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

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

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

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

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31 March, 2011

Warmists jittery about Berkeley project

They say that the Muller team findings will make "no difference" to the temperature record but are clearly critical nonetheless. They are so defensive that now they even say that thermometer readings are irrelevant! -- LOL!

An effort by a handful of UC Berkeley scientists to reexamine temperature data underlying global warming research has landed in the center of a national political debate over government regulation.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study is led by physicist Richard Muller, a longtime critic of the scientific consensus on climate change, who plans to testify on the effort Thursday before the House Science Committee in the latest of several congressional inquiries on climate science since the GOP majority was seated.

The Berkeley project's biggest private backer, with $150,000, is the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are the nation's most prominent funders of efforts to prevent curbs on fossil-fuel burning, the biggest contributor to planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Temperature data from tens of thousands of weather stations across the globe, many of which have incomplete records, are "very contentious," Muller said in an interview. "The skeptics are raising legitimate concerns."

Leading climate scientists, however, say the three most in-depth temperature studies agree on the overall severity and pace of global warming. They worry that the Berkeley effort, and the hearing Thursday, will add to public confusion on a topic that is as politically polarized as it is scientifically complex.

Muller said Koch and other contributors will have no influence over the results. "We have no prejudice, no preconception of what we are going to get," he said, adding that the Koch donation was less than the $188,587 contributed by the federal Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where Muller is a senior scientist.

"Global warming is a serious problem," Muller said in a lecture at UC Berkeley last week. "But people simply don't believe the story anymore because the story was exaggerated.... Not a single polar bear has died because of receding ice."

The Berkeley study comes as efforts to curb planet-heating emissions from industrial plants and motor vehicles are under attack in Congress. The Supreme Court in 2007 said the Environmental Protection Agency could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but Republicans and coal-state Democrats, citing uncertainty over the science, are sponsoring legislation to thwart that effort.

Temperature data were the focus of the so-called 2009 Climategate controversy, in which opponents of greenhouse gas regulation alleged that leaked emails from a British climate laboratory showed manipulation of weather station records. Five U.S. and British government and university investigations have refuted the charges.

The Berkeley effort is hardly new. Over the last two decades, three independent scientific groups have analyzed international data from thousands of weather stations. Using different combinations of stations and varying statistical methods, all have come to nearly identical conclusions: The planet's surface, on average, has warmed about 0.75 degrees centigrade (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since the beginning of the 20th century.

Scientists involved in those studies said they would welcome new peer-reviewed research, but they contend that Muller is violating scientific protocol by publicizing his project, underway for months, before it produces any vetted scientific papers.

"I am highly skeptical of the hype and claims," said Kevin Trenberth, who heads the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a university consortium. "The team has some good people but not the expertise required in certain areas, and purely statistical approaches are naive. I suspect they have an agenda."

The Koch donation, to many, confirms those suspicions. "Why would a scientist accept funding from an organization with no interest in advancing the science?" asked Benjamin Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Muller said his team would submit to peer-reviewed journals data that "measure the warming with more precision than in the past." He acknowledged that his study could find that issues raised by skeptics have only a "marginal effect" on temperature estimates. "Don't expect any huge surprises," he warned. "The surprises may be in the fine tuning."

Muller and many of those who question the temperature data are drawn to the "urban heat island" phenomenon, maintaining that gauges may be registering latent heat from asphalt, concrete and other urban features. Over time, some weather stations that once recorded temperatures in rural areas have been surrounded by cities and suburbs.

The Berkeley project is analyzing information from 39,000 stations —five times as many as the other groups, Muller said — and will address the fact that temperature data have been recorded at varying times of day.

The project also will put its calculations on the Internet in a "transparent" way, Muller said. Other scientists, he said, "put homogenized data online. They don't put up the [software] tools that get you from the raw data to the homogenized data. How do they pick the [weather station] sites? That involves human judgment."

Peter Thorne, a leading expert on temperature data at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said the three main data sets by the NOAA, NASA and Britain's Hadley Centre adjust for the heat island effect, as well as for measurements at different times of day. Muller's use of 39,000 weather stations, he said, "will make next to no difference" in the final result.

Thorne said the data and computer code for the NASA analysis have been publicly online for five years, while NOAA's data and code have been online for three years. Most of the British center's data are online, except for information shared on a confidential basis by commercial groups, and the code is available, he said.

Thorne said he was unsurprised by the Berkeley project's focus on temperature data. "For those who wish to discredit the science, this record is the holy grail," he said. "They figure if they can discredit this, then society would have significant doubts about all of climate science."

But temperature is only one indicator of global warming, Thorne said. "Even if the thermometer had never been invented, the evidence is there from deep ocean changes, from receding glaciers, from rising sea levels and receding sea ice and spring snow cover. All the physical indicators are consistent with a warming world. "There is no doubt the trend of temperature is upwards since the early 20th century. And that trend is accelerating."


Another Warmist retreat

Something else left out of the "models"

Some cheerful news on the climate change front today, as US government boffins report that ice breaking off the Antarctic shelves and melting in the sea causes carbon dioxide to be removed from the environment. This powerful, previously unknown "negative feedback" would seem likely to revise forecasts of future global warming significantly downwards.

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) which funded the iceberg study, describes the results as having "global implications for climate research".

"These new findings... confirm that icebergs contribute yet another, previously unsuspected, dimension of physical and biological complexity to polar ecosystems," says Roberta Marinelli, director of the NSF's Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program.

A team of NSF-funded scientists examined the effects on an area of the Weddell Sea of a large (20 mile long) berg moving through, melting as it went and diluting the salty sea water - also adding key nutrients carried from the land. They found that after the iceberg had passed, levels of CO2 had plunged and much more chlorophyll was present. Chlorophyll is the substance in green plants which lets them suck in nasty CO2 and emit precious life-giving oxygen: in the Weddell Sea it was present in phytoplankton, tiny seagoing plantoids which are thought to account for half the carbon removed from the atmosphere globally.

The scientists say that more and more icebergs are set to be found in the seas around the Anatarctic as more ice breaks off the shelves attached to the peninsula which reaches up from the polar continent towards South America. This should mean more phytoplankton and thus less CO2.

The iceberg team consider that the increased number of bergs coming from the western Antarctic is the result of warming temperatures in the region, though recent research from British boffins has suggested that in fact other factors may be in play - at least in the case of the Pine Island Glacier, one of the major sources of sea ice in that area.

If the phytoplankton-boosting effect of the bergs is as big as the NSF appears to be suggesting, however, it would seem that any carbon-driven temperature rise could be at least partly self-correcting.

Increased iceberg shedding would seem likely to be seen mainly or only around the western peninsula: antarctic sea ice shelves elsewhere are actually growing, not shrinking, and at such a rate as to outweigh the peninsular losses. The past three decades have seen the south-polar ice sheets grow by 300,000 square kilometres overall.

The NSF study was originally published in the journal Deep Sea Research Part II (subscription required). It was flagged up more recently in Nature Geoscience's top picks (again, subscription link). The NSF also has a statement here.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Scientist Predicts New Ice Age

On the heels of the pronouncement by one of the gurus of global warming that any decrease in the earth’s temperature could be a thousand years away, another scientist has stepped forward with the warning that a new Ice Age could be right around the corner.

Professor Tim Flannery, the head of Australia’s Climate Change Commission, sparked the latest scandal in the global warming community when he recently declared, "If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet's not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years."

As reported previously for The New American, Prof. Flannery has endeavored to ameliorate the effects of his comment by claiming that temperatures would begin to drop by the end of the century, but his millenarian prognostications served to highlight the ineffectiveness — even insignificance — of the proposed draconian reductions in the world’s industrial activity.

However, if George Kukla is correct, the cooling which Flannery and his cohorts desire may be coming in spades. Kukla, a retired professor of paleoclimatology at Columbia University, believes the Earth is no overdue for an Ice Age. An article by Terrence Aym (“Prepare for new Ice Age now says top paleoclimatologist”) at sets forth some of Kukla’s argument:
The "Earth has experienced an ongoing cycle of ice ages dating back millions of years. Cold, glacial periods affecting the polar to mid-latitudes persist for about 100,000 years, punctuated by briefer, warmer periods called interglacials," Kukla says.

Co-author of an important section of the book "Natural Climate Variability on Decade to Century Time Scales," Kukla asserts all Ice Ages strat [sic] with a period of global warming. They are the the harbingers of new Ice Ages. Actually, he explains, warming is good. Ice Ages are deadly and may even kill millions.

Can Mankind stop it? No. Just as humanity cannot affect the long term climate of the planet, neither can it stop an Ice Age from happening. The climate is primarly [sic] driven by the sun.

Kukla has been warning of the possibility of new Ice Age for some time, and the cycle which he and other scientists believe may drive the process of climate change has been observed since at least the 1920s. Eleven years ago, Kukla gave a brief summary of his view on the cause of climate change for an article published by the Columbia University News:
In fact, the geologic record reveals that Earth has experienced an ongoing cycle of ice ages dating back millions of years. Cold, glacial periods affecting the polar to mid-latitudes persist for about 100,000 years, punctuated by briefer, warmer periods called interglacials. The Holocene is just another interglacial that is more than half over, Kukla said.

It turns out that this ongoing cycle of glaciation closely matches cyclic variations in Earth's orbit around the sun, leading many researchers to conclude that orbit drives glaciation. This correspondence between orbit and climate is called the Milankovich cycle, after the scientist who analyzed and popularized it in the 1920s.

"I feel we're on pretty solid ground in interpreting orbit around the sun as the primary driving force behind ice-age glaciation. The relationship is just too clear and consistent to allow reasonable doubt," Kukla said. "It's either that, or climate drives orbit, and that just doesn't make sense."

Kukla claims that 116,000 years have passed since the last Ice Age; therefore, if the theory is correct, Earth would be overdue for global cooling.

Of course, Kukla is not the only advocate of a theory of a new Ice Age; the difference between him and some very prominent promoters of the theory is that his model does not recognize any connection between such an event and human activity. Obama’s science ‘czar,’ John Holdren, coauthored a book with Paul Ehrlich in 1971 predicting that “global over-population was heading the Earth to a new ice age unless the government mandated urgent measures to control population, including the possibility of involuntary birth control measures such as forced sterilization.” Now, the doom and gloom crowd have completely reversed their assessment of the disaster which they claim will soon befall the human race, but the “solution” remains the same: Devastate the human species.

As the global warming theory has withered under public scrutiny in the aftermath of the Climategate and Glaciergate scandals, the theory’s proponents have been dashing around looking for a way to push their agenda. Last year, Holdren tried to adjust the language of the climate change debate by promoting a new terminology of “global climate disruption.” The cultivated ambiguity of Holdren’s new phraseology permits virtually any anomalous weather activity to constitute “proof” of their theory—rendering the theory incapable of being falsified, which is usually a fine indicator of pseudoscience.

Thus, Kukla’s theory of a new Ice Age is utterly different from the Holdren/Ehrlich’s “new Ice Age” of the 1970s, or the “global warming” scare which has predominated in the circles of scientific apocalypticism in recent decades. If Kukla is right, the Ice Age will come according to its own schedule, and there’s nothing that the human race can do about it—except, of course, for enjoying the brief warming that precedes the big chill.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Tree ring data unreliable

The guys below are tree ring experts and even though they are Warmists, they have to admit how difficult it is to draw any firm conclusions from such data

Tree rings are a good place to start thinking about how climate researchers get information about past climates. In certain cases, trees can live for many hundreds of years and in an extraordinary case, like the bristlecone pine, thousands of years! Each year trees add growth rings, which can indicate what sort of growing season the tree experienced. Interestingly these rings are more than a temperature indicator, they also tell the researcher about moisture and cloudiness as well.

Dendrochronology is the study of climate change as recorded by tree growth rings. Each year, trees add a layer of growth between the older wood and the bark. This layer, or ring as seen in cross section, can be wide, recording a wet season, or narrow, recording a dry growing season. Because the rings are basically recording a good growing season or a bad growing season, they are indirectly recording more than just moisture. They also document temperature and cloud cover as they impact tree growth as well. This record of annual summer information is very important when you consider that certain types of trees grow slowly over hundreds and hundreds of years, and therefore contain a record of as many years of climate and climate change.

There are limitations to this research though. Trees in the temperate zone only record the growing season, so the winter season, no matter how dramatic, will not be seen in the ring record. Interestingly, trees in tropical regions grow year round and therefore show no real obvious annual growth rings. Therefore climate data from equatorial areas is difficult to piece out and use. The record is limited geographically in another way too. Trees do not grow in all places on Earth, therefore we don’t have a tree ring record of climate change for each region and ecologic niche globally. (No trees in polar regions, high in the mountains, in the ocean!!!)

In order to know more about climate over an even longer period of time, in some cases thousands of years, it is possible to look at dead trees of an unknown age that are still well preserved. One can correlate their rings to the rings of a living tree (whose age you know), and get a longer record of climate through time. An amazing example of this is the tree ring chronologies established by looking at bristlecone pines through time. Not only are bristlecone pines the longest lived trees on earth, they also live in a place where, even when they do die, they are well preserved over hundreds or thousands of years. We can therefore look at a living bristlecone, take its ring record , then look at a dead tree and see where the rings match up. In this way, scientists have established a ring record that records climate signals for over 9,000 years into the past.

Dendrochronology is currently still in its scientific infancy – there are many problems in the use of tree rings, particularly because the growth of tree rings can be impacted by many issues - not just rainfall amount, temperature, and cloud cover – but also by wind, soil properties, disease, or even pollution. These issues can certainly impact tree ring growth and cloud the scientific record. Fortunately, scientists are gaining new insight in the reading and use of tree rings, and hope that they can be used to help understand whether global warming has any precedent in the ring record of the past 1,000 years.


‘Ozone hole’ shenanigans were the warm-up act for ‘Global Warming’

Dr. Wil Happer of Princeton wrote
“The Montreal Protocol to ban freons was the warm-up exercise for the IPCC. Many current IPCC players gained fame then by stampeding the US Congress into supporting the Montreal Protocol. They learned to use dramatized, phony scientific claims like “ozone holes over Kennebunkport” (President Bush Sr’s seaside residence in New England). The ozone crusade also had business opportunities for firms like Dupont to market proprietary “ozone-friendly” refrigerants at much better prices than the conventional (and more easily used) freons that had long-since lost patent protection and were not a cheap commodity with little profit potential” (link).

Even James Lovelock agrees. James Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the chemical and physical environment. He later became concerned that global warming would upset the balance and leave only the arctic as habitable. He began to move off this position in 2007 suggesting that the Earth itself is in “no danger” because it would stabilize in a new state.

James Lovelock’s reaction to first reading about the leaked CRU emails in late 2009 was one of a true scientist.
“I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn’t want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They’re not like that nowadays. They don’t give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: “Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work.” That’s no way to do science.

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.

Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science. I’m not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It’s the one thing you do not ever do. You’ve got to have standards.”

On a March 2010 Guardian interview, Lovelock opined
“The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing...We do need skepticism about the predictions about what will happen to the climate in 50 years, or whatever. It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.”

Will Happer further elaborated
“The Montreal Protocol may not have been necessary to save the ozone, but it had limited economic damage. It has caused much more damage in the way it has corrupted science. It showed how quickly a scientist or activist can gain fame and fortune by purporting to save planet earth. We have the same situation with CO2 now, but CO2 is completely natural, unlike freons. Planet earth is quite happy to have lots more CO2 than current values, as the geological record clearly shows. If the jihad against CO2 succeeds, there will be enormous economic damage, and even worse consequences for human liberty at the hands of the successful jihadists.”


The ozone hole has not closed off after we banned CFCs. See this story in Nature about how the Consensus about the Ozone Hole and Man’s Role (with CFCs) May Be Falling Apart.

The size of the hole has hardly changed since 1990
“As the world marks 20 years since the introduction of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, Nature has learned of experimental data that threaten to shatter established theories of ozone chemistry. If the data are right, scientists will have to rethink their understanding of how ozone holes are formed and how that relates to climate change. Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, did a double-take when he saw new data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2). The rate of photolysis (light-activated splitting) of this molecule reported by chemists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California1, was extremely low in the wavelengths available in the stratosphere - almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

“This must have far-reaching consequences,” Rex says. “If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being.” What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear.

Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate, but the conundrum is already causing much debate and uncertainty in the ozone research community. “Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart,” says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. “Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely,” agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. “Now suddenly it’s like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge.”


Yet like the cultists whose spacecraft didn’t arrive on the announced date, the government scientists find ways to postpone it and save their reputations (examples “Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a Johns Hopkins earth scientist suggests” here and “Scientists Find Antarctic Ozone Hole to Recover Later than Expected” here.
“The warmers are getting more and more like those traditional predictors of the end of the world who, when the event fails to happen on the due date, announce an error in their calculations and a new date.”

Dr. John Brignell, Emeritus Engineering Professor at the University of Southampton, on Number Watch (May 1) PDF

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Three articles below

How big an effect on world temperature will Australia's proposed carbon tax have?

Lord Monckton has been kind enough to give me the straight answer that Flannery et al will not - and his answer explains exactly Flannery's embarrassed silence:

Q. What is the central estimate of the anthropogenic global warming, in Celsius degrees, that would be forestalled by 2020 if a) Australia alone and b) the whole world cut carbon emissions stepwise until by 2020 they were 5% below today's emissions?

Answer a). Australia accounts for (at most) 1.5% of global carbon emissions. A stepwise 5% cut by 2020 is an average 2.5% cut from now till then. CO2 concentration by 2020, taking the IPCC's A2 scenario, will be 412 parts per million by volume, compared with 390 ppmv now. So Man will have added 22 ppmv by 2020, without any cuts in emissions. The CO2 concentration increase forestalled by almost a decade of cap-and-tax in Australia would thus be 2.5% of 1.5% of 22 ppmv, or 0.00825 ppmv. So in 2020 CO2 concentration would be 411.99175 ppmv instead of 412 ppmv.

So the proportionate change in CO2 concentration if the Commission and Ms. Gillard got their way would be 411.99175/412, or 0.99997998. The IPCC says warming or cooling, in Celsius degrees, is 3.7-5.7 times the logarithm of the proportionate change: central estimate 4.7. Also, it expects only 57% of manmade warming to occur by 2100: the rest would happen slowly and harmlessly over perhaps 1000 years (that's the real meaning of Flannery's 1000-year point, and it doesn't do him any favours).

So the warming forestalled by cutting Australia's emissions would be 57% of 4.7 times the logarithm of 0.99997998: that is - wait for it, wait for it - a dizzying 0.00005 Celsius, or around one-twenty-thousandth of a Celsius degree. Your estimate of a thousandth of a degree was a 20-fold exaggeration - not that Flannery was ever going to tell you that, of course.

Answer b) . Mutatis mutandis, we do the same calculation for the whole world, thus:

2.5% of 22 ppmv = 0.55 ppmv. Warming forestalled by 2020 = 0.57 x 4.7 ln[(412-0.55)/412] < 0.004 Celsius, or less than four one-thousandths of a Celsius degree, or around one-two-hundred-and-eightieth of a Celsius degree. And that at a cost of trillions. Whom the gods would destroy .

If you'd like chapter and verse from the IPCC's documents and from the peer-reviewed for every step of this calculation, which takes full account of and distils down the various complexities and probabilities Flannery flannelled about, you'll find it in this paper.

A cautionary note: the warming forestalled will only be this big if the IPCC's central estimate of the rate at which adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes warming is correct. However, it's at least a twofold exaggeration and probably more like fourfold. So divide both the above answers by, say, 3 to get what will still probably be an overestimate of the warming forestalled.


Greenie thinking converts an otherwise decent man into a Fascist

EVERY Australian family should be limited to just two children to curb the population explosion, controversial millionaire Dick Smith says. He called for a China-like quota on the number of kids, warning the growing burden on our resources was like "a plague of locusts".

Likening high-rise apartments to chicken coops, the former Australian of the Year thanked property developers at an Urban Taskforce population debate in Sydney for "not lynching" him after he attacked their drive for profits and called for an end to the growth addiction.

"It's either going to be forced on us or we are going to plan to stabilise," Mr Smith said. "I would like to see Australia stabilise at 24 to 25 million. I don't see it by force I see it by saying to parents, it's best to have two kids. I see us having an immigration intake of 70,000 per year."

Unaffordable land prices left generations of children stuck in apartments, he said. "We descended from hunter gatherers - not from termites," Mr Smith said. "We are putting our kids into high-rise because we are running out of land, because people want and need to live close to the city. We pay $50 million a year for free range eggs for our bloody chooks to be free range - what about our kids? I was a free range kid. I had a backyard. We are starting to lose that now, and it's only driven by the huge population increases."

Population growth had to slow to allow housing to become affordable again, he said, warning bad handling could lead to a recession.

Mr Smith called for an end to "stealing resources" from future generations. "We have to decide - are we like locusts that breed to huge numbers and then die off? Or are we like the majority of other magnificent natural creatures in this country which have lived in balance for millions of years?" he said.

" We have to decide we're going to live in balance or breed up and die off. There are people who say we will get to 9.1 billion and one enormous catastrophe will wipe out most of the people and if that's going to happen enjoy the advantages now. That might not happen."

Mr Smith said the economic system was built on "perpetual exponential growth". "We are completely addicted to growth. It's like the religion of capitalism but it is a false God," he said

MacroPlan economist Brian Haratsis called Mr Smith alarmist and "using scare tactics" He said population debate in Australia had been stolen by "anti-growth people with a Green sentiment". "We can triple the population of Australia if we want to and we wouldn't use much land. You only have to jump in a plane to Sydney and fly to Perth and what do you see? Not much."

Mr Haratsis said a population of 40 million was inevitable and that "the only choice is if we want a really big Australia of 40 million to 80 million".


Dam good invention the answer to our dry land's problem

I HAVE a brilliant idea for water management in Australia. What this dry continent needs is a way of storing and reticulating water to vast numbers of people in cities. I have come up with an invention that I call a "dam".

Let's build these "dams" outside each major city so that water might be stored and drawn down upon when needed. It's so simple and so cheap I cannot believe that no one in government or the bureaucracy has thought of it before. It sure would save a lot of money.

There are by my count six desalination plants either recently completed or under construction in Australia.

These things can cost in excess of $5 billion plus financing and operating costs. A "dam" on the other hand can store and deliver vastly more water at a cost of say $2bn. There, I've just saved the taxpayer $3bn and that's on a single project.

Of course, my idea for a "dam" is not new; I have nicked it from history. The last dam built to supply Sydney was the Tallowa completed in 1976 when the metropolitan population was 3.1 million.

Some 35 years later Sydney's population has expanded by 1.5 million, or 48 per cent, and there's no plan to add another dam for at least another decade, if ever.

This is extremely odd. I do not recall a conversation let alone a furious public debate about the management of Sydney's, or any other major Australian city's, water future.

At what point over the last three decades was a decision made that no new dams should be built and that future water supplies should be based on more expensive options such as desalination plants and/or pipelines?

Other cities are in much the same position: Melbourne has added 1.2 million since the completion of the Thomson Dam in 1984 and Brisbane has added 1 million since the Wivenhoe was completed also in 1984.

I have never understood the anti-dam lobby's argument that "why build a dam when it will never fill?" So, if this was the case and we had two dams both at 20 per cent capacity then doesn't this deliver twice the water security of one dam at 20 per cent?

I do understand that the construction of a dam will have a detrimental environmental impact. But environmental impact statements articulate the negatives. They never properly account for the positives associated with a dam.

And, yes, there are positives. More water for an urban population allows householders to develop gardens which attract birdlife and contribute more generally to what environmentalists call "the urban forest". I'm all for urban forests -- let's deliver the water these forests need to flourish and in so doing deliver quality of life to millions.

Do environmental impact statements incorporate the health costs of old people struggling with "bucket back" caused by watering restrictions? What about the psychological impact on those who fret about not having enough water for their gardens? No, not relevant?

Another dam has not been built in Brisbane's Lockyer Valley since the Wivenhoe which in turn was partially a flood mitigation device following the 1974 floods. How much water would have been retained by a second dam had it been built in say the late 1990s or early 2000s? What degree of calamity might have been averted by the existence of such a dam?

Surely flood mitigation is a positive impact of a dam. And what is the response of those whose influential water reports of the 1990s and the 2000s argued that we cannot rely on regular rainfall in the future to fill dams? Do these experts now concede that they got it wrong? If you got it wrong then why should we rely on your advice that we should not build dams in the future?

I might add that my argument in support of dams is not entirely in the interests of the property industry. Which do you think the property industry would prefer if it was purely self-interested: a desalination plant costing $5bn or a dam at $2bn?

The Australian people are indebted to the anti-dam lobby for forcing behavioural change with regard to water usage over the past 30 years: we have evolved a long way from water profligacy. But there comes a point in a city's growth when practical and hard-headed decisions need to be taken.

We haven't built a dam to service Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for a generation. We've had a dam-building hiatus and we've moderated our water usage, now it's time to build cost-efficient dams.

Or at the very least let's have a conversation about the subject rather than allowing various levels of government to solely pursue less efficient and more expensive alternatives such as pipelines and desalination plants.

There may well be a place for these "insurances" against another decade-long drought in the future, but we also need to be considering dams as a way of delivering baseload water supplies for our biggest cities in the 21st century.



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


30 March, 2011

New paper asserts atmospheric water vapour modulates incoming solar energy and is a negative feedback

Semi-retired physicist Dr. Daniel M. Sweger has been a research scientist at NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology], where he was active in a variety of research areas, including cryogenic thermometry, solid state and nuclear physics, and molecular spectroscopy.

His new paper, Earth’s Climate Engine (876 Kb PDF) is now available for discussion. From the Executive Summary:

"… While models can be useful, the results must be compared to actual measurements, i.e. data. Data is the language of science, but little has been done in that regard with the climate change models.

It is the premise of the author that water vapor is the dominant influence in determining and understanding global climate. Water vapor is much more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and its physical properties make it more important as well. During daylight hours it moderates the sun’s energy, at night it acts like a blanket to slow the loss of heat, and it carries energy from the warm parts of the earth to the cold. Compared to that, if carbon dioxide has any effect it must be negligible. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of water vapor on climate.

Detailed calculations and analysis of data from several locations clearly demonstrate that the effect of water vapor on temperature dominates any proposed effect of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, it is clear from the data presented that water vapor acts with a negative feedback on temperature, not a positive one. That is, the data demonstrate that increasing the level of water vapor in the atmosphere results in a decrease of temperature, not an increase as predicted by the climate models. In essence, atmospheric water vapor acts as a thermostat.

These results call into question the validity of using the results of the current general climate change models, particularly as the basis for policy decision making."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global warming is creating perfect crop conditions

The article below uses "global warming" rather provocatively -- deliberately, I think. There has been no recent warming. What is actually assisting crop growth is higher levels of CO2 -- but that is anathema to Warmists also

The news media are flush with stories claiming global warming is crushing global crop production. According to the media, global warming is putting the hurt on two of our favorite indulgences – coffee and beer. For the more globally conscious (or less caffeinated/less inebriated) among us, the media are also focusing attention on an alleged African corn crisis. A look at facts rather than alarmist speculation, however, shows global warming is strongly benefiting nearly all global crops, including coffee, beer barley, and African corn.

Without a doubt, global warming is affecting global crop production. The tremendous improvement in global crop production and worldwide growing conditions during recent decades is one of the most important yet least reported news events of our time. As the earth continues to recover from the abnormally cold conditions of the centuries-long Little Ice Age, warmer temperatures, improving soil moisture, and more abundant atmospheric carbon dioxide have helped bring about a golden age for global agricultural production.

During the past decade, which alarmists claim is the warmest in recent history, record per-acre yields have been recorded for nearly every important U.S. crop. During the past five years alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, record per-acre yields have been registered for barley, beans, canola, corn, cotton, flaxseed, oats, peanuts, potatoes, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugarbeets, sunflowers, and wheat.

Global crop yields have also registered spectacular growth as global temperatures have warmed. Global grain harvests have nearly tripled since 1961. As is the case in the U.S., nearly every important global crop has attained record productivity during the past five years, including the Big Three corn, rice, and wheat crops.

Indeed, while the media claim global warming is threatening our morning coffee, farmers are preparing to harvest a record global coffee crop. While the media claim global warming is jeopardizing our beer bellies by harming barley production, U.S. farmers in 2009 netted their highest ever barley yield per acre. Claims that global warming is harming African corn production are the most ridiculous of all.

During the past decade, African nations have registered record harvests in a variety of crops, including corn and rice. Moreover, the modestly warming climate is stimulating more frequent and abundant rainfall which, together with more atmospheric carbon dioxide, is greening the African continent.

A March 2009 study in the peer-reviewed Biogeosciences reported the Sahel region of the southern Sahara Desert was growing greener, sending the Sahara desert into retreat. According to the study, “satellite sensors have recently shown that much of the region has experienced significant increases in photosynthetic activity since the early 1980s.” According to the study, more abundant rainfall was the most likely cause, more than compensating for higher evaporation rates due to modestly rising temperatures.

A July 2009 National Geographic News article confirmed the Biogeosciences study. “Emerging evidence is painting a very different scenario, one in which rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent,” National Geographic News reported.

“Scientists are now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall. If sustained, these rains could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities,” National Geographic News explained. “This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago,” the article noted.

A January 2007 study in the peer-reviewed science journal Geology explained the greening of Africa in a longer-term context. According to the study, much of Africa is currently “experiencing an unusually prolonged period of stable, wet conditions in comparison to previous centuries of the past millennium. … The patterns and variability of 20th century rainfall in central Africa have been unusually conducive to human welfare in the context of the past 1400 years.”

While alarmists cry about global warming and crop devastation, consumers in the real world have never had such an abundance of plenty.


Union of Soviet Socialist Europe to ban cars from cities by 2050

Cars will be banned from London and all other cities across Europe under a draconian EU masterplan to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 years..

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport. "That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."

The Association of British Drivers rejected the proposal to ban cars as economically disastrous and as a "crazy" restriction on mobility. "I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum," said Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the BDA. "If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker."

Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe's economic competitiveness. "Curbing mobility is not an option, neither is business as usual. We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win-win," he claimed.

Christopher Monckton, Ukip's transport spokesman said: "The EU must be living in an alternate reality, where they can spend trillions and ban people from their cars. "This sort of greenwashing grandstanding adds nothing and merely highlights their grandiose ambitions."


There He Goes Again: Mann Claims His Hockey Stick was Affirmed by the NAS

Spinmeister Michael Mann has fired off a reply to the editor of a newspaper which published an article critical of his work, again claiming his hockey stick graph, one of the most thoroughly discredited papers of the modern age, was affirmed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS):

"...the National Academy of Sciences, affirmed my research findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006 .."

The NAS report did nothing of the sort, and in fact validated all of the significant criticisms of McIntyre & McKitrick (M&M) and the Wegman Report:

Mann never mentions that a subsequent House Energy and Commerce Committee report chaired by Edward Wegman totally destroyed the credibility of the ‘hockey stick’ and devastatingly ripped apart Mann’s methodology as ‘bad mathematics’. Furthermore, when Gerald North, the chairman of the NAS panel -- which Mann claims ‘vindicated him’ – was asked at the House Committee hearings whether or not they agreed with Wegman’s harsh criticisms, he said they did:

CHAIRMAN BARTON: Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

DR. NORTH [Head of the NAS panel]: No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

DR. BLOOMFIELD [Head of the Royal Statistical Society]: Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

WALLACE [of the American Statistical Association]: ‘the two reports [Wegman's and NAS] were complementary, and to the extent that they overlapped, the conclusions were quite consistent.’

Mann uses the 5 rules of propaganda in his defense, including the rule of orchestration: endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations [e.g. the NAS gave my hockey stick a clean bill of health].

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australian Warmist says carbon reduction might take 1,000 years to have any effect on temperature

But now trying to backpedal from what he clearly said in a moment of foolish frankness when pushed on the issue

TONY Abbott has leapt on a declaration by Tim Flannery - Julia Gillard's hand-picked salesman for action on climate change - that emissions abatement is a 1000-year proposition to renew his attacks on Labor's proposed carbon tax.

And Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has distanced himself from Professor Flannery's concession last week that even if all carbon emissions stopped today, it would take 1000 years for the atmosphere's average temperatures to drop. While Professor Flannery, a paleontologist who is also the Prime Minister's chief climate change commissioner, has expanded on his comments to insist the need for action in climate is urgent, his admission in a radio interview on Friday has compromised Labor's sales pitch on its carbon tax.

In the radio interview, Professor Flannery said: "If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet's not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years."

In a letter to the editor of The Australian, submitted on Sunday, he expanded on the comments, saying his observation was not "an argument for complacency". But yesterday, as the role of the carbon tax in Labor's massive loss in the NSW election dominated federal political exchanges, Mr Abbott quoted Professor Flannery as he ridiculed the tax as "the ultimate millenium bug".

"It will not make a difference for 1000 years," the Opposition Leader told parliament. "So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years."

Mr Combet said through a spokeswoman that the Gillard government believed in the science of climate change and was determined to act. Asked whether Mr Combet backed Professor Flannery's comment, the spokeswoman said: "Professor Flannery is an independent person who leads an independent commission."

In his letter to The Australian, Professor Flannery wrote that if all major emitters adopted a similar level of effort to reach a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, and continued to "decarbonise" after that date, the global temperature rise would be capped at 2C later this century and that temperatures would begin to drop by the end of the century. "What we do in this decade will be crucial in determining whether we have a world we can live in at the end of the century."

Yesterday, Professor Flannery said he feared Mr Abbott had "quite wilfully misrepresented" his statements by failing to mention the letter. "I am extremely disappointed with the Leader of the Opposition," he told The Australian. "It is not responsible to delay action - that would cause future action to be more expensive. If nobody acts, we are in danger of seeing temperatures spiralling out of control . . . it is urgent we act this decade to lower emissions or we risk temperatures rising 4C this century."

He said both sides of politics had only eight years and nine months to deliver on the bipartisan commitment to lower Australia's carbon emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. This would require "calm deliberation of the best measures of achieving the best outcome for our country".


Time for rethink if climate cause is already lost: our energies may be better directed into planning for it

Writing from Australia, Peter Van Onselen does not dispute Warmist theory but asks what a rational response to it would be in the light of present-day realities

STOP and consider the following. In the next 20 years, China is expected to build 50,000 skyscrapers. That's the estimate from consultancy firm McKinsey's. It's a staggering figure.

I first heard this statistic at a recent In the Zone conference at the University of Western Australia.

The conference, co-sponsored by The Australian, focused on the economic reality that Western Australia is part of a region that will be the engine room of global growth in coming decades, and the opportunities that presented.

It's a time zone that takes in 70 per cent of the world's population and much of the expected development in the years ahead. The figures translate to 2500 skyscrapers each year, more than 200 every month, almost 50 a week.

Even for a country the size of China, with a population of more than 1.2 billion and an economic growth rate averaging more than 9 per cent for the past 20 years, it is hard to comprehend.

The definition of a skyscraper generally includes buildings more than 80m tall and can include residential and office towers. In the case of China's rapid development, it's a mix of the residential buildings needed to house the flood of migrants from rural areas into already overcrowded cities, and office blocks built to accommodate expanding financial centres. Two consequences are immediately apparent.

With that kind of development, it is no wonder the spot price for iron ore (the core material in the manufacture of steel) is so high, and with that, Australia's economic miracle is tied to development in China. Second, how can the world seriously expect to curb man-made climate change when development is so rapid?

The 50,000 skyscrapers in 20 years statistic is China's alone. Presumably there are at least fractional numbers of similar developments planned in other emerging economies. And then there is India, which many commentators say is likely to surpass China's economic expansion in the future. If that happens, these figures are just the beginning.

All up, the extent to which the underdeveloped world develops in coming decades means coal and iron ore will continue to be extensively used, and attempts to curb human-induced climate change will become more frivolous.

All the skyscrapers will need amenities and electrical power.

The issue of how to clean up energy use is made all the more real in the wake of Japan's disasters. Its nuclear reactor problems have set back nuclear energy as an alternative to dirty power for decades.

Although the move to renewables will continue, most experts accept there is no foreseeable point in time at which wind or solar power will be able to provide enough base-load power to support global cities. That means we will continue to pollute the atmosphere at a rapid rate as we develop.

It may be time to acknowledge that attempts to curb human-induced climate change are futile, and we would be better placed putting our energies into planning for it if, or when, it happens.

The fact Tim Flannery has admitted carbon abatement will take 1000 years to reduce temperatures is a sure sign we are trying to turn Titanic before hitting the iceberg without enough time to do so. (I suppose the counterargument is that, despite slow progress, we should still act quickly now because otherwise things will be much worse in future - and not just in 1000 years's time, but much sooner. If you're about to crash your car you should hit the brakes, even if some damage is unavoidable. But will China hit the brakes?) I think science will find a way to solve most of our problems. We should give it the best chance to do so.

We should support policies and funding structures that enable research and innovation. That means a competitive tax system that backs entrepeneurialism, an education revolution that does more than pacify parents by letting them know what's going on in schools, more funding for research universities, and government interference in the private sector kept to a minimum.

Australia will benefit from China's growth, but the environment won't be unaffected.

Facing up to this reality is the surest way we can grow while planning for any negative environmental effects that follow.



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


29 March, 2011

A Warmist response to "hide the decline"

Here it is. Rebuttal follows:
What does "hide the decline" refer to?

Phil Jones' email is often cited as evidence of an attempt to "hide the decline in global temperatures". This is incorrect. The decline actually refers to a decline in tree-ring density at certain high-latitude locations since 1960. However, Muller doesn't make this error - he clearly understands that global temperatures have been rising in recent decades as indicated by the instrumental record.

Tree-ring growth has been found to match well with temperature, and hence tree-ring width and density is used to plot temperature going back hundreds of years. However, tree-rings in some high-latitude locations diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. This is known as the "divergence problem". Consequently, tree-ring data in these high-latitude locations are not considered reliable after 1960 and should not be used to represent temperature in recent decades.

The expected deception above:

1). MOST if not all, the tree ring data used by Briffa and Jones was from "certain high-latitude locations". The impression created above that those records were of minor importance is therefore the reverse of the truth. They were central to the entire temperature reconstruction.

2). If the tree ring data diverge totally from the thermometer data over one time period, how do we know that they are a valid measure of temperature at all? We do not. They could well have diverged in earlier periods too. Yet it is precisely tree rings that Jones & Briffa rely on to portray earlier temperatures.

The "decline" did desperately need to be hidden -- as it shows that the entire temperature record for pre-thermometer days is based on an invalid measuring instrument and may therefore in fact be no record of pre-thermometer temperatures at all. And given the clash between Mann's hockeystick and known history, that doubt firms into a certainty.

Green eggs for Easter?

Sounds nauseating! (As well as pointless)

The White House announced Monday that this year’s Easter Egg Roll will be “more environmentally friendly,” including eggs made with wood certified by an environmental activist organization and packaging “to minimize waste and environmental impact.”

The press release issued by the White House states that the eggs will be produced in the United States from hardwood “certified” by the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization with a presence in 50 countries and a mission “to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.”

The “greener” packaging for the eggs – available in purple, pink, green and yellow – is made from paperboard certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The paperboard “uses no wood fibers from controversial sources” and the printed carton the egg comes in can be recycled. The packaging is also decorated with vegetable oil-based inks and water-based coatings.


Are environmentalists an obstacle to clean energy production?

The Obama administration has set a target of having 80 percent of America’s electricity come from “clean energy sources” by 2035, but ironically one of the biggest obstacles to this goal could come from within the environmental movement itself.

From coast to coast, efforts to build everything from wind farms to solar plants has run afoul of local environmental groups and the “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) phenomenon. Pro-environmental journals, such as the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, as well as business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have each cataloged this trend.

“Often, many of the same groups urging us to think globally about renewable energy are acting locally to stop the very same renewable energy projects that could create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Bill Kovacs, senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wrote in the introduction of the group’s recent “Project, No Project” report. “NIMBY activism has blocked more renewable projects than coal-fired power plants by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and using other long delay mechanisms, effectively bleeding projects dry of their financing.”

Recent examples include environmentalist lawsuits seeking to block construction of a solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert due to threats to the endangered desert tortoise and environmentalists suing to block the construction of a 75-wind turbine project in Nevada due to threats to local wildlife.

Rob Mrowka, an ecologist for Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, told The Ely Times of Ely, Nev., that a green energy project’s location sometimes outweighs considerations such as climate change.

“We’ve got environmentalists out there who are fighting with environmentalists over whether or not they want renewable wind power or they want to save the chicken,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe told The Daily Caller regarding Oklahoma environmentalists and their effort to block construction of wind farms because of how it could negatively affect prairie chickens.

Inhofe then charged that the environmentalists want to stop all energy production regardless of its source. “They don’t want us to exploit any of our resources, so then we have to go to the Middle East, and that causes the price of oil to go up, supply and demand,” Inhofe said.

The senator believes an apparent hostility to energy production lies behind the effort to push cap and trade through using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations targeting carbon emissions by farmers, manufacturers and power plants.

Inhofe’s legislation barring the EPA from regulating carbon emissions will come to the floor in the coming week. Similar legislation co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and Energy & Power subcommittee chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican, passed the House earlier this month.

Whitfield told TheDC that using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions only serves to encourage environmental lawsuits and aid environmental groups with fundraising. “I don’t believe they are being consistent when it comes down to reality,” Whitfield said.

The Environmental Defense Fund sought to rebut accusations that environmentalists have been hypocritical on green energy and sought to push the focus back on Inhofe and Whitfield.

EDF spokesman Tony Kreindler told TheDC that groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and individuals such as Inhofe have little credibility in criticizing environmentalists for being “hypocrites” on green energy.

“Every year they do what they can to hold up legislation that would make green energy more economical,” Kreindler said. “For one, the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill in the Congress last year that would have leveled the playing field between fossil fuels and cleaner fuels, and any attempt to put together similar legislation along those lines in the Senate. “To my knowledge, they have never supported any green energy bill in the Congress.”


Climate alarm is mass hysteria

The most vexing barrier to engaging in honest debate about climate change is that most climate change zealots have embraced their ideology absent any research that questions the one-sided dogma of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" in all its incomprehensible glory.

Al Gore says the world is doomed because of man-made global warming. Then, with like-minded grant-hungry climatologists (including chief cheerleader Dr. James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and social-engineering, left-wing politicians shilling for the cause, the lockstep media pushes this agenda down the throats of mankind, ever mindless of even one iota of contrary fact or opinion.

While our planet undeniably heats and cools in periods of fluctuation ---- think 9th century Medieval Warm Period and 17th century Little Ice Age, for example ---- there is absolutely no scientific evidence that any of history's climate fluctuations have been due to man's influence.

In fact, scientists can no more accurately predict long-range future climate shifts than they can predict earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought; in the same way science cannot definitively account for past ice ages, meteor strikes or the Big Bang. Theories, yes; facts, no.

I have tried to learn both sides of the argument and am convinced beyond a doubt that Gore and his ilk are foisting history's greatest fraud upon mankind.

I'm not alone. There are countless highly respected scientists and climatologists who refute the "findings" of the climate change lobby. One, Dr. Roy Spencer, is an undisputed expert in climate research, a former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA and co-developer of the original satellite method for monitoring global temperatures.

In his book, "The Great Global Warming Blunder," Spencer writes, "… at some point in the future we will realize that the fear of catastrophic climate change was the worst case of mass hysteria the world has ever known."

When a climate change zealot embraces an ideology without performing even a minuscule amount of counter investigation, the value of his or her opinion is worthless


Former Leftist voters in the Australian State of NSW 'spooked' by carbon tax

Leading to a landslide loss for the Left in the recent election

JULIA Gillard's carbon tax may have saved two high-profile NSW ministers from a Greens' assault in inner Sydney, but the move exacerbated the revolt against the 16-year-old Labor regime in its own heartland.

In western and southern Sydney, mining areas and long-established industrial towns, factory workers, two-car families and low-income households swung more heavily against Labor than the NSW average.

Echoing their federal leader Tony Abbott, incoming Coalition MPs in NSW argue that traditional Labor voters were spooked by the prospect of job losses, higher petrol prices and rising household power bills from a carbon tax.

"The people of Bathurst sent the federal Labor government a strong message on Saturday: they are opposed to a carbon tax," victorious Nationals Paul Toole told The Australian.

Mr Toole secured a 36.6 per cent swing, the state's highest, to win the seat, three hours' drive west of Sydney. The electorate is home to coalminers, factory hands, power workers and farmers, and takes in regional towns such as Bathurst and Lithgow.

"An electorate dependent on mining and manufacturing was worried about job losses and that a rise in petrol and electricity costs would severely affect their quality of life," he said. "There are many rural communities in Bathurst, too, fearing a threat of higher fuel prices under a carbon tax."

The swing in 14 manufacturing seats lost by the ALP on Saturday was 21.4 per cent, compared with the state-wide movement of 17 per cent, with some of the highest voter shifts recorded in outer-Sydney factory hubs such as Smithfield, Riverstone, Mulgoa and Camden.

After the 2007 NSW poll, Labor held 27 of the top 30 seats ranked by proportion of manufacturing workers; that number is now 13, with Labor seats such as Wollongong, south of Sydney, and Toongabbie, in the city's northwest, now on tiny margins.

Last week, BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe warned that a carbon price could be a "tipping point" for the steel industry, which could fail to survive in Australia in 20 years under the wrong carbon pricing plan. In the NSW steel-belt, the swing against Labor was 24.5 per cent in Wollongong and 17.3 per cent in nearby Keira.

During the campaign, Barry O'Farrell was aided by Mr Abbott and drive-time radio announcers in raising the prospect of higher petrol prices and inadequate compensation for families from the Prime Minister's carbon tax, which is scheduled to begin in July next year.

The anti-Labor swing was even higher in the 20 seats that have the highest proportion of households with two or more cars. Labor lost 10 seats in these car-dependent electorates, with an average swing of 22 per cent.

Commuter electorates far from Sydney's CBD, such as Riverstone (30 per cent) in the north and Menai (27.5 per cent) in the south, recorded particularly large swings against Labor.

But in inner-west electorates, Labor sources say the carbon tax played a significant role in shoring up support among progressive voters who had lost heart with the party's inaction on climate change.

In Marrickville, retained by Labor's Carmel Tebbutt, the swing against the outgoing health minister was only 5.3 per cent.

"Hard-core Labor voters were looking for a reason to stick with Labor and Carmel's personal appeal and Gillard's carbon tax certainly helped," says a Labor insider. "As did the Greens candidate's mistakes."

In Balmain, the voter shift away from Verity Firth appeared to be even less than in neighbouring Marrickville, but it may not be enough to stave off defeat for the former education minister in a seat with a 3.5 per cent margin that has become a three-horse race in a tricky count.

These inner-urban voters, who have the highest rates of public transport use in NSW and very low levels of car ownership, and tend to live in smaller homes, seemed less perturbed about the threat of higher petrol and power costs.

The federal Opposition Leader told a special sitting of parliament yesterday that Labor's "toxic carbon tax" would add $500 to household power bills.

"Nothing could be more calculated to have sabotaged the NSW Labor government's re-election campaign than this utterly maladroit intervention by . . . a Prime Minister who wants to inflict a toxic tax on the people of Australia - a tax which is not only toxic to families' standard of living and not only toxic to jobs in manufacturing industries but utterly toxic to the re-election campaign."

Ms Gillard yesterday rejected the idea that Labor's heavy defeat in NSW was due to a backlash against the looming carbon tax.

"Let's just be a little bit practical about this; we're talking about a state election after 16 years," she said. "I think NSW voters had made up their mind a long time ago and I don't think that they made up their mind on the basis of events in the last few weeks."


Australian Climate Commission shirks debate

Bob Carter reports on the expected wriggling

Last Friday night, five of Australia’s six Climate Commissioners participated in the Commission’s first public consultation meeting in Geelong. They were Tim Flannery, Will Steffen, Lesley Hughes (all scientists), Roger Beale (environmental policy analyst) and Gerry Hueston (businessman); Commissioner Susannah Elliott (science communication) was not in attendance.

Australia already has an expensive federal Ministry of Climate Change, so why do we also need a new Climate Commission? Good question. The terms of reference of the Climate Commission are to:

* Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia.

* Report on the progress of international action dealing with climate change.

Explain the purpose and operation of a carbon price and how it may interact with the Australian economy and communities.
Interestingly, only one of these terms of reference concerns science. Of course, if there is no science problem then by definition there is no economic or political problem. So the inclusion of two economic and political terms of reference indicates that the government’s view is that “the science is settled” – which won’t surprise anyone.

Similarly unsurprising, but nonetheless disappointing, is that all five of the Commissioners who attended the Geelong meeting manifested an alarmist view of global warming and its speculated human cause – industrial carbon dioxide emissions --- rather than presenting as even-handed dispensers of scientific and technical truth.

The scientific background to the Geelong meeting is this. Within the bounds of error, average global temperature hasn’t increased since 1995 (15 years) and temperature has actually been falling slightly since 2001 (10 years). Meanwhile, over the last ten years atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased by 5%.

The conclusion is obvious. More carbon dioxide is not causing dangerous warming. Indeed, and despite it being an undoubted greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide emissions are not currently producing any measurable (as opposed to theoretical) warming at all.

There thus being no established scientific problem, about half of what the Climate Commissioners had to say in Geelong (about carbon dioxide taxes and related industry, employment and social issues) can be put aside – for it concerned non-solutions to a non-problem in aid of which has been proposed a non-justifiable new tax.

This leaves as the key issue the matter of what the Commissioners had to say about the scientific evidence for dangerous global warming. Perhaps they were going to share with us some new evidence or insights?

No such luck. What the audience got instead was a mish-mash of misinformation, much of it derived from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and discussion of which signally failed to distinguish between the undoubtedly real problems associated with natural climate change and the hypothetical problems that might or might not result from human-caused warming - should such ever manifest itself.

To begin with, the Commissioners consistent use of the word “carbon” when “carbon dioxide” was meant, and “climate change” when “dangerous global warming caused by human-carbon dioxide emissions” was meant, indicated the degree to which their views are aligned with the Greens’ carefully honed propaganda view of the world. Using this type of prejudicial language in any discussion on global warming is a litmus test for a lack of balance and perspective by the perpetrators.

Here is a small selection of some of the other incorrect technical statements, and their implications, that were made by the commissioners.

Assertion: Human-caused global warming is continuing, and we are in danger of seeing it augmented by positive feedback loops.

Reality: There is no direct evidence that the mild warming that occurred between 1979 and 1998 was mostly, or even measurably, a result of human carbon dioxide emissions, despite the pseudo-scientific assertion to that effect by the IPCC.

Second, there has been no global warming at all for the last 15 years despite, the operation throughout of the self-same feedback loops.

Assertion: Industrial carbon dioxide emissions are currently ~300 billion tonnes annually and they need to be limited to ~700 billion tonnes in future to stabilize the temperature at no more than 2 deg. C above the pre-industrial temperature.

Reality: There is no evidence that a 2 deg. C warming (which would take the planet back to about the temperature levels of the Climatic Optimum that occurred about 10,000 years ago) would be damaging for the environment, or for human activities in any substantial way that we couldn’t adapt to.

And, even should natural global warming resume in the future, as it very well may as part of a continuing bounce back from the hostile conditions of the Little Ice Age, there is no certainty that restricting carbon dioxide emissions will do anything to halt the rise. First, because of the diminishing warming effectiveness of every increment of carbon dioxide that is added to the atmosphere, and second because the assumed efficacy of limiting emissions to 700 billion tonnes is a projection of computer models that are known to be faulty.

Assertion: The Great Barrier Reef has experienced about 7-10 bleaching events since 1979. No bleaching events are known before this, and the events result when the ocean temperature SST rises about 1 deg. above the summer long term temperature. If we keep going, the reef will bleach every year by 2030.

Reality: Bleaching events on coral reefs are caused less by regional ocean warming per se than they are by the localised warming that occurs in areas and times of low wind conditions.

Bleaching events have been reported since 1979 because it is only after that date that a network of scientific observers was established on the reef. There is no evidence that any of these events was due to human activity, and to suggest that no similar natural events occurred before 1979 is silly.

In any case, the sea surface temperature of the Great Barrier Reef shows no change over the last 30 years, and the speculation that the reef will bleach every year by 2030 doubtless represents the projection of another of those legendary, and legendarily wrong, computer models.

In his introductory remarks to the Geelong meeting, Commission Chairman Tim Flannery stressed that his commission was independent from government direction, and was “determined not to deliver political spin”. Professor Flannery added that Australia “needs a clear, level-headed debate on the core issues” of the global warming matter.

Using those statements as criteria, how well did the Commission’s performance at Geelong stack up? Readers have probably instantly judged the answer to that question for themselves, but here’s my take.

First, and remembering that THE core issue is the scientific evidence regarding global warming, while Professor Flannery may want a clear debate, some of his commissioners deny that any debate exists, or has for 20 years; collectively, their attitudes also seem aimed at continuing to prevent one. Second, most of the examples of commissioners’ arguments discussed above may not represent “political spin” but they most certainly represent “scientific spin” of the most egregious type.

In essence, Australia’s new Climate Commissioners are simply peddling long discredited arguments about global warming that have been made for 15 years by the IPCC, all of which are carefully crafted to demonize human carbon dioxide emissions. Most of these arguments carry a political overtone, and most are espoused also by Australia’s current government, which makes it a little difficult to see how Professor Flannery is going to be able to exercise his Commission’s claimed independence.



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


28 March, 2011

Under the Cloak of ‘Climate Change’ childhoods are being sacrificed for political gain

'When asked to choose the 3 biggest threats to the world from a list of 9, the most common answer is terrorism, chosen by more than half (59%), followed by climate change (49%).' -- Extract from the results of a BBC survey of some 329 schools, with 24,000 respondents aged 11 to 16 years, published 24 March, 2011

So, if the survey has been well-conducted, approximately half of secondary-school children in the UK regard 'climate change' as one of the biggest threats facing the world. How can that be, given that nothing at all unusual has happened to any weather phenomena, including air temperatures, rainfall, storminess etc, and nor to commonly associated phenomena such as polar ice extents?

The answer, of course, is clear enough: very successful lobbying and publicising of the results of computer models programmed to give CO2 a large effect as a driver of climate using positive feedbacks. Given that CO2 levels have been rising, and are confidently expected to rise further, there is clearly the makings of a good scare story here.

However, neither the atmosphere itself nor many leading climate scientists, have been sufficiently convinced by these stories to, in the case of the atmosphere, display unusual behaviour, and in the case of the scientists, display alarm. Yet many others are alarmed, or find it convenient to act as if they are for the sake of political and other advantages. Finance houses, political parties, environmentalists, and development organisations have all seen substantial boosts to their incomes and/or their influence thanks to the widespread publicity given to such as the IPCC.

Many well-intentioned individuals and groups have no doubt been persuaded to 'do something' by all of this, and are even trying to get schoolchildren involved in political actions.

One such group is Norwich Education and Action for Development (NEAD), whose Windmill Project was reported upon this week in the Norwich Evening News

The headline, and the activities described look innocent enough. Since our climate has always changed and is no doubt still changing, children should be taught about it as part of their nature or geography or science studies. Who would not want that? The changes however are quite slow and hard to detect amidst the within-year variation, and so it is unlikely that this topic ought to be a major part of any curriculum for such a young age group. The problem though is that they may be being misled about climate risks, and that these in turn may be scaring them, and leading them into political roles which seem utterly unsuited to their tender years. On the NEAD site, one can find phrases such as this one:
'Most importantly, children are offered information about some of the solutions to problems related to climate change. This will give children the power to make informed decisions and allow them to move towards behavioural and attitudinal change.'

Primary school children have been visited by this group in the past. Although their teaching materials are not available to non-members on their site, my concerns that they may be the usual alarmist stuff are not allayed by listening to this song sung and partly composed by children at a NEAD event at a school in October last year:
'The Norfolk Flood Blues'

It is quite hard to make out all the words, but it seems to begin with stamping of feet in time to the music, while chanting
'Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood ...'

Later on, I think I heard these phrases (please email corrections or confirmations about these!):

'Water in my home, Water in my bed'
'It's destroying everything'
'I feel doomed. I feel scared.'

I looked up the UK Met Office site to see what weather records I could find for East Anglia, the region in which Norwich lies. Records were available for Lowestoft, a coastal town less than 20 miles from Norwich. I extracted monthly rainfall, monthly sunshine hours, and monthly mean maximum and mean minimum temperature values for the 30 years 1980 to 2010, and used these to produce the plots shown below. Can you see any grounds for alarm in them?

The pupils will have some difficulty in discerning ‘climate change’ in such a display, dominated as it is by within-year variation. Throughout this period, CO2 levels grew, along with increasingly agitated pleas and warnings from people who ought to have known better, such as James Hansen who in 1986 was warning of mean global temperature rises of several degrees by the year 2010. Since the computer models suggest the temperature rises will be greater away from the equatorial regions towards the poles, a naive observer might well have expected more action in the Lowestoft data by now. Could it be that the models are also useless for predicting such things?

Mercifully, the NEAD people do not seem deranged like those who produced the film ‘No Pressure’, whereby children of non-compliant parents were portrayed as being violently destroyed, ‘pour encourager les autres’. I suspect that NEAD attracts many good people, but people who have been misled by the IPCC, and by others. There are further grounds for concern about NEAD: first, is it really a charity, second, is it at risk of crossing the line re political indoctrination in schools, and third, will campaigning around climate change really help the world's poor in the long run?


Disturbing Imagery Of The Permanent Drought In California

Climate models run on the world’s largest supercomputers predicted this drought.


CO2 Causes More Precipitation And Less Precipitation

Jeff Masters [of Weather Underground] has been telling us that more CO2 causes more precipitation – due to larger amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere. Now we find out that more CO2 also causes less precipitation due to a drier atmosphere. From Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution we read:
Cutting carbon dioxide helps prevent drying

Recent climate modeling has shown that reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would give the Earth a wetter climate in the short term. New research from Carnegie Global Ecology scientists Long Cao and Ken Caldeira offers a novel explanation for why climates are wetter when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are decreasing. Their findings, published online today by Geophysical Research Letters, show that cutting carbon dioxide concentrations could help prevent droughts caused by global warming.

Cao and Caldeira’s new work shows that this precipitation increase is due to the heat-trapping property of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the middle of the atmosphere. This warm air higher in the atmosphere tends to prevent the rising air motions that create thunderstorms and rainfall.

As a result, an increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide tends to suppress precipitation. Similarly, a decrease in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide tends to increase precipitation.

The results of this study show that cutting the concentration of precipitation-suppressing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would increase global precipitation. This is important because scientists are concerned that unchecked global warming could cause already dry areas to get drier. (Global warming may also cause wet areas to get wetter.) Cao and Caldeira’s findings indicate that reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide could prevent droughts caused by climate change.

“This study shows that the climate is going to be drier on the way up and wetter on the way down,” Caldeira said, adding:”Proposals to cool the earth using geo-engineering tools to reflect sunlight back to space would not cause a similar pulse of wetness.”

The team’s work shows that carbon dioxide rapidly affects the structure of the atmosphere, causing quick changes precipitation, as well as many other aspects of Earth’s climate, well before the greenhouse gas noticeably affects temperature. These results have important implications for understanding the effects of climate change caused by carbon dioxide, as well as the potential effects of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

“The direct effects of carbon dioxide on precipitation take place quickly,” said Cao. “If we could cut carbon dioxide concentrations now, we would see precipitation increase within the year, but it would take many decades for climate to cool.”


The dismal record of prophecy

Andy Revkin Points To The End of The Line For The IPCC And Its ilk
Beginning in the 1980s, [University of Pennsylvania Professor Philip] Tetlock examined 27,451 forecasts by 284 academics, pundits and other prognosticators. The study was complex, but the conclusion can be summarized simply: the experts bombed. Not only were they worse than statistical models, they could barely eke out a tie with the proverbial dart-throwing chimps. [...] The least accurate forecasters, [Tetlock] found, were hedgehogs: “thinkers who ‘know one big thing,’ aggressively extend the explanatory reach of that one big thing into new domains” and “display bristly impatience with those who ‘do not get it,’ ” he wrote. Better experts “look like foxes: thinkers who know many small things,” “are skeptical of grand schemes” and are “diffident about their own forecasting prowess.”

So there we have it…experts of the “big thing” called “climate change”, aggressive (to the point of hiding declines, preventing publication of competing ideas, inserting unsubstantiated critiques in the IPCC report, etc etc) and definitely “impatient” with us little humans wondering aloud about their certitudes (any post at RC, Connolley, Deltoid, Romm, etc etc keeps confirming this point).

Note how none of the above can be defined as “gross negligence” or “conspiracy”, and yet despite all the whitewashing by the Climategate inquiries, there is a scientific consensus, and the best of our scientific knowledge demonstrates, that all that bunch, and pretty much all the bigwigs around the IPCC, they ARE “least accurate forecasters”. QED.

For more discussion about “wrongology”: here and here. Read also here a critique-essay by Tetlock himself, listing a set of criteria suggested by David Freedman, author of Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them as signs of claims we should be “especially wary of”
* dramatic (“claiming to have invented the psychological equivalent of the telescope qualifies”)

* a tad too clear-cut (“devoid of qualifications about when propositions do and do not hold”)

* doubt free (“portraying findings as beyond reasonable doubt and one’s measure as 100 percent pure”)

* universal (“implying that one is tapping into powerful unconscious forces that, hitherto unbeknownst to us, drive all human behavior”)

* palatable (“likely to appeal to one’s favorite ideological constituencies”)

* receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (“widely covered in the mass media and millions have visited the website”)

* actionable implications (“claims about what employers now need to do to guarantee true equality of opportunity in workplaces”)

Let me now make a statement that is dramatic, very clear-cut, doubt-free, universal, palatable (to most of my readers), yet likely media-ignored and hardly actionable: the “scientific consensus” on climate-change (rather, the unscientific stuff that constitutes the IPCC–led propaganda bandied about as “scientific consensus”), scores 7 out of 7 on the Freedman scale and therefore should lie at the bottom of anybody’s trust level:
* dramatic (having reached the computational power needed to project future climate just as CO2 emissions got to a previously-unknown “dangerous” level)

* a tad too clear-cut (with climate change almost completely due to a “thermostat” called CO2)

* doubt free (the IAC spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the absurd IPCC policy of underplaying uncertainties)

* universal (everybody will feel the (bad) consequences of climate change, and everybody is guilty of it)

* palatable (as it happens, the usual evils of capitalism and freedoms are the underling cause of climate change)

* receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (shall I really comment this?)

* actionable implications (every ha’penny worth of a politician understands how many things can be pinned upon the bandwagon called “climate change”)

And I find one sentence by Tetlock as especially relevant to the climate debate: "Whatever may be the merits of the underlying science in the peer-reviewed literature, in the public forum, the ratio of pseudoexpertise to genuine expertise is distressingly high."

Yes, I might be wrong. On the other hand, I am not asking for billions of dollars for dubious research, have never attempted to restrict anybody’s liberty, don’t use the ‘net to show off my superiority complex, do let almost every comment free on this website, etc etc)

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The "experts" are regularly wrong: Some notable examples

Sunday Book Review: ‘Future Babble’ by Dan Gardner (March 27, 2011)

“The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded.” H.G. Wells, 1946

George Edward Scott, my mother’s father, was born in an English village near the city of Nottingham. It was 1906. We can be sure that anyone who took notice of George’s arrival in the world agreed that he was a very lucky baby. There was the house he lived in, for one thing. It was the work of his father, a successful builder, and it was, like the man who built it, correct, confident, and proudly Victorian. Middle-class prosperity was evident throughout, from the sprawling rooms to the stained-glass windows and the cast-iron bathtub with a pull-cord that rang a bell downstairs. A maid carrying a bucket of hot water would arrive in due course.

And there was the country and the era. Often romanticized as the “long Edwardian summer,” Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century was indeed a land of peace and prosperity, if not strawberries and champagne. Britain led the world in industry, science, education, medicine, trade, and finance. Its empire was vaster than any in history, its navy invincible. The great and terrible war with Napoleon’s France was tucked away in dusty history books and few worried that its like would ever come again.

It was a time when “Progress” was capitalized. People were wealthier. They ate better and lived longer. Trade, travel, and communication steadily expanded, a process that would be called, much later, globalization. Science advanced briskly, revealing nature’s secrets and churning out technological marvels, each more wonderful than the last, from the train to the telegraph to the airplane. The latest of these arrived only four years before George Scott was born, and in 1912, when George was six, his father gathered the family in a field to witness the miracle of a man flying through the air in a machine. The pilot waved to the gawkers below. “Now I’ve seen it,” George’s grandmother muttered. “But I still don’t believe it.”

And the future? How could it be anything but grand? In 1902, the great American economist John Bates Clark imagined himself in 2002, looking back on the last hundred years. He pronounced himself profoundly satisfied. “There is certainly enough in our present condition to make our gladness overflow” and to hope that “the spirit of laughter and song may abide with us through the years that are coming,” Clark wrote. The twentieth century had been a triumph, in Clark’s imagining. Technology had flourished, conflict between labour and capital had vanished, and prosperity had grown until the slums were “transformed into abodes of happiness and health.” Only trade had crossed borders, never armies, and in the whole long century not a shot had been fired in anger. Of course this was only to be expected, Clark wrote, even though some silly people in earlier generations had actually believed war could happen in the modern world — “as if nations bound together by such economic ties as now unite the countries of the world would ever disrupt the great industrial organism and begin fighting.”

At the time, Clark’s vision seemed as reasonable as it was hopeful, and it was widely shared by eminent persons. “We can now look forward with something like confidence to the time when war between civilized nations will be as antiquated as the duel,” wrote the esteemed British historian, G.P. Gooch, in 1911. Several years later, the celebrated Manchester Guardian journalist H.N. Norman was even more definitive. “It is as certain as anything in politics can be, that the frontiers of our modern national states are finally drawn. My own belief is that there will be no more wars among the six Great Powers.”

One day, a few months after H.N. Norman had declared the arrival of eternal peace, George Scott fetched his father’s newspaper. The top story was the latest development in the push for Irish home rule. Below that was another headline. “War Declared,” it read.

It was August 1914. What had been considered impossible by so many informed experts was now reality. But still there w as no need to despair. It would be “the war to end all wars,” in H.G. Wells’s famously optimistic phrase. And it would be brief. It has to be, wrote the editors of the Economist, thanks to “the economic and financial impossibility of carrying out hostilities many more months on the present scale.”

For more than four years, the industry, science, and technology that had promised a better world slowly ground millions of men into the mud. The long agony of the First World War shattered empires, nations, generations, and hopes. The very idea of progress came to be scorned as a rotten illusion, a raggedy stage curtain now torn down and discarded.

In defeated Germany, Oswald Spengler’s dense and dark Decline of the West was the runaway best-seller of the 1920s. In victorious Britain, the Empire was bigger but the faith in the future that had sustained it faded like an old photograph left in the sun. The war left crushing debts and the economy staggered. “Has the cycle of prosperity and progress closed?” asked H.G. Wells in the foreword to a book whose title ventured an even bleaker question: Will Civilisation Crash? Yes to both, answered many of the same wise men who had once seen only peace and prosperity ahead. “It is clear now to everyone that the suicide of civilization is in progress,” declared the physician and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer in a 1922 lecture at Oxford University. It may have been “the Roaring Twenties” in the United States — a time of jazz, bathtub gin, soaring stocks, and real estate speculation — but it was a decade of gloom in Britain. For those who thought about the future, observes historian Richard Overy, “the prospect of imminent crisis, a new Dark Age, became a habitual way of looking at the world.”

My grandfather’s fortunes followed Britain’s. His father’s business declined, prosperity seeped away, and the bathtub pull-cord ceased to summon the downstairs maid. In 1922, at the age of fifteen, George was apprenticed to a plumber. A few years later, bowing to the prevailing sense that Britain’s decline was unstoppable, he decided to emigrate. A coin toss — heads Canada, tails Australia — settled the destination. With sixty dollars in his pocket, he landed in Canada. It was 1929. He had arrived just in time for the Great Depression.

A horror throughout the industrialized world, the Great Depression was especially savage in North America. Half the industrial production of the United States vanished. One-quarter of workers were unemployed. Starvation was a real and constant threat for millions. Growing numbers of desperate, frightened people sought salvation in fascism or communism. In Toronto, Maple Leaf Gardens was filled to the rafters not for a hockey game but a Stalinist rally, urging Canadians to follow the glorious example of the Soviet Union. Among the leading thinkers of the day, it was almost a truism that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism were archaic, discredited, and doomed. Even moderates were sure the future would belong to very different economic and political systems.

In 1933, the rise to power of the Nazis added the threat of what H.G. Wells called the “Second World War” in his sci-fi novel The Shape of Things to Come. Published the same year Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, The Shape of Things to Come saw the war beginning in 1940 and predicted it would become a decade-long mass slaughter, ending not in victory but the utter exhaustion and collapse of all nations. Military analysts and others who tried to imagine another Great War were almost as grim. The airplanes that had been so wondrous to a young boy in 1912 would fill the skies with bombs, they agreed. Cities would be pulverized. There would be mass psychological breakdown and social disintegration. In 1934, Britain began a rearmament program it could not afford for a war that, it increasingly seemed, it could not avoid. In 1936, as Nazi Germany grew stronger, the program was accelerated.

A flicker of hope came from the United States, where economic indicators jolted upward, like a flat line on a heart monitor suddenly jumping. It didn’t last. In 1937, the American economy plunged again. It seemed nothing could pull the world out of its death spiral. “It is a fact so familiar that we seldom remember how very strange it is,” observed the British historian G.N. Clark, “that the commonest phrases we hear used about civilization at the present time all relate to the possibility, or even the prospect, of its being destroyed.”

That same year, George Scott’s second daughter, June, was born. It is most unlikely that anyone thought my mother was a lucky baby.

The Second World War began in September 1939. By the time it ended in 1945, at least forty million people were dead, the Holocaust had demonstrated that humanity was capable of any crime, much of the industrialized world had been pounded into rubble, and a weapon vastly more destructive than anything seen before had been invented. “In our recent history, war has been following war in ascending order of intensity,” wrote the influential British historian Arnold Toynbee in 1950. “And today it is already apparent that the War of 1939—45 was not the climax of this crescendo movement.” Ambassador Joseph Grew, a senior American foreign service officer, declared in 1945 that “a future war with the Soviet Union is as sure as anything in this world.” Albert Einstein was terrified. “Only the creation of a world government can prevent the impending self-destruction of mankind,” declared the man whose name was synonymous with genius. Some were less optimistic. “The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded,” moaned H.G. Wells.

Happily for humanity, Wells, Einstein, and the many other luminaries who made dire predictions in an era W.H. Auden dubbed “The Age of Anxiety” were all wrong. The end of life was not at hand. War did not come. Civilization did not crumble. Against all reasonable expectation, my mother turned out to be a very lucky baby, indeed.

Led by the United States, Western economies surged in the postwar decades. The standard of living soared. Optimism returned, and people expressed their hope for a brighter future by getting married earlier and having children in unprecedented numbers. The result was a combination boom — economic and baby — that put children born during the Depression at the leading edge of a wealth-and-population wave. That’s the ultimate demographic sweet spot. Coming of age in the 1950s, they entered a dream job market. To be hired at a university in the early 1960s, a professor once recalled to me, you had to sign your name three times “and spell it right twice.” Something of an exaggeration, to be sure. But the point is very real. Despite the constant threat of nuclear war, and lesser problems that came and went, children born in the depths of the Great Depression — one of the darkest periods of the last five centuries — lived their adult lives amid peace and steadily growing prosperity. There has never been a more fortunate generation.

Who predicted that? Nobody. Which is entirely understandable. Even someone who could have foreseen that there would not be a Third World War — which would have been a triumph of prognostication in its own right — would have had to correctly forecast both the baby boom and the marvellous performance of post-war economies. And how would they have done that? The baby boom was caused by a post-war surge in fertility rates that sharply reversed a downward trend that had been in place for more than half a century. Demographers didn’t see it coming. No one did.

Similarly, the dynamism of the post-war economies was a sharp break from previous trends that was not forecast by experts, whose expectations were much more pessimistic. Many leading economists even worried that demobilization would be followed by mass unemployment and stagnation. One surprise after another. That’s how the years unfolded after 1945. The result was a future that was as unpredictable as it was delightful — and a generation born at what seemed to be the worst possible time came to be a generation born at the most golden of moments.

The desire to know the future is universal and constant, as the profusion of soothsaying techniques in human cultures — from goats’ entrails to tea leaves — demonstrates so well. But certain events can sharpen that desire, making it fierce and urgent. Bringing a child into the world is one such force. What will the world be like for my baby? My great-grandfather undoubtedly asked himself that question when his little boy was born in 1906. He was a well-read person, and so he likely paid close attention to what the experts said. George Edward Scott was a very lucky baby, he would have concluded. And any intelligent, informed person would have agreed. Thirty-one years later, when my grandfather held his infant daughter in his arms, he surely asked himself the same question, and he, too, would have paid close attention to what the experts said. And he would have feared for her future, as any intelligent, informed person would have.

My great-grandfather was wrong. My grandfather was wrong. All those intelligent, informed people were wrong. But mostly, the experts were wrong.

They’re wrong a lot, those experts. History is littered with their failed predictions. Whole books can be filled with them. Many have been.

Some failed predictions are prophecies of disaster and despair. In the 1968 book The Population Bomb, which sold millions of copies, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich declared “the battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” But there weren’t mass famines in the 1970s. Or in the 1980s. Thanks to the dramatic improvements in agriculture collectively known as “the Green Revolution” — which were well underway by the time Ehrlich wrote his book — food production not only kept up with population growth, it greatly surpassed it.

Ehrlich thought that was utterly impossible. But it happened. Between 1961 and 2000, the world’s population doubled but the calories of food consumed per person increased 24 per cent. In India, calories per person rose 20 per cent. In Italy, 26 per cent. In South Korea, 44 per cent. Indonesia, 69 per cent. China had experienced a famine that killed some 30 million people in the dark years between 1959 and 1961, but in the 40 years after that horror China’s per capita food consumption rose an astonishing 73 per cent. And the United States? In the decades after The Population Bomb was published, fears that people would not get enough to eat were forgotten as American waistlines steadily expanded. The already-substantial consumption of the average American rose 32 per cent, and the United States became the first nation in history to struggle with an epidemic of obesity.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter called for the “moral equivalent of war” to shift the American economy off oil because, he said, the production of oil would soon fail to keep up with demand. When that happened, oil prices would soar and never come down again — the American economy would be devastated and the American dream would turn brown and die like an unwatered suburban lawn. Eight years later, oil prices fell through the floor. They stayed low for two decades.

A small library could be filled with books predicting stock market crashes and economic disasters that never happened, but the giant of the genre was published in 1987. The hardcover edition of economist Ravi Batra’s The Great Depression of 1990 hit the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list and spent a total of ten months on the chart; the paperback stayed on the list for an astonishing nineteen months. When the American economy slipped into recession in 1990, Batra looked prophetic. When the recession proved to be mild and brief, he seemed less so. When the 1990s roared, he looked foolish, particularly when he spent the entire decade writing books predicting a depression was imminent.

In 1990, Jacques Attali — intellectual, banker, former adviser to French president François Mitterrand — published a book called Millennium, which predicted dramatic change on the other side of the year 2000. Both the United States and the Soviet Union would slowly lose their superpower status, Attali wrote. Their replacements would be Japan and Europe. As for China and India, they “will refuse to fall under the sway of either the Pacific or the European sphere,” but it would be hard for these desperately poor countries to resist. Catastrophic war was “possible, even probable.” However, Attali cautioned, this future isn’t quite chiselled in stone. “If a miracle were to occur” and China and India were to be “integrated into the global economy and market, all strategic assumptions underpinning my prognostications would be overturned. That miracle is most unlikely.” Of course, that “miracle” is precisely what happened. And almost nothing Attali predicted came true.

Even economists who win Nobel Prizes have been known to blow big calls. In 1997, as Asian economies struggled with a major currency crisis, Paul Krugman — New York Times columnist and winner of the Nobel in 2008 — worried that Asia must act quickly. If not, he wrote in Fortune magazine, “we could be looking at a true Depression scenario — the kind of slump that 60 years ago devastated societies, destabilized governments, and eventually led to war.” Krugman’s prescription? Currency controls. It had to be done or else. But mostly, it wasn’t done. And Asia was booming again within two years.

Pessimists have no monopoly on forecasting flops, however. Excited predictions of the amazing technologies to come — Driverless cars! Robot maids! Jet packs! — have been dazzling the public since the late nineteenth century. These old forecasts continue to entertain today, though for quite different reasons. And for every bear prophesying blood in the stock markets, there is a bull who is sure things will only get better.

The American economist Irving Fisher was one. “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau,” the esteemed economist assured nervous investors. “I do not feel there will soon be, if ever, a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as they have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.” That was October 17, 1929. The market crashed the following week. But that crash was none of Britain’s concern, the legendary John Maynard Keynes believed. “There will be no serious consequences in London resulting from the Wall Street Slump,” Keynes wrote. “We find the look ahead decidedly encouraging.” Shortly afterward, Britain sank with the rest of the world into the Great Depression.

Another bull market, this one in the late 1990s, produced a bookshelf full of predictions so giddy they made Irving Fisher sound like Eeyore. The most famous was the 1999 book Dow 36,000 by James Glassman and Kevin Hassett. “If you are worried about missing the market’s big move upward, you will discover that it’s not too late,” Glassman and Hassett wrote. Actually, it was too late. Shortly after Dow 36,000 was published, the Dow peaked at less than 12,000 and started a long, painful descent.

Paul Ehrlich can also take consolation in the fact that many of the optimists who assailed his writing were not much better at predicting the future. “The doomsayers who worry about the prospect of starvation for a burgeoning world population” will not see their terrible visions realized, Time magazine reported in 1966. The reason? Aquaculture. “Rand experts visualize fish herded and raised in offshore pens as cattle are today. Huge fields of kelp and other kinds of seaweed will be tended by undersea ‘farmers’ — frogmen who will live for months at a time in submerged bunkhouses. The protein-rich underseas crop will probably be ground up to produce a dull-tasting cereal that eventually, however, could be regenerated chemically to taste like anything from steak to bourbon.” The same Rand Corporation experts agreed that “a permanent lunar base will have been established long before A.D. 2000 and that men will have flown past Venus and landed on Mars.”

Herman Kahn, a founder of the Hudson Institute and a determined critic of Ehrlich, was similarly off the mark in a thick book called The Year 2000, published in 1967. It is “very likely,” Kahn wrote, that by the end of the century nuclear explosives would be used for excavation and mining, “artificial moons” would be used to illuminate large areas at night, and there would be permanent undersea colonies. Kahn also expected that one of the world’s fastest-growing economies at the turn of the millennium would be that of the Soviet Union.


Choose your prophet: Twenty years or 1000?

Climate scientist and warmist Andy Pitman on Thursday: "If we could stop emissions tomorrow we would still have 20 to 30 years of warming ahead of us because of inertia of the system.

Climate Commissioner and warmist Tim Flannery on Friday: "If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years


Australian Power generator tells academic climate adviser to get real and to take into account asset-destruction effects of a carbon price

ELECTRICITY producers have called on the Gillard government's chief climate change adviser to drop "undergraduate rhetorical devices" and develop "real world" policy about power generation that doesn't damage the economy.

One of Australia's biggest electricity generators, InterGen, has challenged Ross Garnaut to change his position on not compensating power companies for asset value destruction under a carbon tax. Brent Gunther, managing director of InterGen, which produces 16 per cent of Queensland's electricity, has declared that Professor Garnaut's arguments have "missed the point" about financial damage to companies under a carbon price.

He joins several senior business figures in speaking out against the carbon tax proposed to start on July 1 next year.

Mr Gunther says, in an article published in The Australian today, that Professor Garnaut's position on compensating power companies under the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme would have resulted in "major damage to the national electricity market" and was a "prescription that will end up damaging the Australian economy".

Professor Garnaut "needs to deliver real-world solutions, not high-level principles that assume away problems", Mr Gunther writes.

Professor Garnaut will release another major discussion paper on electricity generation and the carbon tax tomorrow, but signalled last week he had not changed his position from 2008, when he argued there were no grounds for compensation for electricity generators.

He said that, although assistance to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries was needed to avoid unfair competition between Australian emitters and those in countries without a carbon price, this should not be confused with providing support for loss of profits or asset value.

"Any fall in asset value stemming from the internalisation of the carbon externality (through pricing carbon) creates no greater case for compensation than other government reforms to reduce other externalities, such as the introduction of measures to discourage smoking, control the use of asbestos or phase out lead in petrol" Professor Garnaut said.

Mr Gunther says the comments suggest Professor Garnaut's discussion paper tomorrow will be a "prescription based on a simplistic and superficial understanding of the power sector - a prescription that will end up damaging the Australian economy".

The InterGen chief also says that asset value losses for electricity companies raise the prospect of state governments having to direct "a power station to keep operating if things ever got bad".

In 2009, as a result of Professor Garnaut's recommendations, the Rudd government indicated it would provide $7.3 billion over 10 years to the power sector for the impact of an emissions trading scheme.

This was after commissioning a report from investment bank Morgan Stanley that highlighted generators would be unable to pass on to consumers the impact of a carbon price on their asset losses.

"At a time when the economic debate in Australia is starting to refocus on how to enhance productivity, the importance of the national electricity market should never be underestimated," Mr Gunther says.

He says the energy sector wants to "develop a solution", as did Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson.

Last week in parliament, Mr Ferguson, said: "A highly efficient energy-driven system has been the key to the Australian economy.

"The Australian energy market is actually held up as the most efficient in the OECD world.

"It is estimated that over $17bn of capital is required for powerhouse generation assets - that is, refinancing, capital expenditure and new build over the next five years."



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


27 March, 2011

Dr. Goebbels would be proud

New ad portrays GOP attack on EPA as assault on babies

So opposition to regulation of the gas we all breathe out is equivalent to feeding babies arsenic. There is no lie the Warmists will not sink to. But their entire case is built on dishonesty so we should not be too surprised. Global warming has long ceased to be a scientific debate. It is now just a Fascist lunge for power on the part of the Green/Left -- JR

With several key votes set for next week on the GOP’s ongoing assault on the Environmental Protection Agency, this new ad gives us a hint on how the left intends to respond — by portraying the GOP push as an assault on children.

The Senate is set to vote next week on a GOP proposal — strongly opposed by the White House — to revoke the E.P.A.’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. The new spot from American Family Voices, an organization that advocates for lower-income and middle-income families on economic, health care and consumer issues, goes directly for the heartstrings with images of babies and baby food jars, claiming the GOP initiative would endanger their lives:

The ad will run for a week on D.C. cable, suggesting the target audience is Beltway elites and that its goal is to frame the Dem response in Congress.

“The Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 early deaths last year, including 230 infants, yet Congress is busy working to prevent the EPA from updating and enforcing standards that would limit toxic pollutants that endanger the public health,” Mike Lux, President of American Family Voices, says. “If we don’t curb those pollutants, they’ll end up in our air, water and food and eventually in our children. Congress needs to let the EPA do its job to protect public health.”

Senate Democrats are plotting a strategic response to the GOP’s push. For instance, they may introduce an amendment that would exempt small industrial facilities and agricultural facilities from climate regulations, which would give moderate Dems in farm and heavy manufacturing states a way to go on record favoring curbs on EPA regulations without supporting the GOP’s drive to gut the EPA’s reglatory role completely.

But by and large, this fight is going to break down mostly along partisan lines, and this ad gives you a sense of how fraught the war over EPA’s fate could get.


Desperate Climate Scientists File Second Lawsuit Against Top Skeptic

Dr. Tim Ball received the second of two libel lawsuits from North Vancouver law firm of Roger D. McConchie on Friday (March 25, 2011). Global warming doomsaying professor Michael Mann files the latest writ.

Mann, the infamous creator of the now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph was once the darling of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a tax hungry government funded organization that blames mankind for raising global temperatures by 0.7 degrees during the 20th Century. Now he is desperate to hit back at his critics with the help of Big Green's immense financial resources. Below we examine the shady background of Professor Mann and explain what Ball must do to defeat this latest legal challenge.

The IPCC plucked Mann from total obscurity after his problematic and “rushed” Ph.D was granted. His viva voce examination was in 1996 and he was required to make corrections. Such a two year delay suggests substantial errors and which would normally require a second viva, but this was strangely not recorded. Then, despite having no reputation as a researcher Mann was bizarrely appointed not only as an expert by the IPCC but as Lead Author for the 2001 Third Report.

Several fellow academics, including Dr. Judith Curry smelled something rotten among mendacious Mikey's tree rings and their fears were confirmed when Canadian statistical experts, Steve McIntyre and Professor Ross McKitrick found a string of ‘errors’ in Mann’s work. All the errors warped the wooden data in favor of the man-made global warming hype.

It transpired Mann and his secretive clique of climatologists who ‘pal reviewed’ his junk science benefited to the tune of millions of dollars in government research grants. Since the Climategate revelations public support for the IPCC has nose-dived as fast as this rascal's reputation.

Ball Breaker Gambit to Prevent Case Going to Trial

The dubious Penn. State professor now joins Andrew Weaver in using the Canadian law firm to sue Ball, an outspoken critic of the beleaguered global warming religion. The North Vancouver outfit is rumored to be a shill of the Suzuki Foundation. Ball, who is a retiree without corporate backing, may have been singled out simply because he has no deep-pocketed friends and thus may be forced to quit in the face of spiraling legal fees.

But if Suzuki and his paid shills were hoping this new tactic would splinter a spirited skeptic community it has backfired already.

Many of us fellow climate realists are concerned to get behind Tim and support him pro bono at this critical time. We are appalled at the way ‘Big Green’ has now abandoned all pretence of scientific argument and is going to try to gag skeptics in the courts.

To further assist in this crucial new phase of the climate wars, skeptics are helping Ball set up an official appeal so that the public can make financial donations to assist him in his crucial battle.

Chris Horner, lead attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute(CEI) has kindly agreed to give additional legal input as and when requested. Horner, himself, was also ludicrously threatened with a lawsuit by Mann just recently to reveal the follicly challenged fellow knows as little about law as he does scientific ethics. Mann’s writ claims Ball defamed him with this superb gag in a recent (February 9, 2011) statement: "Michael Mann should be in the State Pen not Penn. State."

Tim, like many principled scientists knows that corruption among scientists is actually quite common. According to official statistics 40 percent of scientists have witnessed such conduct but do not report it. Co-defendants in the action are Frontier Centre for Public Policy Inc. as publishers of the remarks.


More evidence that Climate Change is a fraud

There is supporting evidence that indicates that the Climate Change agenda is and always has been just a fraud. Why do we call it a fraud? An event now referred to as Climategate publicly began on November 19, 2009, when a whistle-blower leaked thousands of emails and documents central to a Freedom of Information request placed with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. This institution had played a central role in the “climate change” debate: its scientists, together with their international colleagues, quite literally put the “warming” into Global Warming: they were responsible for analyzing and collating the measurements of temperature from around the globe from the present to the distant past.

Dr. John Costello writes, “Climategate has shattered that myth (the myth of global warming). It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating possibly the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent cowboys, abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fortress around their ‘old boys club’, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their research. Most people are aghast that this could have happened; and it is only because climate science exploded from a relatively tiny corner of academia into a hugely funded industry in a matter of mere years that the perpetrators were able to get away with it for so long.”

Stephen McIntyre, a University of Toronto mathematics graduate first questioned the accuracy of the "hockey stick" temperature graph mentioned previously. He wondered how Michael Mann, head of Penn State's Earth System Science Centre, reconstructed the temperatures to produce such a detailed graph. So he asked Mann for the data in an email and was stunned by his answer. Mann wrote he'd "forgotten" where the data set was but would get an assistant to find it. (Are you kidding me?)

Here is what was later found concerning the temperature data Mann used. Five organizations publish global temperature data. Two – Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) – are satellite datasets. The three terrestrial institutions – NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) – all depend on data supplied by ground stations via NOAA.

NOAA "weeded out" temperature stations showing cooling

Around 1990, NOAA began weeding out more than three-quarters of the climate measuring stations around the world. They might have been working under the direction of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It can be shown that systematically and purposefully, country by country, they removed higher-latitude, higher-altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler. The thermometers kept were near the tropics, the sea, and airports near bigger cities. These data were then used to determine the global average temperature and to initialize climate models.

From 1960 through 1980, there were more than 6000 stations providing temperature information. The NOAA reduced these to fewer than 1500. Calculating the average temperatures this way ensured that the mean global surface temperature for each month and year would show a false-positive temperature anomaly, a bogus warming trend. Interestingly, the very same stations that were deleted from the world climate network were retained for computing the average-temperature base periods, further increasing the bias towards warming.

EPA suppresses crucial criticism on political grounds

An internal study of the U.S. EPA completed by Dr. Alan Carlin and John Davidson concluded the IPCC was wrong about global warming. One statement in the executive summary stated that a 2009 paper found that the crucial assumption in the Greenhouse Climate Models (GCM) used by the IPCC concerning a strong positive feedback from water vapor is not supported by empirical evidence and that the feedback is actually negative. This is exactly our position, water vapor in the atmosphere causes a cooling effect, not a warming one.

EPA tried to bury the report. An email from Al McGartland, Office Director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), to Dr. Alan Carlin, Senior Operations Research Analyst at NCEE, forbade him from speaking to anyone outside NCEE on endangerment issues. In a March 17 email from McGartland to Carlin, stated that he will not forward Carlin’s study. “The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator (Lisa Jackson) and the administration have decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. …. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.” A second email from McGartland stated “I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change.”

McGartland’s emails demonstrate that he was rejecting Dr. Carlin’s study because its conclusions ran counter to EPA’s proposed position. Yet this study had its basis in three prior reports by Carlin (two in 2007 and one in 2008) that were accepted (different administration). Another government cover-up, just what the United States does not need! The EPA acts at the behest of the Executive Branch but clearly after this it should be administered by the legislative branch.

Changing the radiosonde data to fit the theory

Further, Dr. Noor van Andel in January 2011 updated his paper, CO2 and Climate Change 26, and explains in detail how climate scientists adjusted radiosonde (weather balloon) data to try to bring it into agreement with their computer models to show greenhouse gas induced global warming. This is quite the opposite of the normal scientific procedure of adjusting the models to fit the data. The unadjusted data does not show the elusive "hot spot" (greenhouse gas signature) predicted by climate models and conventional 'greenhouse' theory.

I received the above article by email but have not as yet traced the author. Sounds like John Christy

EU blocks £160m dockside face-lift in Cornwall that would create 800 jobs... just to protect ALGAE on the seabed

A £160 million regeneration scheme would have created 800 much-needed jobs in a struggling town. But it has been blocked by an EU ruling – to protect algae on the sea bed.

A rare form of algae called Maerl is growing off the docks in Falmouth, Cornwall – but it cannot be moved or tampered with because the site is listed as a Special Area of Conservation.

Sir John Banham, a former chief of the Confederation of British Industry who is now leader of the local Enterprise Partnership, attacked the 'unaccountable bureaucrats' who have blocked the scheme. He said: 'They need to think very carefully about who they are working for and who pays their salaries.

'What I am expecting from them is to find solutions to the situation and not indulge in negative bureaucratic foot-dragging. 'We are in an era of austerity and we desperately need new jobs.' 'They need to wake up and smell the coffee. 'EU rulings can't take into account the impact on local lives.

The plans include dredging the Fal and Helford estuaries to accommodate larger ships and make the port deeper. But the Marine Management Organisation objected because of the EU directive. The MMO said Maerl can take up to 8,000 years to form and acted as a nursery for commercial fish stocks. Chief Executive James Cross said: 'Maerl is considered a non-renewable resource that cannot be lost.'

The Port of Falmouth Initiative has been in the pipeline since 2009 when a number of stakeholders convened in a bid to redevelop Falmouth's dockyard, where around 1,400 people currently work. An initial £106.5 million would be pumped into the scheme from a combination of public and private money, followed by £53 million over the next five years. The plans include an international harbour, offices, a 290 international marina and provide new super yacht workshops.

A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which would create low carbon heat and electricity for the docks and town, is also planned.

To accommodate larger ships, a seven mile stretch of the Fal and Helford estuaries measuring 650ft wide would need to be dredged and the port deepened from 15ft to 27ft.

But the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) objected to the proposals because an EU directive prevents the area from being touched after it was declared a Special Area of Conservation in 2004 because of the Maerl algae.

Groups behind the bid - including Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Cornwall Council, Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company and A&P Falmouth - are now in desperate talks with the MMO over a possible reversal of their decision.

David Ellis, chairman of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners said: 'There is a clear feeling from all the partners that this port will wither without the regeneration.. 'We're not just talking about the scheme benefiting Falmouth and the Penryn area. This will significantly improve the economy of Cornwall and turn Falmouth into a thriving gateway to the whole region. 'The entire future of Falmouth as a thriving port hinges on the ability to grow and develop.

'Negotiations are continuing with Natural England and the MMO to meet their concerns in a way that will protect the environment and move this project forward.' Chris Bell, group managing director at A&P Falmouth said: 'Dredging is needed because the channel into the docks is too shallow.

'Dredging is a vital link in the chain of industrial development of the area.' Peter Child, managing director of docks operator A&P Falmouth, said: 'If it doesn't happen you won't see a change in the next year or two, but there will be a gradual decline over five to ten years. 'If we got the approval tomorrow, there would be a gradual growth and you would hopefully see more ships, bigger ships and cruise liners.'


Diesel confusion in Britain

Owners of diesel cars face higher charges for annual parking permits in major cities amid growing concern over their effect on air quality. Councils have begun to raise the cost for the vehicles, which were previously considered more environmentally friendly because of lower carbon emissions. A motorist with a typical family diesel faces paying more than £150 a year to park outside his or her home.

There is growing concern in Whitehall over the green credentials of diesel vehicles, which are increasingly popular. According to a paper prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this month, they emit too many small polluting particles which damage local air quality, a particular problem in residential areas with heavy traffic.

The report said the Government should encourage “small, modern petrol vehicles, petrol hybrids and electric vehicles in urban areas in place of diesel vehicles”.

Diesels already account for one in four cars on the road, and four in 10 new cars. They are more fuel efficient and normally cost less to tax because of lower CO2 emissions.

But Tory-controlled Kensington and Chelsea council will impose a £15 surcharge on parking permits for them from next month and councils in other urban areas are likely to follow. The London borough’s most expensive parking permit will cost £176 and will apply to cars such as a three-litre diesel Range Rover. Owners of family cars, such as two-litre diesel Ford Mondeos, will have to find £153 a year.

Although the borough is thought to be the first to adopt a differential tax for diesel cars, other councils are understood to be monitoring the experiment closely.

The move is likely to be welcomed by environmentalists, but it has angered motoring groups. Diesel already costs up to 7p a litre more than unleaded petrol. Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: “Punishing someone for owning a diesel car that produces up to 20 per cent less CO2 than the petrol version is ludicrous. Councils are plundering residents’ parking for money to balance their budgets.”

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, added: “Provided diesel cars are properly maintained there is no problem.”

The move has parallels with higher charges for the most gas-guzzling vehicles. Richmond upon Thames became the first council to charge more for parking permits where cars have higher carbon emissions. Similar charges are becoming commonplace.

According to the Defra paper, diesel cars still emit as much nitrogen oxide and dioxide as they did 15 years ago. They have been linked to childhood asthma and other respiratory problems. A spokesman for Environmental Protection UK, a campaign group, said: “Local authorities in the most polluted urban locations must start encouraging residents to choose petrol over diesel. This could be achieved through simple measures such as differentiating between diesel and petrol vehicles for residents car parking charges.”

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea council said: “Historically, diesels, while better on CO2 emissions, have tended to be rather worse than petrol engines of similar size in relation to local air pollutants such as particulates and nitrogen dioxide. In Kensington and Chelsea there is a problem with local air quality.”


And the Beat-Down Goes On

Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised that his policies would cause electricity rates to “skyrocket” and “bankrupt” any company trying to build a coal-fired generating plant. This is one promise he and his über-regulators are keeping.

President Obama energetically promotes wind and solar projects that require millions of acres of land and billions of dollars in subsidies, to generate expensive, intermittent electricity and create jobs that cost taxpayers upwards of $220,000 apiece – most of them in China.

His Interior Department is locking up more coal and petroleum prospects, via “wild lands” and other designations, and dragging its feet on issuing leases and drilling permits. Meanwhile, his Environmental Protection Agency is challenging shale gas drilling and fracking, and imposing draconian carbon dioxide emission rules, now that Congress and voters have rejected cap-tax-and-trade. That’s for starters.

The beat-down of hydrocarbon energy goes on. Oil, gas and coal provide 85% of the energy that keeps America humming, but the administration is doing all it can to take it out of our mix. American voters, consumers and workers may want more drilling, mining and use of hydrocarbons, to get the economy going again. But the administration has a different agenda.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has unveiled another 946 pages of regulations that she claims will protect public health. The regs cover 84 “dangerous pollutants” that are already being scrubbed out of power plant emission streams by a host of innovative technologies. In fact, coal-fired generators now emit a fraction of what they did just 40 years ago.

The most frequently cited of these pollutants is mercury. Higher doses cause well-known ill-health effects, from severe neurological damage to brain damage and death. However, it has been all but eliminated in herbicides, light switches, thermometers and other products.

Its presence in coal and power plant emissions is likewise minimal and declining. The last serious cases of human health impacts from mercury poisoning in the US occurred decades ago – and coal-fired power plants remain the largest source of US-based manmade mercury only because other human sources are essentially gone.

Nevertheless, EPA and its anti-energy, anti-job allies like Climate Progress and Greenpeace are using mercury to spearhead their latest campaign against a fuel that provides half of all US electricity, and up to 95% in many manufacturing states. Even worse, they claim minorities somehow are especially at risk from mercury and other power plant pollutants. They even went so far as to hold a people-of-color-only press conference, to stir up fears and persuade minority interest groups to support the new regulations.

A few elemental facts put the alleged “dangers” power plant mercury emissions in perspective – which EPA and its fellow campaigners steadfastly refuse to do. They also illustrate how EPA abuses science, statistics and tax-funded “education” campaigns to promote needless public anxiety and expand its control over our lives, jobs and consumer choices, on a host of pollutants that pose little actual risk.

First and foremost, we are talking about a mere 41 tons of mercury per year. If that sounds like a lot, consider the following.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that the cremation of human remains results in 26 tons of atmospheric mercury per year – from mercury-silver amalgams in teeth fillings.

China’s coal-fired power plants emit six times more mercury than their US counterparts, and power plants worldwide emit nearly twelve times as much, according to UN and other data. Since the atmosphere, jet streams and weather systems are global phenomena, all this mercury is mixed with US emissions, But even these manmade sources are dwarfed by natural sources.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, forest fires in the Lower 48 States and Alaska annually put over 44 tons of mercury into the air. Root systems carry naturally occurring mercury from soils into their leaves and wood; forest fires release the mercury into the atmosphere and also “roast” it out of burned soils. (Maybe it’s time to ban forest fires – and wood-burning stoves.)

Recent studies by two Cambridge University scientists calculate that man and Mother Nature discharge up to 9100 tons of mercury into the global atmospheric every year. Most comes from volcanoes, but subsea vents (the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and elsewhere), geysers and forest fires also play major roles.

In other words, US power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air that we Americans breathe. Even eliminating every ounce of this mercury will do nothing about the other 99.5% of that pollutant in America’s atmosphere.

And yet EPA & Company demand that we do just that – at a cost of billions of dollars per year, to “protect” us from infinitesimal or imaginary risks.

Perhaps our helpful bureaucrats and activists could put a Plexiglass bubble over the entire United States, to keep those evil natural and Chinese gases out; plug Old Faithful and Kilauea; and keep people (especially minorities) away from Yellowstone National Park.

Add up everything EPA is doing to tax, obstruct and penalize coal use, and we are looking at huge increases in electricity prices. These skyrocketing prices will hammer family budgets, especially in minority communities, impairing nutrition and health, making it harder for many families to heat, cool and pay for their homes, and increasing illness and death.

Soaring energy prices will also force numerous companies to outsource manufacturing operations and jobs. Electricity is a major cost for factories, offices, stores, hospitals and schools. Every price hike hits them with another $10,000 to $1,000,000 or more in new annual expenses that they must pass on to consumers – or address by laying off more employees, whose families then suffer even more.

These hard realities must be viewed against 8.9% national, 11.6% Hispanic and 15.3% black joblessness. (These figures do not include people who have given up on finding a job, or have been forced to take part-time or temporary work.) EPA’s unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats are being completely disingenuous when they say their latest ten-pound stack of rules will bring one milligram of net benefit to human health and welfare, especially for minorities. EPA’s special “stakeholder briefing” on March 16 certainly conveys the correct image. Environmental activist groups are holding the stake that this rogue agency intends to pound through the heart of America’s economic recovery and civil rights progress.

EPA needs to start basing its policies and rules on science, reality, common sense, and comprehensive public health considerations. Congress needs to reassert its authority over EPA.

Both need to focus on responsible, science-based air and water quality standards that address real health and economic needs – and recognize that “human health and welfare” means more than eliminating every vestige of US manmade emissions, especially when we can do absolutely nothing about the vast majority of natural and manmade global emissions.

America – and our economic and civil rights progress – are waiting.



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


26 March, 2011

Carbon dioxide is good for you -- particularly if you are an asthmatic

Buteyko was ridiculed for many years in Western medical circles -- in a typical rejection of anything outside familiar parameters. The anecdotal evidence in favour of the technique was so strong, however, that a few trials have now been done -- with striking results. Buteyko techniques also seem to have been quietly adopted as an option in many mainstream asthma clinics

And it appears to be the higher levels of carbon dioxide in the lungs that the method produces which are the key. Since atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been rising as steadliy as global temperature has not, it could just be that the horror world foreseen by the Warmists will in fact turn out to be heaven for asthmatics!

I don’t often write about alternative remedies for serious medical conditions. Most have little more than anecdotal support, and few have been found effective in well-designed clinical trials. Such trials randomly assign patients to one of two or more treatments and, wherever possible, assess the results without telling either the patients or evaluators who received which treatment.

Now, however, in describing an alternative treatment for asthma that does not yet have top clinical ratings in this country (although it is taught in Russian medical schools and covered by insurance in Australia), I am going beyond my usually stringent research criteria for three reasons:

* The treatment, a breathing technique discovered half a century ago, is harmless if practiced as directed with a well-trained therapist.

* It has the potential to improve the health and quality of life of many people with asthma, while saving health care dollars.

* I’ve seen it work miraculously well for a friend who had little choice but to stop using the steroid medications that were keeping him alive.

My friend, David Wiebe, 58, of Woodstock, N.Y., is a well-known maker of violins and cellos, with a 48-year history of severe asthma that was treated with bronchodilators and steroids for two decades. Ten years ago, Mr. Wiebe noticed gradually worsening vision problems, eventually diagnosed as a form of macular degeneration caused by the steroids. Two leading retina specialists told him to stop using the drugs if he wanted to preserve his sight.

He did, and endured several terrifying trips to the emergency room when asthma attacks raged out of control and forced him to resume steroids temporarily to stay alive.

Nothing else he tried seemed to work. “After having a really poor couple of years with significantly reduced quality of life and performance at work,” he told me, “I was ready to give up my eyesight and go back on steroids just so I could breathe better.”

Treatment From the ’50s

Then, last spring, someone told him about the Buteyko method, a shallow-breathing technique developed in 1952 by a Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko. Mr. Wiebe watched a video demonstration on YouTube and mimicked the instructions shown.

“I could actually feel my airways relax and open,” he recalled. “This was impressive. Two of the participants on the video were basically incapacitated by their asthma and on disability leave from their jobs. They each admitted that keeping up with the exercises was difficult but said they had been able to cut back on their medications by about 75 percent and their quality of life was gradually returning.”

A further search uncovered the Buteyko Center USA in his hometown, newly established as the official North American representative of the Buteyko Clinic in Moscow.

“When I came to the center, I was without hope,” Mr. Wiebe said. “I was using my rescue inhaler 20 or more times in a 24-hour period. If I was exposed to any kind of irritant or allergen, I could easily get a reaction that jeopardized my existence and forced me to go back on steroids to save my life. I was a mess.”

But three months later, after a series of lessons and refresher sessions in shallow breathing, he said, “I am using less than one puff of the inhaler each day — no drugs, just breathing exercises.”

Mr. Wiebe doesn’t claim to be cured, though he believes this could eventually happen if he remains diligent about the exercises. But he said: “My quality of life has improved beyond my expectations. It’s very exciting and amazing. More people should know about this.”

Ordinarily, during an asthma attack, people panic and breathe quickly and as deeply as they can, blowing off more and more carbon dioxide. Breathing rate is controlled not by the amount of oxygen in the blood but by the amount of carbon dioxide, the gas that regulates the acid-base level of the blood.

Dr. Buteyko concluded that hyperventilation — breathing too fast and too deeply — could be the underlying cause of asthma, making it worse by lowering the level of carbon dioxide in the blood so much that the airways constrict to conserve it.

This technique may seem counterintuitive: when short of breath or overly stressed, instead of taking a deep breath, the Buteyko method instructs people to breathe shallowly and slowly through the nose, breaking the vicious cycle of rapid, gasping breaths, airway constriction and increased wheezing.

The shallow breathing aspect intrigued me because I had discovered its benefits during my daily lap swims. I noticed that swimmers who had to stop to catch their breath after a few lengths of the pool were taking deep breaths every other stroke, whereas I take in small puffs of air after several strokes and can go indefinitely without becoming winded.

The Buteyko practitioners in Woodstock, Sasha and Thomas Yakovlev-Fredricksen, were trained in Moscow by Dr. Andrey Novozhilov, a Buteyko disciple. Their treatment involves two courses of five sessions each: one in breathing technique and the other in lifestyle management. The breathing exercises gradually enable clients to lengthen the time between breaths. Mr. Wiebe, for example, can now take a breath after more than 10 seconds instead of just 2 while at rest.

Responses May Vary

His board-certified pulmonologist, Dr. Marie C. Lingat, told me: “Based on objective data, his breathing has improved since April even without steroids. The goal now is to make sure he maintains the improvement. The Buteyko method works for him, but that doesn’t mean everyone who has asthma would respond in the same way.”

In an interview, Mrs. Yakovlev-Fredricksen said: “People don’t realize that too much air can be harmful to health. Almost every asthmatic breathes through his mouth and takes deep, forceful inhalations that trigger a bronchospasm,” the hallmark of asthma.

“We teach them to inhale through the nose, even when they speak and when they sleep, so they don’t lose too much carbon dioxide,” she added.

At the Woodstock center, clients are also taught how to deal with stress and how to exercise without hyperventilating and to avoid foods that in some people can provoke an asthma attack.

The practitioners emphasize that Buteyko clients are never told to stop their medications, though in controlled clinical trials in Australia and elsewhere, most have been able to reduce their dependence on drugs significantly. The various trials, including a British study of 384 patients, have found that, on average, those who are diligent about practicing Buteyko breathing can expect a 90 percent reduction in the use of rescue inhalers and a 50 percent reduction in the need for steroids within three to six months.

The British Thoracic Society has given the technique a “B” rating, meaning that positive results of the trials are likely to have come from the Buteyko method and not some other factor. Now, perhaps, it is time for the pharmaceutically supported American medical community to explore this nondrug technique as well.

SOURCE. More coverage of the Buteyko technique here. A quote: "The Buteyko Breathing Technique is based on the premise that raising blood levels of carbon dioxide through shallow breathing can help people with asthma. Carbon dioxide is believed to dilate the smooth muscles of the airways."

More on the corrupt American Lung Association

Further to my leading post yesterday -- JR

A member of the Project 21 black leadership network is criticizing the American Lung Association for the misleading nature of its billboard campaign denouncing Rep. Fred Upton.

Upton has introduced legislation, the "Energy Tax Prevention Act," that bars the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing costly and job-killing carbon dioxide regulations without congressional approval.

The billboards say, "Rep. Fred Upton, protect our kids' health. Don't weaken the Clean Air Act." The billboards feature a photo of a girl wearing a mask to assist her breathing.

Upton's legislation would not weaken the pollution-control elements of the Clean Air Act, but prevent the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide, which is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide regulations have nothing to do with our childrens' ability to breathe.

"It's outrageous that a charity purportedly dedicated to health issues is exploiting children to protect the EPA's power grab," said Project 21 full-time fellow Deneen Borelli. "The American Lung Association of Michigan's action against Congressman Upton puts the group's reputation at risk of becoming known as just another liberal front group trying to manipulate public opinion through fear and deception."

One billboard is situated directly opposite Upton's Kalamazoo office.

After the Democratic majority in the Senate declined to adopt a "cap-and-trade" emissions bill in the last congressional session, President Barack Obama ordered the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gases. He did so under the authority of a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling determining that, although Congress did not state so explicitly at the time (and did not consider carbon dioxide a pollutant at the time), Congress intended for the EPA to have this authority under the Clean Air Act. Upton's bill specifies that Congress will retain this lawmaking authority for the legislative branch.

"It's up to Congress to write the laws, and there is little enthusiasm among elected leaders to regulate our nation's energy industry so that prices will skyrocket," added Project 21's Borelli. "The biggest health risks will be derived from the economic consequences of EPA's regulation greenhouse gas emissions. When families end of paying more and more for power, they will have less to spend on medical care, education and savings."

A 2010 report by Management Information Services estimated EPA regulation of carbon dioxide could destroy 2.5 million jobs by 2030 and lower the average American household income by $1,200 a year. And, while emissions regulation is expected to increase energy prices, a new study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that lower-to-middle-class families are already paying much more for energy than they did just a decade ago -- a 12 percent to 20 percent increase of after-tax income, for example, for a family earning less than $50,000 a year.

"Transferring regulatory authority back to elected lawmakers merely stops a radical agenda at the EPA that will raise energy prices. Carbon dioxide is what we exhale -- it doesn't cause cancer or acid rain," said Borelli. "This is not the American Lung Association's fight, and their intervention -- in light of receiving EPA funding -- also questions the intent."

According to the EPA's online Grant Awards Database, the American Lung Association of Michigan received $78,000 from the EPA over the past decade. Grants to the Association and its affiliates during that time total over $20 million.


Reality strikes back

The Japanese Reactor Leaks - Without the Hype

By Don Petersen, PhD and Bill Stratton, PhD, American nuclear experts

Loss of coolant events at several of Japan's nuclear reactors are eerily similar to the Three Mile Island incident of 1979, except that four reactors and spent fuel pools are involved, and tens of thousands perished in a massive earthquake, and devastating tsunami. With all the monumental loss of life and and the unbelievable destruction, the US media still takes most of its time to report hysterically on a "Meltdown" and "Radiation"!

The panic reporting is exactly the same as Three Mile Island--inflated and misinformed. It is hard to separate the facts from the assertions and the media are not helping, but with each passing day more information relevant to the outcome emerges and the hand wringing of previous days lessens. The level of severity at Fukushima Dai-Ichi has been increased to equal Three Mile Island, a desirable condition that appears to be developing--no major radiation release, no one killed, and no serious long term hazard. Even the aftermath of Chernobyl--the worst accident ever--does not reflect the exaggerated initial casualty predictions. Similar exaggerated cancer death predictions undoubtedly will be made for this accident.

The Japanese reactors, forty-year-old GE BWR Mark-1s, were shut down automatically when the earthquake, 5 times greater than the building design, struck. All containment remarkably survived the 9.0 quake intact . Loss of core cooling resulted from the tsunami interrupting offsite electrical transmission and inundating the emergency diesel generators that powered the cooling systems. Fresh water supply also was destroyed by the tsunami, leading to the use of sea water and boron in attempts to cool down the reactor cores and the spent fuel storage pools close to the reactors. The reactor cores cannot be saved but the catastrophe predicted by the frantic reporting will not happen. The spent fuel has been in the pools for a year, about half the time required for fuel to cool enough for dry cask storage. It will heat, but It is more accessible for cooling, and there will be no massive Chernobyl-style releases.

Hydrogen explosions have occurred, 137-cesium and,131-iodine have been detected around Fukushima Dai-Ichi units one through four, resulting from intentional venting to relieve strain on containment, but no major radiation releases have occurred, and the containment appears to remain intact. If cooling conditions can be maintained, most of the spent fuel melting will have been averted and the final outcome will be a huge economic loss for the power company, an engineering nightmare to decommission all four units and associated pools, but with no serious injuries, nobody killed, and little or no long term radiation-related consequences.

Recall that the reactors were shut down and that the core heat comes from the decay of fission products. The residual heat is a small fraction of what would have been present from fission. If core geometry can be cooled and preserved, the cores will not become critical (new nuclear reactions) again. It is important to distinguish between decay heat and criticality which would introduce a new temperature excursion. So far, the Japanese are dealing only with decay heat. A new and serious feature of the Japanese reactor reports is the suggestion that containment has been breached but falling radiation levels indicate that containment is intact.

Finally, in the worst case, the reactor cores will melt but remain contained without massive release of a radioactive plume. Residual heat in an uncooled but shut down reactor is enough to melt the core. The Three Mile Island core melted, the containment held, no significant radiation was released, and no one was injured or killed--not even a grasshopper. The search for cesium at Three Mile Island was intense. Finally, a pike from the Susquehanna River gave evidence of 134-, and 137-cesium but it turned out to be from a nine-month-old Chinese atmospheric weapons test, not from Three Mile Island. The story illustrates the incredible sensitivity of detection instruments. The information that "radiation" has been detected on returning commercial aircraft, dutifully reported by the distracted press, also illustrates the remarkable sensitivity of detection devices, as does reporting of 131-Iodine in local milk, and activity in leafy vegetables. Little information on amounts or identity of contributing nuclides escaping from the reactor complex is available except that measured spikes of radioactivity exceed accepted emergency annual worker exposure limits fivefold (500 millisieverts). That value suggests that relatively small amounts have been released consistent with the notion that it comes from intentional venting and not a breach.

To put the event in perspective, the four reactor cores and associated spent fuel in pools are being stabilized, iodine and cesium releases are relatively small but indicate damage to the reactor cores, exposures of recovery personnel are low, and there have been no fatalities. Thus, Fukushima Dai-Ichi is worse than Three Mile Island, but far, far less serious than Chernobyl. The event is inconsequential by comparison with the awful tragedy that has befallen the Japanese people, and eventually someone should take the melodramatic media to task for misplaced priorities that virtually ignore the genuine tragedy.


Congressman Barton takes dim view of federal light bulb policy

The light bulb you grew up with likely won't be the light bulb you'll grow old with unless U.S. Rep. Joe Barton has his way. The Arlington Republican is spearheading an effort to tell Congress to keep its hands off everyone's light bulbs, trying to repeal a section of a 2007 energy independence act geared to start phasing out 100-watt incandescent light bulbs next year.

The act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush, would essentially remove incandescent light bulbs by 2014, leaving consumers to mostly use the swirled, compact fluorescent bulbs.

"This is about more than just energy consumption," Barton said. "Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. "The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration," he said. "People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use."

Supporters say the bulb change is about advancing technology, saving energy and money, and helping the environment.

Energy Star statistics show that if one light bulb in every American home were replaced with an Energy Star-approved compact fluorescent, enough energy would be saved to light 3 million U.S. homes a year, reduce energy costs by about $600 million and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the amount generated by about 800,000 cars.

"Replacing all the nation's inefficient bulbs with energy-efficient ones will save as much electricity annually as that consumed by all the homes in Texas," said the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental group.

New standards

The new rule doesn't completely ban incandescent light bulbs but creates new standards for the bulbs, such as requiring 100-watt bulbs to be 25 percent more efficient. After that, similar changes will go into effect for 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs.

Some companies are designing new bulbs, but last year, General Electric shut the doors on its last major U.S. plant, in Virginia, that makes incandescent bulbs. Most compact fluorescents are made in Asia. Energy Department officials say traditional bulbs waste as much as 90 percent of their energy as heat. Officials say replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulb can save a household at least $30 in energy costs during the life of that bulb -- which can be 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb's. Many incandescent bulbs last 750 to 1,000 hours.

Fluorescent bulbs can cost more than $3 each; incandescent bulbs can cost as little as 35 cents each.

"Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable," Barton said. "From the health insurance you're allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family."

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, is carrying the bill in the Senate. "Thomas Edison wouldn't be happy if he knew that Congress was essentially banning his invention," he has said.

But Kyle Pitsor, vice president of government relations for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, said requiring the change makes sense.

"The reality is that consumer preference already has been shifting away from incandescent products, with the market for standard household incandescent bulbs declining by 50 percent over the last five years or so," Pitsor said.

Health concerns

Some leaders say they are concerned about compact fluorescents because they contain mercury, a toxic metal linked to birth defects and behavioral disorders. The Environmental Protection Agency has said the average bulb has 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury, enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen.

No mercury is emitted while the bulbs are in use, but vapors can escape if a bulb is broken.

"Exposing our citizens to the harmful effects of the mercury contained in CFL light bulbs, which are being manufactured in China, is likely to pose a hazard for years to come," U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, has said.

Opponents of Barton's bill say there is too little mercury to be much of a concern.

"We understand concerns about mercury, but people are only exposed if the bulb breaks and the amount is one one-hundredth what you would find in an old-fashioned thermometer," Ronnie Kweller, spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy, a Washington, D.C.-based energy independence organization, has said.

Energy savings

Barton is working to get a hearing on the bill scheduled in the House. The Senate version has been heard by the Energy and Resources Committee.

But many customers don't know that they may soon have to buy different light bulbs, said Alex Duran, a salesman at the Fort Worth Lighting Co.

"Most people who walk in here don't know about it," he said. But once employees tell them the changes that lie ahead, "they're not very happy. They blame the government for it."

Duran said that the store is receiving more shipments of compact fluorescents and that an increasing number of lighting fixtures are configured to hold the fluorescents.

"It does save a little more energy, but everyone grew up with incandescent light bulbs," Duran said. "They grew up with the natural light."

The Natural Resources Defense Council said it's time to change.

The bills to revoke the 2007 law "would push aside innovation, derail plans for new job-creating lighting factories and eliminate an estimated $10 billion in annual energy cost savings -- taking as much as $200 a year out of the checkbooks of every U.S. household," a council statement said.



Four posts below


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is very dismissive of "Earth Hour"

Juliar Says That A Carbon Tax Will Make The Ski Season Longer

We read:
"Julia Gillard has told Labor MPs to warn voters that a failure to back a carbon tax will lead to more bushfires and droughts as well as coastal inundation and shorter skiing seasons.


After she broke her promise not to legislate for a carbon tax, it became customary for many Australian conservatives to call Prime Minister Julia Gillard "Juliar". I refrained from doing that on the grounds that a broken promise is not quite a lie. Now, however, she has done it: A barefaced lie that is not even plausible.

Even if we accept as gospel every word that the Warmists say, there is no way any conceivable Australian legislation would have any perceptible effect on the world climate -- simply because Australia's carbon emissions are such a small fraction of the world total.

Those who have done the math generally come up with one hundredth of one degree or thereabouts as the effect on world temperature of the proposed legislation. And that microscopic change would have NO effect on the ski season or anything else

Influential Leftist says Green Party are "basket-weavers" and labels leader 'soapbox' Bob

RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has attacked Labor's minority government partner the Greens as "basket-weavers" and taken a personal swipe at leader Bob Brown.

Mr Ferguson described the Greens leader as "soapbox Bob Brown" and hit out at his politics over the minerals resource rent tax and the government's proposed carbon pricing regime.

The minister said Senator Brown's push for a more punitive tax regime on the resources sector was a short-term solution, and accused him of setting aside economic realities in a pitch for votes on carbon pricing.

The Gillard government has granted mining companies major concessions in its revamped mining tax, the details of which were finalised yesterday. But with the Coalition opposing the deal, Labor must win crossbench support to get it through parliament.

Mr Ferguson said the Greens' push for a tougher policy position on the mining tax would cripple investment and force it offshore.

"Of course we're going to have people jumping up and down and soapbox Bob Brown, in terms of (saying) it's never enough in terms of taxation," he told ABC radio.

"Do you put in place a taxation system which means for a short term period you get a huge jump in taxation, but you stifle investment because capital is footloose and (there are) plenty of opportunities in places such as Africa? They're the choices companies make."

Mr Ferguson said if the government's mining tax was not supported in the parliament then "Bob Brown better start explaining to the Australian community, as should Tony Abbott, how you're going to actually get the revenue to cut company taxation, how you're going to get the revenue to assist small business".

He also attacked the Greens for engaging in populism over the government's proposed carbon tax, suggesting they were living in a fantasy land where people had no jobs and weaved baskets under trees.

"It's easier again to play to the gallery and say we should have $60, $70, $80 per tonne, pull something out of the air and suggest it without actually modelling the potential implications on the Australian community, and the standard of living that we expect," he said.

"We can all sit under the tree and weave baskets with no jobs, if that's what some people in the NGOs and the Greens want."

He played down the government's political concession to credit mining companies for increases in state royalty payments under the MRRT, saying state leaders knew there were upper limits on how much royalties could be raised.

"I think (WA Premier) Colin Barnett understands, there is an absolute limit to how much he can take in terms of royalties. Yes, you can beat the drum and play to the gallery. He's done well in terms of the recent grants commission process," he said.

Mr Ferguson said the MRRT was a crucial reform to address the impacts of the nation's two-speed economy, which were evident even in Western Australia, where the state's tourism sector was unable to get sufficient workers because of the high wages on offer from the mining industry.


Experts undermine Australian government's climate policy

APART from settling on a carbon tax for five years as an interim measure before introducing a flexibly priced emissions trading scheme, the other big changes the Gillard government has sought to make to Kevin Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme have been to reframe climate change politics and rhetoric.

Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and Greg Combet have recast their own position and logic after deciding the former prime minister's advocacy of action on climate change as the "greatest moral and economic challenge of our time" relied too heavily on the moral and not enough on the economic.

As a result, much of the positive debate from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Climate Change Minister has been framed in economic terms. The negative, emotional side of climate change politics is no longer just to run scare campaigns about rising water levels and killer storms but also to portray Tony Abbott as a climate change denier, an extremist and scaremonger.

Although Labor MPs are still being urged in their "talking points" to talk about the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef, the Labor leaders are concentrating on economic arguments, compensation and the Opposition Leader's denial of a Liberal free-market tradition.

This approach is designed to appear reasonable in the face of "oddball" extremist opposition to a carbon tax to fight global warming and to reassure households and business that compensation will be financial and not just a warm feeling of self-satisfaction about saving the planet.

In the past week, Gillard, Swan and Combet have talked about generous tax cuts for middle and low-income earners, the Opposition's plan to rip away these tax cuts and a fundamental market-based reform to reduce carbon pollution.

Swan said on many occasions the Coalition did "not believe in the power of free markets any more" and Gillard accused Abbott of giving up the Liberal tradition of assisting good economic reform from opposition, while arguing Australia had to act on a carbon price or lose out to countries that were reforming their economies.

Yet three of the government's most senior advisers on the issue - economics professor Ross Garnaut, productivity commissioner Gary Banks and Climate Change Department chief Blair Comley - have expressed views that undermine the government's new argument on free markets, compensation share and international competitiveness.

Garnaut, whose suggestion of adopting the income tax cuts to compensate for carbon tax price rises as part of the Henry tax reforms was promoted by Gillard for days before Swan knocked it on the head yesterday, has suggested in his latest discussion paper that a greater part of the carbon tax revenue be used to develop renewable energy sources.

Garnaut's suggestion was pursued even more enthusiastically by the Greens, who suggested funding for renewables be increased four or fivefold. Given the cost of the Henry tax cuts for middle income earners and potential blowout in renewable energy funding from a finite revenue source, Swan killed off the tax cuts.

Although the government allowed Garnaut's tax-cut suggestion to run, it knew all along the cuts were unsustainable and actually pushed up the taxes of some middle-income earners.

As Swan said yesterday: "The two-tiered rate that was put forward in the Henry report . . . actually causes increases in taxation for some middle-income groups and some low-income earners. So I said that is not necessarily ideally the way to go." Thus, the bursting of the Garnaut thought bubble on Henry's tax cuts.

The Productivity Commission chief, who has been tasked to work out where Australia stands on a global scale as far as carbon reduction, trade competitiveness and economic efficiency are concerned, dealt an even harsher blow to government hopes of economic justification for a carbon tax.

As well, Banks undermined Gillard's claims about China's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by pointing out that countries took steps for economic efficiency that had the welcome by-product of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but that should not necessarily be counted towards a nation's efforts to cut carbon output. After an initial stumble on China's closing of coal-fired power stations, Gillard recovered to admit they were replacing them with more efficient coal-fired power stations but Banks's point undercuts the logic that Australia has to act to match China's actions.

More seriously for the government, Banks declared: "Crucially - and this point seems not to be widely understood - it will not be efficient from a global perspective (let alone a domestic one) for a carbon-intensive economy, such as ours, to abate as much as other countries that are less reliant on cheap, high-emission sources.

"It's common sense that achieving any given level of abatement is likely to be costlier in a country with a comparative advantage in fossil fuels," Banks said.

"An appropriate carbon price for Australia cannot be readily inferred from cross-country estimates of the abatement costs of existing schemes," he said. Banks has signalled his report is not going to be easy to complete nor will it contain the information and justifications many may hope.

And as Swan and Combet cited various sources backing their economic judgment on a carbon price as a free-market mechanism there was a sobering assessment from the head of the Climate Change Department sitting on the department's website.

In June last year, three weeks before Kevin Rudd was dumped - after dumping his own emissions trading scheme - the then deputy secretary of the department declared that "the key point I want to make is that carbon markets are regulatory interventions".

"At one level this is so obvious that it need not be said," the former senior Treasury official said, but he was struck by some comments about carbon markets that he wanted to correct. "The first is that carbon markets must be the right answer as it is a 'market' solution, often said in such a way as to imply that markets are naturally occurring beasts.

"Carbon markets may be the right answer, primarily due to the way in which they harness information and utilise decentralised processes, but they only continue to exist supported by institutions," Comley said.

The government may have given up on Rudd's moral imperative on a carbon price and embarked on an economic campaign, but the finite revenue from the carbon price and the huge and growing demands for a share, plus the increasingly wobbly arguments about overseas action and "free markets" suggests there's just as many hard yards ahead.



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


25 March, 2011

The American Lung Association: Bought and paid for

This is an interesting supplement to my comment of 22nd.. I pointed out how amazingly poor their science was and now we get as clue as to why

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving funds to charitable organizations to attack GOP members of Congress. Did you know telling the truth about climate change causes childhood asthma?

We have heard the litany of horrors that climate change is said to bring about — retreating glaciers, rising sea levels, drought and flooding, disease and famine. Now we are told that fighting the EPA's power grab to regulate greenhouse gases will lead to an increase in childhood asthma.

The American Lung Association, considered one of America's most credible and worthy charities, has placed four billboards in Michigan's 6th Congressional District — including one outside the office of Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee — that feature a sickly looking girl with an oxygen mask and read, "Rep. Fred Upton, protect our kids' health. Don't weaken the Clean Air Act."

But what Upton and the Republican House majority that most voters elected in November are trying to do is restore the Clean Air Act to its true meaning and congressional intent. The act was created to clean the air, not to fight mythical climate change and regulate down to our lawn mowers the so-called greenhouse gases — including that product of human respiration, carbon dioxide.

This relationship between the EPA and the ALA goes back to at least the early 1990s. As John Merline reported in IBD way back in 1997, from 1990 to 1995 the EPA gave the American Lung Association some $5 million. reports that the EPA has given the ALA an additional $20 million the past decade.

In return, the ALA is putting up billboards in opposition to reining in an EPA that is guilty of at least mission creep and at worst of accumulating power not authorized by our elected representatives in Congress. This incestuous back-scratching arrangement demeans the ALA's noble mission.

The Upton bill, dubbed the Energy Tax Prevention Act, passed the Energy and Commerce Committee this month. Meanwhile, a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe has been attached as an amendment to a small-business bill.

At a recent mark-up of the Upton-Inhofe bill to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., tried to defend the agency by offering a recent American Lung Association poll that purports to show public opinion favoring the EPA.

But the questions related to the public's attitude on pollution, not climate, and did not ask if the public felt the EPA should be free to regulate every aspect of our lives based on a flawed finding that carbon dioxide, the basis for all life on earth, was a dangerous pollutant.


Energy Fantasyland

Gas is well over $4 a gallon in most places in California -- and soaring elsewhere as well. But are such high energy prices good or bad?

That should be a stupid question. Yet it is not when the Obama administration has stopped new domestic offshore oil exploration in many American waters, curbed oil leases in the West, and keeps oil-rich areas of Alaska exempt from drilling. Last week, President Obama went to Brazil and declared of that country's new offshore finds: "With the new oil finds off Brazil, President (Dilma) Rousseff has said that Brazil wants to be a major supplier of new stable sources of energy, and I've told her that the United States wants to be a major customer, which would be a win-win for both our countries."

Consider the logic of the president's Orwellian declaration: The United States in the last two years has restricted oil exploration of the sort Brazil is now rushing to embrace. We have run up more than $4 trillion in consecutive budget deficits during the Obama administration and are near federal insolvency. Therefore, the United States should be happy to borrow more money to purchase the sort of "new stable sources of energy" from Brazil's offshore wells that we most certainly will not develop off our own coasts.

It seems as if paying lots more for electricity and gas, in European fashion, was originally part of the president's new green agenda. He helped push cap-and-trade legislation through the House of Representatives in 2009. Had such Byzantine regulations become law, a recessionary economy would have sunk into depression. Obama appointed the incompetent Van Jones as "green jobs czar" -- until Jones' wild rantings confirmed that he knew nothing about his job description "to advance the administration's climate and energy initiatives."

At a time of trillion-dollar deficits, the administration is borrowing billions to promote high-speed rail, and is heavily invested in the federally subsidized $42,000 Government Motors Chevy Volt. Apparently the common denominator here is a deductive view that high energy prices will force Americans to emulate European centrally planned and state-run transportation.

That conclusion is not wild conspiracy theory, but simply the logical manifestation of many of the Obama administration's earlier campaign promises. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu -- now responsible for the formulation of American energy policy -- summed up his visions to the Wall Street Journal in 2008: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." I think Chu is finally figuring out the "somehow."

A year earlier, Chu was more explicit in his general contempt for the sort of fuels that now keep Americans warm and on the road: "Coal is my worst nightmare. ... We have lots of fossil fuel. That's really both good and bad news. We won't run out of energy but there's enough carbon in the ground to really cook us."

In fairness to Chu, he was only amplifying what Obama himself outlined during the 2008 campaign. Today's soaring energy prices are exactly what candidate Obama once dreamed about: "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." Obama, like Chu, made that dream even more explicit in the case of coal "So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can -- it's just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

There are lots of ironies to these Alice-in-Wonderland energy fantasies. As the public become outraged over gas prices, a panicked Obama pivots to brag that we are pumping more oil than ever before -- but only for a time, and only because his predecessors approved the type of drilling he has stopped.

The entire climate-change movement, fairly or not, is now in shambles, thanks to serial scandals about faked research, consecutive record cold and wet winters in much of Europe and the United States, and the conflict-of-interest, get-rich schemes of prominent global-warming preachers such as Al Gore.

The administration's energy visions are formulated by academics and government bureaucrats who live mostly in cities with short commutes and have worked largely for public agencies. These utopians have no idea that without reasonably priced fuel and power, the self-employed farmer cannot produce food. The private plant operator cannot create plastics. And the trucker cannot bring goods to the consumer -- all the basics like lettuce, iPads and Levis that a highly educated, urbanized elite both enjoys and yet has no idea of how a distant someone else made their unbridled consumption possible.


Monbiot discovers reality

The original moonbat himself

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting(1). Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by It shows that the average total dose from the Three-Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I’m not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn’t work.

Like most greens, I favour a major expansion of renewables. I can also sympathise with the complaints of their opponents. It’s not just the onshore windfarms that bother people, but also the new grid connections (pylons and power lines). As the proportion of renewable electricity on the grid rises, more pumped storage will be needed to keep the lights on. That means reservoirs on mountains: they aren’t popular either.

The impacts and costs of renewables rise with the proportion of power they supply, as the need for both storage and redundancy increases. It may well be the case (I have yet to see a comparative study) that up to a certain grid penetration – 50 or 70% perhaps? – renewables have smaller carbon impacts than nukes, while beyond that point, nukes have smaller impacts than renewables.

Like others, I have called for renewable power to be used both to replace the electricity produced by fossil fuel and to expand the total supply, displacing the oil used for transport and the gas used for heating fuel. Are we also to demand that it replaces current nuclear capacity? The more work we expect renewables to do, the greater the impacts on the landscape will be, and the tougher the task of public persuasion.

But expanding the grid to connect people and industry to rich, distant sources of ambient energy is also rejected by most of the greens who complained about the blog post I wrote last week(3). What they want, they tell me, is something quite different: we should power down and produce our energy locally. Some have even called for the abandonment of the grid. Their bucolic vision sounds lovely, until you read the small print.

At high latitudes like ours, most small-scale ambient power production is a dead loss. Generating solar power in the UK involves a spectacular waste of scarce resources(4,5). It’s hopelessly inefficient and poorly matched to the pattern of demand. Wind power in populated areas is largely worthless. This is partly because we have built our settlements in sheltered places; partly because turbulence caused by the buildings interferes with the airflow and chews up the mechanism. Micro-hydropower might work for a farmhouse in Wales; it’s not much use in Birmingham.

And how do we drive our textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces and electric railways – not to mention advanced industrial processes? Rooftop solar panels? The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment at which you fall out of love with local energy production. A national (or, better still, international) grid is the essential prerequisite for a largely renewable energy supply.

Some greens go even further: why waste renewable resources by turning them into electricity? Why not use them to provide energy directly? To answer this question, look at what happened in Britain before the industrial revolution.

The damming and weiring of British rivers for watermills was small-scale, renewable, picturesque and devastating. By blocking the rivers and silting up the spawning beds, they helped bring to an end the gigantic runs of migratory fish that were once among our great natural spectacles and which fed much of Britain: wiping out sturgeon, lampreys and shad as well as most seatrout and salmon(6).

Traction was intimately linked with starvation. The more land that was set aside for feeding draft animals for industry and transport, the less was available for feeding humans. It was the 17th-Century equivalent of today’s biofuels crisis. The same applied to heating fuel. As EA Wrigley points out in his new book Energy and the English Industrial Revolution, the 11 million tonnes of coal mined in England in 1800 produced as much energy as 11 million acres of woodland (one third of the land surface) would have generated(7).

Before coal became widely available, wood was used not just for heating homes but also for industrial processes: if half the land surface of Britain had been covered with woodland, Wrigley shows, we could have made 1.25 million tonnes of bar iron a year (a fraction of current consumption(8)) and nothing else(9). Even with a much lower population than today’s, manufactured goods in the land-based economy were the preserve of the elite. Deep green energy production – decentralised, based on the products of the land – is far more damaging to humanity than nuclear meltdown.

But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power(10,11). Thanks to the expansion of shale gas production, the impacts of natural gas are catching up fast(12).

Yes, I still loathe the liars who run the nuclear industry. Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.


Nature Itches: Not all it's cracked up to be

Sandy Ikeda

I remember P.J. O’Rourke saying, “Nature itches,” on a television program a few years ago about his experience in getting back to nature. I don’t mean to diminish in any way the enormity of the multiple tragedies that Japan is currently experiencing because of the earthquake and tsunami, but I thought of that remark when a Japanese friend told me he hoped the Japanese people would now depend less on imports and live closer to the land.

For the vast majority of us in the developed world, getting back, or at least closer, to nature means a day or two in the mountains or at the beach with plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent on hand. Most of us wouldn’t think of doing either of these things without a tankful of gas and a fully charged mobile phone.

More serious practitioners try in one way or another to lower their “carbon footprint” by cutting back on fossil fuels and electricity, believing they can do this by using less heating or air conditioning, taking public transport or bicycling to work, or growing some of their own food. Some advocate living in small houses – very, very small houses – which I find appealing. Because the numbers of these practitioners is now pretty small, their impact is also small. For the most part they are simply pursuing a lifestyle choice or a personal philosophy; or they’re trying to set an example for the rest of us to follow.

But that’s not my main point here. My main point is that the history of civilization has been mostly a steady movement away from the perils of depending directly on nature. Hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era lived closer to nature than the first city dwellers in Neolithic times, and by some estimates the world population grew from one million to five million inhabitants. If we go purely by urbanization rates, Charlemagne lived closer to nature than Henry VIII (although your average Joe in both eras lived comparable lives), and Henry lived closer to nature than almost anyone in the developed world today. Indeed, if you had a time machine and wanted to live closer to nature, all you’d have to do is dial back a few years, to say 1975, and you’d have achieved your goal. There would be fewer stages of production and a less extensive division of labor — and you’d be materially worse off.

Those in the developed world who are living closest to nature right now are small farmers who make their living from the land. My father was one of them. Economic development means fewer of them in 2011 than in 1975 because increasing economic opportunities have made it very costly to be in that profession. (Indeed, instead of farming, my father’s son is teaching and writing.) But while running a farm has its own rewards, what all farmers know is that nature can be a harsher, more relentless, and less forgiving master than any flesh-and-blood boss the rest of us can imagine.

The Dangerous Margin

Living closer to nature, whatever that may mean to you, today seems to be possible or even desirable only at the margins of civilization; that is, before this can happen, a lot of other people have to be working to provide the many things we take for granted. Thus spending some time where trees outnumber people can refresh the mind, body, and spirit; but except for the very hardy few, this requires a reliable source of electricity nearby to light the darkness and recharge our phones. Living off the grid is a hard, grungy business, and it can’t be done entirely anyway. (See my earlier column on this topic.) To do it to any degree, in other words, means not living off the fat of the land, but rather using our incomes to purchase the creative output of generations of entrepreneurs.

We tend to accentuate the positive side of nature: its beauty, bounty, and breathtaking vastness. As the tragedies from hurricanes and earthquakes in Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, and now in Japan remind us, there are negatives too: the dirt, the discomfort, and the destructive power. If you want to live closer to nature, be prepared to die closer to nature.

Perhaps at the margin it might do many of us some good to sweat and shiver a bit more and to shower and consume a bit less. But keep in mind that it has been our species’ relentless drive to achieve ever greater comfort and convenience that has, where the rules of the game have permitted it, enabled us to distance ourselves from the dangerous uncertainties of nature. It has populated our world today with seven billion souls, the overwhelming majority of whom are very, very glad to be alive.



Four articles below

A public service broadcaster propagates some strange economics

On the ABC "Green" site, unsurprisingly. The writer obviously has some grasp of economics but makes some elementary blunders. Take the first sentence in the excerpt below: If that were true, why are forests and stands of trees bought and sold?

And take the last paragraph reproduced below, the claim that burning down cities would benefit the GNP. It is an old fallacy. The writer has obviously never read Bastiat. In summary, the available economic energies (labour etc.) would not change. It would produce much the same in sum with or without a conflagration. Instead of building new houses (say), it would have to rebuild old ones. There would be no necessary impact on GNP at all -- but there would of course be a great loss of assets. See also here for a another refutation of this old fallacy

I suspect that the writer just liked the idea of burning down houses. Greenie forest management policies frequently accomplish just that -- via their opposition to bushfire prevention

A tree growing in a forest has no standing in economics. As far as conventional economics is concerned, it has no "economic" role. Of course, it provides a vital role in the earth's life support system, but this is of interest to scientists and not economists.

As soon as the tree is cut down, it acquires status in economics. Its significance grows as the tree is broken up into smaller components, such as paper or match sticks. The more it is destroyed, the more important it becomes to economic calculations.

Gross National Product (GNP)

Economic and political life revolves around the GNP or Gross National Product. GNP is the measure of financial transactions within a country's economy - the total flow of goods and services produced by the economy over a specified time (usually a year) - and it is derived from calculating the total income of a country's residents, whether the incomes come from production in that country or from production abroad. There is also a calculation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but this distinction is not very important for the main argument here: the inadequacy of conventional economics to take the environment into account.

The GNP is simply a measure of financial transactions; it makes no value judgment on whether the transactions were socially useful or what impact there may have been on the environment.

Crime and car accidents increase the GNP because of the increased work for police, ambulances and prisons. A reduction in crime reduces the GNP. Similarly, a good way to increase Australian GNP would be to burn down Sydney and Melbourne each year. GNP would grow because of the extra work for fire brigades, undertakers, architects, builders, and plumbers. There would be little to show for all this annual effort - but there would be a higher GNP.


Thousands of angry ordinary Australian​s turn up to an anti-tax rally -- and the usual Green/Left smears begin

Jo Nova

In Canberra YESTERDAY over 3,000 people went out of their way, coming in on 30 buses from more than 1000 km away, to let Julia Gillard know that Australians do not want her Carbon Tax. The news made every major broadcast for several minutes. Protesters were referred to as “climate skeptics” (mostly).

Other rallies around Australia got hundreds of people even though they were organized in a hurry, with no advertising, and with no pre-formed coalition of networked groups. There was a very good crowd at the Perth rally on a hot day during business hours, and one heckler (John Brookes). The mood was striking.

This is random shoe-string grassroots action at the last minute and look what it can achieve. It’s just beginning.

The photo gallery at the Australian makes it clear how decidedly normal most people were and what their main messages are. This is mainstream Australia rising up, yet already the Big-Green-PR machine is at work, doing all it can to deny the undeniable.

As I drove home in Perth after our rally, ABC news-radio didn’t mention that 3,000 people had gathered, nor that protests had happened all over the country, they may have said that earlier, but all I heard was how Tony Abbot was under a “cloud” for having spoken at a rally with “extremists” — The Telegraph headlined it too.

Labor MP Nick Champion, Labor Party backbencher, gets press time for his free shot at calling them “extremists“. It’s just another form of name-calling, and if the media had any standards they would not propagate the namecalling without demanding he substantiate it. (Do write and tell me if any journalist asked Champion to explain why it’s extreme to ask for major policies to be put to an election first, or why we ought to expect some achievable outcome when we pay billions — other than earning brownie-points for the UN). Does the word “extreme” mean anything?

Fans of the big scare campaign are masters at avoiding the substantive issues, and filling the available media time with trivialities and name calling. The protesters are obviously angry ordinary Australians. That there are a few odd people or marginal hanger-on-ers among thousands is predictable, and green rally’s have their own variety.

The “witch” and “bitch” signs were unfortunate. The unstatesmanlike anger expressed in those messages is a byproduct of the long suppression of these voices. That anger needs better direction. That will come.

But as much as Labor might wish that today’s rally was a minority group of extremists, this is the start of the pendulum swinging. I stopped to shop at a butchers on the way home inadvertently wearing a No Carbon Tax shirt, and the business-man’s eyes lit up “Were you at the protest?” He’s angry and he’s one of tens of thousands who couldn’t be there today.

Many people I spoke to after the rally were keen to help. We need to start networking, with lists. The message was that many people wanted to put posters up and spread the word.

On another front, many businesses are still afraid to speak out against the Carbon Tax (what business — apart from solar and wind — would benefit from it?) But Bluescope Steel’s Graham Kraehe is pulling no punches. Finally, at least some businesses are stepping forward. If they all said the obvious, the carbon tax would be dead tomorrow.


Leftist group attacks broadcaster over climate

How much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is the product of human activity is moot. Molecules don't have fingerprints on them. There have been much higher levels of CO2 in prehistoric times so the best guess is that human activities are unimportant.

ACTIVIST group GetUp is taking on Sydney shock jock Alan Jones, demanding the broadcaster withdraw comments disputing the science of human-induced climate change.

The organisation is launching proceedings with the broadcast watchdog, demanding Jones publicly and immediately revoke what it calls fabricated statements.

"It's wrong for ultra-conservative shock-jocks like Mr Jones to deliberately mislead their audience," GetUp's acting national director Sam Mclean said today. "We have standards in this country which demand the truth from our broadcasters."

Action is also planned against another Macquarie Radio broadcaster, Chris Smith, organiser of today's anti-carbon tax rally in Canberra.

Under the Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) code of practice, broadcasters are required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that current affairs material, presented as factual, is reasonably supportable and to correct errors of fact at the earliest opportunity.

GetUp has set its sights on Jones over his comments that nature produces nearly all of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Jones has said that human beings produce .001 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the air.

GetUp argues that statement is factually inaccurate and prominent climate scientists have agreed that humans have contributed at least 28 per cent of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"Alan Jones' complete disregard for providing a balanced view of climate change on his show is unacceptable," Mr Mclean said, adding that his organisation's research indicated the broadcaster had not interviewed any climate scientists who believe in the concept of human-induced climate change. "This is completely unhealthy for public discourse and a perfect example of why the ACMA code was created in the first place."


Getting Greenies to compromise: An unenviable task

FORESTRY peace broker Bill Kelty has warned that green groups must strike a deal on the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill - or miss out on the permanent protection of 565,000 hectares of native forests.

The former union leader, appointed to "facilitate" a negotiated peace between loggers and green groups, also yesterday warned that Gunns should submit to a new, independent mill assessment.

Stepping up pressure for a compromise, Mr Kelty said there had to be agreement on a plantation-fed mill to allow Gunns to exit native-forest logging and free up enough wood to allow an industry transition out of old forests. "That is almost the biggest game in town in terms of getting an industry settlement together with an environmental settlement," he said. "A proposal by Gunns to have a pulp mill at Bell Bay in the Tamar Valley is the only essential proposition that is on the table."

However, he revealed all sides to the historic talks - unions, industry and green groups - now backed the appointment of an independent person to assess whether the mill met environmental guidelines.

Gunns has been strongly resisting the move, arguing it has already secured full state and federal approvals, but managing director Greg L'Estrange yesterday began a round of further talks with Mr Kelty.

Mr Kelty said it was "easy to conclude that there will be no agreement" due to ongoing differences on the $2.3 billion pulp mill. However, his interim report, to be passed to state and federal governments by week's end, would recommend that the talks to find a solution to 30 years of conflict continue.

The two substantive issues to be decided were a logging moratorium with agreed security of wood supply - and the pulp mill.

The moratorium was agreed earlier this month, temporarily protecting 565,000ha of high conservation value forests from logging, while allowing up to 12,000ha to be harvested. Only the mill remained unresolved, he said. However, peak group, Environment Tasmania, yesterday said that while green groups had an "open mind" about a new independent assessment, they remained opposed to the mill.

ET director Phill Pullinger said conservationists also wanted to see state and federal governments respond to Mr Kelty's report by acting to fully implement the agreed moratorium.

ET and other green groups involved it the talks - The Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation- have welcomed improvements to the mill to reduce chlorine emissions and guarantee a 100% plantation feed-stock.

However, they have been holding out against endorsing the project because of ongoing hostility to it in the Tamar Valley, north of Launceston, and what Mr Kelty agreed was "considerable cynicism" about its state fast-track approval.

However, it is still possible the groups could agree to a form of words on the mill that would satisfy Gunns' needs to reassure joint venture partners and financiers that it has environmental support.

Mr Kelty expressed "uncertainty" about Gunns' "economic position" and confirmed he had held talks with potential joint venture partners for the project.



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


24 March, 2011

Warmer Weather May Be Linked to Worsened Heart Health

Marvellous the speculations that the hearts of a group of elderly Bostonians can inspire! If this were serious science, the authors below would go to places where it really is hot for their data -- but it's no great mystery why they don't. I grew up in such a hot place (tropical Far North Queensland in Australia) and I can assure everyone that we don't die of heart attacks in our youth there. And there have been some very good lifespans among my older relatives. I even have a living nonagenarian aunt. Generations of my family have lived there and we would certainly know if we were living in an unhealthy place.

Note that the population in Far North Queensland originates mainly from the British Isles so public health measures (clean water etc.) are similar to those found throughout the developed world. We are a rather good control group for assessing the effects of warm climate per se

Rising temperatures and pollution levels may act together to worsen heart health, a new study suggests.

The results show high temperatures in the summer months in a U.S. city are associated with a decrease in heart-rate variability, or how regular the time between heartbeats is, which acts as a measure of how well the heart is working. Previous studies have linked low heart-rate variability to an increased risk of death following a heart attack.

Temperature was more likely to affect cardiovascular function when ozone levels were high, the researchers say.

The findings are particularly concerning in light of the changes global warming is predicted to bring.

"Given that global warming is likely to increase both heat waves and ozone formation, such an interaction may be important for public health," said study researcher Cizao Ren, of the Harvard School of Public Health. (While ozone in the upper atmosphere protects Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, in the lower atmosphere it's a primary component of smog and acts as a lung irritant.)

The study involved 694 elderly men (average age 73 years) who lived in Boston. Participants had their heart-rate variability measured at least once between November 2000 and December 2008. The researchers also analyzed temperature and air pollution data from the surrounding area up to 20 days prior to the participants' examinations.

The researchers found an association between temperature and heart-rate variability in the warm season, but not the colder months. One reason for this may be that people tend to stay indoors in the winter months, where the temperature is often controlled with heating.

Previous studies have found higher temperatures can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and this effect is exacerbated by air pollution. But the new study suggests what might be happening on a biological level to cause problems.

Air temperature and ozone may influence the way the automatic nervous system functions. The automatic nervous system is a part of the central nervous system that helps the body adapt to its environment, according to the American Heart Association. It regulates body functions, including the heart's electrical activity and airflow into the lungs. Heart-rate variability is an indicator of automatic nervous system function, Ren said.

Air pollution may cause problems with reflexes in the airways to the lungs. In addition, higher temperatures may make the body more sensitive to toxins, such as ozone.

The researchers note the study involved elderly men in one part of the United States, and the findings may not be representative of the population as a whole.

The study was published in the March 8 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.


More fact-free "science" from the Green/Left

by Ann Coulter

In response to my column last week about hormesis -- the theory that some radiation can be beneficial to humans -- liberals reacted with their usual open-minded examination of the facts.

According to Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters, MSNBC's Ed Schultz devoted an entire segment to denouncing me. He called me toxic, accused me of spreading misinformation and said I didn't care about science.

One thing Schultz did not do, however, was cite a single physicist or scientific study. I cited three physicists by name as well as four studies supporting hormesis in my column. For the benefit of liberals scared of science, I even cited The New York Times.

It tells you something that the most powerful repudiation of hormesis Schultz could produce was the fact that a series of government agencies have concluded -- I quote -- that "insufficient human data on hormesis exists."

Well, in that case, I take it all ba -– wait, no. That contradicts nothing I said in my column.

Liberals should take up their quarrel with the physicists cited by both me and the Times. I'm sure the Harvard physics department will be fascinated to discover that the left's idea of the scientific method is to cling to their fears while hurling invective at anyone who proposes a novel thesis.

The fact that liberals are so terrified of science that they chronically wet themselves wouldn't be half as annoying if they didn't go around boasting about their deep respect for science, especially compared to conservatives.

Apparently this criticism is based on conservatives' skepticism about global warming -- despite the studies of distinguished research scientists Dr. Alicia Silverstone and Dr. Woody Harrelson. (In my case, it's only because I'm still waiting for liberals' global cooling theory from the '70s to come true.)

The left's idea of "science" is that we should all be riding bicycles and using the Clivus Multrum composting latrines instead of flush toilets. Anyone who dissents, they say -- while adjusting their healing crystals for emphasis -- is "afraid of science."

A review of the record, however, shows that time and again liberals have been willing to corrupt public policy and allow people to die in order to enforce the Luddite views of groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (original name, "Union of Concerned Activist Lawyers Who Took a Science Course in High School").

As I described in my book "Godless," both the government and the entire mainstream media lied about AIDS in the '80s by scaring Americans into believing that heterosexuals were as much at risk for acquiring AIDS as gays and intravenous drug users. The science had to be lied about so no one's feelings got hurt.

In 1985, Life magazine's cover proclaimed: "NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE FROM AIDS." In 1987, U.S. News & World Report reported that AIDS was "finding fertile growth among heterosexuals." Also in 1987, Dr. Oprah Winfrey said that "research studies" predicted that "one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years."

In 1988, ABC's "20/20" claimed the CDC had discovered a shocking upsurge of heterosexual infections on college campuses. It struck no one as odd that 28 of the 30 infections had occurred in men (with alphabetized spice racks and at least three cats, one named Blanche). Two years later, CNN broadcast that same 1988 study, proclaiming: "A new report from CDC indicates that AIDS is on the rise on college campuses."

A quarter-century later, and we're still waiting for the big heterosexual AIDS outbreak.

But at least science achieved its primary purpose: AIDS was not stigmatized as a "gay disease." Scientific facts were ignored so that science would be nonjudgmental. That was more important than the truth.

Liberal activists also gave us the alar scare in the late '80S based on the studies of world renowned chemist and national treasure Meryl Streep. Alar is a perfectly safe substance that had been used on apples since 1968 both to ripen and preserve the fruit. It made fresh fruit more accessible by allowing fruit pickers to make one sweep through the apple grove, producing ripe, fresh fruit to be distributed widely and cheaply.

But after hearing the blood-chilling testimony of Streep, hysterical soccer moms across America hopped in their Volvos, dashed to their children's schools and ripped the apples from the little ones' lunch boxes. "Delicious, McIntosh and Granny Smith" were added to "Hitler, Stalin and Mao" as names that will live in infamy.

The EPA proposed banning alar based on a study that involved pumping tens of thousands times more alar into rats than any human could possibly consume, and observing the results. The rats died -- of poisoning, not tumors – but the EPA banned it anyway. Poor people went back to eating Twinkies instead of healthy fresh fruit.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization advised against an alar ban and Europeans continued to eat fruit with alar in their nice warm houses powered by nuclear energy (halted in the U.S. thanks to the important work of Dr. Jackson Browne and Dr. Bonnie Raitt).

Other scientific theories developed in the laboratories of personal injury lawyers and TV networks included the left's "cancer cluster" claim in the '80s. The Centers for Disease Control investigated 108 alleged "cancer clusters" that had occurred between 1961 to 1983 and found no explanation for them other than coincidence -- and a demonstrable proximity to someone with deep pockets. As Yale epidemiologist Michael Bracken explained: "Diseases don't fall evenly on every town like snow." Random chance will lead some areas to have higher, sometimes oddly higher, numbers of cancer.

But just to be safe, we all better stop driving cars, eating off of clean dishes and using aerosol sprays.

Some of the other scientific studies and innovations that make liberals cry are: vaccines, IQ studies, breast implants and DDT.

After decades of this nonsense, The New York Times' Paul Krugman has the audacity to brag that liberals believe the "truth should be determined by research, not revelation." Yes -- provided the "research" is conducted by trial lawyers and Hollywood actresses rather than actual scientists.


Some recent heresies in the scientific literature

From Chinese scientists. They may be under less pressure to support Warmism

You know the story. Humans are burning fossil fuels and because of their actions, the world is now warming at an unprecedented pace. This warming is stressing ecosystems throughout the world with devastating consequences to vegetation from one end of the earth to the other. If we do not act fast, we will destroy the planet and have a tough time facing our grandchildren. We can all hear it now—why didn’t you do something when there was still time to save the Earth?

Two articles have appeared recently in the scientific literature with results that may make us reconsider this entire affair. The first appears in the Journal of Geographical Sciences dealing with worldwide trends in the vigor of vegetation since the early 1980s—the results may surprise you, but they did not surprise us given all that has been written on this subject and certainly covered at World Climate Report.

Three Chinese scientists (all with the last name of Liu) used satellite data to detect changes occurring in vegetation throughout the world. Rather than use the popular satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Liu et al. (a.k.a., Liu3) decided to use the Leaf Area Index (LAI). The scientists explain “LAI, defined as half the total leaf area per unit ground, is directly linked to vegetation activities and comparable among different ecosystems. It has removed the effects of spectral response, illumination and orbit drift during data acquisition. It should be better, at least theoretically, than NDVI as the indicator of vegetation status.” We will certainly trust their judgment.

As seen in their figure below (Figure1), the red colors absolutely dominate indicating an increase in vegetation status! Liu et al. declare:

“Results show that, over the past 26 years, LAI has generally increased at a rate of 0.0013 per year around the globe. The strongest increasing trend is around 0.0032 per year in the middle and northern high latitudes (north of 30°N). LAI has prominently increased in Europe, Siberia, Indian Peninsula, America and south Canada, South region of Sahara, southwest corner of Australia and Kgalagadi Basin; while noticeably decreased in Southeast Asia, southeastern China, central Africa, central and southern South America and arctic areas in North America.”

In commenting on the upward trend in LAI in the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemispheric, the trio states

“The growth of the vegetation in these middle and high latitude areas is mainly limited by temperature. Many studies correlating NDVI with land surface temperature indicate warming might be the most important factor accounting for the LAI increase in this area. Warming, causes longer active growing season length and higher growth magnitude, therefore leads to increase in LAI in this area.”

We accept their findings—we now believe that warming has been beneficial for vegetation throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. As we look at the map above, we see red throughout many low latitude areas as well. The gloom and doomers of the climate change issue are not going to be happy with such positive results. Although not discussed in the Liu et al. paper, we cannot help but wonder what role elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations may have played in stimulating plant growth in so many areas of the world? Feel free to examine all of our essays reporting on the biological benefits of elevated CO2, let alone the benefits of warming.

Few people would argue that the planet has warmed to some extent over the past three decades, and many people feel that humans caused at least some part of this warming through their consumption of fossil fuels. Well, hold the fort because our second featured article does not arrive at that conclusion whatsoever. The article was written by two scientists from Taiwan and was published recently in Atmospheric Science Letters. Lo and Hsu begin stating:

“The global mean temperature has been rising more abruptly over the past 30 years, compared with that in the previous 50–100 years. This recent warming has occurred in most areas on Earth, becoming a truly global phenomenon. The sudden acceleration of warming, which is particularly evident in the winter Northern Hemisphere (NH), can be linked with the observation of widespread abrupt changes in the late 1980s. The nature of the late 1980s’ warming and its relationship with the dominant teleconnection patterns such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are explored in this study.”

We knew we would like this —nothing better than scientists explaining warming with teleconnections related things that operate largely without any association to the buildup of greenhouse gases. The authors conducted sophisticated research with climate models and greenhouse gas scenarios developed by the United Nations’ IPCC group. They found that warming in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere was highly related to the two teleconnections, and it led them to conclude (hold your breath) that their results “do not support the scenario that the emerging influence of the AO-like pattern in the late 1980s can be attributed to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.” Indeed, they conclude that what we are seeing “can be attributed to natural variability.”

OK. The earth warmed over the past 30 years. We agree (although that has largely slowed down or even stopped in the past 10 years). Atmospheric CO2 has increased. We agree. The rise in CO2 caused the warming—not according to Lo and Hsu. The warming caused vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere to thrive—Liu et al. think so.

You get the message—warming and elevated CO2 are not combining to destroy the planet’s vegetation. Quite to the contrary, they may be a blessing!


That naughty Mr Obama

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie, as the report below from "Grist" shows. Would they have preferred more nuclear reactors?

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year. A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective:

When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption ... Salazar’s announcement is a stark contrast to his call for clean energy. Interior, for example, touted that in 2010, 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy development were authorized. And in today’s press conference, Secretary Salazar announced Interior’s intent to authorize more than 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy by the end of next year ... Yet in opening the door for 2.35 billion tons of coal mining, Salazar’s announcement effectively enables more than 300,000 megawatts of coal-fired energy -- 30 times more dirty energy development than renewable energy.

In other words, despite his administration's rhetorical embrace of clean energy, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels. It's the same strategy BP, Chevron, and other major polluters use: tout modest environmental investments in multi-million dollar PR campaigns, while putting the real money into fossil fuel development.

President Obama seems to be rushing to make this embrace even tighter: in the last week, the administration announced four new permits for deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- the same type of exploration that led to the BP oil spill disaster. Like most of his giveaways to polluters, however, this one failed equally to generate much praise from major polluting industries:

"We look forward to the day when a single permit on plan doesn't merit a press conference by the Secretary of the Interior," said the American Petroleum Institute’s Erik Milito in response.

Even during his trip to Brazil, Obama paid lip service to "green energy," but then gushed over Brazil's recent offshore oil discovery and added, "When you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers ... the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy."


Jatropha bites the dust

And poor countries lose out again. Catering to ever-changing Western fads is a risky business

Plantation of a shrub once hailed as the great new hope for biofuels will result in up to six times the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels, according to a new report.

Jatropha has been planted across Asia in countries under pressure from the West to reduce emissions from the destruction of rainforests, car exhausts and energy production from coal-burning power plants.

But the study for the anti-poverty agency ActionAid and the RSPB of a proposed 50,000 hectare jatropha plantation development in the Dakatcha woodlands of Kenya, near Malindi, found that emissions in producing the biofuel would be 2.5 to six times higher than the fossil fuel equivalents. The woodland hosts globally endangered bird life.

The research examined the whole "life-cycle" of the jatropha production, primarily the clearance of woodland and scrubland, planting, harvesting, refining and transportation of the bio-diesel destined for heating and electricity production in Europe.

"Biofuels are far from the miracle climate cure they were thought to be," said Tim Rice, ActionAid's biofuel expert. "Like most other biofuels, jatropha could actually end up increasing carbon emissions."

Demand for biofuels is soaring around the globe, especially in developed countries where they are subsidised because they hold out the prospect of lower emissions. New EU targets under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires 10 per cent of transport to be powered by renewable by 2020, almost entirely from biofuels.

The growing demand for biofuels led many Asian countries to plan vast plantations of jatropha, which grows on land unsuitable for food production, to feed the imminent gold rush and counter their own green house gas emissions.

Indonesia aimed to have 1.5 million hectares of land under jatropha crops by last year, while India planned 1.18 million hectares, though falling oil prices and growing question marks about it sustainability saw those targets scaled back.


Australia: Huge cost to make power "greener:

ENERGY producers would need to spend at least $30.5 billion on power stations that use gas and other clean technologies over the next decade to comply with even a modest emissions reduction target.

New modelling reveals that the scale of the spending could rival the rapid electrification across the nation that took place after World War II.

The modelling, to be released at a business forum in Canberra today, also finds that a modest target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 would slash the earnings of coal-fired power stations by $11bn and force the shutdown of 10 per cent of the nation's electricity generating capacity.

Details of the modelling came as Julia Gillard branded Tony Abbott a climate change "denier" who was trying to appeal to sceptics as she sought to capitalise on an improvement in the government's Newspoll standing.

The attack in a fiery question time yesterday came as the Opposition Leader questioned the Prime Minister's truthfulness over her decision to break her pre-election pledge not to impose a carbon tax.

And at the National Press Club, BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe warned that the proposed compensation for emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, which would be forced to compete with imports from countries that did not have a carbon tax, would be like putting "a Band-Aid on a bullet wound".

Mr Kraehe, who is also a member of the Reserve Bank board, said business had lost trust in the Gillard government and the consultation process for the current carbon tax negotiations had been "appalling".

The warning came as The Australian learned that senior industry figures believe Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has ruled out taking a sectoral approach to the introduction of a carbon pricing scheme, which means it would be introduced on a widespread basis across the economy.

And, despite climate change adviser Ross Garnaut's support for using Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme as a starting point for transitional industry assistance, independent MP Tony Windsor is understood to have doubts. He is believed to have told industry figures he does not support a "rehash" of the CPRS assistance.

The debate rages as Mr Combet and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson prepare to begin negotiations on the shape of the compensation package with some of the nation's most powerful company executives tomorrow. They include: Paul O'Malley from BlueScope Steel; Don Voelte from Woodside; David Peever from Rio Tinto; Anne Pickard from Shell; and Hubie Van Dalsen from BHP Billiton.

A forum in Canberra today organised by the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network and the Business Council of Australia will be told that the reliability of Australia's energy system could be under threat over the period to 2020, as coal-fired power stations close before enough replacements are built and maintenance work is reduced or even stopped.

Even a carbon price of $20 a tonne of emissions was likely to lead to some coal power stations defaulting on their debts and handing the assets over to their financiers. AIGN chief executive Michael Hitchens said that if some investors in power stations made big losses they would not invest in new capacity and new investors would invest only if there were higher returns.

"This would lead to even higher electricity prices than are needed," Mr Hitchens said.

The findings will put pressure on the Prime Minister to stare down the Greens, who are opposed to compensating electricity generators for putting a price on carbon.

Ms Gillard plans to introduce a fixed price on each tonne of carbon emissions from July 1 next year, but the level of compensation for industry and households remains a key sticking point between Labor and the Greens.

Under Mr Rudd's CPRS, the power generators were set to receive compensation of $7.3bn over 10 years, but the energy industry complained this fell well short of being sufficient.

The modelling by consultancy ACIL Tasman estimates that about $10.5bn in spending would be needed for gas-fired generating plant under an emissions pricing regime.

A further $20bn would be needed to comply with the government's renewable energy target.

Further spending still would be needed for gas pipelines and electrical transmission systems.

Rod Sims, an expert adviser to the multi-party climate change committee will use today's forum to call for the carbon price to be substituted for generous subsidies for solar panels and other high-cost greenhouse reduction measures.

Mr Sims, also a director of Port Jackson Partners, will argue that while measures such as solar panels are appealing they are very expensive, are insufficient to meet emissions reductions targets and offer no compensation.

The ACIL Tasman paper argues that compensation would not necessarily overcome the potential for electricity market disruption. But it could be used to provide incentives to overcome risks to the reliability of energy supplies, such as tying compensation to requirements that provide sufficient warning that power plants will be shut down.

"While ultimately government must make the decision as to whether compensation is warranted to support the ongoing effective and efficient operation of electricity markets, in doing so they must be cognisant of the central role that electricity plays in the everyday lives of all Australians," the paper says.

It warns that any policy must also take account of "the potential disruption to those everyday lives if electricity supplies are subject to increased price volatility and in the worst case disrupted."

ACIL Tasman chief executive Paul Hyslop, who will present the paper, said the modelling was based on the CPRS because, to get a 5 per cent reduction by 2020, Labor's stated target, would require similar carbon pricing to that proposed in Mr Rudd's model.

The firm's projections also estimate that wholesale electricity prices would rise by about $30 a megawatt hour by 2020 to meet a 5 per cent cut in emissions.

This would translate into higher retail electricity prices for households, particularly for off-peak power.

Because big industrial energy users use a lot of off-peak power, they face a "significantly" higher cost base.



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


23 March, 2011

Joe Romm knocks over a straw man

Below is the opening of a Joe Romm rant. Most of the rest is just ad hominem abuse. Straw man arguments occur as an act of desperation. When you cannot answer your opponent's argument, you make up some other argument and answer that. The straw man argument that Romm invents below is that there has been NO global warming. But nobody argues that.

Skeptics argue 1). That the warming is trivial in relation to normal climate variations and in relation to its possible effects; 2). That it is natural rather than anthropogenic.

"Trivial" or "substantial" have to be defined in relation to something. An effect that might seem substantial to a scientist eagerly scaning his data may be quite trivial in its real-world effects.

Skeptics are also dubious about whether recent rises in CO2 levels are substantially human-caused. How do we know? Molecules don't have fingerprints on them!

In his piece below Romm is referring to an attempt to clean up the terrestrial temperature record after all the dubious treatment of it by Hansen at NASA/GISS, Jones at CRU/UEA, and others. It is a worthy project but marginal to the climate debate. Satellite data are available that render the likes of Hansen and Jones largely irrelevant. They too show trivial warming.

Another amusing aspect of the Romm piece is his hysteria in finding that the openness promised by the new project really is happening -- and that SKEPTICS (gasp!) have been given access to the data concerned.

Bombshell 1: Climate science deniers claim to have full access to Berkeley temperature study work-product

Bombshell 2: BEST's Project Chair Richard Muller confirms ClimateProgress reporting, contradicts WattsUpWithThat

The key conclusions from Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project have been made public by its project chair, Richard Muller. In a talk Saturday (near the end), Muller explained that BEST has been analyzing large quantities of data, they have started writing a draft report, and what he can say now is:

“We are seeing substantial global warming”

“None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”

None of that should be a surprise (except to a few deniers). If you listen to the entire video (which I don’t recommend without multiple head vises), it’s clear the Muller himself is a volcano of long-debunked denier talking points and misinformation (which I’ll re-debunk later). So when Muller says the data show “substantial global warming” and the effects raised by the skeptics are “marginal,” you know he’s not overstating things.


On the gargantuan lie of climate change science

An excerpt below from Denis G. Rancourt, a Left-leaning academic. The headline above is his. This excerpt points out that assessing global temperature has huge statistical difficulties that Warmists ignore. In the introductory paragraph below he mentions other difficulties -- difficulties which he explores more fully in his original article

So, if despite all the carbon pools and inter-pool fluxes on the planet we (a) accept that the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is due to fossil fuel burning, (b) believe that the concept of a planetary greenhouse effect is physically justified, and (c) believe that CO2 as a trace gas in the atmosphere can impact climate via the invented but-some-believe-justified amplification hypothesis, then we must next look for planetary warming (or some other global climate effect?) that can be attributed to increasing CO2.

Note that, given the above discussion, a plausible alternative to even point-a is that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is a response to some global or solar-system change(s) that affect carbon fluxes – rather than arising from a simplistic addition from fossil fuel burning. That is, that trace atmospheric CO2 “follows” rather than “drives” (e.g., [2][15][16]).

Never mind! Let’s just look for warming.

Now at this stage it gets really difficult for the believer scientists. They must contend both with the largest scientific data hoarding and data manipulating scandal since Newton (Climategate, [17]) and the fact that the mathematical statisticians have shown that a global (space-and-time-) average temperature from (space-and-time-) discrete measurements of temperature is “ill-posed” (i.e., cannot be reliably evaluated) [2][18].

Mathematical statistics experts Essex et al. put it this way in their 2007 abstract [18]:

“Physical, mathematical, and observational grounds are employed to show that there is no physically meaningful global temperature for the Earth in the context of the issue of global warming. While it is always possible to construct statistics for any given set of local temperature data, an infinite range of such statistics is mathematically permissible if physical principles provide no explicit basis for choosing among them. Distinct and equally valid statistical rules can and do show opposite trends when applied to the results of computations from physical models and real data in the atmosphere. A given temperature field can be interpreted as both “warming” and “cooling” simultaneously, making the concept of warming in the context of the issue of global warming physically ill-posed.”

In addition, analytic forecasting experts assessed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group One (WG1) 2007 Report and found that [19]:

“The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 [established forecasting] principles. Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical. The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts' predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.”

This all occurred after the ludicrous “hottest year in the hottest decade of the last thousand years” madness of the 1990s, now politely referred to as the “hockey stick controversy” [20]. And recently Climategate has conclusively settled the latter controversy [17]: The hockey stick was a sham even allowing for statistical ignorance regarding the instrumental temperature record.

In addition, it is stunning to note the almost total disregard for proper error propagation and sensitivity analysis that was the norm in climate science (both with the modellers and those reporting proxy and instrumental data) into the beginnings of the 2000s. This is true to the point that the first tentative reports of error and sensitivity analysis on the models were considered top-rate scientific news for the elite journals Science and Nature (e.g., [21][22][23][24]) – as though scientists had just discovered reliability evaluation!

Several papers then questioned the further practical difficulty of correctly quantifying true prediction uncertainties given that all the contending climate models make virtually the same model assumptions (e.g., [25]) – as though that were a surprise.

These were fatal blows (mean global temperature not defined and cannot be measured or predicted) that did not even require that the previously debated and arguably insurmountable difficulties of measuring a given temperature (instrumentally or by proxy) be addressed (see [2] for discussion).

These are the reasons that “global warming” became “climate change”. Model extractions and empirical evaluations of a mean global temperature were shown to be hog wash.


Japan: whatever happened to the nuclear meltdown?

Amazing, isn’t it, what a little light military intervention can do to a nuclear crisis? One minute, the world is facing nuclear meltdown Armageddon to rank with – ooh, Three Mile Island at the very least, and quite possibly Chernobyl. A few (shockingly expensive) missile strikes over Benghazi and Tripoli later, though, and the Japanese nuclear crisis has all but vanished from the face of the earth.

Maybe we should start small wars more often. Or maybe – even better – the MSM could learn to start reporting on nuclear incidents like journalists instead of activists from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. I’m with Lewis Page on this one. In the Register, he writes:
As one who earns his living in the media these days, I can only apologise on behalf of my profession for the unbelievable levels of fear and misinformation purveyed this week. I have never been so ashamed to call myself a journalist.

Page puts the Fukushima incident in its proper perspective:
The Fukushima reactors actually came through the quake with flying colours despite the fact that it was five times stronger than they had been built to withstand. Only with the following tsunami – again, bigger than the design allowed for – did problems develop, and these problems seem likely to end in insignificant consequences. The Nos 1, 2 and 3 reactors at Daiichi may never produce power again – though this is not certain – but the likelihood is that Nos 4, 5 and 6 will return to service behind a bigger tsunami barrier.

The lesson to learn here is that if your country is hit by a monster earthquake and tsunami, one of the safest places to be is at the local nuclear powerplant. Other Japanese nuclear powerplants in the quake-stricken area, in fact, are sheltering homeless refugees in their buildings – which are some of the few in the region left standing at all, let alone with heating, water and other amenities.

Nothing else in the quake-stricken area has come through anything like as well as the nuclear power stations, or with so little harm to the population. All other forms of infrastructure – transport, housing, industries – have failed the people in and around them comprehensively, leading to deaths most probably in the tens of thousands. Fires, explosions and tank/pipeline ruptures all across the region will have done incalculably more environmental damage, distributed hugely greater amounts of carcinogens than Fukushima Daiichi – which has so far emitted almost nothing but radioactive steam (which becomes non-radioactive within minutes of being generated).

And yet nobody will say after this: “don’t build roads; don’t build towns; don’t build ships or chemical plants or oil refineries or railways”. That would be ridiculous, of course, even though having all those things has actually led to terrible loss of life, destruction and pollution in the quake’s wake.

But far and away more ridiculously, a lot of people are already saying that Fukushima with its probable zero consequences means that no new nuclear powerplants should ever be built again.

One of those ridiculous people is – inevitably – the noisome Energy Secretary Chris Huhne. In true Rahm Emanuel style he is using the perceived crisis as an excuse to push forward his anti-nuclear, eco-loon agenda. He claims:
“We can do the 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 without new nuclear, but it will require a big effort on carbon capture and storage and renewables.”

If implemented this will most assuredly cause brown-outs and tremendous economic damage by the time the energy gap begins to widen in 2020. But since Huhne will no longer be in office then and since he is wealthy enough not to have to face the consequences of his political stupidity this is unlikely to bother him.

Another of those people is the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt, who could be heard on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions grandstanding about his opposition to nuclear and being given a free pass by Jonathan Dimbleby to spout his spurious eco-propaganda as if it were actually true. At one point, he actually claimed that wind farms did not cause noise disturbance. (Maybe, Sir Jonathan, I should give you the phone number of the poor Welsh chap who has been advised that he should now sleep with his windows shut at night to cut out the noise of the wind farm which has destroyed the value of his property and ruined his retirement).

One of the main objections raised about nuclear power is how incredibly expensive it is. There’s a reason for this: thanks to forty years of hysterical, dishonest propaganda from “Atomkraft Nein Danke” eco-activists like Porritt and Huhne, the bar for safety has been set to such impossibly high standards that it cannot compete economically with less heavily regulated industries such as oil, coal, gas – or indeed wind. I was pleased to hear Toby Young on Any Questions reiterating my point about the safety records of the nuclear and wind industries:
Nuclear fatalities in the last ten years: 7

Wind farm fatalities in the last ten years: 44.

In those ten years nuclear provided thirty times the energy of wind. This means in the last decade, nuclear has been around 200 times safer than wind on an energy produced/accidents basis.

And entirely unsurprised when the Hon Sir Jonathan Porritt, having pompously thanked Toby for raising the safety issue, chose to ignore the inconvenient truth of these statistics.

Let’s leave last word to this German astronomer and physicist, Dr Peter Heller, who has written a moving essay on how the scientific truth on nuclear power has been warped by political activism. (Hmm. Reminds me of another area of “science” which has been similarly distorted by scientists, politicians and activists with an agenda. Can anyone jog my memory?) (H/T Roddy Campbell)
So it fills me with sadness and anger on how the work of the above mentioned giants of physics is now being dragged through the mud, how the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century are being redefined and criminalized. The current debate in Germany is also a debate on freedom of research.

The stigmatization and ostracism of nuclear energy, the demand for an immediate stop of its use, is also the demand for the end of its research and development. No job possibilities also means no students, which means no faculty, which then means the end of the growth of our knowledge.

Stopping nuclear energy is nothing less than rejecting the legacy of Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and all others. It is tantamount to scrapping it, labelling it as dangerous – all in a fit of ignorance. And just as creationists attempt to ban the theory of evolution from the school books, it almost seems as if every factual and neutral explanation in Germany is now in the process of being deleted.

The media suggests a nuclear catastrophe, a mega-meltdown, and that the apocalypse has already begun. It is almost as if the 10,000 deaths in Japan were actually victims of nuclear energy, and not the earthquake or the tsunami. Here again one has to remind us that Fukushima was first hit by an unimaginable 9.0 earthquake and then by a massive 10-meter wave of water just an hour later. As a result, the facility no longer found itself in a highly technological area, but surrounded by a desert of rubble. All around the power plant the infrastructure, residential areas, traffic routes, energy and communication networks are simply no longer there. They were wiped out.

Yet, after an entire week, the apocalypse still has not come to pass. Only relatively small amounts of radioactive materials have leaked out and have had only a local impact. If one considers the pure facts exclusively, i.e. only the things we really know, then it exposes the unfounded interpretations of scientific illiterates in the media. One can only arrive to one conclusion: This sorrowful state will remain so.


Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with thorium

A few weeks before the tsunami struck Fukushima’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium.

This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.

China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack `Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say.

Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster. “The reactor has an amazing safety feature,” said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA engineer at Teledyne Brown and a thorium expert. “If it begins to overheat, a little plug melts and the salts drain into a pan. There is no need for computers, or the sort of electrical pumps that were crippled by the tsunami. The reactor saves itself,” he said.

“They operate at atmospheric pressure so you don’t have the sort of hydrogen explosions we’ve seen in Japan. One of these reactors would have come through the tsunami just fine. There would have been no radiation release.”

Thorium is a silvery metal named after the Norse god of thunder. The metal has its own “issues” but no thorium reactor could easily spin out of control in the manner of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or now Fukushima.

Professor Robert Cywinksi from Huddersfield University said thorium must be bombarded with neutrons to drive the fission process. “There is no chain reaction. Fission dies the moment you switch off the photon beam. There are not enough neutrons for it continue of its own accord,” he said.

Dr Cywinski, who anchors a UK-wide thorium team, said the residual heat left behind in a crisis would be “orders of magnitude less” than in a uranium reactor.

The earth’s crust holds 80 years of uranium at expected usage rates, he said. Thorium is as common as lead. America has buried tons as a by-product of rare earth metals mining. Norway has so much that Oslo is planning a post-oil era where thorium might drive the country’s next great phase of wealth. Even Britain has seams in Wales and in the granite cliffs of Cornwall. Almost all the mineral is usable as fuel, compared to 0.7pc of uranium. There is enough to power civilization for thousands of years.

I write before knowing the outcome of the Fukushima drama, but as yet none of 15,000 deaths are linked to nuclear failure. Indeed, there has never been a verified death from nuclear power in the West in half a century. Perspective is in order.

We cannot avoid the fact that two to three billion extra people now expect – and will obtain – a western lifestyle. China alone plans to produce 100m cars and buses every year by 2020.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the world currently has 442 nuclear reactors. They generate 372 gigawatts of power, providing 14pc of global electricity. Nuclear output must double over twenty years just to keep pace with the rise of the China and India.

If a string of countries cancel or cut back future reactors, let alone follow Germany’s Angela Merkel in shutting some down, they shift the strain onto gas, oil, and coal. Since the West is also cutting solar subsidies, they can hardly expect the solar industry to plug the gap.

BP’s disaster at Macondo should teach us not to expect too much from oil reserves deep below the oceans, beneath layers of blinding salt. Meanwhile, we rely uneasily on Wahabi repression to crush dissent in the Gulf and keep Arabian crude flowing our way. So where can we turn, unless we revert to coal and give up on the ice caps altogether? That would be courting fate.

US physicists in the late 1940s explored thorium fuel for power. It has a higher neutron yield than uranium, a better fission rating, longer fuel cycles, and does not require the extra cost of isotope separation.

The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs. As a happy bonus, it can burn up plutonium and toxic waste from old reactors, reducing radio-toxicity and acting as an eco-cleaner.

Dr Cywinski is developing an accelerator driven sub-critical reactor for thorium, a cutting-edge project worldwide. It needs to £300m of public money for the next phase, and £1.5bn of commercial investment to produce the first working plant. Thereafter, economies of scale kick in fast. The idea is to make pint-size 600MW reactors.

Yet any hope of state support seems to have died with the Coalition budget cuts, and with it hopes that Britain could take a lead in the energy revolution. It is understandable, of course. Funds are scarce. The UK has already put its efforts into the next generation of uranium reactors. Yet critics say vested interests with sunk costs in uranium technology succeeded in chilling enthusiasm.

The same happened a decade ago to a parallel project by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). France’s nuclear industry killed proposals for funding from Brussels, though a French group is now working on thorium in Grenoble.

Norway’s Aker Solution has bought Professor Rubbia’s patent. It had hoped to build the first sub-critical reactor in the UK, but seems to be giving up on Britain and locking up a deal to build it in China instead, where minds and wallets are more open.

So the Chinese will soon lead on this thorium technology as well as molten-salts. Good luck to them. They are doing Mankind a favour. We may get through the century without tearing each other apart over scarce energy and wrecking the planet.


Low exposure to the Nagasaki atomic blast resulted in longer lifespans

The immense suffering that the Japanese are enduring in the aftermath of their earthquake and tsunami is now compounded by torment over radiation releases from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

While the torment is understandable, based on the reported amounts of radiation released, it is uncalled for. The evidence from Japan’s populace — inadvertent guinea pigs in the largest radiation experiment ever, in the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 — indicates that fears over radiation can be overblown.

Those who survived the immediate atomic blasts but were near Ground Zero died at a high rate from excess exposure to radiation. The tens of thousands more distant from Ground Zero, and who received lower exposures to radiation, did not die in droves. To the contrary, and surprisingly, they outlived their counterparts in the general population who received no exposure to radiation from the blasts.

These findings come from the Atomic Bomb Disease Institute of the Nagasaki University School of Medicine, which has been analyzing the medical records of survivors continuously since 1968. The voluminous records — based in part on the free twice-a-year medical examinations that 83,050 registered Nagasaki survivors received — provided the researchers with a database of 2.5 million examination items to mine. To determine how the survivors fared, the researchers compared the survivors with Japanese men and women of the same age who had not been exposed to radiation.

“Among about 100,000 A-bomb survivors registered at Nagasaki University School of Medicine, male subjects exposed to 31-40 cGy [centigrays] showed significantly lower mortality from non-cancerous diseases than age-matched unexposed males,” the researchers found. “And the death rate for exposed male and female was smaller than that for unexposed.” The 31-40 cGy is a measure of radiation absorption higher than the general population in the vicinity of the plants is likely to have received.

The University of Nagasaki study, whose results were consistent with other studies done of the A-bomb survivors, found that high exposures to radiation kill while moderate exposures provide overall general health benefits. While some levels of low exposure did produce a small number of additional cancer deaths, these cancer deaths were more than offset by lower death rates from other causes, such as heart disease and circulatory ailments. The study’s bottom line: “the low doses of A-bomb radiation increased lifespan of A-bomb survivors.”

Other studies of A-bomb survivors, which sliced the data in different ways, have also found encouraging news. Those exposed to fewer than 20 cGy of radiation experienced fewer cancer deaths than the general population. The unborn — thought to be at especial risk — showed no adverse effects under 10 cGy. And no genetic defects were found among the 90,000 children and grandchildren of survivor parents who were exposed to average doses of 40 cGy to 60 cGy. Based on the information available to date, all these exposures exceed those the general population in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant is likely to have received.

The real-life studies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors indicate that radiation affects the human body much as arsenic, sodium and many other substances do — they are beneficial in small doses, but can be harmful in overdoses. Yet the conventional scientific wisdom rejects these studies, and a multitude of other real-life studies, in favour of what is known as the Linear No-Threshold Assumption. Under this assumption, all exposure to radiation, no matter how small, is harmful in direct proportion to the dose. It is called an assumption because there is no proof of its validity. In fact, the scientists who espouse it freely admit that no proof for their assumption can ever be had because the risk is too small to measure statistically. In the absence of proof, they say, the only safe course is to assume danger.

Yet assuming danger where none exists is in itself dangerous, particularly in a country with the culture of Japan. The atomic bomb survivors were known as hibakusha or “explosion-affected people”— a stigma connoting damaged goods that made them less marriageable, less worthy of association, and less worthy even in their own minds. Even if those recently irradiated by Fukushima escape this epithet, the burden of living in fear for their health and that of their offspring could be great.

Damage to the psyche aside, some 200,000 people have been evacuated from 10 towns in the vicinity of the nuclear plant, many of whom now find themselves in poorly heated makeshift shelters where they must make do without adequate food and water, and numerous others have been told to stay indoors. Worse, if the budding panic over radiation spreads, the region around Fukushima — one of Japan’s most productive farming areas — may be tainted or even abandoned for agriculture. The Japanese government has already banned the sale of milk and spinach produced in the plant’s environs, and consumers in other countries, fearing contamination, are shying away from all Japanese produce.

The only evidence that exists as to the health of humans who have been irradiated at low levels points to a benefit, not a harm. Difficult though it may be to overcome the fear of radiation that has been drubbed into us since childhood, there is no scientific proof whatsoever to view the radiation emitted from the Fukushima plant as dangerous to the Japanese population, and certainly no reason for the Japanese to view those living near the plant as damaged goods. In all likelihood, though, many will nevertheless be viewed as such. If so, that will be one more tragedy heaped among the others that the affected Japanese population will need to endure.


Hitler 1934 – Holdren 1969

Obama science czar John Holdren, 1969:
If we may safely rule out circumvention of the Second Law or the divorce of energy requirements from population size, this suggests that, whatever science and technology may accomplish, population growth must be stopped.

But it cannot be emphasized enough that if the population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.’ Therefore, confronted as we are with limited resources of time and money, we must consider carefully what fraction of our effort should be applied to the cure of the disease itself instead of to the temporary relief of the symptoms.

We should ask, for example, how many vasectomies could be performed by a program funded with the 1.8 billion dollars required to build a single nuclear agro-industrial complex, and what the relative impact on the problem would be in both the short and long terms.

The decision for population control will be opposed by growth-minded economists and businessmen, by nationalistic statesmen, by zealous religious leaders, and by the myopic and well-fed of every description. It is therefore incumbent on all who sense the limitations of technology and the fragility of the environmental balance to make themselves heard above the hollow, optimistic chorus-to convince society and its leaders that there is no alternative but the cessation of our irresponsible, all-demanding, and all-consuming population growth.

Holdren is actually even more misanthropic than Hitler. Hitler only wanted to kill the defectives. Holdren doesn't care who it is -- JR



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


22 March, 2011

American Lung Association is out of puff

It seems reasonable that heavy air pollution has adverse health effects of some kind but the situation is not as clearcut as one might think. I know the research literature on that rather well and have often critiqued it on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog.

In summary: Evidence from human studies in the Western world is very equivocal -- consisting of epidemiological speculation based on weak relationships in studies that do not control for important potential confounders. But that literature focuses on particulate pollution -- and CO2 is a gas, not a particle. And the idea that CO2 -- which we all produce and breathe out -- might be damaging to health is simply laughable.

So the lungies are deliberately misrepresenting the attack on the EPA. The attack does NOT aim to interfere with regulation of particulate pollution -- only with CO2 regulation.

Political corruption has crept into the management of even the most prestigious medical journals (Lancet and BMJ, for instance, often push Leftist causes) so I don't suppose we can expect much integrity from the lungies

The American Lung Association strongly opposes Chairman Fred Upton, Senator James Inhofe, and Representative Ed Whitfield’s bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority to update clean air standards. If passed by Congress, this legislation would interfere with EPA’s ability to implement the Clean Air Act; a law that prevents tens of thousands of adverse health effects caused by air pollution, including asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death each year. A report released earlier this week by EPA found that cutting pollution through the Clean Air Act will save $2 trillion by 2020 and prevent at least 230,000 deaths annually.

“Chairman Upton’s and Senator Inhofe’s bill is a reckless and irresponsible attempt to once again put special interests ahead of public health, a maneuver the public is staunchly opposed to,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

In a poll conducted by the American Lung Association in February 2011, nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose Congressional action that interferes with the EPAs efforts to update clean air standards. Three out of four voters support the EPA setting tougher standards on specific air pollutants, including mercury, smog and carbon dioxide, as well as setting higher fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty trucks.

Connor continued, “The enactment of the Upton-Inhofe-Whitfield bill would strip away sensible Clean Air Act protections that safeguard Americans and their families from air pollution. Americans have these protections because over the past 40 years Congressional leaders of both parties worked together to protect the lives and health of their constituents. We strongly urge Congress to reject this approach and support the continued implementation of this vital law.”


CO2 causes asthma???

Seeing we all breathe out CO2, there sure must be a lot of asthma about! There's not a skerrick of honesty in this. But the words of wisdom below come from "the nation's most effective environmental action group" so I guess we should not be too surprised at the warped thinking

Well, for the moment “the most anti-environmental bill to come before Congress in the last 40 years” has run into trouble: the bill that the American Lung Association called “toxic to America’s health” didn’t attract enough votes to pass through the Senate today, which means that the fight over the federal budget and efforts to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency using riders and budget cuts will continue.

Meanwhile, another drama fills the stage this morning as the House Energy and Power subcommittee takes up Fred Upton’s bill to stop the EPA from updating clean air safeguards to protect public health from dangerous carbon pollution.

Let’s just call it the Asthma Aggravation Act of 2011. Much as some members of Congress would like to pretend otherwise, continuing to allow power plants and other polluters to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air will – among other things – aggravate asthma by making smog pollution problems worse and by raising pollen levels. [CO2 is not a smog component and more pollen would be a sign of plant health. Are healthy plants to be avoided?]

I’ve already pointed out that Fred Upton’s own constituents don’t like his proposal to block the EPA, and that the constituents of many of his own committee members don’t either.

Nevertheless, Upton and his band of asthma aggravators seem pretty determined to ignore the will of the people, not to mention the science and the health impacts.

But we’ll be watching the proceedings this morning anyway, just to see what happens and what they really do. So stay tuned for some live blogging and tweeting (look for "@NRDClive") as we get ready for the first stage of the Asthma Aggravation Act of 2011. May it run short of breath soon.


Religious logic: Warming kills birds by bringing colder winters

And we were always told that it was actual warm warming that killed birds. How come cold is now killing them? More Greenie logic of convenience

Federal wildlife officials are proposing to double habitat for a threatened West Coast bird in response to global warming.

The western snowy plover nests in shallow depressions on beaches, some of them in Orange County, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to provide the birds with more territory at higher elevations.

The idea is to protect the bird from expected sea-level rise, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates at three to four feet over the next century, said Jim Watkins, a Fish and Wildlife biologist who is the recovery coordinator for the plover. "This is our best estimate of what the plover needs for recovery," he said. "We're asking for public comments."

Under the proposal, part of Fish and Wildlife's response to litigation over the bird, the agency would designate 28,261 acres on the California, Oregon and Washington coasts as "critical habitat" for the plover. That is more than twice the acreage designated in 2005.

Watkins said the plover populations are essentially stable, although some breeding areas showed a downturn since 2006, likely because of some colder winters.


$60 Mil To Study Climate Change Effects On Crops, Forests

How are they going to study the effects of climate change when there isn't actually any climate change going on? Even the recent cold winters are "just weather" according to the Warmists

With a national debt that tops $14 trillion and a colossal budget deficit, the U.S. government is dishing out $60 million to study the effects of climate change on crops and forests.

The multi million-dollar studies will focus on the impact that global warming will have in three key areas that government officials claim could lead to food shortages; southern pine forests, wheat in the northwest and Midwestern corn. Because climatologists predict global warming will transform cool, wet areas into dry and hot ones there needs to be a variety of crops that can adapt to the changes, according to the federal official who’s handing out the cash for the projects.

Otherwise, he assures that there will be shortages in certain kinds of foods. To avoid that potential crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving three public universities—in Florida, Iowa and Idaho—$20 million each to help ensure that farmers and foresters can keep producing food and timber by minimizing the toll of a changing environment. The USDA is calling it a “major scientific investment in studying the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production.”

A professor of tree physiology at the University of Florida will head the forestry study, which will focus on southern pine and establish a network to monitor the effects of climate on “forest carbon sequestration.” A sociologist at Iowa State University will lead the corn project which will evaluate the impacts of various crop management practices under different “climate models” and an entomologist at the University of Idaho will monitor how wheat grows amid changes in soil carbon and nitrogen levels.

Just last month a group of esteemed scientists from several public universities warned that climate change will make food “dangerous” and consequently lead to the malnourishment of millions worldwide. That’s because global warming will provoke increased levels of food contamination from chemicals and “fungal pathogens” as well as diseases like cholera and shellfish poisoning. Some foods will become scarce, prices will increase and civil unrest will ensue, according to the scientists who presented their case at a Washington D.C. gathering.

Previous government evaluations on the ills of global warming have determined that it will cause mental illness and cancer as well as national security threats by spreading disease among people and animals. Check out the government’s mental/illness cancer report and read about the national security threats.


Remember when global warming caused less snow, before it caused more snow? Now it causes less snow again

We read:
For the first time in her 13 years of February snowshoe trips, Tshankuesh (Elizabeth) Penashue was forced to turn back. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” she said. “The weather is really changing.”

Tshankuesh had planned on making this year’s snowshoe trek into the Mealy Mountains — a trip that should have taken at least three weeks. Instead she was forced to turn back before the trip was completed.

There wasn’t enough snow on the ground for a large portion of the trail, and the snow that was there was not suitable for snowshoeing. “The snow was soft, like sand,” she said. She made it as far as the Mealy Mountains before making her return journey.

Tshankuesh is not the only person noticing some drastic climate changes in Labrador.


It is Warmism, not warming, that threatens our future

Japan is grappling with a triple tragedy: earthquake, tsunami and possible nuclear radiation. This has brought rolling blackouts, as authorities strive to meet electricity demands with reduced supplies and crippled transmission lines.

However, power cuts and inadequate power are routine in developing countries like India. For them, going without electricity for hours or even days is the norm, not the exception.

But now, the UK’s power grid CEO is warning Brits that their days of reliable electricity are numbered. Because of climate change and renewable energy policies, families, schools, offices, shops, hospitals and factories will just have to “get used to” consuming electricity “when it’s available,” not necessarily when they want it or need it.

UN IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri justifies this absurd situation by sermonizing, “Unless we live in harmony with nature, unless we are able to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy sources, and until we change our lifestyles, the world will increasingly become unfit for human habitation.”

Thus, people in poor countries who never had access to reliable electricity may be denied it even longer, while people in rich countries could soon face new electricity shortages.

Citizens of the world’s poor and emerging economies: Beware of claims that the greatest threat we face is from manmade climate change. They are wrong. The real threat is from energy starvation policies implemented in the name of preventing climate change.

Everywhere one looks, people are enjoying modern technologies, improving their lives, realizing their dreams. Other people want the same opportunities for themselves and their children – and they should have them. Every citizen of the world should someday enjoy access to similar levels of energy that people in developed countries enjoy today.

The technologies, trade and transportation networks, the legal, property rights, economic and banking systems have all been developed. If countries and communities take advantage of them, a better future will require only one more thing: energy.

Energy is the Master Resource, the key to everything else. Only our Ultimate Resource – our creative intellect – is more important. People who have abundant, reliable, affordable energy – and the freedom to use it – can turn dreams and ideas into reality.

Those who must rely on human and animal muscle, or open fires, remain poor. Certainly, wind turbines and solar panels are far better than primitive energy. They can bless remote villages with electricity. But they are nothing compared to reliable electricity from hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power.

However, policies based on false claims that we can control Earth’s climate restrict access to energy and increase its cost. They perpetuate poverty, and prevent people from building better homes, having comfortable lighting and heating, using computers and modern conveniences, preserving food and medicines, and even surviving natural disasters and adapting to climate change.

Using computer models, thousands of scientists say human carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for recent warming. But thousands of other scientists say the sun and other natural forces still control our complex, unpredictable climate.

Earth’s climate has changed repeatedly throughout history. Its temperature rose slightly during the last century, as our planet recovered from the Little Ice Age, but not in a straight line. It went up 1900-1940, then cooled until 1975, warmed again until 1995, and has been steady since then – all while global CO2 levels were rising. Flood, drought, hurricane and other weather patterns also change periodically.

Earth’s climate is influenced by far more factors: solar, planetary, atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial. Climate models are useless, even harmful, for setting energy policy.

But even if carbon dioxide does affect climate, China, India and Brazil are building power plants and automobiles at a record pace. Their people are rapidly climbing out of poverty, using coal, oil, natural gas and hydroelectric power to achieve their dreams.

Leaders of these countries are not going to tell their still-poor people that they cannot enjoy the benefits that plentiful, affordable, dependable energy can provide.

Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States became modern economic powerhouses by using fossil fuels. They gave people wondrous technologies, improved their health and living standards, and doubled their life expectancies – using hydroelectric and hydrocarbon power.

Some people in rich countries talk about ending their fossil fuel use. But they have not done so – and cannot afford to. They talk about switching to wind and solar power. But they can no longer afford massive renewable energy subsidies that destroy two jobs in other sectors of their economy for every “green” job they create.

People in rich countries will not give up their modern living standards, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, hospitals, factories and food. Mr. Pachauri certainly will not. Why, should people in poor countries give up their dreams?

During the Cancun climate summit, rich nations said they would give poor countries $100-billion annually in “climate change reparation and adaptation” money. But these are empty promises, made by nations that can no longer afford such unsustainable spending.

Poor countries that expect this money will end up fighting over table scraps – and whatever funds do flow will end up in the overseas bank accounts of ruling elites. The poor will see little or none of it.

For awhile longer, rich countries will continue supporting global warming research and conferences. Researchers, bureaucrats and politicians will continue issuing dire warnings of imminent catastrophes, while they enjoy the benefits of modern energy, traveling on airplanes, attending talk fests at fancy hotels in exotic locations – all powered by coal and petroleum.

They may continue telling the world’s poor how important and admirable it is that we keep living traditional, sustainable, environment-friendly lifestyles; getting by on small amounts of intermittent, unreliable, expensive electricity from wind turbines and solar panels; and giving up our dreams of a better, healthier, more prosperous life.

Ultimately, the climate change debate is really over just two things. Whether we, the world’s poor, must give up our hopes and dreams. And whether we will determine our own futures – or the decisions will be made for us, by politicians who use climate change to justify restricting our access to reliable, affordable energy.

Which should we fear most? Climate change that some say might happen 50 or 100 years from now? Or an energy-deprived life of continued poverty, misery, disease, and forgotten hopes and dreams? Our future is in our hands.



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


21 March, 2011

Greenies hit the weak first

An Australian victim of the Greenie pressure on electricity prices below. Maureen Mullins, a 79-year-old pensioner, can't afford her power bills and fears she will no longer be able to pay for oxygen machine that keeps her alive. I wonder if she is glad about all the useless windmills she helps subsidize

Radiation pollution from Fukushima disaster only minor

The brave men and women working to prevent a nuclear catastrophe at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant last night appeared to be winning the critical battle.

As Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed the multi-billion-dollar Fukushima nuclear plant would not be reactivated, 320 "samurai", as they are now called by the Japanese media, are working at Fukushima hosing down reactor buildings, reconnecting electricity cable to cooling systems and monitoring activity in and around the six reactors.

Radiation levels at the crippled plant 250km northeast of Tokyo had been falling since Saturday, the operators, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said, as efforts redoubled to connect power to all six reactors' cooling systems.

TEPCO hoped all the reactors would have continuously powered cooling capability by late today, the biggest step forward since the coastal power plant was immobilised by the earthquake then swept by a 7m tsunami wave.

The national government yesterday confirmed traces of radioactive iodine had been detected in tapwater in Greater Tokyo. The city centre is 250km from the nuclear emergency. Radioactive iodine was also found in Tochigi and Gunma prefectures north of the capital.

In all cases, however, the contamination was too insignificant to affect human health, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

Traces of radioactive elements have been found in farm products, including spinach, 30km to 70km from Fukushima. The Associated Press reported that radioactivity had been detected in a shipment of peas to Taiwan, though again not at a risky level.

The official death toll had by yesterday reached 8133, with 12,272 people unaccounted for and presumed dead. However, police in Miyagi said the number of deaths in that prefecture alone would reach 15,000.

The Nikkei news website reported yesterday that at least seven emergency workers had suffered radioactivity exposure of more than 100 millisieverts, about seven times the dosage from a stomach X-ray. The maximum annual exposure allowable for TEPCO nuclear plant workers is 250 millisieverts.

Cables were connected to the No 1 and No 2 reactors on Saturday and technicians were testing yesterday before activating them. Temperatures in the spent fuel rod pools at No 5 and No 6 reactor buildings had been brought back to normal levels and firemen doused the No 4 reactor -- the condition of which caused a panic in Washington on Thursday.


"Green" Media Opportunists Will Never Waste a Good Catastrophe

Note: I ran a substantial excerpt from the Chesser and Baker study here on 7th., BEFORE the "lucky island" (Fukushima) disaster -- JR

By John O'Sullivan

As Christopher Booker cogently reports in The Daily Telegraph (March 19, 2011) eco-propagandists have been hard at work drumming up fears of a nuclear disaster for Japan “worse than Chernobyl.” But if we look at the science and not the media frenzy then there truly is no prospect of any such catastrophe to match the unprecedented meltdown at Chernobyl’s Reactor IV on April 26, 1986.

Nonetheless, that green urban legend about Chernobyl killing “millions” still survives. However, two undaunted professors, academic researchers skilled in radiation contamination, have collected all the facts to squash that fallacy after spending 12 long years painstakingly probing the aftermath of Chernobyl.

As with their fellow scientists battling to overcome the hysteria over global warming, Chesser and Baker have had to contend with an endless tide of green propaganda and censorship. In their quest for real science the pair admit they learned “tough lessons about politics, bias and the challenges of doing good science” on this similarly polemicized issue.

Contrary to their initial expectations, Baker and Chesser were astounded to find that although the local wildlife around Chernobyl had undergone unprecedented levels of radiation “all the animals seemed physically normal….This was true for pretty much every creature we examined.”

After the initial decline of the animal populations, which were decimated by radioactive fallout, local wildlife is now thriving. The two were completely taken aback by the lack of evidence for any genetic mutations, as had been the expectation of most theorists.

The esteemed experts asserted: “We also compared the genetic variations of populations inside the [contaminated] Zone with those from relatively uncontaminated areas, and we found no evidence of increased mutation rates from exposure to radioactivity.”

They found the most likely reason why Chernobyl has made such a remarkable recovery, “Radiation doses have declined precipitously since the accident—less than 3 percent of the initial radioactivity remains.” Thus it seems, radiation is more quickly dispersed in nature than previous estimates had thought.

In fact, confounding all expectations the Chernobyl region has become a refuge for released populations of Przewalski’s horse and European bison; while the population densities of Russian wild boar are 10 to 15 times greater in the ‘Danger Zone’ than in adjacent areas inhabited by people. In addition, endangered black storks and white-tailed eagles are also more common in the “ Zone.”

Despite these incredible findings being published in the prominent American Scientist Journal (Volume 94) this was not the kind of science that broadcasters wanted to show us. Instead of being hailed as champions of science both researchers were met with hostility and mocked for going against the established ideas.


Recent Weather Extremes: Global Warming Fingerprint NOT

by Chip Knappenberger

On occasion, I have the opportunity to assist Dr. Patrick J. Michaels (Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute) in reviewing the latest scientific research on climate change. When we happen upon findings in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press, Pat sometimes covers them over at the "Current Wisdom" section of the Cato@Liberty blog site.

His latest posting there highlights research findings that show that extreme weather events during last summer and the previous two winters can be fully explained by natural climate variability-and that "global warming" need not (and should not) be invoked.

This topic-whether or not weather extremes (or at least some portion of them) can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming (or, as Dr. Pielke Sr., prefers, anthropogenic climate change)-has been garnering a lot of attention as of late. It was a major reason for holding the House Subcommittee hearing last week, is a hot topic of discussion in the press, and is the subject of an in-progress major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As such, I wanted to highlight some of the findings that Pat reported on. I encourage a visit to the full article "Overplaying the Human Contribution to Recent Weather Extremes" over at Cato@Liberty.

The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010

A new paper by Randall Dole and colleagues from the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) examined the events leading up to and causing the big heat wave in Russia last summer (which was also part of an atmospheric pattern that was connected to the floods in Pakistan). Here is what they found:
"Our analysis points to a primarily natural cause for the Russian heat wave. This event appears to be mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained an intense and long-lived blocking event. Results from prior studies suggest that it is likely that the intensity of the heat wave was further increased by regional land surface feedbacks. The absence of long-term trends in regional mean temperatures and variability together with the [climate] model results indicate that it is very unlikely that warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave."

As Pat commented, "Can't be much clearer than that."

Recent Winter Severity

From Pat's article:
Another soon-to-be released paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters describes the results of using the seasonal weather prediction model from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to help untangle the causes of the unusual atmospheric circulation patterns that gave rise to the harsh winter of 2009-2010 on both sides of the Atlantic. A team of ECMWF scientists led by Thomas Jung went back and did experiments changing initial conditions that were fed into the ECMWF model and then assessed how well the model simulated the known weather patterns of the winter of 2009-2010. The different set of initial conditions was selected so as to test all the pet theories behind the origins of the harsh winter. Jung et al. describe their investigations this way: "Here, the origin and predictability of the unusual winter of 2009/10 are explored through numerical experimentation with the ECMWF Monthly forecasting system. More specifically, the role of anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice, the tropical atmospheric circulation, the stratospheric polar vortex, solar insolation and near surface temperature (proxy for snow cover) are examined."

In a nutshell, here is what Jung et al. found:
"The results of this study, therefore, increase the likelihood that both the development and persistence of negative NAO phase [an atmospheric circulation pattern that was largely behind the harsh winter conditions] resulted from internal atmospheric dynamical processes."

Or, as Pat put it “Translation: Random variability.”

Pat also examined a third study by Roseanne D'Arrigo and colleagues who found an historical analog of the conditions responsible for the harsh winter of 2009-2010 way back in 1783-1784. The winter of 1783-1784 was a historically extreme one on both sides of the Atlantic and has long been associated with a large volcanic eruption that occurred in Iceland during the summer of 1783. Even Benjamin Franklin connected the winter conditions to the volcano. But D'Arrigo and colleagues now suggest a different mechanism. According to Pat:
But in their new study, Roseanne D'Arrigo and colleagues conclude that the harshness of that winter primarily was the result of anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns that closely resembled those observed during the winter of 2009-10, and that the previous summer's volcanic eruption played a far less prominent role:

“Our results suggest that Franklin and others may have been mistaken in attributing winter conditions in 1783-4 mainly to Laki or another eruption, rather than unforced variability.

“Similarly, conditions during the 2009-10 winter likely resulted from natural [atmospheric] variability, not tied to greenhouse gas forcing. Evidence thus suggests that these winters were linked to the rare but natural occurrence of negative NAO and El Nino events.”

Bottom Line

The take home message of Pat's post is worth repeating:
The point is that natural variability can and does produce extreme events on every time scale, from days (e.g., individual storms), weeks (e.g., the Russian heat wave), months (e.g., the winter of 2009-10), decades (e.g., the lack of global warming since 1998), centuries (e.g., the Little Ice Age), millennia (e.g., the cycle of major Ice Ages), and eons (e.g., snowball earth).

Folks would do well to keep this in mind next time global warming is being posited for the weather disaster du jour. Almost assuredly, it is all hype and little might.

Be sure to check out Pat's full article which includes much more in depth coverage of these three soon-to-be-released scientific studies.


Dozens of ships trapped in ice in Gulf of Finland

Icebreakers have been called in to free dozens of ships that became trapped in ice in the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg last week. The administration of St. Petersburg's port said at least 97 ships were still waiting for help on Tuesday, down from 160 ships two days ago.

The eastern Gulf of Finland has not seen such thick ice since 1992, according to the Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport. In some places the ice is more than a meter (three feet) thick.

Most of the trapped ships are cargo vessels, but some are passenger ferries. Many have been trapped for at least several days. Among the ships freed over the weekend was a ferry that had been stuck for six days with 12 people on board, including a pregnant woman. The ferry runs between a port near St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad region.

The Princess Maria ferry running between St. Petersburg and the Finnish capital, Helsinki, has been suspended since March 9, but was due to resume its operation on Wednesday, ferry operator St. Peter Line said.

The federal agency said 10 icebreakers, including the nuclear-powered Vaigach based in Murmansk, were leading the ships to open water in caravans.

Andrei Kovalyov of Rosmorport, a state company overseeing sea ports, said passenger ferries and ships with hazardous cargo were being given priority. He said the situation could improve within three weeks if weather conditions were favorable.


Why Australians should be afraid -- very afraid -- of Prime Minister Gillard's carbon fantasies

Terry McCrann

WE were given two highly instructive insights during the week into Julia Gillard's thinking on her carbon dioxide tax. It proved an extremely disturbing revelation.

The first came on the ABC's Q&A program on Monday. The second was her speech to the Don Dunstan Foundation in Adelaide. The combination was particularly valuable. For while she might have "mispoke" on Q&A, the spontaneity better captured what she felt on the emotional level, genuinely or otherwise.

While the prepared speech gave us the considered, for want of a better word, substance on which the greatest change in the entire economic structure of Australia, bar none other in our 223 years of European settlement, was based, we were left with two alternatives.

If she actually believes the nonsense she spouted, spontaneously first and then with consideration aforethought, we have a leader with all the save-the-world enthusiasm and profound ignorance of a junior high school student.

And what would that say about the battalions of advisers on which she presumably relied? Or indeed, as in the joke about Maggie Thatcher, the sheep otherwise known as her cabinet colleagues?

If she doesn't believe the nonsense, we have a leader who is setting out to impose real pain on every Australian and cause serious damage to the national economy, for utterly no positive purpose.

I would suggest it is an inchoate mix of the two. That she actually believes we have to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide to save the planet. She knows it can make absolutely no difference. And she has a sort of vague expectation that we will emerge into some, literally, sunlit prosperous carbon-free future. All this was captured in her comments on China.

On Q&A she asserted that it was simply not true that we were the only ones moving to attack carbon pollution (sic). China was closing down a dirty coal-fired power-generation facility at the rate of every one to two weeks, she asserted. And it was putting up a wind turbine at the rate of one every hour, she added.

The picture she set out to paint was of China replacing dirty coal with clean wind. The truth is, as we've noted through the week, that China is not simply replacing coal with coal but dramatically increasing coal-fired generation.

Yes, it is closing really dirty coal-fired stations: the ones that pump out those little bits of grit that used to blanket our cities and which Gillard & Co are deliberately seeking to inject into the community's consciousness with their references to carbon pollution.

Real pollution has long since been banished from our coal-fired power stations and our cities. Smog no longer kills thousands of Londoners every year. But it is still killing thousands in Chinese cities. And not just in China. A World Health Organisation report in 2005 noted that more than half the world's population relied on dung, wood, crop waste or coal to meet their most basic energy needs. Cooking and heating with such solid fuels on open fires or stoves without chimneys led to indoor air pollution, including small soot or dust particles that were able to penetrate deep into the lungs.

Every year, this sort of real carbon pollution was responsible for the death of 1.6 million people, WHO wrote in 2005. If anything it would be worse today.

That is the real carbon pollution. Not the carbon dioxide that is the target (the only target) of her tax; the real pollution that is precisely avoided by our centralised existing clean, yes clean, coal-fired power stations. The building of similar power stations in the developing world would be the quickest, cheapest and most effective way of reducing and eliminating those deaths.

So does Gillard actually believe her carbon pollution nonsense?

Depressingly, you would have to conclude that at some level she does. Like so many who say or at least think, even if they understand, that this is all and only about reducing emissions of carbon dioxide; that yes, it's good to get rid of the bits of grit as well.

Witness our down under prophet Ross Garnaut, taking time off from dispensing his weekly profundities ex cathedra, to echo on the ABC's Lateline this same confused but deliberately dishonest mish-mash about China closing "environmentally very unfriendly" power stations and replacing them with new coal ones that had "very low emissions".

The facts on China are simple and irrefutable. It has a coal-fired system equal to more than 13 times our entire electricity generation. Between now and 2020, it is going to add between 400GW and 500GW to its existing 670GW of coal-fired power generation.

That's its projections. And that's net. So if they close, say, 200GW of really dirty old stations, they will be building 600GW to 700GW of new ones, all pumping out carbon dioxide, if hopefully not also grit. Total power generation in Australia is about 50GW.

Yes, China might be aiming for 150GW of wind and 20GW of solar by 2020. But that's installed capacity. When the wind don't . . . and the sun don't . . . Real capacity of the two combined will be closer to 50GW by 2020, as against an extra 400GW at least of additional coal-fired generation.

Despite those clean coal-fired stations that exist only in the deeper and increasingly darker recesses of Garnaut's mind, by 2020 China will be emitting something like 25 times the entire emissions of Australia today. Rendering utterly ineffective the 5 per cent cut we will purport to achieve at such huge and permanent cost.

The Prime Minister launched into pure fantasy in her speech in Adelaide about all the jobs that would flow in her brave new (sunlit) world. We'll become the world's supplier of electric and hybrid cars. Welders and steel workers will build and maintain large-scale solar plants. On and on she went, climaxing with this re-assuring statement of certainty. "And there will be new jobs too."

In both forums she claimed we had an abundance of solar, wind and geothermal. Interestingly in Adelaide she added natural gas, which emits what I wonder?

If we have these "in abundance", why don't we embark now on an accelerated program of closing our coal-fired stations and just plugging in the community power cord to all that sun and wind? As I started: does she really believe the nonsense she spouts? Should we be afraid? Or really afraid?



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


20 March, 2011

What do we see when we rely on actual thermometers?

As noted yesterday, the temperature record presented by Warmists like James Hansen is largely fictional. With its reliance on invalid proxies like tree rings, its selective use of temperature measuring stations, and the final "adjustments' made by Hansen and his ilk, only a true believer could accept the resulting record as proving anything. As we saw yesterday, the confected record can even show the opposite of what we know happened.

The wonder is that the Warmists haven't presented an even more severe temperature rise than they do. As it is, they show a temperature rise over the last 150 years that is entirely trivial: Less than one degree Celsius. It looks like the data is very un-co-operative with Warmist fantasies. It's entirely possible that there has not been any warming at all.

So let us look at some of the actual thermometer measures that we have. See the graphic immediately below. As you can see, it does show the tiniest long-term creep upwards over the centuries but there is absolutely nothing unique about either the 20th century or the late 20th century. And the record that goes back furthest -- from central England (CET) corroborates that

But the graph of the CET record is not entirely up to date. Below is the CET extended through 2010 -- including rapid two year cooling.

Extension by Joseph D’Aleo []

Unprecedented global warming is a myth -- JR

An amusing moan from "New Scientist" (aka "Green Scientist")

In the best Communist/Fascist style, they focus at the outset below on the importance of "authority". And that the so-called "science" presented "seemed only to harden Republican scepticism" has obviously told them nothing.

Then they go on to psychologize. But the big words in that effort still amount only to a demonstration that Leftists tend to support Warmism, which is hardly news.

And finally, they revert to a concentration on the importance of authority in persuading people. When you've got no facts but only speculation on your side, authority is all you have got left, I guess. Greenies would love Hitler's "Fuehrerprinzip" (Leadership principle)

HOW do you get your point across over an issue as contentious as climate change? As a hearing in the US Congress last week showed, the evidence alone is not enough.

At issue was the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans in the House and Senate are backing bills that would strip the EPA of that right, which is based on findings that rising carbon dioxide levels pose a threat to health and the environment.

At the hearing, House Democrats hoped to counter these moves by calling a cast of climatologists to explain the weight of scientific evidence for climate change. A meeting of minds it was not. The effort seemed only to harden Republican scepticism.

For Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, the result was predictable. He has previously shown that simply explaining the science behind contentious issues drives the two sides further apart. But Kahan's work also suggests how warring parties can move towards consensus.

Kahan grades people on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the different importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views on the stratification of society. Republicans are more likely to be hierarchical-individualist, while Democrats are more often egalitarian-communitarian.

People's views on contentious scientific issues tend to reflect their position on these scales. For example, egalitarian-communitarians tend to accept the evidence that climate change is a threat, while hierarchical-individualists reject it.

Yet people's views do change if the right person is offering the evidence. Kahan investigated attitudes for and against giving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to schoolgirls to prevent cervical cancer - another divisive issue. After he presented people with both sides of the argument, he found that 70 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians thought it was safe, compared with 56 per cent of hierarchical-individualists.

When the "pro" argument was presented as coming from an expert painted as being in the egalitarian-communitarian camp, and the "anti" view came from a hierarchical-individualist, the split widened to 71 versus 47 per cent. But strikingly, swapping the experts around caused a big shift: 61 per cent of hierarchical-individualists then rated the vaccine as safe, compared to 58 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians. In short, evidence from someone you identify with sways your view.


Way back when climate scientists were scientists: Chapter 8, FAR, circa 1990

You’ll find this hard to believe but I get excited about the 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR). It’s very different from wading through the later ones, because it’s remarkably honest, and things are not hidden in double-speak (well, not so much). Scientists behave like scientists and talk of null hypothesis, and even of validating models. Indeed they had a whole chapter back then called “validation”. How times have changed.

The “Attribution” Chapter is the part where they try to figure out what “caused” the warming. Chapter 8 says, essentially, “we don’t know, we might never know, our models don’t work, and we can conclude it might all be natural, but then again, it might not.” Got it? This is in the same era that Al Gore was saying “the science is settled” and “there is no debate”.

What’s clear in 1990 from the FAR was that it was widely admitted that the models were bodgy, and that figuring out exactly what caused the recent warming was very difficult, indeed impossible at the time. There were too many variables, the signal to noise ratio was awful. There were almost no singularly unique points which the enhanced greenhouse effect would produce that we could use to definitively say “Gotcha!”.

Unlike today, when Professors of Climatism repeat “there is no doubt global warming is real” as if it meant something, back then they knew it didn’t. “Global mean warming for example is not a particularly good signal in this sense because there are many possible causes of such warming.”

Mind you, even in 1990, they try it on anyway, just to see how it looks. They show model runs versus real temps, over a century. The end result of that (Fig 8.1), shows that all else being equal (meaning all the other forcings exactly cancel out) climate sensitivity would be 1 to 2°C. ie: the observational data, even then, was suggesting 1.5 °C and that’s if they were lucky and the Earth’s climate was essentially stable and not otherwise changing. To get a high 4 °C sensitivity, they have to assume some natural cooling effect is coincidentally at work (which is hiding the rampant warming of CO2).

With surprising honesty, they also admit that “if the combined effect [of natural factors] was warming then the implied sensitivity was less than 1°C.” Imagine them saying that now… the “evidence is overwhelming”, and climate sensitivity is somewhere between… ah… zero and 5°C.

These 1990 IPCC scientists also admitted that sea-level rise and melting glaciers didn’t prove a jot, because anything else that warmed the planet would have caused them to rise and melt too: "Both thermal expansion and the melting of small glaciers are consistent with global warming, but neither provides any independent information about the cause of the warming." [p251]

They further acknowledged that while finding stratospheric cooling was very gratifying, it could be due to ozone depletion and volcanic action, and the models could be right about that, but wrong about everything else as well. In a nutshell, “Don’t throw a party about stratospheric cooling”. “Validation of the stratospheric component of a model while of scientific importance, may be of little relevance to the detection of an enhanced greenhouse effect”

Much more HERE

Now it's Britain's turn: Government to slash subsidies for solar power

The Government plans to slash subsidies for large-scale solar installations to divert money to smaller alternative energy projects, in a move that the industry has called a “horrendous strategic mistake”.

A review of the Feed-in Tariffs was announced in February, in response to concerns that large solar projects would soak up the available subsidy at the expense of other technologies. This followed a study that showed there could already be 169 megawatts of large-scale solar capacity in the planning system - equivalent to funding solar panels on the roofs of around 50,000 homes if tariffs were left unchanged.

Greg Barker, climate change minister, said: “I want to make sure that we capture the benefits of fast falling costs in solar technology to allow even more homes to benefit from Feed-in Tariffs, rather than see that money go in bumper profits to a small number of big investors.”

However, the Renewable Energy Association & Solar Trade Association said that the government was making a mistake. “There is disbelief within the industry that the Government has totally undermined the solar sector without having first properly understood its potential,” the trade body said.

The proposals, published on Friday, would reduce the tariff for roof-mounted schemes of more than 50 kilowatts by 39pc to 49pc and the tariff for stand-alone schemes may be reduced by more than 70pc.


Astonishing: how a mere student became an IPCC guru: The strange case of Sari Kovats

She must be good in some way we are not allowed to mention

In 1994, Kovats was one of only 21 people in the entire world selected to work on the first IPCC chapter that examined how climate change might affect human health. She was 25 years old. Her first academic paper wouldn't be published for another three years. It would be six years before she'd even begin her doctoral studies and 16 years before she'd graduate.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri says this about how IPCC authors are selected: "There is a very careful process of selection.These are people who have been chosen on the basis of their track record, on their record of publications, on the research that they have done.They are people who are at the top of their profession as far as research is concerned in a particular aspect of climate can't think of a better set of qualified people than what we have in the IPCC."

Academically speaking, Kovats was invisible back in 1994. That anyone connected to the IPCC could have considered her a scientific expert is astonishing.

I'm sorry to say that that was just the beginning. When it came time to write the next version of the climate bible, Kovats received a promotion. She was selected to be a lead author, again for the health chapter - despite the fact that her doctoral studies wouldn't begin until the year the IPCC report was published.

What do we suppose happened with the next edition of the climate bible - the one that appeared in 2007, still three full years before Kovats earned her doctorate? Was she selected once again to be a health chapter lead author? You betcha.

But by then the IPCC, in its wisdom, had decided she was a scientific expert in other areas, as well. Kovats served as a contributing author for three additional chapters in Working Group 2:

Chapter 1 - Assessment of Observed Changes and Responses in Natural and Managed Systems

Chapter 6 - Coastal Systems and Low-lying Areas

Chapter 12 - Europe

She was also an IPCC expert reviewer.

There's no mystery as to why it took Kovats a decade to write her thesis. She's had the equivalent of a full-time job just writing IPCC reports. As it turns out, the main assessments aren't the only documents with which she has been involved. The IPCC finds Kovats so enchanting it recruited her as an author for one of its smaller reports, published in 2008, about climate change and water. Soon after that, she was one of only eight members of the "core writing team" for a 2009 Good Practice Guidance Paper. The executive summary of that paper begins:

"The reliable detection and attribution of changes in climate, and their effects, is fundamental to our understanding of the scientific basis of climate change.This intended as a guide for future IPCC Lead Authors."

We're told the IPCC is a serious and rigorous body. We're told its reports are the gold-standard and that it is comprised of the world's top experts. We're told we should trust the IPCC's conclusions because of these facts. And then we discover that a woman who still hadn't earned her own doctorate was recruited by the IPCC to write guidelines for other authors.

(In true IPCC tradition, a majority - 8 of 15 - of the papers appearing in the bibliography of the guidance paper were written by none other than the authors of the guidance themselves. But never mind.)

June 2010 was a memorable month for Kovats. Not only did she finally complete her PhD, but the IPCC announced the authors of the forthcoming version of the climate bible, expected in 2013. Quelle surprise, Kovats has received another promotion. This time she isn't merely a lead author, she's a coordinating lead author - the most senior of IPCC author roles. (see page 17 of this 27-page PDF).

Her thesis, remember, dealt with mortality data in India and South Africa. Yet the IPCC has decided she's qualified to lead a chapter whose focus is Europe.

So how could all of the above possibly have happened? In truth, a lack of professionalism appears to be evident on a number of fronts. In the year 2000, when Kovats was 31 years old and had yet to even begin her doctoral studies, she was somehow considered qualified to be the chief editor of a World Health Organization publication on climate change and ozone depletion.

According to IPCC regulations, in order for her to be selected as a lead author she first had to be nominated by her own government. This means that, on at least three separate occasions, UK officials decided that someone who had yet to earn her doctorate was a world-class expert suitable for IPCC duty.

In February 2010, Kovats spoke at a conference in Bangladesh. A document from that event thrice refers to her as Dr. Kovats even though she didn't earn this title until four months later. While this was no doubt an innocent mistake on the part of the conference organizers, Kovats is also described as a "Senior Lecturer in Environmental Epidemiology."

How does one land that sort of position (and, presumably, that sort of salary) prior to finishing their PhD?

One of the reasons it's taking me so long to complete my book on the IPCC is because every time I think I'm doing some basic fact-checking I end up stumbling over something unsavoury. This is absolutely the case here. Two weeks ago, all I wanted to know was what month and year Kovats had received her PhD.

Since then, a picture that already seemed murky has become even more clouded. Kovats has had her PhD for less than one calendar year. Yet she has already filled numerous IPCC roles, is a senior lecturer at an institution of higher learning, is chairperson of her school's Centre on Global Change and Health, and is a member of the steering committee of a health and climate change project funded by the United Nations.

We're told the IPCC is comprised of top scientists. In the case of Kovats, it appears that it was actually her IPCC participation that convinced the wider community that she's an expert. This is totally improper. It represents a complete inversion of how things are supposed to work.

So when are Kovats, the IPCC, and the British government all going to admit that she is far from being a world-class scientific expert? Will she resign her position as coordinating lead author - or will the new edition of the climate bible be irretrievably tainted by her participation?


Chevy Volt: The non-electric car

Sheer Greenie stupidity

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.

At least that's what we were once told. Sitting in a Volt that would not start at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a GM engineer swore to me that the internal combustion engine in the machine only served as a generator, kicking in when the overnight-charged lithium-ion batteries began to run down. GM has continually revised downward its estimates of how far the machine would go before the gas engine fired, and now says 25 to 50 miles.

It turns out that the premium-fuel fired engine does drive the wheels — when the battery is very low or when the vehicle is at most freeway speeds. So the Volt really isn't a pure electric car after all. I'm sure that the people who designed the car knew how it ran, and so did their managers.

Why then the need to keep this so quiet? It's doubtful that GM would have gotten such a subsidy if it had been revealed that the car would do much of its freeway cruising with a gas engine powering the wheels. While the Volt is more complicated than the Prius, and has a longer battery-only range, a hybrid is a hybrid, and the Prius no longer qualifies for a tax credit.

In other words, GM was desperate for customers for what they perceived would be an unpopular vehicle before one even hit the road. It had hoped to lure more if buyers subtracted the $7,500 from the $41,000 sticker price. Instead, as Consumer Reports found out, the car was very pricey. The version they tested cost $43,700 plus a $5,000 dealer markup ("Don't worry," I can hear the salesperson saying, "you'll get more than that back in your tax credit!"), or a whopping $48,700 minus the credit.

This is one reason that Volt sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February. GM announced a production run of 100,000 in the first two years. Who is going to buy all these cars?

Another reason they aren't exactly flying off the lots is because, well, they have some problems. In a telling attempt to preserve battery power, the heater is exceedingly weak. Consumer Reports averaged a paltry 25 miles of electric-only running, in part because it was testing in cold Connecticut. (My engineer at the Auto Show said cold weather would have little effect.)

It will be interesting to see what the range is on a hot, traffic-jammed summer day, when the air conditioner will really tax the batteries. When the gas engine came on, Consumer Reports got about 30 miles to the gallon of premium fuel; which, in terms of additional cost of high-test gas, drives the effective mileage closer to 27 mpg. A conventional Honda Accord, which seats 5 (instead of the Volt's 4), gets 34 mpg on the highway, and costs less than half of what CR paid, even with the tax break.

Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?

It really is enough to get you to say Atlas Shrugged. For those who do not know, or who are only vaguely familiar with, the Ayn Rand classic, it is a story of a society in decay, where politically favored technologies and jobs are foisted on the nation, where innovations that might threaten existing corporatist cartels are financially or physically sabotaged as unemployment mounts and the nation spirals into a malaise that makes the Carter years look like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Atlas Shrugged is about to come out as a surprisingly good and entertaining movie (which will be destroyed by Hollywood and New York Critics) on — you guessed it — April 15. Maybe the government could put in an ad before the show with Immelt exhorting Americans to care about "the environment and green jobs." All must buy Volts.



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


19 March, 2011

A NASA/GISS lie uncovered

Jim Hansen offers fiction as fact

GISS reports that the average temperatures in Tromso, Norway during July and August, 1922 – were a cool 14.8 and 11.9 C.

But a newspaper report from the same summer shows extremely hot temperatures.

Note: "Tromso, for six weeks, has experienced temperatures ranging from 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit"

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

A Glowing Report on Radiation

Ann Coulter publicizes radiation hormesis!

With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.

This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.

As The New York Times science section reported in 2001, an increasing number of scientists believe that at some level -- much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government -- radiation is good for you. "They theorize," the Times said, that "these doses protect against cancer by activating cells' natural defense mechanisms."

Among the studies mentioned by the Times was one in Canada finding that tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.

And there are lots more! A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on the ships' nuclear reactors. The workers exposed to excess radiation had a 24 percent lower death rate and a 25 percent lower cancer mortality than the non-irradiated workers.

Isn't that just incredible? I mean, that the Department of Energy spent $10 million doing something useful? Amazing, right?

In 1983, a series of apartment buildings in Taiwan were accidentally constructed with massive amounts of cobalt 60, a radioactive substance. After 16 years, the buildings' 10,000 occupants developed only five cases of cancer. The cancer rate for the same age group in the general Taiwanese population over that time period predicted 170 cancers.

The people in those buildings had been exposed to radiation nearly five times the maximum "safe" level according to the U.S. government. But they ended up with a cancer rate 96 percent lower than the general population.

Bernard L. Cohen, a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, compared radon exposure and lung cancer rates in 1,729 counties covering 90 percent of the U.S. population. His study in the 1990s found far fewer cases of lung cancer in those counties with the highest amounts of radon -- a correlation that could not be explained by smoking rates.

Tom Bethell, author of the "Politically Incorrect Guide to Science," has been writing for years about the beneficial effects of some radiation, or "hormesis." A few years ago, he reported on a group of scientists who concluded their conference on hormesis at the University of Massachusetts by repairing to a spa in Boulder, Mont., specifically in order to expose themselves to excess radiation.

At the Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine in Boulder, people pay $5 to descend 85 feet into an old mining pit to be irradiated with more than 400 times the EPA-recommended level of radon. In the summer, 50 people a day visit the mine hoping for relief from chronic pain and autoimmune disorders.

Amazingly, even the Soviet-engineered disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 can be directly blamed for the deaths of no more than the 31 people inside the plant who died in the explosion. Although news reports generally claimed a few thousand people died as a result of Chernobyl -- far fewer than the tens of thousands initially predicted -- that hasn't been confirmed by studies. Indeed, after endless investigations, including by the United Nations, Manhattan Project veteran Theodore Rockwell summarized the reports to Bethell in 2002, saying, "They have not yet reported any deaths outside of the 30 who died in the plant."

Even the thyroid cancers in people who lived near the reactor were attributed to low iodine in the Russian diet -- and consequently had no effect on the cancer rate.

Meanwhile, the animals around the Chernobyl reactor, who were not evacuated, are "thriving," according to scientists quoted in the April 28, 2002 Sunday Times (UK).

Dr. Dade W. Moeller, a radiation expert and professor emeritus at Harvard, told The New York Times that it's been hard to find excess cancers even from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, particularly because one-third of the population will get cancer anyway. There were about 90,000 survivors of the atomic bombs in 1945 and, more than 50 years later, half of them were still alive. (Other scientists say there were 700 excess cancer deaths among the 90,000.)

Although it is hardly a settled scientific fact that excess radiation is a health benefit, there's certainly evidence that it decreases the risk of some cancers -- and there are plenty of scientists willing to say so. But Jenny McCarthy's vaccine theories get more press than Harvard physics professors' studies on the potential benefits of radiation. (And they say conservatives are anti-science!)

I guess good radiation stories are not as exciting as news anchors warning of mutant humans and scary nuclear power plants -- news anchors who, by the way, have injected small amounts of poison into their foreheads to stave off wrinkles. Which is to say: The general theory that small amounts of toxins can be healthy is widely accepted --except in the case of radiation.

Every day Americans pop multivitamins containing trace amount of zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, nickel, boron -- all poisons.

They get flu shots. They'll drink copious amounts of coffee to ingest a poison: caffeine. (Back in the '70s, Professor Cohen offered to eat as much plutonium as Ralph Nader would eat caffeine -- an offer Nader never accepted.)

But in the case of radiation, the media have Americans convinced that the minutest amount is always deadly.

Although reporters love to issue sensationalized reports about the danger from Japan's nuclear reactors, remember that, so far, thousands have died only because of Mother Nature. And the survivors may outlive all of us over here in hermetically sealed, radiation-free America.


A year of extreme weather events

No. Not 2011, the year 1922

1922 set the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded. 136F in Libya. It also saw record heat in the Arctic, massive typhoons, huge floods and snowstorms. Joe Romm would have been hysterical at 310 ppm CO2.

Eastern Arctic didn’t freeze during the winter

Glaciers disappeared

The Ohio River flooded 54 feet deep.


Comment on the "Climate Change Review" by economist Ross Garnaut -- generated by Garnaut for the Leftist Australian government

A radio interview from Australia: Chris Smith is joined by Professor Ian Plimer. I hope Americans can understand the broad Australian accents. Point of information: When Smith mentions "cockies", he is using a slang term for farmers

Warmist icon bites the dust

Snow slowly building on Mount Kilimanjaro -- but the Warmists talk as if it were still melting away. Reality is optional to them

Standing as the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is slowly regaining its snow after several years of drought in East Africa and the effects of climate change in African continent.

The snow is slowly mounting on the top point of the mountain, giving new hopes to Mount Kilimanjaro environmental watchdogs and tourists that the mountain may not lose its beautiful ice cap as scientists predicted.

Covered in mist most of the day, Mount Kilimanjaro is the most tourist attractive site in Tanzania, pulling in tens of thousands of tourists each year. The snow, which once disappeared in some parts of the mountain is mounting slowly, giving a beautiful view of the Kibo peak.

A visit by our Tanzania eTurboNews reporter to Mount Kilimanjaro's slopes proved that there were changes on the mountain snow, which has been covering some parts of the mountain where once the ice had melted.

Standing freely and majestically with its snow gleaming in the sun, Mount Kilimanjaro is in great danger of losing its eye-catching glaciers. The mountain is located some 330 kilometers and three degrees (3 degrees) south of the equator.

Mount Kilimanjaro is an awesome and magnificent peak in Africa and one of the leading single free-standing mountains in the world. It is composed of three independent peaks - Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira - covering a total area of 4,000 kilometers.

The snow-capped Kibo with permanent glaciers covering its entire peak is the highest at 5,895 meters high and is the most attractive site, pulling in over 40,000 foreign and local tourists per year.

Mount Kilimanjaro was formed some 750,000 years ago and the present features were completely formed in the past 500,000 years after a number of upheavals and tremors, which also caused the formation of 250 volcanic hills and crater lakes including magnificent Lake Chala on its southern slopes.

The mountain is the leading tourist attraction in Tanzania due to its beautiful features and its geological setup. Global warming effects are being felt in most parts of Africa with great impacts on tourist sites including Tanzanian wildlife parks and Mount Kilimanjaro's ecosystem.

Environmentalists warn that this highest peak in Africa could lose its ice cover and glaciers between 2018 and 2020 unless global campaigns to save the mountain’s ecology are taken.


Germany: Is Environmentalism Really Working?

They obediently did the bidding of the Fascists and now they are obediently doing the bidding of the eco-Fascists -- again with destructive results. They are again a warning to us all

As usual, ordinary Germans were to blame. Everything had been prepared for the green revolution: fresh supplies and new signs at the gas stations, and the refinery depots were full to the brim with the new wonderfuel. But then drivers turned their backs on the new era. They didn't want to buy E10, a blend of ethanol and gasoline, even through it cost almost 10 cents less per liter than conventional gas.

"It's annoying but there's no question of stopping the sale of E10," said Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen. E10, Röttgen said with a hint of threat in his voice, was a milestone of German climate control policy.

When it comes to the environment these days, all other interests must take a back seat, including possible engine damage from E10. After all, the United Nations has proclaimed that ensuring environmental sustainability is one of its "millennium goals," and greater importance is assigned to climate negotiations among the big industrial nations than to economic summits these days.

All the serious political parties devote large parts of their policy programs to environmental policy. In the coalition deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the pro-business Free Democrats, protecting the climate comes ahead of education and internal security in the list of policy priorities. The government is as committed to promoting the development of electric cars as it is to expanding renewable energies and protecting fish stocks in German rivers.

There is no issue that produces such unanimity among the parties. A proposal to increase tax credits for employees led to weeks of political debate, while the 2009 European Union ban on conventional light bulbs was approved without a single debate in parliament. As soon as the word environment is mentioned in any policy initiatives, all discussion becomes redundant.

Great Crested News and 50 Million Euros

And no price seems too high. Germany even spends tens of millions of euros on redirecting roads or building tunnels to protect animal species. Last August, for example, a four kilometer long, €50 million tunnel was approved for a highway in the state of Hesse. The reason? A colony of great crested newts had to be protected.

Germans usually obediently go along with environmental measures, in fact they're a model people when it comes to green living. They carefully sort their rubbish, take their bottles back to the supermarket and put their batteries in special containers. When they were told to have carbon filters fitted to their cars, they did so without complaining. And of course they're at the forefront when it comes to attaching solar panels to their roofs or insulating their homes.

Germans only rarely question environmental policies. The light bulb ban was one example. Most didn't see the need to scrap conventional bulbs when the simplest way to save electricity was just to turn off the light. And Germans have been unusually stubborn about the biofuel E10 -- the name refers to the 10 percent ethanol admixture. They would prefer to pay a few more cents per liter of gas than put their car engines at risk.

Many haven't yet fully realized that E10 is an ecological swindle. People who want to help the environment shouldn't use it. Nine large European environmental associations recently conducted a joint study which concluded that the bottom line impact of the fuel on the environment is negative. Rainforests are being clear-cut in Brazil and Borneo to make room for sugarcane and oil palm cultivation. At the same time there's a shortage of arable land for food production, which is leading to the threat of famine in parts of the world. Last year, the price of grain rose sharply in the global market.

A single full tank of bio-ethanol uses up as much grain as an adult can eat in a whole year. In order to cover the German requirement for biofuel, an arable area of around one million hectares would be needed. That is four times the size of the south-western German state of Saarland, which would need to be fertilized, treated with pesticides and intensively farmed. Environmental groups say that across Europe, farming for biofuels would create up to 56 million tons of additional greenhouse gases -- an environmental crime they say must be stopped immediately.

Diminishing Utility

But it's too late for that. Farming and industry have already made the conversion. Germany has devoted huge tracts of farmland to producing maize (for biogas), rapeseed (for biodiesel) and sugar beet and wheat (for biopetrol).

Not everything that looks green serves the environment. The ecological principle of proceeding with care doesn't seem to apply to environmental policy. The more, the better, seems to be the principle. No one is calculating whether all the billions being invested in protecting the environment are actually being spent wisely. Ordinary citizens can't judge it and many experts have no interest in shedding any light on this aspect because their livelihoods are at stake.

A large amount of money flows into studies, risk assessments and providing seals of approval. In many cases, a closer look at environmental measures reveals that they're expensive and don't have much effect. German environmental standards are so high already that it would require an enormous expense to achieve further improvements -- especially in comparison with less developed nations such as China, India or the former Eastern bloc states.

In economics, it's called the law of diminishing marginal utility. The first glass of water you drink will help a lot to quench your thirst. The second will help a little less and so on. By the 10th glass you will be feeling unpleasantly full or even sick. That's the worst aspect: some major environmental policies aren't just ineffective -- they are counterproductive.

A novel problem with Water Conservation

The Germans are obsessed with saving water. You won't find many countries north of the Sahara that are as water-conscious as Germany. They save water while washing dishes (a modern dishwashing machine uses only six liters per cycle), while going to the toilet (many toilets have a setting that allows only a brief flush), and even when washing their cars.

The Environment Ministry recommends that people turn off the tap while they're brushing their teeth. Saving water, the ministry's web page strongly hints, helps poor countries to irrigate their paddy fields. EU authorities are considering setting water flow-through limits in shower heads.

Yet Germany is one of the world's most water-rich countries -- it could theoretically consume five times more water than it does now. Furthermore, it's impossible to transport tap water over thousands of kilometers, so German thrift don't help Vietnamese rice farmers one bit.

And water conservation in Germany can be harmful -- particularly when it comes to the sewage systems beneath German cities. The lack of waste water flowing through the canalization means that fat, faeces and discarded food aren't getting flushed out enough, and are corroding the walls. To compensate, utilities are forced to pump hundreds of thousands of liters of fresh water through the system to keep it operable.

The result, not surprisingly, are higher water bills. And consumers respond to those higher bills by saving even more water. Paradoxically, the vicious cycle can only be broken if consumers start using more water.

Mercurial Light

The light bulb did its job for 130 years, banishing darkness, making the streets safer and comforting people in the dead of night. Until recently, no one would have thought that this everyday object posed such a major environmental threat that it must be banned.

Yet as of Sept. 1, 2009, all 100-watt bulbs vanished from European Union store shelves. A year later, it was the turn of 75-watt bulbs. This year, 60-watt bulbs will go the way of the dodo bird.

Many people already miss them. The energy-saving bulbs that replaced them emit blue light and induce stress because they disrupt the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin. In addition, they contain mercury -- to the point that consumers are advised not to use them in children's rooms.

In response, many Germans have stockpiled conventional light bulbs in silent protest. They feel the ban on conventional light bulbs makes no sense -- and they're right. The energy-saving bulb is a pretty dirty affair if one takes a closer look at the production process. Eighty percent of the bulbs are made in China where safety standards are so lax that many workers suffer from mercury poisoning. In Germany, the bulbs are classified as special waste and the poisonous substance they contain has to be dumped in underground sites.

Furthermore, the new bulbs don't live up to their promise regarding energy efficiency either. When the magazine Ökotest tested an array of the bulbs recently, half of them didn't last longer than 6,000 hours, well below EU estimates of 10,000 hours, Indeed, it was found that the larger estimate applies only to continuous use. Switching the new bulbs on and off, it would seem, isn't good for them.

The frequency with which environmental policies backfire should give pause for thought. Biofuels were meant to protect the environment and combat global warming -- in fact it destroys rainforests and causes greater CO2 emissions than conventional fuel.

Saving water was meant to protect natural resources, but it just drives up water bills. Banning the light bulb was seen as a milestone on the path to carbon neutral living in Europe -- but China has been cranking up its mercury production to satisfy demand for the alternative energy saving bulbs.

In the fight to protect the environment, it may be time to pause and ask oneself: what is really helping, and what isn't? And to admit at times: sorry, we were wrong. But it doesn't work like that. Environmentalism knows no doubt. The idea is never wrong, the problem is always in the implementation.

And so it will continue. Additional rubbish containers will be introduced, for different types of rubbish. The EU will ban the stand-by function on electronic appliances to reduce energy consumption -- even though engineers know this reduces product lifespans.

At some point, only electrical cars will fulfil environmental requirements, but the electricity will have to come from somewhere -- maybe French or Czech nuclear power stations?

Ordinary people will put up with all this patiently, what else can they do? It all serves the environment, and no one can object to that.

Much more HERE


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


18 March, 2011

Is this in the "models"?

North Atlantic oceanic currents play a greater role in the absorption of carbon than previously thought

The ocean traps carbon through two principal mechanisms: a biological pump and a physical pump linked to oceanic currents. A team of French researchers have managed to quantify the role of these two pumps in an area of the North Atlantic. Contrary to expectations, the physical pump in this region could be nearly 100 times more powerful on average than the biological pump. By pulling down masses of water cooled and enriched with carbon, ocean circulation thus plays a crucial role in deep carbon sequestration in the North Atlantic. These results are published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The ocean traps around 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere through human activity and represents, with the terrestrial biosphere, the main carbon sink. Much research has been devoted to understanding the natural mechanisms that regulate this sink. On the one hand, there is the biological pump: the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water is firstly used for the photosynthesis of phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that proliferate in the upper layer of the ocean. The food chain then takes over: the phytoplankton is eaten by zooplankton, itself consumed by larger organisms, and so on. Cast into the depths in the form of organic waste, some of this carbon ends its cycle in sediments at the bottom of the oceans. This biological pump is particularly effective in the North Atlantic, where a spectacular bloom of phytoplankton occurs every year. On the other hand, there is the physical pump which, through oceanic circulation, pulls down surface waters containing dissolved carbon dioxide towards deeper layers, thereby isolating the gas from exchanges with the atmosphere.

On the basis of data collected in a specific region of the North Atlantic during the POMME campaigns, the researchers were able to implement high-resolution numerical simulations. They thus carried out the first precise carbon absorption budget of the physical and biological pumps. They succeeded, for the first time, in quantifying the respective proportions of each of the two mechanisms. Surprisingly, their results suggest that in this region of the North Atlantic the biological pump would only absorb a minute proportion of carbon, around one hundredth. The carbon would thus be trapped mainly by the physical pump, which is almost one hundred times more efficient. At this precise location, oceanic circulation pulls down the carbon, in dissolved organic and inorganic form, to depths of between 200 and 400 meters, together with the water masses formed at the surface.

The key role of the physical pump in the North Atlantic had never been quantified before. Its importance raises numerous questions: how long does the carbon transported by the physical pump remain trapped at depth before being driven back to the surface by the reverse mechanism? Is this proportion between the biological pump and the physical pump observed in other oceanic regions of the planet? And, last but not least, how will this mechanism evolve with climate change, which affects both the physical mechanism and the biological mechanism?


Global warming as 'cargo cult science'

During World War II, remote Pacific islands like Vanuatu became involved in war efforts when they became part of supply lines. To the natives the arrival of noisy "birds" was almost miraculous, bringing delicious foods and wondrous cargo.

After the war the birds left. Into the uncertain vacuum returned old terrors of hunger and sickness, and an angry Earth. Superstitious natives copied what they had seen. They made model planes and runways. They had the form right – the outward form of religion – but lacked power. As they had seen so they, and their priests, did. But no airplanes landed. Anthropologists call this religion a "cargo cult."

Likewise cargo cult "science" can arise, noted physicist Richard Feynman, when researchers go through the motions of scientific rituals without actually doing science. Experiment first, conclusions later is the basis of scientific inquiry. Cargo cult science predetermines conclusions and reverses the order. This is a conscious perversion of normal scientific practice. It can be called post-normal science because power over other people, not truth, is the goal. Post-normal science is a deformed bloom in which the search to explain our physical world is less significant than the quest to use scientific authority to achieve political goals.

Global-warming federal-scientific partnerships form the basis for several cargo cults. Many billions of dollars are thrown at studying global warming, and recent Climategate scandals reveal prominent scientists failing (or forbidding) to ask critical questions that might challenge cherished beliefs, or threaten gravy trains. Annual federal funding to study global warming is around $4 billion and rising.

Understand the destructive worldview – and religion – of radical environmentalism – watch the powerful DVD set "Resisting the Dragon"

Mike Hulme, a professor of climate change and priest in this cargo cult, explains:

"The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved. … It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change … to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come." ("Why We Disagree about Climate Change")

So global warming is not essentially about science, but essentially about politics. Then science becomes not about seeking to understand our world, but about activism and influencing public opinion.

After three hard winters with long periods of cold and heavy snowfall, not only in this country but worldwide, anyone with memory might feel dazed and confused. On the one, hand the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) constantly assure us the pace of global warming is accelerating.

On the other hand, these same IPCC scientists assured us only recently that "[m]ilder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms" and make for "shorter snow accumulation periods" (United Nations IPCC, Climate Change 2001: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability). And make no mistake, these claims were not made lightly. No ifs, ands, or buts were allowed. You must remember the science was settled, the facts incontrovertible, the debate over. The IPCC even won a Nobel Peace Prize to testify to the truth of these contentions. But … there is the snow and global cooling for over a decade. In the Alice in Wonderland world of the post-normal, global warming means … whatever you like. Global warming means global cooling, if that is politically convenient. Reality is stranger than fiction.

Pagan priests would explain dissonance in terms of inadequate devotion; planes fail to come because we are not living correctly. The global-warming cargo cult is also almost magical in its ability to explain how almost every environmental calamity – too much, or too little, snow – is caused by humanity's insensitivity toward our mother planet.

For Christians, Truth is paramount. My book "Resisting the Green Dragon" explains how for pagans, what matters most is power, not truth. So it was in Vanuatu where pagans worshipped the Serpent as a spirit of evil. They lived in abject terror of his influence and directed all their worship toward pacifying his rage. In cargo cult science, are we unconsciously returning to the dark age of magic, in which truth suffers and people tremble for fear that their smallest actions may offend an "angry" Earth?


Another false prophecy from "scientists"

Ten Million To Die From Mad Cow Disease By 2010

A false alarm, at least


U.S. Life Expectancy at All-Time High

Back in the fall of 2008, we summarized our arguments that we submitted to the EPA as to the myriad reasons why the EPA should not make a finding that “greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.” Ultimately, our arguments fell on deaf ears.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument that we made, in our minds anyway, was that the most direct measure of human health and welfare that there is—life expectancy—has increased by about 2/3rds over the past 100 years, while surface temperatures rose about 0.7°C. The EPA thinks that this temperature rise is primarily the result of rising human greenhouse gas emissions (although we think that they are overly confident in this assertion).

Now, don’t get us wrong, we don’t believe that much of the rise in life expectancy is due to climate change, but we do assert that a substantial portion of it comes from the benefits derived from a plentiful and inexpensive energy supply, largely from fossil fuels.

And life expectancy just keeps on rising. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control is that in 2009 the U.S. life expectancy exceeded 78 years for the first time ever. At the turn of the last century, this number was 47.3 years. In fact, in the life expectancy during 10 of the past 10 years was the highest on record.

These numbers and trends are not what one would expect if climate change/greenhouse gas emissions, in the EPA’s words, “endangered” human health and welfare.

The EPA nonetheless insists upon saving us from ourselves by limiting our emissions of greenhouse gases. For the foreseeable future anyway, the only way to do so is to lower our use of energy—which has the very real possibility of stopping or slowing the growth of life expectancy.

While the EPA apparently is convinced that this is a risk worth taking, a lot of the rest of us aren’t so sure. A question worth asking: Is our health and welfare more endangered by U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, or by attempts to reduce them?


Earth Hour: A Dissent

By Ross McKitrick (Professor of Economics, University of Guelph)

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores.

Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading. Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don't want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in "nature" meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don't want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.


Australia: Don't vote Greens, say Catholic bishops

A pastoral warning that the environment is only one part of a broader, very Leftist, "Green" agenda

CATHOLIC bishops have warned the faithful against voting for the Greens in the state election, saying some of their policies were of "grave concern".

Yesterday the NSW Greens outlined a plan which would transfer government funding from wealthy private schools to public schools.

A two-page document entitled The Green Agenda is being circulated by Catholic agencies and through schools. It states the party's human rights and social policy areas are in direct conflict "with the beliefs and values of virtually all religious people, and the beliefs of many other people as well".

"Greens who are elected will bring a whole set of policies. You cannot pick and choose. They are not only concerned for the environment," it reads. It also warns about voting for candidates who might share similar views, pointing out that some MPs in the main parties had voted for "bad legislation" such as same-sex adoption.

The document was signed by 10 NSW bishops including the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell. The Bishop of Bathurst, Michael McKenna, and the Bishop of Broken Bay, David Walker, did not sign the statement.

But the Greens said the document was at times "profoundly misleading". "The bishops have misrepresented both our polices and the facts in order to attack the Greens," the MP John Kaye said.

The letter outlines six areas of "grave concern", including the Greens' treatment of personal drug use as a health and social issue "and therefore acceptable", and its efforts to legalise gay marriage. "Changing the law on marriage would expose churches and schools to coercive pressures from the state to cease teaching their beliefs about marriage and family," it reads.

Echoing the sentiment of a letter posted on the Christian Schools Australia website this week, it also criticised the party's commitment to remove religious exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Act, and warned funding cuts to non-government schools would force fees to rise, "possibly by as much as $1500 a year".

But Mr Kaye rejected that the Greens would slash school funding by anything like the 85 per cent the bishops' letter claimed. The NSW Greens' education policy, launched yesterday, calls for the transfer of $780 million a year from state and federal funding of non-government schools to public education. It argues the shift would not cause any Catholic or independent school to need to raise its fees or close its doors. Mr Kaye said non-government schools have enjoyed a decade of "ever-increasing public funding".

The Greens policy includes proposals to boost the number of public school teachers by 6000 (12 per cent) to reduce class sizes and provide more time for professional development.

An extra 2100 teachers would be hired in 581 public schools that serve the most disadvantaged communities. Funding for these extra teachers would come from stripping the 79 wealthiest private schools of government funding to raise $204 million a year.

The finance for the 6000 new teachers would be found by freezing state and federal funding of all other non-government schools at their 2003 level plus inflation. This would raise $576 million.



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


17 March, 2011

A factual alternative to the media panic about the Japanese nuclear problems

Radiation released is no danger to public health. The fact that CNN, FoxNews and other TV broadcasters continue to promote fear is simply a drive for ratings, and should be ignored.

By Zbigniew Jaworowski, M.D., Ph.D., D. Sc. (He has been a member of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)since 1973, and served as its chairman from 1980-1982.

Japan, perched on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," is one of the most seismically unstable countries. In the 20th Century, about 158,280 persons died there in nine major earthquakes, with Richter magnitude 6 and above. The Japanese had that in mind when building 55 nuclear reactors for 17 nuclear power plants, which supply the country with 34.5% of its electricity. They made them sturdy enough not to release any dangerous radioactivity outside the plant limits, even due to the worst earthquakes. The quake of March 11 2011, of magnitude 9.0, the greatest in the Japan history, proved that the plants operated almost as expected. No dangerous radioactivity was reported to escape from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plants into the environment outside the plants' limits, and nobody was seriously harmed by radiation among the public.

However, even though the power plants evidently withstood the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, they appeared to be sensitive to the enormous tsunami, with the waves up to 7 meters high, which flooded their emergency diesel power generators, intended to provide back-up power for the pumps that cooled the reactor core. This was evidently an effect of the poor original design of the 40-year-old power plant, as the generators were located just behind a sea wall on low-lying coastal ground. The tsunami overwhelmed the 6-meter high barrier. The result was an overheating of the cores of the reactors. Like Chernobyl 25 years ago, Fukushima now brings important lessons for the only 56-years-old nuclear power.

In the heavily affected prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki, there are 11 nuclear power reactors. Those which operated during the earthquake were automatically shut down when tremors started, and the crews started standard procedures of cooling the "residual heat," i.e., pumping the water to the pressure vessels of the reactors. However, after an hour, the emergency power generators at Fukushima Daiichi plant were destroyed by the tsunami; the high pressure emergency cooling was lost, and before the mobile generators were supplied, the temperature of the core in the Unit 1 reactor increased to a level where the zirconium cladding of the fuel rods reacted with water, producing hydrogen gas. When the gas was released from the pressure vessel on 12 March, outside the primary containment, a hydrogen explosion occurred in the reactor building, outside the primary containment vessel, which remained intact. This technically aggravated situation injured several persons, but did not cause a large release of radioactivity to the environment. Cesium-137 and iodine-131 levels increased initially after the explosion, but these levels have been observed to lessen a few hours later.

On 14 March, this was repeated with an explosion at the Unit 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The reactor building was destroyed, but again, the primary containment vessel remained intact and kept inside the radioactivity released from reactor fuel. And on 15th March at 6 a.m. local time, a third hydrogen explosion occurred inside the plant's Unit 2 reactor. Pressure readings indicated that the reactor's containment vessel may have been damaged.

In addition to these three hydrogen explosions in four days, radiation has also spread into the atmosphere from the spent fuel pond at the Unit 4 reactor at this plant. A dose of up to 400 mSv per hour has been reported from a single location between reactor 3 and 4; later this dropped to 11.9 mSv per hour, and after six hours, to 0.6 mSv. The fire was probably caused by a hydrogen explosion. As a precaution, the workers have been evacuated from the vicinity of this reactor. The fire was extinguished early on 15th March, and according to a spokesman for the Prime Minister, the fuel in the pond did not cause the fire.

All four reactors in the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant have now achieved cold shutdown, where coolant water is at less than 100oC, with full operation of the cooling system. Water levels are now stable in all four reactors and offsite power is available. According to Metropolitan Government's Office in Charge of Health and Safety the radiation readings in Tokyo were by 11 a.m. on 15 March 0.147 microSv, i.e. at natural level. This was in agreement with the data reported by American 7th Fleet operating in the Tokyo area showing very low levels of airborne radiation.

Precautionary Measures

Several precautionary measures were taken by the authorities. More important among them were evacuation of about 200,000 residents of ten towns near the affected nuclear plants, and distribution of 230,000 units of stable iodine to evacuation centers from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants. The iodine has not been yet administered to residents, as this measure is not necessary.

The situation at the Fukushima nuclear plants is still unpredictable. However, one may imagine what would happen in the (rather improbable) case of a total reactor meltdown of all Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini power plants. We know what happened after a partial reactor meltdown in 1979 Three Mile Island event and a full meltdown in the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. In Japan, the result would be probably similar as in the Three Mile Island power plant accident, where the reactor was protected by a thick concrete containment which efficiently retained fission products: There was almost no emission of radionuclides into the atmosphere, except innocuous radioactive noble gases, and practically zero radiation exposure of population.

There is a zero possibility of repeating in Japan the scenario from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The Chernobyl plant, an engineering pathology - a hybrid of a military plutonium factory and a power station, was not fitted with a containment vessel, and for ten days the radioactivity was freely escaping from the melted reactor, roasting in the burning graphite used for its construction. But even if by a magic miracle the containments of the Japanese plants perished completely in the quake or tsunami, the residents around them would not be harmed by radiation.

This is what we learned from the Chernobyl disaster, in which not a single person died among the affected populations of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, as according to a recent report of United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, a body most authoritative in radiation matters (UNSCEAR 2011), the radiation doses from Chernobyl fallout (of about 1 mSv per year) were below the natural radiation, too small to produce any effect. Even after ten times higher doses, the result would be the same.

See: UNSCEAR. 2011. Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation. Vol. II. Annex D. "Health effects due to radiation from the Chernobyl accident", pp. 1-173. United Nations.

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How Japan's tsunami threatens the global warming movement

The nuclear emergency is Japan will be a disaster for global warming activists. For a start, Japan's own emissions will most likely rise in the medium term, now that so many nuclear plants - one of the most greenhouse-friendly power sources - have been knocked out:

Analysts think Japan will compensate for the shutdown of its 10 nuclear reactors by relying more heavily on traditional fossil fuels.

It can choose from a variety of sources. The majority of Japan's energy is produced by power plants fired by coal, most of it from Australia. It burned 37,500 tons of coal in 2009. Japan also consumed 3.3 trillion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas that year, imported mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

Japan also operates natural gas-burning generators and a number of aging, oil-fired plants that can be cranked up when demand for energy peaks.

Second, while in the short term emissions growth will be dampened by emergency power cuts, the destruction of whole sea-side towns and a possible economic slump, the reconstruction is going to demand huge increases in the production of emissions-intensive steel, concrete and aluminium.

Third, the fear-mongering about nuclear will almost certainly slow the renewed push to build many more nuclear power stations around the world:

Germany today announced the temporary closure of its two oldest nuclear power stations and suspended plans to extend the life of all of the country's remaining plants as jitters over nuclear power spread across the world.

Switzerland also put on hold plans to build and replace nuclear plants and Austria's environment minister called for atomic stress tests to make sure Europe's nuclear facilities are "earthquake-proof". On Tuesday there will be an emergency meeting of European Union nuclear safety authorities and operators to assess Europe's preparedness in case of an emergency.

This will mean more countries will be forced to use fossil fuels rather than nuclear, the only relatively cheap source of greenhouse friendly base-load power other than hydroelectricity, also opposed by most greens. Few will dare now to commit to huge cuts in emissions, and especially not in this shaky economic environment, made more turbulent by Japan's disaster. Few will be willing to trust to the green alternatives - all expensive, under-developed or unreliable.

Meanwhile, Japan is living the green dream with nuclear power taken off line and Earth Hours every day:

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said Tuesday that it would implement electricity rationing from Wednesday to deal with power shortages in the wake of Friday's powerful earthquake, a day after Tokyo Electric Power Co. took the unprecedented measure in areas near the capital.

With the rationing set to continue through the end of April in eastern Japan, and longer in northeastern Japan, concerns are growing over its impact on the Japanese economy and people's everyday lives through the suspension of factory operations and reduced train services....

The planned power outages through April are expected to affect many of the 45 million people in TEPCO's service area covering Tokyo, Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi, Yamanashi and part of Shizuoka prefectures. The area has been divided into five groups, each of which could experience electricity outages for 3 to 6 hours a day on a rotating basis.

I don't think Earth Hour will have the same resonance again in Japan.

The conclusion: Japan will have to learn from this disaster how to make its nuclear power stations even more invulnerable. And global warming activists - or those who don't dream of mud hits - should pray they succeed.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Risk-Free Energy: Surely, You Must Be Joking

It was only a matter of time before environmentalists would point toward Japan, say, "We told you so," and then declare a moral victory for anti-nuclear activism. Merely for the sake of argument, let's pretend they are right.

Eliminating nuclear power might be a nice experiment. But there is one big problem: Environmentalists are trying to eliminate all the other alternatives, as well.

They oppose oil because drilling poses a risk to the environment. That is primarily why the United States is not tapping its own natural resources, such as in ANWR. Also, the U.S. has to rely on foreign powers-- often dictators-- to satisfy our "oil addiction." This threatens our national security and is ethically questionable. So, scratch oil off the list.

Coal is no good, either. The reason is because it is environmentally hazardous to extract, in addition to being dangerous to miners. Besides, burning it produces too much carbon dioxide and contributes to global warming. "Clean coal" is a fiction, according to environmentalists, so it is not worth researching.

Natural gas? Nope. Although it is much cleaner than coal, it is not carbon neutral. Thus, natural gas should be avoided, too.

Hydroelectric power used to enjoy broad support, but that appears to no longer be the case. Some now express concern because the process of constructing the plant itself (such as creating a reservoir) releases greenhouse gases. Environmentalists in Ohio blocked the construction of a hydroelectric plant because it would endanger plants and inconvenience fish.

It is fashionable today to support wind energy, unless you live near Nantucket Sound, where it is socially acceptable to oppose the Cape Wind project on aesthetic grounds. Others oppose wind turbines because they occasionally kill a few birds.

Ideally, the world would run entirely on solar power. It is both clean and safe, and the sun provides the planet with enough energy in a single hour to power the world for an entire year. And the best thing is it's completely renewable. (Well, that is, until the sun burns out.)

This is as close to a magical solution as is currently possible. However, solar cell efficiency (converting sunlight to electricity) remains an enormous technological obstacle. Currently, solar power only provides about 1% of our national energy, and it is unlikely to greatly increase anytime soon. But even if we could increase the efficiency of solar power, evidence indicates that environmentalists would oppose that, too. In California, the construction of a solar power plant has been held up due to concerns raised over the welfare of a lizard.

By now, the following fact should be quite obvious: All sources of energy pose some sort of risk or cost. Risk-free, cost-free energy is a complete myth and simply does not, and will not, exist.

Groups that never propose realistic solutions are simply not worth taking seriously. Unfortunately, this characterizes the arguments put forth by some environmentalists. They should not be given a seat at the adults' table until they demonstrate an ability to propose a serious solution to the most serious of problems.


There's 21 Born Every Minute

What kind of person actually believes that they control the climate? Even if they believed the climate models, they should know that nothing they propose would make a rat's ass worth of difference anyway. It is all feel good nothingness.

We read:

Thirty-one Republicans on the House Energy And Commerce Committee - the entire Republican contingent on the panel - declined on Tuesday to vote in support of the very idea that climate change exists.

Democrats on the panel had suggested three amendments that said climate change is a real thing, is caused by humans and has potentially dire consequences for the future. The amendments came on a Republican bill to block the EPA from offering regulations to mitigate the results of global climate shifts. The global scientific community is in near unanimous agreement that climate change is real, and that humans contribute to it.

None of the 31 Republicans on the committee would vote yes on any of the amendments (Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R-TN] declined to vote on one.) The committee's 21 Democrats voted yes on all three.

Though the result may seem shocking to supporters of climate legislation, activists say this is pretty much what they expect from the GOP these days. There was a time when members of the mainstream GOP were ready to offer their own solutions to climate change. But in the tea party age, those Republicans are few and far between at best, observers say.


The EPA is Fueling Nonsense

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is suffering policy schizophrenia. On the one hand, it has ordered automakers to increase fuel efficiency to save the planet from global warming. On the other hand, it is setting higher quotas of ethanol in gasoline, which will decrease fuel efficiency and increase emissions of the greenhouse gases that the EPA claims cause global warming.

Both actions will cost consumers and the economy a bundle.

The stricter fuel-efficiency standards require automakers to attain a fleet-wide average fuel economy level of 34.1 mpg by model year 2016 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. The rules-running some 300 pages-dictate fuel efficiency standards by model type, weighted by sales volume. The re-engineering required for compliance will add $1,000 or more to the sticker price of passenger cars.

Meanwhile, the agency is expanding the allowable proportion of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. Because ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, the higher quota will reduce fuel efficiency by an estimated 5 percent to 30 percent per gallon, depending upon the vehicle model. It will also increase the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to producers of the fuel and dramatically hike demand for corn, which will raise the prices of corn sweeteners, starches, syrup, oil, and livestock feed. The resulting spike in food prices will increase government spending on food stamps and child nutrition programs-by $1 billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

There are significant environmental costs as well, according to some researchers. For example, two studies published in 2008 by the journal Science reported that the cultivation of corn for ethanol and other biofuel feedstocks substantially increases emissions of the greenhouse gases that are supposedly causing climate change. One of the studies calculated that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20-percent reduction, nearly doubles greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years. The excess emissions result from land conversions that are driven by demand for corn and other crops used to produce "renewable" fuels. According to the researchers, soil and plants together store 2.7 times more carbon than is present in the atmosphere. Thus, burning and plowing grasslands, rain forest, savannas and peat land for crop cultivation releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Moreover, the loss of plants and soil reduces the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that otherwise would occur.

Lower fuel efficiency, higher food prices, more corporate welfare and environmental degradation-your EPA at work.


Let There Be Light

During a Senate hearing last week, Rand Paul complained about the federal energy standards that will force conventional incandescent light bulbs off the market during the next few years. "I can't buy the old light bulbs," the Tennessee Republican said. "That restricts my choice."

The response from an Energy Department official nicely illustrated the paternalistic, know-it-all attitude Paul was criticizing. "I'm pro-choice on bulbs," insisted Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. "My view is, what you want is lighting." And the government, in its infinite wisdom, will tell you what kind of lighting is best for you.

By this logic, the government could ban cars without meaningfully restricting consumer choice, because what you want is transportation, and you can always ride a bike or take a bus. The fact that you have implicitly rejected the tradeoffs entailed by those other options does not matter.

And so it is with light bulbs. The energy efficiency standards that have doomed the most popular varieties, set forth in a law signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, will begin to take effect in January, making conventional 100-watt bulbs illegal. By 2014, all traditional bulbs (except for a few specialized uses) will be abolished, to be replaced by more efficient alternatives, mainly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Kathleen Hogan is right: What I want is lighting, and CFLs are not very good at providing it. Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs do not go on when you flip a switch -- they think about going on and then, after mulling the idea for a few minutes, achieve their maximum brightness when you are done with whatever you were planning to do, which is especially annoying in the bathroom.

CFLs do not work well with dimmers, which we have throughout our house, and sometimes they emit an unbearable whine. And did I mention that they cost up to six times as much as their incandescent competitors?

CFLs "cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs," USA Today concedes, "but they last longer." Not in our house, the one we lived in before this one, or the one before that.

One reason our CFLs don't last as long as advertised may be that we turn them on and off. According to a 2009 report in The Telegraph, "The lifespan of energy-saving light bulbs can be reduced by up to 85 percent if they are switched off and on too often."

If you try to avoid this problem by leaving the lights on, you undermine the main selling point of CFLs, which is that they save electricity by producing more light for the same amount of energy. "A household that upgrades 15 inefficient incandescent light bulbs," Hogan enthuses, "could save about $50 per year."

That calculation takes into account the higher price of CFLs, but I suspect it assumes they last longer than they really do. In any event, I would gladly pay 14 cents a day for the luxury of lights that go on when I turn them on. But the government won't let me.

I am not a fuddy-duddy clinging to "the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory" -- as Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, put it when he introduced a bill to repeal the bulb ban -- simply because it's familiar. I will be happy to use CFLs if and when their manufacturers get the kinks out, or LED bulbs when they become affordable. But I am not the only one who thinks we're not there yet, judging from the Energy Department's estimate that more than 80 percent of residential lights sockets were still occupied by incandescent bulbs last year.

By forcing this transition, the government is ignoring the preferences that most Americans have clearly expressed in the marketplace. Which explains why I cheered when I heard Paul declare: "You busybodies always want to do something to tell us how to live our lives better. Keep it to yourselves."



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


16 March, 2011

Warmists think NO-ONE should spend money opposing them

And conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with, apparently

We hear from the Green/Left "Think Progress":
Today, Republicans in the House energy committee voted not once, not twice, but three times, against amendments recognizing that climate change is real, despite the broad scientific consensus that "climate change is happening and human beings are a major reason for it." They then unanimously voted in favor of the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the EPA's scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) succinctly expressed the day's proceedings:

This is a war on science.

The 31 Republicans and three Democrats who voted in favor of H.R. 910 have received a grand total of $343,750 from Koch Industries, an average of more than $10,000 each. Freshman Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Koch's special man in Congress, tips the scales at $79,500.

Wait a minute: If Koch can purchase so much power for only .34 million dollars, why couldn't Gore do so with almost 1000 times the money?
2008: Gore Launches $300 Million Climate Change Initiative

Former Vice President Al Gore is set to unveil a three-year, $300 million climate change campaign Wednesday, one of the most ambitious and costly public advocacy campaigns in U.S. history, the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reports


All aboard the climate gravy train

There was a time when climate scientists were not extremely well paid, but that is no longer the case

Global-warming alarmists often portray climate scientists as poorly paid academics whose judgment is impervious to the influence of money. This seems strange given the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been invested in climate science over the past few years. And as the public-choice school of economics has clearly shown, the opportunity for reward affects even supposedly disinterested professionals.

Therefore, it is fair to ask: Just how well rewarded are climate scientists? As it turns out, by some measures they are paid as well as corporate CEOs.

When it comes to comparing the annual salaries of various professions, there is an obvious problem. Some work extremely long hours - about 2,600 a year for firefighters - while others work far fewer - 1,400 a year for teachers. To iron out this difficulty, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Compensation Survey converts yearly salaries into hourly pay. From that we can see that teachers, at $37.91 an hour, are actually much more highly paid than firefighters, at $21.68 an hour, despite their comparable annual salaries ($53,000 for teachers, $55,000 for firefighters).

What about climate scientists? Well, university lecturers and professors earn an average of $49.88 an hour over a 1,600-hour work year, for a total salary of about $80,000. In the public sector, "atmospheric, earth, marine, and space sciences teachers, postsecondary" earn considerably more than the average university teacher ($70.61 per hour). They also work much less (1,471 hours each year), and despite their lower workload, they pull down about $104,000 a year. Climate scientists' hourly pay ranks them higher than business-school teachers at public universities, who earn $63.35 an hour, but not public-sector law-school professors, who earn over $100 an hour.

So climate scientists are very well compensated, out-earning all other faculty outside of law in hourly-wage terms. What about the rest of the public sector? Astonishingly, only one other public-sector profession - psychiatrist - pays better than climate science, at just over $73 an hour. In other words, climate scientists have the third-highest-paid public-sector job, ranking above judges.

What about the private sector? That's led by airline pilots, who earn about $112 an hour, but work for only 1,100 hours a year, followed by company CEOs at an average of $91 an hour. Physicians and surgeons earn almost as much as CEOs, at $89.51 an hour. Private-sector law-school professors, interestingly enough, earn far less than their public-school counterparts, at $82 an hour. After that come professor-level jobs in engineering, at $76.11, and dentists, at $73.19. These are the only private-sector professions that pay more than climate science. Taking the public and private sectors together, by my reckoning, climate scientist is the tenth-highest-paid profession in the nation.

Bear in mind that these averages are statistical means, and are therefore inflated by extremely high salaries at the top end, particularly in the case of CEOs and physicians. If we look at median earnings - what the earner right in the middle of the pack gets - we see that climate scientists get $75.29 an hour, compared with private-sector CEOs at $75.48 and physicians at $81.73.

The story gets even more interesting when we look back at the figures from 2005, the year before Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth launched the current wave of climate alarmism. Back then, university teachers were paid $43.16 an hour, while climate scientists were paid $54.65 an hour. In other words, climate-science compensation has risen by 30 percent in five years, while pay for other university instructors has increased by only 15 percent.

There was a time when climate scientists were not extremely well paid, but that is no longer the case. Not only have their earnings grown far faster than their colleagues', but on an hourly basis they now earn as much as CEOs. When climate skeptics talk about a global-warming gravy train, the numbers back them up.


Environmental terrorism

From Green/Left would-be Pharaohs who want to destroy the middle class

Marc Morano, editor of CFACT's Climate Depot website, appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto yesterday to discuss the recent spike in oil and gas prices in the wake of instability in the Middle East.

Neil Cavuto asked why, instead of getting oil from Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and other Middle East countries, America doesn't drill for more oil domestically. Morano replied, "The Congressional Research Service just did a study of natural gas, coal, and oil. We have more than the entire world, we have more than China, Canada, and Saudi Arabia combined, but 83% of our lands are inaccessible for oil drilling. And we have the Interior Department held in contempt of court for not allowing more permitting out in the Gulf Coast."

Marc pointed out that many environmentalists view high gas prices as a good thing: "Many people, including the environmentalists, are getting exactly what they want right now, and it is a situation they helped create by locking up 83% of our oil."

Specifically, Morano highlighted the views of two Obama administration officials: "John Holdren the science czar, is on record as saying that abundant energy is a threat to America, and Energy Secretary Chu has actually advocated for European style gas prices in the US." (In the UK, gasoline prices are approaching $12/gallon.)

As Marc also pointed out, "Tom Friedman of the New York Times called for a $1 a gallon gas tax in today's paper on top of what we are paying now." Such a tax would be disastrous for consumers' pocketbooks, especially when the nation is already struggling to climb out of a recession.

This is in line with what Heartland Institute and other trusted sources are saying, and what I am seeing happening in CO, MT, and even WY. These people may be interested in "saving" the environment (or the planet or the universe or whatever) but they are also using it as an excuse to "save" the economy - by destroying it so that they can rebuild it to their liking.

I have contended, for at least 20 years now, that the environist leadership's goal is to return the entire planet to a simulacrum of one of the early dynasties of Egypt, where 97% of the population were peasants or slaves, tied to their farms or cities with no education beyond that needed for them to do the work they were assigned, and never traveling more than a few miles from their birthplace; controlled by 2.5% of the population that formed a "middle-management" class (today, a technocratic class), in turn controlled by less than 0.5% of the population that formed the high-born or nobility and royalty (including the priesthood): only they could use the technology and get the education and have the perks of being human.

Destroying the economy and the middle class and working class is a key part of this process. The economics, like the fuel and chemicals, is just a part of it. We can add to that a whole long list of other measures: debauching the middle and working classes through drugs, sex and celebrity worship (the entertainment-communications media), eliminating or debasing their faith in God (new religions, watering down mainstream christianity, humanism, evolutionary "sciences"), conditioning them in various ways to accept corrupt and all-powerful government (replacing God, indeed) and a priesthood of medicine and other sciences, trashing their education (for all but the technocrats needed for the elite to live in high-tech luxury) in a multitude of ways, and many other methods.

The poorer parts of the world will be used to drag down the more wealthy, and then once public opinion is both totally hornswoggled and without any voice, the rest of the world will be reduced to an even worse state - or simply eliminated: a eugenics program such as Margaret Sanger could scarcely dream of. The various movements are but means to an end; the political events all too often stage-managed (even if some do get away from them).

They do not, of course, believe in God, but believe that they can make themselves and their descendants very godlike and as powerful as ancient gods were supposed to be. They have learned from God, of course, just as Satan did, and even pretend to be His servants.

Remember what Moses warned the Israelites about concerning prophets who CAN predict the future and CAN do what seem to be miracles - if they preach anything but what Moses brought down from Sinai. And what Paul warned the Corinthians and Galatians of. They have, to a very large degree, polluted religion just as they have polluted the waters and soil and air - and of course, blamed others for what THEY did.

What is the truth? We have a thousand years worth of clean-coal - if not as safe or clean as fission or fusion, still a sight better than what Britain and Pennyslvania burned for 200 years, and of tremendous fuel-energy and chemical value. We have hundreds of billions of barrels of oil and tens of trillions of cubic feet of methane and other natural gases on-shore; more in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) than known to exist in the rest of the world.

We have the future before us - but only if we can eliminate the albatross of government - the stinking corpse of a foul demon - that hangs around our necks.

More here

The Real Green Agenda

By Rick Manning

The logic of climate change-driven policy continues to elude anyone with a rational mind who is actually concerned about the environment.

Professional environmentalists continually bleat about how we only have one planet, and we have to save it from man-made pollution. They have even gone so far as to declare some penguin species, which live in Antarctica as "endangered" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in order to use that law as a hammer to stop supposedly dangerous greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

While these advocates may or may not be well-meaning, the one thing we can be certain of is that their policies are actually increasing pollution around the world.

The United States and Western Europe have the most stringent anti-pollution policies in the world. This means that when a widget is manufactured in the U.S., the environmental impact is far less than when it is produced elsewhere in the world.

Additionally, when a theoretical widget is manufactured and sold in the United States, that widget doesn't create other environmental impacts through the burning of fossil fuels as it is loaded and shipped across the ocean to the U.S. consumer.

Yet, the impact of various global warming policies is to force manufacturing overseas to those very countries which have the least effective environmental laws, not only creating more pollution per widget, but increasing that exponentially due to the transportation of said widget.

At the height of the cap and trade debate, economists at The Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis estimated that the movement of the manufacture of goods away from the U.S. due to this "greenhouse gas" proposal would cost 400,000 U.S. manufacturing job due to the projected increased costs, shifting manufacturing away from the clean U.S. environment to less clean ones around the globe.

Currently, Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's global warming war on the U.S. industrial base is using the Clean Air Act as a cudgel against the domestic manufacturing base, discouraging U.S. production, and as a result, encouraging manufacturing in less environmentally friendly political regimes.

The obvious illogic of forcing the world's cleanest manufacturers to offshore their production facilities to China and other less environmentally friendly causes one to question if a cleaner environment is truly the objective of the professional greens.

A simple Google search reveals that the real green agenda is to lower the standard of living in the U.S. to deal with something that they call - ecological debt - a concept developed by a group called the New Economics Foundation.

The theory is that mankind is consuming more from the earth on an annual basis than the earth can replenish, and hence there is an ecological deficit.

Of course, the United States is the guiltiest of the guilty, as the New Economics Foundation claims if everyone consumed at the level of the U.S., we would need more than five earths to sustain the current world population. Great Britain would only take just over three earths, and so on.

When you understand the mentality that capitalism and the standard of living created by the free enterprise system is viewed as the enemy of the environment, the Obama Administration green policies make perfect sense.

While they cannot say it and survive politically, they want America's standard of living lowered for the sake of the world, and they will hide behind a cloak of green rhetoric to accomplish this agenda.

So, the next time you hear one of these government funded "scientists" railing about supposed global warming or climate change or whatever the next public relations iteration is, just remember that environmentalism is not at its core about cleaning up the environment. It is nothing more than an attempt to transfer wealth from the United States to third world countries around the world.

Perhaps the real genius of the green movement is that they have succeeded in putting a smiley face on policies designed to lower the standard of living of those who support them as they continue to push economic suicide.

After all, if they truly wanted less global pollution, the greenies would be pushing for eliminating corporate taxes on all items produced in the U.S., encouraging the manufacture of goods in a place where dumping waste in the streams and the air is frowned upon, instead of places where it is accepted and ignored.


Good Bye, Kyoto

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, after surviving 15 years, mostly spent on life support. It reached its peak in Bali in 2007 at the annual UN gabfest, had a sudden unexpected collapse in Copenhagen in 2009, and has been in a coma since.

Kyoto had its real beginning at the 1992 Global Climate Summit in Rio de Janeiro. I missed that great party, but George Bush the elder went and signed up for the United States. The language of the Global Climate Treaty, the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), was vague enough to not be completely objectionable-although we should have known better than to let the camel's nose enter the tent. It has prejudiced the subsequent discussion by focusing only on anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

The 1997 Protocol, negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, tried to put teeth into the FCCC. And its bite was strong enough so that the United States never ratified it-even during the Clinton-Gore years in the White House. The US Senate, bless their hearts, had voted unanimously, 95 to 0, for the 1997 Byrd-Hagel Resolution against imposing any kind of restrictions on energy use mandated by the United Nations. And during the Obama administration, with the most pro-AGW people in the White House, the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to consider the Cap-and-Trade bill (to restrict emissions of C02) that the House had passed in 2009.

The origin of Kyoto and its demise is a thrilling tale, full of heroes and villains, which has never been fully told. It produced some household words like "Hockeystick," "Climategate," "Mike's trick" and "hide the decline." I was fortunate, if that is the right word, to have been involved continuously in all aspects of Kyoto. Much of it is published in a Hoover Institution booklet "From Rio to Kyoto"-and I am now working on the sequel "From Kyoto to Copenhagen."

The Rise of Kyoto

I trace the main actor behind Kyoto as the UN-sponsored IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Its first full assessment report in 1990 provided the basis for the Rio Summit and its doctored second assessment report of 1996 provided the scientific underpinning for the Kyoto Protocol.

What exactly did the IPCC have to say in 1996, when its printed report became available? Those of us present in Madrid in 1995, when a final draft was approved by the scientists, became aware that the crucial language was changed after its approval and before it was printed. While this has been hotly denied by the perpetrators, the evidence is quite clear; one only has to compare the two documents. Dr. Frederick Seitz, one of America's most distinguished scientists and President Emeritus of the Rockefeller University, had this to say in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on June 12, 1996:
"In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report."

And he had good reason to be upset because here are the phrases that were deleted from the final draft:
* "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

* "While some of the pattern-base studies discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed] to [man-made] causes. Nor has any study quantified the magnitude of a greenhouse gas effect or aerosol effect in the observed data-an issue of primary relevance to policy makers."

*"Any claims of positive detection and attribution of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."

* "While none of these studies has specifically considered the attribution issue, they often draw some attribution conclusions, for which there is little justification."

* "When will an anthropogenic effect on climate be identified? It is not surprising that the best answer to this question is, `We do not know. "

But the following sentence was added in the "revision":
The body of statistical evidence in chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate. [IPCC chapter 8, p.439]

The memorable phrase "the balance of evidence" used in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers is essentially meaningless, and certainly not backed by any scientific evidence. It turns out that the two main pieces of evidence, two crucial graphs in the IPCC report , were based on bad information or had actually been doctored [see my Hoover report].

Kyoto: A Money Machine -for Some

The Kyoto Protocol was a fraud right from Day One. Even if it had been punctiliously followed by all of the nations who ratified it, it would have achieved essentially nothing-a measly reduction in the calculated temperature half a century hence of 0.02 degrees C-an amount too small to even measure.

Kyoto was all about politics and money. The terms of the Kyoto Protocol demanded a 5.2% overall reduction from the emission levels of 1990 for industrialized nations. The choice of 1990, however, favored Europe, Britain, Germany, and Russia at the expense of the United States.

Around 1990, Britain switched from primarily coal to natural gas, thus reducing C02 emissions. And at about the same time, the Soviet Union collapsed and Germany took over its Eastern part, closing down much of its inefficient coal-fired electricity production.

The most pernicious provisions of the Kyoto Protocol were permits for emissions trading within the European Union and the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). CDM permitted industries and others to keep emitting C02 while buying unused credits from other Kyoto nations or by sponsoring projects in developing nations that would reduce emissions.

What a racket this turned out to be. It has made Al Gore a "climate billionaire" who emits C02 copiously from his four residences, jet planes and yachts, but then buys "carbon offsets," emission credits from his own company, set up to trade C02 permits.

The other big money item has been the drive for so-called "clean energy"-with its huge subsidies for wind power and solar energy, widely abused in Europe-but especially in the United States where the subsidies are among the highest.

The poster child for clean energy is probably ethanol-a huge sink for government subsidies, essentially a wasteful scheme to transfer money from consumers to corn growers and refiners. Even environmentalists admit that ethanol does not lead to C02 reductions overall-and has many other undesirable environmental consequences.

Among the worst of the consequences of this "bio-fuel craze" has been the rise in the world price of corn-doubling to $7 a bushel in the past six months-wheat, and other agricultural commodities. It has led to food riots in many developing nations and served to perpetuate poverty throughout the world.

The general restrictions on C02 emissions have also slowed down economic growth by making energy more expensive. All in all, the Kyoto Protocol has caused nothing but disasters.

The Fall of Kyoto

Just as Rio marked the beginning of the Kyoto misadventure, the end became really evident in 2009 in Copenhagen. Even desperate efforts by scientist-alarmists (that went well beyond the IPCC) failed to make an impact. Who still remembers the "Copenhagen Diagnosis" or UNEP's rehash of the IPCC, churned out at the last minute? Ultimately, China and major developing nations rejected all efforts to impose limits on the use of fossil fuels; economic growth proved to be more important than hypothetical climate disasters.

The Climategate revelations may have played a decisive role in shaking the public's faith in the climate science of the IPCC. Not only did a clique of key IPCC scientists hide their raw temperature data and the methodology of their selection and adjustments, but they conspired to delete incriminating e-mails and fought hard against all attempts by independent outside scientists to replicate their results. They also undermined the peer-review system and tried to make it impossible for skeptical scientists to publish their work in scientific journals. In the process, they damaged the whole science enterprise, based on full publication of data and methods, replication of results, and open debate.

No Sequel to Kyoto-We Hope

And what about the future? There is not likely to be an extension of the Protocol or any similar international demand for emission restrictions. The 2010 gab fest, held in Cancun, Mexico, was not even a holding action and the 2011 conference in Durban, South Africa, will surely be an even greater waste of time and money.

But the financial subsidies have established politically important stakeholders who will continue to fight for programs of "clean energy," "renewable energy," and other such programs-all in the name of "saving the earth's climate for our children and grand-children."

One only has to look at the current situation in the United States to realize how bad things have become. Western states, under the leadership of California, have established the Western Climate Initiative. Eastern states have established a similar regime. One of the worst ideas is the so-called Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would force electric utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from "renewable energy." Many of these groups demand a 20% "feed-in" quota by 2020, although politicians are playing all kinds of games with numbers. President Obama is calling for an 80% reduction by 2050. As he promised during the 2008 campaign, under his plan "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Probably the worst of all of the proposals may be the scheme to capture and sequester the emissions of C02 from power plants. Fortunately, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) may never come to pass because of technological reasons. In the US, a little more than 50% of electric power is produced from coal burning plants, with the cheapest and most secure fuel we have.

The George W. Bush administration was not much better in this respect than the Obama White House. Remember the "hydrogen economy"? Bush is responsible also for feeding the various interest groups with subsidies-even while he refused to consider C02 as a pollutant.

Unfortunately also, his EPA and his Justice Department did not mount an adequate scientific defense before the Supreme Court in 2007. By a 5-4 decision, the Court called C02 a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, but left it up to the EPA to demonstrate that it would constitute a hazard to "human health and welfare." The EPA has now issued an Endangerment Finding based only on the flimsy evidence of the IPCC. But without waiting for the legal challenge to the EF to be settled in court, the EPA is trying to proceed energetically to impose C02 restrictions under the Clean Air Act. It would be interesting to see how the EPA will set the national ambient air quality standard for C02, which is globally determined now by the emissions of China and other developing nations-and no longer under the control of the United States.

The battle against the unreasonable efforts of the EPA has to be fought on several fronts. The Congress, with a Republican majority in the House, is trying to cut off funding for EPA programs that involve dubious efforts to control climate change. In the House, the "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011" is sure to pass. The US Senate may finally pass the "Murkowski Resolution," which would nullify the Endangerment Finding of the EPA.

On the scientific front, it behooves us to demonstrate to all concerned that the conclusion of the IPCC about anthropogenic global warming is not based on any credible evidence. Future generations will thank us for this service: "skeptics" now labeled "deniers," "traitors," "criminals," and worse, will become the "realists" who correctly recognized Global Warming as a non-problem and saved our economy from going down the drain.


Slippery carbon claims by Leftist Australian Prime Minister

China IS closing down some older coal-fired power plants -- but because they emit REAL pollution, not because of their CO2 emissions. And the replacement plants emit MORE CO2

A NEW row has erupted over the extent of the rest of the world's action to combat climate change after Julia Gillard cited China's closure of "dirty" coal-fired power stations to back her argument that Australia must act to price carbon.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt leapt on the comments, accusing the Prime Minister of failing to mention that China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was experiencing huge growth in emissions, but the Climate Institute's John Connor backed Ms Gillard's remarks.

He said China's action strengthened the argument for Australia to cut its emissions by 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.

Appearing on the ABC's Q&A program on Monday night, Ms Gillard argued the rest of the world was moving on combating climate change. "There's this image that somehow we're the only ones - simply not true," she said. "You know, China [is] closing down a dirty coal-fired power generation facility at the rate of one every one or two weeks. Putting up a wind turbine at the rate of one every hour. They set their own targets by 2020 of reducing carbon pollution by 40 to 45 per cent per unit of GDP," Ms Gillard said.

Ms Gillard's comments followed closely the words of her climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut, who made the point about coal-fire power station closures in China in a recent climate change paper. However, Professor Garnaut went on to say the unsafe and economically inefficient plants were "replaced by larger, and economically and environmentally much more efficient plants".

A briefing to members of the Minerals Council of Australia cited research by economist and Reserve Bank Board member Warwick McKibbin that China's voluntary offer to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 40-45 per cent by 2020 would see its CO2 emissions rise by 496 per cent by 2020 on 1990 levels.

"While China has undertaken substantial efforts to increase renewable energy generation capacity, coal-fired power generation will continue to dominate," the note said.

The International Energy Agency projects that China's forecast new coal-fired power generation capacity (600GW) by 2035 would exceed the current entire generation capacity for the US, EU and Japan combined.

Executive Director of the Australian Coal Association Ralph Hillman said stations were being closed in China largely to address health concerns from their mercury emissions rather than their CO2 emissions.

But Mr Connor said China's actions were consistent with international efforts to limit global warming to 2C.

China's latest five-year plan dictates that carbon pollution per unit of GDP should be cut by 17 per cent. This was part of a long-term target to reduce pollution intensity by 40-45 per cent by 2020.

Mr Hunt said Ms Gillard had talked up China's actions on climate change without mentioning that China, "the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is experiencing huge growth in emissions and this is expected to continue for some time".

"If the Prime Minister wants to talk about China, she should release the figures on China's annual emissions growth for the last five years, and the projections on how much China's emissions are expected to increase by over the next five years," Mr Hunt said.



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


15 March, 2011

Fearmongers go into their own meltdown

It is testament to the ascendancy of apocalyptic thinking that many are now looking at Japan and thinking: "Will it get even worse?" It is not enough, apparently, that there has been a monumental tragedy, with thousands of people killed by the tsunami that was unleashed by Friday's earthquake.

No, many observers are now fantasising about a possible meltdown at a nuclear energy station that was badly shaken by the quake, which apparently could give rise to a radioactive holocaust that would make nature's fury look like a tea party in comparison.

It is worth putting the instability at the Fukushima plant into some perspective. Yes, it is profoundly worrying when a nuclear reactor experiences serious problems. Despite the fact that the tremor on Friday triggered an automatic shutdown of Fukushima, along with 11 of Japan's other nuclear reactors, still workers struggled to get things under control.

Once Fukushima was automatically disconnected from Japan's national energy grid, it became reliant on its diesel-powered emergency generators for the purposes of keeping cool and safe.

However, these generators failed, and so workers at Fukushima used mobile generators, trucked-in seawater and the trick of releasing some radioactive vapour (which is not harmful to the environment or humans) to try to keep the plant as normal as possible.

Yet while they managed to get one of Fukushima's working reactors under control, two others proved more problematic. And on Saturday, there was a huge explosion at the power station, which injured four workers and gave rise to headlines around the world about a possible "nuclear apocalypse".

Yes, the situation at Fukushima is serious and still unpredictable. But the things that we do know for certain suggest that the Western media's obsession with what is happening there is seriously overblown and reveals more about us and our fears than it does about the reality on the ground in Japan.

For instance, Japanese officials have confirmed that while the explosion caused the partial collapse of the concrete building around one of the nuclear reactors, still the steel container that houses the reactor has not been damaged. Yes, there was an increase in the radioactive elements caesium-137 and iodine-131 in the vicinity of the troublesome reactors, but these elements have "since been observed to lessen".

We also know that, in the words of the World Health Organisation, the risk to the public from a radiation leak at Fukushima is "probably quite low". However, to be on the safe side, the Japanese authorities swiftly evacuated nearly 200,000 people from a 20km radius around the nuclear plant, which should ensure that, in the event of a leak, no civilians will come to any serious harm.

We also know that, despite the hysterical headlines claiming that there could be "another Chernobyl", in fact the Fukushima plant is very different from the one in the Ukraine which experienced a serious accident in 1986. A Russian nuclear expert said this week that a "Chernobyl-like disaster in Japan is impossible", since there is no graphite at Fukushima, as there was at Chernobyl, and therefore "there is nothing to burn there".

Moreover, if the explosion at Fukushima already makes this the "third-worst nuclear accident in history" - as we're told - then it's worth noting the two other accidents were not as terrible as we're often led to believe.

Following the accident at Chernobyl, anti-nuclear campaigners claimed that up to 25,000 people would die as a result of radiation poisoning. In truth, as of 2005, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to the radiation released by the accident, most of them among highly exposed rescue workers.

The other worst accident was the partial core meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. Yet this caused no direct deaths, though some experts believe that "one or two" cancer-related deaths in the vicinity may have been linked to meltdown.

So if nuclear accidents have never proved as terrible as Hollywood movies promise, and if it is true that, so far, the problems in Japan's nuclear reactors have been brought under some kind of control, why has there been such an outpouring of media-led panic about a possible radioactive fallout that could spread through Asia and even as far as Europe?

Because this coverage is being driven more by the politics of fear than by rigorous analysis. And because the post-tsunami problems are being disgracefully exploited by environmentalist groups opposed to nuclear power, including Greenpeace, which published an article on Fukushima called "The myth of nuclear containment".

The result is that the Western focus is mostly on one nuclear power plant in a country in which entire towns have been destroyed and thousands of people killed. The politics of fear has made us so irrational and self-obsessed that we risk becoming deaf to the already occurring horrors in Japan.


Boris Johnson on the tsunami reaction

Boris is the Mayor of London and a classics graduate. He also seems to know a bit of German

A caller rang a London radio station to discuss the lessons of the Japanese earthquake, and said something both death-defyingly stupid and brilliantly illuminating. He knew why there had been a seismic event measuring 8.9. It was because man was forever drilling for oil, and our planet was angry at the intrusion. The Earth, in the view of this caller, was like some vast animal shrugging its pelt at an irritating flea-bite - and mankind was that irritating flea.

That analysis is of course stupid, because there is no evidence of a connection between the colossal movements of the Pacific tectonic plates and our feeble scrapings and probings for oil or any other minerals.

The events of recent days have certainly been appalling. I have never seen anything like that great black tide of sludge as it rolled with bobbing houses and boats over northern Japan. But then geology is a story of mind-boggling violence, and this earthquake is nothing compared to events in the fairly recent history of the planet. Why did India crash up into the rest of Asia to form the Himalayas? Why did Latin America split off from Africa and the rest of Gondwana?

Whatever happens in the world, whatever the catastrophe, we approach it like some vast BBC reporter with an addiction to the first person singular. We just have to put ourselves at the centre of the story. Back in the second millennium BC there was a huge earthquake and tsunami in the Mediterranean, an event which has been associated with the destruction of Santorini. It was obvious to the ancients that this must have been to do with mankind - and specifically the misbehaviour of the people of Atlantis, who got uppity and dissed Poseidon. So Poseidon struck back. Of course he did.

I am afraid to say that our manic post hoc ergo propter hoc-ery survives to this day. When Phuket in Thailand was hit by the 2004 tsunami, there really were a large number of religious nut-jobs - and not only in America - who were convinced that this was some kind of divine vengeance on that town for the alleged immorality of its residents and its reputation for sex tourism. It is always us, us, us. Many are the terrors of the Earth, says the chorus in Sophocles, and nothing is more terrible than mankind. Well, the only good thing about an earthquake and tsunami on this scale is that they remind us that even Sophocles was capable of talking bilge. There are plenty of things more terrifying than man, and they include asteroids, earthquakes, tsunamis and anything else that reminds us that we are tiny blobs of flesh and blood crawling on the thin integument of a sphere of boiling rock and metal, and that there are events in the life of that planet that are simply nothing to do with human action.

The most important lesson here is that there are no lessons for human behaviour, and over coming days it is vital that we watch out for the preachers and the moralisers who will try to use it to further their campaigns. First off the blocks, I see, is the anti-nuke lobby.

These are the ''Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!'' brigade, who have always believed that any kind of nuclear fission - tampering with the building blocks of the universe - was an invitation to cosmic retribution. They will now do everything they can to exploit the Fukushima explosion and the difficulties being experienced in bringing a couple of plants under control.

I don't want in any way to minimise these problems, and we must hope they are sorted out as soon as possible with the barest leaks of radiation. I just doubt that there is any real read-across between the difficulties of nuclear reactors in a well-known earthquake zone, and proposed nuclear programs in Britain and elsewhere, which are becoming more essential with every day that passes.

Whatever happens in Libya, whether we intervene or not (and I wouldn't hold your breath), it is clear that instability will continue in the Middle East. It would be madness, in the current crisis, with oil capable of climbing up to $200 a barrel - with catastrophic consequences for the world economy - for us to abandon one of the few available long-term alternatives to fossil fuels. What would the oil price do then?

The response to the Japan earthquake is to send all the aid and the support that we can. But we don't have to treat this as any kind of verdict on mankind's activities. We don't have to make amends by sacrificing a hecatomb to Poseidon. We don't have to lead 100 garlanded men and maidens to the top of the pyramid and then cut out their beating hearts. We don't have to stop drilling for oil, and we don't have to sacrifice our efforts to provide safe, clean and green nuclear power.

There is no rhyme or reason to an earthquake, and we should for once abandon our infantile delusion that we are the cause and maker of everything.


"Hide the decline" explained

How tree ring data is used only when it gives the "right" answer

Peer into the Heart of the IPCC, Find Greenpeace

Many environmental organizations employ people whose sole purpose is to raise awareness about global warming. The more effective they are at convincing the public there’s an urgent problem, the more money these organizations receive in donations.

Activists are therefore the furthest thing from neutral parties. They have a right to participate in discussions about climate change, but we all need to understand that when they do so they are advancing an agenda.

Since agendas and science don’t mix, environmentalists should keep their distance from activities that are supposed to be scientific. Their mere presence undermines the integrity of the research. It casts a shadow over the data and calls into question the conclusions.

But activists have not kept their distance from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even though this body claims to be a scientific organization. Nor has the IPCC taken steps to safeguard its reputation by keeping a strict separation between itself and green groups.

This is perhaps best illustrated by a Greenpeace climate change publication that appeared in early 2007. The foreword to this document, which focused on New Zealand, was written by none other than Rajendra Pachauri. At the end of his remarks, beside his photograph, he is identified not as a private individual expressing private opinions but as the chairman of the IPCC.

I’ve mentioned previously that the fact that Richard Klein worked as a Greenpeace campaigner at age 23 was no impediment to the IPCC appointing him a lead author at age 25. I’ve also drawn attention to the fact that some of those who’ve served as IPCC expert reviewers are actually Greenpeace employees.

But the cozy relationship doesn’t end there. Bill Hare has been a Greenpeace spokesperson since 1992. By 2000 he was climate policy director for Greenpeace International. According to various Greenpeace blog posts he is “a legend” in that organization, served as its chief climate negotiator in 2007, and remains a chief policy advisor. Yet none of this has prevented him from being nominated – and chosen – to fill senior IPCC roles.

In 2000 policy director Hare served as an expert reviewer for an influential IPCC emissions scenarios document. When the 2007 edition of the climate bible was released, we learned that he’d served as a lead author, that he’d been an expert reviewer for 2 out of 3 sections of the report (see here and here), and that he was one of a select group of only 40 people who comprised the “core writing team” for the important Synthesis Report.

Hare has once again been appointed a lead author for the upcoming version of the climate bible, expected to be released in 2013 (see p. 8 of this 27-page PDF).

It’s worth noting that the IPCC is less-than-candid about his Greenpeace ties. The 2007 climate bible says he’s affiliated with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. When the IPCC announced, last June, the list of authors for the version of the climate bible currently in progress the Potsdam Institute was once again used as cover. Since Hare is, in fact, a visiting researcher at the institute the IPCC hasn’t lied.

But imagine you’re an accident victim on the side of the road. You’re told not to worry, that the person who’s going to remain with you until the ambulance arrives is trained in first aid. What you aren’t told is that they’re also a vampire and that the blood seeping from your leg will be difficult for them to resist.

In 2009 EcoEquity, an activist think tank, observed that both Hare and a person named Malte have both “long been key members of the Greenpeace International climate team.” Indeed, Malte Meinshausen‘s Greenpeace ties stretch back to June 2001 when he and Hare co-authored a Greenpeace analysis related to the Kyoto Protocol. Throughout 2002 and 2003 Meinshausen’s name, often accompanied by a Greenpeace e-mail address, appeared on a number of Greenpeace statements and press releases (see here, here, and here).

But these facts did not prevent him from being recruited as a contributing author to not one, not two, but three chapters of the 2007 climate bible. Like Klein, above, Meinshausen’s participation is yet more proof that some IPCC authors are anything but world-class experts at the height of their careers. Meinshausen only received his doctorate in 2005.

A number of passages in the 2007 climate bible blandly cite research papers authored by Hare and Meinshausen as though it’s immaterial that they are Greenpeace personnel (see here and here, for example). Indeed, the IPCC goes so far as to reprint a graph that first appeared in a paper for which these two men are the sole authors.

And people wonder why the IPCC’s reputation has sunk so low.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Big discovery: Electric cars are a dumb idea

Nissan's electric car, the Leaf, has reportedly been unexpectedly running out of charge

The electric cars revolution has hit its first bump in the road. According to reports from the United States several owners of Nissan's electric hatchback, the Leaf, have reported the car unexpectedly running out of charge and stopping.

Range-anxiety - the fear of an electric car running out of charge - is one of the biggest challenges facing the car industry as it attempts to convert motorists from fossil fuel to electricity.

The owners are reporting the remaining range indicated on the car's dashboard is rapidly dropping before putting the car into a "limp home mode" that slows the car to a crawl to conserve the remaining charge in the battery. One owner reported the car went from showing 27km of range to coming to a halt in only eight kilometres of driving.

"Part of me is amused that I may go down in history as the first dumbass to drive the car into submission," the owner wrote. "But I am slightly shaky and upset as I thought there should have been no problem getting home."

Another reported the a similar situation with the car again dropping into the "limp home mode" before grinding to a halt.

A spokeswoman for Nissan USA said the company was investigating the reports but claimed they were "isolated" incidents.

The Leaf has been making headlines in the United States as one of the first all-electric cars on sale. It is also one of three finalists in the 2011 World Car of the Year awards along with the Audi A8 and BMW 5-Series.


Australian conservative leader unfazed by carbon scare

THE Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has again questioned the scientific evidence for climate change, saying he does not accept that carbon dioxide is a proven "environmental villain" or that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the most important environmental challenge.

The Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, seized on the comments by Mr Abbott yesterday as "proof" the Liberal Party's climate policy is based on "the extreme view that climate change doesn't exist".

Speaking at a community forum in Perth, Mr Abbott said: "I don't think we can say that the science is settled here.

"There is no doubt that we should do our best to rest lightly on the planet and there is no doubt that we should do our best to emit as few waste products as possible, but, having said that, whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.

"We should take precautions against risks and threats, potential ones as well as actual ones, but I don't think we should assume that the highest environmental challenge, let alone the great moral social and political challenge of our time, is to reduce our emissions," Mr Abbott said in response to a question.

Despite once famously saying the settled science of climate change was "absolute crap", Mr Abbott has more recently repeatedly stated that he accepts the science and has told his MPs their debate with the government should be about the Prime Minister's broken promise, the impact of the carbon price and the relative merit of the Coalition's "direct action" climate policy, and not about climate science.

Mr Combet said the comments showed "Mr Abbott is a climate change denier, which explains why his climate policy is nonsense".



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


14 March, 2011

Global Warming Did Not Cause The Japanese Earthquake

Just a small general note about the Japanese earthquake to start with: The damage caused by the quake itself was small. Japanese buildings are built to withstand quakes. The big disaster was the tsunami that was caused by the earthquake. Note that "tsunami" is a Japanese word, as Japan has always had a lot of them. Because of that there are in coastal Japan both tsunami barriers and tsunami warning systems. The barriers give people something to shelter behind and the warnings tell people to run towards higher ground.

This tsunami was so high, however, that it surged right over the tsunami barriers. So only the tsunamu warnings helped much. It was mainly people who couldn't or didn't run fast who got swept away -- JR

Just hours after the horrific earthquake and tsunami devastated coastal areas of Japan, global warming alarmists like the BBC are already injecting climate change propaganda into their coverage of the story, hastily exploiting the tragedy as a vehicle through which to push their increasingly desperate and discredited enviro-fascist agenda.

If you thought that climate change alarmists wouldn’t be so insensitive as to build their warped argument on the bodies of freshly dead corpses, then think again. Within 24 hours there’ll be a whole slew of neo-libs pointing to the suffering in Japan as a reason why we should hand over more untold trillions to globalists in the form of a carbon tax.

The BBC is already at it – in a discussion about a whirlpool caused by the tsunami, BBC reporter Humphrey Hawksley hastily piggy backs a dubious argument about the tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu disappearing under the threat of global warming on the back of dramatic pictures out of Japan. By making this completely disjointed connection, Hawksley implicitly suggests that man-made climate change also contributed to the Japanese earthquake.

In reality, alarmists’ lies surrounding Tuvalu are well documented. Al Gore’s claim in his Inconvenient Truth film that the residents of Tuvalu all had to evacuate to New Zealand as climate refugees because rising sea levels were swallowing up their homes was ruled incorrect by a British judge. “There was no evidence of climate refugees from the Pacific having to be evacuated to New Zealand or anywhere else to escape rising seas,” explains Andrew Bolt.

So before the likes of Al Gore, Danny Glover, and the San Francisco Chronicle, who all blamed last year’s Haiti earthquake on global warming, along with the rest of the climate change cultists attempt to exploit the latest natural disaster for political grist, it is important to stress that earthquakes are caused by tectonic plate movements and have been for thousands of years – they are not caused by Bubba driving his SUV down the highway.

An earthquake occurs in Japan every 5 minutes because, as the Telegraph’s Aislinn Laing explains, “Tokyo is situated on Japan’s main Honshu island which is turn sits at the intersection of three continental plates, the Eurasian, Pacific and Philippine Sea plates, which are slowly grinding against each other, building up enormous seismic pressure that every so often is realised with ferocious force.”

Massive earthquakes were killing humans in staggering numbers before the onset of heavy industry, ubiquitous car ownership and increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and they will continue to kill humans as long as we are on the planet. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was similar in strength to today’s Japanese quake and it killed over 3,000 people, the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California’s history.

Attempts to claim that melting glaciers contributed to earthquakes in 2008 were initially swallowed whole by the mainstream media but subsequently discredited. Indeed, global warming alarmists themselves have been responsible for causing earthquakes. A geologist in Switzerland went on trial for causing mini-earthquakes by using deep drilling equipment to search for renewable energy. One such attempt caused a 3.4 magnitude quake to rock the city of Basel.

The horrifying consequences of the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began are only just beginning to be discovered, with the tsunami that followed causing massive devastation and engulfing cities and airports, and leading to the declaration of a nuclear emergency.

But that won’t stop climate change alarmists from offensively hijacking the opportunity to lecture the rest of us about how we caused the carnage by daring to maintain a decent standard of living, and how we must pay an indulgence tax to the likes of Al Gore, Maurice Strong, the Rothschilds and a gaggle of other globalists who own the carbon trading schemes.

Earthquakes are called natural disasters for a reason – they are not caused by emissions of that deadly, poisonous, toxic, hateful gas known as carbon dioxide, the life-giving substance that humans exhale and plants breathe.

However, this fact won’t give pause to alarmists desperate to sink their teeth into a new tragedy to reinvigorate momentum behind their failing effort to completely eviscerate the western middle class and concurrently destroy the third world’s hopes of ever lifting themselves out of poverty.


A factual reply to the nuclear panic sparked by the Japanese disaster

As Japan deals with its earthquake-crippled nuclear power plants, questions are being asked. Why does such a geologically active region have nuclear power stations?

For an energy-hungry but resource-poor country with skilled engineers, nuclear power was and is an obvious answer. The industry has performed well for more than 40 years and helped propel Japan to technical and economic leadership.

In Australia, opponents of nuclear power already point to the situation in Japan as evidence of the dangers of nuclear reactors. They conveniently sidestep the loss of life and damage caused by exploding oil tanks, burst gas mains, electrical fires: hazards that come with living in a tectonically active region.

Japan has 55 reactors that generate about 30 per cent of its electricity. Half of these reactors are in eight power plants in the Sendai region. When the magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit, 20 reactors were operating. Eleven shut down as sensors reacted to the shifting earth and the remaining nine continued to operate safely. As they were designed for a geologically active region, the shutdown of the reactors went according to plan.

Under normal circumstances the core of a reactor operates at about 600 degrees C. Water circulating around the core is heated beyond boiling point, and the steam drives a turbine that produces electricity. A nuclear core is analogous to a coal or gas-fired furnace.

Without sufficient circulating water, however, even when a working reactor is shut down residual radioactivity can push the core temperature to levels well in excess of 1000 degrees, causing dangerous pressure increases from steam and hot and radioactive gases. If unchecked, a partial core meltdown could follow, rendering the reactor inoperable. This happened at Three Mile Island in the US 1979.

Following the insertion of control rods to stop the chain reaction, cooling must be maintained. However, at the Fukushima plant where four reactors were online, the earthquake knocked out mains electricity and then the tsunami front flooded and destroyed some backup power supplies.

For one, and perhaps two reactors, this created an especially difficult situation as cooling circuit pumps failed. Reviews ahead may well investigate whether such a situation could have been better planned for.

The focus of the Japanese nuclear community has been to restore sufficient cooling to these reactors. However, as shown in graphic television pictures, the housing of the 35-year-old Fukushima No 1 reactor, though not the steel containment vessel within which resides the nuclear core, was blown out following an explosion that is presumed to be from excessive build-up of hydrogen associated with the cooling problem. This makes access to this reactor more complicated. (Nuclear reactors cannot have an atomic explosion but the combination of high-pressure gases, superhot water and electrical circuitry contains all the components for a powerful chemical or electrical explosion.)

Instruments to measure heightened levels of radioactivity are extensively deployed and very sensitive. Whenever radiation leakage is measured in the vicinity of a power station, a series of protocols is followed: community warnings, then evacuation from progressively larger areas. If there is a likelihood of measurable fallout, a subsequent step is distribution of iodide tablets to help saturate relevant organs in our body with benign iodine and inhibit the uptake of radioactive iodine in the air or from food. This is especially critical for young children.

Most of us are exposed to about 4 millisieverts (mSv) of mainly background radiation each year. Radiation workers are allowed 50mSv per year. At the current radiation level reported at the perimeter of the damaged Fukushima plant, an individual dose would exceed 50mSv after about a week's continuous exposure. Measurable radiation poisoning occurs at a much higher level still.

Controlled venting of excess and mildly radioactive gases is happening, will result in some community exposure to radiation, but is very unlikely to have an effect on community health. At this time, only workers on site are likely to have had elevated radiation exposures. In the context of the general devastation from the earthquake and tsunami, any health or property damage arising from the affected reactors is likely to be small.

If core cooling can be satisfactorily restored, then in the best case local residents could return to their homes in days.

Engineers have taken extraordinary steps to get coolant to the reactor of most concern, flooding the core with seawater. This is a step probably not in the playbook and reflects grievous concerns about core integrity. Still, the combination of venting and seawater flushing should stabilise the situation in the days ahead. The reactor itself is a write-off.

Plans in Japan anticipate further growth in nuclear power but an earthquake of this magnitude followed by a huge tsunami may well demand another look at design specifications.

We will learn from the tragic Japanese experience how to build more robust reactors, how to ensure multiple layers of protection work properly, how to better contain radioactive gases. But when the grisly causes of fatalities, injuries and asset damage are eventually itemised nuclear facilities may not even feature.


Sen. Rand Paul Smacks Down Environmental Nannies

Speech of Thu, March 10, 2011

UK Govt's Clueless Carbon Guru wants to blow £250 Billion

Britain’s top green bureaucrat on Carbon Markets and Climate Change admits she doesn’t know what she is doing with £250 billion of UK taxes.

European Commission Directorate General of Climate Action, Jill Duggan exposes her utter ignorance in an Australian radio interview when challenged about the costs and benefits of Britain’s rush to a ‘green’ economy.

Duggan is visiting Australia as head of Britain’s International Emissions Trading scheme and was hoping to win over new converts to her cause. Duggan (and Britain’s ‘Big Green’ goofball government) are aiming to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (that trace gas that comprises less than 0.04 percent of the atmosphere) by 20 percent by 2020.

Duggan appeared on Melbourne Talk Radio, on the Steve Price Breakfast Show (March 9, 2011) and when questioned live on air floundered badly exposing the staggering depths of her incompetence.

For those who doubt the following transcript of the radio interview is real and is perhaps some nightmarish early 'climate denier' April Fool’s joke, then listen to the actual recording here (acknowledgement: Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun).

Aussie journalist, Andrew Bolt (AB) leads off by asking Jill Duggan (JD) some pointed questions:
AB: Can I just ask; your target is to cut Europe’s emissions by 20% by 2020?
JD: Yes.
AB: Can you tell me how much - to the nearest billions - is that going to cost Europe do you think?
JD: No, I can’t tell you but I do know that the modelling shows that it’s cheaper to start earlier rather than later, so it’s cheaper to do it now rather than put off action.
AB: Right. You wouldn’t quarrel with Professor Richard Tol - who’s not a climate sceptic - but is professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin? He values it at about $250 billion. You wouldn’t quarrel with that?
JD: I probably would actually. I mean, I don’t know. It’s very, very difficult to quantify. You get different changes, don’t you? And one of the things that’s happening in Europe now is that many governments - such as the UK government and the German government - would like the targets to be tougher because they see it as a real stimulus to the economy.
AB: Right. Well you don’t know but you think it isn’t $250 billion.
JD: I think you could get lots of different academics coming up with lots of different figures.
AB: That’s right. You don’t know but that’s the figure that I’ve got in front of me. For that investment. Or for whatever the investment is. What’s your estimation of how much - because the object ultimately of course is to lower the world’s temperatures - what sort of temperature reduction do you imagine from that kind of investment?
JD: Well, what we do know is that to have an evens chance of keeping temperature increases globally to 2°C - so that’s increases - you’ve got to reduce emissions globally by 50% by 2050.
AB: Yes, I accept that, but from the $250 billion - or whatever you think the figure is - what do you think Europe can achieve with this 20% reduction in terms of cutting the world’s temperature? Because that’s, in fact, what’s necessary. What do you think the temperature reduction will be?
JD: Well, obviously, Europe accounts for 14% of global emissions. It’s 500 or 550 million people. On its own it cannot do that. That is absolutely clear.
AB: Have you got a figure in your mind? You don’t know the cost. Do you know the result?
JD: I don’t have a cost figure in my mind. Nor, one thing I do know, obviously, is that Europe acting alone will not solve this problem alone.
AB: So if I put a figure to you - I find it odd that you don’t know the cost and you don’t know the outcome - would you quarrel with this assessment: that by 2100 - if you go your way and if you’re successful - the world’s temperatures will fall by 0.05°C? Would you agree with that?
JD: Sorry, can you just pass that by me again? You’re saying that if Europe acts alone?
AB: If just Europe alone - for this massive investment - will lower the world’s temperature with this 20% target (if it sustains that until the end of this century) by 0.05°C. Would you quarrel with that?
JD: Well, I think the climate science would not be that precise. Would it?
AB: Ah, no, actually it is, Jill. You see this is what I’m curious about; that you’re in charge of a massive program to re-jig an economy. You don’t know what it costs. And you don’t know what it’ll achieve.
JD: Well, I think you can look at lots of modelling which will come up with lots of different costs.
AB: Well what’s your modelling? That’s the one that everyone’s quoting. What’s your modelling?
JD: Well, ah, ah. Let me talk about what we have done in Europe and what we have seen as the benefits. In Europe, in Germany you could look at, there’s over a million new jobs that have been created by tackling climate change, by putting in place climate policies. In the UK there’s many hundreds of thousand of jobs.

The above is just excerpt to vividly illustrate how liars, incompetence and junk science are stealing our taxes.

Conclusion: Jill Duggan should be fired and a moratorium on all programs relating to climate change put on hold until an independent commission of international experts fully examines this carbon fraud and determines who should be prosecuted and put behind bars.


Excerpt from an interview with eminent physicist Freeman Dyson

Q. What is a heretic in your view and why are they important?

A. Most of the time, we are happy going along with what other people are thinking, and very often what other people are thinking is wrong. So, if you are a heretic and stick out for something unorthodox, you have a chance to do something important.

Q. You said that most people are comfortable going along: that's not the impression I think of scientists.

A. I think we have a romantic vision of scientists sitting in a laboratory, seeking truth.

Q. Why do you think there is groupthink in science.

A. I see it all around me. I'm a victim of it myself, especially in astronomy, because the universe is far away and long ago, and you have all sorts of pictures about it--what we call models, which are descriptions of the way we think it is. And of course they are hopelessly oversimplified; but still it's nice to have a model to have some picture of what it is you are talking about. People just tend to believe their own models after a while, lose awareness that the model may be very different from reality.

Q. Have you seen many cases in your experience where a scientist who has devoted a significant chunk of time and passion to a model say it was wrong?

A. Very often. That happens all the time. Particularly in astronomy. One of the famous examples was the drifting continent idea of the German--what's his name? [Alfred Wegener--ed.]--this German, in the 1920s propounded the idea that continents are moving around and nobody believed it for a long time. They preferred to think of the continents as fixed. For no particular reason except that that was the majority view. Turned out that after all they do drift. We now measure it and know exactly how it happens.

Q. Great example, because there's one data point that is obvious to everyone, which is that it looks like Africa fits in nicely in gap between South and North America. Of course, that could just be a coincidence.

A. Yes, that was the starting point of the whole thing.

Q. There's a famous story about Einstein--I wonder if you could verify it. When he made his prediction about light being bent by the gravitational force of the sun, there was a famous experiment to test that; and it was confirmed, to the delight of many, including Mr. Einstein. And someone said to him: What would you have done if it turned out to be wrong? And he said: I wouldn't have believed it because I know my theory is right. Is that a true story, do you think?

A. Yes, more or less true. He was, of course, a heretic, and he had this model, instinct for what was really there; and he had this sublime confidence, could test. Turned out to be right. Of course, sometimes he wasn't right, but mostly he was. Presumably there would have been enough data at some point to convince him he was wrong. If he lived long enough to see some of his theories proved wrong. Well, he never did, of course. I don't think any of his theories really turned out to be wrong. His great failure was unified field theory, which wasn't so much wrong--wasn't even wrong; never well-formulated and never clear enough to be wrong. That's a great advantage to some theories. Well, to him of course it was a great disappointment. But he never actually said it was wrong; but at the end of his life he knew he wasn't getting there. Must have been very sad.

Q. Did you see it in him?

A. No, I didn't know him personally.

Q. The question of data and testing theories, and the difficulty of admitting that you are wrong raises a question often in the news today about consensus. Is consensus a meaningful way to think about how science moves forward?

A. No; of course, consensus does have a good meaning--when large numbers of people agree about something, that's a consensus. But it's not something you necessarily believe in. Consensus may be right or it may be wrong. It's certainly quite real. In the example of climate science, where this is an acute problem, the whole subject has become political, which makes it a much more dubious undertaking because so many people are in it for political reasons, and then, of course, consensus becomes politically important. That distorts the science in an unfortunate way.

Q. What do you mean when you say it's political? Well, that there's a very large political fight going on about climate change, strong passions involved on both sides; and large amounts of money. Very big economic question, what to do about climate change. Very large numbers of people whose livelihood depends on keeping the public alarmed. That's unhealthy. They've responded by saying there's a lot of people on the other side who have a big financial stake in keeping the public sleepy. Right. That's true of course. But financial interests on both sides.

Q. So, how does the layperson, a non-expert, evaluate those sides?

A. I would say: Keep an open mind as long as you can. That's true whether you are a scientist or not. Always be skeptical; don't necessarily believe because somebody's an expert he knows what is true. Experts are usually experts in a very narrow field, so they don't have a good view of the whole story. My view is that sometimes experts are right, and sometimes experts are wrong.

Q. Right. Your continental drift story, plate tectonics, that's definitely an example. There are so many examples in medicine and science where a heretic on something like ulcers, continental drift; in the case of economics, monetary policy, maverick view is viewed as unacceptable and outside the mainstream. Until it turns out to be true.

Q. Quote of Dyson's from a few years ago, about climate change but I see it as a quote about economics, and really any complex system where you struggle to figure out what the world would be like without the intervention that you care about or the change that you care about. So, you have to have a model of the underlying reality.
When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories. Many of the basic processes of planetary ecology are poorly understood. They must be better understood before we can reach an accurate diagnosis of the present condition of our planet. When we are trying to take care of a planet, just as when we are taking care of a human patient, diseases must be diagnosed before they can be cured. We need to observe and measure what is going on in the biosphere, rather than relying on computer models.

Have your views changed since you wrote that?

A. No. I would stick with that.

Q. How would you respond to the people who say: There's a threat and the natural, healthy thing to do is to reduce our risk and respond to it as best we can, even if we don't understand it perfectly; if we wait till then, it will be too late?

A. No, that's not the choice you have. Everything you do is risky. You don't, just by trying to reduce burning fossil fuels--doesn't mean you've got rid of the risk. Merely means you are taking different kinds of risk. They could be worse. It could very well be that the welfare of the planet would be damaged by reducing carbon dioxide. We just don't know.

Q. So, what do you advise?

A. I advise just waiting to see what the processes are, so we understand well enough to take action where we know what the results will be. There are certain things you can do, of course, which make sense, undoubtedly a lot of the actions we could take--using less energy, using energy in a less wasteful fashion--that's good no matter what. There's a great deal you can do. But the real question is whether you put a price on carbon, which makes the poor people poorer and enriches the people who have solar panels on their roofs. That kind of thing, to my mind, is likely to be counterproductive.

Q. You've suggested some creative ideas for reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You've also made the observations many have--that there is a natural cycle; we're not fully understanding the role of human intervention into that cycle. We may be facing an ice age some time in the future--it seems likely. May or may not be possible to avert that with human intervention. You've proposed a lot of creative ideas--tree planting, topsoil--as have some other scientists. Does anybody take those seriously? Do they get a hearing?

A. Yes, I think some of us do. I make a distinction between what they call geo-engineering--which is big, colossal schemes for changing the whole planet in some big fashion--and land management, which is doing it on a local basis, much more conservative fashion. Those two are very different, but the public doesn't make much of a distinction. So, on the whole, big geo-engineering schemes don't make sense, but land management on a local level does make sense and it could be quite effective.

Just reading an interesting piece called "Growing Cows on Grass," about the ecological benefits of growing cows on grass as opposed to growing corn and feeding the corn to the cows in feedlots. That actually could make a big difference. Some farmers in Minnesota are actually doing it on grass and some doing very well. That's the sort of thing I believe does make sense. Might taste better. Might be more consistent with our evolutionary insides. The main point is you can make mistakes and it's not catastrophic.

Much more HERE

Australia: His Eminence comes out fighting

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL has rebuffed the head of the Bureau of Meteorology, who had said Australia's highest-ranking Catholic was "misled" in his views on global warming.

Dr Greg Ayers told a Senate estimates hearing last month that the Archbishop of Sydney's argument against human-induced climate change was based heavily on a book by Ian Plimer, Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science, which had been discredited by scientists.

"The contents of the book are simply not scientific. I am concerned that the cardinal has been misled [by its contents]," the director of the bureau said.

But Cardinal Pell told the Herald the statements by Dr Ayers, an atmospheric scientist, were themselves unscientific. "Ayers, when he spoke to the House, was obviously a hot-air specialist. I've rarely heard such an unscientific contribution."

The cleric, who has questioned global warming in his Sunday newspaper column, even likened himself to the federal government's climate adviser Ross Garnaut when he expressed disappointment last week that the public debate on climate change was often divorced from scientific quality, rigour and authority.

"I regret when a discussion of these things is not based on scientific fact," Cardinal Pell said. "I spend a lot of time studying this stuff."

But Professor Garnaut had also said he was more certain the mainstream science supporting global warming was sound, and there was no "genuine" scientific dissent.

Cardinal Pell argued against human-induced global warming in a written submission to the hearing, claiming increases in carbon dioxide tended to follow rises in temperature, not cause them. He also stated, based on Professor Plimer's book, that temperatures were higher in Roman times and the Middle Ages.

Dr Ayers, a former CSIRO marine and atmospheric research chief who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry from Monash University, told the hearing Professor Plimer's book had not been peer reviewed and many of his assertions were not supported by scientific evidence.

He also cited one example in the cardinal's submission that referred to nitrogen in a list of greenhouse gases.

"That is not a greenhouse gas; it is 78 per cent of the atmosphere. You cannot have people out there telling the public that nitrogen is a greenhouse gas because it is not," he told the hearing.

Cardinal Pell told the Herald statements by Dr Ayers to the hearing were "all abuse and waffle about poor old Plimer", before defending the geologist as a man who "deals in many, many facts". But he was prepared to meet leading climate scientists to discuss the issue, he said.

Dr Ayers told the hearing the cardinal "may well become an ambassador for the quality of climate change science if he is exposed to the quality of the science that is done" in Australia.

Cardinal Pell made his comments to the Herald after a public lecture by the Vatican's highest judicial officer, Cardinal Raymond Burke, entitled "The Fall of the Christian West" in Sydney on Friday night.

Cardinal Pell had earlier told the 200-strong crowd about the value of the "years of study and professional devotion" undertaken by Sir Thomas More, who was executed for treason in 1535. "There's no substitute for knowing what you're talking about," he said.



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13 March, 2011

Oceans warming or cooling?

There have been a couple of recent articles showing that the ocean is cooling. eg. Loehle, Craig. 2009. Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Energy & Environment 20(1&2): 99-102


R. S. Knox and D. H. Douglass, 2009. Recent energy balance of Earth. International Journal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3.

But a recent article in "Nature" is headed "Robust warming of the global upper ocean". So which is right?

The warming found is actually not so robust. As the graph clearly shows, the uppermost layer shows cooling. But the lower layers show warming, progressively so, as we go deeper.

So what is going on? All explanations are probably moot but an obvious possibility is that the upper layers are most affected by surface temperatures and that recent cooler temperatures have cooled them more than the lower layers. And the lower levels reflect the two decades or so up to about the year 2000 when temperatures were warmer.

Big warming in a LOW CO2 era (1923)


Prominent Australian conservative disses global warming

The Liberal party is Australia's main conservative party. Liberal party politicians are as skeptical as Republican ones about global warming but that has yet to be translated into official Liberal party policy. Australia has an influential Green party so Green issues have to be treated very cautiously

Senior Liberal Nick Minchin says the globe is more likely to be cooling than warming and has slammed the Government's key climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, as "on the Government's payroll".

Amid fierce debate about the Government's carbon tax plan, Professor Garnaut yesterday warned the scientific case for climate change had strengthened the position that the Earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.

Senator Minchin - who led the Liberal Party's move to dump leader Malcolm Turnbull over his support for action over climate change - says Professor Garnaut, an economist, "knows nothing about the climate".

Speaking on Sky News, Senator Minchin said: "He's not a climate scientist. I don't think he has any authority whatsoever to speak on the climate".

While saying he respected Professor Garnaut, he said: "He's on the Government payroll, he's paid to ensure that the Government's desire to tax the hell out of us over this issue is substantiated by proclamations that the world is about to end".

Quoting a blog from an atmospheric scientist from the University of Alabama - whom he did not name - Senator Minchin said: "It's clear that the models, and we're dealing with models, have grossly overestimated the sensitivity of temperature to increases in CO2.

"I think what's occurred is that there was a warming period from about '75 to the year 2000. It was part of a natural cycle of warming that comes in 25, 30-year cycles. The world has basically stabilised in terms of temperature since about 2000. "There are many, many scientists who actually think we could be entering a cooling phase, and I for one think that is more than likely.

"We have stabilised in terms of world temperatures. There is a very powerful natural cycle at work, and if anything we're more likely to see a tendency down in global temperatures, rather than up."

On Thursday, Professor Garnaut released the fifth update to his 2008 report on climate change, specifically tackling climate science. He also released specific data on temperature, sea level rises and extreme events from recent years. "On the measurable phenomena, it does seem that certainly there's been no evidence of overstatement," he said.

"And it does seem to be a number of points of understatement, and I call that an awful reality because it would be much better if [the] opposite were true. "It would be much better if the evidence was showing the earlier signs had overstated things."

As the debate about a carbon tax heats up, an environmental economist has said it is a mistake for Australia to set a price for carbon before other countries do.

The Government's carbon tax will start in July next year and then morph into an emissions trading scheme, but the details of the tax and the amount of compensation are yet to be determined.

Australian National University Crawford School of Economics professor Jeff Bennett says the Government's policy will disadvantage local exporters, while other countries are lagging on the issue.

"The Prime Minister said we've got to do something or else we're going to be left behind - it's important to realise that first of all, very few countries around the world are doing much about this [pricing carbon]," he said. "And secondly, even if everybody did something about, if all nations in the world did what Australia's doing, still the impact on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would be so small, [it would] not have any real or meaningful impact on the pattern of climate across the planet.

"What that means is that the Australian economy is going to have this quite substantial cost imposed on it, with very little to show by way of benefit."


Solid facts and cost-benefit analysis would be more helpful

Today in The Age, Mr Ross Garnaut has been cited as saying: "It is an awful reality that no major developments in the science hold out realistic hope that the judgments of the 2008 review erred in the direction of overestimating the risks," Professor Garnaut said. He said he feared scientific projections to date might have been overly conservative.

I'm afraid, this contradicts what I have been reading and learning about the underlying science over these years. I've formed a view, supported by sufficiently persuasive evidence, that man-made global warming exists, but its ability to cause serious harm is merely a hypothesis, not scientifically proven truth. The following, in brief, is what I understand:

a) the current episode of MILD warming is PRIMARILY natural;

b) the impact of manmade CO2 is real but minimal, and unlikely to accelerate with increased CO2;

c) the benefits of increased CO2 appear to be significantly greater than costs;

d) the Earth held far greater levels of CO2 in its atmosphere in the past and did not experience runaway global warming. A large number of natural processes (plants, primarily) exist on Earth that check runaway effects;

e) projections of warming and sea-level rise by climate models have, so far, been grossly exaggerated; and

f) IPCC and many senior scientists from reputed institutions have published numerous false reports and ACTIVELY prevented healthy scientific debate .

Government funded institutions on this subject have lost credibility, particularly given the large number of independent scientific views that contradict government-supported findings. Group think is a common flaw in all governments, given strong incentives to shut out internal debate. On a matter as important as this, everyone needs to know the details and fully understand what is going on.

May I therefore request Mr Garnaut to point out the precise data that contradicts my findings (a) to (f) above?

In particular I'd need to see clear graphical evidence of correlations between CO2 and global warming over the past 100 million years. A good multivariate model with PROVEN predictive power (to predict ALL previous episodes of climate change) would help.

I'd also like to see a RIGOROUS and well-supported (with 100% proven facts) cost-benefit analysis. Based on all the evidence to date, I have formed the view that benefits of CO2 EXCEED costs.

Let's all keep our critical thinking hats on. As always, I remain open to changing my mind should theoretical and empirical evidence motivate such change. Listening to exhortations from anyone, now matter how respectable, is NOT the way I reach the truth.


President Obama’s Clean Energy Puppet Masters

With soaring gasoline prices jeopardizing economic growth and enraging the public, even a novice could recognize the political liabilities associated with rising energy costs.

Yet with all the palpable risks, President Obama, considered to be a gifted politician, is doubling down on his war on fossil fuels.

Following a bipartisan grilling of Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar at a U.S. House hearing about bureaucratic delays in approving deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration appealed a recent court decision ordering the department to expedite permits.

The Interior Department warned the court that forcing its hand could make the department “deny the applications outright.”

Obama’s stick-in-the-eye approach to oil exploration at a time when Middle East tensions are flaring sets the stage for a political backlash.

Given his rich history of anti-fossil fuel statements – including promises to make electricity prices “skyrocket” and to “bankrupt” coal-fired utilities – the President is vulnerable to criticism and public outrage.

Opposition political operatives must be drooling over the possibility of producing commercials with Obama’s voice pledging higher energy prices while the video shows gas stations displaying $4 a gallon or higher.

Why is Obama aggressively pursuing a policy that carries such political risk? One possibility is that Obama’s anti-fossil fuel strings are being pulled by billionaire investors such as George Soros and John Doerr and by big business CEOs who have made huge investments in renewable energy and the green economy.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has noted that Soros recently launched a green investment fund to cash in on clean energy technology. Carney has also described the connection between Soros’ support of liberal politicians and advocacy groups that promote green technologies.

In 2009, Soros pledged to invest one billion in clean-energy technologies and an additional $100 million in the Climate Policy Initiative, an organization “whose mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations’ efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.”

The matching investment in public policy is noteworthy. As Glenn Beck reported in his “Crime Inc.” segments on his Fox program, Soros seeks to boost his investments by leveraging his financial support for groups, such as the Center for American Progress, that actively promote Obama’s energy agenda.

Billionaire John Doerr, a managing partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also augments his financial investments with political advocacy.

Having investing early in Amazon and Google, Doerr is one of the top venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. Following this impressive track record in high tech, Doerr has shifted investment focus to clean energy.

Leaving free-market capitalism behind, Doerr used his influence to advance California’s global warming law, which will boost the prospects for his clean energy investments. When Proposition 23, a voter initiative to delay the implementation of the law, was on last fall’s ballot, Doerr donated $2.1 million to fund the campaign that led to its defeat.

Unlike Doerr’s high tech investments, clean energy requires political advocacy for marketplace success. The Achilles’ heel of clean energy is that it can’t compete with fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – on a cost basis.

Accordingly, the boot of government is needed to make fossil fuels more expensive while rewarding the wind and solar industries with lavish subsidies, thereby leveling the economic playing field.

When it comes to energy policy, Obama has not been America’s chosen one, bringing hope and change to the public. He seemingly prefers to be a ventriloquist’s dummy for climate change profiteers.

The failure of cap-and-trade did not end Obama’s onslaught. Facing a new Congress without a progressive majority, Obama used his executive powers to advance policies to drive fossil fuel-based energy costs higher.

Delays in oil drilling permits and a slew of EPA regulations including limits on greenhouse gas emissions are weapons to advance the green economy and bail out Obama’s billionaire masters.

While Soros’ connection to Obama is cloaked through advocacy groups, Doerr’s connection is in plain sight. Doerr was appointed to the President’s economic recovery advisory board. When that group disbanded, Doerr resurfaced in the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which is led by GE CEO Jeff Immelt. On a recent West Coast trip, Obama had a dinner meeting with high tech tycoons at Doerr’s home.

Like Soros and Doerr, Immelt has placed big bets on government laws and subsidies in order to profit from GE’s investments in renewable energy. With the wheels falling off the man-made global warming bandwagon, these business leaders are desperate for government action.

We may never know why Obama is putting his political career on the line for the likes of Soros, Doerr and Immelt.

What we do know, however, is that Obama’s war on fossil fuels is being supported by the rich and powerful - a collection of social and political elites.

Congress should reign in the president’s executive powers. Toward that goal, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 was recently introduced to block the EPA from controlling carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Importantly, the bill has drawn some bipartisan support but more Democrats, especially in the Senate, will be needed for the legislation to pass.

Senators such as Ben Nelson (D-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) among others must decide whether they will represent their constituents or side with Obama and his ruling class puppet masters.


Welcome to the Third World

As Britain suffered through its coldest December in a century, families were forced to choose between keeping homes warm and feeding their children nourishing meals – thanks to climate policies that have forced extensive reliance on wind power and deliberately driven energy prices skyward.

Barely two months later, the UK’s power grid CEO informed the country that its days of reliable electricity are numbered. Families, schools, offices, shops, hospitals and factories will just have to “get used to” consuming electricity “when it’s available,” not necessarily when they want it or need it. A new “smart grid” will be used to allocate decreasing electricity supplies, on a rolling basis or according to bureaucratic determinations as to which consumers most need available power – mostly from wind turbines that provided a pitiful 0.04% of Britain’s electricity during its coldest days last December.

Meanwhile, the EU’s Energy Commissioner warned that German electricity prices are already at “the upper edge” of what society can accept and businesses can tolerate. Taxes, levies and regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming are forcing companies to relocate to other countries and causing “a gradual process of de-industrialization” across Germany.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt called for a full and independent investigation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, its practices and suspect science. The IPCC no longer has integrity or credibility, he said, and some of its researchers “have shown themselves to be fraudsters.”

To all of which, the autocratic European Commission essentially said “Drop dead.” The EU, it decreed, will spend $375 billion (€270 billion) annually to slash CO2 emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

Welcome to the Third World, Europeans, where costly electricity is available only from time to time, at unexpected hours, depending on bureaucratic whims and how much power wind turbines and other “environment-friendly” generators can muster.

Is the USA next in line? The United States is reaping imaginary bounties from its $814-billion “stimulus” spending orgy. It hemorrhaged $223 billion in red ink during February alone – on its way to a projected 2011 deficit of $1.5 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office reports.

Over 13.7 million Americans remain unemployed; another 8.3 million are involuntarily employed only part-time; black unemployment stands at 15.3 percent; and gasoline prices have hit $4 per gallon, foretelling more rough waters ahead for the still fragile US economy.

America depends on abundant, reliable, affordable energy – 85% of it hydrocarbons. Coal generates half of all US electricity, and up to 90% in its manufacturing heartland – versus 1% from wind and solar. Newfound natural gas supplies promise a sea change in US energy supplies and electricity generation. However, oil still powers transportation, shipping and petrochemicals – and in 2010 the United States exported $337 billion to import 61% of this precious liquid fuel.

Thankfully, the Obama Administration, environmentalists and (mostly Democratic) politicians take this situation very seriously, and are doing something about it … according to their parallel universe.

Democrats are willing to trim up to $5 billion from the $3.8 trillion 2011 federal budget (0.15%), while Republicans insist that $57 billion (1.5%) should be “slashed.” As to reducing the deficit by increasing revenues, most of that discussion still centers on raising taxes on whatever “rich” people are still out there. On the energy front, things are truly disconnected from reality.

Unlocking America’s still abundant hydrocarbon resources and unleashing our innovative, hard-driving free enterprise system would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in leasing, royalty and tax revenues for federal, state and local governments. It would put millions back to work … help stanch the flow of red ink … keep tens of billions of crude oil spending and investment in America … and create enormous new wealth, instead of redistributing a dwindling pool of old wealth.

We must drill safely, use fuel more efficiently in vehicles and power plants, and get more from every underground reservoir. And we could do so, if government would allow it.

Just consider the incredible revolution that the genius of American capitalists has presented the world: hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to tap previously inaccessible oil and gas deposits. This technology has turned “depletion” and “sustainability” claims upside down. It has already doubled US natural gas reserves and given North America over a century of recoverable gas, at current consumption rates.

It is also unlocking oil wealth in the vast Bakken shale formation of Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Oil production there has already soared from 3,000 barrels a day five years ago to over 225,000 today. The US Energy Information Administration says it could reach 350,000 barrels a day by 2035; industry sources say it could top a million barrels by 2020. Related oilfield employment has soared from 5,000 to over 18,000 in the same five-year period, and could eventually reach 100,000 jobs. At $100 a barrel, even 350,000 barrels a day could mean $1.6 billion in annual royalties, from Bakken oil alone.

The new Made in America technology is already changing energy, economic and political landscapes in Europe, and will soon do so across the globe. It is a technologically possible and economically affordable solution that generates bountiful jobs and revenues – as opposed to pixie dust solutions that require perpetual subsidies and address speculative problems. Offshore and ANWR drilling could do likewise.

Unfortunately, the White House, Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, and too many in Congress, courts and state legislatures are determined to restrict and obstruct this hydrocarbon revolution. They want to select business winners and losers, force America to convert to expensive, subsidized, unreliable, land-intensive wind, solar and ethanol power – and tell people how much energy they can have, and when.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is using groundless claims about possible groundwater contamination to delay fracking operations. Because Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade, she has rewritten the Clean Air Act to label plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide a “pollutant” and restrict CO2 emissions from power plants, refineries and other facilities. That will further increase energy costs for families and businesses, forcing more companies to lay more people off or close their doors – even as China and India build new coal-fired power plants every week, sending global CO2 levels higher and higher.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has shut down leasing and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, put tens of thousands out of work, ignored court orders to end his moratorium, and issued decrees that make millions of additional onshore and offshore acres off limits to drilling. He has blocked exploration in ANWR because its oil riches won't make us energy independent (as though even massive wind, solar, ethanol and electric car programs would do so).

President Obama wants oil, gas, coal and electricity prices to “skyrocket,” to make “green” energy appear more attractive. Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to “boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe” – over $8 per gallon! Most of all, these anti-hydrocarbon politicians want a self-sustaining political-environmentalist-industrial-public sector union complex based on government subsidies to favored industries and companies, in exchange for campaign contributions that will keep them in power.

This palpable, intolerable insanity must end. It’s time to tell Congress we need real energy for real jobs, real revenues and a revitalized America. And we need it now.



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


12 March, 2011


No-one's claimed that as yet but it won't be long

Update: Here it is:

Hours after a massive earthquake rattled Japan, environmental advocates connected the natural disaster to global warming. The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement calling for solidarity in tackling the global warming problem.

“Some islands affected by climate change have been hit,” said Nilsson. “Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?” “Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do,” he added.

Global warming enthusiasts have also taken to Twitter to raise awareness of the need to respond to the earthquake by finally acting on climate change. And the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Lee Doren compiled some of the best ones.

Some examples:

AliceTMBFan said “2 hours of geography earlier talking about Japan has left me thinking…maybe global warming is way more serious then we thought…”

Arbiterofwords tweeted “I’m worried that Japan earthquake, on top of other recent natural ‘disasters’, is a sign we’ve passed point of no return for climate change.”

MrVikas said “Events like the #Japan #earthquake and #tsunami MUST keep #climate change at forefront of policy thought: #environment

Tayyclayy noted her frustration by tweeting “An earthquake with an 8.9 magnitude struck Japan.. And some say climate change isn’t real?!”

DanFranklin postulated “Never really believed all this global warming talk, but after the earthquake in NZ and today in Japan. Maybe we’ve ruined the world.”

And TeamIanHarding tweeted “While Japan witnessed an earthquake we were talking about the problems that global warming leads to in school. Think. Pray. And change.”


Tsunami Info Center Web Site Fails on Day of Big Quake Despite Tens of Millions in Federal Funds

Bob McCarty

Like millions of people around the world, I awoke hungry for details of the 8.9 megaquake that struck Japan just after 2:30 p.m. local time Friday. When I landed at the web site for the International Tsunami Information Center, a center in Honolulu that was allocated $28 million for fiscal year 2011 and $29 million for fiscal year 2012, according to page 9 of PUBLIC LAW 109–424—DEC. 20, 2006, I found it didn’t work......

So I looked up — and found — the main web page for the International Tsunami Information Center (below) which featured an inviting message, “PLEASE GO TO OUR NEW ITIC WEB SITE. Click here.”

I “clicked here” and found [a blank page]

Now, I consider myself thankful that I was not in any position to have to rely upon the ITIC for up-to-date information about the tsunami that followed the massive earthquake. In addition, I find myself wondering what the folks at ITIC did with all those millions.

The answer probably lies in the fact that, according to it’s “About ITIC” page, ITIC was established in 1965 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Get it? The U.N. is involved. THAT is why it’s wasteful and ineffective! ‘Nuff said!

SOURCE. (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Dimming the light on human ingenuity

The candle-lit world of Earth Hour is a decadent celebration of an era that we ought to be glad we’ve left behind

On 26 March 1886, the House of Lords debated amendments to the recently enacted Electric Lighting Bill, with Lord Houghton proclaiming electric lighting had a ‘very brilliant future before it’. Exactly 125 years later, on 26 March 2011, the lights will go out on this optimistic vision of a better future.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is asking for lights to be switched off in homes, public buildings and historic monuments for 60 minutes during Earth Hour, an annual event highlighting the impact of energy use on the environment. ‘Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth… [L]eaving them on is a vote for global warming’, states WWF. Unfortunately the symbolism of this gesture is entirely misplaced and ignores the socially and environmentally progressive story of artificial lighting.

In 1859, a small farm in Pennsylvania became the site of the first successful oil well in the United States. Oil was about to save the whale. With the Gulf of Mexico spill still fresh in our minds this seems scarcely credible. However, it had been known since 1854 that oil could be fractionated into a range of liquids including paraffin for lamps. Prior to this, oil from whales lit many American homes. So, in a reversal of the usual environmental narrative, the oil industry saved the whale. This is why the symbolism of Earth Hour is so entirely misplaced, and indeed rather ironic. The wonderful story of artificial lighting has been one of vast improvements in energy efficiency, plummeting costs and soaring utilisation. We now burn coal, methane and uranium to power artificial lighting. In the past, we burned whales.

While the use of paraffin saved whales, Thomas Edison killed the paraffin lamp. In turn, Edison’s filament electric lamps were eventually replaced by tungsten, fluorescent and now highly efficient solid-state lighting. Each new innovation delivered a step change in energy efficiency. However, these improvements in efficiency did not lead to a reduction in energy use but, wonderfully, greater energy use, brighter homes and workplaces and an escape from the diurnal day-night cycle.

Until recently, the world was an unimaginably darker place. At the start of the eighteenth century, humanity used 100,000 times less energy for lighting than at present. The candle-lit world of Earth Hour is a temporary and theatrical recreation of this pre-industrial era, the passing of which should be celebrated rather than used to symbolise our current excess.

Improvements in energy efficiency can also be seen in the transition from wood to coal, oil, methane and uranium. Each fuel produces more energy per unit weight and significantly less carbon. For example, one kilogram of coal can power a light bulb for four days, one kilogram of methane for six days and one kilogram of the carbon-free uranium for a remarkable 140 years. These energy transitions did not take place because of emissions targets set by the Victorians, but because each new fuel offered lower costs or better energy utility. As an entirely unintended consequence we have been continually reducing the quantity of carbon emitted per unit of energy produced. It is through an acceleration of this long-term historical decline that carbon emissions will eventually start to fall while global energy consumption continues to rise.

Modern, compact, combined-cycle gas turbines and nuclear plants now produce copious quantities of energy, but use modest amounts of steel, concrete and land. Ironically, the WWF’s vision of our energy future is based almost entirely on diffuse renewable energy that would require astronomical quantities of material, land and capital to deploy. It is improving energy density that has led to a relative decoupling of energy production from the environment, both in terms of land, material resources and carbon. In the future we will achieve an absolute decoupling by burning methane, uranium and later thorium rather than coal and oil, not just because they are cleaner fuels, but because they are better fuels.

These improving efficiencies have led to an historical decline in the real cost of energy. But as with all improvements in energy efficiency, the long-term result has been a growth in energy consumption which will continue until demand is saturated – and global demand for is far from being saturated. So as ultra-efficient solid-state lighting becomes widely available, the end result will be a further growth in energy consumption for artificial lighting, particularly when its cost falls within the reach of the poor of developing nations.

The expanding use of artificial lighting in the developing world could well accelerate energy consumption: children will be able to read after sunset, local businesses will stay open longer and work can take place indoors. This will lead to a better educated and more productive society with growing GDP per capita. This is exactly the progressive, positive feedback that led to soaring prosperity in the developed world. Indeed, artificial lighting is so important to economic development that some have suggested using night-time illumination, as measured from satellite imagery, as a proxy for GDP. For example, the contrast between North and South Korea is stark; in North Korea, it seems, every hour is Earth Hour.

The developing world should be able to achieve the developed world’s level of economic progress significantly faster as technical innovations such as solid-state lighting quickly circulate through global trade. This acceleration is evident from historical trends measuring the quantity of energy required to produce a unit of GDP. While the United States and other developed nations took some 200 years to move from inefficient heavy industry to high-technology prosperity, China is tearing through this development cycle in a matter of decades. This is a truly stunning success.

The alternative vision promoted by Earth Hour is one of energy austerity. The WWF-commissioned Energy Report, envisages a world of nine billion people in 2050 on the same level of global energy consumption as today. Their vision is of development within limits. For example, rather than advocating an ambitious programme of grid electrification in the developing world, WWF offers low-technology cooking stoves powered by concentrated sunlight. ‘These small scale solutions lead to a significant reduction in energy demand’, WWF enthuses. It is just a shame that they require food to be prepared outdoors during daylight hours when other productive labour could be undertaken.

The real challenge now is to develop energy technologies that can meet rapidly growing unmet demand in developing nations. These are the people who will need copious quantities of low-cost energy, many of whom will have no alternative but to participate in Earth Hour. We will need to replace indoor cooking using wood and animal waste with something far better than solar stoves. We need to improve energy efficiency so as to grow, not reduce, energy consumption.

In advocating devices such as solar stoves for the developing world, WWF is confusing energy efficiency with demand reduction. Efficiency is a natural consequence of technical innovation and leads to a growth in consumption for an energy service until demand is saturated, after which energy consumption for that service can fall. Demand reduction however can be a socially regressive tool that uses artificial increases in cost to suppress energy consumption. For example, so-called ‘smart meters’, which will connect domestic appliances to energy utilities are seen as a useful tool to reduce overall energy consumption in developed nations.

Certainly, using a smart meter to allow utilities to remotely switch off domestic freezers for a few minutes to clip peak grid demands will go unnoticed and will lead to a much more efficient distribution and utilisation of energy. However, artificially raising the price of energy, for example, during periods when demand is high and future renewable energy production is low, will simply impact on the poorest first and the most affluent last. Rather than trying to meet people’s needs, this approach is content to manipulate them.

The overarching aim of Earth Hour is to show that collectively humanity wants a governmental ‘commitment to actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions’. Unfortunately, the policies advocated by WWF are one of the major obstacles to such a low-carbon future. For example, when rating the ‘climate performance’ of the G8 nations, nuclear-powered France comes just third because ‘WWF does not consider nuclear a viable policy option’. WWF cannot simultaneously advocate a reduction in greenhouse emissions while forcefully campaigning for the global prohibition of nuclear energy.

Sweeping darkness around the globe, Earth Hour will also dim many symbols of genuine human achievement at a time when we need to call on our technical ingenuity and inventiveness to meet the energy challenges of the future. So, if you do find yourself in the dark during Earth Hour, think of those in the developing world who will remain in the dark when Earth Hour ends. When you switch the lights back on, think of the overwhelmingly civilising and liberating influence of the growth of artificial lighting achieved through improvements in energy efficiency - and think of the whales saved by 150 years of continuous technical innovation.


Tim Lambert's smear campaign: A Response from "Africa Fighting Malaria"

Australia's very own sheepish lion, Tim Lambert (a lecturer in computer science), has discovered that the banning of DDT was only one factor in the resurgence of malaria in the Indian subcontinent. Emboldened by that discovery, he has gone on to assert that his discovery applies to other places, including Africa. In Africa, however, he is dealing with seasoned South African campaigners against malaria who know from close-up experience what they are talking about. In frustration, Lambert has resorted to the usual Leftist strategies: misrepresentations, abuse and ad hominem accusations. The South African writers respond below

The blogger, Tim Lambert (aka Deltoid), regularly engages in the DDT debate by making ad hominem attacks on those who defend DDT in an effort to undermine their credibility. AFM has often been the target of such attacks and as a general policy, has not considered it a constructive use of our time to engage in these often misguided and pointless discussions. However, as Lambert recently blogged about a recent peer-reviewed paper that we published, we consider his comments too important to ignore.

Lambert recently posted a commentary on our peer-reviewed scientific paper investigating false claims made by UNEP and GEF about insecticide-free malaria control interventions in Mexico and Central America, accessible here. Lambert begins his commentary with the statement "Roberts and Tren's key argument is that reductions in malaria in the Americas were not the result of Global Environmental Facility interventions but were caused by increased use of antimalarial drugs."

This opening comment misstates our argument entirely. The most important message of our paper was that UNEP/GEF/Stockholm Convention officials were promoting false information when they claimed that their project had controlled malaria with environmentally sound methods. From his comments, it seems as though Lambert never took the time to actually read the paper; rather it appears he has just tried to discredit data we included in one of the tables.

Evidence for a conclusion is presented in the 'Results' section of scientific papers; however, Lambert ignores the results section of our paper entirely. Our conclusion about false claims of UN officials is explained clearly in the results subsection "Claims about effectiveness of GEF project interventions." The falsehood of UNEP claims rests entirely on epidemiological analyses conducted by independent scientists, which we describe.

The analyses were not ours, and our conclusion does not rely on data in the table at all. Data presented in the table is nothing more than an effort to explain how countries actually exerted control over malaria once environmentalists forced them to stop using insecticides. The tabular data had a limited and secondary role in proving UN officials were making fraudulent claims. Had Lambert actually read the paper, he could not possibly have missed that basic fact.

Lambert goes on to state reductions of more than 100% are impossible. Actually, there is no mathematical reason for not having a positive or negative percent value and you can have a percent value greater than 100. The validity of numerical values is dependent on the reader having a clear understanding of what the numerical values represent. This is true whether you call the value a percent, a proportion, or some other relative unit of measure.

The caption of our table in question reads: Table 1 Numbers of chloroquine pills distributed per diagnosed case of malaria in Mexico and seven countries of Central America for 1990 versus 2004 and percent change in numbers of pills per case and percent change in numbers of cases from 1990^35 to 2004^36

Lambert uses the example of Panama to inform his followers that we erred. He states "I checked the source for the column "pills/case in 2004" and found that all these numbers were incorrect, being too high by a factor 10. The correct number for Panama, for example, was 13.99, not 140."

If he had checked our literature citation (see reference 36), he would have discovered we cited data from two tables, Tables 7 and 8. Lambert pulled his stats from Table 8 and from the column heading "Number of first-line treatments available per case reported." Lambert obviously saw no disconnect in what is stated in our caption versus that column's heading. Our caption states, "The number of chloroquine pills distributed per diagnosed case of malaria," not "The number of first-line treatments."

The reason we cited two tables of data is because our values are derived from two tables, not one. The number of diagnosed cases was in Table 8 and the number of pills distributed per diagnosed case was in Table 7. So tabular data for number of pills distributed per diagnosed case in Panama, which Lambert claimed was incorrect, is composed of two variables—number of pills from Table 7 divided by number of cases from Table 8. Thus, for Panama in 2004, 712,852 pills (Table 7) divided by 5,095 cases (Table 8) equals 140 pills distributed per diagnosed case; the same value in our table.

In attacking data values in the table, Lambert states "The column appears to show the bigger number divided by the smaller." He is precisely correct. We did it that way so any reader could immediately understand what those values represented.

In the table we present number of pills per case for 1990 and 2004. For Panama, the number in 1990 was 202 and 140 in 2004. By dividing 202 (larger number) by 140, we get a quotient of 1.4428. This value multiplied by 100 is 144. Since fewer pills per case were distributed in 2004 than in 1990, we used a negative sign to show direction of change, -144. That is to say, there was a negative change of 144% in number of pills distributed per case in 2004 than in 1990.

Although one might argue this is an 'improper' percent value, it is, nevertheless, a legitimate value. Since both dividend and divisor are presented in the table, even the most obdurate will understand how the quotient was derived, and how it was then converted to a percentage value. For clarity, with reversals in increasing or decreasing numbers of pills per case for different countries from 1990 to 2004, the role of dividend and divisor could be reversed. We noted such switches in parts of the equations by using a - or + symbol to indicate the direction of change. A plus meaning that number of pills per case increased from 1990 to 2004 (i.e., value for 1990 divided into 2004 value), and a negative value meaning number of pills per case decreased from 1990 to 2004 (i.e., value for 2004 divided into 1990 value). There is nothing mathematically wrong with this and the method was used for purposes of simplicity and clarity. For consistency, the same process was used for generating all endpoint data in Table 1.

Lambert can rage about these values but the real question is: did they present a mathematically valid, clear and succinct message? The answer is: yes, they did.

Lambert states, "all these numbers were incorrect." In fact, as we have demonstrated, the numbers were precisely correct and the misunderstanding was a consequence of his carelessness. Lambert does not understand that evidence for our conclusion was not in the table in the first place, it was in the results section of the paper.

Lambert's claim about decreasing numbers of malaria cases invalidating our conclusions is total nonsense. Obviously, Lambert does not understand most countries distribute drugs according to a ratio of one curative treatment per diagnosed case. When those ratios change and a program is distributing far more drugs than needed for cure of diagnosed cases then, by definition, drugs are being used to suppress malaria, not just treat infections, per se. This relationship is true regardless of numbers of diagnosed cases and regardless of the scale of numbers of excess drugs distributed per diagnosed case. We will not dignify further his meaningless commentary.

Some of Lambert's devoted readers have encouraged him to write a rebuttal to the journal. We hope he follows this advice, as we would greatly appreciate the opportunity of writing a formal response. For far too long Lambert has relied on false and tendentious arguments to launch personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. His campaign against DDT harms malaria control and feeds into an agenda that has imposed great harm on the world's poor.


Green Goons

Traveling to Madison, Wisconsin last week, film maker Michael Moore said, “America is not broke ... Wisconsin is not broke. The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers.”

Hmm. We know that Michael Moore is not broke. He became a millionaire making dubious documentaries that attack gun owners, oil companies, General Motors (before Obama took it over), and “the rich.” We also know that he’s not starving. He’s the most corpulent communist in the country, but he’s wrong about America not being broke.

The United States government debt is over $14,000,000,000,000. President Obama’s budget will add $1,500,000,000,000 to it next year bringing it to $15,500,000,000,000. Then he proposed to do that again the following year bringing the debt to $17,000,000,000,000. After that, many of us hope he becomes former President Obama, but we’ll see.

Michael Moore is right, however, about the broken moral compass of our rulers. For example, gasoline prices go up nearly every hour. It’s getting so people are afraid to drive more than 150 miles for fear that they won’t be able to afford the gas to get home again. Still, President Obama refuses to allow oil development either on government-owned land or just off our coasts. We have enough petroleum in the ground right here in the United States to last us centuries but Obama, the Democrats and their green goons won’t let us get at it for fear there might be a spill and a sea gull might get oil on its wings. It’s all right though to send $1,000,000,000 a day to Muslim countries who use much of it to finance jihad against us in their radical quest to destroy western civilization. Our liberal Democrat rulers want fossil-fuel energy prices to go up in hopes that Americans will turn to solar panels, windmills and Chevy Volts.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said: "[T]his administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive. . . . In the United States, it's harder to get a permit to mine coal than it is to get a heart transplant. . . . we are going to produce about 13 percent less petroleum in the U.S. this year than last year. Now how is that good policy at any time when energy security is supposed to be a priority, but particularly a time of turmoil in the Middle East in the oil-producing states?"

Barbour may run for president as a Republican in 2012.

Leaders who would intentionally drive up energy prices for every American do indeed have broken moral compasses as Michael Moore suggests, but that isn’t how those leaders see themselves. When they look in their mirrors, they see modern-day saviors of the world looking back because oil and coal are fossil fuels. Michael Moore, President Obama, and millions of other Chicken Littles have been predicting for decades now that we’re all going to be boiled alive by global warming allegedly caused by burning those evil fossil fuels.

Just by inserting the word “allegedly” in the previous sentence, I’ve made myself a heretic in the rigid religion of Environmentalism. I’ve become the equivalent to a Holocaust-denier, a shill for oil companies, anathema to the “Greens” - just like Haley Barbour. People like Barbour and me are understood by the environmental saviors as suck-ups to “the rich” whom they think are ripping off everybody else on earth. Environmental saviors are also champions of “the poor” and those members of the middle class who bow at the same altars they do.

They’re on the side of the public-employee unions who portray themselves as champions of ordinary Americans against “the rich.” They would save us all from the the evil intentions of “the rich” who conspire constantly to make everyone else poorer and destroy the world.

Wisconsin and America “are not broke” because there are still some rich people who could pay more taxes. No matter that they’re already paying most of our federal income taxes. No matter that, according to an article on CNBC’s web site: “[S]ocial welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries [in America] this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960” Who do they suppose is paying for all that?

Michael Moore and Barack Obama, both millionaires, know how much money we’re all supposed to have. They know how much is enough, how much is too much, and what amount each of us deserves. They would use government to take wealth away from “the rich” and fix everything for everybody so we can all live happily ever after driving our Chevy Volts and plugging them in every thirty miles.

Hang on America. The journey to the Big Green Paradise is going to be expensive and if you’re not broke yet, you soon will be.


Australia's carbon tax mess

Australia's Leftist Prime Minister has painted herself into a corner over her proposed carbon tax

THE enthusiastic applause in the US couldn't drown out the angry clamour at home. While Julia Gillard was making her address to congress, Tony Abbott was making a visit to a steel factory in Gillard's Victorian electorate.

No policy nuances necessary. The Opposition Leader knows that for all the government talk of "doing the right thing" with its carbon tax, the public is hearing a very different and much more disturbing message.

The key message is one of electricity costs jumping even more sharply than they are already. And to achieve what, exactly? Few people, even within the ALP, sound quite so convinced of the logic or the timing any more.

This is not only because Gillard's personal credibility is badly frayed given she is going back on her election commitment that no government she led would adopt a carbon tax. The larger problem of policy credibility extends well beyond that. Increasing numbers of voters don't comprehend why Australia is proceeding in this direction when its main trading partners, competitors and much larger emitters are backing away. The vague hopes of an international agreement at Copenhagen, always overblown, have become a sharp-edged mirror recording the lack of any such advance for the foreseeable future.

And for those still wanting Australia to "do the right thing", it is obvious that a national contribution of 1.5 per cent of the world's emissions will hardly tip the balance in limiting climate change if the scales are so weighted the other way.

That's one reason the Gillard government has abandoned Kevin Rudd's emotional rhetoric about climate change being the great moral challenge of our time. Instead, the 2011 focus is that the urgent imposition of a carbon price is in Australia's national interest. That makes it even more vital to be able to persuade the public that pricing carbon is a worthwhile reform that will benefit the Australian economy. So far Labor is going backwards in making that argument.

Abbott's logic is precisely the opposite. He argues that imposing a carbon tax will harm Australian consumers, jobs and economic growth while driving carbon-emitting industries offshore. His "direct action" plan to reduce emissions by the same amount - 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 - may not persuade any economists or even most of big business that it will work as promised. But that audience was never his goal.

His goal is to win the public debate by attacking Labor's new tax as deceptive, damaging and unnecessary. The Newspoll last week showing Labor's dramatic fall in support told how effectively this tactic was working.

The Liberal approach is backed up by the fact it is closer to the position the Obama administration has been forced to adopt, given the backlash in the US to carbon pricing.

Commercial talkback radio, the bugbear of the government, was quick to point out the Prime Minister didn't mention action on climate change in her call to the US to be bold.

Yet the Gillard government seemed curiously unprepared for the public's reaction. The most optimistic view at senior levels was that the announcement had given a dispirited party some larger unifying purpose and a reform worth fighting for, along with the fervent hope that this approach would gain momentum through time.

"It's early days yet," one minister said reassuringly. Another was less sanguine. "One leader or the other will lose their job over this," he declared. He didn't say which one. And with opinions hardening so rapidly, recasting them will be even more difficult no matter how many more detailed reports there are from Ross Garnaut or the government's climate change commission.

Even those committed to the strategy of carbon pricing struggled to justify the tactical blunders that meant Gillard's initial press conference to trumpet this year's version was upstaged by the Greens. The Newspoll showing a slight rise in support for the Greens re-enforced the reality that Greens get the credit for Labor's shift while Labor gets the blame from those - a larger number - who don't like it.

The government also was blamed for not having enough detail to counter what it dismisses as the opposition's "scare campaign". But, of course, announcing the detail upfront was hardly going to win applause either. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, sounding uncharacteristically sensitive about the dilemma, said people couldn't have it both ways.

The government was condemned for insufficient consultation over its surprise announcement of the resources super profits tax last May, he said. In trying to avoid a repeat by only putting out an outline on carbon pricing initially, it is criticised for lack of detail. True, but still badly handled. And it just shows how hard it will be to climb back out of the hole. The new political reality in the Senate after July 1 means Labor must do deals with the Greens or the Coalition to get its legislation passed. The government was gaining very modest traction by accusing the Coalition of being wreckers, against everything.

The carbon tax gives Abbott the perfect excuse. Gillard has the much harder task of trying to cobble together a deal with the Greens that won't completely alienate business and all those households in marginal seats feeling so squeezed by cost of living pressures, like power bills. Good luck.

Nor will there be a quick end. Big business is split but the mean is definitely moving further away from Labor's position. Those who were always against a price on carbon as a threat are more antagonistic as they look at their position against that of their trade competitors. Business leaders who supported the concept of carbon pricing last time were badly burned by the Rudd government's backflip. Their doubts about the level of compensation available are greater given the need to get agreement from the Greens. Then there's the very large question of the government's competence to handle a complicated scheme. Even previously reliable allies such as Heather Ridout from the Australian Industry Group are sounding far more cautious, especially given the altered international climate.

Labor could withstand this better with strong public support for action on climate change. But the mood has changed dramatically. The notion of another tax further limits the Prime Minister's leeway to convince sceptical voters that Labor's agenda can deliver for them. It doesn't make it any easier that her key economic argument is one that can only be proven in the negative: what will happen to electricity generation and power supplies if there is no carbon price.

Gillard says business needs the tax because it needs certainty. The underlying problem is that at present no one is willing to invest in adequate large-scale electricity generation to meet coming demand. Given the years it takes for such investment, time is running out.

But reinvestment in the power industry has been inadequate in recent years, not helped by state governments happily helping themselves to dividends from state-owned power stations. It is clearly unpopular and commercially dubious to build a new coal-fired power station. Yet it is also risky to invest in the more expensive gas option for baseload power without knowing about a carbon price.

According to Keith Orchison, former chief of the Electricity Supply Association of Australia, there is general agreement a carbon price of $20 to $40 a tonne would be needed to encourage substitution of coal for gas. But that additional impost would push up prices for users, by estimates ranging from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. That is when prices are already escalating because of the need to pay for much-neglected distribution infrastructure and to meet the cost of the government's renewable energy targets. Consumers seem to be already getting more "price signals" about the cost of power than they want.

The imposition of a carbon tax, morphing into an emissions trading scheme, provides greater certainty in theory.

In practice, the ground would remain slippery despite the easy talk about Australia's clean energy future. But Abbott's pledge to repeal any tax in government makes the idea of business, or households , relying on this to occur even more absurd. Politics has eaten policy and given everyone indigestion.



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


11 March, 2011

Sweater, gloves required when driving Chevy Volt in cold weather

Basically, it's useless

The potential popularity of electric vehicles has always been tempered in cold climates like here in Canada because of the concerns that freezing temperatures will reduce the range of an EV’s batteries. And now a long-tem test report of the Chevrolet Volt, in the U.S. magazine Motor Trend, has confirmed that fear and also suggests you may have to keep your winter clothes on while driving the plug-in electric hybrid during colder days.

The magazine found that the Volt uses up a “considerable” amount of battery range to heat up its cabin on colder days, reducing its range to well below 30 miles (48 kms) before draining the battery and reverting to its gas generator to recharge the batteries and power its electric motor — much lower than the optimal 64 km estimate.

Based on using an aftermarket internal thermometer, the magazine also found that the Volt’s climate control system does more than just portion out the air temperature to what is set on the climate control. Using an external thermometer, the Volt’s heater was set to 24 degrees Celsius, but the cabin temperature was closer to 18C. However, the footwell temperature reached about 28.4C.

Apparently, a warm footwell plus heated seats is Chevrolet’s strategy to make Volt drivers feel warm. The result led to the review calling the Chevy EV as “a sweater and gloves commuter car for northern-tier Volt owners.”


Hansen 1986 : “2 to 4″ Degrees Warming From 2001-2010

Another false prophecy

The reality:

SOURCE (See the original for links)

U.K. climate change backlash finds a new voice

Britons, who have become increasingly skeptical about climate change, have found a new political voice: a housewife from southern England who is preparing a campaign to get the country’s groundbreaking 2008 Climate Change Act repealed.

Fay Kelly-Tuncay admits she has an uphill struggle on her hands. The act, which commits the country to slash carbon emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 in pretty much even steps, drew support from all political parties when it was passed by the then-Labour government. But she is undeterred.

“We feel there was a rush to legislate under the influence of the green movement. But the science is certainly not settled, and the general public is not getting an accurate picture,” she asserted to ClimateWire by telephone from her home in Guildford some 20 miles southwest of London.

“We feel that the act should be scrapped. This is a matter of mobilizing public opinion. There is a mood out there that we can tap into,” she added.

She might have a point. A recent public opinion poll showed that only 26 percent of Britons currently see climate change as primarily due to human activity. At the other end of the spectrum, 25 percent think it’s not happening at all.

Kelly-Tuncay, who has been gathering support on the Internet, begins her official campaign on March 19. “We will be launching the campaign and with it a petition. We hope to collect 100,000 signatures over the next year,” she said.

Her message is as simple as it is unequivocal. The climate change issue in general and the Climate Change Act in particular have been hijacked by the financial institutions, which see serious money to be made.

“The whole climate change agenda has been captured by those with a vested interest in making money out of it. Just look at carbon trading. It is riddled with fraud,” she said, referring to the recent theft of about $40 million worth of carbon emission credits under the European Union’s Emissions Trading System—the latest in a spate of such thefts in an insecure international trading system.

“Look at the Climate Change Act. It is pure mitigation with no mention of adaptation. That is just engineering work, so of no interest to the money men,” Kelly-Tuncay said. “The whole financial sector has benefited from climate alarmism.”
‘A case for people power’

But although she watches with interest the activities of former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson’s climate skeptic vehicle, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Kelly-Tuncay is not a member.

“I am not a skeptic; I am a climate realist. I have a degree in archaeology and environment and have been taking an interest in it for years. But as I looked deeper, I became more doubtful of the science. It is certainly not settled, regardless of what they were trying to tell us,” she said. “The public have been misled. The Climate Change Act will push up domestic energy bills and force many more people into fuel poverty. That is making a lot of Labour members start to feel very uncomfortable.”

“The trouble is that politicians have got into bed with the people behind the wind farms, so it is very difficult to get any traction. That is why it is a case for people power,” she asserted. “There has been no evidence of climate ‘tipping points,’ so why have we rushed to legislate on this issue?”

Fuel poverty is defined as a household having to spend 10 percent or more of income on energy bills.

Kelly-Tuncay said there was certainly a place for investing in adaptation to natural hazards such as flood prevention but that pouring money into mitigating for an event that might never happen was simply pointless.

She rejected the notions that Russia’s control over Europe’s gas supplies and the current oil price spike from turmoil in the Middle East were strong arguments in favour of investments in renewable energy. “There is a lot of oil out there. They are using alarmism to ratchet up the prices. And as for gas, shale gas and shale oil are real game-changers, and they are much lower in carbon than coal,” Kelly-Tuncay said.

Kelly-Tuncay also rejected the stereotype that most climate change doubters were on the political right. “We are very much a mixed, grass-roots group with membership across all parties. People on the left are starting to feel very let down by what has been going on. Our campaign is a move away from the characterization of skeptics being on the political right.”


Amazing Arctic Reconstructions

There are large natural temperature variations in Greenland and the Arctic generally so shrieks about changes in the last few years are illogical

We hear over and over that any warming at the global scale will be amplified in the Arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere, and the warming will cause ice to melt and sea level to rise and all the rest. Let some ice-free area appear during summer near the North Pole and the global media will take the bait every time and announce we are witnessing geophysical changes of Biblical proportions.

Several articles have appeared recently in leading journals with interesting results regarding the temperature history of the Arctic over the past 1,000 to 1,500 years, and they show that temperatures there have risen and fallen to a significant degree many times in the past (that is, without the benefit of large changes in atmospheric CO2 levels), and they call into question whether any unusual warming (or cooling) has occurred there in recent decades.

The first article appeared in Climatic Change and was generated by six scientists with California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Japan’s Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, the French Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research, the University of California, San Diego, and Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute; the work was funded by the United States National Science Foundation.

This is a long and detailed article in which the authors show that temperatures in Greenland can be reconstructed using isotopes of nitrogen and argon trapped in air bubbles that can be found in ice cores. They used an ice core from central Greenland and made detailed measurements of the nitrogen and argon isotopes. Along with many other tests, Kobashi et al. compared their reconstructed temperatures to actual historical measurements from Greenland’s south and west coasts

While the observational record is at best a few hundred years long, Kobashi et al.’s reconstructed temperatures go back 1,000 years. The full reconstruction is quite interesting as it clearly shows a relatively warm and early period culminating in greatest warmth near 1150; the Medieval Warm Period certainly appears in the record. A cooling begins near 1450 and culminates in a particularly cold period from 1700 to 1850; the authors refer specifically to the “severity of the late Little Ice Age”.

Fortunately, Greenland recovered from the Little Ice Age with pronounced warming from 1850 to 1950. After the final period of cooling from 1950 through the mid-1990s that is depicted in Figure 2, temperatures have once again risen to mid-20th century levels (a rise that occurred after the end of the period of record analyzed by Kobashi et al. and thus not appearing on Figure 2).

But before attributing the temperature rise during the past 10 years to the buildup of greenhouse gases, it is worth considering the ups and downs apparent in the entirety of the temperature record as shown in Figure 2, and also recalling that atmospheric CO2 levels were increasing between 1950 and 1995, when temperatures were declining in Greenland.

Peering back to 1000 AD was fun, but a second recent article in the Norwegian Journal of Geology contains an Arctic reconstruction going back even further, to 500 AD. The work was produced by three scientists with Norway’s University of Tromsø and the Geological Survey of Norway. Rørvik et al. focused on a sediment core extracted from the Malangen fjord located in northern Norway. The fjord is well-situated to capture variations in temperature that would be reflected in changes in currents near the fjord. Just like magic, organic cysts collect on the bottom and over time, variations in the types of cysts are related to variations in temperature. The authors never produce a graphic showing the changes in temperature from 500 AD to present, but they clearly describe the results.

They note “In general, the time from c. AD 500 to 790 in the Malangen fjord is characterized as a cool period with reduced salinity. A cooling during this time interval, referred to as the Dark Ages Cold Period, is supported by regional and local history.”

Next, they state “The dinocyst assemblages during the years AD 790 to 1500 indicate that the Medieval Warm period in the Malangen fjord, was characterized by increased inflow of warm, saline water. The Medieval optimum from the years AD 800/1000 to AD 1300/1500, has been reported as a warm phase from the Vøring Plateau, Norway, from North Sweden and northern Norway, Crête, Camp Century and GISP2 Greenland and Quelccaya Peru and from Nansen Fjord, eastern Greenland” (so much for the Medieval Warm Period being a local phenomenon—Peru is hardly near the Norwegian study area!).

Do you think they found evidence of the Little Ice Age (LIA)? Rørvik et al. state “Bottom water reconstructions in the Malangen fjord clearly reflect a cold period during the LIA and the dinocyst assemblages indicate that the time period from AD1500 to 1940 represents a cool period.”

The Norwegian reconstruction shows warming since 1940 (in their zone D in the core); the authors write “The interpretation of the dinocyst assemblages of zone D, is consistent with somewhat less influence from waters outside the basin and is interpreted to represent a period with relatively high surface temperatures.”

There is no evidence presented comparing the current warm period to the Medieval Warm Period. But a message is clear—temperatures in the high latitudes are naturally quite variable, even on timescales of hundreds of years.

We’ll keep our eyes on the situation, but based on these articles, you’d be hard-pressed to conclude that temperatures in these regions as of late have risen above the rather high noise level characterizing natural variation.

SOURCE (See the original for references and graphics)

Global gas glut unhinges natural gas and crude oil prices

Abundant gas will tend to replace oil and keep energy costs down

A global gas glut has unhinged the natural gas and crude oil price and according to Deutsche Bank Research, new US gas deposits are calling into question nearly all medium and long-term scenarios which still seemed plausible a few years ago.

As a result of the huge deposits, new strategies for the use of excess supply are currently being discussed in the US and if gas exports were possible, this would be another great challenge for all de facto price links to the oil price that are still in place in Europe, and possibly even the final nail in the coffin.

DBR says price trends over the past ten years have played out against a background of gradual transition from a world gas market broadly in equilibrium in terms of volume to a global gas glut. In the early years of the previous decade, the virtually balanced market situation steered market participants' expectations in approximately the same direction.

Up to the middle of 2008 it was thought that global growth in demand for energy necessitated a marked step-up in the supply of gas. Steep increases in the prices of fossil energies since the beginning of the decade made building up and expanding the necessary gas infrastructure profitable. Consequently, financing for these capital-intensive projects was not usually a problem. Moreover, at least up to the middle of the decade many market

Economist, Dr. Josef Auer, says that until a few years ago, prices for oil and gas used to move in sync due to the oft-cited oil price link. However, over the last few months, things have changed. This is obvious even from a short glance at commodities prices. In true textbook fashion, most commodities prices strongly reflected the last global recession at an early stage. But there have been surprising new developments during the current global economic upturn.

The new commercial gas sources in the US are calling into question almost all medium and long-term scenarios which still looked plausible only a few years ago. Thanks to its new ample supply of gas, the US will cease to be a sales market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from third countries such as Qatar. At present, the share of unconventional natural gas in total US gas output already amounts to 50%, up from a mere 30% in 2000.

Conclusion: The economist says the link between oil and gas prices will make no sense in future. Establishing market prices according to supply and demand is also possible in the case of gas. This will adequately price in current and future scarcities surrounding natural gas. The illusion that the oil price link will persist may cause expensive mistakes, either in the form of large-scale investment - - typical of the gas sector - - such as the development of new deposits or the construction of pipelines spanning thousands of kilometres.

Oil will become considerably more expensive over the coming decades. As regards gas, the current glut made possible by the huge deposits suggests there will be no such growth. It is therefore definitely possible that current pipeline projects such as Nabucco (linking Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey) or South Stream (linking Russia and Europe) will prove less urgent in future and will thus be devalued by the market.


New Study: Spiders adapt to global warming (quite like humans)

A new study shows that spiders are able to adapt to global warming. This is, of course, evident even without any new studies. There has been "climate change" for millions of years, and both flora and fauna have ajdusted, some better, some not quite as well. Even if there would be some degree of human induced global warming - which remains to be proven - homo sapiens would be able to adjust. One can only hope that the new spider study will make some of the most ardent believers in the catasthropic global warming religion start thinking about the possibility of human adaptation: "Yes, we can, if the spiders can". That would already be a step forward ....
The predatory behaviour of spiders is unaffected by increased temperatures, according to research by Yale University, suggesting some species can adapt to global warming.

The Yale research examined a well-studied grassland food web, made up of a predatory spider, its grasshopper prey, and the plants grasshoppers fed on. The spider’s predatory behaviour is known to be temperature-sensitive, decreasing with increased temperatures. Researchers had expected higher temperatures to stop the spiders preying on grasshoppers, leading to more plants being eaten.

However, in the study, spider populations from warmer areas tolerated higher temperature ranges better than the populations from cooler areas and continued to control the grasshopper popualtion. This suggests they can adapt to local conditions and maintain their vital role in the community despite increased temperatures.

‘Species are almost certainly adapting to the climate change Earth has experienced during the past century,' study author Dr Brandon Barton told the Ecologist. 'My results show that species have the capacity to adapt to a range of temperatures, similar to those predicted by climate change models, and that a species’ role in the community can be conserved by this adaptation.’



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10 March, 2011

The latest fun: Polar ice melt raising sea levels rapidly, claims new study

The media report below is all alarm. But below the media report I reproduce the more cautious journal abstract upon which the report is based. And then we will look at something really amusing:

The pace at which the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting is "accelerating rapidly" and raising the global sea level, according to findings of a study financed by NASA. The findings suggest that the ice sheets - more so than ice loss from earth's mountain glaciers and ice caps - have become "the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted".

This study, published on Tuesday, the longest to date examining changes to polar ice sheet mass, combined two decades of monthly satellite measurements with regional atmospheric climate model data to study changes in mass. "That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising - they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers," said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

"What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening," he said. Under the current trends, he said, sea level is likely to be "significantly higher" than levels projected by the United Nations climate change panel in 2007.

Isabella Velicogna, co-author of the study, said that the ice sheets lose mass by melting or by breaking apart in blocks of ice, which float into the ocean. "It's related to the warming of the planet but that was not the point of the paper. We just observed the changes,"Professor Velicogna said. "It's losing mass - much more than was expected many years ago."

The study showed that in 2006, a year in which comparable results for loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps are available, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost enough mass to raise global sea levels by an average of 1.3mm a year.

The year-on-year acceleration rate of loss on mountain glaciers and ice caps was three times smaller than that of the ice sheets, the study said. "The authors conclude that, if current ice sheet melting rates continue for the next four decades, their cumulative loss could raise sea level by 15 centimetres by 2050," the report said.

"When this is added to the predicted sea level contribution of eight centimetres from glacial ice caps and nine centimetres from ocean thermal expansion, total sea level rise could reach 12.6 inches [32 centimetres]," it said.

The findings were published the March edition of Geophysical Research Letters.



Ice sheet mass balance estimates have improved substantially in recent years using a variety of techniques, over different time periods, and at various levels of spatial detail. Considerable disparity remains between these estimates due to the inherent uncertainties of each method, the lack of detailed comparison between independent estimates, and the effect of temporal modulations in ice sheet surface mass balance. Here, we present a consistent record of mass balance for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past two decades, validated by the comparison of two independent techniques over the last 8 years: one differencing perimeter loss from net accumulation, and one using a dense time series of time-variable gravity. We find excellent agreement between the two techniques for absolute mass loss and acceleration of mass loss. In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century.


Notice something in the abstract? More than the first quarter of it is devoted to saying how unreliable are the gravity-based measurements they use. They then of course go on to claim that they have got it right. That they have got it WRONG is obvious however. Why? Because their fundamental claim that sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate is false! The satellite data shows in fact that sea level rise rates have slowed in the last five years.

Data from here

Quite mad. They were so fixated on fiddling with their measurement methods that they forgot, in effect, to look out the window

More here

Germany Dumps Global Warming - Climate Disruption is Last Green Gasp

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FMER) has signalled a decisive switch in global warming policy. In its latest official press release titled, ‘Cold Winter in Europe Does Not Question Climate Change’release (February 22, 2011) Germany’s pro-green government finally fell into line with the U.S. and British environmental campaigners; global warming is dead and ‘climate disruption’ lives in the most populous (82 million inhabitants) nation of the European Union (EU).

The FMER, however, was not quite letting go of the global warming narrative as it reared its ugly head more than once in the press announcement. But in a bait and switch move that U.S. President, Barack Obama would have been proud of the Germans obfuscated their outmoded global warming hype amongst the increasing and contradictory body of evidence showing cooling. Taking lessons from the Whitehouse the German version of the global warming spin machine has now switched over to a ‘climate disruption’ narrative instead.

In its statement, despite conceding that “December in Germany was four degrees colder than average” FMER fiendishly insist that such cold is, in fact, proof of ‘climate disruption’ – a belated tacit admission that global warming had, in fact, stopped in 1998.

The German government line now is that, “all over the world more and more humans seem to suffer from extreme weather conditions. The torrential floods in Australia or the centenary fires in Russia last summer: aren’t they unambiguous signs of climate change?”

But FMER then contradicted their BS and admitted that recent weather events “are neither proof nor counter-evidence for global warming.”

Then, sticking strictly to the doomsaying warmist line came Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology and head of the German climate consortium. Marotzke, an otherwise nice chap to his friends, warned us that “our personal sensations are useless” and that “in spite of the cold Northern European winter, 2010, on a global scale, was one of the three warmest years on record." Pull the other one, Jochem!

Thankfully, the minister also affirms what good scientists agree on, which is that “climate change can only be verified by long-term observations” and she suggests we apply caution when we consider the “unusual statistics of 2010 with its record heat in July and the unusually cold winter months.”

To sum up, despite increasing evidence contradicting the claims of global warming the deranged governments in Europe, including pro-green Germany, still clinging to the forlorn hope that voters are going to allow the imposition of some climate-related taxes, only today, the spin is firmly on ‘climate disruption’ and ‘mitigation’ because no one, not even the pro-green Germans, are buying the discredited global warming spiel any more!

More here

Obama's Green-Jobs Fantasies

Anyone who understands basic economics already knows that President Obama's $2.3 billion green-jobs initiative was snake oil. Now, thanks to Kenneth P. Green, we have statistics as well as theory to prove it.

In a new article, "The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience," the environmental scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute writes, "Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy."

Ironically, Obama boasts his initiative "will help close the clean-energy gap between America and other nations." But Green says, "(C)ountries are cutting these programs because they realize they aren't sustainable and they are obscenely expensive."

Obama claims that if we "invest" more, "the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -- but only if we accelerate that transition."

What could make more sense? A little push from the smart politicians and -- voila! -- we can have an abundance of new good-paying jobs and a cleaner, sustainable environment. It's the ultimate twofer.

Except it's an illusion, as economic logic demonstrates.

"It is well understood, among economists, that governments do not 'create' jobs," Green writes. "The willingness of entrepreneurs to invest their capital, paired with consumer demand for goods and services, does that. All the government can do is subsidize some industries while jacking up costs for others. In the green case, it is destroying jobs in the conventional energy sector -- and most likely in other industrial sectors -- through taxes and subsidies to new green companies that will use taxpayer dollars to undercut the competition. The subsidized jobs 'created' are, by definition, less efficient uses of capital than market-created jobs."

Green is using good, solid economic thinking. Many years ago, Henry Hazlitt wrote in his bestseller, "Economics in One Lesson," "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

In judging any government initiative, such as Obama's green-jobs plan, you can't look just at the credit side of ledger because the government is unable to give without first taking away.

Worse than that: Inevitably, more is taken away -- destroyed -- than is given because the government substitutes force and taxation for consent and free exchange. Instead of a process driven by consumer preferences, we get one imposed by politicians' grand social designs. It's what F.A. Hayek called "the fatal conceit."

So we shouldn't be surprised that green-jobs programs make energy more expensive. "(F)orcing green energy on the market (is) much, much more expensive," Green said. "Using Spain as a model, when you do the math, you realize that creating 3 million new green jobs could cost $2.25 trillion."

Of course, many people who push "green jobs" want the price of energy to rise so we'll use less. If the environmental lobby wants Americans to be poorer, it ought to come clean about that.

The advocates of such programs don't just misunderstand economics. They have lapsed into a pre-economic mentality. Rulers once believed they could do whatever they wanted, subject only to the physical laws of nature. If things didn't work out as planned, it was because the people had failed to cooperate. But as economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, once economics emerged as an intellectual discipline, "it was learned that in the social realm too there is something operative which power and force are unable to alter and to which they must adjust themselves if they hope to achieve success ... ."

That "something" is inescapable economic forces like the law of supply and demand.

Green is right when he says, "Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better (than Europe) at creating jobs or stimulating the economy."


Recycling can give you cancer

Breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and other foods packed in cardboard boxes could be tainted with toxic chemicals, researchers warn. The substances appear to be leaching from the recycled paper used to make most cardboard boxes. Studies in Germany and Switzerland found the levels to be up to 100 times the agreed safe limit in products sold in supermarkets.

The chemicals – mineral oil hydrocarbons – are said to cause inflammation of internal organs. They could also potentially lead to cancer if consumed in high amounts over many years.

The British breakfast cereals maker, Jordans, has switched from using boxes made with cardboard from recycled paper. Other manufacturers, including Kellogg’s and Weetabix, are investigating making changes to their packaging.

Last year, Kellogg’s removed 28million children’s cereal boxes from shelves in the U.S. after another related chemical was found to have leached out of the packaging. Some consumers complained of a foul smell and nausea.

The research in Switzerland on 119 products was led by Dr Koni Grob and a government-run laboratory in Zurich, working with scientists in Germany. Only those with thicker and more expensive inner lining bags appeared to escape contamination. Dr Grob said: ‘Roughly 30 products were free of mineral oils, nearly all because of an inner barrier.

‘The others all exceeded the limits, most by ten times. We calculated that before the end of their shelf life, they would probably exceed the limit 50 times on average and many would exceed it by several hundred times.’

Dr Grob stressed there was no immediate threat to health but warned the industry should look for alternative packaging. He rejected simply switching to using trees instead of recycled paper. ‘It would cost too many trees,’ he said. ‘We need better solutions such as special barriers.’ [i.e. Thicker plastic bags!]

The FSA described the Swiss findings as ‘interesting’ but said the results ‘have not demonstrated that mineral oils in food packaging represent a food safety risk’.

Barbara Gallani, director at the Food and Drink Federation, said: ‘We are working with the FSA, food manufacturers, retailers and the packaging supply chain to gather more information.’


Climate change has an effect on everything, "even crime and love."

Another demonstration that wrong assumptions can give rise to all sorts of strange conclusions

Better begin preparations now for rising temperatures this century. That message was driven home loud and clear by a series of speakers, including a Nobel Prize-winning Canadian climatologist, at a climate change workshop Tuesday sponsored by the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network.

Adam Fenech, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told a crowd of 100 municipal leaders, farmers and conservationists that he believes climate change has an effect on everything, "even crime and love."

However, for the purpose of Tuesday's workshop, the message was intended for farmers, foresters, tourist operators and municipal leaders who will need to adjust to the consequences of climate change.

Fenech was a member of the team of scientists who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work with the International Panel on Climate Change.

He said current models produced by "the biggest computers in the world" forecast a 2.8- degree Celsius increase in annual mean temperatures by the year 2080 for the biosphere region, which extends from Gananoque to Brockville and north along County Road 42 from Athens to Westport and Parham in Central Frontenac.

He said the projected increase in temperature is a composite taken from three scenarios to reflect low, medium and high greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Using a series of Environment Canada charts developed with 40 years of information from six weather stations inside the biosphere, Fenech unveiled a number of projections to underscore his urgent call for co-ordinated action to offset the changes.

He said the models project a range of temperature increase from 0.6 to 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 and 1.5 to 7.5 degrees Celsius by 2080. "It's quite a range, but they are all projecting an increase," said Fenech.


Some things that the Australian Federal government is not telling about its proposed carbon tax

The government is making numerous claims to justify imposing a tax on carbon in the face of Julia Gillard's solemn promise prior to the last election that,"There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead".

Each one of the government's claims in support of its carbon tax will require detailed scrutiny. In fact, what the government doesn't tell the public is already proving to be as revealing as what it does say.

One of the key reasons the Prime Minister uses in support of her decision to impose a carbon tax is that Australia will be left behind the rest of the world in pricing carbon, claiming, "there are more than 30 countries with emissions trading schemes and 10 American states with emissions trading schemes".

The latter reference is to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, involving a form of cap and trade scheme in 10 north-eastern and mid-Atlantic states in the US.

However, what the Prime Minister fails to reveal is that this initiative is in the throes of unravelling.

In the past few weeks, New Hampshire has taken steps to leave the scheme. One of the reasons it did so was because its state government had recently raided the money raised by this cap-and-trade fund, using it to help plug a black hole in the New Hampshire budget.

In retaliation, opposition politicians were able to gather the numbers to legislate for New Hampshire's exit from the scheme.

Similar raids on revenue from the cap-and-trade schemes to help fund general spending have occurred in at least two other states, including New York and New Jersey. Cross-party support is reportedly building to withdraw New Jersey from the scheme.

If that occurs, commentators suggest the viability of the whole scheme is doubtful. It would be at risk of total collapse.

Given the experience in the US, Treasurer Wayne Swan should be required to give a guarantee that he will not use Labor's proposed carbon tax to fund his budget black hole.

It is also worth noting that the much-heralded Chicago Climate Exchange, partly owned by Al Gore and Goldman Sachs, which was supposedly helping shape a $US10 trillion market in carbon credits, collapsed in November last year. Its last trades in credits costed carbon at 10 cents a tonne.

The Prime Minister also reminds us that the European Union has an emissions trading scheme and that Australia would do well to follow the example set by the EU.

What she fails to add is that the European police agency, Europol, announced on December 28, 2010, that it had discovered a €5 billion ($A6.7 billion) fraud within the EU's trading system. More than 100 people were arrested in connection with it.

There are other claims worth investigating. The Prime Minister is insistent that, as Australia is one of the largest emitters of carbon on a per capita basis, we must impose a tax carbon - even if larger contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions do not take significant steps to reduce emissions.

According to a Reuters report of November 14, 2010, which used data from the US Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre, the top per capita emitters of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (in tonnes) in 2007 were: Qatar 51.3, Kuwait 34.0, United Arab Emirates 30.9, Bahrain 29.5, Trinidad and Tobago 27.7, Luxembourg 24.2, Brunei 19.5, United States 19.0, Australia 17.7 and Saudi Arabia 16.9.

In the context of a global picture, the level of emissions per capita is less important than total emissions.

Again Reuters has reported, based on data from the German renewable energy institute IWR, that the top national emitters of carbon dioxide (in millions of tonnes) in 2009 were: China 7426.4; US 5951.0; Russia 1534.4; India 1529.1; Japan 1225.2; Germany 796.6; South Korea 664.2; Canada 605.9; Saudi Arabia 544.4; Iran 544.4.

On this list, Australia comes in 16th, with 374 million tonnes - or 1.28 per cent of global emissions.

Taking the EU as a whole, we can conclude that 67 per cent of all emissions come from the top five emitters, namely China, the US, EU, India and Russia.

The Copenhagen climate change conference and its aftermath demonstrated that there is unlikely to be any co-ordinated effort by the big five emitters any time soon.

Imposing a tax on carbon in Australia to address our 1.28 per cent share of global emissions has the potential to cause enormous damage to our economy and our standard of living, while making little to no difference to global emissions.

Little wonder that recent polls reveal considerable opposition to yet another tax from this Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister should not impose a carbon tax without putting it to a vote of the Australian people at the next election.

In the meantime, just watch her lips.



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


9 March, 2011

Greenland's varied past

Core-drillers have found evidence that Greenland has on a couple of occasions been much hotter in the geologically recent past, despite the absence of coal burning power stations and SUVs back then. More interesting, however is that it took a 10 degree warming to melt only part of the Greenland icecap and that a 5 degree warming did not melt it at all. Warmist theories that we are already near a tipping point and runaway warming are therefore falsified by actual evidence -- given that the warming for the entire 20th century was less than one degree

Armies of insects once crawled through lush forests in a region of Greenland now covered by more than 2,000m of ice. DNA extracted from ice cores shows that moths and butterflies were living in forests of spruce and pine in the area between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago.

Researchers writing in Science magazine say the specimens could represent the oldest pure DNA samples ever obtained.

The ice cores also suggest that the ice sheet is more resistant to warming than previously thought, the scientists say.

"We have shown for the first time that southern Greenland, which is currently hidden under more than 2km of ice, was once very different to the Greenland we see today," said Professor Eske Willerslev from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and one of the authors of the paper.

"What we've learned is that this part of the world was significantly warmer than most people thought," added Professor Martin Sharp from the University of Alberta, Canada, and a co-author of the Science paper.

The ancient boreal forests were thought to cover southern Greenland during a period of increased global temperatures, known as an interglacial. Temperatures at the time were probably between 10C in summer and -17C in winter.

When the temperatures dropped again 450,000 years ago, the forests and their inhabitants were covered by the advancing ice, effectively freezing them in time.

Studies suggest that even during the last interglacial (116,000-130,000 years ago), when temperatures were thought to be 5C warmer than today, the ice persevered, keeping the delicate samples entombed and free from contamination and decay. At the time the ice is estimated to have been between 1,000 and 1,500m thick.

"If our data is correct, then this means that the southern Greenland ice cap is more stable than previously thought," said Professor Willerslev. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming."

Comparisons with modern species show that the area was populated by diverse forests made up of alders, spruce, pine and members of the yew family.

Living in the trees and on the forest floor was a wide variety of life including beetles, flies, spiders, butterflies and moths.


CO2 the critical element in new super-efficient turbines

Ironical that the evil CO2 could be the key to reducing fossil fuel usage without loss of power output. The whole of reality seems to be conspiring against the warmists

Sandia National Laboratories researchers are moving into the demonstration phase of a novel gas turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased to as much as 50 percent - an improvement of 50 percent for nuclear power stations equipped with steam turbines, or a 40 percent improvement for simple gas turbines. The system is also very compact, meaning that capital costs would be relatively low.

Research focuses on supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton-cycle turbines, which typically would be used for bulk thermal and nuclear generation of electricity, including next-generation power reactors.

The goal is eventually to replace steam-driven Rankine cycle turbines, which have lower efficiency, are corrosive at high temperature and occupy 30 times as much space because of the need for very large turbines and condensers to dispose of excess steam. The Brayton cycle could yield 20 megawatts of electricity from a package with a volume as small as four cubic meters.

The Brayton cycle, named after George Brayton, originally functioned by heating air in a confined space and then releasing it in a particular direction. The same principle is used to power jet engines today.

"This machine is basically a jet engine running on a hot liquid," said principal investigator Steve Wright of Sandia's Advanced Nuclear Concepts group. "There is a tremendous amount of industrial and scientific interest in supercritical CO2 systems for power generation using all potential heat sources including solar, geothermal, fossil fuel, biofuel and nuclear."

Sandia currently has two supercritical CO2 test loops. (The term "loop" derives from the shape taken by the working fluid as it completes each circuit.)

A power production loop is located at the Arvada, Colo., site of contractor Barber Nichols Inc., where it has been running and producing approximately 240 kilowatts of electricity during the developmental phase that began in March 2010. It is now being upgraded and is expected to be shipped to Sandia this summer.

A second loop, located at Sandia in Albuquerque, is used to research the unusual issues of compression, bearings, seals, and friction that exist near the critical point, where the carbon dioxide has the density of liquid but otherwise has many of the properties of a gas.

Immediate plans call for Sandia to continue to develop and operate the small test loops to identify key features and technologies. Test results will illustrate the capability of the concept, particularly its compactness, efficiency and scalability to larger systems. Future plans call for commercialization of the technology and development of an industrial demonstration plant at 10 MW of electricity.

A competing system, also at Sandia and using Brayton cycles with helium as the working fluid, is designed to operate at about 925 degrees C and is expected to produce electrical power at 43 percent to 46 percent efficiency.

By contrast, the supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle provides the same efficiency as helium Brayton systems but at a considerably lower temperature (250-300 C). The S-CO2 equipment is also more compact than that of the helium cycle, which in turn is more compact than the conventional steam cycle.

Under normal conditions materials behave in a predictable, classical, "ideal" way as conditions cause them to change phase, as when water turns to steam.

But this model tends not to work at lower temperatures or higher pressures than those that exist at these critical points. In the case of carbon dioxide, it becomes an unusually dense "supercritical" liquid at the point where it is held between the gas phase and liquid phase.

The supercritical properties of carbon dioxide at temperatures above 500 C and pressures above 7.6 megapascals enable the system to operate with very high thermal efficiency, exceeding even those of a large coal-generated power plant and nearly twice as efficient as that of a gasoline engine (about 25 percent).

In other words, as compared with other gas turbines the S-CO2 Brayton system could increase the electrical power produced per unit of fuel by 40 percent or more.

The combination of low temperatures, high efficiency and high power density allows for the development of very compact, transportable systems that are more affordable because only standard engineering materials (stainless steel) are required, less material is needed, and the small size allows for advanced-modular manufacturing processes.

"Sandia is not alone in this field, but we are in the lead," Wright said. "We're past the point of wondering if these power systems are going to be developed; the question remains of who will be first to market. Sandia and DOE have a wonderful opportunity in the commercialization effort."


'For the Sake of a Cleaner Planet, Should Americans Wear Dirtier Clothes?'

A point not mentioned explicitly below is that government meddling with the design of household goods is highly likely to lead to MORE use of resources. For instance, when low-flush lavatory cisterns don't work fully first time, a second flush will often be used. And when dishwashers or clothes-washing machines don't do the job fully first time, a second cycle will usually be initiated

"For the sake of a cleaner planet, should Americans wear dirtier clothes?" So comically began a New York Times article on the front page of the Gray Lady's Science section Tuesday ironically titled "When Energy Efficiency Sullies the Environment" (photo courtesy Viktor Koen):

We’ve come far since the carefree days of 1996, when Consumer Reports tested some midpriced top-loaders and reported that “any washing machine will get clothes clean.”

In this year’s report, no top-loading machine got top marks for cleaning. The best performers were front-loaders costing on average more than $1,000. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s still $350 more than the top-loaders of 1996.

What happened to yesterday’s top-loaders? To comply with federal energy-efficiency requirements, manufacturers made changes like reducing the quantity of hot water. The result was a bunch of what Consumer Reports called “washday wash-outs,” which left some clothes “nearly as stained after washing as they were when we put them in.”

Those last two sentences warrant repeating: "To comply with federal energy-efficiency requirements, manufacturers made changes like reducing the quantity of hot water. The result was a bunch of what Consumer Reports called 'washday wash-outs,' which left some clothes 'nearly as stained after washing as they were when we put them in.'”

So, as a result of federal regulations, top-loading washing machines today are basically worthless despite their cost.

Makes me glad I've got a front-loader. But that's not the point. In our nation's drive to reduce paranoiacally dreaded carbon dioxide emissions, a product that has improved the lives of Americans for decades has now been made useless. Warms the heart, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, that's just the beginning, for as author John Tierney shared with his readers, our nation's obsessive drive for energy efficiency has largely backfired:
[A] growing number of economists say that the environmental benefits of energy efficiency have been oversold. Paradoxically, there could even be more emissions as a result of some improvements in energy efficiency, these economists say.

The problem is known as the energy rebound effect. While there’s no doubt that fuel-efficient cars burn less gasoline per mile, the lower cost at the pump tends to encourage extra driving. There’s also an indirect rebound effect as drivers use the money they save on gasoline to buy other things that produce greenhouse emissions, like new electronic gadgets or vacation trips on fuel-burning planes.

Some of the biggest rebound effects occur when new economic activity results from energy-efficient technologies that reduce the cost of making products like steel or generating electricity. In some cases, the overall result can be what’s called “backfire”: more energy use than would have occurred without the improved efficiency.

That last sentence warrants repeating: "In some cases, the overall result can be what’s called 'backfire': more energy use than would have occurred without the improved efficiency." So, efficiency leads to inefficiency. You gotta love it.

And here's what would make Al Gore and his acolytes nauseous if they actually cared about science:
“The implications of this research are important for those who care about global warming,” said Harry Saunders, a co-author of the article. “Many have come to believe that new, highly-efficient solid-state lighting — generally LED technology, like that used on the displays of stereo consoles, microwaves and digital clocks — will result in reduced energy consumption. We find the opposite is true.” [...]

[I]f your immediate goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions, then it seems risky to count on reaching it by improving energy efficiency.

Not surprisingly, Tierney's solutions were "alternatives like a carbon tax, and to look more carefully at the hidden costs and trade-offs involved in setting rigid standards for efficiency."

In essence, the added efficiencies produced an undesired result, namely people and businesses spent the cost savings on other things thereby using more energy than if the efficiencies were never created.

And since we didn't just pocket that money rather than consume with it, the only solution is tax us - conceivably a sum equal to the efficiency's savings! - in order to reduce energy usage by preventing us from spending those funds. Plainly stated, the efficiency carrot didn't work, so here comes the efficiency stick.

And people on the left actually think America is an unregulated free market.


Penn State whitewashed ClimateGate

A federal government inspector general has revealed prima facie proof that the so-called independent inquiries widely if implausibly described as clearing the ClimateGate principals of wrongdoing were, in fact, whitewashes. This has been confirmed to Senate offices. It will not be released to the public for some time because the investigation is ongoing.

The document, an interview transcript, will put an end to the foolish talk of anything resembling a ClimateGate “inquiry” having taken place. It will also invite a real inquiry into the affair. Expect fireworks, as the one such effort, by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is being fought hysterically by Big Science and Big Academia.

Critically, it also begs questions of Penn State University, which conducted one of the three supposed inquiries into ClimateGate.

The key point is that the Penn State investigators never interviewed a principal who was able to confirm or deny a key charge against “Hockey Stick” lead author of “Hide the Decline” infamy Michael Mann. This individual has now been interviewed, and what he told federal investigators has indicted Mann and Penn State.

The inspector general’s report specifically reveals Penn State’s wagon-circlers to have been at best comically negligent/inept in allowing Mann to not answer the damning charge they were tasked with examining: did he delete or ask others to delete records? At worst, they were complicit in the cover-up.

Simply by interviewing Mann’s colleague Eugene Wahl, PSU would have exposed Mann’s “answer” for what it was (and wasn’t). Such an interview was obviously necessary for any inquiry. Penn State chose not to conduct it, for its own reasons. A federal inspector general has now conducted it. And the result is damning of both Mann and the parties that chose not to interview Wahl.

As background, Phil Jones in the United Kingdom asked Mann, now at Penn State, by email to delete records being sought under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act, and to get a colleague to do so as well:
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment — minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

“Gene” is Eugene Wahl, who now works for the federal government.

Mann’s terse reply included in pertinent part: "I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP"

Now, from Penn State’s supposed inquiry and exoneration of Michael Mann:
Allegation 2: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?

Finding 2. After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data related to AR4, as suggested by Dr. Phil Jones. Dr. Mann has stated that he did not delete emails in response to Dr. Jones’ request. Further, Dr. Mann produced upon request a full archive of his emails in and around the time of the preparation of AR4. The archive contained e-mails related to AR4.

If the above excerpt accurately reflects Mann’s testimony, both Mann’s “answer” and his peers’ acceptance of it ought to raise red flags. Penn State asked Mann and only Mann if he destroyed records or was indirectly involved in destroying records. Mann said only that he did not destroy records. And that did it. Even though Phil Jones asked Mann to instruct Wahl to do so as well.

Allow me to translate this in relevant part:
PSU: This is potentially very grave. We must know: Did you do A or B?

Mann: I did not do A.

PSU: Ah. There we go. It appears there is no evidence he did A or B.

Close enough for academia, I suppose. But spare us the “cleared” tag and the claim to have conducted an inquiry.


The folly of drawing conclusions regarding "extreme events"

Now that it is clear that global warming is not evident in actual temperatures, Warmists have said that it is evident in more frequent "extreme events". John Christie below shows how that reasoning is very pesky too

I want to illustrate how one might use extreme events to conclude (improperly I believe) that the weather in the USA is becoming less extreme and/or colder.

For each of the 50 states, there are records kept for the extreme high and low temperatures back to the late 19th century. In examining the years in which these extremes occurred (and depending on how one deals with “repeats” of events) we find about 80 percent of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955. And, about 60 percent of the states experienced their record cold temperatures prior to that date too. One could conclude, if they were so inclined, that the climate of the US is becoming less extreme because the occurrence of state extremes of hot and cold has diminished dramatically since 1955. Since 100 of anything is a fairly large sample (2 values for each of 50 states), this on the surface seems a reasonable conclusion.

Then, one might look at the more recent record of extremes and learn that no state has achieved a record high temperature in the last 15 years (though one state has tied theirs.) However, five states have observed their all-time record low temperature in these past 15 years (plus one tie.) This includes last month’s record low of 31°F below zero in Oklahoma, breaking their previous record by a rather remarkable 4°F. If one were so inclined, one could conclude that the weather that people worry about (extreme cold) is getting worse in the US. (Note: this lowering of absolute cold temperature records is nowhere forecast in climate model projections, nor is a significant drop in the occurrence of extreme high temperature records.)

I am not using these statistics to prove the weather in the US is becoming less extreme and/or colder. My point is that extreme events are poor metrics to use for detecting climate change. Indeed, because of their rarity (by definition) using extreme events to bolster a claim about any type of climate change (warming or cooling) runs the risk of setting up the classic “non-falsifiable hypothesis.”

For example, we were told by the IPCC that “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms” (TAR WG2, After the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11, we are told the opposite by advocates of the IPCC position, “Climate Change Makes Major Snowstorms More Likely”.

The non-falsifiable hypotheses works this way, “whatever happens is consistent with my hypothesis.” In other words, there is no event that would “falsify” the hypothesis. As such, these assertions cannot be considered science or in anyway informative since the hypothesis’ fundamental prediction is “anything may happen.” In the example above if winters become milder or they become snowier, the hypothesis stands. This is not science.

As noted above, there are innumerable types of events that can be defined as extreme events – so for the enterprising individual (unencumbered by the scientific method), weather statistics can supply an almost unlimited set of targets in which to discover a “useful” extreme event. Thus, when such an individual observes an unusual event, it may be tempting to define it as a once-for-all extreme metric to “prove” a point about climate change. This works both ways with extremes. If one were prescient enough to have predicted in 1996 that over the next 15 years, five states would break record cold temperatures while zero states would break record high temperatures as evidence for cooling, would that prove CO2 emissions have no impact on climate? No.

Extreme events happen, and their causes are intricately tied to semi-unstable dynamical situations that can occur out of an environment of natural, unforced variability.

Science checks hypotheses (assertions) by testing specific, falsifiable predictions implied by those hypotheses. The predictions are to be made in a manner that, as much as possible, is blind to the data against which the prediction is evaluated. It is the testable predictions from hypotheses, derived from climate model output, that run into trouble. Before going on, the main point here is that extreme events do not lend themselves as being rigorous metrics for convicting human emissions of being guilty of causing them.


Green regulations under challenge in Maine and elsewhere

The new [Maine] governor has offered up a more substantive cause for controversy: a plan to streamline state environmental protections, eliminating or reducing more than 60 regulations on pollution and development.

Supporters of the controversial measure, including members of the state’s Tea Party movement, say the changes are needed to cut through red tape and revitalize a stagnant economy. Opponents, including environmental groups that are rallying money and manpower against it, say the move would strike at the heart of Maine’s appeal and an engine of its economy — its rambling, rocky coastline and northern wilderness.

“It’s a wholesale retreat from the values Maine people hold dear,’’ Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a statewide public health organization, said of LePage’s proposal. “Everyone knows the essence of Maine is the quality of its environment. It resonates deeply in the psyche of Maine people, and it’s the backbone of the economy, drawing tourists from all over the world.’’

The fate of the plan rests with the Legislature, where Republicans gained control in the last election. Lawmakers have filed dozens of related bills, some going even further than LePage’s plan, according to environmental groups. A repeal of Maine’s bottle bill and the elimination of the planning board for Maine’s north woods are among the proposals, they said.

Like other conservative candidates with Tea Party support, LePage talked more about regulatory reform than environmental issues on the campaign trail. But his focus on reducing government and reining in state spending, like that of other, like-minded governors, has raised the possibility that state environmental safeguards, some of them in place for decades, could be rapidly, dramatically scaled back.

In New Jersey, to similar outrage from environmentalists, Governor Chris Christie previously introduced many of the same proposals put forth by LePage: establishing a fast track to approval for development proposals, shifting authority from environmental boards to administrative judges, and prohibiting state standards that are stricter than federal regulations.

Florida’s new governor, Rick Scott, used his recent budget recommendations to eliminate funding for the state’s land conservation program, Florida Forever, and to drastically downsize the state agency in charge of managing sprawl, the Department of Community Affairs, by slashing its budget from $779 million to $110 million, according to Sarah Bucci, a field associate with the advocacy group Environment Florida.

In Maine, a less developed and less populated state, the deregulation effort is expected to collide with a well-funded network of environmentalists, who will use LePage’s plan to raise money for their cause.

A spokesman for LePage, Dan Demeritt, said the Maine initiative has been miscast by critics and is not meant as an assault on natural resources. It evolved, he said, from a series of public meetings held around the state in which hundreds of citizens offered ideas on how to make Maine more business-friendly.

“The governor is not suggesting we turn our backs on what makes Maine great,’’ said Demeritt. “It’s about finding middle ground and the right protections, and why it takes a million dollars to get a project approved.’’

The proposal that has received the most attention would suspend the Kid-Safe Products Act, a law overwhelmingly approved by legislators in 2008. The law, which has yet to take effect, would ban the sale of baby bottles and other products containing bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical compound linked to health concerns in animal studies. Supporters of the law say LePage is catering to out-of-state corporations who helped fund his campaign. Demeritt said the governor simply wants “sound science’’ to be the standard for state regulations, and with BPA, “the science is not there.’’

Speaking to reporters last month, LePage went further, appearing to mock the health concern with his “little beards’’ remark. His spokesman described the comment as a “joke gone awry.’’ But it sparked fresh criticism of the governor, whose run-in with the NAACP had already inspired the creation of a “61 percent’’ bumper sticker, a reference to the percentage of Maine voters who cast ballots for other candidates last November.

State Senator Peter Mills, who ran against LePage in a seven-way Republican primary last year, said the governor’s deregulation plan contains important, necessary changes at its core, some of which are likely to be approved. But he criticized LePage for taking a “slash and burn’’ approach instead of focusing strategically on key reforms.

“You need to get people used to your perspective, instead of throwing everything against the wall,’’ said Mills. “It creates huge resistance and doesn’t get it done. . . . All he did was get environmentalists fired up.’’

In private, even some Tea Party members admit they have tired of LePage’s headline-grabbing public statements, said Andrew Ian Dodge, the Tea Party’s former Maine coordinator, who recently announced his plan to run against US Senator Olympia Snowe in 2012.

“But if he delivers the goods, they will put up with it,’’ Dodge said. “The reason the environment is at the core of the Maine economy is because other industry has been driven out by taxation and regulation. . . . Something radical has to be tried.’’



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


8 March, 2011

Global Warming By Another Name

Obama's clean energy boondoggle will be expensive for America

President Barack Obama uttered not a peep about global warming in his State of Union this year. No dire warnings about climate apocalypse. No calls for cap-and-trade. Has this cold winter convinced him to put his global warming agenda on ice? Hardly. Indeed, even in this age of deficits and debt, the president's budget is chock full of global warming items-except he wraps them around a new cause: clean energy. And that may be enough to get Republicans to sign on.

That "clean energy" is code for "anti-warming" is obvious, given that even Environmental Protection Agency numbers show that virtually all emissions have dropped dramatically in recent decades-except for greenhouse gases. To cut those, Obama's budget aims to hike Department of Energy spending by 12 percent from 2010 levels. He proposes $8 billion more for various clean-energy programs-on top of the $30 billion "invested" via the 2009 stimulus. Even that's only the tip of the iceberg.

To pay for it all, Obama would stick it to Big Oil. He wants to eliminate $43 billion in oil-tax breaks over 10 years. That would be fine if he were aiming for a "level" energy market, with the government playing no favorites; in fact, he's just looking to divert the subsidies to his favorites. (Even before Obama's stimulus binge on renewables, total U.S. energy subsidies were close to $16.6 billion and about 30 percent-the largest share-went to renewables.)

Despite his talk of promoting nuclear power, the president's budget cuts support for it by 0.6 percent from 2010 levels. The big winners are-surprise!-solar (88 percent rise), biomass and biorefinery (57 percent), geothermal (136 percent) and wind (61 percent).

Obama is also doubling the budget of the Advanced Research Projects Agency to encourage R&D on renewables. That's because progressives are suddenly convinced (thanks to "Where Good Technologies Come From," a paper by the Breakthrough Institute) that the basic research for nearly every major technological invention-blockbuster pharmaceuticals, high-yield crops, the Internet-has been the result of government funding.

Pumping money into pie-in-the sky energy projects has been a perennial presidential project since Jimmy Carter. But Obama has a new wrinkle: The White House believes that past pushes for alternative fuels failed (despite subsidies) because they did nothing to ensure a market for the new products. So Obama has decreed that he wants 80 percent of America's energy to come from clean sources by 2035.

That won't happen automatically, so the Center for American Progress (the Obama White House's unofficial think tank) argues for a federal "35 by 35" standard-mandating that 35 percent of America's energy come from renewables by 2035. This means the feds would force all utilities to generate more than a third of their electricity from renewables-a guarantee of far higher prices.

A Heritage Foundation study found that even a scaled-down version of the plan, a 22.5 percent renewable standard by 2025, would bump household-electricity prices 36 percent and industry prices 60 percent by 2035-producing a net GDP loss of $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035. So much for green growth and jobs.

Obama also means to make America's transportation oil-free to ensure a low-carbon future for mankind. To this end, he wants a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. So, while low-income families face a cut in heating assistance from Uncle Sam (and higher electric bills), rich people would get $200 million for a $7,500 tax rebate to use toward each $40,000 Chevy Volt.

Obama also wants a $4 billion downpayment toward a six-year, $53 billion plan to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. In fact, his own transportation secretary admits that this can't be done for less than $500 billion.


Cutting GHGs via Smart Growth: A California Update

Several years ago I reported rather skeptically about California legislation that aimed to bring about significant reductions in transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by integrating transportation, housing, and land-use planning. AB 375, passed in 2008, requires MPOs to set GHG emission reduction targets for the four major metro areas (in which 87% of the population lives). Each MPO must develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) as part of its fiscally constrained long-range transportation plan and demonstrate that it can meet the emission reduction target. If it cannot do that, it must develop an alternative plan showing how it could meet the target if funding were not at issue.

Transportation/air quality consultant Sarah Siwek wrote an informative article about this process in AASHTO's Weekly Climate Change Brief, published January 6, 2011. My eye was immediately drawn to a colorful pie chart, depicting how much this whole transportation smart growth effort (i.e., what SB 375 mandates) will contribute to California's GHG emission reduction goal. If it accomplishes what is intended, SB 375's measures would contribute only 1.7% to the statewide 2020 GHG reduction target. Other transportation-related measures, such as increased fuel-efficiency for both light and heavy vehicles, and the low carbon fuel standard, dwarf the smart-growth impacts.

But is it realistic to think that the smart-growth measures can achieve even that? Siwek points out several problems. First, the adopted SCSs all rely mainly on infill development. But land and housing costs are generally much lower in the outer suburbs, raising the question of whether there will be a market for enough of the costly infill housing. But to make it "affordable" would require subsidies of some sort (tax abatements, grants, etc.) for which funding is far from certain.

Second, she points out that local governments in California rely heavily on sales tax revenues, so if suburbs are discouraged from expanding, their revenues will not grow as projected. So those governments may not choose to curtail their own growth.

Third, there is no funding provided by SB 375, and nearly all projected transportation money in the adopted long-range transportation plans is needed to maintain and operate the existing transportation system, with only modest scope for expansions.

Finally, California is still recovering from the collapse of the housing market, and with "an abundance of existing housing inventory," it's not clear how much scope there is for a strategy that depends on shaping new-housing development.

Siwek closes with a sentence worth quoting: "If our history in reducing criteria pollutants is a guide, the technology-related measures to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions are the best and only real hope of achieving meaningful GHG reductions from the transportation sector."


A small spasm of realism from the BBC

Says carbon tax 'may not reduce CO2'

When the government changed the terms of a new tax on the carbon emissions of large companies in last year's Spending Review, it was accused of hitting firms with a "green stealth tax".

Money raised through the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) will now go to the government, rather than to those firms who cut their bills the most, as had been originally planned. The business group, the CBI, is calling on the government to turn the tax back into an incentive-based scheme or scrap it altogether.

And a report by Carbon Retirement has said that the tax, which is due to come into force next month, may fail to reduce overall pollution levels. The report draws on data from the government and its independent committee on climate change which suggests overlap between this and other emission reduction schemes may limit its effectiveness. The report forms part of responses to the government's consultations on the measures.

The CRC applies to large companies which are not currently covered by the European emissions trading scheme. It forces firms to measure and report their emissions - mostly the result of gas and electricity use - and then pay œ12 per tonne of carbon dioxide they emit.

The problem is the number of schemes. Companies buy their electricity from power providers who themselves hold permits under the European carbon trading scheme for every tonne of carbon they release. These permits are limited - if someone needs more permits in the UK, someone else, somewhere else, must pollute less. As demand for them varies, so does the price.

If companies reduce their electricity demand it could simply free utilities to give their permits to someone else, perhaps another power provider or a cement works, allowing them to increase their carbon emissions.

The report estimates that "between 2011 and 2020, the 90m tonnes of carbon dioxide savings the CRC participants are expected to achieve will be emitted instead by heavy industry".

The problem may be fixed in future as the European scheme is itself reformed, but accountants Ernst and Young suggest it is not the only issue with the new tax. "The CRC assumes a fixed carbon intensity for electricity and doesn't reward sourcing electricity renewable energy under green tariffs," says Ben Warren, partner at Ernst and Young. "This is starting to have an impact on green tariffs as companies resent getting no benefit for this under the CRC."

The Department of Energy and Climate Change accepts there is a problem, and told the BBC: "We are looking at a range of measures to try and simplify the scheme and recognising the overlap with some other schemes is one of the areas of complexity for it."


The wages of green spin

Former Bush administration chief of the Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton is now the government affairs head for an electric utility, Constellation Energy. But more than that, he is a media darling for his willingness to push the climate agenda on behalf of his company, which is hoping to profit from it - at your expense - via wealth transfers, taxes and other inefficiencies in the name of schemes that no one actually claims would detectably impact the climate.

As such, it is unreasonable to believe that the whole mess is about the climate, particularly when you toss in the rest of the admissions by Gang Green when they slip off-message. But, still, when you rob Peter (you) to pay Paul (Constellation, et al.), you can count on Paul's enthusiastic support.

Better yet, with Mr. Connaughton the press gets to run the green cheerleading as coming from a "former Bush official."

And so it comes to this. Today, we see ClimateWire's story "SCIENCE: Former Bush official defends IPCC," with the gag-inducing subhead, "Connaughton calls IPPC [sic] findings `fabulous.'"

The story is referring to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which has suffered under revelations that its supposedly cutting-edge, peer-reviewed science includes unsupportable twaddle cut and pasted from green group press releases, student theses, popular magazine articles and telephone interviews with alarmists who now deny their own musings.

But then there is this:
Connaughton also criticized attacks on the East Anglia scientists, whose e-mails showed some hostility toward research that questioned the link between human emissions and global warming (ClimateWire, Nov. 17, 2010).

"The left's attack on the Bush administration for manipulating the science was as overwrought as the right's attack on East Anglia, because it didn't go to the science," he said.

Except that it did. The East Anglia scientists called for records to be destroyed, said that they were "hiding the decline" in temperatures to declare a warming that wasn't, made computer code annotations about insert[ing a] very artificial adjustment here, and so on. And this week, as I understand things, we will see some more rather disturbing evidence, affirming just how absurd that already silly effort at rationalization and denial is. For now I will simply tease the document being sent to Capitol Hill as coming from a federal inspector general who affirms what is already clear to anyone who read the self-exonerations of "ClimateGate": the scandal was whitewashed.

Records were indeed destroyed by one principal at the request of another; the latter of whom was, to put things mildly, deceptive about this fact while the former somehow managed to go without being asked about it. Some things were apparently better left unsaid, in the eyes of those charged with looking into the matter.

Except that someone has finally gotten around to asking the obvious. And the specific reply implicates both the investigators and the investigated. Not only was ClimateGate never investigated, there appears to be a new name on the list of the complicit.

But even before this coming bombshell, we saw in the ClimateWire story that there may be no lower boundary beyond which the rent-seekers, the new tax collectors for the green welfare state, are unwilling to stoop.


Warren isn't serious

Warren Buffett is one hell of a smart guy so he knows that getting Green/Left cred is important in ensuring that his businesses are unmolested by the jealous Green/Left. Hence his first claim below about his railroad:
Last year BNSF moved each ton of freight it carried a record 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. That's three times more fuel-efficient than trucking is, which means our railroad owns an important advantage in operating costs. Concurrently, our country gains because of reduced greenhouse emissions and a much smaller need for imported oil. When traffic travels by rail, society benefits.

But we know that he doesn't believe it all when he also brags about his company's ownership (and his own heavy use) of a private jet business
... NetJets has long been an operational success, owning a 2010 market share five times that of its nearest competitor...My family and I have flown more than 5,000 hours on NetJets (that's equal to being airborne 24 hours a day for seven months) and will fly thousands of hours more in the future...Whichever the plane or crew, we always know we are flying with the best-trained pilots in private aviation.


The hypocritical Waxy is still waxing on about climate being a 'Moral Issue'

The moral claims have died down a lot lately so Waxy is behind the curve. And who are Leftists to talk about morality? That "there is no such thing as right and wrong" is one of their favourite lines

During a speech at the Center for American Progress Monday, Rep. Henry Waxman claimed that climate change is a "moral issue" while criticizing the GOP for their attempts to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Republicans have adopted "anti-science views" and compared the climate change issue to the debate in America on civil rights.

"Climate change is an environmental issue, it's an economic issue, but it's also fundamentally a moral issue. We have an opportunity to act now to forestall great harm to our nation and to the world. We had that kind of issue at other times in our history, we had it during the civil rights debate," the member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said.

Waxman added, "If we don't act on this challenge we will not meet our moral ability to shape our future. We will not meet our moral obligation to our children and future generations."

Waxman's comments come as members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are considering legislation that would permanently eliminate the EPA's climate authority. Several Democrats are joining a Republican effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing heat-trapping gasses that have been blamed for global warming.



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


7 March, 2011

A false prophecy from 1954


'We will not pick up toxic new bulbs': British councils say energy-saving lights are too dangerous for binmen

What are people supposed to do? Eat them? One has to feel sorry for ordinary Brits but it is their own ingrained socialism that is destroying their quality of life

Councils across the UK are refusing to pick up low-energy lightbulbs from homes as they contain toxic mercury, which gives off poisonous vapours. But confused consumers are putting the new bulbs – classed as hazardous waste – in their dustbins when they burn out, potentially putting the safety of thousands of binmen at risk.

Previously, the public disposed of traditional lightbulbs, used in Britain for 120 years, in a domestic bin. However, they are being phased out under a European Union ruling and are being replaced with energy-saving bulbs, many of which contain mercury.

Last night UNISON, the union which represents thousands of rubbish collectors across Britain, said it was concerned at the risks binmen are facing. A spokeswoman said: ‘We are worried as most people do not know these bulbs are not to be put in dustbins. The Government is not doing enough to make people aware of the risks.’

The most common types of low-energy bulbs are known as ‘compact fluorescent lamps’. A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found that when one of them breaks, it emits levels of toxic vapour up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.

If a bulb is smashed, the UK’s Health Protection Agency advice is for householders to evacuate the room and leave it to ventilate for 15 minutes. People are also advised to wear protective gloves while wiping the area of the break with a damp cloth and picking up fragments of glass – which should be placed in a plastic bag and sealed.

The advice then states the lightbulb should be taken to a council dump and placed in a special recycling bank because councils do not collect hazardous waste.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed many councils will not collect the bulbs. A spokesman said last night: ‘If a low-energy lightbulb breaks, the mercury contained in it does not pose a health risk to anyone exposed.’


Rising ocean temperatures will be devastating for sea urchins and abalone

Since ocean temperatures are NOT rising, this is a faint worry. And even if they were rising, any foreseeable rise would simply shift climatic zones a little, so NOTHING would be endangered either way

MARINE abalone and sea urchins in Sydney Harbour will not develop normal skeletons if the ocean continues to warm and acidify as predicted, a study has found. Such impaired development could have a dramatic effect on the survival of these economically and ecologically important sea creatures.

A group of Australian marine biologists reared abalone and sea urchins in present ocean conditions and compared them with young raised in warmer, more acidic environments that scientists predict will become reality for the world's oceans within the next 100 years.

While abalone larvae raised in control conditions had a well-developed shell after 21 hours of life, most larvae reared in water with a pH of 7.6 - a 0.4 drop in pH level compared with today - were dead or severely abnormal after the same time frame. An increase in temperature of just two degrees had a negative effect on baby abalone development and only 20 per cent of young raised in water four degrees warmer than today survived.

The study found developing abalone had only a limited ability to cope with changes in temperature and acidity, and larvae could not recover and grow shells when they were placed in normal conditions.

"Near-future ocean conditions resulted in unshelled abalone larvae, a condition that prevents survival to the juvenile stage," wrote the authors, whose study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

While urchins liked a slight increase in temperature, a lower pH reduced the number of spines juveniles could grow. But a combination of lower pH and increased temperature resulted in abnormal development for 80 per cent of young.

A marine biologist and lead author of the research, Maria Byrne, said Sydney Harbour could experience extreme temperature and pH conditions, such as those used in the experiments, by 2070 to 2100. "We are warming appreciably faster than other parts of the world because we have the East Australian Current which is bringing warm water all the way down the coast to Tasmania."


Radiation mythology exploded

There has been for many years a wealth of data showing that low to medium doses of ionizing rationion are at least harmless (with Tsutomu Yamaguchi being a striking example) but getting that fact past conventional alarmist dogma is the hard part. The scientists below did it the hard way

The summer of 1994 was our first season together in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a region within a 30-kilometer radius of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. We were there to investigate the long-term biological effects of ionizing radiation following the catastrophic explosion and fire at reactor number four on April 26, 1986, which released plumes of radionuclides that spread across Europe.

We were only 2 kilometers from the defunct power plant, and the area was still so radioactive that our Geiger counters were perpetually abuzz. Although the "Zone" was now nearly deserted-more than 135,000 people had been evacuated from the region-we were amazed by the diversity of mammals living in the shadow of the ruined reactor only eight years after the meltdown.

The odd juxtaposition was eerily reminiscent of one of the creepier Twilight Zone episodes. We were in an area known as the "red forest," so named from the predominant hue of the trees, which had been discolored in death by the radiation. All the pine trees were dead; only birches remained.

During our excursion through the woods, we trapped some of the local mice for examination in a makeshift laboratory. We were surprised to find that although each mouse registered unprecedented levels of radiation in its bones and muscles, all the animals seemed physically normal, and many of the females were carrying normal-looking embryos. This was true for pretty much every creature we examined-highly radioactive, but physically normal.

It was the first of many revelations. We have now spent 12 years trying to sort out the effects of a radioactive environment on the local wildlife. We have performed a variety of experiments in the Zone.

In one of our earliest studies, we found that the resident mouse population did not have any obvious chromosomal damage. We wondered whether the absence of injury could be explained by some sort of adaptive change, perhaps a more efficient DNA-repair mechanism, after many prior generations of exposure to radiation. But when we transplanted wild mice from uncontaminated regions into cages in the red forest and then examined their chromosomes, they were likewise unaffected by the radiation. In at least this respect, the mice seemed to have a natural "immunity" to harm from radiation.

We repeated the cage experiments with Big Blue transgenic mice-which carry a gene that glows "blue" if it undergoes a mutation-and radiosensitive mice to look for evidence of chromosome breakage, genetic aberrations and changes in gene expression. The genetic impacts proved to be subtle and not likely to threaten the rodent's reproductive success or longevity. We also compared the genetic variations of populations inside the Zone with those from relatively uncontaminated areas, and we found no evidence of increased mutation rates from exposure to radioactivity.

It turns out that the nascent field of radioecology is much more complicated than we had expected. Radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident was not deposited uniformly around the reactor. Distinct "excursions," known as the northern and western traces, carried the ash in plumes across the countryside and through the city of Pripyat, a mere 3 kilometers from the power plant. This produced a mosaic of radioactive habitats that are separated by relatively unaffected areas. Such heterogeneity makes it difficult to evaluate the effects on animal populations because animals from "clean" habitats might migrate into the contaminated areas.

The complexity of the habitats is exacerbated by the presence of non-radioactive pollutants. Vincent Bahryaktor, vice president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, has said that "Northern Ukraine is the cleanest part of our country; it has only radiation." Unfortunately, this isn't quite true. Decades of uncontrolled waste management have contaminated the region with heavy metals, petrochemicals and pesticides.

Radiation doses have declined precipitously since the accident-less than 3 percent of the initial radioactivity remains. Nevertheless, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone still offers a unique outdoor laboratory to examine the fate and the effects of a radioactive environment. The abandoned city of Pripyat is now largely a forest with buildings poking above the treetops.

After the initial decline of the animal populations, which were decimated by radioactive fallout, wildlife is now thriving. The region has become a refuge for released populations of Przewalski's horse and European bison. The population densities of Russian wild boar are 10 to 15 times greater in the Zone than in adjacent areas inhabited by people. Endangered black storks and white-tailed eagles are also more common in the Zone. The "Exclusion Zone" has effectively become a preserve.

We were completely taken aback by what we saw that first summer in Chernobyl, and we continue to be challenged by what we encounter in that strangely beautiful environment. Our endeavors have led to some of the happiest and bleakest moments in our professional lives. We now recognize that we were terribly naive about radioecology and the politics of scientific research when we first started this work. But we've gained some wisdom along the way, and here we'd like to share what we've learned from our experiences in the form of brief lessons.

Lesson 1:

Beautiful theories are often destroyed by ugly facts. It may be a cliche, but it seems that nearly everyone must learn this lesson at some point in their scientific careers. In our case, the beautiful theory involved little rodents, voles of the genus Microtus.

We found a great deal of genetic variation when we first examined the voles within the Exclusion Zone, and because the genetic differences were linked to different sites within the Zone, we naturally assumed that the variations were caused by diverse exposures to radiation.

To our chagrin, a chromosomal analysis revealed that we were actually studying the natural variation of four species of Microtus, not a single species, as we had believed. It was evolutionary time, not mutagenic radiation, that accounted for the genetic differences we observed.

What had promised to be a quick expose of the radiation effects from the Chernobyl fallout proved to be a lesson in taxonomy. It also revealed a prejudice we had about the potential effects of radiation. We caught the error early in our investigations, but we were still disappointed.


These people think you're stupid: Cooling demonstrates warming

Starbucks raises coffee prices because global warming is allegedly causing colder nights in Costa Rica?
Climate change takes toll on coffee growers, drinkers too. Last fall, Starbucks raised prices on some drinks to offset rising costs on commodities, notably coffee.

Global warming — more accurately called climate change — poses "a direct business threat to our company," Starbucks executive Jim Hanna told an Environmental Protection Agency panel in 2009 in Seattle...

On the slopes of Volcano Poás, the biggest threats are colder nights, fiercer winds and rain that falls too hard and at the wrong times. Temperatures at Flores' coffee farms on Poás used to stay above 60 degrees at night, but now are dropping to 52 degrees.


Australia: Greens lead country along a costly path

(Australia has an influential Green party that is in coalition with the Leftists to form the Federal government)

A DANGEROUS new dynamic has entered Australian economic management, Green voodoo economics. It threatens to not only make a weak Government even more ineffectual, but to do real lasting damage to our economy and its future.

The Greens appear to truly believe economics works in such a way that they can have their cake and eat it too. They want to tax the nasty carbon polluters without impacting on consumers. If only it was truly that simple.

Bob Brown tells us he "wants the polluters to pay". What he fails to realise is that we have seen the polluters and they are us.

Every time we drive a car, we are, in his words, polluting. Unless we have very expensive green power, every time we turn on the TV or dishwasher or any other electric appliance, we are polluting. Every time we turn the lights on in an office or use the lift or buy something that has been transported by a truck, we are polluting.

If we want to tax carbon then someone has to pay, and it will not be some anonymous nasty big business, it will be the consumer. It will be us.

As a scientist I believe that climate change is both real and caused by our carbon emissions. It is obvious that something has to be done to seriously limit emissions on a global scale. As an economist, I can see major damage being done to our economy if we go about this in a naive and ham-fisted way.

The clear policy influence that the Greens are now exerting, together with the extreme policy caution of the new Government, provides little hope of any sensible outcome. Rather a carbon tax in the absence of any permitting system to actually limit emissions will almost certainly result in higher prices with little if anything by way of emissions reductions to show for it.

All a carbon tax is likely to do is make the Greens feel good and do lasting damage to the economy.

Be in no doubt that this will be a job-destroying, wealth-destroying tax, but the real issue here is that massive changes in our economy are being decided on the basis of short-term political convenience and ridiculous idealistic and ideological notions of how economics works.

In reality, we now have the least economically competent government since the disastrous Whitlam years of 1972-75. Just like then, we have a Prime Minister who appears disinterested in economic realities and an incredibly powerful bloc from the Left who, while well-meaning, have no idea of the real consequences of the road they are hell-bent on taking us down.



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


6 March, 2011

Global Warming Alarmists Flip-Flop On Snowfall

Sitting in on a March 1 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) press conference regarding global warming and heavy snowfalls, I couldn’t help feeling like the chairman of the Senate committee questioning mafia capo Frank Pentangeli in Godfather II. The chairman, listening incredulously as Pentangeli contradicts a sworn written statement he had earlier given to the committee, waves the written statement in the air and protests, “We have a sworn affidavit — we have it — your sworn affidavit…. Do you deny that confession, and do you realize what will happen as a result of your denial?”

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report was as straightforward as Frank Pentangeli’s earlier confession that he had killed on behalf of Michael Corleone. “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” IPCC reported.

That was in 2001. Now, however, with an unprecedented number of major winter snowstorms hitting the northeastern U.S. during the past two winters, the alarmists are clamming up and changing their tune faster than Tom Hagen can fly in Vincenzo Pentangeli from Italy to aid his brother in his time of trouble.

Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground, and Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, explained to the media at the UCS press conference why they believe global warming caused the heavy snowfalls in the northeast these past two winters. Masters and Serreze obviously are weather experts. They may be right. Other weather experts, such as John Coleman, co-founder of the Weather Channel, and Joseph D’Aleo, the first director of meteorology at the Weather Channel, disagree with Masters and Serreze. It is also possible that Coleman and D’Aleo are right.

During the question and answer portion of the UCS press conference, I quoted the IPCC Third Assessment Report and asked Masters and Serreze if they were saying IPCC was wrong on the science.

“I would say that we always learn,” replied Serreze. “Have we learned a great deal since the IPCC 2001 report? I would say yes, we have. Climate science, like any other field, is a constantly evolving field and we are always learning.”

While I believe the weight of scientific evidence favors Coleman and D’Aleo, the larger importance of the UCS press conference is not whether global warming causes – in effect – more winter, but what the press conference illustrated about the alarmists’ oft-repeated assertions that “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.”

The IPCC Third Assessment Report was as straightforward as one can get asserting that global warming would cause a decline in heavy snow events. As the Senate chairman would say, while waving the IPCC report, “We have it….” But now that real-world evidence has proven IPCC wrong, the alarmists have pulled an about-face and are claiming global warming is causing more frequent heavy snow events.

Regardless of whether global warming is causing more heavy snow events, the alarmists’ about-face on snowfall calls to mind other alarmist global warming assertions that were supposedly “settled science”, but that were subsequently refuted by real-world climate conditions. The alarmists used to claim global warming was causing more hurricanes, but real-world data show hurricanes have fallen to historically lows levels.

The alarmists used to claim global warming was causing the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s mountain snowcap, but scientists now understand that local deforestation is the culprit. IPCC claimed in its 2007 assessment that global warming would likely melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035, but IPCC now admits there is no scientific basis for such an assertion. IPCC claimed in its 1990 assessment that global temperatures should rise 0.6 degrees Celsius between 1990 and 2010, yet NASA satellite data show global temperatures warmed by merely half that amount, at most.

For years, alarmists have claimed “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.” Well, when was the science settled? When global warming would allegedly cause Himalayan glaciers to melt by 2035, or now that it won’t? When global warming would allegedly cause fewer heavy snow events, or now that it will allegedly cause more frequent heavy snow events?

We could ask Frank Pentangeli, but Frankie Five Angles is no longer talking.


Deceived kids

Cool It, a new documentary about the “skeptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, poses a big question: What’s the best way to handle global warming? Lomborg has run afoul of climate change activists who support a single orthodoxy: cut carbon dioxide emissions by boosting the prices of fossil fuels.

But is climate change a bigger priority than poverty? The film crew visits a Nairobi slum school and a posh British private school. The kids are asked to draw their futures. The Kenyan kids draw houses with electric lights, a television, and a car. That’s not going to happen if fossil fuels cost a lot more. Meanwhile, a British girl sketches houses drowned by higher sea levels, an ozone hole, and dead penguins. A boy declares that the world is going to become 100 times warmer than it is now.

Far from despairing, the documentary ends by focusing on possible solutions, including new nuclear plant designs, biofuels from algae, and ambitious geo-engineering plans.


Close the EPA

It’s time to stop funding carbon mysticism with taxpayer dollars

As Congress looks for ways to trim the budget, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) represents an opportunity for up to $9 billion in savings. This outfit has become little more than an advocacy group for trendy leftist causes operating on the public’s dime. Many liberal policies being promoted are so unpopular that congressional Democrats can’t muster the votes to get them through the proper legislative process. So they go to the EPA instead.

That’s why the EPA announced Tuesday that it had revised the deadlines imposed on certain companies for reporting so-called “greenhouse gas” production. A facility that manufactures paper, for example, would have to determine whether it “emits 25,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e)” per year. The agency guesses that this covers about 10,000 businesses which would then be forced to measure their carbon-dioxide output, maintain detailed records and submit reports to EPA busybodies.

All of this extra work is required not to make companies more productive or more competitive in the marketplace. Instead, it increases the EPA’s power over the private sector in the name of fighting the purported effects of global warming.

Although we are led to believe that each metric ton of carbon dioxide brings the planet closer to the brink of destruction, companies won’t be compelled to report the greenhouse-gas emissions of their own employees, about a dozen of whom would produce a metric ton of carbon dioxide while breathing on the job for a year. “This carbon dioxide is part of a natural closed-loop cycle and does not contribute to the greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere,” the EPA website explains. “Natural processes of photosynthesis (in plants) and respiration (in plants and animals) maintain a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus, the carbon dioxide from natural process is not included in greenhouse-gas inventories.”

This line of thinking betrays the unscientific basis of the EPA’s endeavor. If a CO2 molecule is making the planet warmer, it doesn’t matter whether it came from a factory or an animal or a bureaucrat. It interacts with the atmosphere in exactly the same way. The EPA rule reflects a more mystical view of climate change in which individual CO2 molecules can differ. Mother Earth looks favorably upon molecules from “sustainable” sources. Those from SUVs, factories and cigars anger her. Instead of blessing the planet with cold, she will curse it with warmth.

The left isn’t even consistent with such beliefs. First lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign encourages kids to be less lazy and sedentary and increase their physical activity for better health. Never mind that this could be catastrophic to the planet. As a child’s muscles burn calories through exercise, respiration increases and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled can double. By comparison, encouraging children to take more naps would cut their carbon-dioxide output in half.

Mrs. Obama wants active lifestyle habits to carry over into adulthood, where a grown man can exhale as much as 150 grams of carbon dioxide when running for a mile - nearly as much as a Toyota Prius covering the same distance. Either exercising tots are not doing their part to save the planet, or carbon-dioxide molecules simply aren’t as evil as the EPA claims.

The House has voted to defund the EPA’s greenhouse-gas campaign. It ought to go further and ask why a federal agency is needed when all 50 states have their own departments of environmental quality, natural resources or environmental protection. If the left wants to pursue pseudo-scientific mysticism, it should do so without taxpayer money.


House Democrat to co-sponsor bill to 'rein in' EPA

House Republicans can claim "bipartisanship" in their bid to handcuff the EPA's climate change rules.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told POLITICO on Wednesday that he will be co-sponsoring the legislation from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) that puts a freeze on EPA's regulatory agenda for major industrial polluters like power plants and petroleum refiners.

"The EPA needs to be reined in," said Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee and a frequent critic of the agency.

Upton and Whitfield, the chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, have been offering small changes to their bill in their courtship of moderate and conservative Democrats like Peterson. Support from House Democrats, they hope, will put pressure on Senate Democrats and the Obama White House to accept their legislation.

"We want to get as many as we can, and we have reason to believe we'll have a number of Democrats," Whitfield told reporters.

House GOP aides were still trying to put a full list together of House Democratic co-sponsors as of late Wednesday and couldn't confirm additional names. But the field of potential Democrats numbers around 13, considering the list of lawmakers who crossed the aisle during last month's floor vote on anti-EPA language attached to the fiscal 2011 spending bill.


U.S. Is Inundated With Natural Gas, Record Output in 2010, Residential Prices Fall to 7 Year Low

According to data just released by the EIA, natural gas production in the U.S. reached an annual record high of 26.85 trillion cubic feet in 2010. That output was an increase of 3.22% above the previous record high last year, which pushed U.S. production in 2009 above Russia's, and made the U.S. the #1 producer of natural gas in the world.

On a monthly basis, natural gas production in December surged to 2.386 trillion cubic feet, which was almost 9% above the year-ago level, and set a new all-time record for the most gas ever produced in a single month (see chart below):

The record high level of production in 2o1o and record monthly output in December helped drive the average residential gas price for the month of December down to $9.86 per 1,000 cubic feet, the lowest monthly average since February 2004, almost 7 years ago (data here), see graph below:

From yesterday's WSJ:

"The U.S. is inundated in natural gas, and the glut may not ease any time soon. Domestic production last year hit its highest level in almost 40 years, and 2011 will likely see another year of strong production. That means another year of subdued electricity prices and pressure on drillers' bottom lines as well as a powerful incentive for companies and other consumers to switch to the heating fuel.

With no way to export large quantities of gas and a drilling boom fueled by easy availability of credit and widespread international interest in U.S. gas assets, the glut is seen continuing through 2011.

"Rising production will once again overwhelm demand, leading to yet another year of low prices," Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Revielle said in a research note.

In its latest outlook, the EIA saw U.S. production increasing by 0.8% this year, while deliveries to consumers are expected to rise by 0.3%. For consumers, that means cheaper electricity prices and inexpensive gas for heating and cooking in homes and businesses."

MP: At the same time that oil and gasoline prices in the U.S. are surging due to political unrest in the Middle East, prices for residential natural gas in the U.S. are falling to 7-year lows. Maybe one of the lessons here is that by opening up our domestic energy reserves to drilling for natural gas and oil, we get the multiple benefits of: a) reduced dependence on foreign oil, b) less exposure to what will likely be ongoing turmoil in the oil-rich Middle East, and c) lower energy prices.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

New icebreaker needed in the Baltic

When your former prime minister goes public and declares that the government should buy a new icebreaker, then you're not talking about Britain – yet. This is former prime minister and industrialist Tiit Vähi, who comes from Estonia. He believes that the state should urgently order a new icebreaker, "Instead of spending money on buying icebreaking services."

At the moment, Estonia has two icebreakers, the Tarmo (pictured below) and Zeus, but "difficult ice conditions" in the Gulf of Finland are forcing the Maritime Administration to look for a third.

The Gulf of Finland is covered by thick ice from the Estonian mainland to Osmussaar, making it possible for only large ships to reach Muuga Harbour. Recently, eight vessels were icebound near Kunda and Sillamäe. The situation has been no different on the Gulf of Riga, where the port authority is working its icebreaker Varma non-stop, and still needs help. Chaotic conditions have been reported.

The Baltic is no stranger to freezing conditions, but recently the ice has expanded into the central part of the sea, and in some regions there is simply not enough icebreaking capacity.

Already, the Estonian government has had to allocate €3 million extra for icebreaking, and since 14 February, its two icebreakers, have been working in the vicinity of the northern Estonian ports, yet as the ice conditions are getting more complicated. The need for reinforcements is inevitable, the Administration says.

Very recently, it was reported that, following another extended stretch of sub-zero temperatures, ice coverage on the Baltic Sea was greater than it had been for nearly a quarter century. About 100,000 square miles were covered. The last time so much had frozen was the winter of 1986-87, when ice covered nearly 150,000 square miles.

The problem is being seen as ongoing, and long term-investment is considered necessary to resolve it. In the short-term, the ice is expected to freeze over even more than 1987. But, what is so much fun here is that EU funded researchers, with €22 million of research grants, are claiming that the sea is threatened by "climate change".

Professor Aarno Kotilainen at the Geological Survey of Finland says: "Some estimates suggest that climate change in the Baltic Sea area causes sea surface temperatures to rise, increases winds and shortens the ice-cover season". Perhaps he should be looking out the window a little more often.

Certainly, Estonia economics minister Juhan Parts thinks a new icebreaker is needed. He says the situation is quite worrying. Severe ice conditions are expected to last another three to four weeks and there is only one reserve vessel available for emergencies. Arrangements to use it depend on the needs of Finland and Sweden.

That makes spending the €22 million on climate change research a real shame. It would have been a useful down-payment on that new icebreaker. But then it is only the meteorologists who are warning that ice coverage on the Baltic could expand further in the coming days, possibly setting a new record. What do they know? The proper, EU scientists are working from computer models, and they beat real evidence any day. There is no ice ... move along please.



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


5 March, 2011

The Greenies are steadily destroying civilization

Which is exactly what they intend

Wind Shortfalls Make Grid Guys Nervous

When it comes to integrating wind into the transmission lines, system operators say that they are challenged. While they understand and appreciate the reasoning, they are saying that the networks lack the flexibility to handle wind variation.

Green energy has a lot of public appeal. But the intermittent nature of wind and solar power coupled with the relatively higher costs put the grid’s traffic cops in an untenable position. Those are the fellows whose job it is to schedule the resources to where they need to be so that the electricity keeps flowing. Their task is to maintain that reliability with the lowest-priced fuels.

“We have to be truthful about what the impact will be,” says Jim Detmers, principal in Power Systems Resources and the former chief operating officer of the California ISO. “The devil is in the details. These new embedded costs will be significant.” Better communication with policymakers is essential.

In the case of California, it now has 3,000 megawatts of wind. In a few years, that will be 7,000 megawatts. A few years later, it will be 10,000 megawatts. By 2020, the goal is to have 33 percent of electricity generated from renewable energy. “That’s making grid operators nervous,” says Detmers, who spoke at Wartsila’s Flexible Power Symposium in Vail, Colo.

Simply, the wind does not blow on demand. Ditto for the sun. So these resources must be backed up with other, “dispatchable” forms of generation. But such “firming” or “cycling” creates two distinct issues: The first is that the power is not free and the second is that if coal plants are “cycled” up and down, they release more pollutants per unit of output than if they ran full steam ahead.

No doubt, the price of wind and solar energy is falling while their productivity rates are increasing. But the technologies still have a ways to go.

“If you are a grid operator, you must be dispassionate and follow the engineering,” says David O’Brien, former head of the Vermont’s Department of Public Service and now a consultant for Bridge Energy Group, during a phone call. “The best thing they can do is to provide the data to their stakeholders and to be an honest broker. But they have to ultimately accept the policy mandates.”

Public Demands

According to Steve Lefton, director of Intertek Aptek who also spoke at the Wartsila conference, those base-load coal units developed decades ago were never designed to firm-up wind generation. They were made to run at full capacity. So when they are used as such, they create excess emissions.

As wind energy increases its market share, thermal plants can be expected to rev up and down more often. If coal is the main fuel source that is dispatched, it will decrease the emissions savings from wind.

“The actual emissions reduction rates from wind are far less than what the lobbyists are touting,” if system operators do not have the flexibility to use cleaner backup fuels, says Brannin McBee, energy analyst for Bentek Energy, a speaker at the conference. “Thermal plant cycling is also very expensive,” particularly if the older coal plants are used to firm up the wind generation.

With the public demands to increase green energy growing, what might be an optimal firming fuel? The answer could be natural gas. Regulators tend to favor it because it releases far fewer emissions than coal while the price is expected to remain low at $4-$7 per million BTUs.

Coal facilities without carbon capture and sequestration cannot get the permits to operate, says Doug Egan, chief executive of Competitive Power Ventures. And if the plants are built with such capacity they are too costly. Even those with coal gasification that nearly eliminate the sulfur, nitrogen oxide and mercury but which don’t capture and bury the carbon are prohibitively expensive, he adds.

In recent years, developers have abandoned their plans to build 38 coal plants, says the Sierra Club. Meanwhile, it says that 48 more can be expected to be retired.

Natural gas is the most plausible option to firm up wind and solar. More than enough of it exists with the recent discoveries of shale gas, the unconventional source that is extracted from rocks more than a mile beneath the ground using hydraulic fracturing. That withdrawal technique, though, is under fire from some community organizations that say it is polluting their drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants developers to voluntarily disclose the chemicals they are using as a way to ease tensions. Producers are balking for now, saying its exploratory methods are proprietary.

“Fracking can be dealt with,” says Egan. “Producers will share their secret sauce. It will make it the process slightly less efficient. But a deal with get cut.”

Managing a grid and keeping the lights on is difficult. Green energy’s role will increase but so too will the challenges associated with delivering it -- facts that must be relayed to policymakers and customers alike. Older coal plants present the most issues but the newer gas-fired generation may be more accommodating.


Reckless, Quixotic Fantasies

At what point do environmentalist liberals become accountable for the results of their policies instead of their allegedly good intentions? Why isn't President Obama held accountable for his ideologically based interference with lower oil prices?

Obama has repeatedly shown his willingness to use his executive authority discriminatorily to implement his preferred environmental policies. On the presidential campaign trail, he bragged that he would ensure that any company that built a coal-fired plant would go bankrupt. By charging coal-powered plants "a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," he would "generate billions of dollars that we (could) invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches."

He also made no secret of his intention to pressure Americans into driving hybrids or into taking alternative means of travel entirely. His transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, arrogantly boasted that the administration would "coerce people out of their cars." In justifying the administration's push for public mass transit options, LaHood said, "We have to create opportunities for people who want to ride a bike or walk or take a streetcar." Obama's ill-conceived and cost-prohibitive high-speed rail proposal is similarly fueled by this obsession.

Have we detected any concern by the administration about the economic impact of all of this? Then again, how often do environmentalist zealots concern themselves with economic realities?

Research has shown, for example, that if the United States were to adopt the Draconian cap-and-trade policies urged by the administration, it could cause a loss in gross domestic product of $9.4 trillion by 2035 and increase each family of four's share of the national debt by $115,000. Never mind that the policies would have a trivial impact on future concentrations of greenhouse gases and have no meaningful impact on global temperatures, even by 2100.

Not that we need more proof, but we might recall Obama's lawless defiance of a federal court order blocking his moratorium on offshore drilling -- a moratorium that would further exacerbate our lack of domestic oil production, our dependence on foreign oil and the high price of oil to the American consumer.

The unmistakable lesson is that such is the myopic zealotry of environmentalists like Obama that they would implement policies virtually guaranteed to harm our economy significantly, even when they offer no promise of appreciable environmental benefits.

It is doubtlessly this factual backdrop that led Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to accuse the Obama administration of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars. Barbour cited Energy Secretary Steven Chu's comment that a gradual increase in gasoline taxes could coax consumers into dumping their gas guzzlers and finding homes closer to where they work. Higher gas prices, according to Chu, could force investments in alternative fuels and spur us to embrace "cleaner energy sources."

I think Barbour has a point, especially in view of Obama's attitude and energy policies. But we needn't get bogged down in this ongoing debate over whether Obama sets out intentionally to harm the economy or even to raise gas prices. We must, however, hold him accountable for his damaging policies, irrespective of his intentions.

On that note, The Heritage Foundation argues that Obama's policies are indeed making gas prices higher. This week, the price of a barrel of crude oil surpassed $100 for the first time since September 2008. Heritage acknowledges that Middle East turmoil has had an impact, but long before this chaos, experts were predicting $4-a-gallon prices by the summer and $5-a-gallon gas by 2012 because of "increased oil demand worldwide."

So what's the obvious solution? Well, increasing domestic oil production comes to mind. But the administration has done just the opposite -- to the direct detriment of the American people.

Both Chu and White House press secretary Jay Carney have insisted that the remedy is to develop alternative energy sources to decrease our dependency on foreign oil. That's just peachy in theory and something to continue to explore for the long run. But in the short run, it is a reckless, quixotic fantasy -- a tilting at windmills.

Windmills, incidentally, are not the answer. Heritage experts argue that wind and solar energy sources are miniscule and "entirely irrelevant to gasoline supply in the transportation sector." The administration's other alternative sources of energy, such as corn and electric cars, "won't help a bit." Corn-based ethanol produces less energy than gasoline, "contributes to food price increases, costs taxpayers $4 billion to produce 2 percent of the total gasoline supply, and has dubious environmental effects." Electric cars are "prohibitively costly and environmentally suspect."

Wake up, folks. Regardless of Obama's intentions, his energy policies are, at best, grossly negligent and irrefutably damaging to Americans and our economy.


Electric cars Show Lackluster Sales

Autoblog reports that the Chevy Volt sold 281 units in February, down from 321 in February. Meanwhile, sales of the Nissan Leaf dropped from 87 to 67. The trend seems pretty dismal

It's going to take a long time at this rate to hit their sales target. Here's Charles Ghosn, the CEO of Renault, saying that he's going to sell 500,000 electric cars a year by 2013:
On the eve of the market debut of the Nissan Leaf electric car, Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the Renault-Nissan alliance, said the only constraint on sales for the next three years will be how many battery packs the factories could churn out.

Deliveries of the Leaf are scheduled to start next month. Mr. Ghosn, speaking to reporters in Washington on Monday afternoon, did not say just how many he expected to sell in the first three years. He said, however, that the Leaf would hit 500,000 units a year in three years. Mass production, he explained, would lower costs enough to make the car a sales success without subsidies sooner than once expected. He said he once thought that number was a million cars a year, but now believed it was from 500,000 to 1 million.

173 down, 499,827 to go.

The planning for the Volt has been similarly optimistic flights of fancy:
Production of Chevrolet's Volt was supposed to be limited to 10k units this year, a target GM has already set its sights on surpassing. With 2012 volume projections now reaching 25k units, the next step in The General's quest to prove that the Volt is a viable vehicle is a staggering goal: doubling its 2013 production target from 60k to 120k units of production. According to Bloomberg, GM has not officially announced the 120k volume goal and may not build that many Volts in 2013 at all, if energy prices and supplier challenges don't allow it. And though supplier issues could well leave the goal out of reach, even if GM is able to ramp up production to fulfill its 120k unit goal by next year, there are no signs yet that the market will support those production levels. After all, GM is essentially banking on the kind of volume-to-price niche that BMW has taken years to cultivate with its 3 Series... which starts at prices slightly below the Volt's $41k, and still moved fewer than 110k units last year.

As Autoblog says, the question is: "Why?" Is this just the slow ramp-up of new production? Are the dealers falling down on the job? Did weather and the short month keep buyers off the lots? Did we simply need to see higher gas prices to goose demand, meaning that sales will now take off? Or did two major auto manufacturers dump huge sums of money into a technology that is struggling to get its sales volumes into the four figures?

It certainly wouldn't be the first time that companies have made this sort of colossal misjudgment. It wouldn't even be the first time an auto company has done so. (Remember the Edsel)? March and April sales volumes should be telling: gas prices are high, and the Leaf is supposed to hit 4,000 production units this month. If volumes remain low, we may be looking at green elephants.


Greenpeace Co-Founder Slams Species Extinction Scare Study as proof of how 'peer-review process has become corrupted'

Greenpeace Co-Founder and ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, slammed a new study claiming a dramatic and irreversible mass species extinction. “This [journal Nature] article should never have made it through the peer-review process,” Moore told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “The fact that the study did make it through peer-review indicates that the peer review process has become corrupted,” Moore, the author of the new book "Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout,” added.

“The authors [of the journal Nature study] greatly underestimate the rate new species can evolve, especially when existing species are under stress. The Polar Bear evolved during the glaciation previous to the last one, just 150,000 years ago,” Moore explained.

The new alarming species mass extinction study was described in an article in Yahoo News and AFP on March 4, 2011 titled: 'World's sixth mass extinction may be underway: study.' The AFP article reported: Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth's history, according to a paper released by the science journal Nature. Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species, and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases, says the study. [End article excerpt.]

But Moore, in an interview with Climate Depot, refuted the claims of the species study. “The biggest extinction events in the human era occurred 60,000 years ago when humans arrived in Australia, 10-15,000 years ago when humans arrived in the New World, 800 years ago when humans found New Zealand, and 250 years ago when Europeans brought exotic species to the Pacific Islands such as Hawaii,” Moore explained.

“Since species extinction became a broad social concern, coinciding with the extinction of the passenger pigeon, we have done a pretty good job of preventing species extinctions,” Moore explained.

“I quit my life-long subscription to National Geographic when they published a similar 'sixth mass extinction' article in February 1999. This [latest journal] Nature article just re-hashes this theme,” he added. Moore left Greenpeace in 1986 because he felt the organziation had become too radical. Moore also challenges man-made global warming fears. See: Greenpeace Co-Founder Dr. Patrick Moore Questions Man-Made Global Warming, Calls it 'Obviously a Natural Phenomenon'

This is not the first time Moore has gone to battle of alarming claims of species extinction. In the 2000 documentary “Amazon Rainforest: Clear-Cutting The Myths”, Moore bluntly mocked species extinction claims made by biologist Edward O. Wilson from Harvard University. Wilson estimated that up to 50,000 species go extinct every year based on computer models of the number of potential but as yet undiscovered species in the world.

Moore said in 2000: “There's no scientific basis for saying that 50,000 species are going extinct. The only place you can find them is in Edward O. Wilson's computer at Harvard University. They're actually electrons on a hard drive. I want a list of Latin names of actual species.” Moore was interviewed by reporter Marc Morano (now with Climate Depot) in the 2000 Amazon rainforest documentary:

Environmental activist Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief was asked in the 2000 documentary if he could name any of the alleged 50,000 species that have gone extinct and he was unable.

“No, we can't [name them], because we don't know what those species are. But most of the species that we're talking about in those estimates are things like insects and even microorganisms, like bacteria,” Keating explained.

UK scientist Professor Philip Stott, emeritus professor of Biogeography at the University of London, dismissed current species claims in the 2000 Amazon rainforest documentary.

“The earth has gone through many periods of major extinctions, some much bigger in size than even being contemplated today,” Stott, the author of a book on tropical rainforests, said in the 2000 documentary.

“Change is necessary to keep up with change in nature itself. In other words, change is the essence. And the idea that we can keep all species that now exist would be anti-evolutionary, anti-nature and anti the very nature of the earth in which we live,” Stott said.



Three current articles below

Wind farms hurting rural communities

WIND turbines are closing in on four generations of the Quinn family who still live at Mt Bryan in South Australia's picturesque and productive Mt Lofty Ranges.

Rosemary Quinn, 74, says she spends her nights locked inside the 1900s stone house she has occupied for 55 years. She shuts the windows and sets the ceiling fan on high to cover the noise of the wind turbines 2km away.

Quinn's son Bill and his wife Jenny are about to gamble their 200ha property in a Federal Court challenge to the expansion plans of wind farm developer AGL.

Bill Quinn's daughter Deb, 32, who works for businesses that profit from the wind farm developments, is worried about the future of her daughter, Jacqueline, and what long-term exposure to nearby wind turbines may mean.

The Quinns are not alone.

They are part of an increasingly vocal army of people in rural settlements who believe they have become collateral damage in Australia's rush to embrace wind as an alternative energy to combat climate change.

Stories such as the Quinns', and much, much worse, are scattered through the more than 1000 submissions to a Senate inquiry into the effect of wind farm developments on rural communities.

The inquiry by the Senate community affairs committee has certainly received many submissions of support for wind-farm developments to meet the federal government's 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020. Local community and sporting groups have praised the donations they have received.

But alongside the positive feedback are stories of gag orders, split communities, strongarm tactics and details of awful physical symptoms that people feel sure are the result of living in the auditory and sun-flicker shadow of wind turbine developments that are sweeping the rural landscape.

Family First senator Steve Fielding, who pushed for the Senate inquiry, says: "This is not a question about the viability of renewable technologies. It is to have a look at any adverse health effects for people living in close proximity."

He says the Senate committee has approached the inquiry with an open mind, but "certainly there are people whose health has deteriorated to the stage that they have had to move out at a complete loss to themselves".

Glenn Brew of Evansford in Victoria, near the controversial Waubra wind farm, has told the committee he was beginning to think he had a brain tumour until he discovered that other farmers in the area were experiencing headaches similar to his when they were close to the turbines.

Steven Hilary, 50, also of Waubra, has told the committee he is convinced the turbines pose a serious health risk.

"On April 22nd at 4am I suffered a heart attack and to date I have been continually suffering blood pressure issues, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, nausea, unbearable tinnitus and disrupted sleep patterns that led to numerous ambulance trips to hospital," he wrote.

The Senate inquiry clearly has opened a can of worms: affected rural residents believe city dwellers with a penchant for green power have been happy to ignore the situation. Despite what opponents may say, this is not a community backlash that can be dismissed as being rooted in climate change denial or greed.

When Rosemary Quinn first heard wind turbines were coming to her area she visited the already established wind farm developments at Yorke Peninsula and Cape Jervis to have a look. "I thought they were a terrific invention and we really needed to get all this green power," she says.

"People now just say I have got a set against them and if they passed us a lot of money it would be all right, but I had a sermon in church this morning that money doesn't matter. I don't want their money, I just want some peace and quiet in the last months of my life."

Sarah Laurie, a South Australian GP who has become a rallying point for people concerned about health effects from living near wind turbines, also cannot be written off as a stalking horse for big coal or the nuclear industry, as her detractors would suggest.

Laurie has worked among South Australia's Aboriginal communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, where her husband still works as a travelling dentist.

She is a progressive with rooftop solar panels on her Crystal Brook property, and has alienated some friends by asking inconvenient questions about the green revolution. "I still am supportive of wind turbines in the right place," Laurie says. "I believe it is a siting issue primarily and we need to get the information in order to site the turbines safely.

"We have a window of opportunity now to get this right. If we don't I am concerned there is an unfolding public disaster. "This is not a NIMBY [not in my back yard] issue," Laurie says. "I don't think they should be in anybody's back yard."

All Laurie is requesting is that rigorous tests, independent of the industry or concerned residents, be carried out. Laurie knows her research, which catalogues a series of health effects among those living near wind turbines, will always be considered tainted by the fact there is a proposal for a wind farm near her own property. But her findings mirror the results of other research that has also struggled for official recognition from the wind industry and government agencies.


Brown's green jobs to deindustrialise Australia

Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich

Politicians love ‘creating’ jobs, especially when these jobs serve a ‘greater good,’ such as fighting climate change. Greens leader Bob Brown recently praised Germany’s renewable energy policy.

Brown believes that investment in green technologies saved Germany’s economy from the global financial crisis. This in itself is a questionable assertion: the German GDP fell by 4.7% in 2009, and despite a 3.6% growth in 2010, output has not returned to pre-crisis levels.

Senator Brown also claims that ‘330,000 extra jobs have been created in Germany because of legislation moving to a clean, green energy future.’ If only.

The figure of 330,000 green energy jobs may well be true if you add up all employees working in industries such as wind energy, biomass and solar power. But were these ‘extra’ jobs ‘created’ as a result of green legislation? And at what cost?

First, it is necessary to count the costs of the alleged green jobs miracle. A study by the respected economic research institute RWI concluded that every single worker in these industries had been supported to the tune of €175,000 ($240,000). Given this enormous subsidy, it is remarkable how few jobs have been created.

In Germany, subsidies for renewable energies are paid for by energy users. Renewable energy suppliers can feed their production into the grid at guaranteed high prices; the additional cost of green electricity is passed on to private and business energy users.

As consumers have to pay more for power than they would have otherwise, they cannot spend the money elsewhere. Job losses then occur in other industries. In particular, high energy costs threaten energy-intensive industries such aluminium smelting, steel and cement.

The future of Germany’s largest aluminium smelter Rheinwerk, employing more than 600 people in the city of Neuss, hangs in the balance as high energy costs leave it uncompetitive. The weekly Die Zeit recently reported that Rheinwerk is only producing at 10% capacity despite a growing global demand for aluminium.

Aluminium is not an exception. According to the RWI study, net employment effects of green energies are minimal and may well be negative. Instead of creating ‘extra’ jobs, renewable energies are destroying jobs. These lost jobs are dispersed across the economy and not always easy to spot.

This week, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger warned that high energy taxes had triggered a ‘creeping process of deindustrialisation’ in Germany. As regulatory elements accounted for more than 40% of energy costs, companies were moving their activities abroad, he said. Far from creating green industries, German eco-subsidies have led to industrial decline.

Maybe that is what Senator Brown would like to see in Australia as well.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 4 March Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Carbon tax no climate cure-all: Lomborg

CARBON taxes can do little to change global warming, controversial Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg said in Australia this week, but it could fund a genuine solution. In Dr Lomborg's view, that solution lies in the ubiquitous availability of cheap green energy.

"The current solution is to make fossil fuels so expensive that nobody will want them," Dr Lomborg said, adding that this is "economically inefficient and politically impossible".

Instead, he thinks the world should be innovating "to make green energy so cheap that everyone will want it". "This is not about subsidies to green energy, it's about innovation."

Dr Lomborg, currently an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School, is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It. He is often branded a climate change skeptic, but his skepticism is these days directed more at the economic solutions proposed to address climate change.

"Global warming is real, it's a man-made problem, it's something we need to fix," he said on Tuesday. "Any economist would say that CO2 is bad and it should be taxed in principle."

However, he added, "The best economic analysis suggests that damage cost of CO2 is about $7 a tonne. So by all means (impose a tax) but it will reduce CO2 emissions very little." "Focusing on the tax is putting the cart before the horse. What we really need to do is focus on the innovation, and a carbon tax is a way to fund that innovation."

Citing Richard Tol, a climate economist who believes the potential effects of climate change are overplayed, Dr Lomborg poured cold economic water on the long-term benefits of a direct assault on fossil fuels. His assessment of the Kyoto Protocol is that it would cost about $180 billion per year by 2100, and reduce global temperatures by 0.00°C.

Dr Tol's modelling of the objective to reduce global temperatures by 2°C by 2100 came up with a bill of $40,000 billion per year, with each dollar spent avoiding only two cents of climate damage.

"We fail to remember that we don't burn fossil fuels to annoy Al Gore," Dr Lomborg observed. "We burn fossil fuels because they power virtually everything we like."

His solution, which he says stems from the work of several leading economists, including a handful of Nobel winners, is to direct 0.2 per cent of global GDP toward research and development of breakthrough green energy technologies. The cost would be about $100 billion a year ($1.6 billion for Australia), with a claimed return of $11 for each dollar invested.

"I don't think we should focus on a particular issue—solar or wind. Some things won't come through. Those that do will power the rest of the 21st Century." "Fundamentally, it's a much cheaper way to do much more good."



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


4 March, 2011

Thing Of The Past : Winter 2010-2011 Was The Third Snowiest On Record In The Northern Hemisphere

It's probably very boring of me but I think I should point out the satirical bits in Steve's post below. The "rate of more than 40 degrees per century" is of course quite mad. It is an extrapolation from the last decade and is meant to lampoon Warmist extrapolations from one recent short period.

The final disclaimer is a mockery of the Warmist claim that the 1930s were warmer than the 2000s only in the USA and that the 2000s were hottest everywhere else -- JR

Three of the four snowiest Northern Hemisphere winters since 1967 have been in the last four years. Four of the five snowiest winters have been since CRU experts told us that children won’t know what snow is.

(From here)

This has coincided with plummeting winter temperatures. Over the last decade, US winter temperatures have been falling at a rate of more than 40 degrees per century.

(From here)

Disclaimer : The Northern Hemisphere makes up only a tiny percentage of the planet.


Are humans to blame for snowstorms?

The media is flush with articles this morning claiming global warming is the cause of the multitude of heavy snow events the past two winters. The news hook is a March 1 press conference in which the Union of Concerned [Leftist] Scientists presented two scientists making such a claim.

A Union of Concerned Scientists press conference claiming humans are causing a global warming crisis would typically be about as newsworthy as a Union of Concerned Socialists press conference claiming capitalism is causing a global equality crisis. This is, after all, what the Union of Concerned Scientists does.

The two scientists speaking at the press conference, Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground, and Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, claimed warmer temperatures allow the atmosphere to hold more moisture, which results in higher snowfall totals. Masters and Serreze clearly are weather experts, but are they right about global warming causing – in effect – more winter?

Longtime AccuWeather forecaster Joe Bastardi doesn’t think so. Responding to a similar assertion by Al Gore, Bastardi said, “We’ve had the third snowiest weather in Northern Hemisphere history, but moisture in the snow pack is below normal. Which means it’s not [snowier] because there’s more moisture but because it’s been colder. He’s just not looking at the facts. With the global temperature collapsing, you can’t be saying, ‘Well, it’s getting colder because it’s getting warmer.’ That’s the opposite argument they were using when the temperature was going up.”

Other weather experts, including meteorologist Anthony Watts, point out that real-world atmospheric conditions refute the “global warming is causing more snow” theory. Specifically, Watts notes that atmospheric humidity has been declining for decades.

Moreover, the past two North American winters were notably cold rather than notably warm. This would seem to contradict the assertion that warmer air soaked up more moisture, causing the higher snowfall totals.

Then there’s the pesky issue of “consensus.” Alarmists typically counter any fact-based global warming argument with the assertion that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already ruled on the issue, and therefore “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.” “Mild winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” IPCC claimed in its 2001 Third Assessment. Now that real-world conditions show otherwise, alarmists are changing their tune. Well, which is it? Can the alarmists please pick a story line and then stick with it?

Maybe Masters and Serreze are right, and maybe they are wrong. Either way, the heavy snow event issue shows deep cracks in the allegedly impenetrable alarmist armor.


British Green Movement Backed Murderous Libyan Regime

New evidence raises growing concerns that environmentalism is the sinister tool of fascist politics. Revelations from a crumbling Libyan dictatorship show an enforced green agenda propped up by a discredited UK establishment.

Latest news highlighted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (March 3, 2011) strengthens claims by global warming skeptics that not only are extreme political radicals controlling the green movement but that there exists an increasing popular rising against this sinister trend.

What will come as a shock to most citizens not fully engaged in the long running climate debate is that there has been a new twist in the controversy revealing a dark and dangerous undertone to the once innocent and non-political green movement. No longer are the rank and file of the environmentalist movement comprised of animal-loving, kind natured innocents that we remember from our childhood. No, quite the contrary as the misguided support of zealots such as Britain’s Lord Stern and Prince Charles have backed Libyan ogre, Colonel Gaddafi.

Libyan Evidence Proves Existence of Secret Eco-fascism

The shabby British-Libyan partnership of extremism first became apparent back in 2007. But only now does the BBC finally pay some attention as the Libyan dictator slaughters his own people in a desperate attempt cling to power. Finally, we get an insight into the relationship between the Gaddafi family and various British institutions and politicians.

At the time Lord Stern trumpeted the Gaddafi plan boasting it, “will show how environmental and cultural objectives can help to build a thriving and sustainable local economy in a crucial part of the world.”

However, not is all as it seems while the BBC are still keeping tight-lipped over the link between Saif Gaddafi, London School of Economics Professor David Held and Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband.

Also prominent amongst UK greens praising the crumbling Libyan government is mendacious big mouth Prince Charles who is currently tight-lipped about his favored "world’s first sustainable region" – now revolting after forty-one years under the evil boot of Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam.

Despite local Libyan people long opposing Gaddafi’s plan it was enforced on them with the connivance and support of UNESCO, WWF and the Prince of Wales School of Traditional Arts.

Ultra-green London School of Economics in Secret Libyan Cash Deal

But the story gets worse as Greg Hurst and Dominic Kennedy, reporting in the Times (March 3, 2011), reveal that the ultra green London School of Economics (LSE) secured a secret £1 million deal to train hundreds of members of the Libyan dictator’s future green elite.

Hurst and Kennedy explain that LSE’s underhanded dealings with the Gaddafi regime were revealed after whistleblowing website WikiLeaks uncovered secret diplomatic cables.

The Times reports:

“The NEDB [Libyan National Economic Development Board] is co-operating with the UK Government and the London School of Economics (Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi’s alma mater), among other UK institutions, on an exchange programme to send 400 ‘future leaders’ of Libya for leadership and management training. Eventually, [an official of NEDB] explained, 250 additional Libyan ‘future leaders’ would also be trained in Libya.”

LSE staff are financed by Gaddafi money and recently argued that Libya was less likely to have a revolution because it had “more pronounced tribalism” giving Libyans a fair stake in society.
An embarrassed LSE has tried to pass off the despicable collaboration as a “purely education endeavour”. This nonsensical statement is hardly surprising being that Lord Giddens, the former LSE director, regards Gaddafi as “impressive” and “genuinely popular.”

Although evidence is yet to be uncovered that proves their claim some skeptics insist Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi’s PhD from the LSE was bought as part of the disreputable deal.


Not So Fast! “Clean Energy” and the Depressed Economy

The New York Times recently gave editorial space to four former governors to share their economic and political brilliance on how to revitalize our economy. While all four dazzled readers with their wisdom, I have decided to highlight the brilliance of Bill Ritter, Jr., the former Democratic governor of Colorado, who urges Americans to embrace “clean energy.”

Ritter claims clean energy will “re-energize the economy”:

Building this new economy starts with understanding how clean energy legislation can create jobs. During my four-year term in Colorado, I signed 57 pieces of clean energy legislation. In 2007, for example, we doubled the proportion of energy in the state that is required to come from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020. In 2010, we increased that to 30 percent for our biggest utility. As a result, Colorado now ranks fourth among the 50 states in its number of clean energy workers per capita, and 1,500 clean energy companies call our state home — an 18 percent increase since 2004. Wind- and solar-energy companies that have built factories and opened offices in Colorado have brought in thousands of new jobs.

Ritter continues with more of his “accomplishments,” and then urges Americans to follow President Obama’s plans:

Last year we capped our clean energy work with a bill that required shutting down several dirty, inefficient coal plants and replacing them with cleaner energy fuels, principally natural gas.

President Obama’s goal to produce 80 percent of America’s energy from clean sources by 2035 is absolutely achievable. But as Washington ponders its next move on energy legislation, governors can and should lead the way.

Socialism Failed

Unfortunately, while the rhetoric sounds promising, everything he wrote is nonsense. Like most American politicians, Ritter fails to understand that socialism really is a failure, and that a 25-year plan for “clean energy” development has no more chance of succeeding than any of the infamous Five-Year Plans first hatched by Josef Stalin. Colorado and the U.S. government don’t send critics of their plans to the gulag, but the “clean energy” advocates do demand that the authorities use the iron fist of coercion to achieve their goals.

My question is this: If these energy sources are so wonderful and such great investments, why do all those ventures have to be subsidized directly by tax dollars or indirectly by government mandates? If these were the profitable and job-creating ventures that Ritter claims they are, why have private firms not jumped in without the government promise to backstop their losses?

Internalize the Externalities!

If the answer is that the government has favored oil by socializing some of its costs, then the proper solution is: Internalize all the costs and let all products compete on a level playing field — no favors, no obstacles.

In a truly free market, entrepreneurs make profits by directing resources from lower valued to higher valued uses – as ultimately determined by consumers. The “clean energy economy” of which Ritter speaks assumes government knows what kinds of energy we should be using. It cannot have such knowledge. Only the free market can say.

It is impossible to build a sustainable economic recovery on subsidized “green energy,” no matter how much rhetoric to the contrary comes from Washington and the governors’ mansions. An economy cannot grow unless entrepreneurs freely can mesh their plans with consumer wishes. For Ritter to claim that government can coerce us into prosperity is not alternative wisdom; it is delusion.


Wacky Europeans trying to put even more of their energy supplies at the mercy of mad Muslim regimes!

The world’s largest energy megaproject has begun. Desertec will spend the better part of a trillion dollars on solar energy plants in North Africa, the electricity from which will be transmitted via undersea cables to Europe. The notion that this project is an eco-fantasy is quickly felled by investigating the heavyweight European businesses involved in the Desertec Industrial Initiative. Broadening the investigation into other media and activist groups involved yields useful insights into environmentalism. For instance:

During the early years of the Climate Change campaign, the Holtzbrincks (a family of impeccable German-aristocratic and Nazi pedigree) purchased Scientific American and Nature magazines. These media outlets profoundly influenced the Climate Change debate.

Bertelsmann AG, controlled by Germany’s Mohn family (also militant Nazis), is Europe’s largest media conglomerate and the top publisher of English-language books. Mohns’ current matriarch, like her recently deceased husband, is a full member of the ultra-green Club of Rome.

Among Europe’s most effective environmental activist organizations are: German Business Forum for Sustainable Development, E8, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, CSR Europe, European Wind Energy Association, and the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association.

Desertec is to supply 15% of total European electricity needs from North Africa! Another cornerstone of Europe’s green energy plan is the replacement of coal and uranium with natural gas. North Africa is to be the main gas supplier.


South Carolina Bill Would Overturn Federal Light Bulb Ban

A bill by South Carolina State Representatives Bill Sandifer and Dwight Loftis would allow for the manufacture and purchase of incandescent light bulbs in South Carolina that are currently subject to a federal ban that begins to take effect in Jan. 2012.

“State Representatives Sandifer and Loftis are taking the lead in protecting the rights of South Carolina consumers, who don’t want the federal government telling them which light bulbs they must use,” Bill Wilson the President of Americans for Limited Government said.

“The basic concept of the bill is to allow the citizens of South Carolina to be able to continue to buy incandescent light bulbs,” said State Representative Bill Sandifer, Chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee.

“It is my strong belief that the feds have overstepped the Tenth Amendment, and now are venturing into telling us what kinds of lighting we can have in our homes,” Sandifer added.

But how can the federal government ban light bulbs? “They are trying to use again as they have so often done, the Commerce Clause. But I have a real problem with Big Brother intruding in how I live in my home,” Sandifer declared.

Explaining what the bill does, Representative Loftis said “it provides for the option of an entity manufacturing these bulbs in South Carolina to be sold in South Carolina”.

Wilson explained, “since the bulbs would be made entirely in South Carolina and sold in South Carolina, the federal government has no power to regulate it under the Interstate Commerce Clause.”

Sandifer said that there would be more hearings at the subcommittee level before it comes up for a final vote in his committee. He is hopeful for full House approval for the bill.

Loftis blasted the federal ban on incandescent light bulbs, saying, “On the one hand, the feds say we need to do something about cleaning up the environment, and on the other hand, they impose requirements that we use this particular light bulb that has hazards with the disposal of it.” The new fluorescent bulbs are laced with mercury, raising concerns over the costs of proper disposal and over mercury seepage back into the environment.

“All in all, it’s just something that the feds really I think have no business in regulating,” Loftis said, saying that the supposed cost savings from using the bulbs simply will not be there for consumers.

Loftis said that passage of the bill may depend on how environmental groups respond to it. “What side are they going to take?” Loftis asked. “Are they going to take the side of clean disposal? Or are they going to take the side of potentially putting some of the hazardous materials in the landfill or back out into the environment?”

Wilson said the issue came down to protecting the rights of consumers to be free to make their own choices, saying, “The government is attempting to micromanage our decisions as consumers. The federal government has no power to tell South Carolinians, or any citizen, what types of lighting they are allowed to use. Representatives Sandifer and Loftis deserve the support of their constituents to help overturn this tyrannical dictate by the federal government to use unsafe, mercury-laced bulbs.”

Wilson concluded, “Thomas Edison would be turning over in his grave if he knew that his invention, one of the greatest in human history, was being banned.”

The federal legislation effectively banning incandescent light bulbs, the “Energy Independence and Security Act,” was enacted in 2007.



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


3 March, 2011

Wind fantasies are not new

Wind power is a medieval technology that most people visualize coming from Dutch windmills in the 1600’s and 1700′s. The 1600’s were also known for the Tulip Bulb Mania, which the Dutch fittingly called “windhandel” (“wind trade”) because no tulip bulbs were actually trading hands. Tulips were traded on the decentralized stock exchanges in the taverns of Dutch towns, typically using a slate board to post bid prices.

The famous Dutch artist Hendrik Gerritsz Pot’s 1640 painting “Flora’s Wagon of Fools” depicted Flora, the goddess of flowers, riding in a “wind powered car” with attached tulip bulb flag, a drunk openly drinking an alcoholic beverage, a monk or priest with tulips in his hood and carrying a money bag, a two-faced Goddess of Fortune, and followed by a horde of true believing weavers who had abandoned their trade to chase a get rich quick scheme.

The painting is eerily contemporary to our times. Replace tulips with wind power, and slate boards with “cap and trade exchange,” “feed-in-tariffs" and “green power tax credits,” and you have the makings of a modern day Wind Power Mania.

Larger copy of the painting here

Wind versus fracking

America is running out of natural gas. Prices will soar, making imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) and T Boone Pickens’ wind farm plan practical, affordable and inevitable. That was then.

Barely two years later, America (and the world) are tapping vast, previously undreamed-of energy riches – as drillers discover how to produce gas from shale, coal and tight sandstone formations, at reasonable cost. They do it by pumping a water, sand and proprietary chemical mixture into rocks under very high pressure, fracturing or “fracking” the formations, and keeping the cracks open, to yield trapped methane.

Within a year, US recoverable shale gas reserves alone rose from 340 trillion cubic feet to 823 trillion cubic feet, the Energy Department estimates. That’s 36 years’ worth, based on what the USA currently consumes from all gas sources, or the equivalent of 74 years’ of current annual US oil production. The reserves span the continent, from Barnett shale in Texas to Marcellus shale in Eastern and Mid-Atlantic states – to large deposits in western Canada, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and other states (and around the world).

Instead of importing gas, the United States could become an exporter. The gas can move seamlessly into existing pipeline systems, to fuel homes, factories and electrical generators, serve as a petrochemical feedstock, and replace oil in many applications. States, private citizens and the federal government could reap billions in lease bonuses, rents, royalties and taxes. Millions of high-paying jobs could be “created or saved.” Plentiful gas can also provide essential backup power for wind turbines.

Production of this much gas would reduce oil price shocks and dependence on oil imports from the likes of Gadhafi and Chavez, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Talk about a game changer!

What’s not to like? Plenty, it turns out. The bountiful new supplies make environmentalist dogmas passé: the end of the hydrocarbon era, America as an energy pauper, immutable Club of Rome doctrines of sustainability and imminent resource depletion, the Pickens’ Plan and forests of wind turbines.

What to do? Environmentalists voiced alarm. HBO aired “Gasland,” a slick propaganda film about alleged impacts of fracking on groundwater. Its claims have been roundly debunked (for instance, methane igniting at a water faucet came from a gas deposit encountered by the homeowner’s water well – not from a fracking operation). A politically motivated Oscar was predicted, but didn’t happen.

The Environmental Protection Agency revealed a multiple personality disorder. Its Drinking Water Protection Division director told Congress there is not a single documented instance of polluted groundwater due to fracking. (Studies by Colorado and Texas regulators drew the same conclusion.)

EPA’s Texas office nevertheless insisted that Range Resources was “endangering” a public aquifer and ordered the company to stop drilling immediately and provide clean water to area homes. EPA officials then failed to show up at the hearing or submit a single page of testimony, to support their claims.

Meanwhile, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced plans to conduct a “life-cycle” or “cradle-to-grave” study of hydraulic fracturing drilling and gas production techniques, to assess possible impacts on groundwater and other ecological values. Depending on whether the study is scientific or politicized, it could lead to national, state-by-state or even city-by-city drilling delays, bans – or booms.

The industry and many states that have long experience with drilling and are confident the needed regulations, practices and testing procedures are already in place. They voice few worries, except over how long a life-cycle study could take or how political it might become. In fact, it’s a very useful tool.

But if a life-cycle study is warranted for hydraulic fracturing, because drilling might pass through subsurface formations containing fresh water, similar studies are certainly called for elsewhere: wind turbine manufacturing, installation and operation, for instance.

Turbines require enormous quantities of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earth minerals – all of which involve substantial resource extraction, refining, smelting, manufacturing and shipping. Land and habitat impacts, rock removal and pulverizing, solid waste disposal, burning fossil fuels, air and water pollution, and carbon dioxide emissions occur on large scales during every step of the process.

Over 95% of global rare earth production occurs in China and Mongolia, using their technology, coal-fired electricity generation facilities and environmental rules. Extracting neodymium, praseodymium and other rare earths for wind turbine magnets and rotors involves pumping acid down boreholes, to dissolve and retrieve the minerals. Other acids, chemicals and high heat further process the materials. Millions of tons of toxic waste are generated annually and sent to enormous ponds, rimmed by earthen dams.

Leaks, seepage and noxious air emissions have killed trees, grasses, crops and cattle, polluted lakes and streams, and given thousands of people respiratory and intestinal problems, osteoporosis and cancer.

In 2009, China produced 150,000 tons of rare earth metals – and over 15,000,000 tons of waste. To double current global installed wind capacity, and produce rare earths for photovoltaic solar panels and hybrid and electric cars, China will have to increase those totals significantly – unless Molycorp and other companies can rejuvenate rare earth production in the US and elsewhere, using more modern methods.

Made in China turbines are shipped to the USA, trucked to their final destinations, and installed on huge concrete platforms; new backup gas generating plants are built; and hundreds of miles of new transmission lines are constructed. That means still more steel, copper, concrete, fuel and land. Moreover, the backup power plants generate more pollution and carbon dioxide than if they could simply run at full capacity, because as backups for turbines they must operate constantly but ramp up to full power, and back down, numerous times daily, in response to shifting wind speeds.

Wind farms require roads and 700-1000 ton concrete-and-rebar foundations, which affect water drainage patterns in farm country. The 300-500 foot tall turbines affect scenery, interfere with or prevent crop dusting over hundreds of acres, and kill countless birds and bats. Farmers who lease their land for wind turbines receive substantial royalty payments; neighbors are impacted, but receive no compensation.

Despite these ecological costs, wind farm projects are often fast-tracked through NEPA and other environmental review processes, and are exempted from endangered species and migratory bird laws that can result in multi-million-dollar fines for oil, gas and coal operators, for a fraction of the carnage.

Perhaps worst, all this is supported generously by renewable energy mandates, tax breaks, feed-in tariffs, “prioritized loading orders,” and other subsidies, courtesy of state and federal governments and taxpayers. In fact, wind power gets 90 times more in federal subsidies than do coal and natural gas, per megawatt-hour of electricity actually generated, according to US Energy Information Administration data. And wind-based electricity costs consumers several times more per kilowatt-hour than far more reliable electricity from coal, gas and nuclear power plants.
Simply put, the wind might be free, when it blows. But the rest of the “renewable, green, eco-friendly” wind energy system is anything but.

It might be far better all around to simply build the most efficient, lowest-polluting coal, gas and nuclear generating plants possible, let them run at full capacity 24/7/365 – and just skip the wind power.

Life-cycle studies would be a positive development – for all energy sources. In fact … “Think globally, act locally” might be a very good motto for EPA and wind energy advocates.


Australian scientist lectures The Institute of World Politics on climate and energy security

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, David Archibald, an Australian scientist working in the fields of oil exploration, medical research, climate science and energy, spoke at IWP on "Climate and U.S. Energy Security."

He started his presentation by putting current climatic conditions within the context of recent and historic records, and asked the question, "Is the world warming?"

Through various graphs showing temperature trends up to millions of years ago, Mr. Archibald showed that there has not been a change in average temperature since 1976, when the Great Pacific Climate Shift triggered the normal thirty-year cycle of warmer weather from colder temperatures. In fact, he explained, it was much warmer 1000 years ago - so much so that the sea level was a meter higher than it is at present.

Mr. Archibald then posed the question, for which he is famed in the climate debate, of whether carbon dioxide was linked to global warming. While the carbon dioxide heating effect is real and related to warming, it is minuscule and logarithmic.

Mr. Archibald said the logical reason for temperature increase is the sun. Predicted solar activity is used to predict climate, and the current prediction is for a 24-year cold period similar to that experienced at the beginning of the 19th century. In turn, the agricultural consequences of that cold period will be significantly reduced Canadian and other high-latitude grain production, drought in East Africa and South America, and reduced monsoonal strength in Asia.

Simultaneously with this colder-climate stress on agricultural production, world oil supply will shrink with a dramatic price response. Mr. Archibald stated that we "have to leave oil before oil leaves us," as it is becoming scarcer and costlier to extract. China's oil consumption has increased dramatically, and by the end of the decade, their import demand will be roughly the same as that of the United States.

When the price of a barrel reaches $120, Archibald believes it would be worthwhile to switch to coal or other forms of fuel that are cheaper to produce. Price substitution effects will drive the building of coal-to-liquids plants to serve the transport fuels market, and nuclear power will supplant coal in the power market. Thorium in molten salt reactors is advocated as the optimum nuclear process, as it produces less than 1% of hazardous waste, is far less toxic, and there is no long-term waste.

Mr. Archibald concluded his presentation with the outline of a plan for U.S. energy independence by 2020, which predominantly involves switching to natural gas and adopting the correct science, rather than getting caught up in internal politics.


Warmist gloomy about all the snow

Lots of fun here. He starts out saying he admires The Union of Concerned Scientists. Presumably he knows that they would more accurately be termed The Union of Far-Left Scientists. He then says, with some logic, that warming should in theory lead to more precipitation. I have said the same for years. What he ignores is that the logic concerned seems to have evaded all Warmists up until now. They previously said repeatedly that warming led to drought! There is only one problem with their "communication": their tendency to lie. Liars generally get caught out eventually

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group I greatly admire, has held a press conference (with attendant media coverage) to air an argument that is already quite intuitive to me, but is probably precisely the opposite for others: Namely, that global warming could mean more mega-snowstorms, of the sort North America has seen in the past several years.

On a physical level, the case is sublimely simple. One of the fundamental aspects of global warming is that it increases the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, because warmer air holds more water vapor. From there, it’s a piece of cake—more snow can fall in snowstorms than before. In making this case, the UCS drew in part on the awesome weather blogger Jeff Masters:

“The old adage, ‘It’s too cold to snow,’ has some truth to it,” said Masters. “A colder atmosphere holds less moisture, limiting the snowfall that can occur.” He cited a study that found that a high percentage—as much as 80 percent—of all snowstorms in the United States of more than 6 inches during the 20th century occurred during winters with above average temperatures.

“If the climate continues to warm,” he added, “we should expect an increase in heavy snow events for a few decades, until the climate grows so warm that we pass the point where it’s too warm for it to snow heavily.”

So the science makes sense--but on a psychological level, it seems to me that getting people to accept this most counter-intuitive of analyses is likely to be one of the biggest sticking points of all. Why’s that?

Well, first, people confuse climate and weather endlessly. We already know that. But that’s just the beginning of the problem.

Psychologists studying climate communication make two additional (and related) points about why the warming-snow link is going to be exceedingly difficult for much of the public to accept: 1) people’s confirmation biases lead them to pay skewed attention to weather events, in such a way as to confirm their preexisting beliefs about climate change (see p. 4 of this report); 2) people have mental models of “global warming” that tend to rule out wintry impacts.

“Perceptions of the implications of lots of snow for the existence of climate change are like the results from a Rorschach test,” writes Janet Swim, a psychologist at Penn State who headed up an American Psychological Association task force report on psychology and climate change.

Suggesting that he knows this well, Marc Morano is already blasting Jeff Masters and the Union of Concerned Scientists over the global warming-snow claim. Clearly, Morano feels he’s on strong ground here, tactically or otherwise.

I feel torn about this. On the one hand, winter snowstorms have drawn massive attention and have affected incredibly large numbers of people. They speak to everyone’s experience. Tying global warming to that would be incredibly powerful.

But at the same time, the hurdles presented are incredibly vast, and I’m not sure good scientific explanations, alone, can overcome them.

That doesn’t mean the UCS and Jeff Masters should leave this topic alone. Many people are open minded and want to know what’s going on with the climate system; and for the rest of the public, over time we may push them closer to a point where these ideas will go down more easily.


Deadly legionella bacteria threatens power-saving Greenies

HOUSEHOLDERS who turn down the heat on their hot-water systems risk the spread of deadly legionella bacteria. The bacteria was found in the tank-style hot-water systems of three of five legionnaires' disease victims, prompting SA Health to warn the only reason householders should set the temperature below 60C was if young children or the elderly lived in the house and could be scalded.

The suspected link to hot water systems was only revealed publicly in a report prepared for Parliament by the independent watchdog Public and Environmental Health Council.

When asked about the issue, SA Health told The Advertiser the legionella testing was done to identify the source of five Adelaide cases of the disease in a small area of north-eastern Adelaide in late 2009, with three of the five thought to be linked to bacteria found in hot water systems in the victims' houses.

In a written statement, Director of Public Health Protection Dr Chris Lease said: "SA Health continues to look at ways to further inform the community of the importance of safely using hot water storage tanks to avoid burns and scalds and also protect against legionella infection.

"Hot water storage tanks need to be set to store water at 60 degrees minimum to reduce the risk of legionella growth.

"All hot and mixed water sanitary outlets like shower, hand basin, bath taps, laundry sink that are not used on a daily basis should be flushed weekly with hot water at full flow for at least 15 seconds."

UnitingCare Wesley spokesman Mark Henley said there continued to be conflicting advice about the risks of legionella and scalding of children from health authorities.

"It is not surprising that low-income people do anything they can including adjusting the temperature of hot water systems because the cost of electricity is so high," he said.

A spokeswoman for SA Health denied there had been a cover-up and defended the fact that details of the link to hot water systems were never revealed. The spokeswoman said it was common practice in disease outbreaks not to reveal specific causes, and said warnings had been issued to councils and other health authorities.

Water heating contributes to about 40 per cent of household electricity bills, on average $600 each year, and hundreds of dollars could be saved by adjusting the temperature, depending on the age of the system.

The warning applies only to hot water systems that allow water to sit in a tank. Newer heaters which allow temperature adjustment from inside the home are not a danger.

Legionella infects up to 15 South Australians each year, with airconditioner cooling towers the major source.

Large increases in electricity and gas prices have caused many people to reduce the temperature down to as low as 40 degrees, but this can be a breeding ground for the legionella bacteria in heaters which have reservoirs of water which stand for a long time.

Instant hot water systems and newer systems which allow the temperature to be adjusted close to taps are not a risk.

Legionnaires' disease can occur if a person breathes in legionella-contaminated water vapour or dust. It cannot be spread from person to person. While the optimum temperature for it to thrive is 35 degrees it flourishes at between 25 and 45 degrees.

The use of warm water is common in nursing homes and other places where scalding is a threat and SA Health insists hot water systems which can store water at temperatures below 60 degrees must be:

INSPECTED once every month and recorded in a maintenance log book.

CLEANED once a month if impurities in the system are found.

DECONTAMINATED at least every six months.


No happy ending for carbon tax fairytale

Comment on the proposed Australian carbon tax

LIKE Goldilocks and the three bears, Australia's climate change response relies on believing that temperature changes (and their timing) are not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

It relies on believing the world can slow its production of carbon dioxide sufficiently to hold the temperature below a level at which catastrophic climate change can be avoided. The emissions forgone will come just at the right time, all going well.

There's not a lot of economics in it. Ross Garnaut, the government's climate change economic adviser, has thought about this a great deal. But his advice to government is to stick with an abatement strategy first and an adaptation strategy second.

In the update to his 2008 Climate Change Review, Garnaut argues: "There is still a chance of achieving strong mitigation objectives, and at worst we are headed towards materially less damage from climate change than would have been the case with no international mitigation effort at all."

The assumption of a reasonably direct relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the temperature level and damage arising from temperature change is a big call. To suggest that the world is heading towards materially less damage than would have been the case on the basis of present abatement is frankly heroic.

In 2008, Garnaut argued that "mitigation will come too late to avoid substantial damage from climate change". In his 2011 update he argues that "without in any way underplaying the importance of a large, well-designed and well-resourced adaptation effort, my own judgment is that there is no evidence at this time nor any danger of over-investment in mitigation at the expense of investment in adaptation".

There is, however, a strong connection between mitigation and adaptation. For droughts we build dams, for floods we build levees, for cyclones we rebuild stronger houses and replant crops. We have no option but to do these things. Indeed, when non-climate tragedies occur, such as earthquakes, we have no option but to rebuild. All of these things require energy. All of these things become more difficult if the price of energy rises.

Then there is the economics (and the politics).

Julia Gillard's bald-faced lying to the electorate that she would not introduce a carbon tax - as the central plank of an abatement policy - and then doing so is one thing. Her announcement that a carbon tax is an "essential economic reform" is quite another.

For the carbon tax to work, the price of carbon emissions will need to continue to rise, which means future governments will have to raise the tax. This is unlikely to occur. Certainty cannot be delivered under these circumstances.

I sympathise with economists that a price on carbon emissions would deliver the electricity industry and their customers secure power generation.

These things are not going to happen with a pricing mechanism that requires future governments to change the tax or the cap. Even with a carbon tax and a successful transition to a cap and trade system and future lowering of the cap, the likely medium-term changes to the Australian economy will be one or two power plants fired by gas and the de-commissioning of one or two coal-fired plants. Some reform, some abatement.

I sympathise entirely with economists that a price would work best, in lieu of subsidies for renewables. Linking solar and wind generation to the grid is proving a real headache. But a pricing mechanism will not solve the inadequacy of these technologies.

Australia's mitigation strategy has no hope of doing other than lining the pockets of gas and nonrenewable energy producers and risking any number of Australia's internationally competitive producers. The impact on global temperature will be nil.

There are no benefits in adopting low-emission energy production early, because we can easily pick up on what others do at a later time.

Australians buy television sets and computers, we do not invent them. We reap the rewards of adopting them. As we are unlikely to invent the low-emission, low-cost energy sources, we will not reap those benefits. Besides, inventors do not rely on the price of carbon for their reward. The patent alone will make them as rich as Croesus.

Tony Abbott's promise to overturn a carbon tax means a price mechanism is no longer an option. Of course, it never was an option because for the tax and-or the cap and trade to work effectively future governments would have to continue to raise the price of carbon emissions, which is a bit like asking them to raise the GST on a regular basis. It simply will not happen.

It is a brew that Goldilocks would find too hot to handle.



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


2 March, 2011

Lord Monckton's prophecy

The following email from Lord Monckton was copied to me and many others and I think it deserves to be reproduced in full. The essential point of it is however simple: The Muller project is a red herring. There is little interest in WHETHER there has been warming. The only issue is what caused it -- mankind or nature. And the Muller project does not address cause at all. The Guardian is already trumpeting the Muller work as ENDING the debate about global warming but in fact it does not even BEGIN to test global warming theory.

That is of course no disrespect to Prof. Muller. There seems reason to believe that he will do his work well, despite its limited relevance -- JR

The outcome of Muller's research project into the reliability of the official global temperature record will probably be as follows:

1. The accuracy of the terrestrial global mean surface temperature record for the 31 years since the satellites were watching - or at least a very close and statistically highly-significant correlation between the terrestrial and satellite records - will be confirmed.

2. Warming since the global record began in 1850 (if they decide they can go back that far), or since 1900 if they regard the 19th-century record as insufficiently complete, will be found to have been overstated by0.05-0.1 K.

3. Broadly speaking, and within the statistical error margin, the group's resuts will confirm the accuracy of the Hadley Centre/CRU record, while finding the NOAA/NCDC and GISS records rather exaggerated (but not exaggerated enough to fall outwith the statistical error margin).

4. On grounds of time and cost, the group will not consider the tamperings with the early-20th-century record over time that are most evident in successive changes to the GISS data, and have also been exposed in some of the underlying national datasets, particulaly thoe of Australia and New Zealand.

5. Instead, the group will refer to certain systemic regional inadequacies in the terrestrial temperature record, but will conclude (citing inter alia the near-identical linear global trend generated by the two satellite records and the Hadley/CRU record) that these regional inadequacies are insufficient to alter the global result enough to move it outwith its error-bars.

6. The group will not find that there is any systemic, as opposed to purely regional or intermittent, defect in the record-keeping. They will not - as things now stand - test their own results by using Ross McKitrick's dazzling idea of investigating whether there is a statistically-significant correlation between rates of regional industrial development and rates of warming in the corresponding regions. Two reasons: first, cost and time, and secondly - as the Guardian article revealingly reveals - Ross had not heard of the group's work, from which we may infer that it had not heard of his: for otherwise an honestly-conducted project would have contacted him by now to ask for further and better particulars of the data and methods that underlay his (still unchallenged, as far as I know) paper strongly suggesting that much of the warming in the past century was attributable to the exothermic consequences of growing industrial activity, rather than to greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere. His method remains the most powerful I have come across for independently testing the validity of global-temperature records such as that which the group is compiling. If I were the group, I'd be concerned that my results - which depend upon computer algorithms just as much as the official results, as the Guardian article reveals - might not pass the McKitrick test, and my entire project might be shown to have been valueless. If I were the group, I'd do a McKitrick test on our results before I went public with them - and I'd ask him to help us do it.

Bearing in mind that the findings will probably be as I have described them, how will the usual suspects spin the results? Bob Ferguson is right to be supicious: he has seen it all before, as we all have. The climate extremists are far more desperate to exorcise the ghost of Climategate than they will admit. They know that it was those thousands of emails that established just how politicized climate science had become, just how few scientists were actually driving the scare, just how unscrupulous they were in tampering with results and data of all kinds, just how viciously they maneuvered against scientists whose results countered the extremist position, and just how thoroughly nasty the climate extremist scientists are

I suspect that the Muller project - precisely because it will indeed be properly conducted and will produce results as fair as the group can make them, and precisely because it has obtained funding not only from the ClimateWorks Foundation etc. but also from the Koch Brothers - has been brought into being so that its results, broadly confirming the official record, can be trumpeted as showing how wrong the skeptics are, how pure the IPCC's science is, how clear all the official conclusions are. This is a classic diversionary tactic: for, although Jones and his crooked crew were indeed remiss in trying to withhold and destroy data about the temperature record to prevent other scientists from coming to realize what a mess the record was in, the most revealing aspect of Climategate had nothing to do with the temperature record itself. Instead, what it revealed was that anyone who produced serious data demonstrating low climate sensitivity was being subjected to what can only be described as a hate campaign. David Douglass, the conspirators' prime victim, telephoned me almost in tears, shocked that people in his own profession could have abused and misused him as they did in the 71 Climategate emails that referred to him. Ross McKitrick was another who was unkindly and inappropriately treated.

The climate sensitivity question - in the present context, how much of the obseved warming since pre-industrial times is fairly attributable to greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere - is where the true debate lies. So, when the group's broadly confirmatory results are published, the group itself will draw no political conclusions from it, because that is not the plan. It will be the Climategate clique that will crow. Newspapers like The Guardian will proclaim that a major blow has been dealt to the skeptics, that there is no longer any doubt about the seriousness of "global warming", that there is no longer any doubt about the fact that it is all our fault, that the economies of the West must be closed down, that the US, whose House of Representatives has dared to defund the IPCC, should be isolated and punished among the international community, etc., etc. The intention will be to conceal the fact that the group's results will say little or nothing about climate sensitivity, and - insofar as they merely confirm the present temperature record - will only be of marginal importance in its eventual determination.

How, then, should scientists genuinely concerned with the truth respond to the group's results? The following points might be made:

1. The group is to be congratulated for having published all of its data, algorithms, code, methods and results. That is how Phil Jones and his crew should have behaved from the outset.

2. The group's results are unsurprising, and are much as anyone reasonably familiar with the global temperature record would have expected. [Indeed, it is precisely because the results are and were always expected broadly to confirm the global record that the project was conceived in the first place].

3. Most serious scientists did not consider the global temperature record to have been too far from the published results.

4. However, legitimate concerns remain about the extent to which the terrestrial and even the satellite results have been contributed to by the direct heat emitted by the rapid industrialization of the 20th century.

5. Accordingly, the group's results tell us nothing - repeat, nothing - about what caused the warming that has occurred. The extent to which Man was responsible for the warming over the period is debatable, and it is here that the true scientific debate resides.

6. A similar group should now be formed, precisely to consider the climate sensitivity question independently of the defective IPCC process. That group should do what the IPCC and too many of its contributing scientists have conspicuously failed to do: it should make its data, methods and results fully available for proper scrutiny by other scientists.

7. Until the climate sensitivity question has been subjected to the same intellectual rigor and academic openness as the group has demonstrated in verifying the official temperature record, that verification in itself changes the central debate on climate sensitivity hardly at all.

The most urgent step that should now be taken is to put Ross McKitrick in touch with the group, so that he can work with them on testing their own results against regional variations in the rate of economic development. Or, even if the group does not welcome this approach, he should at least be ready to take their data and, as rapidly as possible, apply to it the same test that he applied in demonstrating the statistically significant - and perhaps to some extent causative - correlation between regional rates of economic development and regional rates of warming. To this end, I am copying this email to him. His conclusions, of course, do not in any way undermine those of the group itself as to the accuracy of the temperature measurements themselves: but they do raise serious questions about the extent to which greenhouse-gas enrichment is to blame.

The climate extremists, with nearly all of the news media on their side, will do their best massively to disseminate and spin the Muller group's results, particulary in the days and weeks immediately following their publication. It would be worthwhile to prepare the minds of some key world leaders for this onslaught, so that it will be to some extent discounted. Therefore, I am copying this email to parties in high places who will find it of interest.

And we should perhap try to brief one or two key journalists who are willing to print both sides of the argument. They can do much to defuse the effect of the coming campaign by discounting it in advance. Again, I am copying some of them in.

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie, Rannoch, Scotland, PH17 2QJ

The false promise of green jobs

Bjorn Lomborg

POLITICAL rhetoric has shifted from the need to respond to the "generational challenge" of climate change.

Investment in alternative energy technologies such as solar and wind is no longer peddled on environmental grounds. Instead we are being told of the purported economic payoffs, above all the promise of so-called "green jobs". Unfortunately, that does not measure up to economic reality.

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre asked Gurcan Gulen, a senior energy economist at the Centre for Energy Economics, Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, to assess the "state of the science" in defining, measuring and predicting the creation of green jobs.

Gulen concluded job creation "cannot be defended as another benefit" of well-meaning green policies. In fact, the number of jobs these policies create is likely to be offset - or worse - by the number of jobs they destroy.

On the face of it, green job creation seems straightforward. Deploying more wind turbines and solar panels creates a need for more builders, technicians, tradespeople and specialist employees. Voila: simply by investing in green policies, we have not only helped the climate, but also lowered unemployment.

Indeed, this is the essence of many studies that politicians are eagerly citing. So what did those analyses get wrong?

In some cases, Gulen finds proponents of green jobs have not distinguished between construction jobs (building the wind turbines), which are temporary, and longer-term operational jobs (keeping the wind turbines going), which are more permanent. Moreover, sometimes advocates have assumed, without justification, that the new jobs would pay more than careers in conventional energy.

In other cases, the definition of a green job is so fuzzy that it becomes virtually useless. If a sustainability adviser quits a concrete factory and goes to work instead for a renewable energy project, can we really conclude the number of green jobs has increased?

More disturbing is Gulen's finding that some claims of job creation have rested on assumptions of green energy production that go far beyond reputable estimates. Of course, if you assume vast swaths of the countryside will be covered in wind turbines and solar panels you will inevitably predict that a large number of construction jobs will be required.

But the biggest problem in these analyses is that they often fail to recognise the higher costs or job losses that these policies will cause.

Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind create significantly more expensive fuel and electricity than traditional energy sources. Increasing the cost of electricity and fuel will hurt productivity, reduce overall employment and cut the amount of disposable income that people have. Yet many studies used by advocates of green jobs have not addressed these costs at all, overlooking both the cost of investment and the price hikes to be faced by end users.

The companies calling for political intervention to create green jobs tend to be those that stand to gain from subsidies and tariffs. But, because these policies increase the cost of fuel and electricity, they imply layoffs elsewhere, across many different economic sectors.

Once these effects are taken into account, the purported increase in jobs is typically wiped out, and some economic models show lower overall employment. Despite a significant outlay, government efforts to create green jobs could end up resulting in net job losses.

Even if that is true, proponents might argue, investment in green jobs is nonetheless a good way to stimulate a sluggish economy. But Gulen shows there are many other economic sectors, such as health care, that could create more jobs for the same amount of government investment.

In addition to job creation, some researchers have blithely claimed all sorts of other economic benefits will accrue from investment in alternative energy, including increased productivity, higher disposable incomes and lower operating costs for businesses. Here, too, Gulen concludes the assertions are "not backed up by any evidence and are inconsistent with the realities of green technologies and energy markets".

The fundamental problem is that green-energy technologies are still very inefficient and expensive compared with fossil fuels. Deploying less efficient, more expensive alternative energy sources will hurt businesses and consumers, not help them.

In order for the whole planet to make a sustainable shift from fossil fuels, we need to make low-carbon energy both cheaper and more efficient.

That requires a substantial increase in research and development into next generation green energy alternatives.

Today's research budgets are tiny, and that desperately needs to change. In the meantime, the public should be cautious of politicians' claims that deploying today's inefficient, expensive technology will result in windfall benefits at no cost.


British study says green sector costs more jobs than it creates

Government support for the renewable sector in Scotland is costing more jobs than it creates, a report has claimed.

A study by consultants Verso Economics found there was a negative impact from the policy to promote the industry. It said 3.7 jobs were lost for every one created in the UK as a whole and that political leaders needed to engage in "honest debate" about the issue.

The Scottish government called the study "misleading" and said 60,000 jobs could be created by the sector by 2020.

The report, called Worth the Candle? The economic impact of renewable energy policy in Scotland and the UK, said the industry in Scotland benefited from an annual transfer of about £330m from taxpayers and consumers elsewhere in the UK.

It said politicians needed to recognise the economic and environmental costs of support for the sector and focus more on the scientific and technical issues that arose.

Richard Marsh, research director of Verso Economics and co-author of the report, said: "There's a big emphasis in Scotland on the economic opportunity of investing in renewable energy. "Whatever the environmental merits, we have shown that the case for green jobs just doesn't stack up."

Co-author Tom Miers added: "The Scottish renewables sector is very reliant on subsidies from the rest of the UK. "Without this UK-wide framework, it would be very difficult to sustain the main policy tools used to promote this industry."

A spokesman for the Scottish government said other studies had shown Scotland's natural resources and low carbon opportunities could bring "significant" economic benefits. He said: "This report is misleading. "Investment in energy by the private sector, which is ultimately paid for by consumers, has absolutely no impact on public services or public sector budgets - in fact, it is likely that investment leads to increased tax revenue.

"We are in no doubt about the positive impact that investment in low carbon technologies can have and nor are major international companies like Mitsubishi that are investing £100m in offshore wind in Scotland or domestic companies like Scottish and Southern Energy who are investing £100m in sustainable energy in Glasgow."

He denied the suggestion that UK consumers subsidised Scotland. He added: "Our abundant renewable resources assist all UK suppliers with their obligation to source a percentage of their sales from renewable generation - without this, the costs to deliver renewable ambitions and obligations across the UK and Europe would be significantly higher."


Reuters' Warmist deception

An excerpt from Reuters immediately below

Climate change could put trillions of investment dollars at risk over the next 20 years, a global study released on Wednesday said, calling for pension funds and other investors to overhaul how they allocate funds.

Risks from more extreme weather, continued delay in climate policy by governments and uncertainty over the shape of a new global climate pact were major concerns, while renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure could be opportunities.

The study, led by global investment consultancy Mercer, describes climate change as systemic risk because it challenges the conventional allocation of assets and requires new ways of assessing climate policy and change risks.

For example, global warming-related policy changes could boost the cost of carbon emissions for power generators, aluminum smelters, transport and other sectors by $8 trillion by 2030, said the report.


But what does the source report cited by Reuters actually say?

Unlike Reuters’ misrepresentation of the issue of risk due to “climate change”, the actual report is about risk due to “climate policy”. In other words, climate change is not causing a risk, government policies trying to respond to the issue are the real risk.

Governments create risk, Reuters creates alarm.


Barack Obama may be forced to delay US climate action

Barack Obama may be forced to order a two-year delay in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action on climate change to try to avoid a complete government shutdown, an environmental conference has been warned.

President Obama faces the prospect of a government shutdown by 4 March, with a funding gap leading to federal employees being sent home and government services temporarily closing down, unless he can reach a deal with Congress Republicans who are demanding a crippling $61bn (£38bn) in budget cuts. The house will begin debate on the spending bill on Tuesday following efforts at the weekend to avoid a government shutdown, with news reports suggesting Republicans might compromise on some of the cuts.

The Republican plan would destroy Obama's capacity to pursue his green agenda, cutting the budget of the EPA by 30%, and stripping funds for projects he has championed such as clean energy research and high-speed rail.

Obama may be forced to sacrifice the EPA's efforts to take the first steps this year towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions if it means he can continue funding the federal government for the next seven months.

"If I was predicting, I would say that he might sign a delay provision, to delay the EPA effort for two years or something like that. It probably depends on the particular circumstances," Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, told a conference at the Georgetown Climate Centre. "I would bet that if it was a delay, and it was part of a money bill that was really important, he would sign it," she said.

The Obama administration committed to cut emissions by 17% from 2005 levels at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009. The EPA took the first steps to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions on 1 January 2011.

The White House has said repeatedly that it would veto isolated measures to strip the EPA of its legal authority and funds to act on climate change. But officials have pointedly not offered the same assurances on whether the White House would be willing to risk a shutdown of the entire federal government to protect the agency and its green agenda.

Some have suggested that a freeze on the EPA, is among the least damaging options available to the adminstration, which is facing a wholesale assault on Obama's green-tinged "win the future" agenda.

Buried among the $61bn in Republican budget cuts are a series of measures that would strip the overall budget of the EPA by 30%. The cuts are aimed at restricting the EPA's legal authority and financial capacity to act on climate change, but they would also stop the agency from regulating broader concerns such as mountaintop mining removal and coal ash.

Bob Perciasepe, the deputy head of the EPA, called the cuts "reckless", and suggested they were motivated by Republicans' opposition to government regulation. "They are not concerned so much with fiscal policy but really with disabling part of the EPA's capacity to do its job," he told the Georgetown climate conference.

The Republican bill would specifically bar the Obama administration from funding programmes regulating greenhouse gas emissions, or connected to climate science and international negotiations for a deal to end global warming.

It cuts funds for the post of White House climate adviser, Carol Browner, who has announced her resignation, and the State Department climate envoy, Todd Stern. It de-funds the UN climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN body for climate talks, the UNFCCC.

The White House and Democrats in Congress have called the proposals extreme.

The EPA faces other challenges to its authority in Congress, aside from those in the spending bill. One proposal, which has Democratic as well as Republican support, would delay the EPA's efforts to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions this year.

Maryam Brown, chief counsel to the house subcommittee on energy and power, told the conference Republicans were united in their opposition to the EPA regulating greenhouse gas emissions. "All of those members agree that the Clean Air Act because of its structure is not the right tool for executing those policies," she said.


Stock Tomato Seeds! Global Warming Is Coming!

It must be a joke. The punchline is surely coming. Ha, ha! Hoarding tomato seeds! Bars on his basement windows! Hilarious! This guy really nails nuttiness. He’ll shame a few zealots, boy. But…wait a minute…I’m awfully close to the the end. When is this guy going to toss in the zinger, the gotcha!, the line which says it’s all a spoof? It never came! He was serious!

Thus was my shock when I finished Mike Tidwell’s “A climate-change activist prepares for the worst” in the Washington Post.

Tidwell tells us that he has long cared for the environment, that he did his part. But caring wasn’t enough, it was an emotion disproportionate to his soul-searing commitment. One can imagine Tidwell asking himself, “What other emotional states besides caring are available to me, such that I can show my dedication to the environment? Satisfaction? Clearly not. Worry? Too tepid. Concern? Insufficient. How about paranoia?”

“That’s it!” he must have shouted to himself. For what other emotion best explains his buying “a new set of deadbolt locks on all my doors”, a (presumably gas powered) generator, and a (yes) “starter kit to raise tomatoes and lettuce behind barred basement windows.”

Pause and re-read that. Did you notice the bars on his basement windows? Now, either he has purchased mutant tomato seeds from the Little Shop of Horrors or he has frightened himself into believing that crazed climate deniers will lay siege to his electrically powered fortress and its stock of juicy vegetables.

I’m know what you’re thinking, but Tidwell denies being a nut. He claims that he has taken his drastic actions because “we’re running out of time.” He says, “The proof is everywhere.”

When I re-read Tidwell, I felt like the weary cop listening to yet another citizen reporting a UFO. In the movies, the citizen senses the cop’s skepticism and, with clasped hands, pleads, “Don’t you believe me?” The cop always says, “I believe that you believe it.” The “UFO” turns out to be the porch light glinting off the wings of a moth. The citizen, if he has not believed in his mistake too long, laughs shyly and melts away.

But if he has cherished his sighting, no amount of evidence will convince him of his error. He will instead strain every possible strand of evidence to prove his UFO real. It is only a matter of time before he begins attending MUFON conferences where discussants agree that the only possible explanation for the lack of tangible evidence is (of course) conspiracy. It is a pathetic thing to see.

Tidwell saw a storm instead of a UFO, but he is certain sure that that storm, which knocked his power out for a few hours and prematurely thawed his meat, was sent by them. The pathos is evident: "After the August storm, I made the financially painful decision to buy the Honda generator. My solar panels, by themselves, can’t power my home. I spent $1,000 on the generator, money that would have gone into my 13-year-old son’s college fund. I’ve expanded my definition of how best to plan for his future".

Would it do any good to tell Tidwell that if the apocalypse comes his gas-powered generator, after giving glow to a light bulb or two for a week, will be useless for lack of fuel? Could he be convinced that his meager store of sun-starved tomatoes (they don’t grow well in dark basements) will not be the envy of climate refugees?

I am glad Tidwell has taken up skeet shooting for the good of his “immediate loved ones” because we could always use more advocates for Second Amendment rights. But if I were his mailman, I’d steer clear of his porch whenever there is a heat wave.



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


1 March, 2011

A new climate database to be constructed by a dedicated Warmist

Hard to see why when we have three of those already. Deciding on the answer before you do the research makes the research of negligible credibility. It would not surprise me if this group were acting to cut off a call for a real unbiased assessment. Anthony Watts and Pielke Sr. have now looked into it and think it's on the level, however

Muller calls his latest obsession the Berkeley Earth project. The aim is so simple that the complexity and magnitude of the undertaking is easy to miss. Starting from scratch, with new computer tools and more data than has ever been used, they will arrive at an independent assessment of global warming. The team will also make every piece of data it uses - 1.6bn data points - freely available on a website. It will post its workings alongside, including full information on how more than 100 years of data from thousands of instruments around the world are stitched together to give a historic record of the planet's temperature.

Muller is fed up with the politicised row that all too often engulfs climate science. By laying all its data and workings out in the open, where they can be checked and challenged by anyone, the Berkeley team hopes to achieve something remarkable: a broader consensus on global warming. In no other field would Muller's dream seem so ambitious, or perhaps, so naive.

"We are bringing the spirit of science back to a subject that has become too argumentative and too contentious," Muller says, over a cup of tea. "We are an independent, non-political, non-partisan group. We will gather the data, do the analysis, present the results and make all of it available. There will be no spin, whatever we find." Why does Muller feel compelled to shake up the world of climate change? "We are doing this because it is the most important project in the world today. Nothing else comes close," he says.

Muller is moving into crowded territory with sharp elbows. There are already three heavyweight groups that could be considered the official keepers of the world's climate data. Each publishes its own figures that feed into the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City produces a rolling estimate of the world's warming. A separate assessment comes from another US agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). The third group is based in the UK and led by the Met Office. They all take readings from instruments around the world to come up with a rolling record of the Earth's mean surface temperature. The numbers differ because each group uses its own dataset and does its own analysis, but they show a similar trend. Since pre-industrial times, all point to a warming of around 0.75C.

You might think three groups was enough, but Muller rolls out a list of shortcomings, some real, some perceived, that he suspects might undermine public confidence in global warming records. For a start, he says, warming trends are not based on all the available temperature records. The data that is used is filtered and might not be as representative as it could be. He also cites a poor history of transparency in climate science, though others argue many climate records and the tools to analyse them have been public for years.

Then there is the fiasco of 2009 that saw roughly 1,000 emails from a server at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) find their way on to the internet. The fuss over the messages, inevitably dubbed Climategate, gave Muller's nascent project added impetus. Climate sceptics had already attacked James Hansen, head of the Nasa group, for making political statements on climate change while maintaining his role as an objective scientist. The Climategate emails fuelled their protests. "With CRU's credibility undergoing a severe test, it was all the more important to have a new team jump in, do the analysis fresh and address all of the legitimate issues raised by sceptics," says Muller.

This latest point is where Muller faces his most delicate challenge. To concede that climate sceptics raise fair criticisms means acknowledging that scientists and government agencies have got things wrong, or at least could do better. But the debate around global warming is so highly charged that open discussion, which science requires, can be difficult to hold in public. At worst, criticising poor climate science can be taken as an attack on science itself, a knee-jerk reaction that has unhealthy consequences. "Scientists will jump to the defence of alarmists because they don't recognise that the alarmists are exaggerating," Muller says.

The Berkeley Earth project came together more than a year ago, when Muller rang David Brillinger, a statistics professor at Berkeley and the man Nasa called when it wanted someone to check its risk estimates of space debris smashing into the International Space Station. He wanted Brillinger to oversee every stage of the project. Brillinger accepted straight away. Since the first meeting he has advised the scientists on how best to analyse their data and what pitfalls to avoid. "You can think of statisticians as the keepers of the scientific method, " Brillinger told me. "Can scientists and doctors reasonably draw the conclusions they are setting down? That's what we're here for."

For the rest of the team, Muller says he picked scientists known for original thinking. One is Saul Perlmutter, the Berkeley physicist who found evidence that the universe is expanding at an ever faster rate, courtesy of mysterious "dark energy" that pushes against gravity. Another is Art Rosenfeld, the last student of the legendary Manhattan Project physicist Enrico Fermi, and something of a legend himself in energy research. Then there is Robert Jacobsen, a Berkeley physicist who is an expert on giant datasets; and Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Institute of Technology, who has raised concerns over tribalism and hubris in climate science.

Robert Rohde, a young physicist who left Berkeley with a PhD last year, does most of the hard work. He has written software that trawls public databases, themselves the product of years of painstaking work, for global temperature records. These are compiled, de-duplicated and merged into one huge historical temperature record. The data, by all accounts, are a mess. There are 16 separate datasets in 14 different formats and they overlap, but not completely. Muller likens Rohde's achievement to Hercules's enormous task of cleaning the Augean stables.

The wealth of data Rohde has collected so far - and some dates back to the 1700s - makes for what Muller believes is the most complete historical record of land temperatures ever compiled. It will, of itself, Muller claims, be a priceless resource for anyone who wishes to study climate change. So far, Rohde has gathered records from 39,340 individual stations worldwide.

Publishing an extensive set of temperature records is the first goal of Muller's project. The second is to turn this vast haul of data into an assessment on global warming. Here, the Berkeley team is going its own way again. The big three groups - Nasa, Noaa and the Met Office - work out global warming trends by placing an imaginary grid over the planet and averaging temperatures records in each square. So for a given month, all the records in England and Wales might be averaged out to give one number. Muller's team will take temperature records from individual stations and weight them according to how reliable they are.

This is where the Berkeley group faces its toughest task by far and it will be judged on how well it deals with it. There are errors running through global warming data that arise from the simple fact that the global network of temperature stations was never designed or maintained to monitor climate change. The network grew in a piecemeal fashion, starting with temperature stations installed here and there, usually to record local weather.

Among the trickiest errors to deal with are so-called systematic biases, which skew temperature measurements in fiendishly complex ways. Stations get moved around, replaced with newer models, or swapped for instruments that record in celsius instead of fahrenheit. The times measurements are taken varies, from say 6am to 9pm. The accuracy of individual stations drift over time and even changes in the surroundings, such as growing trees, can shield a station more from wind and sun one year to the next. Each of these interferes with a station's temperature measurements, perhaps making it read too cold, or too hot. And these errors combine and build up.

This is the real mess that will take a Herculean effort to clean up. The Berkeley Earth team is using algorithms that automatically correct for some of the errors, a strategy Muller favours because it doesn't rely on human interference. When the team publishes its results, this is where the scrutiny will be most intense.

Despite the scale of the task, and the fact that world-class scientific organisations have been wrestling with it for decades, Muller is convinced his approach will lead to a better assessment of how much the world is warming. "I've told the team I don't know if global warming is more or less than we hear, but I do believe we can get a more precise number, and we can do it in a way that will cool the arguments over climate change, if nothing else," says Muller. "Science has its weaknesses and it doesn't have a stranglehold on the truth, but it has a way of approaching technical issues that is a closer approximation of truth than any other method we have."

He will find out soon enough if his hopes to forge a true consensus on climate change are misplaced. It might not be a good sign that one prominent climate sceptic contacted by the Guardian, Canadian economist Ross McKitrick, had never heard of the project. Another, Stephen McIntyre, whom Muller has defended on some issues, hasn't followed the project either, but said "anything that [Muller] does will be well done". Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia was unclear on the details of the Berkeley project and didn't comment.


"No consensus". Just what is Muller up to?

In the article above Muller speaks as an unwavering Warmist -- e.g. "We are doing this because it is the most important project in the world today. Nothing else comes close" -- but below he admits that there is no consensus. The two positions are not strictly contradictory but are a surprising combination

An article in the Guardian this weekend [see above] tells about a Berkeley physics professor, Richard Muller, who has assembled a team of scientists for an initiative he calls the Berkeley Earth project. His goal is to do research on climate change by essentially starting over and creating new models from scratch. He intends to use different methods than the ones that have already been used to produce findings currently hailed as evidence for global warming.

Muller acknowledges that as of now, there is still no consensus on the state of warming, and that the skeptics have made legitimate criticisms of the methods used in research so far. He seeks to produce results untainted by political influence and, according to the Guardian, is strictly interested in scientific accuracy. "Science has its weaknesses and it doesn't have a stranglehold on the truth, but it has a way of approaching technical issues that is a closer approximation of truth than any other method we have," he said.


The corruption of climate science

Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Politicians formed the IPCC over 20 years ago with an endgame in mind: to regulate CO2 emissions. I know, because I witnessed some of the behind-the-scenes planning. It is not a scientific organization. It was organized to use the government-funded scientific research establishment to achieve policy goals.

Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But when they are portrayed as representing unbiased science, that IS a bad thing. If anthropogenic global warming - and ocean `acidification' (now there's a biased and totally incorrect term) - ends up being largely a false alarm, those who have run the IPCC are out of a job. More on that later.

I don't want to be misunderstood on this. IF we are destroying the planet with our fossil fuel burning, then something SHOULD be done about it.

But the climate science community has allowed itself to be used on this issue, and as a result, politicians, activists, and the media have successfully portrayed the biased science as settled. They apparently do not realize that `settled science' is an oxymoron.

The most vocal climate scientists defending the IPCC have lost their objectivity. Yes, they have what I consider to be a plausible theory. But they actively suppress evidence to the contrary, for instance attempts to study natural explanations for recent warming.

That's one reason why the public was so outraged about the ClimateGate e-mails. ClimateGate doesn't prove their science is wrong.but it does reveal their bias. Science progresses by investigating alternative explanations for things. Long ago, the IPCC all but abandoned that search.

Oh, they have noted (correctly I believe) that a change in the total output of the sun is not to blame. But there are SO many other possibilities, and all they do is dismiss those possibilities out of hand. They have a theory - more CO2 is to blame - and they religiously stick to it. It guides all of the research they do.

The climate models are indeed great accomplishments. It's what they are being used for that is suspect. A total of 23 models cover a wide range of warming estimates for our future, and yet there is no way to test them for what they are being used for! climate change predictions.

Virtually all of the models produce decadal time scale warming that exceeds what we have observed in the last 15 years. That fact has been known for years, but its publication in the peer reviewed literature continues to be blocked.

My theory is that a natural change in cloud cover has caused most of the recent warming. Temperature proxy data from around the world suggests that just about every century in the last 2,000 years has experienced warming or cooling. Why should today's warmth be manmade, when the Medieval Warm Period was not? Just because we finally have one potential explanation - CO2?

This only shows how LITTLE we understand about climate change.not how MUCH we know.

Why would scientists allow themselves to be used in this way? When I have pressed them on the science over the years, they all retreat to the position that getting away from fossil fuels is the `right thing to do anyway'.

In other words, they have let their worldviews, their politics, their economic understanding (or lack thereof) affect their scientific judgment. I am ashamed for our scientific discipline and embarrassed by their behavior.

Is it any wonder that scientists have such a bad reputation among the taxpayers who pay them to play in their ivory tower sandboxes? They can make gloom and doom predictions all day long of events far in the future without ever having to suffer any consequences of being wrong.

The perpetual supply of climate change research money also biases them. Everyone in my business knows that as long as manmade climate change remains a serious threat, the money will continue to flow, and climate programs will continue to grow.

Now, I do agree the supply of fossil fuels is not endless. But we will never actually "run out".we will just slowly stop trying to extract them as they become increasingly scarce (translation - more expensive). That's the way the world works.

People who claim we are going to wake up one morning and our fossil fuels will be gone are either pandering, or stupid, or both.

But how you transition from fossil fuels to other sources of energy makes all the difference in the world. Making our most abundant and affordable sources of energy artificially more expensive with laws and regulations will end up killing millions of people.

And that's why I speak out. Poverty kills. Those who argue otherwise from their positions of fossil-fueled health and wealth are like spoiled children.

The truly objective scientist should be asking whether MORE, not less, atmospheric carbon dioxide is what we should be trying to achieve. There is more published real-world evidence for the benefits of more carbon dioxide, than for any damage caused by it. The benefits have been measured, and are real-world. The risks still remain theoretical.

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth. That it has been so successfully demonized with so little hard evidence is truly a testament to the scientific illiteracy of modern society. If humans were destroying CO2 - rather than creating more - imagine the outrage there would be at THAT!

I would love the opportunity to cross examine these (natural) climate change deniers in a court of law. They have gotten away with too much, for too long. Might they be right? Sure. But the public has no idea how flimsy - and circumstantial - their evidence is.

In the end, I doubt the IPCC will ever be defunded. Last night's vote in the House is just a warning shot across the bow. But unless the IPCC starts to change its ways, it runs the risk of being totally marginalized. It has almost reached that point, anyway.

And maybe the IPCC leadership doesn't really care if its pronouncements are ignored, as long as they can jet around the world to meet in exotic destinations and plan where their next meeting should be held. I hear it's a pretty good gig.


Why Britain's £250bn wind power industry could be the greatest scam of our age - and here are the three 'lies' that prove it

By Christopher Booker

Scarcely a day goes by without more evidence to show why the Government's obsession with wind turbines, now at the centre of our national energy policy, is one of the greatest political blunders of our time.

Under a target agreed with the EU, Britain is committed within ten years — at astronomic expense — to generating nearly a third of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly through building thousands more wind turbines.

But the penny is finally dropping for almost everyone — except our politicians — that to rely on windmills to keep our lights on is a colossal and very dangerous act of self-deception.

Take, for example, the 350ft monstrosity familiar to millions of motorists who drive past as it sluggishly revolves above the M4 outside Reading. This wind turbine performed so poorly (working at only 15 per cent of its capacity) that the £130,000 government subsidy given to its owners was more than the £100,000 worth of electricity it produced last year.

Meanwhile, official figures have confirmed that during those freezing, windless weeks around Christmas, when electricity demand was at record levels, the contribution made by Britain’s 3,500 turbines was minuscule.

To keep our homes warm we were having to import vast amounts of power from nuclear reactors in France.

Wind turbines are so expensive that Holland recently became the first country in Europe to abandon its EU renewable energy target, announcing that it is to slash its annual subsidy by billions of euros.

So unpopular are wind turbines that our own Government has just offered 'bribes' to local communities, in the form of lower council tax and electricity bills.

In Scotland, the 800 residents of the beautiful island of Tiree are desperately trying to resist Alex Salmond's plans to railroad through what will be the largest offshore windfarm in the world, covering 139 square miles off their coast, which they say will destroy their community by driving away the tourists who provide much of their living.

So riddled with environmental hypocrisy is the lobbying for wind energy that a recent newspaper report exposed the immense human and ecological catastrophe being inflicted on northern China by the extraction of the rare earth minerals needed to make the giant magnets that every turbine in the West uses to generate its power.

Here in a nutshell are some of the reasons why people are beginning to wake up to the horrific downside of the wind business. And since I began writing about wind turbines nine years ago, I have come to see how the case for them rests on three great lies.

* The first is the pretence that turbines are anything other than ludicrously inefficient. The most glaring dishonesty peddled by the wind industry — and echoed by gullible politicians — is vastly to exaggerate the output of turbines by deliberately talking about them only in terms of their 'capacity', as if this was what they actually produce. Rather, it is the total amount of power they have the capability of producing.

The point about wind, of course, is that it is constantly varying in speed, so that the output of turbines averages out at barely a quarter of their capacity.

Furthermore, as they increase in number (the Government wants to see 10,000 more in the next few years) it will, quite farcically, become necessary to build a dozen or more gas-fired power stations, running all the time and emitting CO2, simply to provide instant back-up for when the wind drops.

This means that the 1,000 megawatts all those 3,500 turbines sited around the country feed on average into the grid is derisory: no more than the output of a single, medium-sized conventional power station.

* The second great lie about wind power is the pretence that it is not a preposterously expensive way to produce electricity. No one would dream of building wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy.

This comes in the form of the Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy scheme, paid for through household bills, whereby owners of wind turbines earn an additional £49 for every 'megawatt hour' they produce, and twice that sum for offshore turbines.

This is why so many people are now realising that the wind bonanza — almost entirely dominated in Britain by French, German, Spanish and other foreign-owned firms — is one of the greatest scams of our age.

We may not be aware of just how much we are pouring into the pockets of the wind developers, because our bills hide this from us — but as ever more turbines are built, this could soon be adding hundreds of pounds a year to our bills.

When a Swedish firm recently opened what is now the world's largest offshore windfarm off the coast of Kent, at a cost of £800 million, we were told that its 'capacity' was 300 megawatts, enough to provide 'green' power for tens of thousands of homes. What we were not told was that its actual output will average only a mere 80 megawatts, a tenth of that supplied by a gas-fired power station — for which we will all be paying a subsidy of £60million a year, or £1.5billion over the 25-year lifespan of the turbines.

* The third great lie of the wind propagandists is that this industry is somehow making a vital contribution to 'saving the planet' by cutting our emissions of CO2.

Even if you believe that curbing our use of fossil fuels could change the Earth's climate, the CO2 reduction achieved by wind turbines is so insignificant that one large windfarm saves considerably less in a year than is given off over the same period by a single jumbo jet flying daily between Britain and America.

Then, of course, the construction of the turbines generates enormous CO2 emissions as a result of the mining and smelting of the metals used, the carbon-intensive cement needed for their huge concrete foundations, the building of miles of road often needed to move them to the site, and the releasing of immense quantities of CO2 locked up in the peat bogs where many turbines are built.

When you consider, too, those gas-fired power stations wastefully running 24 hours a day just to provide back-up for the intermittency of the wind, any savings will vanish altogether.

Yet it is on the strength of these three massive self-deceptions that our Government has embarked on one of the most reckless gambles in our political history: the idea that we can look to the vagaries of the wind to provide nearly a third of the electricity we need to keep our economy running, well over 90 per cent of which is still currently supplied by coal, gas and nuclear power.

It is true that this target of raising the contribution made by wind by more than ten times in the next nine years was set by the EU. But it is no good blaming Brussels for such an absurdly ambitious target, because no one was keener to adopt it than our own politicians, led first by Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband and now by David Cameron and the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.

To meet this target, our Government wants to see us spend £100billion on building 10,000 more turbines, plus another £40billion on connecting them all up to the grid.

According to the electricity industry, we will then need to spend another £100billion on those conventional power stations to provide back-up — all of which adds up to £240billion by 2020, or just over £1,000 a year for every household in the land.

And for this our politicians are quite happy to see our countryside and the seas around our coasts smothered in vast arrays of giant industrial machines, all to produce an amount of electricity that could be provided by conventional power stations at a tenth of the cost.

This flight from reality is truly one of the greatest follies.

But what turns it from a crazed fantasy to a potential catastrophe is that Britain will soon face a huge shortfall in its electricity supplies, when we see the shutdown of conventional power stations, which currently meet nearly 40 per cent of our electricity needs.

All but two of our ageing nuclear power stations are nearing the end of their useful life, with little chance of them being replaced for many years.

Six of our large coal-fired stations will be forced to close under an EU anti-pollution directive, and our Government is doing its best to ensure that we build no more.

There is no way we can hope to make up more than a fraction of the resulting energy gap solely with wind turbines, for the simple and obvious reason that wind is such an intermittent and unreliable energy source.

Meanwhile, this country will soon be facing a colossal energy gap, while relying on politically unreliable countries such as Russia and Algeria for gas supplies.

What we are seeing, in short, is the price we are beginning to pay for the past two decades, during which our energy policy has become hopelessly skewed by the siren calls of the environmentalists, first in persuading our politicians to switch from coal and not to build any more nuclear power stations, and then to fall for the quixotic dream that we could gamble our country’s future on the 'free' and 'clean' power of wind and sun.

All over the EU, other politicians are waking up to the dead-end to which this madness has been leading us. The Danes, who have built more wind turbines per head than anyone, have realised the idiocy of a policy that has given them the highest electricity prices in Europe, while they have to import much of their power from abroad.

In Spain, their rush for wind and solar power has proved a national disaster. In Germany, having built more turbines than any other country in the world, they are now building new coal-fired stations like crazy.

In Holland, meanwhile, they have now given two fingers to the EU by slashing all their renewables subsidies.

Only in Britain is our political class still so imprisoned in its infatuation with wind that it is prepared to court this dangerously misguided pipedream.


Put the REINS on EPA

EPA’s end-run around democracy — the agency’s hijacking of climate policy via the backdoor of Clean Air Act regulations — is meeting stiff resistance on Capitol Hill.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has already held a hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would overturn EPA’s Endangerment Rule and an assortment of related rules imposing Clean Air Act permitting requirements on power plants, refineries, and other emitters of greenhouse gases. Passing the bill — sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) — is reportedly a top priority of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) have also introduced the “Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act.” This even stronger legislation would prohibit all agencies from “legislating’”climate policy under any existing statute, none of which was ever designed or intended for that purpose.

Not so long ago cap-and-trade advocates, such as Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), warned that if Congress did not enact “comprehensive energy and climate legislation,” opponents would end up with something they’d like even less — a cascade of Clean Air Act climate regulations promulgated by EPA. Cap-and-traders clearly implied that using the Act as a framework for climate policy would be worse for business — less efficient, less predictable, and potentially more costly. They tried to scare industry, Republicans, and coal-state Democrats into supporting cap-and-trade as a lesser evil.

But this just means that if EPA’s climate regulations were put to a vote, they’d have even less chance of passing in the 112th Congress than cap-and-trade did in the 111th Congress. It also means that non-elected bureaucrats are “enacting” an economically riskier version of the same agenda that Congress recently rejected.

As noted, Congress may put the kibosh on EPA’s power grab. But things should never have gotten to the point where the friends of affordable energy on Capitol Hill have to hold hearings, build coalitions, and endure vicious calumny just to stop EPA from implementing policies Congress never voted on or approved.

The Rot Runs Deep

EPA’s power grab is, alas, only the most egregious example of a more pervasive disorder undermining our Constitution and endangering our prosperity.

Americans live under a regime of regulation without representation. In the modern regulatory state, elected officials enact broad regulatory statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or the Telecommunications Act. However, Congress and the president then delegate to non-elected officials the tasks not only of developing and proposing but also of enacting the implementing rules.

Administrative agencies such as EPA end up wielding powers that the Constitution reserves to Congress. Article I, Sec. 1 of the Constitution vests “all legislative powers” in the Congress of the United States, and Article I, Sec. 8 gives to Congress the power to lay and collect taxes. Agencies have no constitutional authority to make law or raise taxes. Yet they issue thousands of regulations each year, all having the force and effect of law, and many functioning as implicit taxes that increase the cost of goods and services.

If asked whether bureaucrats should have the power to make laws and raise taxes, most Americans would unhesitatingly say no — and with good reason. In the political theory underpinning the U.S. Constitution, governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This means that all powers — legislative, executive, and judicial — originate with the people, and legitimate government arises from a compact whereby the people agree to delegate certain powers to certain offices or institutions. This means officials are the stewards, not the owners, of power. Just as legislatures have no right to seize powers the people have delegated to the executive, so they also have no right to transfer to the executive branch powers that the people have delegated to them.

John Locke, an English philosopher admired by Jefferson and many other Founders, succinctly explained what later came to be called the non-delegation doctrine:
The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands, for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it on to others.

Similarly, the Supreme Court, in the 1892 case of Field v. Clark, declared:
That Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President is a principle universally recognized as vital to the integrity and maintenance of a system of government ordained by the Constitution.

None of this is to say that Congress should not create regulatory agencies. Obviously, laws cannot anticipate all the circumstances to which they apply, and specialized knowledge is often required to apply laws even to foreseen or well-known circumstances. It is also obvious that Congress cannot review all the thousands of rules that scores of agencies promulgate each year.

Nonetheless, when an agency issues a rule with major potential impact on society, or when it issues a rule that would initiate a major change in public policy, the people’s representatives should have to approve the rule before it takes effect. Otherwise, we are no longer a self-governing people but a people ruled by bureaucratic elites.

Congress’s excessive delegation of lawmaking authority to agencies not only undermines the separation of powers, it is also a root cause of big, costly, activist government. When Congress and the president deputize agencies to legislate, elected officials escape responsibility for the compliance costs and economic impacts of the laws they enact. “We only approved the statute, not the regulation; don’t blame us!” Those who bear the costs of regulation — ultimately, all of us — are unable to reward or punish anyone at the ballot box for good or bad regulatory decisions.

In short, when elected officials take no responsibility for regulatory decisions, they have little incentive to consider costs when drafting regulatory statutes, and almost none to insist that regulators develop economically sensible rules.

As if that were not bad enough, delegation also enables lawmakers to talk out of both sides of their mouths. They can tout their support for regulatory statutes when addressing corporate rent-seekers and anti-market activists. They can also castigate out-of-control bureaucrats when addressing businesses squeezed by red tape and mandates. And from both groups they can collect big fat campaign contributions!

Restore the Separation of Powers

The good news is that Congress is considering a real solution: the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” or REINS Act, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY). REINS would require Congress to pass, and the president to sign, a joint resolution before a major agency rule can take effect. If either one or both chambers of Congress do not approve the resolution, or if both approve but the president vetoes, or if he vetoes and Congress does not muster the two-thirds majority required to override, then the regulation does not take effect.

REINS would, in short, end the regime of regulation without representation. For those interested in a detailed explanation of how the bill would work, see the excellent testimony of former CongressmanDavid McIntosh.

Somewhat surprisingly, not all limited-government advocates support REINS. Some worry that making Congress accountable for regulations would preclude judicial review of agency actions and preempt litigation to overturn or modify defective rules. New laws trump old laws. Consequently, these critics warn, if Congress enacts not only the regulatory statute but also the implementing rules, then any rule Congress approves must be legal even if the agency’s actions were arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. REINS, they fear, would legalize agency lawlessness.

This concern is certainly worth debating but I think it is unfounded. A joint resolution of approval would simply lift the Act’s pre-existing prohibition on agencies issuing rules of a certain scope or magnitude, namely, major rules. The resolution would not negate or suspend any statutory requirements under which the rule might be challenged in court.

Section 802 (g) of the REINS Act is quite clear on this point:
The enactment of a resolution of approval does not serve as a grant or modification of statutory authority by Congress for the promulgation of a rule, does not extinguish or affect any claim, whether substantive or procedural, against any alleged defect in a rule, and shall not form part of the record before the court in any judicial proceeding concerning a rule.

The concluding words would seem to settle the matter: The joint resolution allowing a rule to take effect “shall not form part of the record” judges may consider when reviewing that regulation.

EPA’s greenhouse regulatory surge may be the most extreme case ever of regulation without representation. Stopping EPA will not be easy, because to succeed, opponents must assemble legislative majorities and, perhaps, veto-proof majorities.

Moreover, while Messrs. Inhofe, Barrasso, Upton, Whitfield, and Walberg must appeal to their colleagues’ uncertain respect for constitutional principle, EPA’s apologists are free to appeal to colleagues’ all-to-human desire to have one’s cake and eat it. Many in Congress want EPA to enact the virtual energy taxes they dare not vote for.

It’s time to un-stack the decks. Administrative agencies should not be able to make the big policy decisions that “We, the People” elect Congress and the President to make. Under the REINS Act, EPA would have to pursue its Kyoto-inspired agenda the old fashioned, small “r,” republican way: through public discourse and persuasion, not regulatory fiat.


Past megadrought about to be repeated?

The only hope for rescue that they hold out is CO2-related global warming. Faint hope!

In a letter published recently in the journal Nature, Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers and an international team of scientists report that the Southwest region of the United States undergoes "megadroughts"—warmer, more arid periods lasting hundreds of years or longer. More significantly, a portion of the research indicates that an ancient period of warming may be analogous to natural present-day climate conditions. If so, a cooler, wetter period may be in store for the region, unless it is thwarted by increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that could warm the planet.

Using a long core of sediments obtained in 2004 from beneath a dry lakebed located on the Valles Caldera National Preserve—an 86,000-acre grassland located on the site of a dormant prehistoric volcano about 20 miles west of Los Alamos—the researchers were able to peer back in time into the climate as it existed between 360,000 and 550,000 years ago. Layers in the 260-foot-long sediment core were easily distinguishable, and were bounded by distinct layers of volcanic ash that allowed for very accurate dating. Researchers looked at chemical constituents trapped within the layers as well as plant and pollen debris to characterize the climate conditions of the time.

The sediment layers from beneath the South Mountain Lake covered two "interglacial" periods. Such periods are significant because they represent a time between ice ages when warmer temperatures mimicked present-day temperatures. The ancient interglacial period, known as Marine Isotope Stage 11—MIS 11 for short—lasted about 50,000 years and included, among several periods of climatic variation, one definitive megadrought period followed by a cooler period. Prior to the study, detailed data about MIS 11 had been scarce because most of the information was gathered from Antarctic ice cores or marine sediments. The terrestrial record obtained beneath South Mountain Lake revealed a bounty of information that nicely details the ancient climate.

The oldest warm period in MIS 11 appears somewhat analogous to the present-day Holocene interglacial period, which has been ongoing for about the past 10,000 years. During MIS 11, the ancient climate warmed dramatically by about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This warming in the wake of a preceding period of cold gave rise to an abundance of plant life and seasonally wet conditions. As warming continued, grasses and shrubs died off and lakes dried up. The ensuing drought lasted thousands of years before ending abruptly with a cooler, wetter period.

The research could indicate that the Southwest, having been through a present-day drought period that included the historic Dust Bowl, might be due for a change unless increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses interfere.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

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?"


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)