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, 2016

Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change

I like the word "non-partisan" below.  Academe is notoriously Left-leaning so the claim is nonsense even on that ground.  Where scientists are undoubtedly and fiercely partisan, however, is about research grants.  No scientist ever says: "I don't deserve a research grant this year.  They are absolutely partisan about the importance of research grants and the need to keep them flowing.  So all that the article below shows is that learned societies believe passionately in keeping up the flow of research grants to their members.  The global warming scare has unleashed a golden shower of research grants onto anybody who can drag global warming into their research.  And we all now know not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. 

Global warming is a scam dreamed up by a small number of unscrupulous scientists for the benefit of scientists -- and most other scientists just say "Thank you very much".  Anybody who challenged the myth would be seen as letting the side down -- thus endangering his position

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”

The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations: AAAS; American Chemical Society; American Geophysical Union; American Institute of Biological Sciences; American Meteorological Society; American Public Health Association; American Society of Agronomy; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; American Society of Naturalists; American Society of Plant Biologists; American Statistical Association; Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography; Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; Association of Ecosystem Research Centers; BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium; Botanical Society of America; Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Crop Science Society of America; Ecological Society of America; Entomological Society of America; Geological Society of America; National Association of Marine Laboratories; Natural Science Collections Alliance; Organization of Biological Field Stations; Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; Society for Mathematical Biology; Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles; Society of Nematologists; Society of Systematic Biologists; Soil Science Society of America; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.


New paleoclimatology paper shows that CO2 is only a bit-player in the drama of world climate, while the main characters are ice, dust and albedo

Modulation of ice ages via precession and dust-albedo feedbacks

Ralph Ellis & Michael Palmer


We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice-ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia more CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which combined with arid conditions, causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.


The sun has 'gone blank' and there could be another ice age on the way

The sun has gone "completely blank" for the second time this month suggesting that Earth could be heading for a mini ICE AGE.

Earlier this month, there were no sunspots on the massive star's surface for four days - something which hadn't happened since 2011. This has since happened again.

A lack of sun spots is totally normal, but it does hint that the sun is heading for its next "solar minimum phase".

The next solar minimum phase is expected to take place in 2019 or 2020, says meteorologist Paul Dorian of Vencore Weather , who expects to see an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.

The last time the sun saw a such a long phase with no sunspots, it ushered in what scientists refer to as a the 'Maunder Minimum' back in 1645.

This caused temperatures to plunge dramatically, and even resulted in the Thames freezing over.

Some experts think that a similar mini ice age could be coming again soon.

The solar phenomenon could even prove dangerous for astronauts, says Paul Dorian.

During these spotless phases of the sun, extreme ultraviolet radiation drops, resulting in lower aerodynamic drag as the Earth's atmosphere cools and contracts.

The lower drag can cause space junk to accumulate in orbit, which could result in a collision with the International Space Station or other spacecraft.


97% global warming consensus paper surpasses half a million downloads

I think this proves that Warmists can't read.  Right there in the Abstract of the paper it says that two thirds of climate scientists take no position on global warming

Cook et al. (2013) has remained the most-read paper in Environmental Research Letters for most of the past 3 years

In 2013, a team of citizen science volunteers who collaborate on the climate myth debunking website published a paper finding a 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming in peer-reviewed research. Over the past 3 years, that paper has been downloaded more than 500,000 times. For perspective, that’s 4 times more than the second-most downloaded paper in the Institute of Physics journals (which includes Environmental Research Letters, where the 97% consensus paper was published).

The statistic reveals a remarkable level of interest for a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Over a three-year period, the study has been downloaded an average of 440 times per day, and the pace has hardly slowed. Over the past year, the download rate has remained high, at 415 per day.

SOURCE.  See also here

California can’t fight global warming AND nuclear power

On the surface, Pacific Gas & Electric’s recent decision not to seek to renew its U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission operating licenses that expire in 2024 and 2025 — for two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon power plant in San Luis Obispo County — makes sense for a variety of reasons.

The fracking revolution in energy production has unleashed such a glut of cheap natural gas that nuclear power can’t compete on a cost basis, prompting plans to close aging plants around the nation in recent years. State laws require that utilities must rely much more on renewable energy going forward, and the declining cost of solar power makes that switch easier. The State Lands Commission, at the behest of a commission member, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, appeared intent on making it difficult for the Diablo plant to renew leases expiring in 2018 and 2019 on state tidelands where intake and outflow chutes for the plant’s cooling system are located. The State Water Resources Control Board is also concerned about the plant’s effect on nearby marine life. Many politically influential California environmentalists have for years demanded Diablo Canyon’s immediate closure, citing its vulnerability to earthquakes and raising concerns about the earthquake-driven disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.

But despite all these issues, in the big picture, the closing of California’s last nuclear power plant is hard to square with the state’s determination to be a leader in the fight against global warming. Nuclear energy is a huge source of clean power that doesn’t release the greenhouse gases that are changing the climate. And unlike the San Onofre plant in San Diego County that closed in 2012 because of severe problems with steam generators and more, the Diablo Canyon plant appeared to be functioning well.

Diablo Canyon supplies 9 percent of the state’s electricity with a reliability that renewable energy has yet come close to approaching. Barring technological breakthroughs, in the short and medium term, the closing of Diablo Canyon means the state’s power grid is likely to have to rely more on natural gas, which contributes to global warming. Without such breakthroughs, renewable energy mandates will make the power grid more susceptible to disruptive, costly shortages.

These factors are why many energy experts — and some environmentalists — are stunned that nuclear power has pariah status in many parts of the world. International agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say nuclear power is the only energy source that can in coming decades be counted on to help nations drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The California Council on Science and Technology agrees. Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, has for years said that significant problems with the disposal of nuclear waste are far surpassed by the environmental benefits of nuclear power.

These arguments have proven persuasive in Northern Europe, at least. Both Sweden and Finland have made recent commitments to nuclear power. But Germany and Switzerland are going in the opposite direction — and even France, long the world leader in reliance on nuclear power, is having second thoughts.

If global warming is an existential threat to humankind, this hostility to a huge, promising source of clean energy is inexplicable. As the Union of Concerned Scientists says, “Effectively addressing global warming requires a rapid transformation of the ways in which we produce and consume energy.” That transformation will be far more difficult without nuclear power.


Trader Joe’s Is Being Fined for Contributing to Global Warming
Do you buy organic sweet potato chips and reasonably priced imported cheeses at Trader Joe’s, the alt grocery chain that radiates good vibes with frozen mini wontons, Hawaiian shirt uniforms, and two-dollar wine? That’s awesome, and here’s good news to keep the chill times rolling: Today, Trader Joe’s has agreed to spend $2 million to fix up its refrigerators to settle a federal suit that claimed TJ’s refrigerator leaks have been contributing to the depletion of the ozone.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department claimed that Trader Joe’s refrigerators leaked R-22, a refrigerator coolant that burns through the ozone and contributes to global warming at a rate 1,800 times that of carbon dioxide. According to Reuters, the feds said that Trader Joe’s didn’t fix leaks quickly enough and didn’t keep adequate service records—a big-time freezer foul. Trader Joe’s will have to pay a $500,000 fine on top of the $2 million in repairs as part of a settlement, which did not require Trader Joe’s to admit liability.

But when everything’s said and done, Trader Joe’s will have some shiny, efficient refrigerators. The company has committed to cutting its “average leak rate” to less than half the industry standard at its 461 stores in the next three years, and eventually the cuts would be the equivalent of taking more than 6,500 cars off the road every year. 

Though Costco and Safeway have both settled cases related to the efficiency of their refrigerators before, Trader Joe’s case is the first time the EPA has required a company to repair its leaks for reasons relating to global warming.

The new limits “set a high bar for the grocery industry for detecting and fixing coolant leaks,” an EPA official, Cynthia Giles, said.

One thing not refrigerated at TJ’s is two-buck Chuck, but maybe when you get your $24 case of wine home you should change that by dumping it in a slushie machine. Just make sure your machine isn’t leaking any weird coolants—that stuff is probably poison.



Three current articles below

Greens self-serving Trots: ex-PM Keating

Keating is right about that. The Greens are full of ex-Trotskyites

Former prime minister Paul Keating has used a Labor rally to turn his caustic wit on the Greens Party, labelling it "a bunch of opportunists and Trots" splitting the progressive vote.

In his first public address of the 2016 election campaign, Mr Keating told the Sydney crowd the Greens were reducing Labor's ability to form government.

"They're a protest party, not a party of government, but their game is to nobble the party of government that can actually make changes," Mr Keating said.

"You can't be a government when you've got a bunch tearing away at you, trying to pinch a seat here and there, all to make themselves look important."

Mr Keating addressed the rally in aid of fellow Labor stalwart Anthony Albanese, who is under pressure in his inner-western Sydney seat of Grayndler.

The seat has come under sustained Greens attack after AEC redistributions cut the traditional working-class stronghold of Marrickville, as well as Mr Albanese's home and office, from the electorate.

He is facing Greens candidate Jim Casey, a former firefighter and Fire Brigade Employees' Union secretary.

Mr Albanese, who labelled Mr Keating "Australia's greatest treasurer", said the Greens were taking the public funding from every NSW seat solely to attack him.

"They're outspending us two to one in this seat. There's billboards everywhere," Mr Albanese said.

Mr Keating castigated the Greens for positioning themselves as the true Australian progressive party, saying it was Labor who introduced legislation to protect the Daintree, Jervis Bay and Antarctica.

The Greens had also failed the environment by blocking Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2009.

"They purloined the name Greens. We're more green than they are," he said. "Ratting on Rudd with the ETS scheme and walking away from the Malaysia Solution, things that required a bit of courage ... they could've been the Yellows."

Turning to the economy, Mr Keating said leaving the economic lifting to central banks through monetary policy had become increasingly ineffective.

He said the onus now fell on governments to intervene with infrastructure spending and public service provision.

"Governments have tucked themselves away and let central banks lower interest rates in the hope, like lighting a match, if you strike it enough there might be a flame," Mr Keating said.

"The market system which I participated in as treasurer, where we opened the economy up, we basically reduced the size of government to let all these forces go.

"We're now at a point in economic history in Australia and around the world where that system is going nowhere."

Mr Keating's appearance comes just a day after criticising the government's proposed company tax cuts in a letter to the Australian Financial Review.


Greenies determined to hamstring Northern development

The opportunities for viable development in Australia's "empty North" are few but Greenies still want to block them all.  They will find some frog or insect that would be inconvenienced by development projects and thus stop everything

Ahead of the election, the major parties have released different visions for developing northern Australia. The Coalition has committed to dam projects across Queensland; Labor has pledged to support the tourism industry.

These pledges build on the Coalition’s A$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a fund to support large projects, starting on July 1.

The Coalition has pledged A$20 million to support 14 new or existing dams across Queensland should the government be returned to power, as part of a A$2.5 billion plan for dams across northern Australia.

Labor, meanwhile, will redirect A$1 billion from the fund towards tourism, including eco-tourism, indigenous tourism ventures and transport infrastructure (airports, trains, and ports).

It is well recognised that the development of northern Australia will depend on harnessing the north’s abundant water resources. However, it’s also well recognised that the ongoing use of water resources to support industry and agriculture hinges on the health and sustainability of those water resources.

Northern Australia is home to diverse ecosystems, which support a range of ecosystem services and cultural values, and these must be adequately considered in the planning stages.
Sustainability comes second

The white paper for northern Australia focuses almost solely on driving growth and development. Current water resource management policy in Australia, however, emphasises integrated water resource planning and sustainable water use that protects key ecosystem functions.

Our concern is that the commitment to sustainability embedded in the National Water Initiative (NWI), as well as Queensland’s water policies, may become secondary in the rush to "fast track" these water infrastructure projects.

Lessons from the past show that the long-term success of large water infrastructure projects requires due process, including time for consultation, environmental assessments and investigation of alternative solutions.
What is on the table?

The Coalition proposes providing funds to investigate the feasibility of a range of projects, including upgrading existing dams and investigating new dams. The majority of these appear to be focused on increasing the reliability of water supplies in regional urban centres. Few target improved agricultural productivity.

These commitments add to the already proposed feasibility study (A$10 million) of the Ord irrigation scheme in the Northern Territory and the construction of the Nullinga Dam in Queensland. And the A$15 million northern Australia water resources assessment being undertaken by CSIRO, which is focused on the Fitzroy river basin in Western Australia, the Darwin river basins in Northern Territory and the Mitchell river basin in Queensland.

Rethinking dams

New water infrastructure in the north should be part of an integrated investment program to limit overall environmental impacts. Focusing on new dams applies 19th-century thinking to a 21st-century problem, and we have three major concerns about the rush to build dams in northern Australia.

First, the process to establish infrastructure priorities for federal investment is unclear. For instance, it’s uncertain how the projects are connected to Queensland’s State Infrastructure Plan.

Investment in new water infrastructure across northern Australia needs to be part of a long-term water resource plan. This requires clearly articulated objectives for the development of northern Australia, along with assessment criteria that relate to economic, social and environmental outcomes, such as those used in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Second, the federal government emphasises on-stream dams. Dams built across the main river in this way have many well-recognised problems, including:

*    lack of environmental flows (insufficient water at the appropriate frequency and duration to support ecosystems)

*    flow inversion (higher flows may occur in the dry season than in the wet, when the bulk of rainfall occurs)

*    barriers to fish movement and loss of connectivity to wetlands

*    water quality and temperature impacts (unless there is a multi-level off-take).

As a minimum, new dams should be built away from major waterways (such as on small, tributary streams) and designed to minimise environmental impacts. This requires planning in the early stages, as such alternatives are extremely difficult to retrofit to an existing system.

Finally, the federal government proposals make no mention of climate change impacts. Irrigation and intensive manufacturing industries demand highly reliable water supplies.

While high-value use of water should be encouraged, new industries need to be able to adapt for the increased frequency of low flows; as well as increased intensity of flood events. Government investment needs to build resilience as well as high-value use.

Detailed planning, not press releases

In place of the rather ad hoc approach to improvements in water infrastructure, such as the projects announced by the federal government in advance of the election, we need a more holistic and considered approach.

The A$20 million investment for 14 feasibility studies and business cases in Queensland represents a relatively small amount of money for each project, and runs the risk of having them undertaken in isolation. The feasibility studies should be part of the entirety of the government’s plan for A$2.5 billion in new dams for northern Australia.

Water resource planning is too important and too expensive to cut corners on planning. Investment proposals for Queensland need to be integrated with water resource planning across the state, and across northern Australia, and with appropriate consideration of climate change impacts.

Fast tracking dams without considering ecosystem impacts, future variability in water supplies, and resilience in local communities merely sets the scene for future problems that will likely demand another round of intervention and reform.


Global cooling hits Sydney

Sydneysiders felt the chill on Monday as temperatures plummeted to their coolest in two decades as New South Wales experiences the most powerful cold front in three years.

The maximum temperature reached was just 11.7 degrees but remained mostly in the single digit range all day.

The cold temperatures make it the coolest day for any month in 20 years, said Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald that temperatures have averaged just 10.4 degrees over the past three days, the coldest June period in six years.

An overnight low of eight degrees was met with rain in Sydney on Monday morning with a top of just 13 degrees expected throughout the day.

Peter Zmijewski, a senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology said: 'The temperature is a bit colder than it normally is at this time of year.'

'There's a lot of cloud moving through the east coast. We do expect rainfall to continue throughout Monday,' he told Daily mail Australia.

After experiencing the coldest morning of the year on Sunday there will be no let up for Sydneysiders during the week, with damp and chilly weather forecast for the early part of the seven day period.

Over the weekend, temperatures dropped to just above five degrees in the CBD on Sunday and although Monday will not be as chilly, rain is forecast to set in.



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29 June, 2016

An interesting note from a correspondent

It is interesting to note that CO2 levels drop at the rate of about 1 1/2 ppm per month over a Spring/Summer cycle when plant growth is maximum. This seems to indicate that forest and food crops can actually out run the emissions.  I once calculated how much corn production it would take to off set the total CO2 emissions from  one 500 megawatt coal powered plant ............ 900 sq miles, an area of a mere 30 miles x 30 miles. It is likely that there are several good food crops that would sequester CO2 at very efficient rates. So the easy way to sequester CO2 is grow food but store it until a famine makes it necessary to consume it.

Would this not be a more noble cause and more acceptable than killing our overall energy system.  There was a time not so long ago that the USA did operate a food bank in an area near the North Pole.  There still is a seed bank operated by another country.

Researchers Team Up for Cheaper Solar Energy Battery Storage

This is all very well but pure sodium is a hugely reactive element, meaning that it can lead to explosions.  If sodium batteries become a reality, I predict a lot of "accidents".  A competent regulatory authority would ban them as intrinsically  unsafe in the hands of the general public

The storage of solar energy is one of the weak spots in systems that harvest this alternative type of electricity. Now three UK research organizations -- the companies Faradion and Moixa Technology, and WMG, part of the University of Warwick -- have teamed up in a partnership to develop sodium-ion cells as a low-cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries for solar-energy storage.

Each of the entities in the partnership brings different engineering strengths to the table. Faradion is a startup eyeing innovation in the sodium-ion battery space, while Moixa specializes in smart energy storage. Researchers led by Rohit Bhagat, an associate professor of electrochemical engineering at WMG, will bring expertise in large-scale prototyping and electrode coating to the partnership.

Currently, lithium-ion batteries are used primarily for storage as part of solar energy systems, but this type of battery also represents significant costs, researchers said. Sodium-ion cells, however, can be as much as 30% less expensive to produce. Using Faradion’s technology, solar storage could be less expensive and therefore more accessible, particularly for domestic use, to help promote environmental interests, according to the company.

“This partnership with Moixa Technology and WMG offers a great opportunity, not just for Faradion, but for global CO2 reduction,” said Francis Massin, Faradion’s CEO. “Solar energy storage is an important growth market of the next five years and this partnership means that the UK has the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology development.”

Sodium is more abundant than lithium and therefore less expensive in terms of battery production, according to researchers. The new effort also will focus on providing that sodium-ion technology can meet the lifecycle requirements of solar energy storage. In contrast, a lead-acid battery -- another type of battery for solar storage -- would need to be replaced up to five times through the typical lifetime of a photovoltaic system.

“We see sodium-ion batteries offering strategic and technological advantages for solar and grid energy storage applications,” Bagat said.

The new partnership’s effort is just one of a number tackling solar energy storage, which continues to be a hotbed of research not only to make solar storage cheaper, but also a more viable option for the power grid.

While the new partnership’s work focuses on more accessible and smaller-scale solar energy storage, other efforts from companies like Ambri, as well as researchers at Harvard and other institutions, focus on the development of flow and other types of batteries for large-scale storage.

Indeed, all of this focus means there is a significant business opportunity in this market, with Lux Research predicting the market for energy storage for solar energy systems to grow to $8 billion by 2026.


Woodrow Wilson Center: ‘Giant Number of Refugees’ Are Result of Climate Change

Wars in the Middle East nothing to do with it?

During an event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Thursday to discuss how women are disproportionately affected by climate change in developing countries, Jane Harman, president and CEO of the center, said that many of the refugees around the globe today are being displaced by climate change.

Harman said it is in the interest of the United States to “build resilience” in these countries to prevent migration and even terrorism.

“It seems to me that the U.S. has a direct interest in building government capacity, which will build resilience in the countries you’re talking about,” Harman said.

“Because if we don’t do it, guess what happens?” she said. “What we’re seeing right now is – it’s not just refugee flows, which is also horrible and heartbreaking – oh by the way, climate refugees are a giant number of refugees.”

We’re also seeing the export of terrorism caused by instability in those countries, Harman said.

“So it seems to me if we want to reduce – we’ll never totally prevent it – but want to reduce the terror threat to the United States, we have to help build resilient capacity in countries abroad,” she said.

The framework for the conference,  “At the Eye of the Storm: Women and Climate Change,” was described as follows:

“Struggling to save their failing crops. Walking farther to fetch clean water. Protecting their families from devastating storms and violent conflicts. Experts warn that women in developing countries will be disproportionately affected by climate changes. But women could also hold the keys to solving the climate challenge.

“Empowering women through education, economic opportunities, and reproductive health care can make surprising contributions to the climate fight. To make this happen, we need to bridge sectoral barriers and work together to ensure that women are climate victors, and not climate victims.”

One panelist, Public Policy Fellow Maxine Burkett, shared the story of an Indonesian woman who wants to save the forests in her country.

“My people regard the Earth as the human body,” “Mama” Aleta Baun said. “Stone is our bone. Water is our blood. Land is our flesh. Forest is our hair.”  “If one of them is taken away, we are paralyzed,” Baun said.


This Could Be The Biggest Threat To Our Climate If We Don't Act Fast

Pure comedy: We read below that the "threat" is "equivalent to the annual emissions of 200 cars".  How frightening!  We seem to survive with many millions of cars on the road so 200 more or less will mean nothing

When you think “peatland”, you probably picture water, or mosquitoes, or creepily preserved human artefacts. What most of us don’t consider are catastrophic wildfires — but that’s precisely what scientists are now worried about when it comes to one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth.

Mike Waddington is a forest ecologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He’s been studying the peatlands that pepper the Canadian boreal forest for going on 30 years, and he’s begun to notice an alarming trend. When peatlands that have been drained by humans for forestry or mining catch on fire, they burn like crazy, eating through metres of carbon-rich soil over the course of months.

“I always tell people to think about the fire swamp from Princess Bride,” Waddington told Gizmodo. “Peat fires are very difficult to put out because they just keep smouldering down into the soil.”

Sphagnum moss acts as a natural fire suppressor in peatlands, but it’s often lost when these ecosystems are drained.

Over the last few years, Waddington and his colleagues have been piecing together the ecological and hydrological changes that are causing managed peatlands across north America, Scandinavia and Russia to become some of the best natural fire starters on Earth. When peatlands are drained, centuries of years of accumulated organic matter (basically, coal that isn’t coal yet) become exposed to the surface. Couple this new fuel source with ecological changes — the disappearance of sphagnum moss that acts as a natural flame retardant, and the invasion of large spruce trees that can shoot fiery embers hundreds of metres skyward — and you’ve got the perfect storm of conditions for a very large, very dangerous fire.

Waddington’s latest study, which appears today in Nature Scientific Reports, takes these observations to their sobering conclusion: Peatlands, especially those that humans have messed with, are ticking carbon time bombs. Combining measurements on drained and mined peatlands in Canada and northern Europe, the study finds that under modern weather conditions, catastrophic “deep burns” can lead to over 200 tonnes of carbon released per hectare.

That’s roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 200 cars. And given that catastrophic wildfires have developed a nasty habit of burning across hundreds of thousands to millions of hectares, this could become a major new source of climate-warming greenhouse gases.

“These ecosystems have been storing and removing carbon for millennia, but they have the potential to become an enormous carbon source in the future,” Waddington said, adding that according to his models, the warming and drying brought on by climate change is causing the fire risk to become even greater for many peatlands. We need only look at the peat fires in Indonesia last spring, which were at one point emitting more carbon than entire the US economy, for a glimpse of what the future could hold.

The good news is, there’s still time to prevent peat fires from singlehandedly undoing everything we’ve done to cut back on fossil fuels. We can restore peatlands to their natural state. “By just rewetting peatlands, the fire risk is reduced greatly,” Waddington said. “Reducing fuel loads — removing black spruce trees to get the mosses to come back — is also critical.”

Waddington and his colleagues are sharing their findings with land managers throughout Canada, who are starting to take the issue of peat fires very seriously, particularly in light of the megafire that ripped through Fort McMurray and surrounding wildlands earlier this autumn. Let’s just hope that awareness of this problem translates into swift action. There are roughly 21 million hectares of managed peatlands across the world’s northern forests, and we need them on our side in the fight against climate change.


Oakland Officials Vote to Ban Coal Handling and Storage at New Shipping Terminal

The Oakland City Council voted to ban the handling and storage of coal and coke at the city’s terminals and bulk material facilities. The unanimous vote came after a long, packed city council meeting; advocates and opponents of the ban demonstrated outside. A second, largely procedural, vote is expected in July.

The ban aims to derail a proposed deal that would have granted four coal-producing counties in Utah rail access to a major commodities shipping terminal under development on city land, adjacent to the Port of Oakland.

The new terminal is part of a major redevelopment of an old Army Base the city hopes will bring thousands of jobs to a city that still has pockets of poverty and violence, even as the region’s tech sector booms and housing costs rise. Utah had agreed to invest $53 million in the project for the right to export its goods.

California ports in Stockton, Richmond and Long Beach export coal, but because of climate change and pollution concerns, such terminals have become highly contested on the West Coast. Environmentalists have defeated similar proposals in Oregon and Washington.

The battle ignited in Oakland after the plan to allow coal to be shipped through the terminal was made public, roiling local politics in the city of about 414,000. Among those opposed to the plan was Mayor Libby Schaaf, a former aide to Mr. Brown when he was mayor of the city from 1999 to 2007.

Environmentalists and some community groups opposed allowing coal to be shipped through the city. The Sierra Club, which led opposition to the plan, argued coal dust has been linked to decreased lung capacity, childhood bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, emphysema and heart disease.

Brittany King, conservation coordinator for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, said Monday that the ban would “protect Oakland from dirty, dangerous coal exports,” and respected “the will of the people.”

Mark McClure, vice president of the California Capital and Investment Group, which is financing the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, said late Monday the company “will continue to honor all of our commitments to the City of Oakland and our partners to deliver on the promise of the Oakland Global development.”

But the company’s chief executive, Phil Tagami, said last year that restricting commodities at the terminal could harm the project’s success.  Mr. Tagami is a local businessman with close ties to Mr. Brown, who has been outspoken on combating climate change.  Mr. Brown is an investor with Mr. Tagami in an Oakland office building, according to an economic disclosure form filed by the governor.

During Mr. Brown’s gubernatorial administration, Mr. Tagami served as chairman of the state’s Lottery Commission and as a member of its Medical Board; he left the administration in 2013.

A spokesman for Mr. Brown said Monday before the vote that the governor declined to comment on the Oakland terminal, or the proposed ban.

The terminal, which would sit at the end of an existing track network, would be managed by Terminal Logistics Solutions, a company that is looking to partner with the Utah counties to export commodities including coal.

The project, dubbed Oakland Global, is expected to bring inasmuch as $2.9 million in annual property taxes for the city, schools and other local governments, and has already created more than 2,300 jobs, Mr. Tagami has said.

Utah has sought new markets for its coal as energy companies and utilities in the U.S. have moved toward natural-gas plants and renewable forms of energy due to stricter federal pollution rules. While coal mining represents a fraction of Utah’s economy, it has long been a source of jobs for counties in the central and southeastern part of the state.


Where has that rain gone?

As I have pointed out many times, one implication of AGW theory is that global warming will cause an increase in rain and snow.  So the galoots below are puzzled that there has been no recent such increases.  So they have modelled up a solution that blames aerosols.  They have apparently overlooked that any global warming is so minuscule that any effect of it would be undetectable

Global warming without global mean precipitation increase?

Marc Salzmann


Global climate models simulate a robust increase of global mean precipitation of about 1.5 to 2% per kelvin surface warming in response to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. Here, it is shown that the sensitivity to aerosol cooling is robust as well, albeit roughly twice as large. This larger sensitivity is consistent with energy budget arguments. At the same time, it is still considerably lower than the 6.5 to 7% K?1 decrease of the water vapor concentration with cooling from anthropogenic aerosol because the water vapor radiative feedback lowers the hydrological sensitivity to anthropogenic forcings. When GHG and aerosol forcings are combined, the climate models with a realistic 20th century warming indicate that the global mean precipitation increase due to GHG warming has, until recently, been completely masked by aerosol drying. This explains the apparent lack of sensitivity of the global mean precipitation to the net global warming recently found in observations. As the importance of GHG warming increases in the future, a clear signal will emerge.

Science Advances  24 Jun 2016: Vol. 2, no. 6, e1501572. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501572


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

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


28 June, 2016

New paper on solar activity suggests imminent cooling

Judith Curry notes that this paper has attracted extensive interest and sets out some of the reasons why.  2050 is set as the time for the new era of reduced solar activity to cut in.  This finding comports well with the evidence from geology that we are at the end of a warm interglacial

Evidence of cosmic recurrent and lagged millennia-scale patterns and consequent forecasts: multi-scale responses of solar activity to planetary gravitational forcing [link]

Jorge Sánchez-Sesma


Solar activity (SA) oscillations over the past millennia are analyzed and extrapolated based on reconstructed solar-related records. Here, simple recurrent models of SA signal are applied and tested. The consequent results strongly suggest the following: (a) the existence of multi-millennial (9500-year) scale solar patterns linked with planetary gravitational forcing (PGF), and (b) their persistence, over at least the last glacial– interglacial cycle, but possibly since the Miocene (10.5 Ma). This empirical modeling of solar recurrent patterns has also provided a consequent multi-millennial-scale experimental forecast, suggesting a solar decreasing trend toward Grand (Super) Minimum conditions for the upcoming period, AD2050–2250 (AD 3750–4450). Taking into account the importance of these estimated SA scenarios, a comparison is made with other SA forecasts. In Appendixes A and B, we provide further verification, testing and analysis of solar recurrent patterns since geological eras, and their potential gravitational forcing.


Democrats abandon hope of getting new Greenie laws through Congress -- want to use the DoJ instead

Running around after Exxon is like a dog chasing its tail -- futile.  Exxon was perfectly entitled to keep its internal  documents internal

The committee drafting a platform for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party unanimously called on Friday for the Justice Department to investigate fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil Corp., accused of misleading shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change.

At the same time, in a session Friday night, the group brushed off calls by environmental activists for the platform to support several stronger actions to move away from fossil fuels. The policies, favored by Bernie Sanders, include a carbon tax and a ban on fracking.

The effect of the session, one of several forums around the country, was to intensify the partisan heat around criticism of Exxon's climate record, while allowing the Clinton camp to stake out political territory that is not quite so harsh on oil, coal and natural gas companies.

Exxon is already under scrutiny by several state attorneys general. President Obama's attorney general has referred the question to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for consideration.

Republicans, for their part, have come to Exxon's defense and denounced the probes as a politically inspired witch hunt that infringes on the company's constitutional rights.

Early in the campaign, after Sanders demanded a federal investigation, Clinton said that she, too, thought a Justice Department probe was warranted under RICO, a federal racketeering statute. But during the debates, as Sanders staked out forceful positions against fracking and for a carbon tax, Clinton refused to go that far.

And in the face of petitions by green activists trying to pull the platform more in the Sanders direction, Clinton's representatives on the platform panel backed her up. Clearly, they wanted to keep their fingers off such hot buttons, such as a promise to leave most fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

They also refused to embrace a "climate test" for approving future energy projects, similar to the one President Obama imposed in turning down TransCanada's application for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Asked about the loss on so many points, the campaigner Bill McKibben said in an email, "Since I argued for them, I guess their failure is on me. Disappointing."

But the platform panel, according to RL Miller, founder of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote, did accept a goal of obtaining all U.S. energy from renewable fuels by 2050.

That ambition would support the new Paris climate agreement's goals and is hardly compatible with a business-as-usual or "all-of-the-above" energy policy. And it is a far cry from the pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-fossil fuels stance of the Republican Party and its candidate, Donald Trump.

"We're thrilled that the Democratic Party will formally recognize the need to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their deceit," Miller said. "And we're happy that the committee is calling for the United States to be 100% powered by clean energy by 2050. However, we don't see how we'll make that bold leap with baby steps."

She added that her group is "appalled by the incrementalist approach adopted by the majority of the committee in voting down amendments to ban fracking, price carbon, and keep fossil fuels in the ground. Incrementalism won't solve the climate crisis."

The platform's authors did not name Exxon, but the debate made clear that the company was the subject of their call for a federal investigation.


Warmists all in a panic over Brexit

Did climate change cause Brexit? 

Ha ha.  Well, the politics of climate change policies seems to have influenced the voters.  there seems to be a substantial confluence of British climate change skeptics and people that voted ‘yes’ for Brexit.   Climate policies are one of the topics of concern regarding EU overreach.  It turns out that a large percentage of the British population are skeptical of human caused climate change.

* From Brexit Is Also A Repudiation Of EU Global Warming Mandates:

Conservative pollster Lord Michael Ashcroft surveyed 12,369 Brits voting in Thursday’s referendum and found 69 percent of those who voted to leave the EU saw the “green movement” as a “force for ill.”

Funny that AGW skepticism was sold as an American aberration. It seems to be alive and well in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

Will Brexit influence the Paris Climate Change Agreement?

There are numerous dimensions to the potential impacts of Brexit on the Paris Agreement:

*  Guardian: Leave victory risks delaying EU ratification of the Paris deal, leaving the door open for Obama’s successor to unpick the pact

More importantly, for the rest of the world, the Leave campaign’s victory provides a fillip globally for groups opposed to climate action, and if it causes delays to the Paris accord coming into effect, it could provide an opening for aspiring right-wing leaders – including Donald Trump – to try to unpick the pact.

The Brexit vote will be used as a rallying cry for an agenda that frequently includes climate scepticism among its tenets, alongside curbs to immigration and to government regulation.

Many climate sceptics around the world will have been encouraged by the Brexit vote, as there is so much overlap between the two camps, and environmental and carbon goals under the EU were a key target of the Leave campaigners.

* Politico: 5 ways Brexit will transform energy and climate

One oft-voiced concern is that the departure of Britain — which has been a climate leader within the bloc — could weaken the E.U.’s climate ambitions, on top of the general chaos expected to ensue as Brexit now unfolds (which will surely distract all parties from climate policy).

“The UK has generally argued for stronger action on emissions within the EU, so its absence will make it more difficult to counter the arguments of those Member States, such as Poland, which want slower and weaker cuts in emissions,” said Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

*  WaPo: Why an E.U. without Britain is bad news for the fight against climate change

“We don’t know how long the exit process is going to take, and secondly, whether that would end up with the UK still in the single market, like Norway, and therefore still within the burden sharing agreement, or completely outside the EU as a separate state, and therefore, would submit its own [climate pledge],” Jordan said. “And in fact, it could take years until that’s clear.”

“UK will not now take part in the sharing out of the EU 2030 target contained in the EU [pledge], and Brexit will likely make it more difficult for the EU to achieve that target as UK has been cutting its emissions by more than the EU average,” Ward said by email.

*  Climate Change News: Six questions for UK and EU low carbon ambitions as British voters reject continued membership of world’s largest single market

In the short term, it could benefit global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions growth, former UK climate chief Chris Huhne told Climate Home. That’s because the market volatility set loose by Brexit is likely to lead to a UK recession, and potentially a global slowdown. In the 2008-09 economic crisis emissions fell 1.4%.

Longer term the EU will lose its second-largest economy and a key driver of the region’s low carbon policymaking, the founding member of the 13-strong Green Growth Group of EU nations. Despite a vocal quorum of climate sceptics the UK has consistently argued for Europe to target 50% greenhouse gas emission cuts by 2030, as opposed to the current 40%.

Historically, the UK has adopted a European leadership role with France and Germany on arguing for tougher emission cuts, rolling out a regional carbon market and formulating energy policy.

London is a centre for global green finance and services, UK hi-tech companies are pioneering smart, energy efficient devices, electric vehicles are a major part of the car industry’s long-term strategy.

For one, don’t expect the EU to ratchet up its 40% cuts target with the UK no longer a player.

Secondly, expect eastern states like Poland to play merry hell over the effort sharing deal with a Brussels leadership they are already in conflict with.


Scientists Discover That Their Imaginary Greenland Meltdown Is Not Having Any Effect

Crack government funded scientists are baffled why their imaginary Greenland meltdown is not affecting the Gulf Stream.

It never occurred to them to look at the data and understand that Greenland isn’t actually melting. Greenland’s surface has gained 530 billion tons of ice since last summer, and is tracking well above normal.

It is mid-summer in Greenland, and temperatures in the center of the ice sheet are -15C

Anyone with an IQ over 30 understands that ice doesn’t melt at -15C. This group however does not include climate scientists, or progressives.

One week ago our brilliant secretary of state determined that glaciers calving off Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier indicated a looming catastrophe.

"Standing near Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier, the reputed source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic over a century ago, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saw evidence of another looming catastrophe.  Giant icebergs broken off from the glacier seemed to groan as they drifted behind him, signaling eventual rising oceans that scientists warn will submerge islands and populated coastal region"

Glaciers are rivers of ice. Excess snow falls in the interior, and glaciers carry the ice to the sea where it calves. Glaciers calving is an essential process required to return the 500 billion tons of annual snowfall to the sea, and has nothing to do with global warming. Kerry was seemingly aware that this was occurring in 1912, but perhaps no one told him that the Jakobshavn glacier has been retreating for hundreds of years.

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

Pink snow excitement

It's nothing new but Warmists have just noticed it.  It makes no difference at all

WHAT’s turning Arctic snow pink? Chemical spills? Baby seal clubbing? It’s actually just algae — and it has scientists in a spin.

A study published in the science journal Nature Communications reports the tiny algae which calls snow home has the potential to seriously accelerate melting of the ice cap.

The fields of reddish-pink algae are darker than the surrounding bright, white snow. This means it absorbs more sunlight. This sunlight warms the algae — and the snow around it.

The algae is nothing new. It’s been found on glaciers and pack-ice the world over.  It’s only now that its affect on snow when it blooms in the warmer summer months has been measured.

Under its soft-hued blanket, the snow and ice melts some 13 per cent faster.  This causes the shiny glaciers and snowfields — which cool the earth through reflecting sunlight — to retreat.

This means more, darker, rock and soil is left exposed — which in turn absorbs more of the sun’s energy. The study argues the acceleration produced by the algae needs to be included in climate modelling. [So the existing models are wrong??  What fun!]


Warning from the past:  Future global warming could be even warmer

Just more modelling

CLIMATE: Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from man-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute among others have used computer modelling to calculate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought. The results are published in the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

Global warming from greenhouse gas emissions depends not only on the size of the emissions, but also on the warming effect that the extra amount of gas has on the atmosphere. This effect, called climate sensitivity, is usually defined as the warming caused by the doubling of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity depends on a number of properties of the earth’s climate system, such as the composition of clouds and cloud cover.

“The research shows that climate sensitivity was higher during the past global, warm climate than in the current climate. This is bad news for humanity as greater climate sensitivity from warming will further amplify the warming,” says Professor Gary Shaffer, University of Magallanes, Chile, and the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The past tells about the future

The study was based on reconstructions and climate modelling of a period of global warming 56 million years ago. The period known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was triggered by massive releases of carbon into the atmosphere and climate researchers have long identified it as a time that could in some ways be analogous to today’s global warming.

Reconstructions of past temperatures show that even before the PETM the Earth was about 10 degrees warmer than today and then warmed an additional 5 degrees during the PETM. In addition, they combined data about minerals, isotopes and the carbon cycle with climate models to estimate the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – both before and during the period. From this, they could calculate the climate sensitivity and the result was that where it was about 4.5 degrees C before the PETM, the sensitivity rose to about 5.1 degrees during the PETM. Climate sensitivity is currently around 3 degrees.

“Our results show that the amount of carbon that drove the PETM warming was about the same amount as the current ‘easily accessible’ fossil fuel reserves of about 4,000 billion tons. But the warming that would result from adding such large amounts of carbon to the climate system would be much greater today than during the PETM and could reach up to 10 degrees. This is partly due to the current atmosphere containing much less CO2 – approximately 400 ppm (parts per million) – compared to before the PETM, where the concentration was about 1,000 ppm and partly because we emit carbon into the atmosphere at a much faster rate than during the PETM. If we then also take into account the fact that climate sensitivity increases with the temperature, it means that it is all the more urgent to limit global warming as soon as possible by reducing the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases,” explains Professor Gary Shaffer, who conducted the study in collaboration with researchers from Purdue University, USA, the University of Chile and the Technical University of Denmark.



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

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


27 June, 2016

"Scientist" Michael Mann says there is no need for statistics: You can just SEE global warming

Unsurprising.  The statistics are pretty doleful for Warmism

The Democratic Platform Drafting Committee held a series of hearings to solicit input on what issues should be front-and-center during the general election.  Michael Mann spoke as follows:

“What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle. Regardless of how you measure the impacts of climate change — be it food, water, health, national security, our economy — climate change is already taking a great toll… The stakes could not be greater in this next election — the future of our children and grandchildren literally hangs in the balance — nor could the contrast be any more stark. We have on the one hand a Republican Party whose standard bearer, Donald Trump, and a great majority of its congressional representatives deny that climate change even exists. We have on the other hand a Democratic Party that understands full well that while we can debate the policy specifics for dealing with this crisis, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and avoid dealing with the growing threat.”


Grant-hungry scientists stage a tantrum about the Barrier Reef while on their holiday in Hawaii

Many causes of bleaching alleged but not a word about El Nino, the most probable cause.  These guys are just con-men.  Document probably written by a small but powerful clique only

As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists have sent a letter to Australian officials calling for action to save the world's reefs, which are being rapidly damaged.

The letter was sent on Saturday to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imploring the government to do more to conserve the nation's reefs and curb fossil fuel consumption.

The letter, signed by past and present presidents of the International Society for Reef Studies on behalf of the 2000 attendees of the International Coral Reef Symposium that was held in Honolulu this week, urged the Australian government to prioritise its Great Barrier Reef.

"This year has seen the worst mass bleaching in history, threatening many coral reefs around the world including the whole of the northern Great Barrier Reef, the biggest and best-known of all reefs," the letter said.

"The damage to this Australian icon has already been devastating. In addition to damage from greenhouse gases, port dredging and shipping of fossil fuels across the Great Barrier Reef contravene Australia's responsibilities for stewardship of the Reef under the World Heritage Convention."

Scientists are not known for their political activism, said James Cook University professor Terry Hughes, but they felt this crisis warranted such action.

A call to action from three Pacific island nations whose reefs are in the crosshairs of the largest and longest-lasting coral bleaching event in recorded history was presented on Friday at the conclusion of the symposium in Honolulu.

The heads of state from Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands attended the conference and will provide a plan to help save their ailing coral reefs.

The call to action, signed by the three presidents, asked for better collaboration between the scientific community and local governments, saying there needs to be more funding and a strengthened commitment to protecting the reefs.

In response to the letter, the scientific community at the conference said they would work with national leaders of Micronesia, the Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the world "to curb the continued loss of coral reefs."

Bleaching is a process where corals, stressed by hot ocean waters and other environmental changes, lose their colour as the symbiotic algae that lives within them is released. Severe or concurrent years of bleaching can kill coral reefs, as has been documented over the past two years in oceans around the world. Scientists expect a third year of bleaching to last through the end of 2016.

In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, close to half of the corals have died in the past three months, said Hughes, who focuses his research there.

But the panel of scientists emphasised the progress they have made over the past 30 years and stressed that good research and management programs for coral reefs are available. The scientists said they just need the proper funding and political will to enact them.


“Unprecedented” Arctic-warming claims are false

The Arctic was warmer in the late 1930s

The media keeps shouting that the “global warming” that took place during the late 1990s was unprecedented, and therefore definitely man-made.But that is simply not true.

Take a took at this graph based on Hadcrut data. The graph is relative to all areas between 70 and 90° Latitude North. Temperatures are taken from the CRU (Climate Research Unit).

After a period of cold culminating around 1916, you can see that the Arctic underwent a period of heating leading to the historic peak in the late 1930s. The high in Arctic temperatures reached in 2010 was actually lower – lower! – than that of 1938.

This means that the warming between 1979 and today is not unprecedented. Indeed, the most rapid heating period seems to have occurred between 1916 and 1920, when Arctic temperatures went up as much as 4° C in just four years.


Germans Rejecting Wind Power …Public Health Issues, Industrial Blight, Damage To Ecosystems

Once welcome as a clean alternative for producing energy, wind turbines in Germany are today faced with ever more hostile political and social environments.

As the turbines increase in size, so do their impacts on people and ecosystems that are near them. In the southern German town of Winterlingen hundreds of people recently packed into a sports facility to listen to a talk by sound expert, Dr. Johannes Mayer on the effects of low frequency sound, so-called infrasound, on humans. Ten years ago not even a handful would have shown up. But today as interest in the adverse effects of infrasound from wind turbines are surfacing and becoming a major public issue, citizens who face the possible invasion by a wind park are taking a keen interest in the topic.

According to the online here, Mayer issued strong warnings on the adverse health-effects wind turbines can have on people.

Using the available research results, he emphasizes that people do not hear the infrasound emitted by wind turbines, but that they can feel them. “For 20 to 30% of the exposed persons there are massive consequences: The body comes under a state of constant, uninterrupted stress ,” said the speaker. Difficulty sleeping, disturbed concentration and irritability and depressive mood are the consequences says Johannes Mayer.”


Coming out

By former Canadian MLA, Ken Allred

“It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in the scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty.” – Patrick Draper, PhD (Ecology)

I’m going to come out of the closet – no I’m not gay but even more controversial – I’m a climate change skeptic! Worse yet, I guess I’m almost a climate change denier even though I try my best to keep an open mind on the subject.

Admittedly, I’ve never been totally comfortable with the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, especially with all the controversy around the statistical methods used by Michael Mann to come to the conclusions that he did. In particular was the influential ‘hockey stick’ graph which was characteristically skewed to support his conclusions.

The original mandate of the IPCC from the United Nations spelled out that they were to focus on “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability.”

Given such criteria it was obvious what their conclusions had to be or there would be no reason for them to exist. The United Nations obviously had an agenda and told the IPCC what they were to find – full stop!

Deniers have been ostracized from day one based on the endorsement of the IPCC report by 90 per cent (or some such number) of the scientific community. But let us bear in mind that even IPCC states that it is ‘extremely likely’ that human emissions have been the cause of global warming. Their claim is that it is 95 per cent certain.

Furthermore, the phrases, it is ‘likely’ and ’95 per cent certain’ don’t make it any more than a hypothesis. There is still room for question and it is the responsibility of the scientific community to debate the issue.

For the climate alarmists to condemn the deniers is as wrong as to condemn believers in an absolute being. And now, the lack of a rise in temperature since the turn of the century places their research in some doubt.

Unfortunately as Bob Dylan says “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Money is another source of my concern. As Vivian Crouse has determined through her research most of the money which funds Canadian anti-oil organizations comes from U.S. sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Tides U.S.A. and others.

CO2 is as essential to life on Earth as the oxygen we breathe. For without an ample supply of CO2 in the atmosphere plants could not exist. Over the millennia the proportion of CO2 has actually decreased as has the average global temperature. This entire climate change debate needs to be broadened to examine the issue in more detail rather than continually denying the deniers.

The carbon cycle and its central role in the creation of life should be promulgated rather than the demonization of CO2, that ‘carbon’ is a ‘pollutant’ that threatens the continuation of life.

In fact we need to change our focus and apply our resources to determine how we can comfortably survive as a species under warmer climatic conditions rather than how we can reduce greenhouse gases since the rise in CO2 is an inevitable swing in the millennia old climate change pendulum.


Corruption In The Green Energy Sector Costs Ontarians

This autumn has not been kind to NextEra's Ontario operation.

Some of the turbines they own in Ontario were found to be throwing objects into farmers fields during harvest season, for reasons the Ministry of Environment apparently refuses to investigate. Their "success" in collecting feed-in tariff contracts from the Ontario Liberals is now subject to litigation filed by oil baron T. Boone Pickens. If he is successful in proving allegations of "abuse of power" and "undue political interference," the Liberals mismanagement of the energy file could cost Ontarians an extra $700 million dollars.

The New York Times sums the complaint by saying:

"A review of documents and emails between NextEra executives, lobbyists and government officials show that NextEra met and held calls with high-level officials at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the premier's office and the power authority, even as Mesa Power executives were told they could not speak to officials until contracts were awarded. When NextEra lobbyists requested more information, officials sometimes responded within hours."

It is important to recall that this was in the era of gas plants being moved to protect under-performing Liberal MPPs from electoral defeat, but that said, NextEra's questionable behaviour isn't limited to Ontario.

As fate would have it, a NextEra lobbyist in the United States developed a romantic relationship with a U.S. government official overseeing a series of NextEra applications to construct renewable energy projects on public lands in the same month that her employment began at NextEra.

Emails detail NextEra leveraging their lobbyist's relationship with a key Department of Interior official that may have prevented a scientific review of derailing a project that began killing golden eagles within a month of operating.

The Department of Justice investigation into the relationship between NextEra and the U.S. Department of Interior highlights a number of examples of professional contact between the lobbyist and key official that was initiated by NextEra. The report is a fascinating read.

Considering what is known about the Ontario Liberal's gas plant scandal and all of the political interference that went on there, not to mention a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into NextEra's lobbying tactics in the United States, it will be fascinating to see what happens with T. Boone Pickens' claim.

Elsewhere in Ontario, NextEra has been negotiating "community vibrancy funds" with municipalities that are contingent on municipal councils passing favourable resolutions that will support NextEra in winning new business. They claim the whole thing is legal, but when is dangling benefits in front of decision-makers' faces while instructing them exactly how to use their official powers in a manner that benefits you legal or ethical?

Ben Greenhouse, NextEra's senior Canadian executive, has explicitly stated funds are conditional on municipal support in aiding new business developments, a message further reinforced by their Canadian staff in emails to municipal officials.

The only piece of good news for Ontarians related to the push for more wind turbines into our province is that the IESO has slowed down their approval process, delaying contract awards by another three months. Let's hope they take this time to clean up any "undo political interference" or "abuse of power" issues that may or may not exist within Ontario's green energy procurement process.

That said, with NextEra as a major player in Ontario's wind energy business along with Siemens (who has the distinction of paying the largest fine ever under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over extensive bribery of foreign officials in 10 different countries) and Samsung (with it's own bribery scandals being well-known), one has to wonder whether the government knew who they were inviting into the province when they opened the flood gates under the Green Energy Act in 2009.

Whether Dalton McGuinty truly favoured NextEra will be decided in court, but Kathleen Wynne has the opportunity to turn the page and end any corruption within Ontario's green energy procurement process, and would be wise to do so.



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, 2016

Global warming really COULD leave you hot-headed: Scientists say scorching year long temperatures make people violent

This is an old, old theory founded on the fact that there IS more interpersonal violence in the tropics.  But the people who live in the tropics are not the same people as those who live in temperate climes, so there could be other factors at work.  IQs, for instance are notably lower in the warm climate areas of the globe and low IQ is reliably associated with crime and violence.  The average IQ of almost any prison population is well below average.  So the case is moot.  I once thought I had some evidence in support of the theory in my own research but the difference turned out to be  unreliable

Near the equator, sweltering temperatures persevere day after day, with little chance that the upcoming season will break the routine. And according to a new theory, it just might make you snap.

Researchers say the combination of high temperatures and lack of seasonal variation causes people to lead 'faster' lifestyles, contributing to more aggression and violence, and say it could get worse as global warming causes temperature to rocket.

In the 'CLASH' model – CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans – researchers say hot temperatures and little seasonal variation contribute to more aggression and violence.

This is because people in these regions lead a 'faster' lifestyle, and spend less time planning for the future.

They also say people in these climate areas are likely to behave with less self-control.

This may be because they don't plan ahead for drastic seasonal changes, they say, and are faced with more immediate risks.

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam developed the 'CLASH' model – CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans – to understand why violent crime is so high in hot climates.

'Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don't think about in our daily lives,' said Paul Van Lange, lead author of the article and professor of psychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

'We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world.'

Previous studies have linked violence and aggression simply to hot climates, but the two leading explanations of why that is so aren't satisfactory said Brad Bushman, a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University and VU Amsterdam.

The General Aggression Model, which Bushman helped to develop, attributes the aggression in hot climates to discomfort and irritation.  'But that doesn't explain more extreme acts, such as murder,' he said.

A second theory, the Routine Activity Theory, says that warm weather leads people to be outdoors more often, thus creating more opportunities for conflict.

But, this doesn't explain why violence increases as the temperatures grow hotter, with 95 degrees seeing more violence than 75.

In the new model, the researchers consider lack of seasonal variation a factor as well. 'Less variation in temperature, combined with heat, brings some measure of consistency to daily life,' said Maria I. Rinderu of VU.

As a result of this, the researchers say people have less of a need to plan ahead for weather differences, causing them to be less concerned about the future, and have less need for self-control.

'Strong seasonal variation in temperature affects culture in powerful ways,' said Van Lange.

'If there is less variation you're freer to do what you want now, because you're not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. You also may be more concerned with the immediate stress that comes along with parasites and other risks of hot climates, such as venomous animals.'

Instead, the researchers say people who live in hot, consistent regions are more likely to act according to the present.

'We see evidence of a faster life strategy in hotter climates with less temperature variation – they are less strict about time, they have less use of birth control, they have children earlier and more often,' Bushman said.

While a person's behaviours may not entirely be the result of the climate they live in, this does help to shape the culture, the researchers explain.

'How people approach life is a part of culture and culture is strongly affected by climate,' Van Lange said.

'Climate doesn't make a person, but it is one part of what influences each of us. We believe it shapes the culture in important ways.'


Brexiteers are also climate skeptics

The article below is from a few months back but current observations say the same thing

Here are a number of parallels between the climate wars and the current Brexit skirmishes that I have noticed and found interesting. Make of these what you will:

1. There’s the stereotyping. Those in the “Out” camp are often viewed in the media as right-wing Little Englanders – except they’re not. George Galloway, anyone? Likewise, those in the climate sceptic camp here in the UK are often viewed in the media as right-wing Little Englanders – except they’re not. Piers Corbyn, right wing?

2.  Somewhat illogically, there’s also a perception in the media that the Brexit gang are a diverse and divisive rag-tag alliance (Nigel Farage and George Galloway on the same platform). The same could also generally be said about climate sceptics. I think this is actually not far from the truth, and it might indeed be a strength rather than a weakness, as not everyone can then be tarred with the same stereotypical brush.

3. There’s a bit of overlap between EU and CAGW scepticism – if these were circles in a Venn diagram, we would find UK politicians Owen Paterson and Graham Stringer (Conservative and Labour, respectively) in the area where they intersected (and they would probably be joined by lots of non-politicians, too).

4. There are also the big battalions lined up against both the Brexiteers and the climate sceptics. Against the “Out” camp are ranged a giant army of big business concerns, environment agencies, world leaders, the EU itself, Emma Thompson and President Obama. Against the CAGW sceptics are ranged a giant army of big business concerns, environment agencies, world leaders, the EU itself, Emma Thompson and President Obama. And the Pope. The power of authority! (Or the power of deeply vested interests, looked at in another way.)

5. And, of course, there’s Project Fear. Both Britain leaving the EU and “inaction on climate” will lead to Bad Things happening. Very Bad Things. I don’t need to spell these out, really. On climate change, Project Fear has actually been going for decades, although when they periodically realise people aren’t all that scared, something akin to Cameron’s “Project Fact” then gets proposed (just as long as the purported facts are frightening facts, mind). That doesn’t work, either, and so they go back to the Fear.

Anyway, why are there apparent close similarities between these two conflicts? I don’t have the definitive answer to this but suspect that something they have in common, very broadly speaking, is the age-old antagonism between Freedom and Authority.


Obama-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Fracking Regulation

Well, this is embarrassing for Barack Obama. Judge Scott Skavdahl — a judge Obama appointed to the Federal District Court in Wyoming — ruled that the Interior Department’s regulations on fracking were unlawful because Congress didn’t give it the power to hand down such rules. While the vast majority of fracking occurs on state and private land, the rules would have required oil companies operating on federal land to follow stricter safety guidelines.

“Hydraulic fracturing is one of the keys that has unlocked our nation’s energy resurgence in oil and natural gas, making the United States the largest energy producer in the world, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering energy prices for consumers,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement. “Yet the Obama administration has sought to regulate it out of existence. This is not only harmful for the economy and consumers, it’s unlawful — as the court has just ruled.”

Congress, in a 2005 law, explicitly stated that the executive branch did not have the power to regulate fracking, the Wall Street Journal points out. That leaves room for states to decide the level of red tape they want to impose on the industry. But Obama, the erstwhile lecturer of constitutional law, didn’t need a 2005 law to tell him that; the spirit of that same statute is found in the Tenth Amendment. The courts have been striking down executive action after executive action of Obama’s because he doesn’t follow the Constitution. It’s especially significant that a judge Obama nominated has called a halt to this instance of unlawful executive overreach.


Bostonians are enjoying being scared by global warming

It relieves the boredom.  The sentence I like best below:  “We have a lot to fear from Antarctica.”  Since Antactica is actually GAINING mass, that reveals that the whole report is entertainment

The consequences of climate change on Boston are expected to be far more calamitous than previous studies have suggested, a new report commissioned by the city says.

In the worst-case scenario, sea levels could rise more than 10 feet by the end of the century — nearly twice what was previously predicted — plunging about 30 percent of Boston under water. Temperatures in 2070 could exceed 90 degrees for 90 days a year, compared with an average of 11 days now.

And changes in precipitation could mean a 50 percent decline in annual snowfall, punctuated by more frequent heavy storms such as nor’easters.

The report, by scientists from the University of Massachusetts and other local universities, has raised concerns in City Hall just two weeks after Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended a climate summit in Beijing.

“The updated climate projections confirm that we must work together to take bold approaches to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change,” Walsh said in a statement.

The report, he said, is part of the city’s effort to assess its vulnerability and to seek solutions. Next year, Boston will host the same climate conference that Walsh attended, with leaders from some 60 US and Chinese cities.

“We take climate change seriously, because we take the health and resilience of our city seriously,” Walsh said. “We will continue to focus on using the best data to inform decisions and understand future investments.”

The updated projections for Boston take into account new research that suggests the accelerating melt of the ice sheets covering Antarctica will have a disproportionate impact on cities along the East Coast.

As ice melts on the South Pole, the resulting gravitational pull on the ocean, as well as the gradual sinking of land in the Northeast, means that Boston and other nearby communities are likely to experience about 25 percent higher increase of sea levels than other parts of the planet, according to the new research.

“Boston is a bull’s-eye for more sea level damage,” said Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at UMass Amherst who helped develop the new Antarctica research and who co-wrote the new Boston report. “We have a lot to fear from Antarctica.”

If high levels of greenhouse gases continue to be released into the atmosphere, the seas around Boston could rise as much as 10.5 feet by 2100 and 37 feet by 2200, according to the report.

Even under optimistic forecasts that factor in significant cuts to carbon emissions, sea levels are projected to rise as much as 6 feet by 2100 and nearly 12 feet by 2200.

Such a dramatic rise would be devastating to Boston. Faneuil Hall, for example, now floods at 5 feet and Copley Square at 7.5 feet above today’s high tides, city officials say.

“If seas rise that much, the New England coastline would look very different from space,” said DeConto, referring to the worst-case scenarios. “There would be huge impacts on our ecosystems, and we would be talking about a managed retreat from the coastline rather than engineering a way to harden our coastline.”

The most comprehensive previous projection of the impact of climate change on Boston was released two years ago in a report by the federal government called the National Climate Assessment.

That report found that the Northeast was already bearing the brunt of climate change, with prolonged heat waves, torrential rains, and increased flooding, which it attributed to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity.

It noted that over the past century average temperatures in Northeastern states have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit. It also found that the region’s precipitation has risen by more than 10 percent, while the worst storms have brought significantly more precipitation.

But the federal report forecast that seas would rise, under the worst case, between 3 and 6 feet by 2100 and projected that the southern states in the Northeast, by midcentury, would experience about 60 additional days per year of temperatures above 90 degrees.

The new report, submitted to city officials this month, raises the stakes for policymakers to curb emissions, said Julie Wormser, vice president for policy and planning at Boston Harbor Now, a local advocacy group.

“In a word, this is awful,” she said of the new projections. “It’s so stark it’s hard to wrap one’s head around.”

She noted that the increased storm surge and high tides could bring significant damage and flooding to the city far sooner than the end of the century, just as Tropical Storm Sandy devastated parts of coastal New Jersey and New York in 2012.

“We will need to come together to prevent Boston’s people and places from flooding where we can, and learn to live with more water where we can’t,” she said.

On the bright side, Carl Spector, commissioner of the city’s Environment Department, said the worst scenarios remain unlikely and a historic agreement reached last year in Paris offered hope that nations around the world could work together to reduce emissions.

But he said the new data about Boston underscore why the city has to consider taking action in the coming years to build barriers and other defenses against the rising seas, revise its building codes, and find other ways to adapt to the changing climate.

“We know even relatively small amounts of sea level rise affect us,” he said. “All the models we’re seeing are concerning.”


Who wants wind turbines?

Last month’s wind-turbine fire near Palm Springs, CA, that dropped burning debris on the barren ground below, serves as a reminder of just one of the many reasons why people don’t want to live near the towering steel structures. In this case, no one was hurt as the motor fire was in a remote, unincorporated area of Palm Springs. But imagine if it was located just hundreds of feet from your back door—as they are in many locations—and the burning debris was raining down into your yard where your children were playing or onto your roof while you are sleeping.

Other reasons no one wants them nearby include the health impacts. Last month, Dave Langrud, of Alden, MN, sent a six-page, detailed complaint to the Minnesota Public Regulatory Commission. In it, he states: “Wisconsin Power and Light constructed the Bent Tree Wind Farm surrounding my home. There are 19 turbines within one mile and 5 within ½ mile. Both my wife and I have had difficulty sleeping in our home since the turbines started operating. If we leave the area, we don’t have this problem. The turbines have also caused severe headaches for my wife. She didn’t have this problem before the turbines, and this isn’t a problem for her when we spend time away from our home and away from the turbines. When we are home, the problems return.”

In response to another recent ongoing complaints at multiple Minnesota wind projects about the proximity of the turbines to residences, commissioners from the Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Commerce, and Pollution Control Agency acknowledged that regarding permitting and setbacks, “the noise standard was not promulgated with wind turbine-like noise in mind. It addresses audible noise, not infrasound. As such, it is not a perfect measure to use in determining noise-related set-backs between wind turbines and residences.” Yet, it is the “measure” that is used. The Commissioners also acknowledged: “At present there is no available funding to conduct such studies.”

Langrud’s letter addresses property values. He asks: “How do we get a fair price if we sell in order to save our health?” But recent studies prove that it isn’t just those forced to live in the shadows of the turbines whose property values are diminished. Waterfront properties that have offshore wind turbines in their viewshed would have a “big impact on coastal tourism,” according to a study from North Carolina State University. The April 2016 report in Science Daily states: “if turbines are built close to shore, most people said they would choose a different vacation location where they wouldn’t have to see turbines.” The economic impact to the coastal communities is estimated to be “$31 million dollars over 20 years.”

A similar study done in Henderson, NY, found a proposed wind project could have “a total loss in property value of up to about $40 million because of the view of turbines.” An interesting feature of the NY study, not addressed in the NC one is how the loss in property taxes, due to reduced values, will be made up. The Watertown Daily Times points out that most of the homes whose values “would fall sharply due to the view of turbines” are “assessed above $1 million.” It states: “homes in the $200,000 range without a view of turbines would probably see an increase in property taxes to make up for the overall drop in property values.” Robert E. Ashodian, a local resident is quoted as saying: “If property values go down and the town isn’t going to spend less money, the tax rate is going to go significantly up for all of the homeowners who aren’t impacted.” Henderson Supervisor John J. Calkin expressed concern over the “devastating impact” the wind project would have on the town and school district.

Offshore wind turbines were supposed to offer a visual benefit, but they, obviously, bring their own set of problems.

The Financial Times reports: “Building wind farms out at sea, rather than on land where critics say they are an eyesore, has made these power stations a less contentious form of clean energy … But it also makes them dearer than most other power stations and many EU governments face pressure to cut green subsidies that opponents say raise electricity prices and make some industries uncompetitive.” The higher cost argument is what has caused Denmark—known as the international poster child for green energy and the first to venture into offshore wind power—to abandon the policies that subsidized the turbines. Cancelling the coastal wind turbines is said to “save the country around 7 billion Krones ($1 billion).” According to Bloomberg: “The center-right government of [Prime Minister] Lars Loekke Rasmussen wants to scrap an electricity tax that has helped subsidize wind turbines since 1998.”

The Danish People’s Party, the largest group in the ruling bloc, is part of the “policy about-face.” Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl says: “You have to remember this is a billion-figure cost that we’re passing on to the Danes.” She added: “We also have a responsibility to discuss the costs we impose on Danes over the next 10 years.”

Germany is facing similar problems with its green energy policies. Energy Digital magazine points out that Germany’s rapid expansion of green energy has “driven up electricity costs and placed a strain on the grid.” As a result, Germany has capped wind power expansion. In fact, subsidies—which drove the growth in renewable energy—are being cut throughout Europe. Bloomberg states: “Europe is falling out of love with renewables.”

Then, there are the U.S. utility companies who are forced to buy the more expensive wind-generated electricity due to an abused—but little known in the public—1978 law that was intended to help the U.S. renewable energy industry get on its feet. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) was designed to give smaller power players an entry into the market. If wind-turbine projects meet the guidelines, utilities must buy the electricity generated at “often above-market” costs. Instead, in many cases, big projects, owned by one company, get divided up into different parcels with unique project names, but are still owned by the major developer.

Energy Biz magazine reports: “PacifiCorp, for one, estimates that such abuses will cost its customers up to $1.1 billion in the coming decade by locking the company into unneeded electricity contracts at rates up to 43-percent higher than market price.” It quotes John Rainbolt, federal affairs chief for Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy: “Our customers essentially pay for PURPA power at 20-percent higher-than-market-based wind prices.” Led by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) a move is underway in Congress to review the nearly 40-year old legislation.

So, residents who live near wind turbines don’t want wind turbines. Nor do residents and renters who have them in the viewshed, governments looking to cut costs, utility companies, or ratepayers. And we haven’t even mentioned those who want to protect birds and bats. Scientific American just addressed the concern that “Bat killings by wind energy turbines continue.” It claims: “wind turbines are, by far, the largest cause of bat mortality around the world” and this includes three species of bats listed—or being considered for listing—under the Endangered Species Act. Bats are important because they eat insects and, therefore, save farmers billions of dollars in pest control each year. Scientific American reports that in addition to dead hawks and eagles found under the wind turbines are thousands of bats.

Who does want wind turbines?

Wind turbine manufacturers, the American Wind Energy Association, and the crony capitalists who benefit from the tax breaks and subsidies—which Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry and Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper, reports total more than $176 billion “given to the biggest players in U.S. wind industry.” He states that the growth in wind energy capacity has “not been fueled by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money.”

To address those who defend rent-seeking wind turbines and squawk about the favorable tax treatment the oil and gas sector gets, Bryce points out: “on an energy equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market prices of natural gas.” Even billionaire Warren Buffett acknowledged that the only reason his companies are in the wind business is: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms.”

(Note: Each of these stories is from just the past several weeks. There are far more concerns that could be addressed, but that would require a length beyond the attention span of everyone but policy wonks.)

If no one but the rent-seeking crony capitalists want wind turbines, why must people like Minnesota’s Langrud have to endure them? Because the wind energy lobby is powerful and “green energy” sounded good decades ago when the pro green-energy policies like PURPA were enacted.

However, as the Bloomberg story on Demark points out: wind power is “a mature industry that no longer needs state aid.” Unfortunately, in December 2015, Congress extended the wind energy tax credits through 2021. But tweaks, such as reforming PURPA, can take place and a new president could totally change the energy emphasis—which would be good, because, it seems, no one really wants wind turbines.


Fukushima -- fact and fiction

Damaging myths about radiation

On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami, which triggered a nuclear accident. Four years later and 9,000 kilometers away, it was February 2015, I was a master's student at the University of Edinburgh, and a guest lecture was about to begin by Japanese researchers on their work in Fukushima.

I knew there had been a nuclear accident in Fukushima. I assumed this had led to dangerous radiation levels and increases in cancers. I had never entertained the thought of visiting.

What happens next could be described as a clash between what I thought I knew and reality.

The researchers gave a series of presentations. They showed us what they had found in Fukushima; there were overwhelmingly low levels of internal and external radiation in residents,1,2 and a mass screening of babies and children revealed that none had detectable levels of internal radiation contamination.3 Yet, other health problems were emerging; in contrast to low levels of radiation, an increased burden of diseases unrelated to radiation, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and more, was being found.4,5 Particular health risks associated with evacuation were highlighted,5 including evidence that immediate evacuation of the elderly from nursing homes was associated with three times higher mortality risk that non-evacuation.6 It was presented to us that radiation may not be the biggest problem for Fukushima.

I was surprised. This appeared to be, in fact, the exact opposite of what one may think about Fukushima. This surely was not the Fukushima I had heard of or visualized, and my curiosity was piqued. I talked to the researchers and proposed an idea for further research. They, in turn, invited me to come to Fukushima to write my Master's dissertation. I agreed.

In May 2015, I first arrived in Fukushima, and began research at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital. I wrote my master's dissertation, graduated, and then was offered a full-time job at the hospital, which is where I am today.

There are a lot of things I could write about, that I have learned from Fukushima. Yet one of the most unexpected parts of this experience has been the confrontation between what I thought I knew, and the reality which I found. There were few things in front of me in Fukushima that matched my original expectations, and I was struck by the feeling that I had been unaware of so much. Yet I also realized that the inaccurate ideas I previously held were surprisingly common. This has led me to think more than ever about what it means to 'know' something, in terms of both myself and others.

Because really, how do we know things? There's not one answer.

Talking about knowledge is difficult. Our own feelings and opinions can become what we know. Observations become what we know. The media can be said to be a source for knowledge. Science is a method of knowing.

But what happens when our knowledge does not reflect the reality of a situation? This brings me to the second biggest thing I have learned since coming to Fukushima: the damage of misinformation. Or in other words, how the ideas that I previously held and continue to see in others can be dangerous.

I never saw the actual results of misinformation until I moved to Fukushima. Now, I see them everywhere.

There is not one all-encompassing example, but we can start by talking about rumors and stigma. A particular problem here has been misinformation about radiation levels and the health implications of such levels; I have heard from many residents about the ways their lives have been affected because of the incorrect information held by others. When trying to evacuate, some were turned away from the homes of their families because radiation was misunderstood as contagious. I am told about the parents of young men, opposing their choice to marry a woman from Fukushima because it is assumed that she will not be able to bear healthy children. Some children themselves believe they will never be able to have healthy offspring in the future, because of what they have heard. There are unending examples.

This is not a beautiful subject to talk about, in fact, this is a terrible subject to talk about. And it is made worse when considering that these beliefs directly contradict what is being found scientifically. Recently, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) formally predicted that there will be no effects of radiation exposure on the health of the general public in Fukushima.7 It was additionally highlighted that there are no expected hereditary or genetic effects that will be seen in new generations.7 The misinformation that has led to stigma and subsequent disruption of lives here therefore appears to be at conflict with the reality of the situation; an example of the tragic impacts mistaken knowledge can have on the lives of disaster-affected populations.

Lots of people say they want to help those in Fukushima. Many specifically mention the children of Fukushima. For this purpose, one of the most common programs I have seen are summer camps specifically for children from Fukushima. Yet, a trend is that these camps often take place outside of Fukushima prefecture. Some programs do not explicitly explain the reason for this, while others market it as an opportunity for respite from the radiation, a chance to run around and play outdoors in nature. And I wonder, are these organizers, these people who say they want to help the children in Fukushima, are they aware of the actual radiation levels here? Are they aware of the beautiful nature in this prefecture, and that it is safe for children to play outside in most places? Of course summer programs for children are great, and I would want any child to have the experience of a fun summer.

But I wonder, do these programs come with the cost of marking these children as victims of their prefecture? I wonder, are the foundations of these camps based on scientific information, or opinion? I wonder, would these camps be more beneficial and allow for more participants if they were held inside Fukushima prefecture? If we really want to make a difference and help people, we should base our actions on reality to be most effective, shouldn't we? But the camps are just the tip of the iceberg. Some people suggest that all the children should be taken out of Fukushima.

Has anyone thought of the negative effects this may have on the lives and livelihoods of these individuals?

I actually had not, until I came here.

A nuclear disaster is a terrible event. It's understandable that people may react emotionally to an unexpected situation that carries risks. Perhaps it's easy to assume the worst, and to spread rumors. Yet, it is of paramount importance to be aware that misinformation carries consequences. Unfounded ideas have led to suffering, and misinformation is one of the biggest things to overcome for the future of Fukushima. I urge everyone to look deeper at the foundations of their knowledge, and to be aware of the reasons something may be viewed in a particular way. Ask yourself what you think about Fukushima, for example, and then why. The second step is to be grounded in information. Read things you agree with, and just as importantly, read things you disagree with. Read and consider everything; I have come to think that this is the only way to get as close to reality as possible without being present at the scene of an event.

Simultaneous realization of the limits of my own knowledge and the impacts that misinformation can have on the lives of people has been one of the most striking aspects of encountering Fukushima. I write this article in hopes that it may prompt others to assess the way they "know," Fukushima and beyond. If we want to pragmatically help people or improve a situation, we must understand the reality of that situation first.

I moved to Fukushima because I realize that I didn't know enough, and I wanted to know more. I still want to know more, and I hope that others will want to know more too.



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, 2016

New crop varieties 'can't keep up with global warming'

How ridiculous can you get?  Do the BBC have no pride to publish this excreta?  For a start, global warming has been so slight in C21 that there is debate over whether it exists at all.  It is certainly not racing ahead in the way the article below implies.

Secondly, we don't need new crop varieties.  We just use ones we already have. There are heaps of areas on the earth that are both very hot and which grow crops. A warming world would simply see them more widely used. Just as a minor example of heat-adaptation, the tropical Australian city of Townsville produces grapes, normally a cool temperature crop, And what is the effect of growing grapes there? They are bigger and juicier and reach the table up to a month before most other table grapes. We ALREADY have heat adapted crops if we need them.

A large muscadine grape native to sub-tropical Florida

Some very tasty Chambourcin grapes from Townsville

Warmer temperatures tend to suit crops in fact,  which is why the greatest biodiversity is in the tropics.  And maize is just such a plant.  It is  it is "cold-intolerant".  It likes warmth. It is already grown in temperatures up to 35C in India.  The most usual limitation on maize crops is drought.  But warming oceans should give off more water vapor -- which comes down as rain -- so maize should get more water and yield very well in a warming world.

And I suppose I should mention the obvious:  According to Warmist theory, there will be lots more CO2 in the atmosphere of a warming world.  And plants LOVE CO2.  They suck it up.   It's the raw material that they use to build themselves. So again, a warmer world would be a CO2-rich world in which plants would flourish as never before

So a bit of global warming would IMPROVE maize crops. The picture below of the sad lady holding maize ears is just another example of Warmists lying with pictures

Crop yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. A study says temperatures are rising faster than the development of crop varieties that can cope with a warmer world.

In Africa, researchers found that it can take 10-30 years before farmers can grow a new breed of maize. By the time these new crops are planted, they face a warmer environment than they were developed in.

The scientists behind the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, looked closely at the impact of temperature rises on crop duration - that's the length of time between planting and harvesting.

They found that in a warmer world durations will be shorter meaning these varieties will have less time to accumulate biomass and yields could be affected.
Out of date

In their paper, the researchers write that crop duration will become significantly shorter as early as 2018 in some regions but by 2031, the majority of maize-growing areas of Africa will be affected.

"The actual changes in yield may be different but this effect is there, the impact of this change in duration will occur unless breeding changes," said lead author Prof Andy Challinor from the University of Leeds.

"The durations will be shorter than what they were bred for - by the time they are in the field they are, in terms of temperature, out of date."

The scientists say the lag is down to a combination of factors including the limited number of crops you can grow in a season, the need for government approved testing and there are also a number of problems of access to markets that can increase the time it takes before the farmers have the new seeds to plant.

"We can use the climate models to tell us what the temperatures are going to be," he told BBC News, "We can then put those temperature elevations into the greenhouses and then we can breed the crops at those temperatures. People are beginning to do this, but this paper provides the hard evidence of the necessity of it."

Researchers are also working on the impact of heat stress on crops at sites in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ethiopia. Data from these trials is being used to identify species that could cope with warmer conditions.

But would the use of genetic modification (GM) help speed up this type of work? "GM does some things faster, so you would get a new variety of crop faster," said Prof Challinor.

"But it doesn't get you out of the testing requirement in fact the testing may in fact be greater and it doesn't help it all with farmers accessing seeds and markets - the problem will remain even for a magic GM crop."

Better techniques and more money for research are the keys according to others in this field, familiar with the study.

"Investment in agricultural research to develop and disseminate new seed technologies is one of the best investments we can make for climate adaptation," said Dr Andy Jarvis, from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture,

"Climate funds could be used to help the world's farmers stay several steps ahead of climate change, with major benefits for global food security."

The researchers believe that the study also has implications beyond Africa, especially in the maize growing regions of the tropics.


How ironic that the modern green movement got started with the book Silent Spring and a concern for bird deaths

Hard to believe that this is a green thing to do. (Via J. Munshi)

The Nanny State Advances Statement on Passage of Anti-Soda Tax in Philadelphia

In the first success of its nature for “nanny state” advocates after many years of trying, Philadelphia Thursday became the first major city to attempt to control the non-alcoholic drink choices of its residents by enacting a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda, tea, sports and energy drinks. This is expected to embolden nanny state tax advocates across the United States.

The tax, like others on food and food-related items, will fall disproportionately on lower income individuals.

The National Center for Public Policy Research’s director of Risk Analysis, Jeff Stier, is available to speak with reporters and has a statement:

The only good thing about Philadelphia’s newly-imposed soda tax is that proponents were somewhat honest about it, admitting it wasn’t about improving public health. Instead, they admitted it was a money grab, albeit a highly regressive one.

Perhaps it was a wise tactical move, because soda-tax campaigners have failed to persuade scientists or the public that the tax reduces caloric consumption, obesity, or diabetes.

Adding to the absurdity of this tax, Philly’s treats diet soda and full sugar alike, failing to even distinguish between sugary drinks, which, like all caloric food and beverages, can contribute to obesity, and zero or low calorie beverages. Similarly, advocates across the country are pushing to equalize cigarette and e-cigarette sin taxes, the latter of which is primarily used by adult smokers trying to lower their risk. If soda was the new tobacco, now diet soda is the new e-cigarette.

In March, Stier told the Daily Caller that “Soda tax proponents are asking us to suspend normal assumptions about human behavior and simply assume that people who reduce soda consumption to avoid the tax, won’t just make their own sugary drinks and won’t replace the calories with other high-calorie foods or drinks.”

In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle in 2014, Stier explained the real rationale for soda taxes: “Rather simply, it is Sutton’s Law. The ‘law’ is named after the infamous American bank robber Willie Sutton, who was incorrectly credited with answering a reporter who asked him why he robs banks by saying, ‘That’s where the money is.'”


It’s more like global LUKEwarming

Turning to the investigation of climate change: What do we know about climate?  Climate has always changed, is changing, and will always change. There were times when the earth was much colder or warmer than it is now, and during both those circumstances CO2 levels were at times higher or lower than now. Solar cycles, volcanic activity, greenhouse gasses, ocean currents, and macro weather patterns such as El Nino/La Nina all have an effect on climate. Our understanding of climate most evidently suggests there is much we don’t understand about climate.  It would therefore stand to reason that any investigation of the human influence on climate should begin with a broadly exploratory study of climate and the factors influencing climate.

However, that has not been the case. The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) temperature modeling is based in the following deductive reasoning:  CO2 is a relatively abundant greenhouse gas.  The noncontroversial physics of atmospheric CO2 predicts that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations should result in a temperature increase of 1.1 – 1.2 degrees C.  The IPCC computer modeling further incorporates a 2-3X or more amplification of the predicted CO2 temperature increase, postulating that CO2 increased temperature will warm the oceans creating more water vapor – a greenhouse gas – and thereby amplify the CO2 greenhouse gas temperature effect.

So how well has this deductive reasoning predicted the observed reality.

John Christy, a climate expert from the University of Alabama, gave the following report on climate change to a joint meeting of Senate and House committees on Dec. 8, 2015.

He first compared the observed temperature data to the IPCC computer modeled temperature for the middle troposphere.   The troposphere is the earth’s active weather zone, and extends from the surface to around 40,000 feet.  The observed temperature record was a product of two different temperature measurements – balloon data and satellite data.

The balloon data is the compilation of four separate data sets from weather balloons launched twice a day simultaneously across the world so to get a snapshot of the physical properties of that day’s atmosphere.  These balloon launches have occurred twice daily since 1979.  The satellite temperature recordings go back 35 years and are derived from measuring the vibration of diatomic oxygen in the lower atmosphere which turns out to produce a much more accurate temperature measurement than standard mercury-in-glass instruments.

The data demonstrates that for the 36-year period from 1979 to 2015, the observed tropospheric temperature was less than that predicted by the mean of the 102 computer models, and at times significantly so.  Over that time period, the observed warming has been roughly one-third of that predicted by the models.  This data also shows the observed tropospheric temperature increase over the last 10 years has been less than 0.05 degrees C.

Dr. Christy also compared the most recent revision of each of the five observed global temperature records to that of the average of the 108 IPCC climate models predicted temperatures.  His analysis demonstrates for all periods from 10 years (2006-2015) to 65 (1951-2015) years in length, the observed temperature trend was in the lower half of the climate model temperature predictions, and for several periods, the observed trend lies very close (or even below) the 2.5th percentile of those predictions.

This empirical data also demonstrates a “pause” or “slowdown” in the rate of global warming has taken place over the past 15 years – a period during which more than 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere.

This pause only recently has been acknowledged in the climate change scientific journals. One such article, whose authors included Michael Mann, the Penn State climatologists accused of fudging data to create the famed hockey stick shaped global warming prediction, states, “It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.”

Climate scientists have proposed over 40 explanations for the warming hiatus including particulate matter from small volcanoes and pollution, ocean movements, data gathering problems, natural variability, and several more. The 40-plus explanations can’t all be right, but all potentially provide insight into better understanding climate change. The pause tells us that there is significant underlying natural climate variability. The pause tells us that our knowledge of climate change is limited and incomplete.  The pause tells us that the science is not settled.

Given that the observed rate of warming in the satellite-sensed and balloon data is barely a third of that predicted by global climate models, it is both reasonable and prudent to cut the modeled temperature forecasts for the rest of this century by 50 percent.

Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels will result in no net economic or ecological damage.  In fact, for up to two degrees of total warming, the benefits will generally outweigh the harmful effects. Warming of up to 1.2 degrees Celsius over the next 70 years (0.8 degrees have already occurred), most of which is predicted to happen in cold areas in winter and at night, would extend the range of farming further north, improve crop yields, slightly increase rainfall (especially in arid areas), have a continued greening effect on the earth, and lower winter-related deaths.

What conclusions should be drawn from the observed – as opposed to computer predicted – temperature data?

Our knowledge of climate and climate change remains limited and incomplete. The science is not settled!  Secondly, models are not evidence.  Finally, given the huge political and economic implications of climate policy, climate change study merits a vigorous, broad and open-ended investigation – not research to confirm a pre-ordained conclusion.


Report: World Not Building Enough Nuclear Power To Fix Global Warming

A report published Tuesday by the World Nuclear Association found reactors are not being built quickly enough to meet the world’s global warming goals.

The report found 1,000 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity need to be added by 2050 to come close to limiting global warming. A single gigawatt of power provides enough energy for roughly 700,000 homes.

That means roughly 100 new nuclear power plants need to be built worldwide by 2050, but only three were constructed last year. The report blames the slow rate of construction on a lack of public support in Europe and tough economic conditions in America. It also points out that Japan’s permanent shutdown of six reactors since the Fukushima accident in 2011 has substantially slowed the industry’s growth.

“The situation facing the nuclear industry globally is challenging.” Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association, stated in the report preface. “Substantial progress has also been made towards the commercialization of small and advanced reactor designs. The rate of new build is, however, insufficient if the world is to meet the targets for reducing the impacts of global warming.”

America currently operates 99 nuclear reactors across 61 commercially-operated nuclear power plants, according to the Energy Information Administration. Of the 66 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, only four of them are being built in the U.S. — just enough to compensate for shutting down older reactors. Instead of building more modern reactors, the government is planning to simply extend the operating licenses against the advice of its own technical staff. It takes an average of 73 months to construct a new nuclear reactor, according to the report.

The average American nuclear reactor is 35 years old, nearly obsolete by modern design standards and near the end of its operating license. Within the past two years, six states have shut down nuclear plants and many other reactors are risking premature retirement. America could get less than 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear by 2050, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Sixteen American nuclear reactors are more than 42 years old, according to government data compiled and mapped in April by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Other countries haven’t shown the same reluctance as the U.S. to embrace nuclear power. India has a rapidly growing nuclear power program and the country plans to get 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors by 2050. China is also planning to build new nuclear plants and has plans to build 20 floating nuclear reactors in the South China Sea, strengthening its claim to the valuable and disputed region. The country plans to have 150 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The average nuclear plant employs between 400 and 700 highly skilled workers, has a payroll of about $40 million and contributes $470 million to the local economy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.


Solar and wind power simply don’t work — not here, not anywhere

By Keith DeLacy, a former Labor treasurer of Queensland, Australia.

One policy which seems to have escaped scrutiny during this election campaign is Labor’s commitment to increase the Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030. I am surprised because it is a proposal that has enormous ramifications for economic growth and living standards, and disproportionate impacts on traditional Labor constituencies.

The problem we have in Australia is when we talk renewable energy we are talking wind and solar only — low value, expensive, unreliable, high capital cost, land hungry, intermittent energy.

According to the Department of Industry and Science wind currently generates 4.1 per cent and solar 2 per cent of Australia’s electricity. But even this is highly misleading because it is such low value power. You could close it down tomorrow (which it regularly does by itself) and it would make no difference to supply.

If we talk about total energy, as opposed to just electricity, wind and solar represent 1 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption. This despite billions of dollars of investment, subsidies, creative tariffs, mandates, and so on.

Solar and wind simply don’t work, not here, not anywhere.

The energy supply is not dense enough. The capital cost of consolidating it makes it cost prohibitive. But they are not only much more expensive because of this terminal disadvantage, they are low value intermittent power sources — every kilowatt has to be backed up by conventional power, dreaded fossil fuels. So we have two capital spends for the same output — one for the renewable and one for the conventional back-up. Are you surprised it is so much more expensive, and inefficient, and always will be? So wind and solar, from a large scale electricity point of view, are duds. Now I know that will send the urgers into paroxysms of outrage. But have you ever seen an industry that so believed its own propaganda. Note, when they eulogise the future of renewables they point to targets, or to costly investments, never to the real contribution to supply.

Let’s look overseas where many countries have been destroying their budgets and their economies on this illusion for longer and more comprehensively than we in Australia. The Germans are ruing the day they decided to save the world by converting to solar and wind. Germany has spent $US100bn on solar technology and it represents less than 1 per cent of their electricity supply.

Energy policy has been a disaster. Subsidies are colossal, the energy market is now chaotic, industry is decamping to other jurisdictions, and more than a million homes have had their power cut off.

It is reported electricity prices in Germany, Spain and the UK increased by 78 per cent, 111 per cent and 133 per cent between 2005 and 2014 as they forced additional renewable capacity into their electricity markets. Sunny Spain used to be the poster boy for renewables in Europe — photovoltaic cells and wind turbines stretching on forever. Now they are broke, winding back subsidies, even the feed-in tariffs which were guaranteed for 20 years. But wait, what about the green energy jobs that everybody gushes about? Spain has an unemployment rate of 21 per cent with a youth rate of 45.5 per cent.

Britain is little better. Subsidies are being wound back, and a Department of Energy report points out that in 2013, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.35 million representing around 10.4 per cent of all households.

It is no better in the US either. States with renewable energy mandates are backtracking faster than Sally Pearson can clear hurdles. Ohio has halved its mandate level (it was 25 per cent by 2025) because of high costs. West Virginia has repealed its mandate because of high costs, and New Mexico has frozen its mandates. Kansas was repealing its mandate which reportedly would save ratepayers $171m, representing $4367 for each household, and so the dismal story goes on. The US Department of Energy has found electricity prices have risen in states with mandates twice as fast as those with no mandate. As of 2013 California was the only state to adopt a feed-in tariff for solar power. It was immediately dubbed a failure by the renewable energy community because it offered only 31 cents per kWh, only five times the rate for conventional base load power.

Ah, but Asian countries are jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe. China built one new coalfired power plant every week in 2014, and India’s coal-powered investment in that same year equalled the total electricity capacity of NSW and Queensland. To summarise — with all of the trillions spent worldwide on wind and solar, wind currently represents 1.2 per cent of global consumption of energy, and solar 0.2 per cent.

The good news, it is possible to reduce fossil fuel use in electricity generation — through hydro-electricity and nuclear fuel. Plenty of countries have done it — Canada 60 per cent hydro and 15 per cent nuclear; Sweden 45 per cent hydro and 48 per cent nuclear; Switzerland 54 per cent hydro and 41 per cent nuclear; France 11 per cent hydro and 79 per cent nuclear.

But Australia has zero tolerance of these two workable alternatives to fossil fuels. At least we are consistently inconsistent.

So where does that leave us? On the basis of evidence everywhere we could easily double the price of electricity and get nowhere near the 50 per cent target. What would that mean?

First, it means rapidly disappearing blue collar jobs in high energy industries like manufact­uring, car and ship building, smelting and refining, steel making and food processing. There may be still some construction jobs, but they will largely be assembly only, as all of the components will come from those countries more interested in growing the economy and eliminating poverty than stoking the warm inner glow. Make no bones about it, a clean green economy has no place for high-vis shirts.

Second, rapidly rising electricity prices and the subsequent increase in the cost of living, disproportionately affects those at the bottom of the income scale.

Policies like this are OK for the Greens. They can keep their virtue intact because they never have to deliver. As Gough Whitlam once said, only the impotent are pure.

Mainstream parties don’t have that luxury. They need to look at the true costs, and benefits, of all policy proposals.



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, 2016

Which animals will cope with climate change droughts?

One has to assume that the Warmist prophecies below will be as good as all the other Warmist prophecies:  Totally useless and wrong.  Prophecy is a mug's game and those who engage in it reveal themselves as mugs.  And why is prophecy needed anyway?  Australia is always having a drought somewhere so if response to drought is of interest, go out and observe it directly instead of theorizing about it from your armchair

And the basic assumption below is a crock-- that warming would cause drought.  It would not.  Warmer water gives off more water vapour which eventually comes down as rain.  Flooding might be a problem, not drought.

So the whole story below is just an arid intellectual exercise. Tasmin Rymer should stick to rhymes

James Cook University, Australia

Summary: Scientists believe the current rate of climate change is unprecedented in Earth's history and will lead to more and worse droughts in many areas. Now a research team may have found a way to predict which mammals will best cope with drought -- and which won't do so well.

JCU's Dr Tasmin Rymer led a study that produced a template measuring several crucial factors, including an animal's physiology and environment, to determine how it would handle a severe drought.

Dr Rymer said scientists believe the current rate of climate change is unprecedented in Earth's history and will lead to more and worse droughts in many areas.

"So we developed a theoretical framework that allows researchers to estimate the likelihood that a species will be able to cope," she said.

Dr Rymer said the "Adaptive Triquetra" model considers the primary driving stressors of droughts: temperature, limited water, and reduced food availability. Then it looks at how well an animal's specific body system could mount a response, and the extent to which its traits are adaptable.

"We have provided a comprehensive suite of traits to consider when making predictions about species' resilience to drought. It's designed to help scientists assess the potential for a species or population to cope with increasing aridity," she said.

Dr Rymer said the process is more complex than it sounds, with much work still needed to fully determine the characteristics of many species before the model can be applied to them.

She said the Adaptive Triquetra is still a conceptual framework in need of empirical testing, but held great promise for fine-tuning wildlife management.

"If you found a species was particularly vulnerable to water stress, such as in a drought, you might design a management plan that provides access to artificial water points. If you found a species was vulnerable to increased temperatures, you might provide subterranean shelters."

Dr Rymer said in one example of where the model would have been useful, managers of a reserve in South Africa assumed their animals were suffering from lack of water during a drought, but in fact they had denuded the vegetation around their few artificially-built water holes and the animals were starving.

"If they had dropped fences and spaced water sources widely apart, this would have promoted movement and foraging over a wider area. Our model may have suggested this course of action if it had been in use," said Dr Rymer.

"Knowing which species are at risk and what stressors have the greatest impact allows for more effective management strategies to be put into place."


Did ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Sleep Here? Farmer Sues Green Group Over Claim

Martha Boneta is still duking it out with the Greenies

No historical evidence locates Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on what is now Liberty Farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, on the evening of July 18, 1861, three days before the First Battle of Bull Run.

So why would a prestigious state preservation group represent that as a fact?

The current owner of the farm, Martha Boneta, has sued the Piedmont Environmental Council, a nonprofit land trust, accusing the organization of knowingly making a false historical claim when selling her the property.

The environmental council, Boneta claims in the lawsuit, told her the celebrated Civil War general bivouacked on the open fields surrounding the farm.

Liberty Farm, also known as Paris Farm, is located about an hour’s drive outside Washington, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the rural village of Paris. Boneta purchased the property in 2006, 145 years after Jackson’s supposed overnight stay.

While negotiating the real estate transaction with Boneta, according to her suit in Fauquier County Circuit Court, the environmental council presented her with a document describing Jackson’s movements and coordinates in July 1861.

After a “strenuous march” from Winchester, Virginia, Jackson and his men spent the night nearby, according to the deed detailing terms of the conservation easement that was part of the environmental council’s sale of the property to Boneta.

The next day, July 19, Jackson resumed his march to what was then Piedmont Station and is now Delaplane, the environmental council’s document explains. From there, it says, Jackson and his troops boarded a train on their way to what would be called the First Battle of Bull Run.

Also known as the Battle of First Manassas, Bull Run was where Jackson earned the nickname “Stonewall.”

The “Oak Grove” situated on the high point of the property “is recognized as the heart of the bivouac of General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s men on the evening of July 18, 1861 … ,” the document says.

But here’s the problem: Even a general as nimble and agile as Jackson could not be in two places at the same time.

Historians believe he camped in the vicinity, but don’t agree on where. One historian, in an email to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, insists Jackson did not overnight on the land that is now Liberty Farm.

Jackson, who served under Gen. Robert E. Lee, was a decisive factor in significant Civil War battles until he was fatally wounded by friendly fire at age 39 during the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, as notes.

Boneta’s lawsuit against the Piedmont Environmental Council, filed in May, argues that the organization’s linking of Jackson to her property was not just a mistake but a deliberate act of fraud.

“Stonewall Jackson did not bivouac on Paris Farm on the eve of the First Battle of Bull Run,” Boneta’s suit says, adding:

PEC knew, in negotiating with Ms. Boneta for the sale of the Paris Farm, that its representation regarding Stonewall Jackson bivouacking on the Paris Farm prior to the First Battle of Bull Run was false. PEC’s knowledge of the falsity of its claim regarding Stonewall Jackson bivouacking on Paris Farm is demonstrated by the fact that PEC claimed that another one of its properties was the scene of Stonewall Jackson’s famous night watch.

The false historical designation, the suit claims, greatly inflated the purchase price of the property beyond its actual value and restricted Boneta from accessing roughly 18 acres for agricultural operations.

The dispute over Stonewall Jackson’s whereabouts that day in 1861 is the latest wrinkle in a long, complicated dispute between Boneta and the Piedmont Environmental Council that reaches back to 2009. That’s when Boneta first filed suit against the land trust, accusing it of violating the terms and conditions of the conservation easement.

Boneta purchased the 64-acre property for $425,000 on July 31, 2006. Without the historical designation involving the Civil War general,  the property actually was worth $100,000—the value the environmental council listed in 2005 tax filings, according to the suit.

“PEC’s knowing, false representations to Ms. Boneta were made in order to obtain more money from Ms. Boneta for Paris Farm than she would otherwise have paid for it and more money from Ms. Boneta than Paris Farm was worth at the time,” the suit alleges.

The environmental council’s willingness to invoke what turns out to be dubious history as a way to restrict Boneta’s farming operations points to the disproportionate influence green groups have acquired across the country, an energy policy analyst who has followed the story closely told The Daily Signal.

“Under the guise of practicing conservation, land trusts—operating with little, if any, oversight—are becoming states within a state,” said Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, adding:

Lording over millions of acres throughout the U.S., they have learned that they can harass property owners and force them into prohibitively expensive litigation with impunity.  By claiming—in the absence of any evidence—that Martha Boneta’s farm was of particular historical significance, the PEC could both limit her ability to use her land and line their pockets by jacking up the sales price of the property they sold her.  We’re living in an age of green robber barons.

In November 2014, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, which holds the easement with the Piedmont Environmental Council, “indicated that there was no accurate historical evidence in support of the PEC’s claim,” according to the suit.

In response to requests from The Daily Signal under the Freedom of Information Act, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation released email records detailing the role it played in obtaining historical information that raised questions about Jackson’s precise location on July 18, 1861.

Reached by telephone, a spokeswoman for the Piedmont Environmental Council told The Daily Signal that the land trust “disputes the claims” in Boneta’s suit but “cannot comment further” on ongoing litigation.

Jason McGarvey, spokesman for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, told The Daily Signal that his agency had done its own research before hearing from the local historian who disputed the claim that  Jackson camped on what is now Boneta’s property.

“We had already determined that the documentation supporting the restrictions in the deed did not meet our standards for stewardship,” McGarvey said in a June 17 email.

‘Well-Heeled’ Activists

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president of the Capital Research Center, which studies politically oriented nonprofits, describes the Piedmont Environmental Council as a “well-heeled activist group” that is well positioned to wage legal battles. Indeed, from 2005 through 2014, the land trust pulled in $55.4 million in donations and other revenue, according to publicly available tax  filings.

Boneta’s suit says she fenced about 18 acres of her property in response to the environmental council’s historical claim. Erecting, maintaining, and removing the fencing cost about $18,000, the suit says.

Boneta also spent thousands of dollars to trademark the name Liberty Farm with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, so her property could be marked for guided historical tours.

Her suit calls for the environmental council to be charged with fraud and breach of contract. She asks for no less than $325,000 in compensatory damages to cover what she considers an inflated sale price and her loss of the use of her property,

Cohen, the energy policy analyst, said he sees a financial motivation behind the environmental council’s tactics.

“By boasting about all the land it has ‘saved,’ including the Stonewall Jackson fabrication,” he told The Daily Signal,  “the PEC can receive millions of dollars in government grants and it can hustle donors to write even bigger checks to the green money machine.”


Going Out With A Bang: Could Algal Sex Save The Great Basrrier Reef?

It’s no secret that the domestic situation between corals and the algae that live inside has become a little heated in recent months, but scientists may have found a way to get that steamy relationship get back on track.

First, a bit of background: The mass coral bleaching that has savaged the Great Barrier Reef over recent months occurred because of unusually warm ocean temperatures, driven by climate change and an El Nino weather system.

The bleaching starts when corals expel a type of algae that normally lives inside them, and gives them their colour. When the water becomes too warm, the algae gets all hot under the collar, and starts producing toxins that damage the corals.

That’s why the algae get turfed out. But the algae are the coral’s main source of food, so they starve, get bleached white, and are eventually overrun by a different kind of algae.

Clearly, it’s a marriage in crisis – which is why scientists have mounted an intervention.

New research published in the Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution has revealed that the water of the Coral Sea isn’t the only thing that has been getting hot of late.

The algae appear to have responded to the conditions by starting to reproduce sexually, instead of asexually, and it turns out this promiscuity could help save the corals’ relationship with their special algae friends too.

The difference is that when the algae produce asexually they produce a more-or-less identical copy of themselves. If they produce sexually, different algae’s genetic codes get spliced together, which produces new variants of algae.

The algae that can stand the heat are less likely to get all toxic, and therefore less likely to be sent to the dog-house by the corals, which are in turn less likely to bleach. It’s a raunchy sort of survival of the fittest.

Professor Madeleine van Oppen, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, was one of the scientists involved in the study. She said the findings are “critical in terms of developing more climate-resilient algae and corals”.

The algae’s sexual reproduction was only a small part of the study. The main finding was that some algae use a mechanism to switch on genes which produce special proteins in order to protect themselves from heat exposure and mop up some of the toxic chemicals that poison their symbiotic relationship with the coral.

The sexual reproduction is important, though, because it speeds up evolution and might allow the algae to adapt quickly enough to tolerate the rise in sea temperatures.

It’s a bit of good news in a sea of bad, for those of us rooting for the Great Barrier Reef.


The Watermelons Are Here

“Recently I was foolish enough to try to reason with an environmentalist,” wrote Stanford economist Thomas Sowell. “But it became obvious that he had his mind made up and didn’t want to hear any evidence to the contrary. The pope is more likely to have read Karl Marx than an environmentalist is to have read even a single book that criticized environmentalism.”

One might say a lot about the Pope and Marx, but I want to focus on Sowell’s juxtaposition of the ideologies of socialism and environmentalism. Socialism is an economic and political ideology, but surely environmentalism is just a concern for the environment?

Sowell conflated these ideas because socialism and environmentalism have become opposite sides of the same coin. Socialists want to ban private ownership and favor government ownership and control over the means of production. Socialists believe that removing individual freedom of economic and political action results in a reduction of inequity and thereby brings about a just society in which everyone is equal.

But that seems a million light years away from the idea of cleaning up a roadside, protecting rare birds, or concern about polluted water. In such context the word ‘ideology’ seems inappropriate to apply to concern for a healthy environment. Most people, like myself, believe that it is proper and good to seek a fruitful and beautiful environment. If that is environmentalism then count me in.

Patrick Moore, a founder and past president of Greenpeace who has since left the group, prefers to call himself a ‘sensible environmentalist’ because he appreciates that the environmentalist movement has changed. It is, he says, no longer science based but “a political activist movement.” It has taken on the form of a total ideology erasing boundaries between radical activism and sensible environmentalism.

Moore identifies the point where the ideology of socialism co-opted ‘sensible’ environmentalism. In an interview with the Vancouver Sun he said, “The collapse of world communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall during the 1980s added to the trend toward extremism. The Cold War was over and the peace movement was largely disbanded. The peace movement had been mainly Western-based and anti-American in its leanings. Many of its members moved into the environmental movement, bringing with them their neo-Marxist, far-left agendas. To a considerable extent the environmental movement was hijacked by political and social activists who learned to use green language to cloak agendas that had more to do with anti-capitalism and anti-globalization than with science or ecology.”

Dany Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the group European Greens–European Free Alliance, exemplifies the all-too-common Marxist-Green connection. When he transformed himself from Dany the Red into Dany the Green he surfed the fashionable green political wave onto a deeper Red tide.

Cohn-Bendit said, “We have a project for Europe, an idea—the ecological transformation of our way of production and our way of life.” Says Dany the Green: “It’s for the survival of mankind.”

Self-described socialist activist Tom Athanasiou, director of U.S.-based EcoEquity, wrote “[E]nvironmentalism is only now reaching its political maturity.” He explains that there is a wonderful convergence of Red political concerns that Green concerns enable.

President Obama’s short-lived Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones, who self-identifies as a “communist,” explained why he was not on the streets burning down the system but instead working within it. “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends,” said he. He had discovered in environmentalism a means to satisfy his need for both the radical pose and Marxist ends because environmentalism serves policies he already believes in.

The ecosocialist current within the Green movement has become a red tide engulfing the planet. That is presumably why there is often a profusion of hammer and sickle communist party flags proudly flown by Green activists outside climate conferences, while inside leaders like the late Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela, insist that socialism is the path to saving the planet. The last conference he attended Chavez added, “Capitalism is the road to hell, to the destruction of the Earth.”

Edward Said once described environmentalism as “the indulgence of spoiled tree-huggers who lack a proper cause.”

That may be true to a certain extent. However, as I hope you see, for many in the green movement the environment is no longer the cause, but the vehicle. The environment, and climate change in particular, is the big sail at the backs of activists who have hijacked the green movement. They are watermelons—green on the outside, red on the inside.


Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism

Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.”

There’s no doubt that wind-energy capacity has grown substantially in recent years. But that growth has been fueled not by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money. According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the U.S. wind industry is now $176 billion.

That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000. (Most of the federal grants have been awarded since 2007.) Of the $176 billion provided to the wind-energy sector, $2.9 billion came from local and state governments; $9.4 billion came from federal grants and tax credits; and $163.9 billion was provided in the form of federal loans or loan guarantees.

General Electric — the biggest wind-turbine maker in North America — has a seat on AWEA’s board. It has received $1.6 billion in local, state, and federal subsidies and $159 billion in federal loans and loan guarantees. (It’s worth noting that General Electric got into the wind business in 2002 after it bought Enron Wind, a company that helped pioneer the art of renewable-energy rent-seeking.)

NextEra Energy, the largest wind-energy producer in the U.S., has received about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion. That’s more than what the veteran crony capitalist Elon Musk has garnered. Last year the Los Angeles Times’s Jerry Hirsch reported that Musk’s companies — Tesla Motors, Solar City, and Space Exploration Technologies — have collected subsidies worth $4.9 billion. NextEra’s haul is also more than what was collected by such energy giants as BP ($315 million) and Chevron ($2.2 billion).

About $6.8 billion in subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees went to foreign corporations, including Iberdrola, Siemens, and E.On. Those three companies, and five other foreign companies, have seats on AWEA’s board of directors.

Many of the companies on the AWEA board will be collecting even more federal subsidies over the next few years. In December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the latest renewal of the production tax credit will cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now until 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

That’s an astounding level of subsidy. In 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, during times of peak demand, the average wholesale price of electricity was about $50 per megawatt-hour. Last winter in Texas, peak wholesale electricity prices averaged $21 per megawatt hour. Thus, on the national level, wind-energy subsidies are worth nearly half the cost of wholesale power, and in the Texas market, those subsidies can actually exceed the wholesale price of electricity.

Of course, wind-energy boosters like to claim that the oil-and-gas sector gets favorable tax treatment, too. That may be so, but those tax advantages are tiny when compared with the federal gravy being ladled on wind companies. Recall that the production tax credit is $23 per megawatt-hour. A megawatt-hour of electricity contains 3.4 million Btu. That means wind-energy producers are getting a subsidy of $6.76 per million Btu. The current spot price of natural gas is about $2.40 per million Btu. Thus, on an energy-equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market price of natural gas.

MidAmerican Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has a seat on AWEA’s board. Berkshire’s subsidy total: $1.5 billion — and it’s primed to collect lots more. In April, the company announced plans to spend $3.6 billion on wind projects in Iowa. Two years ago, Berkshire’s CEO, Warren Buffett, explained why his companies are in the wind business. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them,” he said. “They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Keep in mind that the $176 billion figure in wind-energy subsidies is a minimum number. It counts only subsidies given to companies on AWEA’s board. Not counted are subsidies handed out to companies like Google, which got part of a $490 million federal cash grant for investing in an Oregon wind project. Nor does it include the $1.5 billion in subsidies given to SunEdison, the now-bankrupt company that used to have a seat on AWEA’s board. (To download the full list of subsidies garnered by AWEA’s board members, click here.)

Nor does that figure include federal money given to J. P. Morgan and Bank of America, both of which have a seat on AWEA’s board. The two banks received federal loans or loan guarantees worth $1.29 trillion and $3.49 trillion, respectively. In an e-mail, Phil Mattera, the research director for Good Jobs First, told me that the loan and loan-guarantee figures for the banks include the federal bailout package known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program as well as “programs instituted by the Federal Reserve in the wake of the financial meltdown.”

When all of the subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees given to the companies on AWEA’s board are counted, the grand total comes to a staggering $5.1 trillion.

According to Wikipedia, crony capitalism “may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.” Wind-energy companies are getting favoritism on every count. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to give those companies permits allowing them to legally kill bald and golden eagles with their turbines for up to 30 years. The industry is getting grants, tax breaks, and loans worth billions. And thanks to federal mandates like the Clean Power Plan and state renewable-energy requirements — nearly all of which are predicated on the specious claim that paving vast swaths of the countryside with wind turbines is going to save us from catastrophic climate change — the industry is surfing a wave of state interventionism.

AWEA’s Kiernan likely has it right. In a country where having a profitable business increasingly requires getting favors from government, the U.S. wind industry is definitely a “success.”


As Readiness Declines, U.S. Military Fiddles with 'Greening'

America's military faces a readiness crisis. The Marine Corps is looting aviation museums for spare parts to repair combat aircraft. The Navy is three dozen ships short of what the chief of naval operations says is necessary to meet operational requirements. Reduced training hours have led to an increase in fatal training incidents for the Army. And the Air Force is flying increasingly old and worn-out planes.

With these issues piling up for our service members, one would think our commander in chief would dedicate his final year in office to rebuilding the military. Yet throughout his presidency, Mr. Obama preferred to steer taxpayer dollars to wasteful environmental campaigns.

Global warming, he claims, is one of the greatest threats to American security — on par with North Korean nukes or terrorism. He thus "justifies" the allocation of scarce resources within the Defense Department to feel-good power projects driven by arbitrary energy consumption and production targets rather than military utility. Dubious "military" projects, such as building more solar power facilities to generate electricity on bases, provide no additional security, cost much more than conventional power sources and put the stability and security of bases at risk.

Solar power is famously unreliable. It provides consistent power only where it's consistently sunny, and of course it can't harness any power at night. Because security demands reliable power, many bases shifting to solar find they still must rely largely on conventional energy sources for power.

And building solar fields isn't the only major cost incurred by the military. Because of the way solar panels function, most military bases pursuing commercial-scale solar projects must also upgrade their power grids just to make it safe for them to handle solar. All of these expenses are being incurred at a time when conventional fuel sources are far more affordable.

This is not to say that alternative and renewable power is always a waste. In fact, the military has engaged in such practices to much success in the past. One example is the geothermal power generated by two plants at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California.

There, the Defense Department leased land to a private company that recognized the potential for producing consistent, reliable, renewable power from the Earth's heat. These plants generate 270 megawatt hours — enough power for 180,000 homes.

But what drove the renewable energy project in China Lake were free market principles, well-thought-out investments and recognition of a legitimate demand for power — not feel-good environmental crusades or political posturing.

Ironically, the Navy is forced to use some of its income from this successful renewable energy project to fund wasteful energy initiatives. Environmental regulations require the Defense Department to "reinvest" a portion of the plants' payments into solar and other initiatives aimed at meeting arbitrary targets for renewable energy production and consumption.

The Obama administration also forces the Defense Department to spend taxpayer dollars on "renewable energy certificates." These certificates enable the department's agencies to "meet" renewable standards by essentially buying credits, without actually engaging directly in the production or consumption of renewable energy. This acts as a cap-and-trade structure internal to the military, through which taxpayer dollars are spent on symbolic pieces of paper that contribute nothing to military capability.

Certainly there is a role for renewable energy projects in the Pentagon. Some may save taxpayer dollars. Others may enhance war fighter capability. As an example of the latter, troops stationed in sunny environments have been able to use portable solar panels to recharge batteries — a practice that reduces the weight carried by combat units. Either type of initiative should be lauded and pursued by the government.

Instead, many Defense Department energy projects exist only because of mandates imposed upon our armed forces. The next commander in chief and Congress owe it to the services to give them the resources needed to reverse the growing readiness crisis. Continuing to divert defense dollars to pet environmental projects is unwise and unsafe.



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22 June, 2016

The great ozone embarrassment

Do you ever wonder why we don't hear much about the ozone hole these days?  There's a reason.  I made some mocking comments about the messed-up talk from Greenies about stratospheric ozone yesterday.  I now want to tell more of the story.

When I searched the net for the numbers about CO2 levels and global temperature, I very rapidly found the numbers nicely set out for both.  So I initially expected that I would have no trouble finding the numbers for atmospheric ozone levels.  I found quite a lot of sites that gave information about that but none of them gave the underlying numbers.  The information was always presented in pretty multi-colored pictures. 

That is very strange.  Numbers are food and drink to scientists.  Pictures just cannot give you precision.  So what is going on? Is there a reason for the imprecision?

I think I have eventually found out. The numbers are pretty  embarrassing.   Ozone levels are at least not rising and may be FALLING.  Yet, according to the Ozone-hole enthusiasts, the levels  should be rising.  When the very expensive Montreal protocol of 1989 was imposed on us, we were told that CFC's were destroying ozone at a dangerous rate (ALL change is dangerous according to Greenies) so if we stopped producing CFCs, the ozone would bounce back and the "hole" in Antarctica would shrink away.  So ozone levels should have been RISING for quite a while now. 

But the opposite may have happened.  I eventually found  an official  New Zealand statistics site which informed me that: "From 1978 to 2013, median monthly ozone concentrations decreased slightly, about 4 percent",  And I found another source which put the loss to the year 2000 at 7%.

And the cooling trend in the stratosphere can only reasonably be explained by falling ozone levels.  It's absorption of UV by ozone that keeps the stratosphere warm.  I showed yesterday that the cooling trend cannot be explained by CO2 levels.

Greenies are always cautious about when they expect the ozone hole to close, generally putting it quite a few years in the future.  They say, reasonably, that these things oscillate so the  process of ozone recovery must be a gradual one and you need a long series to see a trend.  But  for the level to be DECLINING  looks very much like proof of failure. 

But I needed those elusive numbers to be certain of what was going on. And I did eventually find them at Mauna Loa. They give almost daily readings up to this year. I looked at the readings for three years, 1996, 2010 and this year.  I noted  that the readings in all three years  varied between around 230 to 270 Dobson units, according to the time of the year.  I saw no point in calculating exact averages as it was clear that, at this late stage when the effects of the CFC ban should long ago have cut in, essentially nothing was happening.  The ozone level may not have fallen in recent years but it is not dropping either. The predicted rise was not there.  The levels just bob up and down in the same old way within the same old range year after year

So it looks like the Montreal protocol did nothing.  The whole thing seems to have been wholly misconceived. The "science" behind it was apparently wrong.

Yet it was the "success" of the Montreal protocol that inspired the Greenie assault on CO2.  We have paid a big price for that hasty bit of scientific speculation.

Al Gore Might Want to Oppose the Prosecution of Exxon

The Left is heading into dangerous legal waters. In recent months, leftist attorneys general from blue states like New York and Massachusetts have been trying to build a case against Exxon Mobile Corp. Massachusetts AG Maura Healey demanded Exxon hand over 40 years of documents related to the company’s climate change research in an effort to build a case that the company committed fraud because it’s a “climate change denier.” Exxon, of course, is fighting the subpoena, saying handing over mountains of banker boxes infringes on its First Amendment rights.

In effect, the leftist AGs are pushing for the criminalization of dissent. But that cuts both ways. Climate change may or may not be occurring, and the cause — whether it’s human industry or the climate’s natural cycle — is up for debate. Responding to the prosecution of Exxon, 13 AGs from red states penned a letter that pointed out if the Left wants to prosecute anyone who doesn’t believe socialism is the response to warmer weather, global warming activists could be prosecuted for overstating the threat.

“We all understand the need for a healthy environment, but we represent a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man contributes to climate change and the costs and benefits of any proposed fix,” read the letter headed by Alabama AG Luther Strange and Texas AG Ken Paxton. “Nevertheless, we agree on at least one thing — this is not a question for the courts. Using law enforcement authority to resolve a public policy debate undermines the trust invested in our offices and threatens free speech.”

While the conservative AGs said in the letter they would not mount such a prosecution, the same legal logic could lead to the prosecution of climate change activists who advocate for the redistribution of taxpayer money to green energy companies — like failed solar energy company Solyndra. For example, Al Gore made statements that were demonstrably false in “An Inconvenient Truth” and he’s continued to double-down on the Chicken Little rhetoric. Is it just a coincidence that he’s a senior partner in a venture-capital firm that invests in clean energy technology?


Climate Change Prediction Fail? What did ‘climate hero’ James Hansen actually predict back in 1986?

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on June 10 and 11, 1986, to consider the problems of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect, and climate change. The event featured testimony from numerous researchers who would go on to become major figures in the climate change debate. Among them was James Hansen, who was then a leading climate modeler with NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies and who has subsequently been hailed by the Worldwatch Institute as a "climate hero." When the Washington Post ran an article this week marking the 30th anniversary of those hearings, it found the old testimony "eerily familiar" to what climate scientists are saying today. As such, it behooves us to consider how well those 30-year-old predictions turned out.

At the time, the Associated Press reported that Hansen "predicted that global temperatures should be nearly 2 degrees higher in 20 years" and "said the average U.S. temperature has risen from 1 to 2 degrees since 1958 and is predicted to increase an additional 3 or 4 degrees sometime between 2010 and 2020." These increases would occur due to "an expected doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2040." UPI reported that Hansen had said "temperatures in the United States in the next decade will range from 0.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees higher than they were in 1958." Citing the AP report, one skeptical analyst reckoned that Hansen's predictions were off by a factor of 10. Interpreting a different baseline from the news reports, I concluded that Hansen's predictions had in fact barely passed his low-end threshold. Comments from unconvinced readers about my analysis provoked me to find and re-read Hansen's 1986 testimony.

Combing through Hansen's actual testimony finds him pointing to a map showing "global warming in the 1990's as compared to 1958. The scale of warming is shown on the left-hand side. You can see that the warming in most of the United States is about 1/2 C degree to 1 C degree, the patched green color." Later in his testimony, Hansen noted that his institute's climate models projected that "in the region of the United States, the warming 30 years from now is about 1 1/2 degrees C, which is about 3 F." It is not clear from his testimony if the baseline year for the projected increase in temperature is 1958 or 1986, so we'll calculate both.

In Hansen's written testimony, submitted at the hearing, he outlined two scenarios. Scenario A featured rapid increases in both atmospheric greenhouse gases and warming; Scenario B involved declining emissions of greenhouse gas and slower warming. "The warming in Scenario A at most mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere land areas such as the United States is typically 0.5 to 1.0 degree C (1-3 F degrees) for the decade 1990-2000 and 1-2 degree C (2-4 F degrees) for the decade 2010-2020," he wrote.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers a handy Climate at a Glance calculator that allows us to figure out what various temperatures trends have been for the U.S. since 1901 and the globe since 1881. So first, what did happen to U.S. temperatures between 1958 and 1986? Inputting January 1958 to January 1986 using a 12-month time scale, the NOAA calculator reports that there was a trend of exactly 0.0 F degrees per decade for that period. Curiously, one finds a significant divergence in the temperature trends depending on at which half of the year one examines. The temperature trend over last half of each of the 28 years considered here is -0.13 F degree per decade. In contrast, the trend for the first half of each year yields an upward trend of +0.29 F degrees.

What happens when considering "global warming in the 1990's as compared to 1958"? Again, the first and second half-year trends are disparate. But using the 12-month time scale, the overall trend is +0.25 F degrees per decade, which would imply an increase of about 1 F degree during that period, or just over ½ C degree.

So what about warming 30 years after 1986—that is, warming up until now? If one interprets Hansen's testimony as implying a 1958 baseline, the trend has been +0.37 F degree per decade, yielding an increase of about 1.85 F degrees, or just over 1 C degree. This is near the low end of his projections. If the baseline is 1986, the increase per decade is +0.34 F degrees, yielding an overall increase of just over 1 F degree, or under 0.6 C degree. With four years left to go, this is way below his projection of a 1 to 2 C degrees warming for this decade.

Hansen pretty clearly believed that Scenario A was more likely than Scenario B. And in Scenario A, he predicted that "most mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere land areas such as the United States is typically 0.5 to 1.0 degree C (1-3 F degrees)." According to the NOAA calculator, average temperature in the contiguous U.S. increased between 1990 and 2000 by 1.05 F degree, or about 0.6 C degree.

Hansen's predictions go definitively off the rails when tracking the temperature trend for the contiguous U.S. between 2000 and 2016. Since 2000, according to the NOAA calculator, the average temperature trend has been downward at -0.06 F degree per decade. In other words, no matter what baseline year Hansen meant to use, his projections for temperatures in the U.S. for the second decade of this century are 1 to 3 F degrees too high (so far).

What did Hansen project for global temperatures? He did note that "the natural variability of the temperature in both real world and the model are sufficiently large that we can neither confirm nor refute the modeled greenhouse effect on the basis of current temperature trends." It therefore was impossible to discern a man-made global warming signal in the temperature data from 1958 to 1986. But he added that "by the 1990's the expected warming rises above the noise level. In fact, the model shows that in 20 years, the global warming should reach about 1 degree C, which would be the warmest the Earth has been in the last 100,000 years."

Did it? No. Between 1986 and 2006, according to the NOAA calculator, average global temperature increased at a rate of +0.19 C degree per decade, implying an overall increase of 0.38 C degrees. This is less half of Hansen's 1 C degree projection for that period. Taking the analysis all the way from 1986 to today, the NOAA calculator reports a global trend of +0.17 C degree per decade, yielding an overall increase of 0.51 C degree.

Hansen did offer some caveats with his projections. Among them: The 4.2 C degree climate sensitivity in his model could be off by a factor of 2; less solar irradiance and more volcanic activity could affect the trends; crucial climate mechanisms might be omitted or poorly simulated in the model. Climate sensitivity is conventionally defined as the amount of warming that would occur as the result of doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide. Three decades later, most researchers agree that Hansen set climate sensitivity way too high and thus predicted increases that were way too much. The extent to which his other caveats apply is still widely debated. For example, do climate models accurately reflect changes in the amount of cloudiness that have occurred over the past century?

The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's 1990 Assessment Report included a chapter on the "Detection of the Greenhouse Gas Effect in the Observations." It proposed that total warming of 1 C degree since the late 19th century might serve as a benchmark for when a firm signal of enhanced global warming had emerged. It also suggested that a further 0.5 C degree warming might be chosen as the threshold for detecting the enhanced greenhouse. According to the NOAA calculator, warming since 1880 has been increasing at a rate of +0.07 C degree per decade, implying an overall increase of just under 1 C degree as of this year. As noted above, global temperatures have increased by 0.51 C degree since 1986, so perhaps the man-made global warming signal has finally emerged. In fact, Hansen and colleagues suggest just that in a 2016 study.

The upshot: Both the United States and the Earth have warmed at considerably slower pace than Hansen predicted 30 years ago. If the three-decades-old predictions sound eerily familiar, it's because they've been updated. Here's hoping the new predictions will prove as accurate as the old ones.


Bat Killings by Wind Energy Turbines Continue

Industry plan to reduce deadly effects of blades may not be enough, some scientists say

On a warm summer evening along the ridgetops of West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, thousands of bats are on the move. They flutter among the treetops, searching for insects to eat and roosts on which to rest. But some of the trees here are really metal towers, with 30-meter-long blades rotating at more than 80 kilometers per hour even in this light breeze. They are electricity-generating wind turbines—a great hope for renewable energy, but dangerous for bats. The flying animals run into spinning blades, or the rapid decrease in air pressure around the turbines can cause bleeding in their lungs. By morning, dozens will lay dead on the ground. Countless more will die at wind turbines elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada in the forests and fields of the Midwest and the windy prairies of the Great Plains.

Much of this slaughter—the greatest threat to animals that are a vital link in our ecosystem—was supposed to end last year. In 2015, with great fanfare, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade group, announced voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds, when bats are most active, which would save lives. Conservationists praised the move.

But some scientists say this promise falls short. The industry plan claims to reduce bat deaths by 30 percent, but holding the blades in check just a little longer could reduce deaths by up to 90 percent or more, a decade of research indicates, and would do so with little additional energy loss. A research review published in January of this year found that wind turbines are, by far, the largest cause of mass bat mortality around the world. White-nose syndrome, the deadly fungal disease that has decimated bat populations throughout the northeastern U.S., came in second. Biologist Cris Hein of the nonprofit group Bat Conservation International says that if the current industry practices continue and wind turbine installation grows, bat populations already weakened by the fungus will crash. Industry has balked at holding the blades still at higher wind speeds, however, saying the energy loss will be larger than scientists claim.

Bats eat insects, saving farmers billions of dollars in pest control each year, but they generally do not get much attention. No one was even looking for bats under turbines until 2003, according to wildlife biologist Ed Arnett, currently a senior scientist at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. But on routine checks for dead hawks and eagles under West Virginia turbines that summer, surveyors found an estimated 2,000 dead bats. The discovery prompted creation of the Bat and Wind Energy Cooperative - a consortium of federal agencies, the wind energy association and Bat Conservation International. The consortium hired Arnett in 2004 to conduct the first major studies of why turbines kill bats and to find solutions.

In what is now considered a classic study at the Casselman Wind Project in Somerset County, Pa., in 2008 and 2009 Arnett “feathered” the blades in the evening hours of bats’ critical fall migration period. Feathering involves turning the blades parallel to the wind so the turbines do not rotate. Arnett feathered blades at wind speeds of five to 6.5 meters per second, slightly above the cut-in speed – the speed at which the turbines connect with the power grid—now typical in the industry, which is 3.5 to four meters per second. Delaying the cut-in speed reduced bat deaths by 44 to 93 percent, depending on the night studied and conditions. And delaying turbine starts until slightly higher wind speeds during this two-month migration period, Arnett estimated, would only reduce annual wind energy production, by less than 1 percent. A flurry of research by other scientists followed, showing feathered blades and higher cut-in speed saved more bat lives than other proposed solutions.

Paul Cryan, a bat biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a co-author of the January bat mortality review, praised the industry’s voluntary guidelines as an important first step. But like Cris Hein, he worries about the ongoing impact of turbines on bat populations. “Bats are long-lived and very slow reproducers,” he says. “Their populations rely on very high adult survival rates. That means their populations recover from big losses very slowly.” He questions whether bats can handle such damage year after year.

Defending the wind turbine policy, John Anderson, AWEA’s senior director of Permitting Policy and Environmental Affairs, says the guidelines were just a first move, not necessarily the last. “The initial step was to find that sweet spot between reducing our impact while maintaining energy production levels that make a project economic,” he says.

To date, however, the industry has resisted feathering at speeds higher than what the guidelines recommend. “For every megawatt hour that wind is not operating, that’s a megawatt hour that has to be replaced by a far more impactful form of energy from fossil fuel,” Anderson notes. He maintains that the low energy cost estimated at Casselman does not hold for other locations. “I wish it was 1 percent everywhere,” he says. “But the reality is that you have different wind profiles in different locations, and different costs of energy. So 1 percent in one location may be very inexpensive and in another [it could be] extremely expensive and make or break the difference in a very competitive market.”

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), part of the bat consortium, is weighing in on the debate, and it appears to be following the conservation research. In a draft Habitat Conservation Plan covering eight Midwestern states the FWS proposes raising turbine cut-in speeds to five or 6.5 meters per second to protect three bat species listed (or being considered for listing) under the Endangered Species Act. One such species is the Indiana bat. To date, few other bat species are officially listed as endangered, including those most frequently killed by turbines. And the FWS can only require action by a wind facility if it has proof that the facility killed an endangered Indiana bat, a difficult task without close monitoring.

Right now, “many, many, many facilities within the range of the Indiana bat” do not participate in any plan, says Rick Amidon, a biologist in the FWS’s Midwest office. The service hopes that a region-wide Habitat Conservation Plan will make it easier for facilities to opt into good conservation practices in advance, before the bodies of endangered species appear under their blades and the FWS takes action. The public comment period for the proposed plan closes July 14.

The situation right now puts Hein and other conservationists in a difficult position. “We see the impact of climate change on bats, and so we’re in favor of renewable energy,” Hein says. “It’s unfortunate that one of those—wind energy—has this negative impact.” He is frustrated that industry has not acted more quickly on existing studies but acknowledges “it’s hard to get an industry to move on anything very rapidly.” In the meantime he and the consortium will keep searching for the ultimate environmental sweet spot.


Poland severely restricts wind farms

Position of the [Polish] National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene on wind farms:

The National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene is of the opinion that wind farms situated too close to buildings intended for permanent human occupation may have a negative impact on the well-being and health of the people living in their proximity.

The human health risk factors that the Institute has taken into consideration in its position are as follows:

the emitted noise level and its dependence on the technical specifications of turbines, wind speed as well as the topography and land use around the wind farm,

aerodynamic noise level including infrasound emissions and low-frequency noise components,

the nature of the noise emitted, taking into account its modulation/impulsive/tonal characteristics and the possibility of interference of waves emitted from multiple turbines,
the risk of ice being flung from rotors,

the risk of turbine failure with a rotor blade or its part falling,

the shadow flicker effect,

the electromagnetic radiation level (in the immediate vicinity of turbines),

the probability of sleep disruptions and noise propagation at night,

the level of nuisance and probability of stress and depression symptoms occurring (in consequence of long exposure), related both to noise emissions and to non-acceptance of the noise source.

In the Institute’s opinion, the laws and regulations currently in force in Poland (regarding risk factors which, in practice, include only the noise level) are not only inadequate to facilities such noise source as wind turbines, but they also fail to guarantee a sufficient degree of public health protection. The methodology currently used for environmental impact assessment of wind farms (including human health) is not applicable to wind speeds exceeding 5 m/s. In addition, it does not take into account the full frequency range (in particular, low frequency) and the nuisance level.

In the Institute’s view, owing to the current lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing the assessment of health risks related to the operation of wind farms in Poland, an urgent need arises to develop and implement a comprehensive methodology according to which the sufficient distance of wind turbines from human habitation would be determined. The methodology should take into account all the above-mentioned potential risk factors, and its result should reflect the least favourable situation. In addition to landform (natural topography) and land use characteristics, the methodology should also take into consideration the category, type, height and number of turbines at a specific farm, and the location of other wind farms in the vicinity. Similar legislative arrangements aimed to provide for multi-criteria assessment, based on complex numerical algorithms, are currently used in the world.

The Institute is aware of the fact that owing to the diversity of factors and the complicated nature of such an algorithm, its development within a short time period may prove very difficult. Therefore, what seems to be an effective and simpler solution is the prescription of a minimum distance of wind turbines from buildings intended for permanent human occupation. The setback criteria are also a common standard-setting arrangement.

Having regard to the above, until a comprehensive methodology is developed for the assessment of the impact of industrial wind farms on human health, the Institute recommends 2 km as the minimum distance of wind farms from buildings. The recommended value results from a critical assessment of research results published in reviewed scientific periodicals with regard to all potential risk factors for average distance usually specified within the following limits:

0.5-0.7 km, often obtained as a result of calculations, where the noise level (dBA) meets the currently acceptable values (without taking into account adjustments for the impulse/tonal/modulation features of the nose emitted),

1.5-3.0 km, resulting from the noise level, taking into account modulation, low frequencies and infrasound levels,

0.5-1.4 km, related to the risk of turbine failure with a broken rotor blade or its part falling (depending on the size of the piece and its flight profile, rotor speed and turbine type),

0.5-0.8 km, where there is a risk of ice being flung from rotors (depending on the shape and mass of ice, rotor speed and turbine type),

1.0-1.6 km, taking into account the noise nuisance level (between 4% and 35% of the population at 30-45 dBA) for people living in the vicinity of wind farms,

the distance of 1.4-2.5 km, related to the probability of sleep disruptions (on average, between 4% and 5% of the population at 30-45 dBA),

2,0 km, related to the occurrence of potential psychological effects resulting from substantial landscape changes (based on the case where the wind turbine is a dominant landscape feature and the rotor movement is clearly visible and noticeable to people from any location),

1.2-2.1 km, for the shadow flicker effect (for the average wind turbine height in Poland, including the rotor from 120 to 210 m).
In its opinions. the Institute has also considered the recommended distances of wind farms from buildings, as specified by experts, scientists, as well as central and local government bodies around the world (in most cases recommended from 1.0 to 5.0 km).


Despite huge investments, renewable energy isn’t winning

For hydrocarbon doomsayers, there’s good news and bad news. In 2015, there were record investments in renewable energy, and record capacity was added, much of it in emerging economies. Yet despite the huge investment, the global share of fossil fuels is not shrinking very fast. Renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal still account for a tiny share of energy production, and there are factors that may inhibit their growth in the next few years.

REN21, the international renewable energy association backed by the United Nations Environment Program, has summarized impressive developments in the sector in 2015. Total investment in renewable power and fuels reached $285.9 billion, an all-time record, and renewable power capacity, including hydropower, increased by 148 gigawatts — another record — to 1.8 terawatts. For the sixth consecutive year, investment in new renewable capacity was higher than in hydrocarbon-burning power plants.

Renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal still account for a tiny share of energy production, and there are factors that may inhibit their growth in the next few years.
Much of the increase came from the developing world. China was in first place; the U.S. came in second, and added more solar and wind capacity than any other country. Turkey added the most geothermal generation. The narrative about the environmentally conscious rich nations and the laggard poor ones is obsolete; Mauritania invested the biggest share of economic output in sustainable energy in 2015, followed by Honduras, Uruguay and Morocco. Bangladesh is the biggest market for home-based solar systems.

One might think the energy revolution is fast displacing fossil fuels. Not really. Although investment in renewables and in the oil industry are of comparable magnitude — $522 billion was invested in oil last year — sustainable energy is growing from a very low base.

Mauritania invested the biggest share of economic output in sustainable energy in 2015, followed by Honduras, Uruguay and Morocco. Bangladesh is the biggest market for home-based solar systems.

We read about the big successes — Costa Rica with 99 percent of energy generated from renewable sources, Uruguay with 92.8 percent, three German states with most of their energy coming from wind — but weaning the world off fossil fuels is an uphill battle.

One reason is regulators’ understandable fixation on generation. Wind and solar installations are relatively easy to promote: The technology is already there, all governments need to do is subsidize its use by levying additional taxes or “feed-in tariffs.” It’s much harder to set up an equally effective mechanism in transportation, which uses the lion’s share of oil products. Although solar and wind generation is already price-competitive with fossil fuels in many countries, modern electric vehicles are pricey, clunky (yes, even the Teslas) and far behind gas-powered competitors in terms of driving range. It would be an expensive proposition for governments to subsidize them to a degree that would make them popular.

Now, because oil is relatively cheap, the global market is moving toward cars that use more gas, especially SUVs. No wonder global oil consumption grew at the fastest rate in five years in 2015.

This year, the growth is set to continue. And increases in renewables capacity may hit some obstacles soon.

Most of last year’s expansion came from additional wind and solar capacity. Countries such as Germany and Poland added a lot of wind power because their governments are about to end direct subsidies and move to tendering programs, which allow only the lowest bidders to build new power plants. This is fair: European governments nursed sustainable energy producers when it was hard for them to compete with traditional generation on price, and now it’s time for a more market-based approach. The policy shift, however, will probably cause an investment slowdown starting in 2017.

Solar photovoltaic generation has another problem in markets where it has a large, established share, especially in Europe. “The more that solar PV penetrates the electricity system, the harder it is to recoup project costs,” the REN21 report says. “So an important shift is under way: from the race to be cost-competitive with fossil fuels to being able to adequately remunerate solar PV in the market.”

Other markets, too, will eventually reach a point where government support has to be scaled back because it’s harder to justify, and the huge investments of today will become harder to recoup. The current investment and growth rates in renewables are not quite natural, and they are not likely to last. Only major technological breakthroughs in energy storage, both for grids and for vehicles, could ensure another leap in sustainable energy use.

Without such breakthroughs, which will make traditional generation and powertrains vastly inferior to modern ones, demand for fossil fuels will remain strong for decades. The International Energy Agency’s projection for 2040, based on the current growth rate in renewables, has the share of natural gas used in power generation roughly at the same level as today. It doesn’t predict any drops in oil demand.

Those who have predicted the end of the petrostates and permanently low oil prices are in for a long wait. Fortunes will still be made in fossil fuels, and oil dictatorships will probably keep squabbling and menacing their neighbors at least for most of our remaining lifetimes.


1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility

Survey sheds light on the ‘crisis’ rocking research

More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature's survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant 'crisis' of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.

Data on how much of the scientific literature is reproducible are rare and generally bleak. The best-known analyses, from psychology1 and cancer biology2, found rates of around 40% and 10%, respectively. Our survey respondents were more optimistic: 73% said that they think that at least half of the papers in their field can be trusted, with physicists and chemists generally showing the most confidence.

The results capture a confusing snapshot of attitudes around these issues, says Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “At the current time there is no consensus on what reproducibility is or should be.” But just recognizing that is a step forward, he says. “The next step may be identifying what is the problem and to get a consensus.”

Failing to reproduce results is a rite of passage, says Marcus Munafo, a biological psychologist at the University of Bristol, UK, who has a long-standing interest in scientific reproducibility. When he was a student, he says, “I tried to replicate what looked simple from the literature, and wasn't able to. Then I had a crisis of confidence, and then I learned that my experience wasn't uncommon.”

The challenge is not to eliminate problems with reproducibility in published work. Being at the cutting edge of science means that sometimes results will not be robust, says Munafo. “We want to be discovering new things but not generating too many false leads.”

But sorting discoveries from false leads can be discomfiting. Although the vast majority of researchers in our survey had failed to reproduce an experiment, less than 20% of respondents said that they had ever been contacted by another researcher unable to reproduce their work. Our results are strikingly similar to another online survey of nearly 900 members of the American Society for Cell Biology (see That may be because such conversations are difficult. If experimenters reach out to the original researchers for help, they risk appearing incompetent or accusatory, or revealing too much about their own projects.

A minority of respondents reported ever having tried to publish a replication study. When work does not reproduce, researchers often assume there is a perfectly valid (and probably boring) reason. What's more, incentives to publish positive replications are low and journals can be reluctant to publish negative findings. In fact, several respondents who had published a failed replication said that editors and reviewers demanded that they play down comparisons with the original study.

Nevertheless, 24% said that they had been able to publish a successful replication and 13% had published a failed replication. Acceptance was more common than persistent rejection: only 12% reported being unable to publish successful attempts to reproduce others' work; 10% reported being unable to publish unsuccessful attempts.

Survey respondent Abraham Al-Ahmad at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo expected a “cold and dry rejection” when he submitted a manuscript explaining why a stem-cell technique had stopped working in his hands. He was pleasantly surprised when the paper was accepted. The reason, he thinks, is because it offered a workaround for the problem.

Others place the ability to publish replication attempts down to a combination of luck, persistence and editors' inclinations. Survey respondent Michael Adams, a drug-development consultant, says that work showing severe flaws in an animal model of diabetes has been rejected six times, in part because it does not reveal a new drug target. By contrast, he says, work refuting the efficacy of a compound to treat Chagas disease was quickly accepted4.

One-third of respondents said that their labs had taken concrete steps to improve reproducibility within the past five years. Rates ranged from a high of 41% in medicine to a low of 24% in physics and engineering. Free-text responses suggested that redoing the work or asking someone else within a lab to repeat the work is the most common practice. Also common are efforts to beef up the documentation and standardization of experimental methods.

Any of these can be a major undertaking. A biochemistry graduate student in the United Kingdom, who asked not to be named, says that efforts to reproduce work for her lab's projects doubles the time and materials used — in addition to the time taken to troubleshoot when some things invariably don't work. Although replication does boost confidence in results, she says, the costs mean that she performs checks only for innovative projects or unexpected results.



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21 June, 2016

That pesky stratospheric cooling

We all live in the troposphere -- that part of the atmosphere that stretches from the sea surface upwards for about 10 miles.  The next big "sphere" as we go upward is the stratosphere.  And even Warmists agree that the stratosphere is COOLING. And "spheres" above the stratosphere are cooling too.

So does that not upset global warming theory?  No, say the Warmists.  Their whole theory is that various gases in the troposphere "trap" heat rising off the earth.  So that heat rising off the earth never reaches the stratosphere or higher.  So the more the troposphere traps the rising heat, so the stratosphere will cool.  It's a reasonable enough theory given Warmist assumptions.

And the big assumption is to conceive CO2 as forming some sort of blanket around the earth.  A blanket would indeed keep the heat in and deny it to the stratosphere.  But CO2 is NOT a blanket.  It is just lots of separate molecules jiggling away doing their own thing.  And ANY heated atmospheric molecule will emanate its radiation in ALL directions -- not just downward towards earth.  CO2 molecules  don't have little compasses in them telling them in which direction to focus their radiations. 

So CO2 is not a blanket at all.  It will be just as likely to radiate upwards as downwards.  It will be just as likely to warm the stratosphere as the troposphere.  So once again Warmism is fundamentally flawed.  Their explanations are bunk. One could argue that upward radiation is blocked by that peculiar layer called the tropopause but if we argue that way, what do we need CO2 for?  The tropopause already does the blocking job that CO2 is supposed to do.  CO2 blocking becomes a surplus explanation that is put to death by Occam's razor.

It is true that stratospheric cooling could be due to the fact that most of the ozone is in the stratosphere. Ozone is that great stuff that soaks up most of the nasty UV radiation put out by the sun. I quote Dr. Jeffrey Masters, Director of Meteorology at  Weather Underground: "The main reason for the recent stratospheric cooling is due to the destruction of ozone by human-emitted CFC gases. Ozone absorbs solar UV radiation, which heats the surrounding air in the stratosphere. Loss of ozone means that less UV light gets absorbed, resulting in cooling of the stratosphere"

That seems precisely backwards to me.  It implies that CFC levels are rising, when the proud boast of the Greenies is to have cut them back.  He is talking about a steady process -- cooling -- and explains it by another steady process -- decreasing ozone.  But thanks to the heroic framers of the Montreal protocol, ozone levels should be RISING, not decreasing.

An explanation of cooling in terms of a recovery  of ozone might  make some sense:  CFC chemicals had destroyed a lot of the ozone so less of the UV was being blocked. The stratosphere got warmer than it should be. It wasn't blocking as much UV as it once did.  So heroic environmentalists  created the Montreal protocol which stopped human beings from manufacturing any more of the evil CFC stuff.  So the stratosphere has been cooling down from an abnormal high as CFCs diminish and ozone increases.

I don't like that explanation either but let's concede that some way or another ozone explains  stratospheric cooling.  The big problem is that if we go further up in the atmosphere, the ozone more or less vanishes but we still find cooling.

So what is the explanation for stratospheric cooling?

Can I say that I don't know?  What I do know is that the role of CO2 has been misconceived.  CO2 is a red herring.  It explains neither  tropospheric warming nor stratospheric cooling. 

Is a confession of not having all the answers troubling?  It shouldn't be.  Such a confession is the starting point of all research.  I was amused by something Carl Mears said on his RSS site: "Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation."

He seemed to think that was a decisive argument. Unexplained warming was anathema to him.  We MUST have an explanation, he seems to say.  But there is no such must.  Chemists once had an explanation for combustion that they thought was pretty good.  They thought that it consisted of the release of phlogiston.  Problem:  There is no such thing as phlogiston.  So I think Carl Mears is full of phlogiston

In fact, I think I do know what is happening with ozone and the stratosphere.  The key is to leave CFCs out of the picture. But I will leave that for tomorrow -- JR.

Britain braces for blackouts and pricey power due to Green energy

Electricity market data published Monday shows that Great Britain could be facing blackouts and extremely expensive electricity this winter because of the country’s reliance on green energy.

The data shows that the U.K. had an extremely hard time keeping the lights on compared to last winter, and was even forced to take emergency measures. A report published Monday by The Financial Times estimates that the price of electricity could be more than a dozen times higher than usual, which would have serious consequences.

During certain times, the report predicts that wholesale electricity prices Daily Caller  New Foundationwill rise from a going rate of $85.28 per megawatt-hour to $3,553.37 per megawatt-hour. Official government analysis suggests there could be insufficient electricity on a windless or cloudy days to power the country and that brownouts and blackouts have already impacted the U.K.

“The looming power shortages in Britain highlight some of the unintended consequences of renewable energy,” Travis Fisher, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Flooding the grid with subsidized energy from politically popular but unreliable sources like wind and solar power not only makes it more difficult to balance supply and demand in real time — it also ruins the economics of reliable generators over the long run. But keeping the lights on is a necessity, so Britain is now subsidizing reliable power plants and developing a new transmission line to bring reliable nuclear power from France. Even if Britain avoids blackouts this year, it is important to remember that all of this tinkering comes at great cost to consumers.”

The U.K. will be more vulnerable to blackouts than it has ever been for at least the next four years, the former CEO of one of Britain’s largest electricity companies, told The Times in March. Britain’s energy difficulties are due to the country’s plans to shut down 1.5 gigawatts of conventional electrical capacity and replace it with unreliable wind or solar power.

To make matters worse, U.K.’s government announced it would close the country’s remaining coal power plants. Britain’s ruling Conservative party has repeatedly said it wants to phase out existing coal power over the next 10 to 15 years. Closing the country’s remaining 15 coal plants will take a whopping 24,830 MW of generational capacity off the grid, meaning somewhere between 20.2 percent to 34.6 percent of Britain’s electricity will have to be replaced.

Solar and wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power, because they do not generate electricity at times when it is most needed. Since the output of solar and wind plants cannot be predicted with high accuracy, grid operators have to keep excess reserves running just in case.

“Intermittent power sources [such as wind and solar] put huge strains on the grid that become harder and harder to handle as the number of windmills or solar panels increases,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF. “Wind and solar require backup sources that can come online and go offline quickly, which increases costs significantly as well as undermining reliability. Britain and several other EU countries are held up as examples; they are indeed examples — of what we should not be doing.”

In order for the power grid to function, demand for energy must exactly match supply. Power demand is relatively predictable and conventional power plans, like nuclear plants and natural gas, can adjust output accordingly. Solar and wind power, however, cannot easily adjust output. Peak power demand also occurs in the evenings, when solar power is going offline. Adding green power, which only provide power at intermittent and unpredictable times, makes the power grid more fragile.

Britain’s attempts to use wind or solar power have also been immensely costly. U.K. residents paid a whopping 54 percent more for electricity than Americans in 2014, while energy taxes cost residents roughly $6.6 billion every year. Green energy subsidies in the U.K. regularly exceed spending caps and account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to government study released last July.

The unreliability of green energy sources isn’t limited to Britain, as wind and solar run the risk of producing too much or to little electricity, which can overload and ultimately fry the power grid. These surges in wind or solar are why electrical companies will occasionally pay consumers to take electricity.

Other European countries, like Germany, have been minimizing the damage by paying consumers to take excess power and asking wind and solar producers to switch off when they’re not needed. Germany paid wind farms $548 million last year to switch off in order to prevent damage to the country’s electric grid.

Due to the damaging effects green energy has had on Germany’s grid, the government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published last month by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. By 2019, Germany will get rid of  6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity.

Polling indicates that 38 percent of British households are cutting back essential purchases, like food, to pay for high energy bills. Another 59 percent of homes are worried about how they are going to pay energy bills. Companies are getting hit by pricey British electricity as well, and some are even leaving the country because of it, threatening up to 40,000 jobs. The U.K. government estimates that green energy taxes attached to peoples’s electricity bills, costs residents and businesses $6.1 billion annually.


UK: National Grid recruits NHS hospitals to help keep the lights on

National Grid is recruiting cash-strapped NHS hospitals to fire up their emergency generators and turn down their air conditioning systems when power supplies are scarce.

The company, which is responsible for balancing UK supply and demand, wants to make more use of “demand side response” schemes, in which energy users are paid to temporarily reduce the amount of power they draw from the grid.

Cordi O’Hara, head of the UK system operator at National Grid, said it believed the NHS had potential to cut its demand on the Grid by up to 400 megawatts (MW) – so freeing up enough electricity to power homes in a city the size of Edinburgh.

Several hospitals are already taking part in the embryonic demand side response industry and National Grid has just held talks with the Crown Commercial Service, which helps manage energy procurement for the NHS, to sign up more.

Ms O’Hara argues that demand reduction represents a cheaper way of meeting peak power demand and keeping the lights on as Britain builds more wind and solar farms which generate power intermittently rather than simply constructing lots of extra power plants that will rarely be used.

“We are in a period of significant change for the energy industry as we decarbonise the energy system. New cost-effective ways of balancing the system will need to be developed,” she said.

“Just continuing to build out generation to meet that peak demand may not be the best use of consumer money.”

National Grid hopes to make use of the fact that hospitals have to have backup generators to use in the event power cuts and that these sit dormant most of the year except for testing.

“Hospitals are very resilient sites,” said Paul Lowbridge, manager of National Grid’s "power responsive" programme to encourage demand side response.

As well using back-up generators, he said NHS managers were interested in adjusting their air conditioning, or 'HVAC' systems, to reduce their demand.

“There are opportunities for them to not turn it off, but reduce it ever so slightly at certain times of the day,” he said, insisting this could be done without affecting patient care.

“An individual hospital might be turning down ever so slightly their HVAC with no impact on their site, but when you pull together a bunch of those doing it at the same time it becomes a sizeable reduction.”

National Grid is battling to change the public image of demand-side response programmes, which have been introduced as emergency back-up measures for recent winters as supplies dwindle and have led to talk of power rationing.

“Hospitals are a really good example because it might be the last sector that you would think would do this sort of stuff,” Mr Lowbridge said. “But when you talk to one, their number one priority is the patients, their comfort and safety. They wouldn’t do it if there was any sort of risk.”

Mr Lowbridge said taking part in demand-side schemes offered “real potential” for hospitals to make money, with one hospital that had already signed up making “more than tens of thousands annually”.

He said NHS managers were receptive to such schemes as they looked to cope with tight budgets. “An energy manager, generally their objective is ‘how do you stop our energy bill going up’. They are looking for ways to do this.”

Flexitricity, a demand-side response aggregator company, said it already had five NHS hospitals under contract with a capacity of 9.2MW, and was working with 25 more on potential projects that could bring another 71.6MW of capacity.

Ms O’Hara said she wanted demand-side response to be seen not as a form of crisis management in “blackout Britain” but a routine way of helping to balance supply and demand.

“The demand-side response history has been associated with poor outcomes for business and the consumer; lower production from factories,” she said. “Actually, technology is enabling seamless interaction with intelligent energy use and that’s really fantastic. Why not embrace that opportunity to innovate?”


House panel turns up heat after states clam up on climate dissent probes

The 17 attorneys general pursuing climate change dissenters for accusations of “fraud” want House Republicans to mind their own business. That’s not going to happen.

Seventeen Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee reasserted their right in a Friday letter to conduct oversight on state investigations that represent a threat to the First Amendment and “the free flow of scientific research.”

The letter to the 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and one independent — came after several refused to cooperate with a May 18 request by committee Republicans for information related to the coordinated campaign to pursue climate change dissenters, starting with ExxonMobil Corp.

“The House Science Committee’s authority to investigate the concerns raised in my prior letter are grounded in the Constitution and reflected in the rules of the House of Representatives. The Committee strongly disagrees with your contentions,” said the letter, led by committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican.

“The Committee intends to continue its vigorous oversight of the coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution,” the letter said.

The committee renewed its request for the 17 attorneys general — sometimes called the “Green 20” — to turn over documents related to their campaign, including communications with 10 environmental groups and foundations, by June 24.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who hosted a March 29 press conference to unveil AGs United for Clean Power, declined last month to cooperate with the committee’s investigation, citing the “lack of congressional jurisdiction over state law enforcement activities and the committee’s intrusion into sovereign state actions protected by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Climate advocacy groups including Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the RockefellerBrothers Fund have also refused to comply with the panel’s request for information related to their work with the attorneys general.

“The premise of Chairman Smith’s letter is a farce,” UCS President Ken Kimmell said in a May 19 statement. “The attorneys general are not investigating ExxonMobil’s scientific research, but rather whether the company misled shareholders and the public about the dangers of climate change in order to continue profiting from a lucrative product.”

So far, the committee has issued requests only for information, not subpoenas.

In their latest letter, committee Republicans argued that Mr. Schneiderman’s previous statements show that his office will decide what constitutes the “best science” on climate change.

“In essence, you are saying if your office disagrees with whether fossil fuel companies’ scientists were conducting and using ‘the best science,’ the corporation could be held liable for fraud,” said the House committee letter.

“Not only does the possibility exist that such action could have a chilling effect on scientists performing federally funded research, but it also could infringe on the civil rights of scientists who become targets of these inquiries,” the letter said. “Your actions violate the scientists’ First Amendment rights. Congress has a duty to investigate your effort to criminalize scientific dissent.”

The House Republicans also argue that much of the research conducted on climate change under scrutiny by the attorneys general has been funded with federal dollars.

Exxon is fighting subpoenas issued by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker as part of their investigation into whether the company committed fraud by misleading the public on the dangers and extent of climate change.

Mr. Walker withdrew last month a subpoena issued to the Competitive Enterprise Institute as part of his investigation. The free market think tank is slated to appear in court June 28 as part of its effort to seek sanctions against his office.

“The fact that AG Walker walked away from his DC subpoena case against CEI only strengthens our case,” CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said in a Friday statement. “His subpoena was groundless from the outset, and he has no basis for violating our First Amendment rights as well as those of our supporters.”

Republican attorneys general have also entered the fray. In a letter last week, 13 of them urged the coalition to cease its campaign against climate change dissent, arguing in part that it would set a precedent for legal action against climate alarmists.

“If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud,” said the June 15 letter.


Vermont AG sued for withholding records on possible investigation of ‘climate change deniers’

Vermont’s Attorney General is being sued for withholding public records related to a multi-state investigation of groups opposed to climate change policies.

On Monday, two nonprofit legal centers filed a lawsuit to force Attorney General William Sorrell and Assistant Attorney General Scott Kline to turn over documents from private email accounts that discuss climate change “deniers.”

The complaint, filed by attorneys for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute and Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, says a request for documents was made on May 10 but not responded to by the extended deadline of May 24 — the longest extension allowable under Vermont law.

According to the complaint, the groups seek discussions with Matt Pawa, an environmental lawyer for the Climate Accountability Institute; Lem Srolovic, chief of the New York Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau; Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general; and John Passacantando, former executive director of Greenpeace USA. The requests contain keywords relating to a possible investigation being led by attorneys general of multiple states.

Records obtained from a prior request made in March show Sorrell and Kline have been working with Schneiderman, Srolovic and anti-fossil fuel activists on launching investigations into ExxonMobil and conservative think tanks generally opposed to climate change agendas.

“When we first submitted a public records request to Vermont in March, they seemed to follow the letter of that state’s freedom of information law, promptly turning over relevant documents in a very timely manner,” David Schnare, general counsel for Energy and Environment Legal Institute, said in a statement.

“The enormous fallout from those revelations has, unfortunately, been followed by slow-walking of other requests in Vermont, and state after state where their attorney general is involved in this conspiracy to stop dissent using RICO statutes.”

The group claims attorneys general from a coalition called AGs United for Clean Power are “facing pressure to not follow their own laws in order to keep secret public documents the public has a right to see.” The prior records reveal employees in the New York Attorney General’s Office pressured Vermont to withhold records from public disclosure, but Vermont employees initially refused on the grounds that it was against the law and could attract lawsuits.

In an interview with Watchdog, Schnare said he thinks Sorrell and Kline are covering up their interactions with environmental groups interested in advancing climate change policies and silencing opponents.

“We don’t know all that we will find once we pry loose the public records the Vermont AG should release, but we believe it will further expose the collusion among the AGs and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and an assorted group of plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“The AGs and the attorneys want to cash in on a pattern of intimidation, while the Rockefeller Brothers and the environmental groups they fund think they will benefit from their attempts to silence scientists and public interest groups that defend quality science and sensible regulation.”

Representatives from the Vermont Office of Attorney General did not return Watchdog’s request for comment.

On March 29, attorneys general from 15 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands met at a climate change conference in New York and announced a coalition called AGs United for Clean Power. The meeting, co-sponsored by Schneiderman and Sorrell, revealed that the attorneys are collaborating to investigate whether fossil fuel companies have misled investors and the public about climate change.

Schnare said the investigations amount to an attack on constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and free association for leaders from ExxonMobil and various think tanks.

“By squelching the speech of those who disagree with you, you win. That’s a terrible goal for the academy, for those engaged in legitimate debate on public issues, and more fundamentally, for those who both defend and depend on our Constitution,” he said.

“Since the days of McCarthyism, the courts have rejected the notion that the right to associate is open to limitation. By making it a crime to associate with others to discuss issues of the day, or otherwise promote issues and positions on important issues of the day, one destroys the private discussions that can result in new knowledge, breakthroughs in science and, of course, shifts in political action.”
Schnare claims that even “liberal attorneys” find the use of racketeering laws in this situation unconstitutional and “unworthy of a competent attorney general.”

He took a swipe at Vermont’s government, claiming it is not being a leader but “a follower,” and added that Sorrell’s collusion with environmental groups would likely be prosecutable under the same RICO laws the AGs United for Clean Power seek to use against political opponents

“Aren’t you part of a legal conspiracy to harm the constitutional rights of others, making you subject to RICO?” he said, posing a question for Sorrell.

The case is currently pending in Washington Superior Court.


Climate Change’ is California’s official state religion

In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.

Two pieces of legislation introduced in the Legislature last session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion. One is Senate Bill 1146, which seeks to limit the historically broad exemptions the state and federal governments have provided religious schools to, well, be religious.

Under the rubric of official “tolerance,” the bill would only allow religiously focused schools to deviate from the secular orthodoxy required at nonreligious schools, including support for transgender bathrooms or limitations on expressions of faith by students and even Christian university presidents, in a much narrower range of educational activity than ever before. Many schools believe the bill would needlessly risk their mission and funding to “solve” gender and social equity problems on their campuses that currently don’t exist.

The second piece of legislation, thankfully temporarily tabled, Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have dramatically extended the period of time that state officials could prosecute anyone who dared challenge the climate orthodoxy, including statements made decades ago. It would have sought “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on those risks.”

Although advocates tended to focus on the hated energy companies, the law could conceivably also extend to skeptics who may either reject the prevailing notions of man-made climate change, or might believe that policies concocted to “arrest” the phenomena may be themselves less than cost-effective or even not effective at all. So, fellow Californians, sign onto Gov. Torquemada’s program or face possible prosecution and the fires of hell.

The new intolerance

Although they target widely different issues, these pieces of legislation reflect a highly authoritarian and illiberal brand of progressivism evolving into something of a state religion. On one hand, California cannot tolerate the autonomy of religious institutions if they refuse to embrace the secularist ideology that dominates the state. Even religious clubs on California State University campuses can no longer restrict their leadership to those who actually are believers.

Similarly, the emerging attack on anyone questioning climate change orthodoxy represents another kind of religion, one that gives officially sanctioned science something close to papal infallibility. Despite the fact that there remain widely divergent views on both the severity of climate change and how best to address it, one has to adhere to the accepted “science” – or else.

Perhaps most shocking of all, this new spirit of progressive intolerance is affecting other institutions, notably academia and the media. Long incubators for free thinking, the academy, as liberal legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz note, now routinely violates due process.

The University of California even has promoted the idea of “freedom from intolerance” in order to protect students from any speech that may offend them as discriminatory. In the context of today’s campus, this means that not only the lunacy of Donald Trump but even conventional conservatism must be curtailed as intrinsically discriminatory and evil. Yet, at the same time, proudly violent groups like the Black Panthers are openly celebrated.

This cult of political correctness has reached such ludicrous levels that the University of California considers it a “microagression” to assert “America is a land of opportunity,” or to dare to criticize race-based affirmative action. Perhaps more dangerous, such attitudes are incubated in our law schools, which increasingly embrace the notion that the law should be employed specifically to promote certain ideals – whether environmental, race-related or gender-related – embraced by overwhelmingly progressive institutions, irrespective of constitutional limits.

The media, to their shame, increasingly embrace these notions, for example, by refusing to print letters from climate change skeptics, as has occurred on outlets such as Reddit and the Los Angeles Times. Increasingly, mainstream newspaper accounts do not even bother considering skeptical views, including those held by dissenting scientists or questioning economists. What we used to associate only with Soviet-era papers like Pravda increasingly pervades much of the mainstream media.

In such an environment, it’s not surprising that legislators and elected state officials feel free to target churches, conservative think tanks or energy companies such as Exxon with criminal sanctions and penalties. That such approaches are disguised either as being “scientific” or reflective of “social justice” makes them no less heinous, and fundamentally illiberal, in terms of traditional American values of tolerance and respect for dissenting opinions.

Forgetting Madison, embracing groupthink

For the record, I am neither a Christian, nor do I deny that climate change could pose a potential serious long-term threat to humanity. What worries me most is the idea that one must embrace official orthodoxy about how to combat this phenomenon, or question its priority over so many other pressing concerns, such as alleviating poverty, both here and abroad, protecting the oceans or a host of other issues. Similarly, I have always disagreed with holy rollers like Sen. Ted Cruz, who would seek to limit, for example, abortion or the rights of gay people to marry, or would allow school prayer.

But the new progressive intolerance now represents, in many ways, as great, if not more pervasive, a threat to the republic than that posed by either religious fundamentalists or even the most fervent climate change denier. It violates the Madisonian principle that assumed that religious and moral ideas “must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” To revoke that principle is to reduce the United States to just another authoritarian state, even if the official ideology is couched in scientific research or estimable embrace of racial or gender differences.

It is no surprise, then, that today many Christians – as much as two-thirds, according to one recent survey – feel that they are being persecuted. Indeed, if they dissent from orthodox views, they now can find themselves the subjects of official opprobrium, as seen in the case of Chick-fil-A in New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged his constituents, somewhat unsuccessfully, to boycott the popular restaurant. In some cases, you can lose your job by taking the wrong position, as was the case for Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla. The attempt to impose orthodoxy on religious schools, as in SB1146, seems the logical extension of such thinking.

The jihad against anyone who dissents on climate issues also impacts those who are not religious. Couched in the oft-repeated hysterical language that has come to dominate green politics, anyone who dissents on the orthodoxy – whether a moderate Democrat, an energy company or the stray scientific skeptic – faces the possibility of official persecution.

Already, 16 Democratic state attorneys general are actively seeking such action against companies and individuals, which should offend anyone who believes in the ideals of free speech and diversity of opinion. That our own governor and Legislature embrace such repressive views is anathema to the very idea of California, where the “free speech” movement originated and fostering unorthodoxy has been something of a tradition. Slowly, our very essence – born of debate and dissent and the presence of so many ethnicities and world views – is being stamped out in an attempt to enforce orthodoxy. This process, as in so many areas, has been exacerbated by our transition into a one-party state where, increasingly, only the most orthodox views on all issues can be tolerated.

Ultimately, we as Americans – and Californians – will pay a price for this. History is replete with stories of decline brought on by enforced official orthodoxy, from Byzantium to China’s Qing dynasty, the Spain of the Inquisition, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the current religious autocracies of the contemporary Middle East. As we seek to limit options and ways of thought about everything from marriage and bathrooms to how the planet operates, we don’t just persecute dissenters. We also undermine our ability to innovate, adapt and evolve as a society.



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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20 June, 2016

A very angry woman writes:

"The horrific assassination of British MP Jo Cox should act as a caution for Anthony Watts and his personal vendetta against scientists, whose only "crime" is doing scientific research. He should be very wary of doing or writing anything that would lead one of his nutters to do something like that. I doubt he'll stop"


She claims that her blog is "not a high-brow blog" and it shows.  She is just full of anger, in the common Leftist way.  The anger seems to have flared up when she "was banned from the share trading forum, HotCopper" but for some unknown reason, the anger seems subsequently to have overflowed onto Anthony Watts.  She is pretty obsessed by him.  Just about everything he does is wrong, according to her.  She is particularly steamed up about one of his more light-hearted posts -- about solar panels on Warmist roofs.  A very strange lady

Note that Greenie concerns HAVE fuelled terrorism. Take the case of James Jay Lee, a Greenie who thought that the TV was not Green enough and that babies were "disgusting". Terrorist skeptics have yet to emerge, though.

Spiegel Science Editor: “Surprises Me Again And Again How Some React To Critical Articles On Climate Science”

On June 8 Spiegel science editor Axel Bojanowski wrote a rather harsh piece criticizing recent claims in the German media that “heavy rainfalls” were becoming more frequent in Germany when in fact there is no statistical evidence to support the claim.

He even went so far to call the claims in the media “a climate bluff"

Over the past few weeks Germany and parts of Europe have experienced heavy rainfall. Unsurprisingly some catastrophe-obsessed scientists tried to link the weather to climate change. This prompted the Spiegel journalist to write in his June 8 commentary that the climate doomsday headlines made with every occurring weather anomaly seem to have become a “knee-jerk” reaction by German media outlets.

In response to his critical article, Bojanowski, a geologist by education, was met with a fierce backlash, led by Potsdam scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, who posted one his patented, carefully-crafted the-science-is-settled essays.

Four days later, on June 14, at his blog here, Bojanowski shot back, defending the harsh criticism and tone he used in his critical article, and reiterated that the evidence of more days with extreme rainfall remains was non-existent and that scientists who claim otherwise are harming the discipline of science:

"My criticism was simple: Weather data show no increase in days with heavy rainfalls in Germany – experts, who hide this data, or who claim the opposite, are misleading the citizens, squandering trust in science, and are making science obsolete.”

On claims his criticism was exaggerated, he writes: “No. When experts – especially experts paid by the citizen – hide information or spin it, you should be able to read about this.”

Bojanowski adds: "None of the scientists or meteorolgists that I had criticzed supplied data that would show a long-term increase in heavy rainfalls in Germany. That’s exactly the problem.”

Bojanowski does say, however: "But it would not surprise me if soon there were data showing an increase in heavy rainfall in Germany.”

Climate science is not like other sciences

Because Bojanowski writes about climate, geology and earth sciences, he is well aware that debate and challenge are the fuels that drive scientific progress. So it’s only natural for him to express his surprise at the reactions scientists and journalists had to his critical articles. He summarizes:

"It surprises me again and again how some react to critical articles on climate science. In medical journalism, critical, evidence-based journalism has established itself. I’m very curious to see how things will progress in climate science, foremost concerning the results.”

Indeed, especially over the coming 5 – 10 years.


The Ozone Bureaucracy Complex: EPA Regulations That Can't Distinguish Between a National Park and City Harm the Poor Most

In October 2015, the EPA announced a new standard for ground-level ozone, tightening its stringent existing standard even more. It set the new standard at 70 parts per million (0.0070% of the atmosphere), a 9% decrease from the previous standard of 75 ppm established in 2008. Along with nearly 1000 counties nationwide that may not meet this new standard, one-third of all US counties, you’ll find at least 26 national parks. Does it seem ridiculous to you that the EPA has created a situation where some of the most rural and pristine areas of the United States could be lumping in the same category with the most densely-populated and industrialized? Well, then you don’t know the EPA.

Like many of today’s destructive regulations, this story began with a good idea. Ozone is a known pollutant that can be hazardous to human health, especially at high concentrations. In the Clean Air Act, Congress granted EPA the authority to set national standards for ozone concentrations in an effort to reduce then dangerously high ozone levels. And these regulations have been successful: from 1980-2014 national average ozone readings fell by 33%.

However, like any bureaucracy, the EPA knows that succeeding in an objective does not mean it is time to stop, regulation must always continue to grow. But ozone is not just produced by human activity, there are natural sources of ozone as well as ozone that drifts over the United States from other countries. Ozone from these sources is collectively known as background ozone. Background ozone levels vary from one part of the country to another, but in many parts of the country are close to or above the EPA’s new ozone standard, resulting the ludicrous situation of national parks exceeding the standard.

For example, under the new standards White Pine County, NV will be in violation. White Pine is a county of 9,000 square miles with a mere 10,000 residents, 94% of the county is federally owned land, and much of that is national park or pristine wilderness. And yet, because of background ozone, this county does not and likely cannot meet the EPA’s new standard. If this county cannot comply with the standard, it faces the prospect of permanently being labelled “non-attainment” for ozone, a draconian designation which severely limits building and investment. Counties with high background ozone levels face the impossible situation where the EPA demands they lower ozone readings, but the counties do not have any means to comply. But no matter, it is the job of the EPA to issue new decrees, and the job of the people to comply.

Even for those areas that have the theoretical ability to continue reducing ozone levels, there is the economic cost to consider. The EPA’s own projection of costs has varied wildly: in 2010 EPA projected that the 70 ppm standard would cost $19-25 billion a year, but by 2015 when EPA issued the regulation, it estimated a cost of just $1.4 billion per year. Private estimates of course range much higher.

Moving beyond that headline number, think about what these costs mean for the communities that must bear them. For example, several of the counties that will newly be in violation of EPA ozone standard are in northern Arizona and New Mexico, and a majority of the area of these counties is covered by the Navajo Nation reservation. The Navajo Nation has a poverty rate of 43%, and an unemployment rate of 42%. Per capita income on the reservation is about $7,300, and many thousands of homes on the reservation are not even connected to electricity.

This is a part of the country that needs jobs and economic investment, precisely what the ozone standards prevent. Indeed, across the country counties which are in violation of ozone standards are often home to some of the most concentrated areas of poverty in the United States. A factory that cannot be built near Chicago because of the EPA can be built somewhere else, but the poor residents of Chicago continue to go without jobs. The EPA fails to consider that draconian economic punishments from ozone standards hurt the poor the most, and a lifetime of grinding poverty is far more harmful to a person’s health and wellbeing than ozone levels of 75 ppm.

Ultimately, this is yet another example of a bureaucracy creating a new regulation where none is need simply to justify their own existence. Ozone levels and emissions have fallen for decades, and would continue to fall under the 2008 standard. Indeed, the 2008 standard has still not been fully implemented. The EPA itself has identified 19 metropolitan areas which need more time to meet the previous 2008 standards, and will be giving those areas more time to comply.

The EPA claims that it has no choice and must proceed with this rulemaking, but in 2011 President Obama ordered the EPA to withdraw its previous proposed ozone standard in the name of “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.” But today it seems that despite pitifully weak economic growth, regulatory burdens are no longer such a concern.


Top Scientists: CO2-Induced Warming Is “Weak” To Non-Existent For Greenland, Antarctica!

We routinely read about “highest ever” Arctic ice sheet and sea ice melt rates in the Arctic. And about rapid, “faster-than-expected” melting of ice shelves in West Antarctica.  And then, of course, we’re told that sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate — a catastrophically accelerating rate — due to the amplified warming at the poles, or “polar amplification”.

The predominant cause of these alarming climate changes is almost invariably attributed to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, of course. These headlines are now commonplace, designed to grab our attention and stir us to action.  But does the scientific evidence confirm that the polar climate is predominantly determined by the rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions?

As documented in the below Climate4you graph (HadCRUT4), the Arctic climate has followed a roughly 60-year oscillation in the last century. Arctic (70-90 N) temperatures warmed during the 1920s to 1940s, cooled during the 1950s to1990s, and then returned to a warming trend from the mid-1990s onward.

Back in the early 1990s, the failure of the Arctic region to warm during the previous ~40 years (1950-1990) despite the concomitant increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions was puzzling to scientists publishing in the journal Nature (Kahl et al., 1993: “Absence of evidence for greenhouse warming over the Arctic Ocean in the past 40 years“), leading them to question whether the models for the CO2 greenhouse warming hypothesis  could adequately explain climate fluctuations for the polar regions.

In contrast to the recent Arctic warming trend, there has been a lack of atmospheric warming in and around Antarctica since the late 1970s according to both the UAH and RSS datasets (as shown in the two graphs below). Scientists have documented a net growth in Antarctic sea ice in the last few decades, and, according to Fan et al. (2014), the Southern Ocean has also cooled since 1979, consistent with the increase in sea ice.  These results are, of course, not consistent with modeled projections.

Key points from the Fan et al. (2014) paper entitled “Recent Antarctic sea ice trends in the context of Southern Ocean surface climate variations since 1950“:

[A]ll of these studies reported a close relationship between [sea ice extent] and sea surface temperature (SST) whereby sea ice gain is associated with lower SSTs and vice versa. … Cooling is evident over most of the Southern Ocean in all seasons and the annual mean, with magnitudes approximately 0.2–0.4°C per decade or 0.7–1.3°C over the 33 year period [1979-2011].”

The unsettled science of polar amplification and CO2 forcing

As the warming in the Arctic has resumed (after decades of cooling), scientists no longer seem to be questioning the theoretical models projecting a polar-amplified warming due to increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Instead, it is presumed to be “settled science” that the dominant cause of the Arctic warming trend since the mid-1990s has been anthropogenic  CO2 emissions.

But is the science of polar amplification due to a rise in atmospheric CO2 really settled? A paper published recently  (2015) by Dr. Schmithüsen (Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany) and colleagues may seriously undermine this conceptualization. The scientists analyze observational measurements (using the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer) of global-scale CO2 radiative forcing and find the greenhouse warming effect for CO2 is “weak” (Greenland) to non-existent (Antarctica) at polar locations, and that the CO2 greenhouse warming effect is instead strongest in the equatorial regions.   Not only is the polar amplification paradigm  rendered questionable by these observed results,  but Schmithüsen et al. (2015) have found that, for central Antarctica, increasing CO2 actually leads to a “negative greenhouse effect”, or a net cooling.

Cloud radiative forcing more than CO2 radiative forcing

To put this relatively “weak” -1 to +5 W/m2 CO2 greenhouse forcing for the polar regions into perspective, consider that the radiative forcing (greenhouse warming effect) for clouds has been found  to be several times  greater (~30 W/m2) over the Greenland ice sheet than for CO2 forcing (~5 W/m2).   In fact, scientists (Tricht et al., 2016) have determined that cloud forcing warmed the Greenland climate by 1.2°C from 2007 to 2010, which is enough heat energy to melt 90 Gigatonnes (Gt) of ice.

Here’s an excerpt from the Tricht et al. (2016) paper “Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff“:

"Clouds are known to play a pivotal role in regulating the local SEB [Surface Energy Balance], with competing warming and cooling effects on the surface. […] The satellite-based cloud observations allow to estimate the cloud impact on the SEB [Surface Energy Balance].  … The annual mean CRE [Cloud Radiative Effect] of 29.5 (±5.2) W m 2 provides enough energy to melt 90 Gt of ice in the GrIS [Greenland Ice Sheet] ablation area during July and August. … The snow model simulations, which capture the evolution of the GrIS SMB [Surface Mass Balance] from 2007 to 2010, indicate that clouds warm the GrIS [Greenland Ice Sheet] surface by 1.2° (±0.1) C on average over the entire period [2007-2010]. … These results further indicate that not only liquid-bearing clouds but also clouds composed exclusively of ice significantly increase radiative fluxes into the surface and decrease GrIS SMB [Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance]”

Not only for Greenland, but on a global scale, cloud radiative forcing has also long been observed to be far more climatically influential than CO2 forcing. For example, in the Ramanathan et al. (1989) paper entitled “Cloud-Radiative Forcing and Climate: Results from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment” — which has been cited over 1300 times in the peer-reviewed literature — it was determined that the greenhouse effect of CO2 may need to be increased by a factor of 100 to approach the greenhouse effect of clouds.


The implications of these measurements showing relatively minimal CO2 greenhouse forcing at the poles are enormous. Succinctly, the alarmist insistence of a significant anthropogenic influence on polar ice sheet melting and the consequent impact on sea level rise become highly dubious if observational evidence reveals that the CO2 greenhouse effect is only very modest  (-1 to +5 W/m2) for the polar regions.  For if the Arctic warming trend and sea ice decline that resumed in the 1990s cannot be significantly attributed to increases in atmospheric CO2, this severely undercuts the heart of alarming claims about humans catastrophically altering the polar — and global — climate.

The sensational headlines about melting polar ice and rapidly accelerating sea level rise would be reported with much less exhortative zeal if there wasn’t also a co-existing paradigm that says anthropogenic CO2 emissions are what drive these alleged climate changes. So when science doesn’t corroborate what the alarming headlines say about a significant anthropogenic or CO2 influence on the polar climate, ice melt, or sea level rise, that science is usually glossed over…or dismissed.  After all, the science is supposed to be settled. Right?

More HERE 

Former ACLU Prez: Targeting Global Warming Skeptics Is ‘Pure Harassment’

Harvey Silverglate, a renowned civil rights attorney and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts, called investigations of global warming skeptics by state attorneys general “pure harassment.”

“It is outrageous for any law enforcement official to be seeking to win this battle for minds by flexing law enforcement muscle and trying to shut up the other side,” Silverglate told The Boston Herald Thursday.

Silverglate, a veteran civil rights lawyer, was reacting to a subpoena issued Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, demanding ExxonMobil turn over 40 years of records, including records regarding prominent conservative think tanks.

Healey claims the investigation is to determine if Exxon misled the public and shareholders about the risks of global warming. Healey is the latest state prosecutor to demand records from groups that disagree with her on global warming. New York AG Eric Schneiderman became the first law enforcer to investigate Exxon in November.

“It’s not the way scientific or factual or even political battles are settled in this country, which last I checked is still a free country,” Silverglate said, who founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

State AGs claim their investigations are based on reporting from liberal news outlets that Exxon tried to cover up the truth about global warming by funding conservative groups skeptical of man-made warming and opposed to anti-fossil fuel policies.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” 19 Democratic California lawmakers recently wrote to state AG Kamala Harris, who has her own probe into Exxon.

But as more AGs start to investigate their political opponents, others are propping up to stop what they see as attacks on free speech.

“Exxon is a resident of the state of Texas, and we felt this was an attack on their first amendment rights,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said after he and Alabama AG Luther Strange filed a brief in support of Exxon’s legal battle to defeat a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker.

“They have every right to have their opinions on climate change. In my opinion you cross the line when you start prosecuting individuals for disagreeing with you,” he said.

Newspapers have also come out against Democratic AGs who are targeting Exxon.

“Climate change campaigners argue the seriousness of the issue means extreme measures are warranted, but the exact opposite is the case,” the Financial Times editorial board wrote in response to the Exxon investigation.

“It is precisely because the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard. The actions by the attorney-generals can only degrade the quality of that debate,” they wrote.


Australia: The Great Barrier Reef’s Self-Serving Saviours


(Walter Starck is one of the pioneers in the scientific investigation of coral reefs. He grew up in the Florida Keys and received a PhD in marine science from the University of Miami in 1964.  He has over 40 years worldwide experience in reef studies and his work has encompassed the discovery of much of the basic nature of reef biology. In this process over 100 species of fishes, which were new to science, were found as well as numerous, corals, shells, crustaceans and other new discoveries)

All the many and varied claims of threats are based on speculation and the flat-out fabrications of researchers, bureaucrats and activists seeking grants and donations. Let us hope that a political leader emerges to decry and defund the gold-plated alarmists and the immense harm they are doing

Virtually every year for the past half-century news reports have bannered dire proclamations by “reef experts” on imminent “threats” to the Great Barrier Reef. This has sustained an ongoing, ever-growing charade of “research” and “management” aimed at saving the reef from a litany of hypothetical threats conjured up by a salvation industry which now costs taxpayers over $100 million annually. Although none of these “threats” have ever proven to be anything other than hypothetical possibilities or  temporary fluctuations of nature, the doomsters never cease to rummage through their litany of concerns to find something they can present as urgent in order to keep the funding flowing.

For a time in the 1970s and ’80s genuine basic research was beginning to reveal a fascinating range of new understanding about the reef. Sadly, this all too brief golden age of discovery faded away when researchers found that the surest path to funding was to go with the flow and float their careers on the rising tide of environmentalism.  We now have a whole generation of researchers whose entire involvement has been in the context of investigating various environmental concerns. Understandably, they perceive and/or present every fluctuation of nature as evidence of some threat.

In this process the open, sceptical, inquiring approach of science has been displaced by what has become the environmental facet of political correctness.  Like the latter, it is weak on evidence and brooks no questioning of its doctrine, the penalty for any such heresy being personal denigration, the rejection of research funding, and the rejection of papers by peer-reviewed journals. At its most sinister, even dismissal from employment.

However, and despite all the pretence of scientific authority and consensus, there has been an growing divergence between the orthodoxy and the reality. This stress has recently ruptured into a serious fracture of the salvationist monolith. A recent article, “Great Barrier Reef: scientists ‘exaggerated’ coral bleaching“, in The Australian reports the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Russell Reichelt, as stating that the extent of the recent coral bleaching event has been greatly exaggerated.  This admission is particularly significant for two reasons: it specifically contradicts claims by researchers, and it comes from the GBRMPA, which until now has itself taken a lead in proclaiming the scientific authority of the many and purported threats to the reef.

Additional support for the accusation of serious exaggeration about threats to the reef has also come from the reef tourism industry, which is gravely concerned about the negative impact of such publicity on their businesses. As the dive-boat captains and tour operators know from their own direct and daily experience, the reef remains healthy and vibrant. It is not dying.

Meanwhile, the doomsters persist in upping the ante to a level of absurdity, now claiming $16 billion is needed from government over the next decade to save the reef.

The reef itself is out there, over the horizon and beneath the sea, where the truth and evidence of its ongoing good health is safely inaccessible. Any alleged and imminent catastrophe can be claimed, with little risk of those claims being revealed as untrue. Indeed, given the media’s inclination to take dictation rather than seek and publish facts, such assertions are seldom even questioned.  In the absence of evidence, an easy-to-claim “authority” alone prevails.  “Experts” flourish where knowledge struggles and trust is safe from test. Even so, truth has a way of accumulating over time until even the best crafted untruths cannot be maintained.

Recently, there has been a flurry of doomster propaganda capitalising on an extensive coral bleaching event. The thrust of the impression being presented is that most of the corals on the GBR have been killed, that climate change is the cause, and making billions of dollars available to the reef salvation industry is urgently necessary.

The actual situation is far less dramatic. Bleaching events occur when wave-driven mixing ceases during periods of extended calm associated with strong El Niño conditions.  This results in the one- to two-metre surface of the ocean becoming several degrees warmer than the water immediately below. This extra-warm layer moves up and down several meters with the tide and may extend deeper in channels or around the edges of reefs where it flows off shallow reef tops on a falling tide.  Corals subjected to excessive warmth and rapid temperature fluctuations expel the symbiotic algae which live in their tissues and their white limestone skeletons show through their now-colourless polyps. Such bleaching mainly affects the shallow tops of reefs where it is also very conspicuous. Coral at greater depths remain healthy.

The GBR consists of over 2500 named reefs and many more smaller, unnamed coral patches. The high percentages claimed to be affected by bleaching refer to a sample of reefs where some bleaching was seen, not to the total area of coral which has been affected. The reef is vast and bleaching surveys have naturally concentrated on the regions where it is occurring. How much of the total coral area of the GBR has bleached has not been assessed. A reasonable estimate would likely be closer to 10-20% than to the 90+% being claimed in news reports. Most of the affected corals can be expected to survive and promptly recover, just as they have in other bleaching events.

Some portion of bleached corals will indeed die, and high levels of recovery may require a decade or more. However, mortality from this cause is natural and not dissimilar to the effect of naturally occurring fires in  forests. On the GBR, damage to reefs from severe tropical cyclones is in fact much more intense, extensive and frequent than the effects of bleaching. Historical records and proxy studies clearly indicate that both El Niño events and tropical cyclones have been common for many centuries and that neither their frequency nor intensity has increased.  In fact, the frequency and intensity of storms in the past century appear to have been well below the preceding one, and there is clear evidence of far more severe impacts in earlier centuries.

It is also important to be aware that extensive coral mortality on shallow reef tops can result from heavy rain during an exceptionally low tide when corals can be exposed to the air for several hours.  These so-called “minus tides” can be accurately predicted; typically, they occur several times in most years. It is not at all improbable that this entirely natural factor might also be involved in the mortality being attributed to the recent bleaching.

Whatever the cause, though, any apparent damage is never wasted by those who understand the academic funding process better than than they are prepared to admit grasping the truth about the reef, its corals and eco systems. For otherwise un-notable academics, it is a welcome opportunity to appear important, to bask in the spotlight and attract public attention, to hype the “save the reef” industry and squeeze further funding from politicians under pressure to be seen as doing something, no matter how pointless and expensive. Next year — and you can bet the house on this — the current “threat” will be forgotten in favour of a fresh one.

The repeated claim of a 50% decline in coral cover is based on a recent study which was preceded by an earlier one using the same data from the same research institution only two years before. The first one concluded that no statistically significant change in coral cover had occurred over the previous 25 years. The 50% decline was then declared after including surveys of the damage inflicted by two Category 5 cyclones in the subsequent two years, along with liberal application of some dubious statistical jiggery pokery. Contrary to the claims of this second study, the frequency of such storms is not increasing and reefs do recover surprisingly quickly.  A 20% increase in coral cover in the cyclone damaged areas has already been found.

The newer study was published in a high level peer-reviewed journal which requires that any conflicting evidence be addressed. Although the earlier study was briefly cited in passing, no acknowledgment was made of its directly contradictory conclusion. By not mentioning any conflicting evidence in a journal which specifically requires this, the false impression was presented that there is none. It is also worth noting that the lead author of the first study was a co-author of the later one. How then to explain the conflicted findings? At minimum, some might see scientific misconduct at work, perhaps even outright fraud.

Crown-of-Thorns starfish infestations devouring corals are another superannuated “threat” currently being recycled.  In the past it was first blamed on shell collecting, then on fishing when the charge against collectors lost all credibility.  More recently, the blame shifted to declining water quality due to fertiliser runoff from farming. The reality is that erratic population booms are inherent to the reproductive strategy of starfish and are well known for various species all over the world.  Crown-of-Thorns outbreaks commonly occur on isolated oceanic reefs, as well as on coastal reefs in desert regions where agricultural runoff cannot be a factor. Extensive sampling of the frequency of the distinctive spines of the CoT starfish in reef sediments indicate large and erratic fluctuations for at least the past 8000 years.  On the GBR no credible correlation has been demonstrated between CoT outbreaks and runoff events. In Western Australia the same kind of CoT outbreaks occur despite there being no runoff from agriculture.

Corals on the GBR are frequently subject to extensive natural mortality from storms, floods and bleaching events. There is no evidence of any recent increase in the frequency or intensity of such events. In the subsequent recovery process the fast growing branching and plate-like coral forms tend to overgrow the slower growing, more massive species. The preference of CoT for these faster growing forms may well be important in the maintenance of coral diversity.

The effect of runoff on GBR water quality has also been grossly exaggerated. Significant runoff in the GBR catchment is limited to occasional brief flood events. These affect only relatively restricted inshore areas well removed from the main body of the reef, which is much further offshore. The nutrient flux on the outer reefs is dominated by naturally occurring internal waves which are much more frequent and orders of magnitude greater in effect than anything coming from the land. Contrary to the highly misleading claims of the reef’s self-proclaimed and self-promoting saviours, there is no evidence of decreasing water quality on the GBR. If anything, the quality of runoff has almost certainly improved over recent decades from advances in land-management practices. In particular this has included a substantial reduction in fertiliser and pesticide usage. There is simply no evidence for any decline in water quality on the reef, and agrichemical usage in the catchment area has declined in recent decades.  In short, no evidence exists for anything other than natural perturbations in the condition of the GBR.

A further repeated and grossly misleading claim by the reef salvation industry involves the value of reef tourism.  They often cite a varying figure in the billions of dollars which, if not entirely fabricated, can only be the total value for all tourism in the region.  This ignores the fact that only about half of visitors actually visit the reef at all and, for the majority of those who do, it is a one-time day trip. A 2013 report by Deloitte Access Economics entitled Economic Contribution of the Great Barrier Reef estimated the value of reef-related tourism in 2012 was $481.4 million — a mere 7.5% of the total value for tourism. Attributing the entire value for tourism to the reef is no more honest than attributing it to the rainforests, beaches, restaurants, backpacking or any other activity that attracts tourist dollars. To do this repeatedly is pathetically ignorant, grossly dishonest or both.

Still another, repeatedly presented misrepresentation is that of increasing warming of reef waters. While there does seem to be a slight warming trend of about three-quarters of a °C over the past century in the global average temperature, the records on which this is based are highly variable and erratic with a margin of error which is greater than the claimed warming.  Where good records are available some places show warming and others cooling.  The available sea surface temperature data from the GBR shows no statistically significant trend over the past three decades.

The reef is fine. Reef tourism operators know this from direct daily experience and have belatedly started to object to the doomster propaganda. All of the claims of threats to the GBR are based entirely on hypothetical speculations or outright fabrications by researchers, bureaucrats and activists seeking grants, budgets and donations. To its credit, as noted above, even the GBRMPA has recently found the untruths and exaggerations too much to endorse. Government needs to recognise that where genuine understanding is limited, committed belief in the prevailing misunderstanding does not constitute genuine expertise, nor can truth be conjured by modelling ignorance with a computer.

Coral reefs are highly diverse dynamic environments frequently subject to large natural perturbations.  Environmentalism primes us to believe in a “fragile balance of nature”, with any significant fluctuation as evidence of some unnatural “impact” caused by humans. Researchers soon discovered that investigation of environmental threats assured generous funding and the result is now  a whole generation of researchers whose entire training and experience of the reef has been in the context of  investigating such threats. They see every fluctuation as a threat and while they proclaim deep concern for the reef, their true commitment is more to the threats. This becomes apparent if any suggestion is made that a purported threat may not be as great as they claim to fear.  The reaction is never hopeful interest. Always, it is angry rejection.

Regardless of whether the reef salvation industry is based on sincere self-delusion or more base motives, it is out of touch with the reality of both the reef and the economic circumstances we face. It has become an extravagant farce. It has never effectively addressed any threat and is something we can no longer afford. It is past time for this to begin to be recognised as such, most particularly

The claim that $16 billion is needed to save the reef is utter nonsense. That vast sum cannot prevent climate change, nor can it stop storms, floods or El Niño events. It cannot prevent starfish outbreaks or bleaching. All it can achieve is to keep the reef saviours on a permanent Barrier Reef holiday and drive more of our struggling primary producers out of production with ever more restrictions, demands and costs.

This is beyond stupid. It is obscene.  Australia is indeed the lucky country — but luck, by definition, is never a permanent condition and the current circumstances of the economy are unprecedented and serious, with prospects for the future even more so. Although having one of the world’s highest levels of per capita GDP, Australia also ranks among the highest of developed nations in personal debt, interest rates, and taxation, as well as costs for housing, power, food, education and health care.  At the same time most manufacturing has been driven offshore and is now at the lowest portion of GDP in developed economies.

In an economy increasingly dependent on primary production the number of small independent producers has also declined by two-thirds or more over recent decades.  This is true across the spectrum from small miners to farmers, graziers, loggers and fishermen. Although various factors have played a role in this change, ever increasing environmental restrictions, demands and costs have been key elements. Unfortunately, these smaller independent operators were the flexible, low-overhead producers who could weather the vicissitudes of nature and markets to thrive in better times. The result has been an ever increasing dominance of foreign owned multinational companies across primary production as well as soaring food prices for domestic consumers.

Australia is now caught up in a perfect storm of weak commodity prices, a high dependence on imports and overseas borrowing, plus an economic base that is increasingly foreign owned. Although the behaviour of complex dynamic systems, such as the national economy or the GBR, is inherently impossible to predict with certainty, the best available evidence indicates that the condition of the economy is far more threatened than is the reef. The “threats” to the reef exist only in the realm of hypothetical possibilities imagined by armchair “experts” claiming authority and unsupported by any firm evidence.  The demand for government to spend billions of dollars to “save” the reef is simply obscene when the effective real outcome can only be to load more demands and restrictions on vital productive activity already struggling to remain viable.

A further exposure of the rot in reef science appeared only a few days ago in The Australian (June 11)  entitled “Reef whistleblower censured by James Cook University” reports that Professor Peter Ridd, a very experienced and highly regarded senior professor at James Cook University, was threatened with a charge of serious misconduct for questioning the scientific integrity of some blatantly alarmist claims about the GBR. In academic speak “serious misconduct” is code for the sack. If a highly regarded senior professor is so treated take it as a given that the 90+% of academics who are more junior in status will take note to avoid any appearance of dissent. It appears that, as far as the administration at JCU is concerned, maintenance of a comfortable place at the public trough must override any considerations of academic freedom or scientific integrity. It would seem the official definition of “serious misconduct” is more concerned with exposing it than with its commission.

To add a further layer of absurdity to the farce, the upcoming election is seeing politicians of all parties vie with one another to shuffle and re-label sundry budget items and issues in order to inflate public perception of their “commitment” to saving the reef.  As if a solar farm in Western Australia or banning a coalmine in outback Queensland represents meaningful efforts to save the reef!

Reader responses to alarmist hype in the mainstream news media clearly indicate a large and growing majority of the electorate is unsympathetic to the ongoing eco farce. When a political leader finally emerges who is willing to confront it, that person is likely to find a tsunami of support. We can only hope that day is coming soon.



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

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


19 June, 2016

Global warming will make it too hot to work in the tropics

That's a reasonable summary of the long article below. It's complete nonsense.  And it's REALLY nonsense to pick 25°C as a cutoff point.  These guys know nothing of the tropics.

There are already highly productive agricultural industries in the tropics -- where I was born.  And we already cope with heat in the '30s (F '90s) with perfect ease.  And I can assure one and all that a couple of degrees hotter would make no difference.  We already have some super-hot days that we endure without blinking.  We are of course heat-adapted so what seems normal to us would seem stifling to people coming direct from a cool climate. 

And, last I heard, a lot of our tractors still did not have air-conditioning!  And it's not just tractor drivers who work well in the conditions.  For years, my own father spent months cutting sugarcane every day -- just using a type of machete: Hard, dirty   outdoor manual labour under the bright tropical sun.

A sugarcane knife

LONDON—Climate change is likely to affect the global economy—and it may already have begun to affect raw material supplies from tropical regions, according to new research.

That is because, in a global economy, the flow of wealth depends on a secure supply chain, and productivity that depends on outdoor work in the tropics could become more precarious in a warming world.

Even in a temperate zone country such as Australia, researchers have linked heat extremes with economic losses. And climate-related disasters are on the increase, claiming not just lives but a growing economic toll.

Research has also indicated that, without drastic action, some regions may reach temperatures that could make them uninhabitable.

Heat exhaustion

But there is already evidence that at temperatures around or above 25°C, labour productivity declines. At significantly higher temperatures, heat exhaustion becomes a hazard. And if output falls at a source of materials, then workers far away who depend on those supplies will also see their productivity falter.

Two German scientists report in Science Advances journal that they tracked economic traffic from 26 industry sectors—including mining, quarrying, textiles, forestry and agriculture—all the way to final demand in 186 countries.

They matched temperature, population and global economic connections from 1991-2011, and then fed into their computer simulations the known consequences of heat stress on workers. Their finding was that interdependence had increased, and with this interdependence had come vulnerability.

“The structure of our economic system has changed in a way that production losses in one place can more easily cause further losses elsewhere”

The implication is that what might be bad news for workers in one region subjected to extremes of heat would ripple through the global market.

“Our study shows that, since the beginning of the 21st century, the structure of our economic system has changed in a way that production losses in one place can more easily cause further losses elsewhere,” says Leonie Wenz, a physics PhD student at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “What is self-evident for us today is really a phenomenon of the last two decades.”

Worldwide repercussions

Single events – such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which destroyed half the world’s production of coconut oil, a vegetable fat used in food production worldwide, and the 2011 Queensland flood in Australia that halted production at one of the world’s largest coal sites for weeks—have repercussions worldwide.

But smaller perturbations linked to heat stress for workers also impose costs far from the locale where the temperatures have soared.

“With unabated climate change, the rise in global mean temperature will have severe impacts on natural and societal systems,” says Anders Levermann, head of global adaptation strategies at PIK and adjunct senior research scientist Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the US.

“To estimate the costs of future climate change, we need to assess global economic impacts of more frequent heat extremes and meteorological impacts, such as floods and storms, and understand their relation to the economic network’s structure.

“In a warming world with more intense weather extremes, it is likely that society needs to become more resilient and more flexible.”


British beech tree could die out as global warming brings more extreme droughts (?)

This is just silly speculation. Given the constant flooding going on in Britain in recent months, the threat of drought is a bit of a hoot.  Britain is a basically a wet climate but does on some occasions have what they call a drought -- usually reduced rain in the South while the rain comes down steadily in the North.  And the "Great Drought of 1976" lasted only from late 1975 to mid 1976.  Australian farmers would wish they could be so lucky.

So it is true that in Britain trees are not well drought-adapted.  But postulating drought as an effect of global warming is absurd.  Warmer seas would evaporate off more water vapour, which produces MORE rain

A study of tree rings has found while elsewhere in Europe it is relatively resilient to droughts, the same is not true in the UK.

The beech is associated with femininity and is often referred to as the queen of British trees, while oak is the king.

It has flourished since the last ice age but warming temperatures means it is now facing its biggest threat.

The south of England is a stronghold of the beech. Since the last ice age it has been here that the tree, a latecomer from Europe, has found its strongest home.

This is the latest gloomy prediction over the threat to nature from global warming, which is thought to be behind extensive damage to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Professor Alistair Jump, of the University of Stirling , said: "As our climate continues to warm, droughts will become more frequent and more extreme.

GettyBeech treesThe beech tree is a British icon
"Beech forests across Europe will be hit increasingly hard, with a high risk of widespread mortality when the next big dry spell hits - particularly in southern parts of the UK.

Read more: Is this the first mammal to be made extinct by climate change?

"These trees at the centre of the region where the species grows are more vulnerable to our changing climate than we previously realised and as a result, I would expect to see long-lasting changes to the makeup of our woodlands."

The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined tree ring data from across Western Europe to help uncover the extent to which the growth of beech forests is being impacted by changes in climate.

Those located at the centre of the region where the species grows, in this case southern England, were least resistant to drought compared to forests located elsewhere in Europe.

Plant ecologist Prof Jump said: "Beech trees across Europe are extremely vulnerable to the effects of drought. These long dry spells cause sudden and widespread reduced growth within the species. "We might expect beech forests in hotter and drier regions of Europe, such as southern France and Spain, to be most at risk.

"However, we have found that the south of the UK - the very centre of the area where the species grows - is most badly affected."

The research also revealed that the damage inflicted on beech trees during the record breaking hot summer of 1976 has impacted forests throughout the UK.

Prof Jump said: "We previously found the so called Great Drought of 1976 continues to impact forest found in South Wales.

Read more: Carbon dioxide levels 'have broken a critical watershed'

"Many beech trees were killed, while survivors often experience reduced growth now 40 years on. We now understand this extreme event had a big effect on tree growth right across the country."

He added: "We know the effects of the 1976 drought have lasted to the present day and expect future changes to our forests may be sudden and put many of our most iconic beech woods at significant risk."


Mosquito Control Expert: Congress Should Ease Pesticide Regulation to Target Pesticide Resistant, Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes

The most effective chemical for killing mosquitoes is DDT

T. Wayne Gale, president-elect of the American Mosquito Control Association and executive director of the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Florida, told Congress Wednesday that there may be a pesticide resistance issue in Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

Gale told Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) in a Capitol Hill briefing that addressed the possible spread of the Zika virus in Florida that an adequate response to the threat of the Zika virus “amounts to having personnel, pesticides, and equipment.”

“Do we have that?” Hastings asked.

“No, not statewide,” Gale said, adding “that right now is the focus of the money that is being provided by the health department in Florida is for personnel, pesticides, and equipment.”

“These mosquitoes are very difficult to control, and we’re finding right now that we might have a resistance issue to the pesticides we use,” he later added. “There’s research going on right now to determine the extent of that.”

Gale told that any legislation to streamline the approval process for pesticides “and make it less expensive, or at least provide some funding to help move new public health pesticides through, would be an important step in trying to get new materials and deal with the resistance issue.” asked Gale what pesticides have proven effective in combatting the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus, Zika-carrying mosquitoes, and about Florida’s plan in dealing with pesticide resistance with the tools they have available.

“Right now, we have two basic classes of compounds. What we call OPs or Organophosphates, Naled and Malathion, are probably the two primary that are used in public health pest control, and then the rest, most of the rest of the adult control materials are Synthetic Pyrethroids,” Gale explained.  “That’s where we’re seeing - you know, spotty resistance, localized resistance in a lot of areas - and so there aren’t a whole lot of alternatives, so it’s a difficult problem.” asked Gale about the Zika Vector Control Act, formerly the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, which did not move forward when it was brought up for a vote in the House in May. The legislation was backed by the American Mosquito Control Association and aimed to ease regulation on pesticide development to combat Zika carrying mosquitoes.

“The development process and the registration process for pesticides is very expensive, and it’s the federal government’s process that makes it so,” Gale said, “and so any legislation to kind of streamline that process and make it less expensive or at least provide some funding to help move new public health pesticides through would be an important step in trying to get new materials and deal with the resistance issue.”

Gale also told that to his knowledge, Florida’s Department of Health only had about $400,000 to distribute to mosquito control efforts.

“There’s funding that’s coming to the states from CDC. It’s through what they call ELC grants, which is Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants, and that money comes to the state health department, and the state health department distributes that money,” he explained.


106-Year-Old Photo Makes Global Warming Alarmists Think Twice About Paris Floods

As parts of France are currently under 18 feet of water, some have taken to blaming global warming, but a photographer from France has a picture that seeks to silence alarmist fears.

A picture taken by French photographer Julien Knez juxtaposes two floods brilliantly, showing that high water levels have occurred in recent memory in France, which casts doubt on claims of global warming being responsible for the current flooding.

While some point to global warming as the culprit, an article published by Watts Up With That — a site run by Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and founder of the ‘Surface Stations project‘ — on Wednesday shows the ‘Great Flood Of Paris’ in 1910 saw water levels rise to over 20 feet above normal long before global warming was an issue.

“More than 100 years ago, the Seine River rose a record breaking 8.6 m (roughly 20 feet) above usual levels, causing the catastrophe known as the 1910 Great Flood of Paris.” Kristine Mitchell wrote in a piece for on June 6.

Taking into account both the 1910 flood and this latest flood, France has been victim of six large floods since 1892: 1892 Mont Blanc glacier flood, the Great Flood of 1968, the December 1981 windstorm, and the 2010 Var floods.

Some are still eager to pin this flood on global warming, “The climate science community is speeding up its efforts to draw the links – the attribution – between extreme weather events and climate change,” Adam Vaughan wrote in a piece for The Guardian on Friday, “while such events are fresh in the public and politician’s minds.”

The Dutch weather agency and the University of Oxford put together a report that says their team “found that an event like this [is] now expected to occur roughly 80 percent more often due to climate change than it was in the past for the Seine River Basin.”

Not everyone is so quick to blame global warming though. “This statement sums up everything that is so wrong about this flawed study. There is a rush to blame every bad weather event on global warming for political reasons, and science suffers as a result.” Paul Homewood of said in response to Vaughan’s statement in an article published on Saturday, “Once you set out with that objective, there is bound to be confirmation bias, along with a determination to ignore contradictory evidence.”

Homewood goes on to say how the studies linking the French flood to global warming were done using computer models — which have come under fire for reliability issues —  and says: “All you need to do is tell the model that global warming leads to heavy rainfall, and Bob’s your uncle!”


The Climate Police Blink

There are few more rewarding sights than a bully scorned, so let’s hear it for the recent laments of Attorneys General Claude Walker (Virgin Islands) and Eric Schneiderman (New York), two ringleaders of the harassment campaign against Exxon and free-market think tanks over climate change.

Consider Mr. Walker’s recent retreat in District of Columbia superior court. In April he issued a sweeping subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, demanding a decade of emails, policy work and donor names. The goal is to intimidate anyone who raises doubts about climate science or the policy responses.

CEI fought back. It ran a full-page newspaper ad highlighting the Walker-Schneiderman effort to criminalize speech, and it counter-sued the Virgin Islands, demanding sanctions and attorneys fees.

The District of Columbia has a statute to deter what is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The law exists to curb malicious lawsuits that are designed solely to chill speech, and they put the burden on filers like Mr. Walker to show why their actions are likely to succeed.

Mr. Walker quietly withdrew his subpoena on May 20 (though retaining the right to reinstate it). CEI is pressing ahead with its suit anyway, and in an extraordinary filing on June 2 Mr. Walker essentially said “never mind.” He asked the court to dismiss CEI’s motion for sanctions and fees, writing that the think tank had “wasted enough of [his office’s] and the Court’s limited time and resources with its frivolous Anti-SLAPP motion.”

So having violated CEI’s First Amendment rights, subjected the group to public abuse and legal costs, and threatened its donors, Mr. Walker blames CEI for burdening the courts.

Mr. Schneiderman is also on defense for his subpoena barrage and claim that Exxon is guilty of fraud on grounds that it supposedly hid the truth about global warming from the public. The AG felt compelled to devote an entire speech at a legal conference to justify his actions. He accused Exxon and outside groups of engaging in “First Amendment opportunism,” which he said was a “dangerous new threat” to the state’s ability to protect its citizens. So exercising free speech to question government officials who threaten free speech is a threat to free speech.

He also cited a 1978 opinion in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti by then Justice William Rehnquist that the AG said supported his action against Exxon. Mr. Schneiderman failed to note he was quoting a Rehnquist dissent, meaning the law is the opposite of what the AG suggests.

The left keeps losing the climate political debate, so it resorts to imposing its policies by regulatory diktat as President Obama has, and now it is trying to use government power to intimidate and silence opponents. Congrats to CEI and Exxon for insisting that these political prosecutors obey the law.


Eastern Australian flood events: a 'significant' rise in frequency, says study

The BOM is getting cautious.  They must have learnt from their very cautious junior researcher, Acacia Pepler. 

Below they report an increase in floods but say only that it was "possibly" influenced by human-induced climate change.  Though Leftist readers will no doubt fail to to notice the "possibly".

But they are right to use "possibly".  They start their record from 1860 and a gentle sea-level rise has been going on since then, long before the alleged era of "human-induced climate change".  So more coastal flooding could be expected to show up over that long period.

Secondly, why don't we look at the period of alleged human influence, the post WWI era? Let's look from 1950 on.  Looking at their graph I can see NO trend in that period.  There is one anomalous spike around 1990 but the histogram overall looks pretty square starting in 1950. I haven't got the raw data to do a precise test but by eye there has been NO trend from 1950 on.  At most I see a downward trend.  How disppointing for them!

And finally, they got a lot of their data, not from official meteorology records but from "newspaper reports".  I hope I do not need to say why that is a very shaky data source.  Warmists can be amusing!

The academic journal article underlying the report below is "Major coastal flooding in southeastern Australia 1860–2012,  associated deaths and weather systems".  I note with amusement the second last sentence of the Abstract:  "Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century". So their findings UNDERMINE  global warming theory, if anything.  Pesky of me to notice that, isn't it?  You are not supposed to question the Gods

The frequency of major flood events along Australia's eastern seaboard is increasing, with climate change one of the possible factors, senior Bureau of Meteorology researchers say.

The report, published in the bureau's inaugural edition of the Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science, comes as eastern Australia braces for the second east coast low in as many weeks, with the potential for localised flooding including in the Sydney region.

Researchers, such as Acacia Pepler from the University of NSW, predict east coast lows may become less common during the winter months as the planet warms. However, those that form near the coast, which bring the most damage from heavy rain and coastal erosion, may increase in frequency.

The new research from Scott Power and Jeff Callaghan indicates that major flood events are already on the increase.

Taking a 1500-kilometre stretch of eastern Australia from Brisbane down to Bega on the south coast of NSW, the two bureau researchers examined all the major floods since 1860.

Major floods were defined as those events which caused extensive flooding within 50 kilometres of the coast, or inundation that extended 20 kilometres along the coast, with at least two catchment areas involved.

As the chart below shows, the frequency of such events has roughly doubled to two a year over the past 150 years, with about half the increase since the end of the 19th century.

"There is a statistically significant increasing trend in major flood frequency over the full period," the authors wrote in their paper.

The range was also widespread, with "the overwhelming majority of sites in the study region [showing] increasing trends", including all but one of the sites closest to the coast.

The majority of the sites also revealed that the largest amount of daily rain received each year was increasing.

The researchers relied on rainfall and stream-flow data and also local newspaper reports to compile what they said was the most complete record of the region over time.

They attributed the trend to natural climate variability and "possibly" from human-induced climate change, adding that the anthropogenic influence was expected to be greater on the more extreme events.

Further research, though, would be needed to determine the extent of the human influence, the paper noted.



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, 2016

Warmists have no shame

The May global temperature has just been released and the article below is headlined: "Month Of May 2016 Continues Trend Of Record Heat, Possibly Proves Global Warming Is Happening".  So warming is still going on alarmingly, you would conclude from that.

That word "possibly" is wise, though.  Because the writer has ignored the really BIG feature of the May average global temperature.  According to the latest (revised) figures from GISS, here are the temps for this year: 

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May
112  133  128  109   93

El Nino peaked in February, March dropped a bit and April and May  dropped like a stone.  You would never guess it from the article briefly excerpted below but COOLING has begun. So much for the deceitful claim that May "Continues Trend Of Record Heat".  It doesn't continue anything.

The May temperature was actually less than one degree above the 1951-1980 base period -- just about back to the C21 norm.  And with a La Nina in the wings, the cooling is likely to go on.

This May temperature is not a seasonal effect.  This  is a global figure so the Northern hemisphere summer will be balanced out by winter in the Southern hemisphere, and vice versa

The month of May 2016 is not only the beginning of Summer for many around the world. It is now officially the warmest May in recorded history. This may not seem like such bad news after such a chilly winter, but it could be an indication that former Vice President Al Gore was right.


Volcanoes and global warming

Scientists from San Diego and a dozen countries around the world are gathered at the University of San Diego this week to share their latest research. Among some of the major topics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference are climate change, heat waves and ocean acidification.

Geophysicist Peter Ward, who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for nearly three decades, discussed warming global temperatures during his Wednesday session.

“There’s a very interesting correlation between warming and volcanism at the end of the last ice age,” Ward said.

He said the past two years of record warmth can be attributed to more than greenhouse gases. Ward blames ozone depletion caused by the Bardarbunga volcano eruption in Iceland in September 2014.

“It was the biggest flow of basalt that’s been observed since 1783,” Ward said. “Now that’s good news, because if it’s Baroarbunga that’s causing the warming, next year we can expect it to be getting cooler again.”


Massachusetts AG Investigating Conservative Groups With Ties to ExxonMobil

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is now the latest state prosecutor to start investigating conservative groups with supposed ties to ExxonMobil, after she issued a subpoena for 40 years of internal company documents and communications with a handful of think tanks.

Healey’s office subpoenaed Exxon as part of a multi-state effort among liberal attorneys general to investigate Exxon for allegedly trying to cover up global warming science. Healey charges that the oil giant lied to shareholders and consumers about the risks of global warming in its communications and shareholder filings, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Healey demands decades worth of records from prominent conservative think tanks, including The Heritage Foundation and activist group Americans for Prosperity, and also from smaller, lesser known state-based right-leaning groups, such as Boston’s Beacon Hill Institute and the Acton Institute.

But there’s a huge problem with Healey’s subpoena that shows just how broad this investigation has become: At least two of the groups the subpoena demands records from have not received any money from Exxon.

Beacon Hill and Americans for Prosperity have not gotten any Exxon funding, but are still being targeted

Healey isn’t the first attorney general to target conservative groups that disagree with most Democratic politicians on global warming policy. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker subpoenaed Exxon for records regarding dozens of conservative think tanks, policy experts, and scientists in March.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Exxon’s global warming stance in November, based on reporting by liberal journalists at InsideClimate News and Columbia University that Exxon had been covering up climate science for decades while funding right-wing activist groups.

Schneiderman hosted a conference in March with other attorneys general, including Healey and Walker, where it was announced that more prosecutors would probe Exxon and fight back against Republican attacks on federal environmental regulations.

Former Vice President Al Gore attended the event, as did a group of environmental activists—though Schneiderman’s office tried to cover up eco-activists’ involvement. At the event, Schneiderman even suggested global warming skeptics should be put in jail.

“Financial damages alone may be insufficient,” Schneiderman said. “The First Amendment does not give you the right to commit fraud.”

But Exxon hasn’t taken these subpoenas lying down. The oil company has filed a complaint against Walker in Texas court, and two Republican attorneys general have even intervened in the case to squash Walker’s demands.

Exxon has also filed a complaint against Healey, alleging her investigation is nothing more than a predetermined political stunt.

Exxon’s complaint even notes how Healey basically announced the results of her investigation before she even sent her subpoena to the company.

“We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public,” Healey charged at the March event hosted by Schneiderman.

“Remarkably, she also announced, in advance, the findings of her investigation weeks before she even issued the [civil investigative demand],” Exxon’s lawyers wrote in their complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.


Global Warming Skeptic Responds To Massachusetts AG’s Subpoena: ‘F**k Off, Fascist’

Alex Epstein had a terse response to a subpoena sent by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Wednesday.

Healey demanded the oil giant ExxonMobil hand over 40 years of documents, including information pertaining to the company’s dealings with about a dozen think tanks and trade associations, which have been targeted by environmental groups for opposing left-wing global warming policies.

Healey’s subpoena targeted the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a for-profit think tank founded by Epstein. Epstein wasn’t exactly happy about being targeted for disagreeing with Healey on global warming, so he sent the AG’s office the following response:

Healey subpoenaed Exxon as part of a multi-state effort among liberal prosecutors to investigate the company for allegedly trying to cover up global warming science. Healey alleges the oil giant lied to shareholders and consumers about the risks of global warming in its communications and shareholder filings, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

She’s targeting CIP and other prominent conservative groups, like the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), because of their supposed ties to Exxon. The only problem is, neither CIP nor AFP are funded by Exxon.

Exxon has fought back against Healey’s subpoena, filing a complaint against the attorney general’s legal salvo.

Exxon’s lawyers said the subpoena “constitutes an abusive fishing expedition into ExxonMobil’s climate change research over the past 40 years, without any basis for believing that ExxonMobil violated Massachusetts law.”


Global Warming Prediction 30 Years Later: How Is It Faring?

If you preach to choir, at least try to be fair in your sermon.

The skeptical folks over at Real Science are taking a stroll down memory lane to see how climatologist James Hansen's famous 1986 predictions about future global temperature trends have panned out 30 years later. As evidence, the Real Science shows a couple of quotations from a June 12 Associated Press story which cites Hansen as predicting in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee that global temperatures should be nearly 2 degrees higher in 20 years, "which is about the warmest the earth has been in the last 100,000 years." Real Science notes that Earth warmed by only about 0.2 degrees Celsius between June 1986 and June 2006. Off by a factor of ten!

But is that the whole story? I dove into the WABAC Machine known as Nexis and dredged up a couple of other news reports recounting Hansen's testimony. A longer June 1986 UPI story reported, "Unless steps are taken to control the problem, temperatures in the United States in the next decade will range from 0.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees higher than they were in 1958, said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies." That's a much bigger range than between 1986 and 2006.

So how did the average U.S. temperature change in the 50 years after 1958? According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program report in 2009, "U.S. average temperature has risen more than 2ºF over the past 50 years." Two degrees Fahrenheit is just over 1.1 degrees Celsius, which is within the spread of increased temperatures predicted by Hansen. With regard to global average temperatures, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 noted that "the rate of warming averaged over the last 50 years (0.13°C ± 0.03°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the last 100 years." That implies an overall increase between 1958 and 2006 of 0.65 degree Celsius - at the low end of Hansen's predictions. The University of Alabama at Huntsville's satellite temperature data series (since 1979) is increasing at 0.12 degree Celsius per decade which, if run back backwards, implies a five decade global temperature increase of 0.6 degree Celsius; again, at the low end of Hansen's projections.

First, it does no good for the antagonists in the scientific debate over man-made climate change to mischaracterize the views of their opponents. On the other hand, the lower rate of temperature increase suggests that most computer climate models relied upon by Hansen are running far too hot, and future temperature increases may not portend catastrophic changes by the end of this century.


Europe’s Ethanol Regs Are INCREASING Global Warming

Europe’s regulations intended to fight global warming with biofuels are likely making the problem worse, according to new research published Tuesday by Finland’s government research agency.

The new research found that European Union biofuel regulations “ignore uncertainties related to greenhouse gas calculation” and can even have their environmental benefits “counted as double” under certain circumstances.

Europe has been blending small percentages of biofuels into conventional gasoline and oil and diesel specifically to reduce CO2 emissions. The continent plans to require biofuels account for 10 percent of all fuel used by 2020. The EU’s CO2 emissions are estimated to have increased by 0.7 percent last year relative to 2014, even though the continent has spent an estimated $1.2 trillion financially supporting green and bio-energy with the goal of lowering CO2 emissions.

A study published in late April by an environmental group found that Europe’s biofuel regulations created 80 percent more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than the conventional oil they replaced. The report estimates the biofuels create new emissions equivalent to putting an extra 12 million cars on the road. The environmental group estimates that the European Union’s biofuel regulations will increase the continent’s CO2 emissions from transportation by almost four percent compared to conventional sources of oil.



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

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


16 June, 2016

Global warming is causing a 'fundamental change' in the world's weather UN warns

The  article below is founded on a lie.  It is true that the world has experienced unusually warm weather lately but how much of it was caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions and how much was caused by El Nino?  The authors below pooh pooh El Nino and assert that it was mostly caused by CO2.  But how much?  Real scientists use numbers.  But we note with great surprise that no number is given for the percentage of the warming that was due to CO2.  How come?  Because NONE of it was caused by CO2. 

The Mauna Loa CO2 record seems to be the one most referred to by Warmists so I have for some time been greatly amused by what it shows for 2015, that "record" year for warming, according to Warmists.  So I have decided to take a screen capture of it.  See below.

The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm.  As you can see, the actual CO2 levels just bobbed up and down around 400ppm, showing that CO2 levels plateaued during that year.  There was no overall change.  There were slight increases but also slight decreases.

So it is perfectly clear that this "warmest" year was NOT caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions rising -- because total CO2 levels did not rise.  ALL the warming was due to natural factors, principally El Nino.

Instead of crowing that it proved their theory, Warmists should be in deep despond that this "warmest" year was TOTALLY natural.  CO2 levels did nothing.  Once again, there was no linkage between temperature and CO2 levels.  The facts are totally at odds with Warmism

But what about 2016, the tail end of the El Nino event?  It was just as amusing, though in an opposite sort of way

The NOAA figures from Mauna Loa, showed  a LEAP in CO2 levels this year.  Where December 2015 ended up on an average of 401.85 ppm, April averaged 407.42.  That's twice as big as most annual increases.

So, on Warmist theory, temperatures should have leaped too over that same period.  In fact they remained absolutely flat. GISS shows a January temperature anomaly of 1.11 degrees Celsius and April shows an anomaly of exactly the same!  You couldn't make it up! When the temperature rose in 2015, CO2  levels did not.  And when CO2 levels did rise in 2016, temperature did not.  There was a complete disconnect between CO2 and temperature in both records

The U.N. weather agency is warning of 'fundamental change' afoot in the global climate and continued warming, accompanied recently by unusually high rainfall in parts of the US and Europe.

The World Meteorological Organization cited data released by Nasa showing that this May was the hottest on record, and the Northern Hemisphere spring has been the hottest spring ever.

WMO global climate director Dr. David Carlson said the new data showed 370 straight months of warm or warmer-than-average temperatures worldwide.

'The state of the climate so far this year gives us much cause for alarm,' said Carlson. The first four months of 2016 were the warmest globally in 136 years.

'Exceptionally high temperatures. Ice melt rates in March and May that we don't normally see until July. Once-in-a-generation rainfall events. The super El Niño is only partly to blame. Abnormal is the new normal.'

Now dissipated, the El Nino weather pattern factored into 2016's record-setting heat, but meteorologists say greenhouse gases emitted from human activities remain the underlying cause.

The Arctic in particular experienced abnormal heat, causing Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet to start melting unusually early, said Nasa.

Alaska recorded its warmest spring on record by a wide margin, and in Finland the average May temperature was between three and five degrees warmer than usual in most regions, according to data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

'The rapid changes in the Arctic are of particular concern.

May's exceptional warmth was accompanied by extreme weather events including abnormally heavy rains throughout Europe and the southern United States.

From 28 to 31 May, France witnessed exceptional rainfall. For instance, the department of Loiret saw 92.9 mm in 3 days which is without precedent in the past 30 years. Such amounts are only seen once every 10-50 years according to Météo-France. Paris received 3 months worth of rainfall in a month and May was the wettest month since 1960.

Southeast Texas had record flooding. An additional 2-5 inches of rain in the last 24 hours in Southeast Texas where intense storms in the previous 24 hours had totals exceeding 10 inches is causing record floods.

Australia had its warmest autumn on record at 1.86 °C above average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

More than 53% of the country experienced highest on record mean temperatures, because of strong El Niño Water temperatures to the north and northwest of Australia.

Strong El Nino temperatures did cause more than 53 percent of Australia to experience its warmest autumn on record.

May's exceptional warmth was accompanied by extreme weather events including abnormally heavy rains throughout Europe and the southern United States, as well as 'widespread and severe' coral reef bleaching.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expected to announce complete global May temperature records in the coming days.

Recent predictions by US scientists anticipate that 2016 will go down as Earth's hottest year on record—on the heels of record-setting years in 2014 and 2015.


Could $200 Billion Tobacco-Type Settlement Be Coming Over ‘Climate Change?’

The Left hate disagreement with their fads so much that they cannot admit that opposing arguments have any merit.  From that comes their regular habit of saying that those who disagree with them are either evil or conspirators or both. Proving that is hard, however.  In their desperation they seize on old boogeymen time and time again.  And there are no greater boogeymen than oil companies.  So it follows that oil companies must be responsible for opposition to their climate panic.

And another great boogeyman is BIG TOBACCO!  And the fact that they have an actual court success against the tobacco companies makes them think they can have a similar success against big oil.

They overlook a big difference.  There was scientific evidence that tobacco was harmful so tobacco customers were selling a harmful product, which does create some liability. The companies were successfully prosecuted because they were held to be part responsible for tobacco-related disease.  But oil companies did NOT cause global warming.  The whole Warmist claim is that industrial civilization as a whole did.

It is nonetheless possible that a lawsuit will be brought.  But its prospect of success is so slight that it will just be a big financial loss to those who bring it

At the Big Law Business Summit last week, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ripped into Exxon Mobil for its stance on climate change.

Schneiderman accused Exxon of glossing over the risks that climate change poses to its core businesses in its public securities statements, and then couching its disclosure as first amendment protected.

“The first amendment doesn’t protect fraud – it doesn’t protect fraudulent speech,” he said.

This weekend, the Houston Chronicle published its investigation of the brewing legal threats that energy companies face as a result of their disclosures on climate change, comparing it to the situation tobacco companies faced in the late 1990s over their disclosures about the dangers of smoking.

In 1998, attorneys general from 46 states struck a $200 billion settlement with tobacco companies, ending years of litigation about whether they mislead smokers about the health risks of their products.

Now, there are 17 state attorneys general including Schneiderman investigating whether fossil fuel companies mislead investors in public disclosures about the risks associated with climate change.

Big law firms have been sending client alerts to energy companies, warning that a storm is brewing, according to the Chron, which quoted an email sent by lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman: “There is escalating effort to bring pressure to bear on companies with respect to their public securities statements on the effects of climate change.”

It noted the alerts picked up in April after a federal judge in Oregon allowed the environmental advocacy group Our Children’s Trust to proceed with a case against the U.S. government, arguing future generations are at risk as long as burning fossil fuels is permitted. It is but one of a handful of legal strategies that environmentalists are pursuing: Other suits have targeted energy firms for ignoring the potential effects on climate change in developing company policy.

The article quotes Bracewell’s Kevin Ewing as a skeptic about such lawsuits, saying it’s impossible to connect an individual company’s conduct with specific harm. Exxon was not immediately available to provide comment.


Science is on the verge of a nervous breakdown

In The Guardian last week, Jerome Ravetz, considered one of the world’s leading philosophers of science, reviewed what he and many others describe as “the crisis in science.” Ravetz, who has been warning of the emerging internal conflicts in science for decades, sees the crisis is spreading to the general public. “Given the public awareness that science can be low-quality or corrupted, that whole fields can be misdirected for decades (see nutrition, on cholesterol and sugar), and that some basic fields must progress in the absence of any prospect of empirical testing (string theory), the naïve realism of previous generations becomes quite Medieval in its irrelevance to present realities.”

Present reality is that science is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That’s the not-so-tongue-in-cheek message in Science on the Verge, a new book by European scientist Andrea Saltelli and seven other contributors. Science on the Verge is a 200-page indictment of what to the lay reader appears to be a monumental deterioration across all fields, from climate science to health research to economics.

The mere idea that “most published research results are false” should be cause for alarm. But it is worse than that. The crisis runs through just about everything we take for granted in modern science, from the use of big data to computer models of major parts of our social, economic and natural environment and on to the often absurd uses of statistical methods to fish for predetermined conclusions.

Examples from the book help prove the point. In a chapter titled “Numbers Running Wild,” one of the book’s authors, Jeroen P. van der Sluijs of the University of Bergen, asks how is it possible for a paper in Science magazine to claim that precisely 7.9 per cent (not eight per cent or seven per cent) of the world’s species would become extinct as a result of climate change — when the total number of species is unknown?

Even odder, the species study concluded that the 7.9 per cent demonstrates “the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.” How, asks van de Sluijs, do the researchers jump from species extinction to carbon sequestration? “This sounds like an opinion for which the underlying arguments are not even given.”

Others examples come from economics, a science filled with unwarranted claims to certainty and predictability. Science on the Verge recalls Nobel economist Robert Lucas’s 2003 declaration that the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved.” Also noted is the 2004 claim by former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke that the volatility of business cycles had been tamed. These and other economic blunders lead critics to suspect the discipline of economics “had reverted to (or never developed beyond) a state of immaturity.”

Few fields and practices are exempt from scrutiny in Science on the Verge. In a chapter on evidence-based science, Andrea Saltelli — also at the University of Bergen — spreads the net wide: “It is futile to expect, for example, that modelling approaches which have failed to predict a purely financial and economic crisis will be able to inform us accurately about the behaviour of a system involving institutions, societies, economies and ecologies. Yet this is what we do when we apply the technique of cost– benefit analysis (CBA) to dimensions of climate change” This kind of quantitative approach to complex systems, says Saltelli, “can only foster abuse and corruption.”

It would be wrong to suspect that Science on the Verge is the work of right-wing activists, climate skeptics and hide-bound traditionalists. It is the work, rather, of scientists with a range of ideological views despairing over what appears to be a fundamental breakdown as science has become more and more enmeshed in the business of providing evidence for policy-making.

Science, in short, has already been corrupted.


NOAA: 75% chance of La Nina by September, cooler temps coming

NOAA announced this weekend that there is a 75 percent chance a La Niña will form in the equatorial Pacific Ocean by fall, a phenomenon that is the flip side of the now-deceased El Niño. Currently, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have returned to normal and experts think a La Niña will develop from July through September, bringing cooler temps this winter. La Niña events occur when cooler-than-normal surface waters of the equatorial (tropical) Pacific Ocean are observed (see video).

Scientists use the Oceanic Niño Index to determine, measure, and predict any deviations from normal—or neutral—sea surface temps in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) first speculated in mid-May that a La Niña episode was likely to occur and has created a La Niña watch page.

La Niña events are designated when surface waters in the tropical Pacific decreases 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) or more for at least five successive and overlapping three-month periods. An atmospheric response above the ocean waters is also associated with La Niña events. Right now, NOAA is reporting that the equatorial Pacific is neutral, meaning SSTs have returned to normal, though many forecasters don’t predict it will last very long.

When the strong, naturally occurring El Niño of 2015-2016 occurred, temperatures across the planet spiked higher than normal, caused widespread “nuisance flooding,” above-normal heat, and hottest-year-ever claims (under investigation by the House Science Committee). It also brought much-needed rain to the upper half of California, where reservoirs and lakes have reached capacity or surpassed previous levels.

So if the 2015-2016 El Niño was the powerful “king” behind our recent warm weather and so-called hottest-year-ever claims, La Niña is the “queen” who plans to take back the throne. This flipping back and forth is part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, and it occurs every 5 to 7 years. As Emily Becker writes on NOAA’s official blog, “Both human forecasters and computers are reasonably confident (75% chance) that sea surface temperatures will cross the La Niña threshold by the winter.”

That’s because the amount of cooler water just beneath the ocean’s surface of the equatorial Pacific is considerable, and “it’s been rising up to the surface.” She also makes clear there’s a reasonable amount of uncertainty about how a 2016 La Niña would progress, and “forecasters are currently favoring a weak or borderline moderate event.”

Computer simulations and marine experts are mostly convinced we will pass the La Niña threshold soon, but they don’t expect a “continuous steep cooling.” That’s what happened after the 1998 El Niño event, which was followed by an equally strong, naturally occurring La Niña. Both events are part of the ENSO cycle.

Becker notes that just as it did with the now-dethroned El Niño, “the atmospheric response to the changed sea surface temperatures should reinforce La Niña.” The stronger the La Niña the stronger the response to the atmosphere. And climate. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, that can mean cooler-than-normal winter temperatures, higher energy bills, and little precipitation across the Midwest. La Niñas do influence hurricane strength and activity, and NOAA is predicting a somewhat normal hurricane season in the Atlantic and Pacific.

Considered the ugly step-sister of El Niño, previous La Niñas have caused reduced crop and grain yields worldwide, including sugar, soy, and wheat. La Niñas are also notable for lowering global temperatures, increased atmospheric disturbances, altering the climate and Jet Stream, and shifting rainfall patterns.


Paul Homewood connects some dots

Ecowatch has a facility to "help Connect the Dots Between Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change".  Paul Homewood did it the courtesy of looking at it. He emails:

Interesting that they say:

"There is no explicit law for how much precipitation will increase, but most model simulations indicate that the increase is about 2% per degree centigrade of warming"

So, assuming say half a degree of warming since 1940s, that’s 1% extra rain.

On the example they give for Louisiana, where 26 inches fell, that’s an extra quarter inch!

Are we really supposed to panic over that?

Australian rodent the first mammal driven to extinction by climate change, researchers say

This is just speculation from beginning to end.  If people used to shoot them for sport, how do we know that someone did not do that recently?  It's an isolated area with no record of comings and goings

And if inundations were the cause, how do we know that global warming caused them?  Sea levels have been rising steadily ever since the Little Ice Age. 

And if the factor was more extreme weather events in the area concerned there is no way global warming can be responsible because extreme weather events have in fact be declining on average world wide.  And even the IPCC declined to make a link between warming and extreme weather

And there have been many instances of species being declared extinct only for specimens suddenly to pop up again.  This is just opportunistic propaganda

CLIMATE change is believed to have caused the extinction of a rodent found on a small island in the Great Barrier Reef.

According to Queensland researchers, the species is the first mammal declared extinct due to the worrying global phenomenon.

Extensive searches for the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rat-like animal, have failed to find a single specimen from its only known habitat on a small coral cay, just 340m long and 150m wide in the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef and the edge of the Torres Strait Islands.

In a newly published report, scientists at the University of Queensland detailed how a comprehensive survey in 2014 failed to find any trace of the rodent.

Researchers said the key factor behind the extinction was “almost certainly” ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, likely on several occasions, over the last decade which resulted in dramatic habitat loss.

“Because a limited survey in March 2014 failed to detect the species, Bramble Cay was revisited from August to September 2014, with the explicit aims of establishing whether the Bramble Cay melomys still persisted on the island and to enact emergency measures to conserve any remaining individuals,” researcher Luke Leung said.

Dr Leung is from the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and said the team went to great lengths in hopes of recovering signs of the species.

“A thorough survey effort involving 900 small animal trap-nights, 60 camera trap-nights and two hours of active daytime searches produced no records of the species, confirming that the only known population of this rodent is now extinct,” he said.
This species of Melomys is related to one that scientists say has gone extinct in the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

This species of Melomys is related to one that scientists say has gone extinct in the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Auscape/UIG via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Bramble Cay is the only known location of the rodent and the island sits just three metres above sea level.

Available data on sea-level rise and weather events in the Torres Strait region “point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys”, added the study.

Anthony D. Barnosky, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who is a leading expert on climate change’s effects on the natural world said the claim seems “right on target to me.”

“I think this is significant because it illustrates how the human-caused extinction process works in real time,” he told the New York Times.

The Bramble Cay melomy, considered the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic (found nowhere else) mammal species, was first discovered on the cay in 1845 by Europeans who shot them for sport. They considered them large rats at the time.

But the last known sighting, by a professional fisherman, was in 2009.

The 2015 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species implicated climate change in the extinction of another mammal, the Little Swan Island hutia (Geocapromys thoracatus), a rodent previously found on a coral atoll in Honduras. But it found the main driver of its demise was an introduced cat, the report said.

Dr Leung said in the case of the Bramble Cay melomy, all signs pointed to the culpability of climate change.

“Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys,” he said.

The study added that the main hope for the species was that another population existed in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Environment group WWF-Australia said the fate of the species was a sad reminder of the nation’s extinction crisis.

“Australia officially has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world,” WWF spokesman Darren Grover said.

Unless governments commit significant funding towards protecting Australia’s threatened species, “we can expect to see more native critters go extinct on our watch”, he added.



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

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


15 June, 2016

Genetically Modified Crops Grown For 20 Years In Australia but  Australians haven't turned into mutants yet

But nothing will convince the professional alarmists

Organic farming and genetic modification may not seem like a natural fit, but an independent researcher says a 20-year safety track record should be trusted by everyone, including organic farmers.

Peak industry organisation CropLife Australia commissioned a report into the impact of genetically modified (GM) crops in Australia since their introduction in 1996 showing a 23 percent reduction in herbicide and insecticide use.

The report by agricultural researchers PG Economics also found the more efficient, higher yield GM crops increased farmer incomes by $1.37 billion, and lowered carbon emissions by 71.5 million kg.

Curtin University agriculture biotechnology professor Michael Jones told The Huffington Post Australia the report was the first in-depth look into GM impacts in Australia and should end the debate about its safety.

"There were initially concerns about GM creating increased allergens or super weeds but now that we've got 20 years of scientific investigation we should be comfortable calling it safe," Jones told HuffPost Australia.

"I think the organic farming industry should see GM as perfect, organic crops. Really, all the food we eat is GM, that's what traditional plant breeding and animal breeding is -- it just takes a big longer."

Jones said the everyday person was interacting with GM products daily and fear mongering about the potential for it to cause increased cancer rates or destroy native plants never eventuated.

"Virtually all the cotton we grow in Australia is GM and all the cotton we import from places like Pakistan and India is pretty much GM also.

"If you go into a department store and you buy sheets for your bed or cotton underwear, it's all from GM cotton.

"Similarly if go down to the beach for fish and chips, chances are it's fried in GM cottonseed oil.

"Then we grow almost no soybean and very little maize and the countries we import from about 90 percent GM.

"We've been eating GM for a very long time and it's no problem."

Yet GM Free Australia Alliance spokesperson Jessica Harrison told that Australians felt they didn't believe genetic modification was proven safe and many didn't know whether their processed food had GM ingredients in it.

"Corn is 90 per cent GM in the U.S, and if that's used in Australian-manufactured biscuits or bread, no labelling is required," Harrision said. "The government doesn't believe we deserve to know."

Emeritus professor of public health and community medicine at the University of Sydney Stephen Leeder said the risks of GM food remained an open question. "No one can say with confidence that it has no effect."

"A lot of GM crops are engineered to tolerate 10 times the normal level of herbicides. Those herbicides have been demonstrated to be carcinogenic. Resistance is bred into the weeds so you need new herbicides or higher doses to keep them at bay," he told

But there may be a broader environmental benefit from GM crops compared to conventional farming.

Monsanto Australia New Zealand managing director Tony May told HuffPost Australia he was especially proud of the reduction in chemicals needed for GM crops.

"Reduction in pesticide use is an issue that's very close to my heart because came from a cotton farming background. To reduce amount of pesticides is quite amazing because it cuts down on farmer exposure and also the amount going into the environment."


Mad modellers strike again

SkepticalScience is promoting the Holland and Bruyère (2013) paper "Recent Intense Hurricane Response to Global Climate Change as proof positive that hypothetical human-induced global warming has caused more intense hurricanes". See Dana Nuccitelli’s post New Research Shows Humans Causing More Intense Hurricanes.

The abstract of Holland and Bruyère (2013) begins:

"An Anthropogenic Climate Change Index (ACCI) is developed and used to investigate the potential global warming contribution to current tropical cyclone activity. The ACCI is defined as the difference between the means of ensembles of climate simulations with and without anthropogenic gases and aerosols. This index indicates that the bulk of the current anthropogenic warming has occurred in the past four decades, which enables improved confidence in assessing hurricane changes as it removes many of the data issues from previous eras"

That’s right; referring to Figure 1, Holland and Bruyère (2013) created an index by subtracting the multi-model mean of climate models forced by natural factors (variations in solar activity and volcanic aerosols) from the mean of the simulations that are also forced with anthropogenic factors like manmade greenhouse gases—as if the two types of model simulations and their difference represent reality. They then used that model-based index, with little to no basis in the real world, for comparisons to hurricane activity at various hurricane strengths.

Hurricane activity is influenced by tropical sea surface temperatures. Yet, we know climate models cannot simulate sea surface temperatures over the past 31 years, which is included in the 1975 to 2010 period studied by Holland and Bruyère (2013). Refer to the post here for a model-data comparison of satellite-era sea surface temperature anomalies. And we’ve also discussed for 4 years how ocean heat content data and satellite-era sea surface temperature data indicate the oceans warmed naturally.

Refer to the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB]. The models are obviously flawed.

Hurricane activity is also influenced by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). There are fewer Atlantic hurricanes during El Niño years due to the increase in wind shear there. On the other hand, there’s an increase in the intensity of eastern tropical Pacific cyclones during El Niño years. See Table 1, which is from the NOAA Weather Impacts of ENSO webpage.

Does Holland and Bruyère (2013) consider ENSO? No. The words El Niño and La Niña do not appear in the paper, and ENSO appears only once, when they’re discussing the reason for the use of 5-year smoothing.

All variance numbers use the 5-years smoothed annual time series to remove ENSO type variability.

Can climate models simulate ENSO? The answer is also no. Refer to the post Guilyardi et al (2009) “Understanding El Niño in Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Models: progress and challenges”.

Guilyardi et al (2009) includes:

"Because ENSO is the dominant mode of climate variability at interannual time scales, the lack of consistency in the model predictions of the response of ENSO to global warming currently limits our confidence in using these predictions to address adaptive societal concerns, such as regional impacts or extremes (Joseph and Nigam 2006; Power et al. 2006)"

The multidecadal variability of the sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic is called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO. There are numerous papers that discuss the influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation on hurricane activity. In fact, the NOAA Frequently Asked Questions About the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) includes the question Does the AMO influence the intensity or the frequency of hurricanes (which)? Their answer reads:

"The frequency of weak-category storms – tropical storms and weak hurricanes – is not much affected by the AMO. However, the number of weak storms that mature into major hurricanes is noticeably increased. Thus, the intensity is affected, but, clearly, the frequency of major hurricanes is also affected. In that sense, it is difficult to discriminate between frequency and intensity and the distinction becomes somewhat meaningless"

The AMO began its multidecadal rise in temperature in the mid-1970s. See Figure 2. By focusing their analysis on the period of 1975 to 2010, Holland and Bruyère (2013) appear to be, in part, attempting to blame manmade greenhouse gases for an increase in activity that’s already been attributed to the natural variability of the AMO.

Holland and Bruyère (2013) appears to be a flawed attempt to counter the findings of the recent (2012) IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). See the Summary for Policymakers here. The IPCC writes:

"There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration), after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities"

Holland and Bruyère (2013) is yet another peer-reviewed study that relies on climate models as if the models represent reality, when climate models clearly do not. Eventually, the climate science community will have to come to terms with this—possibly not in my lifetime at the rate they’re going. And the portrayers of gloom and doom at SkepticalScience like Dana Nuccitelli somehow find papers like Holland and Bruyère (2013) to be credible. Nothing surprising about that.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Dem Congressmen: First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Global Warming Skeptics

California congressmen wrote a letter to state attorney general Kamala Harris claiming the freedom of speech “is not designed to protect fraud and deceit” of the likes being spread by oil company ExxonMobil about global warming.

Nineteen Democratic lawmakers told Harris her “investigation as to whether ExxonMobil lied about the truth of climate change and misled investors does not constitute an effort to silence speech or scientific research.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” lawmakers, including California Reps. Maxine Waters and Ted Lieu, wrote to Harris.

Harris joined attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands in investigating Exxon’s global warming stance based on reporting by liberal journalists.

Reporters with InsideClimate News and Columbia University claim the oil company tried to cover up climate science and fund groups that were opposed to federal energy regulations and skeptical of man-made warming. Harris is now investigating whether or not Exxon misled shareholders about the risks of global warming.

Lieu, Waters and the other Democrats writing to Harris sent their letter in response to an inquiry from Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. Smith, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, requested documents from state AGs and environmentalists working against Exxon.

“We are supportive of your investigation and believe the Science Committee’s baseless allegations against you are nothing more than part of his continued agenda to assault climate science,” the Democrats wrote. “As you know, recent evidence suggests that leading oil companies, such as ExxonMobil and Shell, confirmed the science of climate change decades ago and even changed their business decisions to adapt to a warming planet.”

Republicans, however, have come out against the Exxon probe, arguing it’s being pushed behind the scenes by activists with an ax to grind. AG investigations into Exxon has also sparked free speech concerns since it has ensnared dozens of conservative think tanks, policy experts and scientists.

Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker joined Harris and others in targeting Exxon. Walker has already subpoenaed a libertarian think and a D.C.-based public relations firm.

Walker’s subpoena targets prominent conservative and libertarian think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Energy Research.

Walker’s also targeting communications with climate scientists who are more skeptical of claims that fossil fuels are causing catastrophic global warming. Walker’s targeting scientists, including Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama, who operates a satellite-based climate dataset, Cato’s Dr. Patrick Michaels, and Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute.

“Exxon is a resident of the state of Texas, and we felt this was an attack on their first amendment rights,” Texas Republican AG Ken Paxton said after he and Alabama’s AG filed court briefs in support of Exxon.

“They have every right to have their opinions on climate change. In my opinion you cross the line when you start prosecuting individuals for disagreeing with you,” he said.

California Democrats don’t seem to care about Exxon’s right to free speech, since they think the company was perpetuating a massive disinformation campaign — all while somehow running one of the world’s largest oil companies.

Democrats wrote the oil industry “began a coordinated campaign of mass deception as to the truth of climate science — spreading doubt and confusion among the public and ultimately sinking climate action in Congress.”


Global warming claims wrong then and now

I may have erred in my opinion on man-made climate change. Over time, folks get set in their ways, and refuse to accept the obvious. Recently, a friend gave me an Associated Press article that ran in the Washington Post on Nov. 2, and it stated, “The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce department … in Bergen, Norway.

“Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.

“Soundings to a depth of 3100 meters showed the Gulf Stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, while at many points, well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

“Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that, due to the ice melt, the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.”

As I said, I may have erred in my previous opinion on man-made climate change, but then again, maybe not. This Associated Press article in the Washington Post is from Nov. 2, 1922. That’s almost a century ago! And you thought the crazy environmental movement was a new phenomenon.

Not only are environmentalists wrong, they are clueless to the real situation and its cause. Take for example coastal cities that were supposed to be uninhabitable within a few years. Let’s have a quiz!

How many cities have sunk into the sea since Nov. 2, 1922? Is it: A) 985 B) 346 C) Zero? The answer is C) Zero.

How can that be? I suspect generations of Democratic mayors and administrations, gang violence, destruction of the family unit by liberal social policies, and drugs have wreaked more havoc on our cities than all the melting glaciers combined.

In defense of the 100-year-old article, it might be accurate. When, in the last 7-14 billion years, was the Earth’s climate not changing? And, if you noticed, the article did not place blame, or even mention, who or what may be the cause. One hundred years ago, people were not so quick to blame mankind or America for every problem real or imagined.

But transport a 21st-century environmentalist back to 1922, and he would be blaming the Ford Model T, the extinction of the passenger pigeon, Pennsylvania coal mines, sulfur dioxide clouds caused by World War I artillery fire, and American manufacturing. Dire environmental predictions of death, disease and deluge never happen, and one might think that all credibility would have been lost by a century of such rubbish.

In case you haven’t noticed, this is the 10th anniversary of Vice President Al Gore’s epic documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” It seems like only yesterday that Al Gore was jetting around the world, lecturing college students about global warming and the imminent collapse of life on Earth because of CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

He showed us computer enhancements of a polar bear trying to find an iceberg to rest upon, only to have the small sliver of ice snap under his weight. It was heartbreaking. We were shown Florida being flooded and the North Atlantic currents becoming motionless, potentially leading us into another ice age because of global warming.

Wait a minute! The Earth is heating, and polar bears are drowning, but this may cause Europe and North America to be covered by a two-mile thick sheet of ice?

Trust me, to the 21st-century environmentalist, it makes sense, but Al Gore’s catastrophic predictions will be just as accurate as those in the Washington Post’s 1922 article. So, if you want to buy that property in Florida, you’ve got nothing to worry about, other than the snakes and gators.


Paying a price for global warming and local politics: Ontario’s Liberal government will be judged, and held to account, on its cap and trade program

Times change — and the politics of climate change along with it.

Remember when global warming took the world by storm a decade ago? Back then, Ontario’s Liberal government promised to phase out coal-fired power plants and phase in renewable energy.

The momentum for change slowed when carbon pricing grew politically costly for the federal Liberals in their losing 2008 election campaign, weighed down by their unpopular “Green Shift.” In tough economic times, Queen’s Park also took a hit — and took the hint — putting renewable energy and global warming on ice.

Now, after years of delaying and dithering, time’s up. Rising temperatures, growing political momentum, and declining world oil prices (which ease the impact of carbon fees) have created optimal conditions for action.

Perfect timing for Premier Kathleen Wynne to unveil her Climate Change Action Plan this week. But in politics, as in economics, there is no such thing as a sure thing.

True, the long-delayed plan is getting warm reviews from environmentalists. And it has survived a pummelling from the opposition Progressive Conservatives (who seized on a leaked version of an early PowerPoint), implying the government would somehow phase out natural gas in 14 years.

While that scare story is fading from memory, let’s not forget our recent political history, because public fealty toward the environment is remarkably fickle: Everyone loves to hate the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, but hates paying for reductions.

Mindful of that contradiction, the Liberals are trying to avoid inflicting pain on the public — and themselves. Despite the call from political purists (though not so many environmentalists) for a straightforward carbon tax — what you see is what you pay — the government has learned the lesson of previous eco-taxes that became easy targets for public resentment.

The cap-and-trade scheme that Ontario is now adopting — following the lead of Quebec, California and much of Europe — is virtually invisible and hard to make understandable. That very incomprehensibility makes it more palatable to the party in power, harder for the opposition to pounce on, and tougher for columnists to explain concisely.

There is much to be said in defence of cap and trade in theory — notably that it imposes a hard cap on overall emissions that is ratcheted down in successive years. That means greenhouse gases will be reined in one way or another — unlike the environmental uncertainty of a carbon tax, which merely collects revenue from polluters but doesn’t necessarily shut them down (if they choose to treat it as a cost of doing business).

But in practice, it is the second half of the equation — the “trade” in cap and trade — that is the hard part, wherein polluters buy and sell unused emissions allowances (credits) at auction to meet their assigned targets. It is a messy system — markets always are.

There is good reason to be skeptical about the ability of Ontario’s Liberal government — with its mixed record of mismanagement — to execute, oversee and regulate such a complex scheme. Especially under the stewardship of its all-knowing but ever-erratic environment minister, Glen Murray.

Beyond the obscurities and complexities of cap and trade, the government’s new five-year action plan will attract attention in other areas sure to hit people between the eyes, if not their pocketbooks: Cold cash for global warming as Queen’s Park improves incentives for people who buy pricey electric cars.

Existing rebates of up to $14,000 per electric vehicle will be expanded, and low-income motorists will get incentives to trade in their old gas guzzlers, as the Star’s Robert Benzie reported earlier this week (dubbing it a “cash-for-clunkers” program). There may be sound environmental and economic reasons for giving people a nudge that eases the sticker shock from electric cars. But it will always rub the rest of the voting public the wrong way that their tax dollars are cross-subsidizing someone else’s pricey vehicle.

Those subsidies (and others for home energy audits and conservation) will be covered by the nearly $2 billion collected starting next January as fuel goes up 4.3 cents a litre at the pump and an average $5 comes out of monthly natural gas bills (nope, not being banned, just taxed). The plan purports to take money from one pocket and put it in another, all for the greater good, more or less.

But for all the heavy lifting that went into the plan’s conception, it is in the execution of cap and trade that the Liberals will be judged — and held to account. One more reason, as Ontarians factor in the inexorable gloom of global warming, to be pessimistic.


Prophecy rampant about California water supply

Because there is no actual warming, they have to live in a world of make-believe

Low-elevation snowpack across the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades will disappear in the coming decades if global warming continues unabated, according to a new study. The changes will cause water shortages in the region and dry out forests and grasslands, the study's authors say.

According to the research, the snow line—the altitude above which it snows, and below which it rains—will climb as much as 800 feet in the Colorado Rockies, and 1,400 feet in the Rockies of Idaho and Wyoming by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate. The snow line will rise by an average of 950 feet across six Western mountain regions by century's end. The study, by a team of University of Utah scientists, was published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last month.

A shift of that magnitude means less spring runoff for millions of square miles of watersheds in the lower elevations of the West. The melting of the spring snowpack determines how much water feeds critical reservoirs in 11 Western states. That water helps sustain Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other cities, as well as farms and mountain ecosystems, through hot, dry summers.

Less spring snowpack means water managers will have to capture runoff earlier in the season, and dried up forests, brush and grasslands will increase early season wildfires. Western ski resorts will also be affected, because the snowline will rise above the base elevation of many of them, according to the study.

"We identified an elevation threshold above which precipitation is the main driver of springtime snowpack," said University of Utah climate researcher Court Strong, who led the study. Right now, that line is at about 6,500 feet, but it will rapidly march up the mountain during the coming decades if global warming continues unchecked, Strong said.

Along with melting Arctic ice and vanishing glaciers worldwide, declining snow cover is a powerful gauge of global warming impacts, researchers say.

"Snowpack is one of the most pure forms of a climate indicator," said John Abatzoglou, a University of Idaho geography professor who studies climate impacts but was not involved in the study. "We can see our snowpack, we can see when it decreases, or moves up and down the mountain...It's one the best independent measures when it comes to climate change."

Climate change has already reduced snow cover in the Rockies by 20 percent since 1980, and pushed up the peak of spring runoff by as much as two weeks in parts of the mountain West, recent studies have shown. All global climate models have projected steadily increasing temperatures, and some suggest a slight increase in precipitation, for the region.

But until now, those models have not been able to project changes for individual mountain ranges or valleys. For this study, the authors downscaled global models to account for extreme variations in altitude and other local conditions like winds and regional moisture sources. Their goal was to find out how climate change will affect precipitation and temperature, and how those changes will alter snowpack.  It is one of the first studies to show specific, elevation-based snowpack projections.

The study used data from the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, California's Sierra Nevada, the Cascades in Washington and Oregon and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming.

The team embedded a local weather forecasting system, which included 26 years of observed temperature, precipitation and snowpack data, in the global climate model. They telescoped the grid into smaller and smaller cells to capture fine-scale atmospheric processes affecting local climate, including future temperature changes in the Great Salt Lake in Utah and evaporation from urban irrigation, both of which contribute moisture to the air.

That enabled the researchers to look at areas as small as one-and-a-half square miles and make detailed projections about how global warming will affect the snowpack. Existing global climate models measure the Earth's surface in segments of more than 38.6 square miles, bigger than some of the mountain ranges covered by the new study.

"You can't even see the Wasatch Range [in Utah] at that resolution,"  said Strong. Those models work well for flat areas like the Great Plains, but they don't capture climate change impacts in the complex terrain of the mountain West, he said.

The researchers also wanted to know how the changing snow line would affect winter recreation, so they looked at 14 ski resorts in Utah.

Four of them have base areas that sit above 7,300 feet, the elevation identified in the study as the snow line in 2100. That means they will still get snow rather than rain for most of the winter. But the rest, including venues from the 2002 Winter Olympics, sit at base elevations between 5,500 and 7,200 feet. The base areas of those resorts will often see mid-winter rains, and little or no snow, by the end of the century.



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

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14 June, 2016

The left’s grand, green vision

How Hillary and Bernie will destroy 10 million jobs

Like a crazed serial killer, the liberal green groups are celebrating their “victory” of putting America’s major coal producers out of business — to say nothing of the tens of thousands of miners placed in unemployment lines. Several thousand more mining jobs were lost last month.

Now to get their next homicidal high, the leftists have turned their ambitions on the oil and natural gas industries. Here is how the Sierra Club spokeswoman, Lena Moffit, explains the grand, green vision:

“We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. We oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking.”

That’s an amazing admission given that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants too. Then she admitted: “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way … to ensure that we’re moving to a 100% clean energy future.”

Wow, this is the agenda of lunatics. Scarier still is that the three most prominent Democrats in America aren’t far behind in this maniacal mindset of killing domestic industries. President Obama says we have to shift to a “keep it in the ground” strategy when it comes to all fossil fuels. Bernie Sanders is the sponsor of a Senate bill that would effectively ban all oil and gas drilling on federal lands.


Heavy Precipitation Under Global Warming Likely “Overestimated”

Max Planck Institute: Coupling of extreme extreme precipitation to climate warming weaker than feared

By Dr. Sebastian Lüning und Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(German text translated/edited by P Gosselin)

A warmer world with more precipitation? That is plausible as warmer air means a higher moisture and water vapor carrying capacity. The risk of droughts thus would be reduced. However, do higher temperatures lead to drastic increase in extreme rainfalls? Some scientists prematurely made up their minds and sold the media their personal opinion of settled science. Here they hide the fact that this is in fact heatedly debated within the science community.

Very recently a new paper appeared in the Geophysical Research Letters, authored by Yu Zhou et al of the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems. The scientists found errors in the statistical processing of extreme precipitation data. Once corrected, the data show that extreme precipitation have even declined over the past 15 years. When accounting for the past 25 years, they found a much weaker relationship between extreme precipitation and temperature than that found by other groups.

Zhou et al conclude that the danger from extreme precipitation events as a consequence of global warming was strongly overestimated and that it must be corrected downwards.

In the future extreme rain may even become less. What follows is the paper’s abstract:

"On the detection of precipitation dependence on temperature

Employing their newly proposed interannual difference method (IADM), Liu et al. (2009) and Shiu et al. (2012) reported a shocking increase of around 100% K?1 in heavy precipitation with warming global temperature in 1979–2007. Such increase is alarming and prompts us to probe into the IADM. In this study, both analytical derivations and numerical analyses demonstrate that IADM provides no additional information to that of the conventional linear regression, and also, it may give a false indication of dependence. For clarity and simplicity, we therefore recommend linear regression analysis over the IADM for the detection of dependence. We also find that heavy precipitation decreased during the global warming hiatus, and the precipitation dependence on temperature drops by almost 50% when the study period is extended to 1979–2014 and it may keep dropping in the near future. The risk of having heavy precipitation under warming global temperature may have been overestimated.”


AG Accuses CEI of Wasting His Time in Ongoing Global Warming Subpoena Saga

Last week Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker filed his opposition to CEI’s motions for attorney fees and sanctions, the latest development in the global warming subpoena saga.

By way of background, at a heavily publicized press conference on March 29, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a new and, in his words, “unprecedented” coalition—“Attorneys General United for Clean Power.”  Its job would be to “use all the tools at our disposal” to push for progress on “the most consequential issue of our time”—the alleged crisis of climate change. 

Al Gore had center stage at the press conference, but several other state AGs participated as well to pledge their cooperation.  Their target was the ongoing controversy over global warming—in their view, the skeptics on this issue were engaged not in debate, but in deception.

A few days later, CEI was served with a subpoena from one of the participating AGs, Claude Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The subpoena stated that, as part of Mr. Walker’s investigation of ExxonMobil under his territory’s racketeering laws, he was demanding a full decade’s worth of CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy—documents that would not only be incredibly burdensome for us to retrieve, but that would also reveal the identities of our supporters.

We immediately made it clear, both publicly and in a letter to Mr. Walker, that we regarded this as a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights, as well as those of our donors; their right to confidentiality, after all, is based on a line of Supreme Court rulings.  Our view was shared by commenters across the political spectrum, and it was forcefully presented by our outside counsel, Andrew Grossman and David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler.

CEI refused to hand over anything, and we proceeded to file motions for sanctions against Mr. Walker in the DC court that had issued the subpoena.  We argued that the AG had engaged in an outrageous abuse of the legal process.

Well, Mr. Walker withdrew his DC subpoena, but he made it clear that he would reissue it if he changed his mind, and that he was not withdrawing the underlying Virgin Islands subpoena that had started all this.  We, however, are continuing to press forward with our motions for sanctions and attorney fees.  When it comes to constitutional outrages like this, a prosecutor’s Emily Litella “never mind” ploy just doesn’t suffice, especially when that official continues to threaten further abuses.

Which brings us to Mr. Walker’s new filing, opposing our motions.  It sets forth a number of legal arguments to which we’ll shortly be responding in court.  But here’s the money line from that filing: “… CEI has wasted enough of VIDOJ’s and the court’s limited time and resources.”

Well, Mr. Walker has only himself to blame; when you abuse your authority to harass those whose views you dislike, there are going to be consequences. And when courts spend their time examining and sanctioning abuses, abuses which ultimately threaten us all, that is time well spent.

“Attorneys General United for Clean Power” is a misnomer.  It should really be called “Attorneys General United for More Power.”  And when that power consists of shutting down debate, we all have a duty to resist it.


UK: Another fracking melodrama

Claims that shale wells poison rivers are not all they seem

For the first time, American scientists have published a paper showing that wastewater from a shale-gas well and a coalbed methane site, disposed of by injecting it into a deep well, has reached a surface stream. This has led the UK group Frack Off to claim that the ‘favoured method of frack-waste disposal [is] causing environmental harm’.

Given the US’s 36,000 disposal wells, and the growing volume of wastewater surrounding them, the news came as a relief to greens, who have long been hunting for proof of surface-level contamination as a result of fracking. But what did the research, conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS), really find? Concentrations of iron in the stream, which is within the Wolf Creek watershed, exceeded the 1mg/litre standard specified by West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection. Levels of naturally occurring radioactive radium were up to four times what uncontaminated (‘background’) sites showed. Levels of chlorine, bromine and other iffy elements were high, too. These elements, the USGS reported, ‘can potentially’ alter ecosystems: in the deicing of roads, for instance, increases in salinity (dissolved salt content) ‘are associated with disruptions in nitrogen cycling, likely due to alterations of microbial communities’. Thus, in the sediment around Wolf Creek, alterations in microbial communities brought about by shale wastewater ‘could’ impact nutrient cycling there.

A tentative judgement. Still, a second, parallel paper, again written (mostly) by USGS scientists, reported that, among fish and amphibians in the stream, endocrine-disrupting chemicals at receptors for the hormones oestrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid and thyroid were at ‘equivalent authentic standard concentrations [sic] known to disrupt reproduction and/or development’.

Now, the first group of scientists couldn’t say how the contamination of the stream had happened. They admitted that it could have come from storage ponds and tanks, or from fuel and motor oil from vehicle deliveries. They conceded that the iron, chlorine and bromine could have come from past coal mining, coalbed methane, or from activities around conventional oil and gas production, rather than shale. Meanwhile, the second group of scientists noted that the water in Wolf Creek only merges with flows into the New River, a drinking water resource, five miles away from the endocrine disruption they found.

Altogether, the response followed the usual climate-alarmist formula. First, scientists find just enough debatable evidence to call for further research. Then, greens throw all nuance to the winds and reduce the research – in this case, two papers, 16 closely printed pages of enquiry and more than 100 references – to the headline phrase ‘environmental harm’.

It is this kind of green hysteria that continues to dog the development of fracking.

Greens claim that the exploitation of shale: adds to CO2 levels (especially through emissions of methane); takes too long to develop to make a difference to UK energy; causes earthquakes; contaminates the geological faults that are more prevalent in Europe than America; causes explosions; causes subsidence, and so lowers property prices; diverts money and attention away from renewables; distracts from necessary changes in consumption behaviour and energy efficiency; hits agriculture, the food chain, wildlife, recreation and tourism; promotes unacceptable levels of vehicle traffic and damages roads; prompts water shortages; hooks drilling companies up in opaque and corrupt arrangements with Tories and regulators; and merely benefits shareholders of Britain’s Big Six energy companies.

But wait, there’s more. Greenpeace discovered that 40 per cent of UK drilling licensees hold money offshore. Many drillers in the US, one critic chortled, are bankrupt – so in the densely populated, and thus more heavily regulated, UK, the costs of drilling will be prohibitive. At the University of Oxford’s Institute for Energy Studies, an expert ruled out mass commercial development of shale in the UK on account of today’s tumbling gas prices.

This alarmism rages on in the US, too. Researchers at Duke University, North Carolina, report that, since 2007, no fewer than 3,900 spills of wastewater have been reported around fracking sites in North Dakota, generally ranging from 200 to 10,000 litres each. As a result, in soil, groundwater and surface water around spill sites, both heavy metals and corrosive salts are, Duke proclaims, ‘remarkably persistent’.

Duke says these chemicals can be preserved in spill sites for ‘at least months to years’ – up to four years, in fact, in the case of two exceptional spills, each of 48,000 litres, that occurred in 2011. But the bigger problem is radium, especially when, in wastewater, it is spilt on to soil. Yet North Dakota environmental-health chief David Glatt says the state has cleaned up the vast majority of its spills, removing contaminated soil and flushing it with fresh water. So the threat from radium can be dealt with.

All spills are lamentable, and investment in new, better technologies is needed to stop them. But the culprits in North Dakota, Duke says, are mainly down to poor storage and pipeline infrastructure, not drilling. Moreover, US federal law requires water to be treated before it reaches domestic taps, and Duke did not test tap water for contamination.

Nevertheless, hysteria about shale mounts. In May, a shut-off sensor failed in a tank of oil and drilling wastewater (again in North Dakota) and the tank spilt bad stuff on to pastureland the size of an American-football field. When reporting the incident, Frack Off conveniently forgot to mention that huge vacuum machinery sucked the muck up, and waterways and drinking water were unaffected. Again, in May, Frack Off reported that young children were ‘particularly at risk’ from fracking chemicals, which bring lung problems and infections. What they failed to mention was that the study in question said this was only a potential risk.

Environmentalists’ never-ending and exaggerated objections to shale simply reveal a hatred of modernity. But the new, economic attacks on UK shale also reveal something else: rank hypocrisy.

The journal Nature recently reported that Europe has so far failed to build a commercial shale well. Indeed, geologists know little about shale-rock formations in Europe because there’s been less onshore drilling than in the US. Why? Well, EU member states from Bulgaria to France have, like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, enacted bans on fracking. As a result, ‘England is home to some of the few remaining attempts to tap shale gas in Europe. A handful of companies have applied for permission to drill… But environmentalists have put up a strong fight, and permissions have been slow to emerge.’ Indeed, as another expert from Oxford’s Institute for Energy Studies intones, no EU member state is in any position ‘anytime soon’ to drill the 50-100 wells necessary to confirm or deny the possibility of forging ahead with shale gas.

There we have it. Authorised and (quite often) funded by anti-modern sections of the establishment and the state, greens encourage already-wary governments to stop experiments with shale across the EU. Then wise universities such as Oxford proclaim that, in the EU, we know nothing about shale, so it can’t go ahead.

This sorry state of affairs provides yet another reason for Britain to leave the EU. Then, perhaps, we might acquire the can-do, high-tech approach of US frackers. That said, we can also learn from their mistakes and malpractice. Indeed we might, just this one time, take a cue from President Obama. For the 16 per cent of US oil and gas sites that are currently not obeying the rules, Obama is insisting they use infra-red cameras and other state-of-the art methods to cut methane leaks and end the burning off of excess gas (‘flaring’, which loses the US $10 billion worth of natural gas a year).

It’s time to for Britain to follow America’s lead. Let’s dispel the fracking melodramas and embrace new energy technology.


The Great British Wind Farm Scandal: These Are The Heads That Should Roll

by James Delingpole

Regular readers may be aware that I am not a fan of wind farms.

This is because, among other things, they kill birds and bats, hurt the environment, cause sleeplessness and sickness in humans, drive up fuel prices, enrich troughing rent-seeking crony capitalist scumbags, blight views, cause people to die in fuel poverty, harm property values, destabilise the grid, and inflate the cost of living – all while signally failing at the one thing they’re supposed to be good at, viz supplying us with the clean, abundant, eco-friendly energy which is going to save us all from “global warming.”

For anyone prepared to do their research – as opposed to take back handers from the renewable industry, mouth green platitudes or get frightened off by the wind industry’s super-aggressive lawyers – all this has been obvious for years.

Now, even the wind industry’s leading spokesmen have come half way to admitting how utterly crap and pointless wind energy is.

In England, we learned this week from the head of the wind energy lobby group Renewable UK, the wind levels are so puny and unreliable that turbines cannot generate economically viable quantities of energy.

How about that all you idyllic villages from Cornwall through Northamptonshire to the Fens and thence up north to the humpy Howgills and beyond who’ve had your views blighted, your peace disturbed, your property values trashed, your avian wildlife sliced and diced, your livestock frightened and your community cohesion disrupted by wind projects you never wanted, which you fought hard to prevent, but which were dumped on your doorstep anyway?

How does it feel to know that – having wasted all that time, money and heartache trying unsuccessfully to fight those greedy developers and selfish landowners through the biased planning process only to be overruled by some sinister Inspector Blight figure from the Planning Inspectorate – you’ve belatedly been vindicated by the wind industry itself?

Yes, Big Wind has finally admitted: all those bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes dotted hither and thither over the choicest parts of the matchlessly beautiful English landscape were entirely unnecessary. They’re sitting on those hilltops, turning or not turning as the case may be, making so little difference to Britain’s “energy security” or power supplies or carbon emissions reductions or economy that really they might just as well not be there.

And the most stupid thing of all is we’re paying for it.

This is a disgrace. A national scandal. I’m racking my brain for some equivalents.

In terms of corruption combined with wanton vandalism, it’s akin to all those cities, especially in the North, whose town councillors – in league with developers – allowed perfectly decent Victorian housing stock to be destroyed and replaced by ugly, soul-destroying tower blocks.

In terms of abuse of state power, it is even worse. Property rights are one of the bedrocks of liberal democracy. Arbitrary confiscation – whether literally taking someone’s home and land or reducing its value through state-mandated blight – is something you associate with banana republics and communist tyrannies. Part of the social contract that electorates in Western liberal democracies enjoy is that, in return for their tax money the state will attempt to act in the interests of the people it serves.

Furthermore it is understood by all that the state will only act against its citizens’ individual interests in matters of overriding national importance, such as national security or the need to build infrastructure such as motorways.

Usually – and correctly – people are paid compensation by the government for any losses imposed on them in the “national interest”. But before any of this takes place, one more thing is naturally understood by all: that the government has submitted whatever mega-project it is about to undertake – be it depopulating a whole village in World War II for use as an urban warfare training centre or flattening a swathe of countryside to build the M1 – to a proper cost benefit analysis. That is, one fully – and again quite reasonably – expects that when the state undertakes to do bad and expensive things to its people, it will have first taken steps to ensure that these bad and expensive things will ultimately result in more good than harm.

In the case of the Great Wind Con this manifestly hasn’t happened. Billions of pounds have been squandered, lives blighted and swathes of countryside ruined for a generation because of the lies, greed or incompetence of a fairly small group of people, some of whom frankly ought to be facing criminal charges for corruption, all of whose names ought to live in infamy for the damage they have wantonly inflicted on Britain’s landscape, people and economy.

Unfortunately it is often the way of British politics to let people go scot free for the disastrous cock ups they make while in government. I really don’t think we should. These tossers should be harried to the end of their days and then have their crimes engraved on their headstones as a salutary warning: ruin your country and we’ll ruin you.

Here are some of the rogues whose involvement in this grotesque and unforgiveable scam should never be forgotten.

* Ed Miliband – Britain’s first Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; failed Labour leader; unemployable gimp

Once said that opposing wind farms ought to be as “socially unacceptable as not wearing a seat belt”. As architect of the Climate Change Act – committing Britain to spending over £18 billion a year every year till 2050 pointlessly decarbonising her economy – he probably cost the British taxpayer more money, more pointlessly than any other politician in history.

* The European Union

Not that we’re exactly short of reasons to loathe the EU but here’s another: it was responsible for the renewable energy targets – 20 per cent of energy to come from renewables by 2020 – that gave UK politicians like Ed Miliband the excuse they needed to railroad though the policy.

* Bryony (now Baroness) Worthington – former Friends of the Earth activist; now in the House of Lords

Bryony effectively wrote the Climate Change Act for Miliband. It really is astonishing the leeway a minority interest campaigner from a hard left  lobby group was given to create legislation that held the whole of Britain hostage to the anti-capitalist fantasies of a small group of green zealots.

* David Cameron – Prime Minister; leader of the “greenest government ever”

He could have put a stop to this. As a Conservative, he really should have done. Conservatives are not supposed to be the enemy of property rights nor of the countryside. But instead – perhaps under the influence of his hippy wife SamCam – he sold the pass and embraced green nonsense wholesale. During his Coalition government he handed over the Department of Energy and Climate Change to the fanatically green Lib Dems – the equivalent, as PJ O’Rourke might put it, of giving car keys and whisky to small boys.

* Chris Huhne; Ed Davey; Nick Clegg; Lib Dems generally

Huhne’s a perjuring spiv and jailbird; Davey’s thick as pigshit; Clegg is a revoltingly entitled, Westminster educated slimeball of a Euro creep. But let’s not dwell on the nice distinctions: the point is they’re all Lib Dems and therefore so ideologically wedded to the green project that they were quite incapable of subjecting its details to proper scrutiny. Like Dr Johnson said, “there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea.”

* Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt

Of all the toffs with their snouts in the green trough why pick on Sir Reg? Well because he’s the Prime Minister’s father-in-law and because ultimately some of the £1000 a day he makes just to have eight wind turbines sitting doing bugger all on his Lincolnshire estates will end up in Dave and Sam Cam’s pockets – and I really don’t think it’s right that they should benefit financially, at taxpayers’ expense, from policies they helped engineer.

* Toffs and landowners generally

Yes there are exceptions – the Duke of Northumberland, for one; my landlord in Northants being another. But generally the upper classes have behaved quite despicably in this matter. When the chips are down, it seems, they don’t give two hoots for the beauteous scenery they inherited by accident of birth. All that counts for them is the free money they get for having bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes on their estates. The Scottish toffs are by far the worst. But in England, special dishonourable mentions could go to Earl Spencer and the Duke of Gloucester, a member of the Royal Family no less: both have tried to host turbines on their lands, regardless of the protests of the poor sods who have to live with them.

* That revolting man from Fisher German Estate Agents

I forget the awful creep’s name but he worked for Fisher German and his speciality was to travel the length and breadth of my county advising landowners of the cash bonanza that awaited them if only they didn’t mind totally ruining their neighbours views and peace. Naturally, he was a very passionate advocate for wind energy – and was totally deaf to its shortcomings. As Upton Sinclair said: “It is hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Obviously there are estate agents and land agents like that frightful man from Fisher German all over the country. May they all end up unemployed!

* The RSPB

Not only has Europe’s largest wildlife charity promoted wind farms but actually benefited from them financially – despite copious evidence of the damage bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes to the very wildlife the RSPB is supposed to save. That’s why they call it the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds.

* Greenpeace; Friends of the Earth; the WWF etc

These helped promote the climate change hysteria which lent policymakers the apparent moral justification for forcing renewable energy on their electorates. They have never apologised for the damage their junk-science propagandising has caused and they never will.

* Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

By no means is the RICS the only professional institution to have jumped on the green bandwagon regardless of all evidence. But let it stand for all those public and professional bodies which has been corrupted morally and intellectually in the green scam. My beef with the RICS is its complicity in playing down evidence that wind farms have a significant impact on property values. This was shameful.

* Acousticians

Again there have been honourable exceptions. But certain sections of the acoustics industry – they know who they are but if I name them I dare say they’ll try to sue me – have quite deliberately gamed the system, covered up evidence, even lied at the behest of the renewable energy behemoth. Had these people done their job half the wind farms blighting our landscape would never have been permitted on health and safety grounds because they’re just too damned close to human habitations – and the damaging effects of infrasound and the noises caused by wind sheer have been known to the acoustics industry for years.

* Ecologists

One of the more despicable aspects of this scam – and it just goes to show how corrupting money can be – is the way people who presumably got their various ecology and environmental sciences degrees because they loved nature ended up using their qualifications to help destroy it. You often encountered them at planning hearings, abusing their professional status by testifying that “Oh no, don’t worry. In our expert opinion this sensitively sited wind farm won’t remotely damage any wildlife” – thus undermining one of the main planks in the defence used by hapless local communities trying desperately to avoid having one of these monstrosities plonked in their neighbourhood.

* Conservatives

Again not all of them. But it’s quite amazing how many of them acquiesced in this scam – only five of them, for example, voted against the Climate Change Act. Most loathsome of the bunch, though, are the ones who actively pushed for more stringent green or renewable energy policies and who have often ended up benefiting from their various green business interests. Former MP Tim Yeo; the slithy Lord Deben; Charles Hendry. Wherever it is these scumbags live I do hope that no one ever invites them to dinner and that everyone cuts them when they bump into them in the village Post Office or wherever. I certainly would. How they can live with themselves or indeed sleep at night is a mystery to me.

* Tony Blair

Well obviously. Almost everything that is wrong with the world can be traced, ultimately, to Tony Blair.

* Dale “Dog On A Rope” Vince

Let this deeply unpleasant man stand for all the rent-seeking troughers who have benefited from this Ponzi scheme of an industry which I’m quite sure Enron would dearly have loved to have invented. Dale Vince has made a multi-million pound fortune not by creating value but simply by being canny enough to milk the system. In an open market not one single wind turbine would have been erected in England (or anywhere else probably). They’re there purely because of the government’s regulatory fiat, which heavily incentivises people to build wind turbines not because they’re economically viable but because they’re politically useful. This is crony capitalism pure and simple. It’s ugly, it represents an abuse of government power and I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who make their money in this way. They don’t deserve a penny of it. I wish I could show my contempt by shorting shares in Vince’s company. But you can’t because he’s not publicly quoted. I wonder why.

* The BBC

Never once – so far as I can recall – has the BBC ever called into question the viability of or the need for these industrial blights on our landscape. It’s supposed to be impartial and to represent the interests of the whole country. Yet it has allowed itself to be captured by a narrow establishment with a vested interest in promulgating the renewable lie. This represents a betrayal of trust, an abuse of the licence fee and a failure of journalism.

* The media generally

Here is what ought to be – indeed is – one of the most scandalous wastes of public money in living memory. Why weren’t our journalists on top of this?

This list is by no means exhaustive. What it does, I hope, is show how easy it is for vocal minority groups – in this case green activists – to hold public policy hostage and also how depressingly easy it is to buy the support of theoretically reputable institutions and individuals with a flash of filthy lucre. Wind energy is so wrong in so many ways that it should have never been allowed past the planning stage. Unfortunately money talks.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this is the most disgraceful public scandals of our age. And I think it makes a nonsense of our belief that we are a country of great probity with an effective, honest political system. If we were as high minded and decent as we kid ourselves, then some of the parties I have named above would be facing hefty fines or a stint in prison – and certainly the confiscation of their assets to compensate all the people who have lost out as a result of their dishonesty or, at best, grotesquely misguided high-mindedness. Green loons will always be with us. But the very least we ought to be able to expect our scientists, politicians, economists, businessmen and journalists to do is to hold their wild claims to account rather than indulging their fantasy and impoverishing ordinary people as a result.

And the scandal isn’t over yet, either.

As Paul Homewood reports, the Government is preparing to break its promise to put an end to the subsidies we are forced to pay this pointless and undeserving industry. Under pressure, clearly, from the powerful vested interests involved in the renewable energy scam, the Government plans to redefine the meaning of the word “subsidy” so that the troughers in the wind industry can carry on troughing. How sad to learn that Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative minister who acquitted herself so brilliantly in the Brexit debate on ITV the other night, should be playing a leading role in promulgating this duplicity.

If Cameron’s administration had a shred of moral integrity it would be distancing itself from this scandal as quickly as possible by apologising for its mistakes and making amends.

I hope this piece will be shared around the world by all those groups – I know there are lots of you – from Canada to Australia, from Scotland to Kenya, striving desperately to protect their own special stretch of countryside from this vile, mendacious, conscience-free industry. One day, sooner rather than later, you will be vindicated by history. Wind energy – people will come to recognise – was one of the greatest follies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. If only the bottom-feeders who have promoted it or profited by it got the punishment they all deserve!


Australia: NSW farmers stepping up tree felling even before land-clearing laws loosened

Greenies are always trying to restrict farmers' right to use their property as they see fit, making a nonsense out of freehold.  So when the regulations ease up a bit, farmers have got to rush in and do whatever is needed to develop their property.  There are plenty of national parks for wildlife preservation but Greenies always want it all

The state's farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further, government data shows.

The new figures, which reveal the rate of clearing of paddock trees has more than doubled since November 2014, come as the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists wrote to all MPs to call for a reversal of "retrograde changes" planned in the new Biodiversity Conservation act.

NSW farmers used a new self-assessment code to remove 21,716 paddock trees – or more than 50 a day – over the past year and a half.

The rate, at an average of about 50 per day, was 140 per cent more than the average over the previous seven years, data from the Office of Environment and Heritage showed. Paddock trees, judged to be single or small patches of trees, make up 40 per cent of remaining woodland cover, OEH says.

Satellite monitoring by OEH would probably have detected even more clearing but the public has been left in the dark because the O'Farrell-Baird governments had failed to release a native vegetation report since 2013, Mehreen Faruqi, the Greens environment spokeswoman, said.

The Greens had also sought information on the number of applications OEH received and what if any compliance of the self-assessment codes they conducted, Dr Faruqi said.

"If almost 22,000 trees can be removed under the existing law, then it will be a disaster when new laws that further facilitate land clearing are brought in," she said, adding the latest tree-felling numbers were "the tip of the iceberg".

A spokeswoman for Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, did not address the scale of tree clearing on farms, but said "the proposed Biodiversity Conservation package aims to reverse the decline of biodiversity in NSW because the current system isn't working".

?"The NSW Government is currently seeking feedback on the draft reforms and stakeholders including environmental groups and farmers are encouraged to put forward a submission before June 28," she said.

Labor's environment spokeswoman, Penny Sharpe, said the figures "ring alarm bells on how far the current biodiversity laws have already been watered down".

"If these laws proceed in their current form, there will be a return to land clearing on a scale unseen for decades in NSW with catastrophic impacts on native animals, soil, water and greenhouse gas emissions," Ms Sharpe said.

The Wentworth Group was also scathing of the new proposals, warning that "key elements [of the new act] will substantially weaken existing protections" contained within the Native Vegetation and Threaten Species acts which will be replaced by the new Biodiversity Conservation act.

The group's criticism carries additional weight because one of the signatories to the letter is Professor Hugh Possingham, a member of the Biodiversity Review Panel that reviewed the existing legislation.

The proposed law contains three major flaws including a weaker set of codes that would permit more broadscale land-clearing, a lack of mapping of areas of high conservation value, and its $240 million plan to reward private landholders protecting native vegetation on their properties may end up as "a taxpayer subsidy to farmers to degrade land", the group said.

"The watering down of laws to stop broadscale clearing is driven by a small handful of property owners who believe they have the right to do whatever they wish, irrespective of the long-term damage this might cause to the rest of society," the scientists said.

Mark Speakman, environment minister, said he had noted the scientists' concerns.

"There are a range of diverse views on the proposed reforms," he said. "The draft reforms are designed to protect biodiversity and create the best possible outcomes for the environmental future of NSW."



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13 June, 2016

Norway Bursts Global Warming's Methane Bubble

Atmospheric CH4 concentrations should be highest near the ocean surface.  They are not

Global warming is undoubtedly the greatest threat to the Arctic's fragile environment. Rising temperatures have so far been largely blamed on methane escaping from the seabed. However, Norwegian scientists argue that the greenhouse gas might not necessarily be the culprit.

For years, the seepage of methane from the ocean bed was blamed for the accumulation of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. With the Arctic Ocean getting progressively warmer, scientists believe that even more methane will be released and dissolved in the atmosphere. Surprisingly, this is not the case around the polar archipelago of Svalbard, Norwegian scientists say.

In 2014, a task group comprised of researchers from the University of Tromsø and Cicero got down to work in the Arctic to find out what happens to methane leaking from the sea and gauge how much of it is released into the air.

Subsequently, samples of ocean water and air were taken from a boat, and a research plane measured the concentration of methane from 15 to 30 meters above the surface. These were later compared with samples which were collected at a weather station on Svalbard. The results have sent shockwaves through Norway's scientific community: the concentration of methane at the sea surface was as high as that in Svalbard's mountains.

?"This means that the ocean is not the source of the methane in the air, at least in this area, Cathrine Lund Myhre, senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research NILU and project manager, told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK.

However, this does not mean we do not have to stop worrying about methane leaks from the ocean, as the measurements were only made during a short period of time when the sea was comparatively quiet.

"During the summer, the ocean water is strongly layered. On the surface, there is fresh and light water, while the heavy, methane-rich water stays on the bottom. When the first autumn storms come, it is natural to expect the water layers to mix up," Tore Furevik, director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research said, calling for continued research.

A marked increase in the methane content of the atmosphere around Svalbard has been measured recently. However, the source of methane was never established. The recent research will most likely reduce the uncertainty concerning the natural emission.

"In recent years, the temperature on Svalbard in February has remained 10-12 degrees above normal. This temperature increase is likely to invoke major climate changes," Lund Myhre said.


More job-killing rules from EPA

Social cost of methane regulations will further constrain energy production, for no benefit

Paul Driessen

Having already done yeoman’s work stifling economic growth and job creation, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is doubling down again.

The United States created a paltry 38,000 new jobs in May: one for every 8,000 Americans. Its labor force participation rate is a miserable 63% – meaning 93 million Americans are not working, while 6.4 million more are trying to feed their families on involuntary part-time positions and a fraction of their previous salaries. Manufacturing lost another 20,000 jobs in May, as the economy grew at an almost stagnant 0.8% the first quarter of 2016. Middle class family incomes and net worth continue to slide.

Meanwhile, well-paid federal bureaucrats increasingly regulate our lives, livelihoods and living standards, hand down fines and jail terms for some 5,000 federal crimes and 300,000 criminal offenses, and inflict $1.9 trillion in annual regulatory compliance costs on families and businesses.

EPA’s war on coal has already cost thousands of jobs in mines, power plants and dependent businesses. Low oil prices amid a tepid, over-regulated, climate-fixated, crony-corporatist American, European and international economy have already killed thousands of US oil patch jobs.

On June 3 EPA issued more rules: methane emission standards for new and modified oil and natural gas drilling, fracking, pipeline and other operations. Under steady environmentalist pressure, it may be only a matter of time before the agency covers existing operations – and maybe even livestock, rice growing, landfills, sewage treatment plants and other methane-emitting activities.

The agency justifies these new job-killing rules by citing something it calls the “social cost of methane,” which is patterned after its equally arbitrary, speculative, infinitely malleable “social cost of carbon.” (Carbon, of course, actually means carbon dioxide – the miracle molecule that enables plant growth and makes all life on Earth possible.) Both the SCM and SCC are needed, EPA insists, to prevent dangerous manmade global warming and climate change, which it claims are driven by these two trace gases.

EPA’s methane claims are absurd. Methane emissions from US hydraulic fracturing operations have plummeted 79% and from the overall US natural gas sector by 11% since 2005.

Moreover, methane is a tiny 0.00017% of the atmosphere, the equivalent of $1.70 out of $1 million. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 17% of that is from energy production and use; 26% comes from agriculture, landfills and sewage; and the remaining 57% is from natural sources. (Carbon dioxide, the other climate bogeyman, is 0.04% of the atmosphere – 400 ppm.)

The United States accounts for a mere 9% of the world’s total manmade methane – and just 29% of that is from oil and gas operations that provide 63% of all the energy that powers America. That means US oil and gas account for less than 3% of global manmade methane emissions – and thus just 0.000004% of all the methane in Earth’s atmosphere. That’s equivalent to 4 cents out of $1 million!

EPA insists that this undetectable amount will cause a global climate catastrophe, and forcing the oil industry to spend billions of dollars to reduce its already minimal methane emissions will bring billions in health and environmental benefits via climate change prevention. It says methane is 23 (or 28 or 35) times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and the USA must lead the way. What nonsense.

The atmosphere contains 235 times more carbon dioxide than methane – so this “ultra-potent” greenhouse gas will have only 10-15% of CO2’s supposed global warming power. The US petroleum industry’s contribution is utterly meaningless, especially compared to the solar, oceanic, cosmic and other powerful natural forces that have driven climate change throughout Earth and human history.

Of course, EPA’s shenanigans don’t end there.

The agency’s “social cost of methane” calculations rely on arbitrary 2.5, 3 and 5 percent “discount rates” that supposedly quantify the present value of future regulatory benefits, derived from preventing climate chaos 20, 50 or 100 years from now. The rates yield miraculous compounded benefits up to $1,700 per ton of methane emissions prevented by 2020 to $3,300 per ton by 2050. They could bring up to $550 million in alleged health benefits by 2025 – for “only” $330 million in oil industry costs.

But if EPA had used the 7% discount rate required under Office of Management and Budget guidelines, the supposed benefits would plummet to only $259 per ton by 2020. Naturally, EPA didn’t use that rate.

Even more dishonest, as it did for its “social cost of carbon,” EPA’s analysis incorporates virtually every conceivable “cost” of methane emissions and thus alleged “dangerous climate change” – to agriculture, forestry, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, rising sea levels, flooded coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands harmed by too much or too little rain, et cetera.

But it completely ignores every obvious and enormous benefit of using oil and natural gas: generating reliable, affordable electricity for lights, heat, air conditioning, computers, electric vehicles and countless other applications; manufacturing fertilizers, plastics, paints and pharmaceuticals; and even reducing CO2 emissions by replacing coal in electricity generation. EPA also ignores the real, obvious and enormous health impairment from millions more people rendered unemployed, poor and unable to heat their homes.

That is the critical point. But almost as important, the alleged, exaggerated, computer-conjured and illusory benefits from these SCM regulations accrue to the world as a whole – while the very real costs are incurred solely by American companies, consumers and taxpayers. EPA doesn’t mention that.

And to top it off, the mandated reductions in US methane emissions will be imperceptible amid the world’s enormous and rapidly increasing oil, natural gas and coal production and use. In fact, 59 nations are already planning to build more than 1,200 new coal-fired power plants – on top of what they and developed nations are already building.

China, India, Russia and Europe together emit more than five times the methane that the USA does, and the world just set new oil and natural gas consumption records. In fact, the net increase in petroleum consumption was 2.6 times the overall increase in renewable energy use.

Indeed, fossil fuels now account for 79% of total global energy consumption – compared to 0.7% for wind and solar energy combined. The much-touted figure of 19% global renewable energy cleverly hides the fact that 68% of that consumption total is wood, animal dung and hydroelectric energy. Even more astounding, wood and dung account for 13 times more energy worldwide than wind and solar combined!

India has said it will not ratify the Paris treaty anytime soon, and will continue using fossil fuels to bring electricity to people and businesses and improve living standards. Meanwhile, renewable energy spending fell 46% in Germany and 21% overall in Europe in 2015 from the previous year.

EPA’s SCC and SCM scam underscores the religious dogma that drives the Obama Administration’s climate change agenda and ideological determination to end hydrocarbon use in America. Perhaps worse, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has bragged about putting still more coal miners out of work. She has also said she would ban drilling on all onshore and offshore public lands, and regulate fracking into oblivion on state and private lands. Senator Bernie Sanders will almost assuredly push her and the Democratic Party even further to the Left on energy policies.

These policies would put even more Americans out of work, landing them on welfare rolls and forcing them to depend on unsustainable government handouts that rely on taking more money from an ever-shrinking workforce. Americans would have to get used to the idea of having lights, AC and computers when increasingly expensive electricity is available – instead of when we need it. What a depressing future that would be for our children and grandchildren.

Via email

Climate Scientists Say Global Warming Likely Caused Paris Flooding

They would.  They talk about the probability of it and claim to know that but that is absurd.  How can you assign probabilities to such a rare event?  You would have to sample thousands of years to calculate a probability for such a rare event.  It's just arbitrary modelling

An extreme shift in the weather brought on by manmade emissions likely caused the torrential rains that flooded Paris last month, a new study says.

Researchers at the Laboratory for Climate and Environment Sciences (LSCE) in France said the likelihood of unusual heavy rainfall, such as the one that caused the flooding of areas along the Seine River in May, has doubled in the past five decades as a result of global warming.

They found that the probability of such extreme weather patterns happening had increased by more than 40 percent at the very least.

LSCE senior scientist Robert Vautard said the rainstorms that flooded the French capital recently can be tied directly to the impacts of global warming on the Earth.

During the three days of heavy raining, the water in the river Seine reached 6.07 meters (19.9 feet), which is the highest point it has ever been in the past three decades. The overflow from river tributaries forced thousands of people living in nearby towns to be evacuated.

Torrential rains also caused widespread flooding in southern Germany, which destroyed several houses and vehicles. Reports say at least 18 people were killed in subsequent flooding in four European countries.


Taming the Greenland Melting Global Warming Hype

There is a new paper generating some press attention (e.g. Chris Mooney at the Washington Post) that strongly suggests global warming is leading to specific changes in the atmospheric circulation over the Northern Hemisphere that is causing an enhancement of surface melting across Greenland—and of course, that this mechanism will make things even worse than expected into the future.

We are here to strongly suggest this is not the case.

The new paper is by a team of authors led by Marco Tedesco from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The main gist of the paper is that Arctic sea ice loss as a result of human-caused global warming is causing the jet stream to slow down and become wigglier—with deeper north-south excursions that hang around longer.  This type of behavior is referred to as atmospheric “blocking.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s the same theoretical argument that is made to try to link wintertime “polar vortex” events (i.e., cold outbreaks) and blizzards to global warming. This argument which has been pretty well debunked, time and time again.

Well, at least it has as it concerns wintertime climate.

The twist of the new Tedesco and colleagues’ paper is that they’ve applied it to the summertime climate over Greenland. They argue that global warming is leading to an increase in blocking events over Greenland in the summer and that is causing warm air to be “locked” in place leading to enhanced surface melting there. Chris Mooney, who likes to promote climate alarm buzzwords, refers to this behavior as “weird.” And he describes the worrysome implications:

The key issue, then, is whether 2015 is a harbinger of a future in which the jet stream keeps sending Greenland atmospheric systems that drive major melt — and in turn, whether the Arctic amplification of climate change is driving this. If so, that could be a factor, not currently included in many climate change simulations, that would worsen the ice sheet’s melt, drive additional sea level rise and perhaps upend ocean currents due to large influxes of fresh water.

As proof that things were weird over Greenland in recent summers, Tedesco’s team offers up this figure in their paper:

This chart (part of a multipanel figure) shows the time history of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO—a pattern of atmospheric variation over the North Atlantic) as red bars and something called the Greenland Blocking Index (GBI) as the black line, for the month of July during the period 1950-2015. The chart is meant to show that in recent years, the NAO has been very low with 2015 being “a new record low of -1.23 (since 1899),” and the GBI has been very high with the authors noting that “[c]oncurrently, the GBI also set a new record for the month of July [2015].” Clearly the evidence is showing that atmospheric blocking increasing over Greenland which fits nicely into the global warming/sea ice loss/wiggly jet stream theory.

So what’s our beef?

A couple of months ago, some of the same authors of the Tedesco paper (notably Ed Hanna) published a paper showing the history of the monthly GBI going back to 1851 (as opposed to 1950 as depicted in the Tedesco paper).

Here’s their GBI plotted for the month of July from 1851 to 2015:

This picture tells a completely different story. Instead of a long-term trend that could be related to anthropogenic global warming, what we see is large annual and multidecadal variability, with the end of the record not looking much different than say a period around 1880 and with the highest GBI occurring in 1918 (with 1919 coming in 2nd place). While this doesn’t conclusively demonstrate that the current rise in GBI is not related to jet stream changes induced by sea ice loss, it most certainly does demonstrate that global-warming induced sea ice loss is not a requirement for blocking events to occur over Greenland and that recent events are not  at all “weird.”  An equally plausible, if not much more plausible, expectation of future behavior is that this GBI highstand is part of multidecadal natural variability and will soon relax back towards normal values.  But such an explanation isn’t Post-worthy.

Another big problem with all the new hype is that history shows the current goings-on in Greenland to be irrelevant, because humans just can’t make it warm enough up there to melt all that much ice. For example, in 2013, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and her colleagues published a paper in Nature detailing the history of the ice in Northwest Greenland during the beginning of the last interglacial, which included a 6,000 year period in which her ice core data showed averaged a whopping 6?C warmer in summer than the 20th century average. Greenland only lost around 30% of its ice with a heat load of (6 X 6000) 36,000 degree-summers. The best humans could ever hope to do with greenhouse gases is—very liberally—about 5 degrees for 500 summers, or (5 X 500) 2,500 degree-summers. In other words, the best we can do is 500/6000 times 30%, or a 2.5% of the ice, resulting in a grand total of seven inches of sea level rise over 500 years. That’s pretty much the death of the Greenland disaster story, despite every lame press release and hyped “news” article on it.

While you won’t find this kind of analysis elsewhere, we’re happy to do it here at Cato.


Coral corruption: An honest environmentalist in trouble in Australia

Honest scientists are an endangered species.  Must toe the conventional line.  Below are three recent articles referring to Prof. Peter Ridd.  You can see why he's got the Warmists steaming

When marine scientist Peter Ridd suspected something was wrong with photographs being used to highlight the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, he did what good scientists are supposed to do: he sent a team to check the facts.

After attempting to blow the whistle on what he found — healthy corals — Professor Ridd was censured by James Cook University and threatened with the sack. After a formal investigation, Professor Ridd — a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory — was found guilty of "failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution".

His crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.

"These photographs are a big deal as they are plastered right across the internet and used very widely to claim damage," Professor Ridd told The Weekend Australian.

The photographs were taken near Stone Island off Bowen. A photograph taken in the late 19th century shows healthy coral. An accompanying picture supposedly of the same reef in 1994 is ­devoid of coral. When the before-and-after shots were used by GBRMPA in its 2014 report, the authority said: "Historical photographs of inshore coral reefs have been especially powerful in illustrating changes over time, and that the change illustrated is typical of many inshore reefs."

Professor Ridd said it was only possible to guess within a kilometre or two where the original photograph was taken and it would not be unusual to find great coral in one spot and nothing a kilometre away, as his researchers had done. Nor was it possible to say what had killed the coral in the 1994 picture.

"In fact, there are literally hundreds of square kilometres of dead reef-flat on the Great Barrier Reef which was killed due to the slow sea-level fall of about a meter that has occurred over the last 5000 years," he said. "My point is not that they have probably got this completely wrong but rather what are the quality assurance measures they take to try to ensure they are not telling a misleading story?"

A GBRMPA spokesman said last night "the historical photos serve to demonstrate the vulnerability of nearshore coral reefs, rather than a specific cause for their decline.

"Ongoing monitoring shows coral growth in some locations, however this doesn’t detract from the bigger picture, which shows shallow inshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef south of Port Douglas have clearly degraded over a period of decades." Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies chairman Terry Hughes did not respond to questions from The Weekend Australian.

Professor Ridd was disciplined for breaching principle 1 of JCU’s code of conduct by "not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues". He has been told that if he does it again he may be found guilty of ­serious misconduct.

A JCU spokesman said it was university policy not to comment on individual staff, but that the university’s marine science was subject to "the same quality assurance processes that govern the conduct of, and delivery of, ­science internationally".

This is the crux of the issue for Professor Ridd: "I feel as though I am the whistleblower."

His potential downfall is the ­result of a long campaign for better quality assurance standards for ocean and reef research, which has come under fire globally for exaggerating bad news and ignoring the good. Reef politics is a hot topic in the wake of widescale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef as part of what US agencies have called the world’s third mass-bleaching event.

About a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has died and could take years to rebuild. The damage is concentrated in the northern section off Cape York. The scientific response to the bleaching has exposed a rift ­between GBRMPA and the JCU’s Coral Bleaching Taskforce led by Professor Hughes over how bleaching data should be treated and presented to the public. Conservation groups have run hard on the issue, with graphic ­images of dying corals. All sides of politics have responded with ­increased funding to reduce sediment flow and to combat crown of thorns starfish.

University of Western Australia marine biologist Carlos Duarte argued in BioScience last year that bias contributed to "perpetuating the perception of ocean calamities in the absence of robust evidence".

A paper published this year claimed scientific journals had exaggerated bad news on ocean acidification and played down the doubts. Former GBRMPA chairman Ian McPhail accused activists of "exaggerating the impact of coral bleaching for political and financial gain". Dr McPhail told The Weekend Australian it "seems that there is a group of researchers who begin with the premise that all is disaster".

Concerns about quality assurance in science are not confined to the reef. Drug-makers generated headlines when they were unable to replicate the results of landmark studies in the basic science of cancer. Professor Ridd poses the question: "Is the situation in marine science likely to be worse than in medicine and pharmaceuticals, psychology, education? Do we have a decent system of replication and checking of results?

"Is there a chance that many marine scientists are partially driven by ideology? Is there a chance that peer review among this group is self-selecting of the dominant idea? Is there a robust debate without intimidation?"

Professor Ridd wants an independent agency to check the science before governments commit to spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

There is no doubt the current bleaching is a serious event but there are also many questions still to be answered. The consensus position of reef experts is that bleaching events will get worse as ocean temperatures continue to rise because of climate change.


Great Barrier Reef death in five years is "laughable"

CLAIMS by a James Cook University professor that the Great Barrier Reef will be "terminal" in five years have been rubbished by one of his own colleagues.

In a scientific paper released this week, JCU’s Dr Jon Brodie and Professor Richard Pearson warned the natural wonder would be in a terminal condition within five years without a $10 billion commitment during the federal election campaign to improve water quality.

They said many parts of the Reef were in bad shape from pollution, climate change, and overfishing, and they were continuing to decline.

The researchers predicted a wave of crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks in 2025 triggered by poor water quality.

But JCU marine geophysicist Professor Peter Ridd said his colleagues’ claims were "laughable". "I think the threats to the Barrier Reef are greatly exaggerated and mostly based upon science that is very poorly quality assured," he said.

Latest findings by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority show 93 per cent of the natural wonder has varying levels of coral bleaching which was worse in remote parts off Cape York.

Prof Ridd said bleaching was an entirely natural event. "It has always occurred over the millennia, and this is nothing special," he said. "It’s no different to say that on the land, when in extremely dry conditions for example, eucalypt trees lose their leaves.

"There are all sorts of ­response mechanisms to extreme conditions. "High temperature is one of those, and bleaching is the ­response corals have."

Mr Brodie said if climate change continued at its current pace the combination of its ­effects and a starfish outbreak or similar event could lead to permanent loss of the coral.

He said the current federal election campaign was probably the last chance for politicians to put forward their plans of action on water quality and climate change if the GBR was to avoid permanent damage.

"It takes time for change to happen and we need to start fast. If something is not done in this election cycle then we may not see good coral again in our children’s lifetime," he said.

Prof Ridd agreed that coral bleaching needed to be studied, but questioned spending too many resources to do it.  "Australia faces far worse environmental problems than threats to the Reef," he said.

"Invasive species and noxious weeds on our rangelands are a much greater threat than the small amount of loss that we may or may not have had on the Barrier Reef."


Great Barrier Reef science needs 'quality assurance' to guarantee accuracy and better policy decisions: academic

 A James Cook University academic claims a lack of 'quality assurance' of science about the Great Barrier Reef is failing policy makers

Audiences in far north Queensland have been told scientific claims made about the health of the Great Barrier Reef are not subjected to the same level of "antagonistic rigour" as those made in the private sector.

Physical oceanographer Peter Ridd, from James Cook University, says quality assurance is a well-understood concept in just about every industry, but not in the scientific world, where arguably claims and predictions are frequently used to influence decision and policymakers.

Professor Ridd reviewed the data and found "major problems and statistical errors" in several scientific papers in which claims were made, for example, about calcification rates and a reduction in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef.

The widely-accepted system of scientific peer review was failing to deliver the antagonistic scrutiny or rigour required, he claimed.

"They may be your mates, they could hate you and really give you a hard time, but the crucial thing is peer review is only a read of the actual paper," he said.

"It won't delve into the data and some of the data sets are enormous and it can take you months and months of work to really check if there's not another interpretation and that's the problem.

"The peer review is a great start in terms of quality assurance and we need it for all science, but for the really important science where you're going to make big policy decisions...

"When you're going to spend a billion dollars to save the reef or you're going to close down the fishing or the coal industry, you need to have a better system of quality assurance than this peer review process and that is what we don't do.

"It does happen in the private industry, but it doesn't happen for the public good science that we're talking about."

Professor Ridd said in the absence of a guaranteed method of "proper antagonistic review", enormous resources and attention was being directed at some environmental threats at the expense of others.

"A lot of the science is proposing hypothesises that there is perhaps a threat, but the data, in many cases, doesn't actually support that there's a huge risk, that there's a risk there but maybe not as large as we thought.

"For example, we have diabolical problems with feral animals and noxious weeds, but almost no money is spent on those problems while we spend a lot of money on the reef.

"I am not totally sure the Great Barrier Reef isn't majorly threatened or majorly damaged, but what I'm totally sure about is the scientific system is not working, that we're not guaranteeing debate."



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12 June, 2016

The SPY PHOTOS that reveal an early start to Antarctic melt: Biggest ice shelf collapse on record began in the 1960s

This is nothing new.  The Antarctic Peninsula  has long been known to be anomalous, partly melting while the major area of Antarctica GAINS ice mass.  Known subsurface volcanoes in the area would appear to be responsible

When an enormous section of the Antarctic ice shelf equivalent to the size of Rhode Island disintegrated in a matter of days, it sparked worldwide concern.

But analysis of recently declassified images from spy satellites have revealed that the destabilisation of the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula was already underway in the 1960s.

Researchers who have examined the images say the ice shelf was already accelerating in the 1960s and 1970s, and by the late 1980s it was 20 per cent faster than the previous decades.

They say it appears rising temperatures in the region were having an impact on the movement of the vast ice sheets long before the problem came to worldwide attention.

The collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002 saw a 1,235 square miles (3,200 square km) section of ice break apart into thousands of icebergs in just 35 days.

Larsen B was thought to have been stable for up to 12,000 years, according to studies on the collapse, but had become a hotspot of global warming.

Previous studies had suggested that the ice shelf’s began melting only a few years before it disintegrated in 2002.

Rising summertime temperatures are thought to have increased the water flow into cracks which then acted like wedges to lever the ice shelf apart.

It sparked widespread concern about the impact that climate change is having on the ice sheet balance in Antarctica, although a recent study showed ice mass on the continent has actually increased.

But analysis of a series of images taken by the CIA's ARGON spy satellites have allowed scientists to reconstruct the ice shelf's movements further back into history than previously possible.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Shujie Wang, a glaciologist at the University of Cincinnati, and her colleagues said: 'This allowed us to extend the ice velocity records of Larsen Ice Shelf back into 1960s ~ 1970s for the first time.

'The retrospective analysis revealed that acceleration of the collapsed Larsen B occurred much earlier than previously thought.'

The researchers say the acceleration of ice flow seen in the Larsen B ice shelf may be due to changes in the properties of the ice itself.


Paris Climate Deal Vulnerable To A Trump Presidency

Donald Trump is sowing doubt over the Paris climate change pact as his hostility towards the deal and the growing swagger of his campaign focus attention on how he could undermine it as president.

The Republican candidate last week vowed to “cancel” the painstakingly negotiated agreement, a threat experts said was unrealistic. But his comments put a spotlight on its slow ratification and weak spots in President Barack Obama’s climate legacy.

While Mr Trump could not single-handedly scrap the agreement — which Washington and Beijing had rallied more than 190 countries to join — he could withdraw the US, the second largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, or block the action needed to cut emissions to the levels promised by Mr Obama.

But if Mr Trump used the presidency to cast doubt on the need for climate action, he could weaken the resolve of other leaders sceptical about the deal.

Attacks on the Paris agreement could occur at three different levels under a Trump presidency.

No single country can “cancel” the deal because it would require each of the nearly 200 nations that negotiated it to agree to abandon it. Once the agreement is in force it is also impossible for a country to withdraw overnight…

The Paris accord cannot take effect until it is formally ratified or joined by 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of global emissions. So far, only 17 countries representing 0.04 per cent of emissions have ratified it.

China and the US have said they plan to join this year but they account for only about 40 per cent of emissions. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the agreement may not start until 2018.


Saudi Arabia Scales Back Renewable Energy Goal to Favor Gas

Saudi Arabia is curtailing renewable-power targets as the world’s biggest oil exporter plans to use more natural gas, backing away from goals set when crude prices were about triple their current level, according to Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

The kingdom aims to have power generation from renewable resources like the sun make up 10 percent of the energy mix, a reduction from an earlier target of 50 percent, Al-Falih said in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Falih provided new details of the country’s solar power program as he joined other ministers to announce parts of a plan adopted by the cabinet on Monday to overhaul the country’s economy.

“Our energy mix has shifted more toward gas, so the need for high targets from renewable sources isn’t there any more,” Al-Falih said. “The previous target of 50 percent from renewable sources was an initial target and it was built on high oil prices” near $150 a barrel, he said.

Saudi Arabia, which holds the world’s second-largest crude reserves, will double natural gas production, according to Al-Falih, and the government will expand the distribution network to the western part of the nation. Generating more power from gas and renewables should make more crude available for export, which would otherwise be burned for electricity for domestic use.

Saudi Arabia has for years sought to develop gas resources to provide fuel for power plants and industries and to free up more oil to sell overseas. Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the state-run producer, set up several ventures with international partners to explore for gas, but results were disappointing and most of the companies withdrew from their ventures. Production of dry gas, or fuel for use in power plants or factories, will rise to 17.8 billion cubic feet per day from 12 billion, according to the plan.

“Gas currently makes up around 50 percent of the energy mix in Saudi Arabia, and we have an ambition to see this grow to 70 percent in the future, either from local sources or from abroad,” Al-Falih said.

Achieving the targets will be a challenge, said Robin Mills, chief executive officer at consultant Qamar Energy in Dubai. Gas projects usually require a lead time of at least three to four years before production begins, said Mills, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Doha.

“Anything that’s going to produce that much gas by 2020, you’ve got to be doing it today,” Mills said.

Solar-power should be the main renewable-energy option for the nation, Ibrahim Babelli, the country’s deputy minister for economy and planning, said last month in Dubai. Babelli directed strategy at the government agency previously responsible for renewables policy. The cost of building solar power plants is declining globally as Chinese panel makers boost manufacturing capacity and slash costs.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase renewable-energy production to 9.5 gigawatts, according to a plan announced in April. Saudi Aramco has a 10-megawatt solar installation on the roof of a parking lot at its headquarters in Dhahran.

The Persian Gulf nation has previously scaled back its ambitions for renewables. In January 2015, it delayed by nearly a decade the deadline for meeting its solar-capacity goal, saying it needed more time to assess technologies. The kingdom’s earlier solar program forecast more than $100 billion of investment in projects aimed at generating 41 gigawatts of power by 2040.


Finally, courage to counterpunch the green bullies

When the name Resolute was chosen in 2011, after the merger of Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated, the Canadian company, a global leader in the forest products industry and the largest producer of newsprint in the world, likely didn’t know what a harbinger it was. Today, it stands alone, set in purpose, with firmness and determination. Displaying the rare courage to stand up to the typical environmental extremists’ campaign of misinformation and shaming designed to shut it down, Resolute Forest Products is fighting back.

Many people are probably unaware of the shakedown tactics used by groups whose touchy-feely names belie their true goals.

Like most companies, Resolute originally went along. As Peter Foster explains in the Financial Post: “a cabal of radical environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs — including Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the David Suzuki Foundation — agreed to stop their campaigns of customer harassment in return for the members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, FPAC, agreeing to sanitize a swathe of the Canadian Boreal forest, and to ‘consult’ on development plans. Astonishingly, governments played no part.” The result was the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The ENGOs ultimately aspired to put the majority of the Boreal forest off limits — ending economic development. Regarding the Greenpeace-promoted concept of “intact forest landscape protection,” Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Forest, Wildlife and Parks, says it threatens “absolutely devastating” economic implications.

Resolute had been a major supporter of the Agreement and has participated in other efforts between ENGOs and industry to work out differences. Despite that, using a campaign of lies and intimidation, ENGOs have constantly attacked Resolute. At one point, in 2012, the false claims were so egregious, Resolute threatened legal action against Greenpeace — which garnered an unprecedented apology and retraction from Greenpeace. However, they came back with vengeance. Greenpeace continued to publicize the same false statements and dubbed Resolute a Boreal forest “destroyer.”

Engaged in a war without violence, Greenpeace has since attacked Rite-Aid Pharmacy for “getting millions of pounds of paper from controversial logging giant Resolute Forest Products,” calling Resolute: “a company with a history of environmental destruction.” Greenpeace was successful with a similar harassment campaign against Best-Buy. Resolute was the company’s primary paper supplier, but due to the shaming, Best-Buy announced it would seek other sources. Greenpeace has no plans to stop the tactic. Other targeted companies include Canadian Tire (a retailer with more than 1700 outlets), Home Depot and Office Depot, Proctor & Gamble and 3M. Foster reports: “Greenpeace itself has calculated that its campaigns have cost Resolute at least $100 million.”

Somewhere between the Greenpeace retraction and May 2013, an epiphany — similar to what occurred between the president of the U.S. and the space alien in the movie Independence Day — must have taken place. In the clip, the captured alien is choking someone with its tentacle and the president is trying to negotiate with it. He tries to reason with the alien and suggests that they could “coexist.” He asks the alien what it wants them to do. The alien simply responds: “die.” Resolute must have realized that no matter how many agreements it might sign, the global network of ENGOs come back with more and more rigid requirements until the tentacles choke the company out.

On May 23, 2013, Resolute filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace claiming it damaged the company’s “business, goodwill and reputation.” The suit asserts defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations and seeks damages of $5 million as well as punitive damages of $2 million, plus costs. Greenpeace says the suit “is an effort to subdue Greenpeace into silence and send a message to other groups that they should stay quiet.” It believes the suit should have been thrown out, but despite several attempts, the Judge has disagreed and allowed unflattering accusations about Greenpeace’s global law-breaking activities to remain.

While the Canadian lawsuit makes its way through the courts and the appeals process, Resolute has just taken another bold step to defend itself against the green bully’s attacks.

On May 31, Resolute took a page from the ENGO’s playbook and, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, filed a civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) suit against Greenpeace and a number of its associates who, though they claim to be independent, act cooperatively. The RICO Act intended to deal with the mob as a loose organization, or “enterprise,” with a pattern of activity and common nefarious purposes, such as extortion. (Greenpeace has asked the Justice Department to use the RICO Act to investigate oil companies and organizations that sow doubts about the risks of climate change.)

The 100-page complaint alleges that Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise.” According to the Resolute news release, it describes the deliberate falsity of the malicious and defamatory accusations the enterprise has made and details how, to support its false accusations, “Greenpeace has fabricated evidence and events, including, for example, staged photos falsely purporting to show Resolute logging in prohibited areas.”  The suit also calls Greenpeace a “global fraud” out to line its pockets with money from donors and says that “maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.” Additionally, it cites admissions by Greenpeace’s leadership that it “emotionalizes” issues to manipulate audiences.

In the U.S. lawsuit, Resolute is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial, as well as treble and punitive damages.

Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace, is disappointed that the group that originally wanted to help, is now an extortion racket. He told me: “I am very proud to have played a small role in helping Resolute deal with these lying blackmailers and extortionists”

Discovery in both the Canadian and U.S. lawsuits will open up records and could well peel back the moralist tone to expose a global job-destroying, anti-development agenda. For too long ENGOs have been allowed free rein over regulating natural resources in what is really economic warfare on workers.

At a recent meeting, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, according to Foster, “acknowledged that it was time to stand up and recognize ‘the significant economic implication of misinformation’” — though one has to wonder what took them so long.

Resolute is counter-punching the green bullies — and it’s about time. Just ask the coal miners in West Virginia or the farmers in Central California who are wild with enthusiasm for the Trump candidacy that promises to end the regressive regulations and return the U.S. to economic strength.

Hopefully other companies will now tune into the public’s change in attitude and, with firmness and determination, will, also, fight back to protect shareholders and workers.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy


A carbon tax has not been imposed, although the Obama administration continues to try

The House is expected to vote on a non-binding resolution later this week opposing a nationwide carbon tax on fossil fuels as part of any policy to address global warming.

The floor vote is sparking a conservative rush to rally lawmakers to back the measure.

The free-market American Energy Alliance began an Internet ad blitz Tuesday as part of a campaign to gain votes to show the Congress is standing firm against the idea of placing a carbon tax, or fee, on fossil fuels.

"The resolution opposes any carbon tax proposals and expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy," the group said.

The group says it is running an initiative all week to urge lawmakers to support the "anti-carbon tax resolution" introduced by Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

"The ads call on constituents to contact their representatives and tell them to vote in favor of the Scalise resolution," it said. "AEA will also issue a key-vote later this week urging lawmakers to support the Scalise resolution." The vote is expected on Thursday.

A carbon tax has not been imposed by the U.S., although the Obama administration continues to try.

President Obama wants to attach a $10 tax to each barrel of crude oil produced in the country. The idea has been met by lawmakers' concerns that such a fee would drive up the cost of energy.

The administration says recent low oil prices make it an ideal time to enact such a fee. The president wants to use the revenue collected from the tax to fund an advanced transportation system that would support his climate change agenda.


Solar Versus Nuclear

Solar energy might be free, but harvesting it is very costly, both in dollar terms and on the environment, writes Geoff Russell.  The references are to Australia but the argument is generally applicable

I’d be guessing that large screen TVs in the pubs around Mt Isa, Broken Hill and the Northern Territory’s McArthur River mine are hard wired to show nothing but Fox Sports, but they really should have been tuned to the ABC back in November last year for Kitchen Cabinet.

They’d have been a cheerin’ and a hollerin’ over their beers as Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale stood before the altar of his large bank of lead acid batteries and announced with messianic fervour, “This is the future!”

Sunshine may be considered a renewable energy source but the resources needed to harvest it are the same as for any other energy source; they involve land, mines, tailings dams, metals, smelting, concrete, trucks, bulldozers; the whole gamut.

But because sunshine and wind are both intermittent and unpredictable, it’s best to squirrel away what you harvest; which means more mines, smelting, tailings dams, trucks and the like.

Focusing on the renewability of the sunshine and ignoring the harvesting infrastructure is like focusing on the oh-so-low-low price of a colour printer, while ignoring its $500-a-refill toxic toner cartridges.

Aboriginal people living around the McArthur River zinc, lead and silver mine are at the pointy end of battery production, and may not share Di Natale’s enthusiasm.

The McArthur River mine has been getting some worrying news coverage lately. Threatening disaster with fires and (claims of) tailing dam leaks, and consequently threatened with closure.

A tailings dam is where miners put all the stuff that nobody will pay them for after extracting the stuff they reckon they can sell from whatever they dig out of their bloody big holes. The extraction process generally involves water, hence the term “dam”. Typically, tailings dams contain significant amounts of material that is toxic and dangerous, forever.

As the crow flies, the McArthur River mine is about 90 km from the coast in the Northern Territory.....

But let’s get back to the mine itself. Who the hell needs zinc, lead and silver anyway?

Zinc mines have always been important because zinc is incredibly widely used. About half of the world’s zinc is used in galvanising iron, but the rest is used in everything from brass to electrical solder to vitamin pills.

Zinc mines are particularly hot property at the moment because of interest in bloody big batteries to spackle over the gaping holes in energy output from solar panels and wind farms.

There is a major battle between zinc and lithium technologies, and if zinc were to win that battle, then we’d need more mines like McArthur River, Mt Isa and Broken Hill.

Zinc currently has an edge because it’s cheaper… partly because its many uses have driven the construction of big mines… like McArthur River.

Will zinc stay cheap? Probably not, it’s on the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) endangered chemical list. But the thing about lithium batteries is that the ones being touted for cars and home backup systems have (by weight) eight times more cobalt than lithium. And the thing about cobalt is that the biggest producer on the planet is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produces fully 50 percent of current world production.

Here’s a picture of some children mining cobalt in DR Congo for the green big battery future. Amnesty International released a report on these horrors back in January this year.

After zinc, lead is the second major product of the McArthur River mine. Globally we use about 10.6 million tonnes of lead annually, with about 5 million coming from mines and the rest coming from recycling.

It’s used in everything from paints to shotgun pellets, but about 85 percent of global lead production is used in batteries; like those used in Richard Di Natale’s battery room.

While zinc and lithium are fighting for the high-end market with superior energy density, lead will always be a winner in the battery wars because it is cheaper than both. But if you want a serious battery backup system, then you typically need a spare room for what ends up as a really large battery set.

Imagine if all the households on the planet who have a car also emulated Di Natale’s PV system with battery backup. Instead of one standard car battery, each household would have a dozen batteries of more than double the size.

Can enough lead deposits be found and developed to meet such a rise in demand? Lead isn’t on the ACS endangered list but it is listed as “Limited Availability… Future risk to supply”. The same is true of cobalt and nickel, the other key battery components.

So a large expansion of lead or any other battery technology may not be trivial. But even assuming you can find and extract more lead, building clean smelting and recycling processes is challenging. Even rich countries like Australia have persisted with poor processes resulting in children at Port Pirie in South Australia having elevated blood lead levels for decades.

And even if the proposed Nyrstar redevelopment at Port Pirie finally results in cleaner processes, lead is still smelted and processed in filthy conditions and poisoning children in many countries; one study estimated that 15 percent of Mexican children have lost 5 IQ points due to lead poisoning.

So while the Greens are worried about nuclear waste – which has never hurt anybody – their leader spruiks an industry of monumental toxicity.

The global nuclear industry has been looking after its waste safely for decades. Not so the lead industry, and lead doesn’t have a half life… it’s toxic forever.

Mining isn’t something anybody should undertake lightly. You want to maximise the social value while minimising the area you trash in the process. So let’s run some Ranger numbers.

How much electricity has been generated during the last decade from Ranger’s uranium?

It takes about 280 tonnes of uranium to power a South Korean APR1400 reactor. So Ranger’s output over the past decade could supply about 13.45 of these reactors annually.

How much electricity would that supply? About 148 terawatt hours annually; which is about 60 percent of Australia’s total electricity demand.

Add in the Olympic Dam uranium, and we could easily power Australia from these two mines if we had the reactors.

Let’s compare this to a solar and battery alternative. Australia’s largest solar farm is at Nyngan. It covers 250 hectares and generates 230 gigawatt hours per year.

These 13.45 APR1400s would generate as much electricity annually as 637 Nyngans, covering 159,250 hectares… without needing any batteries. This is like 81,000 Melbourne Cricket Grounds.

Join them end-to-end and you have a 41-lane highway stretching from Sydney to Perth … and back to Sydney … and back to Perth and then some.

But what if we didn’t use lead, zinc or lithium to store the electricity from all those Nyngans? How about molten salt storage?

Plenty of people talk about molten salt storage, but when the public hear about it, almost everybody imagines scraping a little off the top of Lake Eyre and putting it in a few trucks. Not quite.

The salt used is a mix of sodium and potassium nitrate, produced in chemical plants using stuff that is first mined and then transformed.

Nonetheless, this kind of salt storage is well understood, but only ever been used in small powerplants.

Why? It’s easy to calculate the amount of salt needed to provide 12 hours of storage for 637 Nyngans; it comes to about 22 million tonnes.

The current global production of potassium nitrate is about 1.4 million tonnes, and that of sodium nitrate is similar.

So first find sites for a very large number of chemical factories, do an EIS for each one, survive local objections, or better still, build them in some developing country with more friendly tax laws and lower environmental standards, then make your 22 million tonnes and deliver them to where you want them in half a million B-double truck loads.

Like I said, sunshine might be free, but harvesting it is a bugger and storing it is even worse.

The environmental costs of a Ranger sized uranium mine are certainly significant, but tiny compared to the solar + battery alternative. And it just keeps getting better the more you understand about nuclear reactor technology.

The Chinese expect their ‘fast reactors’ to dominate the market in about 15 years time. With these reactors, you can multiply the electricity generated with a tonne of uranium by a factor of about 100. Which is exactly what the Chinese need, because they don’t have much uranium.

So what’s on the horizon for solar and batteries? Exactly the same snail pace development with tiny incremental improvements of an already resource hungry technology.



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

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


10 June, 2016

Some rare climate skepticism from the Left

Ten things environmentalists need to know about renewable energy:

1.    Solar panels and wind turbines aren’t made out of nothing. They are made out of metals, plastics, chemicals. These products have been mined out of the ground, transported, processed, manufactured. Each stage leaves behind a trail of devastation: habitat destruction, water contamination, colonization, toxic waste, slave labour, greenhouse gas emissions, wars, and corporate profits. Renewables can never replace fossil fuel infrastructure, as they are entirely dependent on it for their existence.

2.    The majority of electricity that is generated by renewables is used in manufacturing, mining, and other industries that are destroying the planet. Even if the generation of electricity were harmless, the consumption certainly isn’t. Every electrical device, in the process of production, leaves behind the same trail of devastation. Living communities—forests, rivers, oceans—become dead commodities.

3.    The aim of converting from conventional power generation to renewables is to maintain the very system that is killing the living world, killing us all, at a rate of 200 species per day. Taking carbon emissions out of the equation doesn’t make it sustainable. This system needs to not be sustained, but stopped.

4.    Humans, and all living beings, get our energy from plants and animals. Only the industrial system needs electricity to survive, and food and habitat for everyone are being sacrificed to feed it. Farmland and forests are being taken over, not just by the infrastructure itself, but by the mines, processing and waste dumping that it entails. Ensuring energy security for industry requires undermining energy security for living beings (that’s us).

5.    Wind turbines and solar panels generate little, if any, net energy (energy returned on energy invested). The amount of energy used in the mining, manufacturing, research and development, transport, installation, maintenance and disposal of these technologies is almost as much—or in some cases more than—they ever produce. Renewables have been described as a laundering scheme: dirty energy goes in, clean energy comes out. (Although this is really beside the point, as no matter how much energy they generate, it doesn’t justify the destruction of the living world.)

6.    Renewable energy subsidies take taxpayer money and give it directly to corporations. Investing in renewables is highly profitable. General Electric, BP, Samsung, and Mitsubishi all profit from renewables, and invest these profits in their other business activities. When environmentalists accept the word of corporations on what is good for the environment, something has gone seriously wrong.

7.    More renewables doesn’t mean less conventional power, or less carbon emissions. It just means more power is being generated overall. Very few coal and gas plants have been taken off line as a result of renewables.

8.    Only 20% of energy used globally is in the form of electricity. The rest is oil and gas. Even if all the world’s electricity could be produced without carbon emissions (which it can’t), it would only reduce total emissions by 20%. And even that would have little impact, as the amount of energy being used globally is increasing exponentially.

9.    Solar panels and wind turbines last around 20-30 years, then need to be disposed of and replaced. The production process, of extracting, polluting, and exploiting, is not something that happens once, but is continuous and expanding.

10.    The emissions reductions that renewables intend to achieve could be easily accomplished by improving the efficiency of existing coal plants, at a much lower cost. This shows that the whole renewables industry is nothing but an exercise in profiteering with no benefits for anyone other than the investors.


Global Temperature Plummets As El Nino Fades

Global average temperature is plummeting as the naturally-occurring El Niño warming event gives way to what’s likely to be a La Niña cooling event later this year.

“Cooling from the weakening El Niño is now rapidly occurring as we transition toward likely La Niña conditions by mid-summer or early fall,” according to the latest satellite data from the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Global temperature spiked in early 2016 thanks to an incredibly strong El Niño. It drove the average global temperature up to 0.83 degrees above the 30-year average in February — the warmest month ever recorded in the satellite record.

Temperatures have come down 0.28 degrees since February, and Columbia University’s Earth Institute recently said there’s a more than 70 percent chance of a La Niña forming this year. Government forecasters say such an event would likely occur by late-summer or early fall.

The current El Niño formed late in 2015 and sent temperatures skyward, causing torrential rain in Texas and unseasonably warm weather New Yorkers saw on Christmas Day. The warm streak persisted into this year, and it created tons of media attention as climate scientists freaked out about the record heat.

“We are in a kind of climate emergency now,” Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, told The Sydney Morning Herald in February. “This is really quite stunning” and “it’s completely unprecedented.”

El Niño is a naturally occurring warming phase across the span of the Pacific Ocean along the equator. It occurs fairly regularly, about every two to seven years, and is often followed by a La Niña cooling phase.

While some scientists were freaking out, others noted El Niño can cause huge temperature spikes, and that a strong La Niña could follow, meaning global temperatures could be driven downward — resuming the so-called “pause” in global warming.

It’s unclear exactly how far temperatures will fall, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is keeping an eye on the rapid cooling.

“Most models predict the end of El Niño and a brief period of ENSO-neutral by early Northern Hemisphere summer,” according to the agency. “The model consensus then calls for increasingly negative SST anomalies… as the summer and fall progress. However, there is clear uncertainty over the timing and intensity of a potential La Niña.”


This New Study Devastates Warmists

Two climate scientists skeptical of man-made global warming are closely watching a study they say could be a “death knell” to climate alarmism.

A major scientific study conducted at the University of Reading on the interactions between aerosols and clouds is much weaker than most climate models assume, meaning the planet could warm way less than predicted.

“Currently, details are few, but apparently the results of a major scientific study on the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on clouds are going to have large implications for climate change projections—substantially lowering future temperature rise expectations,” Cato Institute climate scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger wrote in a recent blog post.

Michaels and Knappenberger, both self-described “lukewarmers,” cited a blog post by Reading scientist Dr. Nicolas Bellouin on the preliminary results of his extensive research into this rather vague area of climate science.

Bellouin wrote “there are reasons to expect that aerosol-cloud interactions are weaker than simulated by climate models – and perhaps even weaker than the preliminary… estimate.”

If Bellouin’s preliminary results hold (or are revised downward), that would mean there’s less of a cooling effect from human-created aerosols interacting with clouds, which morph clouds so they bounce incoming solar energy back into space.

“It may be that aerosol-cloud interactions are lost in the noise of natural variability in cloud properties, but for such a large perturbation, the impacts are surprisingly hard to isolate,” Bellouin wrote.

For decades, scientists assumed aerosols — mostly emitted from coal plants, shipping, car travel and other industrial sources — had a sizable cooling effect on the planet, but that might not be the case. More importantly, however, is the fact that if aerosols don’t have much of a cooling effect, the planet is not as sensitive to increases in greenhouse gas emissions. That means less warming.

“Less enhanced cloud cooling means that greenhouse gases have produced less warming than the climate models have determined,” Michaels and Knappenberger wrote.

“Another way to put it is that this new finding implies that the earth’s climate sensitivity—how much the earth’s surface will warm from a doubling of the pre-industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration—is much below that of the average climate model (3.2°C) and near the low end of the IPCC’s 1.5°C to 4.5°C assessed range,” they added.

Michaels and Knappenberger are particularly interested in Bellouin’s work since it seems to support a study from last year by Bjorn Stevens, a scientist at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. It found aerosols had much less of a cooling effect on the planet than assumed by climate models.

Stevens’s study suggested “that aerosol radiative forcing is less negative and more certain than is commonly believed.”

Independent climate researcher Nick Lewis incorporated Stevens’s findings with his own on how much warming people could expect from doubling atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Lewis found the upper bound estimate of climate sensitivity is from 4.5 degrees to 1.8 degrees Celsius.

In layman’s terms, doubling atmospheric concentrations of CO2 from around 400 parts per million today to 800 ppm in the future would cause 4.5 degrees Celsius of warming, based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate model data.

Incorporate the Max Planck study results, and warming would only be as high as 1.8 degrees Celsius — less than half of what IPCC originally predicted.

Of course, Michaels and Knappenberger’s theory is not accepted by everybody. Stevens himself challenged their suggestion that climate sensitivity was lower because aerosols had less of a cooling effect on the planet.

“As they stand, the results of this new study seem to confirm the results of an analysis published last year by Bjorn Stevens of the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology which also showed a much smaller anthropogenic enhancement of the cooling property of clouds,” Michaels and Knappenberger wrote.

Stevens is entitled to his own opinion, not his own results. And now it seems his research is being supported by Bellouin’s work. With less aerosol cooling, climate models could be tweaked to predict less future warming.

“In the end, aerosol-cloud scientists reckon that it will come down to counting how often clouds happen to show strong sensitivity to aerosol perturbations,” Bellouin wrote. “Those discussions leave me with the feeling that such situations occur infrequently, and radiative forcing of aerosol-cloud interactions may need to be revised down to weaker values.”


India Denies It Will Ratify Paris Climate Deal This Year

While the U.S. side insisted that Mr. Modi and the President agreed that both countries would ratify the climate treaty within the current year — 2016 — Indian officials said this was not the case.

The joint statement leaves enough room to accommodate both interpretations. “India and the United States recognise the urgency of climate change and share the goal of enabling entry into force of the Paris Agreement as early as possible. The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Agreement as soon as possible this year. India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective,” the statement said.


‘Environmental Justice’: Obama-Era Politics Override Rule of Law

In every Soviet-era military unit, the long shadow of totalitarian political control hung over day-to-day operations. A political commissar served alongside commanding military officers to ensure that communist purity was maintained.

We’re seeing the same political strong-arm in President Barack Obama’s executive agencies, particularly in the raw enforcement of so-called “environmental justice.”

Readers will recall Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October,” in which the political officer, aptly named Ivan Putin, carried a missile key on the nuclear sub. The commissars were not accountable to military commanders, only to the political directorates. Soviet soldiers and sailors who were judged to be politically deviant were subject to the harshest of penalties.

So why do we look back at that terrifying model of political control? During the seven and a half years of the Obama administration, the appointment of various “czars,” the steady flow of executive orders, and the explosive expansion of regulatory power far beyond the black and white letters of statutes passed by Congress have given rise to political commissar-style federal government enforcement.

This is anathema to constitutional separation of powers and checks and balances.

Born during the Clinton administration by executive order and mostly dormant during the Bush years, “environmental justice” has become an overarching political commissar-style ideological mandate in as many as 15 executive agencies, including and especially the Environmental Protection Agency.

Carefully crafted to avoid the appearance of being a “rulemaking,” which would subject the shadowy office in each agency to public, judicial and congressional review, the Obama-era “environmental justice” initiative nevertheless tracks, analyzes, and reviews regulations to ensure they are “environmentally just.” It also has a hand in issuing public tax dollars in the form of grants to all sorts of “community groups” and agenda-driven environmentalists to “educate” the public in the form of political protests and campaigns against private industry.

For decades, under the banner of “environmental justice,” the federal government has sought to expand its jurisdiction, control and influence.

In short, the limited statutory authority of executive agencies to do the work of regulating has been trumped by the political. Formal actions by agencies are increasingly judged through the political prism of the Orwellian “environmental justice” movement, now cloaked with government power.

For decades, under the banner of “environmental justice,” the federal government has sought to expand its jurisdiction, control, and influence. Through means largely exempt from any meaningful notice and comment procedures, the federal government grants itself unlimited power to determine whether a community will be adversely impacted by an environmental regulatory decision and to regulate actions related to that community.

In the most recent example, the Department of Interior’s 2016-20 Draft Environmental Justice Strategic Plan was, strangely, open for formal public comment. In May, Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a formal public comment to bring attention to several key infirmities in the proposed plan. In addition to bringing about transformative expansion to the Department of Interior’s regulatory authority without congressional authorization, the proposed plan directly conflicts with several existing federal laws.

Specifically, its focus on environmental “effects” on “minority, low-income, or tribal populations” is both narrower and broader than Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The statute bars disparate treatment, not disproportionate effects; protects all groups rather than only “minority populations;” and says nothing about “low-income or tribal populations.” The administration’s arbitrary enforcement of “environmental justice” makes the exact same conduct legal with regard to some Americans but not others.

According to the proposed plan, the Department of Interior intends on increasing its use of social outreach tools—the very same tools that the EPA used to conduct its grassroots lobbying campaign to support its expansive definition of “waters of the United States” that the Southeastern Legal Foundation is challenging in federal court. As it pushes environmental political correctness and seeks to expand its influence, the Department of Interior is quickly approaching the dangerous line between informing the public and lobbying the public.

Finally, the Department of Interior’s proposed plan is constitutionally problematic in that it proposes to protect some racial and ethnic groups, but not others—ostensibly denying the equal protection of laws.

Where’s the “justice” in that? The government’s reliance on race as its primary consideration for protecting one group over another from alleged environmental harms runs afoul of the Constitution and is subject to the strictest level of scrutiny. Stay tuned as “environmental justice” begins to receive critical legal and congressional examination.


Greens behind Sydney beach disaster

THESE are the pictures that have come back to haunt opponents to northern beaches sea defences. Hundreds of protesters can be seen lining up in 2002 to prevent the building of a mooted sea wall in Collaroy.

The same stretch in fact, where $20m of property could be bulldozed.

Emergency crews and volunteers are hastily trying to protect waterfront homes from collapsing with rocks and sandbags.

Last night more than 500 people worked to keep the sea at bay after foundations were undermined by a wild weekend of storms.

The sea wall was never built after the protests.  Residents have been evacuated and homes taken off the real estate market but it could all have been avoided.

Now the council is having to dip into emergency funding to build a wall, and the homeowners will also be asked to fork out.

The Line in the Sand rally was organised by Surfrider Foundation Northern beaches boss Brendan Donohoe who stood in front of crowds of anti-development and surf-loving activists telling them sea walls would “actively destroy” the beaches instead of protecting them.

The protest was backed by the growing greens movement at the time and successfully pressured the then Warringah Council to knock back the protective walls. “Sea walls do nothing to ensure the ongoing conservation of the beach in front of them,” Mr Donohoe told crowds.

Surfers also complained the sea wall would ruin their perfect waves.

The newly amalgamated Northern Beaches Council today refused to admit they had made a mistake by pandering to a few heated protesters but confirmed a wall would be built at any cost.

Further up Collaroy Beach developer Phil Franks “went broke” fighting Warringah Council to keep a seawall outside his old home that he believes saved it this week.

He built it in 1997 following a storm but it was unapproved, so council sought a court order for its demolition. He fought and won, with the Land and Environment Court dismissing the council’s application to have it demolished.



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, 2016

How is global warming impacting the world’s penguins?

There may be other challenges impacting penguin numbers but we can be absolutely certain that global warming is not hurting them.  Why?  Because penguins live in the Southern hemisphere only, overwhelmingly in Antarctica.  And Antarctica is NOT warming.  The ice cover there continues to GROW in fact.  If you asked the question "What impact is Antarctic cooling having?" that would be a more sensible question

Not surprisingly, penguins—those cute and quirky flightless birds of the Southern Hemisphere that are loved by humans and have inspired countless films, books, comic strips and sports teams—are in deep trouble as a result of reckless human activity.

The nonprofit International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains the “Red List” of at-risk species around the world, considers five of the world’s 18 penguin species “endangered.” IUCN classifies five more penguin species as “vulnerable” and yet another five as “near threatened.” Only three species still exists in healthy enough numbers to qualify for IUCN’s “least concern” classification.

Penguins have evolved over millions of years and adapted to big ecosystem and climatic changes along the way, but they face their biggest challenges from threats posed by humans over just the last century.

One of the more dire threats to penguins is commercial fishing. “Overfishing and concentrated fishing efforts near penguin colonies for forage species such as Antarctic krill can make it more difficult for penguins to find nourishment…especially when fishing grounds overlap with the foraging grounds of penguins,” reports the Pew Charitable Trusts, a leading nonprofit with a focus on ocean conservation.

Meanwhile, predators and non-native invasive species introduced by humans are also taking their toll. According to Pew, several colonies of little penguins in Australia, for example, have been wiped out by non-indigenous dogs and foxes, while the Galápagos penguin has suffered big losses as a result of pathogen-borne illnesses introduced by non-native species and some natural bird migration.

Yet another threat is habitat destruction. “Tourism-related pressures, such as foot traffic and litter, can encroach on penguin colonies and nesting sites,” says Pew. “Oil spills have had severe effects on the health of individual colonies of penguins as well as their foraging habitats.”

And climate change—with its resulting melting of vast sheets of sea ice—could well be the greatest threat to already struggling penguin populations. “Ice plays a crucial role in the breeding process for several species of Antarctic penguins and also provides a place for penguins to rest and to avoid predators during long foraging trips,” reports Pew. “The loss of sea ice along the Antarctic Peninsula is contributing to reductions in the abundance of Antarctic krill, a favorite food of several penguin species.”

But according to Pew, the situation isn’t completely hopeless. The creation of more marine reserves where penguins can thrive without the stresses of overfishing and other human activity is a big step in the right direction. Pew is also pushing for better fisheries management in order to increase food sources for penguins and other marine wildlife dependent on nutrients further down the food chain, and also for a reduction in the number of introduced predators and invasive species.

According to Pew, the penguins’ plight is a portent of larger environmental concerns: “These birds are sentinels for the health of the entire sea. Changes to their populations can indicate trouble for other species that depend on these waters for survival.”


The Global Warming Con — Fabricating Phony Fear Over Sea Levels

Climate alarmists are warning that the Statue of Liberty is at risk of being overrun by rising sea levels caused by global warming. A more reasonable voice, however, says the nattering nabobs of “the narrative” are off the mark.

It must be tiring to be a practitioner of the global warming dark arts, always having to invent a new scenario of disaster to keep the public in turmoil, as H.L. Mencken said, over “an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

But give them credit: They keep coming.

And they continue to be mistaken. Or, in some cases, purposely misrepresenting the facts so the facts will fit their political agenda. This appears to be the case with a 2012 study that the alarmists have used to gin up fear that human carbon dioxide emissions are driving us to a global disaster.

When that paper was released, the Los Angeles Times reported that “sea levels in a 620-mile ‘hot spot’ along the Atlantic coast are rising three to four times faster than the global average, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.” What came next was the feverish, Mencken-esque hobgoblin that is required in every global warming story.

“The sharp rise in sea levels from North Carolina to Massachusetts could mean serious flooding and storm damage for major cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as threats to wetlands habitats.”

The Weather Channel followed up on the claim, declaring last week that “the Statue of Liberty is facing a disturbing future because of rising seas and a warming planet.” This latest argument is based on a new United Nations report, which means that this cautionary statement has all the objective science of a children’s book about a wolf and a young girl with fair hair.

Naturally, the media either ignore or marginalize anything that disputes the global warming narrative. But contrary findings and opinions exist. In this case, climate change website Watts Up With That took a look at the “hot spots” identified in the 2012 study and determined that the researchers were guilty of practicing “bad science” and “cherry picking the time window” that backed the conclusion they wanted to reach.

“Since December 2009,” wrote guest essayist Giordano Bruno, “the sea levels have declined in both Washington, D.C., and The Battery, N.Y.” The decreases were 3.3 millimeters a year in Washington, 10.7 millimeters a year in New York.

The logic behind the study “was clearly flawed, but obviously Nature,” which published the report, “did not accept any comment,” wrote Bruno.

“The science is settled, and can’t be discussed,” he added.

Obviously Bruno — whose true identity is disguised by a pseudonym taken from a man who was executed in part because he held a different set of cosmological views — was being sarcastic, because the science is far from being settled. The fact that the paper was corrected — its supplementary information is the data Bruno used to make his point — proves it.

But, as Bruno said, that can’t be discussed.




Executive Summary

This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth. This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments.

The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

This extremely positive aspect of human CO2 emissions must be weighed against the unproven hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause a catastrophic warming of the climate in coming years. The one-sided political treatment of CO2 as a pollutant that should be radically reduced must be corrected in light of the indisputable scientific evidence that it is essential to life on Earth.


Conflict about Climate Change at the American Meteorological Society: Meteorologists’ Views on a Scientific and Organizational Controversy

Neil Stenhouse et al.


This article analyzes open-ended survey responses to understand how members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) perceive conflict within the AMS over global warming. Of all survey respondents, 53% agreed that there was conflict within the AMS; of these individuals who perceived conflict, 62% saw it as having at least some productive aspects, and 53% saw at least some unproductive aspects. Among members who saw a productive side to the conflict, most agreed as to why it was productive: debate and diverse perspectives enhance science. However, among members who saw an unproductive side, there was considerable disagreement as to why. Members who are convinced of largely human-caused climate change expressed that debate over global warming sends an unclear message to the public. Conversely, members who are unconvinced of human-caused climate change often felt that their peers were closed-minded, and were suppressing unpopular views. These two groups converged, however, on one point: politics was seen as an overwhelmingly negative influence on the debate. This suggests that scientific organizations faced with similar conflict should understand that there may be a contradiction between legitimizing all members’ views and sending a clear message to the public about the weight of the evidence. The findings also reinforce the conclusion that attempts by scientific societies to directly address differences in political views may be met with strong resistance by many scientists.


Revised windfarm plan nodded through to anger of activists

Dissent in the Scottish Highlands

Highland councillors yesterday nodded through a radically revised windfarm proposal without a debate despite claims that they had not been provided with key information. Two leading activists had written to members of the north planning committee to highlight their point.

Due to the scale of the 19turbine Corriemoillie development, a final decision rests with Scottish Government ministers.

Councillors were offered the opportunity to comment as statutory consultees. French firm EDF Energy’s revised submission was for more powerful turbines, featuring larger blades, for its scheme at Gorstan near Garve.

Anti-windfarm campaigner Brenda Herrick, who had written to members, said: “I was completely shocked.

“The planning report omitted to state that the turbine hub height was reduced in order to allow a considerable increase in blade length amounting to a total change in rotor diameter.”

She claimed it would result in the turbines “appearing much larger and having a considerably increased detrimental effect visually.”

Fellow activist Lyndsey Ward added: “It beggars belief that this was rubberstamped without a question being asked. Has nothing changed that doesn’t warrant a closer look? It’s a dark day for local democracy.”

Head of planning and building standards, David Mudie, had told councillors that the 410ft Corriemoillie turbines were “consistent with the neighbouring Lochluichart Windfarm, although the blade length for that windfarm is 331ft and the proposal in front of you is 338ft.”

He said the turbine model had “already been agreed”. Speaking afterwards, Sutherland SNP councillor George Farlow, a committee member, said the agenda item had gone through “despite persistent nay-sayers over long periods of time.”


Climate change's role in Eastern Australia's recent big storms

Acacia Pepler seems to be a dear little thing and she definitely has real talent as an academic. She has written a long and careful article below on how likely it is that Australia's recent big storms were influenced by climate change:  An inevitable question.  And she does have extensive knowledge of East coast weather.  But her answer to the question could be accurately summarized in just two words: "Nobody knows".  To stretch that out into a long article is real talent.  She will go far in academe

Australia's east coast is recovering from a weekend of wild winds, waves and flooding, caused by a weather pattern known as an east coast low. Tragically, several people have died in flooding.

Parts of New South Wales have received more than 400mm of rain since Friday morning.  Some places such as Canberra and Forster recorded their wettest June day on record.  Waves have also caused severe coastal erosion and damaged property.

East coast lows are a type of low-pressure system or cyclone that occur on the Australian east coast. They are not uncommon, with about seven to eight lows a year causing widespread rainfall along the east coast, particularly during late autumn and winter.  An east coast low in April last year caused similar damage.

But whenever they happen, they raise the question: did climate change play a role?

Climate models suggest the cyclones that move through the global mid-latitudes — around 30 to 50 degrees S — are moving south.  This is contributing to long-term declines in winter rainfall in south-western Australia and parts of southeast Australia.

These models also suggest the atmospheric conditions that help east coast lows form could decline by between 25 per cent and 40 per cent by the end of the century.

In recent work, my colleagues and I looked even more closely at how climate change will affect individual east coast lows. Our results also found east coast lows are expected to become less frequent during the cool months May to October, which is when they currently happen most often.

But there is no clear picture of what will happen during the warm season. Some models even suggest east coast lows may become more frequent in the warmer months. And increases are most likely for lows right next to the east coast — just the ones that have the biggest impacts where people live.

What about the big ones? The results in the studies I talked about above are for all low-pressure systems near the coast — about 22 per year, on average.

But it is the really severe ones that people want to know about, like the current event, or the storm that grounded tanker Pasha Bulker in Newcastle in June 2007. These storms are much rarer, which makes it harder to figure out what will happen in the future.

Most of the models we looked at had no significant change projected in the intensity of the most severe east coast low each year.

Warming oceans provide more moisture, so intense rainfall is expected to increase by about 7 per cent for each degree of global warming.

East coast lows are no different; even during the winter, when east coast lows are expected to become less frequent, the frequency of east coast lows with heavy rain is likely to increase.

Finally, even though there may be fewer east coast lows, they are occurring in an environment with higher sea levels.

This means many more properties are vulnerable to storm surges and the impact of a given storm surge is that much worse.

Was it climate change?

While the frequency of cool-season east coast lows looks likely to decrease in the future, changes in the big ones are a lot less certain.

However, east coast lows are very variable in frequency and hard to predict.

So far, there has not been any clear trend in the past 50 years, although east coast lows may have been more frequent in the past.

As for extreme rainfall, studies have found little influence of climate change on Australian extreme rainfall so far.

Climate variability, such as El Nino, currently plays a much larger role.

This does not mean climate change is having no effect; it just means it is hard to tell what impact a warming world is having at this stage.

So did climate change cause this weekend's storms? No — these events, including intense ones, often occur at this time of year.

But it is harder to rule out climate change having any influence at all.

For instance, what is the impact of higher sea levels on storm surges? And how much have record-warm sea temperatures contributed to rainfall and storm intensity?

We know these factors will become more important as the climate system warms further, so as the clean-up begins, we should keep an eye on the future.



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, 2016

Denmark Cancels All Coastal Wind Farms, Delays New Built Until 2025

The Danish government has announced a new proposal to resolve the problem of the renewable energy tax (PSO) which the EU believes to be illegal and which has become markedly more expensive for businesses and citizens than planned.

Climate and Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt will cancel all coastal wind turbines which were agreed to be build in 2012 and promises to replace them with a new offshore wind farm in 2025.

The cancellation of the coastal wind turbines will save the country around 7 billion Krones ($1 billion). And when the new offshore wind farm will be constructed from 2025 onwards there will be ample budgets then.

“For me there is no doubt that an offshore wind farm located far out at sea will be a much better solution,” says Lars Christian Lilleholt who also believes in the visual benefit of offshore wind turbines which cannot be seen from land.

The government has long sought to postpone the coastal wind turbines and the minister has now pulled the plug completely on the controversial projects.

“When I think back on the energy agreement from 2012, it was a mistake that agreed to build the coastal wind turbines,” he said.


Scientists Find Global Warming Could Ruin The Smell Of Roses

A new study found global warming could make it harder for people to ‘smell the roses,’ as projected global temperature increases may mean flowers give off less of a scent than they do today.

“Increases in temperature associated with the changing global climate are interfering with plant-pollinator mutualism, an interaction facilitated mainly by floral color and scent,” Alon Can’ani, a PhD student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a statement on his research.

Can’ani claims that this reduction in the smell of flowers — a main way they attract pollinators — could have a detrimental effect on ‘plant-pollinator mutualism.’

But Can’ani also says there is a way to stop this from happening, by manipulating certain genes within a particular flower. Gene manipulation of flowers could feasibly help flowers maintain the scent properties that make them targets of pollinators and keep flora healthy.

Plants use their scents not only to attract pollinators, but also as a defense mechanism. When a plants leaves are injured it releases a compound that alerts predators of herbivores to the scene; like calling in security. A predator gets a chemical signal that an herbivore in currently on the scene, and while the predator gets lunch, the plant lives to pollinate another day. A lesson in natural symbiosis.

A different study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, states the exact opposite. Its title: "Could global warming make our flowers smell nine times sweeter?"

“Over the past 30 decades, higher global temperatures have increased emissions of the compounds by 10 percent”, according to the study. “An increase in temperature of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius could lead to a further 30 to 45 percent increase.”


Runaway Venus

A difficult myth often faced by skeptics is the claim that the planet Venus is an example of a runaway greenhouse effect, even though the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is more than 90 times that of the earth. Often, people do not understand the influence of pressure on temperatures as described by the ideal gas law.

In discussing Scientism, Willie Soon and Istvan Marko bring up excellent comments by physicist Will Happer on the differences between Venus and the Earth. To make one point, Happer uses the analogy of a diesel engine.

Unlike a gasoline engine, a diesel engine does not require a spark plug or an ignition system. In a normal gasoline engine, after the fuel-air mixture is compressed to 6 to 10 atmospheres, a spark ignites the mixture. In a diesel engine the compression is far greater, between 14 to 23 atmospheres. The compression heats the air sufficiently to ignite the fuel when it is injected into it. Depending on the fuel, it may require a temperature of 210 to 260ºC (410 to 500ºF). At over 90 atmospheres, no wonder Venus surface is hot.


EU Green Lunacy: £1.25 Million To Save A Bird That Doesn’t Need Saving

Without the EU, the environment would suffer greatly: or so we are told by EU-funded organisations like the WWF and the RSPB.

So let’s briefly focus on just one of the invaluable conservation projects on which the EU thinks it’s important to spend our money.

As the Sunday Telegraph reported, the EU has funded a five-year £1.25 million project to encourage little terns to breed.

This involves getting schoolchildren to paint plaster of Paris bird models with the right grey, black and white colouring. The fake terns are then placed in pairs in appropriate spots during breeding season, with the male’s and female’s beaks pointing inches apart as if they were courting one another.

    Sue Rendell-Read, the manager in charge of the project, said: “We are using the decoys to try and get the little terns to nest in safer places on the beach. This may be areas within fencing, which we put up during the breeding season, or areas higher up the beach, which we know will be safer in the summer.”

    Ms Rendell-Read urged members of the public not to touch or steal the decoys, many of which have the name of the school child who painted it on the bottom.

Yes, that would be tragic, wouldn’t it? Why, the effect on tern breeding if these £1.25 million fake birds were to be removed would surely be incalculable.

I do however have a couple of reservations about this yarn.

The first, pretty obviously, is how, in heaven’s name, can so low-tech a project possibly cost £1.25 million? What are they painting these fake birds with: lapis lazuli and gold leaf? We’re talking about a total of 15 beaches’ worth of fake birds here. Even allowing for a generous 1000 birds per beach, that still works out at over £800 for something whose raw materials probably cost less than a pound.

And the second – which hasn’t been mentioned in reports so far – is: what are we even doing trying to save the little tern anyway?

Here’s what Birdlife International has to say on little terns’ scarcity:

    "This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20 a="" and="" appears="" approach="" be="" believed="" combined="" criterion="" decline="" declining="" decreasing="" despite="" extent="" fact="" fluctuating="" for="" fragmentation="" habitat="" is="" km2="" locations="" not="" number="" of="" or="" population="" quality="" range="" rapid="" severe="" size="" small="" sufficiently="" that="" the="" thresholds="" to="" trend="" under="" vulnerable="" with="">30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10 a="" be="" continuing="" decline="" estimated="" individuals="" mature="" to="" with="">10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern"

The little tern, in other words, is about as much in danger of extinction as the Herring gull (aka “sea gulls”) or the London pigeon.

Yet just listen to this woman from the RSPB in the Sunday Telegraph:

    Emily Irving-Witt, the lead little tern warden for the Suffolk Coast, said: “Little terns are endangered and need all the help they can get.

    “Numbers are decreasing alarmingly so protecting their breeding grounds means saving them from extinction.”

Yeah, well I suppose if my job was “lead little tern warden for the Suffolk”, I too would be doing my damnedest to talk up the threat to little terns.

But quite how she feels it appropriate to bandy about terms like “endangered” and “extinction” I do not know. It’s the kind of emotive and dishonest language which gives animal conservation a bad name – though of course, it’s entirely the sort of thing we’ve come to expect of anyone even vaguely associated with the disreputable RSPB.

The little tern is not “endangered”, let alone anywhere close to “extinction.” It follows that every penny of that £1.25 million is money chucked down the drain.

Brexit campaigners are frequently put under pressure to justify the £330 million they have claimed that Britain chucks every week into the gaping maw that is the European Union. Sky News interviewer Faisal Islam had a go at Michael Gove about this and went at it repeatedly like a teenager faced with a particularly juicy but reluctant-to-burst spot. Whoever is masterminding the Remain campaign’s strategy appears to think that this is a major weak point. But it’s only a weak point if you believe the EU propagandists’ line that we receive more or less half of that money back in the form of EU spending.

Well perhaps we do but I’m not sure if that money were ours to spend as we wished we’d want to spunk £1.25 million of it on plaster of Paris little tern models.


Solar CEO Sentenced for Defrauding Gov’t Grant Program

Former business owner Joseph Samuel Kozicki was ordered on Wednesday to serve 15 months in federal prison for defrauding a U.S. Department of Energy grant program.

Kozicki served as chief executive officer for AA Solar, Inc. in March 2010, when his company sought and received a U.S. Department of Energy grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in the amount of $1,776,268.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Central District of Illinois, AA Solar sought funds to purchase and install equipment for a manufacturing facility in Danville, Ill. to make solar tracking systems.

Kozicki instructed AA Solar employees to provide officials with fraudulent invoices, quotes, or purchase orders. During the scheme, Kozicki made payments or withdrawals from AA Solar’s bank accounts for personal expenses. As a result of the scheme, Kozicki fraudulently attempted to obtain approximately $649,269 from the grant and successfully obtained $383,318 from the goverment.

AA Solar’s final two fraudulent payment requests were denied.

AA Solar sold only one or two of its solar tracking devices during its existence and did not provide the cash match of $1,985,000 required by the terms of the grant. 

On May 26, 2015, Kozicki entered a plea of guilty to defrauding the grant program.

On June 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ordered Kozicki to pay restitution in the amount of $383,318. The 80 year-old Kozicki was allowed to self-report in 30 to 60 days to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence. 


Climate crazy Ontari-ari-ario’s no place to grow, but to get the hell out of

The latest news out of Queen’s Park is that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals plan to deindustrialize Ontario. Of course they don’t call it that; they prefer the term “decarbonize.” But for an industrial economy, the government’s new climate action plan, leaked to reporters this week, amounts to the same thing.

The proposed scheme beggars belief. Having phased out coal-fired power, the province now plans to phase out natural gas, the only reliable alternative for non-baseload generation. Despite electric cars being extremely costly and unpopular, more than one in 10 new car sales will need to be electric, and every two-car household will have to own at least one electric car. All homes listed for sale will require a costly energy audit. Home renovations will have to be geared around energy efficiency as the government defines it, not what the homeowner wants.

Around the time that today’s high-school students are readying to buy their first home, it will be illegal for builders to install heating systems that use fossil fuels, in particular natural gas. Having already tripled the price of power, Queen’s Park will make it all but mandatory to rely on electricity for heating.

There will be new mandates and subsidies for biofuels, electric buses for schools, extensive new bike lanes to accommodate all those bicycles Ontario commuters will be riding all winter, mandatory electric recharging stations on all new buildings, and many other Soviet-style command-and-control directives.

The scheme is called the Climate Change Action Plan, or CCAP, but it would be more appropriately called the Climate Change Coercion Plan: the CCCP.

Reportedly there has been some pushback against this lunacy from within cabinet. While Environment Minister Glen Murray is driving it forward with enthusiasm, his colleagues with economic portfolios are expressing some reluctance. One imagines they have an intuitive sense the CCCP is misguided, but they struggle to say why.

Perhaps I can help. Even if one accepts mainstream climate science as interpreted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it does not imply that carbon dioxide emissions impose infinitely high costs and should be driven to zero. It only tells us that such emissions may impose modest external costs on other people that emitters should pay for. Nor does it tell us that those emission-related costs are greater than the costs of trying to stop climate change. In fact, the IPCC reports strongly suggest otherwise. Chapter 10 of the IPCC Working Group II report concludes that at low levels of warming (up to two degrees Celsius) the costs will be small relative to the impacts of other economic changes in peoples’ lives, and may well be negative (i.e., a possible net benefit from mild warming).

Translated into practical economics, we could assume that emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide causes a small amount of harm to other people: roughly between zero and 20-dollars’ worth. So emission-reduction policies that cost less than $20 per tonne to implement could be justified based on mainstream science and sound economics. Policies costing more cannot.

The Murray plan however is laden with policies that will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per tonne to implement — far more than the value of any environmental benefits they generate. They will drive away investment and employment, raise the cost of living and eliminate economic opportunities. No longer will Ontari-ari-ario be “A Place to Grow”; it will be a place to get the hell out of if you want a job and a decent standard of living.

For years, anyone trying to inject sanity into the climate debate was told it is forbidden to question the authoritative pronouncements of the IPCC. So it is worth quoting the IPCC verbatim on the economic issues here. After tallying up the projected effects of warming and the likely economic impacts, and placing them in the context of all the other social changes that are expected in the years ahead, it concludes, in Chapter 10, “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement).” In Figure 10-1 it shows that modest warming is as likely to be a net benefit as a net cost. And in the Working Group I report, the IPCC marshals evidence that warming has been proceeding at a lower rate than expected so far this century.

Putting it all together, even if the Murray plan were to stop global warming in its tracks, the policies would do more economic harm than the averted climate change. But of course the CCCP won’t have any effect on global warming, because Ontario is responsible for such a tiny fraction of global emissions. The Wynne government repeatedly defends its bungling of the electricity sector on the grounds that at least it closed two coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, in 2015 alone, China approved construction of 155 new coal-fired power plants. CCCP is all cost, no benefits.

Adding to the insult, it includes a carbon-pricing scheme in the form of cap and trade. The economic logic of carbon pricing is that the market identifies the cheapest abatement options and weeds out the rest. Yet with revenues from its cap-and-tax plan, the government plans to subsidize the abatement methods the market rejects. In other words, the Liberals have selected the one use of funds that destroys the economic properties of the policy instrument.

The climate file has pushed deranged extremism into mainstream policy planning. Perhaps the would-be opponents in cabinet of this disastrous proposal self-censor out of fear of being labeled — gasp! — deniers. But realism is the opposite of denialism, and what is needed now is a huge, cold blast of realism.



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

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


7 June, 2016

Tom Harris talks to a Canadian Leftist politician

Summary of June 4, 2016 discussion with Catherine McKenna, MP, Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Following Minister McKenna’s 13-minute presentation at the climate change town hall chaired by Anita Vandenbeld, Liberal Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, there was no question period, so I spoke with the Minister in the hall for about 5 minutes. Here is what transpired:

I identified myself and gave her three things:

1 – a hard copy of the full 993-page 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), "Climate Change Reconsidered-II – Physical Science" which can be downloaded by clicking on the "CCR-2013" tab, at

2 – a hard copy of the 25-page "Summary for Policymakers" of the above document, which can be downloaded at…/CC…/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf.

3 - a hard copy of the 20-page "Summary for Policymakers" of the 2014 report of the NIPCC, "Climate Change Reconsidered II – Biological Impacts", which can be downloaded at…/CC…/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf.

I explained to Minister McKenna that the first small document (#2 above) summarized the findings of the large 993-page document (#1 above). I also told the Minister that a similarly large report on biological impacts was summarized by the third document above.

As the Minister had no staff with her (as far as I could see), she accepted all three documents personally from me.

Showing her some of the many references from leading experts published in peer reviewed science journals in the first large document above, I explained to Ms. McKenna that many climate scientists do not support the view that humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions are known to cause climate problems. I told her that these researchers are not funded by the oil industry but, indeed, are leading independent experts. There are many scientists who say that we simply do not know the future of climate change, I explained to Minister McKenna.

Minister McKenna replied that she relied on the climate science experts in Environment Canada to advise her.

Yes, I replied, I understood that, but I told her that there are many climate science experts who disagree with what she is apparently being told. I told the Minister that, due to the vast uncertainty in the field, it is important to not be absolute (as she had been in her talk) about future climate change causes and impacts.

Ms. McKenna said that the consensus of leading experts agree with what she had said in her talk (or words to that effect; our discussion was not recorded).

I explained that there is no known consensus about the only issue that matters from a public policy perspective, namely, ‘are our carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions likely to cause dangerous climate change in the foreseeable future.’ I explained that the best approach was to focus on adaptation and a ‘no regrets’ strategy to reduce real pollution and save energy.

As there were other people waiting to speak to the Minister, she did not reply to this point and said she had to speak to others now.

The impression I got is that that Minister genuinely believes that the science concerning the causes and future of climate change is settled. It appeared that she has not been exposed to alternative point of view on this issue at all. In particular, Ms. McKenna did not seem to be aware of the reports above and did not know who I was or who the International Climate Science Coalition is.

It is clear that her advisors are not giving her the balance she needs to handle this file properly. Hopefully, she will look at the documents I gave her today and ask her advisers why they have not been brought to her attention previously.

If I have missed anything out in the above report, or misrepresented anything she or I said, I ask Ms. McKenna to make a post giving this information.


Wind turbine boss admits no more should be built in England because it isn't windy enough

The chief executive of the UK's top wind industry trade body has admitted that more turbine projects in England aren't viable - because it isn't windy enough.

Hugh McNeal, of RenewableUK, made the astonishing admission but did say that projects should still take place in other parts of the UK.

Mr McNeal said that new projects were 'very unlikely' apart from those which have received subsidies and are waiting for construction.

He said: 'We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it.'

The Conservative government has already implemented its pledge to end wind farm subsidies, and Mr McNeal said its his job to convince people that wind energy is still the cheapest form of new energy generation.

Government research suggests that there is still 425 megawatts of capacity in England in the turbine planning system, but this is far less than in Scotland, reported The Telegraph.

The Conservatives have ended the controversial system of offering subsidies for landowners who agree to have a turbine built on their land.

The chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, Keith Anderson, said that he believed a solution could be removing small old turbines to replace them with more powerful ones.

The director of policy and research at the Renewable Energy Foundation, John Constable, said: 'There has to be grid expansion to remove bottlenecks, short-term response plant and/or demand, and the cost of operating a conventional fleet of almost unchanged size to guarantee security of supply.'

There are 4,000 onshore wind turbines already powering 4million homes, with another 3,000 granted planning permission.


The Sun & Clouds

The UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) largely ignore Svensmark’s hypothesis that incoming high-energy cosmic rays, modulated by the sun, influence global climate by changing cloudiness.

When the sun is active, the envelope of high-energy charged particles making up the solar wind (the heliosphere) expands in the solar system, reducing the high-energy cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere. Cloudiness decreases, resulting in warmer weather. When the sun is dormant, the heliosphere contracts, increasing the high-energy cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere. Cloudiness increases, resulting in cooler weather.

According to reports, the major rationale for the IPCC, and others, for ignoring Svensmark’s hypothesis was that the forming of cloud droplets, thus clouds, required sulfur dioxide produced by human emissions and by volcanoes. Thus, according to the IPCC, until the industrial revolution, Svensmark’s hypothesis did not apply to climate change; but, in its recent analysis, the IPCC does not consider climate change until after the industrial revolution.

The rationale is strange for several reasons. One, contemporary 16th and 17th European records and paintings (such as those by Pieter Brueghel) show the Little Ice Age was cold and cloudy.

Earlier, using tricks such as Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick in 2001, the IPCC has tried to dismiss the Little Ice Age as a local phenomenon, but evidence is compiling that it was global.

Two, the reports of the IPCC asserting the dominant influence of carbon dioxide (CO2) focus on the period after the industrial revolution, particularly, the period after 1950. During this period there were significant human emissions of sulfur dioxide. The global climate models used by the IPCC consider that sulfur dioxide has a significant cooling effect (independent of cloudiness), partially off-setting the calculated warming effect of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases). Thus, it appears that the IPCC, and its followers, only consider sulfur dioxide when it is convenient for their assertions – a strange approach to empirical science.

Researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, performed experiments under the CLOUD program supporting Svensmark’s hypothesis. Now they have performed experiments showing that sulfur dioxide emissions from humans or volcanoes are not needed for water droplets to form – organic vapors emitted emissions from trees, and other vegetation, is sufficient to seed the formation of clouds. The observations that pure organic nucleation of water droplets to form clouds are supported by observations at the Jungfraujoch observatory as well.

Interestingly, to some, the highly oxygenated molecules are known as the "aroma of the trees." It will be interesting to see how the IPCC and others in the Climate Establishment react to these experiments and observations


What New Scientist wouldn't print

A couple of weeks back, New Scientist published an article trying to up the ante on climate sensitivity.

"One headline-making 2013 study had concluded that the immediate warming that would result froma doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would be around 1.3°C - significantly less than most previous estimates. But this was before global temperatures shot past 1°C above pre-industrial levels last year, as predicted by New Scientist in July 2015. If the 2013 study was repeated using that value, it would give an estimate for the immediate warming of 1.6°C, says Piers Forster..."

It also claimed that Forster and Lewis's 2013 paper had got its estimates of aerosol forcing wrong:

"[Other studies] suggested that Forster's team underestimated how much warming has been masked by the cooling effect of other pollutants, such as sulphur aerosols, that we pump out alongside CO2"

Quite why anyone would want to estimate TCR from a single year's temperature figure is anyone's guess. This observation prompted Nic Lewis to write a letter to the editor, which, needless to say, has not been published. So you can read it here.

Letter to the Editor concerning New Scientist article in the 28 May 2016  issue, Vol 230, No 3075, page 8: 'Earth's sensitive side':

The claim in your 28 May article 'Earth's sensitive side' that the strong warming over the last few years means we can now rule out low estimates of climate sensitivity is wrong. You quote Piers Forster, a co-author (along with myself) of one 2013 study that concluded near-term warming from a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would only be around 1.3°C. I have also been sole or lead author of three different studies published since then, all of which support that conclusion. One of those studies used the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 assessment report's estimates for the effects on the Earth's radiation balance of both warming agents such as CO2 and of cooling agents such as sulphur aerosols. I have extended these estimates to 2015 and recomputed the warming from a doubling of CO2. It is unchanged at 1.3 °C, averaging over 1995-2015 data. It remains 1.3 °C when using data just for the last ten, or five, years. Use of a shorter period gives a less reliable estimate; using a single year's temperature is unsound.

The suggestion that the team Forster and I were part of underestimated how much warming had been masked by the cooling effects of sulphur aerosols and other pollutants is mistaken. Our team's method is unaffected by the arguments on this point raised by the Shindell and Schmidt team studies referred to. The latter study anyway contained several errors.  The corrected version fixed two of the errors I had pointed out, and shows that near term warming from a doubling of CO2 is correctly estimated from the historical mix of warming and cooling agents, including sulphur aerosols. Moreover, the findings by the Storelvmo team relied on a relationship existing between solar radiation at the surface and sulphur emissions, but over their full data period that relationship is statistically insignificant. Furthermore, two recent studies (Stevens 2015 and Kirkby et al. 2016) conclude that sulphur aerosols have had less effect on radiation than previously thought, implying that estimates of the warming from a doubling of CO2 are actually too high.


No. The electric car won't save the planet

In response to consumer interest, automobile companies have finally adopted the electric vehicle (EV), led by Tesla Motors and founder Elon Musk, cult hero for technology-inspired optimism.

We don’t have another decade to squander on false promises, so we may reasonably ask: Will EVs slow carbon emissions, and by how much? The public may simply assume the best, but a genuine answer requires rigorous investigation, calculation, and analysis. Smart scientists observe the principle to "beware congenial conclusions." Nature is not sentimental and will not reward us for good intentions.

As we investigate this analysis, we will find that genuine solutions exist, although they may not be the simple solutions we hope for.

Embodied energy

To know if electric vehicles will save carbon emissions, and how significantly, we must first understand "embodied energy." Every product sold — a cup of coffee, solar panel, or automobile — requires energy to produce and deliver. This embodied energy includes mining, shipping, and processing raw materials, and assembly and shipping of the product. Currently, most of this energy comes from hydrocarbon fuels. There are no copper mines, steel mills, or container ships run on windmills or solar panels.

Typically, the embodied energy of any vehicle accounts for 20 to 40 per cent of its lifetime emissions. Hybrids and and electric vehicles tend toward the high end of this range because they are complex machines. Electric trains, per passenger-kilometer, carry significantly less embodied energy, and a steel frame bicycle, of course, carries orders of magnitude less.

A kilogram of steel produces about 15 kilograms of CO2 in the atmosphere. A kilogram of plastics, rubber, or copper produces three-times the emissions, about 40 to 50 kilograms of CO2. An electric-powered Tesla Model S, at about 2240 kilograms of steel, plastics, metals, and rubber produces the CO2 equivalent of about 60,000 kilometers of driving a conventional vehicle before it is purchased. This amounts to three to four years of typical driving and fossil fuel burning, the embodied carbon emissions in the electric vehicle.

Mining lithium

The necessary calculation does not stop there. The electric car industry requires mining for nickel, bauxite, copper, rare earth metals, lithium, graphite, cobalt, polymers, adhesives, metallic coatings, paint, and lubricants. These materials carry a large embodied CO2 cost, and leave a trail of pollution.

Tesla’s current planned production will require some 30,000 tonnes of graphite per year for the batteries alone, requiring six new graphite mines somewhere on Earth. EVs need cobalt, and the leading supplier of cobalt is war-torn Congo, where the mining industry has a legacy of carbon emissions, pollution, habitat destruction, and civil rights violations. Tesla’s lithium demand for batteries will require 25,000 tonnes a year, increasing global lithium mining by 50 per cent, using water resources and typically leaving behind toxic chlorine sludge.

Lithium mining and water fraud inspired the green-washing villain in the 2008 James Bond film, "Quantum Of Solace," in which a Bolivian community’s wells go dry. In Chile and Bolivia, this story is shockingly real. The Aymara indigenous people blame lithium miners for confiscating land and polluting water with chlorine. Saul Villegas, head of the lithium division in Comibol, Bolivia insists,"The previous imperialist model of exploitation of our natural resources will never be repeated in Bolivia." Villegas is attempting to limit lithium mining to a pace that avoids ecological and social disruption, but electric vehicle and mining corporations are applying pressure. "The prize is clearly in Bolivia," observes Oji Baba, from Mitsubishi. "If we want to be a force in the next wave of automobiles and the batteries that power them, we must be here."

Chile faces similar pressure. "Like any mining process," said Guillen Mo Gonzalez, leader of a Chilean lithium delegation, "it is invasive, it scars the landscape, it destroys the water table, and pollutes the earth and the local wells. This isn't a green solution. It’s not a solution at all."

At Stanford University, in 2010, physics student Eric Eason, determined that known lithium reserves, some 10 billion kilograms, could supply the batteries for about four billion electric vehicles. However, not all of this reserve is recoverable, and current production is used for phones, computers, camcorders, cameras, satellites, construction, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and glass. Since the demand for lithium is growing in all sectors, including Tesla’s plans for car batteries and household battery units, we might assume a quarter of the world reserve, a massive mining and processing project, could supply perhaps one billion electric vehicles. This could replace the global vehicle fleet, but only once. Eason concluded that converting the world’s fleet to electric vehicles ".. seems like an unsustainable prospect." Of course, there may be options that don’t use lithium, but every industrial approach that increases resource consumption faces limits and carries the costs of carbon emissions, pollution, land use, and social impact.

These challenges do not imply that there are no solutions to global warming, only that we must be rigorous in finding solutions that preserve human dignity and ecological integrity.

The impact of electricity

We know that over its lifetime, an all-electric vehicle can save some hydrocarbon fuel, but how much? Electricity generation accounts for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Most electricity (67%) is produced by coal and natural gas; 20 percent by nuclear, another carbon hog; while renewables — hydroelectric dams, wind, and solar — account for about 13% of electricity. We can make this renewable portion grow, but we must remember that even renewable technologies have social and land-use impacts, and they carry an embodied carbon cost from mining, steel production, cement, manufacturing, shipping, and decommissioning.

According to the 2010 paper "Energy Chain Analysis of Passenger Car" by Morten Simonsen and Hans Jakob Walnum, at the Western Norway Research Institute, "there is no substantial mitigation offered by alternative fuels and drivetrains" with the exception of purely electric vehicles powered by electricity from 100% low-carbon renewables. Morten and Walnum acknowledge that "electricity from 100% hydro-electric sources… is not currently applicable"

In some regions — Norway and Canada, for example — hydropower makes up a large share of electricity generation, and in those regions, purely electric vehicles, over their lifetime, can save carbon emissions. However, there is more to the calculation. The Morten-Walnum study does not account for land use changes, water flow disruption, habitat destruction, and the social impacts from hydroelectric dams.

In British Columbia, we feel fortunate to have a plentiful supply of hydroelectric power, producing considerably less carbon emissions than coal-fired electric plants. However, we also experience the impact of dams on local rivers, salmon runs, agricultural land, wilderness, and rural communities.

A decade ago, some environmental groups in western Canada supported "micro-hydro" plants on wild rivers, describing these projects as "green power" necessary to supply electricity to fuel the conversion to electric vehicles. However, the micro-hydro plants involved a privatization scheme, handing over wild public rivers to private corporations. These companies laid pipes through sensitive watersheds, destroyed fish habitat, strung power lines through pristine forests, and negotiated purchase guarantees from the province that undermined public hydroelectricity.

Some of these projects were stopped by grassroots action, but today, in the northeast corner of British Columbia, the provincial and federal governments have proposed a large dam in the Peace River Valley, again selling this as "green energy." Indigenous communities live, hunt, fish, and farm in this valley, where the 60 meter high dam would flood 100 kilometers of river, wildlife corridors, agricultural land, people’s homes, and old growth boreal forests that serve as carbon sinks.

Genuine solutions

With global population growing at about 1.1 per cent per year, resource consumption, waste, and land use impacts are growing at about 3.5 per cent per year, doubling every 20 years. That growth swallows up most of our ecological progress. Over a generation, for example, we gain 30 per cent efficiency in building energy use, but triple the floor space we need to heat, cool, and light.

Since 1946, the world's vehicle fleet has grown by 4.2 per cent per year, doubling every 16.5 years. At that rate, we’ll be looking for steel, plastic and lithium for two billion vehicles by 2032 and for four billion vehicles by 2050. Electric vehicles now comprise 1/20 of 1 per cent of that fleet, but even if we could change that to 75 per cent by 2050, we would deplete the world’s lithium supply and still have a billion gasoline vehicles, the same number we have today.


How the West got healthy and prosperous

Vital ingredients included the scientific method and fossil fuels – truths we forget at our peril

Paul Driessen

Several years ago, physician, statistician, sword swallower and vibrant lecturer Hans Rosling produced a fascinating 4-minute video that presented 120,000 data points and showcased how mostly western nations became healthy and prosperous in just 200 years – after countless millennia of malnutrition, disease,  wretched poverty and early death.

More recently, professor of history and economics Deidre McCloskey provided some clues as to why and how this happened. In a Wall Street Journal article outlining "how the West (and the rest) got rich," she notes that it wasn’t just Karl Marx’s "exploited workers" or Adam Smith’s "virtuously saved capital, nor was it only Hernando DeSoto and Douglas North’s essential property rights and other legal institutions.

Perhaps the most vital ingredient was that over those two centuries "ideas started having sex," as author Matt Ridley described the process in The Rational Optimist. It enabled innovators to make discoveries and devise technological wonders, often through coincidental Connections that historian James Burke found among seemingly unrelated earlier inventions, to bring us television, computers and other marvels.

Why did ideas suddenly start having sex? McCloskey asks. One reason was the printing press, which enabled more people to read and share ideas. However, she cites two other principal developments: liberty and equality. Liberated people are ingenious, she observes – free to pursue happiness, and ideas; free to try and fail, and try again; free to pursue their own self-interests, and thereby better mankind.

Equality of social dignity and before the law emboldened people to invest, invent and take risks. Once accidents of parentage, titles, inherited wealth or formal education no longer controlled destinies or opportunities, the innate inspiration, perspiration and perseverance of a Franklin, Bell, Edison, Wright, Kettering, Steinmetz, Ford, Benz, Borlaug and countless others could be unleashed.

"Supposedly inferior races and classes and ethnicities proved not to be so," McCloskey says. "Ordinary men and women didn’t need to be directed from above and, when honored and left alone, became immensely creative." That’s an important message in the splendid British television series Downton Abbey, as well: when societal restrictions are relaxed, many can rise to new callings and heights.

Many other factors played key roles in this incredible progress. Two are especially important.

The scientific method begins with an hypothesis about how some component of the natural world works, and a calculation or forecast of what would happen if the concept is correct. Scientists then subject the hypothesis and prediction to experiment. If confirmed by data and observations, we have a new theory or law of nature; if not, the hypothesis is wrong.

This process brought wondrous advances – often through long, laborious tinkering and testing, and often amid heated, acrimonious debate about which hypothesis was correct (the miasma or germ theory of disease), which system was better (direct or alternating current), and countless other investigations.

Abundant, reliable, affordable energy – the vast majority of it fossil fuels – made all this and much more possible. It carried us from human and animal muscle, wood, dung and water wheels, to densely packed energy that could reliably power factories, laboratories, schools, hospitals, homes and offices. Those fuels also run equipment that removes harmful pollutants from our air and water, and they ended our unsustainable reliance on whale oil, saving those magnificent mammals from extinction.

Today, coal, oil and natural gas still provide 80% of America’s and the world’s energy, for transportation, communication, refrigeration, heat, lights, manufacturing, entertainment and every other component of modern life. Together, the scientific method and industrial-grade energy enable our Ultimate Resource – the human mind – to create more new ideas, institutions and technologies that make life for poor people in wealthier countries better, healthier, fuller and longer than even royalty enjoyed a mere century ago.

Medical research discovered why people died from wounds; the true causes of malaria, smallpox, cholera and other diseases; antibiotics, vaccinations, insecticides and pharmaceuticals to combat disease and improve our overall well-being; anesthesia and surgical techniques that permit life-saving operations and organ transplants; sanitation (toilets, soap, trash removal) and water purification; and countless other advances that raised the average American’s life expectancy from 46 in 1900 to 76 today for men and 81 for women.

Internal combustion engines replaced horses for plows and transportation, and rid city streets of manure, urine and carcasses, while creating new problems that later generations toiled to address. Today we can travel the world in hours and ship produce, clothing and other products to the globe’s farthest corners.

Mechanized agriculture – coupled with modern fertilizers, hybrid and GMO seeds, drip irrigation and other advances – produce bumper crops that feed billions, using less land, water and insecticides.

Houses and other buildings are built better and stronger, to keep out the cold and heat and disease-carrying insects, better survive hurricanes and earthquakes, and connect their inhabitants with entertainment and information centers from all over the planet, and beyond.

Modern mining techniques and technologies find, extract and process the incredible variety of metals and other raw materials required to make the mechanized equipment and factories required to produce the energy we need and grow or make everything we eat, wear or use.

If energy is the Master Resource that makes all of this possible, electricity is the king of modern energy. Imagine your life without electricity – generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind or solar facilities, or batteries. Imagine life before electricity, or before the internet and cell phones put the fullness of human knowledge and entertainment instantly in the palm of your hand.

At least one more factor helped to unleash this sudden surge of invention, progress, health and prosperity. A relatively new legal entity, the corporation, organized, harnessed and directed people, money and other resources toward common purposes. A growing private sector – free enterprises and entrepreneurs – put corporate and other ideas, labor and investors’ money on the line, assisted by evolving financial and investment systems and practices, while legal and government institutions provided the ethical and regulatory frameworks within which these entities are expected to operate.

Numerous "invisible hands" worked together across continents and oceans, often without even knowing their counterparts exist, to bring us products as simple as a pencil or as complex as a cell phone.

So we are left with a profound question. Amid all this health, prosperity and longevity for so many – why do so many still struggle on the edge of survival? Why do two billion still have minimal electricity and another 1.3 people still have none at all? Why do two billion still exist on $3 per day? Why do a half-million still die every year from malaria? five million more from respiratory and intestinal diseases?

The formula for health and prosperity is no secret. It is readily available on your cell phone. Indeed, says Leon Louw, the real "economic miracle" today is not found in South Korea, Singapore or Botswana – but in North Korea, Venezuela and most of Africa.

What should fascinate us is the miracle of poverty – the way inept, corrupt, greedy, centrally planned, hyper-regulated governments have prevented prosperity from happening. What should outrage us is that callous UN bodies, NGOs and activists have imposed their eco-imperialist agendas, and prevented countries from acquiring the property rights and technologies that made so many nations healthy and rich.

What should concern us is that many forces are conspiring to roll back the free enterprise, free speech, scientific method, and reliable, affordable energy that make modern living standards possible. Having them now does not guarantee them tomorrow. Failure to safeguard these essential foundations could take us on the path to joining the ranks of the "miracles of poverty" and FRCs: Formerly Rich Countries.

Via email


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

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


6 June, 2016

Warmists can't take a trick:  NOTHING happens the way they say it should

The lack of correlation between CO2 levels and global temperature is a standard comment from skeptics and it's just happened again

When I was looking just now at how recent were the NOAA figures from Mauna Loa, I found that they included April this year, which wasn't too bad, considering that it is public servants who put the figures up.  I can think of no good reason why the May figures are not yet up but I suppose not enough coffee and cake has so far been consumed for that to happen.

But back to the figures we have:  There was a LEAP in CO2 levels  this year.  Where December 2015 ended up on an average of 401.85 ppm, April averaged 407.42.  That's twice as big as most annual increases.

So, on Warmist theory, temperatures should have leaped too over that same period.  You know what I am going to say:  They in fact remained absolutely flat. GISS shows a January temperature anomaly of 1.11 degrees Celsius and April shows an anomaly of exactly the same!  You couldn't make it up!

And you have to laugh at how futile have been the the vast efforts to reduce CO2 levels.  They just go up and up regardless.  Maybe we should all stop breathing.  Warmists would like that.  They are, after all, anthropophobes.

New paper finds climate models are unable to reproduce early twentieth century Arctic warming

Yet another demonstration that Warmist models have no  predictive skill.  And isn't it odd that Warmists never mention that there was a big Arctic melting long before the supposed period of man-caused climate change?  So the current decrease in Arctic ice is no evidence of man-caused climate change either

Tropospheric circulation during the early twentieth century Arctic warming

Martin Wegmann et al.


The early twentieth century Arctic warming (ETCAW) between 1920 and 1940 is an exceptional feature of climate variability in the last century. Its warming rate was only recently matched by recent warming in the region. Unlike recent warming largely attributable to anthropogenic radiative forcing, atmospheric warming during the ETCAW was strongest in the mid-troposphere and is believed to be triggered by an exceptional case of natural climate variability. Nevertheless, ultimate mechanisms and causes for the ETCAW are still under discussion. Here we use state of the art multi-member global circulation models, reanalysis and reconstruction datasets to investigate the internal atmospheric dynamics of the ETCAW. We investigate the role of boreal winter mid-tropospheric heat transport and circulation in providing the energy for the large scale warming. Analyzing sensible heat flux components and regional differences, climate models are not able to reproduce the heat flux evolution found in reanalysis and reconstruction datasets. These datasets show an increase of stationary eddy heat flux and a decrease of transient eddy heat flux during the ETCAW. Moreover, tropospheric circulation analysis reveals the important role of both the Atlantic and the Pacific sectors in the convergence of southerly air masses into the Arctic during the warming event. Subsequently, it is suggested that the internal dynamics of the atmosphere played a major role in the formation in the ETCAW.

Climate Dynamics, pp 1-14.  First online: 03 June 2016

Another climate alarmist’s predictions don’t match real-world data

Warmist says that Lake Mead is drying up because of reduced streamflow into it caused by global warming.  Problem:  Streamflow has actually increased!  And the catchment area has not got any warmer, either!

Whenever there is a new record set, whether rain, hurricane, drought, etc., those in the climate change alarmist camp seem to be quick to point to global warming as the cause and make more dire predictions regarding the future — even when there are other documented reasons and even when hard data (not models) disputes the claim. Such is the case with Lake Mead. On May 20, the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced that the nation’s largest reservoir, located near Las Vegas, NV, reached an all-time low. The current level slipped below the previous record set in June 2015.

Despite reports of the mismanagement of the important water resource, USA Today responded to the news by proclaiming: "Due to a long drought and climate change, Lake Mead’s water levels continue to fall."

Brad Udall, a senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University, and brother to former Colorado Senator Mark Udall and cousin to New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, declared: "This problem is not going away and it is likely to get worse, perhaps far worse, as climate change unfolds." According to the Desert Sun, he added: "Unprecedented high temperatures in the basin are causing the flow of the river to decline."

Udall previously stated: "Climate change is water change. The two go hand in hand. Heat drives the water cycle. …You have to invoke temperatures to explain the current drought."

Back in 2010, the Smithsonian magazine, cites Udall when it says: "Climate change will likely decrease the river’s flow by 5 to 20 percent in the next 40 years. … Less precipitation in the Rocky Mountains will yield less water to begin with. Droughts will last longer. Higher overall air temperatures will mean more water lost to evaporation. Udall said: ‘You’re going to see earlier runoff and lower flows later in the year,’ so water will be more scarce during the growing season."

While Udall’s statements are dramatic and coincide with the climate crisis narrative his better-known family members espouse, they do not, according New Mexico hydrologist Mike Wallace, reflect actual temperature and stream flow records in the Colorado River Basin. (I highlighted Wallace’s work on ocean acidification in December 2014.)

Both Wallace and Udall claim to be experts in the hydrology and climatology of the western U.S. Wallace has more than 30 years of experience in the field. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in nanosciences at the University of New Mexico. Under his advisor solar physicist Harjit Ahluwalia, Wallace researches solar connections to the earth’s climate with an emphasis on hydrology—the topic of his dissertation. Udall’s undergraduate degree is in engineering and he holds an MBA from Colorado State University.

However, Wallace told me: "I’m the only hydrologist who is publishing moisture and temperature forecasts in reaches of the Upper Colorado River, years in advance, with consistently high accuracy."

Regarding Udall’s comments in the Smithsonian, Wallace, who looks at streamflow records going back to the early twentieth century, finds that streamflows have actually been going up in recent years — correlating to ocean and solar drivers.

Wallace, who counts the city of Santa Fe as one of his forecasting business clients, pioneered the discovery that moisture patterns in his area of study—which overlaps Udall’s—are deeply anchored to ocean indexes and sunspot numbers. He boldly asserts: "There is no correlation of CO2 emissions history to the moisture time series that I have evaluated. Also, for the same stations that I review there is little or no correlation of temperature to streamflow. Rather, ocean drivers can account for changes in temperature and moisture in this region, and those drivers appear to be driven themselves by solar cycles."

While Udall believes temperatures are rising and causing reduced streamflow into Lake Mead, Wallace disputes the premise. Wallace says he has three years of successful forecast exercises to back up his claim that, in his study areas, "temperatures are hardly trending in any direction and, in any case, those temperatures are not correlating to streamflow."

Wallace’s work focuses on streams charged by high mountains—above 9000 feet. His study regions include many of the tributaries of the Colorado River such as the San Juan River and the Green River—both of which are sourced in the Rocky Mountains. He says: "There haven’t been any unusually low streamflow rates or unusually high temperatures in my area of focus. In fact, flows are going up, not down, compared to two and three years ago and some temperatures are actually trending down over the same recent time frame."

Using his proprietary method (patent pending) with more than 200 accurate forecasts, and applying to areas near the nexus of the Upper Rio Grande and the Upper Colorado Rivers, Wallace is projecting 3-4 years of generally increased water flows, followed by 3-4 years of generally decreasing moisture (drought). He posits that his innovations help municipalities, flood control authorities, irrigation districts, and resource management agencies better plan for future moisture and temperature conditions.

An example of real science at work without political interference, Wallace explains: "Research suggests that as the Sun’s radiant energy increases and decreases in sync with its sunspot cycles, the planet’s hydrosphere (all of the water) responds accordingly.  Others have suggested this, but I’ve taken that several steps further. First, I’ve discovered reproducible, high correlations between sun spot numbers and a few key features of Earth’s climate.  Second, I’ve developed a series of unique calculations, which additionally consider global hydroclimatological patterns, the site location and elevation, and latency effects, to produce my forecasts. A majority of those forecast exercises have turned out to be far more accurate than any competing method, including any or all of the global circulation models (GCMs) endorsed by the UN IPCC — which I believe is what Mr. Udall must be using for his assertions."

Wallace has written and presented several papers on his discoveries. But he continues to experience resistance from major peer-reviewed journals to publish any of his findings. The troubles likely lie in his demonstrations that emissions are uncorrelated to climate in his study regions. In any case, scientific papers are often considered as precursors to actual applications, and Wallace already has a working, proven application. Even without peer journal-publication panache, Wallace is receiving steady and growing recognition from the hydroclimate community. In April, he was an invited presenter to the 30th Annual Rio Grande Basin Snowmelt Runoff Forecast Meeting, sponsored by the USDA SNOTEL network and attended by top regional hydroclimate scientists from agencies including the National Weather Service (NWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

If Wallace is correct, and he has a successful climate forecast record to back up his projections, Udall can’t also be right. Wallace believes most of Udall’s climate assertions, such as the claim that regional temperatures explain everything about the drought, are too simplistic.  He also expresses concern regarding Udall’s use of the term "drought."   "To accept those Lake Mead statements as factual," Wallace said, "anything short of an epic flooding event, must be an epic drought event."

After all is said and done, the natural processes that Wallace has distilled down to a working forecast system, don’t, in any way, appear to fit the crisis narrative that the Udall and many climate "authorities" perpetuate. You should ask if we really need more funding, bigger departments, and greater public anxiety to fix something that, at least, in the western U.S., appears to wholly be explained by natural cycles.


Fraudulent hurricane scare

Speaking on hurricane preparedness at the FEMA National Response Coordination Center on Tuesday, Barack Obama said, "All of us have seen the heartbreak, the damage and, in some case, the loss of life that hurricanes can cause." Indeed we have. But then he asserted a dubious claim: "And as climate continues to change, hurricanes are only going to become more powerful and more devastating."

How then does he explain this? It’s now been a staggering "127 months since a major hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States," CNS News calculates. "The last major hurricane (defined as a Category 3 or above) to hit the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Wilma … on Oct. 24, 2005."

But Obama’s sheer ignorance goes well beyond 21st century history. As meteorologist Joe Bastardi has chronicled, the mundane hurricane seasons of late are even more amazing when compared to the 1940s and 1950s. Then, according to Bastardi, the U.S. saw "22 major hits in 20 years."

Yet Obama strangely remarked, "What we’re always worried about are the things we don’t know, things we can’t anticipate, things that we haven’t seen before." Perhaps if he wasn’t wearing ideologically blinders he would know that virtually nothing the world experiences today is unprecedented. Sadly, when hurricane seasons eventually do ramp back up, you can bet America’s shorelines that it will only add spin to warmists' rhetorical whirlwind.


Why aren’t we using DDT to combat Zika-bearing mosquitoes?

The Zika virus is not a foreign problem anymore. U.S. territories are being exposed, U.S. citizens are being exposed and people around the world are traveling with the disease.

Currently, Congress is contemplating certain actions being taken, but new research and development is not needed because the answer has been around since the 1950s, but environmentalists don’t want to admit it. It is dichlorodiphenyltrichlororethane, or DDT.

As of May 2016 only 4 states do not have reported cases of the Zika virus, a virus which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims is spread by infected mosquitoes and causes a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as severe fetal brain defects. The center notes that that "on February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas."

We could be on the verge of an epidemic or worse which has already infected nearly 600 mainland Americans and over 900 Americans on US territories, but the most efficient way to stop the spread, DDT, has already been banned.

In 1972, Congress enacted the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, a far-reaching amendment that gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) vast discretion to ban certain pesticides. The executive ban by the EPA on DDT from use completely was instituted that very year because the gas, primarily sprayed over livestock as a pesticide, was found to cause defects in the developments of animals exposed to the spray.

However, today DDT could be used differently in order to stop the spread of this deadly disease, if the EPA was only willingly to prioritize human life.

In a Jan 2016 National Review article aptly titled "Will the EPA Cause a Zika Pandemic?" author Robert Zubrin explains "a cure for Zika is not known, and it could take decades to find one. Zika is spread by mosquitoes, which can be exterminated by pesticides. The most effective pesticide is DDT."

The science backs up this method as well, while DDT spread over our food supply risked harmful effects, evidence suggests using it in small quantities in homes and mosquito prone areas can both discontinue the spread of the disease while mitigating environmental damage.

The New York Times of Jan 2016 cites Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the CDC, who explains "the concern about DDT gas [has] to be reconsidered in the public health context. The damage to fish and wildlife stemmed from the widespread outdoor use of DDT in agriculture, not the use of small amounts on walls inside homes to kill mosquitoes."

By enforcing an absolute ban, the EPA prioritized the protection of few animals rather than hundreds of thousands of people. The global ban on DDT, even more so.

Researchers admit use of the pesticide can be done carefully and controlled, but environmentalists maintain that the negative effects of DDT on the environment and possible effects on humans make it an unrealistic option, and instead propose genetically modifying mosquitoes to never make it past the initial stages of birth. However, this would require both eliminating an entire species of mosquitoes, rather than just the diseased ones, and does nothing to eliminate the already infected mosquitoes.

This was true when DDT was proposed to end malaria as well, it was proved DDT worked as a repellant to over 80 percent of mosquitoes entering homes, but the EPA blocked its use then too. While the EPA plays with politics and perception, they are allowing humans to die, wasting time proposing new research ideas, while people in nearly every Latin American country are being infected at rapid rates.

In the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, the CDC predicts a quarter of the island’s 3.5 million people will get Zika within a year, and eventually 80 percent or more may be infected. As a Puerto Rican American this is not just terrifying, it is heart wrenching to know that a solution exists but is neglecting to be explored because of "environmental concerns".

During a Public Health Emergency of International Concern is not the time to be focusing on birds. Malaria as a plague still infects and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, according to the World Health Organization. Why don’t we just kill the mosquitoes?

It is convenient for faceless bureaucrats to prioritize the environment when the issue is in a foreign country, effecting a foreign population. But members of Congress must realize the Zika virus is here and affecting us now — and the solution is to overturn the EPA’s executive ban on DDT. The message is simple, DDT is a solution to save millions of lives, and ignoring it, ignores human life.


The EPA’s Green Parachutes: $25,000 Buyout Bonuses for Agents Retiring Early

The Environmental Protection Agency has been sending employees off into early retirement with buyout bonuses of up to $25,000. The practice is often used as a cost-saving measure, but because of the way the agency replaced the retirees, the bonuses may actually put a larger financial burden on taxpayers.

Pointing to a 2015 report by the EPA inspector general, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., charges that the agency may have inappropriately spent $1.4 million to pay about 60 employees for early retirement.

The agency paid nearly $12 million in buyout bonuses to encourage roughly 500 employees to retire that year, according to the EPA inspector general. But rather than modify or eliminate the jobs as required to cut costs, the agency simply refilled 12 percent of the positions.

But an EPA spokesman, Dan Abrams, told The Daily Signal that the "issue was quickly resolved," the same month that the inspector general raised the issue. And he said that the buyouts "comported with the business cases, including budget neutrality, approved by the Office of Personnel Management."

Paul’s office argues that even though the hires were budget neutral, their jobs only became available after the EPA paid old employees to leave.

Buyouts are not unusual in the public or private sector; they provide employers an alternative to layoffs. The measure allows the employer to clear the payroll of more senior and expensive employees by giving workers an incentive to retire early.

Known as Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, according to the Office of Personnel Management, the buyouts are meant as a way to increase "voluntary attrition in agencies that are downsizing or restructuring." But the Office of Personnel Management requires an executive agency to modify or eliminate the vacated position after the bonus is paid.

During an inspector general investigation, EPA officials said they were aware of the requirement. However, they disregarded the rule to keep "continuity" in one case and ignored it while under "time constraints" in another instance.

A rounding error on many federal balance sheets, the $1.4 million employee payout is indicative of an agency Paul’s office describes in a statement as "notorious for its job security."

"Only 15 employees or one-tenth of 1 percent were terminated for performance; that is slightly more than the 13 EPA employees who died last year," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.


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

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


5 June, 2016

The Arctic is now greener than it was in 1984

This was entirely predictable from the higher levels of CO2 now in the atmosphere.  We have seen the same in the Sahel, a near-equatorial desert region.  The whole world is benefiting from the fertilizing effects of more CO2 in the atmosphere.  Its negative effects are just an unsupported theory. 

Note that a whopping 30 per cent cut in man-made CO2 emissions during the Great Depression didn't even cause a 1 ppm drop in the atmosphere's CO2. You will see here that there was in fact a steady rise in atmospheric CO2 during that period --from 1930 to 1940. Thus it is impossible to assert that the increase in atmospheric CO2 stems from human burning of fossil fuels.

High CO2 is a GOOD thing.   The positive effects are visible and the negative effects cannot be found

What was once Arctic tundra in the cold plains of North America is now blooming, new Nasa images have revealed.

Researchers analysed 87,000 images taken between 1984 and 2012 by Landsat satellites in the most detailed look yet at plant life across Alaska and Canada.

It found the northern reaches of North America are getting greener, and almost a third of the land cover – much of it Arctic tundra – is looking more like landscapes found in warmer ecosystems. 

The images is created from an analysis of 87,000 images taken between 1984 and 2012 by Landsat satellites.

It shows the greening trend of the region, with areas that have become green shown in green, and the diminishing brown tunda in brown.

Scientists have observed grassy tundras changing to scrublands, and shrub growing bigger and denser

The new Landsat study further supports previous work that has shown changing vegetation in Arctic and boreal North America.

Landsat is a joint NASA/U.S. Geological Survey program that provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth's land vegetation in existence.

'It shows the climate impact on vegetation in the high latitudes,' said Jeffrey Masek, a researcher who worked on the study and the Landsat 9 project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Temperatures are warming faster in the Arctic than elsewhere, which has led to longer seasons for plants to grow in and changes to the soils.

Scientists have observed grassy tundras changing to shrublands, and shrubs growing bigger and denser – changes that could have impacts on regional water, energy and carbon cycles.

With Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 data, Masek and his colleague Junchang Ju, a remote sensing scientist at Goddard, found that there was extensive greening in the tundra of western Alaska, the northern coast of Canada, and the tundra of Quebec and Labrador.

While northern forests greened in Canada, they tended to decline in Alaska.

Overall, the scientists found that 29.4 percent of the region greened up, especially in shrublands and sparsely vegetated areas, while 2.9 percent showed vegetation decline.

'The greening trend was unmistakable,' the researchers wrote in an April 2016 paper in Remote Sensing of Environment.

Previous surveys of the vegetation had taken a big-picture view of the region using coarse-resolution satellite sensors.

To get a more detailed picture of the 4.1 million square-mile area, scientists used the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites.

Landsat, like other satellite missions, can use the amount of visible and near-infrared light reflected by the green, leafy vegetation of grasses, shrubs and trees to characterize the vegetation.

Then, with computer programs that track each individual pixel of data over time, researchers can see if an area is greening – if more vegetation is growing, or if individual plants are getting larger and leafier.

If, however, the vegetation becomes sparser, the scientists would classify that area as browning.

Researchers have used similar techniques to study Arctic and northern vegetation with other satellite instruments, such as the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR).

But Landsat can see smaller differences across a landscape – it takes one measurement for each 30-by-30 meter (98-by-98 foot) parcel of land, which is about the size of a baseball diamond. AVHRR collected one measurement for each 4-by-4 kilometer (2.5-by-2.5 mile) area.

'We can see more detail with Landsat, and we can see the trend more reliably,' Ju said.

With finer-resolution and better calibrated data from Landsat, the researchers were able to mask out areas that burned, or are covered in water, to focus on vegetation changes.

The more detailed look – now available to other researchers as well – will also let scientists see if a correlation exists between habitat characteristics and greening or browning trends.

'The resolution with Landsat is drastically improved, it lets you look at the local effects of things like topography, such as in areas where you might have small woodlands or open areas,' Masek said.

'You can do detailed studies of how climate impacts vary with geography.'

Adding the Landsat study to previous studies using the AVHRR sensor also adds to the certainty of what's going on, Masek said.

While the two tools to measure the northern vegetation did produce different results in some places, overall the trend was the similar – more plants, or bigger plants, in the Arctic reaches of North America.

With the higher resolution Landsat data, the researchers also found a lot of differences within areas – one pixel would be brown, and its neighbors green, noted Ju.

'It's very localized,' he said.

'The vegetation is responding to the microclimates. That's the benefit of using Landsat data, is that we can reveal this spatial variation over very short distances.'

With the large map complete, researchers will focus on these short distances – looking at the smaller scale to see what might control the greening patterns, whether it's local topography, nearby water sources, or particular types of habitat.

They also plan to investigate forested areas, particularly in the greening Quebec.

'One of the big questions is, 'Will forest biomes migrate with warming climate?' There hasn't been much evidence of it to date,' Masek said.   'But we can zoom in and see if it's changing.'


California Senate sidelines bill to prosecute climate change skeptics

A landmark bill allowing for the prosecution of climate change dissent effectively died Thursday after the California Senate failed to take it up before the deadline.

Senate Bill 1161, or the California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016, would have authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have "deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change."

The measure, which cleared two Senate committees, provided a four-year window in the statute of limitations on violations of the state’s Unfair Competition Law, allowing legal action to be brought until Jan. 1 on charges of climate change "fraud" extending back indefinitely.

"This bill explicitly authorizes district attorneys and the Attorney General to pursue UCL claims alleging that a business or organization has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change," said the state Senate Rules Committee’s floor analysis of the bill.

Leading the fight against the measure was the Civil Justice Association of California, joined by pro-business groups such as the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Business Roundtable.

Justice association President Kim Stone said she was pleased that the state Senate "realized this bill was extreme."

"Our concern about the bill is that by eliminating the statute of limitations and reviving claims from forever in the past, it’s fundamentally unfair," said Ms. Stone.

The statute of limitations under the Unfair Competition Law is now four years. As originally introduced, the bill would have allowed climate "fraud" lawsuits extending back 30 years, but later was amended to provide no time limit, she said.

"This bill would be as if the IRS now said that we could audit you for the first year you filed your taxes, or your parents’ taxes, or even for your grandparents’ taxes. Would you have the documentation required to defend yourself if you were accused of having done something wrong?" Ms. Stone said. "No, nobody would have saved their papers because everyone knows the IRS has three years to audit you."

The measure was introduced amid a national push by Democrats and activist groups to use the legal system to prosecute climate change "fraud," prompting a backlash from skeptics who have denounced the campaign as an assault on free speech.

A coalition of 17 state attorneys general, including California Attorney General Kamala Harris, have joined forces to pursue climate change skeptics. At least four prosecutors reportedly have launched investigations into Exxon Mobil for climate change "fraud."

Introduced by state Sen. Ben Allen, Santa Monica Democrat, S.B. 1161 had strong support from environmental groups, led by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The group, which had no immediate comment on the bill’s failure, had argued that the measure was needed to challenge efforts to "confuse consumers and fend off competition from lower-carbon energy sources."

"To be clear, S.B. 1161 does not presume that any fossil fuel company has violated the law. But should the evidence support legal action, S.B. 1161 will give public prosecutors a more powerful tool to pursue it," Jason Barbose, Western states policy manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a May 16 post.

"It would be an unfortunate contortion of our justice system for a fossil fuel company to escape prosecution for unlawful acts simply because it successfully hid the evidence from public view. S.B. 1161 protects the public from such a risk," he said.


Gov’t Pays $8.8M ‘To Spur Biofuel Production’

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is paying $8,833,211 of taxpayer funds to boost the production of biofuels and sustain jobs at renewable energy facilities.

"Advanced biofuels expand America's energy options and increase our sources of homegrown, renewable energy," Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a USDA press release. "These payments not only help to spur biofuel production, but also protect the environment and help create jobs by building a renewable energy economy in rural areas."

The USDA claims that under the Obama administration $332 million has been spent for renewable energy research and cost/benefit estimates of renewable energy production.

"Investments in renewable energy and the biobased economy are a leading part of USDA's commitment to mitigating climate change and promoting a clean-energy economy," the press release says.


Mark Levin: The EPA Is Destroying the Middle Class

On Tuesday, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying it is destroying the American economy and the middle class.

"The EPA is destroying ‘the middle class,’" said Levin. "It’s destroying working people in this country; it’s destroying coal miners; it’s destroying oil jobs; it’s destroying trucking jobs. The EPA is destroying our smokestack industries. The EPA is doing more damage to our economy and hardworking men and women in this country than any country in the world! "

Below is a transcript of what Mark Levin said on his show:

"The Environmental Protection Agency chased Carrier out of this country -- or will. How do we know this? Carrier said so.

"So, why are none of these mouthpieces talking about the EPA? Why are none of these frauds talking about the EPA?

"The EPA is destroying ‘the middle class;’ it’s destroying working people in this country; it’s destroying coal miners; it’s destroying oil jobs; it’s destroying trucking jobs. The EPA is destroying our smokestack industries. The EPA is doing more damage to our economy and hardworking men and women in this country than any country in the world!

"And yet they won’t talk about it. You know why? Because it doesn’t rile people up as much. And you know why else? Because it’s harder to deal with.

"The environmental movement is a communist movement in many respects. It’s a red movement. It’s secreted itself into the Environmental Protection Agency.

"How do I know? Why, did I read it in a fortune cookie? No! Because they tell us. If you’ve read Plunder and Deceit you understand. It’s a movement that’s been imported from Europe. That’s what ought to be taxed -- stupid ideas from Europe.

"And so, we have this de-growth, no-growth movement, this anti-capitalist movement, this anti-American lifestyle movement, from their own mouths, from their own declarations and proclamations, from their own meeting notes, trying to destroy us from within.

"It has nothing to do with trade. Nothing. It has everything to do with what’s going on within our country, to ourselves."


Banning GM Salmon Is a Terrible Idea

The breed is already threatened – by politicians

The FDA has finally verified the safety and environmental sustainability of AquaBounty Technologies Inc.’s genetically modified (GM) salmon, after a wait of nearly 20 years. This means that the company’s product, called AquAdvantage Salmon, could soon be available to consumers.

Even after the drawn-out FDA review process, many people remain opposed to what they term "Frankenfish" and are demanding legislative action to ban GM animal products or mandate labeling. These misguided efforts stand in the way of benefits to both consumers and the environment.

The enhanced variety of salmon can grow to the same market size as their wild counterparts twice as fast and with 75 percent less feed. This efficiency, driven by a growth gene that remains turned on, could lower AquaBounty’s carbon footprint 25 times over and result in lower costs for consumers.

Companies such as Kroger, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, anticipating the unfounded fears of consumers, have already responded to the hysteria surrounding AquAdvantage Salmon by stating that they will not carry the product. Additionally, several policymakers in both state and federal government have considered mandated labeling.

If consumers want to avoid eating GM food, they can choose brands that proudly label themselves as GMO free, which are often more expensive. Some value wild-caught salmon and are willing to pay more for it. However, others may not be able to afford wild-caught salmon (or grass-fed beef or organic apples), and equally safe, more affordable options should be available to them.

If GM products are better or equal in quality to traditional options, some argue that companies should not object to mandatory GM labels. However, most Americans are not scientists — through no fault of their own — and do not fully understand the science behind genetically modified food. A recent ABC poll revealed that a slight majority of Americans believe genetically modified organisms are unsafe, despite near-unanimous scientific consensus to the contrary. Government should not require the labeling of products that have not been shown to endanger consumers.

Hundreds of junk-science websites, many of which also wage campaigns against vaccination, have manufactured fears over GM food and created a stigma against agricultural innovation. Dr. Cindy Tian, a professor at the University of Connecticut’s Animal Science Department, has emphasized labeling will undoubtedly mislead the general public into avoiding GM food over groundless food safety concerns.

In Alaska, State Senators Gary Stevens and Kim Elton have won support for a labeling bill with the expressed purpose of stigmatizing non-Alaskan fish. Since over 90 percent of the wild salmon caught in the United States comes from Alaska, it is not surprising that the state will do all it can to limit competition.

Stevens even remarked that "The message that Alaska seafood is more natural than seafood that has been engineered in a lab is a highly important marketing tool." Rather than stifling innovation, Alaskan salmon fisherman and their representatives should welcome a product that could make salmon more accessible to consumers.

By lowering costs and increasing competition, GM salmon will make fish a more attractive option relative to beef and pork. This offers the potential to lower heart disease and colon cancer rates, while reducing the extensive environmental costs of meat production.

Many people across the globe enjoy eating salmon for its taste and health benefits. If GM salmon raised on land can help to minimize the problem of overfishing, this should be embraced by those concerned about restoring robust natural salmon populations, especially where they are an endangered species in parts of the North Atlantic.

Some critics are worried that GM salmon could escape fisheries and disrupt natural ecosystems. To alleviate this concern over wild inter-breeding, AquaBounty has provided additional levels of security. Their all-female stock is contained in land-based enclosures and born sterile. New eggs are created by AquaBounty Technologies, rather than through reproduction.

Even if a salmon were to escape, the AquAdvantage Salmon would not be able to outcompete wild salmon because they are physically incapable of procreating. Evidence also shows that even if they were to escape and somehow breed, GM salmon would likely have no negative effect on native salmon populations.

Barring any regulatory or legislative setbacks, GM salmon will be available at restaurants and grocers in about two years. At that time, AquAdvantage Salmon will only make up less than one tenth of one percent of the total amount of salmon Americans consume annually. With such a small initial effect on the market, why are some groups lobbying against AquAdvantage Salmon so heavily? The answer is that if GM salmon proves to be a success, other innovative GM animal products will likely enter the market, providing affordable, superior alternatives to existing options.

The delay over government approval of GM salmon has undoubtedly led to a chilling effect on the development of other GM animals. Future advances that have the potential to create positive — even lifesaving — effects should not have to face the same level of prolonged scrutiny that GM salmon experienced. Whether the next GM animals are malaria-resistant mosquitoes, pigs with lower phosphorus levels in their waste, or chickens that cannot transmit bird flu, the potential positive effects are countless.

Based on the clear scientific evidence, extensive safety precautions, and notable positive effects on consumers and the environment, allowing GM salmon sales is a clear decision. One can only hope that future agricultural innovations are able to reach consumers much faster than GM salmon.


Great Barrier Reef: scientists ‘exaggerated’ coral bleaching

Activist scientists and lobby groups have distorted surveys, maps and data to misrepresent the extent and impact of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, ­according to the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt.

A full survey of the reef ­released yesterday by the author­ity and the Australian Institute of Marine ­Science said 75 per cent of the reef would escape unscathed.

Dr Reichelt said the vast bulk of bleaching damage was confined to the far northern section off Cape York, which had the best prospect of recovery due to the lack of ­onshore development and high water quality. [i.e. There are virtually NO farms along that part of the coast  -- which gives the lie to the constant  Greenie claim that farm runoff is what is damaging the reef]

Activist groups last week seized on reports that a UN ­assessment of the impacts of climate change on iconic Australian World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Tasmanian Wilderness was censored by Australia. It later emerged that the report the government was accused of censoring was complimentary of the Turnbull government’s actions to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The political debate and the ­release of the authority’s survey results highlights a growing conflict between the lead Barrier Reef agency and the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce headed by Terry Hughes.

Dr Reichelt said the authority had withdrawn from a joint ­announcement on coral bleaching with Professor Hughes this week "because we didn’t think it told the whole story". The taskforce said mass bleaching had killed 35 per cent of corals on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Reichelt said maps accompanying the research had been misleading, exaggerating the ­impact. "I don’t know whether it was a deliberate sleight of hand or lack of geographic knowledge but it certainly suits the purpose of the people who sent it out," he said.

"This is a frightening enough story with the facts, you don’t need to dress them up. We don’t want to be seen as saying there is no ­problem out there but we do want people to understand there is a lot of the reef that is unscathed."

Dr Reichelt said there had been widespread misinterpretation of how much of the reef had died. "We’ve seen headlines stating that 93 per cent of the reef is prac­tic­ally dead," he said. "We’ve also seen reports that 35 per cent, or even 50 per cent, of the entire reef is now gone.

"However, based on our ­combined results so far, the overall mortality rate is 22 per cent — and about 85 per cent of that die-off has occurred in the far north ­between the tip of Cape York and just north of Lizard Island, 250km north of Cairns. Seventy-five per cent of the reef will come out in a few months time as recovered."

Former climate change commissioner Tim Flannery described diving on the Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas recently as "one of the saddest days of my life".

"This great organism, the size of Germany and arguably the most diverse place on earth, is dying ­before our eyes,’’ Dr Flannery wrote for Fairfax Media. "Having watched my father dying two years ago, I know what the signs of slipping away are. This is death, which ever-rising temperatures will allow no recovery from. Unless we act now."

Dr Reichelt said Dr Flannery’s language had been "dramatic" and "theatrical" and his prognosis, ­although of concern, was "specul­ative". Dr Reichelt also rejected ­reports, based on leaked draft docu­ments, that improving water quality would cost $16 billion.

He said the interim report had been rejected by a board of which he was member and "taken totally out of context" in media reports.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the leaked information demonstrated the legacy of years of poor farming practices and government inaction, and highlighted the scale of ambition needed for political leaders to protect the reef.

The society’s reef campaign ­director, Imogen Zethoven, said Australia’s plans to protect the reef’s water quality were "shockingly underfunded".

Meanwhile, tourism operators have stepped up a campaign to fight back against the onslaught of negative publicity. "It seems some marine scientists have decided to use the bleaching event to highlight their personal political beliefs and lobby for increased funding in an election year," said Association of Marine Park Tour Operators executive director Col McKenzie.


Some Corroboration from the Cairns Post: (Cairns is the port through which the reef is most often accessed)

The Cairns-based Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) has also released findings from 133 underwater survey dives carried out between Port Douglas and Cairns by a combined taskforce last week.

It showed key reef tourism sites escaped mass bleaching with only 13.7 per cent showing signs of coral mortality.

The findings seemingly contradict an estimate by the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies earlier this week that mass bleaching killed 35 per cent of corals on the northern and central part of the Reef.

AMPTO [tour operators -- who see the reef daily] executive director Col McKenzie said this claim was "utter rubbish."

"It seems that some marine scientists have decided to use the bleaching event for their personal political beliefs and lobby for increased funding in an election year,’’ he said.


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

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3 June, 2016

The El Nino boost is over

A sharp temperature decline recently

Study Shows Those Who Claimed ‘Climate Debate Over’ Were Wrong

Last summer, the editor of Science wrote a commentary on climate change where she said, "The time for debate has ended."

After appealing to policies based on economic knowledge she doesn’t have, she finished with speculation as to which ring of Dante’s Inferno would God designate for climate skeptics.

All in all, it was an awesomely unscientific tour de farce and totally depressing in that it came from one of the world’s two most prestigious science journals.

Of course the time for debate hasn’t ended—especially for the meaningful debate concerning how much impact carbon dioxide has on global warming.

The relationship under debate is how much warming will the world see from a doubling of carbon dioxide—which is called the equilibrium climate sensitivity.

Members of the climate-science community have placed markers on this debate that range from negligible to catastrophic. Given the editor’s bias, it is not surprising that Science does not publish many articles arguing for "negligible."

So, it was a bit of a shock to find a story in the most recent issue that at least argued for "a lot less."

The direct temperature effect of doubling carbon dioxide is generally estimated to be about one degree Celsius. However, that estimate assumes all other climate-impacting factors are held constant (which is unlikely to be the case).

There are a variety of feedback loops in the climate system that may amplify or moderate this increase.

One of the most critical feedback loops involves cloud formation. That is, what will the warming from additional carbon dioxide do to cloud formation?

Some types of clouds moderate warming, while other types amplify it. In addition, cloud formation may be impacted by other human activities.

This "other" category was the topic of the article in Science. Under study was the question of how much might human-caused air pollution stimulate temperature-moderating cloud formation?

One of the many puzzles that come from comparing climate model predictions to actual data is the decades of flat or declining world temperatures from about 1950 to the 1970s.

The lack of warming during the period contrasted significantly with rapidly increasing emissions of carbon dioxide.

High carbon dioxide emissions and little temperature increase argued for a lower equilibrium climate sensitivity than the modelers used.

However, the increased carbon dioxide emissions also came with increased particulate emissions. If these particulate emissions led to Earth-cooling clouds, then the equilibrium climate sensitivity might still be high.

So, instead of lowering the equilibrium climate sensitivity, the modelers input arbitrary amounts of sulfate-induced cloud formation to "fix" the models. In essence, the modelers argued that much of the warming was temporarily delayed by the increased cloudiness.

Since this delay couldn’t last indefinitely, the warming would come back with a vengeance and the higher estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity would be vindicated.

Now, the new Science article is saying "not so fast." It seems the pre-industrial skies were probably not so cloud-free as had been assumed. That means man hasn’t clouded up the sky as much as thought and, therefore, modelers can’t explain away the lack of warming so easily.

As a consequence, the older estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity are biased to the high side.

One of the authors said, "the current best estimates of future temperature rises are still feasible, but ‘the highest values become improbable.’" Though some have already tried to downplay the significance of the research—it is a big deal.

Eliminating those highest values of the equilibrium climate sensitivity dramatically reduces the expected damage from future warming.

All of the hype surrounding global warming masks the story that those advocating costly climate policies were actually telling—a story of a small chance of huge climate costs. If future warming is limited to the "most likely" values, it might get a little warmer, but there would be no catastrophic scenarios to lay out and, thus, no case to be made for blank-check climate policies.

There would be no imminent existential crisis, no hysteria, and no reason to demonize those who argue against incurring huge expenses for no benefit.

It would be OK to drive your car. It would be OK to burn coal in modern coal plants that already cut SOx, NOx, mercury, and particulate emissions by 86 percent to 99.8 percent. There would be no imperative for carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, or the Clean Power Plan and the trillions of dollars of lost income they would cause.

You could use whatever lightbulb you wanted. Your dishwasher wouldn’t have to run interminably. Creative minds could be devoted to making life better, not making it harder.

Ruling out the highest values for the equilibrium climate sensitivity is a big deal, and this is not the only study to do so. Many other recent studies lead to lower estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity and also find the highest numbers improbable.

So, despite the command from Science’s editor, debate continues and things are looking better.


Strange certainty about uncertainties

Megan McArdle

Ask a Washington dinner party full of moderately well informed people what will happen with Iran over the next five years, and you’ll end up with a consensus that gee, that’s tough. Ask them what GDP growth will be in fall 2019, and they’ll probably converge on a hesitant "2 or 3 percent, I guess?" On the other hand, ask them what’s going to happen to the climate over the next 100 years, and what you’re likely to hear is angry.

How can one be certain about outcomes in a complex system that we’re not really all that good at modeling? Anyone who’s familiar with the history of macroeconomic modeling in the 1960s and 1970s will be tempted to answer "Umm, we can’t." Economists thought that the explosion of data and increasingly sophisticated theory was going to allow them to produce reasonably precise forecasts of what would happen in the economy. Enormous mental effort and not a few careers were invested in building out these models. And then the whole effort was basically abandoned, because the models failed to outperform mindless trend extrapolation -- or as Kevin Hassett once put it, "a ruler and a pencil."

Computers are better now, but the problem was not really the computers; it was that the variables were too many, and the underlying processes not understood nearly as well as economists had hoped. Economists can't run experiments in which they change one variable at a time. Indeed, they don't even know what all the variables are.

This meant that they were stuck guessing from observational data of a system that was constantly changing. They could make some pretty good guesses from that data, but when you built a model based on those guesses, it didn’t work. So economists tweaked the models, and they still didn’t work. More tweaking, more not working.

Eventually it became clear that there was no way to make them work given the current state of knowledge. In some sense the "data" being modeled was not pure economic data, but rather the opinions of the tweaking economists about what was going to happen in the future. It was more efficient just to ask them what they thought was going to happen. People still use models, of course, but only the unflappable true believers place great weight on their predictive ability.

This lesson from economics is essentially what the "lukewarmists" bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects. Because climate scientists, like the macroeconomists, can’t run experiments where they test one variable at a time, predictions of feedback effects involve a lot of theory and guesswork. I do not denigrate theory and guesswork; they are a vital part of advancing the sum of human knowledge. But when you’re relying on theory and guesswork, you always want to leave plenty of room for the possibility that your model's output is (how shall I put this?) … wrong.

Naturally, proponents of climate-change models have welcomed the lukewarmists' constructive input by carefully considering their points and by advancing counterarguments firmly couched in the scientific method.

No, of course I’m just kidding. The reaction to these mild assertions is often to brand the lukewarmists "deniers" and treat them as if what they were saying was morally and logically equivalent to suggesting that the Holocaust never happened.

Climate Change

If you’re not familiar with the lukewarmist case, I urge you to read the nine-part series  by Warren Meyer has written at Coyote Blog. I am not urging you to read it because I agree with every part. (In particular, I’m much more eager to ensure against even a small chance of climate catastrophe, just as I would support even a very expensive system to detect and deflect massive asteroids that might hit our planet. We’ve only got the one planet so far, and it would be a shame if something happened to it.)

But I urge you to read it because it is a calm, measured, very thoughtful laying out of the lukewarmist case by a very smart person who has put a lot of time and effort into thinking about the subject -- much more time and effort than 99 percent of the angry people on both sides who shout over dinner tables and type in all caps.

The series is also a model of how to talk about the subject. Meyer says "this is what I think, and this is why I think it." People can certainly disagree with his conclusions, and I would be very interested to see climate bloggers engage with Meyer's series in like manner: refraining from calling names or questioning motives, and instead calmly laying out the reasons that they think warming is likely to be catastrophic.

But vanishingly little of the debate is conducted in those sorts of terms. Skeptics are accused of being ideologues, or in the pay of the fossil fuel industry, or simply selfish monsters who care nothing for future generations. The other side -- who expect big temperature jumps and catastrophic consequences -- are accused of being ideologues, or interested in making an alarmist case in order to further their own careers as climate change activists, or authoritarian monsters who are less interested in saving the planet than in forcing their own left-wing economic order on the rest of the world.

Many of these claims about motives are probably not entirely false -- it’s difficult to change your mind when you’ve built a career around a certain set of theories -- but they’re certainly not entirely true, and they’re largely beside the point. If Joseph Stalin tells you that the sky is blue, he’s right, even if he’s wrong about nearly everything else, and an authoritarian monster to boot.

The arguments about global warming too often sound more like theology than science. Oh, the word "science" gets thrown around a great deal, but it's cited as a sacred authority, not a fallible process that staggers only awkwardly and unevenly toward the truth, with frequent lurches in the wrong direction. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me that they believe in "the science," as if that were the name of some omniscient god who had delivered us final answers written in stone. For those people, there can be only two categories in the debate: believers and unbelievers. Apostles and heretics.

This is, of course, not how science works, and people who treat it this way are not showing their scientific bona fides; they are violating the very thing in which they profess such deep belief.  One does not believe in "science" as an answer; science is a way of asking questions. At any given time, that method produces a lot of ideas, some of which are correct, and many of which are false, in part or in whole. 

There is a huge range of possible beliefs that go into assessing the various complicated theories about how the climate works, and the global-warming predictions generated by those theories range from "could well be catastrophic" to "probably not a big deal." I know very smart, well-informed, decent people who fall at either end of the spectrum, and others who are somewhere in between. Then there are folks like me who aren’t sure enough to make a prediction, but are very sure we wouldn’t like to find out, too late, that the answer is "oops, catastrophic."

These are not differences that can be resolved by name calling. Nor has the presumed object of this name calling -- to delegitimize thoughtful opposition, and thereby increase the consensus in favor of desired policy proposals -- been a notable political success, at least in the U.S. It has certainly rallied the tribe, and produced a lot of patronizing talk about science by people who aren’t actually all that familiar with the underlying scientific questions. Other than that, we remain pretty much where we were 25 years ago: holding summits, followed by the dismayed realization that we haven’t, you know, really done all that much except burn a lot of hydrocarbons flying people to summits. Maybe last year's Paris talks will turn out to be the actual moment when things started to change -- but having spent the last 15 years as a reporter listening to people tell me that no, really, we’re about to turn the corner, I retain a bit of skepticism.

Unfortunately, when you rally your own side with these sorts of tactics, you also rally the other tribe, and if they’re as numerous as you are, this can lead to defeat as easily as victory. It would be a lot better for everyone -- including the planet -- if we left off the tribalism and the excommunications and went back to actually talking about the science: messy, imprecise and always open for well-grounded debate.


Global warming is GOOD for bees

A study published Tuesday by scientists from the Flinders University of South Australia found the bee population flourished during a previous period of global warming 18,000 years ago.

The research concludes that modern global warming will likely cause a big increase in the population of bees, which is good news for the planet. The study directly contradicts previous environmentalist claims that global warming will lead to mass death of bees, disrupting global agriculture.

"You see a rapid increase in population size from about 18,000 years ago, just as the climate began warming up after the last Ice Age," Rebecca Dew, the study’s lead author and a professor at the university, said in a press statement. "This matches the findings from two previous studies on bees from North America and Fiji. It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world. Different climate, different environment, but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time."

The scientists modeled the past responses of bees to global warming with the help of DNA sequences. They found that the population of bees rose for almost 12,000 years after the last ice age before plateauing roughly 6,000 years ago. The scientists state the slow growth of the bee population is likely due to a slower increase in global temperatures.

Rising bee populations are great for many plants, ecosystems and agricultural crops as they are major pollinators. An increasing bee population combined with rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels likely means that global warming will cause an explosion in plant growth. Scientists estimate that rising CO2 levels over the past 33 years was the environmental equivalent to adding a green continent twice the size of mainland U.S.

The research is published in the peer-reviewed open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research.

This is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected. Global warming will likely have many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Canadian moose and literally causing deserts to bloom with foliage.


Media Already Blames Global Warming For Shark Attacks That Haven’t Happened Yet

The wider media blamed global warming Monday for a projected increase in shark attacks based on incredibly hedged claims from a single expert.

Tech Times wrote an article Monday, entitled "Shark Attacks Predicted To Increase This Year: Is Global Warming To Blame?," claiming that global warming encourages people to go swimming, which leads to a rising number of shark attacks.

Other media outlets such as The Daily Mail, Investors Business Daily and CBS News quickly replicated the claim, citing a single expert who told Reuters that rising temperatures might make swimming more popular, which could lead to more attacks.

"We should have more bites this year than last," George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, told Reuters. Burgess noted that the projected increase in attacks is due to the shark population recovering from historic lows in the 1990s.

Burgess has previously said that the rising population of humans and increased beach activities are the main driver of shark attacks, but notes that the odds of a fatal shark attacks are so low that beach goers face a higher risk of being killed "by sand collapsing as the result of over achieving sand castle builders."

Last year, there were 98 total shark attacks worldwide, six of which resulted in deaths. Precisely 30 of these attacks occured in the state of Florida.

Tech Times isn’t the first media outlet to blame shark attacks on global warming. National Geographic claimed last year that global warming was a major factor in a spree of seven shark attacks in North Carolina.  The magazine did quote shark biologist Frank Schwartz of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who "says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming."

Environmentalist media, such as EcoWatch, has a long history of linking shark attacks to global warming, but the existence of such a link is doubted by scientists.

There is less than one shark-attack death every two years in America, according to a 2005 study by National Geographic. Statistically speaking, cows are much more dangerous than sharks as they cause 20 deaths annually in the U.S.


SCOTUS Chips Away Gov't Control Over Nation's Water

Another memorable government effort in clean water
In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a North Dakota peat farm can go forward with a lawsuit against the U.S. government over its expansive interpretation of the Clean Water Act. Let’s repeat a key word: unanimous. As in all eight justices believe there’s a good case to be made against another overreach of Barack Obama.

Last year, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which jointly enforce water pollution law, vastly expanded their jurisdiction claims over what constitute "waters of the U.S." That makes this case critical in defining the reach. The Hill puts it in perspective: "The case is likely to have consequences for the federal government’s entire enforcement of the Clean Water Act, the main law regarding pollution control."

Hawkes Company, a family-owned peat farm, was attempting to expand its operation into Minnesota when the Corps of Engineers declared that because the bog eventually fed into the Red River 120 miles away it somehow fell under the Corps' jurisdiction. After the regulatory decree, there was little the farm could do besides enter a tangle of red tape.

In its Tuesday ruling, the High Court determined that those jurisdictional determinations come with legal consequences, and organizations like Hawkes Company can take the government to court and challenge the ruling just like any other regulation. In the past, these companies didn’t have the courts available to them to check the government’s ever-expanding definition of what it can control water-wise. Now they do.



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2 June, 2016

Cooling technologies set to become red hot sector

The article below shows only the vaguest awareness of cost in any sense.  Take for instance the chiller truck cooled by liquid nitrogen.  How expensive is the nitrogen?  And how much power was used in cooling  it?  It seems most unlikely that there is any energy saving or any cost saving in the idea

On a warming planet, demand for cooling is increasing.  But if we obtain that cooling from electricity generated by fossil fuels, it makes warming worse. So, the world needs new clean, cool technologies. And British inventors are rushing to provide them. One invention from a garage in Bishop's Stortford is a supermarket chiller truck cooled by liquid nitrogen. Sainsbury's begins testing it this weekend

Other novelties from entrepreneur-inventors are the ice-cooled fridge, and the battery-cooled food delivery van

Experts say they are front runners in a cool tech market that may be worth £100bn a year in coming decades."The size of energy challenge from cold and cooling internationally is colossal," says Prof Martin Freer from Birmingham University, who wrote a report on the Cold Economy."It will, by the middle of the century, be the biggest single problem the world faces in terms of energy. And we have to do this in a low carbon way."

 It is debatable whether cooling will be the "number one" energy challenge, but it is clear that it is a genuine problem - that makes the nitrogen-cooled truck a trendsetter.The engine uses waste liquid nitrogen at -200C (-328F) left over from the creation of liquid oxygen. It is held in a tank in the truck and its coldness is used to cool the chiller compartment - which is normally cooled by a polluting diesel engine.In another innovation on the truck, a radically new type of engine is driven by the power of liquid nitrogen as it expands 700 times to become a gas. This engine produces electricity for secondary cooling

The system was devised by the amateur inventor Peter Dearman who is feted by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.He suggests it could use existing waste liquid nitrogen, but there are questions about what it would cost to run if additional supplies had to be made.The firm suggests this could be done using excess cheap energy produced by wind turbines or nuclear plants at night. The liquid nitrogen would, in effect, be an energy store - like a sort of battery.

A much simpler chiller truck invention comes from two more backyard inventors based at Lampeter in Wales.

Their system - Perpetual V2G - replaces the diesel engine used to cool the truck with a secondary battery that can be charged overnight by off-peak electricity or topped up by an extra alternator.Their kit is also on trial with Sainsbury's.Meanwhile, the inventors of an ice-cooled fridge are bidding to bring their creation into the kitchen.

 The interior of the Surechill fridge is surrounded, or topped - depending on the model, by a plastic sleeve filled with water. When cheap electricity is available, the water in the sleeve is frozen. The electricity can then be switched off during the day when power is expensive, while the ice keeps the food cool.The most advanced Surechill product is a vaccines fridge. The firm says it stays cold for two weeks without power.Manufacturing has begun in India and South Africa, resulting in the closure of the plant in mid-Wales where the product was first developed

 A more prosaic use of the ability of water to store heat or cool can be found in a growing number of hotels and offices in the UK. They are rewarded with cheaper energy prices if they turn off the power driving their air-conditioning systems at times of peak demand. Marriott Hotels say guests don't notice the marginal change in temperature because the water stays cool in the system's pipes even when the fans are temporarily switched off.

Some of the innovations have been supported by the government, which has allocated at least £50m for innovation in smart technologies. "We're investing in a variety of innovative ideas such as those coming out of the Cold Economy that can help us provide secure, affordable and clean energy now and for the next generation," the Department of Energy and Climate Change tells the BBC.But some say a broader approach is needed. Prof Freer says the cold economy needs to ensure the waste from one process is the fuel for another. He condemns, for instance, the waste of potential energy when liquid natural gas (LNG) imported into the UK is converted from liquid in ships to gas in pipelines

 That cooling power, he complains, might be used to cool data centres or for refrigeration as part of the food chain."There is no shortage of great ideas," adds Oliver Hayes from Friends of the Earth." But if these ideas are to thrive and grow they need strategic government and industry support, otherwise old and inefficient technologies will freeze them out of the market."


The Assault on Science

by Robert Zubrin

Recently, the attorneys general of a number of states have launched an effort to use the RICO statute to prosecute opponents of climate-change alarmism.  This is nothing less than an all-out attack on science.

There are several vital issues involved here, involving not only substance, but, even more important, process. Let's start with the latter.

Science is not a collection of facts; it is a process of discovery. Science, alongside its sister, conscience, is based on the signature Western individualist belief that there is a fundamental property of the human mind that, when presented with sufficient information, is able to distinguish right from wrong, justice from injustice, truth from untruth. Matters of science must therefore be determined by reason, not by force. To attempt to prevail in a scientific dispute through the use of force is equivalent to the use of a gun to prevail in a courtroom, or, for that matter, of rape to prevail in courtship. It is nothing less than a criminal rejection of a basic principle of our civilization.

    It is also prima facie evidence that the case requiring such enforcement is severely defective. No valid scientific theory has ever required the use of police powers to prevail. No Ptolemaist was ever burned at the stake by Copernicans, nor did the relativity theorists ever find the need to round up the hard-core Newtonians or Etherite dead-enders. Even such counterintuitive theories as quantum mechanics and the Big Bang have done just fine without the assistance of Gestapo raids directed against their detractors. In the courtroom of science, if you have the facts on your side, you don't need a gun - and juries would be well advised to distrust the case of those parties who choose to use weapons to silence adversarial witnesses.

The supporters of the new Inquisition say the catastrophe skeptics are wrong, and as they are spreaders of doubt of essential beliefs, their heresy requires suppression for the public good. But, as consideration of the list of successful theories in the preceding paragraph illustrates, most of the important ideas now established in science were at one time heretical, and therefore it is permission, and not suppression, of heresy that is vital to scientific progress.

That said, let us consider the substance of the inquisitors' complaint, to wit, the undermining by skeptics of the following argument:

  1. The Earth is warming.

  3. This warming is caused by human industrial activity, which emits CO2.

  5. This CO2-driven warming is very harmful to either humanity or wild nature or both.

  7. Therefore, policies must be implemented to counter such warming.

  9. The best such policies are regressive measures that increase the price of fuel, electricity, food, and other basic goods.

In making the above case, the alarmists have only one demonstrable proposition. This is the first; the Earth is indeed warming, and has been since about 1600. We know this for a fact, not from the doubtful claims of researchers who say that they can measure ongoing global temperature increases averaging 0.01 degree C per year, but from historical accounts, such as those in Dickens, which attest to snowy winters in London in the mid-19th century, or accounts of frost fairs held on the frozen Thames in the age of Cromwell. So the minority of doomsday skeptics who base their case on rejecting proposition No. 1 are indeed on weak ground.

The fallacy of the alarmists' position is that they jump directly from scientifically demonstrable proposition No. 1 to demonstrably brutal proposition No. 5, without considering the very questionable intervening logic. This is a fallacy equivalent to maintaining that the reality of the theory of evolution, as amply demonstrated by the geologic fossil record, requires adherence to such repugnant political programs as eugenics, Social Darwinism, or National Social Darwinism (i.e., Nazism) - as indeed all these movements actually did. So let's look at the argument a bit more closely.

Proposition No. 1 is true. Proposition No. 2 might be true, but is not demonstrable. The atmosphere of the Earth has been enriched over the past century from 300 parts per million CO2 to 400 parts per million, a rate which is consistent with human fossil-fuel use, and this could cause a temperature rise in the range of what we see. However, there are other industrial gas emissions that are global cooling agents, and the observed warming began long before human industrial activity was sufficiently large to be a credible agent of climate change. But let's stipulate No. 2 as being true, regardless.

We then come to Proposition No. 3, which is manifestly false. Indeed, contrary to the claims of the anti-carbon crusaders, both the CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere and the global warming that it may have caused have been greatly beneficial to both humankind and wild nature. Based on the theory of photosynthesis - which is as widely accepted as that of the round Earth - the enrichment of the CO2 content of the atmosphere should accelerate plant growth, and such quickening has indeed been repeatedly measured in many studies, in the lab, in the field, and from orbit. Furthermore, the warming that has occurred over the past century has had the further useful roles of increasing net global rainfall and of lengthening the growing season, as shown, for example, by this map, published by the EPA.

Lacking scientific honesty, the alarmists almost never choose to mention these inconvenient truths. Instead they seek to make doomsday predictions based on the theory that global warming must necessarily cause a disastrous flood. But this prediction is also clearly unsound, as shown by the fact that despite four centuries of global warming, no prominent port city of the early modern era in now underwater. For example, here is a map of Boston, comparing its coastline in 1630 to that today. It can be seen that the Pilgrims' famous City on a Hill has actually increased its land area since its founding, and while some of this increase is due to landfilling activity, there is no evidence, either in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, or any other American colonial city, of a general coastal retreat in the face of an advancing ocean.

Moving on, if Proposition No. 3 is false, then Proposition No. 4 must be as well. In that case, Proposition No. 5 has no rational basis, unless one were to claim that, despite the falsity of the entire supporting climatist argument, making fossil fuels and their products less available to humanity is a valid goal in and of itself. Let us consider this possibility.

Here is a graph comparing average global per capita income, in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars, to total human carbon use. It can be seen that average human well-being has risen in direct proposition to carbon utilization, with a tenfold increase, from $900/year to $9,000/year in just the past century. In secular terms, this is the greatest story ever told, but it still has a long way to go. The average American income is $45,000 per year, and we still have some poverty here. To raise the world average to anything like our current level would require multiplying global carbon use several times over. Restricting carbon availability to what it is now, or even worse, rolling it back, would require keeping billions of people in crushing poverty, or returning them to it. Such a policy is not moral.

So it is not the doomsday skeptics, but the carbon-benefit deniers who are diverting the public with potentially catastrophic misinformation.

This is not the first time the authority of scientific orthodoxy has been abused for reactionary purposes. As noted above, eugenics, Social Darwinism, and National Social Darwinism all sought justification for their horrid programs in evolutionary theory. But unlike Nazi Germany, in the United States, up until now, such charlatanism has been open to challenge.

In the early 20th century, for example, hundreds of thousands of poor southern whites and blacks would die every year from pellagra, or diseases made fatal by weaknesses induced by pellagra. Using enormous compendiums of data, the eugenicist establishment was able to show that in the great majority of cases, pellagra victims had others in their family or ancestry who were also pellagra victims, and that therefore pellagra must be a hereditary disease, whose necessary remedy was to allow those afflicted to die off, thereby improving our national racial stock via natural selection.

In 1914, however, Dr. Joseph Goldberger of the U.S. Public Health Service showed experimentally that pellagra was a nutritional-deficiency disease, which could be readily cured by a proper diet including adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, or alternatively, vitamin pills. These findings provoked the anger of the eugenicist establishment, but while they could slander and demean Goldberger (he was a Jew, after all, and his experimental sample was much smaller than the eugenicists' vast storehouse of medical records), they could not block his publications, let alone lock him up. The debate of data and counter-data therefore continued, and since he was right, by the 1930s, Goldberger's pellagra theory won the day, freeing millions of Americans from a horrible disease. But imagine what the outcome might have been had the prosecutors of the day decided to take it upon themselves to defend scientific orthodoxy by silencing the heretical Dr. Goldberger.
As outrageous as it sounds, such is the threat we currently face. The measures proposed by the climate alarmists - carbon taxes (i.e., sales taxes focused on basic goods), cap and trade (a form of carbon tax farming, even more pernicious than direct taxes), and crony capitalism (involving state-enforced direct transfer of funds extracted from the general public to the super-rich via rigged-up energy prices) - are all extremely regressive.

Nevertheless, they claim that such brutal policies are necessary, as purportedly demonstrated by "scientific" authority so unimpeachable as to make contradicting it a criminal offense. But this is nonsense: Real science never fears contradiction. Rather it relishes every joust with opponents as a chance to prove its worth on the field of intellectual battle, or honorably salute the victory of a stronger challenger in the never-ending contest to advance the cause of truth. The demand by the climate alarmists that no one be allowed to enter the lists against them is proof not of strength, but of extreme weakness.

The facts of the fossil record never justified denying poor people a healthy diet. The facts of the weather record do not justify denying poor people affordable energy. And no set of facts, whatever they may be, can justify denying scientists - or anyone else, for that matter - the right to free speech.


MIT: Incandescents Now More Efficient than LEDs

Now they tell us...

Researchers at the MIT are publicizing that they have fixed the incandescent lightbulb with a brilliant improvement. They have wrapped the interior filament in a crystal glass that both bounces light and contains heat. It recycles energy in a way that addresses the main complaint against Edison’s bulb: It burns far too much energy for the light that it produces.

Why is this interesting? About a decade ago, governments around the world developed a fetish for banning incandescents (through an efficiency rule) and replacing them with expensive LED technology and florescent bulbs. It happened in Europe first but eventually came to the United States. The last American factory to produce them closed in 2010, and they are ever harder to find in even the big-box hardware stores. (As with all such bans, there are exceptions for elites who desire specialty bulbs.)

The change has been seriously annoying for many consumers. It has even given rise to hoarding and gray markets (in Germany, such bulbs were repackaged as "heat balls"). It has produced something of a political backlash, too.

On a personal note, my own dear mother replaced all her incandescents with fluorescents several years ago. I was sitting in her house feeling vaguely irritated by the searing lights in the room — cold and dreary — and had to turn them off. Sitting in the dimly lit room, my thought was: this is what the government has done to us. A great invention from the dawn of modernity is being driven out of use. Do I have to bring my own candles next holiday season?

Why should governments be in the position of deciding what technologies can and cannot be used, as if consumers are too stupid to make such decisions for themselves? Who is to decide what is efficient, and what the proper trade off should be between the energy expended and the light produced?

Maybe some people don’t mind the "inefficiency" of incandescent bulbs relative to the warm and wonderful light they produce. Entrepreneurs need to be able to discern and serve their needs.

The bans have given rise to a vast debate about which bulb is best and what kind of light technology governments should and should not permit. But these are really the wrong questions. The real issue should be: Why should governments be in the business of picking right and wrong technologies at all?

As the MIT innovation in lighting suggests, there are possibilities yet undiscovered that regulators have not thought of. If you write detailed regulations about existing technologies, you are forestalling the possibilities that scientists and entrepreneurs will discover new ways of doing things in the future.

A vast regulatory apparatus on cell phone technology in 1990 could never have imagined something like a modern cellphone. Regulations on digital commerce in 2000 might have stopped the rise of peer-to-peer services like Uber. Indeed, one of the reasons that the digital world is so innovative is precisely because the regulators haven’t yet caught up with the pace of innovation.

Regulations on technology freeze the status quo in place and make it permanent. How, for example, will regulations respond to the news that a new and improved form of incandescent bulb is possible? Early tests show it to be more efficient than the replacements which the regulations favor. Will there be a new vote, a rewrite of the law, a governing body that evaluates new lightbulbs, the same way we approach prescription drugs? None of this can possibly match the efficiency of a market process of trial and error, of experimentation, rejection, and adoption.

In government, a ban is a ban, something to be enforced, not tweaked according to new discoveries and approaches.

Herein we see the problems with all attempts by government to tightly manage any technology. Bitcoin is a great example. As soon as the price began to rise and the crypto sector began to appear viable, government agencies got in the business of regulating them as if the sector was already taking a shape that would last forever. And because technology and industry are always on the move, there is never a rational time to intervene with the proclamation "this is how it shall always be."

Regulatory interventions stop the progress of history by disabling the limitless possibilities of the human imagination.

By the time regulators get around to rethinking the incandescent, the industry will probably have moved on to something new and even better, something no one can imagine could exist today.


NOAA: 'Uncertainty About Whether High-Activity Era of Atlantic Hurricanes Has Ended’

Is NOAA hedging its bets?

Climate factors known to influence the formation of hurricanes, including a possible multi-decade cooling trend in the Atlantic Ocean, are causing "uncertainty about whether the high-activity era of Atlantic hurricanes has ended," according to Kathryn Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 "This year, there is strong variability in several key climate factors greater than in past years. And so there is uncertainty as to whether these factors will be reinforcing each other or competing with respect to tropical storm formation.

"More specifically, there’s uncertainty about whether the high-activity era of Atlantic hurricanes has ended," Sullivan told reporters during a press conference Friday at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.

"This high activity phase began in 1995. It’s associated with an ocean temperature pattern that is called the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, or AMO. A warm phase of the AMO leads to warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures, and a stronger West African monsoon, and these contribute to the formation of hurricanes.

"However, during the past three years, weaker hurricane seasons have been accompanied by a shift towards the cool signature of the AMO, cooler Atlantic Ocean temperatures, and a weaker West African monsoon," Sullivan continued.

"If this shift proves to be more than short-lived, if it’s not just a temporary blip, then it could be signaling the arrival of a low activity era for Atlantic hurricanes. Possibly, that’s already begun, possibly we’re just in a transient," she said, adding that "high and low phases tend to run 25 to 40 years."

"When we’re looking at these ocean temperature patterns, we’re not looking at month to month or year to year changes. We’re looking at patterns that last for multiple decades at a time," explained Dr. Gerry Bell, head of NOAA’s hurricane forecasting team.

"So while we’re seeing the warm phase of the AMO possibly switching to the cold phase, this couple of year transition we’re seeing may just reflect the normal year to year signals and not really a multi-decadal pattern. So what we’ll be looking for to see if this actually is a multi-decadal shift is the duration and also its duration during the year.

"Right now, we’re seeing the cold AMO signal more in the winter and in the cool season, but really not very much in the summer and into the hurricane season. So we would expect this pattern to develop more through the year and the next couple of years. It may take a few years to really know if we’re in the cool phase of the AMO or not."

The last time there was a transition to the cool phase of the AMO was in the early 1970s, Bell continued, and "we didn’t have any of the capabilities we have now to monitor this." asked Bell what effect the cool phase of the AMO would have on hurricane activity over the next two decades.

"If and when [the AMO] does switch back to its cool phase, that is associated with a weaker African monsoon and also weaker hurricane seasons," he replied.

 "The last time we had a cold phase of the AMO, it was during 1971 to 1994. That was a low activity era for Atlantic hurricanes, and during that 25-year period, we only had two above-normal seasons and half were below normal. So that’s how strong this AMO signal is. It really is a powerhouse as far as controlling the hurricane season for decades at a time."

However, Sullivan also told reporters that the upcoming 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, is likely to be "near normal" - with more hurricane activity than last year’s "below normal" season,

"NOAA’s outlook for this season indicates that it is most likely to be a near-normal year. In the Atlantic this season, it will likely produce a range of  between 10 to 16 tropical storms. Those are systems with top sustained winds of at least 39 miles an hour," Sullivan said.

"Four to eight of those are expected to become hurricanes, with top winds sustained at 74 miles an hour or greater. And between one and four of those hurricanes are expected to grow to major strength of Category 3 or higher [on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale], which translates to wind speeds of at least 111 miles an hour.

"Near normal may sound sort of encouraging, relax, things are okay, but I want to emphasize that the predicted level of activity that I just read off, compared to the past three years that we’ve experienced, actually suggests we could be in for more activity than we’ve seen in recent years," Sullivan warned.

She noted that NOAA’s 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts the number of storms likely to form, not their tracks or possible landfalls.

Last year, NOAA's updated 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicted "a 90 percent chance of a below-normal season… the highest given by NOAA for any such season since their seasonal hurricane outlooks began in August 1998."

The agency based its 2015 prediction on a strengthening El Nino, which created "atmospheric conditions that are exceptionally non-conducive to tropical storm and hurricane formation."

NOAA predicted that six to 10 named storms would form in the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico last year, with one to four becoming hurricanes, and at least one developing into a major hurricane.

In its 2015 hurricane season summary published in December, NOAA reported that 11 named storms formed in the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico last year, with four reaching hurricane strength. Two were classified as major hurricanes: Danny and Joaquin. Neither storm struck the U.S. mainland.

"While the number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes was only a little below the long-term average activity levels of 12, 6, and 3, respectively, many of the named storms were relatively weak and short-lived…. This makes 2015 a below-average season in terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy)," NOAA said.


Banned in Portland by climate catastrophists

By Gordon Fulks

"Banned in Portland" may not yet have the same notoriety as "Banned in Boston" or "Banned in Tennessee." But we are catching up. Please do not look for a centerfold in this newspaper showing some gorgeous gal, au natural. And don't look for photos of Oregon politicians guilty of inappropriate sex. This isn't about sex. This is about something far more controversial: science.

Yes, believe it or not, competent science is again deemed a threat to humanity by daring to doubt the global warming paradigm. It is as though we are back in 1925 Tennessee, where fundamentalist followers of an old time religion were up in arms about evolution replacing creationism.

Today the issue is competent science versus catastrophism.

Competent science is that messy business where perpetually skeptical scientists argue the vital details of a very complex subject, in this case the Earth's climate.

Catastrophism is the pretend science of the Prophet Gore and his fanatical followers. It is far simpler. Whatever the question, the answer is that diabolical gas, carbon dioxide. It comes from burning fossil fuels, but not from breathing! It has ruined our climate.

But wait, there is still time to save the planet, if we vote for Democrats, enact carbon taxes and ban troublesome scientists who stubbornly maintain that "it's not true."

Mainstream religions have long since made peace with science, recognizing that these two human pursuits can coexist to great mutual benefit, as long as one does not pretend to be the other. Some who study the history of science recognize that religion has been vital to science by teaching the value and necessity of telling the truth. The fervent pursuit of the whole truth (not just a political or religious truth) led the Puritans of the 17th century to form the first scientific society, the British Royal Society, with the motto "Take no one's word for it."

Thus began 400 years of magnificent scientific progress, greatly assisted centuries later by Jews looking for an escape from the ghettos of Europe. From Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman, most of the great physicists of the 20th century were Jewish. Among Feynman's famous lectures was one calling for "utter honesty," a concept now largely forgotten in a scientific world dominated by presidential policy statements, vast amounts of cash and careerism.

The new "green religion" of Al Gore sadly demands only belief, not competence, good behavior or honesty. Gore's followers try to silence heretics.

That silencing has been going on for a long time in Oregon. Former Gov. Ted Kulongoski forced Oregon's best state climatologist, George Taylor, to retire and replaced him with one of the faithful. Scientists with advanced degrees are excluded from our schools in favor of Gore disciples like former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who lacks even the college education required for teachers but still lectures on global warming.

What will Portland children miss with all this political interference? They will miss science entirely — not just climate science. Propagandized children never learn that science is much more than a good story told by their elders. They will never learn that science is completely determined by logic and evidence, not by the "authority" and "consensus" preached by "Warmers." They will miss the wisdom of our greatest scientists.

Albert Einstein's famous words — "One man can prove me wrong" — are surely blasphemous. That is dangerous doubt in a postmodern world. Today, it takes a political earthquake to topple politically correct pseudoscience. Students may even miss reading the voluminous United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that are the foundation of the climate scam. They dare to express the doubt now banned in Portland.

We are back to 1925, with the modern version of creationism winning once again over science. Pitiful.


Australia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention

Some Green/Left horror below.  There's nothing "threatened" in Australia any more!  What they are carefully not mentioning is that corals periodically undergo bleaching events and rapidly recover.  So a portrayal of the GBR as bleached would be an unfair depiction of the reef as it usually is.  Most "threatened" natural features stay that way for a long time so it is reasonable to depict them in their threatened state.  But that is not so with the GBR. 

And the claim that the bleaching is the result of "climate change" is false, so putting it into a climate change report would be wrong.  The warming events of late 2015 and early 2016 were contemporaneous with a CO2 STASIS.  Below are the CO2 levels at Cape Grim for the relevant period.  The first two columns give month and year and the 5th column gives CO2 levels.  So NO PART of the warming events at that time were due to a rise in CO2.  They were all due to El Nino

All mentions of Australia were removed from the final version of a Unesco report on climate change and world heritage sites after the Australian government objected on the grounds it could impact on tourism

Every reference to Australia was scrubbed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, objecting that the information could harm tourism.

Guardian Australia can reveal the report "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate", which Unesco jointly published with the United Nations environment program and the Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

But when the Australian Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed by Unesco. Will Steffen, one of the scientific reviewers of the axed section on the reef, said Australia’s move was reminiscent of "the old Soviet Union".

No sections about any other country were removed from the report. The removals left Australia as the only inhabited continent on the planet with no mentions.

Explaining the decision to object to the report, a spokesperson for the environment department told Guardian Australia: "Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism."

As a result of climate change combined with weather phenomena, the Great Barrier Reef is in the midst of the worst crisis in recorded history. Unusually warm water has caused 93% of the reefs along the 2,300km site to experience bleaching. In the northern most pristine part, scientists think half the coral might have died.

The omission was "frankly astounding," Steffen said. [What would be astounding would be if Steffen told the full truth about global warming]



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, 2016

Could moles really end up toppling Stonehenge? UN report warns furry creatures could destroy ancient site if the earth's temperature keeps rising

The nonsense just keeps coming.  Stonehenge has been through two periods hotter than now -- the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period -- yet the stones are still there.  And if they do topple over, what's to stop pushing them up again?

Stonehenge could be toppled by moles if the earth’s temperature keeps rising, a United Nations report warned yesterday.

The world heritage site is one of many that will be threatened by climate change – with other famous sites under threat including the Statue of Liberty, Venice and the Galapagos Islands.

A report warns that moles, rabbits and badgers will flourish in warmer conditions – and they would be likely to undermine the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge.

The report was produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the UN Heritage body Unesco and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

It warns that in the UK, warmer winters are likely to boost populations of burrowing animals that could disturb archaeological deposits and destabilise stonework.

The report warns that the huge megaliths, some weighing more than 40 tonnes, are under threat.

It says ‘warmer winters are likely to bring higher populations of burrowing mammals including badgers, moles and rabbits, which may destabilise stonework and disturb buried archaeological deposits.’ Hotter, drier summers could also increase the number of visitors – currently running at around one million a year which would also disturb the site as could more intense rainfall and flash flooding.

Warmer, wetter conditions are ideal breeding conditions for earthworms, a major part of the mole’s diet, which leads to moles and other creatures that eat them, such as badgers, flourishing. Soft, wet soil is also easier to dig than hard, dry ground.


Senators Demand DOJ Stop Investigating Global Warming Skeptics

Five Republican senators have sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to "immediately cease" using law enforcement resources to go after those who disagree with President Barack Obama on global warming.

"These actions provide disturbing confirmation that government officials at all levels are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change," Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, David Perdue of Georgia and David Vitter of Louisiana wrote to Lynch.

"As you well know, initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity’s opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct," the senators wrote.
The letter comes after Lynch told a Senate committee in March the Justice Department had internal discussions about investigating global warming skeptics based on letters sent by Democratic lawmakers in 2015.

"This matter has been discussed," Lynch said. "We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on."

State attorneys general are way ahead of Lynch, and have launched investigations into ExxonMobil for allegedly covering up global warming science while funding skeptic groups. A group of mostly Democratic AGs held a meeting with environmentalists in March, where some pledged to investigate Exxon and its allies.

"Financial damages alone may be insufficient," New York AG Eric Schneiderman at the event in New York City. "The First Amendment does not give you the right to commit fraud."

Schneiderman was the first state AG to launch an investigation into Exxon’s global warming stance. He was quickly followed, however, by lead prosecutors in California, Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So far, only U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker has demanded information from conservative think tanks and scientists skeptical of man-made global warming. Walker also subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a D.C.-based libertarian think tank.

Walker eventually withdrew his CEI subpoena after the group fought back, but Republican lawmakers are worried what could happen if federal investigators start going after those critical of Obama’s energy agenda.

"Using such prosecution to issue intrusive demands targeting individuals who represent the parts of civil society that are the most dependent on free inquiry and debate is something categorically different," Republicans wrote to Lynch.

The DOJ has not yet announced any investigation into Exxon or any groups skeptical of global warming.


Professor Says ‘Madness’ Of Fighting Global Warming Will Impoverish Everyone

Cambridge University electrical engineering professor Dr. M.J. Kelly concluded in a peer-reviewed journal article that attempts to fight global warming with green energy will impoverish the world.

The Monday article found reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions enough to actually slow global warming in a measurable way simply isn’t possible without significantly reducing standards of living by plunging most of the world into poverty, destitution and starvation.

"Over the last 200 years, fossil fuels have provided the route out of grinding poverty for many people in the world," states the article. "This trend is certain to continue for at least the next 20 years based on the technologies of scale that are available today. A rapid decarbonization is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle class people downgrading their own standard of living."

The article found current CO2 emissions aren’t falling rapidly enough to slow global warming largely because most public policy has focused exclusively on developing wind and solar power, which may actually increase emissions. Continued support for wind, solar and other forms of green energy like biofuel "represents total madness" as these energy systems don’t justify the massive costs of the subsidies required to support them.

"It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living," Kelly wrote in a press statement. "Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality."

The article confirms previous criticism of environmental policies which state the total amount of energy created by solar and wind is relatively small, even though both systems have been heavily subsidized since at least the 1970s. In 2010, wind power alone received $5 billion in subsidies, swamping the $654 million oil and gas received. Solar and wind power get 326 and 69 times more in subsidies than coal, oil, and natural gas per amount of energy generated.

In 2015, solar and wind power accounted for only 0.6 and 4.7 percent of electricity generated in America, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration.


Climate Scientist Dubious About Global Warming Octopus Study

Below is pretty much what I said on the matter -- JR

A climate scientist is dubious global warming is causing octopus and cephalopod populations to increase, as claimed by a Australian University of Adelaide study.

The study published Monday analyzed the number cephalopods caught and speculated the ecologically and commercially important invertebrates could be benefiting from rising ocean temperatures. The study’s lead author stated in a press release cephalopods are very adaptable animals which could allow them to adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions.

Even though the study did not attempt to correlate temperature trends spatially or temporally to trends in the cephalopod population or examine other explanations for the rising population, media outlets promptly claimed the study showed that "Swarms of Octopus Are Taking Over the Oceans" due to global warming.

"The new study linking cephalopod population increases to human-caused climate change is long on speculation and short on facts," Chip Knappenberger, climate scientist at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "There are undoubtedly complex interactions between the large number of factors at play in shaping the reported cephalopod trends, although the authors look at none of them in detail. To prominently play up the role of global warming is to elevate hype over substance—an all too common characteristic of this type of study."

Knappenberger pointed out in a blog post scientists and media outlets have an "overwhelming tendency to relate global warming to all manner of bad things and a great hesitation to suggest a potential link when the outcome is seemingly beneficial." He points out that the science behind global warming doesn’t "make for great scare stories. Global-warming-fueled bands of marauding octopuses and giant squid certainly do."

The study’s lead author believes the impacts are extremely unclear, but states in the press release that "increases in cephalopod populations could benefit marine predators which are reliant on them for food, as well as human communities reliant on them as a fisheries resource."

This is the latest scientific study to show nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected. Global warming even has many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Canadian moose and causing deserts to bloom with foliage.


The end of El Niño sees temperatures soar across the world

Temperature peaks typically occur towards the end of El Niño

CONDITIONS in India are road-meltingly hot: on May 19th residents of Phalodi, a city in the north of the country, had to cope with temperatures of 51°C—the highest since records there began. Records are tumbling elsewhere, too. According to the latest data from America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 13 of the 15 highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since February 2015. The average temperature over land and ocean surfaces in April was 1.10°C above last century’s average (see map). The current year will almost certainly be the warmest on record, and probably by the largest margin to date.

A Pacific-wide climatic phenomenon known as El Niño ("The Boy" in Spanish) helps explain the heat. In non-Niño years, trade winds blow warm water to the west, where it pools in the western tropical Pacific. Cooler water is drawn up from the depths to the surface in the Pacific’s east as a result, in a process known as upwelling. Every two to seven years, the pool of warm water sloshes back eastwards when the trade winds weaken or even reverse; this is El Niño in action. The interaction of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere is part of a cycle called El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). 

This spilling of the warm pool across the tropical Pacific pushes up global surface temperatures. The consequent increase in atmospheric heat and moisture brings deluges to south-eastern South America and western North America, and drought to India, Australia, Indonesia and southern Africa. Niño-like conditions first began in mid-2014, but the full event did not emerge for another year. It then proved one of the strongest ever recorded.

On May 24th Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declared El Niño finished, as surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific have cooled over the past two weeks. What follows? Temperature peaks typically occur towards the end of El Niño, according to Kevin Trenberth from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. BOM says that there is a 50% chance that La Niña, another phase of ENSO and one associated with unusually low surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, will form this year. Cooler weather for south-eastern Asia and western South America could accompany it.


Australian wind farm companies going broke

In the hard-hitting Danish docu-drama, Follow the Money, the Armani suited executives of Energreen play a game of cat and mouse with the Fraud Squad, pumping up the value of their wind farm ‘assets’, while erasing anything from their books that investors might reasonably conclude were liabilities. Some viewers might call it ‘creative accounting’, others good old-fashioned ‘fraud’.

The apparent purpose of Energreen’s book keeping shenanigans is to lure in a steady stream of gullible investors to keep the whole circus afloat, long enough for those at the top of the Pyramid to line their pockets and set up bolt-holes in Brazil (or any other sunny place without an extradition treaty).

In terms of duping creditors and investors Energreen’s on-screen exploits aren’t that far from the truth. Wind back the clock on the story of Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen and its ‘Phoenix’ rising start and the parallels are uncanny.

In 2009 Infigen magically emerged from the ashes of Babcock & Brown (which took creditors and investors for a lazy $10 billion).  Despite its ashen origins Infigen hardly set the world on fire, managing to destroy $millions in shareholder value, in a matter of months.

Drowning in debt, it was forced by its financiers to offload its US wind farm ‘assets’ in a fire sale last year.  Hoping to pocket over $500 million from that sale, it collected a little over half that – adding further to its balance sheet’s woes.

It then went on to lose another $304 million last year – blaming its dwindling revenue on, of all things, the WIND!  That dismal result took its total losses to a lazy $448 million, since 2011.

However, for all the delusional confidence exuded by Miles George & Co about Infigen and its wind power ‘assets’, it seems that its owners are hell-bent on getting out before yet another Ponzi scheme collapses. 

Much more HERE  (See the original for links & graphics)


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


Home (Index page)

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

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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