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, 2017

EPA chief met with Dow CEO before reversing his agency’s push to ban a harmful pesticide

So what? Any evidence that something improper occurred? Suspicion proves nothing. Pruitt continued approval for something that had been used on a large scale without problems for many years.  Big deal!

AMERICA’S top environment official has refused to ban a dangerous pesticide after meeting the CEO whose company produces it.

THE Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the Australian chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains.

According to records obtained by The Associated Press, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris for about a half-hour on March 9 during a conference held at a Houston hotel.

Twenty days later, Mr Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of foetuses and infants.

In December, President Trump appointed 62-year-old Mr Liveris as head of an “American manufacturing council” tasked with bringing industry back to the US.

EPA released a copy of Mr Pruitt’s March meeting schedule earlier this month following several Freedom of Information Act requests.

Asked by the AP in April whether Mr Pruitt had meet with Dow executives or lobbyists before his decision, EPA spokesman J.P. Freire replied: “We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic.”

EPA did not respond this week to questions about what Mr Pruitt and Mr Liveris did discuss during their March 9 meeting, or whether the two had also met on other occasions.

Mr Liveris has close ties to the Trump administration. He heads a White House manufacturing working group, and Dow wrote a $US1 million ($1.3 million) cheque to help underwrite the president’s inaugural festivities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged Mr Pruitt to take chlorpyrifos off the market.

The group representing more than 66,000 paediatricians and paediatric surgeons said on Tuesday it is “deeply alarmed” by Mr Pruitt’s decision to allow the pesticide’s continued use.

“There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing foetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women,” the academy said in a letter to Mr Pruitt. “The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.”

The AP reported in April that Dow is lobbying the Trump administration to “set aside” the findings of federal scientists that organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, are also harmful to about 1800 critically threatened or endangered species.

US farmers spray more than 2.7 million kilograms of chlorpyrifos each year on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops, making it one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.

First developed as a chemical weapon prior to WWII, Dow has been selling chlorpyrifos as a pesticide since the mid-1960s.

It has been blamed for sickening dozens of farmworkers in recent years. Traces have been found in waterways, threatening fish, and experts say overuse could make targeted insects immune to the pesticide.

Under pressure from federal regulators over safety concerns, Dow withdrew chlorpyrifos for use as a home insecticide in 2000. EPA also placed “no-spray” buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools, in 2012.

But environmental and public health groups said those proposals don’t go far enough and filed a federal lawsuit seeking a national ban on the pesticide. In October 2015, the Obama administration proposed revoking the pesticide’s use in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defence Council and Pesticide Action Network North America.

A risk assessment memo issued in November by nine EPA scientists concluded: “There is a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.”


Energy Secretary: Debate on Climate Change Should Center on How Much Man Impacts Climate and What to Do About It

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that he believes climate is changing and man is having an impact on it, but how much much effect that is and what the U.S. is going to do to affect that is up for debate.

During a White House press briefing on the president's energy policy, Perry was asked if he believes climate change is happening and that human activity has made it worse.

"Here’s what I believe -- and I’m pretty much on the record but I love getting the opportunity to talk about it again -- is the climate is changing.  Man is having an impact on it.  I’ve said that time after time. The idea that we can’t have an intellectual conversation about just what are the actual impacts," Perry said.

He pointed to former Obama administration Energy Undersecretary Steve Koonin, who has said that Obama administration officials spun scientific data to sway public opinion on climate change, as a reason why there should be a conversation about the issue.

“What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin said, according to an April 24 article in the Daily Caller.

"I mean, as late as this last week, an undersecretary for the Obama administration, Steve Koonin -- he believes that we need to have a sit-down and have a conversation. That the data is not, from his perspective -- and obviously he was a good enough scientist to be asked by the Obama administration to come in and be an undersecretary at the DOE -- he doesn’t think that the science is settled. So why not have a conversation about that?" Perry asked.

"I mean, what is the other side?  The people who say the science is settled, it’s done -- if you don’t believe that you’re a skeptic, a Luddite.  I don’t buy that. I don’t think there is -- I mean, this is America.  Have a conversation. Let’s come out of the shadows of hiding behind your political statements and let’s talk about it. What’s wrong with that? And I’m full well -- I can be convinced, but let’s talk about it." Perry added.

"You said that you do believe that climate change is happening and you do believe that human activity is contributing to it. So the discussion you’re asking for is just what to do about it?" a reporter asked.

"Sure. Is that okay? I mean, don’t you think we ought to do that?" Perry asked.

When asked later in the briefing to clarify his stance on climate change, Perry said there needs to be a debate on how much man affects the climate and what to do about it.

"You are saying that climate change -- man has affected climate change, and that the discussion is about what we do with it, not whether or not we've affected it. So going forward, that’s resolved," a reporter asked.

"No, what I said was:  Climate is changing, always has. Man at this particular point of time is having effect on it. How much effect is what’s at debate here? And more importantly, what is the United States going to do to affect that? Are we going to sign an agreement with somebody that really doesn’t call anybody to making any changes? You look at that agreement and what China and what India are required to do and they’re nothing," Perry said about the Paris climate agreement.

"How many coal plants? Three hundred plus coal plants we built in India. So why would we sign on to an agreement that is not holding other people to account and asking us to give $3 billion? I mean, that’s the first ante, and the Trump administration said that’s nonsense. I agree with them it's nonsense," he added.

"Now, can we agree we ought to have a conversation as a people? Intellectually engaged, not screaming at each other, and not standing up in the middle of my speeches and saying you’re a climate denier, when the fact is, I just want to have a conversation about this," Perry said.

"Isn’t that what the scientists have done?" the reporter asked.

"No, they haven’t, because when you have a scientist like Steve Koonin who stands up and says the science isn’t settled yet, I can say, okay, well let’s have a conversation and get these guys together. In my Senate committee, I said let’s -- Senate hearing -- I said let’s have a conversation about the blue team and red team getting together and talking this out," Perry said.

When asked whether President Donald Trump shares Perry's view on climate change, Perry said, "I have not had that conversation with him."


Trump’s Push to Deregulate Energy Will Unleash America’s Energy Industry, Benefit All

This week, the President is scheduled to talk extensively about U.S. energy policy and the administration’s push for “energy dominance” at a time when oil giants like OPEC are looking more fragile than ever.  The President and his team are putting in place policies to continue the boom in domestic energy and turn America into an energy exporter with fewer limits and regulations on American energy production.

Early in the Trump presidency, it’s clear that some of the administration’s most significant successes have come in the form of removing harmful energy regulations. The Energy Independence Executive Order, the elimination of the Stream Protection Rule, and the extension of the National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, are each major actions designed to combat the rampant federal overreach that average American’s have dealt with for the past eight years.

Economic growth in the U.S. is dependent on a vibrant energy infrastructure and a regulatory environment which supports businesses.  Halfway through 2017, the United States’ economy is looking strong. Job growth, employment and wage growth all show significant increases. Consumer confidence and economic optimism both jumped to nine-year highs as people are finally starting to feel some financial security.

Energy is one of the largest drivers of economic revenue in the country. It’s also one of the greatest sources of jobs. 6.4 million Americans work in the traditional energy and energy efficiency industries. These industries added 300,000 new jobs over the course of 2016 and represented approximately 14 percent of the nation’s job growth. We have a bounty of resources in America. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal account for more than 75 percent of our energy consumption. These fuels are used to support transportation and industrial projects while keeping utility prices low.

President Trump is successfully fighting back against the web of damaging regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Instead of utilizing our vast resources to bring economic prosperity to America, politicians decided to wage war on the energy industry. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, the EPA published thousands of complex regulations – The Clean Power Plan, EPA Regional Haze Goals, and EPA Emissions Standards among them – as a series of ideological barriers which worked to undermine the energy infrastructure in resource-rich states.

The Clean Power Plan, for example, would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon dioxide emission rate by 44.9 percent, even though North Dakota is one of only 12 states that achieves all of EPA’s air quality standards for public health. Even if all industry was shut down in the state, the EPA Regional Haze goals would still be impossible to achieve.

Energy regulations are needed, but let’s be clear, none of these even make a dent in the effort to curb emissions. Its limited environmental gain for real economic pain. The Clean Power Plan, is projected to reduce global CO2 emissions by a mere 1.8 percent by 2030 and forestall global warming by 0.019 degrees Celsius over the next 83 years. This negligible difference is nowhere near worth the $39 billion price tag for consumers and businesses.

Beyond businesses, it’s the poor and the elderly that are hit the hardest.  States will see increases in energy costs. Wisconsin, for example, under the Clean Power Plan would increase the average electricity prices by nearly 20 percent. That will affect whether or not someone could heat their home or put food on the table.

The Trump administration has embraced a top down and bottom up approach designed to dismantle the government-wide architecture put in place by the Obama team who viewed virtually every action or policy through the lens of its impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Take the revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The EPA under President Obama lowered the mandated standard to 70 parts per billion, and in doing so, effectively destroyed tens of thousands of jobs across the country. Areas that wouldn’t be able to meet this new standards would face the threat of “increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses,” according to the EPA. Replacing open threats with genuine cooperation, the Trump administration has decided to work with the states so they can address their environmental responsibilities without devastating their economies. Just earlier this month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that they will extend deadlines for the 2015 Ozone area designations and “will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance.”

During this energy week, I applaud the president for taking a stand and supporting access to affordable energy. A push for U.S. dominance in the energy space is better for the average American’s wallet and our national security interests. The Trump administration is doing something from which we all benefit– unleashing America’s energy industry.


Ocean Acidification Improves the Growth and Temperature Tolerance of Eelgrass
Paper Reviewed: Zimmerman, R.C., Hill, V.J., Jinuntuya, M., Celebi, B., Ruble, D., Smith, M., Cedeno, T. and Swingle, W.M. 2017. Experimental impacts of climate warming and ocean carbonation on eelgrass Zostera marina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 566: 1-15.

In an intriguing new paper published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, Zimmerman et al. (2017) investigate the controversial topic of ocean acidification, or as they more correctly describe it, ocean carbonation.

Writing as background for their work, the eight U.S. researchers note how numerous studies have shown that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide not only increase terrestrial plant photosynthesis, but also enhance the productivity of aquatic ecosystems. In particular, they cite studies documenting how the dissolution of CO2 into surface waters of the world's oceans (i.e., ocean acidification or ocean carbonation) has benefited certain taxonomic groups, including nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria, coccolithophores and seagrasses, the latter of which group was the focus of their present study. Concentrating specifically on eelgrass (Zostera marina), Zimmerman et al. set out "to quantify the extent to which CO2 enrichment can improve the ability of eelgrass to tolerate stressful summer temperatures." Their reason for selecting eelgrass was due to the relatively large number of CO2 enrichment studies previously performed on this macroalgal species, plus the important role it plays in "sediment stabilization and habitat provision for many ecologically and economically important invertebrates and fish."

Their experiment was conducted at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where they pumped seawater from a nearby estuary into a series of outdoor aquaria containing eelgrass transplants. The aquaria were maintained at 5 different pH values (7.7, 7.4, 6.9, 6.5 and 6.1) for a period of 18 months (June 2013 through November 2014) by injecting CO2 into the airstream in each tank. Because this was an outdoor experiment, all treatments were exposed to natural fluctuations in total solar radiation, temperature and salinity.

Results of their study revealed that ocean carbonation increased eelgrass survival, shoot number, size, and growth. By the end of the experiment, eelgrass plants in the highest CO2 seawater treatment were some three times larger than the plants growing under ambient conditions. Visual documentation of such differences can been seen in the figure below. Elevated CO2 also stimulated leaf sugar concentration by five-fold, of which accumulation the authors say it "may be critical in regulating the flowering process in eelgrass," which rates under elevated CO2 were between 3 and 5 times higher than the 10 percent flowering rate typically observed under ambient conditions.

Another major benefit of ocean carbonation was the surprising observation that elevated CO2 mitigated the impact of warm temperatures on eelgrass growth and survival. As described by Zimmerman et al., elevated CO2 "prevent[ed] shoot losses during the warm summer when water temperature exceeded the 25°C threshold for thermal stress" and it "eliminated the lethal effects of temperature."

In light of the above, Zimmerman et al. conclude "it appears that ocean carbonation (ocean acidification) can serve as a quantitative antagonist to counter the negative impact of climate warming on eelgrass growth and survival," while adding that their findings "reinforce the emerging paradigm that eelgrass may benefit significantly from a high-CO2 world." And that is news worth reporting and celebrating!


Australia: "Green" NT government wants a free ride

They want to abandon a major source of revenue and then turn to the rest of Australia to pay their bills?? Typical Leftist irresponsibility

The Northern Territory government says Canberra is threatening to cut its share of GST further if it doesn't lift a fracking ban.

NT treasurer Nicole Manison says it's an "an absolute disgrace" that her federal counterpart Scott Morrison is attempting to bully her government into ending a temporary ban on unconventional gas exploration.

"Territorians should not be held to ransom on the future of their GST funding based on whether or not we seek fracking," she told reporters in Darwin.

On Wednesday Mr Morrison took aim at the government's moratorium, saying it had stymied investment and was holding the Territory economy back.

"The bottom line is this, Australia needs more gas and the Territory needs more jobs," he said. "And it needs to take advantage of the resource opportunities that it has here, whether it's on gas or anywhere else.This is important for the Territory's development and its future."

Mr Morrison said an upcoming Productivity Commission review of GST distribution would examine whether the formula was hurting the national economy by giving jurisdictions like the NT a "leave pass" for "not getting on and doing things".

"And should that sort of decision be rewarded by getting extra GST when you've got a state like Western Australia which has been realising their resource opportunities and has been penalised under the system for doing it?" he said. "I think it needs a fair dinkum look at it."

Labor says it won't lift a ban on the controversial gas extraction method until an independent inquiry releases its report in December, which was an election commitment.

Ms Manison is seeking infrastructure project investments from Canberra to mitigate the blow of huge GST cuts already announced in March, which make up 50 per cent of the NT's revenue.

She said in order for the NT to stop relying on handouts from the commonwealth it must diversify its economy, and can't put its pastoral, agriculture and tourism industries at risk by waving through hydraulic fracturing.



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29 June, 2017

You're 'Still In'? Too Bad for You. We're Out

Pure symbolism. That’s what “We Are Still In” really is.

“We Are Still In” is the petulant response of nine states — eight blue (CA, CT, HI, NY, OR, RI, VA, WA) and 1 red (NC) out of 50; 202 cities and counties (mostly in blue states) out of 3,144 (cities, counties, and county equivalents); 308 institutions of higher learning out of 4,140; and 1,530 “businesses and investors” out of 18.2 million businesses and about 160 million owners of stocks to President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

In other words, 18% of states, 6% of cities and counties, 7% of institutions of higher learning, and 1% of businesses (if you count all the “still in” investors as businesses) or 0.001% of businesses and investors (if you count all the “still in” businesses as investors) are “still in.”

The larger the entity, the higher the percentage that are “still in.” Might that be because those decision-makers that are closer to the people they represent are less likely to embrace Paris?

Since the nine states that are “still in” account for about 34% of the country’s gross domestic product, you might think their being “still in” represents 34% of the American economy. But what makes those states “still in” is simply their governors signing on. None passed a referendum. None of their legislatures voted them “still in.” And the fact that only about one in 100,000 businesses and investors have signed on suggests that the percentage of the American economy truly represented as “still in” is actually minuscule.

Only 52% of all voters considered the environment “very important” — 69% of Clinton voters and 32% of Trump voters. And climate change isn’t all there is to “environment.” Only 47% of all voters considered climate change very important — 69% of Clinton’s voters and 32% of Trump’s.

So the “We Are Still In” website’s claim to represent “a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy,” let alone a sizeable percentage of Americans, is baloney.

And what does it mean to be “still in”? It means those states, counties, cities, colleges, businesses, and investors say they’ll “pursue ambitious climate goals.”

For the cities, the pledge is a repeat performance.

In 2005 Greg Nickels, mayor of Seattle, started the “Climate Protection Agreement,” pledging to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Mayors of over 1,000 other cities joined.

How’d they do?

Todd Myers, writing in National Review, reports that he contacted the mayors of thirty of the cities in Washington who signed on to find out how they’d done. Two-thirds didn’t know what he was talking about — i.e., their cities had forgotten the pledge.

Seattle had remembered, though, and found that it had reduced to only 1% below 1990 emissions — 1/7th of its goal.

New York, where then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg had pledged in 2007 to cut emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, will miss that target at the current rate. His successor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to reach 80% emission reductions by 2050, but “the city is already more than 4 percent behind and will need to reduce emissions at more than four times the current rate to have any hope of meeting [the] goal.”

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pledged to push emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. Right now its emissions are 10% higher than needed to be on track for that goal, and its “Climate Action Plan” says the current trend will leave it at more than 1/5th above 1990 levels and 3/5ths above its target.

Myers is right to say, “The failure of these cities to achieve existing goals is a stark demonstration of the gap between environmental rhetoric and results from those who style themselves as environmental heroes.”

Such green hypocrisy is par for the course.

Of course, even if those “still in” manage to keep their pledges, the impact on global temperature will be indetectably small. Complete implementation of the Paris agreement by all 195 signing countries would cut only 0.3? from global temperature in 2100, at a cost of $23.3 to $46.6 trillion per tenth of a degree. No wonder the author of "The Art of the Deal" considered it a bad deal!

From all the rest of America to those who are “still in”: You might be, but we’re out, and gladly so.


Can’t grow the economy and prevent default without expanding the electric grid

The nearly $20 trillion national debt will consume economy if we don’t start growing robustly — and soon

Here are some sobering numbers. Since the year 2000, the debt has been growing nominally at almost 7.7 percent a year. But the economy, before adjusting for inflation, has been growing much slower at little more than 3.9 percent a year.

As a result, the nation’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has grown, from 55 percent to 104 percent today in just 17 years.

If these two factors remain constant, in 20 years, the national debt will be a whopping $96.4 trillion while the economy’s GDP will only be $40.8 trillion — a unimaginable debt to GDP ratio of 236 percent.

In 2016, the U.S. paid $429.9 billion of gross interest owed on the debt, according to the Office of Management. That is an effective interest rate of 2.2 percent. At nearly $100 trillion of debt, well you can do the math, that would be $2.12 trillion of annual interest payments.

That’s a lot. In 2016, the government collected almost $3.3 trillion in tax revenue. If the economy were to really grow to $40.8 trillion by 2037, one might expect revenues to rise to an annual $7.2 trillion in that time, that is, if the revenue to GDP ratio remained constant.

Even then, about 29 percent of the federal government’s tax revenues would go to paying interest owed on the debt. Right now, that ratio is a little more than 13 percent.

Are you seeing red? Perhaps that’s because your eyes are now bleeding. Can you say downgrade? Nobody wants to admit the problem, but we’re practically whistling past the graveyard at the moment.

The solution, naturally, would be to balance the budget as quickly as possible. To its credit, the Trump administration has proposed a budget that gets to balance within 10 years, with $4.5 trillion of real spending cuts off of the government’s projected baseline spending over the next decade.

But we know how Congress deals with these matters. The President’s budget is never adopted. All Congressional “leaders” — I use the term generously — appear myopically capable of in recent times has been simply approving the same budget year-in, year-out.

Again, assuming nothing changes fiscally and to do with economic growth, the debt to GDP ratio will be a shocking 236 percent by 2037.

So, if Congress is not going to do anything to help, which, why would they? Sorry to be a pessimist but perhaps when Congress actually does something to lower the debt to GDP ratio on its own, which given how slowly the economy is growing, would practically require a balanced budget overnight, then we can change that assumption. In the meantime, nobody should expect Congress to solve our fiscal woes on its own.

Not without some help from the economy, that is. Yes, the other way to reduce the debt to GDP ratio would be to rapidly expand the economy, nominally faster than the debt.

Meaning, almost everything you can think of. Cut taxes, bring production back into the U.S., slash regulations, lower health care costs, incentivize investment in U.S.-based businesses and a key one not often discussed, expand the U.S. electricity grid.

In the past decade, the U.S. electricity grid has not produce any additional electricity. We produced 4 trillion kilowatt hours in 2007 and 3.9 trillion kilowatt hours in 2016. No growth whatsoever.

No wonder the economy has barely grown the past 10 years, which adjusting for inflation, was the worst economic growth since the GDP was invented as a measure.

Therefore, one of the greatest impediments to growth — which will make us go bankrupt and if you need a reminder see above — is the inability of the federal government to allow the electrical grid to expand. Instead, we’ve been closing power plants, leaving little spare capacity for the economy to grow.

This week, President Donald Trump is promoting energy week and will talk up American energy dominance at a speech in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Given the state of the economy after enduring the Obama administration’s power-freezing regulations, the emphasis on expanding U.S. access to energy is particularly well-timed.

It’s a rather simple choice for the nation and for the establishment in Washington, D.C. that foisted these regulations upon us. The economy cannot grow without expanding the electric grid. And if we do not grow the economy, we’re going to go broke.


NOAA: Record 140 Straight Months Without Major Hurricane Strike

Saturday, June 24 marked the completion of a record 140 straight months since the last major hurricane made landfall in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The last major hurricane to hit the continental U.S. was Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. According to NOAA, four major hurricanes hit the continental United States that year. They included Wilma, Rita, Katrina, and Dennis.

But since Wilma, no Category 3 or above hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States, making June 24, 2017 the end of a record 140 months without a major hurricane strike.

Prior to this 140-month stretch without a major hurricane strike, the longest major hurricane drought was the 96 months between September 1860 and August 1869.

NOAA has published data on all hurricanes striking the United States since the year 1851.

A "major hurricane" is defined as one that is Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which means it has sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and is capable of causing damage that is “devastating” or “catastrophic.”

NOAA is currently predicting that an "above normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely for this year.”

"For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season," NOAA says on its website. 

"Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher)," says NOAA, "of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)."

"An average season," said NOAA, "produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."


EPA’s Carbon Capture and Sequestration Is a Taxpayer-Funded Boondoggle That’s Destroying American Coal

A power plant once heralded by the Obama administration as the poster child for clean coal is now on its deathbed.

The plant hemorrhaged billions in cost overruns despite being heavily subsidized by the federal government. Mississippi regulators are ready to pull the plug.

Southern Company’s Kemper County Energy Facility had intended to use carbon capture and sequestration technology to gasify the coal, but instead, the plant has been running on natural gas since 2014.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission has unanimously passed a motion that the plant should only use natural gas moving forward.

The Obama administration touted the Kemper plant as a leading example of how a power plant would operate under climate change regulations for new power plants.

The regulations set new standards for carbon emissions that power plants could only meet by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. This would effectively have banned new coal-fired power plants from being built.

But carbon capture and sequestration technology poses its own obstacles. There is in fact no credible basis to state that it is adequately demonstrated proven technology, since no large-scale power plant in the United States currently uses it.

Yet it seems as though politicians and regulators in Washington may have watched “Field of Dreams” one too many times.

Adapting from the famous line, “If you build it, they will come,” the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy urged with regard to coal, “If you regulate and subsidize, the technology will come.”

In fact, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy claimed, “Rather than killing future coal, [the new rules] actually [set] out a certain pathway forward for coal to continue to be part of a diverse mix in this country.”

In the EPA’s regulatory impact analysis for the proposed New Source Performance Standards for new power plants, the EPA wrote:

“The EPA intends this rule to send a clear signal about the current and future status of [carbon capture and sequestration] technology. Identifying partial implementation of [this] technology as the best system of emission reductions for coal-fired power plants promotes further development of [carbon capture and sequestration], which is important for long-term CO2 emission reductions.”

From the subsidy side of the equation, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz chimed in, stating that “[s]ince the beginning of the administration, [the Department of Energay] has invested around $6 billion to advance clean coal technologies—particularly in carbon capture, utilization, and storage—that substantially reduce carbon emissions.”

Years and billions of dollars in cost overruns later, the fact remains that carbon capture and sequestration is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle. Southern Company’s Kemper plant in Mississippi, a stimulus handout recipient, has been plagued with delays and cost overruns.

The estimated cost, initially projected at $2 billion, now stands at $7.5 billion, making it the most costly coal-fired electricity generating unit in U.S. history and causing Moody’s Investors Services to downgrade Mississippi Power’s ratings in March 2017.

Two years ago, Mississippi Power applied for a 41 percent rate increase to offset construction costs.

One issue at hand is the definition of so-called clean coal.

Many environmental activist organizations believe clean coal is oxymoronic. That’s simply not the case. Regulations required coal-fired power plants to install scrubbers that significantly reduce the pollutants like soot and chemicals that have adverse public health impacts and environmental costs.

Technological improvements have improved efficiencies of power plants, reducing emissions. Overall, the pollutants known to cause harm to public health and the environment have been declining for decades.

The definition of clean coal commonly used today includes coal without any carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas that does not have any direct human health impacts.

Our coal-fired generating units in the U.S. without carbon and capture sequestration do not run like those in China. Coal in America is already clean.

The failure of the Kemper plant should raise a giant red flag for policymakers, regulators, and White House officials. Appropriators should not throw good money after bad. It’s time to end carbon and capture sequestration programs within the Department of Energy.

The EPA should roll back Obama-era regulations for new power plants and emphasize that carbon and capture sequestration technology should be used only if companies believe it is in their economic interest to do so.

Technological innovation in energy markets moves at a blistering clip, far outpacing Washington.

But that doesn’t mean policymakers can dream up ideas and use taxpayer-funded subsidies and its regulatory power to bring that wishful thinking to fruition. It is a waste of money and diverts resources away from other competitive uses.

Like Mississippi’s Public Service Commission, Washington should pull the plug on clean coal.


An energy consultant says "Green" South Australia will soon pay the most in the world for electricity

An energy market consultant says South Australian homes will soon be paying the highest electricity prices in the world.

Energy market consultant Bruce Mountain says SA will overtake Denmark on Saturday when electricity retailers hit most households with an average rise of about 18 per cent.

"My estimate is that the representative household in South Australia is paying a price that is a little bit higher than the representative household in Denmark or elsewhere and Denmark has known to be the highest," Mr Mountain told ABC radio on Wednesday.



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   main.html 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, 2017

How Environmental Groups Are Responding to Trump’s ‘Solar Wall’ Pitch

I suspect that this was mainly a tease on Trump's part

President Donald Trump’s idea of putting solar panels on his long-promised border wall hasn’t gained a lot of support among top environmental lobbying groups—even though the organizations have long backed solar power as a key renewable energy.

“This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money,” @POTUS says.

“The problem with talking about solar panels on Trump’s border wall is that it’s science fiction,” Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, a liberal environmentalist group, told The Daily Signal. “Just like clean coal does not exist and will never exist, Trump’s wall with solar panels won’t exist, so it’s irrelevant to discuss climate issues.”

A spokesman with the Sierra Club referred to a tweet storm by the Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune, reacting to Trump’s proposal for solar panels on the border wall.

Speaking Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump proposed putting solar panels on the wall. Such panels would capture power along the hot southern border, to help increase the power supply, which the president said would help pay for the wall.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money,” Trump told the Iowa crowd.

“And that’s good, right? Is that good? You are the first group I’ve told that to. A solar wall. It makes sense. Let’s see. We are working it out. Solar wall panels.”

Trump added: “Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.”

There would likely be more effective ways to pay for the wall, said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a pro-border enforcement think tank.

“It is one of the sunnier parts of the country, but solar panels are fairly fragile,” Camarota told The Daily Signal. “Each illegal border crosser has a cost of about $75,000 for taxpayers. A modest reduction in border crossings could help pay for the wall.”

Camarota, who believes interior enforcement is perhaps more important than the wall, said the reduction in needed law enforcement and health costs from drugs not entering the country would also offset the costs.

There are too many uncertainties to know whether this would cover the cost of the border wall, said Nick Loris, a research fellow in energy and environmental policy at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s entirely too early to tell and there are too many outstanding questions. If the solar panels are subsidized, we’re just paying for them through another mechanism,” Loris told The Daily Signal. “It’s difficult to know what the solar panels would cost, how much energy they’d produce standing vertically as opposed to angled horizontally like you see at a solar farm or a rooftop.”

It would require additional building, Loris said, adding:

You also have to factor in the transmission lines to take the energy from remote places to where it’s needed. There’s repair, replacement, and waste costs. They’re also not very efficient compared to other forms of energy, which is why they only account for a meager 2 percent of our net electricity generation, even with generous support from the taxpayer. There’s a lot of question marks surrounding the project so that it’s difficult to know how costly or beneficial it would be.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined “A Shiny Border Wall That Pays for Itself” by Vasilis Fthenakis, an earth and engineering professor at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, contends:

Resolving the political impasse between Mexico and the U.S. over a border wall requires innovative thinking. How about this: Presidents Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto should work together to construct a ‘solar wall’—a massive string of photovoltaic panels—on the Mexican side of the border.

Another op-ed in the liberal Huffington Post on Dec. 16, 2016, “Instead of Trump’s Wall, Let’s Build A Border of Solar Panels,” by Homero Aridjis, a poet and novelist, and James Ramey, a professor at Metropolitan Autonomous University and member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers, said:

There is indeed a way that Mexico could create a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, one constructed exclusively on the Mexican side, with substantial benefits for both countries and the planet: a solar border. …

If one were to construct the equivalent of a strip of arrays one-third the width of a football field south of the entire U.S.-Mexico border, wider in some areas and narrower in others, with a wide berth allowed for populated areas and stretches of rugged terrain, sufficient energy might be produced to also supply Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas, and Houston. For the U.S. cities, it would be a way to obtain cheaper and cleaner energy than they can from other sources.


U.S. Forest Service Can’t Cut It

“Budget cuts threaten forests’ roads, hunting, fishing,” headlines the piece by McClatchy reporter Anshu Siripurapu. Trails “could get messier,” and maintenance on bridges, dams and recreation sites “could” become tougher. “That’s the potential fate of national forest projects, thanks to President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018,” Siripurapu warns. The president seeks $100 million for forest service capital improvement and maintenance, down from $363 million and “a 73 percent cut.” Actually it isn’t, and we are not talking about trees here. The U.S. Forest Service is a federal bureaucracy and if it gets less money than bosses want, strictly speaking, that is not a cut. Likewise, as we noted, if a politician gets a raise of 4 percent instead of 6 percent, that is not a salary “reduction.” For all his alarm, Mr. Siripurapu nowhere questions whether the U.S. Forest Service has been doing a good job with all those taxpayer dollars.

As economist Robert H. Nelson notes, in a 2013 survey federal workers ranked the U.S. Forest Service worse than 260 out of 300 similar agencies. Forest Service mismanagement allowed wildfires to threaten communities and resources throughout the West at record levels, and this problem endured for 15 years. The agency also failed to address declines in forest health and dropped “multiple use management” in favor of “ecosystem management.” This resulted in “a radical curtailing of timber harvesting, forest thinning and other more aggressive actions that would have helped to address the continuing fire problem.” Nelson recommends a management model similar to charter schools, freeing the agency from a “bureaucratic straitjacket” and holding them accountable for results.

Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute told Siripurapu the government should consider selling some of its land to private companies to raise money and to reduce the amount of forest it has to manage. As Burnett explained, “There is no reason the federal government needs to own 100 million acres of forest.”


UK: Bad green policies waste money

Matt Ridley

Even Michael Gove’s enemies concede he is good at tackling vested interests. Even his friends concede he has a knack for making enemies in the process. In his new job as secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, if he is to achieve anything, he may have to do a lot of both. So here’s a field guide to the vested interests he will encounter in the countryside.

Bruce Yandle, the American economist, once coined a phrase to explain why the disastrous policy of prohibition became law in the United States between 1920 and 1933: “Bootleggers and Baptists”. A very effective coalition developed between high-minded, high-profile moral campaigners and low-mind, low-profile smuggling profiteers to push for the outlawing of alcohol. The result was legislation that was good for bootleggers and Baptists but bad for society as a whole.

As Mr Yandle put it: “Baptists lower the costs of favour-seeking for the bootleggers, because politicians can pose as being motivated purely by the public interest even while they promote the interests of well-funded businesses”.

This coalition is alive and well in the farming and environmental world. Bootlegger car makers got politicians to give tax breaks to diesel cars on the Baptist grounds that they produce less carbon dioxide, with the result that we have worse air pollution than we would have had. Baptist greens preach about the imminent dangers of climate change, enabling their bootlegger chums in the renewable-energy industry to trouser vast subsidies for ruining landscapes and killing eagles while reducing emissions very little, if at all. Politicians fall for it.

Farmers nobly say they are feeding a hungry world and protecting the countryside from ruin, while actually defending a subsidy system that deters innovation, gives them a retirement income and pushes up the price of land.

In other words, Mr Gove will not have to learn the difference between the lesser whitethroat and the spotted flycatcher to do well in his new job, but he will have to spot the vested bootleggers hiding behind the green Baptists. He will be familiar with the problem from his time as education secretary, where he took on the teachers and civil servants on the grounds that they were sometimes serving their own interests more than those of their clients — children.

The civil servants in Defra are almost entirely in thrall to whatever the big environmental pressure groups say, in a fine case of regulatory capture or Parkinson’s law: greens lobby for regulations, which civil servants need bigger budgets to administer, and the monitoring of which can be outsourced back to the same greens.

Try telling an environmental bureaucrat that you think his or her priorities or methods are wrong and prepare to be denounced on moral — not practical — grounds by their allies in organisations with very big budgets. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the World Wide Fund For Nature are huge multinationals these days with a combined annual budget of more than a billion dollars, a big chunk of which is spent on lobbying, suing and public relations — rather than practical conservation.

Yet some green priorities are wrong and somebody needs to say so. The current obsession of the environmental pressure groups, shared by the civil servants and quangocrats, is that there must be no “watering down” of environmental designations after Brexit. That is to say, the alphabet soup of “special protected areas”, “marine conservation zones”, “Ramsar sites”, “sites of special scientific interest”, “areas of outstanding natural beauty” and so forth must not be lost, even though some of them derive from European legislation.

Nor should they be lost. But the risk of that is zero. What actually happens inside those zones and in the rest of the countryside to encourage nature to thrive is of far greater importance. And today the environmental bureaucracy and the green lobbyists with which it is allied are more obsessed with attending conferences, producing reports and monitoring compliance than with taking practical, active measures to conserve species. Too many wear suits and not enough wear boots.

Let me give you a specific example. The curlew is one of Britain’s most iconic birds, its haunting call synonymous with a Pennine dawn in spring. These islands host 25 per cent of the world’s population but in Ireland their numbers are now down by 90 per cent, while in southern England they have all but vanished as a breeding species, and even in uplands such as the Lake District and Wales they are becoming worryingly scarce. Of the world’s eight species of curlew, two have almost certainly gone extinct.

Fortunately, curlews are thriving in the North Pennines. Earlier this spring I spent several dawns watching birds in a Durham dale and the bubbling song of hundreds of curlews was continuous. This success is not because of legislation or the designation of the area as a nature reserve. It is because of grouse shooting, a self-financed form of conservation that protects and manages the habitat that curlews like and controls the predators that eat their eggs and chicks — chiefly crows, foxes and stoats.

The result is a landscape from which those subsidised bootlegger blights of the uplands — wind farms, non-native blocks of forestry and overgrazing — have been excluded, allowing curlews to thrive along with golden plovers, merlins, lapwings, ring ouzels, redshanks, black grouse and short-eared owls, all of which I saw in my dawn vigil last month.

Mr Gove should demand that environmental policies are judged by their results, not their intentions. In fisheries, air pollution, tackling invasive species, reforming farm subsidies, wildlife conservation, badgers, landscape protection, genetically modified food and pesticides, what counts is not the size of the budget going in, the moral motive behind it, or the number of committees overseeing it — but whether it gets results. That should be the watchword of the new Defra secretary.


Warmists go to court in New Zealand

The Prime Minister says a law student is "free to try" to change Government policy or the law with her case against the Government saying not enough has been done to combat climate change.

Some big guns are backing the little player in a David and Goliath battle.

Sarah Thomson's judicial review against the Minister of Climate Change in the High Court in Wellington claims the Government's Paris Climate Agreement targets don't go far enough - but the Government argues its targets are fair.

Bill English [PM] today said that "the targets for New Zealand are already pretty challenging" and added that Ms Thomson is "of course free to try like anyone else to influence Government policy or the law in this respect".

This is the first time in New Zealand history where a case has been taken against the Government over climate change, and while Ms Thomson told 1 NEWS she is nervous ahead of the review, she is also confident.

"I've got the backing of amazing lawyers and scientists," she said. "I see it as an ordinary person taking a stand, you know?
"You don't need to be an expert or have a position of power to make a difference and I hope that message gets through.


One lonely molecule…

Ian Plimer

The 24 million people in Australia generate 1.5 per cent of annual global human-induced CO2 emissions. USA emits 14 times and China emits 26 times more CO2 than Australia. Australia has 0.33 per cent of the global population.

Our high standard of living, a landmass of 7,692,024 square kilometres with a sparse inland population and greenhouse gas-emitting livestock combined with the transport of livestock, food and mined products, long distances to cities and ports and the export of ores, coal, metals and food for 80 million people result in high per capita CO2 emissions. Australia’s exports of coal, iron ore and gas contributes to increasing the standard of living, longevity and health of billions of people in Asia.

If Australia emits 1.5 per cent of global annual CO2 emissions, 3 per cent of the total annual global emissions are anthropogenic and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million by volume of CO2, then one molecule in 6.6 million molecules in the atmosphere is CO2 emitted from humans in Australia. This molecule has an atmospheric life of about 7 years before it is removed from the atmosphere by natural sequestration into life and limey sediments.

Australia has far greater economic priorities than to change a whole economy, increase energy costs, decrease employment and decrease international competiveness because of one poor lonely molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules. It is a very long bow to argue that this one molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules derived from Australia has any measurable effect whatsoever on global climate. Furthermore, it has yet to be shown that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming, so why even bother with a Renewables Energy Target?

Australia exports a significant global share of refined aluminium, zinc, lead, copper and gold and hence takes a per capita emissions hit for countries that import and use Australia’s metals, because smelting and refining in Australia result in CO2 emissions. Neither smelting nor refining of the metals for other countries could take place without burning fossil fuels. For example, a steel mill uses coal to reduce iron oxide into iron metal and the carbon in coal is oxidised to CO2. A modern economy cannot rely on sea breezes and sunbeams to generate base load electricity for industry and a decarbonised economy would be a deindustrialised economy.

Annual Australian per capita CO2 emissions are in the order of 20 tonnes per person. There are 30 hectares of forest and 74 hectares of grassland for every Australian and each hectare annually sequesters about 1 tonne of CO2 by photosynthesis. CO2 is plant food. On the continental Australian landmass, Australians are removing by natural sequestration more than three times the amount of CO2 they emit. Crops remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere. Australia’s net contribution to atmospheric CO2 is negative and this is confirmed by the net CO2 flux estimates from the IBUKI satellite CO2 data set.

Australia’s continental shelf is 2,500,000 square kilometres in area. Carbon dioxide dissolves in ocean water and the cooler the water, the more CO2 dissolves in water. Living organisms extract dissolved CO2 and calcium from seawater to build corals and shells. This natural marine sequestration locks away even more Australian emissions of CO2 and adds to the negative contribution of atmospheric CO2 made by Australia.

Using the thinking of the IPCC, UN and activist green groups, Australia should be very generously financially rewarded with money from populous, desert and landlocked countries for removing from the atmosphere its own emitted CO2 and the CO2 emissions from many other nations. By this method, wealthy Australia can take money from poor countries. This is, of course, normal for the green industry. For example, the subsidising of wind and solar power takes money from the poor and passes it on to companies making a fortune from the government’s RET.

Satellite measurements show that there has been a greening of the planet over the last few decades, thanks to a slight increase in traces of plant food in the atmosphere. Without CO2, there would be no plants and without plants, there would be no animals. Geology shows that atmospheric CO2 has not driven global warming since planet Earth formed. Why should it now? Dangerous global warming did not occur in the past when the atmospheric CO2 content was hundreds of times higher than now. Each of the major ice ages was initiated at a time when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere than now.

The planet has not warmed for two decades despite a massive increase in CO2 emissions during the industrialisation of Asia. Computer models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and over 30 million weather balloons have not detected a modelled hot spot over the equator. All models have failed and are not in accord with measurements.

Australia has thousands of years of energy as coal, gas, oil and uranium and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy. Yet it has unreliable and very expensive energy. We have wasted billions on unreliable ‘renewable’ electricity resulting in energy poverty on the assumption that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. It has never been shown that human emission of CO2 drives global warming and the Australian contribution of one lonely molecule in 6.6 million is not worth expenditure of a single penny. President Trump did not fall for one of the biggest cons in the history of time. Australia needs leadership rather than marching down the RET path to international uncompetiveness. If subsidies paid by consumers for unreliable inefficient electricity were abandoned, the markets would quickly reaffirm that energy from fossil fuels is the cheapest and most reliable source of electricity for an industrialised economy.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Scientific Consensus Up In Smoke: ‘Big Bang Theory Is Wrong, Basic Maths Is Incorrect’

Stephen Hawking’s ideas about the origins of the universe — which have long been at the centre of physics and cosmology — are wrong, says one of his closest friends.

Professor Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute in Canada, has long questioned Hawking’s vision of the Big Bang, when space, time and matter are thought to have burst into existence. Now he has published research suggesting that the basic maths behind Hawking’s views is incorrect and that science must rethink the origins of the universe.

“Our research implies that we either should look for another picture to understand the very early universe, or that we have to rethink the most elementary models of quantum gravity,” said Job Feldbrugge, one of Turok’s co-authors.

Hawking’s views date to the 1980s, when he and James Hartle published mathematical research suggesting that the universe emerged smoothly from an infinitesimally small point.

However, in a paper entitled No Smooth Beginning for Spacetime, Turok and his colleagues re-examined Hawking’s work using new mathematical techniques to show that the energies within such a universe would be so wild and fluctuating that it would immediately destroy itself.

The maths Turok used was not around when Hawking produced his theories, he said.

Turok, who was once a professor of applied maths and theoretical physics working with Hawking at Cambridge, offered a new theory for the universe: “the Big Bounce”. This suggests the universe is locked in a perpetual cycle of big bangs in which it expands, then contracts to a tiny point before exploding outwards again.


Glastonbury aftermath in Britain, enjoyed by tens of thousands of eco warriors, environmentalists and some anti fracking campaigners, all saving the planet

A 500-Year Record of Sea Level from Goa, India:  Recent Stability
Exceptionally well-validated work

Paper Reviewed: Mörner, N.-A. 2017. Coastal morphology and sea-level changes in Goa, India during the last 500 years. Journal of Coastal Research 33: 421-434.

One of the main fears about CO2-induced global warming is that temperatures will rise to such a degree that vast amounts of ice across the surface of the Earth will melt, thereby raising sea levels and potentially displacing millions of inhabitants who presently live in coastal regions. And in light of these concerns, scientists have been meticulously monitoring sea level rise, to see if there exists any indication that such a disaster is indeed imminent.

Fortunately, as revealed in a number of recent studies, proof of such an acceleration of sea level rise remains elusive (see the many reviews we have posted on this topic under the subheading of Sea Level here). The latest work to demonstrate that there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about current rates of sea level rise comes from a paper written by sea level expert Nils-Axel Mörner (Mörner, 2017) and published in the Journal of Coastal Research.

For his analysis, Mörner utilized coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, historical documents and tide gauge records to present "a detailed record of the changes in sea level in Goa, [India] over the last 500 years. This new record was then compared with ten other sites located within the Indian Ocean and evaluated for accuracy.

Results of this analysis revealed the oscillatory behavior of the Goa record (see figure below). Sea levels were lower than present in the early 1500s, then rose to a height of approximately 50 cm above the current stand in the 17th century. Thereafter, it dropped again to near-previous low levels in the 18th century before rising again to a height approximately 20 cm above present in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most recently, during the majority buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, the sea level at Goa fell by approximately 20 cm over the period 1955-1962, thereafter experiencing, in the words of Mörner, "a virtually stable level over the last 50 years."

As for the cause of the Goa sea level oscillations, Mörner says they are "primarily driven by deformations of the dynamic sea level and redistribution of water masses," including (1) changes in evaporation/precipitation that can lower/raise the sea level by 30-40 cm, (2) changes in ocean currents, (3) monsoon regime changes, (4) an east-west redistribution of water masses and (5) a low-high latitude interchange of water masses.

In commenting on the Goa record, Mörner says that its comparison with the ten other sites in the Indian Ocean yields "a surprisingly unified picture of the sea-level changes during the last 500 years" that "seems to lack ... any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades." Such findings would therefore appear to fly in the face of alarmist predictions of rapidly increasing rates of sea level rise in response to CO2-induced global warming. The scare stories are simply not materializing.


We should be glad the US is out of the climate club

States that claim they’re committed to Paris do nothing for the climate and ill serve their citizens

Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

Ten states, some 150 cities, and 1,100 businesses, universities and organizations insist “We are still in” – committed to the Paris climate agreement and determined to continue reducing carbon dioxide emissions and preventing climate change. In the process, WASI members claim, they will create jobs and promote innovation, trade and international competitiveness. It’s mostly hype, puffery and belief in tooth fairies.

Let’s begin with the climate. When Delaware signed on to WASI, for example, Governor Carney cited rising average temperatures, rising sea levels, and an increase in extreme weather events. In Delaware, sea level rise is almost entirely due to subsiding land resulting from compaction of glacial outwash, isostatic response from the retreat of the ice sheets more than 12,000 years ago, and groundwater extraction.

The biggest threat to homes, roadways and wildlife habitats lies not in sea level rise – but in the effects of nor’easters, tropical storm remnants and other weather events that impact Delaware’s sand-built barrier islands. Moreover, not a single category 3-5 hurricane has struck the US mainland for a record 11.5 years.

Climate models have long overstated the supposed rise in air temperature. Recently, even alarmist scientists like Ben Santer have agreed that a warming hiatus has kept air temperatures unchanged for over 15 years, even as plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere rose to 400 parts per million.

No trends exist in tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, droughts or other weather extremes. Contentions that these changes will pose health risks and threaten our economy are purely scare tactics. Climate has always changed and weather is always variable, due to complex, powerful natural forces. Insisting that these events must be caused or exacerbated by human activity reflects a denial of basic climate science.

Full adherence to the Paris Treaty by all nations would prevent an undetectable 0.3°F (0.2°C) rise by 2100 – assuming that all climate change is driven by humans and not by natural forces. This meaningless achievement, by switching to 100% renewable energy, would cost $12.7 trillion to $93 trillion by 2030.

Surely, WASI members and the rest of the world have better uses for that money than chasing climate chimeras. Paying their massive state debt, pension, welfare and retirement obligations, for instance; in developing nations, getting electricity and safe water to people and ending their poverty and disease.

But substantially reducing CO2 emissions will create jobs, won’t it? For every job these mandates and subsidies create, multiple jobs will be lost in businesses that require affordable, reliable energy. Your local or statewide CO2 emissions may decrease. But in 150+ countries that are under no obligation under Paris to reduce their fossil fuel use, emissions will increase. WASI groups may take pride in “resisting Trump,” but their actions really hurt America’s working class families, who had no vote on the matter.

WASI members California, Connecticut, Hawaii and New York already have among the worst unfunded pension liabilities. Their residential electricity prices are already outrageous: 17 cents a kilowatt-hour in NY, 19 in CA, 20 in CT and 29 in HI – versus 9 cents in North Dakota. Honoring “Paris commitments” would send rates skyrocketing to German and Danish levels: 37 cents per kWh. Expensive energy will hurt poor and minority families the most and send jobs to countries where energy costs less.

Just imagine what your WASI actions would do to households, hospitals, businesses, factories, malls and schools. How it would kill jobs and swell unemployment and welfare rolls – while creating a lot of low-pay, largely part-time jobs. Rather than producing jobs, the Paris Treaty is a job-killer for the USA.

For all these reasons, we should be glad we are out! We ask those who have told their constituents they are “still in,” How exactly will you meet your Paris commitments, and what exactly will you achieve?

How will you slash your CO2 emissions by 26-28% by 2025, as required for the USA under the Paris pact?  The United States reduced CO2 emissions by 12% between 2005 and 2015. But that was accomplished by a downturn in the economy and increased reliance on natural gas, most of which is produced by hydraulic fracturing. Will you support fracking and build more gas-fired power plants?

Or will you build new nuclear and hydroelectric power plants to reduce your fossil fuel dependence? You cannot rely on wind and solar, as they currently account for barely 2% of overall US energy needs and the mining required to get rare earth metals, cadmium, iron, copper, limestone and other raw materials for these technologies has extensive, often horrendous environmental, health and human rights impacts.

Growing populations mean more energy will be needed. Do you expect wind and solar to grow to cover the new demand? These highly expensive technologies require vast land areas, much of it taken from wildlife habitats – and huge government/taxpayer subsidies. From whom will you take this money?

What will you get for your efforts? The cost is enormous, for minimal benefits. Higher electricity prices will affect businesses, hospitals, jobs and families in your state. The impact of 30, 40 or 50 cents per kilowatt-hour electricity will be devastating – especially for the poor, minority and blue-collar workers and families you say you care deeply about. They will be forced to choose among energy, food, clothing, shelter, health and safety. How will this serve climate and environmental justice?

By contrast, a change in global air temperature of about 0.01°F will have zero impact. That’s how much reduced warming the world is likely to see from all the sacrifices imposed by “We are still in” programs. Storms, floods and droughts are not linked to CO2 concentrations, so your actions will have no effect in these areas. Avoidance of an un-measurable increase in air temperature is simply not worth the cost.

Governors who have committed their states to this climate-centered resistance movement have done so without approval from the legislature or their constituents. How do you propose to pay for this unilateral executive decision? With tax increase and soaring energy costs? How will your constituents react to that?

The “We are still in” press release proudly proclaims that its members contribute $6.2 trillion a year to the US economy. That’s one-third of the United States $18.5 trillion GDP in 2016.

Under the Paris formula, the United States is to contribute $23.5 billion per year initially to the Green Climate Fund – with the US contribution rising to some $106 billion per year by 2030, based on the same percentages. Your one-third WASI share of that would be $7.8 billion in 2017, rising to $35 billion a year by 2030. Is this part of your vaunted commitment to the Paris treaty? How do you anticipate paying that?

Can individual cities and counties opt out of your pact, and become sanctuary cities or counties, to protect their jobs and families against runaway energy costs, climate fund payments and more autocratic actions?

By deciding that their schools will stay in the Paris Treaty, college and university presidents will drive up energy and other costs on their campuses. Did you consult with and get approval from your boards of trustees, legislators, taxpayers, students and parents – or was this simply another executive decision?

Delaware gets 95% of its electricity from natural gas, coal and oil. How exactly will the University of Delaware slash its fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions by the 26-28% required by Paris? How will George Mason University, with Virginia getting 63% of its electricity from fossil fuels?

Have you calculated how much this will cost? Will you make up the difference by increasing tuition? How will you compensate those who can least afford these increasing expenses? In the interest of integrity, accuracy, transparency and ethics, have you made those analyses public (if they exist)?

Did all you “socially responsible” companies and organizations in WASI get approval from your boards of directors, shareholders, customers and clients before committing to stay in Paris? Did you analyze and discuss the likely economic and employment ramifications? Or are you the real climate deniers – denying the costs of anti-fossil fuel, renewable energy commitments, regulations, subsidies and mandates?

Finally, for the millions of voters, taxpayers, citizens, students, workers and consumers who are being impacted by “We are still in” states, cities, colleges, universities, businesses and organizations, we ask:

Are you still in with expending trillions of dollars to have an undetectable effect on Earth’s future climate? If not, perhaps it’s time you made your voices heard – and started resisting The Resistance.

Via email

Australia: Nice work for a Greenie

QUESTION: Where can you get a job where you only have to turn up to the office one day a week and don’t have to produce any tangible work?

Answer: The Greens.

That is the extraordinary claim at the heart of a court case where a top former Greens officer is suing the progressive pro-worker party for sacking her and withholding her entitlements after she raised concerns about another senior official who didn’t appear to do anything.

Apparently, according to a sensational legal claim obtained by, not doing anything in the Greens can get you a promotion and a shot at parliament.

In a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court, former NSW Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf says she was hired in 2014 to “professionalise” the party’s management and “introduce policies of corporate governance”.

However she says her position became untenable after she raised concerns about Planning and Environmental Law Officer James Ryan, who was later promoted to campaign coordinator.

Ms Medcalf claims she was terminated so that Mr Ryan and NSW Greens co-convenor Hall Greenland could spend the party’s taxpayer-funded election monies without proper scrutiny – something the party denies.

She said both her and the Greens agreed that she would leave with a termination payment of over $90,000 only to have the party later accuse her of “serious misconduct” and withhold the payment. She is now suing the party for wrongful dismissal as well as aggravated damages to express the court’s “disgust”.
Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.

Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.Source:News Limited

In a statement of claim tendered to the NSW Supreme Court — largely disputed by the Greens — Ms Medcalf said Mr Ryan worked only three days a week, including two days from home.

He was supposed to produce monthly performance reports on what he actually did, but did not produce any, the claim alleges. Nor did he produce any “reports, memoranda, notes or other documents” to demonstrate any of his work.

However the Greens deny that Mr Ryan’s work was inadequate or that he failed to properly report to Ms Medcalf.

Comment has been sought from Mr Ryan.

In late 2015 Mr Ryan was promoted to “Campaign Coordinator” for NSW ahead of the 2016 federal election, at which the Greens Senate vote in NSW went slightly backwards and where they failed to win any lower house seats.

In her statement of claim, Ms Medcalf says Mr Ryan “failed to properly manage his role and the activities of those beneath him … adequately, or at all” and would tell staff he had delegated other tasks and functions “when he had not done so”.

And when he was made campaign coordinator, Ms Medcalf had deemed it unnecessary to fill his previous position because Mr Ryan had not actually done anything in it.



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   main.html 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, 2017

"Yes Minister" returns.  Very sound on global warming

Part 2

Hottest temperature in Britain was just an urban heat island effect

Lots of very hot surfaces and big heat outputs at airports.  All those jet exhausts are pretty toasty

Headline writers were itching during last week’s heatwave to proclaim that it was a “record breaking” June, particularly on June 21, when the BBC flashed up that the temperature had hit “35 degrees” (in fact it had only been 34.5).

The problem, as all had to admit, was that this was only the hottest June spell since the drought year of 1976, when June temperatures on seven days exceeded 34.5, followed by months more of exceptional heat before the drought broke in September.

But the suspicions of that expert analyst Paul Homewood were aroused when he noticed that the 34.5 degrees had only been recorded in one place, Heathrow airport: just as happened two years ago when the Met Office splashed across the media that July 1 2015 had been “the hottest July day ever”, with a temperature of 36.7 degrees, again recorded only at Heathrow airport.

SOURCE.  Homewood here

We've been here before

Charlie Munger: Gore’s ‘not very smart’ & ‘an idiot’, but became filthy rich investing in ‘global warming’

Warren Buffett’s vice chairman, Charlie Munger, told a small meeting of investors that former Vice President Al Gore is “not very smart” and “an idiot” but was still able to make “$3 or $400 million in your business” by “obsessing” about “global warming.”
“Al Gore has hundreds of millions dollars in your profession. And he’s an idiot. It’s an interesting story. And a true one,” Munger told investors.

According to CNBC on June 23: “Though the comments were made more than four months ago, they went largely unnoticed and have not been widely reported on elsewhere.”

“Al Gore has come into you fellas business, Munger said. “He has made $3 or $400 million in your business. And he’s not very smart. He smoked a lot of pot as he coasted trough Harvard with a gentleman’s C. But he had one obsessive idea that global warming was a terrible thing and he would protect the world from it,” he explained.  [Note: Gentleman’s C is defined by Urban Dictionary as “A grade given to a student (traditionally with wealthy parents) instead of a failing grade.”]

“So his idea when he went into investment counseling is he was not going to put any CO2 in the air,” Munger explained to the investors noting that Gore’s simple strategy of buying only service company stocks enabled the former Vice President to become very rich.

Munger explained: “So he found some partner to go into investment counseling with and says we’re not going to have any (carbon dioxide). But this partner is a value investor and a good one. So what they did is, is Gore hired staff to find people who didn’t put CO2 in the air. Of course that put him into services. Microsoft and all these service companies were just ideally located. And this value investor picked the best service companies. So all of a sudden the clients are making hundreds of millions of dollars and they are paying part of it to Al Gore.

CNBC reported: Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson in one of his email newsletters pointed to the YouTube videos of Munger’s informal question-and-answer session held after the Journal meeting, and other investors have confirmed the subject matter of the talk.

Munger is one of the most celebrated investors in the world and was an essential partner in Buffett‘s success. Before becoming vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the billionaire had quite the track record himself. From 1962 to 1975 Munger’s investment partnership generated 20 percent annual returns versus the S&P 500‘s 5 percent.


The Nanny State, Showerheads, and the Declining Quality of Life

 Fortunately, the showerhead nonsense has not spread to Australia.  I have great showers -- JR

When I write about regulation, I usually focus on big-picture issues involving economic costs, living standards, and competitiveness.  Those are very important concerns, but the average person in American probably gets more irked by rules that impact the quality of life.

    Inferior light bulbs
    Substandard toilets
    Inadequate washing machines
    Crummy dishwashers

That’s a grim list, but it’s time to augment it.

Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education explains that the government also has made showering a less pleasant experience. He starts by expressing envy about Brazilian showers.

    …was shocked with delight at the shower in Brazil. …step into the shower and you have a glorious capitalist experience. Hot water, really hot, pours down on you like a mighty and unending waterfall… At least the socialists in Brazil knew better than to destroy such an essential of civilized life.

I know what he’s talking about. I’m in a hotel (not in Brazil), and my shower this morning was a tedious experience because the water flow was so anemic.

Why would a hotel not want customers to have an enjoyable and quick shower? The answer is government.

    …here we’ve forgotten. We have long lived with regulated showers, plugged up with a stopper imposed by government controls imposed in 1992. There was no public announcement. It just happened gradually. After a few years, you couldn’t buy a decent shower head. They called it a flow restrictor and said it would increase efficiency. By efficiency, the government means “doesn’t work as well as it used to.” …You can see the evidence of the bureaucrat in your shower if you pull off the showerhead and look inside. It has all this complicated stuff inside, whereas it should just be an open hole, you know, so the water could get through. The flow stopper is mandated by the federal government.

The problem isn’t just the water coming out of the showerhead. It’s the water coming into your home.

    It’s not just about the showerhead. The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure.

So why are politicians and bureaucrats imposing these rules?

Ostensibly for purposes of conservation.

    …what about the need to conserve water? Well, the Department of the Interior says that domestic water use, which includes even the water you use on your lawn and flower beds, constitutes a mere 2% of the total, so this unrelenting misery spread by government regulations makes hardly a dent in the whole. In any case, what is the point of some vague sense of “conserving” when the whole purpose of modern appliances and indoor plumbing is to improve our lives and sanitation? (Free societies have a method for knowing how much of something to use or not use; it is called the signaling system of prices.)

Jeffrey is right. If there really is a water shortage (as there sometimes is in parts of the country and world), then prices are the best way of encouraging conservation.

Now let’s dig in the archives of the Wall Street Journal for a 2010 column on the showerhead issue. Apparently bureaucrats are irked that builders and consumers used multiple showerheads to boost the quality of their daily showers.

    Regulators are going after some of the luxury shower fixtures that took off in the housing boom. Many have multiple nozzles, cost thousands of dollars and emit as many as 12 gallons of water a minute. In May, the DOE stunned the plumbing-products industry when it said it would adopt a strict definition of the term “showerhead”… A 1992 federal law says a showerhead can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. For years, the term “showerhead” in federal regulations was understood by many manufacturers to mean a device that directs water onto a bather. Each nozzle in a shower was considered separate and in compliance if it delivered no more than the 2.5-gallon maximum. But in May, the DOE said a “showerhead” may incorporate “one or more sprays, nozzles or openings.” Under the new interpretation, all nozzles would count as a single showerhead and be deemed noncompliant if, taken together, they exceed the 2.5 gallons-a-minute maximum.

And here’s something that’s both amusing and depressing.

The regulations are so crazy that an entrepreneur didn’t think they were real.

    Altmans Products, a U.S. unit of Grupo Helvex of Mexico City, says it got a letter from the DOE in January and has stopped selling several popular models, including the Shower Rose, which delivers 12 gallons of water a minute. Pedro Mier, the firm’s vice president, says his customers “just like to feel they’re getting a lot of water.” Until getting the DOE letter, his firm didn’t know U.S. law limited showerhead water usage, Mr. Mier says. “At first, I thought it was a scam.”

Unsurprisingly, California is “leading” the way. Here are some passages from an article in the L.A. Times from almost two years ago.

    The flow of water from shower heads and bathroom faucets in California will be sharply reduced under strict new limits approved Wednesday by the state Energy Commission. Current rules, established in 1994 at the federal level, allow a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute from a shower head. Effective next July, the limit will fall to 2.0 gallons per minute and will be reduced again in July 2018, to 1.8 gallons, giving California the toughest standard of any U.S. state.

Though “toughest standard” is the wrong way to describe what’s happening. It’s actually the “worst shower” of any state.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


25 June, 2017

Rick Perry got a tongue lashing from the American Meteorological Society. Did he deserve it?

By Roy Spencer

Asked in an interview on CNBCs “Squawk Box” whether he believed carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry added, “the fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?”

In response, the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Keith Seitter, said in a letter to Perry:

"While you acknowledged that the climate is changing and that humans are having an impact on it, it is critically important that you understand that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the primary cause.

This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence. It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world.

We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion. These indisputable findings have shaped our current AMS Statement on Climate Change, which states:

“It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

Most of the headlines I’ve seen on the CNBC interview, like one in the Washington Post, refer to Perry with the usual “denier” terms.

Does Perry deserve the epithet? And was AMS’s Seitter right to scold him?

Basically, Perry is saying he believes nature has a larger role than humans in recent warming. I, too, believe the oceans might well be a primary driver of climate change, but whether the human/nature ratio is 50/50, or less, or more than that is up for debate. We simply don’t know.

So, while Sec. Perry goes against the supposed consensus of scientists, what he said was not outlandish, and it wasn’t a denial of a known fact. It was a valid opinion on an uncertain area of science.

Seitter calls the claims in his letter “indisputable.” Really? In my opinion, the AMS view (which draws upon the U.N. IPCC view) is much more definitively stated than the evidence warrants.

Sure, all the scientific institutions are on the bandwagon, with politically savvy committees agreeing with each other. They are, in effect, being paid by the government to agree with the consensus through billions of dollars in grants and contracts.

No global warming crisis, no government funding—or very little—to study it. And then thousands of climate-dependent careers (including mine) cease to exist.

That money also trickles down to the AMS, which is paid to hold scientific conferences and workshops and publish the resulting research studies in scientific journals. They have a vested interest in keeping the gravy train going.

So, maybe I can ask the AMS: Just what percentage of recent warming was natural in origin? None? 10%? 40%? How do you know? Why was the pre-1940 warming rate—caused by Mother Nature—almost as strong as recent warming?

The truth is, no one knows just how much of recent warming was human-caused, including those thousands of “independent” scientists. They pin the blame on CO2 partly because that’s all they can think of, and we still don’t understand natural sources of climate change.

Besides, in the climate business, there are no thousands of independent scientists, anyway. They live and work in an echo chamber, and very few have the breadth and depth of knowledge to make an informed judgement on the issue. The vast majority are specialists in some narrow field of research. They go along to get along … and to keep funding coming.

Young climate researchers today cannot voice doubts about anthropogenic global warming, or they might not have a career. They can’t go to Big Energy for research funding because, as far as I know, such funding does not exist. Big Energy knows they don’t have to pay people to prop up petroleum, natural gas, and coal, because the world (for the time being) runs on the stuff.

What we do know with considerable confidence is that increasing CO2 should cause some warming. (I’ll admit that my opinion here is mostly based upon a theoretical extrapolation from laboratory measurements of how CO2 absorbs and emits infrared energy.) But we really don’t know how much. We certainly don’t have enough confidence to claim it is “indisputable” that our greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause, as Seitter claims.

I am ashamed that the climate research community allows such pronouncements to be made. The AMS became a global warming advocacy group many years ago, and as a result it lost a lot of established members, including myself.


Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’

President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power.

“I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories,” he told enthusiastic supporters at a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As the applause died away, he added, “As the birds fall to the ground.”

After hailing steps to end “the war on clean, beautiful coal” and announcing that 33,000 mining jobs had been added since he took office, Trump said, “We’re going to have all forms of energy.”

“Whether it’s natural gas, whether it’s alternative sources, we’re going to have everything.”

“We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself. We’re going to be strong for the future,” he said.

Later in the speech, Trump announced – for the first time in public, he said – that he was mulling the possibility of having the envisaged wall along the U.S.-Mexico border powered by solar panels.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique,” he said, noting that the southern border region has “lots of sun, lots of heat.”

“We’re thinking of building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy – and pays for itself.”

“And this way,” he added, “Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”

Trump also said the panels would look “beautiful,” and pointed out with a grin that “the higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”

 “Pretty good imagination, right? Good?” he asked the crowd. “My idea.”

Trump’s reference to birds falling to the ground relates to concerns about birds dying as a result of the giant turbines used in wind farms

A 2013 study found that between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die in the U.S. every year as a result of colliding with wind turbines.

It also found that taller turbines, deemed to be more efficient in generating power, pose a greater risk of fatal collisions.

The Washington-based American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group, contends that collisions with buildings, communication towers and high-tension wires kill far more birds each year.

AWEA also argues, citing extinction predictions by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that climate change is the biggest threat to wildlife.


The Gory Facts About Solar vs. Coal Energy Employment

On "Fox News Sunday" with Mike Wallace June 4, former Vice President Al Gore said solar energy has created jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. He also pointed out that solar now employs more people than coal.

He saw those both as reasons to celebrate. The truth is the opposite.


Because solar jobs are a tragic waste of human labor.

Gore’s right that solar employs more than coal now — roughly twice as many. At the end of 2016, solar employed about 374,000, while coal employed about 160,000.

But in 2016, coal produced 15 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S., and solar only 0.06 percent. That means coal produces 5,000 times as much energy per job as solar.

As the graphic from the EIA shows, solar provides six percent of renewable energy’s 10 percent of total energy; 0.1 * 0.06 = 0.006. Coal provides 15 percent not of renewable’s 10 percent of total energy but 15 percent of total energy; 15/0.006=2,500. But it takes twice as many workers for solar to provide that 0.006 percent of total energy, so the productivity of coal per job is 2,500 x 2 = 5,000 times the productivity per job.


Trump’s Green Energy Plan Has The Democrats Lose Their Minds

President Trump on Wednesday made his first public pitch to install solar panels on his border wall with Mexico.

It was the first time that the president mentioned his plan publically. Earlier this month, two congressional Republicans told The Wall Street Journal about the plan after a private meeting with Trump.

“Think of it,” Trump told the audience Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right?”

The president joked, “This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. A solar wall. Makes sense.”


Australia: Great white shark debate: Lifting protection hinges on scientific population finding

The Liberal Party federal council has unanimously moved to lift protection of great white sharks if the CSIRO’s forthcoming population study finds the species is no longer endangered.

The council is the party’s highest forum for debating policy. More than 100 delegates, including MPs, voted for the motion, proposed by Anthony Spagnolo, WA Liberal Party vice-president.

The motion said the “federal government should remove the white shark as a vulnerable and threatened species from the EPBC Act should the finding of the CSIRO study prove that the species is no longer endangered.”

Speaking from the council meeting in Sydney, WA senator Linda Reynolds told The Australian the vote “reinforces that there are other opinions than those held by environmentalists”.

“It starkly illustrates the divide between the far left and mainstream Australia, who think human life always comes first,” Senator Reynolds said.

She said that relying on the CSIRO was “unequivocally the right course of action”.

“We want to base any future measures on scientific evidence, not emotional rhetoric.”

Last week, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott told The Australian that lifting protection and restarting commercial shark fishing would “ensure that we have a stronger economy and a safer society”.

“They’ve been protected now for 20 odd years. Every fisherman knows the numbers are exploding. They are not an endangered species.”

Federal Environment minister Josh Frydenberg this month said he expected the CSIRO population study to be delivered this year.

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint said it was time to start protecting Australians.

“We must protect our swimmers and surfers and hard-working Australians like abalone divers from being attacked or killed by sharks,” she said.

“In an era when rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all-time high, we should be encouraging more, not less, people to be active. This means keeping them safe from shark attacks along our coastline.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s Federal Council Motion today moved by the WA Division. We need evidence-based decision making and management of great white shark populations.”



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   main.html 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


23 June, 2017

Solar Power Stops Working Well When It’s Hot Outside

Don’t expect recent heat waves hitting the southwest to make solar panels produce more energy, according to an industry representative.

High temperatures decrease a photovoltaic solar cell’s output by between 10 and 25 percent, Stuart Fox, a vice president at the green energy company CivicSolar, told The San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday. Research indicates that a solar panel’s power output drops by 1.1 percent for every 1.8 degree rise in temperature above 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and solar panels can get much hotter than that.

“If you take a glass solar shingle and lay it on the roof, there’s no air going behind it, so it might get a lot hotter — it might get to 140 or 160 degrees Fahrenheit,” Fox told The Chronicle.

Photovoltaic solar cells work when energy from the sun excites electrons on the panels, which generates energy the cells can capture. However, at high temperatures it takes less energy to excite the electrons, meaning that the cell produces less power. High temperatures frequently coincide with peak demand for electricity, meaning that solar power is at its least effective when it is most needed.

This effect is a big problem for rooftop solar panels, which lack the capacity for large scale cooling of industrial solar systems but receive the majority of taxpayer support.

Most state solar subsidies go to residential rooftop installations through a subsidy called net metering, a 30 percent federal tax credit. Previously, solar subsidies were so lucrative that solar-leasing companies installed rooftop systems, which run at minimum $10,000, at no upfront cost to the consumer. Companies do this because state and federal subsidies are so massive that such behavior is actually profitable.

Researchers found that expanding or maintaining net metering subsidies for rooftop solar will drive up power prices. Without government support, solar energy is non-viable, according to a 2015 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Even proponents of solar power and net metering recognize their reliance on subsidies. Without high net metering payments, rooftop solar “makes no financial sense for a consumer,” Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, told The New York Times in February 2016.


Obama Still Creating a Toxic Environment for Trump’s Policies at EPA

“Pay no attention to that man behind that curtain!” The Wizard of Oz had a good reason for trying to distract Dorothy when his true identity was revealed in the 1939 classic film. The last thing he wanted was for her to figure how things really operated.

Oz isn’t the only place where people are ignorant of who operates quietly in the shadows. The federal government is rife with people who do their jobs away from the spotlight, wielding a measure of influence that can even outweigh that of their bosses.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency. You may be aware that its current administrator is a man appointed by President Trump – Scott Pruitt. But there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Francesca Grifo, the agency’s “Scientific Integrity Official.”

And frankly, that’s fine by Grifo. The less you know about her and many other unelected bureaucrats, the easier their jobs are. Especially because Grifo’s current job appears to be trying to subvert Pruitt’s.

Grifo was hired in 2013. Her position as “Scientific Integrity Official” grew out of President Obama’s stated goal to “restore science to its rightful place,” as he put it in his 2009 Inaugural address.

Like so many other titles and goals, it all sounds pretty harmless. But as Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel recently pointed out, a political motive was at work. This was, she writes, Obama’s “way of warning Republicans that there’d be no more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.”

Grifo came to the agency from the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, so you can imagine why she was selected. You can also imagine what her job boils down to now that Donald Trump is president: thwarting his agenda as much as possible.

Toward that end is a meeting she’ll be hosting soon with numerous groups to discuss ways to pursue “scientific integrity.” The initial guest list read like a “who’s who” of the liberal environmental movement: Earthjustice, Public Citizen, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Progressive Reform, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and yes, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This is a government employee using taxpayer funds to gather political activists on government grounds to plot — let’s not kid ourselves — ways to sabotage the Trump administration,” Strassel writes. (Since then, some conservative groups have been invited as well, but it took Strassel’s column to do it.)

It isn’t just disagreements over policy that fuels the behind-the-scenes activities of bureaucrats such as Francesca Grifo. They surely have their eyes on the budget cuts that the president has proposed to climate programs.

Climate Wire called his budget “a slap in the face.” To Scientific American, it’s a “slaughter.” Think Progress deems it “a punitive … assault on science, the environment, and indeed the planet.”

But as environmental experts Katie Tubb and Nicolas Loris point out in a piece for the Daily Signal, all this hyperventilating lacks context.

For one thing, some cuts to the federal government’s sizable climate budget are clearly in order: At least 18 agencies administer climate-change activities, to the tune of $77 billion between fiscal years 2008 and 2013.

There’s a lot of wasteful spending in there, such as $700,000 to a global-warming musical, and an EPA grant for “green” nail salon concepts in California. Moreover, Tubb and Loris note, most of the money goes to “green” tech rather than to science, wildlife or international aid. “Even after the president’s proposed cuts,” they write, “there is plenty of money left in the federal budget to study and model the climate.”

If President Trump wants to make any headway at the EPA and other federal agencies, he needs to do more than appoint good people to run them. He needs to make sure that the people behind the curtain aren’t working to undermine him.


Experts Published A Scathing Rebuttal To The Left’s Favorite Green Energy Study

A group of researchers have published a scathing rebuttal to a 2015 report claiming the U.S. could run on 100 percent green energy, which they say suffered from “significant shortcomings.”

The 2015 study led by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson claimed wind turbines, solar power and hydroelectric dams could power the entire U.S. But 21 researchers published a retort to Jacobson’s study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Jacobson’s “work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions,” reads the PNAS study’s abstract.

“Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power,” wrote the 21 experts, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Christopher Clack.

The researchers were worried politicians would use Jacobson’s study to promise a “greener” world that’s more expensive and less technology achievable than they let on.

David Victor, an energy policy expert at University of California-San Diego and PNAS co-author, said Jacobson’s study sets “wildly unrealistic expectations” that could cause a “massive misallocation of resources.”

“That is both harmful to the economy, and creates the seeds of a backlash,” Victor told MIT Technology Review.

So far, only Hawaii has a policy calling for 100 percent green energy, but California Democrats are pushing legislation to get all its electricity generated from green energy by 2045.

Environmentalists and some Democrats hailed Jacobson’s paper when it was first published. The study was even featured in the anti-fracking film “Gasland II” and attracted the attention of celebrities, like Mark Ruffalo.

Jacobson’s paper also spawned the creation of the “Solutions Project” — a non-profit dedicated to “moving all of us to clean, renewable energy powered by the wind, water, and sun.” Ruffalo sits on its board, along with Jacobson.

A group of left-leaning non-profit foundations, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund, back the Solutions Project.

Jacobson did not sit idly by, and published his own rebuttal to the PNAS report. He also lashed out against the PNAS authors in the media.

“They try to falsify this thing by claiming that there are errors,” Jacobson told The Washington Post. “This is what really bothers me with this paper. I don’t have any problem with people trying to quibble with our assumptions.”

“There is not a single error in our paper,” Jacobson told Technology Review in a short email.

He even accused Clack of using “intentional misinformation” to back his study and said his critics had a financial incentive to dispute his research.

“They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates or fossil-fuels advocates,” Jacobson said. “They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.”

Essentially, the criticism of Jacobson’s paper comes down to modeling and assumptions.

“They do bizarre things,” PNAS co-author Daniel Kammen of the University of California-Berkeley, told Technology Review.

“They treat U.S. hydropower as an entirely fungible resource. Like the amount [of power] coming from a river in Washington state is available in Georgia, instantaneously,” he said.

PNAS study authors say the U.S. could get 80 percent of its energy from sources that emit no carbon dioxide, but that goes beyond solar, wind and hydro power. The authors say nuclear energy, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage systems for biomass would be needed.


EPA’s suspect science

Its practices have defiled scientific integrity, but proposed corrections bring shock and defiance

John Rafuse

President Trump’s budget guidance sought to cut $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s $8.1 billion expectation. Shrieks of looming Armageddon prompted Congress to fund EPA in full until September 2017, when the battle will be joined again.

Then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would prioritize Superfund cleanups based on toxicity, health-impact and other factors. The ensuing caterwauling suggested that EPA had no priorities since Bill Ruckelshaus (EPA’s first administrator, 1970-1975). But consider some standard EPA practices:  

1. EPA advocates claim the US is unhealthy and dirty. They won’t admit that US water quality has improved dramatically since 1970. They deny that factories, cars and power plants are far more efficient and clean. They ignore that, while most nations continue to cut down forest habitats for fuel, the Lower 48 states have more forest coverage than when the Pilgrims landed in 1620.

They never mention that the US did not sign the 1992 Kyoto Accord, nor that it is the only nation to meet its Kyoto targets. Is it ignorance? malignance? eco-professional propaganda? Yes, yes, and yes.

The United States is one of the cleanest, healthiest nations on earth. Our progress will continue because we rejected the Paris Accord and thus will not cripple our economy, jobs or environmental progress. Other nations must work hard to catch us. They may work hard, but they won’t catch up, and they’ll blame us.         

2. Eco-militants at EPA tricked the Supreme Court into letting it label plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide a pollutant. Meanwhile, professional enviros demand “zero tolerance” for pollutants – because they claim “any dose kills.”

However, CO2 is plant fertilizer, the trace gas that makes plant and animal life possible on our planet. Atmospheric CO2 is just 400 parts per million (ppm), or 0.04% of the air we breathe, compared to 21% oxygen and almost 1% argon.  Classrooms average 1,000 to 2,000 ppm; US nuclear submarines average 5,000 to 8,000ppm. We inhale 400 ppm and exhale 40,000 to 50,000 ppm.

That means 100 to 125 times the “fatal dose” of a “zero tolerance pollutant” is always in our lungs.  We don’t die, because CO2 is not a pollutant and because real scientists know that dosage, not microscopic presence, is the key.

EPA keeps cheating, but dosage always determines poisonous impact. In fact, EPA experiments illegally exposed human test subjects to 10 and even 30 times the levels of fine soot particles that EPA claims are lethal. No one got sick or died, and yet EPA continues its “standards” and lies.

3. DDT saved millions in World War II from death by typhus. By 1970 DDT had helped wipe out malaria in 99 countries, including the USA. Administrator Ruckelshaus appointed a scientific committee to examine claims that the pesticide caused cancer and other problems. The experts said it did not, because dosage determines effect.

Ruckelshaus ignored them, never attended a minute of their hearings, never read a page of their extensive report. He simply banned DDT in 1972.  He later said he had a “political problem” due to Rachel Carson’s misinformed book Silent Spring and pressure from the Environmental Defense Fund, and he needed to “fix it.”

Other nations followed suit, banning DDT. Since 1972, some 40 million children and parents have needlessly died from malaria. Today DDT is partially reinstated, but P.A. Offit, Pandora’s Lab, Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, quotes Michael Crichton, MD: “Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in twentieth century America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die, and we didn’t give a damn.”

4. EPA knowingly relies on fake science. Data from point-source “pollution” are used to “project” thousands of asthma cases and cancer deaths. EPA “validates” the analyses by “assuming” that each projected death and illness happened to someone who had spent every second of a 70-year life at the point-source – within 6 feet of the measurement point. But Newton’s Law of Inverse Squares proves that dosage wanes by the inverse square of the distance; 5 units of distance cuts dosage impact to 1/25 what it was at its source. At 10 units, the impact is 1/100th.  EPA’s analysis is a dishonest, purposeful scam.

The 70-year/6-foot/no-movement assumption makes a joke of all its calculations and projections. EPA has relied on that scam for decades to “prove” need for a non-scientific regulatory remedy for every newly invented threat.

5. EPA colludes with professional environmentalists to “fix” “inadequate” draft regulations. EPA then “settles” cases, pays co-conspirators’ fees with taxpayer funds and wins excessive regulatory powers it sought from the beginning. Parties who oppose the decision never get a day in court, and the “sue-and-settle” cases ensure high costs but provide no health or environmental benefits.

6. EPA covers up crimes. As the auto industry cratered since 2000, Flint, Michigan has lost 25,000 citizens and become poorer and more minority. The 2010 Census Report concluded that 42% of the population was in a “level of poverty and health … not comparable to other geographic levels of these estimates.” Yet EPA (and state and local authorities) did nothing to protect them. What happened?

The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act delegated compliance to EPA, which typically approves a State Compliance Plan, re-delegates authority, and oversees State and local enforcement. Flint’s drinking water has been lead-poisoned for three years – ever since state and local officials switched water sources to save money with no hearings, approvals or notifications to EPA or affected citizens.

Drinking, tasting and smelling nauseating newly-brown water alerted residents to potential dangers. An EPA expert tested the water in 2014 and wrote repeated warnings to Agency officials. A February 2015 Detroit News report said EPA’s Regional Administrator knew the facts but claimed her “hands were tied.”

Then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy forbade the staff expert from meeting, writing or speaking about the issue, and reassigned him.  Thus the two most senior and directly responsible EPA officials “washed their hands” of the problem.

But Flint Medical Center tested for lead in the water and sounded the alarm. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added powerful voices. Flint’s mayor and Michigan’s governor took heat until the state’s attorney general initially charged five Flint and Michigan officials with wrongful issuance of permits, and tampering, altering and falsifying evidence. That has now expanded to more than 50 criminal charges against 15 state officials; including one of involuntary manslaughter (an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease took 12 lives). 

The two “clean-handed” EPA officials kept mum until June 12, 2016, when Gina McCarthy wrote to Michigan’s governor and Flint’s mayor. Citing “major challenges” and her “long-term” clean water goal, she blamed state and local staffs and old and (newly) over-large piping. She said EPA had no money to help. Will Michigan’s AG indict EPA officials involved in the EPA cover-ups?  That would be logical, but don’t bet on it.

McCarthy’s was a nasty letter from a culpable official. Later in 2016, Congress voted $110 million to repair Flint’s drinking water, no thanks to EPA. The work will go on for years as Flint residents get bottled water from EPA and the state.

President Trump’s budget guidance exposed decades-old EPA abuses. The evidence exposes EPA’s lack of mission, commitment and integrity. If EPA would use honest, evidence-based science to protect the nation’s health, it would be a welcome and long overdue change – perhaps a miracle. What’s your bet?

Via email

Former Dem congressman: End the war on coal


Very few members of Congress have actually shoveled tons upon tons of coal. I have.

I started working in a coal yard at the age of 13 and I know what coal has meant to the development of this great country and the comfort of its people.

I later had the honor of serving in Congress for four terms. As a Democrat from western Pennsylvania, I spent my time in Congress and the years since I left as an advocate for clean American coal.

For Pennsylvania, the reasons to support coal are obvious, regardless of your political affiliation. Until recent years, the coal industry was a cornerstone of our regional economy. An industry that once employed almost 863,000 American workers now employs just over 50,000. According to the most recent statistics, only about 6,600 of those jobs are in Pennsylvania — down more than 16 percent from the previous year.

As the rest of the world relies more and more on coal, Washington has told us to use less. — it wasn’t a suggestion. A single rule passed in 2011 wiped out half of the coal industry’s entire output. Plants shuttered overnight and the jobs that supported them were gone as well. And that’s thanks to just one regulation that is part of a much larger war on coal that has gone on for at least a generation. The casualties are thousands of lost jobs, entire communities shuttered as their sole source of prosperity disappeared thanks to overtly political mandates from Washington.

The damaged caused by the war on coal doesn’t end in Pennsylvania, or even the coal mining regions of Appalachia. Until recently, resilient resources like coal and nuclear energy provided what’s known as “baseload power” to our country’s energy grid. By definition, baseload power is able to withstand sudden and drastic fluctuations in both supply and demand. Coal and nuclear facilities maintain weeks — and up to a year — worth of fuel on-site and have reliable supply chains that can deliver power to customers even under crisis conditions. These fuels are the only energy sources capable of delivering baseload power. But Washington has nearly regulated them out of existence.

This is not an inconvenience. It’s a crisis. Other energy sources have already proven themselves unworthy in the event of a catastrophe. Our reliance on natural gas nearly cost lives during the 2014 polar vortex, when supply disruptions forced power plants to cut production or shut down altogether and prices skyrocketed overnight. And for all of the government subsidies directed toward so-called renewable energy like solar and wind, those sources aren’t anywhere close to being able to meet the country’s energy needs even under ideal circumstances.

If we wait for the next severe weather event or a terrorist attack on our power grid, it will already be too late. We have to act now. The process of changing rules and rolling back regulations in Washington can take years. If we don’t get ahead of the next catastrophe, it could cost lives and lead to massive price volatility.

There is a sliver of hope. Right now, the Department of Energy is conducting a study on baseload power and our nation’s energy supply chain. That study will likely reveal what we already know — that we are in a crisis situation. At that point, it will be up to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Trump to act swiftly to roll back regulations, end the war on coal and right the ship so our energy grid is once again fueled by baseload power.

For years, Washington has waged a war on reliable energy under the auspices of environmental protection. This is a false choice. Clean American coal is both responsible and reliable — if only we unshackle it from wild overregulation and political stigma. We can restore energy stability and security in the United States and make this country a world leader when it comes to clean and sustainable energy. That’s no small feat considering that coal consumption is booming in countries like China and India.

In a much more immediate sense, we will find ourselves on stable footing here at home for the first time in years. We need the ability to fuel our grid with reliable, resilient baseload power. It’s good for our workers, it’s good for our national security and it’s good for our country. Washington needs to act immediately.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


22 June, 2017

The latest bit of lying propaganda from the NYT

We read

"In recent days, American Airlines has been forced to cancel more than 40 flights in Phoenix. The reason: With daytime highs hovering around 120 degrees, it was simply too hot for some smaller jets to take off. Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult — and sometimes impossible — for planes to generate enough lift.

As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence.

“We tend to ignore the atmosphere and just think that the plane is flying through empty space, but of course, it’s not,” said Paul D. Williams, a professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in Britain who studies climate change and its effect on aviation. “Airplanes do not fly through a vacuum.

The atmosphere is being modified by climate change.”

This is another "evergreen", trotted out whenever we get hot weather, to re-inforce the global warming faith.

However, as usual there is more behind the headline:

We also read:

"American Airlines canceled flights using Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) equipment. These are the business jets that cover routes between hubs and smaller markets. Larger passenger jets are rated to tolerate higher temperatures, well above those currently being experienced in the American Southwest—after all, planes also fly from Dubai, Riyadh, and Cairo.

The CRJ’s history might play a role in its airworthiness under extreme heat. CRJs are currently made by Bombardier, a multinational transportation manufacturer. Bombardier bought the CRJ line from Canadair, a Canadian state aerospace company. These jets were originally designed for business use, and only later developed to serve the commercial regional jet market.

They were not necessarily intended for use in all conditions and markets, nor to be packed full of passengers like they are today. (Bombardier did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

That circumstance is a consequence of deregulation and consolidation in the American airline market. When regulation demanded that airlines serve all markets, larger jets serviced smaller airports. But as those requirements lifted, and as more airlines merged, even once-thriving hubs like Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Memphis have become minor markets.

Airlines began relying on equipment like the CRJ, because they can transport a smaller number of people at a lower cost. Were the affected flights on Boeing large jets instead, there would be no question about their ability to fly."

Phoenix of course, is HOT. Record high for June is 1990, at 122 F, 50C.  It seems everything is really pretty normal, but hey, it's Global Warming, right?

As usual, Tony Heller has the detail about Arizona heat

H/T Dennis Ambler

Does Nuclear Energy Have a Future in the United States?

In May, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released a daily energy briefsummarizing the current and future state of nuclear energy production in America. According to the EIA, nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 percent to 11 percent by 2050. That decline coincides with a predicted growth in electricity demand of up to 92 percent—nearly doubling current consumption—over the same period.

Nuclear-powered plants can produce reliable, base-level electricity—typically generated by fossil fuels—with zero carbon emissions. Engineering innovations have resulted in advanced nuclear reactors that are much safer, more efficient, and more affordable than reactors currently in use. Such technology should have a promising future as a part of the U.S. energy portfolio. Unfortunately, regulatory requirements here at home have driven the cost of bringing new reactor technology to market so high that power companies are instead lobbying for billions in subsidies to keep decades-old technology in operation.

Transatomic, a company founded by nuclear engineers from MIT, are developing molten salt reactors that are “walk-away” safe (they do not require constant supervision), and produce less than half as much radioactive waste yearly as traditional nuclear reactors. The scientists at NuScale Power have developed a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that can be assembled in a factory and shipped on a flatbed truck, reducing up-front construction costs and providing more flexibility for electricity providers. Because of their small size, SMRs also cannot melt down. Bill Gates’ nuclear company (TerraPower) has designed a traveling wave reactor that can run continuously for 40 years, eliminating the need for refueling as the reactor consumes all of its original fuel.

In order to get their technologies to market, nuclear innovators must navigate a complex, burdensome regulatory framework established decades ago in the name of public safety. Innovation has put to rest many of the safety concerns that regulation was meant to protect us from. This regulation now operates mainly as a barrier to clean, affordable energy. NuScale Power’s SMR technology offers perhaps the best hope of next generation nuclear finding its way to the US power grid, but even that may take a decade or more to become reality.

In the beginning of 2017, NuScale submitted the first-ever design certification for a SMR in the United States. That application, 12,000 pages long, must be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the end of the 40-month review period, the NRC will issue NuScale a design certification for their reactor. That certification will be valid for 15 years, during which time NuScale will file for a combined license to build and operate that plant. The licensing process will take another 5 years, after which time construction finally can begin.

The NRC charges $265 per professional staff-hour to review permits, licenses, and other required documentation. According to Mason Baker, Chief Legal Officer for the Utah Area Municipal Power Supply (which is working with NuScale to build their first SMR), UAMPS relies on a 50 percent financial partnership with the Department of Energy to cover initial development costs. Without such support, the cost of regulatory compliance—which Baker estimated would amount to seven figures by the end of the submission process—would prevent the project from ever getting off the ground.

TerraPower signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation at the end of 2015 to build its reactor design overseas. The company hopes eventually to bring the technology back home.

If the U.S. wants a future of diversified, clean energy, the NRC needs to reform the way it permits and licenses nuclear technologies. The current framework effectively stymies innovation and forces nuclear companies to rely heavily on government support. Heavy government involvement in energy production does not make for a healthy, competitive energy market.


Study Finds Fracking Doesn’t Harm Drinking Water in Texas

Hydraulic fracturing hasn’t contaminated groundwater in Texas, isn’t an earthquake hazard, and has been a boon for the state’s economy, according to a study released Monday.

The new study’s conclusions on drinking water are in line with multiple other studies of hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling into rock and injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to obtain shale gas and oil, which is produced from fractured rock. Some environmentalists argue that it can harm water supplies.

The report initiated by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, based in Austin, asserted that “direct migration of contaminants from targeted injection zones is highly unlikely to lead to contamination of potential drinking water aquifers.”

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

To conduct the three-year study, the academy assembled a panel called the Task Force on the Environmental and Community Impact of Shale.

“In Texas and pretty much everywhere, hydraulic fracturing has not been proven to have an adverse impact on drinking water,” Christine Ehlig-Economides, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston who is chairwoman of the task force, told The Daily Signal.

The study examined the impact of fracking on drinking water.

“The average annual water use for hydraulic fracturing activities in 2011 and 2012 in Texas was about 20 billion gallons of water,” the report said, citing an Environmental Protection Agency study from last year. “Because this volume represents on 0.2 percent of total water use in the state, and 0.7 percent of total state consumptive use, it might be considered small.”

The study also explored the impact of fracking in five other areas: geology and earthquake activity; land resources; air quality; the economy; and society. It found generally positive results for each.

However, in a sixth category, transportation, the report found that fracking produced a surge of trucks, damaging pavement at an estimated cost to state taxpayers of $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year.

Even so, the study concluded that fracking adds $473 billion to the Texas economy and created 3.8 million jobs.

“Texas has had a long history of oil and gas technology for the world,” Economides said. “Has it had environmental impacts? Yes, it has since it started in the 1850s. But over that time, the industry has learned and corrected those mistakes.”

Last year, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency completed a five-year study that didn’t find evidence of widespread contamination as a result of fracking. The EPA said fracking can affect drinking water “under some circumstances,” but didn’t cite any confirmed instances and determined there were too many uncertainties about existing data of contamination.

The Texas academy study cited a 2011 Groundwater Protection Council study, which found that 10 of the 211 contamination incidents examined occurred because of drilling and none was related to fracking.

The Texas academy study asserted that direct fracking into rock affecting the state’s drinking water supply “has not been observed in Texas.”

In March, a U.S. Geological Survey of 116 wells across Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas found fracking was not a major source of chemicals and methane in drinking water wells. It concluded that the detected levels of methane were likely naturally occurring.

A University of Texas study found methane levels from well water in two Texas counties, Parker and Hood, weren’t the result of North Texas’s Barnett Shale, after a sample of 479 wells in those counties.

A Duke University study dated July 2017 noted a “lack of changes in water quality observed in drinking-water wells following the installation of nearby shale-gas wells.”


EPA Ends $1 Million Taxpayer-Funded Gym Membership Program

The Environmental Protection Agency has ended a nearly $1 million program that provided gym memberships for employees.

The new administration under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt identified the gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Examples of the program's misuse included $15,000 for gym memberships for 37 EPA scientists in Las Vegas last year.

"We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year," said EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox. "Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment."

Pruitt vowed an end to taxpayer-funded programs after the Washington Free Beacon report on the agency spending $15,000 on gym memberships in Las Vegas, earlier this year. Employees in the U.S. Environmental Science Division billed taxpayers $399 each for gym memberships, even though employees had access to a "state-of-the-art" gym on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus.

The campus gym includes a relaxation room with massage chairs, fitness assessments, personal trainers for hire, a registered dietician, a spa and leisure pool, indoor jogging, and a "gender neutral bathroom."

The EPA began notifying employee unions last week that the agency is discontinuing fitness subsidies and fitness center funding, according to an EPA official.

The benefits will officially end on July 31, and no additional funds for fitness centers will be provided. For facilities that already have gym equipment that is paid for, the EPA will no longer pay for the maintenance of the equipment and will not purchase any new equipment.

The Trump administration has proposed cutting the EPA budget by 31 percent.


Australia's Chief Scientist accidentally exposes the lie of Australia’s climate policies that are de-industrialising Australia


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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


21 June, 2017

Some footprints are more equal than others

Greenies are always moaning about our "footprint" on the environment. But "Renewables" make one great huge HOOFPRINT on the environment. Below is an infographic put up by the U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change. It shows the land area taken up by two British renewable power sources compared with the land area occupied by the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station

The U.K. plans to invest in new nuclear power following France’s lead, but breaking ranks with Germany and the big Green pressure groups.

The U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change published this infographic, but then took it down.  Businesses reaping billions in subsidies from solar and wind deemed it “unhelpful.”

The facts according to the U.K. government? Acres required to power 6 million homes:

Wind 250,000
Solar 130,000
Nuclear 430

The Daily Telegraph calls it “the infographic the U.K. government doesn’t want you to see.”

The U.K. should not only want you to see this, it should add in coal and gas as well.


A strange new respect for Pretty Boy

Trump gives Bill McKibben the creeps.  Justin Trudeau gives me the creeps.  But what Warmist warrior McKibben says below tends rather to reconcile me to Trudeau. What McKibben deplores is always worth celebrating

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

Not rhetorically: Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. Indeed, they specialize in getting others to say them too – it was Canadian diplomats, and the country’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, who pushed at the Paris climate talks for a tougher-than-expected goal: holding the planet’s rise in temperature to 1.5C (2.7F).

But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet.

Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: “No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So let’s do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.

That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.

This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canada’s self-image/energy policy. McKenna, confronted by the veteran Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, said tartly: “We have an incredible climate change plan that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, also investing in clean innovation. But we also know we need to get our natural resources to market and we’re doing both.” Right.

But doing the second negates the first – in fact, it completely overwhelms it. If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldn’t matter all that much if every Tim Hortons stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead.

Canada’s got company in this scam. Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to be more sensitive than his predecessor, a Trump-like blowhard. When he signed on his nation to the Paris climate accords, he said: “It is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action.”

Which is a fine thing to say – or would be, if your government wasn’t backing plans for the largest coal mine on Earth. That single mine, in a country of 24 million people, will produce 362% of the annual carbon emissions that everyone in the Philippines produces in the course of a year. It is obviously, mathematically and morally absurd.


"Greenies" look likely to send a bat extinct

They don't care about nature or the environment at all.  Power and control is their aim

Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat

W.F. Fricka et al.


Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. However, population-level impacts are unknown as we lack basic demographic information about these species. We investigated whether fatalities at wind turbines could impact population viability of migratory bats, focusing on the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the species most frequently killed by turbines in North America. Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (? = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America. If viable populations are to be sustained, conservation measures to reduce mortality from turbine collisions likely need to be initiated soon. Our findings inform policy decisions regarding preventing or mitigating impacts of energy infrastructure development on wildlife.

Biological Conservation, Volume 209, May 2017, Pages 172–177

How Obama undermined the Warmists

The NYT has a long article that tries to explain why the Republicans are overwhelmingly skeptical.  It's just "ad hominem" stuff with not a single climate statistic being quoted -- and vast power being attributed to the Koch brothers -- but I thought their comments on Obama had something in them.  See below

After winning re-election in 2012, Mr. Obama understood his second-term agenda would have to rely on executive authority, not legislation that would go nowhere in the Republican-majority Congress. And climate change was the great unfinished business of his first term.

To finish it, he would deploy a rarely used provision in the Clean Air Act of 1970, which gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to issue regulations on carbon dioxide.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” he declared in his 2013 State of the Union address.

The result was the Clean Power Plan, which would significantly cut planet-warming emissions by forcing the closing of hundreds of heavy-polluting coal-fired power plants.

The end run around Congress had consequences of its own. To Republican (and some Democratic) critics, the Clean Power Plan exemplified everything they opposed about Mr. Obama: He seemed to them imperious, heavy-handed, pleasing to the elites on the East and West Coasts and in the capitals of Europe, but callous to the blue-collar workers of coal and oil country.

“It fed into this notion of executive overreach,” said Heather Zichal, who advised Mr. Obama on climate policy. “I don’t think there was a good enough job on managing the narrative.”

Republicans who had supported the climate change agenda began to defect and have since stayed away. “On the issue of climate change, I think it’s happening,” Mr. McCain said in a CNN podcast interview last April. But, he said, “The president decided, at least in the last couple years if not more, to rule by edict.”

Mr. Obama’s political opponents saw the climate rules as a ripe opportunity. “When the president went the regulatory route, it gave our side more confidence,” Mr. Phillips said. “It hardened and broadened Republican opposition to this agenda.”

Starting in early 2014, the opponents of the rule — including powerful lawyers and lobbyists representing many of America’s largest manufacturing and industrial interests — regularly gathered in a large conference room at the national headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, overlooking the White House. They drafted a long-game legal strategy to undermine Mr. Obama’s climate regulations in a coordinated campaign that brought together 28 state attorneys general and major corporations to form an argument that they expected to eventually take to the Supreme Court.

They presented it not as an environmental fight but an economic one, against a government that was trying to vastly and illegally expand its authority.

“This is the most significant wholesale regulation of energy that the United States has ever seen, by any agency,” Roger R. Martella Jr., a former E.P.A. lawyer who then represented energy companies, said at a gathering of industry advocates, making an assertion that has not been tested.

Attorneys General Step In

Republican attorneys general gathered at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia in August 2015 for their annual summer retreat, with some special guests: four executives from Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies.

Murray was struggling to avoid bankruptcy — a fate that had befallen several other coal mining companies already, given the slump in demand for their product and the rise of natural gas, solar and wind energy.

The coal industry came to discuss a new part of the campaign to reverse the country’s course on climate change. Litigation was going to be needed, the industry executives and the Republican attorneys general agreed, to block the Obama administration’s climate agenda — at least until a new president could be elected.

West Virginia’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, led the session, “The Dangerous Consequences of the Clean Power Plan & Other E.P.A. Rules,” which included, according to the agenda, Scott Pruitt, then the attorney general of Oklahoma; Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general; and Geoffrey Barnes, a corporate lawyer for Murray, which had donated $250,000 to the Republican attorneys general political group.

That same day, Mr. Morrissey would step outside the hotel to announce that he and other attorneys general would sue in federal court to try to stop the Clean Power Plan, which he called “the most far-reaching energy regulation in this nation’s history, drawn up by radical bureaucrats.”

Mr. Pruitt quickly became a national point person for industry-backed groups and a magnet for millions of dollars of campaign contributions, as the fossil fuel lobby looked for a fresh face with conservative credentials and ties to the evangelical community.

“Pruitt was instrumental — he and A.G. Morrisey,” said Thomas Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries, an adviser to Mr. Trump’s transition team and the president of a pro-fossil fuel Washington research organization, the Institute for Energy Research. “They led the charge and made it easier for other states to get involved. Some states were keeping their powder dry, but Pruitt was very out front and aggressive.”

After the litigation was filed — by Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Pruitt, along with other attorneys general who attended the Greenbrier meeting — Murray Energy sued in the federal court case as well, just as had been planned.

In February 2016, the Supreme Court indicated that it would side with opponents of the rule, moving by a 5-4 vote to grant a request by the attorneys general and corporate players to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan while the case worked its way through the federal courts.


When Donald J. Trump decided to run for president, he did not appear to have a clear understanding of the nation’s climate change policies. Nor, at the start of his campaign, did he appear to have any specific plan to prioritize a huge legal push to roll those policies back.

However, it did not go unnoticed that coal country was giving his presidential campaign a wildly enthusiastic embrace, as miners came out in full force for Mr. Trump, stoking his populist message.

And the surest way for Mr. Trump to win cheers from coal crowds was to aim at an easy target: Mr. Obama’s climate rules. Hillary Clinton did not help her cause when she said last spring that her climate policies would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

In May 2016, Mr. Trump addressed one of the largest rallies of his campaign: an estimated crowd of over 10,000 in Charleston, W.Va., where the front rows were crammed with mine workers.

“I’m thinking about miners all over the country,” he said, eliciting cheers. “We’re going to put miners back to work.”

“They didn’t used to have all these rules and regulations that make it impossible to compete,” he added. “We’re going to take it all off the table.”

Then an official from the West Virginia Coal Association handed the candidate a miner’s hat.

As he put it on, giving the miners a double thumbs-up, “The place just went nuts, and he loved it,” recalled Barry Bennett, a former adviser to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. “And the miners started showing up at everything. They were a beaten lot, and they saw him as a savior. So he started using the ‘save coal’ portions of the speech again and again.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers embraced the miners as emblematic of the candidate’s broader populist appeal.

“The coal miners were the perfect case for what he was talking about,” Mr. Bennett said, “the idea that for the government in Washington, it’s all right for these people to suffer for the greater good — that federal power is more important than your little lives.”


"Global coral bleaching event that has lasted three YEARS has finally ended - but reefs are still fighting for their lives"

Nonsense all round.  The Indian ocean was not affected so the event was not global.  And it is admitted below that the effect was largely due to El Nino, not anthropogenic global warming.  They say that El Nino and anthropogenic global warming together had an additive effect but -- even conceding that CO2 causes anthropogenic global warming -- there was no CO2 rise in the relevant years so there was clearly NO rise in anthropogenic global warming.  To put it semi-algebraically:  El Nino + 0 = El Nino. 

And corals are at their most diverse and abundant in warm tropical waters so the claim that warm waters are bad for them is fundamentally perverse.  In Australia's case a sea-level fall was almost certainly the cause of bleaching in warm tropical water off the Far North Queensland coast

And both the extent of the loss and the difficulty of the recovery have been greatly exaggerated.  Do I need once again to mention the coral reef at Bikini atoll which was once the target of a thermonuclear blast -- but which is now again thriving?

 It's just all baseless assertion below.  Correlation is asserted as causation.  Factors like sea-level fluctuations are almost certainly involved but no attempt is made even to look at that.  One doesn't look to Warmists for a balanced account of anything -- which reveals them as fundamentally unscientific.  A scientific paper will normally look at all the possible causes of an event and evaluate them against one another. Warmists know just one cause for everything, ignore all else and assert it "ad infinitum"

A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide has finally ended after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday.

About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first announced a global bleaching event in May 2014.

It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.

The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope.

Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it'll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin.

Places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef, northwest Hawaii, Guam and parts of the Caribbean have been hit with back-to-back-to-back destruction, Eakin said.

University of Victoria, British Columbia, coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years.

While conditions are improving, it's too early to celebrate, said Eakin, adding that the world may be at a new normal where reefs are barely able to survive during good conditions.

Eakin said coral have difficulty surviving water already getting warmer by man-made climate change. Extra heating of the water from a natural El Nino nudges coral conditions over the edge.



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   main.html 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


20 June, 2017

That 14.8C degrees current global temperature again

A correspondent has updated me on the above issue. He points out that the 14.8C GAT referred to is also the Annual Average for 2016.  14.84C is shown at the NOAA Annual Summary here. They show .94 anomaly + 13.9 average, which is 14.84.

This compares with HIGHER temperatures reported for 1997 and 1998

NOAA say that their 1997 and 1998 averages were wrong and that they have subsequently been revised downwards.  They say:

"Please note: the estimate for the baseline global temperature used in this study differed, and was warmer than, the baseline estimate (Jones et al., 1999) used currently. This report has been superseded by subsequent analyses. However, as with all climate monitoring reports, it is left online as it was written at the time."

That is mightily convenient.  It becomes amazingly convenient when one notes that the original GAT for 1997 in the report was 16.92C -- ie over 2.0C warmer than 2016. Over the last 20 years they have lowered the 1998 temperature by 2.4C, and they currently say records are being broken by a measly tenth or hundredth of a degree.

Clearly, the average global temperature is at best an unreliable and wild guess of no worth for policy or any other purposes.  On the original NOAA figures, the earth has COOLED by 2 degrees since 1997/1998 --  JR

Greenpeace admits its attacks on forest products giant were ‘non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion’

Greenpeace, after repeated attacks against Canada’s biggest forest products company for “destroying,” Canada’s boreal forests, now says that it was merely stating an opinion about the logging activity, not a fact.

After years of weathering attacks on its forestry practices, Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc. last year sued Greenpeace in United States District Court in Georgia under racketeering statutes, alleging that Greenpeace’s repeated attacks on Resolute, to raise money for Greenpeace, amount to criminal activity.

In its claim, Resolute noted that Greenpeace has lobbied big Resolute paper customers, such as the Rite-Aid pharmacy chain (which printed its flyers on Resolute newsprint), encouraging them to switch suppliers, because, said Greenpeace, Resolute is a “forest destroyer.”

But now Greenpeace says it never intended people to take its words about Resolute’s logging practices as literal truth.

“The publications’ use of the word “Forest Destroyer,” for example, is obvious rhetoric,” Greenpeace writes in its motion to dismiss the Resolute lawsuit. “Resolute did not literally destroy an entire forest. It is of course arguable that Resolute destroyed portions of the Canadian Boreal Forest without abiding by policies and practices established by the Canadian government and the Forest Stewardship Council, but that is the point: The “Forest Destroyer” statement cannot be proven true or false, it is merely an opinion.”

Greenpeace adds that its attacks on Resolute “are without question non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion and at most non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole.”

None of the allegations by Resolute or Greenpeace has been tested in this case, which remains before the courts.

Richard Garneau, the chief executive of Resolute, who himself hails from the company’s centre of logging operations in the Saguenay region north of Quebec City, seized on Greenpeace’s admissions in an op-ed published Thursday in the conservative U.S. magazine National Review.

“A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court,” Garneau wrote. “They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices ‘do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,’ as they concede in their latest legal filings. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.” 

Garneau, in Toronto Thursday, said Greenpeace’s attacks have hurt many across northern Quebec and Ontario.

“It is sad that we have to do all this to straighten out the record on misinformation,” he said. “It is sad that all Greenpeace’s allegations are against people who cannot defend themselves against organizations who blackmail customers to raise money.”

Resolute has faced criticism over its logging practices in the boreal forests of Ontario and Quebec from people other than Greenpeace. Forest product companies pay the German-based Forest Stewardship Council to review their logging operations and ensure they are sustainable. The FSC logo emblazons products across Canada as responsibly sourced — such as the envelopes used by Canada’s five biggest banks to send out customers’ account statements. FSC in 2014 revoked its seal of approval for logging operations that comprise about half of the forests where Resolute operates in Canada.

FSC said that Resolute wasn’t doing enough to protect caribou habitat, and failed to get permission from First Nations to log certain forests.

But Resolute has trained its legal firepower squarely on Greenpeace. In 2013 Resolute extracted an apology from Greenpeace for falsely alleging that Resolute had cut trees in an area it promised to spare. That same year, Resolute sued Greenpeace for libel in Thunder Bay, Ont., alleging that the global environmental group was spreading lies about the forest harvesting operations.

In a statement released to the Financial Post late Friday,  Shane Moffat, head of forest campaigns at Greenpeace Canada, wrote that, “Greenpeace Canada stands by our criticism of Resolute
 Forest Products’ practices that have been undermining the ecological integrity of the boreal forest in key regions where Resolute operates. Richard Garneau has taken legal arguments out of context to imply that Greenpeace is backing down on these claims. Greenpeace Canada is not involved in this lawsuit, but is being sued by Resolute in Ontario.”


Ship of Fools III – Global Warming Study Cancelled Because of ‘Unprecedented’ Ice

Heavy Arctic ice proves global warming, don't you know?

A global warming research study in Canada has been cancelled because of “unprecedented” thick summer ice.

Naturally, the scientist in charge has blamed it on ‘climate change.’

According to Vice:  The study, entitled BaySys, is a $17-million four-year-long program headed by the University of Manitoba. It was planning to conduct the third leg of its research by sending 40 scientists from five Canadian universities out into the Bay on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen to study “contributions of climate change and regulation on the Hudson Bay system.”

But it had to be cancelled because the scientists’ icebreaker was required by the Canadian Coast Guard for a rather more urgent purpose – rescuing fishing boats and supply ships which had got stuck in the “unprecedented ice conditions”.

    “It became clear to me very quickly that these weren’t just heavy ice conditions, these were unprecedented ice conditions,” Dr. David Barber, the lead scientist on the study, told VICE. “We were finding thick multi-year sea ice floes which on level ice were five metres thick… it was much, much thicker and much, much heavier than anything you would expect at that latitude and at that time of year.”

Clearly not one to let a crisis go to waste, Barber seized the opportunity to perform the usual alarmist clown dance for the media, explaining why this incident definitely shows that global warming is a major problem and deserving of our urgent attention.  He told Vice:     “It was clear it was from the Arctic, I just needed to be among the ice to see it,” said Dr. Barber. “What was also clear to me was that climate change has caused this event to happen.”

[Don’t you just love that “I just needed to be among the ice”? I think what he’s trying in his subtle way to tell us is: “Not all superheroes wear capes”]

Warming to his theme, he told Global News:  “This is climate change fully in action – affecting our ability to make use of marine resources and transport things.”

and:  “This is a wake-up call for all of us in the country.”

Of course it is. Now Barber has the perfect excuse to share his war stories with all the other global warming experts who have had their research expeditions/publicity stunts stymied by unseasonal bouts of global warming.

There was the Ship of Fools expedition in which an Australian climate researcher called Chris Turkey had to call an expedition to the melting Antarctic after his ship got stuck in the ice.

The Caitlin Expedition – supported by the Prince of Wales – in which Pen Haddow and his team had to abandon their trip to the North Pole because it was colder than they’d expected.

Most recently there was Ship of Fools II, in which a global warming research voyage by David Hempleman Adams had to be curtailed because of unexpected ice.

What on earth can Mother Gaia be trying to tell them?  Possibly the same message she’s trying to send out to the Greenies in California with this unexpected fall of white global warming:

    A rare winter-like storm brought more snow to the Sierra Nevada on Monday, giving skiers the opportunity to enjoy the slopes as summer gets underway.

    At Squaw Valley, the storm dropped four inches of snow at the upper elevations and two inches at the base, delighting skiers and snowboarders who will be on the slopes past the Fourth of July for a first time in history.

    “It’s definitely unique,” Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows resort spokesman Sam Kieckhefer said. “We are seeing bathing suits and costumes on the slopes. The skiing has definitely been extremely festive.”

Apparently, she didn’t get the famous memo from the Independent a few years back.  -- saying snowfalls are just a thing of the past.

Why, if you didn’t know better you’d almost think unseasonal bouts of snow and ice were nothing to do with “global warming” but were a natural phenomenon which had been with us since time immemorial….


The political legacy of the Paris Accord departure

It expanded the chasm between ‘everyday’ Democrats and ‘country club’ Democrats

Now the Republicans are the party of “the little guy” — the truckers, the farmers, welders, secretaries, waitresses — and the Democrats have become the party of the big money interests, Google, Facebook, George Soros, Bloomberg. Nowhere is this better illustrated than by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.

The billionaire country club Democrats and their brethren in the media are not going to have their incomes affected like people in the colonies whose livelihood is dependent on abundant low cost energy. We in the “colonies” resent dictatorial policies emanating from the “kingdom of D.C.”

In an eight-minute video with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul ridicules the notion that the oceans will rise 100 feet in the next 100 years by pointing out that the oceans were 300 feet lower eons ago which allowed migration across the Bering Strait.

Isn’t it interesting how the term ‘global warming’ has morphed to climate change?

NASA estimates that steps advocated now would reduce temperatures by 0.2 degrees centigrade over 100 years.

Certainly man has had an influence in the changing environment and air quality since the first caveman started the first fire, but how does that fire or all the subsequent sport utility vehicles and coal fired plants compare to the natural causes which have spawned seven ice ages, one coming all the way down to the northern boundary of Florida.

Everyday Democrats see through the silliness of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer saying that Mr. Trump has destroyed the future of two generations of Americans.

The controls on two pollutants, PM2.5 and ozone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are the ones most linked to health issues such as asthma attacks, hospitalization and reduced mortality with more than 90 percent of the benefit from controlling PM2.5.

According to the World Health Organization of the United Nations, that PM2.5 across the United States is 8.3 micrograms per cubic meter (UG/M3), similar to Iceland and New Zealand, which are 7.6 and 8.0 per cubic meter, respectively.

What are they in the countries which are ridiculing our president and chastising him for “bailing out” and endangering the world? France is 12.1, the United Kingdom 12.2, Germany 13.5 and Japan 14.6. All significantly higher than our 8.3.

Guess what the European standard is? 25 UG/M3.

So, we here in the United States have been doing a far better job of controlling pollutants than the rest of the world, well before the Paris Accord was signed in 2015.

The everyday Democrats see President Obama, sending $1 billion of their taxpayer money (without their approval, channeled through Congress) to a Greenie fund. How much has Russia sent into the Green Climate Fund? Answer: $0.00. China? Zero. India? Also zero, zilch, nada.

Here’s a very impressive comment from the Pakistanis:

“Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030.

An exponential increase of greenhouse gas emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected.”

Rand Paul says Russia is allowed to increase their carbon footprint 50 percent while we’re required to reduce ours 20 percent, and China is not required to do anything.

So the $1 billion the leader of the country club Democrats, President Obama, sent went to countries like Kenya, Thailand, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Vietnam.

An organization called Transparency International has a Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2014, they ranked the major countries that got grants from the workers of America. Those countries ranked between 25-43 on their Corruption Perceptions Index. Zero is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 is very honest, clean and not corrupt.

Has the media dug deeply to find out how much of these workers’ dollars were siphoned to offshore bank accounts or cronyism that inflated the price of contracts?

Jake Tapper could cause his reputation to soar if he put his journalistic investigators on such a topic rather than passing along the exaggerations of the religion of climate change.

How about the $26.6 million that went to the country of Vanutu to expand the use of “climate information services” in order to “ensure adaptation planning and policy implementation is informed by the right data”? So, basically the money was spent to “create a necessary base to underpin awareness-raising and long-term policy planning around climate change.” No wind turbines. No solar panels. No hydroelectric dams. But Vanutu did get $26.6 million of really great data.

The new breed of country club Democrats are not evil and are not stupid any more than the Republican country club types were/are; they’re simply misinformed.

Things are looking up for America, thanks partly to Mr. Trump’s boldness. Cicero centuries ago said criticize by creating. Donald Trump created a way around the flawed media by his flood of Tweets. While his fans feel some of them are irrelevant, that practice has allowed him to abscond with the Democrats’ core base.


Advancing scientific integrity on bees

Putting a beehive at the VP’s residence could spur people’s understanding of bee problems

Paul Driessen

Second Lady Karen Pence and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently teamed up to install a honeybee hive on the grounds of the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC. This will serve as a “great example” of what people can do to help “reverse the decline” in managed honeybee colonies around the country, the secretary said.

Helping bees and educating people about bee problems is a good idea. However, if the hive is an attempt to reduce media and environmentalist criticism of Trump Administration policies – or put the Pences and Ag Department on the “right” side of the “bee-pocalypse” issue – it will backfire. It will also undermine administration efforts to advance evidence-based science, restore integrity to scientific and regulatory processes, promote safe modern technologies, and support continued crop production and exports.

A steady stream of misinformation has fueled misplaced public anxiety about bees. Being on the “right” side must therefore begin with recognizing that honeybee populations are actually increasing, as the decline in managed honeybee colonies reversed in recent years. Attention to the vice presidential hive should instead focus on preventing and controlling the biggest single threat to honeybees, especially in small-scale hobbyist hives: infestations of Varroa mites.

Anti-pesticide zealots and headline-seeking news media have been talking for years about domesticated bees (and now wild bees) serving as “the canary in the coal mine,” whose health problems portend yet another man-made environmental calamity. The future of agriculture, human nutrition, perhaps all life on Earth could be at risk if bees and other important pollinators “disappear,” they ominously intone.

That is nothing more than fear-mongering. Honeybee populations have been bouncing back nicely since the days when many worried about mysterious large-scale deaths in hives. In fact, the “crisis” was seriously (and sometimes deliberately) overblown, and honeybee populations are now at or near 20-year highs in North America and every other continent, except Antarctica.

Assiduous scientific investigation helped identify the mites, viruses and fungal pathogens that can infest hives, and beekeepers are learning to treat infestations without inadvertently killing bees or entire hives. That process has underscored the hard reality that, for professional and hobbyist beekeepers alike, maintaining healthy hives is complicated and difficult, especially when multiple pathogens invade.

However, in another sense, honeybees truly are canaries in the coal mine. They are harbingers of the ways environmentalist attacks on modern agriculture can damage one of the most productive, competitive and globally vital sectors of the American economy. American agriculture feeds the USA and world, while generating trade surpluses and supporting rural and small town communities across the country.

Unfortunately, determined anti-pesticide zealots have been trying for nearly a decade to use the alleged “bee crisis” to prevent farmers from using advanced-technology neonicotinoid pesticides that boost agricultural yields, reduce the need for other crop-protection insecticides that can harm bees, and reduce risks to humans, birds, other animals, non-pest insects, and bees.

Neonics are now the world’s most widely used pesticide class. They are mainly (some 90%) applied as seed coatings, which lets crops absorb the chemicals into their tissue and allows minuscule amounts to target only pests that feed on and destroy crops. Radical greens have tried for years to blame neonics for higher-than-normal over-winter hive losses, “colony collapse disorder” (in which bees mysteriously abandon their colonies, leaving the queen, food and unhatched eggs behind) and other bee problems.

The mere fact that neonics may be detected in negligible, below-harmful levels in the nectar and pollen of neonic-treated crops, in foliage near neonic-treated cropland, or in the food stored in honeybees hives, has fueled emotional campaigns to ban these crop protection products. The activists simply ignore large-scale field studies that have consistently shown no adverse effects on honeybees at the colony level from field-realistic exposures to neonics. They ignore the fact that bees thrive among and around neonic-treated corn and canola crops in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

Anti-pesticide crusaders are determined to take neonics out of farmers’ pest-control “tool-kits.” They will not let scientific facts stand in their way.

This is the tug-of-war that Mrs. Pence’s beehive has plunged her into. What if her bee colony collapses and dies? Whatever embarrassment this may bring to her skills as a beekeeper (and those of USDA staff who will be charged with keeping the hive alive), activists will claim the bee deaths further confirm that the Trump Administration’s enviro-critics are right – and America’s farmers are wrong.

So what can we learn from the fate of one bee colony on the bucolic grounds of the Naval Observatory in the middle of urban Washington, DC? Potentially plenty – if Mrs. Pence and her USDA aides put on their thinking caps, learn more about “bee issue” realities, use this otherwise empty gesture to dramatize the real issues facing honeybees and their keepers, and help advance the cause of scientific integrity.

In recent weeks, the USDA-supported Bee Informed Partnership at the University of Maryland published its annual survey of honeybee colony losses for 2016-17. Although lower than last year and among the best since the decade-old survey began, over-winter losses of 21% and in-season (summer) losses of 18% are still troublesome numbers. However, a vitally important point must be kept in mind.

Those losses were suffered overwhelmingly by small, backyard, hobbyist beekeepers. (Barely 1% of respondents to the BIP survey are large-scale commercial beekeepers, which skews the survey.) This parallels other studies that show small-scale, hobbyist, backyard beekeepers suffer much higher rates of colony loss than do large-scale professionals, who handle the vast majority of US bees and hives.

Those other studies also show that small-scale beekeepers have the greatest difficulty keeping their bees alive in the face of the scourge of Varroa destructor mites. Epidemic since its 1987 arrival in the USA, this bee parasite is a triple threat. Bee larvae often hatch with Varroa mites already attached to them, and these parasites: (1) suck the bee’s hemolymph blood-equivalent out of them, (2) thereby compromising the bees’ immune systems, and (3) vectoring a dozen or more viruses and diseases into honey bees and colonies, turning what were just nuisance infections before Varroa arrived into devastating epidemics.

This has produced a striking paradox – which Mrs. Pence’s new bee colony could help explain. In the wake of widespread publicity about the supposed bee crisis, tens of thousands of well-meaning people across the USA – from the rural countryside to rooftops in densely populated urban areas – have set out to “help the bees” by setting up hobbyist beekeeping operations of one or a few hives. The problem, studies show, is that these well-intentioned initiatives often end up making things worse for honeybees.

Many newly-minted, nature-loving hobbyist beekeepers believe – contrary to the overwhelming bulk of beekeeping literature and practice – that treating their hives chemically for Varroa mites is “against nature,” and thereby hasten the inevitable disaster to their hives. When those hobbyist hives collapse under the weight of uncontrolled or poorly controlled Varroa mites and related diseases, surviving bees migrate in search of new homes, frequently among the healthy hives of some neighboring professional beekeeper – carrying Varroa mites with them. That’s how hobbyist beekeepers inadvertently contribute to the spread of this honeybee epidemic – and to the spread of misinformation about bee losses.

Mrs. Pence’s colony won’t provide lessons on supposed harmful effects on honeybees from exposure to neonic pesticides. The nearest neonic-treated canola and cornfields are well beyond her bees’ roughly 3-mile flight. However, it’s a golden opportunity to use the colony as an object lesson in what small-scale beekeepers should do to keep their hives alive and thriving: above all, control Varroa mites.

Mrs. Pence’s bee colony could become an exemplar for small-scale beekeepers on how to do right by honeybees. By implementing sound beekeeping practices (particularly properly timed Varroa counts and controls), live-streaming those practices and daily hive activity via the bee equivalent of the Panda Cam, and posting short how-to videos, she could teach millions about bees … and advance hobbyist efforts to help bees. That would help replace failure and disappointment with rewarding fun and satisfaction.

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   main.html 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, 2017

What is the global mean temperature?

There is some excitement in Germany at the moment about what is the global mean temperature.  After some years of reporting an annual mean of 15 degrees Celsius, the WMO and NOAA are reporting a current mean of 14.8 degrees. In other words, the global mean temperature has DROPPED.  Read all about it here.

I am ready to be corrected but as far as I can see it is just a misunderstanding.  Here are the two relevant paragraphs from the WMO:

"NOAA said the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces in May was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F), beating the previous record set in 2015 by 0.02°C (0.04°F). May 2016 marks the 13th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.

After five consecutive record months it comes to no surprise that the average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–May 2016 resulted in the warmest such period on record across the world's land and ocean surfaces, at 1.08°C (1.94°F) above the 20th century average of 13.1°C (55.5°F), surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.24°C (0.43°F), according to NOAA"


So there you see the 14.8°C figure.  It is pretty clear however that the 14.8°C figure refers to May average only, not the average temperature for the whole year.

So:  A storm in a teacup?  I think so -- JR

Another dishonest attempt to deny the 21C temperature stasis

Britain's "Spectator", normally a fairly conservative publication, has just published a supercilious article by Dr Phillip Williamson, who works at the University of East Anglia as a science coordinator for the Natural Environment Research Council.  He cherrypicks a few facts to deny the temperature stasis of the 21st century.  But does not mention ONE NUMBER from climate statistics. 

And we are used to the totally unscientific practice we get from Warmists of not considering and weighing all the possible explanations for a given datum.  Every datum is presented as if global warming alone could explain it. Williamson's does that throughout. 

For instance, he presents the 2015/2016 temperature rise as if it were part of anthropogenic global warming, with no hint of the strong alternative explanation that it was caused by El Nino.   But bizarrely, he later on admits that: "Such El Niño events have contributed to the sharp rise in global air temperatures over the past three years".  He undermines his own prior argument!

His argument could well impress some laymen but it would impress no-one accustomed to academic writing.

Paul Homewood picks his article to pieces as follows:

He claims, by the time he [Whitehouse] wrote his piece, the hiatus in global air temperatures had already come to a blistering halt. The years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record — an unprecedented run.

This may be true for the widely discredited surface temperature record, but not according to satellite data for the atmosphere, which shows last year as only in a statistical tie with 1998.

It is, of course, Williamson’s prerogative to refer to surface data, but he needs to explain why he chooses to ignore the satellite data. To make no reference at all to data, which would undermine his argument, is not the behaviour one associates with a proper scientist.

He goes on to say, now that the most recent El Niño event has ended, global air temperatures ought to be falling, but they aren’t.

This is totally untrue, global temperatures have fallen back by half a degree and more since the El Nino peaked last year, and are back to levels seen in the years after 2001.

The heart of the Williamson article however concerns oceans and how they are somehow hiding the missing heat.

However, things are not quite as black and white as he makes out.

We only have ARGO data since 2004, which is far too short a period to be drawing conclusions from. Prior to that, we had very little idea what was happening to ocean heat content.

It is certainly debatable just how much we know now.

He states, it’s tough to demonstrate a whole-ocean average temperature increase of less than 0.1°C in about 1.4 billion cubic km of seawater. Tough, but not impossible — steadily, scientists have managed to complete the picture.

In fact, the temperature increase detected is much less than 0.1C, approximately 0.02C since 2004.

It is certainly questionable whether any statistical significance can be attached to such a small amount at all, or whether such a figure is genuinely detectable.

Then there is the question of just what is causing this increase in ocean temperatures, if it really exists.

He claims that around 93 per cent of the extra heat gained by the Earth over the past 50 years has sunk into the ocean. Unfortunately this is just mumbo jumbo. It is a physical fact that long wave radiation can only penetrate the top few millimeters of the ocean, where any warming would quickly lead to evaporation.

Even if there was a way for this extra heat to be mixed up with the deep ocean, the difference would be too small to detect.

This raises the question of whether other factors are at play in raising ocean temperatures, with the obvious one being the sun. After all, climate scientists have long known that ocean cycles can have major effects on the climate. Not only are they very powerful, but also very long lasting. The idea that man has caused sudden changes in the deep ocean is frankly scientific gibberish.

Williamson’s logic is that the pause in air temperatures, which he seems to accept existed until the 2015/16 El Nino, was because the world’s climate was going through a period of natural cooling, with the oceans holding back the heat (think La Nina).

But this ignores the AMO, which has been running through the warm phase since the mid 1990s. As even NOAA accept, when this happens, global air temperatures rise.

Meanwhile, the PDO has not really got into negative phase yet, partly because of the recent record El Nino.

Neither of these facts are consistent with his argument. Air temperatures have in fact plateaued despite the AMO and PDO.

But perhaps most importantly of all is the longer term trend. Williamson gives us a clue, when he says, “as the ocean warms, it expands”. In other words, sea levels rise.

But we know from tidal gauges all around the world that sea levels have been rising since the late 19thC, and for most of that time at a similar rate as now, and long before man made CO2 had any significant influence.

There is therefore no evidence that what we are seeing now is not just a continuation of that natural trend.

We in fact know very little about these ocean processes, and it is certainly a subject which deserves much greater attention.

Now that would be a good topic for the Spectator, but don’t expect Mr Williamson to be writing it!


It was Phillip Williamson in his role as science coordinator (whatever that means!) who made a formal complaint about one of James Delingpole’s articles about ocean acidification to the UK press regulatory body IPSO last year.

Dellers has his usual forthright account of how IPSO threw out the complaint!

Sounds as if one of Williamson’s jobs is to shut down free speech.


Deserts 'greening' from rising CO2

It has always been clear that the Sahel has been greening in recent years but the Australian research below confirms that the effect is worldwide

Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.

In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO, in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, according to CSIRO research scientist, Dr Randall Donohue.

"In Australia, our native vegetation is superbly adapted to surviving in arid environments and it consequently uses water very efficiently," Dr Donohue said. "Australian vegetation seems quite sensitive to CO2 fertilisation.

This, along with the vast extents of arid landscapes, means Australia featured prominently in our results."

"While a CO2 effect on foliage response has long been speculated, until now it has been difficult to demonstrate," according to Dr Donohue.

"Our work was able to tease-out the CO2 fertilisation effect by using mathematical modelling together with satellite data adjusted to take out the observed effects of other influences such as precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes."

The fertilisation effect occurs where elevated CO2 enables a leaf during photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight into sugar, to extract more carbon from the air or lose less water to the air, or both.

If elevated CO2 causes the water use of individual leaves to drop, plants in arid environments will respond by increasing their total numbers of leaves. These changes in leaf cover can be detected by satellite, particularly in deserts and savannas where the cover is less complete than in wet locations, according to Dr Donohue.

"On the face of it, elevated CO2 boosting the foliage in dry country is good news and could assist forestry and agriculture in such areas; however there will be secondary effects that are likely to influence water availability, the carbon cycle, fire regimes and biodiversity, for example," Dr Donohue said.

"Ongoing research is required if we are to fully comprehend the potential extent and severity of such secondary effects."


Nevada Reinstates Solar Panel Policy After Tesla Throws Temper Tantrum

Nevada’s Republican governor signed a bill Thursday reinstating a solar energy policy that would bring electric automaker Tesla back after a prolonged boycott of the state’s initial decision to nix the rule.

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the legislation bringing back installers Sunrun and Tesla after nearly a two-year absence. CEO Elon Musk boycotted the state until Nevada reinstated the policy, which requires public utilities to purchase excess power from rooftop solar panels.

State legislators passed the bill, known as net metering, a policy many activists say is critical to keeping Nevada’s solar industry afloat. The growth of the residential solar industry has slowed recently in several Western states.

The policy reinstatement will “bring in thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in positive economic benefit” to Nevada, Tesla executive JB Straubel said at the bill’s signing.

Sandoval’s decision to sign the bill comes after voters passed the Energy Choice Initiative in 2016 calling on lawmakers to split up the state’s electrical market and end the utility company’s legal monopoly. The amendment was spurred in part by massive companies seeking to leave NV Energy and find their own providers.

The vote likely came as a result of a decision in 2015 by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to hike fees on homes affixed with solar panels, a move that basically kicked one of Tesla’s solar panel divisions out of the state.

PUC at the time imposed rules effectively ending net-metering, all but forcing electrical utilities to buy the energy produced by rooftop solar panels at near-retail rates. The move eventually led to a 30 percent decrease in solar installation jobs in the state last year.

Tesla, Sunrun, and others promote net metering to encourage the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Some analysts believe the policy is a wealth transfer from public utilities to rooftop solar companies, because the demand and price for the electrical power fluctuates widely on any given day.


Australia: Climate change zealots need to get real

Peta Credlin

The biggest deniers in the whole climate change debate are those who think we can have affordable power, lower emissions and a reliable network.

We can’t.

And after they almost sleepwalked their way to defeat at the last election, it would appear Coalition MPs have found their voices again on the issue that has defined Australian political debate over the past 15 years or more.

There’s no doubt that any policy that lowers Australia’s CO2 emissions will increase the cost of power and any move away from baseload capacity will make our network more unreliable.

Forget the movie, this is the real “inconvenient truth” that climate change zealots have never wanted to acknowledge. For too long, the views of the Zeitgeist have dominated debate and anyone daring to question any aspect of climate change was branded a sceptic. Scientific fact or not, any issue that’s galvanised the Left to the point of hysteria makes me sceptical that it’s more about the politics than anything else.

Australia contributes 1.4 per cent of global emissions. That’s right — four fifths of bugger all. But for many years we have been told that we must lead the way in reducing global emissions or suffer a loss of international standing for failing to do our bit. I don’t buy this and never have. We’re just the mugs who take these things seriously when so many don’t.

Take Kyoto for example; we didn’t even sign it yet we met the targets. How about the refugee issue? We’re one of only 27 countries in the world that offers resettlement to refugees while 140 odd countries do not.

What’s that again about everyone doing their fair share?

We live in one of the most competitive economic regions in the world. We are also a country rich in natural resources which has delivered us a record-breaking 26 years of economic growth.

We will never beat our neighbours when it comes to cheap labour but Australia’s abundant energy has always been our saving grace. We are the world’s second largest exporter of thermal coal and will soon be the largest exporter of gas. We also have the world’s biggest reserves of uranium. We should be an affordable energy superpower and, 15 years ago, we were; because the power system was run to minimise price and maximise reliability. Affordable power made us highly competitive, delivered industry and jobs, and gave us all a high standard of living.

Since then, green politics has trumped sensible economics and the result is subsidised wind farms and solar panels that make unprofitable the very coal and gas fired power stations that we need for baseload power. It’s a policy induced mess and we’re all paying the price, particularly our small to medium businesses who are doing it tough.

If you’re a well-off greenie with solar panels on the roof, a Prius in the garage and public transport outside your door, you probably don’t mind. In high income electorates feeling good about saving the planet might matter more than keeping the cost of living down.

For everyone else, we want to see a clean environment, good beaches, and our bush protected but we don’t think killing off our industry just to appease the UN gods and various other Lefties makes much sense, particularly when countries like China and India will massively increase, not decrease, their emissions in coming years. Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re economically shooting ourselves in the head.

Right now, China’s emissions are 20 times those of Australia and even if they meet their Paris Agreement commitments, by 2030, China’s emissions will be 50-60 times ours. Seriously? We sell off industry and jobs in a mistaken belief the world that is acting with similar intent but it is clear they’re not, and won’t. Again, remember my refugee example and you get what I mean.

So what about Finkel?

It’s claimed that the Chief Scientist’s report to COAG aims to address the “trilemma” of achieving lower prices, greater security and a 28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. Wrong. The report is about meeting the emissions reduction aspiration (which it converts into a commitment) at the lowest cost without major interruptions to supply. It’s not about affordable, reliable power; it’s about climate change.

As every household knows, power prices are skyrocketing and more blackouts are looming this summer because of government policy that mandates the use of intermittent (and unreliable) wind and solar power. Currently, the “renewable energy target” is 23 per cent, which means a doubling of wind generation in the next four years.

Yet the response of Finkel is to graft a “clean energy target” onto the existing RET to achieve 42 per cent of our power supply from renewable sources by 2030. In other words, he’s proposing to solve the problems caused by too much wind and solar power by having even more wind and solar power.

Reports out of Tuesday’s marathon party room discussion suggest that the Prime Minister’s colleagues are now in no mood to accept yet another giant step towards yet another Labor Party position. After adopting Labor’s policy on schools (Gonski 2.0) and Labor’s position on budget repair (more spending funded by a bank tax), there’s growing resistance to adopting Labor’s position on climate change (a 42 per cent renewable target versus Bill Shorten’s 50 per cent one).

The Prime Minister has said that the alternative to Finkel is to do nothing and that nothing is not an option. So far, though, the party room is unconvinced and is reluctant to embrace a Labor-lite solution to the power crisis that could just make it worse. They won’t accept Finkel’s report as it is, with many fearing his modelling of lower power prices is about as dependable as Treasury’s modelling for a return to surplus.

Around the world, China, India and Japan are massively investing in next generation coal fired power stations because they’re cleaner than any of the generators we have here and coal is still by far the most cost-effective way to generate reliable baseload power. If other countries can build high-efficiency, low-emission power stations to run on Australian coal, why can’t we? If it’s right for them under international agreements, how can it be wrong for us? And if the banks won’t fund them because they need ‘certainty’ then why doesn’t the government get involved?

Clearly there’s market failure here and a risk to Australia’s energy security, as well as the capacity of our industry to remain competitive. Wasn’t market failure one of the reasons the government is spending $50 billion-plus on the NBN?

It’s no good having fast broadband if you can’t turn it on.



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18 June, 2017

Why did physicist Dr. Ridd conclude that corals thrive in warmer water and will flourish as global warming increases?

The above question appeared on Quora and the responses are instructive.  The first commenter, Hirsekorn, started out with an incorrect "ad hominem" assertion about Dr. Ridd's academic background.  I quote from Ridd's page at his university: 

"Peter Ridd is a geophysicist with the following interests: coastal oceanography, the effects of sediments on coral reefs, instrument development, geophysical sensing of the earth, past and future climates, atmospheric modelling. In addition with his group in the Marine Geophysics Laboratory "

So Dr. Ridd's background leaves him amply qualified to speak on reef problems.

The next point made by the same author, Hirsekorn, is that individual corals differ in the optimal temperature of the waters surrounding them.  That is undoubtedly true but it offers no scale for that effect.  The acceptable range of temperature could be large and it could differ for individual corals.  And in fact it does, as we see here

So the comments by Hirsekorn have no merit whatever and, as such, are of the standard we have come to expect from Warmists defending their addled theory.

The second comment, by Reiner, is well informed, extensive and perfectly correct.  In particular, it has now been shown that sea level variations in recent times have been the major cause of coral bleaching.  I was unaware that Peter Ridd had predicted that some years back so he is revealed as a good scientist:  One whose theories are borne out by reality

The two original Quora comments below:

Answer by Alex Hirsekorn, lifetime seashore aficionado:

Assuming that you’re referring to Prof. Peter Ridd of James Cook Univ. I would guess that he reached such a conclusion because he is not a biologist but a geophysicist that apparently doesn’t talk to biologists very much.

There are something like 1,000 species of “reef building” coral worldwide and if you plot them by geographic location versus species you will see that they have definite preferences regarding temperature. Looking a bit more carefully will demonstrate that any given species’ numbers will diminish as you leave its temperature ‘sweet spot’ for waters that are either colder or warmer.

You don’t need to be a professor to understand this concept. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say he was probably misquoted; the alternative explanation is that he’s either a moron or willfully ignorant.

Comment by Bryson Reiner, studied at PhD in Biochemistry:

Peter Ridd is a marine physicist and has published multiple studies on sediments and their effect on coral reefs. Having spoken with Dr Ridd, my understanding is that he was suggesting corals do well not directly due to increased temps-but rather due to increased sea levels. From what I can recall, and my memory is admittedly foggy on this as it was over 5 years ago, that the Great Barrier Reef along the Queensland coast has suffered from declining sea levels which destroys coral. I am pretty sure he was inferring that rising sea levels as a result of a warming trend would increase coral growth-not as a direct result of temperature increase.

To professor Ridd’s credit, he is a strong advocate for reproducibility in the marine sciences and decries sensationalism in science. In particular he mentioned the inability to reproduce studies indicating changes in ocean pH as huge shifts in pH occurred with upwelling and even recent rains which caused short term changes but the studies results were not reproducible over long term. As an aside, certain corals will die in cooler temps just as some may die in warmer temps.

Empirically, as an avid diver-I can attest to the fact that inshore reefs are very likely affected by run off. I've been diving at an unusually inshore reef with huge coral mounts not 20 m from shore since the early 80s which was almost inaccessible as it was on the side of a small mountain in the carribean with only 3 houses nearby and a sheer dirt road that was often washed out. The reef was healthy and vibrant until 2013 when a high end housing development went up complete with a paved road. The effect was immediate as the reef went from vibrant reds, yellows, greens and blues to dull gray. The coral closest to shore was the most affected with another swath of graying coral that went well out to 100 m from shore which I couldn't quite figure out until I saw it rain which produced a huge outflow that ran along a rock jetty as a current which ran identical to the swath of dead coral. The coral has become progressively grey with each visit being worse than the last although the most affected areas remain the ones described. Yes, pollution in petroleum products and detergents certainly have an effect on coral-but to suggest that all, or even most instances of coral bleaching are due solely to temperature change is likely not the case and has yet to be determined at best.

Additionally, there are thriving corals that survive with dramatic changes in temperature near and in the Atlantic gulfstream which shifts its location by tens of miles regularly with temperature changes greater than 20 F-it's a literal column of water where within 10 meters you'll have a 60 F reading and a 80 temp. These corals are still healthy and vivid in color with life teeming all round and withstand these temperature changes on a regular and frequent basis. To suggest less than 1 C degree of change is wiping out corals is likely an overstatement.

I'm a firm believer that coral should be protected as they serve as oceanic estuaries and are simply beautiful little wonders to observe. But I suspect we'll get much better results by investing resources in controlling run off and spills rather than trying to manage the global climate. Specific efforts targeted directly at saving our reefs and coral seem more feasible in this instance vs macromanaging daunting things like the climate which in this instance is inconclusive in the degree to which it may affect the viability of coral. I'll go a step further and guess that managing directly runoff and spills will have a more immediate and dramatic effect on coral health and sustainability than even a successful attempt to change global climate.


To Put America First Is to Put Our Planet’s Climate First

By withdrawing from the Paris agreement, President Trump showed that to put America first is to put the planet first


On June 2, 2017, in a Letter regarding US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement addressed to the MIT community, Professor Rafael Reif, president of MIT, criticized President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. In this refutation, we propose to clarify the scientific understanding of the Earth’s climate and to dispel the expensively fostered popular delusion that man-made global warming will be dangerous and that, therefore, the Paris Agreement would be beneficial.

Professor Reif wrote, “Yesterday, the White House took the position that the Paris climate agreement – a landmark effort to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions – was a bad deal for America.”

There is no science unambiguously establishing that CO2 is the chief cause of the warming observed since the end of the Little Ice Age. The opposite has been repeatedly demonstrated. Ice cores have revealed that changes in CO2 concentration follow, rather than precede, changes in temperature. During the last deglaciation, the latest high-resolution records show atmospheric CO2 lagging temperature by 50 to 500 years. Our enterprises and industries return to the air some of the CO2 that was formerly present there, and some warming may be expected. That warming will be small and beneficial.

Professor Humlum and colleagues have demonstrated that changes in CO2 concentration follow changes in temperature after about 8-11 months. The time-lag between changes in temperature and consequent changes in CO2 concentration are caused by outgassing of CO2 from the oceans when they warm and uptake by the oceans as they cool. In addition, the growth rate of the atmospheric CO2 has been slowing recently, linked to an enhanced terrestrial biosphere uptake. Our contribution to atmospheric CO2 adds to the effect of these fluctuations, but it does not add much. One of us (Harde 2017) has reached similar conclusions.

Professor Reif’s assertion that global temperatures can be regulated by an international agreement to atone for our sins of emission is, therefore, at odds with scientific knowledge regarding cause and effect. King Canute’s warning to his English courtiers in 1032 A.D. that even the divinely anointed monarch could not command sea level should be heeded by bombastic intergovernmental agencies a millennium later. The professor’s assertion is, moreover, logically invalid, since the Paris agreement permits China and India to industrialize without limit on their emissions.

Besides, the Paris agreement is not binding. Under its terms, no nation is compelled to sin no more, and many – even including Germany and Denmark, the leaders in renewable energies – now appear unlikely to meet the agreement’s targets. The Paris agreement is, in practice, a political tool for suppressing growth and redistributing wealth. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, former chairman of the IPCC, said, in resigning in 2015, that the environment was his “religion,” and Ms. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change until last year, openly stated in 2015 that the goal was to overturn capitalism — in her words, “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”

Professor Reif writes, “The scientific consensus is overwhelming.”

The late author Michael Crichton, in his Caltech Michelin Lecture 2003, said, “In science consensus is irrelevant. … There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Doubt is the seedcorn of science. Consensus is a political notion which, when pleaded, indicates that the pleader is totalitarian. As Abu Ali ibn al-Haytham said in the eleventh century:

    The seeker after truth [his splendid definition of the scientist] does not place his faith in any mere consensus, however venerable or widespread. Instead, he subjects what he has learned of it to his hard-won scientific knowledge, and to investigation, inspection, inquiry, checking, checking and checking again. The road to the truth is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.

The alleged “consensus” is nothing more than an agreement that the weather has warmed in the past 300 years. Yet the quantum and attribution of warming are hotly debated among climatologists. Even today, measuring global temperature is subject to errors, biases, missing data, and subjective adjustments.

The estimation of global average temperature from satellite data is relatively new and employs a completely different temperature measurement method from the older methods. Nevertheless, the satellite data and balloon data have provided essentially identical estimates. Neither displays a worrying trend. Both are increasingly at odds not only with the surface temperature records, all of which have been adjusted ex post facto so as to show more warming than the original raw data showed, but also with the alarming projections of the serially unreliable computer models of climate on which the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change profitably but misguidedly relies.

Scientists agree that climate changes. It has done so since the first wisps of the Earth’s atmosphere formed, but they disagree on the causes of climate changes, including the mild warming since the Little Ice Age. Legates et al. (2015), for example, found that only 0.3 percent of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles on climate and related topics, published during the 21 years of 1991 to 2011, had explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly man-made.

Professor Reif wrote, “As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

In the last 20 years, we have released more than a third of all the CO2 produced since the beginning of the industrial period. Yet global mean surface temperature has remained essentially constant for 20 years, a fact that has been acknowledged by the IPCC, whose models failed to predict it. NOAA’s State of the Climate report for 2008 said that periods of 15 years or more without warming would indicate a discrepancy between prediction and observation – i.e., that the models were wrong. Just before the recent naturally occurring el Niño event raised global temperature, there had been 18 years and 9 months without any global warming at all.

The climate models relied upon by the IPCC and the politicians they advise have predicted warming at about twice the rate observed during the past 27 years, during which the Earth has warmed at 0.4 °C, about half of the 0.75 °C 27-year warming rate implicit in IPCC’s explicit 1990 prediction that there would be 1.0 °C warming from 1990-2025.

Green and Armstrong (2014) conducted longer-term validation tests of the models and found that their forecasts were much less accurate than assuming there had been no global warming at all. The relative inaccuracy of the IPCC projections increased with longer (multi-decadal) horizons. Even forecasts of natural global cooling at a rate of 1 ºC per century were much more accurate over long periods than the IPCC’s projections of dangerous man-made global warming.

Ten years ago, Al Gore asserted that global temperatures had reached a dangerous “tipping point,” with extreme warming imminent and unavailable. Professor Scott Armstrong challenged Mr. Gore to a ten-year bet based on the Green-Armstrong-Soon (2009)) scientific no-change forecast of global mean temperatures.

Mr. Gore declined the bet, but website keeps track of how the bet would have turned out. With the ten-year life of the bet due to end at the end of this year, the cumulative monthly error in the IPCC’s business-as-usual 0.3 ºC per decade prediction is 22 percent larger than the error from the benchmark prediction of no warming at all.

Why does Professor Reif continue to champion the notion of dangerous manmade global warming when it is so greatly at odds with observation?

Professor Reif wrote, As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

The average sea level rise since 1870 has been 1.3-1.5 mm (about a twentieth of an inch) per year. Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, a renowned sea-level researcher who has published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles on this topic, has been unable to find observational evidence that supports the models’ predictions of dramatically accelerating sea level rise.

Professor Reif wrote, “As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

Observations during the last few decades indicate that extreme events, including tornadoes and hurricanes, have been decreasing, rather than increasing, both in number and in intensity. Moreover, the total accumulated cyclonic energy has also been declining. As MIT Emeritus Professor Richard Lindzen has explained, the decline in storminess is a consequence of reduced temperature differentials between the tropics and exo-tropics that arise when global average temperatures are warmer.

Professor Reif wrote, “As the Pentagon describes it, climate change is a “threat multiplier” because its direct effects intensify other challenges, including mass migrations and zero-sum conflicts over existential resources like water and food.”

Milder temperatures and increased CO2 levels green the planet, instead of browning it. Deserts are retreating, and vegetation cover has increased throughout recent decades. The production of maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans is at a record high. More CO2 in the air helps plants by CO2 fertilization. Our planet has seen more than 20 percent greening during the past three decades, half of which is due to the action of CO2.

Forecasts of droughts are also not borne out by experience. For example, since the now-former Australian Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery warned that dams would no longer fill owing to lack of rain, Australia has been subjected to a series of dramatic floods and overflowing dams.

Governments’ naïve belief in Professor Flannery’s warnings appear to have led to policy actions and omissions that exacerbated flooding and failed to take full advantage of the rainfall when it came. The most comprehensive recent study of the worldwide extent of droughts (Hao et al., 2014) found that for 30 years the percentage of the Earth’s land mass under drought or severe drought has been declining.

Though the U.N. Environment Program had published in 2005 a document predicting 50 million climate refugees by 2010, to date there have been no bona fide climate refugees. Nor has mass migration owing to global warming been observed. The one person recognized as a climate refugee had his demand rejected by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. He has returned to his island home, where he remains safe from inundation.

Professor Reif wrote, “The carbon dioxide our cars and power plants emit today will linger in the atmosphere for a thousand years.”

The average residence time of a CO2 molecule in the Earth’s atmosphere is about four to seven years. Taking into account multiple exchanges leads to an estimate of a mean lifespan of 40 years (Harde 2017). Rather than a problem, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the prime nutrient for plants. Indeed, plants grow more strongly when CO2 concentrations are much higher than they currently are, which is why commercial greenhouses add CO2 to the air. The current CO2 concentration is higher than for 800,000 years, but it is far lower than at almost any time in the previous history of our planet.

Nor is CO2 a pollutant. It is a colorless, odorless gas that is not toxic to humans and other animals even at concentrations much higher than we are currently experiencing. It is also one of the most important fuels for phytoplankton, which use carbon dioxide for energy and that release oxygen. Up to 75 percent of the oxygen present in the air originates in the phytoplankton photosynthetic water-splitting process.

Moreover, during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, there were long periods during which the levels of CO2 were much higher than today, but the temperatures were far colder. We are not aware of any explanation that squares the man-made global warming theory with that fact.

Professor Reif wrote, “In 2016 alone, solar industry employment grew by 25 percent, while wind jobs grew 32 percent.”

Growing jobs by subsidy is easy, provided that one cares nothing for the far greater number of jobs destroyed by the additional taxation, energy price hikes, or public borrowing necessary to pay for the subsidy. Several studies have shown that the creation of one “green” job results in the loss of two jobs elsewhere in the economy. Despite all those subsidies, solar power accounts for 0.9 percent and wind generation for 5.6 percent of total U.S. electricity production. Electricity itself is a small fraction of total energy consumption, including transportation, industrial processes, and heating.

The so-called alternative energy companies survive through heavy subsidies and supportive regulations. For example, SunEdison received $1.5 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees, and yet it was compelled to file for bankruptcy. Solyndra is another example. So-called “renewable” energy is cripplingly expensive to the customer but is often unprofitable even after massive subsidies from taxpayers.

Europe is suffering from political rejection of fossil fuels: energy prices have soared, millions of poor people are unable to pay their energy bills, and energy-intensive businesses are relocating to where energy is cheaper. Theirs is not an example the U.S. should wish to follow.

By withdrawing from the Paris agreement, President Trump did a wonderful thing for America and the world. He showed that advocacy masquerading as science should not be the basis for political decisions. He showed that to put America first is to put the planet first. And, by rejecting the non-problem of man-made global warming, he began the long and necessary process of waking up the likes of Professor Reif to the fact that the diversion of time, effort, and trillions of dollars away from real environmental problems and towards the bogus but (to MIT) profitable non-problem of supposedly catastrophic global warming is as bad for the planet as it is for true science.


EPA coverup

Does the Environmental Protection Agency care more about its image than it does about the environment?

Its behavior in response to the massive 2015 Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado would suggest a very clear “yes.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is hiding its incredible recklessness in the affair by giving official accounts that are clearly contradicted by ample evidence in the government’s possession.

As the new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has an opportunity to drain a bit of the swamp by exposing the EPA’s cover-up.

An Environmental Disaster

In August 2015, an EPA crew inexplicably dug out the rock and rubble “plug” to the long abandoned Gold King Mine, triggering a massive blowout that flooded the Animas River with 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage and, according to the EPA, over 550 tons of metals.

Had the EPA actually been doing what it claims it did, the disaster would never have happened. However, it seems the EPA could not allow its reputation to be tarnished with the truth.

The EPA has put forth the fiction that its crew had simply removed backfill that was blocking access to a mine tunnel, but did not disturb the natural plug that had formed in the tunnel’s opening that was holding back a sea of acid mine drainage.

The EPA claims its crew planned to wait for experts who would address the plug. It says its team was just further cleaning up the site when, through some inexplicable bad luck, the plug eroded, causing a blowout that turned the Animas River bright orange.

In essence, the agency wants us to believe that this was an accident that could have happened to anybody.

The truth the EPA is concealing is that its team did not stop after excavating to the tunnel’s opening, and never had any intention of stopping.

The EPA crew began removing the plug as it had planned, even though it anticipated acid mine drainage would flow out and that the drainage could be pressurized.

The EPA’s actions could be likened to poking a balloon with a pin to let out just a little air. At best, the EPA’s actions were incredibly reckless.

Numerous federal officials in and outside the EPA turned a blind eye to the truth, and never challenged the fiction that the EPA maintains to this day and that was just repeated Monday by the EPA’s inspector general.

For an agency more concerned about its own welfare than its environmental mission, the almost unfathomable incompetence is sufficient motive to cover up what really happened.

There are other reasons as well. Some grossly negligent acts can be criminally prosecuted under provisions the Clean Water Act—a measure the EPA has used against private parties in the past. Additionally, New Mexico has already brought a lawsuit seeking damages.

Further, the EPA’s dishonest actions after the fact likely provide even more impetus to continue the deception.

Given the contradictory assertions they have made in public and the bogus reports they have produced for public and congressional consumption, it is difficult to imagine how the EPA officials involved could have possibly been honest with the inspector general investigators.

Pruitt’s team has inherited a tangle of half-truths, misdirection, and deceit. Like the Gold King Mine disaster itself, this is a mess the agency needs to clean up.

A Prelude to Disaster

Years before the Gold King Mine disaster occurred, there had been a collapse within a tunnel (an adit) used to access, ventilate, and drain the mine’s inner content.

Water can naturally accumulate within mines, and if there has been a collapse, fine solid matter like clay can eventually fill all the spaces between the collapsed rock, forming a natural plug. Eventually a pool of water forms behind the plug, and with enough time there can be so much water that it becomes pressurized.

In 2009, after this collapse, a pipe had been inserted into the mine in an attempt to prevent the accumulation of water. Then, the old structure at the entrance to the adit (posts and timbers supporting a roof to protect from debris sliding down from the slope above) was demolished, and the area in front of the mine opening was backfilled, burying all except the end of the drainage pipe.

Subsequently, water flowing from the mine had slowed to a trickle, a possible indicator that the mine was plugged.

When the EPA crew came to the mine in 2015, it came specifically to address the concern about conditions that could lead to a blowout.

The crew, however, was operating under outlandish assumptions that the agency had made one year before, which are covered in greater detail by a congressional committee report.

In brief, based on almost no evidence, the EPA had concluded during a visit in 2014 that the floor of the mine was 6 feet lower than the ground immediately outside the mine.

It assumed that water in the mine would have to be over 6 feet deep before it would flow out of the pipe. Seeing little flow out, it conjectured the backfilled mine was only half-full and not pressurized.

This conclusion was contrary to available old photographs, documents from the Colorado’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, and the basic fact that the tunnel was designed in part to drain the mine—so recessing the floor 6 feet would make no sense.

The ground immediately outside the mine was made of the waste rock removed to create the tunnel. Why and how would a tunnel be dug so it couldn’t drain or be accessed?

An additional clue should have been clear to the crew: During a 2014 visit, the EPA removed a stinger—a pipe that is used to drive through a collapse to drain impounded water.

This is especially true given that when the crew yanked the stinger from the rubble, it found the front section mangled, indicating there had possibly been an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate a blockage.

In any case, whether the mine was full or not could have been determined by drilling to test for hydrostatic pressure. However, because drilling was difficult and expensive, the EPA chose to rely on faulty assumptions rather than data.

In 2015, the EPA crew set about removing unconsolidated backfill (material that was not holding back water) to reach the plugged tunnel opening cut into the mountain’s rock face. This was accomplished the first day of digging.

The crew’s outlandish assumptions were proven to be just that when it reached the tunnel’s opening. It had exposed the entire plug from the bottom to the top of the tunnel, not just the upper half.

With the tunnel not recessed as anticipated, the crew should have realized, and likely did, that the basis of its assumption that the mine was not full of water had evaporated.

In what appears to have been a hopeless effort to account for this, the following day, the EPA crew reburied all but the very top portion of the plug. It built a large mound of earth (a berm) in front of the tunnel opening and constructed a makeshift channel to the side.

The crew apparently anticipated that when it dug a hole into the top of the plug, any water that came out would calmly flow through the channel and to a pre-existing ditch that ran down the mountain to settling ponds.

Hope springs eternal.

Although the EPA fails to mention the reburying of the plug in any of its reports, several executive branch reports, along with an EPA inspector general report released this week, described what supposedly happened next.

All these reports are wrong, and most, if not all, are intentionally deceitful.

Rewriting History

First, the EPA produced a report that asserted its crew was just digging to clear the bedrock face, but not touching the plug. Then, somehow, the lower bedrock crumbled and the mine just blew out.

The Department of the Interior produced the next report, a bureaucratic treatise that says the EPA crew discussed a plan, but then ambiguously states “the contractor continued to excavate.”

Exactly what the crew was excavating—the dirt above the tunnel opening (which in fact had already been removed) or the plug itself—is left unsaid. The report asserts that the EPA crew planned to insert another stinger through the now-exposed plug to drain the mine.

The crucial fact omitted by the report is that the EPA did not have a stinger. So, the plan was pure fiction.

In fact, the Department of Interior report was so short on details that an Army Corps of Engineers peer-reviewer made his signature conditional on including additional text in the executive summary.

He included the line:

The report discusses field observations by EPA (and why they continued digging), but does not describe why a change in EPA field coordinators caused the urgency to start digging out the plug rather than wait for [Bureau of Reclamation] technical input as prescribed by the EPA project leader.
Unlike the Corps reviewer’s comments, the remainder of the Interior report is nebulous.

Then, the night before a congressional hearing on the Interior report, the EPA issued an addendum to its first report, stating that the report was based on an unrecorded, untranscribed, simultaneous interview of the two EPA on-scene coordinators in charge of the site.

According to the addendum, the on-scene coordinator who was on vacation at the time of the blowout had handed supervision off to the other, along with an emailed list of instructions.

Curiously, this critically important email was not mentioned in the narrative of the two earlier reports. The email provides explicit instructions on steps to take to remove the upper portion of the plug.

The EPA’s midnight addendum also asserts that its crew was following these instructions with one exception. Without any supporting evidence whatsoever, the report claims that after he sent the email, the on-scene coordinator who would be on vacation told his replacement not to remove the plug, something inconsistent with his instructions.

Even if this supposed “clear verbal direction” was ever given, it definitely wasn’t followed.

The report goes on to repeat the fiction that the EPA crew was digging high above the tunnel opening and preparing the site for when the experts would arrive when, somehow, the mine inexplicably burst open.

Finally, the EPA Inspector General’s Office released its report this Monday that at best demonstrates an inability to uncover the truth by repeating the fiction.

After omitting any serious discussion of the outlandish assumptions from the EPA’s 2014 site visit, the EPA inspector general repeats the official EPA line, stating that:

According to the [on-scene coordinator] on-site, the team stopped excavation in front of the blockage on Aug. 4, 2015, after they reached material that was compacted, well consolidated, and considered by the [on-scene coordinator] on-site to be the blockage.
The EPA inspector general goes on to state that the next day, “[t]he excavator operator built a ramp to enable reaching higher.” This was reportedly done so the excavator operator could “scratch” above the mine entrance where the plug was.

Like the other reports, the inspector general omits any mention that the plug that had been unearthed the day before was reburied—as is demonstrated in this series of photos—and that the rock face had already been “scratched” clean before the blowout, as demonstrated in this series of photos.

Time for Truth and Accountability

All these reports are clearly refuted by an email from the Department of Interior recently released by the House Committee on Natural Resources, which states:

On 8/5/2015, the EPA was attempting to relieve hydrologic pressure behind a naturally collapsed adit/portal of the Gold King Mine. The EPA’s plan was to slowly drain and treat enough mine water in order to access the inner mine working and assess options for controlling its discharge. While removing small portions of the natural plug, the material catastrophically gave-way and released the mine water.

This document, site photographs, and other information clearly contradict the fiction that the EPA has spun. The cover-up is so bold it fits the old saying, “Who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

While the EPA crew did not snap a photo of the excavator bucket that was digging the last fateful scoop of the plug, it might as well have.

There are enough people inside the agencies that know the truth, and a trail of pictures and papers show that they know it.

It is time the cover-up be uncovered, and the EPA be exposed for caring more about its own institutional interests than protecting the quality of the environment.


Do America’s Science Teachers and Students Need a Ministry of Truth on Climate Change?

Four liberal Democratic Senators—Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Brian Schatz (HI), and Edward Markey (MA)—are upset because Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement an “example of his commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous Administration.”

Thank heavens! These gallant Senators, painstakingly working to protect the American people, have taken heroic action to set DeVos straight! How would truth survive without them?

“This is a quick about-face from your nomination hearing … ,” they said in a letter to DeVos on June 7. “When Senator Whitehouse asked you in January about your views on human-caused climate change, you answered: ‘The Department of Education does not have any jurisdiction over climate change or climate issues so, if confirmed, I would respectfully defer to my colleagues in other agencies … on these issues. Additionally, the Department of Education is prohibited from dictating curricula in our nation’s schools so I respectfully defer to state and local school districts about what they will or will not teach.’ Between January and last week, you apparently decided to present your views on an issue over which your department ‘does not have any jurisdiction.’ In doing so you landed squarely on the side that argues, incorrectly [as these four Senators are qualified to judge, all having earned Ph.D.’s in climatology—ooops, I just checked and found none does—anyway, back to what they said], that climate change science is not settled.”

Hold on a minute. The Senators are upset because DeVos voiced support for her boss’s policy decision? They imply that she went back on a commitment she made during her confirmation hearing?

Just what was her commitment? To “defer to [her] colleagues in other agencies” about climate change. Well, her colleagues in other agencies hold various positions on climate change and disagreed among each other on whether to withdraw from the Paris accord, but some supported the President’s decision—particularly the one who heads the most relevant agency, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. And her boss, and theirs, made his decision.

So she kept her word.

What more could the Senators want? Boot licking?

Nonetheless, they wrote demanding that she tell them whether she or her department have “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding copies of any such correspondence.

The Senators, quick to protect impressionable children from debate in our government-run schools (from which they might learn to weigh opposing arguments and become less docile proletarians), told DeVos that PBS Frontline “reported that the Heartland Institute is distributing factually inaccurate and scientifically illegitimate materials on climate change to upwards of 200,000 public school science teachers.”

That cannot be tolerated! After all, what if some of those science teachers (who presumably know more science than the Senators) were to be persuaded? (Ignore the fact that, as Heartland President Joseph Bast pointed out in a response, “the number of public school science teachers is considerably less than 200,000.” Are the Senators distributing factually inaccurate and scientifically illegitimate material?)

Rest easy, Americans. Your schools, your children, and the future of your country and planet are safe in the hands of these four Ministers of Truth. Valiant champions of the freedoms of speech and press guaranteed in the First Amendment, they would never dream of interfering in anyone’s exercise of those rights.

Except that that’s exactly what their letter to DeVos implicitly does. And more to the point, Whitehouse has called for RICO investigations of those who question the alleged scientific consensus on climate change, a call in response to which some liberal Democrat state attorneys general founded “Attorneys General United for Clean Power” in a potentially felonious attempt to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same,” for which you could be fined or imprisoned up to ten years, or both (18 U.S.C. 241)


Solar power will save us "real soon now"

A skeptical comment:

It’s easy to forget that the photovoltaic cell is a very old technology; especially if your education was more Shakespeare than Newton.

PV cells go back over 60 years; and the basic science behind them is even older. It dates back to an observation by Alexandre Becquerel in 1839. Shine a light onto some materials and loose electrons can flow. Flowing electrons are a current; behold the photovoltaic effect.

But sometimes electrons leave the material altogether, which isn’t as easy to detect and wasn’t discovered until much later. This is called the photoelectric effect. It’s easy to get confused by two such similar words.

Efforts to apply the photovoltaic process to something useful resulted in the first solar cell patent being issued in 1888. And, no, that’s not a typo, it’s just a really old idea. But it was never more than a curiosity until people worked out how to grow highly pure metallic crystals.

That problem was cracked in 1918, by one Jan Csochralski. A few decades later and the method was adapted to grow silicon crystals. So by the 1950s solar cells were being developed for space applications with the first practical cell being produced in 1954. Predictions quickly followed that it would lead to a source of limitless energy from the sun.

A few decades later, in 1989, Professor Martin Green of NSW University put a time on such predictions. He thought solar cells could replace coal in “10 to 15 years”.

Green was obviously aware of the utility scale solar plants being rolled out in the US. The biggest in 1983 was the plant at Carrizo Plains; a hundred thousand 1×4 foot solar panels. You may well ask what happened to this plant. Here’s a picture.

Carrizo was part of a short lived explosion of wind and solar energy generation rolled out in response to the oil crisis of the 1970s. But calling it an explosion is a little grandiose, the energy it produced was more of a whimper.

But wait, there’s another trick which electrons have which is worth a mention. You don’t have to shine light on some materials to make electrons move or leap from the surface. Some materials just emit electrons spontaneously: “Look mum no light!”.

This happens during some types of radioactive decay; which is just the spontaneous reorganisation of the furniture inside an atom with the surplus bits being ejected. When the surplus bits are electrons, it’s called beta radiation.

Who discovered radioactivity? That would be Becquerel junior, Alexandre’s son Henry, in 1895. Which is rather a long time after the discovery of photovoltaic effect, and even after the first solar cell was patented. Henry was honoured by having the Becquerel name used as one of the fundamental units of radioactivity.

If something is undergoing 1000 radioactive decays per second, then its activity is 1000 Becquerels (Bq). It’s a tiny unit. A human body is radioactive to the tune of about 105 Bq per kilogram, so a person weighing 70 kg has a radioactivity level of 7,400 Bq. This is roughly 50/50 made up of decays from potassium and carbon atoms. Both elements have atoms which exist in slightly different forms which are rather prone to furniture reorganisation.

You can use radioactive decay to make batteries. One method uses beta radiation and the result is called, appropriately, a betavoltaic device. Another form uses the heat that can result from decay events. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover powered its way along the Mars landscape powered by a plutonium battery. NASA sources have revealed that plans to use a lithium-ion power source for the Rover were abandoned when it was realised that there were no power points on Mars to plug in the charger.

Geothermal energy is the ultimate radioactive battery. It is simply harnessing heat from the radioactivity that drives the earth’s internal fire.

The interactions of sunshine, matter and radioactivity hit the headlines recently with the discovery that Indigenous Australians became Indigenous thousands of years earlier than had previously been thought. How on earth do people know such things? The Guardian article I just linked doesn’t tell you. And what’s it got to do with radioactivity? Or sunshine? The answer is in the sands of time… more formally known as OSL dating.

Bury a grain of sand and what happens? The natural radioactivity of all the material around it is constantly hitting that grain. Every cubic meter of even the most organic of organic gardens is radioactive because plenty of elements have atoms prone to furniture rearrangement.

All organic produce is radioactive because it all contains carbon and some forms of carbon undergo radioactive decay. A grain of sand is a quartz crystal and as radiation hits it, it changes the electron configuration ever so slightly; it’s a little like winding a clock with a spring. Does anybody remember such clocks? Probably only from old TV shows or museums.

This isn’t like photoelectricity, it doesn’t eject electrons and it isn’t like the photovoltaic effect, electrons don’t move far enough to create a current; they just get a little added energy.

So each decay in the surrounding material releases a little bundle of radiation which winds up the spring by an ever so tiny amount. Expose that grain of sand to sunshine and … sproing! … the energy is released. Physicists can do a lot more than just describe this process, they can measure it in excruciating detail. So here’s a rough outline of the process; very rough.

Crawl around in the dark digging up some grains of sand around the artifacts you want to date. Measure the radioactivity in the surrounding material. Take your sand to a very special laboratory and expose the grains to light and measure the energy released. Happily only some frequencies of light release the energy, so you don’t really need to do everything in pitch black darkness.

If the grain was underground for a long time the amount of energy will be high, but if only recently buried, it will be low. There is a predictable relationship between time buried, radiation in the area where the sand came from and the energy released. The science of crystals is far deeper and more wonderous than anything the world’s spiritualists could possibly imagine.

In extraordinarily rare cases, radioactive decay can lead indirectly to large atoms breaking into pieces and releasing large amounts of energy. This process, called fission, was discovered by people in 1938. But the first example of fission that anybody knows about happened naturally in Africa at Oklo about 1.7 billion years ago.

This entirely natural nuclear reactor ran for a few hundred thousand years. It generated the first globs of high-level nuclear waste. This ancient natural reactor was only discovered in 1972, but perhaps there are others still awaiting discovery. When I say, “large amounts of energy”, I mean something that is really tough to comprehend. The amount of energy in a golf ball sized piece of pure uranium, assuming you could get it all, which some modern reactors can, is enough to power an entire human life; 70+ years of every litre of oil, or kwh of electricity; everything.

The first demonstration of the feasibility of people replicating this natural process happened in 1942 when the first reactor was built in a squash court in Chicago. It took 16 days to assemble the graphite blocks, uranium metal and uranium oxide. It’s first operating output was half a watt!

Like the early solar cells, it was just a toy. But predictions about it’s future were much closer to the mark.

The first nuclear reactor was erected in 1942 in the West Stands section of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, which was also used as a squash court.

The first nuclear reactor was erected in 1942 in the West Stands section of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, which was also used as a squash court.

The first nuclear power plant was connected to the grid just 12 years later in the UK. It ran for 47 years and produced more electricity every year than Australia’s largest 2015 solar plant, Nyngan. It will take the Nyngan solar about 60 years to produce as much electricity as that 1956 nuclear plant produced in 47. But Nyngan, of course, isn’t expected to run for anything like 60 years. It will be lucky to last its anticipated 30. Carrizo plains only managed 11.

While the understanding of the fundamental science of sunshine, inanimate matter and radiation and their interactions goes back over 100 years, the interactions of sunshine, radiation and living matter is very recent and almost entirely the province of experts.

Biology, and more importantly medicine, are both very different from maths, physics and chemistry. The latter trio proceed pretty much incrementally.

When quantum physics displaced Newtonian physics as our best estimate of truth, people didn’t stop using Newtonian physics because it still gives excellent answers in many situations. But progress in microbiology and oncology is very different. The modern understanding of the interactions between radiation, DNA, genes, mutations and cancer is totally incompatible with that of the 1950s.

This can be amply illustrated by the scientific beliefs which launched the anti-nuclear movement. When Linus Pauling laid the foundations of this movement in the late 1950s, it wasn’t just that he didn’t know much, but that everything that he thought he knew about these fundamental interactions was simply wrong or misleading, and usually both.

It was all overturned in the following decades. But we have been left with plenty of intellectual detritus; we have a potent political and environmental movement based entirely on obsolete science. When Pauling was writing, genes were thought to be highly stable, with natural mutations occuring perhaps once in a hundred thousand generations (See Jan 1958, p.19). But what’s the modern estimate of mutations?

It’s that every one of your 20,000 genes is mutated in about a billion cells of your body during your lifetime. Pauling used wrong assumptions to predict thousands of birth defects from atmospheric bomb testing fallout. It didn’t happen because it was never going to.

But that’s a topic best kept for another piece.

Meanwhile, we are building our own generation’s version of the Carrizo plains; just bigger and grander.



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16 June, 2017

Greenie obsessions just killed a lot of people

12 confirmed dead and death toll will rise after huge inferno broke out at a residential tower block in London. It was welfare housing. “When this block was built, it complied with the old fire regulations. Had it been left alone it would never have burned like this.”

Ministers were warned numerous times over the cladding that turned the Grenfell Tower into an inferno but ignored the advice of fire experts, it has been revealed.

The Home Office was handed a damning report after hundreds of residential tower blocks were surveyed in the 1990s - but did nothing. 

The study, carried out by architect Sam Webb, found that half of the buildings inspected did not meet basic fire safety regulations.

He told the Guardian: 'We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but were simply told nothing could be done because it would make too many people homeless.'

Dozens of people are feared dead and many others remain missing after the devastating blaze ripped through the Grenfell housing block.

Seventy eight people were taken to hospital, with 18 fighting for lives in critical condition, as more than 600 residents tried desperately escape the flames that broke out at around 1am on Wednesday.

Fears have since emerged that new plastic cladding was a main factor in the fire and caused the tower to 'light up like a matchstick'.

The rain-proof cladding was installed at the block in White City, west London, in May 2016 as part of a £10million refurbishment but claims say it helped the fire spread quickly from the fourth to 24th floor.

The former chairman of the tenancy organisation connected to Grenfell said the fire was a 'scandal' that could have been avoided.

Reg Kerr-Bell said he stood down from the Kensington and Chelsea Tenancy Management Organisation (KTMO) several years ago over his concerns about the way it was run. He said: 'This is a scandal. This is one of the biggest scandals in the country - and it could have been avoided.'

He added: 'This refurbishment contract should never have been managed by KTMO. It was too big for them. My great concern was about the viability of the project.'

 He said he met a former director two days ago to discuss his concerns. 'We felt there was a disaster waiting to happen and we were going to have a meeting with the MP so that we could put these concerns to them.

'That was two days ago and today he phoned me and said: 'You will not believe what is going on'. 'It is not going to finish with this - this is just the start.' 

A series of blunders are being blamed for the disaster with residents claiming there were no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.

Experts were last night focusing their blame for the scale of the disaster on external cladding fitted to the block only last year.

It was made from metal panels and slabs of a polystyrene-like material, separated by a small cavity, fixed to the concrete surface of the outside of the tower.

Together with new windows, the cladding was meant to boost the building's energy efficiency, protect against the weather and smarten up the look of the 1970s facade.

But it appears to provide a fatal conduit for the flames to leap from one flat to another, with witnesses saying the outside of the block ignited 'like a firelighter'.

There are fears that hundreds of high-rise blocks across the UK are fitted with similar materials – even though MPs warned of the potential fire risk nearly 20 years ago.

A report in 1999 by the Environment, Transport and the Regions select committee said: 'We do not believe that it should take a serious fire in which many are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the risks.'

The MPs highlighted concerns that the air cavity between the layers of cladding can act as a chimney, helping the fire spread rapidly upwards. Their report demanded that 'all external cladding systems should be required either to be entirely non-combustible, or to be proved through full-scale testing not to pose an unacceptable level of risk in terms of fire spread'.

But the method was popular as councils sought to meet insulation standards laid out under the Blair Government's £22billion Decent Homes Programme, which ran from 2000 to 2010. It continued to be used even after the 2009 fire at the 14-storey Lakanal House in Camberwell, South East London, which killed six people.

Sam Webb, a fire safety expert who helped gather evidence after that tragedy, said last night there was a conflict between safety and the materials used to make buildings more energy efficient.

'They are not fire-resistant and in some cases they're flammable,' he said. Fires involving cladding have also occurred in Australia, Russia and the Arabian Peninsula – adding to the serious safety concerns.

Grenfell Tower was clad last year as part of an £8.6million refurbishment by East Sussex-based builders Rydon, which said yesterday that its work 'met all required building controls'.

Yet the company admits on its website that the insulation material used, Celotex RS5000, 'will burn if exposed to a fire of sufficient heat and intensity… [and] toxic gases will be released with combustion'.

Design specifications seen by the Mail suggests Grenfell Tower had 150mm (6in) of Celotex RS5000 insulation and overcladding made from ACM – aluminium composite material – with a 50mm (2in) 'ventilated cavity' in between.

ACM is also potentially highly flammable and rescuers yesterday faced the hazard of blazing metal panels raining down on them as they tried to enter the building.

Arnold Tarling, chartered surveyor and fire expert with property firm Hindwoods, said the air cavity could create a 'wind tunnel [that] traps any burning material between the rain cladding and the building'.

Had there merely been one layer of insulation, this could have fallen off and fallen away from the building but the metal cladding meant it was all contained inside.

'Not all insulation used in the process is the more expensive non-flammable type,' he said. 'So basically you have got a cavity with a fire spreading behind it.'

Dr Kostas Tsavdaridis, associate professor of structural engineering at the University of Leeds said: 'The fire seems to have spread inside the building but also outside.

'Some materials used in facades act as significant fire loads: in most cases they are high-temperature resistant instead of fire resistant. But even if they are, smoke and fire will spread through the joints.'

Grenfell Tower was equipped with metal overcladding by Harley Facades Limited, another East Sussex-based firm.

The company, which installed but did not manufacture the panels, said they were a 'commonly used product'. Managing director Ray Bailey said: 'At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.'

Celotex, which is based near Ipswich, said: 'Our records show a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. We will assist with enquiries from the relevant authorities.'

Plans for the externals works at Grenfell Tower were approved by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

In May 2016, once work was completed, council leader Nick Paget-Brown said: 'It is remarkable to see how the cladding has lifted the appearance of the tower and how the improvements inside people's homes will make a big difference to their lives.'

The tower's management facing a possible gross negligence manslaughter case it has emerged


The Bureaucrat Behind the Curtain
“Pay no attention to that man behind that curtain!” The Wizard of Oz had a good reason for trying to distract Dorothy when his true identity was revealed in the 1939 classic film. The last thing he wanted was for her to figure how things really operated.

Oz isn’t the only place where people are ignorant of who operates quietly in the shadows. The federal government is rife with people who do their jobs away from the spotlight, wielding a measure of influence that can even outweigh that of their bosses.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You may be aware that its current administrator is a man appointed by President Trump — Scott Pruitt. But there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Francesca Grifo, the agency’s “scientific integrity official.”

And frankly, that’s fine by Ms. Grifo. The less you know about her and many other unelected bureaucrats, the easier their jobs are. Especially because Ms. Grifo’s current job appears to be trying to subvert Mr. Pruitt’s.

Ms. Grifo was hired in 2013. Her position as scientific integrity official grew out of President Obama’s stated goal to “restore science to its rightful place,” as he put it in his 2009 Inaugural address.

Like so many other titles and goals, it all sounds pretty harmless. But as Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel recently pointed out, a political motive was at work. This was, she writes, Mr. Obama’s “way of warning Republicans that there’d be no more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.”

Ms. Grifo came to the agency from the far-Left Union of Concerned Scientists, so you can imagine why she was selected. You can also imagine what her job boils down to now that Donald Trump is president: thwarting his agenda as much as possible.

Toward that end is a meeting she’ll be hosting soon with numerous groups to discuss ways to pursue “scientific integrity.” The initial guest list read like a who’s who of the liberal environmental movement: Earthjustice, Public Citizen, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Progressive Reform, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and yes, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This is a government employee using taxpayer funds to gather political activists on government grounds to plot — let’s not kid ourselves — ways to sabotage the Trump administration,” Ms. Strassel writes. (Since then, some conservative groups have been invited as well, but it took Ms. Strassel’s column to do it.)

It isn’t just disagreements over policy that fuels the behind-the-scenes activities of bureaucrats such as Francesca Grifo. They surely have their eyes on the budget cuts that the president has proposed to climate programs.

Climate Wire called his budget “a slap in the face.” To Scientific American, it’s a “slaughter.” Think Progress deems it “a punitive assault on science, the environment, and indeed the planet.”

But as environmental experts Katie Tubb and Nicolas Loris point out in a piece for The Daily Signal, all this hyperventilating lacks context.

For one thing, some cuts to the federal government’s sizable climate budget are clearly in order: At least 18 agencies administer climate change activities, to the tune of $77 billion between fiscal years 2008 and 2013.

There’s a lot of wasteful spending in there, such as $700,000 to a global warming musical, and an EPA grant for “green” nail salon concepts in California. Moreover, Ms. Tubb and Mr. Loris note, most of the money goes to “green” tech rather than to science, wildlife or international aid. “Even after the president’s proposed cuts,” they write, “there is plenty of money left in the federal budget to study and model the climate.”

If President Trump wants to make any headway at the EPA and other federal agencies, he needs to do more than appoint good people to run them. He needs to make sure that the people behind the curtain aren’t working to undermine him.


Getting more coal and nuclear power on the grid should be a priority

Nearly 100 people are back to work in Pennsylvania, where the newly opened Corsa Coal Corporation’s Acosta Mine in Somerset County, Pa. will produce 400,000 tons of coal annually for 15 years. President Trump vowed to end the war on coal and prioritize job growth, this mine opening shows he is already on his way to making this dream a reality.

Trump praised the mine’s opening in the Rose Garden while he announced the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the gesture was meant to highlight Trump’s focus on returning jobs and stable energy to the nation over environmental policy.

President Trump could not have selected a more pressing time to make this announcement, as weakening infrastructure in our nations power grid has halted economic growth and placed our entire country at greater risk for rolling blackouts.

Despite being a “resilient” energy source — meaning they have the ability to withstand natural disasters, supply shortages, and even terror attacks — coal and nuclear energy have been largely replaced in favor of natural gas and “cleaner” energy sources.

President Obama’s war on coal gave the EPA unprecedented power to close coal mines that were deemed environmentally harmful, forcing coal electricity production to shrink from 49 percent of the grid to just 31 percent and nuclear energy production unchanged since 2007, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration(EIA).

At this rate, the United States has reduced usage of needed energy sources so significantly, its putting the entire nations energy supply at risk.

Overall electricity generation in the U.S. has dropped from 4.005 trillion kWh in 2007 to 3.92 trillion kWh in 2016, but while this has happened end use has only decreased from 3.89 trillion kWh to just 3.853 trillion kWh, placing additional strain on stretched grid capacity.

Meanwhile, the government under former President Barack Obama created federal subsidies for green industries, despite the reality that neither wind nor solar energy produce consistent or enough power to meet our country’s electricity demands.

The stunted growth of nuclear energy and reduction of coal energy has proven to be a catalyst for economic devastation as well. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana the coal sectors decreased by 49 percent, 44 percent and 37 percent, resulting in nearly 50,000 coal jobs lost during Obama’s presidential term.

President Trump has made a great start on reopening the coal industry, but regulations are still prevalent throughout both the coal and nuclear energy sector, including the 2009 Carbon endangerment finding as well as the new and existing coal power plant regulations.

On the nuclear front, in the last 20 years, only one nuclear plant has been successfully opened according to the EIA. In fact, the EIA reports that nuclear energy’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will continue to drop from 20 percent to 11 percent by 2050, coinciding with a predicted growth in electricity demand of up to 92 percent over the same period of time.

The reason for the decrease? Regulations by the federal government which have made nuclear energy unattainable.

The Morning Consult of June 2017 explains, “Nuclear-powered plants can produce reliable, base-level electricity…with zero carbon emissions. Engineering innovations have resulted in advanced nuclear reactors that are much safer, more efficient, and more affordable than reactors currently in use…Unfortunately, regulatory requirements here at home have driven the cost of bringing new reactor technology to market so high that power companies are instead lobbying for billions in subsidies to keep decades-old technology in operation… Innovation has put to rest many of the safety concerns that regulation was meant to protect us from.”

Instead of fostering this innovation and generating energy that can meet our national demands, the U.S. is relying on archaic laws regarding nuclear energy — all the while shutting down Yucca Mountain, the only permanent place in the country to store spent nuclear fuel.

For example, Gerald Ford asserted in 1976 that nuclear energy could not be recycled due to the possibility of creating nuclear explosives. This, despite admitting in his October 28, 1976 Statement on Nuclear Policy that, “nuclear energy represents one of the best hopes for satisfying the rising world demand for energy with minimum environmental impact and with the potential for reducing dependence on uncertain and diminishing world supplies of oil.”

Somehow, France, Great Britain, and Japan have all successfully generated energy from recycled and reprocessed nuclear fuel and have never managed to accidently make a nuclear weapon. France todays generates 80 percent of its electricity needs with nuclear power — much of it generated through recycling old fuel.

The opening of this coal mine in Pennsylvania was a great step toward stable energy for our country, but President Trump needs to take it a step further. In order to secure our energy grid with coal and nuclear power to prevent millions from losing power, Congress and the President must continue removing regulations, allow nuclear reprocessing, reopen Yucca Mountain and expedite review and ultimately the rescission of the Clean Power Plan.

The former Obama Administration harmed the energy security of the entire country, now we are a step closer to getting our power back. But Congress and the President still have much to act upon.


Elevated CO2 Stimulates the Growth of Sunflower Plants
Paper Reviewed: Gong, X.Y., Schäufele, R., Lehmeier, C.A., Tcherkez, G. and Schnyder, H. 2017. Atmospheric CO2 mole fraction affects stand-scale carbon use efficiency of sunflower by stimulating respiration in light. Plant, Cell and Environment 40: 401-412.

As one of the top 35 crops in terms of global food production, it is important to understand how sunflower (Helianthus annus) plants will respond to increases in the air's CO2 content. The latest study to do just that comes from Gong et al. (2017), who grew sunflower seeds (cv Sanluca) in plastic pots in controlled environment chambers under CO2 concentrations of 200 (low treatment) or 1000 ppm (high treatment) for a period of 42 days.

At the end of the experiment, Gong et al. report that elevated CO2 increased plant dry mass (g per plant) by 52 percent and plant photosynthesis by 91 percent. In addition, the aerial fertilization effect of elevated CO2 led to increases in net and gross primary productivity of 77 and 90 percent, respectively (see figure below). Furthermore, the authors report that stomatal conductance "showed a clear reduction, and intrinsic water use efficiency showed a clear increase with CO2" as well.

In light of the above, it would appear that, in the future, sunflower plants (and the farmers who grow them) will reap the growth-enhancing and water-saving benefits provided by rising levels of atmospheric CO2.


Australia: Greenies lose another attempt to block a mega coal mine

ANTI-Adani activists have lost another case in the courts after the Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal against the approval of the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion, near Bowen.

The expansion project, which went through three environmental impact studies, will be expanded as part of the $US16.5 billion Carmichael Mine, port and rail development.

The appeal was brought by the Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, which said the decision meant it was a dark day for the reef.

The defeat of the appeal means that the only remaining case against the mine is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s appeal against the Federal Government’s environmental approval.

Native title issues were resolved by legislative amendments passed by the Federal Senate yesterday.

WRAD’s spokeswoman Sandra Williams said her group would continue to fight for the reef, but her lawyers said it would have to consider the judgement before deciding on any further appeals.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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15 June, 2017

Pruitt Refocuses the EPA on Environmental Cleanup

Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt recently announced a plan to reform the Superfund program, which was established in 1980 to clean up hazardous waste sites. The EPA currently numbers 1,336 sites on its Superfund list, and Pruitt aims to prioritize and accelerate the EPA’s efforts in cleaning up these waste sites — an issue for which action is long overdue.

Many of the efforts to engage in the actual cleaning up of these sites has been stymied by a combination of the inefficacy of government bureaucracy and legal disputes. An example of this inefficient and costly government bureaucracy is seen in Portland Harbor, Oregon, where the EPA listed a Superfund site in 2000. The agency spent millions of dollars and years researching a plan to clean up the site only to eventually throw out the plan and research it again. It was just this past January, right before Donald Trump took office, when Barack Obama’s EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, finally settled on a plan for cleaning up the site. This is only one of many instances where the agency tasked with protecting the nation’s environment has wasted time and money, primarily due to bureaucratic distractions.

Pruitt has directed a task force to review the Superfund program’s business and management practices. Part of the reform plan will be to centralize leadership on decisions for projects costing over $50 million, with the aim of removing unnecessary obstacles in order to provide greater efficiency in implementing cleanup plans. This move would also help to cut costs, an important issue for Trump as he has called for a 30% cut to the EPA’s projected budget over the next fiscal year.

If it has to exist at all, it’s about time the EPA got back to its original purpose in doing real environmental protection work rather than spending so much time and funding on promoting the Marxist propaganda of climate change.


What Congress and the Trump Administration Need to Do to Fix the EPA's Broken Budget

Next Thursday, June 15th, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify about President Trump’s budget plan for the agency before the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

As I wrote here, the EPA’s budget is a total mess. For years, the agency has submitted to Congress a 1,000 page budget justification that makes no sense. For starters, the agency’s budget is organized in an incomprehensible programmatic and sectorial matrix that bears no relationship to EPA’s structure or enabling statutes. Worse, the qualitative descriptions in the budget omit mention of who spends what and how they do it. All told, the document is more than 1,000 pages of gobbledygook.

The obfuscation is intentional: By making it impossible to understand, the EPA precludes congressional oversight. During the Obama administration, the agency wholesale failed to meet its non-discretionary statutory responsibilities—i.e., the things that Congress ordered them to do. Instead, the agency poured money into discretionary activities—i.e., things that the EPA choose on its own accord. On reading the budget, it is impossible to know how little the agency is spending on its statutory duties as against how much the agency spends on self-chosen activities. This state of confusion is exactly how the EPA likes it. After all, Congress can’t exercise its power of the purse if it has no idea how the money is spent.

Although the Trump administration’s heart is in the right place when it proposes a 31 percent budget cut at the EPA in its FY 2018 budget, the agency continued to employ the impossibly convoluted organizational matrix used in previous years. As in the past, the document is incomprehensible; in fact, the only difference from past practice is that the FY 2018 budget cuts the numbers by about a third, across the board.

I fear the administration is shooting itself in the foot. After studying the agency budget for weeks, my gut tells me that the agency is spending ~40% on discretionary activity. Were it to organize the EPA budget in a logical fashion, the Trump administration could demonstrate that the agency has been shortchanging Congress. In fact, a logically organized budget—one that clearly demonstrates how much money is spent on non-discretionary vs. discretionary policies—is likely to justify even greater budget cuts, because it will bring to light how much money the agency has been frittering away on non-core activity.

Congress should care, too. Oversight is only possible if the budget makes sense.

The next steps are as follows:

    First, Congress should demand that EPA submit a budget that is capable of being understood by lawmakers. Authorizing committees, budget committees, and appropriations committees in both chambers should make this a priority.

    Second, President Trump needs to appoint someone capable to lead the EPA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer, which is responsible for putting together the agency’s budget. This political appointee should be given instructions to produce an intelligible budget.

    Third, Mick Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for presidential management of the budget, needs to issue a circular requiring that the OMB and EPA work towards improving the budget.

It should be noted that improving the budget would improve the environment, in addition to saving the taxpayer money. The statutory responsibilities that the agency has chosen to ignore are the nuts and bolts of environmental improvement. By contrast, the preponderance of discretionary spending has been given to climate policies that in no way influence the climate.



President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord on the grounds that it puts the energy reserves of the United States, including coal, “under lock and key” while allowing other nations to develop their coal resources and coal jobs. The Paris deal is therefore “a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.” The Paris Climate Accord is hardly the first international deal to attempt such top-down redistribution. Recall the “North-South Economic Dialogue,” promoted by the United Nations.

As Paul Johnson noted in Modern Times, 11 of the “South” states, including Mexico, Venezuela and Pakistan, were north of the equator, and one, Saudi Arabia, had the world’s highest per-capita income. Australia, the only continent entirely in the southern hemisphere, was considered “North.” The entire Soviet Bloc, entirely in the northern hemisphere, was omitted altogether. “The concept was meaningless, except for purposes of political abuse,” Johnson wrote, and “inevitably, America was presented as the primary villain in the North-South melodrama.” The same is true of the Paris Accord, masquerading as a climate measure based on science.

California Governor Jerry Brown, at this writing on a tour of China, claims the science is all settled, which was also said of Newtonian physics. Climate alarmism is an orthodoxy, not a matter of facts and inquiry, and those who question it become heretics and criminals to be vilified. True to form, The Nation called withdrawal from the Paris Accord “a crime against humanity,” charging “this is murder, even if Trump’s willful ignorance of climate science prevents him from seeing it as such.”

Such hysteria recalls Squealer, apologist of the ruling pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. When head pig Napoleon steals the milk and windfall apples, Squealer explains that this is not an act of selfishness and privilege but absolutely necessary for the welfare of the wise “brainworkers.” As Squealer contends, “this has been proved by Science, comrades.”


Dem aims to block Trump properties from receiving federally subsidized flood insurance

Legislation introduced in the House on Monday would prevent President Trump from receiving federally subsidized flood insurance, amid warnings that the effects of climate change could cause parts of his Mar-a-Lago resort and other south Florida properties to be underwater in coming years.

The bill from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) — titled the Prohibiting Aid for Recipients Ignoring Science (PARIS) Act — would ensure properties owned by a president or a president's family members can’t have access to subsidized insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

An analysis by Coastal Risk Consulting found that the Mar-a-Lago grounds in Palm Beach, Fla., could be under at least a foot of water for 210 days a year because of tidal flooding.

And it’s not just Mar-a-Lago, where Trump spent many weekends this past winter after taking office in January, that might be affected by rising sea levels resulting from climate change.
Trump’s oceanfront condos in Miami and his Doral golf course would also be threatened, according to projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.

Blumenauer wants to make Trump feel the potential effects of his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, which made the U.S. one of only three countries in the world to abstain and drew anger from key longstanding allies.

The Trump administration also refused to sign onto parts of a Group of Seven declaration regarding climate change in light of the decision to leave the Paris pact.

“The American people should not be responsible for bailing out leaders who ignore science to gain political points, while subjecting the United States — and the rest of the world — to the catastrophic effects of climate change,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “Trump may choose to reject science, but he can’t ignore the impacts — especially as they happen in his own backyard.”

Trump has said climate change is a “hoax” created by the Chinese, though his aides have largely avoided answering questions in recent weeks as to whether the president believes climate change is real. 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this month that Trump “believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation.”

"Just because the U.S. got out of a club doesn't mean we aren't going to care about the environment," Haley said.


Hard questions being asked within the government about Australia's nonsensical climate policy

They are all agreed that the electricity supply must be reliable but can't figure out how you do that amid a switch to renewables.  And not all are agreed that there is any point to renewables

The great call worldwide to the effect that renewable targets must be enshrined because businesses need certainty is utter nonsense. Businesses can easily be given certainty by an assurance that arrangements they enter into now will be "grandfathered" in the event of future policy changes

Always up for a brawl on climate change, Liberals and Nationals MPs have thrown themselves into an internal row that tells Australians to look elsewhere for leadership.

In public, MPs assure voters they have a way to keep power bills down. In private they rip each other to shreds because they do not know what to do.

The policy divide at the Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday night came with real personal bitterness.

Tony Abbott interjected so often throughout the meeting that Craig Laundy, a frontbench ally of Malcolm Turnbull, called the former prime minister out and asked that he show respect to those who wanted to speak.

Russell Broadbent, once a strong supporter of Turnbull, warned so strongly about the risk of higher electricity prices that he got a rebuke from Paul Fletcher, another frontbencher very loyal to the Prime Minister. "It was quite ugly,” says one witness.

There can be no long-term solution on energy from a group that will fracture so easily on policies it agreed to less than two years ago, such as a renewable energy target and a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Coalition party room meeting heard MPs who questioned the government’s stated plan to generate about 23.5 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020 and to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.

Abbott wants to scrap the RET even though the nation’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, says this would harm investor confidence. The chair of the Coalition’s backbench committee, Craig Kelly told the meeting the emission reductions should be slowed in the near term to "back end” the cuts in later years. Queensland MP George Christensen told colleagues he regretted agreeing to the emissions targets two years ago.

Consider what this tells energy investors, let alone voters. Even if Turnbull can find a way through this chaos to decide a new energy policy, who can be sure how long that policy would last?

Even if the Coalition holds power at the next election, can investors be confident that the rules set in 2017 will still be in place in 2019 when their new wind farms or gas-fired power stations are meant to be built?

Some Coalition MPs dream of attracting investors to build a new coal power station to last four decades, but their promises of certainty ring hollow. Think of the size of the government guarantee needed to shield an investor from the prospect of a change in policy or a change in government. The Coalition’s internal disputes only add to the risk premium.

Observers should be wary of seeing the dispute as a revolt or backlash. While some MPs described the debate in those terms, others disagreed.

MPs who hate the Finkel proposal for a clean energy target certainly mobilised faster than others, so the story of the revolt was the first story told. Even so, Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg were careful to use the meeting to listen to concerns rather than advance a policy.

That meant the MPs turned their sights on the Finkel report rather than on Turnbull and Frydenberg.

"Nobody from government is proposing anything yet so it can’t be described as a backlash or a revolt,” says Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, one of those who warned against the clean energy target.

Yet the message was clear and it means Turnbull will steer clear of the clean energy target in the form modelled in Finkel’s report, which assumed an emissions intensity threshold that would knock coal power stations out of the scheme.

The unspoken warning to Turnbull is that he puts his leadership in danger if he goes too far on energy and climate policy, just like he did in 2009 when Abbott replaced him.

Nobody in the party room meeting advanced an alternative to the Finkel plan. Many agreed that doing nothing was not an option — Frydenberg’s key message. While a clean energy target looks almost impossible, some form of energy mechanism is still on the table.

The clean energy target could be structured to offer help to coal as well as wind and solar but it will not be worth the "clean” brand.

Anything that satisfies Abbott is likely to be too generous to coal and therefore rejected by Labor and the Greens. Even if it scrapes through the Senate crossbench, it offers no policy certainty for the long-term.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


14 June, 2017

"In the future, people will marvel how hysterical mankind has been" -- Lindzen

An interview with Prof. Richard Lindzen in Prague in mid May 2017:

Q.: The U.S. president Donald Trump has turned his back to the international treaties to reduce emissions when he announced in the White House's Rose Garden that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate treaty that 195 countries signed in 2015. We use this opportunity to unlock the full interview with one of the most famous climate skeptics among the world's scientists Richard Lindzen which was published in Echo at the end of May. In February, Lindzen organized a public letter to Trump signed by hundreds of scientists, urging the president to revoke the U.S. signature under the 1992 treaty signed in Rio which became a cornerstone for the subsequent Kyoto and Paris treaties. In these treaties, the countries-signatories pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to make sure that the planet won't heat up by more than 2 °C relatively to the pre-industrial era.

In your memo, you recommend Trump to withdraw from the Climate Change Convention signed at the 1992 U.N. summit in Rio. Why do you focus on Rio and not the 18-months-old Paris treaty?

A.: Because Rio seems to be the easiest way out. There exists an argument that to leave the Paris treaty [adopted in 2015; signatories-countries vow to realize their individual contributions to fight against the emissions, note by editors] would be more complex and it could take several years. [That's the path that Trump chose, anyway, comment by LM.] The argument also notes that our exit must be approved by the other signatories. On the other hand, when you leave Rio, you also invalidate the commitments that were made in the subsequent 25 years and that includes Paris. The second simplest way out would be to classify Paris as a treaty that requires a ratification by the U.S. Senate where it would undoubtedly fail to collect the required 2/3 majority. And in that case, we could think of Paris as a treaty that hasn't been signed by the U.S. at all. According to the U.S. constitution, all international treaties have to be approved by the Senate. Obama was working outside this framework and in fact, no one exactly knows whether his agreement with the Paris treaty has any legal power.

Q.: What are your estimated odds that Trump will behave as you advise him?

A.: I see it as a 50-to-50 proposition. I think that we will be smarter in Fall 2017 or earlier. These days, it's hard to understand the actual events in the U.S. Trump is complaining about fake news – and rightfully so. So far, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a majority of the TV channels like to report things about Trump before it turns out that they aren't quite right. So when they are telling us that Ivanka along with her spouse Jared Kushner or the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson want us to stay in the Paris climate framework, I am not sure that it's true. Trump himself isn't ideological, moreover, he doesn't pretend to possess the scientific expertise. He may be inclined to decide in a way that minimizes the friction. But the most important fact could be his campaign promise to leave the climate treaties.

Q.: At any rate, last fall, people were voting for Donald, not Ivanka or Jared.

A.: Yes, and he knows it. He has two candidates for his science adviser, William Happer and David Gelernter. Both are very intelligent men. Will was mentioning that he was discussing this issue with Trump and Trump was saying: You must understand that my daughter is young and doesn't understand the issue yet. Who knows how these things will evolve...

Q.: Why would Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner be so involved in the efforts to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate framework?'

A.: They are young people, they have been brought up in the propaganda about man-made global warming. Before her father decided to run for the White House, they were Democrats. If you're growing up in the New York City in a certain social class, everyone around you is a believer. That was the case of many CEOs of big companies that I know. Their wives were insisting that they had to embrace this faith, otherwise these wives' girlfriends would stop talking to these wives.

Q.: You have been heard as saying that the ordinary Joe has already seen through the panic about global warming while the educated people are more susceptible.

A.: But that's the case of many other topics. Orwell was an early thinker who noted that certain ideas are so silly that only intellectuals may believe them. Just look how the education system works. What does it mean for a student to be good these days?

Q.: To pass the exams and write a good thesis.

A.: Maybe in your country. In America, to be a good student means to please his or her professor. In other words, the student must accept what the professor teaches and writes, without reservations. And when you disagree, you are a bad student. People who avoid college don't have to undergo this. They have the freedom to use their own brain to think. If you ask a regular working person in Boston, Paris, or anywhere, what he thinks about global warming, he will probably respond: I think that something is happening but I am not too interested in it. Almost no one will tell you: We have to save the planet. It would be hard to transmit this sentence through his lips because it would look too pompous to him. And he is intuitively right. Even the official proposals to stop the climate change publicly admit that even if they are realized, they won't have a tangible impact. These efforts are returning us to the Middle Ages when people liked to do symbolic gestures to persuade God to look at us more mercifully. It is an irrational issue, except from the viewpoint of the people who make profit out of it. And it's not just the producers of the solar panels or the windmills. In America, even utility companies are totally excited about the regulations introduced because of the climate. They have done the maths and they figured out that the regulations will bring them extra profits. The consumers will pay for the party.

Q.: On the other hand, the college-educated public ironically thinks that it is the climate skeptics like you who are being paid by the energy industry.

A.: I wish! [Laughter] The only big grant that e.g. ExxonMobil has ever donated to the research of the climate was its $100 million grant donated to Stanford – to promote climate alarmism.

Q.: Payments that you have allegedly received from the coal company Peabody is sometimes being used against you.

A.: Sure, they wanted an expert analysis needed in the court. Everyone gets paid for this work. More importantly, this money is so modest that it is negligible relatively to the funds flowing to the official climatology. Since 1988, the latter has been tens of billions of dollars, an amount so large that the climate science has basically been unable to absorb it so far. The field is relatively small and the tens of billions are going almost exclusively to support a pre-determined paradigm. Don't believe the talk about thousands of climatologists who agree with the conclusions of the U.N. international panel. Have you attended a college? Have you ever met someone who studied climatology in your student environment? No? Almost no one has met a climate student. Sure, the U.N. is already importing people from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, but those aren't real climatologists. But when you discontinuously increase the research funds, and on top of that, you develop the research on the impacts of the so-called climate change, you may study e.g. cockroaches and still be incorporated to the industry of climatology once you publish studies about the cockroaches' prospects in the globally warming world. If 90% of the research funding for the climate were slashed, the discipline would actually benefit.

Q.: You are alternately living in Greater Boston and Paris so you must have noticed that the French president Macron has invited scientists from the U.S. to France who are – I am quoting – fighting against the darkness and obscurantism and who are afraid that their research will no longer be permitted.

A.: If Macron were honest, he would have to think of people like me. In the past and up to this day, the only scientists who have been suppressed have been the doubters. When they classify you as a skeptic, you won't get the grants, you face extra hurdles while publishing things. For example, I am a member of the National Academy of Sciences and these members are expected to be able to publish a scientific study. I submitted a publication in 2011 whose co-author was Korean scientist Mr Choi. In the committee that was deciding about the publication, one member was Mr Schellnhuber of Germany [Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was then a science adviser to Angela Merkel, comment by editors] and his argument was as follows: Look, this Lindzen wants his study to be reviewed by Chou but Chou is his co-author. That's illegal. They didn't publish our paper even though Choi and Chou are two different people. Afterwards, I even received apologies from other members of the committee who were disgusted – but that couldn't have helped with the core problem.

Q.: Do you know a recent example in which climatology was demonstrably working in a government's interest?

A.: Sure. The Karl et al. study funded by NOAA (National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration) in Summer 2015, i.e. shortly before the Paris accord, had the goal to prove that the hiatus in global warming that has been taking place already from 1998  didn't exist. Using slightly different datasets, they reduced the temperatures measured in 1978-1998 and slightly increased the temperatures from 1998 through 2015, and that's how a steeper curve was created. In newspapers, people could read predictable headlines: No hiatus has occurred in global warming! Of course the warming did take place but they hid an important detail: that the warming was far smaller than the predictions of all the climate models. And that was true even according to the modified datasets. That's an example of elementary scientific dishonesty built on the silly assumption that every warming is dangerous, even if it were by a hundredth of a degree. Someone has paraphrased the logic as follows: When you eat 100 aspirins, you will die. When each of 100 people eats 1 aspirin, 1 person will die.

Q.: And according to you, is the world warming or not?

A.: The climate is constantly changing, it has never stayed constant. We had a warming episode in 1978-1998, probably comparable to several tenths of a degree. I am using the word "probably" because when the measurement error is plus minus 0.2 °C, you may always modify your results to match a trend you find convenient. To deduce trends from changes in tenths of a degree is nonsense from a statistical perspective. It is almost impossible to say with certainty that warming has taken place. The international panel of the U.N. known as the IPCC acronym is claiming: The warming between 1919 and 1940 wasn't caused by humans but the warming between 1978 and 1998 was. But their magnitude and shape was basically identical. It's propaganda. You may always focus on small changes and scale the graph so that it looks dramatic to the naked eye.

Q.: What about the argument about the 10 hottest years in history that were uniformly recorded from 1998?

A.: If 1998 is the warmest one in your dataset from the beginning of your measurements, and if the temperature stabilizes afterwards, then it seems logical that most of the following years will belong among the warmest ones. This argument says nothing about the trends. I think that this argument is abusing people's innumeracy. It's a fact that since 1998, the Earth has basically seen no temperature trend. First, this 20-year-old hiatus wasn't predicted by the IPCC models. Second, they aren't even attempting to seriously explain it. Ex post explanations, e.g. that the heat was stored in the ocean and will emerge from the ocean sometime in the future, aren't convincing.

Q.: If the official science is failing, how do you explain that the climate industry keeps on moving?

A.: Environmentalists have attempted to spread several types of  panic since the 1960s: oxygen depletion, global cooling, coming ice age, acid rains... Global warming is the last one in the sequence. They have nothing else to try afterwards, so they will remain attached to global warming for as long time as possible. When this whole construct collapses sometime in the future and the fight against global warming will be moved to the dumping ground of history, people will marvel at a remarkable story showing how it was possible to make the whole mankind hysterical without any proper arguments. And how vulnerable science may become when it is exposed to such hysteria.

Q.: Does the history of science remember something similar?

A.: To some extent, Lysenko's anti-Mendelian theory of heredity in the USSR was similar. In America, there was a related excitement for eugenics in the 1920s. Eugenics returned to Germany later and in a much more extreme form. But even in the U.S. of the 1920s, it was enough to close the borders. The root of the panic was the idea that America was exposed to the pandemics of feeble-mindedness and you could have found scientists who were blaming this pandemics on immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, i.e. on you and the Italians. [Laughter.] What's interesting is that while the research wasn't subsidized by the government in those times, the public was scared and the government suggested that it was preferring certain results. And science managed to match that demand with its supply. In spite of the geneticists' knowledge that it was bad science, they remained silent because they felt that it was very important for the public to appreciate the importance of their field.

Q.: What risks are facing the scientists whose theory collapses during their lifetime?

A.: Nothing. Paul Ehrlich and his population explosion theory is a good example: Before 1980, famine would explode in the U.S. Nothing like that has ever taken place, of course, but Ehrlich remains a celebrated personality. In fact, he claims that the history has vindicated him. It's similar with the people in the Club of Rome and their The Limits to Growth. It's a silliness but they're still harvesting applause. You can say anything and it doesn't affect your reputation as long as you belong to a political movement. In that case, you may say: I have done quite some good work to help a good cause.

Q.: If Trump leaves the bandwagon of the climate politics, may it bring the demise of this world view closer?

A.: It might. I don't think that the end will be dramatic. What may happen is simply that the panic will cease to be profitable and profit seekers will have to look for greener pastures elsewhere.


Does Nuclear Energy Have a Future in the United States?

In May, the U.S. Energy Information Agency released a daily energy brief summarizing the current and future state of nuclear energy production in America. According to the EIA, nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 percent to 11 percent by 2050. That decline coincides with a predicted growth in electricity demand of up to 92 percent — nearly doubling current consumption — over the same period.

Nuclear-powered plants can produce reliable, base-level electricity — typically generated by fossil fuels — with zero carbon emissions. Engineering innovations have resulted in advanced nuclear reactors that are much safer, more efficient, and more affordable than reactors currently in use. Such technology should have a promising future as a part of the U.S. energy portfolio. Unfortunately, regulatory requirements here at home have driven the cost of bringing new reactor technology to market so high that power companies are instead lobbying for billions in subsidies to keep decades-old technology in operation.

Transatomic, a company founded by nuclear engineers from MIT, are developing molten salt reactors that are “walk-away” safe (they do not require constant supervision), and produce less than half as much radioactive waste yearly as traditional nuclear reactors. The scientists at NuScale Power have developed a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that can be assembled in a factory and shipped on a flatbed truck, reducing up-front construction costs and providing more flexibility for electricity providers. Because of their small size, SMRs also cannot melt down. Bill Gate’s nuclear company (TerraPower) has designed a traveling wave reactor that can run continuously for 40 years, eliminating the need for refueling as the reactor consumes all of its original fuel.

In order to get their technologies to market, nuclear innovators must navigate a complex, burdensome regulatory framework established decades ago in the name of public safety. Innovation has put to rest many of the safety concerns that regulation was meant to protect us from. This regulation now operates mainly as a barrier to clean, affordable energy. NuScale Power’s SMR technology offers perhaps the best hope of next generation nuclear finding its way to the US power grid, but even that may take a decade or more to become reality.

In the beginning of 2017, NuScale submitted the first-ever design certification for a SMR in the United States. That application, 12,000 pages long, must be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the end of the 40-month review period, the NRC will issue NuScale a design certification for their reactor. That certification will be valid for 15 years, during which time NuScale will file for a combined license to build and operate that plant. The licensing process will take another 5 years, after which time construction finally can begin.

The NRC charges $265 per professional staff-hour to review permits, licenses, and other required documentation. According to Mason Baker, Chief Legal Officer for the Utah Area Municipal Power Supply (which is working with NuScale to build their first SMR), UAMPS relies on a 50 percent financial partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to cover initial development costs. Without such support, the cost of regulatory compliance — which Baker estimated would amount to seven figures by the end of the submission process — would prevent the project from ever getting off the ground.

For TerraPower, the regulatory process took too long and was prohibitively costly. The company instead signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation at the end of 2015 to build its DOE-funded reactor design overseas. TerraPower hopes eventually to bring the technology back home.

If the U.S. wants a future of diversified, clean energy, the NRC needs to reform the way it permits and licenses nuclear technologies. The current framework effectively stymies innovation and forces nuclear companies to rely heavily on government support. Heavy government involvement in energy production does not make for a healthy, competitive energy market.


Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Quest to Keep California Dry

Despite a wet winter and thick snowpack, California still faces increasing demands for water. New sources are always welcome and the Cadiz project seeks to pump groundwater from private holdings in the Mojave Desert to supply homes in arid southern California. San Bernardino County approved the project but the loudest voice against it is California’s senior senator Dianne Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco.

“California’s public lands and resources are under siege by a powerful corporation and its allies in Washington,” Feinstein charged in a recent opinion column, describing Cadiz as “a particularly destructive project” that threatens “tortoises and bighorn sheep to breathtaking wildflower blooms that blanket the region.” The project “places a big emphasis on corporate profit at the expense of the broader public,” and it’s a matter of “Republican overreach,” backed of course by the Trump administration, and they seek to “rob us of our public lands.” Cadiz board member Winston Hickox offered a different view.

As California Environmental Protection Agency secretary from 1999-2003, Hickox worked with Feinstein on water issues, and from 1975-1983 he served as governor Jerry Brown’s special assistant for environmental affairs. According to Hickox, the Cadiz project “will conserve enough water for 400,000 Californians each year for 50 years without causing a single adverse environmental impact.” As he notes, it was approved in accord with California’s Environmental Quality Act and prevailed in multiple court challenges. Hickox shot down Feinstein’s use of the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service and charged that she used her stature “to misrepresent facts.” Animals and flowers are not at risk, and the Cadiz project, Hickox concludes, “will add a new water supply in a safe and sustainable manner.” By opposing it on a partisan basis, and misrepresenting the facts, Feinstein abuses the public she claims to protect.

Meanwhile, as Cadiz moves ahead, California should consider the example of Australia, a nation with an arid climate and limited water supplies. As Australia’s National Water Commission explained in Water Markets: A Short History, water markets and trading were “the primary means” to achieve the best use of existing resources.


Sluggish environmental approvals are hugely costly

Sensing that his Scottish enemies had blundered at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, Oliver Cromwell said, “The Lord hath delivered them into our hands.” Philip K. Howard, were he the exulting type, could rejoice that some of his adversaries have taken a stand on indefensible terrain.

Because the inaccurately named Center for American Progress has chosen to defend the impediments that government places in its own path regarding public works, it has done Howard the favor of rekindling interest in something he wrote in 2015.

A mild-mannered Manhattan lawyer of unfailing gentility and civility, Howard is no fire-breathing Cromwell. Rather, he is a combination of Candide and Sisyphus, his patient optimism undiminished by redundant evidence that government resists commonsensical legal and regulatory reforms of the sort he pushes up the mountain of bureaucracy when not serving as senior counsel at the white shoe law firm of Covington & Burling.

In September 2015, Howard, founder and chair of the reform advocacy group Common Good, published a paper “Two Years Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals.” In it, he argued that time is money, and that America is wasting enormous amounts of both with an infrastructure approval system that is an “accident of legal accretion over the past 50 years”:

“America could modernize its infrastructure, at half the cost, while dramatically enhancing environmental benefits, with a two-year approval process. Our analysis shows that a six-year delay in starting construction on public projects costs the nation over $3.7 trillion, including the costs of prolonged inefficiencies and unnecessary pollution. This is more than double the $1.7 trillion needed through the end of this decade to modernize America’s infrastructure.”

The nation that built the Empire State Building in 410 days during the Depression and the Pentagon in 16 months during wartime recently took nine years just for the permitting of a San Diego desalination plant. Five years and 20,000 pages of environmental assessments and permitting and regulatory materials were consumed before beginning to raise the roadway on New Jersey’s Bayonne Bridge, a project with, as Howard says, “virtually no environmental impact (it uses existing foundations and right-of-way).” Fourteen years were devoted to the environmental review for dredging the Port of Savannah, which has been an ongoing process for almost 30 years. While faux environmentalists litigate against modernizing America’s electrical grid, transmission lines waste 6 percent of the electricity they transmit, which equals 16 percent of 2015 coal power generation and is equal to the output of 200 average-sized coal-burning power plants. In 2011, shippers using the inland waterway system of canals, dams and locks endured delays amounting to 25 years. In 2012, the Treasury Department estimated that traffic congestion wasted 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Diverting freight to trucks because of insufficient railway capacity quadruples fuel consumption. And so on, and on.

Twenty months after Howard published his article, the CAP’s response shows how far we have defined efficiency down: It celebrates the fact that federal environmental statements average only 4.6 years. Actually, that would be bad enough if such reviews were all or even most of the problem. Actually, there are other kinds of reviews and other layers of government involved, as with the Bayonne Bridge — 47 permits from 19 federal, state and local agencies.

The CAP says that “the principal restraint facing state and local governments contemplating megaprojects is money, not environmental review.” But, again, this ignores myriad other time-consuming reviews and the costs, in both construction and social inefficiencies, driven by lost time.

Today’s governance is illuminated by presidential epiphanies (e.g., “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated”). Barack Obama had one concerning infrastructure: “There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.” This is partly because, as Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama says, America has become a “vetocracy” in which intense, well-organized factions litigate projects into stasis.

Intelligent people of goodwill can dispute, as the CAP rejoinder does, Howard’s cost-benefit calculations. But the CAP partakes of the hyperbole normal in today’s environmental policy debates: It includes Howard among “hardcore opponents of environmental review” who “consider federal laws that protect the environment fundamentally illegitimate.” Even the title of the CAP’s response to Howard’s arguments for more pertinent and efficacious environmental reviews is meretricious: “Debunking the False Claims of Environmental Review Opponents.”

Opponents? Including Howard? Hardly. David Burge, who tweets as @iowahawkblog, satirizes this slapdash style of progressive argumentation:

“To help poor children, I am going to launch flaming accordions into the Grand Canyon.”

“That’s stupid.”


Denmark Ends Green Incentives, Electric Car Sales Collapse

The electric car has dropped out of favor in the country that pioneered renewable energy. Once considered one of the world-leaders in the take-up of electric vehicles, Denmark’s sales of electric vehicles have slumped dramatically in the first quarter of 2017 as the government scales back EV incentives.

Sales in Denmark of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (ECV), which include plug-in hybrids, plunged 60.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first three months of 2016, according to latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That contrasts with an increase of nearly 80 percent in neighboring Sweden and an average rise of 30 percent in the European Union.

The figures suggest clean-energy vehicles still aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy.
Denmark, a global leader in wind power whose own attempt at an electric car in the early 1980s famously flopped, used to be enthralled with them. Its bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark’s.

However, it turns out that those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.

In the fall of 2015, the Liberal-led government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen announced the progressive phasing out of tax breaks on electric cars, citing budget constraints and the desire to level the playing field.

Tesla, whose sales were skyrocketing at the time, lobbied against the move, with Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk warning during a visit to Copenhagen that sales would be hit.

The new tax regime “completely killed the market,” Laerke Flader, head of the Danish Electric Car Alliance, said in a recent interview. “Price really matters.”

According to the government’s original plans, tax breaks were to have been phased out from 2016 to 2020, when they would be treated in the same way as fossil fuel-powered cars.

But on April 18, having taken note of the drop in sales, the government decided to change the rules.

“It’s no secret electrical vehicle sales have been below what we expected a year and a half ago,” Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said in a statement. “The agreed phase-in has turned out to be hard and that likely halted sales.”

The new rules mean the transition to a post-subsidy era has been postponed until at least 5,000 new electric cars are sold over the 2016-2018 period.



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13 June, 2017

Northern Ireland to the rescue: The DUP are good guys

The report below is from a Greenie source but seems to be accurate.  Just replace their shrieks with cheers and you have a pretty good article. The DUP are now essential to the British Conservative government so it seems clear that the DUP will be a big brake on future climate nonsense in the UK.  The DUP are the Trump of the British Isles.  No wonder the British Warmists are freaked

Theresa May’s general election gamble has seen a little-thought-of and highly controversial party thrust into the spotlight: Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Having failed to gain enough seats to form a majority the Conservative Party has turned to the DUP, which won 10 seats, to create an alliance and give the Tories the ability to govern as a minority.

While the two parties are said to still be “in discussions” over a possible agreement,  the decision to try and strike a deal has seen hundreds of protesters descend on Westminster due to the DUP’s stance on abortion, gay rights and climate change. Already more than 500,000 people have signed a petition condemning the Tory-DUP alliance.

The DUP until now hasn’t garnered much attention in the British press but the party has a long history of science denial.

It is a most unusual party for a number of reasons, including its well-documented links to Protestant paramilitary groups and dark money links to the Saudi Arabian intelligence service.

Socially regressive, it has blocked the legalisation of abortion and gay marriage in Northern Ireland and is seen as openly hostile to the LGBT community, as well as being the only political party in Ireland to support Brexit.

Science Denial

On science issues, its nearest political equivalent would be the Trump administration in the US. A survey among DUP members found that 40 per cent believed creationism should be taught in science classrooms.

Mervyn Storey, chair of the DUP’s education committee, is also a member of the Caleb Foundation, a Christian fundamentalist creationist pressure group. Its lobbying led the National Trust to controversially include a ‘younger Earth’ version of the origins of the Giant’s Causeway at its visitor centre. The Caleb Foundation has also formally objected to museums depicting evolution as an accepted fact.

Largely thanks to DUP lobbying, Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK with no legally binding climate change targets in place.

Last December, then environment minister, the DUP’s Michelle McIlveen, quashed efforts to introduce a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act. The Social Democratic and Labour Party’s Mark Durkan described Northern Ireland’s failure to enact climate change laws – due to a lack of political consensus and obstruction by the DUP – as an “embarrassment”.

The DUP’s 2017 election manifesto contained not a single mention of the terms “climate change”, “global warming” or “environment”. The manifesto talks in general terms about the need for a “secure and sustainable energy supply for Northern Ireland”, with the focus on interconnection and development of new generation capacity, but with no indication given of the source of this new energy, other than a welcome for “recent planning applications for new power stations” – a clear signal that it remains firmly wedded to fossil fuels.

Despite its generally hostile approach to its immediate neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, the DUP’s election manifesto suggests that, at least regarding electricity, it is not entirely isolationist. Instead it favours the development of an all-island integrated single electricity market as well as the North-South Interconnector.

Sammy Wilson

Perhaps the DUP’s most controversial figure on climate change is former environment minister, Sammy Wilson.

Among his more bizarre actions was to place a ban on UK government TV and radio adverts that were encouraging people to cut their carbon emissions. Wilson described the ads as insidious green propaganda.

Wilson believes the ideas of man-made climate change is a “gigantic con” and an “hysterical semi-religion” and denies that there is a scientific consensus on the causes of climate change.

In 2014, Wilson organised a meeting in the House of Commons in central London on behalf of “Repeal the Act”, a group that argues the “climate is always changing” and seeks to repeal the UK’s Climate Change Act. In attendance were known climate science deniers Peter Lilley, David Davies and Richard Tol.

And back in 2010 Wilson hosted a group of climate science deniers at the Palace of Westminster for “Climate Fools Day”. The event was supported by Labour MP and now Global Warming Policy Foundation member Graham Stringer. One of the event invites read: “The danger is not Climate Change but Climate Change Policy – for which there is no evidence in justification.”

More recently, Wilson, the newly returned MP for East Antrim, welcomed Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change as “very wise”.

He described the climate deal as “totally flawed and pointless”, going on to argue that “pulling out of the (Paris) agreement, which was only a piece of window dressing for climate chancers who wished to pretend that they were doing something about an issue which they can’t affect anyhow, is not the disaster which the green lefties are getting hysterical about”.


The Definitive Source for Exposing the Global Warming Hoax

CO2 Can’t Cause the Warming Alarmists Claim it Does

One of the problems with this climate change issues is that it is so vaguely defined, in very very unscientific terminology. Climate alarmists will claim that man is impacting the climate, and immediately demand taxpayer funding every one of their pet projects that they can tie to climate change. There is no doubt man can impact the climate. When the forests of Manhattan were replaced with skyscrapers, man changed the climate of New York City. When man built tens of thousands of miles of Interstate highways through forests, grasslands, meadows and deserts, he most likely altered the climate. When man cut down the vast forests that once dominated the East and Midwest, and replaced them with corn and wheat fields, man changed the climate. When man damned up rivers, and irrigated deserts, man altered the climate. No one denies that man can and does alter the climate.

No skeptic I know denies the Urban Heat Island Effect. One only needs to look at the temperatures from New York City and compare them to the temperatures at West Point. CO2 is 405ppm at both locations, yet the temperature increase is much more dramatic for New York City. CO2 can’t explain this divergence, roads, and buildings can. Clearly, some warming isn’t due to CO2. There is a full 2 Degree C difference between West Point and New York City, and Westpoint is below the level of 1830 whereas New York City is well above it. Once again, CO2 can’t explain that difference, so CO2 can’t be the cause of 100% of the warming.

The issue isn’t if man can alter the climate, he can. The issue is if CO2 produced by man can cause the warming that alarmists claim that it does. I am skeptical simply because of the physics that support the greenhouse gas effect. The only defined mechanism by which CO2 can cause climate change is through the “thermalization” of long-wave infrared radiation between 13 and 18 microns. CO2 can also result in cooling due to radiation, but the climate alarmists never mention that fact, and this article will focus on the warming aspect.

The problem with the CO2 warming theory is that the relationship between CO2 and concentration is a logarithmic relationship. What that means is that CO2 acts like taking aspirin. The first aspirin relieves 90% of the pain, the second 7%, the third 3%, and the fourth makes you sick and ears ring. Each additional aspirin has a smaller and smaller effect. Most of the impact of CO2 was reached by the time it hit 100 ppm, and the effect rapidly decreased since then. Going from 0 to 100 resulted in 18 w/m^2 downward forcing, going from 100 to 200 resulted in an additional 4 w/m^2, and going from 200 to 300 ppm adds another 2 w/m^2. The point being the slope is rapidly flattening, and even doubling CO2 from 400 ppm to 800 ppm will only result in a minor change in the new downward forcing.

Mother nature isn’t stupid. She isn’t going to create a natural doomsday bomb. CO2 has varied from over 7,000 ppm to as low as 180 ppm, and never caused catastrophic warming. The reason is the natural “off switch” in CO2 which is the logarithmic relationship.

The other problem I have with the CO2 caused warming theory is that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas, absorbing only the 13 to 18 micron long-wave infrared. Water vapor, on the other hand, absorbs those wavelengths and many more and can be as high as 5% of the atmosphere. Basically, H20 makes CO2 irrelevant to the lower troposphere.

The real problem the CO2 caused warming theory has, however, is the above chart. CO2 increases at a relatively constant near linear increase. In a linear regression Y=mX+b, where CO2 is the independent variable X and temperature is the dependent variable Y, it is hard to see CO2 do anything but cause temperatures to increase. In reality, the real relationship is Y=Log(X)+b, but once again, you will never hear a climate alarmist mention that. Clearly, from the IPCC model output, the IPCC is modeling a linear relationship, defying/denying the true physics of the CO2 molecule.

Where CO2 is a linear variable, temperature is curvilinear. In other words, the IPCC model of Y=mX+b simply doesn’t exist. Unless the climate alarmists find a way to “adjust” the satellite data, the failure of the IPCC models will simply increase.

CO2 covers the globe in a 405 ppm blanket and increases in a linear fashion, yet temperatures are very non-linear. The above graphic is a 12 month moving average of global, land and ocean temperatures. The 12-month average is significant because it removes the variation that occurs throughout the year due to the seasons. Every data point includes data from each month of the year.  If in fact, CO2 was the only factor driving temperature, the 12-month moving average would be linear, or logarithmically related to CO2. It is neither. The other point to note is that global temperatures and ocean temperatures are very tightly correlated, whereas land temperatures differ substantially. Land temperatures are corrupted by the urban heat island effect, so the difference between land and ocean temperatures can’t be explained by CO2. That alone makes the claim that man made CO2 is responsible for 100% of the warming null and void. That is unless you “deny” that the urban heat island effect exists.

The other observation is that the moving average follows a relatively cyclical pattern. Once again, the seasonal variation has been removed by using a 12-month moving average. CO2 doesn’t increase/decrease in a cyclical manner. Something is causing the temperatures to “cycle” and it isn’t CO2. CO2 could also never cause a rapid decrease in temperatures if is the sole cause of the warming. CO2 never decreases on an annual basis in the above CO2 chart going back to the late 1950s. CO2 only increased, yet the seasonally adjusted temperatures vari greatly.

Another observation is that the oceans are warming. CO2 and LWIR between 13 and 18 microns don’t warm water. Evidence that the oceans are warming is evidence of more visible radiation reaching the oceans, not more CO2 in the atmosphere. If you can’t explain how CO2 can warm the oceans, you can’t explain how the atmosphere above the oceans is warming. If I remember correctly, heat rises in our atmosphere, and a warm ocean would warm the atmosphere above it.

The above chart is for global temperatures, and the take home is that CO2 can’t explain the warming of the oceans, the atmosphere above the oceans track the warming oceans, the atmosphere above the oceans is warming at a different rate and cycle than the land measurements, and the extreme variability is due to ocean phenomena like El Ninos and La Nina’s, which have nothing to do with CO2. If CO2 doesn’t cause El Ninos and La Nina’s, how can man be responsible for 100% of the warming? El Ninos and La Ninas existed long before the industrial age.

The oceans are rather uniform emitters of radiation, whereas the land isn’t. As man has turned fields into cities, forests into farmland, rivers into lakes, and dirt into asphalt roads, man has altered the heat absorption of the land. He has no similar impact on the oceans. Therefore, to identify the CO2 “signature” we should focus on the Southern Hemisphere, instead of the corrupted Northern Hemisphere. The above chart does just that, and demonstrates that the Southern Hemisphere has much lower temperature volatility, did not surpass the previous peak set in 1998, and has increased 0.2 Degree C less than the Northern Hemisphere since records began in 1979. Both Hemispheres, however, show that they closely track the changes in the ocean temperatures. Once again, CO2 is 405 ppm, so CO2 can’t be the cause of the temperature differential between the two hemispheres. Clearly, there is warming that is not due to CO2

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

More rational policies in our future?

Trump’s Paris decision challenges bad science, economics and energy politics behind treaty

Paul Driessen

In the wake of President Trump’s exit from the Paris climate treaty, reactions from other quarters were predictably swift, nasty, sanctimonious and hypocritical.

Al Gore paused near one of the private jets he takes to hector lesser mortals to say the action will bring “a global weather apocalypse.” Billionaire Tom Steyer got rich selling coal but called the President’s action “a traitorous act of war.” Actor-activist Mark Ruffalo railed that Trump has “the death of whole nations on his hands.” Michael Moore said the action was “a crime against humanity.” Former President Obama said it threatened “the one planet we’ve got” (to say nothing of what’s left of his executive orders legacy).

In truth, President Trump’s bold decision underscores the ill-informed science, economics, ethics and energy politics that have driven climate cataclysm caterwauling for decades. His exit decision, his insistence that NATO members pay their agreed dues for defending Europe, the impacts of widespread green energy poverty, and the hard economic and environmental realities of wind, solar and biofuel “alternatives” to fossil fuels will likely awaken other leaders – and persuade other nations to Exit Paris.

Of the 28 NATO members, only the US, UK, Poland, Estonia and Greece have met their defense spending commitments, leaving a shortfall of $134 billion a year and compelling the United States to shoulder over 65% of the alliance’s total defense spending. Germany and some other members have now grudgingly agreed to increase their payments, in response to President Trump’s request, Russia’s actions in Crimea, Georgia and elsewhere – and growing threats of Islamist terrorism.

In the wake of London, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Orlando, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Twin Towers and countless other attacks, it is ludicrous to claim supposedly manmade, allegedly dangerous climate change is the world’s biggest worry. It’s totally unrealistic to imagine that NATO members can pay their fair share for defending Europe and then pay what the Paris Treaty expects for the Green Climate Fund, while shackling their economies with job-killing renewable energy policies, and spending billions on welfare for unemployed workers and migrant families from the Middle East.

The Paris climate formula provides that GCF payments are to start at $100 billion per year, of which the US share would have been $23.5 billion. Former UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres has suggested that $450 billion a year by 2030 would be appropriate, Competitive Enterprise Institute energy and climate director Myron Ebell points out.

Ms. Figueres has also said the UN has “given itself” the task of replacing the free enterprise capitalism economic model with a global governance system. Her colleague Ottmar Edenhofer bluntly stated that the real goal of UN climate policies is redistributing the world’s wealth – in $450-billion-a-year increments.

Developing Countries and kleptocratic leaders demanded this windfall to join Paris. Their enthusiasm over staying in Paris is likely to reflect now-rich nation declining excitement about paying into the Fund, even though the treaty does not obligate DCs to reduce fossil fuel use or emissions until at least 2030.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gamely said she will now work “more than ever” to “save our planet.” A number of US cities and states pledged to remain committed to treaty obligations. How exactly will they do that? Will they pay billions into the Fund – and blanket their lands with enough wind, solar and biofuel installations to be completely renewable in three decades? Build more of the only CO2-free electricity sources that are reliable and affordable: nuclear and hydroelectric facilities?

Most of these national, state and local leaders oppose nuclear and hydroelectric as strongly as they detest fossil fuels – and the states and cities are already burdened by soaring electricity prices and government debt. Virtually none have considered the gargantuan costs of this “energy transition” – or the fact that total global adherence to the Paris Treaty would prevent an undetectable 0.2 degrees C (0.3 F) of warming by 2100. Their own self-aggrandizing efforts would prevent perhaps 0.01 degrees. (And that assumes carbon dioxide is the primary factor in climate change, instead of changes in solar energy output, cosmic rays, ocean circulation and numerous other natural forces that actually control Earth’s climate.)

The United States and world still depend on oil, natural gas and coal for 80% of their total energy needs. More than 53,000 US wind turbines still supply only 2% of the nation’s total energy; thousands of acres of photovoltaic solar panels supply barely 0.3% of US energy; corn ethanol from 40 million acres (equal to Iowa or to Austria and the Czech Republic combined) supplies just 5% of its transportation fuels.

Land and raw material requirements for wind turbines underscore the true impacts of renewable energy.

Between 2010 and 2015, global electricity consumption grew by more than 2 billion megawatt-hours (2,000 terawatt-hours). Meeting just this demand growth of 400 million mWh per year (not total global electricity demand) solely with wind energy would require installing some 100,000 new turbines every year (generating electricity 25% of the time), as nations continue to electrify their far-flung communities.

Thankfully, African and Asian countries are actually doing so by building “mere” hundreds of new coal- and natural gas-fueled power plants, to generate abundant, reliable, affordable electricity for their people. Converting the entire planet to constantly fluctuating, unreliable, expensive, subsidized wind power would require trillions of dollars, hundreds of millions of acres, and incalculable raw materials.

Industry and other data suggest that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, up to 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75% of the year that the wind is barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Now consider where all these raw materials must come from, how they must be extracted from the Earth and turned into finished products, and how much (mostly fossil fuel) energy that requires. Concrete is made from limestone, silica, alumina, iron, clay, fly ash, gypsum and gravel. Steel requires iron, nickel, chromium, manganese, carbon and molybdenum. Fiberglass is composed of silica, other minerals and petroleum. These materials and copper are mined in countries all across the planet.

Nearly all rare earth metals come from Mongolia, and lithium for batteries (to store the turbines’ electrical output) from the Democratic Republic of Congo, under horrid to nonexistent environmental, health and child labor standards. Their toxic and radioactive wastes are turning vast areas into desolate wastelands.

Those are enormous impacts – and wind turbines require some 100-200 times more raw materials per megawatt of electricity actually generated than modern hypercritical coal or combined cycle gas turbine generators. Total energy inputs to manufacture, transport and install wind turbine components are also lopsided. Just imagine the land and resource needs if all electricity were wind-generated and all cars were electric. To call this “clean” energy, “sustainable” power or “environmental justice” is simply perverse.

Think back on the incredible energy technology advances since 1917 – from wood and coal in primitive stoves, furnaces and factories a century ago … to the coal and gas turbine generators, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, high-tech transmission grids of today. Ponder the amazing advancements in medical, computer, communication and other technologies during the past century.

Imagine what wonders our Ultimate Resource – our creative intellects – could invent over next century, if we have the freedom and capital to do so. If misguided climate change, wealth redistribution, renewable energy and global governance demands do not shackle those opportunities. If we’d stop giving decision-making authority to people who have never been in factories or on farms (much less worked there), and think food comes from grocery stores, electricity from wall sockets, “clean energy” from magic.

President Trump has been vilified for challenging “accepted wisdom” on NATO, terrorism, climate change, and the ability of wind and solar to power job creation and economic rejuvenation in the USA and other industrialized nations – and to enable poor families worldwide to take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. History will prove him right.

Via email

‘Super Corals’ Are Resilient To Climate Change, Scientists Discover

Scientists have discovered a population of “super corals” that appear to have become resistant to extreme environmental conditions — being able to survive and thrive in hot, acidic and low-oxygen waters. And they now plan to search for more climate-adaptable coral populations within the Great Barrier Reef.

An international team of researchers first found the super corals during an expedition to a remote lagoon in New Caledonia in 2016. Their “surprising results” showed the lagoon had a diverse community of reef-building corals that had adapted to live in extreme these conditions.

Publishing their findings in the journal Scientific Reports, the team was investigating coral reef health in relating to climate change. As oceans get warmer and more acidic, vast swathes of coral species suffer. This has been documented globally, with a recent report from the Australian Research Council showing two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef had been affected so far this year.

Coral bleaching occurs when waters are too warm. These conditions make the corals expel the algae living in their tissues—causing them to lose their color. Algae provides coral with 90 percent of its energy, so while this process does not kill it, it places the coral under far greater stress and puts it at greater risk of death.

As global temperatures increase, scientists are increasingly concerned about how coral reefs—which form barriers protecting shorelines from waves and storms, and provide ecosystems for a vast number of species—will fare.

The latest findings provide some relief. Emma Camp, from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia, and colleagues found water in the semi-enclosed lagoon system was hot, acidic and lacking in oxygen when compared to neighboring reefs. Yet its coral communities was surprisingly rich—there were 20 species covering up to 35 percent of the lagoon site.

“Enhanced coral respiration, alongside high particulate organic content of the lagoon sediment, suggests acclimatisation to this trio of temperature, oxygen and pH changes through heterotrophic plasticity.” Heterotrophic refers to organisms that depend on organic substances for nutrients because they cannot make their own food.

In a statement, Camp said: “The existence of corals living under this usually deadly trio of conditions, comparable and even exceeding what is predicted under climate change, gives us new hope that some corals will be able to persist into the future. These could indeed be the super corals of the future that will help support proactive management options attempting to upgrade reef resilience.”

Concluding, the team wrote: “Evidence here, and from other similar habitats increasingly highlight that reef neighboring systems could act as local reservoirs of coral populations highly resistant to extreme environmental conditions.”

The next step in their research is to search for similar systems in the Great Barrier Reef. The expedition, funded by the National Geographic Society Waitt Foundation, will allow the team to explore mangrove systems—which have similar, extreme conditions to those seen in New Caledonia—and how corals there may have adapted.

“As a result of the expedition we will be able to collect invaluable baseline physical and molecular data to discover how corals within the Great Barrier Reef have already adapted and how they might cope in the future,” Camp said. “I’m excited at the prospect of being able to transfer our discoveries from other sites to our own home reefs.”

David Suggett, who will accompany Camp on the expedition, said: “By exploring the very margins—such as reef-neighbouring mangroves that are often ignored by coral surveys—we’re continually finding populations of super coral that are resistant to hot, acidic and hypoxic conditions predicted under climate change. This is a game changer for how we consider coral reef resilience into the future for the Great Barrier Reef.


Sen. Mike Lee: Trump's decision to kill the Clean Power Plan put Provo before Paris

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer called it a “traitorous act of war against the American people.” Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo said people will “lose their lives, homes, and economic opportunities.  And the ACLU said it was “an assault on communities of color across the U.S.”

What on Earth happened that got all of our wealthy liberal elites so upset?

Last Thursday, President Trump announced the federal government would pull out of the supposedly “non-binding” Paris Climate Accord signed by President Obama.

This should not have been a surprise.

Earlier this March, President Trump signed an order rescinding President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan,” a 1,560-page regulation that would have rewritten America’s federal energy policy. This massive new regulatory burden — never approved by Congress — was the cornerstone of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Meeting the emissions reduction targets President Obama agreed to in Paris would have been impossible without it.

So as soon as President Trump killed the Clean Power Plan back in March, he also functionally killed the Paris Accord. Both actions, contrary to the lamentations of our liberal elite, are fantastic news for the American people.

According to The New York Times, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan would have “closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants” and “frozen construction of new plants.” Since coal provides approximately 40 percent of America’s electricity, and 75 percent of Utah’s, these new regulations would have raised electricity costs, sending shockwaves through the U.S. economy.

Consumers would have been forced to pay more to cool and heat their homes, leaving less to spend on groceries and mortgages. Businesses would have been forced to raise prices, lower wages or invest less in order to pay their higher power bills. As a result, NERA Economic Consulting estimated that the Clean Power Plan would have cost the U.S. economy over $40 billion annually.
And for what? Even if the Clean Power Plan had been implemented to perfection, climate activists admit it would have lowered global temperatures by just .02 degrees Celsius over the span of one hundred years.

Of course, if you are a billionaire hedge fund manager or a famous Hollywood actor, you probably wouldn’t notice if your power bill went up a couple of hundred dollars a month, or your latte cost an extra $1.

But if you aren’t wealthy and famous, if you are a low- or middle-income American, then the economic costs of the Clean Power Plan would hit a lot closer to home.

This is exactly why President Obama’s push for a carbon regulation scheme failed in Congress in 2010. Faced with an honest debate the American people wisely chose not to gamble with their household budgets for speculative environmental benefits.

After losing fair and square, President Obama abandoned the democratic process and pursued his climate priorities through executive fiat. He twisted the Clean Air Act to enact policies the law was never intended to allow. Then he ran to the international community seeking a blessing of legitimacy that the American people never gave him.

President Obama never submitted his Paris Accord to the United States Senate as the Constitution requires for treaties. Instead he hoped that future presidents would bow to foreign pressure and go along with an international regulatory regime the American people never approved.

The 2016 election was about many things, perhaps none greater than the growing sense among Americans that our political elites were working for themselves and their foreign counterparts instead of for the American people. For all of Donald Trump’s flaws as a candidate, the American people elected him to, as he said, “put America first” again. The American people care — deeply — about our environment, and they are perfectly capable of protecting it, both privately and when necessary through government policy. But those decisions are not for a single politician, and certainly not a committee of foreign dignitaries we never elected, to make.

Agree with his decision or not, President Trump stood up last Thursday for the Constitution and the citizens it protects. And we are all better off that he did.



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12 June, 2017

The Treasonous Secession of Climate Confederacy States

Prosecute Governor Brown for treason

After President Trump rejected the Paris Climate treaty, which had never been ratified by the Senate, the European Union announced that it would work with a climate confederacy of secessionist states.

Scotland and Norway’s environmental ministers have mentioned a focus on individual American states. And the secessionist governments of California, New York and Washington have announced that they will unilaterally and illegally enter into a foreign treaty rejected by the President of the United States.

The Constitution is very clear about this. “No state shall enter into any treaty.” Governor Cuomo of New York has been equally clear. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions.”

Cuomo’s statement conveniently comes in French, Chinese and Russian translations.

“It is a little bold to talk about the China-California partnership as though we were a separate nation, but we are a separate nation,” Governor Brown of California announced.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the radical leftist described California as “a real nation-state”.

Brown was taking a swing through China to reassure the Communist dictatorship of California’s loyalty to an illegal treaty at the same time as EU boss Juncker was bashing America and kissing up to Premier Li Keqiang at the EU-China summit. It’s one thing when the EU and China form a united front against America. It’s quite another when California and China form a united front against America.

The Climate Alliance of California, New York, Washington, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia and Rhode Island looks a lot like the Confederacy’s Montgomery Convention. Both serve as meeting points for a secessionist alliance of states to air their grievances against the Federal government over an issue in which they are out of step with the nation.

"We’re a powerful state government. We have nine other states that agree with us," Brown boasted.

Two more and Jim Jones' old pal could have his own confederacy.

All the bragging and boasting about how much wealth and power the secessionist states of the climate confederacy represent sounds very familiar. But that wealth and power is based around small enclaves, the Bay Area and a few dozen blocks in Manhattan, which wield disproportionate influence.

Like the slaveowner class, leftist elites are letting the arrogance of their wealth lead them into treason. And as they look out from their mansions and skyscrapers, they should remember that the majority of working class people in California and New York will be far less enthusiastic about fighting a war to protect their dirty investments in solar energy plants and carbon credits funded by taxes seized from many of those same people in these left-wing slave states.

The declared intention of the Climate Alliance, in words appearing on the New York State government website, is to treasonously “convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement”.

States cannot and are not allowed to unilaterally choose to “uphold” a treaty rejected by the President. Their leaders are certainly not allowed to travel to enemy nations to inform foreign powers of their treasonous designs and to solicit their aid against the policies of the United States government.

This is all the more treasonous at a time when the United States is on a collision course with the People’s Republic of China over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and trade agreements.

“It’s important for the world to know that America is not Washington," Brown declared. "Yes, we’re part of the union, but we’re also a sovereign state that can promote the necessary policies that are required for survival.”

Governors don’t normally feel the need to declare that their state is still part of the union. But they also don’t announce that they’re a separate nation and then set off to cut separate deals with enemy powers. No state should be issuing, “Yes, we’re part of the union, but” disclaimers before going to China.

The disclaimer is the first step to leaving the union.

Governor Brown's trip to China isn't funded by California taxpayers. That might be a relief to that overburdened tribe except that it's partially being paid for by the Energy Foundation. Behind that generic name for a pass through organization are a number of left-wing foundations who have been paying for American politicians to travel to the People’s Republic of China.

Donors to the energy foundation include Ecocrat billionaire Tom Steyer who has pumped millions into EF. Steyer’s finances are entangled with China and even with members of the Chinese government.

Steyer has accused President Trump of treason for rejecting the unconstitutional Paris Climate Treaty. But who are the real traitors here?

Other major EF donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bloomberg and George Soros.

There is something deeply troubling about a governor’s treasonous trip being funded by private interests with business ties to a foreign power. If Democrats were really serious about rooting out influence by foreign powers, they would be taking a very close look at Brown’s backers.

But the greater outrage is that the governors of secessionist states are using a manufactured crisis to conduct “diplomacy” with foreign governments in defiance of the policies of the United States.

Washington’s Jay Inslee was recently talking Global Warming in a meeting with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. “We’re both very strongly engaged on issues of climate change, on issues of openness to trade, on leadership on refugees as well,” Trudeau declared.

“We share an incredible commitment to defeating climate change,” Inslee flattered him. “And it is a great pleasure we have a national leader on the North American continent who is committed to that.”

And he didn’t mean the President of the United States.

Inslee’s fondness for the illegal Paris Climate treaty is unsurprising as his own efforts on Global Warming similarly depended on unilateral moves that lacked legislative support. But that is a problem for Washington’s Constitution. His participation in a secessionist pact is a problem for our Constitution.

And the problem isn’t limited to the Climate Alliance.

California and many of the other entities declaring that they will enforce an illegal treaty are also sanctuary states and cities. They are choosing not to follow Federal law while implementing foreign treaties that they have no right to unilaterally participate in.

This is a treasonous situation that is more troubling in some ways than the original Civil War because it involves states making open alliance with enemy powers such as China and welcoming them in. State governments are undermining the united front of the national government in the face of the enemy.

"California will resist this misguided and insane course of action," Governor Brown ranted. The logic of “resistance” has inevitably turned into treason.

A civil war is underway. In the last election the territorial majority of Americans rejected the rule of a minority of wealthy and powerful urban enclaves. Outside of their bicoastal bases, the political power of the Democrat faction has been shattered. And so it has retreated into subversion and secessionism.

“China is moving forward in a very serious way, and so is California,” Brown declared. “And we're going in the opposite direction of Donald Trump.”

While Democrats have spent the better part of the previous week waving their arms in the air over a back channel with Russia, one of their faction’s leading governors is openly allying with China against the President of the United States. And the treasonous Democrat media is cheering this betrayal.

Brown and his colleagues are in blatant violation of the Logan Act. Their actions are in violation of the United States Constitution. And all this is another dark step on the road to another civil war.

If the climate confederacy is not held accountable for its treason, the crisis will only grow.


Meet the People Who Are Grateful for Trump’s ‘America First’ Climate Policy

On Saturday morning, a diverse collection of people gathered in front of the White House to support President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

While Washington, D.C., has been frequented by numerous anti-Trump protests since the 2016 presidential election, this event was overwhelmingly positive toward the administration.

Several of those interviewed said they were pro-Trump immigrants who were happy with the president’s “America first” policies.

One woman, Carmen Padilla, who was carrying a “Make America Great Again” sign, told The Daily Signal she was “so grateful that [Trump] had the courage to get out of these bad deals for America.”

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

While the rally-goers were positive toward Trump, most expressed similar opinions that the media has been unfair to the president and treated him differently than former President Barack Obama.


Scientists challenge Center for Biological Diversity report claiming wild bees near extinction

The headlines, even after years of often-hyperbolic reports about an impending ‘beepocalypse’ and other bee health problems, were startling. “Hundreds of North American bee species face extinction: study,” wrote Reuters. Others, like Voice of America, published similar articles. TIME Magazine even produced a video to accompany an article titled “More than 700 North American Bee Species Are Headed Toward Extinction.”

What prompted this sudden burst in journalistic angst? The articles were based on a report released by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in early March, “Pollinators in Peril: A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian native bees.” According to its solo author—Kelsey Kopec—749 North American wild bee species are in decline and almost half of them are at serious risk of extinction. The culprits? Habitat destruction, pesticide use, climate change, and urbanization. The CBD called it a comprehensive, “first-of-its-kind analysis.”

“It’s a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming,” said Kopec. “We’re on the verge of losing hundreds of native bee species in the United States if we don’t act to save them.”

Bees have been making headlines since 2006, when a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was first reported in honeybees in the United States. The causes of CCD remain a mystery, but entomologists believe it was probably touched off by a number of factors, including habitat shifts or threats from pests. Many critics of modern agriculture blamed, without evidence, genetically modified crops and some blamed increased use of pesticides, although the evidence for that was scant.

By 2011, the immediate CCD crisis had faded. “We don’t find it anymore,” said University of Maryland Professor Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who coined the CCD name. “No dead bees in the bee yard, in the bee apiary—evidence that that collapse happened very quickly.”

But the “beemageddon” stories have persisted, fueled by reports of higher-than-expected honeybee deaths during winters in North America and Europe in recent years. A split gradually developed between mainstream entomologists and advocacy groups. Scientists believe habitat changes, beekeeper practices, and Varroa mites are the main drivers of honeybee health problems. Groups like CBD blame pesticides, particularly a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids. 

The USDA recently announced that the number of honeybee hives in the U.S. hit a 20-year high, and many advocacy groups now concede that their concerns about honeybees may have been overblown. However, after the honeybee apocalypse failed to materialize, the focus of some activists turned to the health of wild bees, which are more difficult to study because they often live in remote areas and are not easily tracked. With the public sensitized to reports about struggling bee health, the CBD report claiming that many wild bee species might be on the verge of extinction was like throwing kerosene on a fire.

What is the CBD?

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists. In 2014 it generated more than $14 million in support and revenue. Their report was alarming, so it was not surprising that many reputable news outlets trumpeted its findings.

Part of what made the report so unusual was that it was not written by a team of bee specialists or by independent entomologists, and it excluded any input or even a review from wild bee experts. Instead, this “comprehensive review of all literature” was written by a single author with no training or background in entomology.

Understandably, the report’s catastrophic claims caught the attention of many prominent people in the conservation community, who posted their reactions to listservs and on social media pages. Rather than tout the report, as did many anti-pesticide and anti-GMO groups, they raised concerns about its conclusions.

“Bee scientists are questioning this study,” wrote Sheila Colla, an assistant professor at York University, on Twitter. “It’s been shared widely but it’s [sic] conclusions seem unsupported.”

“This assessment does not state methods or data sources; not currently credible,” noted Emily May, a pollinator conservation specialist at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the country’s premier bee research institution.

“This is sad. Makes it hard for public to know who to trust,” added Amy Parachnowitsch?, an assistant professor at Uppsala University.

“Was it peer reviewed?” others asked. Can more details be provided about the methodology? Why weren’t individual accounts of each of the bee species presented? Who were the scientists behind these startling findings?

Sam Droege, a wildlife biologist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), was concerned as he reviewed the data—or lack of it. Droege is one of the top native bee experts in North America. His lab in Beltsville, MD, where he is developing native bee survey techniques and monitoring programs, contains thousands of specimens that have been sent to him for identification. He also is a renowned bee photographer and co-author of Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World.

I recently visited Droege in his lab. He called the CBD report “extremely misleading”—so much so that it could undermine the work of bee conservationists. It did not include a “comprehensive review of all literature” as the CBD claimed; it wasn’t peer reviewed; statistical, taxonomic, and natural history problems regarding the species’ records were not addressed; the report’s claims that certain species were in decline—many of which he knows well—are false and not based on evidence; and for many of the species listed as “threatened” or “declining,” there simply is not enough data about them to accurately assess their statuses.

“I know all of the data—in fact, we generated a lot of that—and there’s statistically almost nothing you can do with the information that’s out there to talk about the status,” he said. “They didn’t explain how they determined if a bee had enough data or what that meant.”

The report concedes that there is “insufficient data” for 67 percent (2,900 out of 4,337) of wild bee species, and yet it concludes, “For many of the bee species lacking sufficient population data, it’s likely they are also declining or at risk of extinction.” But without sufficient data, Droege asked, how can one come to this—or any—conclusion? He also wondered how they even arrived at the number of species (4,337).

“In the U.S. and Canada, there are only about 3,600 valid bee names on the books. So where did they come up with those figures?”

Why did the CBD issue the report?

While the report was written in a restrained, scientific-like style, it takes a number of swipes at modern agriculture—especially the use of pesticides. One of the report’s “key findings” is that “A primary driver of [wild bee] declines is agricultural intensification, which includes habitat destruction and pesticide use.”

There is no support for that claim; it’s pure speculation. But the position is in tune with the CBD’s virulent opposition to genetically engineered crops. And CBD promotes a number of positions out of alignment with the consensus science. Its staff consists of more lawyers than scientists, and its executive director is a former member of the radical environmentalist group Earth First. Many journalists treated its report as if it were written by a serious science organization, but the CBD is actually an aggressive advocacy group with questionable views about agriculture and science.

“If someone asks me, ‘What do you know about this report?’ and I say, ‘Basically, it’s BS,’ then how does that go down?” Droege asked me, rhetorically. “People assume that CBD is filled with credible scientists, so we would rather that they do a sufficient vetting process so we could all be like, “Yeah, that’s a good report, their conclusions are useful,’ instead of having to say, ‘No, that’s junk, that’s junk science.’  Potentially, it takes down the credibility of all of our work and our ability to make conservation statements. It doesn’t do any good, there’s no good in that report.”

A CBD spokesperson told the members of a pollinator listserv that “This report is the first publication of a long-term pollinator research and protection project,” an indication that this is only the beginning of a new campaign against pesticides and modern agricultural practices.

If there remain any doubts about one of the prime motivations for the report, a page on the CBD website asks for donations to help save wild bees from pesticides. “Please help protect the wild bees with a donation to the Pollinator Protection Fund today,” it implores. “With your help, the Center is in court working to ban these bee-killing chemicals.”


Science, engineering and leadership

Creating balance and stability in a chaotic political and economic environment

James E. Smith and Alex Hatch

Many successful domestic and global companies and enterprises were started and driven by the visionary, problem-solving and leadership capabilities of technically trained founders and/or principals. Historically, those skills and entrepreneurial instincts came from advanced training and education, apprenticeship programs or even self-study.

A large percentage of those companies and enterprises came into existence during a time when an advanced engineering or scientific degree was not necessarily the norm, or even available. Still, the design, decision-making and technical training inherent in today’s degrees were essential characteristics of previous generations’ learning processes through mentoring and apprenticeship programs.

In more recent times, leadership and entrepreneurial efforts have increased, as have the numbers of trained and degreed engineers and scientists to support those efforts. Since at least the middle of the last century, it has become clear that the on-going problems that America and the world face will require increasingly more complex technical solutions.

It is thus a perfect opportunity for a well-trained scientific and engineering community to come to the forefront in the decision-making process. Professionals who have well-developed leadership skills and are globally aware will have the greatest chance to leave a legacy, as history has often recorded in the past. Indeed, it was it seems to have been individuals who had early, rigorous, technical training plus leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit who blossomed most, resulting in the creation of many of the life-changing technologies that we see and use today. The fundamental question therefore might be:

Did the technical training uncover, develop or at least heighten the leadership skill sets of those professionals – or are natural leaders drawn to the rigorous and often more technical arenas?

Most likely, it is a mixture of both, resulting in a technical community that has significantly enhanced leadership and decision-making capabilities, as well as inventive and innovative impulses. But whatever the mixture or cause, a growing number of enterprises have begun to revise their organizational structure to include technical assets in their bureaucratic ranks. These skills often bring into balance the more conservative nature of the typical business community, combined with technical leaders who are often regarded as risk-takers but recognize that visionary leaders often view a path as proper and safe, when most people would regard it as risky.

That’s why governments and companies around the globe are encouraging their technically trained leaders to take a more active role in promulgating their policies and decisions, some even placing these individuals at the top of the decision-making tree.

An example of this is German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has a doctorate in quantum chemistry and has often been cited for her analytical method for making policy decisions. This technical-mindedness is one of the reasons Germany has become a strong innovation-driven economy, ranked fifth out of 138 countries for economic competitiveness. U.S. governing bodies have also begun to recognize the need for increasing technical and leadership competencies within their ranks, to better support entrepreneurs and the implementation of needed technical innovations.

It is unclear at this point though whether a critical mass is available that understands the correlation and contrast between: technical training and technology development; professional training and leadership skills; entrepreneurialism and economic impacts; and being a visionary but making tough decisions.  There is growing evidence that the evolution, if not revolution, has started – evidenced by activities in many of our federal and state governing bodies. Perhaps more telling is the growing number of non-governmental organizations and non-profits that are seeking technically minded and trained leadership skill sets to compliment, or replace, their historical business and finance structures.

Needless to say, an ever-increasing number of situations will allow our technically gifted the opportunity to serve their local and larger communities. Most forward-looking universities and even trade schools and training centers have thus recognized that, if they are to survive and provide value to their constituency, they will need to recognize and promote the more technically skilled, while also giving these individuals decision-making and leadership training. (Contrast this to the parochial general education curriculums of the past.) While there is a place and a need for all educational degree types, as well as value in a plethora of business and organizational structures, it is the highly skilled engineers and scientists who best see past today’s risks and roadblocks to envision improved landscapes in the future.

It is clear, at least to many in other countries and several large enterprises, that the social landscape that we take for granted resulted from the direct influence of these highly skilled individuals. If we want more of the same results (and hopefully better ones) in the future, we will need their help going forward. Many of these same kinds of people find that working on current social problems or remedying past technical problems is mundane and likely a waste of their efforts. Organizations and governments that have recognized the need to meet their future fully prepared and on schedule have found ways to entice these professionals into the governance and leadership process, to their collective advantage.

For the United States, a quick look at the number of highly trained scientists and engineers serving in any substantial government or management positions makes it easy to see how our many legislators can be swayed into believing almost any technical gibberish. According to the Congressional Research Service, out of 535 members of the 114th US Congress, only 11 are trained in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, eight of them as engineers; in contrast, 29 members are professional farmers and 213 are trained lawyers. It is likely that the similar percentages of STEM professionals are found in state legislatures and even in large corporations and other business enterprises.

While it is highly unlikely that the non-scientifically trained members of Congress show blatant disregard for the universal truths that have served science and engineering so well through centuries of scientific advancement, their lack of training certainly puts them at a distinct disadvantage on technical and scientific matters, compared to their technically trained counterparts. Most notably, their lack of training can force them to have to take at face value the advice of so-called “experts” testifying before or advising them on scientific issues.

While many of these experts undoubtedly have the best interests of the country in mind, it is possible for any lobbyist masquerading as a scientist to pass off pseudo-scientific jargon and utter falsities as fact to senators and congressmen who simply don’t know any better.

Without a basic understanding of the scientific process that has been so successful and useful in getting us to this point in our collective histories, how can we expect to see a better future if similar men and women are not at the helm? Maybe a little less pandering and a lot more proper decision-making based on scientific facts will make the governance process more attractive to professionals for whom a future legacy of successful advancements is a valued outcome – and thus better for our future.

Via email

Official Australian report says "renewable" power must be backed up by other generators for when renewables don't deliver

Huge costs coming, possibly big enough to derail much more take-up of "renewables"

After widespread power blackouts last summer, the long-awaited Finkel review of the electricity market has put energy security and stability centre stage, with a raft of technical recommendations put to the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday. But tackling the more complex issue of how to move beyond the existing renewable energy target remains on the backburner.

A key recommendation is for an Energy Security Board to be established, reflecting the need to ensure widespread blackouts are avoided with the shift to renewable energy as coal-fired power stations are shut down.

But the recommendation has triggered immediate concerns that "going easy" on pushing power generators to cut emissions will place greater pressure on other parts of industry, and the transport sector, to make tougher cuts to their emissions.

In particular, failing to endorse a move beyond the existing target of reducing emissions, by 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, misses an important opportunity. To do so, Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel argued, "may have consequences for security, cost and reliability".

"This will set expectations and help to guide investment decisions in the electricity sector by providing an anchor point for Australia's long-term emissions trajectory."

As a result, by pushing for a so-called "clean energy target"  rather than a more rigorous means of cutting emissions such as with an energy intensity scheme, the recommendation won the immediate backing of the energy utilities.

"While we have advocated for an emissions intensity scheme (EIS), ... a clean energy target is a viable policy option and will unleash the necessary new investment in the national electricity market," AGL said, pointing out the review had found the resource costs of such a scheme were relatively similar to both business-as-usual and an EIS.

The clean energy target would be "technologically neutral", the report noted, while also helping to lower long-term emissions. "For example, a mix of wind, solar and coal generation would be equally acceptable as a mix of wind, solar and gas generation as long as the emissions reduction trajectory is achieved."

Both a clean energy target and an emissions intensity scheme "are credible emissions reduction mechanisms because they minimise costs for consumers, are flexible and adaptable, and satisfy security and reliability criteria", the review found. "Both mechanisms ... deliver better price outcomes than business as usual."

However a clean energy target "could build directly on the experience of the renewable energy target" and avoid the need for new trading rules and further complexity and hence be implemented comparatively painlessly.

Energy Action's director of innovation and sustainability, Paul Bannister, said the decision to opt for a clean energy target was "pragmatic" since it may more easily win political support, rather than an energy intensity scheme.

"But this is always open to meddling," he said, warning of the potential for political intervention in the future.

Similarly, while the review has backed the emergence of so-called "micro-grids" any change could be some time off since a review of the relevant regulations will not begin for a year.

"The development of a functioning smart grid where energy users can sell demand reductions and surplus on-site generation in a free-market environment is central to the necessary reforms," Energy Action's Mr Bannister said. "This is essential to ensure a least-cost outcome for energy users and the economy as a whole."

The chief executive of Origin Energy, Frank Calabria, said he hoped the Finkel review "will pave the way for a more co-ordinated national approach to energy and climate policy".

"The important work now begins as industry and governments work together to translate recommendations into actions.

"Getting Australia's energy and climate change policy settings right is crucial to attracting the investment required to maintain a secure and affordable supply of energy to Australian homes and businesses, as we continue the transition to a low-carbon economy."

The release of the Finkel review into the electricity system comes as electricity consumers are bracing for another round of "sticker shock" from surging electricity bills.  Prices in the ACT are rising around 20 per cent, while AGL announced on Friday it would raise charges in NSW by 16 per cent from July 1 and by 18 per cent in South Australia for all households on so-called standing offers, as the surge in wholesale prices flows through to consumers.

Yet while the Finkel review was touted as providing a road map to lower electricity prices, the report failed to indicate how this will be achieved, since it has made it clear substantial new investment will be needed in the long-distance transmission  network, for example, with the cost burden to be borne by all consumers.

Central to the report is boosting the role of renewables and it backs new renewable energy projects having backup systems to help improve their reliability and smooth some of the "intermittency" that has plagued the electricity market.

"It's about time," one energy trader said. "Intermittency is the key issue with renewables. It is not unusual these days to see wind providing 40 per cent of all output. But it is not there at peak demand times, when it is needed.

"This has placed an additional cost on consumers and the other generators. So really, it is 'about time' additional renewables had some sort of back up."

Craig Memery of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre warned this will force consumers to pay "more than they should in the long run".

"Requiring new renewable energy operators to invest in energy storage technologies or come up with other ways of addressing their variable output is expensive and unnecessary," he said. "Placing additional obligations on renewable energy generators runs the risk of using less cost-efficient approaches, which translates to higher costs for consumers."

But higher charges are unavoidable with the need to build more transmission lines to accommodate more renewable energy plants.

"There is a lot of infrastructure spending coming," warned Gavin Dufty, policy officer with the St Vincent de Paul Society. "That raises the issue of who pays for it and how it is allocated – and that's quite regressive", referring to the fact that the cost will more likely fall heaviest on households and businesses who can't afford to install solar systems, and the like.

"If you go on a big infrastructure spend, households and small businesses will pay – but you need to allocate that cost in line with people's ability to pay. System security doesn't come cheap. This transition is costly. It is one of the biggest infrastructure challenges we've got – this is big dollars, and will wash through onto the household bill."

The Finkel review warned that newer renewable power generators "will likely be smaller in scale but more numerous than coal-fired generators, so a more co-ordinated approach to transmission planning is required". As part of this, it wants "a long-term, integrated grid plan ... to establish an optimal transmission network design to enable the connection of new renewable energy resources".

"Co-ordination of generation and transmission investment so that networks connect the areas with the best renewable energy resources, at an efficient scale, will be a critical challenge. Transmission businesses need to be incentivised to build the network infrastructure required for the future of the [national energy market], but not to build unnecessarily."

As BusinessDay reported when the federal government first unveiled its plan to boost capacity of the Snowy Hydro scheme in early March, the headline cost of $1.5 billion-$2 billion would double once the need for upgraded transmission links was taken into account, which was confirmed earlier this month in Senate estimates hearings.

And it has gone unnoticed that on the back of the plan by the Victorian government to lift to 40 per cent the supply of electricity sourced from renewable energy within the next decade, plans are already afoot for as much as 5000 megawatts of new renewable projects in western Victoria alone, of which Australian Energy Markets Operator reckons 3000 megawatts will probably be built. But if the AEMO forecast proves to be conservative and the full 5000 MW is built, that would be more than enough to replace three times the capacity of the recently shuttered Hazelwood power station (1600 megawatts), and more than Loy Yang A (2200Mw) and Loy Yang B (1600Mw) combined.

According to AEMO, this will need heavy spending on the transmission network throughout that part of the state to get the power to market, with private estimates that the cost could run to several billion dollars. And unless the network companies are paid to build those links, that renewable energy won't find a home.

"Without network investments to improve [network] strength, the 3000 megawatts of new renewable generation may still be constrained or disconnected," AEMO warned in a recent report, "even after investments to improve network thermal capacity have been carried out."

"Adding 4000 or 5000 megawatts would need a major transmission upgrade of $3 billion-$4 billion," one senior power industry figure said. "There appears to be a 'cargo-cult' mentality taking hold – build it [the network] and they will come. By going about this process the way it has, via a  so-called 'regulatory investment test for transmission' this will push up consumers' bills, since they will have to foot the cost of the expansion and the ongoing cost of operating it.

"There is an existing approach under the electricity market rules which allows for 'scale efficient' network expansion. Under this approach, the builder of the additional generation capacity pays for the network upgrade, which is only fair since it will profit from the move.

"By adopting the approach put out there by AEMO for this network upgrade, this will add to the bills of all electricity users. These upgrades should only proceed if paid for by the generator."



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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11 June, 2017

What's Wrong With the Claim That '97% of Climate Scientists Agree' About Global Warming?

The 97% claim is the major underpinning of the global warming racket. Much of the literature on global warming uses scientific explanations that go over the head of the average Joe so Joe  simply decides that if the scientists say something, it must be right. He feels unqualified to disagree.

So it is welcome that the paper below covers comprehensively the whole 97% fraud.  But, again, that too might be be hard going for some readers.  I prefer a simpler approach.  I don't criticize the Cook paper.  I just insist that people look at what it actually says.  It says that two thirds of the scientific papers on climatology TAKE NO POSITION on global warming.  So at best only one third -- not 97% -- of climate scientists support global warming. That's even to be found in the second sentence of the paper's summary:
"We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW"

I find that approach to be both comprehensible and crushing to just about everyone.  There is however the occasional tenacious Warmist who fights on for his belief.  I came across one recently on Quora named Rupert Baines, an electronics guy.

He pointed out that even John Cook had been a bit freaked by all the "no opinion" scientists and had tried to get around that. He had sent out questionnaires to those same scientists directly asking what their opinion of global warming was.  Out of the replies he got back, 97.2% said they agreed with global warming.

Impressive?  Does not that show that "No opinion" really meant "Agree"? Hardly.  The response-rate to the survey was only 14%.  Even when directly asked, 84% declined to state a position on global warming.  They just threw the questionnaire into the bin.  So on the first survey 66.4% of scientists did NOT support global warming but that rose to 84% who did NOT support global warming on the second survey.

When I pointed that out, Comrade Baines was still unbowed. He said that the scientists felt that the truth of global warming was so obvious that they didn't need to state it. Even if he is right about that, however, it is only a guess, not data.

The most likely reason for the silence, of course, is that they doubted some aspect or all aspects of the theory but thought it wise to shut up about that.  You can lose your job by doubting global warming

A variety of studies have purported to find an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists on global warming. However, the studies rarely specify what it is to which the scientists agree. Usually it is nothing more than that the earth has warmed since 1800 and that human activity has contributed significantly to the warming — something almost no skeptics would deny.

No study — whether a survey of published articles or a survey directly of scientists — has found anything remotely near a 97% consensus not only that the earth has warmed and that human activity has contributed significantly but also that human activity has been the primary driver, that the warming caused by it is dangerous, and that attempting to prevent future warming by reducing CO2 emissions would do more good than harm — and those are the issues debated.

In 2004 Science published the results of a study by historian Naomi Oreskes claiming that “without substantial disagreement, scientists find human activities are heating the earth’s surface.” But an attempt at replicating the study both found that she had made serious mistakes in handling data and, after re-examining the data, reached contrary conclusions. As Benny Peiser pointed out in a letter to Science (Submission ID: 56001) that Science declined to publish but that the Cornwall Alliance summarized in 2006:

Oreskes claimed that an analysis of 928 abstracts in the ISI database containing the phrase “climate change” proved the alleged consensus. It turned out that she had searched the database using three keywords (“global climate change”) instead of the two (“climate change”) she reported — reducing the search results by an order of magnitude. Searching just on “climate change” instead found almost 12,000 articles in the same database in the relevant decade.

Excluded from Oreskes’s list were “countless research papers that show that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change; and that climate modeling is highly uncertain.”

Further, even using the three key words she actually used, “global climate change,” brought up [not 928 but] 1,247 documents, of which 1,117 included abstracts. An analysis of those abstracts showed that:

only 1 percent explicitly endorsed what Oreskes called the “consensus view”;

29 percent implicitly accepted it “but mainly focus[ed] on impact assessments of envisaged global climate change”;

8 percent focused on “mitigation”;

6 percent focused on methodological questions;

8 percent dealt “exclusively with paleo-climatological research unrelated to recent climate change”;

3 percent “reject[ed] or doubt[ed] the view that human activities are the main drivers of ‘the observed warming over the last 50 years’”;

4 percent focused “on natural factors of global climate change”; and

42 percent did “not include any direct or indirect link or reference to human activities, CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions, let alone anthropogenic forcing of recent climate change.”

Peter Doran and Maggie Zimmerman’s “Examining the Consensus on Climate Change” (EOS, January 2009), concluded, “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”

However, Doran and Zimmerman counted only 79 out of the 3,146 responses to their survey in determining the alleged consensus, and the two questions asked in the survey were framed such that even the most ardent skeptics — like Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, and Roy Spencer — would have answered “Yes”:

* “When compared with pre?1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”

* “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Another study, “Expert credibility in climate change” (PNAS, April 9, 2010), by William Anderegg et al., reported that a survey of publication and citation data of 1,372 climate researchers found that 97 to 98 percent believed that “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for ‘most’ of the ‘unequivocal’ warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century.”

But Anderegg’s study covered only the 200 most prolific writers on climate change, excluding thousands of others, and even the conclusion that humans caused “most” of the warming doesn’t mean that those scientists consider global warming a crisis or that we should spend trillions of dollars attempting to stop it.

Probably the most widely cited study claiming to find such consensus, John Cook et al.’s “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature,” purported to find that “Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

Of course, “Humans are causing global warming” is something that nearly every skeptic — including myself — could affirm. The question is not whether we’re causing global warming, but whether we’re causing most of the recent warming, whether it’s dangerous, and whether we should abandon abundant, affordable, reliable energy from fossil fuels in exchange for sparse, expensive, intermittent energy from “renewables” in an effort to stop it.

Cook et al.’s paper was critiqued in another paper by David Legates et al., who reviewed the same papers Cook et al. had reviewed and concluded that the actual consensus supportable by their abstracts was only 0.3%. Legates et al. critiqued only Cook et al.’s statistical methodology and methods of interpreting the literature, not the quality of the selection process by which Cook et al. determined which papers to include and which to exclude from their survey.

But another scholar, José Duarte, did look at the selection process and found it “multiply fraudulent.” So Duarte called for Environmental Research Letters to retract Cook et al. He pointed out that although Cook et al. had claimed to have excluded papers on “social science, education, research about people’s views on climate,” they had in fact included many such. He also listed some of the many properly scientific papers that Cook et al. ignored but should have included and that would have counted against their conclusion.

Cook et al. surveyed 11,944 papers on global warming that had been published from 1991 through 2012. They did not read the papers or talk to the authors, but they did read the abstracts. The results of the abstracts were divided into seven categories:

It appears that Cook et al. decided to compare only those scientists who had strong opinions. If that is the case, the first two categories represent scientists who believe man is causing all or most of the warming (986), while those in categories 6 and 7 believe man is causing none or almost none (24). This ratio is about 97%. But the most important result of this study is that almost 8,000 had no opinion or were uncertain. So much for the 97%.

Why were there only 24 papers published by skeptics? We found out in 2009, when 22,000 email exchanges between senior meteorologists in the U.S. and Europe were released. Many of the emails were published by Steven Mosher and Thomas Fuller in “Climategate: The Crutape Letters” (nQuire Services, 2010). We learned the following things from this scandal:

Those promoting man-made global warming:

Controlled the meteorology and climatology journals in the U.S.;

Controlled non-meteorological science publication (Nature, Science, etc.);

Controlled Wikipedia;

Manipulated data;

Demonized skeptics.

Papers by skeptics were blackballed and not published in U.S. professional journals. In contrast, Kenneth Richard has documented over 1,000 peer-reviewed papers published in Europe and Asia in 2014, 2015, and 2016 that challenge the hypothesis that CO2 has been the primary driver of recent global warming (and other aspects of the bogus “consensus”) and support solar, oceanic, and other natural cycles as the primary causes of global warming, but they are not found in the U.S. publications.


EPA: Goodbye Captain Planet and Hello Real Leadership

Obama based environmental policy on kids' fiction. Trump has a much more realistic approach.  

If you grew up watching Captain Planet, you would know that the greatest threat to the environment is the human species. And the worst culprits among these humans are, of course, business owners. The job of planet heroes, then, is to fight against the evil capitalists and to be a voice for the voiceless rivers, oceans and clouds.

While this propagandistic narrative works well for a cartoon series (ok, it was atrocious there too), in real life, capitalism and private property incentivize clean air, water and reforestation. Let’s say, for example, that you own a timber farm that harvests wood every seven years. You would take care of your land and the nearby water sources because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have the robust healthy trees for the next harvest seven years later and your renewable resource would no longer be renewable.

Barack Obama based his Captain Planet environmental policy on the incorrect assumption that business deliberately pollutes the environment. Thus, rather than dealing with, say, lead in the soil or toxins in the air, he focused on regulating businesses out of business and thereby bolstering bureaucratic power. This flawed theory casts private sector businesses as top polluters, and government-run companies as charitable saviors. Of course, look no further than the exceptionally managed $535 million federal loan to the now defunct Solyndra to see the truth. One report estimated that the total taxpayer cost may be as high as $845 million. The crony capitalist government “start-ups” that benefit bureaucrats and cost the taxpayer millions are nobody’s charity.

While Obama busied himself with failed government start-ups, he ignored the larger issues like air quality and Superfund. The EPA manages a program called “Superfund,” which cleans up some of the nation’s most hazardously contaminated sites. These sites can contain toxic and hazardous chemicals and require the remediation by the EPA. The EPA establishes a National Priorities List (NPL) of the top U.S. sites in need of Superfund clean-up or remediation. Yet some of these sites have stayed on the list due to lack of action by the EPA for years, even decades.

Take, for example, the West Lake Landfill Superfund site near St. Louis, Missouri. In 1973, 38,000 tons of solid waste were mixed with 8,700 tons of leached barium sulfate (a uranium ore processing residue) left over from the Manhattan Project, a World War II era government (ahem) program which developed nuclear bombs. In 1990, the EPA designated it as a Superfund site on the NPL. Yet, under Obama, nothing happened except “investigations” and “studies.” Meanwhile, the residents of St. Louis live with this unacceptable level of toxicity. Despite Obama’s claims to be “for” the environment, 1,322 Superfund sites like this still remain around the country (more than when he came into office).

And then there’s air quality. The EPA sets air quality standards, called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which put limits on six air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution). There are currently 34 states that do not meet the EPA’s air quality requirements, 10 more than when Obama first took office. Ignoring the obvious needs of our country to deal with toxic waste, soil and water contaminants irresponsibly puts public health at risk.

So how did Obama, so lauded by the media as an environmental crusader, fail on such an epic level?

Well, because for him, a business-killing, highly regulatory EPA was a success. While it failed in protecting the environment, it succeeded in massive regulations on manufacturing and other businesses.

The good news is that we are saying goodbye to the fictional assumptions of Captain Planet and saying hello to real leadership at the EPA. President Donald Trump’s new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has recommitted the agency to actually focusing on the environment while also supporting economic growth. Last month, Pruitt issued a memo that prioritizes the cleanup of the toxic 1,322 Superfund sites across the country. Under his leadership, the EPA is planning to roll back needless regulations, which will save an estimated 1.4 million U.S. jobs. Pruitt’s commitment to the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the process by which administrative rules are made means that the agency won’t be abused by special-interest groups who seek to change policy though a “sue-and-settle” strategy. Additionally, the new leadership has already begun to restore their relationships with the states, as opposed to Obama’s modus operandi of dictating from Washington.

Finally, President Trump’s recent decision to exit the Paris Accord not only preserves our sovereignty to establish our own environmental priorities (which are cleaner than most in the world), but frees us from the obligation to pay for the remediation of other countries (namely India and China).

Obama’s failed leadership co-opted the environment issue as a way to concentrate government power by killing manufacturing and energy businesses, while simultaneously ignoring the real issues of air quality and toxic Superfund site cleanup. Trump’s and Pruitt’s leadership prioritizes the environment while also supporting business, jobs and the American worker. This new team seeks to achieve what we all want: clean water, air and soil, clean places to live and removal of toxic substances in order to provide a clean environment for the humans, plants and animals of the next generation.


EPA wants to reopen talks on GE cleanup

In 2015, after years of protests, lobbying, and drawn-out government studies, General Electric Co. was ordered to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Housatonic River, which the company polluted for decades from its plant in the Berkshires.

Now, the divisive plan, criticized by GE as too costly and by environmental advocates as too lax, may be upended by the agency that crafted it: the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In an abrupt shift that comes amid the Trump administration’s sweeping changes at the EPA, agency lawyers said last week that they want to reopen negotiations over the $613 million cleanup order. They have notified surrounding towns and environmental groups that they intend to delay an EPA appeal board hearing set for Thursday, at which GE planned to argue for changes to the plan.

“Although the case has been fully briefed, EPA has determined that a stay of the proceedings at this time is appropriate and necessary,” the lawyers wrote in an e-mail. They said they would seek to postpone the hearing for three months.

Coming after bitter, protracted negotiations, the EPA’s missive shocked many of the groups that for decades have pressed the Boston-based company to remove large amounts of toxic chemicals known as PCBs that its plant in Pittsfield dumped into the river from the 1930s to the 1970s. PCBs, once ubiquitous as coolants and insulating fluids, were banned in 1979.

The environmental groups worry that the agency’s move reflects the new priorities of the Trump administration – that companies should be protected from government regulations and mandated cleanups.

“Looks like Massachusetts is about to become Exhibit A in the Trump administration’s efforts to go easy on polluters,” said Matt Pawa, a lawyer who represents towns that support the EPA’s plan for the Housatonic, including Lenox, Lee, and Great Barrington.

He noted that GE and the EPA already went through mediation, and that the mediator ruled in favor of the cleanup plan.

“As far as I know, the only ‘interested party’ here is GE – neither I nor the state of Massachusetts’ lead lawyer knew anything about such settlement discussions,” before the e-mail from the EPA, Pawa said.

Critics of the move pointed to a directive, issued last month by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, that requires him or his deputy to approve all agency-mandated cleanup plans that exceed $50 million. Previously, regional offices could issue such decisions, as the New England office in Boston did for the Housatonic cleanup in 2015.

Shortly after his directive, Pruitt launched a new task force to make recommendations on “how the agency can restructure the cleanup process, realign incentives of all involved parties to remediate sites, encourage private investment in cleanups and sites, and promote revitalization of properties across the country.”

The task force, Pruitt added, is intended to “reduce the administrative and overhead costs and burdens borne by parties remediating contaminated sites, including a reexamination of the level of agency oversight necessary.”

Those changes came as the Trump administration has proposed a 25 percent budget cut to the Superfund program, which oversees the cleanup of some 1,300 toxic waste sites around the country.

GE submitted its formal appeal of the Housatonic cleanup plan last year, shortly after moving its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston. The industrial giant argues that it should be allowed to dispose of the dredged pollutants in landfills near the river, despite state regulations that require the toxic sludge to be removed from Massachusetts.

GE officials say they should be exempt from state hazardous waste regulations and other environmental rules. They’ve called the government’s “rest of the river” cleanup plan “arbitrary and capricious,” and say it violates the terms of a 2000 settlement among the EPA, the company, and state and local officials.

GE has already spent more than $500 million since the 1990s to clean 2 miles of the river closest to the plant and on related environmental projects in the area, company officials say. But the company acknowledges that contaminated soil still stretches along more than 10 miles of the river, its banks, and its floodplains between Pittsfield and Lenox. The Housatonic runs nearly 150 miles from Western Massachusetts through Connecticut to Long Island Sound.

The company contends it shouldn’t have to remove the dredged soil from the state because it wasn’t required to in the first phase of the cleanup, which was completed in 2006. The out-of-state location hasn’t been designated yet.

Officials at GE declined to say whether they lobbied the EPA to reopen settlement talks, but they acknowledged taking note of Pruitt’s initiative to review costly cleanups.

“Consistent with that initiative, we reaffirmed our previous support to EPA for settlement negotiations with the parties to explore the possibility of expediting a common-sense solution that meets our commitment to a comprehensive cleanup,” said Jeff Caywood, a spokesman for GE. “Negotiations are a part of any litigation.”

After receiving the EPA’s e-mail, Pawa and other opponents of renewed negotiations wrote the agency to object.

“We appreciate the feedback from the parties to this matter,” Nancy Grantham, a spokeswoman for the EPA, replied.

She forwarded a document that showed that Timothy Conway, a lawyer from the New England office, would be appearing before the appeals board, but declined to comment on whether the agency would ask the board to delay oral arguments.

Conway and other officials from the agency’s New England office didn’t return calls for comment.

“Mr. Conway intends to respond to the issues presented by the board,” Grantham wrote.

In the past, however, EPA officials have defended their plan, which they say would reduce PCB levels in the river’s fish by 95 percent over the next 13 years.

“We find those to be acceptable levels,” Jim Murphy, an EPA spokesman based in Massachusetts, told the Globe last year. “We’re getting out of the river what we need to get out to protect human health and the ecosystem.”

At the time, Murphy acknowledged the criticism from both sides and said the agency was mindful of costs in designing its plan. Environmental advocates lobbied for a more ambitious cleanup that would have cost more than $1 billion, he said, while reducing the toxic chemicals in the river’s fish by only slightly more.

Despite their concerns about the EPA’s plan, environmental advocates now worry that the agency will weaken it further.

Pruitt “seems intent on undermining years of work by his own agency,” said Julia Blatt, executive director of the Massachusetts River Alliance. “This is incredibly disrespectful to the EPA staff who have worked for decades to get GE to clean up its pollution, and to the people who live and work in that area and deserve a clean Housatonic River.”


Climate Change Hypocrites
Maybe the most laughable reaction to Donald Trump’s pulling out of the Paris climate accord came from European and Chinese leaders who blasted Trump and America for “surrendering its world leadership” role. The sanctimonious leaders of Asian and European nations pledged to move full speed ahead on clean energy without the United States. Be my guest.

But we’ve been to this movie before. The Europeans were all in on the Kyoto Protocol deal back in 2005 — an international treaty the U.S. rightly rejected. Euroland promised a massive shift to green energy and to abandon fossil fuels to dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But guess what? The green energy revolution was a bust. None of these countries came close to meeting those targets. Now these nations, especially Germany, are moving away from the saintly clean energy sources.

They say they are solemnly committed to a new treaty — but if they violated the last one, why would we believe them now?

Even more amazing and underreported is that the United States — even though we did not make a pledge to reduce our greenhouse gases in accord with that treaty — has reduced its carbon emissions more than some of the European signatories.

Contrary to the flood of insults directed at the Trump administration, the U.S. is not the bad actor on the world stage when it comes to environmental protection. We are the world leader in environmental stewardship, and our energy use, as a share of the economy, continues to shrink.

An even more preposterous claim is that China — the largest polluter by far — and India are moving away from fossil fuels and transitioning to wind and solar power.

No, they are not. Here is what The Wall Street Journal reported in a November story about China and India “doubling down” on fossil fuel use: “China’s government said it would raise coal power capacity by as much as 20 percent by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country’s energy sector despite a pledge to bring down pollution levels. In a new five-year plan for electricity … the National Energy Administration said it would raise coal-fired power capacity from around 900 gigawatts last year to as high as 1,100 gigawatts by 2020.”

Wait. We are going to be lectured by these nations about saving the planet? This is like taking a lesson in personal hygiene from Pig-Pen (my favorite Peanuts character).

We should have learned by now that with foreign nations, you always have to watch what they do, not listen to what they say. China isn’t interested in reducing pollution levels. It is hyper-focused on one goal: gaining global dominance in every industry and using the cheapest and most reliable energy sources possible to get there. China and Europe want the U.S. to transition to more expensive energy sources — in no small part because they want to regain the competitiveness they lost due to their own green energy policies.

The press is also having a field day with the story that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, has resigned from a Trump economic advisory council out of protest. But Musk, according to the Los Angeles Times, has received almost $5 billion in government subsidies. SolarCity and Tesla are likely out of business without all the taxpayer-funded green handouts. Why doesn’t the press report that Musk has a multibillion-dollar personal stake in global warming?

America has at least 200 years of shale gas, which is clean burning, efficient and made in America. We have 500 years of coal, and the emissions of pollutants from coal plants have fallen by more than 50 percent in recent decades. Clean coal is here, and rather than shut down this industry and put tens of thousands more coal miners in unemployment lines, we should allow technology and innovation to make it cleaner still through gasification, carbon capture and so on.

Because of stunning advances in drilling technologies, the value of American oil, gas and coal resources that are currently recoverable is estimated at near $50 trillion — which is more than double our national debt. The Paris climate accord would require America to keep this massive treasure chest of resources in the ground, never to be used.

Sadly, President Barack Obama negotiated a treaty that accommodated the economic interests of our rivals and put America last. Trump’s gutsy decision puts America on the path to becoming the global energy superpower in the decades to come and puts American workers first.


Australian climate skeptics use Socrates to question global warming

AN ad published in a major newspaper purports to prove climate change isn’t real using a hypothetical conversation with Socrates. The Climate Study Group says it researches ‘climate truths’. I have deleted some opinionated adjectives below.

I can see no substance in the criticisms below.  The argument is straightforward:  High CO2 in the past was not bad so why is it bad now?  Life thrived mightily in an era when CO2 levels were much higher than now so why is life threatened now, amid much lower levels of CO2?  Is not raised CO2 good for life rather than threatening to life?  Is not a small rise in CO2 likely to be beneficial on balance?

It is true that there were no humans in the Carboniferous but there were plenty of dinosaurs with respiratory systems very similar to ours.  And our metabolism is in fact more flexible than theirs so we are better at adapting.  So we should thrive amid raised CO2 as well

A GROUP that claims to study “climate truths” is behind a newspaper ad that uses ancient philosopher Socrates to try and prove climate change isn’t real.

The paid advertisement ran in The Australian newspaper, published by NewsCorp, which also publishes, on Friday has shocked both scientists and philosophers as it tries to link the two disciplines to prove CO2 and fossil fuels have nothing to do with global warming.

The quarter-page advertisement features a large image of Socrates and showcases a “hypothetical conversation” between the philosopher and a fictional “strong believer in climate change”, dubbed Mr Smith.

The conversation sees Socrates question Mr Smith’s unwavering belief about emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels which were formed before and during the carboniferous period.

In the imaginary exchange, Socrates questions whether there was evidence of global warming prior to this period, and makes some other “philosophical inquiries”, which are then claimed to “reveal the truth with compelling logic and facts which refute longheld belief”. Mr Smith is led to finally “understand the truth” and ultimately reject climate change.

Social media users have slammed the add, and Reddit commentators have called it just plain weird. Actual experts are outraged too.

Deakin University senior philosophy lecturer Patrick Stokes said aside from scientific conjecture, the philosophical side of the group’s argument was dangerously flawed.

“The reason that climate change denialists like Socrates is they are wedding to a brave individual exposing the corrupt elite,” he said. “The problem is of course that science doesn’t work the way Socratic questioning works. The idea that you come along and lob a couple of Socratic questions and explode it all just doesn’t hold water.”

Mr Stokes said there were “glaring fallacies” in the argument, and argued that Socrates would have been “quite affronted” by the ad. He said on Twitter: “Whoever wrote this: Socrates would have kicked your arse, and rightly so.”

Melbourne University climate scientist Andrew King said the advert put forward “a nonsensical ill-founded argument”.

“Essentially their argument is the CO2 was higher in the past and that the carbon is from a natural source,” Dr King said. “One obvious criticism is that the Carboniferous Period (being 300 million years ago) is a poor analog for the climate of today. It was warmer but lifeforms were also very different with nothing similar to humans.

“Human life is adapted to the climate we have today. If the climate was much warmer, as in the Carboniferous period, we’d be in a lot of trouble! Really?  Our present tropics are many degrees warmer than Europe but people still thrive there, including high birthrates.  And warming up Siberia would be very congenial.  The man is talking rubbish

“They also talk about the lack of “dangerous global warming” in the Carboniferous period, but, in a large part, the problems that result from global warming are caused by the absolute temperature as opposed to the rate of change of temperature.” But that is what the skeptics are arguing

Dr King also argued it was unfair to invoke Socrates. He said that having been dead for a long time he wasn’t around to give his own opinion. spoke to the convener of The Climate Study Group, who described the organisation as “a group that studies the climate truths”.

The man asked to remain anonymous for fear of hate mail, but has previously publicly identified himself as the leader of the organisation in government submissions and articles.

He said he did not wish to discuss the advertisement or the research behind it any further.

The same organisation came under fire for another unusual advertisement that took a similar format and was published in the same paper in August 2015.

In an advertorial entitled “Psychology and the new climate alarm”, the climate-denial collective sought to use psychological research to prove there was no evidence that CO2 had affected climate.

See here for details of the 2015 advert

The Australian Psychology Society attacked the group, saying it was “disturbed to see psychology being used to mislead the public” and claimed the publisher had ignored a “huge body of scientific evidence”. Like what?

The same band of climate deniers has also been behind bizarre research papers and submissions to the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Minister for the Environment, using its own research to back up allegations that economists were being alarmist due to their psychological makeup and that an ice age is the most urgent environmental threat.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Paris climate agreement will follow Kyoto Protocol to the ash heap of history

If the Paris Climate Accord was such a great deal for the United States, why did President Barack Obama not submit it to the Senate for treaty ratification after signing onto it with considerable fanfare on Sept. 3?

Could it have been because Obama knew that the accord was so poorly negotiated, so costly and destructive to the U.S. economy, that he knew it stood no chance of winning the needed 67 votes, two-thirds of the Senate, for ratification?

Its dim prospects in the Senate might have been a consideration in the decision Thursday by President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the climate-change pact, which stood no better chance of Senate ratification than the predecessor Kyoto Protocol did nearly two decades ago.

The Clinton administration signed onto Kyoto in November 1998, but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. That's probably because, 16 months earlier in July 1997, the Senate passed a pre-emptive resolution that the U.S. should not sign any agreement that didn't include binding targets for developing nations or that was thought to seriously harm the U.S. economy.

The resolution passed the Senate with unprecedented bipartisan unanimity 95-0.

Many of the same flaws and shortcomings that doomed Kyoto were just as damning of the Paris pact, which would have committed the U.S. to reducing carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Trump did the right thing in making good on his campaign promise to pull the plug on it, ignoring the apocalyptic rhetoric of the radical environmental lobby and its water carriers in the media.

The Paris pact would have disproportionately burdened U.S. families and businesses relative to developing nations, such as China and India. And to what end? According to researchers at MIT, even if all the signatories met their obligations (highly unlikely), it would reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.2 of a degree Celsius.

What it would undoubtedly do, however, is saddle the U.S. economy, job creators and consumers with enormous costs. According to a study by National Economic Research Associates consulting, compliance with the Paris pact would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next few decades.

It was further estimated that by 2040, it would have caused the loss of 6.5 million high-paying industrial-sector jobs.

It also would have sounded the death knell of the coal industry, with which we still generate one-third of our electricity. The Heritage Foundation estimated that it would have increased electricity costs by between 13 percent and 20 percent annually for a family of four and caused them a loss of income of $20,000 by 2035.

Trump didn't campaign on a pledge to make America poor again.

Finally, the Paris pact is not necessary to achieve reduction of carbon pollution. American innovators have developed new ways to produce energy that have significantly reduced emissions of all forms and simultaneously turned the U.S. into a leading energy producer and exporter.

Moreover, studies have repeatedly shown that the most-free countries are the wealthiest, and that wealthiest countries are the cleanest.

Unleashing the economy will better solve any environmental problems than an international agreement that shackles U.S. industries while letting huge polluters like China and India off the hook. (Under the pact, China would actually be allowed to increase its emissions until 2030.)

With its $100 billion annual U.N. Green Climate slush fund, the Paris accord was a thinly disguised international income-redistribution scheme, and like Obama's infamous Iran nuclear deal, it was not in our country's best interest.


Paris Climate Accord Pollaganda

Plastered among this week’s headlines (some even sporting the “Breaking News” banner) are the findings of a new poll on public opinion regarding Donald Trump’s decision to say au revoir to the Paris climate accord. A Washington Post headline emphatically declared, “Post-ABC poll: Nearly 6 in 10 oppose Trump scrapping Paris agreement.”

According to the survey, 59% of Americans overall disagree with Trump’s decision. In contrast, a paltry 28% support it. Unsurprisingly, the majority of that support comes from Republicans, 67% of whom condone Trump’s move. Also unsurprisingly, 82% of Democrats and 63% of Independents believe the exit was wrongheaded (if not flat out apocalyptic). However, Democrats — besides having lost the climate accord battle — don’t necessarily have a lot to celebrate in this poll, for two reasons.

First, there’s a major caveat in these numbers that reflects the Democrats' worst bane: Their failure to garner overwhelming support for their statist policy prescriptions. The fact that just 59% of Americans supposedly oppose Trump’s move actually represents a remarkable failure on the Left’s part. Why? For 30 years climate alarmists have been lecturing, pleading with and vilifying climate skeptics. And 59% support is the best they can muster?

Of course, that’s assuming the poll is even accurate (a dubious proposition), which brings us to the second point. We define Pollaganda as “polling used to manipulate public opinion and advance a particular bias,” or “instruments designed to generate a preferential outcome.” In the minds of leftists, the Post-ABC poll shows just how “out of touch” Trump is with the majority of America. But polls — particularly Leftmedia ones — prove nothing because they are manipulated from the start.

The next time the Post uses damning surveys to belittle Trump’s policy decisions, just remember this: Those same surveys unanimously, prematurely and wrongly predicted a blowout victory for Hillary Clinton. Moreover, remember that the Paris exit is good for America (and, more importantly, the Constitution) regardless of opinions so-called experts try to extract from polls.


EPA's Pruitt delays Obama-era smog rules for a year

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it is giving states another year to meet strict rules for smog-forming ozone emissions set by the Obama administration, citing states' confusion over regulatory requirements and the need for the EPA to review the regulations.

"We are committed to working with states and local officials to effectively implement the ozone standard in a manner that is supportive of air quality improvement efforts without interfering with local decisions or impeding economic growth," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Pruitt sent letters Tuesday to each governor, informing them that the agency is extending the deadline by one year for states to determine the areas that have acute smog pollution under the 2015 rule.

"Although the new ozone standard was set on October 1, 2015, there remains a host of complex issues that could undermine associated compliance efforts by states and localities," the EPA said Tuesday. The agency is evaluating those issues, including separating U.S. pollution from that caused by other countries.

"States have made tremendous progress and significant investment cleaning up the air. We will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance," Pruitt said.

The Obama-era ozone regulations lowered the level of ozone allowed in a particular area from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. Many areas of the country had not complied with the first 75 ppb standard before the Obama administration decided to make the standard even more strict, critics said.

Under the ozone rules, states must ascertain which areas can comply and which cannot, called areas of "nonattainment." Designating an area as being in "nonattainment" of the ozone rules come with "consequences," the EPA said, including "increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses."

That is why EPA has decided to give states "more time to develop air quality plans and EPA is looking at providing greater flexibility to states as they develop their plans," the agency said.

Pruitt also announced that he is establishing the Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to develop the "additional flexibilities for states to comply with the ozone standard," the agency said. Congress gave EPA the authority to create the task force under the recently passed fiscal 2017 spending bill.


When it comes to Trump’s critics on leaving the Paris climate accord, follow the money

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer be participating in the Paris Climate Agreement. He made the announcement on June 1 in a White House ceremony, arguing the agreement put American jobs unnecessarily at risk, while harming consumers, and that some of these nations would not have to reduce any emissions, while others, the U.S., would have to reduce emissions.

However, there was no enforcement mechanism nor any measurement requirement. If a nation fails to reduce their emissions, nothing happens, and if a nation reports false numbers, nothing happens. Because the U.S. was likely the only nation to play by the rules, it would have only hurt U.S. industries unilaterally. For this reason and many more, the President had to pull out of the agreement.

Shortly after the announcement, many celebrities and CEOs took to social media to voice their disagreement with the President’s decision. Disbelief and anger would be an understatement in describing the reactions.

One celebrity business tycoon, Elon Musk, took to twitter, before the announcement, threatening to quit White House councils if the U.S. did not stay in the agreement. Musk is the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, two companies that benefit greatly from the government subsidies and contracts, that did not take to kindly to the decision. I wonder why?

Tesla makes money two ways. The first is the obvious, they sell cars. Not just any car, but electric cars. The vehicles range in price from $35,000 to over $80,000. The vehicles also come with a generous tax credit valued at up to $7,500. Tesla proudly promotes the credit on their website as an incentive. This seems like it would be enough to make a profit, but it is not, as the company still has not turned one.

Secondly, Tesla sells Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits in California to other carmakers in the state. How much can these credits be worth? In the third quarter of 2016 Tesla pocketed $139 million from ZEVs. Those credits pushed Tesla into profitability for the quarter, breaking a 13-quarter losing streak. So, it could be said that Tesla has a financial incentive to ensure harsh environmental regulations are pushed across the nation. It’s not hard to see why he was in favor of the agreement.

The Department of Energy expects wind energy to make up 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, and coincidently General Electric (GE) is the largest wind-turbine maker in North America. Knowing those facts, it is no surprise GE was one of the companies pushing to stay in the agreement. GE CEO Jeff Immelt tweeted out “Disappointed with todays’ decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.” Perhaps Mr. Immelt should take a look at where his company gets its money.

Not only does GE make the wind turbines, they get subsidized heavily for it. GE has received over $1.6 billion in subsidies from local, state, and federal authorities. It’s a pretty good scam if you can get the government to pay you to make something you get to sell.

Keep in mind, this is just for GE wind energy. This does not include any other green energy subsidies, loans, or bailouts from local, state, and federal governments. When you total the entire amount up, GE has gotten a staggering $159.4 billion in government funds since 2001. That’s more than the GDP for many small nations. With that kind of money on the line, it’s easy to see why GE would want to keep that gravy train rolling.

One might ask, why would a major corporation want burdensome rules and regulations that come with the agreement? Wouldn’t the new rules and regulations hurt the bottom line of the companies. Yes and no.

Excessive regulations cost small businesses over $12,000 per year, and if you’re a business trying to start, it’ll cost over $83,000, according to a recent survey by the National Small Business Association. These costs might not seem like a lot to an Exxon or Google, but to a startup oil field company out of a garage, it’s a killer.

Corporations are not worried about larger competitors, per se, they are worried about the start-ups that can put them out of business with new technology. One way to stop this from happening is to push regulations ensuring the small businesses cannot keep up. Financial regulations introduced under Dodd-Frank had the same effect on small banks. Because of the cost of regulations, small banks could not compete, and many are struggling because of it.

Speaking of banks, many big banks were also disappointed with the President’s decision. The CEO of Goldman Sachs broke his twitter silence to state “Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement.” This begs the question “Why do bankers care?” Who do you think is going to finance the green energy projects?

As the regulations mandate more and more “renewable” energy, the projects are likely to be financed by major banks, with a little help. If banks do not believe the project is likely to succeed, they do not finance it. However, if Uncle Sam backs the loan, because it is green, then banks will loan out any amount to anyone with a federally backed loan guarantee. The Department of Energy gives out billions every year in loan guarantees. Banks will happily make loans, for a small fee of course, as long as they are backed by the federal government. Bad loans made by banks being backed by Uncle Sam, haven’t we seen this story before?

As you continue to laugh at or take seriously the reactions to Trump’s Paris climate accord announcement, remember one thing, follow the money. That will almost always tell you why the critics are coming down the way they are.


Gore Dodges Fact-Check on His 2006 Prediction: Earth at ‘Point of No Return Within 10 Years’

When asked about his 2006 prediction that unless nations took “drastic measures” then the Earth "would reach a point of no return within 10 years," former Democratic Vice President Al Gore did not answer the question and instead said, “a lot of serious damage has been done.”

On Fox News Sunday, June 4, host Chris Wallace asked Gore,  “After your movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ came out in 2006, you made the following comments as part of your publicity for the movie. You said unless we took ‘drastic measures, the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,’ and you called it a true planetary emergency. We’re 11 years later, weren’t you wrong?”

Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his environmental activism, said,  “Well we have seen a decline in emissions on a global basis. For the first time they’ve stabilized and started to decline. So some of the responses for the last 10 years have helped, but unfortunately and regrettably a lot of serious damage has been done.”

“Greenland, for example, has been losing one cubic kilometer of ice every single day,” he said. “I went down to Miami and saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets on a sunny day. The same thing was true in Honolulu just two days ago, just from high tides because of the sea level rise now.”

“We are going to suffer some of these consequences,” said Gore. “But we can limit and avoid the most catastrophic, if we accelerate the pace of change that’s now beginning.”

Gore also told Wallace that the directors of his upcoming follow-up documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” are adding a new segment to discuss the impact of pulling out of the Paris Climate Change agreement.

Democrat Al Gore was vice president to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. He is separated from his wife, Tipper Gore, and they have four children.



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   main.html 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, 2017

A cost benefit analysis of CO2 emissions

Economist Richard Tol below provides breakthrough clarity by showing the private benefit of carbon dioxide -- because of the benefits of energy use -- is far greater than its social cost.  Note that not all benefits of CO2 are quantified below:  Its fertilizing effect on plants, for instance

The Private Benefit of Carbon and its Social Cost

By Richard S.J. Tol


The private benefit of carbon is the value, at the margin, of the energy services provided by the use of fossil fuels. It is the weighted average of the price of energy times the carbon dioxide emission coefficient, with energy used as weights. The private benefits is here estimated, for the first time, at $411/tCO2. The private benefit is lowest for coal use in industry and highest for residential electricity; it is lowest in Kazakhstan and highest in Norway. The private benefit of carbon is much higher than the social cost of carbon.


There is a public and academic debate about the social cost of carbon (Pizer et al., 2014, Greenstone et al., 2013, Guivarch et al., 2016, Havranek et al., 2015, Hahn and Ritz, 2015, Burke et al., 2016). This focus on the damage done by emitting an additional tonne of carbon dioxide sometimes drowns out the gains from cheap and abundant energy. The risks of climate change and the need for climate policy should be discussed, but it is should not be forgotten that affordable and reliable energy is a great good – just like a stable climate is a
great good. Unfortunately, in the absence of government intervention, fossil fuels continue to be the cheapest source of energy (IEA, 2016d). I quantify the private benefit of using carbon-emitting energy and show that, in most cases, using fossil fuel adds more value than it destroys.

Methods and data

Economists have long theorized about value and how to measure it, but the debate was settled by Jevons in 1871 (Jevons, 1871). In an undistorted market, with rational and well-informed
consumers and producers, the price of a good equals its marginal value (Mankiw, 2014). We are only prepared to buy something if the welfare gain of getting it is greater than the welfare
loss of giving up part of our income and thus the opportunity to buy something else. Vice versa, we are only prepared to sell something if the price we get exceeds the loss we suffer from no longer owning it – for instance because the money gained allows us to buy something we appreciate better. The price of energy is thus a measure of the marginal value of energy – or rather of the services delivered by energy, such as warmth, cooked food,
mobility and communication. The same is true for energy used by companies. The price paid for energy equals its marginal productivity, which in turn equals the marginal value of the
products and services produced with this energy (Mankiw, 2014). The price of energy is therefore, at the margin, a measure of the worth of energy.


The private benefit of carbon is large and, in most cases, much larger than the social cost of carbon. But while the social cost of carbon is tied to carbon dioxide emissions and their impact on the climate, the private benefit of carbon is not tied to fossil fuels. The private benefits of carbon are, really, the benefits of abundant and reliable energy – or rather, the benefits of the services provided by energy, such as warm homes, cooked food, travel and transport, information and communication, and so on. An increasing share of these benefits can be had without incurring carbon dioxide emissions, or by paying a falling premium to avoid such emissions.


Dilbert cartoonist burns Yale climate scientists

They have no proof of the CAUSE of climate events

A communications group at Yale University has put out a video that seems to be a rebuttal to a Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams poking fun at climate scientists and their misplaced confidence in models. The video is full of impressive-looking scientists talking about charts and data and whatnot. It probably cost a lot to make and certainly involved a lot of time and effort. The most amazing thing, however, is that it actually proves the points being made in the Dilbert cartoon. Rather than debunking the cartoon, the scientists acted it out in slow motion.

The Dilbert cartoon begins with a climate scientist saying “human activity is warming the earth and will lead to a global catastrophe.” When challenged to explain how he knows that, he says they start with basic physical principles plus observations about the climate, which they then feed into models, pick and choose some of the outputs, then feed those into economic models, and voila. When asked, what if I don’t trust the economic models, the scientist retreats to an accusation of denialism.

The Yale video ends in exactly the same way. After a few minutes of what I will, for the moment, call “scientific information,” we see climatologist Andrew Dessler appear at the 4:28 mark to say “It’s inarguable, although some people still argue it – heh, heh.” As in, ah those science deniers.

What exactly is “inarguable”? By selective editing we are led to believe that everything said in the video is based on multiple independent lines of evidence carrying such overwhelming force that no rational observer could dispute it. Fine, let’s go to the 2:38 mark and watch someone named Sarah Myhre tell us what this inarguable science says.

“It’s irrefutable evidence that there are major consequences that come with climate warming, and that we take these Earth systems to be very stable, we take them for granted, and they’re not stable, they’re deeply unstable when you perturb the carbon system in the atmosphere.”

How does she know this? From models of course. These claims are not rooted in observations but in examining the entrails of model projections. But she has to pick and choose her models because they don’t all say what she claims they say. Some models show very little sensitivity to greenhouse gases.  If we put the low-sensitivity results into economic models the results show that the economic impacts of warming are very low and possible even negative (i.e. a net benefit). And the section of the IPCC report that talks about the consequences of warming says:

For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change.

It goes on to show (Figure 10-1) that at low levels of warming the net economic effects are zero or positive. As to the climate being “deeply unstable” there’s hardly any point trying to debate that since these are not well-defined scientific words, but simple reflection on human experience will tell you that the climate system is pretty stable, at least on decadal and century time scales. The main thing to note is that she is claiming that changes to atmospheric CO2 levels have big warming effects on the climate and will cause a global catastrophe. And the only way she knows this is from looking at the outputs of models and ignoring the ones that look wrong to her. Granted she isn’t bald and doesn’t have a little beard, but otherwise she is almost verbatim the scientist in the cartoon.

Much of what she says in the video is unsubstantiated and sloppy. For instance she talks (2:14) about paleoclimatic indicators like tree rings, ice cores and sediment cores as if they are handy records of past climate conditions without acknowledging any of the known problems extracting climate information from such noisy sources.

Her most telling comment was the Freudian slip at 1:06 when she says “There is incredible agreement about the drivers of climate science.” What she meant (and quickly corrected herself to say) was “climate change.” But her comment is revealing as regards the incredible agreement—i.e. groupthink –that drives climate science, and the individuals who do the driving.  Myhre’s Freudian slip comes right after a clip in which Michael Mann emphatically declares that there are dozens of lines of evidence that all come together, “telling us the same thing,” adding “that’s how science works.” Really? The lines of evidence regarding climate do not all lead to one uniform point of view, nor is that how science works. If that’s how science worked there would be no need for research. But that’s how activists see it, and that’s the view they impose to drive climate science along in service of the activist agenda. As Dr. Myhre herself wrote in a recent op-ed:

Our job is not to objectively document the decline of Earth’s biodiversity and humanity, so what does scientific leadership look like in this hot, dangerous world? We don’t need to all agree with each other – dissent is a healthy component of the scientific community. But, we do need to summon our voices and start shouting from rooftops: “We have options”, “We don’t have to settle for cataclysm”.

Got that? The job of scientists is not objectively to gather and present evidence, but to impose an alarmist view and yell it from the rooftops. At least according to Sarah Myhre, Ph.D..

The video opens with a straw man argument: climate science is all just made up in computer models about the future, and it’s all just based on simulations. This is then refuted, rather easily, with clips of scientists listing some of the many observational data sets that exist. Whoopee. That wasn’t even the point of the Dilbert cartoon, it was just a straw man made up by the interviewer.

Then, in the process of presenting responses, the video flits back and forth between lists of observational evidence and statements that are based on the outputs of models, as if the former prove the latter. For instance, when Myhre says (2:45—2:55) that the climate systems is “deeply unstable” to perturbations in the carbon “system” (I assume she meant cycle) the video then cuts to Andrew Dessler (2:55) talking about satellite measurements, back to Myhre on paleo indicators, then to Carl Mears and Dessler (3:11) talking about sea ice trends. None of those citations support Myhre’s claims about instability, but the selective editing creates the impression that they do.

Another example is a sequence starting at 1:14 and going to about 2:06, in which various speakers lists different data sets, glossing over different spatial and time scales, measurement systems, etc. Then an assertion is slipped in at 2:07 by Ben Santer to the effect that the observed warming can’t be explained by natural causes.

Then back to Myhre listing paleoclimate indicators and Mann describing boreholes. The impression created is that all these data types prove the attribution claim made by Santer. But they do no such thing. The data sets only record changes: claims about the mechanism behind them are based on modeling work, namely when climate models can’t simulate 20th century warming without incorporating greenhouse gas forcing.

So in a sense, the video doesn’t even refute the straw man it set up. It’s not that climate science consists only of models: obviously there are observations too. But all the attribution claims about the climatic effects of greenhouse gases are based on models. If the scientists being interviewed had any evidence otherwise, they didn’t present any.

Now suppose that they are correct in their assertion that all the lines of evidence agree. All the data sets, in Mann’s words, are telling us the same thing. In that case, looking at one is as good as looking at any of the others.

Ignore for a moment the selective focus on declining Arctic sea ice data while ignoring the expansion of Antarctic sea ice. And ignore the strange quotation from Henry Pollock (3:23—3:41) about how ice doesn’t ask any questions or read the newspaper: it just melts. Overlaid on his words is a satellite video showing the summer 2016 Arctic sea ice melt. Needless to say, had the filmmaker kept the video running a few seconds more, into the fall, we’d have seen it re-freeze. Presumably the ice doesn’t read or ask questions in the fall either, it just freezes. This proves what exactly?

Anyway, back to our assumption that all the data sets agree and say the same thing. And what is it they tell us? Many key data sets indicate that climate models are wrong, and in particular that they overstate the rate of warming, (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.). So according to the uniformity principle so strongly enunciated in the video, all the evidence points in the same direction: the models aren’t very good. And by implication, statements made based on the models aren’t very reliable.

There’s another irony in the video’s assertions of uniformity in climate science. At the 3:55 mark Michael Mann announces that there’s a consensus because independent teams of scientists all come at the problem from different angles and come up with the same answers. He’s clearly referring to the model-based inferences about the drivers of climate change. And the models are, indeed, converging to become more and more similar. The problem is that in the process they are becoming less like the actual climate. Oops.

So how did the video do refuting Scott Adams’ cartoon? He joked that scientists warning of catastrophe invoke the authority of observational data when they are really making claims based on models. Check. He joked that they ignore on a post hoc basis the models that don’t look right to them. Check. He joked that their views presuppose the validity of models that reasonable people could doubt. Check. And he joked that to question any of this will lead to derision and the accusation of being a science denier. Check. In other words, the Yale video sought to rebut Adams’ cartoon and ended up being a documentary version of it.


Agency on Trump’s Chopping Block Under Investigation for Sketchy Solar Loans

A federal aid agency President Donald Trump proposed cutting is being investigated for giving out nearly $1 billion in loans to several nearly bankrupt solar companies, according to a Reuters report published Tuesday.

The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development is auditing $890 million of loans approved by the Overseas Private Investment Corp., an agency that advances loans to overseas business ventures.

Critics say such business ventures should receive funding from private banks, not from federal agencies.

The USAID Office of Inspector General initially began its audit in 2016 but kept it under wraps. The probe is centered on the agency’s decision to fund five Chilean solar farms and a hydroelectric project in 2013 and 2014—many of the loans are unlikely to be repaid, according to the report.

Trump proposed cutting funding for new Overseas Private Investment Corp. projects in his 2018 budget outline released on May 23. Congress will not take up the president’s budget proposal until later this year.

The White House’s budget calls for a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 budget, and slashes funding to the State Department by 29 percent, while the Department of Agriculture would see a 20 percent cut. In total, Trump’s budget proposes cutting federal spending by $3.6 trillion over the next decade, including $1.7 trillion in cuts to entitlement programs.

Three of the five solar projects are working to restructure their debt, sources familiar with the projects told reporters. They said the Overseas Private Investment Corp. would likely need to forgive 40 to 60 percent of the loans given to the solar projects. Losses on the solar deals could blow past $160 million.

Audits of the agency’s investments are rare and usually stem from considerations such as “the level of U.S. funding involved” and “reported concerns over the management or performance of a program.”

The Chile audit, the Office of Inspector General noted, will examine “the factors OPIC used to assess and approve its energy projects in Chile.” It is expected to conclude later this year.

“Development banks get the ball rolling in the industry,” Carlos St. James, an adviser for renewable energy group Wood Group, said of the investments. “Unfortunately, they bet on the wrong kind of projects.”

The Overseas Private Investment Corp. thrust through $449 million in loans to the projects despite its reliance on a makeshift financial structure that projects to inject at least half their power directly into the public grid at the going market rate, which is constantly fluctuating. Most solar providers provide power to independent agency at fixed prices.

Several commercial banks examined financing the beleaguered projects, sources told reporters, but they ultimately determined the unusual schemes are too risky. The Overseas Private Investment Corp. considered the market scheme a manageable risk, according to three internal reports from 2013 and 2014.

The solar companies, meanwhile, appeared optimistic about their ability to repay the agency’s loans.

Etrion Chief Executive Officer Marco Northland did not respond to questions from reporters about the audit, but suggested he expects the market to turnaround.

Javier Contreras, the CEO of Ameris Capital, also declined to comment on the audit, but said the company would pay the loans back in full. First Solar declined to comment.

The other agency projects being audited in Chile are the Maria Elena solar park, constructed by now-bankrupt SunEdison, and the Amanecer solar park owned by TerraForm Power, neither of which replied to reporters’ request for comment.


Draining the EPA Swamp

June 5 being World Environment Day, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the abuses committed in the name of Nature by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the enforcer of some of the most important laws enacted over the past 50 years. Originating earlier under a different name, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation in environmental history. At first it applied only to “navigable waters.” In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in Rapanos v. United States) that the law also covered wetlands adjacent to navigable rivers. But even seemingly minor wetlands fall under its protection, as Northern California farmer John Duarte learned the hard way.

Under the Obama administration, explains Independent Institute Policy Fellow K. Lloyd Billingsley, the EPA fined Duarte $2.8 million because when he plowed a field to plant wheat crops, it became a wetland subject the agency’s strict regulatory protection. The farmer is hoping that new EPA chief Scott Pruitt will rescind the fine. If that happens, it will be welcome news. But don’t expect the government to compensate Duarte for the five years of anxiety and expenses he incurred while the agency persecuted him.

The Trump administration could go further than giving Duarte a reprieve. It could champion major reform of the Clean Water Act. One way is to rid the law of its financially and legally corrosive elements. As Independent Institute Research Fellow Ryan M. Yonk has written, “Merely instructing federal bureaucracies to reintroduce sanity to their definition of ‘navigable waterways’ would restrict [the Clean Water Act] to projects for which it has a possibility of doing some good.” This, we hope, would be only one step in a larger effort to drain the swamp of environmental bureaucracy.


Australian politicians urged to provide energy certainty

There is a poll result referred to below which should be taken with a grain of salt.  The most pro-Warmist statement was read out first to respondents, with more skeptical statements  being read later.  That tends to generate a primacy effect, with subsequent responses tailored to the initial one.  Good survey practice would have been to present the three statements in random order but there is no mention of them doing that in their methodology section.  It's another example of how to lie with statistics -- a Greenie artform

Australia's treasurer has urged MPs to put aside ideological differences and embrace an energy policy in the interests of giving investors certainty.

Scott Morrison, who earlier in the year waved a lump of coal around during question time, said on Wednesday for far too long parliament has not come together to resolve energy issues.

Policy uncertainty had turned into a big risk for investors.

"There's a very big national interest here and it's for all parliamentarians I think to focus on that regardless of which party they're in or what ideological perspective they have on this issue," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"Until we can get to that certain place on energy policy, then we really are putting a lot at risk."

Renewables attracted record levels of investment in 2016 but that came off the back of several sluggish years while the Abbott government reviewed and cut the renewable energy target.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will brief the prime minister and state leaders on his review of the national energy sector at a meeting in Hobart on Friday.

He's widely expected to recommend a low emissions target - similar to the existing renewable energy target but taking a technology-neutral approach by mandating a percentage of power each year be generated from sources below a certain emissions level.

The approach is firming as the new focus of federal climate policy with the Nationals flagging support and Labor not ruling it out.

Energy experts say the LET would be a "third-best solution".

"This mechanism is well behind an emissions intensity scheme and an economy-wide price on carbon, and won't discriminate against really dirty coal over more efficient coal," ANU Energy Change Institute director Ken Baldwin said.

However, his colleague Paul Burke said it was a smart alternative given the government had already ruled out any mechanisms that price carbon pollution.

"Solar and wind power are increasingly cheap, and an LET would help to ensure that the required investment takes place to replace retiring fossil-fuel generators," he said.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt said reports Dr Finkel could recommend rule changes to mandate new renewable projects have storage attached were troubling and could lock storage companies out of participating in the market in their own right.

It would be better to create a new energy storage target or have other non-market incentives to integrate storage, he said.

A Lowy Institute poll, released on Wednesday, found four in five Australians thought the government should focus on renewables, even if they needed more investment to make the system more reliable.

Nearly three in five ranked climate change as a "critical threat" to Australia over the next decade.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Rank hypocrisy: Pelosi Says Withdrawing from Climate Deal Dishonors God

Are we supposed to forget that a probable majority of delegates to the 2012 DNC convention OPPOSED a mention of God and Jerusalem in their party platform?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at a press briefing today that withdrawing the United States from the Paris Accord on climate change dishonors God.

“The Bible tells us that to minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship,” Pelosi said. “To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us and that is just what we are doing by walking away from this accord.”

Here is an excerpt from Pelosi’s briefing:

And we have a moral responsibility in addition to our national security, our economy and the good health of our children. We have a moral responsibility. We must leave future generations with a healthy, sustainable planet. Faith leaders—starting with His Holiness, Pope Francis—to the Evangelical community have urged as to be responsible stewards of the beauty of God’s creation. They believe, as do I, that this planet is God’s creation and we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it.

When we worked with the Evangelical community to put together our climate legislation ten years ago, nine years ago--we worked on it for awhile--they had their literature which said that we had a moral responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, and, in doing so, we must pay special attention to the needs of the poor. They saw it as an environmental justice issue as well, the Evangelical community.

When the pope went to the White House he talked about the dangers of air pollution, when he was here. And just last week, the pope met with President Trump and gave him a copy of his encyclical, Laudate Si, which made the case for strong, urgent action to halt the climate crisis. The pope wrote: ‘The climate is a common good belonging to all and meant for all.’

The Bible tells us that to minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us and that is just what we are doing by walking away from this accord.


EPA Director Says He and Trump Didn't Talk About President's Views on Global Warming

He puts it well when he says that what he opposes are "climate exaggerators"

EPA Director Scott Pruitt said Friday that he and the president never discussed what his views were on whether climate change is real. Their conversation was strictly confined to whether the Paris Climate Accord is good for the country.

"What's interesting about all the discussions we had in the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue: is Paris good or not for this country. That's the discussion I had with the president. That's been my focus. The focus remained on whether Paris put us at a disadvantage, and in fact, it did, put us at an economic disadvantage," Pruitt said when asked whether President Donald Trump believes climate change is real and a threat to the U.S.

The EPA director said the Obama administration fell short of the targets set by the Paris agreement.

"You may not know this, but Paris set targets at 26 and 28 percent. With the entire agenda of the previous administration we still fell 40 percent short of those targets," Pruitt said.

"It is a failed deal to begin with, and even if all of the targets were met by all nations across the globe, it only reduced the temperature by less than two-tenths of one degree, so that is something that the president focused upon with respect to how it impacted us economically and one of the legit environmental objectives that were achieved as a result of Paris. His decision was no, and that was the extent of our discussions," he said.

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt he didn't believe that climate change was "a hoax" but that it was "subject to continuing debate."

When asked what his personal view is on global warming and whether human activity contributes at all to global warming, Pruitt referenced his confirmation hearing.

"I don't know if you guys caught my confirmation process or not, but … that confirmation process I indicated that in fact global warming is occurring, that human activity contributes to it in some manner," Pruitt said.

"Measuring with precision from my perspective the degree of human contribution is very challenging, but it still begs the question, what do we do about it?" he said. "Does it pose an existential threat as some say?

"You know, people have called me a climate skeptic or a climate denier," he said. "I would say that there are climate exaggerators.


Trump to Ecofascists: You're Fired!

The caterwauling coming from leftists around the world is a wonder to behold. It's a clue the president was right.

As satisfying as President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement was, it pales in comparison to leftists' reaction to it. The suppurating eruption from globalist elites, Hollywood glitterati, feckless politicians, media jackals and environmentalist jackboots is a wonder to behold.

German newspaper Berliner Kurier led the charge, embracing the Left’s latest “intellectual” tack, as in the use of four letter words they apparently believe deliver maximum impact. Hence the front page headline, “Earth to Trump: F*** you!” For the sake of “perspective” it should be noted the same paper once called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “insane” for using another “F” word — “Führer.”

The “Drop Dead” meme, first used in 1975 in response to President Gerald Ford’s refusal to give federal aid to New York City to spare it from bankruptcy, was revived as well. Democrat party hack Chuck Schumer voiced the charge, dutifully aped by “Drop Dead” headlines in the News Leader, the New York Daily News, and the Huffington Post.

In CNN’s “Trump to planet: Drop dead,” columnist David A. Andelman warned that “Trump now risks plunging America into the position of the lone bully in the lunchroom” — meaning Andelman remains totally oblivious to the army of leftist bullies in the same “lunchroom.” Bullies who had no problem with Barack Obama bypassing the Senate by declaring the Paris deal an “agreement” instead of a treaty.

Moving downward, elitist billionaire and environmentalist “hero” Tom Steyer called the withdrawal a “traitorous act of war.” That would be the same Tom Steyer who once owned Farallon Capital Management, a firm heavily invested in coal.

Perhaps there’s a statute of limitations on “treason.”

By contrast, rank hypocrisy seems eternal, and no one does it better than limousine-riding, private jet flying, mansion-owning, greenhouse gas-spewing celebrities whose “do as I say, not as I do” sanctimony is the stuff of legend. Trump will have the “death of whole nations on his hands,” Mark Ruffalo warned. “Today, our planet suffered,” moaned Leonardo DiCaprio. “Trump is having the U.S. pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Too bad someone didn’t tell his father that he shoulda pulled out, too,” chirped Star Trek has-been George Takei. “Trump just committed a crime against humanity,” huffed Michael Moore. “There has never in US history been such a destructive megalomaniac in the WH,” tweeted Bette Midler. And the ever colorful Cher was at her “intellectual” best, warning “ppl” of the world that there are “‘MILLIONS'OfUs” being held “Hostage By Insane DICTATOR!”

More like insane media. CNN host Fareed Zakaria called Thursday “the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world.” CBS trotted out Obama and his standard spiel that those who reject progressive ideology “reject the future.” NBC went with uber climate “prognosticator” Al Gore, who insisted the withdrawal “is a reckless and indefensible action that undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.” Apparently the reality that Gore’s doomsday predictions have been spectacularly wrong doesn’t negate his status as the media’s go-to-guy on climate change.

And the always “even-handed” New York Times published a column entitled “Donald Trump Poisons the World” in which “conservative” columnist David Brooks excoriates Trump and his associates for their insufficiently “Kumbaya” approach to world affairs.

Politicians? California Gov. Jerry Brown called the withdrawal an “Insane Move by a Made by Deviant.” Hillary Clinton called it a “historic mistake.” Australian MP Adam Bandt labeled Trump a “climate criminal” who should become a “world pariah,” and Sen. Tom Kaine (D-VA) insisted Trump’s presidency “is all destruction & no accomplishments.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni deemed exiting the Paris agreement “irreversible” and “non-negotiable,” immediately undercutting Trump’s promise to revamp the deal on terms more favorable to America. New York City bathed landmarks in green, and Mayor Bill De Blasio promised a power grab to “honor the goals” of the agreement — goals that apparently don’t include wasting power on specious symbolism. DeBlasio was joined by a group called The Climate Mayors as well as politicians in 30 states who promised to defy Trump and pursue their own green agendas.

And the inimitable Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of “dishonoring” God.

The environmentalists were led by Greenpeace and Spanish director Mario Rodriguez. “Resistance will be maintained because the United States is much more than just the White House and Trump,” he stated. And since no leftist outburst is complete without accusations of racism, the ACLU National called the withdrawal a “massive step back for racial justice, and an assault on communities of color across the U.S.”

Ecofascists are consoling themselves with polls. “Most Americans support government regulation to fight climate change,” The Washington Post headline informs us. If that’s true, the propaganda has worked. The only thing left is to beat Trump-supporting Neanderthals into submission.

There is a method to the progressive madness, but it has nothing to do with environmentalism. “Under Paris, as Trump noted, the United States would’ve had to close all its coal plants, even as China builds hundreds more — and coal still generates a third of US electricity,” the New York Post explains.

Other equally contemptible realities intrude. Like the fact that the agreement is non-binding, or that a developing world responsible for four-fifths of greenhouse gas emissions can remain on their growth trajectory, or that the “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC)“ to the plan each country is expected to furnish has no objective standards regarding emission reductions.

These and other equally fraudulent assertions produced a rare moment of candor from the New York Times. In 2014, the paper revealed, "The driving force behind the new deal was not the threat of sanctions or other legal consequences. It was global peer pressure.”

Make that incredibly costly peer pressure, best described by the Heritage Foundation as a job- and manufacturing-killing boondoggle that would engender a $2.5 trillion hit on America’s GDP by the year 2035. And a report by The Competitive Enterprise Institute noted that “the United States cannot comply with the Paris Agreement and pursue a pro-growth energy agenda,” because it “would destroy U.S. manufacturing’s energy price edge.”

All for what? MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change calculated a 0.2 degrees Celsius reduction — by 2100. Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg makes it .036 Fahrenheit by 2100 — at a cost of $1 trillion a year. Neither number comes close to addressing what the alarmists insist is necessary, and both depend on virtually every country in the agreement living up to undefined promises.

In other words, the Paris agreement is an utter fraud, one underscored by the reality that the United States has contributed $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, while China, India and Russia have contributed nothing. It is a pact designed by democracy-crushing, national sovereignty-despising progressive elites determined to put “exceptional” America in an unexceptional place.

Instead, globalists and their New World Order dreams have been dealt a serious blow by the man they hold in contempt for, as he put it, representing the citizens of “Pittsburgh, not Paris” — exactly as he promised to do.

America will continue finding innovative ways to be environmentally responsible, minus the yoke ecofascists sought to strap on our neck. Much to their amazement, President Trump just “fired” all of them.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch


Democrats Plot ‘Revolution’ to Circumvent Trump’s Paris Decision

Democratic officials have vowed to implement the goals of the Paris climate agreement, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord Thursday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to issue an executive order soon to honor the goals of the Paris accord, including to keep future global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

“On behalf of the people of New York City, and alongside mayors across the country, I am committing to honor the goals of the Paris Agreement with an Executive Order in the coming days, so our city can remain a home for generations to come,” DeBlasio said in a statement Thursday.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also vowed to follow the “guidelines” of the Paris Agreement, although he gave no specifics.

Democratic governors of California, New York, and Washington also announced the creation of the United States Climate Alliance. Govs. Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, and Jay Inslee all vowed to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

“We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change, which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet,” Cuomo said.

“If the president is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up,” Brown said.

It’s part of what former Vice President Al Gore is calling the “clean energy revolution” that would be crippled by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. Gore said “no single person” can stop the “revolution”—that apparently needs a lot of political will to further.

San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer circulated an email petition Thursday, calling on supporters to “urge your governor to fulfill the commitment your state has already made to meet our Paris targets: Go to 100 percent renewable energy.”

“It’s now up to states, cities, and local communities to pick up the mantle of leadership and take the actions necessary to protect our children and leave them a better world,” Steyer wrote in the email blast.


Now its koalas that are "threatened" by climate change

This is all just imagination.  Not a single Koala has been inconvenienced by CO2 yet.  But furry creatures are always good for a scare

Australia's koalas populations and their coastal gum tree habitats could be devastated by rising sea levels, which would trigger toxic die-back disease, a scientific conference has been told.

Koalas feed only on the leaves of gum trees, and spend most of their lives protected in their tall branches. The iconic marsupial is listed nationally as a vulnerable species, and its numbers are falling.

Dr Rebecca Montague-Drake, an ecologist with the Port Macquarie Council in New South Wales, has published modelling that shows 14 per cent of the area's koala habitats will experience saltwater inundation over the next 50 years, climbing to 22 per cent next century.

She said rising salinity from bigger tides and floods would increase toxins in gum trees and "reduce the koala's food availability".

    "Koalas walk a really tight tightrope between the leaf that they eat, the high levels of toxins that eucalypts leaves contain, and the amount of toxin they can extract from those leaves," she said.

"When we start playing with the salinity balance in the soil, that fine balance in the leaf, between the toxins and the nutrient, values get way out of kilter."

Data suggests fewer than 40,000 koalas survive in the wild.

Dr Montague-Drake expects further destruction of coastal gum trees along a 1,000-kilometre strip between Jervis Bay and Moreton Bay, which could eliminate a third of the region's koala habitats.

She also said her modelling reflected a best-case, not worst-case, sea-rise scenario.

"We are only using a conservative estimate, because we know the trees characterised in these areas, the swamp mahoganies the forest red gum, are a little bit more resilient to salinity than some other species of eucalypts," she said.
Rising seas not the only problem

The sea level warnings add to a growing list of existing habitat threats for koalas, like forestry and unlawful land clearing.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Donald Trump's Paris climate pull-out puts him on a collision course with market forces (?)

At last! Something more than abuse from the Left about Trump's Paris pullout.  Given his assumptions, the author below is in fact being reasonable in what he predicts.  His assumptions are however very questionable. 

He assumes that CO2 reduction will remain a worldwide goal and that a CO2 price will therefore be inevitable.  He is an Australian writer so that is particularly blind on his part.  A Leftist Australian Federal government did enact such a price a few years ago but the next government -- a conservative government -- campaigned on a policy of abolishing the tax and promptly did so when elected.  Where is the inevitability there?  Given the extensive similarities between Australia and the USA, I think we have in the Australian case a pretty good guide to the likelihood of a carbon tax in the USA.

What I think is inevitable is that Mr Trump's move will make others downgrade their concerns about CO2. He has made a carbon tax less likely worldwide.  Inevitable it is not.  The fanatical Greenies of Germany may wear a carbon tax but they are also busily building new power plants burning brown coal, the most polluting fuel of all.  Germany is best seen as an example of insanity only. Adolf has modern-day descendants.

The author below is right in saying that coal mining is most unlikely to return to its halcyon days but his talk about natural gas overlooks the fact that gas installation has taken off not only because of cost but also because of the touted benefits of gas in putting out less CO2.  Now that Mr Trump has dismissed such concerns, it remains to be seen whether gas can compete on price alone.  I expect that power plants located near coalfields -- which most of them are -- could still be competitive on costs.  Work to convert or replace them is costly and may simply not be worth the capital expenditure.  As it is, coal orders in the USA have shown a recent upturn. Some miners are working again, partly in response to orders from China.  And how about this little recent snippet?

Coal consumption in the U.S. is expected to continue growing going into the summer, the government's Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in its latest monthly short-term outlook.

"U.S. coal production is expected to rise this year due in part to expected higher coal-fired electricity generation," said acting EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht. At the same time, "the amount of electricity generated from natural gas this summer is forecast to be lower than last summer, reflecting higher natural gas prices," he said. The summer is also expected to be cooler than last summer, the EIA said.

Natural gas has displaced coal as the top fuel for power generation in much of the U.S., but in recent weeks coal is beating out gas in some regions such as the East Coast.

Pesky! And another:

The key is the price of U.S. natural gas. Last April front-month futures were below $2.00 a million British thermal units and Friday morning they fetched $3.33 a million British thermal units.

Arch Coal reckons that at prices above $3.00, coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, where they and Peabody have enormous reserves, is competitive with natural gas almost anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. The EIA predicts output in the region will rise by nearly 9% next year.

The universal prophecy was that Trump's reforms would not revive the coal industry but some revival is in fact now evident.  Another failure of Greenie prophecy.

Our author's final point that solar power is cheap is also too sanguine.  The example of heavy reliance on renewable power in South Australia showed how disastrous that can be.  It even killed unborn babies and inflicted huge costs on industry. The South Australian government is as a result now building a big new fossil-fuel power plant to make up for the unreliable output of "renewables".  You can use renewables some of the time but you have to have conventional backup for when the winds don't blow and the sun doesn't shine.  And, given that, there's not much point in renewables at all. They just double your capital costs of power provision.

And the talk about health costs of coal depends on figures which have subsequently been debunked.  The whole article is "Good try but no cigar"

He may be the leader of the free world, but Donald Trump is about to learn the hard way that he cannot control the free market.

The US President's declaration that America would withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change largely was met with derision by big business, even fossil fuel giants Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips.

The reason? The business world has moved on. The argument about climate change has passed and most now accept the inevitability of a carbon price.

Regardless of who sits in the White House, America has always been in the business of creating opportunities through innovation and by reinventing itself. It didn't become the world's economic powerhouse by looking backwards.

This is the nation that for generations has led the world on automation and information technology, spawned the likes of Silicon Valley and delivered the personal computer and the internet.

Unlike Australia, it has never relied solely on selling minerals and energy to the rest of the world.

And therein lies Donald Trump's dilemma.

American business has been at the forefront of renewable energy development. According to the US Department of Energy, renewable energy generation employs around 880,000 Americans while a further 2.2 million are employed in its design, installation and manufacture.

Trump's real choice: Coal or gas?

Despite the presidential posturing, this is not simply a battle between renewable energy and the old guard, Republicans and Democrats or America and the rest of the world.

The President's push to rejuvenate America's flagging coal industry is likely to set him on a collision course with the rising star of the US fossil fuel sector, liquefied natural gas.

Since taking office, the President has cosied up to both sides, pledging his allegiance. Unfortunately, gas competes with coal and is a major cause for the woes that have afflicted the US coal industry. At some stage, he's going to have to choose.

New extraction technologies such as fracking have transformed global energy dynamics. Where the United States once was a hostage to the OPEC cartel and the oil-producing countries of the Middle East, it now has become not just energy self-sufficient, but in a position to be a major energy exporter.

Natural gas is a cheaper and cleaner alternative for Americans and no amount of posturing on the global stage will alter that. Coal is in decline because the economics have moved against it.

Before the Obama administration, coal-fired plants provided a little over half of America's electricity plants. That's now fallen to around 30 per cent following the closure of around 400 coal-fired generators, replaced by cheaper gas-fired plants.

Carbon price? When, not if

It's not just the immediate cost advantages of gas. Business leaders globally long ago abandoned the debate as to whether carbon emissions should be penalised, by way of a price.

That's now a given. The only question is when. That's the reason no bank is willing to finance the construction of new coal-fired generators in Australia and why the owners of our ageing coal-fired generators are shutting them down rather than spending extra money updating them.

Power stations are long-term investments. No-one is willing to risk billions of dollars on a 50-year plan to build a facility that could become a white elephant once a carbon price is introduced.

Coal jobs lost forever

Then there is coal mining itself. Pulling out of the Paris Accord won't boost coal prices or employ more American miners.

Even Robert Murray, noted climate science critic and the founder and boss of America's largest privately owned coal miner, has cast doubt on Mr Trump's ability to boost coal industry employment.

"I suggested that he temper his expectations," he told The Guardian. "Those are my exact words. He can't bring them back."

In the 1970s, coal mining employed a quarter of a million Americans. By 2015, fewer than 100,000 people were employed in US mines.

Political opportunists have whipped up outrage among the army of unemployed, citing the Obama administration's clean energy policies and climate agreements such as the Paris Accord.

In fact, most of the lost jobs were a result of improved coal mining technology. The decline has been hastened in recent years by the rising competitiveness of gas and renewable energy which has seen a collapse in coal prices that sent many miners to the wall.

The renewable energy revolution

The great attraction of renewable energy, apart from the zero emissions, is that the feedstock, the main input, is free. Sunshine comes without cost. So too does wind. It was the capital cost of harnessing that energy that previously was prohibitive.

That's why governments devoted subsidies and grants to kick-start the industry in the same way they once built coal-fired electricity generators.

In recent years, as economies of scale have gained momentum, the cost of solar voltaic panels has plummeted, which has increased the competitiveness of renewables.

Mass production, particularly in China, has seen the average cost of solar cells decline from $US76.67 per watt in 1977 to just 74c in 2013.

Those cost declines have since accelerated with installed prices — the cost of everything including panels, electronics, hardware and the installation itself — falling to $US2 per watt for large scale solar farms.

According to Scientific American, much of the price declines since 2012 have been in ancillary electronics such as inverters, which convert DC power to AC, and in lower installation costs as panel prices have stabilised.

The hidden costs of coal

But there are other costs that the President has ignored with his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. Most of those relate to the health of Americans.

According to the US Environmental Protection Authority — which has been neutered under the Trump administration — the Clean Power Plan would prevent around 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks among children and 300,000 missed work and school days each year.

Trump's economic own goal

The health benefits of cleaner energy have not been lost on China. In Beijing, Shanghai and a swathe of cities through the Pearl River delta, the air is so thick with smog and pollutants, visibility is reduced to just a few metres.

As the world's second most powerful economy, the Middle Kingdom is facing pressure from its citizens not just for a more affluent lifestyle but for a healthier environment; calls the leadership has recognised it would ignore at its peril.

Over the weekend, Beijing reiterated its commitment to the Paris agreement and the European Union pledged to side-step the White House and deal directly with American business leaders.

After last week alienating European leaders on defence issues, Donald Trump may just have unwittingly ceded global economic leadership to China, and placed himself, not only on the wrong side of history, but in the unrelenting and unyielding path of American capitalism.


USGS Study Reaffirms: No Fracking Contamination of Groundwater in Gulf Shale

Water is life. The slogan began as a catchphrase at the Dakota Access Pipeline this summer, but has been rapidly adopted by various other green groups concerned by potential environmental contamination from energy development. For years, fracking, which involves injecting pressurized fluid (often brine) into the ground to crack open bedrock and release petroleum supplies trapped underneath, has been of particular concern. A new report from the United States Geological Survey found that fracking in the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas are not a source of benzene or methane contamination in drinking water. The USGS study provides support for the energy industry, which has long argued that fracking is safe.

Unlike previous studies, the report analyzed the presence of methane and benzene in relation to the age of the groundwater. This allowed the researchers to separate naturally-occurring benzene and methane from contamination from leaking wells.

“Understanding the occurrence of methane and benzene in groundwater in the context of groundwater age is useful because it allows us to assess whether the hydrocarbons were from surface or subsurface sources,” said Peter McMahon, USGS hydrologist and study lead. “The ages indicate groundwater moves relatively slowly in these aquifers. Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production activities on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water.”

The researchers studied water samples from 116 domestic and public-supply wells. The nearest well was a mere 360 feet from a fracking station.

The USGS study determined the age of groundwater by looking at its depth and calculated the presumed rate at which hydrocarbons buried underground would rise towards the surface in order to come into contact with groundwater. They found that, for some instances of contamination, the sources occurred deep underground and had nothing to do with fracking.

“Eight of nine samples containing benzene had groundwater ages of more than 2500 years, indicating the benzene was from subsurface sources such as natural hydrocarbon migration or leaking hydrocarbon wells,” the researchers wrote. The report went on to describe the methane contamination as “biogenic,” rather than from a shale formation.

Benezene was detected in 8 percent of the wells, but at very low concentrations. The highest concentration researchers found was still 40 times lower than the federal standard for drinking water.

Steve Everly, a spokesman for Texans for Natural Gas, praised the USGS study, noting that it was not the first study proving that fracking did not contaminate groundwater.

“This report comes less than a year after the U.S. EPA’s landmark study that also found no evidence of widespread water pollution from fracking,” Everly said. “It’s time to put to rest the false claim that the shale revolution has threatened Americans’ drinking water supplies, because the science clearly does not support it.”

The report is significant since the Haynesville shale formation is part of one of the largest fossil fuel resources in the United States. In April, the USGS studied the Bossier and Haynesville Formations on the Gulf Coast, discovering that the Haynesville formation alone contains an estimated 1.1 billion barrels of oil, 195.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 0.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

Since these estimates presume existing extraction technology, the present supplies of natural gas and oil may be larger still.

“Changes in technology and industry practices, combined with an increased understanding of the regional geologic framework, can have a significant effect on what resources become technically recoverable,” said Walter Guidroz, Program Coordinator of the USGS Energy Resource Program. Guidroz explained that such technological advances are part of way the USGS revisits oil and gas basins to reevaluate its estimates of technically-recoverable resources.

Results like those of the USGS study are encouraging to the industry, which has encountered resistance from groups fearing that fracking and other oil exploration will cause environmental contamination.


It's now 17 years since global warming killed us all

Jun. 29, 1989 10:49 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of "eco- refugees,' ' threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.
As the warming melts polar icecaps, ocean levels will rise by up to three feet, enough to cover the Maldives and other flat island nations, Brown told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday.

Coastal regions will be inundated; one-sixth of Bangladesh could be flooded, displacing a fourth of its 90 million people. A fifth of Egypt's arable land in the Nile Delta would be flooded, cutting off its food supply, according to a joint UNEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study.

"Ecological refugees will become a major concern, and what's worse is you may find that people can move to drier ground, but the soils and the natural resources may not support life. Africa doesn't have to worry about land, but would you want to live in the Sahara?" he said.


NOAA: Record 139 Months Since Major Hurricane Strike in USA

The 2017 hurricane season begins today, June 1--a record 139 months after the last major hurricane made landfall in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA is currently predicting that an "above normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely for this year."

The last major hurricane to  hit the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. That year, four major hurricanes hit the continental United States, according to NOAA. They included Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

But since Wilma hit on Oct. 24, 2005, no Category 3 or above hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States, making May 24, 2017, the end of a record 139 months without a major hurricane strike.

Prior to this, the longest stretch on record in which a major hurricane did not hit the contintental United States, according to NOAA's records, was the 96 months between September 1860 and August 1869. NOAA has published data on all hurricanes striking the United States since 1851.

A "major hurricane" is defined as one that is Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which means it has sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and is capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

"For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-norman season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season," NOAA says on its website.

"Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher)," says NOAA, "of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)."

"An average season," said NOAA, "produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."


Western climate change alarmists won’t admit they are wrong

By Clive James, Australian/British literary figure and wit

When you tell people once too often that the missing extra heat is hiding in the ocean, they will switch over to watch Game of Thrones, where the dialogue is less ridiculous and all the threats come true. The proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end.

Now that they finally seem to be doing so, it could be a good time for those of us who have never been convinced by all those urgent warnings to start warning each other that we might be making a comparably senseless tactical error if we expect the elastic cause of the catastrophists, and all of its exponents, to go away in a hurry.

I speak as one who knows nothing about the mathematics involved in modelling non-linear systems. But I do know quite a lot about the mass media, and far too much about the abuse of language. So I feel qualified to advise against any triumphalist urge to compare the apparently imminent disintegration of the alarmist cause to the collapse of a house of cards. Devotees of that fond idea haven’t thought hard enough about their metaphor. A house of cards collapses only with a sigh, and when it has finished collapsing all the cards are still there.

Although the alarmists might finally have to face that they will not get much more of what they want on a policy level, they will surely, on the level of their own employment, go on wanting their salaries and prestige.

To take a conspicuous if ludicrous case, Australian climate star Tim Flannery will probably not, of his own free will, shrink back to the position conferred by his original metier, as an expert on the extinction of the giant wombat. He is far more likely to go on being, and wishing to be, one of the mass media’s mobile oracles about climate. While that possibility continues, it will go on being danger­ous to stand between him and a television camera. If the giant wombat could have moved at that speed, it would still be with us.

The mere fact that few of Flannery’s predictions have ever come true need not be enough to discredit him, just as American professor Paul Ehrlich has been left untouched since he predicted that the world would soon run out of copper. In those days, when our current phase of the long discussion about man’s attack on nature was just beginning, he predicted mass death by extreme cold. Lately he predicts mass death by extreme heat. But he has always predicted mass death by extreme something.

Actually, a more illustrative starting point for the theme of the permanently imminent climatic apocalypse might be taken as August 3, 1971, when The Sydney Morning Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months.

After six months the reef had not died, but it has been going to die almost as soon as that ever since, making it a strangely durable emblem for all those who have wedded themselves to the notion of climate catastrophe.

The most exalted of all the world’s predictors of reef death, former US president Barack Obama, has still not seen the reef; but he promises to go there one day when it is well again.

In his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic convention, Obama said — and I truly wish that this were an inaccurate paraphrase — that people should vote for him if they wanted to stop the ocean rising. He got elected, and it didn’t rise.

The notion of a countdown or a tipping point is very dear to both wings of this deaf shouting match, and really is of small use to either. On the catastrophist wing, whose “narrative”, as they might put it, would so often seem to be a synthesised film script left over from the era of surround-sound disaster movies, there is always a countdown to the tipping point.

When the scientists are the main contributors to the script, the tipping point will be something like the forever forthcoming moment when the Gulf Stream turns upside down or the Antarctic ice sheet comes off its hinges, or any other extreme event which, although it persists in not happening, could happen sooner than we think. (Science correspondents who can write a phrase like “sooner than we think” seldom realise that they might have already lost you with the word “could”.)

When the politicians join in the writing, the dramatic language declines to the infantile. There are only 50 days (former British PM Gordon Brown) or 100 months (Prince Charles wearing his political hat) left for mankind to “do something” about “the greatest moral challenge … of our generation” (Kevin Rudd, before he arrived at the Copenhagen climate shindig in 2009).

When he left Copenhagen, Rudd scarcely mentioned the greatest moral challenge again. Perhaps he had deduced, from the confusion prevailing throughout the conference, that the chances of the world ever uniting its efforts to “do something” were very small. Whatever his motives for backing out of the climate chorus, his subsequent career was an early demonstration that to cease being a chorister would be no easy retreat because it would be a clear indication that everything you had said on the subject up to then had been said in either bad faith or ­ignorance. It would not be enough merely to fall silent. You would have to travel back in time, run for office in the Czech Republic ­instead of Australia, and call yourself Vaclav Klaus.

Australia, unlike Rudd, has a globally popular role in the ­climate movie because it looks the part.

Common reason might tell you that a country whose contribution to the world’s emissions is only 1.4 per cent can do very little about the biggest moral challenge even if it manages to reduce that contribution to zero; but your eyes tell you that Australia is burning up. On the classic alarmist principle of “just stick your head out of the window and look around you”, Australia always looks like Overwhelming Evidence that the alarmists must be right.

Even now that the global warming scare has completed its transformation into the climate change scare so that any kind of event at either end of the scale of temperature can qualify as a crisis, Australia remains the top area of interest, still up there ahead of even the melting North Pole, ­despite the Arctic’s miraculous ­capacity to go on producing ice in defiance of all instructions from Al Gore. A C-student to his marrow, and thus never quick to pick up any reading matter at all, Gore has evidently never seen the Life magazine photographs of America’s nuclear submarine Skate surfacing through the North Pole in 1959. The ice up there is often thin, and sometimes vanishes.

But it comes back, especially when some­one sufficiently illustrious confidently predicts that it will go away for good.

After 4.5 billion years of changing, the climate that made outback Australia ready for Baz Luhrmann’s viewfinder looked all set to end the world tomorrow. History has already forgotten that the schedule for one of the big drought sequences in his movie Australia was wrecked by rain, and certainly history will never be reminded by the mass media, which loves a picture that fits the story.

In this way, the polar bear balancing on the Photoshopped shrinking ice floe will always have a future in show business, and the cooling towers spilling steam will always be up there in the background of the TV picture.

The full 97 per cent of all satirists who dealt themselves out of the climate subject back at the start look like staying out of it until the end, even if they get satirised in their turn. One could blame them for their pusillanimity, but it would be useless, and perhaps unfair. Nobody will be able plausibly to call actress Emma Thompson dumb for spreading gloom and doom about the climate: she’s too clever and too creative. And anyway, she might be right. Cases like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett are rare enough to be called brave. Otherwise, the consensus of silence from the wits and thespians continues to be impressive.

If they did wish to speak up for scepticism, however, they wouldn’t find it easy when the people who run the big TV outlets forbid the wrong kind of humour.

On Saturday Night Live back there in 2007, Will Ferrell, brilliantly pretending to be George W. Bush, was allowed to get every word of the global warming message wrong but he wasn’t allowed to disbelieve it. Just as all branches of the modern media love a picture of something that might be part of the Overwhelming Evidence for climate change even if it is really a picture of something else, they all love a clock ticking down to zero, and if the clock never quite gets there then the motif can be exploited forever.

But the editors and producers must face the drawback of such perpetual excitement: it gets perpetually less exciting. Numbness sets in, and there is time to think after all. Some of the customers might even start asking where this language of rubber numbers has been heard before.

It was heard from Swift. In Gulliver’s Travels he populated his flying island of Laputa with scientists busily using rubber numbers to predict dire events. He called these scientists “projectors”. At the basis of all the predictions of the projectors was the prediction that the Earth was in danger from a Great Comet whose tail was “ten hundred thousand and fourteen” miles long. I should concede at this point that a sardonic parody is not necessarily pertinent just because it is funny; and that although it might be unlikely that the Earth will soon be threatened by man-made climate change, it might be less unlikely that the Earth will be threatened eventually by an asteroid, or let it be a Great Comet; after all, the Earth has been hit before.

That being said, however, we can note that Swift has got the language of artificial crisis exactly right, to the point that we might have trouble deciding whether he invented it or merely copied it from scientific voices surrounding him. James Hansen is a Swiftian figure. Blithely equating trains full of coal to trains full of people on their way to Auschwitz, the Columbia University climatologist is utterly unaware that he has not only turned the stomachs of the informed audience he was out to impress, he has lost their attention.

Paleoclimatologist Chris Turney, from the University of NSW, who led a ship full of climate change enthusiasts into the Antarctic to see how the ice was doing under the influence of climate change and found it was doing well enough to trap the ship, could have been invented by Swift. (Turney’s subsequent Guardian article, in which he explained how this embarrassment was due only to a quirk of the weather and had nothing to do with a possible mistake about the climate, was a Swiftian lampoon in all respects.)

Compulsorily retired now from the climate scene, Rajendra Pachauri, formerly chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Clim­ate Change, was a zany straight from Swift, by way of a Bollywood remake of The Party starring the local imitator of Peter Sellers; if Dr Johnson could have thought of Pachauri, Rasselas would be much more entertaining than it is. Finally, and supremely, Flannery could have been invented by Swift after 10 cups of coffee too many with Stella. He wanted to keep her laughing. Swift projected the projectors who now surround us.

They came out of the grant-hungry fringe of semi-science to infect the heart of the mass media, where a whole generation of commentators taught each other to speak and write a hyperbolic doom-language (“unprecedent­ed”, “irreversible”, et cetera), which you might have thought was sure to doom them in their turn. After all, nobody with an intact pair of ears really listens for long to anyone who talks about “the planet” or “carbon” or “climate denial” or “the science”. But for now — and it could be a long now — the advocates of drastic action are still armed with a theory that no fact doesn’t fit.

The theory has always been manifestly unfalsifiable, but there are few science pundits in the mass media who could tell Karl Popper from Mary Poppins. More startling than their ignorance, however, is their defiance of logic. You can just about see how a bunch of grant-dependent climate scientists might go on saying that there was never a Medieval Warm Period even after it has been pointed out to them that any old corpse dug up from the permafrost could never have been buried in it. But how can a bunch of supposedly enlightened writers go on saying that? Their answer, if pressed, is usually to say that the question is too elementary to be considered.

Alarmists have always profited from their insistence that climate change is such a complex issue that no “science denier” can have an opinion about it worth hearing. For most areas of science such an insistence would be true. But this particular area has a knack of raising questions that get more and more complicated in the absence of an answer to the elementary ones. One of those elementary questions is about how man-made carbon dioxide can be a driver of climate change if the global temperature has not gone up by much over the past 20 years but the amount of man-made carbon dioxide has. If we go on to ask a supplementary question — say, how could carbon dioxide raise temperature when the evidence of the ice cores indicates that temperature has always raised carbon dioxide — we will be given complicated answers, but we still haven’t had an answer to the first question, except for the suggestion that the temperature, despite the observations, really has gone up, but that the extra heat is hiding in the ocean.

It is not necessarily science denial to propose that this long professional habit of postponing an answer to the first and most elementary question is bizarre. American physicist Richard Feynman said that if a fact doesn’t fit the theory, the theory has to go. Feynman was a scientist. Einstein realised that the Michelson-Morley experiment hinted at a possible fact that might not fit Newton’s theory of celestial mechanics. Einstein was a scientist, too. Those of us who are not scientists, but who are sceptical about the validity of this whole issue — who suspect that the alleged problem might be less of a problem than is made out — have plenty of great scientific names to point to for exemplars, and it could even be said that we could point to the whole of science itself. Being resistant to the force of its own inertia is one of the things that science does.

When the climatologists upgraded their frame of certainty from global warming to climate change, the bet-hedging man­oeuvre was so blatant that some of the sceptics started predicting in their turn: the alarmist cause must surely now collapse, like a house of cards. A tipping point had been reached.

Unfortunately for the cause of rational critical inquiry, the campaign for immediate action against climate doom reaches a tipping point every few minutes, because the observations, if not the calculations, never cease exposing it as a fantasy.

I myself, after I observed journalist Andrew Neil on BBC TV wiping the floor with the then secretary for energy and climate change Ed Davey, thought that the British government’s energy policy could not survive, and that the mad work that had begun with the 2008 Climate Change Act of Labour’s Ed Miliband must now surely begin to come undone. Neil’s well-inform­ed list of questions had been a tipping point. But it changed nothing in the short term. It didn’t even change the BBC, which continued uninterrupted with its determination that the alarmist view should not be questioned.

How did the upmarket mass media get themselves into such a condition of servility? One is reminded of that fine old historian George Grote when he said that he had taken his A History of Greece only to the point where the Greeks failed to realise they were slaves. The BBC’s monotonous plugging of the climate theme in its science documentaries is too obvious to need remarking, but it’s what the science programs never say that really does the damage.

Even the news programs get “smoothed” to ensure that nothing interferes with the constant business of protecting the climate change theme’s dogmatic status.

To take a simple but telling example: when Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and man in charge of the Energiewende (energy transition), talked rings around Greenpeace hecklers with nothing on their minds but renouncing coal, or told executives of the renewable energy companies that they could no longer take unlimited subsidies for granted, these instructive moments could be seen on German TV but were not excerpted and subtitled for British TV even briefly, despite Gabriel’s accomplishments as a natural TV star, and despite the fact he himself was no sceptic. Wrong message: easier to leave him out.

And if American climate scientist Judith Curry appears before a US Senate com­mittee and manages to defend her anti-alarmist position against concentrated harassment from a senator whose only qualification for the discussion is that he can impugn her integrity with a rhetorical contempt of which she is too polite to be capable? Leave it to YouTube. In this way, the BBC has spent 10 years unplugged from a vital part of the global intellectual discussion, with an increasing air of provincialism as the inevitable result. As the UK now begins the long process of exiting the EU, we can reflect that the departing nation’s most important broadcasting institution has been behaving, for several years, as if its true aim were to reproduce the thought control that prevailed in the Soviet Union.

As for the print media, it’s no mystery why the upmarket newspapers do an even more thorough job than the downmarket newspapers of suppressing any dissenting opinion on the climate.

In Britain, The Telegraph sensibly gives a column to the diligently sceptical Christopher Booker, and Matt Rid­ley has recently been able to get a few rational articles into The Times, but a more usual arrangement is exemplified by my own newspaper, The Guardian, which entrusts all aspects of the subject to George Monbiot, who once informed his green readership that there was only one reason I could presume to disagree with him, and them: I was an old man, soon to be dead, and thus with no concern for the future of “the planet”.

I would have damned his impertinence, but it would have been like getting annoyed with a wheelbarrow full of freshly cut grass.

These byline names are stars committed to their opinion, but what’s missing from the posh press is the non-star name committed to the job of building a fact file and extracting a reasoned article from it. Further down the market, when The Daily Mail put its no-frills newshound David Rose on the case after Climategate, his admirable competence immediately got him labelled as a “climate change denier”: one of the first people to be awarded that badge of honour.

The other tactic used to discredit him was the standard one of calling his paper a disreputable publication. It might be — having been a victim of its prurience myself, I have no inclination to revere it — but it hasn’t forgotten what objective reporting is supposed to be. Most of the British papers have, and the reason is no mystery.

They can’t afford to remember. The print media, with notable exceptions, is on its way down the drain. With almost no personnel left to do the writing, the urge at editorial level is to give all the science stuff to one bloke. The print edition of The Independent bored its way out of business when its resident climate nag was allowed to write half the paper.

In its last year, when the doomwatch journalists were threatened by the climate industry with a newly revised consensus opinion that a mere 2C increase in world temperature might be not only acceptable but likely, The Independent’s chap retaliated by writing stories about how the real likelihood was an increase of 5C, and in a kind of frenzied crescendo he wrote a whole front page saying that the global temperature was “on track” for an increase of 6C. Not long after, the Indy’s print edition closed down.

At The New York Times, Andrew Revkin, star colour-piece writer on the climate beat, makes the whole subject no less predictable than his prose style: a cruel restriction.

In Australia, the Fairfax papers, which by now have almost as few writers as readers, reprint Revkin’s summaries as if they were the voice of authority, and will probably go on doing so until the waters close overhead. On the ABC, house science pundit Robyn Williams famously predicted that the rising of the waters “could” amount to 100m in the next century. But not even he predicted that it could happen next week. At The Sydney Morning Herald, it could happen next week. The only remaining journalists could look out of the window and see fish.

Bending its efforts to sensationalise the news on a scale previously unknown even in its scrappy history, the mass media has helped to consolidate a pernicious myth. But it could not have done this so thoroughly without the accident that it is the main source of information and opinion for people in the academic world and in the scientific institutions. Few of those people have been reading the sceptical blogs: they have no time. If I myself had not been so ill during the relevant time span, I might not have been reading it either, and might have remained confined within the misinformation system where any assertion of forthcoming disaster counts as evidence.

The effect of this mountainous accumulation of sanctified alarmism on the academic world is another subject. Some of the universities deserve to be closed down, but I expect they will muddle through, if only because the liberal spirit, when it regains its strength, is likely to be less vengeful than the dogmatists were when they ruled. Finding that the power of inertia blesses their security as once it blessed their influence, the enthusiasts might have the sense to throttle back on their certitude, huddle under the blanket cover provided by the concept of “post-normal science”, and wait in comfort to be forgotten.

As for the learned societies and professional institutions, it was never a puzzle that so many of them became instruments of obfuscation instead of enlightenment. Totalitarianism takes over a state at the moment when the ruling party is taken over by its secretariat; the tipping point is when Stalin, with his lists of names, offers to stay late after the meeting and take care of business.

The same vulnerability applies to any learned institution. Rule by bureaucracy favours mediocrity, and in no time at all you are in a world where the British Met Office’s (former) chief scientist Julia Slingo is a figure of authority and Curry is fighting to breathe.

On a smaller scale of influential prestige, Nicholas Stern lends the Royal Society the honour of his presence. For those of us who regard him as a vocalised stuffed shirt, it is no use saying that his confident pronouncements about the future are only those of an economist. Klaus was only an economist when he tried to remind us that Malthusian clairvoyance is invariably a harbinger of totalitarianism. But Klaus was a true figure of authority. Alas, true figures of authority are in short supply, and tend not to have much influence when they get to speak.

All too often, this is because they care more about science than about the media. As recently as 2015, after a full 10 years of nightly proof that this particular scientific dispute was a media event before it was anything, Freeman Dyson was persuaded to go on television. He was up there just long enough to say that the small proportion of carbon dioxide that was man-made could only add to the world’s supply of plant food. The world’s mass media outlets ignored the footage, mainly because they didn’t know who he was.

I might not have known either if I hadn’t spent, in these past few years, enough time in hospitals to have it proved to me on a personal basis that real science is as indispensable for modern medicine as cheap power. Among his many achievements, to none of which he has ever cared about drawing attention, Dyson designed the TRIGA reactor. The TRIGA ­ensures that the world’s hospitals get a reliable supply of isotopes.

Dyson served science. Except for the few holdouts who go on fighting to defend the objective ­nature of truth, most of the climate scientists who get famous are serving themselves.

There was a time when the journalists could have pointed out the difference, but now they have no idea. Instead, they are so celebrity-conscious that they would supply Flannery with a new clown suit if he wore out the one he is wearing now.

A bad era for science has been a worse one for the mass media, the field in which, despite the usual blunders and misjudgments, I was once proud to earn my living. But I have spent too much time, in these past few years, being ashamed of my profession: hence the note of anger which, I can now see, has crept into this essay even though I was determined to keep it out. As my retirement changed to illness and then to dotage, I would have preferred to sit back and write poems than to be known for taking a position in what is, despite the colossal scale of its foolish waste, a very petty quarrel.

But it was time to stand up and fight, if only because so many of the advocates, though they must know by now that they are professing a belief they no longer hold, will continue to profess it anyway.

Back in the day, when I was starting off in journalism — on The Sydney Morning Herald, as it happens — the one thing we all learned early from our veteran colleagues was never to improve the truth for the sake of the story. If they caught us doing so, it was the end of the world.

But here we are, and the world hasn’t ended after all. Though some governments might not yet have fully returned to the principle of evidence-based policy, most of them have learned to be wary of policy-based evidence. They have learned to spot it coming, not because the real virtues of critical inquiry have been well argued by scientists but because the false claims of abracadabra have been asserted too often by people who, though they might have started out as scientists of a kind, have found their true purpose in life as ideologists.

Modern history since World War II has shown us that it is unwise to predict what will happen to ideologists after their citadel of power has been brought low. It was feared that the remaining Nazis would fight on, as werewolves. Actually, only a few days had to pass before there were no Nazis to be found anywhere except in Argentina, boring one another to death at the world’s worst dinner parties.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, on the other hand, when it was thought that no apologists for Marxist collectivism could possibly keep their credibility in the universities of the West, they not only failed to lose heart, they gained strength.

Some critics would say that the climate change fad itself is an offshoot of this ­lingering revolutionary animus against liberal democracy, and that the true purpose of the climatologists is to bring about a world government that will ensure what no less a philanthropist than Robert Mugabe calls “climate justice”, in which capitalism is replaced by something more altruistic.

I prefer to blame mankind’s inherent capacity for raising opportunism to a principle: the enabling condition for fascism in all its varieties, and often an imperative mindset among high-end frauds.

On behalf of the UN, Maurice Strong, the first man to raise big money for climate justice, found slightly under a million dollars of it sticking to his fingers, and hid out in China for the rest of his life — a clear sign of his guilty knowledge that he had pinched it.

Later operators lack even the guilt. They just collect the money, like the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, who has probably guessed by now that the sea isn’t going to rise by so much as an inch; but he still wants, for his supposedly threatened atoll, a share of the free cash, and especially because the question has changed. It used to be: how will we cope when the disaster comes? The question now is: how will we cope if it does not?

There is no need to entertain ­visions of a vast, old-style army of disoccupied experts retreating through the snow, eating first their horses and finally each other. But there could be quite a lot of previously well-subsidised people left standing around while they vaguely wonder why nobody is listening to them any more. Way back in 2011, one of the Climategate scientists, Britain’s Tommy Wils, with an engagingly honest caution rare among prophets, speculated in an email about what people outside their network might do to them if climate change turned out to be a bunch of natural variations: “Kill us, probably.” But there has been too much talk of mass death already, and anyway most of the alarmists are the kind of people for whom it is a sufficiently fatal punishment simply to be ignored.

Nowadays I write with aching slowness, and by the time I had finished assembling the previous paragraph, the US had changed presidents. What difference this transition will make to the speed with which the climate change meme collapses is yet to be seen, but my own guess is that it was already almost gone anyway: a comforting view to take if you don’t like the idea of a posturing zany like Donald Trump changing the world.

Personally, I don’t even like the idea of Trump changing a light bulb, but we ought to remember that this dimwitted period in the history of the West began with exactly that: a change of light bulbs. Suddenly, 100 watts were too much. For as long as the climate change fad lasted, it always depended on poppycock; and it would surely be unwise to believe that mankind’s capacity to believe in fashionable nonsense could be cured by the disproportionately high cost of a temporary embarrassment. I’m almost sorry that I won’t be here for the ceremonial unveiling of the next threat.

Almost certainly the opening feast will take place in Paris, with a happy sample of all the world’s young scientists facing the fragrant remains of their first ever plate of foie gras, while vowing that it will not be the last.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Campaign PROMISE KEPT as Trump Exits Paris Climate Deal

What an unorthodox politician!  One who keeps his promises! Crazy man

An American in Paris no more. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. exit from the Paris climate agreement Thursday afternoon in a welcome instance of a campaign promise kept. "In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said, while leaving open the possibility of renegotiating a better deal. "We're going to have the cleanest air. We're going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly. But we're not going to put our businesses out of work. We're not going to lose our jobs." And in acknowledgment of who brung him to the dance, he said, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Given that the U.S. entered the agreement only thanks to Barack Obama's strategically skirting the Senate, it's worth revisiting why this treaty deal was a ridiculous farce from the start. Claiming the 195-nation deal was simply an executive agreement, Obama made the pact in the waning days of his administration. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to un-make it.

As we explained last year, the Paris agreement was a UN scheme to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to keep earth's temperature increases "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as opposed to the projected three-degree increase the world would otherwise see by 2100. Yep, a costly international agreement for an ineffective one degree.

And that's just the stated goal. The real agenda, of course, is statist control of the world's economy — control that would just happen to benefit Europe and China at the expense of the United States.

The Daily Signal notes, "If carried out, the energy regulations agreed to in Paris by the Obama administration would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, harm American manufacturing, and destroy $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by the year 2035."

Trump critics and the media (but we repeat ourselves) are in an uproar at the exit, with the press quick to point out the only other non-participating countries are Syria and Nicaragua. As if the U.S. under Trump's leadership is now comparable to Syria under Bashar al-Assad. Clearly, these critics missed the childhood lesson, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?"

Hillary Clinton comically went further in her reasoning, stating, "Part of what keeps us going is that America's word is good, and that you stand with your prior administration whether it was of your party or not." Yep, just like Obama stood by everything George W. Bush did.

Speaking of Obama, he once again eschewed the humble example of his predecessor in blasting his successor. "It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made [the Paris agreement] possible," he boasted of himself. Then, using his familiar tripe, he accused Trump of joining "a small handful of nations that reject the future." Finally, he turned to a cynical call for "hope": "But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got."

The Wall Street Journal rebutted succinctly: "Leadership is not defined as the U.S. endorsing whatever other world leaders have already decided they want to do, and the U.S. is providing a better model in any case. Private economies that can innovate and provide cost-effective energy alternatives will always beat meaningless international agreements."

Indeed, for all its costly restrictions, the Paris climate agreement is somewhat of a joke. As National Review's Rich Lowry wrote prior to Trump's decision, "The treaty's advocates, hoping to forestall a Trump exit, are trying to save the accord by arguing that it is largely meaningless. In this spirit, a piece on the liberal website Vox explained, the Paris accord 'asks participants only to state what they are willing to do and to account for what they've done. It is, in a word, voluntary.'"

The deal has little enforcement mechanism. As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey notes, the agreement "basically allows each nation to write its own rules, and then decide what enforcement and reporting will look like." Thus, he explains, "The idea is that nations will compete to look super-greeny, and the laggards will get so ashamed of their foot-dragging that they'll finally comply."

But make no mistake: Current carrots would become sticks before long. The Left's objective is always to tighten the screws, and this agreement would become more restrictive over time.

Of course, some companies see their own super-greeny photo-ops as good for their bottom lines, so they oppose bidding Paris adieu. As Rosebud Mining CEO Cliff Forrest writes for the Wall Street Journal, "The commercial interests that strongly support the Paris Agreement typically have created programs to exploit, game or merely pass through the costs of the climate-change agenda. Many also maintain a green pose for marketing purposes." Yet, Forrest adds, "It seems that Paris backers hope for a sudden public amnesia about the many businesses that use government to push out smaller competitors."

And as Heritage Foundation policy analyst Katie Tubb notes, "Big business and big government often go hand-in-hand. Big businesses generally can absorb and adapt to the costs of complying with burdensome regulation, of which Paris is a wellspring. Smaller companies have a much harder time complying, which means less competition for big business."

Of course, now that Trump has made the U.S. exit from Paris official, climate-change alarmists and the media (but again, we repeat ourselves) are eviscerating him based on their tyrannical pseudo-science that permits no debate, only agreement. But it was high time to leave this absurd deal behind.


 By Leaving Paris Climate-Change Deal, Trump Will Do U.S. Economy A 'Yuuuge' Favor

Sorry, Trump's right, and his foes are wrong. The Paris Agreement is a bad deal that will devastate the economies of the West, in particular, the U.S., while leaving the fastest growing emitters of CO2 — namely, China and India — out of the picture.

Has the world heated up in the last 150 years? Of course. But that's because we were leaving something that climatologists have dubbed "The Little Ice Age."

But is human-produced CO2 the cause? The proof is thin, and relies heavily on more than 70 mathematical models, none of which can even back-cast past temperatures, much less forecast future ones.

And the temperature data themselves are compromised. They have been fudged so many times by pro-global warming scientists that there's now little question that much of what passes for science is really fraud. The most reliable temperature data, which come from satellites, show unequivocally no warming since 1998. But this is ignored.

Worst of all, the 200 signatories to this so-called accord would have us all spend trillions of dollars each year to mitigate global temperatures by a mere 0.17 of a degree by 2100. That's one-fifth of a degree, rounded up.

Put in perspective, the main global warming models predict as much as two degrees of warming by the end of the century.  Take that at face value: That means we'll  spend literally trillions of dollars each year for 1.8 degrees of warming instead of 2 degrees of warming.

This is crazy from a cost-benefit perspective, especially since many agriculture experts say that if the climate warms — for whatever reason — it will raise crop yields and help us to feed the two billion or so added people we are likely to have on Earth by then.

Meanwhile, as a report reminded us last year, Europe's CO2 emissions have continued to rise, despite spending over $1.2 trillion on green subsidies of various types.

As for the U.S., its emissions have plunged 12.2% since peaking in 2007. Thanks to fracking and other new technologies, we are cutting more CO2 per capita than any major nation on Earth.

So the question arises: if the Paris Accords are so bogus, why are they being pursued with such intense, even fanatical, political energy?

The short answer is, bureaucrats and government officials want to keep their power, even as disenchantment with bad governance sweeps the globe. What better way than to predict a catastrophe that will occur if we all don't give them massive amounts of our money and near-total control over our lives?

And if you think that isn't true, just this month, a new report by 13 economists, all global warming true believers, called for a $4 trillion global carbon tax "to avoid dangerous climate change," as Britain's Independent reported.

Let's be clear: There is no evidence that a carbon tax of that magnitude will do anything other than crush the world economy, making billions of people poorer.

That's not all. At a global warming conference earlier in May in Bonn, Germany, conferees called for $400 billion to be handed over each year to poor countries to help them deal with the effects of warming. This has nothing to do with global warming science; it's a massive income-transfer scheme from rich nations to poor nations cooked up by socialist climate planners.

This is another reason why Donald Trump's election has been so fortunate; had all this taken place under President Hillary Clinton, the U.S. would today be saddled with economy-killing regulations that would have destroyed our prosperity and cost us hundreds of billions of dollars a year for nothing in return.


Despite the left’s best efforts, the Dakota Access Pipeline is now delivering oil

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline became an international news story last year. Progressives around the country rallied to the cause and held marches around the country. Over a million dollars was raised on social media to support the main protest camp and thousand of people traveled to remote Cannonball, North Dakota to become part of the effort to block the final mile of the nearly 1,200-mile long pipeline.

Protesters battled police on land and in the water and over several months hundreds, mostly from out of state, were arrested. One woman faces 10 years in jail for (allegedly) firing a gun toward police officers.

The Obama administration came to the protesters’ rescue when Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy overruled the Army Corps of Engineers recommendation that the pipeline be approved. Instead, she announced a new environmental study which would have taken up to two years to complete. The new study was officially announced just a couple days before President-elect Trump took office.

These transparently political moves were cheered by progressives, but not for long. On February 7th the Trump administration ended the new study and approved construction of the final stretch of pipeline. A few weeks later the main protest camp was cleared out by police. It cost over a million dollars to clean up the mess protesters left behind and prevent it from washing into the river they were supposedly there to protect. Dogs and puppies left behind at the frozen camp were also rescued.

A court challenge brought by the Native American tribes failed a few weeks later. Not all of the anti-pipeline protesters were content to go along with the rule of law. There were acts of sabotage in a few locations and some arson as well. Meanwhile, the pipeline was completed and being filled with oil.

Thursday, despite all the time, money and media savvy the left could throw at it, the Dakota Access Pipeline began making oil deliveries to customers. From the Associated Press:

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners announced that the 1,200-mile line carrying North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois had begun commercial service. The Dakota Access pipeline and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline from Illinois to the Gulf Coast together make up the $4.8 billion Bakken Pipeline system, which ETP said has commitments for about 520,000 barrels of oil daily.

“The pipeline will transport light, sweet crude oil from North Dakota to major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and more environmentally responsible manner than other modes of transportation, including rail or truck,” the company said in a statement.

That’s what I call progress.



EPA halts Obama-era rule on methane pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has halted an Obama administration rule to cut down on pollution of methane, a greenhouse gas produced at oil and natural gas drilling wells.

The EPA on Wednesday said it had issued a 90-day stay of agency rules designed to limit methane leaks at drilling sites, as well as rules setting standards for equipment and employee certification.

President Trump ordered the EPA to reconsider the methane standards in March when he signed an executive order to repeal several Obama administration climate regulations.

Obama administration officials finalized the methane rule last May. The regulation, part of a federal methane reduction strategy that Trump has also repealed, was designed to cut 520,000 short tons of methane pollution by 2025. The EPA said compliance costs would be about $530 million.
Drillers opposed the rule, saying it was costly and duplicative. Several states sued over the standards at the time, including Oklahoma, whose then-attorney general, Scott Pruitt, is now administrator of the EPA.

The EPA said in April it would formally review the methane rule, a lengthy process that includes a formal federal rulemaking.

The decision to roll back its methane standards comes as Canada begins the process of tightening its standards. Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced their methane reduction strategies together in 2016.

Environmental groups have said they will sue over the decision to reconsider the methane rules. In a Wednesday statement, the Natural Resources Defense Council said the Trump administration is “giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air.”


The EPA wrecked a Colorado river, then wreaked legal havoc on the affected landowners

The photographs shocked the nation. The Animas River had been turned mustard yellow as it meandered through a Colorado national forest into Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and onto tribal lands. Federal bureaucrats denied responsibility and, when sued, argued they were not liable for their tortious conduct. Then, to cover up for their incompetence, they declared hundreds of thousands of acres of land "toxic" and under federal civil and criminal jurisdiction.

But in a Washington, D.C., courtroom, the landowners and others are fighting back.

In August 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency was in charge at the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo., when a 3-million gallon flood of dangerous mine waste, including 880,000 pounds of toxic chemicals (lead and arsenic), blasted through the mine's adit, through a creek, into the river and downstream. Later, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, declared, "There was nothing unintentional about [it]. [EPA] fully intended to dig out the plug…."

Incredibly, with EPA's on-scene coordinator on vacation, his replacement, contrary to his express instructions, removed material from the face of the mine, causing the blowout.

Despite then-EPA Administrator McCarthy's statement that the "EPA is taking responsibility" for the "tragic and unfortunate incident," it refused to pay the $1.2 billion in claims stating federal law made it immune from liability. Lawyers for the slowly-developing Trump administration made the same argument in filings in February; the issue is now before EPA Administrator Pruitt.

Unfortunately, damage to waterways is not the only mess President Barack Obama's EPA left behind.

In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) requiring designation of hazardous waste sites that need prompt remediation. In 1986, a frustrated Congress mandated that the EPA designate only sites posing a "risk to human health and the environment," and not those, such as mining sites, with only trace toxic metals, which the EPA assumed, inaccurately, to be present throughout the site.

One reason was to protect landowners. Designation has serious legal and financial consequence for anyone who, over the decades, owned interest in the land; as potentially responsible parties (PRPs), they are liable for the full cost of cleanup.

Little wonder that, when the EPA, in a brazen attempt to obscure its responsibility, designated the "Bonita Peak Mining District" — a geographically diverse area covering more than 100,000 acres in San Juan County, encompassing three drainages, 46 specific mine sites, and two study areas (and not a true "mining district") — as a vast new Superfund site, it got attention. Sunnyside Gold Corporation, which, under the watchful eye of the EPA and state and local governments, engages in private remediation throughout the area, was fearful the designation will not only scuttle the millions of dollars it invested in remediation but also will end the willingness of mine owners to engage in voluntary remediation. Sunnyside sued.

Last month, represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, Sunnyside drew the friends of the court support from two national mining groups and Frank Anesi, who owns interest in several patented mining claims in San Juan County and in the Galena Queen Mine. Not only does the designation make him a PRP, the stigma attached to his property in or near the site drastically decreases property values and his ability to sell or use his property.

Anesi argues the EPA evaluated only 19 of the 46 mine sites and two study areas it included, in direct contravention of the mandate by Congress and, incredibly, the EPA's own regulations. Also, in an attempt to circumvent Congress, its regulations, and the holding of the nation's top appeals court, the EPA coined a new term, "commingled release," to justify listing sites it had not evaluated. Finally and logically, if the EPA did not evaluate the sites, it could not determine if any were "commingled." The EPA decision is illegal, Anesi argues.

It appears Pruitt has one more Obama mess on his already full plate.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


4 June, 2017

Trump Pulls US Out of Global Climate Change Pact

See below how "Live Science" reported Prez Trump's announcement.  They show no interest at all in discussing the scientific issues in the matter but just trot through all the usual Warmist talking points, and make a big deal out of the fact that almost all other nations remain "in" the Paris accord. It's blatant propaganda that shows no interest in the science of the matter whatsoever.  Science goes down the gurgler when Leftists are in charge of it

President Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a worldwide accord that was developed to curb rising global temperatures and limit climate change in the coming years.

"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said at a news conference today (June 1).

It's unclear how the people working on the departure — a small team that includes Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator — will proceed. They could pursue a formal withdrawal, which could take three to four years to complete, or they could exit the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which describes how countries should set up climate change agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, according to Axios.

The Paris Agreement is designed to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by stepping up investments in "green" technology. Nearly 200 countries agreed on the deal in December 2015 and signed it in 2016. By working together, nations around the world are trying to keep the planet's average temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above Earth's average temperature during preindustrial times. However, the agreement has an even more ambitious goal: "to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius [2 degrees F]," according to the United Nations.

Earth's average temperature is already fairly close to this cutoff: It's about 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) warmer than it was during preindustrial times, Peter deMenocal, a paleoclimate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York, told Live Science in April.

Each nation participating in the agreement is expected to develop an individual plan to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that contribute to climate change, as well as invest in energy-efficient technology.

Under the previous administration, President Barack Obama said the nation would cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, in addition to giving up to $3 billion in aid to less-developed countries by 2020, according to The New York Times. The United States has given $1 billion of this sum already, The New York Times reported.

However, the Paris Agreement is nonbinding, and there aren't any penalties if countries do not meet their goals. If the United States leaves the agreement, it will join the two other countries that have not ratified the climate pact: Nicaragua and Syria. (Nicaragua has not signed on because its government did not think the agreement did enough to fight climate change, according to Time.)

There is ample evidence from climate scientists, including those at NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, showing that the effects of climate change are already being felt, Katherine Moore Powell, a climate ecologist at The Field Museum in Chicago, said in a statement emailed to Live Science.

"Summer temperatures will ccontinue to break records, and droughts will increase and become more severe," Moore Powell said. "When there is rain, precipitation patterns are becoming characterized by heavier downpours and flooding, causing costly damage to natural and man-made resources. We are also experiencing lower snow packs and melting glaciers and ice sheets, threatening fresh water resources and causing worldwide sea level increases."

She added that "without comprehensive action at a global scale, especially from the largest emitters (the U.S. is number two), climate change effects will continue to accelerate."

Big corporations — including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, Monsanto and Google — have advised Trump to stay in the agreement, according to CNN Money. Yesterday (May 31), SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said he will resign from the White House advisory councils if Trump pulls the country out of the agreement, reported Live Science's sister site

The United States' departure won't cause the agreement to fall apart, but it will likely weaken it, especially if other countries follow suit. Moreover, countries that remain a part of the agreement might cooperate less with the United States in the future and, in a worst-case scenario, even impose carbon tariffs on the U.S., according to The New York Times.

More than 97 percent of all climate scientists think that climate change is real and that humans are likely to blame, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. In addition, 70 percent of people in the United States say they believe climate change is happening, according to a recent survey by Yale University.

The survey also found that 82 percent of participants said the United States should fund research into renewable energy sources, and 75 percent said the country should regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, Live Science previously reported.


And the NYT is not much better

No point in reproducing it all but the following paragraph gave me a laugh:

"But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election".

That's really clutching at straws.  The only important part of Trump's announcement was:

“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country,”

Note the words "all" and "today".  U.S. involvement is 100% finished right now. What paperwork is entered into is an unimportant detail.  In fact, Mr Trump needs to do nothing at all.  Mr Obama put his personal signature on the treaty but the Senate has not ratified it.  So America is not "IN" the accord anyway. You can't withdraw from something you are not in.

But finally, just one sample of the completely unbalanced hysteria appearing in the comments on the NYT:

"Trump will go down in history as an environmental criminal, likely responsible for a historically unprecidented amount of property damage and loss of life"

The writer is such a brain that he can't even spell "unprecedented"

Left Overheats, Right Rejoices After Trump Announces U.S. Exit From Paris Climate Deal

Clear evidence that it has long ceased to be a scientific issue and is now just a political issue that the Left are clinging on to

President Donald J. Trump announced Thursday that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord –  a U.N. global warming agreement signed by President Barack Obama  -- and while liberals denounced the decision, many conservatives applauded it.

Yesterday, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, threatened to leave the president's’ various councils on which he had served as an advisor if Trump withdrew from the climate deal.

Shortly after the president’s speech, Musk tweeted: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

Astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted that: “If I and my advisors had never learned what Science is or how & why it works, then I’d consider pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord too.”

The Huffington Post’s front page headline read “Trump To Planet: Drop Dead.”

The host of CNN’s GPS, Fareed Zakaria, said in response to the president’s position, “this is the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world."

Tom Steyer, billionaire environmentalist, called President Trump’s decision “a traitorous act of war against the American people.”

Meanwhile, on the right, the reaction was quite different.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) tweeted that “the #ParisAgreement was simply a raw deal for America.”

Conservative radio host Mark Levin shared Ryan’s sentiment and said that, “President Trump's speech respecting our withdrawal from the Paris climate deal was outstanding.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he “commend[s] President Donald J. Trump for putting American jobs first.”

Author Ann Coulter also gave her input, tweeting to her followers, “Trump's decision on Paris accord has lefties everywhere s******g bricks. Now if they could just s**t some rebar, we could build the wall!”

Meanwhile, across the pond, the reaction to the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord was mostly negative. British Prime Minister Theresa May, however, said the U.S. should be able to determine its own destiny.

“It’s up to the president of the United States to decide what position the United States is going to take on this matter.”


Exiting the Mad Hatter’s climate tea party

Trump was 100% right (not just 97%) to show real leadership and walk away from Paris

By climate skeptic Paul Driessen

I can guess why a raven is like a writing-desk, Alice said. “Do you mean you think you can find out the answer?” said the March Hare. “Exactly so,” said Alice. “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice replied. “At least I mean what I say. That's the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!” “You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!” “It IS the same thing with you,” said the Hatter.

Can you imagine stumbling upon the Mad Hatter’s tea party, watching as the discussions become increasingly absurd – and yet wanting a permanent seat at the table? Could Lewis Carroll have been having nightmares about the Paris climate treaty when he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

President Trump was 100% correct (not just 97%) when he showed true leadership this week – and walked America away from the madness laid out before him and us on the Paris climate table.

From suggestions that Earth’s climate was balmy and stable until the modern industrial era, to assertions that humans can prevent climate change and extreme weather events by controlling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels – to claims that withdrawing from Paris would “imperil our planet’s very survival” – the entire process has been driven by computer models and hysteria that have no basis in empirical science.

There is no convincing real-world evidence that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide has replaced the powerful natural forces that have driven Earth’s climate from time immemorial. Moreover, even if the United States totally eliminated its fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to climb. China and India are building new coal-fired power plants at a feverish clip. So is Germany. And China is financing or building dozens of additional coal-burning electricity generators in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

Plus, even if alarmists are right about CO2, and every nation met its commitments under Paris, average planetary temperatures in 2100 would be just 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.3 F) lower than if we did nothing.

But “our closest allies” wanted Trump to abide by Obama’s commitment. Some did, because they want America to shackle its economy and drive energy prices into the stratosphere the same way they have. Others dearly want to follow a real leader, and walk away from the mad Paris tea party themselves.

But even poor countries signed the Paris treaty. Yes, they did – because they are under no obligation to reduce their coal, oil or natural gas use or their CO2 emissions. And because they were promised $100 billion a year in cash, plus free state-of-the-art energy technologies, from developed nations that would have become FMCs (formerly rich countries) as they slashed their energy use and de-industrialized.

But the Paris climate treaty was voluntary; the United States wouldn’t have to do all this. Right. Just like it’s voluntary for you to pay your taxes. China, India and poor developing countries don’t have to do anything. But the USA would have been obligated to slash its oil, gas and coal use and carbon dioxide emissions. It could impose tougher restrictions, but it could not weaken them. And make no mistake: our laws, Constitution, legal system, the Treaty on Treaties and endless lawsuits by environmentalist pressure groups before friendly judges would have ensured compliance and ever more punishing restrictions.

But hundreds of companies say we should have remained in Paris. Of course they do. Follow the money.

If we are to avoid a climate cataclysm, “leading experts” say, the world must impose a $4-trillion-per-year global carbon tax, and spend $6.5 trillion a year until 2030 to switch every nation on Earth from fossil fuels to renewable energy. That’s a lot of loot for bankers, bureaucrats and crony corporatists.

But, they assure us, this transition and spending would bring unimaginable job creation and prosperity. If you believe that, you’d feel right at home in Alice’s Wonderland and Looking Glass world.

Who do you suppose would pay those princely sums? Whose jobs would be secure, and whose would be expendable: sacrificed on the altar of climate alarmism? Here’s the Planet Earth reality.

Right now, fossil fuels provide 80% of all the energy consumed in the USA – reliably and affordably, from relatively small land areas. Wind and solar account for 2% of overall energy needs, expensively and intermittently, from facilities across millions of acres. Biofuels provide 3% – mostly from corn grown on nearly 40 million acres. About 3% comes from hydroelectric, 3% from wood and trash, 9% from nuclear.

Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and other states that generate electricity with our abundant coal and natural gas pay 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. California, Connecticut, New York and other states that impose wind, solar and anti-fossil fuel mandates pay 15 to 18 cents. Families in closely allied ultra-green Euro countries pay an average of 26 US cents per kWh, but 36 cents in Germany, 37 cents in Denmark.

EU manufacturers are already warning that these prices could send companies, factories, jobs and CO2 emissions to China and other non-Euro countries. EU electricity prices have skyrocketed 55% since 2005; 40% of UK households are cutting back on food and other essentials, to pay for electricity; a tenth of all EU families now live in green energy poverty. Elderly people are dying because they can’t afford heat!

The Paris treaty would have done the same to the United States, and worse.

The Heritage Foundation says Paris restrictions would cost average US families $30,000 in cumulative higher electricity prices over the next decade. How much of their rent, mortgage, medical, food, clothing, college and retirement budgets would they cut? Paris would eliminate 400,000 high-pay manufacturing, construction and other jobs – and shrink the US economy by $2.5 trillion by 2027. Other analysts put the costs of remaining in Paris much higher than this – again for no climate or environmental benefits.

Big hospitals like Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, NC and Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Northern Virginia pay about $1.5 million per year at 9 cents/kWh – but $3 million annually at 18 cents … $5 million at 30 cents … and nearly $7 million at 40 cents. How many jobs and medical services would those rate hikes wipe out?

Malls, factories and entire energy-intensive industries would be eliminated. Like families and small businesses, they would also face the new reality of having pricey electricity when it happens to be available, off and on all day, all week, when the wind blows or sun shines, instead of when it’s needed. Drilling and fracking, gasoline and diesel prices, trucking and travel, would also have been hard hit.

Americans are largely prohibited from mining iron, gold, copper, rare earth and other metals in the USA. Paris treaty energy prices and disruptions would have ensured that American workers could not turn metals from anywhere into anything – not even wind turbines, solar panels or ethanol distillation plants.

Most of the “bountiful” renewable energy utopia jobs would have been transporting, installing and maintaining wind turbines and solar panels made in China. Even growing corn and converting it to ethanol would have been made cost-prohibitive. But there would have been jobs for bureaucrats who write and enforce the anti-energy rules – and process millions of new unemployment and welfare checks.

Simply put, the Paris climate treaty was a terrible deal for the United States: all pain, no gain, no jobs, no future for the vast majority of Americans – with benefits flowing only to politicians, bureaucrats and crony capitalists. President Trump refused to ignore the realities of this economic suicide pact, this attempted global government control of lives, livelihoods and living standards of people everywhere.

That is why he formally declared that the United States is withdrawing from the treaty. He could now submit it for advice, consent – and rejection – by the Senate. He could also withdraw the United States from the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or negotiate that reflects empirical science and is fair to America and its families and workers. But what is really important now is this:

We are out of Paris! President Trump is leading the world back from the climate insanity precipice.

Via email

Trump pulls out of Paris climate accord, puts American power grid first

By Peter Hong

He did it!  After being lobbied by foreign leaders, the Pope, and even members of his own family, President Donald Trump took the courageous step of leading America out from the clutches of the horrendously negotiated Paris climate change accords.

At his June 1 Rose Garden announcement, the President declared: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.  I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal that doesn’t serve America’s interests.”

As this bold and dramatic step dominates the national and global news, it may soon be sharing the stage with a lesser known issue of potentially greater import: the reliability of our nation’s electricity grid. With the grid at near capacity and public policies diminishing its critical resilience, it wouldn’t take much for our nation to plunge rapidly into a new Dark Ages of systemic instability and a pattern of widespread brownouts for as far as the eye can see (or not see).

As unimaginable as it may seem today, that is exactly the dystopian scenario America would face without a reliable electrical grid. While Thomas Edison is best known as the inventor of the electric light, it was his personal secretary, Samuel Insull, who used his own business acumen to make cheap electricity a reality for most of America.  Since then, we Americans enjoy the benefits of something that most people could not even imagine:  reliable and cheap electric power.

How fortunate are we? In spite of leading the world in energy use per capita, the United States has only suffered two massive blackouts, one in 1965 and the other in 2003. Otherwise, we have been free from persistent, region-wide outages, unlike other nations, like India, with much less reliable grids.

Yet, those days could be coming to an end rapidly — and not due to the reasons one might suspect, such as terrorism or cyberattacks.  The greatest dangers posed to the grid’s reliability arise from misguided public policies — particularly those replacing traditionally dependable sources of energy, like coal and nuclear, with unreliable renewable sources, including wind and solar.

Since the advent of modern power plants, coal has generated more electricity than any other power source — followed at various times by hydroelectricity, natural gas, then nuclear power.  However, since the Obama Administration launched its war on coal, coal as a percentage of net electricity generation has declined from 49 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2016 (trailing natural gas at 34 percent), according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

But these allocations actually represent a smaller piece of a smaller pie.

According to EIA data, starting in 2007, coal production dropped by 768 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 1.23 trillion kWh in 2016.

Nuclear for its part has gone from 19 percent of the grid in 2007 to 19.7 percent today. However the “rise” is only because it’s a relatively greater chunk of a smaller pie. In 2007, nuclear produced 806.4 billion kWh for the year and in 2016 it produced 805.3 billion kWh, according to EIA.

Largely a result of the coal plant closures, overall electricity generation in the U.S. has dropped from 4.005 trillion kWh in 2007 to 3.92 trillion kWh in 2016, while end use has only decreased from 3.89 trillion kWh to just 3.853 trillion kWh.

Consider that, we have not increased electricity production one iota in a decade. No wonder the economy is so flat.

The difference between electricity generation and end use, just 67 billion kWh of spare capacity, has dropped a whopping 42 percent in a single decade — leading to legitimate concerns that our ability to supply enough electricity to keep up with demand could be compromised, making future brownouts a real possibility.

Interestingly, while residential electricity use was increasing the past decade, industrial usage was collapsing, from 1.03 trillion kWh in 2007 to 936 billion kWh in 2016, a drop of 91 billion kWh. Had industrial electrical use remained the same as in 2007, national usage would have exceeded grid production last year.

This predicament is further complicated by the fact that, as of 2016, 451 coal-burning power plants in 37 states were closing or converting simply due to EPA regulations. Among the states hardest hit by these plant closing or conversions include Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

In his statement praising President Trump for exiting the Paris climate accord, Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government reiterated the importance of policies that help, not hurt workers in these states: “Fortunately, President Trump has not forgotten that it was working families — in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and across the country in our industrial base — who depend on there being real, good-paying jobs in order to make ends meet.”

While the Obama Administration and its EPA were busy ravaging coal-producing states with overregulation, it simultaneously subsidized its favorite green industries, like wind and solar energy, with corporate tax credits. This corporate favoritism — government picking winners and losers — ignored the fact that neither wind nor solar produces the consistent baseload power needed to sustain our electricity demands.  Indeed, bad public policy presents the greatest threat to the reliability of our electricity grid.

With a new administration in charge, a change in direction could be afoot. In April, Energy Department (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry ordered a study evaluating to what extent regulatory burdens, subsidies, and tax policies “are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

Perry’s order noted that grid experts “have expressed concerns about the erosion of critical baseload resources” and “that regulatory burdens introduced by previous administrations that were designed to decrease coal-fired power generation have destroyed jobs and economic growth, and threaten to undercut the performance of the grid well into the future.” The Secretary also asked whether wholesale energy markets adequately compensate some of the attributes that coal and nuclear plants bring to the table strengthening grid resilience.

The study, scheduled for completion by mid-June, is likely to reveal what many of us already know: America’s electricity needs and the stability of the grid cannot be met by unreliable renewable energy sources and must be delivered by traditionally dependable sources of fossil fuels.  Now that we no longer have Paris, keep your eyes peeled on the stability of the grid.  Nothing less than the future of our nation’s energy security is at stake.



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3 June, 2017


I can't stop laughing.  I am so pleased at President Trump's repudiation of the Paris climate agreement.  This is the end of all that bullshit.  The whole fraud will die on the vine now.

A paragraph in his speech that I particularly like is below:

“The Paris climate agreement is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production.”

The Left will deride it but I believe that President Trump means it when he says he loves America's workers.  He grew up in a very mixed NYC suburb so had plenty of opportunity to meet and get to know Americans from all walks of life, including ordinary working people.  And he knows how to talk to them.  When he was having his buildings constructed he often went on site to talk to his building workers and I think he developed an appreciation of them -- including an appreciation of their thinking and viewpoints.

President Trump is a great patriot who loves his people and who has come to his country's assistance in its hour of need -- when  it was drowning in Leftist fraud.

What happens if the U.S. withdraws from the Paris climate change agreement?

Below is a CBS article with a few comments from Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute inserted

Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

[Both sentences are meaningless. “More dangerous levels of warming” than in the past? The benefits of past warming exceeded the benefits, so those levels were not dangerous. “More dangerous” is therefore nonsensical. More dangerous than what is now forecast to occur in a century or two? Those forecasts are not scientific, are technically “scenarios” and not predictions, and are too speculative to compare and contrast.]

President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax,

[Trump suggested the hype surrounding the global warming campaign could be fueled by the Chinese as part of their ongoing propaganda campaign against the U.S. and to create markets for its wind and solar industries. That’s probably true, since the global warming movement resembles other Chinese disinformation programs.]

said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his "final decision" next week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

Global leaders, at a summit in Sicily, have urged him to stay. Earlier in the week, Pope Francis made that case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican.

[Just a reminder, Pope Francis is not a climate scientist, but is a very liberal environmentalist who thinks capitalism is responsible for turning the planet into a “an immense pile of filth.” He is being advised on the climate issue by far-left activists, not real climate scientists. His opinions on scientific and economic controversies are not binding on Catholics, and in fact are at odds with those of past Popes.]

In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press

[“The Associated Press” most likely refers to Seth Borenstein, a radical environmentalist pretending to be a reporter. He has been called out for his bias and misrepresentation of the truth many times.]

consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

[Anyone paying attention to the climate change debate knows “special computer model scenario” is code for a newly tuned model based on assumptions and unreliable data designed to arrive at politically acceptable forecasts. Of course this new model provides support for the US staying in the Paris agreement… that is what it was tuned to find. The NIPCC produced a devastating critique of computer models.]

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

[No, some scientists (but mostly nonscientists) dependent on government grants or working for environmental advocacy groups claim this. Most scientists either disagree or don’t have an opinion on the subject. See Chapter 1 of Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming. See also the “skeptical” scientists who appear here.]

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

[Even the IPCC disagrees with most or all of this, saying in its latest report that significant sea level rise and more extreme weather are unlikely or cannot be predicted with certainty. See here. This claim is also dependent on the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere, which probably is much less than alarmists believe. See here.]

"If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.

[Michael Oppenheimer is “an activist first, a scientist a distant second.” He was an environmental activist working for Environmental Defense Fund who went back to college to get a Ph.D. so he could pretend to be a climate scientist. He should never be quoted in a real news story as a climate scientist.]

One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius) to the globe by the end of century.

[Right… see above about models.]

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

[Wow, a concession that there isn’t “overwhelming consensus” on one model or one forecast? This sentence is the tip of an iceberg of truth.]

Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller.

[So the U.S. is reducing its “carbon pollution” and this trend is likely to continue regardless of Paris. Other countries are increasing their emissions and would continue regardless of Paris, since the goals set in Paris are supposedly nonbinding. What, then, is the accord supposed to achieve? About the only thing “for sure” about the Paris accord is that it would commit the U.S. to sending hundreds of billions of dollars on renewable energy (with virtually no impact on emissions or climate) and to third world countries. What does America get out of this agreement? Nothing at all.]

Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest.

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit).

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

[Why is 2 degrees C a “dangerous threshold”? We’re half-way there and see no dangerous impacts so far. And the latest estimates of climate sensitivity and atmosphere residence time suggest human emissions are unlikely to ever cause 2 degrees or more of warming, with or without treaties and efforts to reduce emissions. (See Figure 5 starting on page 66 of Why Scientists Disagree.) So this is all just fake news.]

The world has already warmed by just over half that amount -- with about one-fifth of the past heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions coming from the United States, usually from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

So the efforts are really about preventing another 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) from now.

"Developed nations - particularly the U.S. and Europe - are responsible for the lion's share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role," said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. "This means Americans have caused a large fraction of the warming."

Even with the U.S. doing what it promised under the Paris agreement, the world is likely to pass that 2 degree mark, many scientists said.

But the fractions of additional degrees that the U.S. would contribute could mean passing the threshold faster, which could in turn mean "ecosystems being out of whack with the climate, trouble farming current crops and increasing shortages of food and water," said the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Kevin Trenberth.

[Kevin Trenberth is another bad apple who ought not be presented as an objective or independent climate scientist.]

Climate Interactive, a team of scientists and computer modelers who track global emissions and pledges, simulated global emissions if every country but the U.S. reaches their individualized goals to curb carbon pollution. Then they calculated what that would mean in global temperature, sea level rise and ocean acidification using scientifically-accepted computer models.

By 2030, it would mean an extra 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the air a year, according to the Climate Interactive models, and by the end of the century 0.3 degrees Celsius of warming.

"The U.S. matters a great deal," said Climate Interactive co-director Andrew Jones. "That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it."

Climate Action Tracker, a competing computer simulation team, put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 Fahrenheit) by 2100. It uses a scenario where U.S. emissions flatten through the century, while Climate Interactive has them rising.

One of the few scientists who plays down the harm of the U.S. possibly leaving the agreement is John Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the scientist credited with coming up with the 2 degree goal.

"Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet," Schellnhuber said. "Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future."

Not so, said Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe: "There will be ripple effects from the United States' choices across the world."

[Katharine Hayhoe is another bad apple who ought not be presented as an independent or credible climate scientist.]

Trump defies globalists and makes the right call to support coal

President Trump appears to have made the right decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement and fulfill his campaign promises.

But it took him longer than necessary to make the call. He needs to remind those who work for his administration who is in charge. The repeated comments to the press that contradict his policies by those who surround him are undermining his ability to not only accomplish his promises but even to credibly set his administration’s agenda.

The latest distraction was offered by former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, who serves as White House National Economic Council director. Cohn met with reporters on the flight to the Group of 7 meeting, which included the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. The Paris climate agreement was a hot topic.

Trump’s assistant denigrated the president’s position with respect to energy development when he attacked coal as a viable energy source, saying, “Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.”

The remarks in advance of meetings where the president would be confronted by other leaders anxious to get him to embrace the economy-destroying global climate agreement deliberately undermined Trump. Fortunately, the president didn’t back down in the face of enormous pressure from these world leaders, but no thanks to his staff.

If Democrat Gary Cohn wants to be president, he can take his Wall Street resume back to New York City, build his own campaign, and try to convince the Bernie Sanders dominated party of his choice to nominate him. But as long as he works for a president who campaigned and won in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia largely due to his support for the resource extraction industry, Cohn should avoid talking to the media about his opinions on energy.

When you work for an elected official, you get the ability to share your opinions internally, but waive the right to share them publicly when they are not in sync with those of your boss — in this case, the President of the United States.

Cohn was right on one thing: natural gas is going to play a large role in America’s energy future, but it will not and should not replace coal. Natural gas depends upon pipelines and is not easily storable, making it significantly less reliable than coal, which is easy to store and warehouse. This is a tremendous advantage in an era when environmental radicals threaten the soft targets that pipelines represent.

The national security implications of natural gas supply disruptions without having a large amount of our nation’s electricity grid fueled by reliable and available coal or nuclear power are frightening given its interconnectivity and stretched capacity.

As a globalist traveling in Europe, Cohn must have noticed the vulnerability of what was once known as Western Europe to disruptions of natural gas pipelines from Russia. As Ukraine remains a hot spot between Russia and NATO countries, many in Europe worry that their dependency on Russian natural gas makes them vulnerable to energy blackmail.

Yet, Europe itself ignores the energy beneath its own feet in a willful blindness. Germany is rich with coal and the economic certainty it provides. Yet, Germany would rather import most of the limited coal they use and is in the process of ending its nuclear power generation capability by 2022, thus increasing their dependency on Russian natural gas, even as they intellectualize the potentially devastating effects of that dependency.

In the United States, Trump made it clear on the campaign trail last year that the war on coal was over in his administration. Many of his actions have demonstrated his commitment to coal and nuclear power as a large and expanded part of our national energy security plan.

After Cohn’s ill-advised opinions, the Trump wisely stood up to the G-7 leaders who sought to push him to a so-called “climate deal.” Now, he needs to tell his own staff, that they need to follow his lead, or find another job. In order for Trump to succeed, he needs his own White House pushing his policies, setting a clear direction for Congress and others to follow.

Cohn is just the latest White House aide who forgot that he doesn’t sit behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. For the nation’s sake, let’s hope that Cohn is the last to speak out of turn. The administration needs to set an unambiguous, coherent, forward-looking economic policy that puts our nation on a course toward true full employment and roaring economic growth, turning the corner from the worst growth in U.S. history that we have endured over the past decade.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement should be followed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry aggressively engaging in policies that will re-energize the coal and nuclear electricity generation options, creating a true “all of the above” strategy.

Electricity generation is both an economic and national security priority. Trump needs to ignore out of touch advisors like Gary Cohn and put American energy security first by emphasizing stable, reliable, and resilient electricity generating sources.


Climate Alarmism Minus Perspective Equals Fake News

Like any policy discussion, the field of science can be easily distorted and misconstrued when it lacks proper perspective and insight. The New York Times performed this masterfully in a recent climate piece, “Mapping 50 Years of Melting Ice in Glacier National Park.” The article’s objective was to tug at Americans' heartstrings by highlighting the supposedly exceptional amount of ice melt occurring in northern Montana, where glaciers “shrank by more than a third between 1966 and 2015, according to new data from the United States Geological Survey and Portland State University in Oregon.”

To help readers understand how their carbon footprint is disposing America of its ice age relics, the Times publishes myriad images to visually (and emotionally) document the receding glaciers. The article then stipulates, “Glacier National Park’s eponymous ice formations have been around for more than 7,000 years, and have survived warmer and cooler periods. But they have been shrinking rapidly since the late 1800s, when North America emerged from the ‘Little Ice Age,’ a period of regionally colder, snowier weather that lasted for roughly 400 years. (At its founding in 1910, the park had at least 150 glaciers, most of which are now gone.) After the end of the Little Ice Age, glaciers across the Western United States, Canada and Europe lost ice as temperatures rebounded. But scientists have attributed more recent melting to human-caused global warming.”

By what objective temperature measurements? Well, the Times doesn’t say, and nefariously so. As Robert Tracinski observes, this form of climate deception has become a pattern at the Times. He writes, “There is no science without numbers. Science can’t get by on qualitative descriptions. If you say the average global temperature in 2016 was ‘higher’ than in 2015, that’s not science. It could be a lot higher or a little higher. It could be a number that is enormous, or it could be a number that is literally insignificant. (And if they don’t tell you the number, guess which of those it is likely to be.)”

The Times knows such disclaimers could jeopardize its message, which is the real motivation for its refusing to publish temperature minutiae. Why else would it neglect to report that regional temperatures around Glacier National Park have actually been flat for more than a century? Global warming is real — few dispute that. But if temperatures aren’t rising in tandem around GNP, there has to be more to the story for why glaciers are receding at an ostensibly faster rate because of human activity. None of this matters, however, because, as Tracinski opines, the Times is predisposed to believe that “nothing can be attributed to mere natural causes any more. It all has to be because of global warming.”

In January, The Wall Street Journal wisely editorialized that “nuances are important, because phrases such as ‘hottest year ever’ are waved around as a pretext for political action that usually involves giving more control over the economy to governments.” Sadly, the Times continues to borrow from the same playbook. After Donald Trump’s election in November, Times officials promised to “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.” In truth, they’re sticking to the same statist agenda.


Further Empirical Proof Elevated CO2 is Benefitting Earths Forests
Paper Reviewed: Choury, Z., Shestakova, T.A., Himrane, H., Touchan, R., Kherchouche, D., Camarero, J.J. and Voltas, J. 2017. Quarantining the Sahara desert: growth and water-use efficiency of Aleppo pine in the Algerian Green Barrier. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 139-152.

In response to concerns about the possible impacts of CO2-induced global warming on the biosphere, scientists are turning more and more to empirical analyses to evaluate model-based claims of climate alarmism. And among the many assertions that are made in this regard, is the claim that rising temperatures and increasing droughts will harm forest ecosystems, so much so, in fact, that they contend the positive benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment will be overwhelmed by the predicted negative impacts of climate change. But is this happening in the real world?

The latest study to provide insight on the matter comes from Choury et al. (2017), who analyzed long-term trends in the basal area increment (BAI) and intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUEi) of native Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis Mill.) growing in the Djelfa province of Algeria, near the northern border of the Sahara Desert. There, they cored multiple trees from three locations so as to evaluate such trends over the period 1925-2013, during which time mean annual temperatures rose by 1.5°C and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose by approximately 30 percent. So did this modern increase in temperature and CO2 bring doom down upon this forested region? Are the Aleppo pines here showing signs of distress?

In a word, hardly!

As illustrated in the figure below, Choury et al. report "the BAI patterns of natural Aleppo pine stands did not show a decreasing trend over the last century, indicating that warming-induced drought stress has not significantly affected secondary growth of pines in the area; instead, BAI trends were stable or even showed a significant increase in the case of the North slope site." Similar good fortunes were noted for the trees' WUEi, with the seven-member research team reporting that "WUEi increased by ca. 39% across sites between 1925 and 2013."

Altogether, the welcomed results of their analysis led Choury et al. to conclude that their study "highlights the substantial plasticity of Aleppo pine to warming-induced drought stress," while adding that "the extent of such plastic responses for Aleppo pines growing at the southernmost limit of the species distribution area is, from a physiological point of view, remarkable." Consequently, it would appear that model-based assertions that the predicted negative impacts of climate change will overpower any positive influence of rising atmospheric CO2 on forests could not be more wrong!


Overpopulation Hoax

In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote "An Essay on the Principle of Population." He predicted that mankind's birthrate would outstrip our ability to grow food and would lead to mass starvation. Malthus' wrong predictions did not deter Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich from making a similar prediction. In his 1968 best-seller, "The Population Bomb," which has sold more than 2 million copies, Ehrlich warned: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." This hoax resulted in billions of dollars being spent to fight overpopulation.

According to the standard understanding of the term, human overpopulation occurs when the ecological footprint of a human population in a specific geographical location exceeds the carrying capacity of the place occupied by that group. Let's look at one aspect of that description — namely, population density. Let's put you, the reader, to a test. See whether you can tell which country is richer and which is poorer just by knowing two countries' population density.

North Korea's population density is 518 people per square mile, whereas South Korea's is more than double that, at 1,261 people per square mile. Hong Kong's population density is 16,444, whereas Somalia's is 36. Congo has 75 people per square mile, whereas Singapore has 18,513. Looking at the gross domestic products of these countries, one would have to be a lunatic to believe that smaller population density leads to greater riches. Here are some GDP data expressed in millions of U.S. dollars: North Korea ($17,396), South Korea ($1,411,246), Hong Kong ($320,668), Somalia ($5,707), Congo ($41,615) and Singapore ($296,967).

The overpopulation hoax has led to horrible population control programs. The United Nations Population Fund has helped governments deny women the right to choose the number and spacing of their children. Overpopulation concerns led China to enact a brutal one-child policy. Forced sterilization is a method of population control in some countries. Nearly a quarter-million Peruvian women were sterilized. Our government, through the U.N. Population Fund, is involved in "population moderation" programs around the world, including in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.

The entire premise behind population control is based on the faulty logic that humans are not valuable resources. The fact of business is that humans are what the late Julian L. Simon called the ultimate resource. That fact becomes apparent by pondering this question: Why is it that Gen. George Washington did not have cellphones to communicate with his troops and rocket launchers to sink British ships anchored in New York Harbor? Surely, all of the physical resources — such as aluminum alloys, copper, iron ore and chemical propellants — necessary to build cellphones and rocket launchers were around during Washington's time. In fact, they were around at the time of the cave man. There is only one answer for why cellphones, rocket launchers and millions of other things are around today but were not around yesteryear. The growth in human knowledge, human ingenuity, job specialization and trade led to industrialization, which, coupled with personal liberty and private property rights, made it possible. Human beings are valuable resources, and the more we have of them the better.

The greatest threat to mankind's prosperity is government, not population growth. For example, Zimbabwe was agriculturally rich but, with government interference, was reduced to the brink of mass starvation. Any country faced with massive government interference can be brought to starvation. Blaming poverty on overpopulation not only lets governments off the hook but also encourages the enactment of harmful, inhumane policies.

Today's poverty has little to do with overpopulation. The most commonly held characteristics of non-poor countries are greater personal liberty, private property rights, the rule of law and an economic system closer to capitalism than to communism. That's the recipe for prosperity.



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   main.html 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, 2017

Amid higher CO2 levels, Africa has become greener in the last 20 years

The plant fertiliztion effect of CO2 is cancelling out the rate at which trees are being cut down by people

In Africa, a fight is happening. On one side natural forces are making the continent greener, and on the other, people are removing trees and bushes from the continent.

In densely populated regions, people are cutting down trees and forests, but elsewhere, where human populations are more thinly spread, bushes and scrub vegetation are thriving.

Now, scientists have quantified for the first time how vegetation across the continent has changed in the past 20 years. Thirty six per cent of the continent has become greener, while 11 per cent is becoming less green.

The results show that not all is lost for Africa’s nature, say the scientists behind the new research.

“Our results are both positive and negative. Of course it’s not good that humans have had a negative influence on the distribution of trees and bushes in 11 per cent of Africa in the last 20 years, but it doesn’t come as a complete surprise,” says co-author Martin Brandt from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

“On the other hand it’s not all negative as an area—three times larger than the area where trees and bushes are disappearing—is becoming greener, which is positive, at least from a climate point of view,” he says.

The new study is published in the scientific journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Challenges the general view of Africa

The study challenges the view that Africa is undergoing a sustained loss of trees and bushes, says Professor Henrik Balslev from the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University, Denmark. Balslev was not involved in the study.

The new study offers a nuanced picture of how population growth in Africa influences vegetation in different ways.

“The study gives a much more nuanced picture of people’s influence on vegetation in Africa, south of the Sahara, than we had before. The study will have significant impacts on how we evaluate people’s influence on African nature in the future, as the expected population grows dramatically,” he says.


Bulgaria’s New Environment Minister Casts Doubt On Global Warming

Bulgaria’s new Environment and Water Minister, Neno Dimov, appeared in a video in 2015 describing global warming as a fraud and alleging that the European Union’s target for reducing emissions is intended to earn billions for business.

Dimov, a 53-year-old who has a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in physics and who was deputy environment minister in the 1997/2001 Ivan Kostov government, was named to the third Boiko Borissov government from the quota of the nationalist United Patriots.

Until his cabinet appointment, Dimov was head of the Institute of Right Policy and made regular appearances in television interviews.

In November 2016, on Donald Trump becoming US president, Dimov likened Trump to Ronald Reagan: “He and Thatcher led a war against evil. Now he (Trump) and Theresa May have a chance to do the same”.

In the same TV appearance, Dimov said that it was untrue that the whole world received Trump becoming president with fear and horror, saying that it was only socialists who were afraid.

Speaking to-camera during the 7.33 minute video, Dimov expounds the thesis that human impact on climate change is a “manipulation” related to economic interests and a lot of money.

“Supporters of sustainable development are frightening us with global warming. The UN has no panel on global warming, but on climate change, but the climate is constantly changing. That may be the first indication that this is a matter more of manipulation than for serious concern,” Dimov says in the video.

“It is good to pose two questions. Is global warming really happening? If that is so, does human activity lead to global warming or do other factors cause it?”

He also rejects the possibility of the sea level being raised because of global warming. “That is not true. There is a law of nature, discovered by Archimedes more than 2000 years ago, that a body immersed in water, displaces the volume of water of the volume of the body itself. The ice of the North Pole already has sunk into the world ocean and increased its level with that volume, of the ice itself.”

Dimov says that the fear of the rising of the level of the world’s oceans is absolutely unfounded. “Rather we may talk about a cycle, rather than an increase in temperatures.”

He also argues that if the EU’s 40 per cent emission reduction target is met, the effect would be minimal, but in Europe alone, more than 500 billion euro would be spent.


Donald Trump's potential science adviser believes CO2 is 'good' and US should withdraw from Paris climate deal

Donald Trump has not yet given his decision on whether the US will recommit to the Paris deal

An academic tipped to be President Donald Trump's White House Science Adviser has called for the United States to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Professor William Happer, a Princeton physicist, told The Telegraph in an interview: "I hope he will. Our friends in Europe wanted it so everybody had to sign up but it's a complete waste.

"There are diverging opinions in the Trump administration, what to do about climate change in particular. I hope he will withdraw.

"It (the Paris agreement) is not going to hurt the environmentalists, it's going to hurt people in Asia and Africa and I think it's profoundly immoral. What people there need is electricity you can afford. Prosperity, what's wrong with that? This is an example of human folly."

His comments came as Mr Trump said he would decide this week whether to withdraw the US from the 2015 agreement which has been signed by nearly 200 countries...


With Ice Growing at Both Poles, Global Warming Theories Implode

In the Southern Hemisphere, sea-ice levels just smashed through the previous record highs across Antarctica, where there is now more ice than at any point since records began. In the Arctic, where global-warming theorists preferred to keep the public focused due to some decreases in ice levels over recent years, scientists said sea-ice melt in 2014 fell below the long-term mean. Global temperatures, meanwhile, have remained steady for some 18 years and counting, contrary to United Nations models predicting more warming as carbon dioxide levels increased.

Of course, all of that is great news for humanity — call off the carbon taxes and doomsday bunkers! However, as global-warming theories continue to implode on the world stage, the latest developments will pose a major challenge for the UN and its member governments. Later this month, climate “dignitaries” will be meeting in New York to forge an international agreement in the face of no global warming for nearly two decades, record ice levels, and growing public skepticism about the alleged “science” underpinning “climate change” alarmism.

As The New American reported last month, virtually every falsifiable prediction made by climate theorists — both the global-cooling mongers of a few decades ago and the warming alarmists more recently — has proven to be spectacularly wrong. In many cases, the opposite of what they forecasted took place. But perhaps nowhere have the failed global-warming doom and gloom predictions been more pronounced than in the Antarctic, where sea-ice levels have continued smashing through previous records. For each of the last three years, ice cover has hit a new record high.

The most recent data show that the Antarctic is currently surrounded by more sea ice than at any other point since records began. In all, there are right now about 20 million square kilometers of frozen sea area surrounding the Antarctic continent. That is 170,000 square kilometers more than last year’s previous all-time record, and more than 1.2 million square kilometers above the 1981-to-2010 mean, according to researchers.

“This is an area covered by sea ice which we’ve never seen from space before,” meteorologist and sea ice scientist Jan Lieser with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) told Australia’s ABC. “Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area. That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.”

Despite having predicted less ice — not more — as a result of alleged man-made global warming, some alarmists have comically tried to blame the record ice on “global warming.” Indeed, in a bizarre attempt to explain away the latest findings, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC boss Tony Worby tried to blame “the depletion of ozone” and the “warming atmosphere” for the phenomenal growth in sea ice — contradicting previous forecasts by warming alarmists, who warned that ice would decrease as temperatures rose along with CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

The biggest problem with Worby’s claim, however, is the fact that the undisputed global temperature record shows there has been no warming for about 18 years and counting — contradicting every “climate model” cited by the UN to justify planetary alarmism, carbon taxes, energy rationing, massive wealth transfers, and more. Dozens of excuses have been concocted for what alarmists refer to as the “pause” in warming, as many as 50 by some estimates. The Obama administration’s preferred explanation, for which there is no observable evidence, is often ridiculed by critics as the “Theory of the Ocean Ate My Global Warming.”

However, scientists and experts not funded by governments to promote the alarmist narrative say the observable evidence simply shows the man-made CO2 theories and “climate models” pushed by the “climate” industry are incorrect. More than a few climate experts and scientists have even warned that a prolonged period of global cooling is approaching quickly. The consequences could potentially be devastating — especially if warming alarmists succeed in quashing energy and food production under the guise of stopping non-existent “warming.”

Also in response to the fast-expanding ice, some die-hard alarmists and warming propagandists styling themselves “journalists”have recently been hyping a relatively tiny part of the Antarctic ice sheet that may — centuries or even millennia from now — go into the sea. Numerous independent scientists and experts quickly debunked the fear-mongering, however, pointing out that it was almost certainly due to natural causes and was nothing to worry about.

In an ironic incident that sparked laughter around the world, a team of “climate scientists” who set out to show how Antarctic ice was supposedly melting ended up getting their ship trapped in record-setting ice — in the summer! Millions of taxpayer dollars and massive quantities of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions were required to rescue the stranded and embarrassed warming alarmists after their misguided adventure.

Another key tactic of the warmists to deflect attention from the expanding polar ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been to hype changes occurring in the Arctic instead. Unfortunately for the alarmists, however — critics often ridicule the movement as a “cult” for desperately clinging to its beliefs despite the evidence, not to mention the “Climategate” scandal — that will now be much harder to do with a straight face.

“After the very high melt rates of the 2007-2012 period, the trend reversed in 2013 and especially in 2014 when the melt fell below the long-term average,” explained German professor and environment expert Fritz Vahrenholt, adding that the heat content of the North Atlantic was also plummeting. “In other words: The 21st century climate catastrophe is not taking place.”

Decades ago, of course, Newsweek reported that Arctic ice was growing so quickly due to man-made “global cooling” that “scientists” were proposing to melt the polar ice cap using black soot. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. More recently, “climate” guru Al Gore had been regularly predicting that the entire polar ice cap would be gone by now. Instead, it is now far more extensive than when he made his now-discredited predictions.

Of course, UN bureaucrats, many of whom depend on sustainable alarmism for their livelihood, still have their heads in the sand about the implosion of their theory. On a call with reporters last week, for example, UN “climate team director” Selwin Hart, who serves under Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, claimed an upcoming global-warming summit in New York “will be a major turning point in the way the world is approaching climate change.” He may be right, though probably not in the way he intended. The conference, which will be skipped by key world leaders, is meant to put climate alarmism “back on top of the international agenda,” Hart added.

In the United States, meanwhile, as the evidence continues to contradict the alarmist predictions, polls consistently show that a solid majority of Americans reject the UN’s man-made global-warming theories. Like the UN, however, Obama continues to act as if the discredited theories were gospel, promising to save humanity from their carbon sins by lawlessly bypassing the U.S. Senate and the Constitution to foist a planetary “climate” regime on the American people. Lawmakers have vowed to prevent any such schemes, but it remains unclear how far the White House is willing to push the issue. After failing even with a Democrat-controlled Congress, the EPA is already working to impose Obama’s anti-CO2 schemes on America by executive decree.

With the evidence discrediting UN global-warming theories literally piling up on both ends of the Earth and everywhere in between, alarmists face an increasingly Herculean task in their bid to shackle humanity to a “climate” regime at next year’s UN summit in Paris. However, to protect the public — and especially the poor — from the devastation such a planetary scheme would entail, Americans must continue to expose the baseless alarmism underpinning what countless scientists now refer to as the “climate scam.”


Australia: Big coal mine opposed by Greenies gets a go-ahead from a Leftist State government

Royalties are a tax and seeking a taxbreak while an enterprise gets going is normal and may even be offered by a government

The $16 billion Adani coal mining project is back on track after the Indian resources giant agreed to a royalties deal with the Queensland government.

It comes a week after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reportedly backflipped on a deal because of divisions inside her government, which lead to a snap cabinet meeting on Friday.
Ministers unanimously agreed the company would not be given a royalties holiday on its proposed operation, and on Tuesday evening Adani announced it had agreed to the deal.

A week of warring among Labor factions was sparked when details of Ms Palaszczuk's original agreement with the company surfaced.
Under that deal, Adani would have had pay only $2 million a year over the first seven years of the mine's operation, which could have cost Queensland taxpayers up to $320 million.

No details of the new deal were available due to commercial reasons, an Adani spokesman told AAP on Tuesday evening. "The royalties arrangement means the project is back on track to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland," the company said in a statement. "This shows a strong commitment by the state government to the project and is a benchmark decision to take this project forward."

The board of Adani's parent company will consider the deal at its next meeting, the statement said.

On Saturday, Ms Palaszczuk said her government had worked "night and day" to finalise the new framework, but denied she had backflipped on a previous deal she had struck with the firm.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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



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Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

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."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"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: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

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.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"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

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

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

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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