve their bloated climate research budgets. Without an ongoing global warming crisis, their taxpayer-funded staffing and budgets will be cut. Fortunately, however, we don’t need to rely on people with a financial self-interest to “interpret” data that are readily available for objective review. And the objective polar sea ice data, linked here and explained in my column, show “the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.) A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. … In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.”

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see it for yourself in the data. Yes, there was a very modest decline from 2005-2012, but polar ice extent has averaged above the long-term mean since 2012. NASA and the University of Illinois’ Polar Research Group may argue polar sea ice may decline again in the future, but such self-serving speculation does not rebut the objective truth that polar ice extent has averaged above the long-term mean since 2012.

(2) Analyzing the Arctic and Antarctic polar ice data separately is disingenuous when the issue is global warming and global polar ice extent. Alarmists have long predicted a decline in Arctic sea ice, Antarctic sea ice, and total global sea ice, yet only one of the three has occurred. Two of the three predictions have proven spectacularly wrong. Now, like a street-corner shell-game hustler hiding one ping-pong ball among three coconut shells, Mooney and other global warming alarmists tell us we should ignore the two datasets showing an increase in Antarctic and global polar ice extent and only consider the one dataset showing a decline in Arctic ice extent.

Mooney also claims the decline in Arctic ice extent is “very stark” and the increase in Antarctic ice extent is only “modest.” If that is the case, then how does the increase in Antarctic ice extent dwarf the decline in Arctic ice extent such that global ice extent is above the long-term average? Mooney has a very interesting way of defining “very stark” vs. “modest.”

(3) Mooney argues melting polar ice on land masses are more consequential than sea ice because melting ice from land masses raises sea level. Mooney, however, supports his argument merely by linking to an article he wrote himself. Mooney’s linked article mentions thinning ice in two individual sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but fails to mention the ice is thickening throughout the larger East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Mooney also fails to mention that global sea level is rising no faster now than it did throughout the twentieth century. If human civilization was able to cope with modestly rising sea levels last century utilizing twentieth century technologies, it is difficult to imagine human civilization having a much harder time coping with the same sea level rise this upcoming century utilizing twenty-first century technologies.

So in sum, it is hard to find anything worrying about the polar ice caps, even when the Washington Post assigns its best spin doctor to raise the alarm.

In an article yesterday for Slate online magazine, columnist Phil Plait attempted to divert attention away from the expanding polar ice by alternately attacking the messenger and presenting false and misleading arguments. Let’s examine them one-by-one.

Responding to my article on global polar ice, “Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat,” Plait first attempts to misdirect his readers by cherry-picking Northern Hemisphere polar ice rather than global polar ice. Presenting a large graph purporting to show recent Arctic ice trends, Plait writes:

“In the op-ed, he [Taylor] claims that global warming has not caused global sea ice retreat. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that in the arctic we’re seeing record low levels of sea ice year after year, including just this year, when in March the North Pole saw the lowest maximum ice extent on record.”

Well, if we are talking about global warming, it is of course necessary to talk about global polar ice, not cherry-picked regional ice. Modestly declining Northern Hemisphere sea ice is not very indicative of global warming if Southern Hemisphere polar ice is expanding by a greater amount than modestly declining Northern Hemisphere polar ice. And that is indeed what is happening. As I documented in my article, objective data gathered by NASA satellite instruments show global polar ice has averaged above the long-term mean since late 2012.

“It takes a very twisted view of the world to claim global warming isn’t doing anything to polar ice not two months after that record was broken,” writes Plait. “And as we know very, very well, Arctic sea ice is on a long, drastic decline that does not show any signs of recovery at all.”

Actually, it takes a very twisted view of scientific ethics to attempt to fool your readers into believing a lie about global polar ice by presenting a chart that only addresses Northern Hemisphere sea ice.

Plait eventually gets around to addressing the topic of global polar ice, but does so again in a grossly misleading manner.

First, he attempts to rebut my objective, up-to-date polar ice data by linking to a chart that ends in 2009. The fact that a minor, very short-lived decline in polar ice ended in 2012 was a focal point in my Forbes article. Nevertheless, Plait attempts to rebut the post-2012 data showing a complete recovery since 2012 by presenting data from 2009. Not only is such an argument misleading, it is transparently ridiculous.

Second, Plait attempts to rebut the objective data showing above-average polar ice extent by arguing the ice may not be as thick as before. “In fact, land ice in Antarctica is melting away extremely rapidly,” writes Plait. This is quite a novel claim, considering Antarctic temperatures only rarely rise above freezing.

“January is the second warmest month of the year in Antarctica, according to data gathered at the American Amundsen-Scott station from 1957 to 1988,” USA Today reports. “The average high temperature in Antarctica in January is -18 degrees F.” That’s an average high temperature, during the peak of the Antarctic summer, a full 50 degrees F below the freezing mark. The warmest month, December, averages a high temperature of -16 degrees F, or fully 48 degrees F below the freezing mark.

So how can Plait claim the Antarctic ice cap is melting? Well, the only supporting sources he cites are two similarly misleading articles written by himself. In one of the articles, he misrepresents the reasons, pace, and significance of receding ice in a very, very small portion of Antarctica that is primarily affected by local geography, sea water temperatures, and nearby undersea volcanoes. In the other article, he asserts the smaller West Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass while grudgingly admitting the larger East Antarctic ice sheet is gaining mass.

Sure, the very edges of Antarctica occasionally top the freezing mark in the very brief Antarctic summer, but it is difficult to argue warmer temperatures are “rapidly” melting ice and afflicting the edges of Antarctica when this is the very region where polar sea ice sets new records almost every year. In short, temperatures do not get warm enough to melt the Antarctic interior, and polar ice is expanding in the only regions where melting is possible. Plait’s speculation about Antarctic thickness decline, if true, would have more to do with a decline in snowfall than “rapidly” melting ice.

Indeed, Plait inadvertently contradicts his own argument when he adds, “in fact wind-driven snow can be increased by global warming (warmer air can hold more moisture).” In other words, Plait points out warmer temperatures can cause in increase in the Antarctic snow and ice thickness. It therefore follows that cooling temperatures can cause a decline in the Antarctic snow and ice pack because less snow falls when below-freezing temperatures become even colder. Even if Plait’s assertion were correct that the Antarctic ice sheet is slightly less thick, Plait himself points out this would likely be due to a cold-induced decline in snowfall rather than “rapid” melting in places where average summer high temperatures struggle to get within 50 degrees F of the melting point.

Plait’s final attempt to mislead his readers about the expanding polar ice sheets is to link to a statement by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group claiming the expanding post-2012 polar ice will likely end soon. While the Polar Research Group – much of whose public funding is dependent on the continuation of an asserted global warming crisis – is free to make whatever prediction it wishes, the objective fact remains that the short-lived, minor decline (merely 10%) in polar ice extent is over, is now fully recovered, and has been since 2012.



Five current articles below

The Church of England and Divestment from coal

Grant Goldman broadcast this editorial on Radio 2SM and the Super Radio Network at 7.10am Friday 29 May 2015

As we discussed yesterday the Church of England is part of a push to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions compared with 1990 levels by the draconian figure of 80% in the next fifteen years, which would make Australia unable to feed, house and clothe Australians.

In Britain, North America and Australia the Church of England has declared war on coal, through a combination of divestment programs and propaganda from the pulpit.

Time for some facts about coal. The gerontologist and evolutionary biologist Caleb Finch tells us that since the early 1800s life expectancy in Europe has doubled. The single greatest factor in the longevity revolution has been coal. Beginning in the eighteenth century and accelerating into the nineteenth century, coal made possible stunning increases in productivity.

Coal saved from destruction the forests of Britain which by the mid-eighteenth century were rapidly disappearing. Coal dramatically reduced pollution caused by cooking and heating with wood and animal dung. Coal permitted large scale smelting of metals. Coal made possible modern medical science and modern agriculture. Coal opened the way to commerce and freedom of movement on a scale never before imagined.

Thanks to coal, for the very first time ordinary workers who were not members of the aristocracy nor of the clergy had leisure time. Life was still tough, but thanks to coal life rapidly improved. Instead of being permanently enslaved to tasks like collecting wood to heat and to cook, women had the opportunity to learn to read and become educated or musical or artistic or political or charitable as they wished.

Coal made possible the growth of democratic institutions and, vitally important, the abolition of slavery. Nineteenth century Britain saw the flowering of culture with bands, orchestras, choirs, drama societies, literary societies, trade unions, and, of course, the flowering of the Church of England. I’ll mention some of the great hymnists of the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. In chronological order:

John Wesley (1703-1791)
Edward Perronet (1726-1792)
William Cowper 1731-1800
John Newton (1725-1807),
Reginald Heiber (1783-1826 v
Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1886)
Matthew Bridges (1800-1894)
Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940)

Thanks to coal, hymn books could be printed cheaply and thanks to coal there were trees left in the land to make the paper.

In Britain by 1860 around 400,000 coal industry workers were each producing around 175 tonnes of coal in a year for an annual total of seventy million tonnes of coal. In 1913 around 1,100,000 coal industry workers were each producing around 264 tonnes of coal in a year for a total of 290 million tonnes. This great increase in coal production coincided with wonderful progress in every aspect of society. People lived longer, ate better and their purchasing power increased year by year.

As the twentieth century dawned, coal was already popularising the wonderful blessing of electricity. The former major disadvantage of coal-fired power – sulphur dioxide emissions – was overcome with fluidised bed combustion using limestone, and coal has continued as the world mainstay of electrical power.

Tragically, 1.3 billion people – eighteen percent of the world’s population – have no access to electricity and so are deprived of all the wonderful things we take for granted. Expansion of coal production is vital as part of the energy mix necessary to offer the poor and disadvantaged of the world an escape route from poverty, misery and short life spans.

By declaring war on coal, people who purport to represent the Church of England are committing a terrible crime against the world’s poorest people.

My suggestion to the people purporting to lead the Church of England is re-read the Parable of the Talents. It’s still there in Matthew Chapter 25, verses 14 to 30.


The $9b waste that is Australia's solar industry

It's been dubbed 'middle class welfare' of the first order, since it is typically only wealthy households that can afford to install photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, with the higher power costs hurting low income households and renters, neither of which benefit.

As a result, the Grattan Institute reckons it ranks among the worst government disasters of recent years with as much as $9 billion of the $14 billion spent on rooftop solar systems in Australia wasted.

In raw numbers, Queensland - especially the south-east around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, has led the way with the introduction of solar systems, followed by NSW and Victoria.

Splitting the data up to look at the underlying distribution by household, then more than a third of households in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth have solar, easily outstripping the more populous states.

But apart from the 'feelgood factor' does solar really make that much of a difference? Most solar electricity is produced around the middle of the day which pushes down wholesale electricity prices and hurts the big carbon emitting power generators, but solar doesn't help much at the peak demand period for electricity in the late afternoon and early evening.

And despite the optimism of its supporters, only around half of all houses may be suitable for solar systems, AGL reckons. But while the take up has been high thanks to government subsidies, only a modest portion have solar systems installed.

On AGL's numbers, without subsidies and if the changes to the network charges being debated take effect, then it could take around thirteen years for a solar system to cover the cost of purchase and installation.

But that may change if solar PV prices continue to slide, as many predict. But the real cut through for solar will come if it manages to boost the efficiency of converting solar heat into energy, which remains low.

The Grattan Institute reckons greater savings in carbon emissions could have been achieved far more efficiently with other policy measures, than the solar subsidies.

Germany also had heavy subsidies for the introduction of solar for a time, but because its subsidies applied not just to households but also industry, more than 85 per cent of its solar come from systems of more than ten kilowatts, while in Australia more than 90 per cent of the systems are small household systems. So Germany now has a quarter of global installed solar capacity, the Grattan Researchers say.

"Government's have created a policy mess which should never be repeated," it said in a study released on Monday.


Australia welcomes UNESCO decision on Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef will not be listed as endangered but will remain under watch because of "major threats" to its health, a draft recommendation to the UN's World Heritage Committee says.

The federal and Queensland governments have welcomed the draft report released by UNESCO on Friday, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt calling it "an overwhelming endorsement" of their approaches to reef protection.

But environmental groups say the report puts both governments on notice to deliver on their promises to protect the reef.

The UN's conservation agency said it noted "with concern" the state of the reef which has had World Heritage Site status since 1981.

UNESCO warned that the "in danger" label wasn't off the cards as "the overall outlook is poor" and it urged Australia "to rigorously implement all of its commitments" and submit a progress report by December 2016.

The report said measures that represent significant progress to protect the reef included restoring water quality, "restricting major port development" and "a permanent ban on dumping of dredged material".

Mr Hunt welcomed the report, saying it recognised the "unprecedented" work by the federal and Queensland governments to protect the reef, including a ban on the dumping of dredge material and port development restrictions.

"Indeed, all references to in danger have been dropped and Australia and Queensland's efforts have been praised," he said in a joint statement with Queensland's Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles.

"This is an overwhelming endorsement, but we want to make sure that we keep the pressure up on ourselves and inviting a little bit of long-term international scrutiny, I think, is a very valuable thing,"

Ms Trad said the decision reflected the commitment made by the Palaszczuk government.

"We were elected with a mandate to save the reef for generations to come and we intend to deliver on those promises," she said.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council said listing the reef as "in danger" would have been catastrophic for the tourism industry, as it would have discouraged tourists.

The Queensland Resources Council said the report recognised Australia's huge strides in the management of the site.

But Greenpeace said the decision by UNESCO to demand a report on progress within 18 months showed the federal and Queensland governments were on notice.

"The Australian government can't talk about protecting the reef while aggressively supporting the licensing of mega-mine and expansion of coal ports along the Great Barrier Reef coast," said Shani Tager, Greenpeace Australia Reef campaigner.

WWF-Australia's CEO Dermot O'Gorman also pointed to the measures demanded of Australia in the draft decision.

"The Australian and Queensland governments must now deliver on their promises to better protect the reef,"he said in a statement.

The 21 nations in UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will decide whether to accept the report's recommendations at a meeting in Germany at the end of June.


The green movement’s role in the sorry Reef debacle exposes them as frauds

Last week’s UNESCO report accepted that enough has been done by Australia to stop the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.
THOSE conservationists and wacky scientists who waged a jihad against Queensland by falsely claiming that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger because of degradation and over-development should leave the state and go and live somewhere else.

With UNESCO giving the Reef a clean bill of health in a long-awaited report, the likes of Greenpeace, WWF, GetUp and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have been discredited and should not be permitted to peddle their lies in Queensland. In fact, the green movement’s role in this sorry debacle exposes them as frauds.

The UNESCO report accepted that enough has been done by Australia to stop the destruction of the Reef. The trigger for the UNESCO probe was the Port of Gladstone expansion to cater for the boom in coal and coal seam gas exports, featuring the biggest dredging project in Australia’s history. Despite heavy conditions and environmental regulations, the greenies jumped on the issue which allowed them to link coal exports to climate change and the Reef.

For the Queensland tourism industry, the possibility of a UNESCO listing of the Great Barrier Reef as endangered would have had catastrophic implications for the state. It would have sent a message to tourists that the Reef had lost its lustre. But of course, the conservationists don’t have time for the trivialities of an industry worth billions every year to the economy.

Cult-like zealotry to save the world from capitalism is all-consuming and factoring in economic effects is not part of the charter. The Greens are a major threat to the Queensland economy, fuelled by the Labor Left’s love affair
with the movement and its capacity to stop progress.

Most Greens in Queensland are watermelons – green on the outside and red in the middle. They tend to take a BANANA approach (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) to development, Their warped ideology and passion for power won’t allow them to even see, for example, a cruise ship terminal built on the Gold Coast. Not the Broadwater, not The Spit, not anywhere, thanks very much.

The Great Barrier Reef tick of approval from UNESCO has exposed the state’s eco-warriors as the kings of deceit and lies. They should not be given a platform for their views because they have proven they are not capable of being honest and candid. This win-at-all costs mentality is dangerous and their currency has now depreciated to the point where we can’t believe a word they say


Australia primed as heartland for battery-storage revolution

Low cost, high capacity batteries alone could make solar and wind power viable but we are still a long way off that

The battery-storage wars are breaking out, with Australia in the thick of it. Tesla, while the highest profile, will not be short of combatants.

The mass popularity of rooftop solar – more than a third of Queensland houses have solar PV – and the way people pay for the power make Australia a much more attractive market than the United States.

Raghu Belur, co-founder of Silicon Valley start-up Enphase Energy, which will launch its home battery in Australia in early 2016, points to the wide gap between the typical "feed-in" tariff that a household in Australia will receive for its excess solar power and the price of power from the grid.

Prices for mains-supplied power more than four times as much as the feed-in tariff in some cases make battery storage worth a look.

Not so in the US, where electricity is charged by "net metering", so a household will pay for the power consumed from the grid over a set period of time, less any electricity they generate themselves.

The US battery market, for now at least, will be driven mostly by demand for back-up power, not economics, Belur says.

No surprise, then, about Tesla's early focus on Australia for its Powerwall system, with its sleek, coloured wall-mounted 7-kilowatt-hour or 10kWh batteries to be available in 2016.

Bernstein Research, a bull on the lithium-ion battery space, says that at $US350 ($455.46) a kilowatt hour installed capacity for the 10kWh model, Powerwall is well below the $US550/kWh it had been modelling for storage costs. In optimal conditions, Powerwall could supply power at US27¢ a kilowatt hour, ranking Tesla on the scale – though admittedly at the high end – of residential retail power prices in large markets around the world.

Bernstein describes Tesla's system as already "modestly attractive" in Australia – the 20¢ a kilowatt hour spread between wholesale and retail power prices gives a five-year payback.

But the Grattan Institute puts the realistic cost of a Tesla battery, including inverter, charger and installation, at more than $7000 in 2017, too expensive for most. It says the price would have to fall to about $1600 before it made economic sense in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and by more in other cities.

Yet lithium-ion battery costs have fallen 94 per cent since 1991, while the energy packed into them per kilogram has increased. Bernstein sees usage costs continuing to fall by 20 per cent a year, cannibalising competing technologies for the next decade.

Belur won't talk dollar costs yet for Enphase's 1.2kWh battery, which comes with built-in inverter and software to communicate with the grid. But he insists that all up, the "plug and play" system will be competitive with Powerwall. Australia will be its global launchpad.

Meanwhile, Panasonic, a battery supplier for Powerwall and one of the "big three" lithium ion players alongside Samsung SDI and LG Chem, will launch next week an alliance with Australian electricity retailers targeting home storage.

Yet to be seen is how these suppliers align with local retailers. AGL Energy launched recently a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and is due to make larger sizes available later in 2015. Origin Energy is understood to be bringing forward its battery launch plans, potentially to the third quarter, while EnergyAustralia is in talks with Enphase on its battery, to add to their solar panel alliance.



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

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



This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded in the header to this blog: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)


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