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, 2012

If Only We All Had (Liberal) Brains, We'd All Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

Marc Morano links below to some recent episodes in the long history of Leftist claims that conservatives are psychologically deficient. The first notable claims of that sort were promulgated in a famous book lead-authored by prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (Spanish-speaking readers may wonder why he had a surname that means "ornament" in Spanish. It was his mother's stage name. She was a dancer. His father's thoroughly Yiddish surname was "Wiesengrund", meaning "meadowland").

I spent much of my research career examinging the Adorno claims in depth and found that if one used true random samples of the general population, none of the correlations posited by Adorno emerged. Some details here. The plain fact of the matter is that Left and Right are not distinguished by mental health or by intelligence. They are psychologically different but not in ways that make them better adapted to life overall.

Two of the "research" claims alluded to below I have dissected in detail here and here (By Mooney and Eidelman respectively).

The important thing about Leftist claims is not therefore their verifiability but rather the platform they provide for the Soviet policy of throwing dissenters into psychiatric prisons. The Left used to describe the Soviets as "Liberals in a hurry". The logical corollary that liberals are just slowed-down Soviets tended to be avoided

A whole slew of new “research” on conservatives’ and global warming skeptics’ “brains” has hit the academic circuit.

First off, environment and sociology Prof. Kari Norgaard’s new study claims skeptics of man-made global warming fears should be “treated” for their skepticism. The study compares skepticism to man-made climate fears to the struggle against racism and slavery.

Prof. Norgaard’s concept of “treating” those who do not follow the current day’s political or social orthodoxy is, frightening, not new. A quick look at the 20th century totalitarian super states reveals many similar impulses.

It’s even more chilling that there is a whole new movement afoot by the promoters of man-made global warming theory to intimidate climate skeptics by using new brain “research.”

Other researchers have attempted to tie conservatism (which is identified with the highest number of climate skeptics) to “low brainpower.”

Some global warming promoters claim it is essentially “unethical” to be a skeptic.

Finally, still other climate activists have actually implied that we need to consider “human engineering” to combat global warming skepticism.

NYU Prof. S. Matthew Liao of Center for Bioethics says his human engineering solution “involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change'"

Here are a few more comments by Prof. Liao:

"We shall argue that human engineering potentially offers an effective means of tackling climate change...the possibility of making humans smaller. Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size...a more speculative and controversial way of reducing adult height is to reduce birth weight...Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy...could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral & market solutions for curbing climate change."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

It's OK to lie if you're Green

Some quotes from the latest IPCC report (from Chapter 4) that are not mentioned in the article below

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

I said on 29th that the latest IPCC report would be seen as an emergency by the Warmists and below we see their response: Twisting and denial.

Now that warming has stopped, "extreme" weather is their big talking point and the IPCC (see the quotes above) has just snatched that away from them

A GLOBAL lobby group has distributed a "spin sheet" encouraging its 300 member organisations to emphasise the link between climate change and extreme weather events, despite uncertainties acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

An "action pack" distributed by Global Campaign for Climate Action said members "shouldn't be afraid to make the connection", despite the sometimes low level of confidence in the official documents of the IPCC. The action pack, which was produced to coincide with the release of the latest full IPCC report into the link between climate change and extreme weather events, rekindled claims that overstating the case damaged the credibility of the science.

"What this leaked document shows is again we have groups out there promoting more extreme situations than the report actually warrants because the latest report shows there are degrees of uncertainty," said Institute of Public Affairs climate spokesman Tim Wilson.

"When the claims don't correlate it undermines the confidence that people can actually have in climate science."

But Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the evidence of a link was growing.

An executive summary, released ahead of the UN climate change conference in Durban in November, listed the low level of scientific certainty in many areas regarding what climate meant for future weather events.

The full report also presented a cautious appraisal and said it was unable to answer confidently whether climate was becoming more extreme.

But GCCA told its member organisations to "use the precautionary principle to argue that we must take potential risks seriously even if the science doesn't offer high confidence".

"Generally, all weather events are now connected to climate change, because we have altered the fundamental condition of the climate, that is, the background environment that gives rise to all weather," the action plan said.

GCCA has about 300 members worldwide including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Environment America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Amnesty International and Pew Environment Group.

The group highlights its direct action campaigns in the US, Canada and China.

The action pack suggests "sample tweets" for member groups.

They include "New #IPCC report finds links between global warming and extreme weather events". And "current measures not enough to protect ANY countries from extreme weather driven by global warming. Time to act is now!"

The document gives examples of how to respond to criticisms about the IPCC's links to non-government organisations, its poor track record in scientific predictions and claims that the response to the IPCC findings was alarmist.

The actual IPCC report said it was not possible to confidently say whether the climate was becoming more extreme. "We are restricted to questions about whether specific extremes are becoming more or less common, and our confidence in the answers to such questions, including the direction and magnitude of changes in specific extremes, depends on the type of extreme, as well as on the region and season, linked with the level of understanding of the underlying processes and the reliability of their simulation in models," the report said.

However, the report concluded there was evidence that some extremes had changed as a result of anthropogenic influences.

"It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale," the report said.

"There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale.

"It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level."

But there was low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.

Commenting on disaster losses, it said there was "medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalised losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change". It said "some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research".

But the GCCA advice was largely mirrored in statements issued following the release of the report. Mr Connor said climate change didn't mean just warmer weather but also wilder weather.

"Scientists are speaking with growing confidence and alarm about recent unprecedented extreme weather events around the world," he said.

Commenting on the IPCC report this week, Australian climate commissioner Will Steffen said it showed for the first time the fingerprints of the human-driven warming in some of the extreme events already experienced.

"This is an early warning sign that if we don't get this underlying warming trend under control there's going to be a lot more heatwaves, droughts and intense rainfall events," Professor Steffen said from London.


Obama Promise Kept: Coal Plants to go Bankrupt with New EPA Carbon Cap

Enviro-Whack jobs are celebrating the demise of America‘s most abundant energy resource, coal. Because coal has just been given the death sentence by Obama and the EPA.

"If old King Coal isn't dead already, he's certainly teetering toward life support," said Frank O'Donnell, president Clean Air Watch in Washington.

The EPA has issued new proposed rules on carbon emissions that will help Obama keep one campaign promise: Builders of new coal fired power plants won’t be prevented from building coal-fired power plants, they’ll just go bankrupt if they try.

“Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for natural gas,” reports Reuters’ John Kemp.

If Obama can’t get the tax portion of the Cap and Tax, I guess he figures he might just as well get the cap portion done.

“The agency's proposed rule, signed yesterday, would set a standard well within the capability of modern gas-fired plants but impossible for coal-fired units to meet unless they employ (unproven) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.”

Even before this proposed new rule, regulators have been using a variety of stratagems to stop the construction of new coal-fired plants.

“Power developers have scrapped plans for more than 100 coal-fired electricity plants over the past decade,” says a Reuters newswire report, “due to difficulty obtaining construction and pollution permits or because they were simply too expensive.”

Last year the EPA tightened up particulate standards for every type of industry including concrete. Additionally, the agency last year used obscure visibility standards to try to put the throttle on coal-fired power plant, eliciting an eruption of protest from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“So much for that ‘all of the above’ energy plan the President touted last week,” says Congressman John Sullivan, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in response to the new EPA mandate. “Today's announcement from EPA is an unprecedented attack on American made energy. EPA’s greenhouse gas rules are a backdoor attempt to enact a national energy tax that will have a crushing impact on consumers, jobs, and our economy- while doing little to protect the environment.”

OK, so maybe Obama will get the tax portion too. I stand corrected.

The move by the EPA continues to try to help Obama shore up his environmental base in front of the 2012 presidential elections.

At this point, it’s all Obama can do, considering that: 1) He has no energy policy; and 2) The American people know that he has no energy policy.

According to a recent Gallup poll, a stunning 58 percent of Americans don’t think that Obama is doing a good job managing energy policy. The poll also revealed that 57 percent of Americans don’t think Obama is doing a good job making the country prosperous. The numbers’ proximity to each other are likely not coincidental.

For 100 years the country has followed policies that tried to ensure that we have stable prices and a reliable sources of energy.

Obama’s policy of providing neither reliability nor price stability would be akin to the US announcing the unilateral departure from NATO.

Obama and company are hoping that the nudge the economy has seen from the loose money policies followed by the Federal Reserve will be just enough to convince Americans that the president should get another term.

But the numbers say otherwise, mostly because policies- like this newest EPA mandate promoted by Obama- have killed job creation in the US, while sparking pockets of inflation. At a time when prices are going up, the job market remains dismal, and incomes aren’t able to keep pace.

Conversely, the National Mining Association (NMA) is saying that the coal business won’t die- thanks to exports to emerging economies.

“Seaborne exports of coal are hitting record levels,” says Hal Quinn, the president and CEO of the NMA. “Last year U.S. mines exported more than 100 million tons of coal, up 40 percent from 2009 -- and the highest level in 20 years.”

In other words, the cheap coal that we won’t use is being used by other economies. According to figures provided by the NMA:

* Coal for electricity generation in China in 2010 stood at 1.6 billion tons—by 2030 it will almost double to 3.1 billion tons.

* China’s industrial sector (steel, cement, petrochemicals) accounts for almost 40 percent of the coal demand at 1.2 billion tons—that is expected to almost double as well to 2.1 billion tons by 2030.

* China has already invested $15 billion in coal conversion infrastructure to transform coal into oil; by 2020 that investment will reach anywhere from $65-80 billion with a requirement of over 100 million tons of coal.

India is investing in a new electrification program and 80 percent of new capacity will come from coal, with an expected increase in coal demand of over 200 percent in just five years.

Still despite exports to other countries, slackening coal orders domestically are going to hurt workers and cause rates to rise for electricty.

“The uncertainty caused by these regulations could result in the loss of thousands of Ohio jobs and will increase electricity rates for families during tough economic times, in return for less reliable power,” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said in an e-mailed statement to

There is a reason why emerging economies have picked coal: It’s cheaper than natural gas over time and more reliable.

Already we have seen the enviro-whack jobs turn on natural gas, shutting down fracking operations around the country.

“This EPA is fully engaging in a war on coal,” West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement according to “This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas and we’ve seen that bubble burst before.”

“It might sound good now, but what happens if those prices go up?” Manchin added. Oh, it’s not if, it’s when.


Obama's War on Hydrocarbon Costing Jobs, Economy

You’ve heard the stories about the millions of dollars squandered by the Obama Administration on green energy projects supposedly to create vast numbers of new jobs in a revolutionary “green energy economy.” But, all too often all that remains is a bankrupt empty building, or at best a handful of jobs – and, a heap of new federal debt.

If Obama was really committed to creating jobs, there was another time tested way to get it done – by assuring plentiful supplies of affordable, reliable traditional sources of energy. Instead, the “transformational” President went to war against the hydrocarbon industry. Thankfully, he didn’t win.

While the administration has done everything in their power to discourage fossil fuel production on federal land, there has been a revival happening on private land where oil and natural gas output has increased. When supply increases, prices come down, and natural gas is particularly affordable.

As a result, jobs connected to and dependent upon natural gas are exploding. A USA Today feature report documents the hundreds of thousands of new jobs resulting from affordable supplies of gas. Here’s an excerpt:
Royal Dutch Shell announced this month that it chose a site near Pittsburgh for a facility to convert ethane from locally produced natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene. They're used to make plastics that go into packaging, pipes and other products. The planned ethane cracker would employ a few hundred workers.

It's among nearly 30 chemical plants proposed in the U.S. in the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council. The projects would expand U.S. petrochemical capacity by 27% and employ 200,000 workers at the factories and related suppliers, says Council President Cal Dooley, a major turnaround. As U.S. natural gas prices soared in the late 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees, Dooley says. But the U.S. has seen a natural gas boom in recent years, with producers using new drilling techniques to extract fuel from shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and other regions. U.S. natural gas prices, at slightly more than $2 per million British thermal units, are about 75% below Western Europe rates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025.

Instead of doing the obvious, Obama did exactly the reverse. The Administration implemented policies that would, in the President’s words, cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” Instead of insuring the U.S. remained competitive, his own Energy Secretary was committed to policies that would “boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Every American is experiencing the pain at the pump as gasoline is up more than $2 per gallon since the President took office. And, three and a half years into the recession, millions of Americans are still searching for a job.


Real American Energy Could Create Real American Jobs

President Obama supports job creation, economic growth and revenue generation – except when he doesn’t.

Official announcements from his Labor Department reported that the nation’s February unemployment rate is still 8.3 percent. That’s a decent decline from previous months. But the reality is far worse.

Most of that job growth was in business and professional services, and half was temporary. Millions of Americans are working part-time or multiple low-wage jobs to make ends meet. Overall, 23.5 million are out of work or underemployed.

Factor all that in, and the real unemployment rate is 14.9%, according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. Worse, many of the 8.3% jobs are government workers (police officers, fire fighters, teachers and bureaucrats), paid for with “stimulus” and other tax revenues taken or borrowed from hard working private sector companies and employees, and their children and grandchildren.

Making matters still worse, regular gasoline prices have hit $4 in numerous cities – compared to a national average of $1.61 on December 31, 2008, three weeks before President Obama took office.

Thankfully, we could reduce these intolerable numbers dramatically, if President Obama would just stop currying favor with environmental extremists, and start supporting energy policies that benefit all Americans – policies that use real American energy to create real American jobs.

The answer to our job shortage, energy shortage, and soaring gasoline prices is the same. Extract more oil and natural gas from deposits under our land and offshore areas. Bring more oil to the U.S. from Canada via the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manufacture more fuels in American refineries, to power American cars and trucks, and to sell abroad to preserve jobs and lower our trade deficit. Reduce the excessive, oppressive regulations that federal bureaucrats are imposing on our energy industry.

According to a March 2012 World Economic Forum report, the U.S. oil and gas industry created 37,000 direct jobs and 111,000 indirect jobs in 2011. That’s nearly one out of ten jobs created nationwide last year – and they didn’t need any Solyndra, Fisker, Sapphire or Solazyme subsidies.

A January 2012 Wood Mackenzie study found that 530,000 more jobs could be created if American companies were allowed to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in some of the areas that are now off-limits. The study says this would generate $150 billion in increased government taxes and fees by 2025, and expand domestic production by 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, greatly reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Instead, President Obama has adopted a bumper-sticker anti-fossil fuels policy: “Just say no.”

The president has made 95% of federal lands and waters off-limits to drilling. He has blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Texas. He wants to eliminate oil industry tax deductions, which would mean further reducing U.S. oil production and would make gasoline and diesel fuel even more expensive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Institute for Energy Research calculate that the United States has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable conventional oil, plus huge additional supplies in shale deposits. That’s oil that American companies could and would produce, at today’s oil prices and using existing technologies – if they were allowed to do so.

Oil companies aren’t asking for subsidies to get this energy. They just want permission to produce it. But Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies keep throwing roadblocks in their way.

The president’s war on fossil fuels is designed to destroy many of the 9.2 million jobs already supported by the oil and gas industry – in hopes of replacing them with jobs in tax-subsidized “green” energy companies backed by his political supporters, campaign contributors and Democrat allies.

The president apparently believes some of these companies will succeed, if he just throws enough billions of your tax dollars at them. However, many of these failure-prone companies produce flawed and expensive products that American consumers wisely refuse to buy.

The $535 million in taxpayer money given to the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar power company is just one example of President Obama’s policy of subsidizing failure, and punishing success.

General Motors recently announced it was suspending production of the Chevy Volt gas-and-electric car: people simply haven't been buying the cars, despite the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy the president has been giving to anyone who buys one. Now the president wants to increase the subsidy to $10,000.

President Obama says we are running out of oil and gas, can’t drill our way to cheaper gasoline, and should blame anybody but him for $4-per-gallon gasoline. He’s wrong on all three counts.

The only petroleum we’re running out of is the tiny percentage of our total supplies that his administration is letting us produce.

Moreover, the EIA says 76% of what we pay for gasoline is determined by world crude oil prices; 12% is federal and state taxes; 6% is refining; and 6% is marketing and distribution.

The price of crude oil that refiners transform into essential products is set by the world market, and fluctuates based on supply and demand. You don’t need a PhD in economics to understand that producing more American oil and getting more from Canada would increase supplies and decrease gasoline prices.

That’s the direction we need to go.

Instead of embracing fantasy energy policies, President Obama needs to step into the real world. He should welcome expanded development of our vast oil and natural gas resources, increased oil imports from Canada, and the lower fuel prices this would bring.

Everyone would benefit – even his own dismal approval ratings.


Time to Celebrate Coal not Candles

Coal not candles should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.

In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.



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, 2012

Acclimation to Ocean Acidification: Give It Some Time

In the absence of any real-world effect, Warmists have turned to experiments in which they artificially raise CO2 levels in fishtanks. But even their experimental results are pesky for them -- pesky enough for them to report statistically insignificant results as significant! That is a major breach of scientific canons and shows what a desperate bunch of crooks they are

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lead to an increasing amount of CO2 being dissolved in the oceans which drives down the oceans’ pH level. This is often referred to as “ocean acidification” and included among the list of ills that energy production from fossil fuels imparts to the environment. Type “ocean acidification” into your Google search and you’ll quickly be confronted with a litany of potential impacts—all bad. The Center for Biological Diversity refers to it as global warming’s “evil twin.”

“We mean it this time” our greener friends are saying about this current apocalypse. But is ocean acidification any different than the population bomb, global starvation, acid rain, ozone depletion, global cooling, and global warming—all forecast to cause the end of the world as we know it, and all falling a bit short?

It’s beginning to look like the same old same old. In what will come as no surprise to World Climate Report regulars, alarmists are overdoing things just a little. Their biggest mistake comes in assuming that the oceans’ denizens cannot deal either with the pace or the magnitude of the projected changes to the oceans’ chemistry.

The more researchers look into this, the more they report findings to the contrary.

A large and continually updated annotated and summarized collection of findings which report acclimation and adaptation to “ocean acidification” is maintained at the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. Spend a little time there and you will come away with a completely different view of the subject than was returned to you in your Google search above. The Center also maintains a digital archive of citations to the relevant primary scientific literature, so you can see for yourself.

A new paper just published in the journal Global Change Biology titled “Acclimation to ocean acidification during long-term CO2 exposure in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa “ is surely soon to be an inductee in the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change database.

The authors, Armin U. Form (no relation to the conservative blogger Charles U. Farley) and Ulf Riebesell, are from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany. They introduce the problem:

"Ocean acidification, often termed ‘the evil twin of global warming’, is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity dissolves into the oceans. Presently, the ocean takes up about 25% of man-made CO2, which has led to a decrease in seawater pH of 0.1 units since 1800. By 2100, surface ocean pH values can easily drop by another 0.3–0.4 units. Although there is reasonable certainty about the chemical changes related to ocean acidification, the impacts it may have on marine organisms and ecosystems are still poorly understood. A major gap in our understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on life in the sea is the potential of marine organisms to acclimate and adapt to increasing seawater acidity. Most of our present understanding on the biological impacts of ocean acidification is based on short-term perturbation studies."

The last sentence nicely sums up the problem underlying the proclamations of impending catastrophe from “ocean acidification”—that is, there are very few long-term studies of the response of organisms to changing conditions, instead, the vast majority of results come from studies which scoop things up out of the ocean, plop them into an aquarium, jack up the acidity of the water, and watch what for a few days to see what happens. That’s about as far from the real world as you can get, and it’s little wonder that the organisms don’t tend to fare particularly well.

Basically, Form and Riebesell follow this same procedure, but in addition to watching what happens over a few days, they maintain vigilance, and follow the response for about 6 months. The organism they are studying is a cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa, which they describe as “the most common reef framework-forming and ecosystem engineering cold-water coral with a cosmopolitan distribution.” One reason they chose to look at a cold-water coral is that “cold-water coral reefs are considered the ecosystem most vulnerable to ocean acidi?cation.”

What they found was that in an experiment that lasted only 8 days, that the growth rate of the coral was slowed down by the dissolution of extra CO2 into the aquarium water—the more the researchers added CO2 (increasing the acidity and lowering the pH) the worse the corals fared (Figure 1).

In a second experiment in which the coral specimens were exposed to lower pH levels for 178 days, the growth rate did not decline, and in fact, even appeared to increase under the lower pH (more acid) conditions (Figure 2).

Form and Riebesell describe their findings:

"Growth rates in the long-term experiment (LTE) did not follow the negative trend with increasing pCO2 [decreasing pH] observed in the short-term incubation. Instead, growth rate, which was comparable to that of the control treatment in the short-term experiment, stayed high at elevated CO2 levels… Although not statistically signi?cant, a linear regression analysis reveals an increasing trend of coral growth with rising pCO2 concentration [decreasing pH]." *

They comment on the importance of longer-term experiments:

"It is surprising that the ability to tolerate sub-saturated conditions in terms of maintaining calci?cation rates is not manifested in short-term high CO2 experiments. This could indicate (i) that it takes several days to weeks for Lophelia to activate the metabolic pathways needed to calcify when subjected to sub-saturated waters, or (ii) that triggering the activation of these pathways requires longer-term high CO2/low pH exposure. …The differences in observed responses between short- and long-term exposure experiments highlight the importance of long-term incubation studies allowing for complete acclimation of the test organisms."

And they have this to say as to the significance of their findings:

"This is the ?rst study showing a positive response in calci?cation to increasing pCO2 for the predominant reef-forming cold-water coral L. pertusa and, to our knowledge, for scleractinian corals in general." **

Now, Form and Riebesell are quick to point out that laboratory conditions do not necessarily mimic the real world environment and that therefore their results are only the first steps in an extended series of observations and experiments that would be required to establish the in situ response of the corals in their ocean environment and its changing conditions. And we are sure that they are right about this.

But the larger lesson is this: Don’t jump to conclusions based on an inadequate analysis of complex systems. If everyone followed this advice, our future would certainly appear much less “alarming.”

* What has happened to rigorous peer-review? A “trend” that is not statistically significant means it cannot be statistically discriminated from zero, i.e. no trend. This sentence should have said “A linear regression reveals no significant relationship between coral growth and rising pCO2 concentration.”

** Same here; should simply read, “This study shows no negative relationship between coral growth and ocean acidity.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

New paper confirms 2010 Russian heat wave was result of natural variability

A paper published today in the journal Monthly Weather Review confirms (along with several other studies) "that the anomalous long-lasting Russian heat wave in summer 2010, linked to a long-persistent blocking high, appears as a result of natural atmospheric variability."

Natural climate change denier Kevin "missing heat" Trenberth, however, continues to cry wolf insisting that the Russian heat wave and every other 'extreme' weather event of 2010 "would not have happened without global warming."
Large scale flow and the long-lasting blocking high over Russia: Summer 2010

By Andrea Schneidereit et al.


Several studies show that the anomalous long-lasting Russian heat wave in summer 2010, linked to a long-persistent blocking high, appears as a result of natural atmospheric variability.

This study analyzes the large scale flow structure based on ERA-Interim data (1989 to 2010). The anomalous long-lasting blocking high over Western Russia including the heat wave occurs as an overlay of a set of anticyclonic contributions on different time scales: (i) A regime change in ENSO towards La Niña modulates the quasi-stationary wave structure in the boreal summer hemisphere supporting the eastern European blocking. The polar Arctic dipole mode is enhanced and shows a projection on the mean blocking high. (ii) Together with the quasi-stationary wave anomaly the transient eddies maintain the long-lasting blocking. (iii) Three different pathways of wave action are identified on the intermediate time scale (~ 10-60 days). One pathway commences over the eastern North Pacific and includes the polar Arctic region; another one runs more southward and crossing the North Atlantic, continues to eastern Europe; a third pathway southeast of the blocking high describes the downstream development over South Asia.


Obama's Plan B For Saving The Climate Is In Effect

A Warmist below cheerily admits that the EPA is trying to do and end-run around Congress

Yesterday the EPA released a new rule setting greenhouse gas emission limits on new power plants, which are strict enough to effectively ban new coal plants that lack the ability to capture and sequester carbon.

This is a major step in the Obama administration's "Plan B" to save the climate and create clean energy jobs, embarked upon after the Senate failed in 2010 to take up comprehensive clean energy and climate protection legislation from the House.
As I wrote two years ago:
It is against the law under the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court has ruled, for the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore greenhouse gas pollution. And a congressional attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and block the EPA from acting was defeated this year.

That fact has always been part of the argument to press Senators from coal, oil, manufacturing and agribusiness states to accept climate compromises: if Congress doesn't do it, the EPA will.
And that same fact has always the Obama administration's Plan B.
The EPA is not going to announce an economy-wide carbon cap overnight. But it has been and will continue to announce a rule here and a rule there, continually ramping up pressure on Congress to pass legislation that will cap carbon emissions in a way that businesses will find more flexible than what the EPA is able to do.

And here we are.

So Time's Bryan Walsh is right to observe that a regulation on new plants alone isn't enough to save the climate, only to accelerate the ongoing market shift from coal to natural gas.

But this rule is not the end, only the beginning. As Grist's David Roberts notes, under current law EPA has to eventually establish greenhouse gas rules for existing plants.

And the power plant lobby is right to complain that: "By effectively forcing utilities to forgo any new coal generation in favor of natural gas, without commensurate policies to develop commercially acceptable [carbon capture and storage] technologies, EPA’s proposal threatens the viability of coal..."

But the EPA can't issue "policies to develop commercially acceptable technologies." It can't make legislation. Only Congress can.

Only through Congress can we enact a comprehensive strategy to smoothly shift to a clean energy economy, in which we put a price on carbon pollution and raise money to help businesses and consumers make the transition.


Professionally Correct Speech

Why most scientists do not challenge global warming

Recently, while driving, I listened to a satellite radio program called "Doctor Radio," talk radio by doctors.

In the course of the program, the question of alcohol and health came up. All of the participants agreed that evidence showed that a moderate level of alcohol consumption, something like one beer a day for a woman, one or two for a man, or the equivalent in other drinks, was good for you, better than no alcohol at all. All of them also agreed that they would not advise their patients to act on that evidence.

They did not offer an adequate explanation for the apparent inconsistency. There was mention of the fact that a higher level of consumption was dangerous, in particular likely to lead to auto accidents, and that there were problems with prescribing something that depended on the exact dosage—but distinguishing one beer a day from three is not a difficult problem, even for those who are not doctors.

My conjecture was that the real explanation was the reluctance of doctors to appear to be on the wrong side. Everyone knew that alcohol was a bad thing, a source of auto accidents and various medical (and other) problems. By giving a truthful account of the medical evidence, the doctors on the program might appear to be pro-alcohol, when all good people were anti. Hence they had to qualify their conclusion as a purely theoretical matter, not something that would actually affect what they told their patients. Think of it as a different version of PC—Professionally Correct speech.

It reminded me of a similar pattern in a different context. From time to time, I see a news story on some piece of scientific research that somewhat weakens the case for taking strong action against global warming—for instance, work suggesting that, while the IPCC projections were correct about the expected magnitude of warming, they overstated its uncertainty, and hence the risk of some outcome much above the center of the reported distribution of results.

I believe that every time I have seen such a report, it was accompanied by a quote from the researchers to the effect that global warming was a serious problem and their work should not be taken as a reason to be less worried about it. They almost certainly believed the first half of that. On the other hand, their work was a reason to be less worried, if not a reason to stop worrying.

Good people are on the side that believes that warming is happening, is anthropogenic, and is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. Bad people deny one or more of those claims. If that is what all the people who matter to you, in particular the fellow members of your profession, believe, and you are so unfortunate as to produce results that strengthen the bad people's case, it is prudent to make it clear that you are still on the side of the angels. Just as, if you are so unfortunate as to be an honest doctor aware of the evidence in favor of alcohol, it is prudent to make it clear that have not transferred your allegiance to demon rum.


Fracking: An Existential Threat to Green Dogma

The Sierra Club and other environmental pressure groups are redoubling their efforts to “stop fracking in its tracks.” No wonder. The technology is an existential threat to fundamental “green” dogmas.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is a true “game changer.” In less than two years, this proven but still rapidly advancing technology has obliterated longstanding claims that we are running out of petroleum. Instead, the USA now finds itself blessed with centuries of oil and gas.

Poland and Estonia are using it, China has invited companies to the Middle Kingdom, Britain, Israel and Jordan are evaluating their shale deposits, and other nations are following suit – coaxing oil and natural gas from shale and other rock formations that previously had refused to yield their hydrocarbon riches.

By making more natural gas available, fracking has reduced the US price for this clean-burning fuel to under $3 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btu), compared to a peak of $8 a few years ago.

Natural gas is also supplanting coal for electricity generation. Due to excessive, mostly unnecessary new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, many US coal-fired power plants are shutting down. Replacement plants are far more likely to be gas-powered than nuclear, especially in the near term.

Natural gas makes heating and electricity more affordable for families, hospitals, government buildings and businesses; feed stocks less expensive for makers of plastics, paints, fabrics and other petrochemical products; and the prospect of natural gas-power vehicles more enticing, without mandates or subsidies. That translates into thousands of jobs created or saved.

Companies are keeping chemical plants open that were slated to close, due to soaring prices for oil that they now can readily replace with cheap natural gas. Shell plans to build a $2-biillion ethane “cracking” plant near Pittsburgh – creating 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs – thanks to abundant gas from Marcellus Shale. Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states are reporting subsidy-free employment and revenue gains from shale gas development. More are likely to follow, as companies seek new ways to capitalize on access to abundant, inexpensive, reliable gas.

Natural gas also provides essential backup power for wind turbines. Without such backup, electricity generation from these projects would plummet to zero 70-80% of the time, affecting assembly lines, computers, televisions, air conditioners and other electrical equipment dozens of times every day.

Even harder for environmentalists to accept, cheap natural gas also makes it harder to justify building redundant wind turbines that require large subsidies to generate far more expensive electricity only 5-8 hours a day, on average, while killing large numbers of raptors, migratory birds and bats. It makes more sense to simply build the gas turbines, and forget about the mostly useless wind turbines.

Fracking is also unlocking oil in the vast Bakken Shale formations beneath Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Oil production there has shot from 3,000 barrels a day in 2006 to nearly 500,000 today – creating thousands of jobs … and a growing need for the Keystone XL pipeline to Texas.

In response, eco-activists are spreading unfounded fears about this proven technology. Using words like “reckless,” “dangerous” and “poisonous,” they say unregulated fracking companies are operating with little concern for ecological values and causing cancer, earthquakes and groundwater contamination.

The claims have fanned borderline hysteria in some quarters and prompted Maryland, New York and other states to launch drawn-out studies or impose moratoria that will postpone drilling and the benefits it would bring.

Facts are sorely needed.

Drilling and fracking have been carefully and effectively regulated by states for decades. As studies by the University of Texas and various state agencies have documented, there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination due to fracking. Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged that to a congressional panel.

These analysts, drilling companies and even an Environmental Defense expert now say fracking has not played a role in any of the rare cases where methane has gotten into drinking water.

Instead, the cause has generally been a failure of “well integrity” – the result of improper cementing between the well borehole and the steel “casing” and pipes that go down through aquifers and thousands of feet deeper into gas-laden shale formations. Similar failures occur in water wells drilled through rock formations containing methane (natural gas).

The solution is straightforward: better standards and procedures for cementing vertical pipes in place, and testing them initially and periodically to ensure there are no leaks.

Similarly, fracking fluids fail to match the “toxic” and “cancerous” opprobrium alleged by anti-drilling campaigns. Over 99.5% of the fluids is water and sand. The other 0.5% is chemicals to keep sand particles suspended in the liquid, fight bacterial growth and improve gas production.

Although industrial chemicals were once used, almost all of today’s are vegetable oil and chemicals used in cheese, beer, canned fish, dairy desserts, shampoo, and other food and cosmetic products.

As to “earthquakes,” barely detectable “tremors” have occasionally been measured near fracking operations and wastewater disposal injection wells. However, calling these snap, crackle and pop noises and movements “earthquakes” is akin to giving that label to rumblings from trains and cement trucks.

Despite these facts, EPA is nevertheless trying to invent problems and inject itself into already vigilant and responsive state regulatory efforts. The agency has conducted a roundly criticized study in Wyoming and is conducting water tests in Pennsylvania, where state officials view its activities as unnecessary meddling.

Additional over-reach and over-regulation would be hugely detrimental to US and global well-being. Fracking could help create numerous jobs and provide a far more secure, affordable, dependable and lower-pollution future than would ever be possible with wind or solar power.

By expanding oil and gas development, it could make North America the world’s new energy hub. Middle East sheiks, mullahs and OPEC ministers would lose economic, political and strategic power. Threats of Russian pipeline closures would no longer intimidate Eastern European countries. Politicians everywhere would waste less money on “renewable” energy T-Boonedoggles.

Unfortunately, though, fear campaigns are preventing some of America’s poorest counties and families from enjoying the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale development.

Baltimore’s Sage Policy Group calculated that fracking in western Maryland could reduce energy costs, create thousands of jobs, and generate millions of dollars annually in revenue for the state and Allegany and Garrett Counties. Similar studies in New York and elsewhere have reached similar conclusions.

Hydraulic fracturing technologies are proven. Regulations to protect drinking water are in place and improving steadily, as cementing and other legitimate concerns are recognized and addressed.

North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Poland and Israel are showing the way forward.

Communities that have not yet opened their doors to responsible drilling, fracking and production need to replace anti-hydrocarbon agendas and fears with facts, optimism and science-based regulations.



Four current articles below

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson flays green `guerillas'

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has hit out at tactics used by -"guerilla" environmental groups, warning a decline in productivity could mean Australia misses out on new resources projects.

His comments came as major investors Rio Tinto, Shell and ConocoPhillips warned that coal and coal seam gas projects could be marginalised and investment pushed overseas as Australia became an expensive place to do business.

Mr Ferguson told The Australian Financial Review's National Energy Conference in Brisbane yesterday that green groups were wrong to think there was a fossil fuel conspiracy "which starts in my office" and attacked them for trying to stifle investment. "We must also recognise there are some who seek to manipulate those concerns, and use guerilla tactics through regulatory processes to frustrate economic development and job creation," he said.

Mr Ferguson's defence of the industry came as he weathered a storm from big investors who told the conference that red tape and high costs were a handbrake on the industry.

"Five years ago, Australia was the cheapest place for Rio Tinto to do business, now it is the most expensive," said Bill Champion, Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director.

Mr Champion argued that a rise in costs and lower productivity had hit the global miner's coal business.

Two of Australia's largest energy investors, Shell and ConocoPhillips, flagged similar worries for the country's $220 billion-strong liquefied natural gas industry.

The president of Conoco's Australian operations, Todd Creeger, warned of the risks of local ventures losing out to rivals in lower cost locations overseas. Separately, Shell's Australian head, Ann Pickard, said there were challenges for Australia as a high-cost gas supply location.

Mr Creeger said: "Australia needs to work on its cost structure. I don't think the supply-demand situation will have a material impact unless Australia blows out on costs. When you sort the projects around the globe, Australia tends to be on the high side."

Tactics used by environmental groups have been an issue for industry figures. Earlier this month, a Greenpeace plan to raise $6 million to disrupt and delay new coalmines sparked widespread concern from resources executives.

The draft proposal, titled "Stopping the coal export boom", aimed to make some projects unviable. It said 2012-13 would be critical years in stopping "tens of billions of dollars in investment being locked in".

Mr Ferguson said yesterday that instead of focusing on balanced solutions and constructive outcomes, "many of these groups are fundamentally anti-growth and refuse to address the realities and complexities of our modern economy".


Victoria's carbon target scrapped

A PLAN to cut Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next decade is set to be dumped by the Baillieu government on the basis that it would merely lighten the load imposed on other states.

An independent review of the state's key climate change laws, to be released today, has found "no compelling case" to keep the target following the introduction of the Commonwealth's minimum target to cut emissions by 5 per cent, to be mainly achieved through Labor's carbon tax.

It said keeping the larger state target operating with a smaller national target would put a disproportionately large burden on Victoria, with no benefit to the environment because other states would do less.

It also concludes that keeping the state scheme in place would distort the national scheme as Victoria did more than its share.

The former Brumby government introduced legislation to cut emissions 20 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 after the failure of the Rudd government's carbon trading scheme to pass Parliament.

In opposition, the state Coalition said it supported the 20 per cent target. After taking power in 2010, senior ministers started describing it as "aspirational".

Premier Ted Baillieu has previously backed the concept of a carbon price as the cheapest way to cut emissions. Despite this, his government is opposed to the carbon tax, claiming it will hit Victoria harder than other states because of its reliance of brown coal.

State Environment Minister Ryan Smith said there was "bipartisan support" for the 5per cent national target. But the government's position on how it should be achieved in the absence of a carbon tax remains unclear, given its earlier support for so-called market-based mechanisms.

Mr Smith said Victoria would do its fair share on cutting emissions. "We will look to support practical areas such as improving energy efficiency," he said.

The review referred to research concluding that even with a Commonwealth carbon tax, meeting the 20 per cent target would have required Victoria to spend an additional $2.2 billion buying permits internationally to offset state emissions.

The government also points to the 2009 climate green paper released by the Brumby government, which said: "The government does not see any benefit in legislating for a state-based emissions reduction target that is inconsistent with a national target." A later Brumby government climate white paper does not contain a similar statement.

The government says it will retain other climate change initiatives, including a four-year climate change adaptation plan and supporting Victorians offsetting their emissions and participating in the national Carbon Farming Initiative.

Labor climate spokeswoman Lisa Neville said dumping the target would "hurt investment, jobs and the environment. It betrays the trust of Victorians who care about reducing the state's carbon footprint".

Environment Victoria chief Kelly O'Shanassy said the target had been about cutting pollution from the economy and attracting clean energy investment. "Either the Baillieu government doesn't understand the threat climate change presents, or they are ignoring it," she said.

"Either way it's an irresponsible decision environmentally and economically ... Premier Baillieu has caved in to the demands of a handful of polluters instead of acting to protect the environment and the public interest."

Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper welcomed the decision, saying it was important for business to have consistency across the country. "You simply can't have a different requirement in one part of the country, different emissions targets in different states, for industry working across state lines," he said.

A spokesman for federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said: "While a carbon price is the most cost-effective way for Australia to cut our pollution there is still a role for cost-effective state and local initiatives that complement the carbon price."

"We encourage the Victorian government to support carbon pricing as the most economically-efficient way of tackling climate change."

Former federal government climate adviser Ross Garnaut said: "I see no need for separate state emissions targets if there is an appropriate national target and policies to make sure we meet the national target."

The Baillieu government's move has been mirrored by the incoming government in Queensland, which is planning to save $661 million over three years by dumping a range of state-based climate change initiatives.


Gillard Government 'way out of step' on carbon tax says Reserve Bank board member

THE Gillard Government is "way out of step" with what most Australians and Australian businesses think about the carbon tax, according to the head of a leading employer association and Reserve Bank board member, Heather Ridout.

Ms Ridout, who is also the chief executive of Ai Group, the outgoing chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, urged the government to take another look at the $23 a tonne tax which takes effect from July 1.

She said she was "concerned" about the impact the Australian price - which is at least double some international carbon prices - would have on the economy.

"I don't know how much more pressure can be brought to bear on the government and on the Greens on this issue because they are way out of step with what most Australians and Australian business think," Ms Ridout told ABC Radio this morning.

"And the Queensland election result, I'm not sure how much carbon played in it, but there's this feeling that people aren't listening."

The EU emissions trading price recently collapsed to about $10, while one forecaster recently predicted the international carbon price could tank to $5 by 2020.

Ms Ridout's plea to the government came as the federal opposition's climate action spokesman Greg Hunt demanded that Prime Minister Julia Gillard insist that electricity and gas companies include details of the carbon tax in their bills to Australian households.

The coalition has written to Ms Gillard asking her to ensure electricity and gas retailers insert a line item in bills to households and businesses post 1 July, which specifies the cost of the tax.

"The Prime Minister has claimed that the electricity prices will go up 10 per cent and gas charges 9 per cent under the carbon tax," Mr Hunt said.

"The Australian people deserve to know if that promise is kept. That can only be achieved by power and gas bills detailing how much the carbon tax has added to their overall charge. Anything less, will be a cover-up."

Mr Hunt said if Ms Gillard failed to act and provide the necessary transparency, the coalition would introduce a private members bill when parliament resumes in May.

"If the Prime Minister is confident that prices will not be higher than the Treasury figures, then she should have nothing to hide and insist that the details are on the bills and easy to read," Mr Hunt said.


Sea level hoax hits Northern NSW coastal properties

By Cliff Ollier, a geologist, geomorphologist, emeritus professor at the University of Western Australia

THE Weekend Australian reported on March 24 that Port Macquarie Hastings Council was recommending the enforcement of a "planned retreat" because of an alleged danger from sea-level rise in the (distant) future.

The controversy has two main aspects: is the alarming rise in sea level projected by CSIRO reliable? And is moving people from near-shore sites the correct response?

The CSIRO projection is extreme, but before explaining why, I would note that the world's main source of alarmism is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is not really a scientific body but one that adjusts data and subjects it to mathematical modelling before passing its "projections" on to politicians.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, then further adjust data and produce models with even more extreme scenarios.

In The Weekend Australian on November 7, 2009, the director of the National Tidal Centre of the BOM, Bill Mitchell, reported an Australian average sea-level rise of 1.7mm a year. This is a reasonable level accepted by most sea-level watchers outside the IPCC and CSIRO and gives a sea-level rise of about 15cm by 2100. He said the "upper end was 3mm a year", which gives a 27cm rise by 2100.

At 8.30am on November 18, 2009, ABC Radio National had a program on sea-level changes. National Sea Change Taskforce executive director Alan Stokes said: "The IPCC estimate of rise to 2100 was up to 80cm." No new data was provided to explain the leap and, in fact, the worst estimate by IPCC in its last report was 59cm.

Note that the IPCC estimates have been falling with each report. In its second assessment report the high-end projection of sea-level rise to 2100 was 92cm, in the third assessment report 88cm, and the fourth 59cm. It is good for the reader to look at sea-level measurements. You can see the sea-level data for the US and a few other countries here. Most stations show a rise of sea level of about 2mm a year, but note the considerable variations even within a single state, though these are no cause for alarm.

The CSIRO uses figures far in excess of even the IPCC, which until now were the greatest alarmists. In its 2012 report, State of the Climate, the CSIRO says that since 1993 sea levels have risen up to 10mm a year in the north and west. That means that somewhere has had a 19cm-rise in sea level since 1993. Where is this place? The European satellite says that sea levels have been constant for the past eight years.

How does the CSIRO arrive at its figures? Not from new data but by modelling. Models depend on what is put into them. For example a 2009 report, The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay, by the CSIRO for the Victorian government's Future Coasts Program, based its model on temperature projections to 2100 of up to 6.4C. That compares with the most extreme, fuel-intensive scenario of the IPCC and implies unbelievable CO2 concentration levels in 2100 of about 1550 parts per million.



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29 March, 2012

Emergency! IPCC tells the truth on something

Unusual climate extremes NOT happening!

The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change.

Kudos to the IPCC -- they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest -- sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:

* "Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research."

Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change, including the currently popular "billion dollar disasters" meme, you can simply call "bullshit" and point to the IPCC SREX report.


Is global warming cancelled?

A view from Russia

Continuous global warming, which has lately been the talk of the day, will not happen after all. In the 21st century, warming and cooling will be alternately replacing each other approximately every 40 years, with each subsequent cooling more severe than the previous one. This is proved by changes in the ice situation in the Arctic, Nikolay Dobretsov, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, the Chairman of the Earth Science United Academic Council, has told The Voice of Russia. He is convinced that the hypothesis of continuous climate warming on our planet has considerably exhausted itself.

“There were views that anthropogenic interference, like emissions of greenhouse gases by all heat electric power stations and all industrial influence in general, has resulted in irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate. Those views were based on excessively rapid warming in the 20th century which was thought to continue indefinitely. However, the events of the last three years, when Venetian canals froze and Spanish vineyards were destroyed by frost, and the fact that now Moscow and a considerable part of Europe are having a particularly long winter, prove that temporary cooling has begun. The same is happening to the Antarctic ice. The smallest ice volume and area in the Antarctic were observed in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and early 2012, the volume of ice grew.”

Thus, the academician says, the theory of continuous warming is not getting practical proof. In this century, the volume of the Arctic ice will grow and contract by turns. On the other hand, no one can say when the planet is to expect a new Glacier Period, similar to the one contemporary Europe saw 20,000 years ago, Nikolay Dobretsov continues.

“The Arctic determines the weather on the planet, so we should build a network of stations there for a detailed study of this issue. After that we’ll be able to make a theoretically substantiated forecast.”

The scientist stresses that meteorological and other scientific stations in the Arctic should be equipped with super-modern equipment to raise the reliability of the forecasts. The construction of one of the first stations on Samoilovsky Island in the estuary of the Lena River in Siberia is already in full swing and will be completed in August this year.

Scientific discussions of global warming are many years old, even though geological research testifies that cooling always followed warming on Earth. Contemporary theories explaining the reasons for and consequences of global warming have once again been challenged by the latest American investigation which has proved that Earth warmed and cooled off in the Middle Ages as well. A team of scientists from Syracuse University in New York State has discovered that in the Middle Ages warming happened not only in Europe but also in the Antarctic. This means that Earth has already experienced global warming, even without human influence and emissions of carbon dioxide. The results of the investigation will be published by The Earth and Planetary Science Letters on the 1st of April.


Obama Headed For Defeat in Pipeline Fight

Byron York

To hear the White House tell it, Barack Obama might be the most pipeline-friendly president ever to occupy the Oval Office.

In advance of Obama's March 22 visit to Cushing, Okla, the White House released a fact sheet detailing the president's support for oil pipeline projects. "The need for pipeline infrastructure is urgent, because rising American oil production is outpacing the capacity of pipelines to deliver oil to refineries," the White House wrote. "It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority."

When the president appeared in Cushing, White House image-makers positioned him in front of huge stockpiles of pipe -- tons and tons of pipe. Message: Obama loves pipelines. "Under my administration," the president said, "we've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some."

But Obama wasn't in Cushing because he has approved so much new pipeline. He was there because he is facing bipartisan opposition, in Congress and across the country, for blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring about 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in Texas every day, creating thousands of new jobs in the process. The opposition appears to be growing, and there's good reason to believe Obama will be forced to reverse himself in the next few months.

A new Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Americans say the government should approve building Keystone. That number includes 81 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 44 percent (a plurality) of Democrats. The only good news for the White House is that most Americans aren't following the issue very closely, at least not yet.

In Cushing, the president announced he will expedite approval of the relatively short southern portion of the Keystone project, known as the Cushing pipeline, which will take oil that is already in Oklahoma down to the Texas refineries. "I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority," Obama said.

But Republicans quickly pointed out that a) presidential approval wasn't necessary for that portion of the pipeline, since it is all domestic, and b) it was Obama's agencies that were responsible for the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles in the first place. "He's out in Oklahoma trying to take credit for a part of the pipeline that doesn't even require his approval," said House Speaker John Boehner.

The GOP has also pointed out that there are many, many pipelines already crisscrossing the United States, including some that cross the Canadian border. In fact, Republicans say, Obama is the first president to deny a permit for a cross-border pipeline.

In addition, GOP lawmakers cite maps showing there are already pipelines over the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground water table that stretches below Nebraska and several other heartland states and is the reason environmentalists cite for opposing the Keystone project. "America either should install Keystone XL, with all of its benefits, or -- if such pipelines really are as dangerous as Democrats argue -- yank out all these pipelines that could destroy Ogallala," writes conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who has argued strongly in favor of the pipeline.

Recently, Senate Republicans forced a vote on a proposal to approve Keystone. The final vote was 56 - 42, with 11 Democrats breaking with the president to vote in favor of the pipeline. The only reason it didn't pass was that the Democratic leadership filibustered the measure, requiring 60 votes for passage. (Liberal critics of the filibuster, so angry when Republicans used it to block Democratic measures, were uncharacteristically silent after the vote.)

If Obama has already lost 11 Democratic votes, with the election still several months away, it's likely he is going to lose more in the future. "Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the last vote that the issue would not be going away," says a Senate GOP source. "There is strong bipartisan support, and we'll have more shots at this."

In coming months, Republicans can likely count on the support of more and more Americans who are more and more angry about rising gas prices. As the general election campaign begins, Obama will face determined arguments from Republicans that in his desire to promote green energy -- Obama will hear the word "Solyndra" many, many times this fall -- he is standing in the way of making America more self-sufficient in oil and gas. It won't matter how many photo-ops he stages in front of piles of pipes. In the end, he'll have to say yes to Keystone.


Richard Muller: Climate Profiteer

Remember Richard Muller, the Berkeley scientist who last October declared climate skepticism to be over? Like other alarmists, he is also a climate profiteer.

In the Wall Street Journal commentary that rocketed Muller into the media spotlight, he wrote: "But now let me explain why you should not be a [global warming] skeptic, at least not any longer."

Muller’s tagline disclosed: "Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Physics for Future Presidents” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008)."

But Dr. Muller is no mere Berkeley professor. He is in fact president and chief scientist of Muller & Associates, which is:

"Helping businesses make profitable investments in alternative energy"


"Helping governments build energy strategies that are right for them."

We don’t begrudge Muller’s outside consulting, we do however take issue with his phoniness. Check out our Muller chronology:

Muller: Only scientists can see climate change
Muller flip-flops again?
Have the skeptics been debunked?
Richard Muller no skeptic
Eugene Robinson debunks himself
Muller not a skeptic in 2003, either
Fizzle: Alarmist academics doubt impact from Muller
Muller accused by colleague of hiding data
Run away! Muller backs off attack on skeptics
Muller: ‘I never said you shouldn’t be a skeptic’
Muller trashes WashPost’s Eugene Robinson
Muller: Climategate a ‘scandal’, ‘terrible’, ‘shameful’
Muller admits: Never a skeptic

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Methane cuts could delay climate change by 15 years

His methane claim is complete BS of course but notice that in the course of his presentation, he is forced to note the BENEFITS of higher CO2 Levels: Most unusual from a Warmist.

His methane claims are complete idiocy because NCAR's radiative transfer models show that even a 100X increase in methane would have an almost imperceptible effect on downwelling longwave radiation. Methane is only 1.7ppb and completely overlaps with H2O absorption bands.

THE world could buy itself 15 years of breathing space for fighting climate change, one of the world's top climate modellers argued on Monday.

Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, was speaking at the Planet Under Pressure meeting in London, where more than 2800 scientists gathered to discuss fears that Earth's life-support systems are under intense stress from human activity.

The trick, he says, is to widen our attack on greenhouse gases from carbon dioxide to include the second most significant greenhouse gas - methane. "Methane is a more important control on global temperature than previously realised. The gas's influence is much greater than its direct effect on the atmosphere," says Cox. Curbing methane, he adds, may now be the only way to prevent dangerous warming.

We release methane in many ways - leaks from gas pipelines and coal mines, from landfills, the guts of livestock and rice paddies. Curbing these emissions would bring a manifold benefit for climate, says Cox.

He has studied the way CO2 and methane influence plant growth, and says that these feedback mechanisms mean action on methane could have twice the expected punch.

An atmosphere containing less methane but more CO2 would encourage forests and other vegetation on land to absorb more carbon. This would happen in two ways. First, the extra CO2 would itself act as a fertiliser for vegetation, so it would grow faster and absorb more CO2. Second, less methane would minimise the formation of tropospheric ozone, which damages plant growth.

These mechanisms are well known, but Cox is the first person to calculate their collective impact on the amount of CO2 that can be released while keeping global warming below 2 °C - the widely accepted threshold for dangerous climate change.

He told the conference that a 40 per cent reduction in human-caused methane emissions would permit the release of an extra 500 gigatonnes of CO2 - a third more than previously thought - before we exceeded 2 °C warming. "That is a 15-year breathing space at current CO2 emission rates," says Cox, who admits there are uncertainties in his calculations.

"It looks extremely unlikely that we can stop global warming at 2 °C just by reducing CO2 emissions," he told New Scientist. "That probably requires peaking emissions by 2020. But drastic action on methane would make the task much more feasible."

Cox says most governments have become fixated on combating CO2 emissions, and while that remains essential, the benefits of action on other greenhouses gases have been ignored. He stresses that this is not an excuse to burn more coal. "Nothing in the study contradicts the view that stabilising climate will require large reductions in CO2 emissions, but it does show the unexpectedly large importance of other gases."

Cutting methane emissions is cheaper than cutting CO2 emissions, and brings other benefits. Besides boosting vegetation, reduced tropospheric ozone will increase growth rates for many crops and cut health risks, such as asthma, from air pollution.

John Reilly, an expert on non-CO2 greenhouse gases at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agrees that a 40 per cent cut in methane emissions is feasible at relatively low costs. It could be done primarily by curbing leaks from gas fields and pipelines, and emissions from coal mines and landfills. But he warned that to limit warming to 2 °C, "we need to accelerate our efforts on everything". Even allowing for a 15-year breathing space, Reilly says, "it's not either CO2 or methane, it has to be both".

If the good news is that reducing methane emissions can have a better-than-expected effect on curtailing global warming, then the bad news from Cox's calculations is that a continued rise in methane emissions would have a more damaging effect than previously supposed. If you let methane go up a lot, then less carbon can be stored in land sinks, Cox warns. Methane is, in effect, the unseen control on how much CO2 can be safely put into the atmosphere.

Besides climate change, the conference has flagged up the over-pumping of underground water reserves, soil erosion, acidifying oceans, forest loss and the accumulation of human-made nitrogen in rivers and oceans.

The meeting is expected to call on the United Nations Earth Summit 2012, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June, to back the creation of an equivalent of the UN Security Council to put environmental security at the heart of world diplomacy.


Sackett vs. the EPA

A Supreme Court victory but ...

The Sacketts still face months or years in court, paying through the nose for the privilege of defending their tiny piece of land. Meanwhile, millions of other landowners and businesses continue to endure an increasingly harsh and irrational tyranny, and this SCOTUS decision decision does little or nothing to relieve that condition.

It is very important to realize that the EPA still very much has the upper hand in this action as in others. And the EPA is far from alone on their side of the fight. We can include, AT A MINIMUM the Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory bureaucracy, the US Forest Service, the US Bureau of Reclamation, the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and dozens of state agencies. The innocent and often-blindsided landowner (or business owner) is outgunned, outmanned, and often, out-of-luck. There are hundreds of similar environmental cases with the regulatory agencies, including air quality, water quality, land quality, solid waste, and related issues. Many of these have been “resolved” by the abject surrender of the landowners and businesses to the demands of the agencies. Many more will be decided similarly in coming months and the SCOTUS decision will not figure in 99 our of 100.

I am, among other things, an environmental engineer and work in WY, SD, CO, and other states, and I know many of my own clients, and many fellow engineers and THEIR clients who have and are facing the same sort of abusive, immoral, unconstitutional, and often illegal treatment by one or more agencies, on a daily or weekly basis. I have known dozens of projects and several dozen firms or enterprises which have been crushed beneath the heels of regulators and the attorneys and political appointees AND elected officials which back and empower and encourage them.

Take, for example, the “administrative process” the EPA used to bulldoze the Sacketts. Most state and federal agencies have a similar type of "administrative" injustice system. They have their own administrative "judges" and "compliance advisories" and threats of ever-increasing fines, enforcement actions, and denial of future permit applications.

All too often, this process is triggered merely because of a failure by the owner to kowtow sufficiently to the inspector on-site and nameless "environmental protection specialists." These bureaucrats are often untrained, inexperienced, and often generally opposed philosophically to the very activities they are regulating.

A typical “environmental protection specialist” for a federal or state agency, showing up in their government SUV with their LLBean shirts and jackets and boots to inspect your property, is often someone with a B.S. Degree (if not just a B.A.) in “public administration” or perhaps “ecological management” or even “general science,” a work history including long stints at McDonalds or Arbys, and membership in the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and their local recycling group or club; together with a two- or three-month course in “conducting environmental inspections” after they were hired on as a GS-5 or GS-7 (or state equivalent).

Their experience in the field consists of hiking trips and long slide shows about “mining kills wildlife.” Even though they may claim to understand that milk comes from a cow and not a carton, they do not act like they know that. These people, like the USDA and AAA and WPA agents of yore, will tell men and women in their 50s and 60s, with calloused hands and weathered faces from years of construction, farming, ranching, mining, timbering, and other PRODUCTIVE careers, that THEY (the inspectors) will show THEM (the owners) how to do things right.

And if you do not immediately and completely agree with them, their pens are quick to write up reports which turn into compliance advisories and notices of noncompliance and notices of violations. Which translate into consent decrees and fines (or “contributions”) in lieu of legal actions – charges with the local state's attorney or federal attorney.

Even if the EPA can no longer force someone like the Sacketts into stipulating that the agency's claims are valid before they can even file an administrative appeal, much less a legal appeal, the rest of the system remains intact. Month by month, although the statutes and regulations frequently do NOT change, the agencies' and attorneys' “interpretations” change and more and more landowners and businesses are left with less and less.

It is getting worse, literally by the month.

For every EPA 404 action, there are a dozen or two dozen EPA, Wyoming DEQ, South Dakota DENR, Colorado DPHE or DNR, USFS, BLM, and USACE actions, each one claiming a violation based on some interpretation and demanding costly actions and fines – even if projects and lands and businesses are abandoned. I personally have been involved with more than a dozen actions where a company or private landowner was forced to accept a "compliance advisory" for something that made no sense and could have been fought in court - accept, "admit" (under duress) to some crime, and pay fines (in some cases tens of thousands of dollars) and/or do "mitigation" that was very costly. Why? Because the alternative of paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, together with months or years of project delays, and the risk of being blacklisted by the various agencies was impossible or unacceptable - leading to bankruptcy, seizure of land or entire businesses, and more.

This SCOTUS decision changes NONE of that – and it will take battle after battle to even HOPE to change that. Even the Sacketts are more likely than not to lose their battle against the EPA and any state agencies which are the EPA's waldos in their case: for most citizens and businesses, there is little chance of even so small a victory as this one.



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, 2012

2351 Days vs. 2 Weeks

So much for "more extreme weather"

It has been 2,351 days since a major hurricane hit the US, the longest such period on record.

By contrast, in 1893 the US was hit by two major hurricanes within two weeks. Kerry Emanuel says that hurricanes are getting more intense and doing more damage.
The 10th storm of the season, known as the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane began on September 27 in the western Caribbean Sea. After hitting the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 2 hurricane, it moved through the Gulf of Mexico. As it approached the southeast coast of Louisiana, it rapidly strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, and hit land on October 2. It moved through Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas before dissipating at sea. This storm was one of the first hurricanes to officially receive a Category 4 designation on the modern Saffir-Simpson scale. It killed 2000 people and caused around $5 million (1893 dollars) in damage.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gen-Y Rejects the Green Life: ‘Let’s all live like the Kardashians’

It increasingly looks like we’re entering the 4th quarter of the great Contest of Truth on global warming. The climate alarmists know they are way behind, and the Fakegate scandal shows they are willing to heave one Hail Mary after another — even in the most underhanded fashion — in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Yet those Hail Mary passes expose a rag arm throwing fluttering ducks into a headwind. Fact is: Generation Y — a generation exposed to relentless alarmist global warming propaganda since elementary school — is not very motivated to take the field, catch the pass, and win one for the Green Gipper.

Power Line’s Steve Hayward — who recently wrote one of the best pieces yet about Fakegate in the Weekly Standard — mirthfully notes that “one of Time’s hippest young columnists, the egregious Joel Stein, [has written] a column saying essentially that environmentalists are basically a bunch of losers.”

Hayward quotes the hipster Stein, who wrote of the Gen-Y generation (and quoted the author of a study on Gen-Y’s attitudes on environmentalism):
Compared with boomers and Generation X-ers, Gen Y-ers are the least willing to cut down on driving and electricity use. “There was a lot more questioning of materialism in the 1970s. Now it’s just like, Let’s all live like the Kardashians,” she said. . .

We do stuff not to save the planet as much as to look as if we’re saving the planet. That means I need to spend a lot more on my food, clothing and appliances and let everyone know about it.

Ouch. At least Gen-Y is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the contradiction. The power for all those Macbooks, iPods, iPads, live-streaming, Facebook updates, and Tweeting has to come from somewhere — and Gen-Y demands to be plugged in at all times. Gen-Y will not “power down” for the planet. Stage Two: Giving up paying the poseur premium for reliable, fossil-fueled energy that keeps all them all plugged in — and bursting the media-fed fantasy that wind farms and solar panels will keep an uninterrupted digital world at their fingertips. Gen-Y is at least halfway there. Critical mass comes after the first brown-out in California.

More proof that the game clock is ticking down on the alarmist team and they are out of time-outs? Hayward cites a study from that finds alarmist media coverage of the climate had declined 20 percent since 2010. The metrics are worse for editorial boards, which have cut in half their “we gotta save the planet NOW” work since 2009. Tick … tick … tick …

Read all of Hayward’s excellent Power Line post for its own sake, and to also see an amazing chart of the decline in alarmist media coverage that is impossible to hide. Quip’s Hayward: “Move over hockey stick.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming Models Are Wrong Again

The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with predictions

By Prof. WILLIAM HAPPER (Princeton)

During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: "It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather."

What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website here. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.

The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels has been one reason for an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 395 ppm (or parts per million), up from preindustrial levels of about 280 ppm.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels will be a net benefit because cultivated plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels, and because warming and other supposedly harmful effects of CO2 have been greatly exaggerated. Nations with affordable energy from fossil fuels are more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The direct warming due to doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be calculated to cause a warming of about one degree Celsius. The IPCC computer models predict a much larger warming, three degrees Celsius or even more, because they assume changes in water vapor or clouds that supposedly amplify the direct warming from CO2. Many lines of observational evidence suggest that this "positive feedback" also has been greatly exaggerated.

There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s. Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.

Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that "extreme weather" has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.

Weather conditions similar to 2012 occurred in the winter of 1942, when the U.S. Midwest was unusually warm, and when the Wehrmacht encountered the formidable forces of "General Frost" in a Russian winter not unlike the one Russians just had.

Large fluctuations from warm to cold winters have been the rule for the U.S., as one can see from records kept by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. For example, the winters of 1932 and 1934 were as warm as or warmer than the 2011-2012 one and the winter of 1936 was much colder.

Nightly television pictures of the tragic destruction from tornadoes over the past months might make one wonder if the frequency of tornadoes is increasing, perhaps due to the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But as one can read at Andrew Revkin's New York Times blog, dotearth, "There is no evidence of any trend in the number of potent tornadoes (category F2 and up) over the past 50 years in the United States, even as global temperatures have risen markedly."

Like winter temperatures, the numbers, severity and geographical locations of tornadoes fluctuate from year-to-year in ways that are correlated with the complicated fluid flow patterns of the oceans and atmosphere, the location of the jet stream, El Niño or La Niña conditions of the tropical Pacific Oceans, etc.

As long as the laws of nature exist, we will have tornadoes. But we can save many more lives by addressing the threat of tornadoes directly—for example, with improved and more widely dispersed weather radars, and with better means for warning the people of endangered areas—than by credulous support of schemes to reduce "carbon footprints," or by funding even more computer centers to predict global warming.

It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind's use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.

We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:

"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."

The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.


British Musical Legend Fumes Over Government's Wind 'Scam'

Famed lyricist SIR TIM RICE has taken aim at the government for backing wind turbine schemes, branding the environmental initiative "a scam".

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government wants renewable sources to provide 15 per cent of the energy supply by 2015, but the investment into wind farming has divided the country.

Rice admits he is not a fan of the scheme, and has even turned down big money offers to house wind turbines on his sprawling estate in Scotland.

He tells the Sunday Telegraph, "I recently declined to support a Conservative function because I'm so incensed about these wind turbines. Like all so-called climate-change doubters, I am very pro the environment, but I strongly believe that it is something that can only be cured locally. Some insane overall scheme isn't going to cure all the problems. And the money that is wasted!

"As a landowner in Scotland, I've been offered vast amounts of money to stick up wind turbines, which not only will make me richer, it will make less well-off people poorer, and will damage the environment. These schemes aren't doing any good - just making rich people richer, and it's depressing to see great areas of these useless objects up there.

"It's a scam - a con - and until the government has the brains to actually say, hang on, we've got it wrong, this is a total economic and environmental error, then I find it hard to give total support to them."


Rational Environmenalism

I’ve had quite a bit of time to consider what I call rational environmentalism. There is a lifestyle that we live that I don’t believe we need to give back even one bit of comfort on. For instance, not showering when you want in order to save energy, cannot save enough energy to be worthwhile unless you are personally flat broke.

Today in America, we have crossed that threshold of reasonable environmentalism into the realm of self-inflicted industrial harm, an area which the politicians of climate science are miserably bad at quantifying. Gas prices are a perfect example. With hundreds of different mixtures, all producing the same CO2 and similar emissions, certain blends have reached shortfall. Prices are therefore skyrocketing, as intended by the president along with supportive members of congress, and the result is a repression of personal lifestyles – for the low income earners. It also results in less jobs for the middle and high income earners but of course they go second.

Most of these effects are unnoticed by the public, as the circular fingerpointing can go on forever. The point should be to get back to what worked but that is not the subject of this post. I do believe in AGW although I’m unconvinced it is dangerous. At this point, I believe warming has been greatly beneficial – not just a little. Still, new energy sources will be found, new high-efficiency devices will be created, new paradigms of better living will occur. Notice I wrote will, rather than must. Even over-controlling government cannot stop it.

These sources will happen out of the general drive for people to make money and better lives for their families, whether we governmentally encourage them or not. This is one more aspect of the IPCC which is completely missing from the discussion. Do nothing IPCC scenarios don’t properly recognize the incentive that drives new energy exists without government. Sure, biofuel might not win, nor would solar implementation, but development and study is more than healthy. The failure of the self-appointed elite to notice the intellect of the masses has gone on since the beginning of human culture. Certainly, there is a lot of dumb in the world.

Many people you meet can’t even grasp the simple concepts of a post like this yet there are enough in the world, degreed or not, who are not part of the elite, yet have the wherewithal, and more importantly, the intent to change the world.

This mass of self-improving public intellect set free to improve themselves, is what set America apart in the past. The result was NOT bad for the environment, although SWAG and others would beg to differ. Cleaner power, friendlier farming, better air, have all resulted from the excess profits of capitalistic society, yet we Americans live in an all encompassing media-sponsored message of guilt. Guilted to turn over rights, such that the completely fabricated possibility of global warming doom, doesn’t happen.

The worst part about extremist AGW, is that there is no solution to the problem. Infinite money can be spent, and we still cannot stop the emissions. If everyone on earth were made an instant millionaire for conserving their usage, none of our millions would be worth a sandwich because the economic flow would stop. Redistribution, does NOT work to create wealth.

The goal for the Super Warming Advocates Guild, in my opinion, should be much different than it is. Instead of trying to repress the lifestyles of those who they openly consider ‘overconsuming’, they should be focused on solutions with emphasis on minimal impact to the economy, and general funding of research into new energy. Research for energy, is entirely different than implementation of new energy, and is FAR different from blatantly false “all of the above” rhetoric. Implementation of fake solutions in the form of all of the above, is simply a swag at the true goal of repression of lifestyles. Either a solution works, or it doesn’t, there is not much middle ground.

Despite what the AGW alarmists sell, we can change energy production, without giving anything up. Not one penny. In fact, I fully believe the change will happen, with or without our intent.

Economically, nothing could be more important than providing endless cheap energy to society. The ability to ship, travel, heat and cool are paramount in the improved living standards of humanity. Any brief review of the history of energy reveals this.

The inventions of smelting, steam engines, liquid fuel IC engines, turbines, home electricity, pumped water, centrally retailed goods, all have worked to achieve a better lifestyle for the globe. Free to pursue new interests aside from feeding themselves, scientists study climate, medicine, physics, math, philosopy, etc. at their leisure. This was not possible at our present scale even 100 years ago. A true sign of the excesses of productivity.

From all of this, I truly believe a philosophy of limitation of energy, from any source, is very much counterproductive for the environment, for long-term limitation of CO2 emission, and for the quality of life of our children. I have seen no evidence which contradicts this thought process, and more telling, no evidence which makes a real attempt at it. The IPCC takes a very generalized swing though.

So what is rational environmentalism? It is the minimization of damage to our surroundings while prioritizing the collective health of our economic productivity. Maximizing our economy, naturally leads to maximization of technological growth.

Do you avoid eating meat? – Oh hell no. That’s crazy. Eat what you like and live your life. Cow farts do nothing ‘damaging’ to the environment and the very concept is ludicrous to the point of stupidity.

Do you avoid using paper? – No way! It is a farming industry like corn.

Do you build a solar powered home? No again. The cells take a lot of energy to make and are often dirty. They also cost more than the energy they make. Why? Well if you want to do it, sure, but there is little reason. Wait 20 years and we will all change our minds.

Do you build a more efficient home? Sure, if you have the option, this is cheap and saves cash. Insulation, smart design, can all lead to improved lifestyle and save money. Smart stuff.

Do you buy energy efficient lighting? Sometimes it makes sense, others, it does not. If you heat your house around the clock, the old light emitting incandescent heatball, is hard to beat for efficiency.

What about a green clothes dryer? No way. Water requires a certain amount of energy to evaporate. Use the power.

The whole environmentally friendly decision process I personally recommend boils down to whether you can maintain, or improve your lifestyle, while changing how you live. Our company sells energy efficient products. We sell them on longevity and quality, the efficiency is just another bonus. We are all amused that our company has saved more CO2 than Michael Mann or Jim Hansen ever will. Sure they may have influenced the public, but we have designed, produced, sold and distributed actual product in large quantity. Our customers usually don’t even think about the CO2 they are saving, but they are happy about the secondary savings from lower energy usage.

When you are choosing to conserve, I hope you consider that the saving of CO2 emissions may have NO positive impact on the environment. Despite the known warming signal, the percentage of natural vs CO2 warming is unknown, and not one single instance of environmental damage has ever been directly attributed to the fraction of a degree C we have experienced. Nothing.

Also, when you choose to recycle, consider that Waste Management makes billions sorting garbage for the good stuff already. When you choose to buy recycled paper, you are driving down the cost of pulp from fresh trees, sustainably farmed everyday, by capitalist necessity, across the world. Sure a few areas are treating their forests poorly, but when they lose their production, the process stops and the trees grow back.

Conservation is a complicated sport which most people get wrong in my opinion. Instead of conserving usage, we should be focused on conserving low cost production and directing some of that profit toward more efficient technologies, expansion of a better way of life across the globe, while insuring that obvious damage to the environment is minimized. By obvious, I mean things like chemical spills, river pollution, particulate emission, etc. If you are a believer in destructive warming, you and I have a big difference of opinion and one of us is wrong, but my point is that by stopping limitation policy and allowing the global economy to continue, technology will develop far faster and we all will realize a new paradigm in energy production far more rapidly than if we pursue the government forced policies of limitation. Less NET CO2 will be emitted and we can all go back to fighting about the important stuff like whether we evolved from monkeys or whether we should be able to defend ourselves in our homes.


Come on baby light my fire, but watch the cat

Tim Blair has some amusing comments about Earth hour. A few excerpts:

EARTH Hour is with us again this Saturday night, so you'll want to start planning.

For your normal Earth Hour types, this is a simple procedure. Just turn all your lights off at 8.30pm and sit there thinking you're Jesus. But for those of us in the Hour of Power movement, a proper celebration requires substantial commitment.

Just follow my essential power party guide and you'll be set.

First, it's symbolically vital that you turn on every single light for the appointed hour. Sounds easy enough, but there is always a sneaky bulb out on the back porch or in the garage. Be vigilant. Don't let even the smallest or least visible globe escape illumination.

If you know anybody in the local council or the film industry, lean on them for a one-night use of something huge. These people have got lights that you wouldn't believe. Point them at your pool and it'll evaporate like a state Labor party.

Food is important. Put some thought into what you serve. According to a recent study, the basic prawn cocktail has an absolutely massive carbon footprint. Biologist J. Boone Kauffman found that, with transport and refrigeration factored in, just 100g of prawns shipped from a typical Asian farm represents a total carbon output of 198kg.

So you'll be eating prawns, then. Plus pizza. The delivery kid won't have any problems finding your house for once, what with it being lit up like a supernova.

My favourite Earth Hour moment came in 2010, when a Canadian environment minister hosted a candlelit eco-dinner. The smugness was interrupted when their cat caught fire. Holding true to the Earth Hour message, they refused to air the place with an electric fan. Open windows were the only means of dispersing stench of singed cat.

When you're scoping out foreign Earth Hour reports, don't forget to click on the reader comments at the end of every hand-wringing article begging readers to kill the lights. These comments invariably provide delightful counterpoint to the overall Earth Hour message.



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, 2012

British banks Balk At Toxic Green Loans: Another Sub-Prime Disaster In The Making?

Taxpayers will be asked to contribute to the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War after the Government failed to gain enough private support.

The Times has learnt that ministers want the publicly funded Green Investment Bank to help to fund their own energy-saving programme after banks refused to provide any loans.

A consortium of big energy companies, banks, construction companies and law firms appointed by the Government to find funding for the scheme will meet officials from the Green Investment Bank next week about securing an initial £300 million loan.

Negotiations to finalise the terms have already begun and the funds are expected to be secured in May.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has quietly given his full backing to the plan. The Government had originally been confident that banks and financial institutions would provide the loans, but they have refused owing to concerns that households would not pay them back.

One Whitehall source said: “Senior officials in the energy department have finally admitted that the programme won’t get off the ground without Green Investment Bank funding. Private sector banks simply won’t back the loans when the levels of demand are unclear and there is no track record on repayment defaults. If this £300 million is secured, this will be a lifeline for the programme.“ Under the voluntary programme — called the Green Deal and due to begin in the autumn — householders will be able to take out loans for energy-efficiency measures, such as cavity wall or loft insulation. The intention is that the energy saved will lead to lower bills, which will more than cover the cost of the repayments. If the homeowner moves, the new occupants will pay off the remainder of the loan.


Green drive to cover all Britain's houses with eight inches of cladding 'could threaten historic character of some areas'

The face of Britain’s suburbs could be in for a permanent makeover under plans to make our homes more environmentally friendly.

Millions of homeowners will be encouraged to clad the exterior walls of their properties with up to eight inches of insulation in a bid to keep them warmer and cut energy costs.

But heritage campaigners fear the controversial proposals threaten the historic character of many neighbourhoods, if the traditional brick facade and period features of millions of Victorian and Edwardian-era homes are lost.

Under the scheme, an extra layer of insulation would be added to walls, which could then be rendered and painted to resemble the original brickwork or in a colour of the homeowner’s choosing.

As an incentive, those who agree to clad their homes could be offered a reduction in stamp duty or council tax.

Climate change minister Greg Barker is backing the plans as part of the coalition’s Green Deal, which will launch in October.

The £2.5billion fund aims to provide low-interest loans to 14million homeowners so they can undertake home improvements such as double glazing.

To qualify, they will have to show the work will make their property more energy efficient and cut fuel costs.

Mr Barker said cladding Britain’s seven million solid wall properties would create jobs and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He added: ‘We have some of the worst performing buildings in Europe.

‘More than half of our homes don’t have sufficient insulation. They leak heat like a sieve.’

But Chris Wood, of English Heritage, warned that adding external insulation to older homes could destroy their traditional facades. He said: ‘The aim is good but this risks threatening our visual heritage.’

Ian Dungavell, of the Victorian Society, said: ‘Insulation covers up details like window lintels, leaves eaves without overhangs and creates an odd appearance around cornices. It changes all the proportions of the building.’


Moronic California train plan

In a dusty, rock-strewn expanse at the edge of the Mojave Desert, a company wants to build a bullet train that would rocket tourists from the middle of nowhere to the gambling palaces of Las Vegas.

DesertXpress was on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from the Obama administration to build the 150 mph train, which could be a lifeline for a region devastated by the housing crash.

The vast park-and-ride project hinged on the untested idea that car-loving Californians will drive about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, pull off busy Interstate 15 and board a train for the final leg to the Vegas strip.

Planners imagine that millions of travelers a year will one day flock to a station outside Victorville, a small city where shuttered storefronts line the historic downtown.

An alliance of business and political big shots from the Vegas strip to Capitol Hill was backing the project that could become the first high-speed system to break ground under President Obama's push to modernize the U.S. rail network - and give the President's re-election prospects a lift in battleground Nevada.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has publicly blessed the train and the project has cleared several regulatory hurdles in Washington.

Yet even as the Federal Railroad Administration considered awarding what would be the largest loan of its type, its own research warned that it was difficult to predict how many people will ride the train, a critical measure of financial survival.

'It's insanity,' said Thomas Finkbiner of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at the University of Denver. 'People won't drive to a train to go someplace. If you are going to drive, why not drive all the way and leave when you want?'

Construction cost projections have soared to as much as $6.5 billion, not including interest on the loan. Some fear taxpayer subsidies would be inevitable.

Supporters pointed to research that claimed 80,000 new jobs would be created but FRA documents revealed virtually all those would be temporary - no more than 722 would be permanent.

The plan was being advanced by casino developer and contractor Anthony Marnell II, whose credits include building the Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. He heads Marnell Companies, the majority shareholder in DesertXpress.

The train was also backed by project consultant Sig Rogich, a Republican adviser to two presidential campaigns who founded Nevada's most influential lobbying and advertising company and Canadian transportation giant Bombardier, a DesertXpress strategic adviser that wants to supply rail cars.

A decision on the loan was not expected until later in the year but the company has spent some $30 million sharpening its plan and refining ridership projections.

Rising gas prices and increasing traffic congestion could help ticket sales, and the company was touting reduced air pollution from fewer cars on the road.

Far from being a train from nowhere, company planners see the struggling city of 115,000, once a stop on Route 66, as a collection point for millions of drivers heading north to Las Vegas.

Bringing the line deeper into the populous Los Angeles area would raise formidable challenges, Mack said, from crossing numerous freeways to finding space for track.

The parking lot in Victorville has room for 15,000 cars. At peak hours, trains would depart every 20 minutes. Mack said an average round-trip fare could be as low as $75, though documents estimated $100. Mack added that the train will deliver convenience - and for a price, luxury.

DesertXpress officials once boasted they would build the line with private dollars, but they now planned to rely on FRA financing to cover the bulk of the cost.

Mack didn't directly answer if the company turned to the FRA because private investors were unwilling to take the risk, but said the loan terms are attractive.

'When somebody comes and tells me I will build a system that pays for itself, I'm suspicious,' said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, which questioned ridership potential in a report last year. 'There is no high-speed rail system in the world that operates without subsidies.'

The company was still arranging as much as $1.6 billion needed to cover its share of the construction bill for the 200-mile line.

Investments could hinge on the loan approval, which required the company to convince the FRA that taxpayers won't get stiffed. In a worst-case scenario, the train would become government property if the company failed.

The low-interest loan would be about three times the combined amount the FRA loaned 32 other projects through the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program since its inception in 2002.

If successful, the train could be a forerunner in a national high-speed rail network, while bringing a rich return for investors and delivering visitors to Vegas. It would also give Nevada residents an option to southern California, albeit many miles from tourist hotspots like Hollywood or the beaches.

The company was seeking funds at a time when a proposed high-speed train running from San Francisco to Southern California has been questioned because of ballooning costs and fear it will drain taxpayer dollars.

Early company research projected the train would lure away nearly one in four car, bus and airline travelers, about 4 million people annually. The company pegged first-year ridership at about 3 million, but that projection was trimmed to 2.5 million by government analysts.

The risks were summarized in a 2007 study commissioned by ACS Infrastructure North America, a division of a global construction company that DesertXpress said was seeking a role in the project.

It found most travelers were 'broadly happy' going to Las Vegas by car or airline. While most travelers would be open to riding a train, the report warned the company would need to lure riders with pampering.

With no traffic, the 270-mile drive from downtown Los Angeles to Las Vegas takes about four hours. Planners said the train ride from Victorville to Las Vegas would take about 80 minutes, but it was debatable how much time would be saved after parking, boarding the train and reaching a Las Vegas hotel.

Round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas can be booked for under $100.


New paper claims ozone is most important driver of recent climate

A paper published last week in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics claims stratospheric ozone is the most important driver of recent climate, accounting for 75% of Earth's temperature variations during the period 1926-2011.

Ozone is in turn controlled by natural variations in galactic cosmic rays & solar activity, rather than man-made chlorofluorocarbons or 'greenhouse gases.'

The Svensmark hypothesis relates variations in solar activity to amplified variations galactic cosmic rays, which in turn result in changes in cloud cover. This new paper may provide a second mechanism by which variations in solar activity are amplified by the effect on galactic cosmic rays and ozone.
Climate sensitivity to the lower stratospheric ozone variations

By N.A. Kilifarska


The strong sensitivity of the Earth's radiation balance to variations in the lower stratospheric ozone – reported previously – is analyzed here by the use of non-linear statistical methods. Our non-linear model of the land air temperature (T) – driven by the measured Arosa total ozone (TOZ) – explains 75% of total variability of Earth's T variations during the period 1926–2011. We have analyzed also the factors which could influence the TOZ variability and found that the strongest impact belongs to the multi-decadal variations of galactic cosmic rays. Constructing a statistical model of the ozone variability, we have been able to predict the tendency in the land air T evolution till the end of the current decade. Results show that Earth is facing a weak cooling of the surface T by 0.05–0.25 K (depending on the ozone model) until the end of the current solar cycle. A new mechanism for O3 influence on climate is proposed.


* An increased climate sensitivity to ozone variations is analyzed.

* O3 driven model of surface T explains the greatest part of its variability.

* Impact of different factors on lower stratospheric O3 variability is estimated.

* Galactic cosmic rays have a greatest influence on O3.

* Mechanism for ozone influence on climate is described.


Obama's coal problem

Coal is many things to many people. It once powered the mighty U.S. Navy, the steam locomotives carrying commerce cross-country, and most American homes and businesses.

At the start of the 20th century, mining companies faced such difficulty finding enough labor to meet the demand that they crisscrossed Eastern Europe, promising company housing and good wages to young men who emigrated to America. It was the golden age of “King Coal.”

Today, Pennsylvania coal still generates more than half of the state’s electrical power, according to Edward Yankovich, United Mine Workers District II vice president. “In Ohio, 80 percent,” he added.

Yet it is the one energy resource about which President Obama dares not speak. In fact, Obama has not mentioned it since last year – and then, only in passing at a news conference. Last Thursday, in what the White House touted as his “big American-made energy” speech, the president never mentioned coal.

“That’s – that is just disappointing,” said T. J. Rooney, former state chairman of Pennsylvania’s Democrats, who oversaw several very successful cycles for his party.

Yankovich refuses to criticize Obama but suggests driving to one of those electricity-generating windmills in Somerset County to see how many cars are in its parking lot. “None. None,” he replies. “But drive over to Homer City in Indiana County, and you will see 200 to 300 at any time of the day.”

The coal-fired Homer City power plant is pretty imposing, home to the second-tallest smokestack in the country. It is in the midst of proposing a $725 million pollution-abatement project, to avoid being one of more than 100 coal-fired plants that power generators recently decided to shut down – including six in Pennsylvania – ahead of new federal clean-air rules that take effect in 2015.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says we need to find a balance of wind, sun and clean coal. “It’s not just jobs, it is costs, too,” he said, referring to monthly electric bills. “That last thing we need in this slow-moving economy is rising energy bills, not just at the pump but in the home as well.”

Rooney said Obama needs to address coal and the balance he will strike between environmental protection and rising energy costs: “It is an issue that will define his re-election fight here in Pennsylvania as well as Ohio.”

Last Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, watched by nearly 300,000 people. The Scranton native shook hands, held babies -- and sometimes was booed.

Given Western Pennsylvania’s coal-rich history, some parade-goers likely remembered his declaration of support for clean coal in China but not in the United States. “No coal plants here in America,” he said in Eastern Ohio in 2008. “Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there. Make them clean.”

Maybe some of the 500 people who attended a meeting last week, about keeping the Homer City plant operating, also attended Pittsburgh’s parade.


Memo to Education Scotland: Stop Brainwashing our Children with One-Sided State Propaganda on Climate Change

Quote 1 'Children should not be overfed with one particular view of this ['climate change']. It is far too complicated for that.'

Quote 2 ' is brainwashing our children.'

Quote 1 is by Professor Tony Trewavas of Edinburgh University. Quote 2 is by Martin Livermore, of the UK Scientific Alliance. Both quoted in this article in the Scottish Daily Mail on 24th March, 2012

Education Scotland is an agency of the Scottish Government, a government which has produced absurd legislation on climate, and committed to absurd targets on renewable energy, thereby leading the way in sub-scientific foolishness. The facade of scientific justification is easily exposed, but not by children. They tend to trust what the adults tell them, and hence have long been a clearly identified target for eco-propagandising by the zealots who are intent on telling others how to live.

The Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London have failed to defend the wider society from such manipulation and shoddy extrapolation from unconfirmed speculations about the importance of CO2 in the climate system, and so it is all the more refreshing to see a member of the Edinburgh Royal Society taking a more informed, a more independent, and indeed a more civilised approach on climate matters.

This is especially encouraging and important given the recent announcement of a concordat amongst the major political parties in Scotland in support of the preposterous 'climate change targets' of the Scottish government.

This announcement has been noted and commented upon at Bishop Hill, where it is deemed 'somewhat reminiscent of the Soviet Union'.



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, 2012

The underlying agenda of the Green/Left

Why do the Greenies advocate so many things that are bad for the environment -- windmills that mince rare birds, paper bags rather than plastic bags that necessitate cutting down forests of trees, etc.? It's because their real agenda isn't the environment at all. It is people-hatred. They are anti-human. They would like to get rid of -- or at least control -- most of us if they could but they need power to do that and the only way they might plausibly get such power is through a beefed-up United Nations. And it's no secret conspiracy. They are quite open about it at times. Below is one example:

In 1992, the United Nations’ Kyoto Agreement set up Agenda 21. It is a project for the removal of national sovereignty. It is comprehensive. The UN has issued a series of guidelines to implement it. The latest is the International Covenant on Environment and Development (4th ed.). It is 200 pages long. The key section is Chapter 39, on Agenda 21.

If you want to know what the New World Order would like to implement, it is here. The UN has been working on this since its founding in 1945. The UN is well into the design phase of its final push, and has been ever since 1992.

Are these bureaucrats going to get this implemented? No. They do not have the funding, and they are not going to get it. Why not? Because national politicians want all the tax money for their own boondoggles to buy votes. They do not want to share it with a bunch of non-elected, overpaid bureaucrats from Failurestan. But if you really want to know what the non-elected, overpaid bureaucrats would like to do, this document is a good place to begin.

What we are seeing is national governments moving to implement Agenda 21 without the UN in charge. The UN will not gain the final transfer of power. The national power-seekers will not surrender control. The budget crises of national governments will not allow this sharing of revenue. But bits and pieces of Agenda 21 are being implemented, county by county (“county buy county”).

The NWO has long had two main strategies. First, there is free trade, taxable by the UN and shared with non-governmental organizations’ bureaucracies, the NGOs. This strategy goal goes back to the League of Nations in the 1930s. They have gotten freer trade, but they never got the right to tax it. The NWO has for over 70 years attempted to hijack legitimate calls for free trade as a way to benefit consumers. Second is the implementation of central planning in the name of environmentalism. This goes back to the publication of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring (1962). The NWO saw this movement as a cause to hijack in order to gain support for worldwide economic control.

Here is the bureaucratic language from Chapter 39. These people have their own barely coherent vocabulary. They speak in bureaucratese, so as not to awaken the targeted victims: voters. When the document says “Parties,” it means national governments. It means the end of national sovereignty. It means government by NWO.
Parties shall cooperate in the conservation, management and restoration of natural resources in areas under the jurisdiction of more than one State, or fully or partly in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. To this end, based inter alia on the ecosystem approach:

(a) Parties sharing the same natural system shall make every effort to manage that system as a single ecological unit notwithstanding national Commentary on Article 38: Prior Informed Consent Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development boundaries. They shall cooperate on the basis of equity and reciprocity, in particular through bilateral and multilateral agreements or arrangements, in order to develop harmonized policies and strategies covering the entire system and the ecosystems it contains. With regard to aquatic systems, such agreements or arrangements shall cover the catchment area, including the adjoining marine environment and recharge and discharge areas in the case of aquifers.

(b) Parties sharing the same species or population, whether migratory or not, shall make every effort to treat such species or population as a single biological unit. They shall cooperate, in particular through bilateral and multilateral agreements, in order to maintain the species or population concerned in a favourable conservation status. In the case of a harvested species or population, all the Parties that are range states of that species or population shall cooperate in the development and implementation of a joint management plan to ensure the sustainable use of that resource and the equitable sharing of the benefits deriving from that use.

I would like to see dozens of blogs dedicated to tracking the UN’s reports and press releases on Agenda 21. These would be specialized. Some would cover the UN. Others would also cover the move of the U.S. government to set up administrative units locally to implement this. It is being done, county by county.

Every county needs at least one such blog. There are over 3,000 counties.

The Web allows this. But it would take an army of volunteers. They would have to be dedicated. Nobody would pay them.

Tracking Agenda 21 in a county would make a great ongoing home school civics project. Editorship of each site could be passed on, student to student. A local home school association could own the site.

The local authorities would be outraged. They are trying to sneak this through, under the voters’ radar. So far, the strategy is working. Federal money is buying off the local Good Old Boys.

Agenda 21 is being implemented by stealth around the world. The NWO planners know that voters would oppose this if they knew about it, but they don’t know about it.

This is a war. The NWO is going to lose it, but there will be casualties.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Reply to a challenge

As a retired social science academic from Australia I am not nearly as grand as a biology professor at Ohio State University but the challenge below is such an easy one that even I can answer it. And social science is surely just as relevant to climate science as is biology!

Steve Rissing below lists a number of recent weather extremes and implies, without proof, that they are unusual. He then goes on to say:

Almost all scientists and related professionals who collect and analyze data about climate change or its effect on biological systems agree that the increased carbon dioxide levels cause much of the climate change and warming. The remaining climate skeptics tend to be policymakers who would rather not make policy.

So how do the hold-out skeptics propose to test their hypothesis that no link exists between carbon-dioxide increases and climate-change effects? Good science demands explanations and hypotheses that can be tested.

An explanation that can’t be tested isn’t an explanation — it’s a dream, a belief, a political position. It might make for good campaign rhetoric, but it makes for poor public planning.

The skeptics demand more science. Bring it on. What’s the red line for their “no effect” hypothesis? What has to happen for them to say: “We were wrong; there is an effect. You better do something about this.”Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science, noted in the middle of the last century that the ability and willingness to submit one’s hypothesis to testing and possible rejection formed a core component of effective science. Indeed, without it, one really isn’t practicing science; he or she is practicing advocacy at best, or maybe self-promotion.

The hold-out skeptics say they only want good science when it comes to climate change and planning for it. We all do.

How will we know we’re there? What will it take for them to abandon their “no effect” hypothesis? If they can’t answer that, they’re just adding even more hot air to the atmosphere.


My reply is simple. Both written history and proxy data show that the Medieval and Roman warm periods were at least as warm as today, despite there being nothing like the manmade CO2 emissions of today. Show me where history is wrong and I will concede that manmade CO2 levels could be responsible for the current warmish temperatures and that we are all in dire peril.

And in case the klutz is so ill-inforned as to resort to Mann's "hockeystick", let him read this and this. Warmists really are amusing

Some Australian local governments are denying people planning permission to build near the sea

Because rising se levels might submerge them. Two letters in a newspaper below offer some germane comments. Tim Flannery is an Australian Warmist who is perfectly calm about living by the sea

WHEN Tim Flannery is evicted from his waterfront property, then we should be concerned about sea level rise ("Fighting on the beaches as council orders retreat from climate change threat", 24-25/3).

The NSW government and the Port Macquarie Hastings Council ignore land level rises and falls which make relative sea level a local issue and hence global sea level speculations of the IPCC can not be used. To devalue properties based on half the information is, at best, deceptive.

Professor Ian Plimer, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA

So 80-year-olds are not allowed to renovate their homes because Green councillors decided they are vulnerable to sea level rises. Their houses are 7m above sea level, so if it rises by 3.5mm per year it will take 2000 years to reach them.

If Jesus Christ had been warned that by now the Sea of Galilee would be lapping the front step of his workshop he may have decided he could put that problem on the backburner until a few others were sorted out. The 80-year-olds might have priorities higher than rising seas but Greens don't recognise such realities in their dizzy, postmodern world.

John Dawson, Chelsea, Vic


Aborigines wiped out Australia's large animals

Not as "in tune with nature" as the Greenie romanticizers claim

HUMAN hunters were mainly responsible for wiping out Australia's megafauna, a study has concluded.

The reasons behind the demise of the giant animals that once roamed the continent – such as rhinoceros-sized diprotodons, towering kangaroos, marsupial lions and birds twice the size of emus – have long been hotly debated, with hunting, the human use of fire, and climate change blamed.

Chris Johnson, of the University of Tasmania, said his team had solved the extinction mystery by studying fungi that thrive in the dung of large herbivores.

The team examined two cores of sediment from Lynch's Crater, a swamp in north-east Queensland, dating back 130,000 years.

They counted the spores of these fungi and looked for pollen and charcoal in the sediments as indicators of vegetation change and fire.

Professor Johnson said the research showed megafauna numbers were stable until about 40,000 years ago, despite several periods of drying.

"This rules out climate change as a cause of extinction," he said.

The giant herbivore population crashed soon after humans arrived, with the number of spores in the sediment virtually disappearing. "So it seems that people did it."

The study, published in the journal Science, showed that after the demise of the megafauna, the vegetation changed and fire activity increased, with rainforest species disappearing and grassy eucalypt-dominated forests expanding.

But Judith Field, of the University of NSW, challenged the conclusions of the study. She said it was merely assumption that the ancient spores reflected the abundance of the giant animals.

"The only evidence we have from Queensland for megafauna indicates that they were gone before humans arrived."

There was also little archaeological evidence from any site in Australia to show humans co-existed with megafauna, and none to show they hunted them.

"The results of this paper are interesting. The interpretations drawn from it are unsubstantiated and can be explained by other mechanisms," Dr Field said.

But John Alroy, of Macquarie University, described the data as "superb and decisive".

The debate had dragged on for almost 50 years because people thought it "incredible" that stone-age hunters could have had such a big impact as to wipe out the megafauna.

Gavin Prideaux, of Flinders University, said the study was an important contribution and supported mounting evidence that climate change was not to blame.

"To test the inferences from this paper we might look at similar lake records from other regions of Australia and seek fossil deposits in the north-east that preserve bones of the giant animals themselves," Dr Prideaux said.


More amusing news from Australia

$175k to cheer up Department of Energy and Climate Change staff

Hey, but this is alright when you are spending someone else’s money isn’t it?

Staff at the Australian Department of Climate Change are so depressed, I can’t think why, that the government is spending $175,000 to cheer them up.

Could it be that the poor staff would enjoy their jobs more if they weren’t doing something which was a complete waste of time, and their programs weren’t a vacuous drain? Remember if we all abandon Australia, AND if the IPCC aren’t wildly overestimating the effects of extra CO2, then, and only then, will Australia cool the world by as much as — rounded to the nearest whole number – zero degrees. (Pace Matt Ridley)

Things are so bad, people were ashamed to admit to people that they worked at the Dept of Climate Change. Worse, this study was done back in 2010 – before a round of endless-drought-breaking floods in 2011 and then another round of endless-drought-breaking floods in 2012. This was before the worst of the plummeting Labor polling, before FakeGate… just how low do these people feel now?
THEY are responsible for some of the government’s most important policies – but staff at the Department of Energy and Climate Change are too ashamed to admit where they work.

Staff morale is so low the government has spent almost $175,000 on consultants to lift staff’s flagging spirits.

A negative public image of the department, changing environmental policies and lack of internal support had left them feeling miserable and disengaged, an internal report has found.

The report was conducted by consultants Right Management in July 2010 when the department was under the responsibility of Finance and Deregulation Minister Penny Wong.

The portfolio has since been taken over by Greg Combet.

The report, which also includes a survey of 788 people, found the department to have “low levels” of employee engagement. Staff held a poor view of the department, felt a lack of purpose, were uninformed about changes to policies and procedures, and worried about their future employment.

“Many reported having to think about whether they would tell people where they worked because of the department’s negative image,” the report said.

It’s the politician’s fault for offering waste-of-time-work in the first place. I don’t blame the staff (not so much) but in the end, they are always free to leave. Except of course, they are trapped aren’t they? We know that many of them can’t find better paid work elsewhere, because the gravy train pays well, much better than private industry.

Pouring good money after bad. This is another case study in why Big-Government is a bad thing.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Bill Gates: ‘Not possible’ to reduce fossil fuel use

Climatewire reports:

… Gates spoke on his aim for a zero-carbon future at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics Creating Environmental Capital conference, where energy company leaders, entrepreneurs and environmental groups share ideas.

You will never reach absolute zero carbon, Gates said, “but if you want there not to be increased warming every year, you have to get to extremely low numbers.”

Alan Murray, The Wall Street Journal’s deputy managing editor and online executive editor, asked Gates his views on when fossil fuels might fill less than half of the world’s energy needs, compared to the 80 percent they make up today.

In an earlier session at the conference, Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said he thought that point might come by 2050. Vinod Khosla, managing partner at Khosla Ventures, said it could occur within 25 years, although he added, “I’m definitely more optimistic.”

Gates said both those time frames were unrealistic and that it would be longer. Looking just at the electrification sector, Gates said, there is too much carbon-emitting infrastructure that will be around for decades. Power plants built over the next two decades will have a minimum 30-year life span, he said.

“The notion that that sector will be 50 percent non-hydrocarbon in 50 years, it’s not possible,” Gates 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


25 March, 2012 misrepresents the dangers of carbon dioxide

It's nice that there are a few people on the Left who take an interest in the facts but even they cannot avoid bias taking over. The matter below is not the first such instance. Obama even entrusted them with examining his computer-generated "birth certificate" and they pronounced it genuine. But you can generate ANYTHING on a computer. If they had really been interested in the facts, they would have concluded that the genuineness was possible but not proven. Their "facts" are facile. They have to be. The full facts are deadly to the Green/Left is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to “apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship” to “reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” recently published an article entitled “Santorum’s science,” by Lori Robertson. In this piece, Robertson criticizes Rick Santorum for a statement he made about global warming on March 12th in Biloxi, Mississippi. Alluding to the fact that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital ingredient for plant life, Santorum quipped, “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is.”

Robertson attempts to refute Santorum’s remark by declaring:

* “Too much” CO2 “is definitely a bad thing.”

* “Exposure to high levels of CO2 can cause ‘headaches, dizziness, restlessness … coma, asphyxia to convulsions … and even frostbite if exposed to dry ice,’ which is solid CO2.”

* “Plants do, in fact, absorb CO2. But even plants might not like too much of it. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Illinois found that instead of increasing organic matter in soil, higher carbon dioxide levels actually led to less organic matter.”

These statements are materially misleading. Let’s examine them one at a time. “Too much” CO2 “is definitely a bad thing.”

The same can be said of just about every substance known to man. The most basic principle of toxicology is that “the dose makes the poison.” As explained in a Cambridge University Press textbook, Understanding Environmental Pollution (page 60), “Anything is toxic at a high enough dose. … Even water, drunk in very large quantities, may kill people by disrupting the osmotic balance in the body’s cells.”

Likewise, even oxygen can be toxic when breathed in high concentrations. Per The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics (page 40), “when there is too much oxygen … the lungs may be damaged, as in acute repository distress syndrome (ARDS).”

Thus, it is meaningless to proclaim that “too much” of any particular substance is “a bad thing.” Instead, the pertinent matter is, “When does it become a bad thing?” which leads directly to the next point. “Exposure to high levels of CO2 can cause ‘headaches, dizziness, restlessness … coma, asphyxia to convulsions … and even frostbite if exposed to dry ice,’ which is solid CO2.”

This statement is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Santorum was speaking about global warming and atmospheric CO2—not ventilation deathtraps, industrial hazards, and dry ice. The truth is that atmospheric CO2 levels don’t approach anywhere near the doses that can cause the symptoms that Robertson lists.

Using data from multiple academic sources, Just Facts has documented that carbon dioxide produces no adverse physiological effects on humans until concentrations exceed 50 times the level in Earth’s atmosphere. Furthermore, natural emissions of CO2 outweigh man-made emissions by a factor of twenty to one.

Some of Robertson’s confusion may stem from the source that she cites for the dangers of CO2, which is a cut sheet from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. This document contains a major recurring error. The figures given for CO2 concentrations that cause various adverse effects are mistaken by more than a factor of ten.

For example, the cut sheet says that exposure to CO2 concentrations above 5,000 parts per million (ppm) “may lead to serious oxygen deprivation resulting in permanent brain damage, coma and even death.” As detailed by the National Research Council (and many other academic sources), humans can be routinely exposed to more than ten times this level of CO2 for days on end without any indications of permanent brain damage or threat of death. In fact, it takes prolonged CO2 exposures of more than 20,000 ppm just to cause occasional, mild headaches. “Plants do, in fact, absorb CO2. But even plants might not like too much of it. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Illinois found that instead of increasing organic matter in soil, higher carbon dioxide levels actually led to less organic matter.”

First, according to the article that Robertson cites for this claim, this study found that higher CO2 levels “may” have led to less organic matter in the soil of a certain soybean crop. This is different from claiming that higher CO2 “actually” led to less organic matter in plant soil.

Far more significantly, Robertson fails to mention that the study found “a 30 percent increase in above- and below- ground soybean biomass” among the crops exposed to more CO2. In plain language, these soybean plants grew 30% larger. They did, in fact, “like” the added CO2.

Note that this study was conducted at a CO2 level of 550 ppm, as compared to the current atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 387 ppm. Bear those figures in mind, because the study’s result accords with an academic text that explains how to increase the productivity of commercial greenhouses:

"Plants need water, light, warmth, nutrition and CO2 to grow. By increasing the CO2 level in the greenhouse atmosphere (typical to 600 ppm instead of normal 400 ppm value), the growth for some plants can be stimulated in an important way, with often yield increases up to 20%, especially for tomato, cucumber, strawberry, etc. but also for potted plants and cut flowers."

In sum, Santorum is correct. CO2 concentrations well above today’s atmospheric levels are typically beneficial to plants.


If this is "The Science", then science is forever discredited

The latest data set from The Met Office shows that the January 1851 southern hemisphere temperature anomaly was 1.800 C.

They calculated the southern hemisphere land temperature (within 0.001 degrees) based on a single thermometer in South America. In fact, it was the only thermometer south of Cuba.

We now have one-tree Keith and one-thermometer Phil.



By Paul Homewood



                            Before                                                                                                 After


The team that brought you “Hide The Decline” have gone one better, with their latest offering “Invent The Incline”. Across much of the Arctic, GHCN have been caught making controversial temperature adjustments, which have had the effect of reducing past temperatures, thereby creating a false warming trend. (Full story here).

It now appears that it is not just the Arctic. The same sort of adjustments have been discovered in Australia.


Appendix A lists every station in Australia used by GHCN, that have records back to 1940. (There are more stations with records that don’t stretch back that far and that show similar adjustments – Brisbane, as shown above is a classic case – but I have used 1940 as the baseline). Of these 17 stations, 8 have had their 1940 temperatures reduced, while 9 have remained unaltered. No stations at all have been adjusted upwards. As with the Arctic stations, by 2010 all the adjustments have disappeared. (In fact, for some reason, the new adjusted dataset shows most stations 0.1C warmer in 2010 than the previous dataset – I have disregarded this).

Just to clarify a few points :-

  1. The “original mean temps” are based on GHCN Version 2.0 and available from GISS here. The “GHCN adjusted mean temps” are based on GHCN Version 3.1, introduced in December 2011, and available here.
  2. GISS perform a “Homogeneity Adjustment” on these  “GHCN adjusted temperatures”, which purports to offset the UHI effect. This, however, only applies at urban and peri-urban stations.
  3. I have done some detailed checks on Alice Springs, which confirm that the “original” dataset do indeed correlate with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ( BOM) – I will be issuing a further post on this shortly.
  4. According to the BOM, they have a Quality Monitoring Process in place that includes” checking for values that extend beyond what is considered realistic,  inconsistent observations (e.g. high rainfall recorded together with clear skies) and discontinuous or abrupt changes in values over a short period of time”. (See here).
  5. They go on to say “Doubtful observations are examined to determine whether they are truly in error or just unusual. Data can be subjected to physical and statistical checks, compared against those for nearby stations with similar observations, or staff may refer to the original observations or observers for verification”


At a tangent, I have two other observations :-

  1. You will notice I have flagged all the airport sites in the Appendix below, 10 from 17 stations. At the rural airport sites, there are no adjustments in the GISS dataset to allow for the UHI effect.
  2. Checks at Darwin and Adelaide seem to indicate that only 0.2C has been allowed in cities for the increase in UHI since 1940. (In other words, the “After GISS Homogeneity” temperatures for 1940 have been increased by 0.2C).

I find both of these assumptions highly dubious.


German Eco-Czars Threaten To Force Home Owners To Make Costly Energy-Saving Rennovations

German daily Die Welt here reported last month how the transition to renewable energy development in Europe, particularly Germany, has not been progressing well lately.

Offshore parks are being delayed, the expansion of the power grid is practically DOA and people are realizing that the energy the sun sends for free is actually awfully expensive and inefficient.

The regulatory system designed to steer society through an energy efficiency revolution isn’t working. As a result bureaucrats are getting frustrated as their targets look less attainable than ever. Failure of their grand project is something they refuse to allow. Rather than admitting that the whole idea is unworkable, they instead think that the measures haven’t been drastic enough. Die Welt writes:

"It’s no wonder that environmental politicians are considering forcing people rather than waiting for them to volunteer. That’s why the EU Commission has proposed a directive that threatens power utilities with fines in order to get them to finance the energy saving measures of their customers. Also homeowners are once again in the cross-hairs of politicians. After all, homes are the biggest consumers of energy . Too few homeowners are thinking about replacing their heating systems or insulating their walls and attics.”

So what do the EU politicians have in mind? They want to force homeowners to renovate their homes to make them more energy efficient. Never mind if it’s economical or not. The idea is to save energy, no matter the cost. Besides, European politicians believe homeowners are too stupid to come up with the right answer when it comes to making investment decisions.

The German government is now considering such a measure. For example, the law would force people to insulate their homes and replace their furnace if they decide to carry out larger scale renovation works.

But as Die Welt writes, such drastic measures that try to force certain behavior are already being tried in the State of Baden-Württemberg, which is attempting to force homeowners there to carry out comprehensive renovation works for energy efficiency. The result: homeowners are renovating less than before. Die Welt:

"Even small works are being avoided now because otherwise the law of the state threatens to force a costly full renovation. The laws of the state have only led to strategies of dodging and avoiding and have proven to be counter-productive.”

Little wonder. Whenever the state intrudes this deep into private property and lives, things are sure to go awry. That the state now is contemplating laws that tell people how to run their own private property is a scary measure indeed. They only need to look back at what happened under previous dictatorial regimes, never mind Baden-Württemberg.


Bill McFibben on the Weirdest Weather

The article below is a good one but all the more remarkable in that it comes from a (recovering?) Warmist

Bill McKFibben went on Democracy Now today to talk about the President's attempt to make everyone happy on the Keystone Pipeline (or, at least, make everyone equally unhappy), and mentioned the warm weather in the US, calling it the "weirdest weather ever seen in this country."

Personally I find such talk strange, since here in Oregon it's been cold and rainy (and even snowed last night), but that's another matter.

But weirdest weather ever? Weirder than the Dust Bowl years? Than any of various "storms of the century," or 1972's Hurricane Agnes, a June hurricane that swept away all our lawn furniture and precipitated a 20-year feud between my grandmother and my great uncle-in-law when she suggested, as we were standing around watching the water come up, that he'd better get his Volkswagen Bug out of our driveway before it floated away. (I suspect there must have been bad feelings between them already, and this was just the last straw.) Me, I believe the absolutely weirdest weather in the U.S. occurred on August 25, 1814, when, just as the British were setting fire to Washington D.C. -- the Americans having all fled the day before, including Dolley Madison with some valuable paintings -- a hurricane appeared out of the blue and put out the fires, saving the city and, quite possibly, the nation.

Anyway it's certainly been a warm March in the U.S., but conveniently McKibben doesn't mention that the rest of the globe has had a fairly cold winter (Dec-Feb). Globally, UAH measured the lower troposphere to rank 19th out of 34 years; the USA48 ranking was 4th (last year it was 26th).

UAH's trend for USA48 over their 34-year record is 0.21 ± 0.04 C/decade. That's worrisome enough, and it what really he ought to cite, but I guess it's not scary enough and he needs to take advantage of a heat wave while its here.

McKibben does this a lot, like with last year's Hurricane Irene, which he attributed to warm water off the east coast. Yet the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season had a near normal number of major hurricanes, with an above average number of tropical storms with a near normal number of major hurricanes. Back then KcKibben picked off all the global hot spots:

"Last year was the warmest ever recorded on planet Earth. Arctic sea ice is near all-time record lows. Record floods from Pakistan to Queensland to the Mississippi basin; record drought from the steppes of Russia to the plains of Texas. Just about the only trauma we haven’t had are hurricanes plowing into the U.S., but that’s just luck—last year was a big storm year, but they all veered out to sea. This year we’re already on letter I—which in a normal year we don’t get to until well into October."

Now he sticks to the US heat wave, with no mention of the recent deep freeze in eastern Europe. And if you want to cherry pick, Arctic sea ice is currently at it highest extent in several years.


Obama blames Congress for Solyndra failure

President Barack Obama distanced himself from solar panel firm Solyndra amid Republican charges that his administration improperly secured a $535 million government loan guarantee.

“Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt,” Obama said about the firm that went under shortly after obtaining the loan.

“Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn’t compete,” he told NPR radio’s “Marketplace” program.

The interview was recorded Wednesday in Nevada and broadcast Thursday.

California-based Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September, closed its doors and laid off 1,000 workers, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the loan.

“This was not our program, per se. Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries, it’s easy to raise money for startups, but if you want to take them to scale, oftentimes there’s a lot of risk involved,” Obama said.

“The understanding is that some companies are not going to succeed, some companies will do very well — but the portfolio as a whole ends up supporting the kind of innovation that helps make America successful in this innovative 21st century economy.”

Republicans have linked administration efforts to help the firm to the fact that a charitable foundation run by George Kaiser, a generous contributor to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, was a major investor in the firm.

The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation in early 2011.

But the White House has denied pressing for the loan.

While expressing regret for the “heartbreaking” loss of Solyndra jobs, Obama said it was important to make sure “we’re not just cashing in our chips and letting the Chinese or the Germans develop the technologies that we know are going to be critical in the future.”

“I’m proud to say that we’re going to continue to support it,” he added about the green energy sector.



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, 2012

Medieval warming WAS global – new science contradicts IPCC

Mann's "hockeystick" has now definitely got a big pregnancy bump in the middle of it

More peer-reviewed science contradicting the warming-alarmist "scientific consensus" was announced yesterday, as a new study shows that the well-documented warm period which took place in medieval times was not limited to Europe, or the northern hemisphere: it reached all the way to Antarctica.

The research involved the development of a new means of assessing past temperatures, to add to existing methods such as tree ring analysis and ice cores. In this study, scientists analysed samples of a crystal called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.

“Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,” explains earth-sciences prof Zunli Lu. “The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.”

Down in the Antarctic peninsula that isn't a problem, and Lu and his colleagues were able to take samples which had been present for hundreds of years and date their formation. The structure of Ikaite, it turns out, varies measurably depending on the temperature when it forms, allowing boffins to construct an accurate past temperature record.

A proper temperature record for Antarctica is particularly interesting, as it illuminates one of the main debates in global-warming/climate-change: namely, were the so-called Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age merely regional, or were they global events? The medieval warmup experienced by northern Europeans from say 900AD to 1250AD seems to have been at least as hot as anything seen in the industrial era. If it was worldwide in extent that would strongly suggest that global warming may just be something that happens from time to time, not something caused by miniscule concentrations of CO2 (the atmosphere is 0.04 per cent CO2 right now; this figure might climb to 0.07 per cent in the medium term).

The oft-mentioned "scientific consensus", based in large part on the work of famous climate-alarmist scientists Michael Mann and Phil Jones and reflected in the statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that isn't true. The IPCC consensus is that the medieval warming – and the "Little Ice Age" which followed it – only happened in Europe and maybe some other northern areas. They were local events only, and globally the world was cooler than it is now. The temperature increase seen in the latter half of the 20th century is a new thing caused by humanity's carbon emissions.

Lu and his colleagues' new work, however, indicates that in fact the medieval warm period and little ice age were both felt right down to Antarctica.

“We showed that the Northern European climate events influenced climate conditions in Antarctica,” says the prof, who was at Oxford when most of the work was done but now has a position at Syracuse uni in the States. He and his colleagues write:

This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula.

In other words, global warming has already occurred in historical, pre-industrial times, and then gone away again. Lu et al's work is published in the peer-reviewed journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.


The EPA loses another one

Another attempt to ignore the law in Obamaland -- this one reined in

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority last year in revoking water pollution permits that another agency had issued for one of West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal coal mines, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday.

In siding with St. Louis-based Arch Coal, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson declared the permits were valid. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had issued the permits for the 2,300-acre Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County.

"This is a huge victory for West Virginia and our coal miners," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who urged EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson "to admit that they have gone too far." "Issue our permits so that we can put our people back to work and provide the resources that will power America," he said.

Arch spokeswoman Kim Link said the company was pleased with the decision. So, too, was the West Virginia Coal Association, which applauded the court "for taking EPA to task for overstepping its authority in order to wage a regulatory war on the West Virginia coal industry."

Vice President Jason Bostic said the EPA "employed magical thinking" to obtain a result the judge declared "illogical and impractical."

"The judge accurately equated EPA's actions to that of a `disappointed player's threat to take his ball and go home when he didn't get to pitch,'" he said.

The EPA said the agency and the Department of Justice are reviewing the decision, which "does not affect the EPA's commitment to protect the health of Appalachian communities who depend on clean water."

The EPA in January 2011 used its veto power for only the 13th time since 1972 to overturn a permit the corps had issued under the federal Clean Water Act. It was the first time the EPA had acted on a previously permitted mine.

The agency said at the time it reserves that power "for only unacceptable cases."

Mountaintop removal is a highly efficient but particularly destructive form of strip mining that blasts apart mountain ridge tops to expose multiple coal seams. The resulting rock and debris is dumped in streams, creating so-called valley fills.

As Arch envisioned it, the Spruce mine would have buried seven miles of streams. It planned to invest $250 million in the project, creating some 250 jobs, but the mine has been delayed by lawsuits since it was permitted.

EPA ruled that destructive and unsustainable mining practices would cause irreparable environmental damage and threaten the health of communities nearby.

But the EPA's assertion that it has the right "to unilaterally modify or revoke a permit that has been duly issued by the corps" is incorrect and unreasonable, the judge wrote. "This is a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself when there is absolutely no mention of it in the statute."

Her ruling said EPA's argument "posits a scenario involving the automatic self-destruction of a written permit issued by an entirely separate federal agency after years of study and consideration."

Jackson said the EPA's logic is not only "logistically complicated" but puts coal companies seeking permits "in the untenable position of being unable to rely upon the sole statutory touchstone" for measuring their compliance with the Clean Water Act- the permit.

It's unreasonable, she wrote, "to sow a lack of certainty into a system that was expressly intended to provide finality."

The National Mining Association agreed.

"The current permitting process is already a protracted and complicated affair," NMA President Hal Quinn said. "If we are to encourage investments, grow our economy and create jobs, companies need the certitude their success in obtaining permits will not be later robbed by the whims of EPA."

Mining already under way in a small portion of the Spruce site wasn't affected by the EPA's ruling, but it prohibited new, large-scale operations in other areas.

The veto move enraged both the coal industry and West Virginia politicians, several of whom have since introduced bills to try rein in the EPA.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller said the dispute has always been a simple matter of "basic fairness," and fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin made the issue his first piece of federal legislation. Manchin called the ruling "a damning assessment of what happens when an agency puts personal agendas ahead of the law and the scope of agency authority."


Upcoming United Nations Summit Repackages Global Warming Agenda Under the Guise of “Sustainability”

By Kevin Mooney — Suddenly the concept of “sustainability” is very much in vogue in the run-up to yet another United Nations climate conference scheduled for June. But the idea that life on earth can only be sustained by limiting population growth is not new, it has actually been around for some time.

“The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” wrote Thomas Malthus in his famous 1798 treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus argued that population growth was harmful to the earth and a threat to human populations. His view continues to resonate today among the academics and political figures who are well-positioned to influence national and international public policies. “Sustainability” began to gain serious traction in America during the Clinton Administration.

Charles Battig, president of the Piedmont Chapter of Virginia Scientists & Engineers for Energy & Environment (VA-SEEE), notes that in the 1990s “sustainability” joined “smart growth,” “comprehensive planning,” and “growth management” as code words cited by local, national and international agencies to justify government regulations and orders. These terms, says Battig, were popularized in a 1999 White House policy document, “Towards a Sustainable America,” released under President Clinton.

The Obama administration is now codifying the concept. In June 2010, President Obama issued an executive order launching the Ocean Policy Initiative. It calls for imposing federal zoning rules on America’s waterways—rivers and bays, the Great Lakes, and ocean coastal waters—in the name of sustainability.

A year later, in June 2011, the President issued another executive order creating the White House Rural Council, which is charged with directing government agencies to “enhance the federal engagement in rural communities.” The order, which no doubt will be used to regulate agriculture and land use, declares “strong sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in years to come.”

Last August the National Research Council (NRC) placed its seal of approval on the concept of sustainability when it issued a report laying out what it called an “operational framework for integrating sustainability as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of the EPA.” (The NRC is administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineers and the Institute for Medicine.)

The NRC report, known as the “Green Book” inside Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), proposes the creation of a “sustainability impact assessment” that EPA regulators can use for rulemaking. NRC cites an Obama executive order (13514) defining sustainability as “to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

Sustainability has become the latest slippery standard for letting government agencies monitor and regulate private sector decision-making.

Throughout American history, land use questions fell into purview of localities. This has changed in the past few decades as federal agencies have greatly expanded their reach. The idea now is for trans-nationalists within the United Nations operating in cooperation with U.S. federal agencies to seize control away from American property owners.

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson is concerned, “Obama’s thrust has been a direct assault on private property owners and those who use the land, this is just one more giant step away from freedom.”

The overarching concept of sustainability was first outlined in UN Agenda 21, which was adapted during the Rio de Janeiro conference in 1992.

This coming June, twenty years after the 1992 UN conference, Rio de Janeiro will again host thousands of UN delegates and activists who will come together over the issue of global warming. However, the participants at the “United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (informally called “Rio + 20”) will be couching their alarmist concerns in the vocabulary of sustainability.

The change in terminology is significant, and it was signaled by none other than President Obama. After his party took a beating in the 2010 mid-term elections, Obama told reporters, “There’s more than one way to skin the cat.”

The remark was sparked by Obama’s failure to get Congress to pass a cap-and-trade law regulating the production and use of fossil fuels. Instead, the President argued that emissions from greenhouse gases were so endangering the public health that the EPA must regulate them. As we now know, that conclusion is unwarranted.

The EPA review process reaching this conclusion relied on a UN study whose findings were fabricated. And the evidence for this came from the release of emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain that showed politically motivated researchers gloating over how they had manipulated data to justify their global warming alarmism.

As the “climate scandal” unfolded in the news, opinion polls registered a rising skepticism about claims that human activity is responsible for climate change. A 2010 Gallup poll showed 48 percent of Americans believed the seriousness of global warming was exaggerated, up from 31 percent in 1997. Forty-two percent of Germans feared catastrophic warming, down 20 points from 2006. Only twenty-six percent of Britons believed in man-made climate change. Figures like these are the likely reason why global warming alarmists have become so eager to change the terms of debate and discuss sustainability instead.

In a revealing interview with Reuters, Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, Brazil’s top negotiator at the Rio+20 conference, has admitted that it is easier to promote environmentalist policies under the banner of sustainability.

“Climate change is an issue that has very strong resistance from sectors that are going to be substantially altered, like the oil industry,” do Lago said. “Sustainable development is something that is as simple as looking at how we would like to be in 10 or 20 years.”

At least he’s not pretending.


TransCanada moves forward to build the southern half of Keystone XL pipeline…Obama says “OK”

In Jan., Obama made a big show of vehemently denying requests to build a Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created thousands of jobs and helped restore to the sluggish economy.

The funny thing is, Obama only controls three inches of the Keystone pipeline — the three inches that cross the US/Canada border. The majority of the pipeline, existing from the border to Alberta and from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX is out of his jurisdiction.

However despite that fact, he vetoed the entire project because he (and his environmental supporters) believe that those jobs, since they are going to support oil instead of his preferred “green” energy, the jobs are now “dirty”. He refused to even consider it, and even lobbied the Senate against it.

Last month TransCanada, the company behind the project revealed plans to move forward with the southern half of the Keystone pipeline without Obama’s permission. They don’t need his approval to start building in Cushing, which just so happens to be the president’s third stop on his two day energy tour.


On Thursday, President Obama has decided to “approve” the move, and release plans to supposedly cut the red tape and expedite construction of the pipeline. What a sudden change of heart from our illustrious president, especially because of the ardent public outrage he originally displayed for the issue.

As recently as Mar. 8, the president was lobbying against the GOP fast track bill for the Keystone XL pipeline and now, a mere 22 days later, he is giving the green light to the southern portion of the exact same project. One that, as we’ve already established, doesn’t need his approval to proceed.

I suppose in this pre-election time, Obama wants all the attention he can get, and this stunt is surely an attempt to win him favor with some on-the-fence Democrats. By giving a very public thumbs up to this project, he hopes that when it is finalized, he will get credit for making good on one of his promises. As if his too-little-too-late announcement is going to allow everyone to forget how much time and money he spent arguing for this project’s dismissal.

All ploys aside, this is a low move, even for him. President Obama’s seeming endorsement of TransCanada’s decision was summarized best by Brendan Buck, Press Secretary to Speaker John Boehner, who said: “This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license.” Or a mother telling her adult son not to get a tattoo, only to give her approval when he comes home with one.

Neither has the right to issue such an approval, and knows it, but feels the need to assert dominance anyway, as if to say “I see what you’re doing over there. No, I don’t like it. But hey, since you’re doing it anyway, who am I to stop you?”

The president just wants to focus attention on him, especially in the wake of the primaries, and he figured the best way to do it was to ride TransCanada’s bandwagon all the way to the polls. However this does pose one problem, he has become that which he has always aspired not to be: a flip-flopper.

Sure, he’s gone back and forth on issues before, all politicians do. But never before in his presidency has he gone on such a direct public tirade against an issue, only to give it credence once he realized he couldn’t stop it from being done.

He cannot stand to not have control of every aspect of America, and when TransCanada announced their plans to trudge into Oklahoma without him, waving their tails in his face as he visited the state, he had to fight back. He knew they didn’t need him, and feeling left out he gave them his “blessing”, framed by his ever-present Cheshire cat grin.

After all, in this administration, everyone’s mad here.


The Warmist elite

For the most part, the leaders of the global warming movement are cultural elites and technocrats who, having failed to save the world through socialism, turned to environmentalism. They are from the ranks of the world's most earth-caring organizations (Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action, Environmental Defense, etc.) and,because of their ecclesiastical benevolence and dedication, have formed a global clerisy to which our planet's salvation is entrusted.

This cabal has acquired immense political power through incessant planet alarms of ever-increasing magnitude and variety. The cabal gathers privately from time to time in ritualistic séance. Under subdued lighting and the influence of whale songs, Gregorian chants, and Halloween music, members tell one another climate monster-under-the-bed stories until they are frightened to exhaustion. The most astounding stories are then expressed, publicly, through cries of wolf:

* Staggeringly high temperature rise, especially over land — some 10°F over much of the United States

* Sea level rise of 3 to 7 feet, increasing some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter

* Dust bowls over the US SW and many other heavily populated regions around the globe

* Massive species loss on land and sea — 50% or more of all life

* More severe hurricanes, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, proximate to the United States

* Unexpected impacts — the fearsome “unknown unknowns”

One of the latest cry wolf announcements is that the worst of these incomprehensible impacts will be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.” Holy shit! Now we're talking LIICAGW.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that industrialized countries must spend $45 trillion over the next 40 years to be Kyoto-compliant. Make that $101 trillion to get us to 2100. And God only knows the cost of those fearsome "unknown unknowns." But a 1998 US Energy Information Administration (EIA) study found that the Kyoto treaty would cost the US economy $400 billion per year — roughly $570 billion annually today. Thus, the US tab for the next 90 years would be about $51.3 trillion. That George Bush would have none of this, angered the cabal.

The anger festered. When we (the only fully industrialized country smart enough to pass on the frantic planet decarbonization race) became skeptical about the AGW hypothesis itself, anger became ridicule. We became ignorant climate deniers. The Economist admonished us that "America needs to build some ladders to help everyone climb out [of the denial]." And lastSeptember, former president and standing joke Bill Clinton said that such skepticism makes us look like "a joke."

A humorless President Obama wants to be the ladder builder. After all, Americans should pay their fair share. At the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, he promised that US emissions in 2050 will be 83% below 2005 levels. Many Americans cheered, possibly believing that Mr. Obama's soaring rhetoric had a modicum of substance behind it — perhaps a study showing that we can achieve his goal by tweaking our standard of living with Chevy Volts (tires fully inflated), GE Compact Fluorescents, and a few Solyndra solar panels.

But a more thoughtful examination indicates that Americans, especially children and grandchildren, may find the adjustment very arduous. For example, to reduce 2050 emissions to 83% below 2005 levels, George Will pointed out, "2050 emissions will [need to] equal those in 1910, when there were 92 million Americans. But there will be 420 million Americans in 2050, so Obama's promise means that per capita emissions then will be about what they were in 1875. That. Will. Not. Happen."


Hysterical hunt for evil masterminds stifles sober debate

"FOLLOW the money." That is the rallying cry of radical activists and respectable commentators alike, who now spend more time investigating their opponents' bank balances than they do challenging their arguments.

It's considered terribly old-fashioned to take a public figure at face value, to listen to what he has to say and agree with it or disagree with it. Instead we are encouraged to ask what this public figure's "real motives" are and specifically who is funding him.

The old world of rigorous debate about issues has been replaced by the modern insatiable search for "hidden agendas".

This can be seen most clearly in discussions about climate change. Greens have become obsessed with discovering that sceptics are in the pay of Big Oil or some other evil entity.

They genuinely believe that proving an individual was once paid by a company or think tank to do some research is enough to rubbish everything he says.

For example, Bob Carter, a professor of geology at James Cook University, has found himself pilloried following revelations that the climate-sceptical Heartland Institute paid him a fee.

This came to light as part of "Fakegate", the name given to Peter Gleick's dishonest appropriation of internal Heartland documents, at least one of which is now suspected of being a fake.

Greens are cock-a-hoop over the Heartland-Carter revelation, believing it demolishes Carter's arguments and reputation. A professor of philosophy from Monash University told The Age, "We are well justified in dismissing his comments as cash for climate scepticism."

One climate activist, sounding like a 1930s conspiracy theorist, said Carter was part of a "co-ordinated attack on science", part of a system of "PR pollution".

There are at least three things wrong with today's hysterical hunt for evil masterminds funding climate-change scepticism.

The first is that it stinks of intellectual cowardice. Instead of taking sceptics up on what they say in public, campaigners dig for dirt behind the scenes. It's the old lowdown tactic of trying to contaminate the witness rather than grapple with his evidence.

It is striking that greens refer to the ideas of Carter and others as a kind of "pollution", as if, having been allegedly infected by cash, these ideas have no merit. Every censoriously minded person in history, from Torquemada to Joseph McCarthy, played the same trick of depicting certain ideas as so toxic that they must not be embraced by the public.

But where the Spanish Inquisition blamed bad ideas on the Devil, and McCarthy said rotten thinking spread from the Evil Empire, greens claim it is Big Oil that secretly foists wicked beliefs upon the unwitting public.

The second problem with the "follow the money" outlook is that it has a corrosive impact on public debate. Modern campaigners' obsession with uncovering hidden networks invites us to imagine that every public figure is really just a puppet of dark forces.

It encourages an unhealthy climate of conspiracy theorising, where the knee-jerk response to every political utterance is: "Who is paying you to say that?"

In such a climate, what we can't see becomes more important than what we can see; "hidden actors" become more important than publicly stated words and ideas. And of course this obsession with what takes place behind closed doors allows campaigners to indulge their wildest fantasies, to imagine that faceless nutters control public life.

And the third bad thing about funder-hunting is that it disempowers ordinary people. The reason every serious democratic thinker in modern history celebrated the realm of free public debate is because it is there that all of us can hear ideas, assess their worth and accept or reject them.

According to modern campaigners, however, this public realm has become horribly contaminated, and so, by extension, have the tiny minds of its gullible inhabitants, those wide-eyed everyday folk who just don't understand "the truth" about Big Oil's control of political debate.

And so it falls to brave greens to open our eyes to this truth and raise us up from our mental squalor. Thanks, but I'd rather take my chances in the "contaminated" public square than be saved by demented do-gooders.



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, 2012

An unGRACEful finding

According to some Warmist scientists using the GRACE satellite experiment, the earth's glaciers have been melting at a great rate and pouring a torrent of water into the ocean. See below. So how come sea levels have been falling in recent years? How come lots of other data show Antarctica to be getting cooler, if anything? One has to ask: Could there be something wrong with the GRACE data or its interpretation?

John Wahr (author below) knows of one possibility: The earth moves. He said so in a 2007 paper titled: "Elastic uplift in southeast Greenland due to rapid ice mass loss". So what GRACE is detecting could be at least in part earth movements rather than changes in the ice on top of it.

But the man is clearly dishonest. Look at the last sentence below. He admits that very cold ice won't melt in response to recent small changes in atmospheric temperatures. But how cold are Greenland and the Antarctic? Are they very cold too? They sure are -- averaging around minus 30 degree Celsius for Greenland and minus 40 degrees for Antartica. So on his own admission they COULD NOT be melting. There is something fishy with either the GRACE data or his interpretation of it.

Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding about 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps between 2003 to 2010 was 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie.

“The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study.

The research effort is the first comprehensive satellite study of the contribution of the world’s melting glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise. The results indicate all the melted ice is raising sea levels by about 0.4 millimeters annually, said

The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.

The researchers used satellite measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which could add up to an additional 80 billion tons.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and ice caps with GRACE,” said Wahr. “The Earth is losing an incredible amount of ice to the oceans annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet’s cold regions are responding to global change.”

One unexpected study result from GRACE was that the estimated ice loss from high Asia mountains — including ranges like the Himalaya, the Pamir and the Tien Shan — was only about 4 billion tons of ice annually. Some previous ground-based estimates of ice loss in the high Asia mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons annually, Wahr said.

“The GRACE results in this region really were a surprise,” said Wahr. “One possible explanation is that previous estimates were based on measurements taken primarily from some of the lower, more accessible glaciers in Asia and were extrapolated to infer the behavior of higher glaciers. But unlike the lower glaciers, many of the high glaciers would still be too cold to lose mass even in the presence of atmospheric warming.”


The "world government" campaigners have a new tool: Global warming

"World government" is an old Leftist dream and a look at the EU will tell you why: A multi-national government soon morphs into government by an unelected bureaucracy. But very few people fancy much being ruled by foreigners so the dream has long remained wet. Now they hope that the global warming scare will give their campaign new life. The writer below is explicitly Fascist about it. He wants the new world government to be "heavy-handed"

Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University’s Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm. The issue came replete with technical solutions that ranged from a hydrogen economy to space-based solar.

If I had it to do over, I’d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It’s the social engineering that’s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child’s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.

A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”

The report summarized 10 years of research evaluating the capability of international institutions to deal with climate and other environmental issues, an assessment that found existing capabilities to effect change sorely lacking. The authors called for a “constitutional moment” at the upcoming 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June to reform world politics and government. Among the proposals: a call to replace the largely ineffective U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development with a council that reports to the U.N. General Assembly, at attempt to better handle emerging issues related to water, climate, energy and food security. The report advocates a similar revamping of other international environmental institutions.

Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere. Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to “discount” the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?

Behavioral economics and other forward-looking disciplines in the social sciences try to grapple with weighty questions. But they have never taken on a challenge of this scale, recruiting all seven billion of us to act in unison. The ability to sustain change globally across the entire human population over periods far beyond anything ever attempted would appear to push the relevant objectives well beyond the realm of the attainable. If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison.


Supreme Court sides with Idaho property owners over EPA

The Supreme Court has come forcefully down on the side of an Idaho couple in its fight against the Environmental Protection Agency, unanimously ruling Wednesday that the couple can challenge an EPA order to stop construction of their home on property designated a wetland.

Mike and Chantell Sackett bought their land near a scenic lake for $25,000, but when they decided to build a property there in 2007, the EPA ordered a halt, saying the Clean Water Act requires that wetlands not be disturbed without a permit.

They've been fighting for the right to challenge the decision in court for several years, and facing millions of dollars in fines over the land.

The couple complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order, and noted they don't know why the EPA concluded there are wetlands on their lot, which is surrounded by a residential neighborhood with sewer lines and homes.

In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled the EPA cannot impose fines that could be as much as $75,000 a day without giving property owners the ability to challenge its actions.

The ruling allows the couple to challenge the EPA head-on in court, but the real battle begins now. The case has brought attention to the EPA's reach. While the court only allowed a challenge to be brought, in a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the law allowing EPA to demand compliance is overly broad.

"The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear. Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the act, and according to the federal government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency's mercy," Alito wrote.

"The court's decision provides a modest measure of relief," he added. "But the combination of the uncertain reach of the Clean Water Act and the draconian penalties imposed for the sort of violations alleged in this case still leaves most property owners with little practical alternative but to dance to the EPA's tune. Real relief requires Congress to do what it should have done in the first place: provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act."

The couple, which termed the battle "David versus Goliath," has earned support from several lawmakers who want to reduce the grasp of the EPA on private property. Reps. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, all joined the Chantells and other couples in a forum last fall about limiting EPA authority.

Labrador congratulated the Sacketts after the ruling. "The federal government is an intimidating force against ordinary citizens, and standing up to its bureaucracy requires extraordinary bravery. Thanks to the unwavering courage and selfless sacrifice of the Sacketts, Americans everywhere will be guaranteed the right to appeal a decision imposed by a government agency. Their victory also safeguards individual property rights against the encroachment of the federal government, a fundamental assurance of our Constitution," he said.


Obama to tout green energy ‘investments’ at solar facility employing 5 workers, relying on $54 million in taxpayer subsidies

$10 million per worker! A bargain! Presidential visit to Boulder City solar plant shines light on high costs, small rewards of ‘green energy’ projects

President Obama will tout investments in “renewable” energy Wednesday at the local Copper Mountain Solar 1 plant, although the plant has only five full-time employees.

The plant, owned by San Diego-based energy company Sempra, was built in late 2010 at a cost of $141 million. Funding included $42 million in federal-government tax credits and $12 million in tax-rebate commitments from the state of Nevada.

Construction of the plant involved over 300 part-time jobs, but currently only five full-time employees operate the plant, a Sempra spokeswoman confirmed. That comes out to $10.8 million in tax-dollar subsidies per employee.

Solar 1 is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the country and is regarded as a “revenue generator” by Sempra. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Boulder City expects to receive over $60 million in lease revenue from the plant.

Boulder City Manager Vicki Mayes, however, told Nevada Journal the $60 million was "highly inaccurate" and that the total lease revenue will be "much less."

Increasing green-energy production has been one of President Obama’s main goals since he took office. Politicians such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and officials including Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have zealously encouraged green-energy subsidies in Nevada.

In addition to wanting to create many new jobs, President Obama has claimed green-energy investment will decrease America’s energy costs and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil.

In Boulder City, however, renewables have produced no lower energy costs. Instead, in late 2009, the city approved a 35 percent rate hike, while power generated by Copper Mountain is to go to Southern California — rather than serve Nevadans whose taxes helped finance the plant.

The solar energy is being sold by Sempra to California, which has mandated that 33 percent of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2020.

Nationally, solar energy is unlikely to help the president achieve his goal of lower energy costs. Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy policy director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, the free-market think tank that publishes Nevada Journal, noted in his Solutions 2013 report that, even according to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar-PV energy will cost three and a half times more than energy from traditional sources such as coal.

“President Obama's visit to the Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City is the perfect illustration of why the president’s economic policies are such a failure," said Andy Matthews, president of NPRI. “The government has spent over $50 million to ‘create’ five permanent jobs and build a plant producing a product — expensive solar energy — that no one would purchase without a government mandate.

“That’s not a path to a vibrant economy; it’s the road to serfdom. This mindset — of government attempting to pick winners and losers in the economy through subsidies and regulation — is a major reason why the national unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent, Nevada's unemployment rate is 12.7 percent and the national debt is over $15.5 trillion.”

Nevada received over $1 billion in federal “stimulus” funds for energy and environmental projects, yet state ratepayers still pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country. Recently, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved yet another rate increase.

Solar plants aren’t the only government-funded energy projects in Nevada that haven't lived up to their proponents’ promises. The Reno Gazette-Journal recently reported that seven local windmills that cost taxpayers $1 million to install have only saved the City of Reno $2,785 in electricity costs over their 18 months of existence.


More Greenie waste in Australia

FROM the centre of Byron Bay, a 2.5m-wide, uneven asphalt bike path stretches 750m (approx. half a mile) to the west. This is what $370,000 - half of it federal government money - and 56 workers gets you in this green-leaning coastal hamlet in northern NSW.

The Australian National Audit Office has fingered the project to illustrate its major concerns about the number of jobs created under a nationwide $40 million regional bike path scheme, conceived in the wake of the financial crisis.

The audit office blamed sloppy or non-existent government analysis for a wide gap between the number of jobs it was claimed would be created and the actual figures. In its application for funding, Byron Shire Council initially stated the bike path would create two short-term jobs and two work experience positions. Despite the small number of extra jobs forecast, the federal government contributed $185,000.

The final report prepared by the council on completion of the path claimed 56 short-term jobs had been created "on a part-time employment basis".

But, on further examination, that number was found to include 30 existing council employees, rather than reflecting a real increase in job creation.

The audit of the bike path stimulus program - which delivered only half of its projects on time - found the federal government failed to make a series of crucial checks, such as whether value for money would be delivered, before assigning tens of millions of dollars under the scheme.

Wayne Swan yesterday tried to play down suggestions of waste under the bike paths program, stating it was an "expenditure of $40m . . . in a $1.4 trillion economy".

"We had the most successful stimulus of just about any developed economy in the world," the Treasurer said. "This country avoided recession because of the measures that we put in place."

The bike path stimulus scheme was announced in April 2009 as part of the federal government's $650m Jobs Fund investment scheme, which accompanied other stimulus measures of the time, such as the $16.2 billion Building the Education Revolution program.

The audit office is concerned the government failed to assess the functionality of the paths, the usage the paths were expected to generate and the "proposed dimensions accorded with accepted standards for such facilities".

The bike path component to the stimulus package - and a separate $60m scheme aimed at heritage projects across the country - was included by Labor to satisfy deals the federal government had made with the Greens regarding the stimulus programs.

Under the program a total of 167 bike path projects have been delivered, with those projects distributed across each state and territory.

Byron Shire Council's executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said yesterday that the council's reporting had been "flawed". He said that, in measuring the success of the project, "it would have been better to list the number of full-time-equivalent jobs over the construction period".

Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz likened the waste under the bike path scheme to the waste that emerged under the BER, and the pink batts insulation debacle.


Australian electricity price high, and rising

With Greenie levies in them and Greenie obstruction of new generation capacity, it's no surprise

AUSTRALIANS pay 130 per cent more for electricity than Canadians, according to new research - a power premium to rise to 250 per cent once the carbon tax and locked-in price increases take effect.

The research, which will be made public today, claims household charges are already 70 per cent higher than the American average, a figure that will grow to 160 per cent in two years. Japanese, British, French, Irish and New Zealanders all pay less than we do.

The research forms the basis of a report to the Energy Users Association of Australia - which represents 100 big power users including BHP, RailCorp, Coles, the Commonwealth Bank and Brisbane City Council - and argues the way power prices are set must be urgently reformed.

The EUAA will also use the research to claim it exposes as a myth that Australian electricity is relatively cheap.

Energy Minister Martin Ferguson recently said Australians pay less than the OECD average, relying on a document called Energy In Australia 2012, which his department's Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) published three weeks ago. The document uses electricity prices from 2009-10.

"That data is old," EUAA executive director Roman Domanski told The Daily Telegraph last night. In 2010-11 alone the national price rose by 16 per cent; the NSW jump was 23 per cent. The numbers used to compile the document Mr Ferguson relied on put the NSW average at 18.55c/kWh. But in the real world, households are paying regulated rates as high as 28c/kWh.

The average NSW household's annual cost for electricity would fall from $1700 to less than $700 if our prices were the same as in Canada.

Mr Domanski said: "Add in the carbon tax from July, further network price increases and renewable energy subsidies and inevitably our prices are pushed to the point where they are challenging Denmark and Germany as the most expensive in the world." The report to the EUAA, produced by Carbon Market Economics, found Australian power prices had risen about 40 per cent since 2007 and would rise by another 30 per cent over the next two years.

It found that, even using 2007 currency exchange rates, Australian households still paid more than those in Japan, US, Canada and the average of the EU. Carbon Market Economics' comparison of prices in 92 jurisdictions - including more than 35 countries, American states and all Australian states and territories - found NSW ranked fourth behind Denmark, Germany and South Australia. Victoria was fifth and Western Australia was sixth. The ACT was 21st.

In explaining why BREE used figures dating back to 2009, energy manager Allison Ball said Australian Energy Market Commission data wasn't available until late 2011 and global 2011 statistics from the International Energy Agency were still not available.

However, The Telegraph understands Carbon Market Economics used 2011 IEA figures published before Mr Ferguson claimed Australian prices were below the OECD average.

Melrose Park mother-of-two Leanne Imbro said her family's last bill had jumped to about $700. She said she has been reassessing her children's extra-curricular activities.



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, 2012

Greenies acknowledge complexity for once

Warmist models take into account only a fraction of the potential influences on climate, which is the fundamental reason why they have no predictive skill. But that they take more than one factor in account is very sophisticated by the standards of how science is generally conducted. Particularly in the reports I cover in my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog, medical scientists usually write as if there is just a one-to-one relationship between two variables. The possibility of a third variable complicating the story is rarely considered.

And a good example of such limited thinking among Greenie researchers was the cry of woe when they found that pine beetles are twice as active these days in lodgepole pine forests than they used to be. The Greenies of course attributed that to global warming without asking how a temperature change measured only in tenths of one degree could have such a large effect.

One group of researchers, however, were proper scientists and realized that there were a number of variables involved and decided to study several factors together to get a fuller picture of what is happening. And what they found was that pine beetle infestations REDUCE another great danger to the forests concerned -- fire.

An evolutionary speculation which might flow from that is that the trees have not evolved good defences (such as toxins) against the beetles precisely because the beetles are on balance good for the tree. All that is far too profound for your average Warmist, of course. Journal abstract below:
Do mountain pine beetle outbreaks change the probability of active crown fire in lodgepole pine forests?

By Martin Simard et al.

Disturbance interactions have received growing interest in ecological research in the last decade. Fire and bark beetle outbreaks have recently increased in severity and extent across western North America, raising concerns about their possible interactions. Although it is often presumed that bark beetle outbreaks increase probability of active crown fire by producing high loads of surface and canopy dead fuels, empirical data are scarce and results are ambivalent. We combined field measurements and modeling to address the following question: How do fuel characteristics, microclimate, and potential fire behavior change with time since a severe mountain pine beetle outbreak in Pinus contorta forests of Greater Yellowstone (Wyoming, USA)? We measured surface and canopy fuels, and soil surface temperature in a time-since-beetle-outbreak chronosequence (n = 35 sites) from undisturbed to 36 years post-outbreak, including stands in red- and gray-needle stages (respectively, 1–2 and 3–5 years post-outbreak). Field data were used to parameterize the fire behavior model NEXUS and predict potential fire behavior at each site.

Dead surface fuel loads of all size categories did not differ among undisturbed, red, and gray-stage stands. Compared to undisturbed sites, red and gray-stage sites had on average 53% lower canopy bulk density, 42% lower canopy fuel load, and 29% lower canopy moisture content, but had similar canopy base heights (3.1 m). In subsequent decades, coarse wood loads doubled and canopy base height declined to 0 m. Modeling results suggested that undisturbed, red, and gray-stage stands were unlikely to exhibit transition of surface fires to tree crowns (torching), and that the likelihood of sustaining an active crown fire (crowning) decreased from undisturbed to gray-stage stands. Simulated fire behavior was little affected by beetle disturbance when wind speed was either below 40 km/h or above 60 km/h, but at intermediate wind speeds, probability of crowning in red- and gray-stage stands was lower than in undisturbed stands, and old post-outbreak stands were predicted to have passive crown fires. Results were consistent across a range of fuel moisture scenarios. Our results suggest that mountain pine beetle outbreaks in Greater Yellowstone may reduce the probability of active crown fire in the short term by thinning lodgepole pine canopies.

Ecological Monographs 81:3–24. 2011

Making science more convincing

The warmist Christian Science Monitor (which is neither Christian nor scientific) had this to say recently:
A recent study by the Brookings Institution shows that unusually warm winter weather has made climate-change converts out of many Americans. Unseasonable temperatures are continuing with warm spring weather in much of the United States. In Washington DC, which just recorded its warmest winter, the famed cherry blossoms have opened two weeks early.

Though this kind of weather disruption is what climate scientists predict, they hesitate to place too much emphasis on one or two unusual seasons as a trend that changes public opinion. If next winter is more normal, the public may get the wrong impression about the dangers of climate change. Better for science to be more convincing.


So just HOW "unseasonable" is the current warm March weather? Some science below:


Clearly a warm March is not unusual at all. The high March temperatures were all in the FIRST half of the 20th century and the 21st century is continuing the pattern of the late 20th century.

Pity that the CSM writers just talk about science instead of doing any. But don't expect mere scientific facts to convince CSM writers!

Once again Greenies undermine their own alleged goals

But if we see the CO2 scare as just a mask for their real aim of economic destruction, it makes perfect sense

Well, the lunatic fringe has done it again. But, they’ve managed even better than a trifecta. They’ve set events in motion which creates higher costs and higher CO2 emissions and greater odds for environmental damage. And as a bonus, it is likely they’ve enriched a couple of the world’s richest people.

Bill Gates began buying rail stocks quite a while back, and he convinced his friend Warren Buffet to buy them as well, we also see our old friend George Soros as a holder of railroad company stocks. You can read it here. A simple Google shows how Buffet and Gates and their holdings have been buy railways like crazy in the last few years.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, because Keystone isn’t ramping up, they’re moving the oil sand oil by rail. Of course, we all know the trains run on diesel, lots of diesel. So, they’re not stopping the mining for oil, and in their efforts they will significantly increase the CO2 emissions per barrel. Further, this adds a cost of $5-$10/barrel. Environmentally, I think the risk of derailment and containment puts the environment at a much great risk. If a pipe bursts, one simply shuts off the valve nearest the burst, thus containing the amount of oil spilt. A train derailment….. well that’s limited to how much oil the train was carrying.

Well done green crusaders, you morons. There are some other things to note as well. While this will help the rail industry in both Canada and the U.S., there would have been more job creation with the pipeline. There would have been a continuous supply as opposed to the intermittency of the rails. An infrastructure upgrade has been thwarted. And to review, we’ve also increased CO2 emissions, (which I thought the lunatics were scared of) we’ve likely made some of the richest people in the world richer, while increase the cost of our fuel and energy for the rest of us. And, we’ve likely made the environment less safe from an oil spill. Have I left anything out?


It's people that are the problem (again)

One Greenie has rightly detected that "alternative" energy is a crock. It won't replace conventional energy sources. So energy use must be SUPPRESSED by the government. Good Stalinist thinking. People-hating is in the bones of Greenies

Many nations, including the United States, are actively pursuing technological advances to reduce the use of fossil fuels to potentially mitigate human contributions to climate-change. The approach of the International Panel on Climate Change assumes alternative energy sources -- nuclear, wind and hydro -- will equally displace fossil fuel consumption. This approach, York argues, ignores "the complexity of human behavior."

Based on a four-model study of electricity used in some 130 countries in the past 50 years, York found that it took more that 10 units of electricity produced from non-fossil sources -- nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar -- to displace a single unit of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

"When you see growth in nuclear power, for example, it doesn't seem to affect the rate of growth of fossil fuel-generated power very much," said York, a professor in the sociology department and environmental studies program. He also presented two models on total energy use. "When we looked at total energy consumption, we found a little more displacement, but still, at best, it took four to five units of non-fossil fuel energy to displace one unit produced with fossil fuel."

For the paper -- published online March 18 by the journal Nature Climate Change -- York analyzed data from the World Bank's world development indicators gathered from around the world. To control for a variety of variables of economics, demographics and energy sources, data were sorted and fed into the six statistical models.

Admittedly, York said, energy-producing technologies based on solar, wind and waves are relatively new and may yet provide viable alternative sources as they are developed.

"I'm not saying that, in principle, we can't have displacement with these new technologies, but it is interesting that so far it has not happened," York said. "One reason the results seem surprising is that we, as societies, tend to see demand as an exogenous thing that generates supply, but supply also generates demand. Generating electricity creates the potential to use that energy, so creating new energy technologies often leads to yet more energy consumption."

Related to this issue, he said, was the development of high-efficiency automobile engines and energy-efficient homes. These improvements reduced energy consumption in some respects but also allowed for the production of larger vehicles and bigger homes. The net result was that total energy consumption often did not decrease dramatically with the rising efficiency of technologies.

"In terms of governmental policies, we need to be thinking about social context, not just the technology," York said. "We need to be asking what political and economic factors are conducive to seeing real displacement. Just developing non-fossil fuel sources doesn't in itself tend to reduce fossil fuel use a lot -- not enough. We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone."

The findings need to become part of the national discussion, says Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation at the UO. "Research from the social sciences is often lost in the big picture of federal and state policymaking," she said. "If we are to truly solve the challenges our environment is facing in the future, we need to consider our own behaviors and attitudes."


Stop! Don’t Cut that Wire! That’s a Chevy Volt!

The “Grab the Cat” scene from the movie Lethal Weapon 3 is being played out in training rooms across America thanks to a generous $4.4 million grant from the Department of Energy.

If you’re not familiar with the scene, first responders, Detectives Riggs and Murtaugh, are trying to disarm a car bomb, while a cat plays nearby. Riggs doesn’t know which wire to snip, so he just snips one at random. As he watches the bomb’s timer begin to hyper-accelerate, he realizes that he’s cut the wrong wire. He casually says to his partner Roger Murtaugh, “Hey, Rog?”

“Yeah,” says Murtaugh.

“Grab the cat.”

The men and the cat escape in the nick of time.

Well that scene, minus the explosion, is just another of the unintended benefits brought to us by the award-winning designers of the Chevy Volt.

Unlike old-fashioned lead acid batteries, the Chevy Volt lithium battery contains enough of a punch that it can kill you- and anyone else who is not grounded- if first responders cut the wrong wires or even the right ones, as Stephen Smoot reminded us last week on Townhall.

After taking us through the procedure first responders are supposed to use to cut the wires, Smoot writes: "General Motors also warns that 'cutting these cables can result in serious injury or death.'"

Nothing like making first responders’ jobs more hazardous. Give that car an award for design innovation!

“Besides attending to and rescuing the injured, first responders must now be aware of the potential hazards the new alternative-fuel technology may pose,” says Energyboom’s transportation correspondent Jace Shoemaker. “In order to keep both passengers and rescue crews safe, first responders must be aware of the potential for electrical shock, dangers of unintended vehicle movement, the challenges of charging stations and fires.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring training for first responders through the Department of Energy grant, “Training programs will help first responders ascertain whether the car is disabled or not, provide information about how to power down vehicles, demonstrate how to safely disconnect the high-voltage system, and show safe cut points for extrication.”

Before I even get in a vehicle, I always try to identify the safe cut points for extrication. My family and I make a game of it on the way to Grandma’s.

“Anyone who can guess the safe cut points for extrication gets to sit near one!” I say.

“Hurray, I’m going to live…assuming I don’t get electrocuted or crushed by unintended vehicle movement or burn up in a lithium-coolant fire,” says the winner.

In response, General Motors- after a year of sales- is considering ways to allow first responders to discharge the battery so they can have a safe working environment.

“I can’t conceive that they didn’t have a standard operating procedure in place for handling a wrecked vehicle before the car went on sale,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington according to Bloomberg. “NHTSA and GM should have established protocols in place before it went on sale.”

Yeah, well that’s all fine and good in the real world, but the Chevy Volt is a government program. It’s not about results, it’s a “journey of personal discovery.”

“In all instances when there’s an accident, you have to have a protocol,” says Dan Akerson, GM’s chief executive officer, writes Bloomberg. “That was a good lesson that came out of this.”

Wow. Akerson almost sounds like he has done this before.

Maybe that’s a lesson he learned as the last company he was CEO of, XO Communications, went into bankruptcy.

In 1999, just three years before bankruptcy, mediabistro reports that Akerson’s average monthly compensation at XO was $15,045,578. That’s $180, 546,396 for one year’s compensation.

That’s quite a safe cut point for extrication if you’re a CEO of a failing company.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those OWS types who think CEOs should make minimum wage. But since all of us are shareholders in GM, and since XO did go into bankruptcy and since Akerson was the knucklehead who decided two years ago to increase production capacity of the Chevy Volt by 50 percent, you do have to wonder if the guy has the extra capacity to learn anything.

Akerson’s flagship offering, the Chevy Volt, has all the safety features of the Pinto and the Corvair, housed in the elegant styling of the Gremlin with a 25 mile range- if you don’t use heat and air conditioning.

Just exactly why are we putting first responders or anyone else in danger for this vehicle? So that the Volt can win the first Nobel Prize in auto design? So it can be Time Magazine’s Man of the Year?


Speaking in my role as GM shareholder and innocent bystander, let me be the first to respond by saying “Grab the cat.”


Obama's Algae Racket

Michelle Malkin

Pond scum stinks. And so do the Obama administration's enormous, taxpayer-funded "investments" in politically connected biofuel companies. While the president embarks on a green rehabilitation tour this week to quell growing public outrage about big green boondoggles, the White House continues to cultivate a cozy algae racket.
Obama's promotion of algae as a fuel source at a campaign speech in Miami last month caught the nation's attention. But algae companies have been banking on administration support from Day One. In December 2008, when the White House announced the nomination of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the CEO of Florida-based biofuels startup Algenol, Paul Woods, exulted to Time magazine: "You see this smile on my face? It's not going away. Everyone is really excited by this."

The next year, Woods and Algenol -- dubbed "Obama's favorite algae company" by Forbes magazine -- racked up $25 million in federal stimulus grants from Chu. Say cheese.

Yet another algae-based biofuels developer, Sapphire Energy, has absorbed $105 million in stimulus funds and loan guarantees even as doubts about the practicality, efficiency and viability of pond-scum fuels multiply. Sapphire's CEO, Jason Pyle, has donated exclusively to Democratic campaigns, candidates and committees -- and his company's website reads like a satellite White House communications office:

-- "President Obama Announces $14 Million Funding Opportunity To Develop Transportation Fuels from Algae";

-- "President Obama's Secure Energy Blueprint -- Industry Reaction";

-- "Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back At Presidential Candidates."

Another prominent DOE recipient in the world of blue-green sludge? San Francisco-based Solazyme. The manufacturer of algae-based renewable fuels has scooped up more than $21 million in federal stimulus grants and contracts. Solazyme's ties to the White House and the Democratic establishment in Washington are myriad. As blogger J.E. Dyer at (which I founded in 2006 and sold in 2010) reported in December, Solazyme's "strategic advisers" include TJ Glauthier -- a member of the Obama presidential transition team who just happened to work "on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill."

Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon writes that Glauthier:

"serves on the board of EnerNOC Inc., a company that provides demand-response services to electric utility firms. EnerNOC won a $10 million contract with the Department of Energy Resources in 2010 despite being underbid by competitors, the Boston Herald reported. Glauthier also served on the board of SunRun, a solar financing company that received a $6.7 million federal grant in 2010."

And in total, Glauthier adds, "Solazyme officials including Glauthier have contributed at least $360,000 to Democrats since 2007."

Wait, that's not all. The head of Solazyme's Washington lobbying office is Drew Littman, former chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Littman's old pal, entrenched D.C. lobbyist and Obama appointee Michael Meehan, feted Littman earlier this year and bragged that "we couldn't be more thrilled to be working on a daily basis with Drew and the Solazyme team."

Thanks to one of President Obama's executive orders, Solazyme secured a $12 million contract with the U.S. Navy to unload hundreds of thousands of gallons of biofuel -- priced at an estimated four to seven times the normal cost of regular jet fuel.

This self-sustaining crony ecosystem, powered by administrative fiat and wealth redistribution, gives new meaning to the phrase "green crude."



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, 2012

Hilarious! The new British climate record (HadCRUT4) reinforces how FLAT average temperatures have been in the last 12 years

The differences between years are only in hundredths of one degree! How trivial can you get?

The media have almost unanimously said that HadCRUT4 now makes 2010 the hottest year. But what HadCRUT4 actually shows is that 2010 ties with 2005 for the hottest year and a trivial 0.01 deg C above 1998. Given the errors (0.1 deg C or ten times the difference being quoted) the only scientifically respectable way to describe the warmest years would be to say that 1998, 2005 and 2010 all tied, but that would have perhaps been a little to inconvenient. I note that NasaGiss, and here, faced a similar problem but chose to follow the respectable route in not calling a record if a year has a temperature difference of only 0.01 deg C.

In fact a better way to summarise HadCRUT4 is that one cannot rank with confidence the top eight years (ranging from 0.53 to 0.48 deg C) so they should all be declared statistically indistinguishable.

Bad Practice

It is regrettable, and in my view poor form, to release the HadCRUT4 top ten years and not simultaneously release the complete dataset so that a more detailed look can be made at the time the media are compiling their stories based on the Met Office press release. Not releasing the full dataset could lead to accusations of ‘spinning’ the data. The HadCRUT4 complete data is said to be available in a few days. There is no reason why the Met Office’s press release of the 19th March could not have been held for a few days to coincide with the full data. In most other scientific disciplines this is standard practice.

Some parts of the media are claiming that HadCRUT4 shows an increased warming since 1998 of 0.11 deg C (said to be 0.04 deg C more). However, until the full data is available it will not be possible to look at this figure in more detail though looking at the data that is available I don’t think that figure will stand up.

Also mentioned in the Met Office press release is the global warming ‘signal’ seen since 1900, which they say is 0.75 deg C. Of course that ‘signal’ is not homogenous as we have discussed because it includes the periods not influenced by mankind and those said to be under his influence.

Overall the new HadCRUT4 dataset does not seem to change anything. It even seems to emphasise the lack of warming in the past 10-15 years more than HadCRUT3 did. Although we do not yet have HadCRUT4 data for 2008 it is obvious that HadCRUT4 has less variance in this short period. HadCRUT3 had a range of 0.12 between the top ten warmest years with a fairly even spread. HadCRUT4 has the top three years separated by 0.01 and years 4 -8 also separated by 0.01 deg C, in fact years 4,5,6,7 are identical numerically.

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

Even the recently released new and improved temperature record disproves the IPCC models

This post compares the new and improved CRUTEM4 land surface temperature anomaly data to the same CMIP3 multi-model mean. CRUTEM4 data was documented by the 2012 Jones et al paper Hemispheric and large-scale land surface air temperature variations: An extensive revision and an update to 2010. I’ve used the annual time-series data, specifically the data in the second column here, changing the base years for anomalies to 1901 to 1950 to be consistent with Figure 9.5 of the IPCC’s AR4.

And, as I had with the other 20th Century Model-Observations comparisons, the two datasets are broken down into the 4 periods that are acknowledged by the IPCC in AR4. These include the early “flat temperature” period from 1901 to 1917, the early warming period from 1917 to 1938, the mid-20th Century ‘flat temperature” period from 1938 to 1976, and the late warming period. For the late warming period comparisons in this post, I’ve extended the model and CRUTEM4 data to 2010.


As shown in Figure 1, and as one would expect, the models do a good job of simulating the rate at which the CRUTEM4-based global land surface temperatures rose during the late warming period of 1976 to 2010.

But like CRUTEM3 data, that’s the only period when the IPCC’s climate models came close to matching the CRUTEM4-based observed linear trends.

According to the CMIP3 multi-model mean, land surface temperatures should have warmed at a rate of 0.043 deg C per decade from 1938 to 1976, but according to the CRUTEM4 data, global land surface temperature anomalies cooled at a rate of -0.05 deg C per decade, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 3 compares the models to the global CRUTEM4 data during the early warming period of 1917 to 1938. The observed rate at which global land surface temperatures warmed is almost 5 times faster than simulated by the IPCC’s climate models. 5 times faster.


The models show no skill at being able to simulate the rates at which global land surface temperatures warmed and cooled over the period of 1901 to 2010. Why should we have any confidence in their being able to project global land surface temperatures into the future?

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

Is carbon cutting a waste of time? Figures show Britain's 'footprint' has increased by 20 per cent despite green taxes

Ministers were accused of saddling consumers with pointless green taxes last night - as new figures revealed surging imports from developing countries that rely on ‘dirty’ power.

Successive governments have boasted that a cocktail of green taxes and expensive wind farms has helped to curb carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming.

But new official figures reveal that Britain’s so-called ‘carbon footprint’ has increased by 20 per cent in the last two decades as we import ever more from developing countries like China that rely on dirty coal-fired power stations.

The revelation will fuel criticism that imposing huge costs on British industry to ‘go green’ has simply shifted emissions - and jobs - overseas.

The figures will also pile pressure on George Osborne to use this week’s Budget to roll back the costly green measures imposed on consumers and industry in recent years.

Tory MP Dominic Raab said the figures raised serious questions about the value of punitive taxes aimed at curbing carbon emissions in this country.

Mr Raab said: ‘The toxic mix of green tariffs and subsidies inherited from Labour is punishing the squeezed middle by hiking electricity bills, but doing little to combat global carbon emissions.

‘We are consuming more carbon than ever, while countries like China and India are laughing at the economic price British consumers are paying. We need an environmental policy that makes wider economic sense.’

A new study by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveals that carbon dioxide emissions relating to imported goods have doubled in the last 20 years as Britain’s manufacturing industry has declined.

Imports now account for almost half of the UK’s total carbon footprint. The surge in imports is so great that Britain’s overall carbon footprint has increased by 20 per cent.

A large proportion of the imports come from developing countries, particularly China, which have refused to sign up to binding targets to cut carbon emissions.

The figures will provide ammunition to the Chancellor who has vowed to tone down the Government’s obsession with the green agenda.

Mr Osborne sparked a furious backlash from green groups and the Liberal Democrats last year when he pledged that in future Britain would cut carbon emissions ‘no slower, but also no faster’ than other European countries.

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference he said: ‘We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.’

Green policies have become increasingly controversial in recent years. Electricity prices are already 15 per cent higher than they would be as a result of the push to use costly new renewable sources, such as wind farms.

The Government’s own figures suggest green measures will have pushed up electricity costs by 27 per cent by 2020.

Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the figures underlined the folly of imposing unilateral national measures to tackle a global issue.

Mr Sinclair said: ‘The rise in the emissions produced supplying the British market shows why politicians proud of the draconian regulations and expensive taxes they have put in place, thinking that they have led to a fall in our emissions, are fooling themselves.

‘Not only is the tiny share of global emissions produced in Britain - less than two per cent of the total - almost irrelevant to overall global emissions, but as our targets are all framed in terms of emissions produced here, they can be satisfied without cutting total emissions at all if industry is simply relocated to other countries.’

A Defra study suggests that Britain’s carbon footprint surged by 35 per cent between 1995 and 2005, mostly because of the increase in imports. It fell back by nine per cent between 2008 and 2009 as the recession forced consumers to cut back spending and brought the construction industry to a halt.


Earth Day Climate Propaganda: Stuff the Data, Stuff the Science, Stuff the Panda - hey kids, look at that cute Panda!

These children from a rural school in Scotland have been encouraged to switch lights off on 31st March, in order to 'support people and wildlife threatened by climate change'.

It is not difficult to spot the political campaigners who are coaching them in this nonsense. And a regional council is on-board too, claiming that it 'hopes the effort will make people think about the energy they use, where it comes from and the impact that has on the environment and climate change.'

Of course, the council and WWF are busy scheming to make that energy more expensive and less reliable thanks to the windfarms that are popping up in their territory to destroy wildlife, industrialise wild places, and discourage visitors and sensible industries from going anywhere near there. Meanwhile, it is quite disgraceful that wealthy, un-accountable, biased, scaremongering, self-serving schemers like WWF have been allowed such access and influence on those youngsters.

This tiny example can no doubt be replicated in many thousands of locations worldwide, and this gives us a hint as to the extent of the targeting of children by ruthless campaigners who will no doubt claim that they are protecting 'the world', or at least the Pandas if not the People.

The campaigners may well protect their Pension Plans by such actions, but I fear they may be bringing nought but harm to both People and Pandas, and for that matter, to Progress itself.


Australia: Conservative Premier attacks Green holy of holies -- wants to dig up more coal

Brown coal is a cheap source of energy. So Greenies hate it. It is currently the biggest source of electricity generation in Germany. So there is nothing impractical about it. It has been supplying cheap electricity to Victoria for generations (forgive the pun). See the full horror of it above. Dredges just scoop the stuff up

FEDERAL Greens MP Adam Bandt has labelled Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu an "environmental vandal" for looking to expand brown coal mining in the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Bandt said he was "stunned" to hear the state would potentially expand brown coal mining for both domestic use and export and vowed the Greens would try and block the move federally. "The Premier, Ted Baillieu, is an environmental vandal and must be stopped," the Melbourne MP told reporters in Canberra. "I will be seeking advice as to what can be done federally to stop this environmental madness."

The Baillieu Government is planning to unlock vast resources of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley in a controversial plan to fire overseas power stations and bring the resources boom to Victoria.

Energy Minister Michael O'Brien yesterday confirmed the Coalition was seeking expressions of interest for new allocations of coal that were hoped to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties, as well as billions of dollars of investment in mines, processing and infrastructure.

But Mr Bandt said scientists had made it clear that economies needed to "decarbonise" by mid-century and governments should be supporting clean energy manufacturing industries. "Meanwhile, Ted Baillieu has got his foot on the accelerator in the other direction," he said. "Increasing use of brown coal in Victoria will ultimately be to the state's economic detriment."

But Mr O'Brien said the Baillieu Government was determined to make the most of one of the world's biggest deposits of brown coal. "The Government believes that brown coal can and should play a key role in our energy future," Mr O'Brien said.

"Encouraging new investors and the right technologies could deliver a new generation of industry in the Latrobe Valley, boosting the local economy and creating new jobs."

Victoria is sitting on an estimated 430 billion tonnes of brown coal, of which 33 billion tonnes could be unlocked from the Latrobe Valley.

But there are doubts about whether the technology needed to dry brown coal - which has a high water content - is advanced enough.

About 65 million tonnes of brown coal is mined in the Latrobe Valley for domestic use each year, but none is exported.

The Government yesterday said it would not speculate on how much additional coal it would allow to be mined until the outcome of the allocation tender process was completed.

But the Coalition claims interests from China, India and Japan are already lining up to buy the coal for low-emission activities including conversion to diesel oil and drying it for export. The new arrangements are not expected to affect allocations already in place, including coal for the Hazelwood power station.

Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber said exporting Victorian coal would lead to onshore and offshore environmental damage as well as driving up the price for domestic power stations.

He also raised doubts about how interested overseas markets were in brown coal, which would be difficult to transport and provides less energy than black coal.

"Whether the pollution is in another country or Australia, it is doing great damage to the environment and it is quite likely to push up our own power prices in the process," he said. "If they are exporting it dry there will be huge emissions in Victoria - just associated with getting it ready for export."

Environment Victoria spokesman Mark Wakeham said the Government had "failed to grasp the problem of climate change". "It seems that the Government refuses to accept that coal causes climate change because if they accepted that they wouldn’t be taking this course of action," he said.

"They're clearly not interested in a clean energy future and it looks like they're doing the mining companies' dirty work for them by running a PR campaign for the coal industry."

Mr Wakeham said mining companies could be behind the push for exporting coal. "The 13 billion tones that are yet to be allocated in the Latrobe Valley would be equivalent of 100 years of Victoria’s current greenhouse pollution," he said.

- Brown coal is soft brown fossil fuel used in steam-electric power generation;

- It has a low energy content and is high in moisture, which makes it difficult to transport over long distances;

- Its low levels of ash, sulphur, heavy metals and nitrogen, mean it's lower in impurities than other fossil fuels; [GREEN!]

- It is highly volatile, making it easier to convert into gas and liquid petroleum;

- Victoria has one of the world's largest deposits of brown coal;

- Each year 65 million tonnes are mined from the Latrobe Valley for domestic use;

- More than 80 per cent of Victoria's 430 billion tonne brown coal deposit is located in the Gippsland Basin;

- None of Victoria's coal is currently exported, but groups in China, India and Japan have expressed interest.



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, 2012

Warmists revise their facts once again

Having global warming evangelists in charge of the temperature record is a joke and their unending "adjustments" of it show vividly what a joke it is. See Anthony Watts for details of their track record.

But note something amusing: The temperature differences they talk about are so tiny that they are still statistically insignificant (i.e. are indistinguishable from random fluctuations) even after all the "adjustments". At that rate there will be more adjustments coming down the pike, I am sure

And an important logical point: If their past facts were wrong, how can we know that the latest facts are right? Constantly-changing facts lack credibility as facts at all.

Britain's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which for years maintained that 1998 was the hottest year, has published new data showing warmer years since, further undermining a sceptic view of stalled global warming.

The findings could helpfully move the focus from whether the world is warming due to human activities - it almost certainly is - to more pressing research areas, especially about the scale and urgency of human impacts.

After adding new data, the CRU team working alongside Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre said on Monday that the hottest two years in a 150-year data record were 2005 and 2010 - previously they had said the record was 1998.

None of these findings are statistically significant given the temperature differences between the three years were and remain far smaller than the uncertainties in temperature readings.

CRU drew fire during the 2009 "Climategate" scandal which derailed UN talks in Copenhagen and tripped up efforts at a U.S. climate bill. It was sparked after leaked emails showed CRU scientists, led by Phil Jones, sniping at rivals. The CRU was criticised in subsequent public enquiries for not sharing data but exonerated of any manipulation.

Nevertheless, it was the most cautious major climate research centre, in cooperation with the Met Office Hadley Centre, holding the view that 1998 was the hottest year in an observation record dating back to around 1850.

Its peers are the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Both had already found that 2005 and 2010 were warmer than 1998. They used an approach which gave more weight to the Arctic, where temperatures have risen faster than the rest of the world, but where there are also fewer observations.

They expanded Arctic coverage by statistically inferring warming in areas without weather stations, using neighbouring observations.

Now the CRU-Hadley Centre team have included more than 400 extra actual Arctic observations from Russia and Canada, as these countries have made these available, leading to the change in the annual ranking, which is based on fractions of a degree.


Eco-Fascists Don Their Jackboots

I tend not to traffic too much in the “eco-fascist” theme, preferring to stick more narrowly to the substance of particular aspects of particular issues like climate change or air pollution. But sometimes the jackboot fits, and they should have to wear it.

I have noted at some length in the Claremont Review of Books a while ago the openly anti-democratic and pro-authoritarian views of some eco-alarmists, but that only makes them just like Thomas (China-Is-Awesome) Friedman, who for some reason is a respected figure. I quote, for example, a British analyst who said in a press interview a few years back that “When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it.” And also two Australian political scientists who wrote, among other things, “To retain an inhabitable earth we may have to compromise the eternal vicissitudes of democracy for an informed leadership that directs.” I love that euphemism “an informed leadership that directs” bit. And who would do the “informing”? So much for government by consent of the governed. Perhaps the movie version will be called An Inconvenient Democracy.

Lately I came across a several months old column from the Sydney Morning Herald that offers another example of the mendacity of the climate campaign that I can’t decide is either clueless or just pathetic. Richard Glover wrote:
Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies. Not necessarily on the forehead; I’m a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”

Maybe, Glover allowed, “maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy,” and “OK, maybe the desire to see the painful, thrashing death of one’s opponents is not ideal.” Ya think? The reaction caused Glover to append the following note to the online version of the article:
I’m sorry some readers felt my piece on global warming made light of the suffering of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Of course, this was not my intention. . . I accept that some readers found the reference inappropriate and I certainly apologise to them for causing offence.

As I said in recent posts here and my Weekly Standard article on Gleick-gate, these people make life easy for climate skeptics.

But the eco-fascists never seem to learn. And so we learn that in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Rio UN Earth Summit that brought us the travesty of the Kyoto process that the would-be informed leadership that directs autocrats of the UN environmental community would like to tinker with the voting process of these UN summits so that recalcitrant nations like the U.S., China, India, Poland, etc., can’t block our salvation.

Oh, that’s not how they put it, but it isn’t hard to see through the euphemisms they use. The BBC’s environment writer Richard Black (and there are few journalists more in the bag for the greens than Black) gives away the game in his recent story on this:
The most radical idea in procedural terms is introducing majority voting in UN fora to prevent a few recalcitrant nations from blocking the will of the vast majority.

Great: let’s have climate policy governed by the UN General Assembly. How long before we get a “Zionism is causing global warming” resolution? Back to Black’s account:
There have been many times in the past when just one or two countries held up progress in UN processes such as the climate change convention – and the same issue is now being raised within the EU, where last week Poland on its own managed to block the setting of tougher carbon emission targets.

On the other hand, some countries’ protests clearly matter more than others.

Sovereignty is such a bitch. The UN’s Earth Systems Governance Project says that there needs to be a “fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.” One of the specific recommendations is to “morph the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) into something more representative and influential.” In other words, please give us more power.

Keep it up, gang-green (heh), and I can retire early.


David Friedman on the economics of global warming

A correspondent points me at the work of Nordhaus and Boyer, attempting to estimate the externality from CO2 production and the appropriate response. I have not read the printed version, but there is a webbed version available. A number of things strike me:

1. Their conclusion is that

"current approaches, such as the Kyoto Protocol, are highly inefficient, with abatement costs approximately ten times their benefits in reduced damages."

2. In order to get even that result, they depend on including costs from a very uncertain estimate of the risk that global warming will result in low probability catastrophes of one sort or another:

"this approach is taken because of the finding of the first-generation studies that the impacts on market sectors are likely to be relatively limited."

Or in other words, without including the costs from such catastrophic risks, global warming doesn't seem to be a serious problem.

3. They estimated the cost from low probability catastrophes by asking a lot of experts how likely they thought it was that there would be a catastrophe, assuming a given rise in global temperature, that would reduce world GNP by at least 25%.

Even if one takes seriously the output of that sort of procedure, there is a striking asymmetry in their approach. They do not appear to have asked any experts what the chance is that preventing global warming would cause a catastrophe—or, to put it differently, that global warming will prevent one. Yet, as I keep pointing out, earth's climate was not designed for us, hence there is no a priori reason to assume that large negative results due to a few degrees of warming are more likely than large positive ones.

This is a striking illustration of my general critique of the "add up the externalities" approach to policy issues. Possible changes can have both positive and negative effects. If you want to conclude that something should be prevented, you focus on the negative effects, ignore or minimize the positive ones, and claim to have an objective argument to support your conclusion. That is precisely what Nordhaus and Boyer have done. The only surprising part is that, even after doing that, they still got only a weak version of the (presumably) desired conclusion.

This leaves me wondering what the pro-global warming view of Nordhaus and Boyer is. Their conclusion weakens the case for something like the Kyoto protocol--and that conclusion hinges on a procedure that cannot, I think, be defended. Correct that error and their work appears to provide no support for any substantial effort to prevent global warming.

P.S. After writing this, it occurred to me that there is one respect in which I am being too hard on Nordhaus and Boyer. Suppose we limit "catastrophes" to changes that are not only unlikely and very large, but also very fast. Then there really is some asymmetry to the situation. Humans are currently optimized against the current environment, making any change presumptively negative. I have argued in the past that that is not a strong argument with regard to changes that occur slowly—for example three degrees of warming in a century—since humans will in any case be changing what they do in many ways over so long a period. But that argument would not apply to a change that occurred over only a few years.

If, for instance, climate change makes Europe unbearably cold but adds an equal amount of acceptable land elsewhere, say in northern Canada, and does it in only a couple of years, there will be a very large net cost.

So they would have a legitimate case if they limited their category of catastrophes to rapid ones—but, so far as I can tell from what they wrote, they did not.


Green/Left Control Freaks

I can draw a line through “Caribbean” on my bucket list now. A week on Grand Cayman was a nice break from winter which was raging when I left on March 2nd. March came in like a lion but has become profoundly lamb-like less than halfway through the month. Looking down on my back field from my office chair, I see brown grass on the north side, while snow still buries the southern half. In Maine, it usually looks and feels like winter during the first week of official spring on March 21st, but this year it feels like spring while it’s still officially winter.

If this is climate change, I like it. Paleo-Americans liked it too, I’m sure, as they watched the Pleistocene glaciers recede north from here 13,000 years ago. Unlike us today, however, they suffered no illusions that they caused all that melting by burning wood in their cooking fires as they roasted their mammoth meat. They just enjoyed the warmth. Taking a cue from them, I moved down to my back porch where it’s 65 degrees on March 12th. Nice.

Liberal Democrats, however, think this is bad. They worry about melting ice caps drowning cute polar bear cubs and flooding coral islands. That’s okay with me if they want to stress themselves over it, but it’s not okay when they want to tax me into oblivion thinking they can thereby prevent it by making fossil fuels like gasoline too expensive to buy. They can buy windmills and solar panels, Priuses and Chevy Volts if it makes them feel better too, but I object when they want me to pay them for doing so.

People don’t want to buy Chevy Volts, so the Obama Administration wants to further subsidize them with another $10,000 per car with my money. I don’t want to pay them more so they can feel “green,” and “progressive” and morally superior to the rest of us. They can put up windmills and solar panels and ride bicycles with funny helmets and spandex, but I don’t want to pay them to do so. I like electricity and hot showers, but I like those things on cloudy days and when the wind is calm too, so I’d rather buy my electricity and hot water in the usual, reliable - and cheaper - ways.

Liberal Democrats are control freaks. They think they know what species should live and which should be wiped out - and they would use the power of the federal government to implement their schemes. The environmental whacko (EW) wing of their party (actually it’s more than just a wing, but a good part of the legs and torso too) put northwest loggers out of work as they “protected” their beloved spotted owl. There were more trees to hug up there, but that wasn’t enough for them or their cute little owl.

Don’t get me wrong; I like owls. As I write this on the back porch, a nearby barred owl is hooting to another further down the hill. I like to hear their “hoo, hoo - hoo-HOO” early in the morning. As ornithologists write, their hoot kind of sounds like: “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all.” I saw a barred owl once on the edge of my field and wrote about it here. Their hooting has charmed me ever since, but now the Obama Administration wants to shoot barred owls to protect the sacred spotted owls which they prefer.

Barred owls are bigger and they’re crowding out the smaller spotted owl. The environmental whackos justify killing one owl to protect another by claiming the barred owl is “not native” to northwest forests. It migrated there.

Control freaks to the end, they believe they know better which species should live where even though history shows animals, birds and plants are constantly migrating. Evidence indicates that horses covered North America until hunted to extinction by paleo-Americans, but were re-introduced by the Spanish five hundred years ago. Would they want to go around and shoot horses too?

Liberal Democrats are entitled to whatever crazy ideas they wish to discuss in their green seminars. What I don’t like is when they appoint people like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to positions in which they spend my tax money trying to implement their screwball schemes.

Most of us here in New England like climate change. We can’t do anything about it anyway, no matter what Al Gore and the rest of his environmental whacko friends believe, so just relax and enjoy it.


Run for the hills: sea levels to rise 70 feet by, er, sometime…

It will happen, but we don't know when…

This kind of pointless, gratuitous alarmism does nothing but damage The Cause. It's like saying "planet will be swallowed by Sun - entire population to die… in 4.5 billion years".

But I'm not complaining. If the alarmists want to shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of hysterical climate astrology, I'm very happy to sit back and watch them do it:
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.

The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand. They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was at its current level, and atmospheric temperatures were 2 degrees C higher than they are now.

"The difference in water volume released is the equivalent of melting the entire Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as some of the marine margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet," said H. Richard Lane, program director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the work. "Such a rise of the modern oceans would swamp the world's coasts and affect as much as 70 percent of the world's population."

"You don't need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take from centuries to a few thousand years," Miller said. "The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet (0.8 to1 meter) due to warming of the oceans, partial melting of mountain glaciers, and partial melting of Greenland and Antarctica."

Miller said, however, that this research highlights the sensitivity of Earth's great ice sheets to temperature change, suggesting that even a modest rise in temperature results in a large sea-level rise. "The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present," he said.


Broken down and rusting, is this the future of today's 'wind rush'?

A breathtaking sight awaits those who travel to the southernmost tip of Hawaii’s stunningly beautiful Big Island, though it’s not in any guidebook. On a 100-acre site, where cattle wander past broken ‘Keep Out’ signs, stand the rusting skeletons of scores of wind turbines.

Just a short walk from where endangered monk seals and Hawksbill turtles can be found on an unspoilt sandy beach, a technology that is supposed to be about saving the environment is instead ruining it.

In other parts of the U.S., working wind turbines are killing hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year, but here the wildlife can perch on the motionless steel blades.

If any spot was tailor-made for a wind farm it would surely be here. The gales are so strong and relentless on the tip of South Point that trees grow almost horizontally.

Yet the 27-year-old Kamaoa Wind Farm remains a relic of the boom and inglorious bust of America’s so-called ‘wind rush’, the world’s first major experiment in wind energy.

At a time when the EU and the British Government are fully paid-up evangelists for wind power, the lesson from America — and the ghostly hulks on this far-flung coast — should be a warning of their folly.

Few people were talking about saving the planet back in the early Eighties. The wind rush was a free-for-all in which get-rich-quick companies exploited ridiculously generous tax breaks to pepper the States with thousands of wind turbines.

For anyone who has questioned Downing Street’s controversial pledge — spurred on by EU green targets — to give £400 million-a-year subsidies to wind farms as well as hefty bribes to landowners in order to spur the building of an additional 4,500 turbines, the wind rush may sound eerily familiar.

Indeed, America’s growing band of wind sceptics insist that what happened three decades ago in the U.S. could easily recur over the next few years in the UK if the wheels come off the wind energy gravy train once again.

So what went wrong? It started with the late Seventies oil crisis that convinced America it had to look around for other sources of power. For a time, wind power was considered to be a serious alternative to fossil fuels.

Turbines were built across several states, though there was a preponderance in California, where nearly 17,000 sprouted up from the dusty earth.

Nearly all of these were concentrated in three giant wind farms: Altamont, east of San Francisco; Tehachapi, on the edge of the Mojave desert; and San Gorgonio near Palm Springs.

In theory, conditions couldn’t have been better. Each of these are passes that benefit from just the right sort of wind that turbines need — strong and almost continual.

Better still, they were crossed by under-used high voltage lines to take away the power.

But most importantly for the scrum of investors who were thrusting their snouts into the trough, there was the extraordinary generosity of the government.

Between 1981 and 1985, federal and state subsidies in California were so favourable that investors could recover 50 per cent of the cost of a wind turbine.

Even better, the amount they were paid for their electricity was tied to the price of oil, which had shot through the roof.

Paul GIPE, a former California wind company executive, calls what happened next a ‘tax credit frenzy’. ‘The lure of quick riches resulted in shoddy products that littered California with poorly operating — sometimes non-operating — turbines.’

They were expensive and badly designed. Some were far too small to make a difference, others were just clunky machines designed by the aero industry with blades the length of a rugby pitch.

But thanks to the subsidies, it hardly mattered that some of the untested turbines were so sub-standard they barely even worked. Not to put too fine a point on it, for some wind energy investors it was simply a tax scam.

But as tends to happen with a business that is driven by financial incentives, it lasted only as long as the subsidies. In 1986, the price of oil tumbled and the subsidies started to die out. Suddenly, the wind energy sums didn’t add up any more.

And just like the gold rush miners who had rushed to the same Californian passes a century earlier, the wind prospectors departed in such a hurry that they didn’t even bother to take down the turbines they had littered across the state.

With so many moving parts to worry about, maintaining turbines is expensive — too expensive when the electricity they could produce was suddenly worth so little. ‘So when something broke, you simply didn’t send a repairman because it just didn’t make financial sense,’ Hawaii wind sceptic Andrew Walden told me.

With some turbine makers going out of business, there were no spare parts either.

According to the California Energy Commission, the collapse in subsidies stalled the state’s huge wind energy industry for nearly two decades.

No one who has driven past one of America’s mega wind farms today can fail to be struck by how few have blades that are turning, even in strong winds.

The truth is that even fewer may be producing electricity than it appears. Many are switched to a mode in which the blades continue to turn just to keep oil moving around the mechanism, but no electricity is produced.

Unfortunately, the frenzy of windmill building during the wind rush didn’t just ruin the view, but also devastated the wildlife.

No one noticed until far too late that the 5,000-turbine wind farm at Altamont Pass is on a major migratory path for birds. The National Audubon Society, America’s RSPB, has called it ‘probably the worst site ever chosen for a wind energy project’.

An estimated 10,000 birds including up to 80 protected golden eagles, 380 burrowing owls, 300 red-tailed hawks and 330 falcons were being shredded each year in Altamont’s massed banks of turbine blades — to say nothing of thousands of bats — until outraged conservationists sued America’s ‘deadliest’ wind farm four years ago.

As a result, it has agreed to grind to a halt for four months every year to avoid causing more carnage during the migration season. Go further south to the Tehachapi pass on the edge of the Mojave desert and you’ll find golden eagle carcasses under the wind turbines, too.

Tragically, the size of these majestic creatures makes it difficult for them to manoeuvre through forests of wind turbine blades spinning at speeds of up to 200mph, especially when they are concentrating on looking for prey. The problem is so serious that in Minnesota and Oregon, wind farms have drawn national condemnation by applying for an eagle hunting licence.

In the U.S., one of the great ironies about wind energy is that the people you might expect to cheer for it most — wildlife conservationists who care about the planet — are its most vociferous critics. It’s not hard to see why when you glance at the statistics. The American Bird Conservancy estimates wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds each year.

The conservation cause is not the only issue. There are horror stories about turbines falling over, catching fire after being struck by lightning, lethal shards of ice being hurled from the blades, the nerve-racking low frequency noise (like a pulsing disco) and the disorientating strobe effect in sunlight.

While Hawaii has six abandoned wind farms, most of California’s derelict turbines are only now being removed — decades late — after disgusted local authorities threatened to sue. In Palm Springs, those who campaigned against the turbines included the late singer Sonny Bono, former husband of Cher.

But if a turbine’s owner had walked away from his investment or gone bankrupt, it was sometimes the hapless farmer or rancher who owned the land who had to foot the $1,000-a-tower clean-up bill.

So how many windmills have been abandoned across the U.S.? It is an intensely sensitive subject for wind enthusiasts, who will quibble that it depends on how you define ‘abandoned’.

They wouldn’t, for instance, count ones that are working again today, even if they were switched off for years. They also argue that many of those that were left to rust were technologically outdated and set for the scrapheap anyway.

Wind power sceptics estimate 14,000 turbines across the U.S. have become derelict since the Eighties, while there are around 38,000 in operation across the country.

Paul Gipe claims the number abandoned in his state of California is around 4,500, of which 500 are still standing.

In Hawaii, which is soon to get a new subsidised wind farm, Andrew Walden argues that whatever turbine makers boast about their machines’ impressive kilowatt per hour output, there remains an intractable problem with any industry that can survive only with government help.

‘The key lesson from history is that when the subsidies go, the wind farms go,’ he told me. ‘It costs too much to maintain them and they just get abandoned.’

How ironic that the British government is pushing through permissions for thousands of new turbines just as the Americans are going cool on the idea.

The latest figures show U.S. investment in wind energy plunged 38 per cent last year. Experts say there are simply too many turbines out there and not enough people buying the electricity.

Republicans in Congress want to cut wind energy’s 20-year-old subsidy at the end of the year. Why, they ask, should the debt-laden country be giving wind energy companies a 30 per cent tax credit, costing taxpayers nearly $3 billion a year, when wind accounts for only 2.3 per cent of America’s electricity and 8 per cent of its pollution-free electricity?

Wind energy companies claim the move will ‘kill 37,000 jobs, shut plants and cancel billions of dollars in private investment’. They don’t mention more abandoned windmills, but it hardly seems impossible.

Nicolas Loris, an energy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, told me it just goes to prove ‘you can build anything if you subsidise it enough’.

What if the green subsidies that have made many landowners in Britain millions of pounds dry up, too, in the not-too-distant future?

Who in their right mind would want any of the new generation of turbines — under EU plans, the turbines will be nearly 1,000ft tall (that’s six times the height of Nelson’s Column) — rusting away in their backyard?



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, 2012

Some bargepole treatment of skeptical science

This is even more interesting than it at first seems. A few years ago, most academic journals would happily and rapidly reject any outright challenge to Warmism. Now none of a journal's reviewers want to bear the responsibility for doing that. Neither accept nor reject is their new cowardly policy: A long way to go yet but an important change in the right direction

An email below from Gerhard Kramm regarding an article submitted to the journal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics" (ACP). Dr. Gerhard Kramm is Research Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Natural Science and Mathematics

On February 14, 2012 I uploaded a manuscript entitled "Comments on the Paper ‘Earth’s energy imbalance and implications' By J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Kharecha, and K. von Schuckmann" to ACP. The manuscript is authored by Kramm and Dlugi.

Now, I received the e-mail message below in which it was stated that the Editor Assignment has been interrupted. For your information: ACP has an not only an Editorial Board, but also an Advisory Board (See here). Members of this Advisory Board are: Paul Crutzen, Meinrat O. Andreae, Daniel McKenna, Stuart A. Penkett, and Veerabdhadran Ramanathan. In addition, there are five Executive Editors and 120 Co-Editors.

As documented in the Manuscript Record, on March 13, 2012 no editor was available to handle our manuscript. It is unbelievable. What may be the reason?

In our manuscript we showed that the calculation of the radiative imbalance for the top of the atmosphere by Hansen et al. (2011) is based on an invalid value for the solar constant of about 1366 W/m^2. If the SORCE/TIM value of 1361 W/m^2 is used, then there is either no imbalance or a negative imbalance. The latter means that more infrared radiation is emitted to the space as solar radiation is absorbed by the earth-atmosphere system.

It is interesting that before 1978 not only X15-Rocket aircraft measurements, but also satellite measurements suggested a solar constant of 1361 W/m^2 (see Raschke et al., 1973). Several years later, Prof. Dr. Raschke became my M.S. advisor, but I was not involved in this satellite research.

In our manuscript we cited Hansen et al. (2011):

"The basic physics underlying this global warming, the greenhouse effect, is simple. An increase of gases such as CO2 makes the atmosphere more opaque at infrared wavelengths. This added opacity causes the planet’s heat radiation to space to arise from higher, colder levels in the atmosphere, thus reducing emission of heat energy to space. The temporary imbalance between the energy absorbed from the Sun and heat emission to space, causes the planet to warm until planetary energy balance is restored."

Dlugi and I were able to show that no reduced emission is existent because, as mentioned before, there is either no imbalance or a negative imbalance. We also cited Kopp and Lean (2011, see attachment):

"Instrument inaccuracies are a significant source of uncertainty in determining Earth’s energy balance from space-based measurements of incoming and reflected solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial thermal radiation. A nonzero average global net radiation at the top of the atmosphere is indicative of Earth’s thermal disequilibrium imposed by climate forcing. But whereas the current planetary imbalance is nominally 0.85 W m-2 [Hansen et al., 2005], estimates of this quantity from space-based measurements range from 3 to 7 W m-2. SORCE/TIM’s lower TSI value reduces this discrepancy by 1 W m-2 [Loeb et al., 2009]. We note that the difference between the new lower TIM value with earlier TSI measurements corresponds to an equivalent climate forcing of 0.8 W m-2, which is comparable to the current energy imbalance."

Butler et al. (2008) already discussed results of SORCE/TIM (see attachment). Butler is a NASA scientist. Even Hansen et al. (2011) knew the paper of Kopp and Lean, they misinterpreted it by arguing:

"Recent estimates of mean solar irradiance (Kopp and Lean, 2011) are smaller, 1360.8 +/- 0.5 W/m^2, but the uncertainty of the absolute value has no significant effect on the solar forcing, which depends on the temporal change of irradiance."

This argument is clearly wrong as documented by our analysis. The argument is, certainly, in the interest of NASA because it would mean that the youngest satellites were for the birds. It might be that Hansen's days at NASA are numbered.

In principle, I expected such a stupid trick of the ACP Editors. Thus, when I realized that the paper of Hansen et al. was uploaded on arXiv of the Cornell Unversity in May 2011 (see here) I also uploaded our comments to that paper on arXiv on March 5, 2012 (see here).

During that time I had no information about the manuscript record of ACP. Note that I suggested five names of possible referees. To protect them I erase their names. But the original is available.

Received via email

Australian Warmist recognizes that science has taken a hit because of the global warming controversy

In good Warmist style, he mentions no science but instead appeals to authority -- which is a profoundly unscientific thing to do. And in a second fallacy he argues "ad hominem". Very Warmist but quite illogical!

And comparing tiny Heartland to the Roman Cathoic church of the Middle ages is a hoot. But he has got it right that the prestige of science has been greatly damaged by the dispute.

May it never recover. Reality should be established via open and independent scrutiny of the facts, not via reputation

Recent revelations that several prominent global warming sceptics are in the pay of the free-market American think tank the Heartland Institute come as no surprise to many who have witnessed the slow descent of the debate from the lofty ''great moral issue of our time" to the cynical "great big tax on everything".

The national climate report released by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday added to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting anthropogenic warming, but a recent CSIRO survey found politics was the primary factor in determining public views on the matter. A large majority of those who agree with the science are Labor/Green voters, while most of those who disagree are Coalition voters.

The partisan nature of the debate suggests the hegemony of science that has characterised the two centuries since the Enlightenment is under serious threat. Scientists, hitherto in the vanguard of modern civilisation, are viewed by many as irrelevant, incompetent or untrustworthy. A particularly mild summer has only strengthened the view that, in Tony Abbott's words, "climate change is crap".

How have we reached the point where our previous deference to expert scientific opinion on everything from space exploration to hair care has suddenly waned on potentially one of the most significant issues in human history?

It's worth considering our predicament in the context of the Age of Enlightenment, since the tensions of that time reflect significantly the tensions now. The most important Enlightenment values were the rejection of arbitrary power, divine right, irrationality, superstition and myth. In part, these were derived through the ascendent discipline of science. Any claim was to be subject to empirical observation and rational assessment. One of the political dividends of this was that dominant social interests were made more accountable to the public interest.

However, while the Age of Reason effectively challenged the power of church and monarchy, it ultimately did little to arrest the headlong march of the 20th century into secular ideologies. Fascism, communism and neo-liberalism all involved the same pre-Enlightenment subservience to received truth, reversion to myth, and co-opting of reason to support dominant social interests.

Heartland's ideological defence of powerful vested interests and rejection of the inconvenient truths of science is similar to the church's reaction to astronomy in the 16th century. A heliocentric world in which the Earth was not at the centre of the universe contradicted biblical teaching and threatened the power of the church. This led to charges of heresy for inquisitive types such as Galileo.

In much the same way, climate scientists are now being stigmatised and the status quo defended at all costs by free-market purists who view the whole concept of climate change as little more than a vehicle for the market interventions of big government. Amplified through the populist media, the typical narrative involves a cast of rent-seeking bureaucrats, closet socialists and elites, now joined by the scientific academies of the world in their plot to sabotage the wheels of industry.


The Ozone hole: What a crock


The NASA graphic above shows that the ozone hole has just fluctuated for the last 20 years. There is no clear direction of change. So the ban on CFCs has clearly not had the intended effect.

And we see another fallacy below: Taking one year as the measure of a trend:

The sustained damage to the ozone layer had been caused by aerosol spray cans and refrigerators emitting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). In 1987, the United Nations responded, banning the manufacture and use of CFCs and other substances under the Montreal Protocol. Since then, the hole in the ozone layer has been shrinking.

In autumn 2010, scientists reported the first success, saying the ozone layer had begun to heal. Now a new study shows for the first time that the healing of the ozone layer is also actually improving the health situation for people. Carcinogenic UV rays on the ground have also been diminishing in recent years, researchers led by Christos Zerefos at the Research Centers for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology at the Academy of Athens in Greece conclude in their study, published by the scientific publication Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

"The results are encouraging," said Markus Rex, a respected ozone expert at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam. The fact that the ozone layer in the regions researched has become thicker is a result of the successful Montreal Protocol, he added.


Alaska has its coldest January on record

But it's all due to warming!

Even by Alaska standards, this winter is unusual for the hardy residents of the state's largest city.

Near-record snowfall buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into canyons with walls of snow on each side. The snow's weight collapsed the roofs of some buildings. Moose are fleeing into the city to get away from too-deep snow.

And the city dumps are close to overflowing with snow that may not melt entirely before next winter....Alaska had its coldest January on record.

Two different weather phenomenon - La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation - are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, climate scientists say.

"When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that's when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming," University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said.



Three current articles below

Australia not very Green

That fact is spun below as a bad thing but considering how well-off Australia is when compared with the financial crises in "Greener" countries, it can be seen as something associated with GOOD policy

AUSTRALIA'S economy is less equipped to deal with a low carbon emissions world than it was nearly two decades ago, an international study has found.

The study, backed by think tank the Climate Institute and multinational GE, found that since 1995, Australia's dependence on polluting activities had grown relative to almost every other major economy.

The study ranked Australia 16th out of 19 countries in being ready to deal with a low-carbon world — ahead of just India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

The rankings are based on 19 measures, including emissions growth, energy generation, export industries, transport and investment in clean technology.

A retrospective analysis found Australia ranked 12th in 1995 on a "low-carbon competitiveness index", but had since been overtaken by Turkey, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. The list was headed by France, Japan, Britain, South Korea and Germany.

Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson said relative to other countries Australia's economy had become more dependent on pollution, not less.

"Among other things our energy sector is dominated by coal, our use of oil is inefficient, we have high rates of deforestation and our export industries are based on low-value-added resources and not high-value-add technologies," he said.

The study, using an index created by British consultants Vivid Economics, does not factor in Australia's carbon price scheme and associated clean energy funding as the laws do not take effect until July 1.

It is based on an assumption that, while the global economy is volatile, there is an underlying "mega-trend" towards low emissions goods.

The authors cite evidence that more than 100 countries have policies to support clean energy, leading to a record $US260 billion spending in the area last year, and that major emitters have agreed to work on a climate pact to be signed by 2015 and take effect by 2020.


$5 carbon price to halt innovation as clean energy plan at risk

INTERNATIONAL carbon prices are predicted to be as low as $5 by 2020, undermining the ability of Australia's carbon package to force technological changes to cut emissions, one of the world's leading emissions pricing forecasters has told big business.

The research emerged as the energy sector warned that crackdowns on drilling for coal-seam gas also pose a threat to a key plank of the clean-energy package forcing power stations to switch from coal to gas because a regulatory blitz could force up gas prices and reduce the competitive advantage the carbon price was designed to give it over coal.

The $5 carbon price forecast has been produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which last week briefed the nation's largest emitters at an Australian Industry Greenhouse Network meeting.

The imminent introduction of Australia's $23 a tonne price from July 1 has sparked concerns from major business groups in the wake of the collapse in the EU emissions trading price to about $10 and a corresponding slump in the value of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism Certified Emissions Reduction units.

Some peak industry bodies are this week expected to discuss a renewed push for a rear-guard effort calling on the government to either drop the $23 carbon price to $10 or delay the scheme altogether, as anxiety about the impending introduction of the scheme mounts.

Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson told Sky News's Australian Agenda yesterday the government would "press ahead" with the current scheme.

He said compensation measures in the package included "large offerings" of free permits

of up to 95 per cent, "which means for those most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries, the average carbon price is $1.30 per tonne not $23 but $1.30 per tonne".

"Now what we need to do is put in place a sensible carbon pricing mechanism that will actually achieve behaviour change, and calls to put it in at $5 or $10 would not achieve their stated objectives of reducing our emissions," Dr Emerson said.

The government's argument will today be backed by research from the Climate Institute and international energy giant GE, which defends the $23 starting price.

The report warns that Australia is falling behind the rest of the world in its efforts to cut emissions and that many other countries, including Britain ($24-$30), Sweden ($130), Switzerland ($30-$60), Norway ($53) and Ireland ($24-$37) have higher prices than Australia's $23 starting price.

Bloomberg's prediction of a E4 to E5 price for CERs by 2020 is based on an expected oversupply of emissions offsets programs over the course of the decade as big emitters such as the US stay out of the international carbon market.

CERs have broadly followed the trajectory of the EU emissions trading price but have traded at a discount. Bloomberg predicts that the EU price will decouple from the CER price over the course of the decade as tighter European caps and an economic recovery drive the EU price to more than $40.

CERs are likely to remain depressed because Europe will buy less of them because of limits on purchasing offshore units in the EU scheme, and the US is not expected to enter international trading markets, based on the Bloomberg "base case".

Under the Australian scheme, when the price moves to a floating trading system, Australian firms will be able to access 50 per cent of their carbon emissions liabilities offshore. A floor price of $15 will be introduced from 2015 and remain until 2018.

If the European price rose above $40 but the UN schemes were closer to $5, Australian firms would be likely to purchase their offshore credits from the UN scheme to gain access to the lowest cost abatement.

"The main message we have at the moment for our clients is that the international market does not have a huge amount of price support," Bloomberg New Energy Finance Australian manager Seb Henbest told The Australian.

"You have an interesting situation the carbon price right now is low in the rest of the world but initially high in Australia.

"That is likely to reverse when the European price is expected to get a lot higher. The Australian price will be kept low, partly because of price controls in the market but also because of the natural economic forcing of the CER price as firms buy cheap credits and use them for compliance.

"From an economic perspective, carbon could be pretty cheap in Australia for a period of time to come and we ask ourselves if that is a politically sustainable solution. If you've got a price in 2020 of $5, that is not necessarily reflecting the sort of carbon prices that would be needed in Australia to incentivise broad behavioural change in the energy sector, for example," Mr Henbest said.

Amid the Bloomberg predictions, the Energy Supply Association of Australia whose members include Origin Energy and the Australian arm of International Power-GDF Suez has warned that a regulatory crackdown on CSG could hurt energy security nationwide and efforts to slash greenhouse emissions as the government plans for its carbon price to lead to at least a 200 per cent increase in gas-fired electricity by 2050.

Coal-seam gas is cheaper to produce than gas from some conventional sources such as the new offshore gas fields in Victoria's Gippsland Basin, while in Western Australia there are fears of domestic gas supply shortages as early as 2015 because most supplies are exported as lucrative liquefied natural gas to Asia, the group said.

In a submission to the government's draft energy white paper, the ESAA urged governments to refrain from further regulatory interventions that would spook investors, saying there was an extra $240bn of investment required in the sector by 2030.

Investors were already plagued by uncertainty because of the continued failure of the major parties to reach an agreed position on greenhouse policy, while the failure of most state governments to scrap retail price controls on energy was a further barrier.

On top of this, the $10bn Clean Energy Finance Corporation could crowd out the private sector and small government-mandated climate-change schemes, including the convoluted Renewable Energy Target, were causing price hikes, the group said.

As LNG exports to Asia (including from CSG projects) could put pressure on prices and make it harder for domestic buyers such as power stations to lock in long-term contracts for gas, the ESAA argues in the submission that this makes it important to allow access to the "widest range" of sources.

"The massive rebuild and re-investment required to modernise infrastructure and transform to a lower emissions footing presents Australia's energy sector with an investment challenge bigger than ever before," the submission states.

"Investment of this magnitude will not happen by itself. It requires industry to have the confidence to commit to very large investments. Australia must consequently be an attractive destination if we are to raise the volumes of capital required at the lowest cost."


Western Australia clears the way for fracking

W.A. covers about a third of Australia so this is a big deal. Put together Alaska, California and Texas and you have just about got the area involved

A RECENT decision by the West Australian Environment Minister to allow small-scale hydraulic fracturing in the Perth Basin without the need for environmental assessments could be a sign of things to come for unconventional gas resources, which some have tipped as the next energy frontier for the boom state.

Rising domestic gas prices and the rapid growth of unconventional gas markets overseas have prompted increased scrutiny of WA's onshore Perth Basin. WA Department of Mines and Petroleum figures reveal use of the prominent exploration technique for unconventional gas reserves, hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has quadrupled in a year.

Unconventional gases differ from conventional forms like liquefied natural gas, because while LNG can be found in relatively easily accessible sandstone rock formations, unconventional gasses are hidden in hard rock like shale, or unporous sandstone, like tight gas, or in coal seams. Environmental concerns have followed the spread of fracking from the coal seams of Queensland, to NSW and now to WA's shale and tight gas reserves.

The Perth Basin's tight gas fields could hold 9 trillion to 12 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, and are located near existing pipelines, according to WA Department of Mines and Petroleum records.

One trillion cubic feet of gas can provide enough energy to power a city of 1 million people for 20 years.

The WA Mines Minister, Norman Moore, said it was too early to know what an unconventional gas industry could mean for exports, although in the US net exports of total petroleum products last year exceeded imports for the first time in 60 years based on shale's contributions.

Alcoa, in partnership, has committed $100 million to exploration and development of the basin's onshore Warro gas field, of which it has a 65 per cent interest. The project's operator, Transerv Energy, through its wholly owned subsidiary Latent Petroleum, holds the remaining 35 per cent. The joint venture hopes to hit first tight gas production from Warro in late 2013.

AWE has received the green light to fracture three wells at the Woodada gas field for tight and shale gas and is expected to start exploring within the year.

Earlier this month the WA Environment Minister, Bill Marmion, backed an Environmental Protection Authority decision not to perform environmental assessments for a group of similar proposals, including AWE's, to fracture the basin for unconventional gas.

"The public advice issued by the EPA states that 'an impermeable barrier of shale separates the hydraulic fracture stimulation zone from the freshwater aquifers in the area providing confidence that there is unlikely to be an impact on freshwater aquifers," he said.

He added that "in contrast to fracking operating in other states, these proposals are significantly deeper and further from aquifers".

The Curtin University head of petroleum engineering, Brian Evans, said there was about 1.5 kilometres of sandstone under West Australians' feet, followed by about one kilometre of shale.

"If we fracked that it wouldn't make any difference to the shallow ground water where problems have existed such as in the eastern states," he said. The WA Basins have the potential to be a far larger energy source than the North-West Shelf, according to Mr Evans.



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, 2012

A very small manifesto

I put up on this blog writings by both mainstream skeptics (who believe that a greenhouse effect exists but is trivial) and ultra skeptics who think that no such effect exists at all.

And one of the reasons for that is that the greenhouse effect is a complete red herring. It does not matter whether it is true or not. The real issue is the "amplifications" that Warmists add into their predictions.

What matters above all is of course the facts and the BIG fact in climate is that warming has happened over the last 150 years but at a very slow rate. So the cause of that warming is unimportant. It is clearly so slight (less than one degree Celsius) that it is obviously no problem as it stands. A projection of the known trend into the future is no cause for alarm in any way. Another fraction of a degree of warming by the year 2100 would hardly be noticed.

But the Warmists are unlike other scientists in that they refuse to project from the known to produce the most likely prediction. They postulate that there are "amplifying" factors which will cause the trend suddenly to change and temperature will shoot upwards -- and that claim is sheer guesswork and speculation.

A crucial element in their amplification theory (such as it is) is the effect of clouds. Clouds are the main amplifier that they rely on. With absolutely no proof other than correlations that can be interpreted in completely opposite ways, they say that warming will cause increased cloudiness and that this increased cloudiness will suddenty have a catastrophic warming effect. It is all assumption and imagination, not science. It does not proceed from the known but rather from speculation

For what it is worth I think that greenhouse theory can be expressed in a coherent and plausible way but whether the theory is true or not I don't know. I see evidence for it and evidence against it and am not at all sure that all the influences at work are even known, let alone those we know being well understood.

But looking at the theory as we have it, it is difficult to see how CO2 could have any effect worth attending to. Why? 1). The major source of heating for the earth's surface is radiation from the sun so any greenhouse effect is marginal to that. 2). CO2 is an extremely minor greenhouse gas, with water vapour being the principal player. 3). As a heated molecule, CO2 will radiate heat in all directions, just as the sun does. Only a small fraction of that heat will arrive at the terrestrial surface. So CO2 heating of the earth will be a minor fraction of a minor fraction of a minor fraction of the total heat hitting the earth -- and as such must be totally inconsequential even in theory.

And reality confirms that theory. Fluctuations in CO2 are not followed by similar fluctuations in heating. Even Hume's stringent theory of causation requires that the effect regularly follows the cause and CO2 fluctuations over the last 150 years (and indeed in paleohistory) have not regularly been followed by similar fluctuations in temperatures.

It is only the incessant "adjustments" of the temperature record of the last century or so by Jim Hansen (and Michael Mann's false "hockeystick" record) that seem to show some semblance of the two factors moving in tandem. And having a fierce advocate of global warming in charge of the data on global warming is even in theory having the fox guard the henhouse. And the obvious prediction from that theory is confirmed by Hansen's regular alterations of the temperature record to suit his theory. Even he however has not been able to adjust out of existence the temperature standstill of the last 15 years or so -- at a time when CO2 levels (a record out of his control) have been rising steadily. Hume's minimal conditions for CO2 levels to be a cause of terrestrial temperature fluctuations are therefore not met.

But as I have pointed out, the greenhouse effect is simply not the issue. Even given all they want from greenhouse theory, Warmists still cannot predict anything alarming. They have to add on "amplifications" to predict any temperature rise worth attending to. And those amplifications are the real weak point in alarmism -- amplifications that are sheer speculation. And improbable speculations based on very partial knowledge are no basis for public policy.

CODA: I suppose I should add in a small coda about Venus. Warmists often assert that the high surface temperature of Venus is an example of "runaway" global warming caused by high levels of CO2. It is of course no such thing. The high Venusian surface temperature is the result of a simple adiabatic process. The huge Venusian atmosphere leads to huge atmospheric pressure at the surface which in turn leads to a very high temperature.

What most “Skeptics” of Climate Catastrophe are Skeptical Of: Nordhaus Reconsidered

by Eric Dennis

The most frustrating thing about being a scientist skeptical of catastrophic global warming is that the other side is continually distorting what I am skeptical of.

In his immodestly titled New York Review of Books article “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong,” economist William Nordhaus presents six questions that the legitimacy of global warming skepticism allegedly rests on.

* Is the planet in fact warming?

* Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

* Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

* Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

* Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

* Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

Since the answers to these questions are allegedly yes, yes, yes and no, no, no, it’s case closed, says Nordhaus.

Except that he is attacking a straw man. Scientists (or non-scientists) who are “skeptics” are skeptical of catastrophic global warming—not warming or human-caused warming as such. So much for 1 and 2. We refuse to label CO2 a “pollutant” because it is essential to life and because we do not believe it has the claimed catastrophic impact. So much for 3. And since 4-6 don’t pertain to the scientific issue of catastrophic warming, so much for them, as well.

The object of our skepticism, catastrophic global warming, means warming caused by greenhouse gasses that would so dramatically heat up the earth that despite the proven climate adaptability of hydrocarbon-powered civilization (see “How Capitalism Makes Catastrophes Non-Catastrophic”), populations the world over would experience impoverishment, mass suffering, and death.

Why are we skeptical of this claim? Because there is radically insufficient evidence for it.

This may seem implausible, because the news media bombard us with stories of new studies, new findings, new models, new international summits allegedly confirming catastrophic global warming. But what these stories leave out is the evidential status of these developments—what any given study or model actually proves. And the answer is, little to nothing, because the present ability of scientists to understand, model, and predict the climate is far, far lower than we are led to believe.

To say that modeling the climate for long-term predictions is difficult given the current state of climate science is like saying that it would be difficult for your five-year-old son to build a 400 horsepower car from re-purposed Toys ‘R’ Us purchases. Imagine that he comes to you with pages and pages of plans he’s sketched out in crayon. The “car” will cost $22,827.35 worth of toys.

Why wouldn’t you reach for your credit card? Is that because you’re against teaching kids engineering? Is it because his sworn enemy, your daughter, is paying you off? Or perhaps it’s because this project is obviously beyond the capability of a five-year-old, and that his crayon schematics don’t offer convincing evidence that he is in fact the kind of once-in-a-generation prodigy who could somehow pull it off.

If one understands how monumental an undertaking it would be to produce a sound climate model, one can see that today’s climate modelers are making assertions no less implausible than our five-year old’s fantasy.

In physics it is generally possible to exactly predict the behavior of systems involving two independent bodies, whether planets interacting through gravity or elementary particles through the electromagnetic field. More bodies means no exact solution to the dynamical equations and a zoo of different approximations, usually requiring computational simulation, which takes more and more time as the number of bodies being simulated increases. Indeed the computation time generally grows exponentially with the number of bodies.

The global climate system comprises an astronomical number (at least billions) of effectively independent “bodies,” which is to say of isolatable, relatively uniform chunks of air, ocean, and earth. Their interactions span the complexity spectrum, from the mechanical push-and-pull of an ocean current to the lesser-known dynamics of cloud formation to intricate, biological mechanisms like plant growth and respiration that have evolved over billions of years.

Solving this kind of complex system is outside the realm of controlled approximations and reasonable estimates. It’s in the realm of random stabs, on any objective assessment of our current scientific powers. Since attempts to model this system are the basis of claims for catastrophic global warming, the evidence we need to consider pertains to whether or not such models are capturing enough of the detailed mess of forces that actually drives the climate.

Many different climate processes affect the energy balance between the earth and outer-space and thus affect temperatures on the Earth. One such process is the greenhouse effect, by which CO2 and other gases trap some extra solar energy in the atmosphere and convert it into heat. It is widely acknowledged that the CO2-linked greenhouse effect itself can produce only a modest warming going forward because the incremental warming produced by each extra liter of CO2 gets smaller and smaller as more CO2 is added.

The catastrophist projections are based on the idea that this modest warming will trigger an entirely separate set of feedback mechanisms that will multiply the warming many times. For instance warming is projected to increase ambient levels of water vapor, itself a greenhouse gas; melting ice will expose more earth or open water, which tend to absorb more solar energy as heat; temperature-linked changes in cloud patterns affect how much solar energy gets reflected back to space or back to the Earth.

There are also negative feedbacks, meaning processes that come into play due to warming, or to CO2 increases, that wind up counteracting that warming. Examples include enhanced re-radiation of energy back into space at higher temperatures, increased absorption of CO2 into the oceans, and increased quantities of organic matter capturing CO2. Indeed some supposedly positive feedbacks, like certain cloud effects, may turn out actually to be negative ones.

Moreover, nature does not simply provide us with a list of all the relevant feedbacks, or climate processes in general. There is no systematic procedure by which the set of processes included in current climate models are picked out from the catalogue of all possible such processes. The procedure is simply for modelers to engage their own imaginations, given our current knowledge, to conceive possible effects and gather evidence to confirm or falsify them.

How many known ones have been intentionally discarded due to a lack of knowledge and evidence about how to incorporate them? How many have just not been thought of to date?

In a certain sense, this is the nature of any scientific theory. But this is why such theories have to produce specific, detailed predictions, confirmed by observation, to show that they have captured the relevant causal factors. Apart from this, there is a lot of room here for the ultimate outcome of the models to be controlled by ideological predispositions—like that, of all the underlying drivers, the decisive one just happens to be CO2, the one with a clear link to the functioning of modern, industrial capitalism.

What would be a rational response when your five-year-old car enthusiast presents you with his crayon plans, protesting that he’s also proven his case by putting together a scale model in Legos? First you might point out that while his plans are impressive for a boy his age, it’s rarely the case that reality works out just like a priori plans and models suggest.

Rather than setting him loose at with your credit card, you might suggest he start off with a scaled-down project, like an RC kit. Then, if that’s a success, maybe an introduction to simple wood and then metal work. As he gets older and proves himself at each stage, he could move on to machine shop projects, welding, and an apprenticeship with a real car mechanic.

This kind of demonstrated, step-by-step progress is how legitimate inventions, and inventors, are made. At the end of the process, they no longer agitate for sizable investments on the basis of their original crayon plans.

And such demonstrated, step-by-step progress is exactly what a reasonable person ought to demand from the global warming catastrophists. Not mere simulations, generated by model code that they control and have played with for years. Since the odds are so small, a priori, that they have actually cracked the excruciatingly complicated problem of global climate prediction, we need dramatic positive evidence. Lesser evidence is powerless to overcome the overwhelming odds against being able to delicately sort out the mess of climate drivers and feedbacks.

The catastrophists need to demonstrate their methodology by applying it to smaller problems whose outcomes we don’t have to wait a century for. They need to derive unambiguous, detailed predictions for these outcomes and see them borne out. By “detailed” I mean predictions of not just a single number, like a cumulative warming trend, that could just be accidentally correct—and they’re not even getting predictions on these simpler metrics right. I mean predictions of a more intricate, unaccidental nature.

For instance, climate models predict a detailed pattern of warming that occurs at different rates in different parts of the globe and, importantly, at different altitudes in the atmosphere. But when we look in actual climate data for the specific, altitude-dependent warming signature produced by these models, we find something entirely different.

And that’s only half the problem. Before we can test models, we need this historical climate data to be accurate in order for the comparison to mean anything. Even for the one central climate variable, global average temperature, the reconstructed data is fraught with uncertainties and scientific misconduct.

What has always to be kept in mind on these issues, is (i) the massive complexity of the problem the catastrophist modelers are claiming to have solved relative to the current state of climate science, and (ii) what this implies about the onus of proof. Their claim is to have accomplished a scientific miracle with tools that by any reasonable analysis are far from capable of the task.

Absent shocking evidence of success on their part, the conclusion to draw is not: catastrophic global warming has just moderate odds of occurring. The conclusion is that these models bear as much relationship to reality as your son’s crayon plans bear to a real car. And suggestions about how to transform the entire world economy based on these models should be treated accordingly.


"This is not the atmosphere I grew up with"

So says the weather-loving Jeff Masters. But he rather gives the game away by his reference to an earlier temperature peak in the 19th century. According to Phil Jones, January 1880 was the most anomalously warm month on record – from Chicago across the Ohio Valley. CO2 was below 290 ppm at the time. So the weather that troubles Jeffy-boy proves nothing about industrially-induced global warming. Graphic below:

January, 1880 was 8C Above Normal In Chicago

As I stepped out of my front door into the pre-dawn darkness from my home near Ann Arbor, Michigan yesterday morning, I braced myself for the cold shock of a mid-March morning. It didn't come. A warm, murky atmosphere, with temperatures in the upper fifties--30 degrees above normal--greeted me instead. Continuous flashes of heat lightning lit up the horizon, as the atmosphere crackled with the energy of distant thunderstorms. Beware the Ides of March, the air seemed to be saying. I looked up at the hazy stars above me, flashing in and out of sight as lightning lit up the sky, and thought, this is not the atmosphere I grew up with.

That afternoon, as the Detroit temperature soared to 77°F, the second warmest on record so early in the year, going back to 1871, I watched as late afternoon thunderstorms built with remarkable speed.

More HERE. Graphic from here

Obama Reveals His Own Ignorance of American and World History While Denouncing Others' Alleged Ignorance

Even the liberal Talking Points Memo criticized a recent speech in which President Obama revealed his ignorance of U.S. and world history and disparaged a past U.S. President while denouncing the alleged ignorance of others.

In a recent green energy speech, Obama mocked Republicans, “comparing their skepticism of alternative energy to the ‘Flat Earth Society’ in Christopher Columbus’ day and President Rutherford B. Hayes’ apparent dismissal of the telephone.

But while Obama thinks the GOP is in need of a science lesson, he may need to bone up on history himself,” TPM notes, since President Hayes was a supporter of new technologies who had “the first telephone in the White House,” “the first typewriter in the White House,” hosted Thomas Edison, and pioneered the use of photography at White House events.

Moreover, people in Columbus’s day new perfectly well that the Earth was round, as Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould has noted. Those skeptical of Columbus’ planned voyage just thought that Asia — Columbus’s planned destination — was too far away to reach across the Atlantic (Columbus didn’t manage to reach Asia, but he did inadvertently discover America).

In an earlier speech, Obama falsely attributed to Muslims the invention of printing, and falsely claimed that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a new nation. In recent remarks, Obama’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, gave himself “an A-” for managing taxpayer money, despite the billions lost due to bad loans due to the Solyndra scandal and other costly blunders in the Obama administration’s green energy program, and the fact that the Administration’s green-loan program had an “85 percent failure rate on its process check.”

As The Washington Post noted earlier, energy programs have been “infused with politics at every level” during the Obama administration. It hastily approved subsidies for Solyndra, whose executives are now pleading the 5th Amendment, despite obvious danger signs and warnings about the company’s likely collapse. (Later, federal officials successfully pressured Solyndra to delay its announcement about upcoming layoffs until just after the 2010 election, to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration.) CBS News reported that there were 11 more Solyndras in the Obama administration’s green-energy programs. Thus, one need not be “ignorant,” as Obama suggests, to be skeptical of his green energy schemes.

The Obama administration has used green-jobs money from the stimulus package to outsource American jobs to countries like China: “Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C.” As the Investigative Reporting Workshop noted, “79 percent” of all green-jobs funding “went to companies based overseas . . . In fact, the largest grant made under the program so far, a $178 million payment on Dec. 29, went to Babcock & Brown, a bankrupt Australian company.” This just one of many ways in which the Obama administration has used taxpayer money to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.


The EPA is Still Doing Business With Ann Maest

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a government agency whose stated purpose is to oversee the development of our natural resources in order to ensure that minerals such as coal, oil and natural gas are extracted from the Earth in a responsible manner. Ideally, one would think that this would mean just that, that companies could apply to the EPA, they would oversee that company’s plan for making sure the environment wasn’t harmed while they go about the business of extracted precious materials from the ground. Then the companies could go about their business of providing resources to the general population as needed.

Unfortunately, the EPA has become politicized and it would appear to be more busy preventing the development of natural resources in the USA rather than ensuring that it is done responsibly.

Case in point is Dr. Ann Maest. She is an environmental activist who has been caught red-handed fabricating data to bolster a case against Chevron over the winter. A scientist falsifying data would ordinarily be a shameful thing to do and result in that scientists dismal from whatever positions they hold and would certainly undermine their credibility.

That would be the case were it not for the fact that her environmental activism is the cause du jour and happens to coincide with the agenda of the powerful Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. Instead of her work being drawn into question, she has been used as an adviser and consultant with the EPA. In fact, she will be a panelist at the U.S. EPA Hardrock Mining Conference 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

The next time you are filling up your gas tank with $5.00 per gallon gas or paying your electric bill you might remember that when President Obama was campaigning for the presidency he stated that under his policies energy rates would necessarily skyrocket. Apparently he wasn’t kidding.

Resourceful Earth has put together a letter that you can send to Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, asking her to rethink doing business with Dr. Ann Maest and utilizing her questionable scientific data in decisions made by the EPA. The letter also ask Dr. Maest to be removed from the panel of the U.S. EPA Hardrock Mining Conference.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

In praise of petroleum

By Donald J. Boudreaux

A young woman approached me recently after one of my economics lectures and showed me a photograph of a pelican covered with oil from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Waving the photo in my face, she asked, "How can you tolerate this?"

Good question. It made me realize that every newspaper across the country should publish a front-page picture of asphalt. Any old stretch of road will do. Photograph it. Print it. Post it on websites.

Every day these papers should feature a front-page picture of some other item made from petroleum (such as roofing shingles, a bottle of ammonia, ink, a waterproof parka, plastic wrap, lipstick and antiseptic ointments) or of products treated with petroleum to improve their performance and durability (such as razor blades and cutting boards).

Of course, no newspaper will publish such pictures. Unlike oil-covered pelicans, such items are not the least bit newsworthy.

Even people who aren't especially fond of animals must admit pictures such as the one my student showed me are sad. Unfortunately, though, such pictures are themselves a cause of a sort of pollution, one more dangerous than even a thousand oil spills.

I speak of polluted perceptions of reality.

Wildlife made ugly and ill by spilled oil make for vivid images. And photos of such misfortunes do indeed reveal a risk of oil drilling -- namely, temporary spoliation of some parts of the natural environment.

But precisely because such spills are relatively rare (and getting rarer), we don't see such images routinely. So when these images are presented to us, they stir our emotions.

Trouble is, by focusing on such photos we get a distorted view of the bigger picture, one that includes oil's manifest benefits.

How many of us reflect on the benefits that we enjoy from asphalt? Asphalt makes road construction and repair less costly. So we in the industrialized world daily drive to school, work and play on clean, smooth roads that would not exist, or that would be less smooth and wide, were it not for this unassuming product made from petroleum.

Asphalt is so common that we take no notice of it. Yet if it disappeared tomorrow, we'd all suffer noticeably.

The same is true for, say, plastic wrap. We give this stuff nary a thought. Yet because bacteria cannot pass through it, those thin sheets of plastic keep meats, vegetables, dairy products and breads fresher -- and protect us against food poisoning.

Fact is, gasoline and aviation fuel aren't the only products produced with petroleum. Our modern lives are full of too many such products to count.

And not only are petroleum-based products all around us and practically indispensable -- they're also inexpensive. Yet we pay no attention to these everyday wonders.

This fact is why photos of oil-covered wildlife are dangerous: They make us aware of petroleum's risks while we remain oblivious to petroleum's benefits.

In the real world petroleum is an astonishingly beneficial, versatile and inexpensive resource. In the fantasy world of too many people, however, petroleum is a vile substance that does little beyond enriching a few sheiks and billionaires while it kills both the planet and humanity.

But in fact our world is incalculably better and even cleaner because of petroleum -- which is why it is especially regrettable that newspaper pictures of the likes of plastic wrap and asphalt would not grab readers' attention with anywhere near the impact of pictures of oil-covered animals.



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, 2012

Warmists don't even understand how a real greenhouse works

A real greenhouse works by preventing heat loss through convection

Stupid as it is, and despite long-winded denials, the atmospheric greenhouse model originated from a misconception about glass greenhouses, the belief that panes of IR-opaque glass reradiate heat back to the interior, thus making it hotter than it would be otherwise.

See a video by Professor David Archer, Professor of Geophysical sciences at the university of Chicago. The video is part of a "10-week course for non-science majors focused on a single problem: assessing the risk of human-caused climate change".

Whaddya know? He originally presents that ATMOSPHERIC greenhouse layer as a pane of glass (14:25)! Quote: "We're going to put a pane of glass to represent an atmosphere."

Then Archer erases `glass' in order to extend the layer for labeling purposes. Later on, in response to a student's confusion (20:40), he repeats that this layer that "hangs there magically above the ground" is indeed meant to represent the atmosphere, and scribbles "atm" beside the layer to remove any doubts.

I repeat: Stupid as it is, and despite long-winded denials, the atmospheric greenhouse model originated from a misconception about glass greenhouses. You can take that to the bank.

An email received from Alan Siddons

Message for teachers

On Climate, for rigour and thoroughness, look to the outsiders, not the ‘authorities’

Teaching materials, and guidance for teachers, can readily be found which defer to such authorities as the IPCC and the Royal Society and Met Offices and other government agencies around the world.  But, sad to say, none of these are to be trusted these days. 

They have all bitten the apple of political temptation, and the resulting lust for power has deflected them from paying adequate attention to details.  Such as how the hockey stick was constructed (see Montford’s masterpiece, 'The Hockey Stick Illusion', for how this was exposed by climate establishment outsiders as shoddy and indefensible).   The IPCC has also been exposed as an organisation careless of its own integrity (see Laframboise’s jaw-dropper 'The Delinquent Teenager' for chapter and verse).  And Montford has more recently described in a GWPF report the recent descent of the Royal Society from the high ground it might once have had a claim, indeed a responsibility, to occupy.  The UK Met Office has been saddled with an ex-WWF climate zealot as Chairman, and a deference to biased computer models which have made a mockery of its short-term climate predictions, both formal and informal

In New Zealand, amateurs exposed the official temperature records as being so unsatisfactory that no one ‘in authority; would subsequently take responsibility for them.  A recent summary was published on WUWT.

In the States, several commentators are challenging the temperature history adjustments being made by GISS and other agencies.

In Australia, a new report is out which exposes severe quality problems with the official temperature records there.

In each case, the ‘errors’ or the ‘adjustments’, just like the blunders of the IPCC, all happen to favour exaggeration of warming or its effects during the last 100 years or so.  And note that in each of these three cases, my links are to 'outsiders'.

So, teachers, the rug of authority is being pulled from under your feet.  You will fall too when that process speeds up, if you have been conscientiously urging your pupils to trust the IPCC, the Royal Society, the ‘97% of climate scientists’ (another deceptive statistic), and such like.  As Christopher Monckton has recently said in a related context, Never do that again, even for the sake of appeasing authority. In science, whatever you may personally believe or wish to be so, it is the truth and only the truth that matters.'

Now it is clear that the truly conscientious teacher must hold the claims of such bodies within metaphorical tongs for his or her pupils to review and compare with other sources.   It is a sad thing that we have come to this


Number of people in fuel poverty will reach eight million by 2016 despite pledge by Britain's Labour government to eradicate the problem

In an alternative universe cheap power generated by East German brown coal would be warming much of Europe. The Australian State of Victoria has lots of brown coal too and has been using it in power stations for decades without ill effects. And, as in Germany, it is cheap to mine and thus enables cheap electricity for everyone

The number of people living in fuel poverty is set to hit 8.5million by 2016 - the year by which the previous government had pledged to eradicate the problem.

The legally binding target to end fuel poverty `as far as reasonably practicable' will not be met, according to a report commissioned by the Coalition.

Some 7.8million were struggling to pay their heating bills in England in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available.

A review led by Professor John Hills suggests this will have risen by 700,000 by 2016. Professor Hills said: `The outlook is profoundly disappointing.'

He warned that the Government's definition of fuel poverty - spending more than 10 per cent of income on energy bills - was flawed as it did not adequately address the problem of large fuel bills for low-income households.

He also claimed that the Energy Company Obligation, which would allow energy firms to charge a flat fee on bills to subsidise home insulation, could be `regressive' as poorer people would be forced to pay higher bills.

In addition, low-income families were found to spend £414 more a year on heating their homes because they could not benefit from discounts offered to other customers, such as those paying by direct debit.

Poor heating is linked to nearly 3,000 deaths a year.


United Tech on wind unit: "We all make mistakes"

"We all make mistakes." That was United Technologies Corp Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes' assessment of Clipper Windpower. The diversified U.S. manufacturer, which bought the wind turbine maker in 2010, said on Thursday that it would try to sell it to raise money to fund its takeover of aerospace supplier Goodrich Corp.

"We bought into this business with a thought that there was going to be a renewable energy mandate in this country, and there has not been one," Hayes told an investor meeting in New York. "The market, as everyone knows, is stagnating."

Hartford, Connecticut-based United Tech bought a minority stake in Clipper in early 2010, intending to slowly explore its options in the wind turbine market.

But Clipper ran into a cash crunch later that year. United Tech wound up buying out the rest of the company that it did not already own, on the rationale that this was a safer move than lending money to a company that faced hefty competitors including General Electric Co, Siemens AG and Vestas.

United Tech concluded that it would have to make significant new capital investments in Clipper's manufacturing operations to make the large-scale turbines in demand today and that it would rather invest that money in its core businesses, which make aerospace equipment and systems for large commercial buildings, Hayes said.


Atlantic Hurricanes: The Long and the Short of It

Last May, we reviewed a paper on Atlantic basin tropical cyclone trends by Gabriele Villarini and colleagues that focused on a breed of storms called they called "shorties"-small tropical storms that lasted less than two days. The authors concluded that while the number of identified "shorties" has been increasing with time, the increase was primarily the result of changing (improving) observational practices not a changing climate. Now, we review a new paper that looks at the other end of the spectrum of Atlantic tropical cycles-"biggies" (our term)-intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. In a new paper, Andrew Hagen (University of Miami) and Chris Landsea (National Hurricane Center) conclude that changing observational practices have resulted in more Cat 4&5 hurricanes being identified in recent decades compared to past ones. Again, the increase is not due to a changing climate but changing detection technologies.

Whether talking about the total number of tropical cyclones (which is increasing because of detection technology) or their intensity (which is increasing because of detection technology) only a person unaware of this important research would say that there has been a climate-related trend.

There are other yet-to-be-determined repercussions of this work, but we would hypothesize that it is going to make work of computer modelers look like they simulated something that hasn't happened. Fancy that!

Big changes in observational capabilities occurred in the mid-1940s when aircraft reconnaissance became common practice and again in the mid-1960s with the launch of geostationary satellites. And all along, technological improvements have been occurring which have enhanced our ability to get an increasingly detailed look at evolving storm systems. As a consequence, we are continually able to observe much smaller scale features, which have led both to an increasing number of tropical systems being identified and also an increase in the apparent storm intensity.

In their paper, Hagen and Landsea set out to attempt to determine how the strongest hurricanes (Category 5 storms) which were identified during the period 1992 through 2007 would have been described using the observational network and technologies available in the period 1944-1953-the beginning of the period of aircraft reconnaissance.

To do so, they first excluded all the data on the 1992-2007 category 5 hurricanes that would not have been available during the 1944-53 period:

1) They excluded all satellite observations;

2) All data from buoys and weather stations installed after 1953 were excluded;

3) No aircraft observations of pressures lower than 950 millibars were included from 1944-49 and lower than 940 mb from 1950-53 (during the early years of aircraft reconnaissance, the planes would not penetrate the eyewall of major hurricanes because the winds speeds and turbulence were too great for the equipment);

4) No nighttime aircraft observations were included (during the early years of aircraft reconnaissance, low-level flights required the pilot to be able to see the ocean's surface when navigating);

5) No radar data were included.

Analyzing the data that still remained, Hagen and Landsea determined as best they could (i.e., using standard procedures) the track and intensity of the ten Cat 5 hurricanes that were observed in the Atlantic during the 1992-2007.

What they found was astounding-of the ten Cat 5 storms observed from 1992-2007 only 2 or 3 of them would have been categorized as Cat 5 storms had they occurred during the 1944-1953 time period.

Hagen and Landsea also identified three Category 4 storms in recent years (2003-2010) that would not have been classified as major hurricanes using the observational network and technology of the 1944-1953 period.

In summary, Haden and Landsea wrote:

"This research suggests that the counts of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes (at least through 1953 and likely beyond that year) are not nearly as reliable as they are today. Future studies that discuss frequency trends of Atlantic Basin Category 4 and 5 hurricanes must take into account the undercount biases that existed prior to the geostationary satellite era due to the inability to observe these extreme conditions."

The long and short of it is this- if you are doing studies investigating the changes in the number or intensity of tropical cyclones and you don't take into account those that are the result of improvements in observational practices over time, you will get the wrong answer. And most likely, the wrong answer will be that Atlantic tropical cyclones are increasing in numbers and growing in strength as the planet warms. You will also get on CNN, NPR, and NBC Nightly News, and anyone that says you are wrong will be accused by Michael Mann of being part of a vast fossil-fuel funded conspiracy to deceive the world.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics)

Frivolous Greenie claims halt big mining venture in Australia

RIO Tinto's $4 billion plan to almost double shipping of bauxite through the inner Great Barrier Reef in two years has been thrown into disarray, threatening 3000 jobs in Gladstone.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said new evidence had come to light about the proposed shipping by the mining giant from its bauxite operation near Weipa to Gladstone, in a ruling likely to delay the project for a year.

Rio Tinto Alcan president Pat Fiore yesterday warned the 11th-hour decision to expand the environmental review was a threat to the entire resource sector.

Rio has demanded an urgent meeting with Mr Burke ahead of a joint state and federal strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area and the findings of a UNESCO delegation.

"Rio Tinto is deeply concerned that the Federal Government has taken such a profound decision based on unsustained claims in a two-page submission by the Wilderness Society," Mr Fiore said.

He said they had been shipping bauxite on that inner reef route for 40 years without damage.

The South of Embley project will produce up to 50 million tonnes of bauxite a year by 2015 in a $1.4 billion expansion of existing site reserves between Weipa and Aurukun on western Cape York.

The plan is for it to feed the $2.5 billion Yarwun refinery at Gladstone due to be commissioned by the end of this year.

Rio last year loaded 176 ships with bauxite in Weipa headed for Gladstone with that number forecast to rise to 270 ships in the next two years alone.

Green groups claim the total shipping numbers transiting through the reef are likely to increase five-fold under the state's mining boom.



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, 2012

For those who like to experiment

A paper has just come out under the title "The Experiment that Failed which can save the World Trillions: Proving the “greenhouse gas effect” does not exist!"

It offers an outline of an experiment that anybody can do to test effects of IR on gases. It is a long paper with an extensive preamble and discussion so I will just give the link rather than try to excerpt or reproduce it. But it sounds persuasive.

I noted yesterday that there does seem to be a coherent theory of (slight) terrestrial warming via what could be called a "greenhouse" process but whether the theory is true or not is another question. In that connection, a sentence in the new paper caught my eye:

"The important part of the Bohr model is that when the gas absorbs IR radiation it does not “heat” the gas. It does not increase the kinetic energy of the molecule, which is the velocity of the gas molecule in the atmosphere. The IR (photon) energy is converted to intermolecular activity."

If Bohr is correct that would seem to shoot down any possibility of a greenhouse effect. All versions of the greenhouse theory rely on IR heating CO2, as far as I can see. But quantum physics is way outside my field so I simply draw the matter to the attention of others.


Paper predicting global cooling accepted for publication
The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24

By Jan-Erik Solheim et al.


Relations between the length of a sunspot cycle and the average temperature in the same and the next cycle are calculated for a number of meteorological stations in Norway and in the North Atlantic region. No significant trend is found between the length of a cycle and the average temperature in the same cycle, but a significant negative trend is found between the length of a cycle and the temperature in the next cycle. This provides a tool to predict an average temperature decrease of at least View the MathML source from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 for the stations and areas analyzed. We find for the Norwegian local stations investigated that 25–56% of the temperature increase the last 150 years may be attributed to the Sun. For 3 North Atlantic stations we get 63–72% solar contribution. This points to the Atlantic currents as reinforcing a solar signal.


* A longer solar cycle predicts lower temperatures during the next cycle.

* A 1 °C or more temperature drop is predicted 2009–2020 for certain locations.

* Solar activity may have contributed 40% or more to the last century temperature increase.

* A lag of 11 years gives maximum correlation between solar cycle length and temperature.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics

Greenland surface temperatures just oscillate around a very low mean: No long-term trend

Discussing: Kobashi, T., Kawamura, K., Severinghaus, J.P., Barnola, J.-M., Nakaegawa, T., Vinther, B.M., Johnsen, S.J. and Box, J.E. 2011. "High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core". Geophysical Research Letters 38: 10.1029/2011GL049444.


The authors write that "Greenland recently incurred [what have been called] record high temperatures and ice loss by melting, adding to concerns that anthropogenic warming is impacting the Greenland ice sheet and in turn accelerating global sea-level rise." However, they say "it remains imprecisely known for Greenland how much warming is caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases versus natural variability."

What was done

In the report of the study they designed to obtain this needed knowledge, Kobashi et al. say they reconstructed "Greenland surface snow temperature variability over the past 4000 years at the GISP2 site (near the Summit of the Greenland ice sheet) with a new method that utilizes argon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from occluded air bubbles."

What was learned

The eight researchers report that the average Greenland snow temperature over the past 4000 years was -30.7°C, while the current decadal (2001-2010) surface temperature at the Greenland Summit is -29.9°C, which they say is as warm as it was there in the 1930s-1940s. And they add that "there was another similarly warm period (-29.7°C) in the 1140s (Medieval Warm Period), indicating that the present decade is not outside the envelope of variability of the last 1000 years." And, even more telling, prior to the last millennium they report "there were 72 decades warmer than the present one, in which mean temperatures were 1.0 to 1.5°C warmer." In fact, they found that "during two intervals (~1300 BP and ~3360 BP) centennial average temperatures were nearly 1.0°C warmer (-28.9°C) than the present decade."

What it means

Clearly, there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about Greenland's recent relative warmth, as it is clear that much warmer temperatures have been experienced there over many prior prolonged periods without any help from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, there is no valid reason to believe that mankind's burning of coal, gas and oil has had, or is having, any measureable impact on the climate of that part of the world, or any other part of the planet.


Strange doings in Germany: They're like a dog chasing its tail

It seems that German Greenie reflexes have led them to a conflict between two fears: Fear of global warming and fear of nuclear reactors -- and global warming is LOSING. For Greenies to be relying more and more on brown coal for power generation is an absolute hoot. However you look at it, lignite a very dirty power source. It produces REAL pollution, not just innocent old CO2

It's a real paradox: As a result of Germany's green energy transition, nuclear power is on its way out, but coal, Germany's dirtiest resource, has become the most important energy source again. For Germany’s climate budget, this trend is devastating.

Brown coal (lignite) is experiencing a renaissance in Germany. Last year, about a quarter of the electricity generated used this most environmentally adverse resource. Its consumption grew by 3.3 percent. This has made lignite the number one energy supplier. All other energy sources – except for renewable energy sources – saw their market share decline, sometimes dramatically so, according to data by the Working Group on Energy Balances (AGEB).

Thus, Germany’s energy revolution is suffering a serious setback. The Government’s planned energy transition was supposed to, among other things, produce environmentally friendly electricity. It turns out, however, that the power gap, which was created by the shutdown of eight nuclear power stations, will be largely filled by brown coal.

"We have to understand that we cannot phase-out nuclear power and coal power at the same time," says Claudia Kemfert, energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). Greenpeace energy expert Gerald Neubauer however, calls for a withdrawal by 2030: "From a climate point of view, it is fatal that the most harmful energy source with regards the climate is the biggest beneficiary of the nuclear phase-out."

For Germany’s climate budget, the trend is devastating. If the weather had remained the same, greenhouse gas emissions would have increased by 0.8 percent in 2011, calculated the AGEB. Only thanks to significantly warmer weather in the past year, CO2 emissions did not increase. Energy consumption decreased by 5.3 percent, but CO2 emissions fell only by 3.9 percent. The power suppliers are expecting continued high consumption.

"With the agreed phase-out of nuclear power, lignite is gaining in importance," said Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, head of science department at RWE. The Group is the largest producer of brown coal power in Germany. Only lignite could simultaneously guarantee security of supply and ensure competitive energy supply, so Schiffer.

Lignite-fired power plants run, much like nuclear power plants, almost around the clock - more than 7,000 hours per year. Solar power, by comparison, produces energy only during 900 hours per year. In addition, the production cost of lignite is comparatively low at around 4 cents per kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour of renewable energy electricity costs on average four times as much, 18 cents.

Environmental organizations warn that an expansion of coal power will inevitably increase greenhouse gas emissions. "It would be a big mistake to connect new lignite-fired power plants to the grid," said Elmar Grosse Ruse, an industry expert with the environmental NGO Nabu. The coal industry is currently benefiting from extremely low prices for emissions credits. Furthermore, renewable energy source could fill the gap in the foreseeable future


Poland not buying in to German nuclear paranoia and fear of shale

Poland, no longer the dirt-poor supplicant of the post-communist era, has transformed itself into an increasingly influential member of the European Union. The economy is booming, and Poland needs electricity -- a lot of electricity. For that reason, Krzemiski believes that the dream of his youth will become a reality after all, and that a reactor will finally be built on Lake Zarnowiec. "Coal is running out, the wind isn't very strong in Poland and the sun rarely shines," he says. "We need nuclear energy."

Poland's nuclear dream is practically destined to cause friction with its neighbor to the west. Rarely in the last 1,000 years have Poland and Germany been on such good terms as they are today. But in response to Poland's decision to build nuclear power plants, lawmakers of all political stripes in the state parliaments of the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (both of which border Poland), as well as in the city-state of Berlin, have passed motions appealing to the Poles to follow Germany's lead and do without nuclear energy.

But even in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, which turned public opinion in Germany massively against atomic power, Warsaw remains undeterred in its determination to develop nuclear energy. "If someone doesn't want to build nuclear power plants, that's their problem," says Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Last week, Economics Minister Waldemar Pawlak told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the decision had already been made. The state-owned energy company PGE is expected to build two reactors, and one of them will most likely be in Mayor Krzemiski's jurisdiction, on Lake Zarnowiec.

The disagreement over nuclear power isn't the only energy dispute that pits Polish producers against German politicians. They are also at odds over shale gas discoveries. Geologists have found enormous natural gas reserves locked into the rock deep underneath the hilly, forested landscapes of Pomerania and Kashubia in northwestern Poland. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski already envisions his country as the Norway of Eastern Europe.

But, once again, it is primarily German environmentalists who are curbing the euphoria over the natural gas find. Jo Leinen, a member of the European Parliament for the center-left Social Democrats and an environmental expert, is calling for tighter regulation of the special process used to extract the natural gas, known as fracking. The process involves the injection of chemicals into layers of rock, with the risk that the substances could potentially leach into ground water.

As Poland's former ambassador to Germany, Janusz Reiter is adept at gauging the mood in German-Polish relations. He fears that a dispute over nuclear power and shale gas could revive old stereotypes on both sides. "Energy is a highly emotional political issue," he says. "For many German environmentalists, the survival of humanity is at stake."

The Poles, for their part, can be touchy when they feel that someone is trying to tell them what to do -- especially if they are German. They are also worried about the fruits of the painful transformation process, and they are afraid that without nuclear power they will never attain the standard of living Western Europeans take for granted.

The offices of the nuclear energy division of the Polish Economy Ministry are on Three Crosses Square in Warsaw. Director Zbigniew Kubacki receives SPIEGEL in a drab conference room. The only wall decoration consists of a map showing Poland surrounded by users of nuclear power. The Scandinavians produce nuclear energy, and so do the Baltic countries, the Czechs, the Ukrainians and, for the time being, the Germans. The Slovaks and even the Belarusians plan to build new reactors soon. Only Poland, says Kubacki, is lagging behind once again.

Kubacki points out that the country's energy consumption is growing by 4 percent a year, in parallel with its economy. Brown coal, also known as lignite, currently provides about 90 percent of Poland's energy. "But we have European obligations," says Kubacki. "We have to reduce CO2 emissions and diversify the energy mix."

Of course, Kubacki adds, Warsaw will promote renewable energy, no matter how costly. But green energy sources are not nearly enough to satisfy the country's energy needs. Kubacki insists that Poland will buy state-of-the-art reactors and adhere to the highest safety standards. But he also admits that no one in Poland knows what to do with nuclear waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. He also admits that according to surveys, support for nuclear energy among Poles dropped below 50 percent after Fukushima.

Nevertheless, he says, "there is no way to avoid nuclear energy." But even though he puts it diplomatically, Kubacki's message is clear: The Germans should tone down their criticism. After all, as he sees it, one reason they are so well off today is that they have been using nuclear energy for the last 50 years.


Global warming greed

641 federal programs throw taxpayer money at windmills and solar panels

It’s only now becoming clear how many people have become rich thanks to the global-warming scare. Politicians from both parties have been so afraid of being labeled a “denier” that they’ll vote for any piece of legislation bearing the trendy green label. The numbers are adding up fast.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) counted a whopping 641 programs in place at 130 federal agencies in 2010 to prop up windmill technology and underwrite solar panel manufacturers. The report released Tuesday didn’t include a reliable estimate of the total cost to taxpayers. The auditors found the array of loans, tax credits, agency purchases of purportedly green vehicles and the cost of regulations would take a great deal of effort to tally.

For instance, the Commerce Department has a Joint Wind Energy Program, Clean Energy Trade Missions, a Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, an Environmentally Sustainable Development Investment Priority and a Green Technology Pilot Program - to name just a few. These programs frequently overlap, as the Commerce Department also runs a Green Ship Initiative. The secretary of defense has his own Renewable At-Sea Power Program. The Navy has an Energy Program for Security and Independence, an Alternative Fuels Program, a Third Party-Financed Medium Scale Renewable Power Generation program, and more. Of course, the U.S. Navy was founded on renewable energy. It was wind power that propelled Capt. John Paul Jones and the USS Ranger to victory in battle with the HMS Drake in 1778.

Wind power made sense in the 18th century, but it doesn’t make sense now. The private sector isn’t interested in blowing money on hopelessly uneconomic windmill and solar projects, so at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday, the case was made that the government must step in. Chairman Jeff Bingaman defended the $34 billion Department of Energy (DOE) green loan guarantees. “My impression is that, overall, the program is doing what it is designed to do - and that is to take on risks that private investors are not willing to take on,” said the New Mexico Democrat. This is the source of taxpayer money that Solyndra tapped into before going bankrupt.

Uncle Sam is terrible when it comes to managing money. GAO slammed the administration’s haphazard process for green loan approvals, saying “it is difficult for DOE to defend its decisions” against charges of favoritism.

Even more important, it’s hard to justify offering any green energy subsidies at all. Sen. Al Franken gave his best effort Tuesday, saying, “The bark beetle is eating more and more of our forests because of climate change.” The Minnesota Democrat added, “Taxpayer dollars are at risk if we don’t address this and try to get to clean energy.”

Tens of billions of dollars is a bit much to spend on a pest-control effort. Instead of this political allocation of capital, the market should be free to judge whether an alternative energy technology is truly promising, free from the distorting influence of congressional subsidy.



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, 2012

Is there a greenhouse effect?

Skeptics are divided into two camps on the greenhouse effect. The larger camp say it does exist but is of trivial importance for policy and the smaller camp says it does not exist at all.

Being just a humble social scientist with minimal background in physics, it is of no importance for me to take a stand on the question but I have recently been trying to get the issues clear in my head in pursuit of a most unlikely goal: Expressing the theory entirely in plain words so that those of us who are uncomfortable with algebra and technical terms from physics can get a handle on the whole thing.

I think the biggest barrier to understsanding for me has been the old law of the conservation of energy (Yes: I know about Einstein). This law does, I suspect, feel intuitively wrong for almost all of us. It states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It just bounces around at different times in different places.

Most of us, I think, experience energy as something that gets used up -- as when the gas bottle on our BBQ runs out. But in fact energy is only changed into another form, which may or may not be of any benefit to us.

Lubos Motl, my favourite Pilsener, has been very kind in trying to show me how that works in the atmosphere. This is what I get from it:

When radiation from the sun hits the earth, it warms the earth. But a warm body also gives off heat so the earth warms its atmosphere by convection (contact) but also by radiation. It's not only the sun but also the earth that gives off energy in the form of radiation.

But since the earth is much cooler than the sun it gives off energy in largely different wavelengths. The energy that bounces off the earth is largely in the infrared (IR). But different surfaces respond differently to IR. IR passes right through some gases but gets soaked up by others. Some gases, principally water vapour, soak it up and therefore become hotter. So they become hot bodies too. And what do hot bodies do? They radiate energy in all directions, some of which is downwards toward the earth. And that is the storied Greenhouse effect: The heat that is bounced back towards the earth.

And CO2 is a minor partner in that process. Like water vapour, it too absorbs and subsequently emits IR radiation. Because it is such a tiny fraction of the "greenhouse" process, however, variations in its levels have negligible heating effect on the earth. It's levels of water vapour that matter.

So that's it! That's my attempt to explain greenhouse theory in words only. Partly in response to my desire for a really simple explanation of Greenhouse theory, Roy Spencer has put up his own, much more sophisticated explanation.

And don't blame Lubos for any errors above. Blame my shaky understanding.

And a blast from the super-skeptic camp who think that there is NO greenhouse effect

That skeptics are divided over this matter is a good thing in my opinion. It shows that we are thinking about the science, not just accepting pronouncements from high as nearly all Warmists do. The paper below is headed: "Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics". I reproduce below just the introduction and conclusion but give a link to the whole thing

1. Introduction and terminology

Originally it was thought that the Earth's atmosphere acted like a “blanket” and that trace molecules like carbon dioxide helped to absorb radiation and trap “heat” which would then somehow warm the surface. Carbon dioxide represents about one molecule in over 2,500 other molecules and it (together with about 20 to 50 times as many water vapour molecules and some other trace gases) is, in fact, able to capture “photons” and radiate energy away to space. These gases can even absorb some of the incoming infra-red solar radiation. By reflecting and absorbing some incident solar radiation, the atmosphere does indeed keep the Earth's surface cooler in daylight hours.

Furthermore, there is a long-term close thermal equilibrium between it and the surface, which has been established over some four billion years. Fortunately the crust and mantle beneath it act as very good insulators, retaining thermal energy in the core and only allowing a trickle to leak out. This ensures long-term stability of temperatures, even just a few metres below the surface, and that in turn helps to maintain stability in surface and lower atmosphere temperatures. As a result, the mean of such temperatures (when calculated over 60 years) tends to vary little more than about 2oC above or below the thousand year mean.

But, just as a vacuum flask does not further warm the coffee, neither does any additional temporary thermal energy trapped by the atmosphere warm the surface. Such energy may perhaps “warm up” the atmosphere a little to, say, -35oC or some such temperature well below freezing, but the real insulation property of the atmosphere has more to do with the rate at which warm air rises and creates an inevitable temperature gradient.

So when these original “greenhouse” conjectures (devised by climate scientists) came under the scrutiny of physicists, it became apparent that warm air rises rather than falls, and that any excess trapped “heat” (as they mistakenly called it) would simply be radiated away pretty quickly. So then, in the early 1980's, they had to turn to “Radiative Transfer Theory” and ensure that radiated energy could be seen to dominate the whole process. So they suggested that radiation from the cooler atmosphere would further warm the surface as it made its way up and down, numerous times it seems, dropping off a bit of “heat” on every visit.

But climate scientists have erred in thinking that any “thermal” radiation can add thermal energy to the surface, regardless of the temperature of the surface. This mistaken belief originates from visualising radiation as a flow of mass-less “photons” colliding with molecules in the surface and automatically warming them, if the photons were not reflected beforehand.

There is a need to clarify the fact that “heat” is not automatically transferred wherever “thermal radiation” flows. The very term “thermal radiation” is misleading because it may be interpreted as meaning radiation only in the infra-red spectrum. But these are not the only wavelengths which can bring about a transfer of thermal energy, which may be thought of as a heating process. Solar radiation is nearly half made up of radiation in the infra-red, but the rest in the visible light and ultra-violet spectra can and does transfer even more thermal energy, which warms the surface of the Earth.

8. Conclusion.

Consideration of the effect of the processes involved when the Sun is warming the Earth's surface in the morning leads to the logical conclusion that each such process must stand alone and not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thus radiation from a cooler atmosphere cannot transfer thermal energy to a warmer surface.

As a corollary, the absorptivity of spontaneous radiation from a cooler source to a warmer target must be zero.

As the assumption of a far greater absorptivity is inherent in the models and explanations of the so-called Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect (in which radiation from the atmosphere is assumed to warm the surface) such models and explanations do not reflect reality.

It is noted that radiation from the atmosphere can reduce the loss of thermal energy by the surface in rare situations related to weather conditions, usually in times of high relative humidity. But water vapour, as well as trace gases like carbon dioxide, can also have cooling effects absorbing some incoming solar infra-red radiation and radiating to space much of the thermal energy in the atmosphere.


Water vapor, not CO2, controls climate and acts as a negative feedback

Physicist Daniel Sweger refutes the catastrophic AGW hypothesis in his paper The Climate Engine, showing that CO2 has a negligible effect upon climate and that water vapor acts as a negative feedback to global warming.

Dr. Sweger uses data from 3 locales to show an inverse relationship between humidity and temperature. He notes, "In the positive feedback mechanism as proposed by the global warming proponents this behavior would be reversed. Then the data would show a positive relationship between moisture content and temperature. But it does not.

The data clearly shows that the relationship between the amount of water vapor in the air and temperature is negative

From the conclusion of The Climate Engine:

The role of water vapor in determining surface temperatures is ultimately a dominant one. During daylight hours it moderates the sun’s energy, at night it acts like a blanket to slow the loss of heat, and carries energy from the warm parts of the earth to the cold. Compared to that, if carbon dioxide has an effect, it must be negligible.

It is also clear from the data presented above that water vapor acts with a negative feedback. The data clearly shows that the relationship between the amount of water vapor in the air and temperature is negative; that is, the higher the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere the lower the surface temperature. In that regard, it almost acts as a thermostat.

As the air cools as a result of an increasing moisture content in the atmosphere, there is a decrease in the amount of water vapor produced by evaporation. Eventually this decrease of the level of water vapor being introduced into the atmosphere results in a decrease in moisture content. At this point more sunlight reaches the earth’s surface resulting in higher temperatures and increasing evaporation.

In the positive feedback mechanism as proposed by the global warming proponents this behavior would be reversed. Then the data would show a positive relationship between moisture content and temperature. But it does not.

As suggested before, data is the language of science, not mathematical models.


Has the far Left deserted Warmism?

There is a poll over at Daily Kos about chief climate fraud Michael Mann. The poll asks readers to evaluate him. This is the result:

Michael Mann:

did not choose to became a symbol
0% 10 votes

has been attacked in many of the same ways that the President and John Kerry were
0% 3 votes

Is an outstanding scientist and human being
0% 8 votes

all of the above
1% 35 votes

is distorting evidence to prove his point
72% 2318 votes

should be fired from the university
25% 806 votes

The result is all the more surprising when we consider that the poll appeared at the foot of an article that praised Mann to the skies. Online polls of course prove nothing but given the known readership of Kos, it has to be a straw in the wind.

A step in the right direction

To the idiocy of recent American energy policy — to the extent we have ever had one — I have devoted considerable attention in these pages. I’ve criticized it under Bush, and even more under Obama, because while Bush’s policy (which was to encourage both fossil fuel and “green energy”) was partly idiotic (the green part), Obama’s (which has been to end fossil fuels and substitute only green energy) has been completely, insanely idiotic.

But the free market, led by entrepreneurs (as opposed to academics, bureaucrats, or other parasites), working primarily on private property (as opposed to public lands, which this administration has locked away), and using private capital (as opposed to taxpayer money), has created a Renaissance of oil and natural gas production.

Even as solar, wind, and biofuel energy has generally proven economically unviable even with massive taxpayer subsidies, the new, unconventional, fossil fuel production — from sources such as shale formations and oil sands deposits, by hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling — has proven very viable, commercially. It has proven viable, please note, despite a firestorm of new regulations created by the Obama administration, which is eager to choke it off.

That's good news. Here's more.

The symbol of our idiotic energy policy is surely the Chevy Volt, produced by a socialized auto company but poorly received by almost all of society. It has been so poorly received that Government Motors has announced that it is suspending production of the “Sparky Lemon.” Even with massive federal and state subsidies, the whole EV concept has been a flop.

But a recent article in the WSJ reports some good news. A number of car makers are producing cars and trucks that can run on compressed natural gas (CNG), that now inexpensive and clean-burning fuel.

Start with Chrysler. It is announcing plans to build a line of bi-fuel (gas and CNG) powered Ram trucks. And GM is announcing that it will build bi-fuel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Siena pickups in the fourth quarter of this year.

Honda Motor Company (not being government-run!) is nimbler. It has been selling CNG Civics since 1998 at 200 dealerships spread over 36 states. The starting price for these cars is about $26,600.

Ford, which already for several years has been offering CNG conversion kits for some of its cars, has announced that it will start offering some of its pickups with the option.

CNG-powered vehicles make great sense (as I have argued elsewhere). We can get all the natural gas we need from domestic sources, and it is relatively cheap. Indeed, you can buy conversion kits for any car, and gas compressors for your garage. But it makes most sense if the automakers make the cars powered by CNG right on the factory floor. First, that saves money — pure CNG cars don’t need catalytic converters, for example. And there are economies of scale.

Widespread conversion will take years, because people will move to CNG vehicles only when there is a widespread network of gas stations with CNG pumps. Still, it is a welcome development.

If Obama were sincere when he says, “My administration will take every possible action to develop this energy [natural gas],” he would merit some praise, and I would be happy to supply it. The problem is that in this matter (as in many others), he is lying through his teeth. He has bitterly fought fracking, using every tool in his administration — the Department of the Interior, the SEC, the Department of Energy, and even the Department of Agriculture — while locking away as much public land as he could.

Let’s hope a Republican administration (should we be lucky enough to see it replace the current, benighted one) would truly encourage the transition of vehicles to natural gas, and this country to energy independence. Most of the Republican candidates at least get energy, whatever else they don’t get.



Four current articles below

Typical Greenie arrogance

The "Green" mayor of Sydney wants to get most cars out of the city and says people should cycle instead. But she herself gets around in a chauffeur-driven car -- for trips that could easily be made by bike. She apparently wants to get most cars out of Sydney so her car is not held up by traffic jams

BICYCLE-mad Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been using a council car and driver to take her to parliament - in what appears to be a bending of council rules.

Ms Moore came close to tears yesterday as she said she would be forced to resign from parliament after 24 years because Premier Barry O'Farrell wants to ban councillors from being MPs.

But a classic conflict in Ms Moore's two jobs can be revealed, with Ms Moore's driver regularly taking her - or her bags - to and from parliament on sitting days in a black council Prius.

Yesterday the driver picked her up from a coffee shop, took her to a press conference at the Botanic Gardens and then drove her to parliament.

A spokesman for Ms Moore said she was not breaching council rules and her "daily program while parliament was sitting routinely included appointments related to her duties at the City of Sydney.


Electric cars would stress power grid

ELECTRIC cars plugged into suburban homes would create a risk of causing blackouts by increasing peak demand, the State Government predicts.

The State Government and advocates of the vehicles want owners encouraged to charge the batteries at off-peak times to cause less stress on the system.

Minister for Energy Tom Koutsantonis said the issue needed to be managed like any burden on the electricity grid, such as the uptake of airconditioners.

"Electric cars are a fantastic way to reduce carbon emissions but we need to make sure we manage the way people recharge them," he said.

"We don't want the entire state to plug their cars in at times of peak demand, we want to manage this so that they are plugged in when demand is low."

The Federal Government is currently investigating how an influx of vehicles - predicted to be 20 per cent of all car sales by 2020 and 44 per cent by 2030 - will impact on the electricity grid.

In a written submission to an Australian Energy Market Commission inquiry, the state Department of Manufacturing has warned: "Increased load caused by the charging of electric vehicles could potentially exacerbate peak demand issues currently experienced in South Australia during summer months".

Electric car enthusiast, Adelaide Lord Mayor Steven Yarwood has studied the issue as part of the Adelaide City Council's use of a fully electric Mitsubishi i-Miev car. Mr Yarwood said the cars were similar to the introduction of the internet when people were uncertain how it would operate.

"There are two ways of looking at it and that is in the short term there will be a challenge for the grid and how Governments deal with that but in the long term there is an enormous capacity for the cars to be charged at night time (after people drive home) without any impact on the grid at all," he said.


Carbon tax may cost 1500 jobs in South Australia

TREASURY Department modelling shows the carbon tax will cost the state up to 1500 jobs next year, the State Opposition says.

Liberal leader Isobel Redmond says the estimate is based on modelling the Opposition obtained through freedom of information.

"The impact of this insidious tax on the SA job market will have the effect of negating 75 per cent of the jobs created by the proposed Olympic Dam expansion in the next year," Ms Redmond said.

The Opposition asked a series of questions about the carbon tax in Parliament yesterday.

At one stage Employment Minister Tom Kenyon said he was not aware of any modelling on the impact of the carbon tax on employment.

Soon after, Ms Redmond used details from the Treasury Department modelling to ask Premier Jay Weatherill why he had supported the carbon tax when the Government's own figures showed the tax would cost 1500 jobs once implemented.

Mr Weatherill said the reason Labor supported putting a price on carbon was "because we want a future for our children". "The short-term costs associated with the implementation of a price on carbon will be nothing like the burden of adjustment that will fall upon this state," he said.

Mr Weatherill said what was most damaging for business was the lack of certainty about the future of a price on carbon. "So when a Commonwealth Government accepts its responsibilities and ... does something - which is to put a price on carbon - that is a massive political challenge."

Outside Parliament, Opposition treasury spokesman Iain Evans said it was obvious that the Employment Minister and the Treasurer, Jack Snelling, were not talking to each other.

"Mr Kenyon said he was not aware of any modelling on the carbon tax yet the Opposition has obtained documents from Treasury which show modelling has been done," he said. The carbon tax takes effect on July 1.


Australia should stay open to nuclear says likely new Labor Party leader

FOREIGN Minister Bob Carr says Australia should stay open to nuclear technology, despite Japan's recent nuclear disaster.

Senator Carr, a proponent of nuclear technology, said the push towards nuclear energy was hampered by last year's tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan, which caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

"I think Japan has set it back because of the impact it's had on insurance and cost," he told ABC Television today.

However, he said Australia should still consider moving towards nuclear energy.

"The fact is, some of the renewables are taking off more slowly than I, as a believer in climate change, would have liked."



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, 2012

Big Greenie loss in the U.S. Senate: Subsidies for windmills and biofuels to expire

The US Senate voted not to adopt an amendment to a highway transportation bill that would have extended the wind production tax credit (PTC) for one year until 31 December 2013 and revived the Section 1603 Treasury cash grant programme for renewable energy projects.

The 49-49 vote on the amendment introduced by Senator Debbi Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, was short of 60 needed for approval. Forty-seven Democrats were joined by two independents in voting for the measure, while 45 Republicans were joined by four Democrats in opposing it. Two Republican senators did not vote.

It was the latest setback for the wind industry, which has been lobbying Congress for a four-year extension of the PTC instead of an additional 12 months. The 1603 cash grant program, which expired last year, offered renewable energy developers a direct cash payment of up to 30% for power projects in lieu of the federal investment tax credit.

Denise Bode, president of the American Wind Energy Association, says the industry is disappointed that tens of thousands of American jobs are being put in peril by partisan gridlock in Washington.

Critics of the PTC in the Senate argue that in an era of runaway deficits, the federal government can't afford to keep pouring billions of dollars in subsidies to sustain an industry that generates 3% of US electricity.


Jet Stream Wave Patterns Further Distort the Official Global Temperatures


Some know the inadequacies of the world temperature data. Few know the degree of manipulation and corruption of the data done to prove the 20th century temperature increase was unnatural. It completely undermines the scientific claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Lack of accurate data was the problem the father of modern climatology, Hubert Lamb, identified when he set up the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) because: ".it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important".

The situation is worse now sadly, due to people at the CRU and government weather agencies.

Lamb would be mortified because people at the CRU and those closely associated, including government agencies, manipulated the data to achieve results. Major evidence humans caused warming were made in the 2001 IPCC by Phil Jones, one of Lamb's successors as Director of the CRU. He said global temperatures increased 0.6øC since the end of the 19th century. This was claimed to be outside natural increases and only possible because of human addition of CO2. The difficulty is, everyone ignores the error range Jones included of ñ0.2øC. A 33 percent error factor would preclude its use in any other circumstance. Besides, we will never know because Jones lost the original data, thwarting the fundamental scientific test of reproducible results.

It was likely selected, adjusted, and manipulated because this happens to all temperature data. Joe D'Aleo and Anthony Watts demonstrate the extent with examples of what and how it was done. This article presents one more way in which the location of selected weather stations influences and biases results.

Data was always inadequate, especially on which to build computer models, but that was ignored. A variety of statistical devices, most illogical, were created to produce the desired political result. The data situation has deteriorated considerably since Lamb retired. There are far fewer stations now than then. Figure 1 shows the number of stations in 1970 compared to 1997.

The map is misleading because each station dot is proportionally about 200km across - but still the change is dramatic. Gaps are so great they make analysis meaningless, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does it anyway. As D'Aleo and Watts explain:

"To fill in these areas requires NOAA to reach out maybe 1250km or more (in other words using Atlanta to estimate a monthly or annual anomaly in Chicago)."

As D'Aleo explained to me: "GISS says they use 1200km, which means they search an area that covers 1,745,799.52 square miles to find data to fill in holes. This is roughly halfway between the total area of India and Australia and roughly three times the size of Alaska."

D'Aleo and Watts itemize the adjustments to the records, and in every case it enhances the amount and rate of warming. Other changes, such as use of fewer stations, and a higher percentage of urban and land stations, all enhance the warming.

Another factor that enhances warming is the predominance of stations in the middle latitudes, but particularly in eastern North America and Western Europe. Middle latitude monthly temperature variation is greater than in polar or tropical regions. Large planetary waves (Rossby Waves) form along the boundary between cold polar air and warm tropical air. The Waves migrate from west to east, creating a general 4- to 6-week cycle of temperature. Figures 2 and 3 show two different conditions of the Wave pattern relative to North America and Western Europe.

In this discussion a cold Wave is when polar air on the poleward side of the Jet Stream covers eastern North America and Western Europe as in Figure 2. It's a warm Wave when tropical air covers these regions as in Figure 3.

Because of the general length of the Waves from peak to peak the likelihood of both areas being warm or cold is quite high. As a result the predominance of stations can skew the average for a particular month. The argument that the pattern cancels itself out over a year doesn't hold. The stations used are predominantly urban and affected by the urban heat island effect (UHIE), this means the temperatures from the two regions are higher in summer and winter.

Dominance of the number of stations in these regions and at this latitude is significant because they're a high percentage of the global total. This is just one more problem with a totally inadequate system, deliberately corrupted to achieve results for a political agenda.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Wind power: Fuelling an inconvenient delusion that spells ruin for Scotland

WIND power - more accurately wind impotence, since turbines operate at just 24 per cent of capacity - is the curse of Scotland. One of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe has been brutally ravaged, families have been driven into fuel poverty, pensioners have been presented with the lethal dilemma "heat or eat" - all to appease the neurotic prejudices of global warming fanatics.

Last week, the punitive costs of this lunacy were exposed in a report by Professor Gordon Hughes, professor of economics at Edinburgh University. He has calculated that the bill for wind energy by 2020 will cost consumers £120 billion. Yet generating the same amount of electricity from efficient gas-powered stations would cost only £13bn. Where the full insanity of the renewables option is brought home is in Professor Hughes' claim that, beyond the crippling cost to consumers, "there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater under the Wind Scenario than the Gas Scenario". The optimistic forecast is that wind power might reduce carbon emissions by 2.8 per cent: the worst-case scenario, as the quote above shows, is actually a negative carbon reduction - achieved at a cost of £120bn.

The inefficiency of wind turbines requires perpetual back-up by building gas turbine power stations - running two parallel energy generation systems, each alternately redundant, in times of economic crisis. The fiscal ratchet is turning relentlessly. The Renewables Obligation, introduced in Scotland in 2002, forces electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of power from renewables, currently 11.1 per cent and rising. By 2027 this scam will have cost UK customers £32bn.

Rook customers for a further £24 a year towards the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, £42 to subsidise wind farms, £13 from gas consumers to fund the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and £25 to support renewables, and what do you have? An average Scottish household energy bill of £1,345, with families spending more than 14 per cent of their monthly income on gas and electricity, compared with 8 per cent in 2005. Yet by 2020 these costs will be recalled nostalgically as the days of cheaper energy, once the green taxes really kick in. There are now 900,000 Scottish households in fuel poverty, which the SNP government has pledged to eliminate by November 2016. They are going about it in a strange way.

It is not bad news for everybody: across the UK a dozen landowners are sharing £850 million in subsidies for wind turbines. Some people claim to regard turbines as beautiful; that aesthetic prejudice is understandable if you are the owner of a turbine earning £250,000 in subsidies to generate £150,000 worth of electricity, the ratio revealed in the report. A study by Professor David MacKay, of Cambridge University, estimated it would require an area the size of Wales completely covered with wind turbines to supply just one-sixth of the UK's energy needs. That would be fine with Alex Salmond - Scotland might just fit the bill.

The worst enormity of this scheme for the environmental devastation (in the name of saving the environment) and impoverishment of Scotland is that it is all founded on a superstition: the Grande Peur of man-made global warming. Never has science been so shamelessly manipulated. Forget the notorious frauds - the discredited "Hockey Stick", Al Gore's misrepresentations of ice-core samples, the Siberian tree rings, the melting Himalayan glaciers, the University of East Anglia emails, the sea levels rising only in computer models, the polar bear population "declining" from 5,000 to 25,000 since 1970 - and go to the original false premise.

Of the specifically defined "greenhouse gases," the most abundant is water vapour, but global warmists perversely exclude it from their calculations. When asked why, they reply that it is "customary" to do so. The reason, of course, is that since water vapour accounts for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, removing it vastly increases the proportion of carbon dioxide in the equation. With water vapour included, as it should be, CO2 represents only 3.6 per cent of the greenhouse effect. Overall, just 0.28 per cent of the greenhouse effect is man-made; within that, man-made CO2 accounts for 0.117 per cent of the greenhouse effect.

That is the total global output by humanity. If the prescriptions of the Kyoto Accord were universally implemented they would reduce it by 0.035 per cent. Diligent mathematicians may, if they wish, apply themselves to calculating Scotland's contribution to that minuscule CO2 production, harmless in any case since solar activity is the likeliest cause of cyclical climate change. That is the "threat" to our existence in response to which Alex Salmond is destroying the landscape of his country and imposing hardship on its people. To the faithful, of course, this is the Great Leap Forward.


School Standards Wade into Climate Debate

After many years in which evolution was the most contentious issue in science education, climate change is now the battle du jour in school districts across the country.

The fight could heat up further in April, when several national bodies are set to release a draft of new science standards that include detailed instruction on climate change.

The groups preparing the standards include the National Research Council, which is part of the congressionally chartered National Academies. They are working from a document they drew up last year that says climate change is caused in part by manmade events, such as the burning of fossil fuels. The document says rising temperatures could have "large consequences" for the planet.

Most climate experts accept those notions as settled science. But they are still debated by some scientists, helping to fuel conflicts between parents and teachers.

When Treena Joi, a teacher at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley, Calif., last year showed her sixth-grade students the global-warming movie "An Inconvenient Truth"-a documentary in which former Vice President Al Gore issues dire warnings about climate change-the drama quickly spread beyond the classroom.

A father filed a formal complaint accusing Ms. Joi of "brainwashing" the students. He demanded that she apologize to her students or be fired, according to the complaint. The local school superintendent settled the matter by requiring parental permission before students viewed the movie in the future and prohibiting teachers from talking about ways to address climate change.

Ms. Joi said she knew the movie had stirred controversy but was surprised by the extent of the response. "I've taught other subjects-evolution and sex-ed-without as much pushback," she said.

Skeptics say students are getting a one-sided picture when teachers unveil scary scenarios and blame human activities for global warming. "At this point, I think there is no evidence to support alarm," said Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a vocal critic of climate-change theories.

The battle over climate change is reminiscent of the debate over evolution, which first began decades ago, in which parents and outside groups, usually coming from a Christian perspective, object to teaching Darwin's theory as scientific fact.

Parents on both sides are sensitive to perceived slights in the classroom. Kimberly Danforth, a 50-year-old mother in Clifton Park, N.Y., said she complained to a school science adviser when she learned that her daughter's ninth-grade teacher faked a gagging motion while talking about climate change.

The teacher explained he was playing devil's advocate and actually believed in mainstream climate-change theories, but Ms. Danforth, who believes children should be taught about global warming, wasn't persuaded. "He seemed to be thumbing his nose at our values," she said.

The National Center for Science Education, an advocacy group that has defended the teaching of evolution, now has an initiative to support climate-change education. Like evolution, climate change is "settled science," said the center's executive director, Eugenie Scott. "We shouldn't fight the culture wars in the high-school classroom."

A conservative think tank, the Heartland Institute, is pursuing a competing effort to develop a K-12 curriculum that questions the idea of manmade global warming, according to David Wojick, a consultant who is designing the plan.

An online search about climate-change education shows "a vast and expensive array of.teaching materials" backing the view that manmade events contribute to climate change, Mr. Wojick said. "Teaching the scientific debate instead is a grand challenge," he added.

The new science standards, which are being updated for the first time since the mid-1990s, are set to be made final by year end. They will teach students graduating from eighth grade that human activities are "major factors" in global warming, according to the document adopted last year. Students graduating from 12th grade would be taught that future warming predictions are based on models that inform "decisions about how to slow its rate and consequences."

Loris Chen, a science teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, N.J., said teachers have a responsibility to introduce young people to the scientific consensus. "There are some students who, for various reasons, come into class with a belief against climate change or global warming," she said. "I try to tell them, 'Keep an open mind and see where the data leads you.' "

While states set their own educational curriculum, many are likely to use the scientific standards as guidelines. But the approach to climate change could be a sticking point for some states. In one, South Dakota, the state House has already passed a resolution saying climate change should be taught as a "theory rather than a proven fact."

Rose Pugliese, a lawyer in western Colorado who has asked her local school board to prevent teachers from presenting climate change as fact, said schools should encourage students to reach their own conclusions.

"Unless we've got conclusive evidence one way or another-and I don't think we'll have that for hundreds of years-I think both sides should be taught," Ms. Pugliese said. "Allow the kids to figure it out for themselves."

That approach would mislead students, contends Martin Storksdieck, a director at the National Research Council who is helping to develop the new science standards. "What would be conveyed to them is not how science works-it's how politics works," Mr. Storksdieck said.


Carbon emissions hit a new record, say Australian scientists

But at the same time temperature stops rising and has now been static for 15 years. So what's the worry? No answer to that below!

GREENHOUSE gases have risen to their highest level since modern humans evolved, and Australian temperatures are now about a degree warmer than they were a century ago, a major review by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has found.

The national climate report, to be released today, said Australia's current climate "cannot be explained by natural variability alone" and that emissions resulting from human activity were playing an increasingly direct role in shaping temperatures.

Australian researchers were able to identify the "fingerprint" of the carbon dioxide particles in the atmosphere, by testing the isotopes in CO2 particles, and confirm that the increase came from fossil fuels burnt in power stations and cars.

"We saw a dip in carbon dioxide emissions during the global financial crisis, but that period is now over," said the chief executive of the CSIRO, Megan Clark. "Levels are now rising steadily again, in line with the trend."

The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 390 parts per million in 2011, the highest level in 800,000 years.

The average day and night-time temperatures in Australia are now about a degree higher than they were a century ago, the State of the Climate 2012 report said.

"Multiple lines of evidence [such as?] show that global warming continues and that human activities are mainly responsible," it said.

The report gathered observations from thousands of experiments, mapping increases in air and water temperature and plotting rising sea levels.

Data gathered from gauges around the coast showed sea levels continuing to rise off Sydney and much of the NSW coast at a rate of about 5 millimetres per year, while some areas of the tropics, including Darwin, are seeing rises of up to 1 centimetre per year. Most of the rise is attributed to thermal expansion, or warmer water temperatures meaning that H20 molecules take up more space.

"The observed global-average mean sea-level rise since 1990 is near the high end of projections from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report," the researchers found.

On average, global sea levels are about 21 centimetres higher today than they were in 1880, when reliable records began to be kept. The report also noted increases in heavy rainfall events across most of eastern Australia, but also more bushfires. The trend for Sydney is towards more monsoonal rains. "The Mediterranean weather we have become used to seems to be fading," Dr Clark said.

A CSIRO atmospheric scientist, Paul Fraser, said the world was now on track to pass the 400 parts per million level for CO2 emissions in under five years.

Researchers at an air monitoring station at Cape Grim in Tasmania have been testing the composition of carbon dioxide molecules. The measurements include a form of "carbon dating", where the amount of carbon-14 particles indicates the age of a particle.

"The only process you can come up with that fits the profile of the CO2 we measure is the combustion of fossil fuels," Dr Fraser said.

Observations at Cape Grim have been tracking the changing composition of the air for decades. Since 2000, fossil fuel emissions in CO2 samples have been increasing by about 3 per cent a year, but a decline of about 1.2 per cent a year took place as energy demand slackened during the financial crisis.

Growth in human-induced CO2 emissions has now rebounded back to about 5.9 per cent a year, the report said.


Insured disaster

The insurance industry has been behind the global-warming fraud since the 1970s

Lawrence Solomon

Your home insurance premiums - and the insurance industry's profits - depend largely on the industry's skill in making two types of investments: in the stock market and in marketing that scares the bejesus out of its customers.

The insurance industry, like most in these turbulent times, hasn't done well of late in picking blockbuster stocks. But it has done brilliantly in picking blockbuster scares - all related to global warming. The upshot? The insurance industry wants more money to cover its poor stock picks. And more money again to cover future global warming risks. With the government's blessing, insurers will now jack up your home insurance premiums by 10% to 15% in the coming year.

The insurance industry earned every dollar that it makes from global warming - its sharp-eyed marketers spotted the potential before anyone else. In 1973, Munich Re, one of the world's largest insurers, warned that rising temperatures could result in receding glaciers and polar caps, shrinking lakes, and rising ocean temperatures, with carbon dioxide as the culprit.

"We wish to enlarge on this complex of problems in greater detail, especially as - as far we know - its conceivable impact on the long-range risk trend has hardly been examined to date," Munich Re concluded. And enlarge on the problem it did. Munich Re enlisted others in the insurance industry and then methodically and relentlessly made its case to Greenpeace, other environmentalists and other industries that stood to profit.

The result was the greatest environmental scare success in history. By 1979 large numbers of scientists were on board, the World Climate Conference expressing concern that "continued expansion of man's activities on Earth" may lead to climate change. By 1988, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's was born. By 1992, Maurice Strong and Al Gore held the Rio Conference and by 1997, the Kyoto Treaty was a reality.

Canada's insurance industry also led. One year after Kyoto, the industry founded and has ever since funded the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, which it installed at the University of Western Ontario. This sciencey-sounding institute, which calls itself "an independent, not-for-profit research institute," has as its executive director Paul Kovaks, formerly of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the industry's lobby group. The institute's board? Its chair's day job is president and chief executive of Co-operators Group, while other directors include top dogs at State Farm Canada, Swiss Reinsurance, Lloyd's Canada and Allstate Canada.

The main work of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, naturally enough, involves avoiding catastrophic loss reductions on the balance sheets of Co-operators, State Farm and its other corporate members. The research from this bought-and-paid-for operation has then justified higher insurance rates on the basis "that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is rising, contributing to an increase in claims and costs."

Just this week, the institute's Gordon McBean, also an author for the IPCC's latest scary report, reiterated this view. "Where we have good data on the observations of the climate, you can show that there is an increased frequency of high-precipitation events," McBean told CBC, adding that "analysis done by scientists shows that that change is related directly to the greenhouse gas - increasing - concentrations. In other words, it's a part of the human-caused climate change."

More scary stuff appears on the website of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which blames climate change for extreme weather events that in turn lead to higher industry payouts and thus higher rates. "Protect Yourself From the Effects of Climate Change" one headline states, asking: "Are you disaster ready?" Readers then have a choice of seven climate-change threats to click on - hurricanes, severe storms, winter storms, wildfire and the like. The top climate change scare that the Insurance Bureau lists, bizarrely, is "Earthquakes," which not even the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction blames on climate change.

Canadian insurers like TD Insurance claim "it's a proven fact" that climate change is driving rate increases. This is true, not because the science justifies rate increases but because government regulators and many in the public accept the claim as valid. The actual facts, from those not associated with the IPCC, say quite the opposite, and emphatically so.

Last year, the American Meteorological Society published a peer-reviewed study that investigated insurance claims from extreme weather events. The study's author, Laurens M. Bouwer of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands, examined 22 previous disaster loss studies involving extreme-weather-related natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, as well as small-scale weather events such as wildfires and hailstorms.

The conclusion: "The studies show no trends in losses . that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters."

In the face of overwhelming criticism of its climate change claims, even the IPCC has begun to backtrack. Its latest study uses a definition of climate change that concedes humans may contribute little or nothing to climate change: "Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use."

This is a far cry from the more common scary definition that blames humans for "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods."

The difference between the two definitions is not academic. If the insurance industry admitted that it has no reason to believe that anthropogenic climate change will drive future extreme events, we would all have extra money in our pockets.



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


13 March, 2012

Another EU Greenfail As Poland Vetoes Carbon Targets

The EU’s carbon agenda has launched a trade war that has China blocking purchases of Airbus’s troubled new jumbo jets; now word comes that the EU climate agenda is beginning to fall apart at home.

The European Union’s ambitious low carbon plan collapsed yesterday when Poland vetoed plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically after 2020. The move is the latest stage in the ignominious failure of EU carbon policy that has seen a grandiose carbon trading system bog down in a quagmire of scandal and price collapse. Europe will meet its current carbon reduction goals less because of any serious action than because the continent’s economic crisis brought on by the poorly constructed euro experiment has stalled economic growth.

Now the post 2020 picture is in near total disarray as EU law requires unanimous consent for new carbon targets to be set. Poland, which depends on coal for much of its energy production and has neither the money nor the desire to turn to Russian gas or oil, will not accept any European carbon policy that undermines its drive to raise local living standards.

Back in those halcyon times when the Davoisie were convinced that a global green carbon treaty was just around the corner, EU diplomats and journalists used to boast incessantly that climate activism was the centerpiece of a new and dynamic European diplomacy. Now both Europe and the climate agenda are in near-total disarray, and the EU has been unable to legislate for itself, much less for all mankind.

There are several lessons here. One is a healthy reminder that Europeans think they are very good at foreign policy but fail at it more often than not. Americans are often so concerned by our own regrettable shortcomings in this field that we assume that other people are better at it — but the historical record says otherwise. European powers have been misreading power realities and failing to adopt sustainable international strategies for more than a century. The climate kerfluffle is only the latest in a very long line of half baked initiatives and failures to come to grips with international realities.

This episode also reminds us that in spite of the many problems we have in the United States, we have a much, much better constitutional system than our European allies. Individual states, thankfully, do not have a veto over federal legislation; the last state to propound that theory was my native state of South Carolina back when Andrew Jackson was in the White House. Nullification died in the US, and the Europeans will never have a real union unless they can kill it over there. (They probably can’t for the very good reason that the European Union is a confederation of nations rather than a single people, but that is another story.)

A third lesson from this mess is that the global treaty process is the European Union process writ large. For the green dream of a global climate treaty to come into being under UN auspices, every country on earth must sign up. That includes Poland. It includes China and India, where governments know they face revolution if they give up the right to growth. It includes the United States, where two thirds of the Senate will vote for a complicated, third world-subsidizing climate pact when Hell freezes over and not before.

If the Europeans can’t agree on a climate plan, the prospect that the rest of the world can agree is less than zero. Every dime spent by climate activists on this goal was wasted. Every white paper on the subject was a folly. Every global conference was a grotesque and pointless boondoggle. Every pundit who supported this agenda was blowing smoke and every politician who endorsed it was either an idiot or a demagogue — or both.

This dog won’t hunt. This pig won’t fly. This horse can’t win. This parrot is dead.

None of this will stop green scam artists raising money from naive and goodhearted donors. It won’t stop bureaucrats who have a vested interest in eternal international processes and immortal, salary paying institutions devoid of all purpose or use. It won’t stop people who don’t understand the international system dreaming up new and equally unworkable unicorn catching devices. It won’t stop socialists, Malthusians and other anti-capitalist activists from using green rhetoric in attempts to whip up resistance to progress and change.

But maybe, just maybe, it will persuade a few more thoughtful and public spirited people who genuinely do care about the future of mankind that the environmental movement needs to rethink its approach from the ground up.


More on the Kiribati sea-level fraud

The sea-level is actually FALLING there

The government of Kiribati understands that western governments are comprised of mental midgets. Based on this understanding, they are hoping to extract billions of dollars from moronic westerners – to make real estate investments at other tropical beaches.

The basis for their desired scam is that their island may drown some time in the future, due to global warming. This is an interesting concept, given that sea level is not rising in Kiribati.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Olympic missile defences under threat... from the Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort

Plans to use surface-to-air missiles to protect the skies over London during the Olympics could be thwarted – because they will disturb the habitat of a rare wild flower.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has ordered batteries of Rapier missiles to be placed in South-East London, ready to deal with any airborne terrorist threat to the Games.

But the move has led to a row with one local MP, who says the missiles risk damaging an area of historic woodland, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which contains the Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort.

The Games will mark the first time that the UK has deployed the weapons to protect civilians. In addition to the missiles, a group of RAF Tornado or Typhoon jets will also be on standby.

Oxleas Wood is regarded by ecologists as one of the most important sites in London, having been continuously wooded since the Ice Age. It is home to plants and animals that have evolved together, including the wild service tree, a berry-bearing native tree that sows itself only on land that has never been cultivated. Trees from the wood were once used for ship-building in London’s dockyards.

The Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort is a member of the carrot family and grows to 3ft. It is now found only in areas of London, Dorset and Hampshire.

MI5 head Jonathan Evans has described the Olympics as a ‘huge event [with] big security implications’. Up to 300 of his intelligence staff have been removed from their usual duties to concentrate on the Games.

The United States has privately raised concerns about security, at one point offering to send a US aircraft carrier to the Thames Estuary to help defend London and eavesdrop on any terrorist ‘chatter’.

It is preparing to send up to 1,000 of its agents, including 500 from the FBI, to the UK in the weeks before the Games. Up to 13,500 British military personnel will help provide security.

The MoD said: ‘Ground-based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered security plan, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect London.

‘Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and we are talking to local authorities and landowners to minimise the impact of these temporary deployments.’


Warmist proposes a genetically engineered master race

Bad ideas never die, it seems. Uncle Adolf was also a Greenie concerned about resource depletion and he too started out engineering a master race

The threat of global climate change has prompted us to redesign many of our technologies to be more energy-efficient. From lightweight hybrid cars to long-lasting LED's, engineers have made well-known products smaller and less wasteful. But tinkering with our tools will only get us so far, because however smart our technologies become, the human body has its own ecological footprint, and there are more of them than ever before. So, some scholars are asking, what if we could engineer human beings to be more energy efficient? A new paper to be published in Ethics, Policy & Environment proposes a series of biomedical modifications that could help humans, themselves, consume less.

Some of the proposed modifications are simple and noninvasive. For instance, many people wish to give up meat for ecological reasons, but lack the willpower to do so on their own. The paper suggests that such individuals could take a pill that would trigger mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat, which would then lead to a lasting aversion to meat-eating. Other techniques are bound to be more controversial. For instance, the paper suggests that parents could make use of genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to birth smaller, less resource-intensive children.

The lead author of the paper, S. Matthew Liao, is a professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University. Liao is keen to point out that the paper is not meant to advocate for any particular human modifications, or even human engineering generally; rather, it is only meant to introduce human engineering as one possible, partial solution to climate change. He also emphasized the voluntary nature of the proposed modifications. Neither Liao or his co-authors, Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache of Oxford, approve of any coercive human engineering; they favor modifications borne of individual choices, not technocratic mandates. What follows is my conversation with Liao about why he thinks human engineering could be the most ethical and effective solution to global climate change.

Q. Judging from your paper, you seem skeptical about current efforts to mitigate climate change, including market based solutions like carbon pricing or even more radical solutions like geoengineering. Why is that?

Liao: It's not that I don't think that some of those solutions could succeed under the right conditions; it's more that I think that they might turn out to be inadequate, or in some cases too risky. Take market solutions---so far it seems like it's pretty difficult to orchestrate workable international agreements to affect international emissions trading. The Kyoto Protocol, for instance, has not produced demonstrable reductions in global emissions, and in any event demand for petrol and for electricity seems to be pretty inelastic. And so it's questionable whether carbon taxation alone can deliver the kind of reduction that we need to really take on climate change.

With respect to geoengineering, the worry is that it's just too risky---many of the technologies involved have never been attempted on such a large scale, and so you have to worry that by implementing these techniques we could endanger ourselves or future generations. For example it's been suggested that we could alter the reflectivity of the atmosphere using sulfate aerosol so as to turn away a portion of the sun's heat, but it could be that doing so would destroy the ozone layer, which would obviously be problematic. Others have argued that we ought to fertilize the ocean with iron, because doing so might encourage a massive bloom of carbon-sucking plankton. But doing so could potentially render the ocean inhospitable to fish, which would obviously also be quite problematic.

Q. One human engineering strategy you mention is a kind of pharmacologically induced meat intolerance. You suggest that humans could be given meat alongside a medication that triggers extreme nausea, which would then cause a long-lasting aversion to meat eating. Why is it that you expect this could have such a dramatic impact on climate change?

Liao: There is a widely cited U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that estimates that 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalents come from livestock farming, which is actually a much higher share than from transportation. More recently it's been suggested that livestock farming accounts for as much as 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And then there are estimates that as much as 9% of human emissions occur as a result of deforestation for the expansion of pastures for livestock. And that doesn't even to take into account the emissions that arise from manure, or from the livestock directly. Since a large portion of these cows and other grazing animals are raised for consumption, it seems obvious that reducing the consumption of these meats could have considerable environmental benefits.

Even a minor 21% to 24% reduction in the consumption of these kinds of meats could result in the same reduction in emissions as the total localization of food production, which would mean reducing "food miles" to zero. And, I think it's important to note that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a pill. We have also toyed around with the idea of a patch that might stimulate the immune system to reject common bovine proteins, which could lead to a similar kind of lasting aversion to meat products.

Q. Your paper also discusses the use of human engineering to make humans smaller. Why would this be a powerful technique in the fight against climate change?

Liao: Well one of the things that we noticed is that human ecological footprints are partly correlated with size. Each kilogram of body mass requires a certain amount of food and nutrients and so, other things being equal, the larger person is the more food and energy they are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime. There are also other, less obvious ways in which larger people consume more energy than smaller people---for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people, and so on.

And so size reduction could be one way to reduce a person's ecological footprint. For instance if you reduce the average U.S. height by just 15cm, you could reduce body mass by 21% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction in metabolic rates by some 15% to 18%, because less tissue means lower energy and nutrient needs.


Australia's very own false prophet

Called out by someone who knows what he is talking about

HE could be NSW's very own rainmaker. Every NSW town visited by Professor Tim Flannery or his Climate Commission colleagues for community forums where residents were told they were in a "drying trend" has been deluged by rain up to three times the annual average.

After being warned to expect drying conditions but more rain in winter than summer, Tamworth was drenched last month with 121mm of summer rain in 24 hours - the highest fall on record.

Wollongong was warned it could experience such significant drying conditions that bushfires would be worse, and when rain came it would be in intense bursts.

The city was drenched in the past nine weeks with 661mm of rain, more than twice the 258mm average for the first three months of the year.

Port Macquarie was told to expect prolonged droughts - yet has experienced flash flooding with 100mm in just one night last month. Rainfall for the year is now more than 100mm above average.

An academic who specialises in climate science has accused Prof Flannery of getting predictions "spectacularly wrong." Writing for education publication The Conversation, Associate Professor Stewart Franks from the University of Newcastle's School of Engineering said he believed Prof Flannery was no better than an "amateur enthusiast" at climate science.

"The most obvious factor could well be Flannery's lack of background in a climate science. He is an academic, however his background is mammalogy - he studied the evolution of mammals," wrote Prof Franks who researches climate variability, particularly flood and drought risk, and the predictability of natural climate variability across NSW. "He is perhaps best described as an amateur enthusiast, in which case I could actually have a little sympathy for him getting it so wrong."

The Climate Commission claims the media is getting confused between "climate and weather". Professor Lesley Hughes said there were plans to hit back at criticisms this week with a new report on rainfall "to further clarify this issue for the community".

Prof Hughes, who gives region-specific information at the forums hosted by Prof Flannery, said the climate was drying, although climate change could also cause intense bursts of rain.

"The climate in southeastern Australia has been changing over the past few decades, overall becoming hotter and drier," she said. "Climate models indicate that this drying trend may continue in the long term, increasing the risk of droughts and fires. "However, we still expect variability from year to year in temperature and rainfall."

Prof Flannery did not respond through his spokeswoman to criticisms in The Conversation article.

Prof Franks said the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology had mistaken the drought this decade as climate change-related, when the dry spell and now rain was a long-term La Nina and El Nino weather pattern. He said the weather events occurred in 20 to 40-year clusters.


Australia: Warning of $30bn hit from high carbon price

AUSTRALIA faces a $30 billion hit to growth by 2018 if domestic carbon prices remain higher than the European price, according to new economic modelling that will add to business pressure to bring the $23 starting price closer to Europe's $10.

The modelling, by the Centre for International Economics consultancy, warns that keeping the $23 fixed price regime and the floor price of $15 a tonne - key elements of the current package - will have almost twice the impact on economic growth by 2018 as allowing the Australian price to track international prices.

A higher price in Australia than in comparable international markets could also cost the mining industry a cumulative $4bn and durable manufacturers $1.5bn over six years, the CIE modelling predicts. In a blow to the Coalition's direct action policy alternative, leading CSIRO researcher Michael Battaglia has warned that the abatement figures in Tony Abbott's alternative policy are "ambitious". The centrepiece of the policy - sequestering 85 million tonnes of carbon in soil by 2020 - might only achieve abatement of between 5 million and 20 million tonnes, he said yesterday.

The CIE research, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia, comes amid projections that slow growth in Europe will mean international carbon prices will not rise significantly above the $10 around which they are currently sitting.

When Australia's carbon package was announced, Treasury assumed an international carbon price of between $29 and $61. But the European credit crisis caused prices to slump. The research will amplify calls by key business backers of carbon pricing, including the Australian Industry Group's Heather Ridout and the Business Council of Australia's Jennifer Westacott for the policy to be rewritten.

Last week, Ms Ridout said the difference between the Australian and European prices was effectively "a tax on industry", while Ms Westacott described the disparity as a concern for the competitiveness of Australia's industries.

Kevin Rudd, during his failed leadership challenge to Julia Gillard, reignited the debate last month when he said if he again became prime minister he would examine the implementation of the carbon tax within six months and that the scheme should move to a floating price as quickly as possible.

The CIE modelling said that, if global carbon prices remained low, there was a risk the Australian fixed price or the Australian minimum price (in the subsequent three years) would be above the accessible international price and this would have "important implications for the cost effectiveness of the Australian scheme". "An important consequence of this is that the cost of abatement in Australia could be higher than necessary as the administrative arrangements do not allow the use of relatively low cost international abatement," the report says. "In 2018, for example, the Australian GDP loss is around two times higher with a fixed and minimum price in place compared with what it would have been without the minimum price (-0.9 per cent compared with -0.5 per cent)".

Treasury modelling last year as part of the government's Clean Energy Future Package put the reduction in GDP compared with business as usual at -0.3 per cent in 2020.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitch Hooke said the CIE modelling "further confirms Australia will have the world's biggest carbon tax and that the proposed system is a long way from least cost abatement". "The current carbon tax is being introduced at the wrong time and is the wrong design for our economy," Mr Hooke said. "It is simply a revenue churn that imposes massive costs without reducing global . . . emissions."

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the initial fixed-price period would provide certainty before the transition to an emissions trading scheme, under which carbon prices would be determined by the market. "The government is including a price floor and ceiling for the first three years of emissions trading to avoid sharp price spikes or plunges," the spokesman said. "This will reduce risks for businesses as they gain experience in having a market set the carbon price."

The government was providing a multi-billion-dollar Jobs and Competitiveness Program to provide aid to firms that emitted a lot of pollution and faced strong competition from imports or on export markets, the spokesman said.

"It shields those industries from the full carbon price; in fact, the most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries will only face an initial effective carbon price of $1.30 a tonne once you take this assistance into account," he said.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the $30bn hit was "an extraordinary indictment of the government's approach".



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, 2012

Warmists will never learn

Under the heading, "The Freak Weather That Won’t Be Denied" there is a very long article which tells us that "experts say" that the world is having more extreme weather these days because of global warming. Since there has been NO warming for the last 15 years or so the whole article is a castle built on sand. Warming that doesn't exist can't cause anything.

I thought, however, that it would be amusing to reprint below the opening salvo of the article so people can compare it with the article that I am putting up immediately under it. Ya gotta laugh! Warmism is definitely bad for the brain

These are trying times in Pendleton Harbor, Texas. During what government scientists say is the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the water level in Toledo Bend Lake has sunk to its lowest level since it opened in 1969, leaving this subdivision, built on its manmade shores, high and dry.

“Where you once were able to drive your boat, you can now mow the grass,” says John Miller, a former park ranger who retired to this relatively verdant spot on the Texas-Louisiana border with his wife Rita five years ago. The couple began visiting the area as the Toledo Bend hydroelectric dam was built half a century ago, a process that created the South’s largest lake and more than 1,000 miles of shoreline filled with rustic cabins, mobile homes and ample fishing.

But as the drought drags into a second year, the couple’s two boats are parked in their yard. And Pendleton Harbor’s taps could soon run out of water.

Across Texas and Oklahoma, record low rainfall and intense heat have taken a heavy toll on water supplies. The 109 reservoirs that supply nearly all of Texas’ water had lost nearly a quarter of their total combined capacity by the end of 2011, says Ruben Solis, director of surface water resources at the Texas Water Development Board.

Throughout last fall and into the new year, Pendleton Harbor sat near the top of a state watch list of cities and towns with six months or less of water supplies. Dozens of other communities around Texas have been forced to enact water-rationing measures as forecasters expect the drought to continue into the spring.

The old stock refrain—that a single weather event cannot prove or disprove climate change—is no longer reliable. But is climate change to blame for the Texas drought?


An amusing retrospective about Warmism in Australia

Imagine my chagrin when I read today about the impending doom of the Australian Wine Industry due to Man-Made Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Chaos. Here's what they said in the Prague Post this week:

"Predictions are that if temperatures rise another 2 C, growing vines will become untenable in many of the world's more renowned wine regions by 2050. One such case is Australia, whose vineyard area could disappear entirely... in such an event, water, not wine would become the overriding priority."

A quick web search yields other dire predictions for the Land Down Under. Australian Professor and Government Official Ross Garnaut , told a crowd in Western Australia in 2011: "The drying of the South-West has been predicted by climate change scientists, and climate changes in the region are directly attributable to carbon levels in the atmosphere."

Other predictions preceded Doctor Garnaut's. In 2005, during a decade of severe drought, Australian Climate Change Commissioner, Tim Flannery predicted Sydney’s dams could be dry in as little as two years because global warming was drying up the rains, leaving the city “facing extreme difficulties with water.”

In 2007, Flannery predicted cities such as Brisbane would never again have dam-filling rains, as global warming had caused “a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas” and made the soil too hot, “so even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems."

In 2008, Australian Head of the National Climate Centre at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, David Jones told residents it could be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent: “There is a debate in the climate community, after … close to 12 years of drought, whether this is something permanent. Certainly, in terms of temperature, that seems to be our reality, and that there is no turning back."

In 2009, said this: "It’s not drought, it’s climate change, say scientists. A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change…

Scientists working on the $7 million South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative. To see what role greenhouse gases played in the recent intensification, the scientists used sophisticated American computer climate models. ‘’It’s reasonable to say that a lot of the current drought of the last 12 to 13 years is due to ongoing global warming," said the bureau’s Bertrand Timbal."

But, hold on. There's a problem. Australia isn't dry right now. Here's the headline in the UK Telegraph newspaper this week: "Hundreds more evacuated in Australian floods"

Floods? You mean the kind caused by excess water? Yes, it’s true. Australia is wet. This is from Reuters News Service, from February 3, 2012:

"Heavy rains shut four coal mines in eastern Australia on Friday as military helicopters evacuated stranded residents from inundated towns, and authorities warned of further flash flooding." There's more headlines:

"More than 11,000 people in Queensland State have been isolated by the flooding and thousands had been evacuated, emergency services authorities said. The town of Moree, the centre of the region's cotton growing, has been cut in half by record floodwaters, while authorities are using helicopters to relocate 300 people already at an evacuation centre in the outback town of Roma to another centre on higher ground. Whitehaven Coal said it had shut four mines due to heavy rainfall, but the mines were not flooded and no equipment had been damaged. Other miners and liquefied natural gas producers reported their operations had so far not been affected."

And its not just rain. It's record rain. Headlines from March 2 of 2012 read "Southeast Australia remains under water:" "(There were) heavy falls ... across parts of the state last night and because of the duration of the event some records may be broken as far back as 1886," SES Emergency Commissioner Murray Kear said on Friday."

More flooding news here: Flash floods across Australia's Queensland and New South Wales states killed around 35 people, swamped 30,000 houses, and wiped out roads, bridges and rail lines.

A further examination of reality shows that Australia actually has experienced a record amount of rainfall in the last two years. "Back-to-back La Niña events have created the wettest two-year period on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Its latest Special Climate Statement revealed a two-year rainfall total for 2010–11 of 1409 mm, surpassing the old record of 1407 mm set during 1973–74."

Here is the map of drought conditions in Australia. If we examine the records from the country's own Bureau of Meteorology, we see very good news. There is virtually no drought in Australia and hasn't been for the last 36 months. Only a small part of Southwest Australia has experienced drought in the last 3 years. Australian rainfall anomalies show above normal rainfall for the last 36-months across a large portion of the continent.

Now, keep in mind, Australia is now stranger to drought. Droughts on this continent are often measured in years, not months. Figure E shows rainfall anomalies since 1900 and many dry decades. This is the driest inhabited continent in the world; 70% of it is either arid or semi arid land. The arid zone is defined as areas which receive an average rainfall of 250mm or less. The semi arid zone is defined as areas which receive an average rainfall between 250-350mm. During the decade of the 2000's Australia experienced one of the worst droughts in its history. But, rainfall measurements since 1900 show no permanent drought across the continent.

It seems much of Australia's rainfall fortunes are linked to naturally occurring factors. The Bureau of Meteorology themselves admit the connection between droughts & ElNino events : "Many, but by no means all, droughts over eastern and northern Australia accompany the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon...On some occasions (such as 1914 and 1994) El Niño-related droughts may extend across virtually the entire country."

Research done in 2004* also points to natural climate variations as the cause for Australian droughts. Dr. Danielle Verdon and associates instead projected that drought and flood in Australia was cyclical and tied to natural cycles in the Pacific both short term and across decades. The authors investigated “the influence of the El Nino–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) on rainfall and streamflow regimes of eastern Australia. An analysis of historical rainfall and streamflow data for Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), and Victoria (VIC) reveals strong relationships between these indices and seasonal rainfall and streamflow totals. (h/t Joe D'Aleo)

Associate Professor Stewart Franks, of the University of Newcastle, thinks scientists should know better than to make incorrect statements about drought here. "The mistake that the numerous expert commentators made, was that they confused climate variability for climate change. The future impact of climate change is very uncertain, but when one “wants to believe”, then it is all too easy to get sucked in and to get it spectacularly wrong. In principle, these people should really know better."


Florida's biggest solar-energy plant far from realizing its potential

The mirror-covered behemoth that constitutes Florida's largest, and one of the nation's most ambitious, ventures into solar energy has been producing a small fraction of the power promised by its owner.

An Orlando Sentinel review of production data on file with state regulators reveals that, during its first year of operation, the Florida Power & Light Co. solar plant in Martin County has not come close to producing enough electricity to meet the demand of 11,000 homes — the output that FPL continues to claim for its one-of-a-kind facility.

Instead, it generated enough power last year for only 2,056 homes, according to the Sentinel's analysis of monthly reports filed by FPL with the Florida Public Service Commission.

Company officials said the lagging performance was caused by the disastrous spill of an industrial fluid used to conduct heat, outages at an interconnected power plant, and ongoing difficulties in responding to swings in production between sunny and cloudy skies.

"In doing all of your engineering, you go through all of your hypothesis, but when you're actually doing it for the first time, it does present some challenges," said Buck Martinez, FPL's senior director of project development. "The beauty of it is, it [recently] hit 68 and 69 megawatts on back-to-back days. I think we are getting a lot of the kinks out."

Designed to make 75 megawatts of electricity, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is markedly different from most solar plants.

Florida utilities, including FPL, generally operate systems that use vast assemblies of "photovoltaic" panels that produce electricity when exposed to sunlight. But the Martin plant has a unique "hybrid" design, with 190,000 mirrors erected on 500 acres in such a way that they concentrate the sun's rays to heat an industrial fluid to 740 degrees. That fluid is then harnessed to produce steam, which is then piped to an adjoining, older and much larger electric plant — powered by natural gas — to help spin its generator.

Mirror-based solar plants have been in use for decades; a sister company of FPL operates and co-owns a 310-megawatt system in California. But the Southwestern U.S., often cloudless, is considered ideal for mirror systems, while Florida's wetter weather is more challenging.

FPL, the state's largest utility, contends that feeding the solar plant's steam into the larger, existing electric plant next door reduced the solar plant's cost enough to justify its construction in a state where mirror systems are unproven.

But the piggybacking of the two plants has been difficult to manage, said Martinez, who characterized its operation so far as marred by "learning-curve" issues rather than any flaws in the technology.

"I think we're actually getting over the hump on some of that," Martinez said. "We're cautiously optimistic. We think it's going to be great technology."

In 2008, when the Public Service Commission approved FPL's request to bill customers to cover the cost of the plant, the agency established little in the way of performance standards for its operation. FPL has about a half-million customers in Central Florida, mostly in Brevard and Volusia counties.

The Martin system, built to last 50 years, cost $398 million, or $75 million less than budgeted, according to the utility.

J.R. Kelly of the Office of Public Counsel, the state's legislatively created advocate for utility customers, said there is no precedent for evaluating whether a utility or its customers should bear the cost of a solar plant's poor performance.

"We're going to study this," Kelly said.

Work began on the Martin plant in 2008 and was completed in late 2010. Its peak output was last March, when Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the plant's dedication ceremony.

"It's great to see this, and it's great to see that the cost of solar is coming down as compared to fossil fuel," Scott said.

Power production then dropped off dramatically; the plant barely ran in June and was shut down in July, August, October and December.

The PSC asked FPL to explain why the output of electricity was "relatively low" during the first seven months of 2011.

Among its responses, FPL said that an accident had occurred in June when the industrial fluid, which circulates through the mirrored array, became contaminated with water that turned into steam and burst a valve.

According to an FPL report filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, an estimated 46,000 gallons of fluid sprayed into the air for two hours, raining down on 25 acres of power-plant property. The fluid, while not highly hazardous to people, is extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, and the plant overlooks the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee, Florida's largest lake.

Crews worked around the clock through June and maintained extended shifts in July to remove 94,200 gallons of contaminated water and 27,253 tons — or more than 1,000 truckloads — of soil, asphalt, gravel and vegetation.

Critics of solar power say it's simply too expensive. But utilities, such those serving the Orlando and Jacksonville areas, contend that they must learn how to integrate solar power into their grids because natural gas and coal, which now fuel most power plants, could become costly because of market pressures or problematic because of new environmental regulations.

Solar proponents say the Martin plant's rough start was a hiccup.

"That is not a statement about where the industry is," said Susan Glickman, a lobbyist for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "Solar is booming and, ultimately, we need a combination of utility projects as well as solar panels on rooftops."


Greenies have no shame

They're psychopaths

On February 20th activist scientist Peter Gleick issued a public statement. He admitted to creating a false identity in order to steal the property (confidential documents) of a private think tank. There is a sound argument that, by doing so, Gleick has confessed to committing a federal felony called wire fraud.

According to Gleick himself, his actions demonstrated: "a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics…"

In his own opinion, his “judgment was blinded,” his behaviour is something to be deeply regretted, and apologies were appropriate and necessary. In the opinion of the New York Times‘ blogger Andrew Revkin, Gleick had “admitted to an act that leaves his reputation in ruins” (for more info see here).

So how long did it take Gleick’s community to forgive and forget? A grand total of 17 days. Not 17 years. Not 17 months. Not even 1 month. Two-and-a-half weeks later Gleick is back in the saddle.

Yesterday he delivered a speech to a two-day California Water Policy Conference. There was nothing minor or low-profile about it. The conference website clearly labels Gleick’s appearance as the opening, “keynote presentation.” Last night Gleick advised his Twitter followers that the experience had been great. Josh Rosenau, an employee at the National Center for Science Education, thought that observation so momentous he himself re-tweeted it.

So let’s think about this for a moment. Gleick has admitted to lying and stealing. Not for monetary gain, but to advance the climate change cause. Gleick is a water specialist. Presumably he also considers protecting waterways to be a good cause. So how were the conference attendees to know whether Gleick’s remarks about water were accurate and honest – or whether they were being spun and twisted by a man who, mere days ago, admitted that he can become so frustrated when trying to advance his cause, that he resorts to dishonesty?

Three hundred people were reportedly in attendance at the conference yesterday (backup link here). It’s difficult to believe that all of them are grateful for the fact that their keynote speaker was someone who remains under a cloud as we await word of whether criminal charges will be laid and whether the think tank will be filing civil lawsuits.

Among the conference sponsors we find:

the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
the San Diego County Water Authority
the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
and the Sonoma County Water Agency

In the past few weeks the California Water Policy Conference had to make a decision about whether or not to go ahead with its originally-planned keynote speaker. Its decision tells us a great deal about whether those talking about water issues in California can themselves be trusted.

Did they champion honesty and integrity? Or did they hand over their podium to a self-confessed liar and thief?


Harvard physician warns of climate change health hazards

This ding-a-ling has got no shame either. He knows perfectly well that there are far more deaths associated with cold weather (also known as winter) than there are with warm weather (also known as summer). A warmer world would on balance SAVE lives

But he was speaking at an old-fashioned revival hour for Warmists so I suppose a low priority for logic was to be expected

Rising temperatures and more heat waves due to climate change can cause heat stroke, heart attacks, dehydration and even increased incidences of violent crime and suicide, said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, associate director of Harvard University's Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Bernstein kicked off a day of provocative presentations at Northwestern University's third annual Climate Change Symposium, held Thursday. He showed how seemingly small changes in average temperatures translate into much longer cycles of very hot days and record hot days.

Rising sea levels and more extreme weather events can displace large numbers of people living in coastal cities or island nations, he said. "Weather refugees" have higher incidences of infectious diseases, he noted.


More Warmist jiggery pokery

In his article below, Paul Homewood is very polite -- apparently in the hope that he can squeeze a bit of honesty out of Warmist scientists. He says that their obvious "fiddling" of the data to show a steady rise in Arctic temperatures must be due to a computer error. Pardon me while I laugh!

There has been much discussion recently about temperature adjustments made by GHCN in Iceland and Greenland, which have had the effect of reducing historic temperature levels, thereby creating an artificial warming trend. These can easily be checked at the GISS website, where both the old and new datasets can be viewed as graph and table data, here and here.

It has now been identified that similar adjustments have been made at nearly every station close to the Arctic Circle, between Greenland and, going East,via Norway to Siberia, i.e 56 Degrees West to 86 Degrees East, about 40% of the circumference.

So it is perhaps time to recap where we are now.


The NCDC has produced the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), a dataset of monthly mean temperatures, since the 1990’s. Version 2 was introduced in 1997 and included “Methods for removing inhomogeneities from the data record associated with non-climatic influences such as changes in instrumentation, station environment, and observing practices that occur over time “. The GHCN datasets are used by both GISS and HADCRUT for calculation of global temperatures, as well as NCDC themselves.

In May 2011, NCDC brought out Version 3, which “enhanced the overall quality of the dataset”, but made little difference in overall terms. However, only two months later in July, a Google Summer Student, a graduate called Daniel Rothenberg, was brought in to convert some of the GHCN software and make modifications to “correct software coding errors”. The result was Version 3.1, which went live in November 2011. (The full technical report is here).

It is this latest version that has thrown up the Arctic adjustments we are now seeing.

Until December, GISS used Version 2 unadjusted temperatures. Since then, they have changed to using Version 3.1 adjusted temperatures.

Basis of Homogeneity Adjustments

It is worth taking time to be clear why temperature adjustments are made (or should be). As far as GHCN are concerned, they explain their logic thus :-

"Surface weather stations are frequently subject to minor relocations throughout their history of operation. Observing stations may also undergo changes in instrumentation as measurement technology evolves. Furthermore, observing practices may vary through time, and the land use/land cover in the vicinity of an observing site can be altered by either natural or man-made causes. Any such modifications to the circumstances behind temperature measurements have the potential to alter a thermometer’s microclimate exposure characteristics or otherwise change the bias of measurements relative to those taken under previous circumstances. The manifestation of such changes is often an abrupt shift in the mean level of temperature readings that is unrelated to true climate variations and trends. Ultimately, these artifacts (also known as inhomogeneities) confound attempts to quantify climate variability and change because the magnitude of the artifact can be as large as or larger than the true background climate signal. The process of removing the impact of non-climatic changes in climate series is called homogenization, an essential but sometimes overlooked component of climate analysis."

It is quite clear. Their algorithms should look for abrupt changes that are not reflected at nearby stations. It has nothing to do with “averaging out regional temperatures” as is sometimes claimed.

GISS also make homogeneity adjustments, but for totally different reasons. In their case, it is to make an allowance for the Urban Heat Island Effect (which is not spotted by GHCN because it is a slow change).

Effect of The Adjustments

Appendix A lists every current GHCN station with records back to 1940,that lie between Greenland, at a latitude of 56 W, around to a point about midway across Siberia at 86 E and which are situated close to the Arctic Circle. The table shows the adjustment made by GHCN for 1940 data. Out of 26 stations, the adjustment has reduced actual temperatures in 23 cases, many substantially. In contrast, 2 remain unchanged and only one has a positive adjustment (and this is insignificant). As a crude average, the adjustment works out at a reduction of 0.70 C.

These adjustments typically extend back to the beginning of the station records (though Reykjavik is an exception) and most continue at the same level till about 1970. ( Some of the Russian stations last longer – e.g. Ostrov Dikson’s disappears in 2009).

By 2011, however, the adjustments disappear at ALL of these sites. In other words, an artificial warming trend has been manufactured.

It is worth spelling out two points :-

1) Within this arc of longitude, there are no other stations within the Arctic Circle.

2) With the exception of Lerwick and Vestmanneyja, I can find no stations, in the region, below a latitude of 64 North with similar adjustments. Why is 64 North significant? GISS produce zonal temperature data, and their “Arctic” zone goes from 64 North to the Pole. Coincidence?

Is there any justification for adjusting?

Trausti Jonsson, a senior climatologist at the Iceland Met Office, has already confirmed that he sees no reason for the adjustments in Iceland and that they themselves have already made any adjustments necessary due to station moves etc before sending the data onto GHCN.

Clearly the fact that nearly every station in the region has been adjusted disproves the idea that these sites are outliers, which give biased results not supported by nearby stations.

GHCN were asked in January to investigate this issue and so far have failed to come up with any explanation. Unless they can do this, the assumption must be that the adjustments have been created by faulty software.


In global terms, these few stations make no tangible difference to overall temperatures. However, they do make a significant difference to temperatures in the Arctic, which are derived from a small number of stations such as these and then projected over hundreds of miles.

Across much of the Arctic, temperatures were as high in the years around 1940 as they are now. History should not be revised at the whims of an algorithm.

What should happen next? In my view, GHCN should immediately revert to Version 3.0 until the matter is properly investigated and any issues resolved. They maybe just need to put Version 3.1 down as a bad experience and start from scratch again. I believe they also need to seriously review their Quality Control procedures and question how these anomalies were allowed to arise without being flagged up.

It should not be up to independent observers to have to do this.

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


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, 2012

Hansen fails on both logic and the facts

He notes that CO2 levels stood at 450ppm, higher than today, when the earth began to glaciate. The obvious conclusion from that is that higher levels of CO2 will at least not produce warming and could well be associated with cooling. But in a supreme feat of illogic Hansen draws his usual conclusion that "therefore" disastrous warming is looming.

With CO2 levels steadily rising, we are less than 15 years away from 450 ppm. Look for the world to end soon, and definitely do not take out a 15 year mortgage.

Unless you are interested in actual rather than theorized temperature, that is. The graph shows that temperature levels, unlike CO2 levels, are basically flat

Hansen says the EU target of 550 parts per million of C02 - the most stringent in the world - should be slashed to 350ppm. He argues the cut is needed if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed". A final version of the paper Hansen co-authored with eight other climate scientists, is posted today on the website. Instead of using theoretical models to estimate the sensitivity of the climate, his team turned to evidence from the Earth's history, which they say gives a much more accurate picture.

The team studied core samples taken from the bottom of the ocean, which allow C02 levels to be tracked millions of years ago. They show that when the world began to glaciate at the start of the Ice age about 35m years ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere stood at about 450ppm.

"If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice - that's a sea rise of 75 metres. What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster," Hansen told the Guardian.

SOURCE (Graph via Steven Goddard)

No consensus among climate skeptics!

How awful! We must be real scientists, unlike the Church of Global Warming, where everybody sings from the same hymnbook

Some skeptics believe -- and I am one of them -- that Greenhouse theory contradicts the basic laws of thermodynamics -- which say that heat cannot be transferred from a cold body (CO2 in the upper atmosphere) to a warmer body (the surface of the earth).

Some skeptics, however, agree with the Warmists in saying that this unlkely feat is at least possible -- apparently on the grounds that the laws of thermodynamics apply only to heat transfer via convection, not heat transfer via radiation

John O’Sullivan has put up a short summary of the debate from the viewpoint of us "superskeptics" and I reproduce an extract from it below

Even prominent man-made climate change skeptics are ignoring monumental errors in orthodox “greenhouse gas theory.” Critics say it's time for full public debate on the underlying science. This article presents a challenge to all fair-minded thinkers to meet in debate to discuss where the “greenhouse gas warming” supposition is contradicted by (1) empirical measurements, (2) established laws of science and (3) real-world observations. Critics argue that with the climate alarmist movement in full retreat and temperatures in decline - despite incessant rises in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), climatologists should now come clean about the anomalies.

Recently, public in-fighting has arisen among “skeptics” of the man-made global narrative due to compelling new science that deftly refutes the greenhouse warming fiction. This “new” science is merely correct adherence to traditional “old” scientific methods by specialists from space science, thermodynamics, mathematics and applied engineering. It is only in recent times that such an array of highly credentialed specialists has formed to collectively critique this cornerstone of the generalist field of climatology.

Specialists Succeed Where Generalists Fail

Climatologist Tim Ball, more than anyone, eruditely describes this concept of specialists unraveling errors created by generalists. It is also inescapably defined as a key issue by the Oxburgh Review. This was the British government's official investigation into the “Climategate” scandal. It observed that there exists a critical weakness in the science of climatology because it is comprised of generalists. Oxburgh recommended that errors exposed in Climategate would be better avoided if climatologists were less insular and took on board input from outside experts. Oxburgh identifies the right problem but for the wrong reason. Let’s be clear, it is not a weakness to be a generalist discipline. Climatology is a generalist discipline and therefore must incorporate the individual pieces studied by specialists. The role of the climatologist is to identify how and where each specialist piece fits. Oxburgh is correct that climatologists should seek input from specialists, as Ball has done, especially in his work with physicists on the role of CO2.

This is precisely the approach applied with the dozens of scientists and engineers associated with Principia Scientific International. As a result several robustly peer-reviewed papers critical of the standard GHE model have been published to intense interest (but not within the climate science fraternity).

Anyone pursuing objective science won’t mind me pinpointing some of the more obvious errors committed by Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer and Christopher Monckton.

Fallacies that Require Open Debate

Lord Monckton on blackbody radiation: The Viscount asserts that Blackbodies have albedo. Yet a blackbody is defined as an entity that absorbs and emits all of the radiation that impinges on it, thus ruling out a reflective component ipso facto. Indeed, the blackbody radiation formula was derived from observations of cavity radiation, that is, radiation emanating from a hole that has no reflecting surface in the first place. The Earth is clearly not a hole, and any attempt to compare it to a hole is only justifiable as a convenience, not as a reality.

What Monckton is talking about is a gray body - another hypothetical entity which follows the Stephan Boltzmann Equation but reduced by a constant value for each wavelength. Again this does not describe the Earth. The shorter solar wavelengths are more likely to be reflected and the longer solar wavelengths to be absorbed. Indeed it is this variation of albedo with wavelength that is used by the believers of the greenhouse theory to justify their claim of a 33°K greenhouse effect. Joseph Postma has written three papers on the greenhouse effect and deals with all the mistakes that Monckton makes.

Roy Spencer on Greenhouse Theory: Dr. Roy Spencer wrote a paper in support of the greenhouse gas theory. As a rebuttal, Dr. Pierre Latour published a refutation of Spencer’s calculations. The argument by Latour exposes the junk numbers in the entire man-made global warming argument. It appears as though, in addition to Monckton, Spencer also needs to reassess the need for math and blackbody calculations. In short, Latour affirms that there is NO greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and he shows the calculations to prove it. But what would chemical engineers know anyway? They aren’t UN IPCC climatologists.

Lindzen’s Greenhouse Gas Theory Contradicts Spencer’s: Professor Lindzen's GHE theory has it that atmospheric warming occurs from the top down. Professor Spencer, who argues the GHE operates from the ground up, contradicts this. The contradiction requires open debate, without fear that proponents of official IPCC science will benefit from the division among skeptics.

More HERE (See the original for links and references)

Pacific NW: Wind farms paid to not produce?

Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest -- built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced -- are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region's electricity grid says there's an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.

The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.

Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days. "It's the one system in the world where in real time, moment to moment, you have to produce as much energy as is being consumed," BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said of the renewable energy.

Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year. The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more.

"We require taxpayers to subsidize the production of renewable energy, and now we want ratepayers to pay renewable energy companies when they lose money?" asked Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment of the Washington Policy Center and author of "Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism is Harming the Environment." "That's a ridiculous system that keeps piling more and more money into a system that's unsustainable," Myers said.

Green energy advocates also oppose BPA's oversupply solution. "It sends a very poor signal to the market about doing business in the Northwest," said Rachel Shimshak, executive director of the Renewable Northwest Project. "We want the Northwest to be a good place to do business."

BPA says its hands are tied by environmental regulations. Officials contend if they shut down hydropower generation instead of the wind farms, endangered salmon would be harmed.

It's counter-intuitive because for decades environmental advocates have complained about dams killing fish by sending them through the turbines on their way to the ocean. But spilling too much water over the dam can apparently also be harmful. It can create too much oxygen in the water at the base of the dam, which has also killed salmon.

Interestingly, fish advocates are unconvinced. Save Our Wild Salmon is encouraging BPA to test salmon downstream of the dams to determine if their being impacted by high oxygen levels, and only stop the overflows when they have proof fish are being harmed.

Pat Ford, the group's executive director, said Bonneville is using the salmon as an excuse to keep hydropower dominant over wind power. "I think it's driven by Bonneville's customers who are worried about the increases in wind generation in the Northwest and what it means to them," Ford said.

BPA submitted its plan Tuesday to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission for approval. FERC has to decide if the oversupply compensation plan is fair to wind producers, utilities and ratepayers.


Bi-Partisan Opposition to Obama’s Natural Gas Car Push

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

President Obama, top energy executives, and state officials are all touting natural-gas-powered cars and trucks in a series of events this week. But some environmentalists and conservative groups are starting to push back as the Senate gears up to vote on legislation on Thursday that would provide tax incentives for purchases and production of natural-gas-fueled trucks.

“The president has proposed we switch trucks to natural gas, and I’m here to tell you today that every truck we switch to natural gas damages the atmosphere,” Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said at the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates annual conference here. Krupp said the little data available about how much methane — a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — escapes during the production of shale natural gas compels him to refuse to support a shift toward more natural-gas vehicles.

“We’re against what the president called for in the State of the Union until they [the natural-gas industry] can demonstrate they can get the leak rate down below 1 percent,” Krupp added. The Environmental Defense Fund’s opposition to the proposal is notable; it is one of the only environmental groups willing to work with industry on the concerns surrounding shale natural gas, which has been discovered in vast amounts all over the country in the past few years.

Back in Washington, conservative organizations concerned chiefly about reducing the federal deficit are sending letters to senators urging a “no” vote on a bipartisan measure sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., that would expand tax credits for buyers of natural-gas-powered trucks and installation of fueling stations as well as production tax credits for manufacturers of vehicles that run on natural gas. The Senate could vote on it as soon as Thursday afternoon as part of a series of amendments to the surface-transportation bill. It’s not expected to pass, but the vote could put some politically vulnerable members in tough spots.


Colorado's Own Green Loan Sinkhole

There's no escaping Solyndra Syndrome. Here in my home state of Colorado, citizen journalists have uncovered our own gaping government green loan sinkhole. The stench of Chicago-on-the-Potomac is fouling the fresh Rocky Mountain air.

Meet Loveland-based Abound Solar, the lucky winner of a $400 million federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the thin-film cadmium telluride solar module-maker announced layoffs of nearly 300 employees (70 percent of its workforce). In addition, the firm froze plans to build a new factory in Indiana. Abound says it will ride out bad market conditions and "hopefully" survive until the market recovers.

But White House hope-a-nomics is what got Abound and taxpayers into trouble in the first place.

Back in 2010, President Obama promised America in his weekly radio address that Abound would "manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs." Energy Secretary Steven Chu waves his green pom-poms, too. "Not only is this investment creating thousands of jobs, but it is also increasing our renewable energy manufacturing capacity and putting us on the path for our future prosperity."

Like the rosy projections Obama and Chu used to justify pouring half-a-billion dollars in eco-subsidies down the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar drain, Abound's financial outlook was based on mathematical make-believe. Hope plus change equals fail. Turns out Abound raked in green government funds despite big red flags from Fitch Ratings.

GOP House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wrote: "Fitch describes Abound as lagging in technology relative to its competitors, failing to achieve stated efficiency targets, and expecting that Abound will suffer from increasing commoditization and pricing pressures. DOE's willingness to fund Abound, despite these concerns, calls into question the merits of this loan guarantee."

The financial mess was reported by ABC News, but the Obama administration has so far escaped real scrutiny of his crony venture socialism.

How were Fitch's warnings ignored? Thanks to the intrepid investigative work of Colorado's Todd Shepherd at, Amy Oliver at the Independence Institute and Michael Sandoval at the People's Press Collective blog, the crass political science driving this latest Department of Energy loan scandal has been exposed. The loan deal appears to be textbook "pay-for-play" between Team Obama and one of Colorado's wealthiest progressive activist scions, Pat Stryker. She's the billionaire heiress whose family founded a medical device and software company. Her investment firm, Bohemian Companies, dumped nearly $500 million into Democratic coffers between 2008 and 2012. Bohemian also invested considerably in Abound.

Colorado Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey, a backer of job-killing cap-and-trade policies and other stifling environmental regulations, pushed for the massive Abound DOE loan. As noted, Stryker donated personally to Markey's campaign, and Abound ran ads thanking Markey for her eco-radical voting record. Like Solyndra chief investor George Kaiser, Stryker has visited the White House on more than one occasion. Like Kaiser, Stryker is a top Obama bundler.

This week, obtained a new set of documents revealing "that Abound Solar created an unexpected, and previously unreported 10 day production shutdown over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and then went on to tell employees, 'Don't let the rumor mill create false purposes for this shutdown.' The shutdown was announced to employees just after Thanksgiving by company president Craig Witsoe."

On Thursday, Chu refused to tell House lawmakers and the public how many more DOE solar boondoggles are at risk of going under. He couldn't "recall the exact number." Funny how fraudulently exact they can be in cooking up jobs numbers, but how chronically amnesiac they are when it all blows up.

Hope-a-nomics: It's every green bundler's paradise and every taxpayer's nightmare.


Obama is still a peak oil believer

Just when we thought we had heard the last of that nonsense. We know he's heard of shale but it doesn't seem to have sunk in

How much truth is there in President Obama's latest favorite mantra that we consume a disproportionate share of the world's oil, especially considering how little of the world's reserves we have?

Recently, Obama said: "But here's the thing about oil. We have about 2, maybe 3, percent of the world's proven oil reserves. We use 25 percent of the world's oil. So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we'd still be short by a factor of five."

First, let's look at the raw numbers and then examine Obama's misleading framing of the issue. This is important because he uses these statistics to justify his reckless expenditure of federal funds to pursue alternative "green" energy sources, such as the disgraceful and scandalous Solyndra project.

The United States has some 20 billion barrels of oil in reserves. By "reserves" we're talking "proven" reserves, meaning those that are certain to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. That is, we have 20 billion barrels of oil that is recoverable at current prices and under lands currently available for development.

That definition excludes many oil reserves that Obama has declared off-limits. According to the Institute for Energy Research, we have more than 1.4 trillion barrels of oil that is technically recoverable in the United States with existing technology. The largest deposits are located offshore, in portions of Alaska and in shale deposits in the Rocky Mountain states. So the United States has more recoverable oil than the rest of the non-North American world combined. The Heritage Foundation says this is enough to fuel every passenger car in the nation for 430 years. Therefore, "it is merely semantics -- not a scientific assessment of what America has the capacity to produce -- that allows critics to claim repeatedly that America is running out of energy."

When you add in recoverable resources from Canada and Mexico, the total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels. "To put this in context, Saudi Arabia has about 260 billion barrels of oil in proved reserves."

Another critical point: Even using the restrictive definition of reserves Obama is using, the 20-billion barrel figure is misleading, because Obama is clearly implying it is a fixed, or static, number -- as though with every barrel of oil we consume, we are pushing the oil energy doomsday clock another second toward the apocalypse. But in fact, that number is not static, but constantly in flux.



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


10 March, 2012

No Warming For 17 Years – Game, Set, Match

Temperatures have been dropping since 2005, and are the coldest now in the last seventeen years. Game over for alarmists, based on their own rules.

LIVERMORE, Calif. — In order to separate human-caused global warming from the “noise” of purely natural climate fluctuations, temperature records must be at least 17 years long, according to climate scientists.

To address criticism of the reliability of thermometer records of surface warming, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists analyzed satellite measurements of the temperature of the lower troposphere (the region of the atmosphere from the surface to roughly five miles above) and saw a clear signal of human-induced warming of the planet.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Just one pesky sentence

In the middle of an article with a heavily Warmist slant we read the following sentence about the work of a fisheries researcher:

"Studying fish in the laboratory, Munch found that raising them at higher temperature made their offspring grow 30 percent faster"

That sounds beneficial to me. No wonder there was no further comment on it.


Kiribati sea level story

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph carried yet another climate alarmism story, this time about the government of Kiribati negotiating to buy land in Fiji ‘so it can relocate islanders under threat from rising sea levels’.

Autonomous Mind contacted the former president of the International Association of Quaternary Research’s Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, Dr Nils-Axel Mörner to ask for his response to the story. Dr Mörner has very kindly replied with an exclusive comment, below:
With respect to the article on March 7 by Paul Chapman on the future of Kiribati, I have to protest and urge all readers to consult the only “hard facts” there are, viz. the tide gauge record of the changes in sea level.

The graph reveals that there, in fact, is no ongoing sea level rise that threatens the habitation of the islands. This is the hard observational fact, which we should all face before starting to talk about future flooding and the need for evacuation.

If the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, claims that the islands will soon be flooded and that there is an urgent need to buy new land for possible future refugees, it is the president’s own tactical idea in order to raise money from abroad. Let us respect the observational facts and stay away from invented disasters.

Once again the media rushes to print with an alarmist piece that is completely devoid of balance or contrary opinion and which completely ignores the overtly political motivations and background of what has been shared with the press. The dramatisation of Earth’s ever changing climate for ulterior political motives needs to be challenged.

How long will it be also before people start to hold the media to account for acting as the propagandist mouthpiece of government and vested interests?


Poland to veto EU low carbon plan

Polish environment minister Marcin Korolec has said he will veto an EU proposal for CO2 cuts at a meeting in Brussels on Friday (9 March).

The minister told Polish press agency, Pap, in Warsaw on Wednesday: "Our position is - we do not agree to any higher EU reduction goals looking to the year 2020. To currently define climate policy, when we do not know what global negotiations will look like, is seriously premature."

The Danish EU presidency at a meeting of environment ministers in the EU capital is to propose the Union should make even deeper cuts to carbon emissions in an energy roadmap up to 2050.

The bloc is currently committed to 20 percent cuts by 2020. But the roadmap envisages 40 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040, while some are calling for 30 percent by 2020.

Other Polish government sources told Pap that Warsaw also objects to other details of the "low carbonisation" plan.

It does not want the European Commission to get powers to impose legally-binding CO2 targets on EU countries. It wants instead to aggregate member states' individual cuts and come up with an EU-level target.

It is against going beyond the EU's existing pledge to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, amid calls to aim for 30 percent, before global talks end in 2015. It wants to be able to sell CO2 permits in the EU's carbon trading system even if they exceed limits set by the so-called Kyoto protocol, the global-level climate deal from 1997.

It also dislikes commission plans to reduce CO2 permits for EU countries to promote energy efficiency measures, such as better heating insulation for large buildings.

Poland still relies on coal - among the dirtiest of energy sources - for 90 percent of electricity production. It has closed some mines since the end of Communism in 1989, but the sector currently employs about 180,000 people, who are prone to holding violent demonstrations in Warsaw.

An EU diplomat noted that the Czech Republic and Romania are "hiding behind Poland" on the issue. But that they are unlikely to use their veto if Poland drops its red flag.

A spokesman for the Danish EU presidency said: "We will have to see. The presidency is always open to negotiations. But we want to uphold some level of ambition and watering down the proposal means we might lose other member sates."


German Climate Policy On Ice

Very quietly, the big issue of climate change has disappeared from the agenda. Even the former cheerleaders in Europe have given up

When Germany's environment minister Norbert Röttgen took place alongside his rival economics minister Philipp Rösler last week to announce the compromise on the energy efficiency directive and the reduction in solar subsidies, he talked a lot about "industrial competitiveness", about "supply security" and "price stability". But two words the German environment minister did not mention were "climate change."

Since the failure of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen two years ago, Germany, and indeed the whole of Europe, has lapsed into lethargy. Hardly any country still dares to call for ambitious goals in climate policy. Europe has committed itself to emit 20 percent less greenhouse gases in 2020 compared to 1990. This target will probably be met. But any debate about what comes after that is absent. "Compared to the years 2007 to 2009, the EU's approach to climate policy is in complete crisis," says Severin Fischer of the Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP) and author of On the way to a common energy policy.

At the climate summit in Copenhagen, the Europeans and their ambitious goals were virtually ignored. Above all, after Copenhagen environment minister Röttgen, then newly in office, seemed disillusioned. Copenhagen had a disastrous effect on him," says Hermann Ott, climate policy spokesman of the Green parliamentary group. "Since then he has become cautious, almost timid." Röttgen has struggled in vain ever since to achieve even minimal progress in international climate policy.

First nuclear phase

Even Angela Merkel, the "climate chancellor", has set new priorities. The nuclear disaster in Japan one year ago changed Germany's energy policy: now phasing-out nuclear power plants has top priority. Economics minister Roessler, intends to build gas and coal power plants with a total capacity of 20 gigawatts by 2020. This way, the elimination of nuclear power and the intermittency of wind and solar energy would be compensated. However, it also means more greenhouse gases.

In any case, only one issue currently dominates the political agenda - the financial and debt crisis. Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, no longer talks about a green Europe; instead, he talks about solidarity. Energy policy is no longer driven by morality, but by economic needs. "What used to be called climate protection has been re-framed as resource efficiency", Fischer says.

Long-term climate targets are falling by the wayside. The EU Commission still publishes occasional "Roadmaps" on how Europe could cut up to 80 percent greenhouse gases by 2050 in order to limit the increase in global warming to two degrees. But these papers have all been ditched. Poland has refused even to take notice of the "Climate Roadmap" by Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. In December, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger presented his "Energy Roadmap", which shows several scenarios of how CO2 emissions can be reduced in Europe - among other things, with the help of nuclear energy, renewable energy or storing CO2 underground. But energy expert Fischer doesn’t believes that EU leaders will deal seriously with these "thinking exercises".

Like two junkies

Unlike in 2007, today Germany and France, the green movers and shakers, are missing in action. What is more, southern and eastern European countries refuse to go beyond the 20 percent emissions target. Poland uses mainly coal-fired power plants in its energy mix. According to Fischer, the obstructionists are unlikely to accept stricter targets only if there were to be a global agreement.

But this is unlikely to happen. After all, the process was kept alive with great difficulty at the UN climate summit in Durban in South Africa late last year. By 2015 there should be a post-Kyoto agreement, which will enter into force in 2020. However, immediately after the end of the summit disillusionment set in again: Canada announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. China and the United States, the largest emitters, are still dead against joining it. The Green Party’s Hermann Ott is advocating an "alliance of the ambitious". Only countries that want to advance climate protection should take part. Because so far, the participants of the climate summits have behaved like two junkies: one wants to stop - but with a caveat: "But only if you also stop."

There is now a vicious circle: because international pressure has dissipated, there is now a distinct lack of vigour in Europe. Hardly anyone is talking about raising the EU’s CO2 emissions targets to a 30 percent cut by 2020. That was the EU’s agreed negotiation target - if a global agreement was reached. But environmental activists have long been demanding that the EU should act unilaterally. Denmark, currently chairing the EU presidency, suggested 25 percent. But because the proposal met with little interest, it is focusing instead on energy efficiency and has referred climate targets to subsequent EU presidencies: crisis hit Ireland and the small state of Cyprus.

More stringent climate goals are also needed to fix the emissions trading scheme, which has gone off the rails. Because of the financial and debt crisis, EU countries use less energy and due to Germany’s development of renewable energy sources, significantly fewer emissions certificates are required. The price for carbon credits has dropped by halve to about eight Euros per ton. The result is that the incentive to invest in climate-friendly technologies has dropped. Coal and natural gas are becoming more attractive as a result. Emissions trading, which covers about half the CO2 emissions in Europe, has turned against its original purpose: climate change is not being slowed. In Brussels, there are plans to cut back the amount of allowances for the next trading period from 2013 to force up the price of carbon credits. But what if the economy picks up and carbon credits become virtually unaffordable?

The extension of emissions trading to the aviation sector is highly contentious too. The EU wants airlines to buy certificates for flights to Europe from 2013. The United States, Russia and China, however, are dead against this scheme. Even in Germany the climate sceptics are advancing. Most recently, the book by RWE Manager Fritz Vahrenholt The Cold Sun made headlines and was selling like hot cakes in book stores. [...]


British Liberal minister says green tax must be cut to save companies

Cabinet rebel pushes Osborne to remove £740m burden of commitments to reduce carbon emissions

Vince Cable is pushing Chancellor George Osborne to scrap a £740m environmental burden on British business in this month's budget. It is understood that business department officials have asked the Treasury to remove the carbon reduction commitment (CRC).

This forces an estimated 20,000 non-energy intensive businesses that still use lots of electricity and have bills of around £500,000, such as supermarket and hotel chains, to pay a price for every ton of carbon they emit.

This was introduced in 2010 as part of the Government's ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 4m tonnes a year by 2020 and has also been estimated to raise £740m for Treasury coffers from 2013-14, when a carbon floor price is also introduced to bolster the CRC.

However, critics argue that the CRC has so far failed to show any signs of reducing emissions, as those big businesses still need electricity to keep their lights and computers on, and so is essentially just a tax in a time of financial struggle.

A source who has lobbied against the CRC said that though it was unclear whether the Treasury will surrender to the business department's demands, the issue was on the agenda for possible inclusion in the Budget.

He added: "Businesses are struggling with the cost of CRC, which is mandatory, and its administrative burden. CRC has quickly become a blunt tax instrument that is hated by industry."

A major Treasury concern is how it would recover what would become a near-£750m black hole in its finances. There are suggestions that this could be offset by an increase of the Climate Change Levy, which is placed on fossil fuel-based energy used by non-domestic private or public organisations to encourage them to find greener sources of fuel. However, business does not want the amount to be entirely recouped through this levy, as it would result in a hike of as much as eight per cent to their energy bills.

CRC is a cap and trade system. Businesses measure energy-use, work out the CO2 emissions and then buy allowances of what is currently fixed at £12 per tonne, but will soon fluctuate in the open market.

If they buy too many they can sell them on and if they have too few, businesses must reduce their emissions or purchase additional credits.

The CBI has been particularly vocal in its criticism. Last year director general John Cridland said that the CRC and similar measures were "counter-productive" and "hold back investment and growth". If the Treasury rebuffs the business department's proposal, it will be another blow to Mr Cable's authority having been so publicly slapped down on his idea to split-up Royal Bank of Scotland and create a "British Business Bank" that would focus on lending to SMEs.

A letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg dated 8 February outlining his idea was leaked earlier this week and dismissed by government insiders. A leading opposition MP said that Mr Cable's letter read like "a plea". "This wasn't the letter of someone with power, is more like someone in my position had written it," the MP added.

Speaking last night at Mansion House, Mr Cable renewed his assault on the Conservatives. "It is especially acute for innovative firms who find themselves trapped in a "valley of death" unable to raise funds to develop a proof of concept and cover the risks of early-stage growth."


Greens in Tasmania‏, Australia

An email from a Tasmanian reader

I live in Tasmania and have investments in George Town, which is near the proposed Pulp Mill in Bell Bay. As you might know Gunns Pty Ltd have been trying to put the mill into reality for some 7 years and have obtained all the permits, conducted all the studies etc in face of concerted and continuous Green opposition. The impoverished Northern Tasmania has been waiting with bated breath for the mill, particularly with threats to the Bell Bay Aluminium and Manganese plants due to poor profit results and lack of competitiveness. As you might know, the Greens have orchestrated a virtual destruction of the $1 billion a year Tasmanian timber industry, under their many peace deals which are never good enough, and now they are decimating grazing in Tasmania with what amounts to a practical ban on 1080, causing a wallaby plague with some 60-70% of loss of pasture in most areas. More on this later, if you are interested.

As you might know, Gunns have been falling over themselves trying to appease the Greens and obtain a "social licence", causing a huge financial damage to the company with no perceptible results. Gunns have, however, attracted attention of a billionaire investor, a Mr Chandler, of the RCC company. He was willing to buy 40% of Gunns for $150 million which would enable Gunns to start getting out of debt and eventually find a venture partner for the $2 billion mill.. The announcement was made in early February inst. The negotiations then appeared to proceed to an inexorable investment conclusion.

The greens saw a great opportunity to put themselves on the map, both in Tas and federally. Mr Bob Brown wrote a letter to Mr Chandler where he was apparently clearly trying to deter him from investing in Gunns. Mr Chandler's offsiders then came to Tasmania some two weeks ago, where they met local politicians including the Green Leader Mr McKim. He is actually a Minister for Education and also Prisons in the Green Labour government here. He, and other Greens, were strangely quiet after the meetings, quite unlike the usual howls of protest against greedy capitalists, as one would expect.

The Chandler corporation announced today that they are pulling out of the deal. They made no comment as to why.

I have no doubt that the local Greens have frightened Mr Chandler so much with their threats, that he decided that the investment was too exposed to public noise dangers. The Tas Greens have sabotaged business deals here many times in exactly the same fashion. They have caused a drop of woodchip production here to one fifth of the previous figures whilst other states have increased theirs, by going to Japan and telling them things along the lines that there are hardly any trees left here, (about 50% of the land mass is now locked away from forestry activities) and that forestry practices are defective, which they are not (see ABC interview with forestry financial consultant, Mr Eastman). They went to London to explain to the Olympic Games organisers that they should break the contract for buying parqueting wood from Tasmania since the company involved was using "native forest" (now meaning anything which is not a plantation under 20 years old, apparently). They have done similar things to Harvey Norman, I believe.

These are boycotts of business, normally prohibited under the Consumer and Competition Act 2010. If, however, the dominant purpose of this conduct is substantially related to environmental protection, the boycott protagonist is exempt (section 45DD). This effectively gives the environmentalists "a licence to lie" (Mark Poynter, forestry industry spokesman).

I think that we have a real fifth column here of the most savage variety, whose only interest is attention, publicity and fund seeking. For this they are clearly prepared to sacrifice anybody who wishes to advance himself or his community by remunerative activity. Now that the climate gurus are on the run, it may be time to turn to some other shocking practices of the Greens.

End of email

Tasmania: Greenie job destruction => reduced government revenue => deep cuts in health care

SENIOR surgeons fear budget cuts will cause catastrophic damage to the long-term viability of the state's healthcare system.

They also believe patients are being driven to near suicide, the cuts are too deep, there has been a lack of consultation on cuts and one hospital could be closed in the state's North-West.

The statements were presented to a parliamentary inquiry into budget cuts by Medical Staff Association chairman Frank Nicklason.

Dr Nicklason said senior staff had serious concerns that cuts to elective surgery would put patients' health at risk. "There are a lot of ways there can be negative impacts from delayed surgery," he said. "My overwhelming experience is that people are having to wait far too long."

A 50-year-old Hobart woman on a waiting list for serious arthritis in her knee had even contemplated suicide because she could no longer work, he said. "She got so desperate she was going to get in her car and drive into a tree."

He said the waiting list for elective surgery could be better prioritised. "I am not sure if at this stage we are doing this well enough," he said. Dr Nicklason said a drop in elective surgeries could see specialist staff heading to other states for opportunities and experience.

"A surgeon is nothing if they can't maintain their skills and reputation," he said. "A worrying number of people were considering leaving the hospital. Some specialists can't be replaced."

He said there were widespread fears that if specialist staff left in the next few years amid serious budget cuts it could take a decade or more to replace them.

Staff understood the difficulties facing governments with shrinking GST revenue and growing health needs. But, staff felt there had not been enough consultation about cuts, Dr Nicklason said.

He said there was a general consensus the state did not need the bureaucracy of three separate health networks and the Mersey Hospital could be merged with the North-West Regional Hospital in Burnie.



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, 2012

Scrambling to explain away who the skeptics are

That well-informed conservative white males are the most reliable climate skeptics is bothersome to Warmists so the academic writers below have just completed a study of the phenomenon. They confirm the finding.

So WHY do people in an especially good position to find out the truth of the matter reject global warming? It's obviously because of bad motivations, of course. It could not be because warming stopped 15 years ago, for instance.

So what we see here is essentially a scientific paper making an "ad hominem" argument, an argument of a sort that has no intellectual respectability at all. And even if we take their "ad hominem" argument seriously, it is based on a critique of conservatism that is deeply flawed.

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions (e.g. here and here), in their simple-minded way, Left-leaning psychologists don't even know what conservatism is. They think it is just opposition to change. But I have yet to meet a conservative who didn't have a whole list of things that he would like to change in the world about him. Leftist psychologists obviously don't talk to actual conservatives.

So Leftist claims about conservative motivations fall at the first hurdle. They literally don't know what they are talking about. They are so confused that some of them even list Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro as conservatives! With a definition of conservatism like that you could prove that the moon is made of green cheese! So anything Leftist psychologists say about conservative motivations is completely worthless
Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States

By Aaron M. McCright & Riley E. Dunlap


We examine whether conservative white males are more likely than are other adults in the U.S. general public to endorse climate change denial. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity- protective cognition thesis explaining the white male effect and from recent political psychology scholarship documenting the heightened system-justification tendencies of political conservatives.

We utilize public opinion data from ten Gallup surveys from 2001 to 2010, focusing specifically on five indicators of climate change denial. We find that conservative white males are significantly more likely than are other Americans to endorse denialist views on all five items, and that these differences are even greater for those conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well.

Furthermore, the results of our multivariate logistic regression models reveal that the conservative white male effect remains significant when controlling for the direct effects of political ideology, race, and gender as well as the effects of nine control variables. We thus conclude that the unique views of conservative white males contribute significantly to the high level of climate change denial in the United States.


Warmism as a neurosis

It is amusing that Warmists commonly assert psychological deficits among skeptics without any proof but when we look at actual evidence (as below) the association is the other way around. The study was too small and unrepresentative to allow reliable conclusions, however

Concern about climate change usually centres on rising sea levels, melting ice caps and drought. But an Australian study has found people with obsessive compulsive disorders (OCDs) can harbour very different worries - from fear of termites gobbling up their homes to concerns about thirsty cats.

The study, by University of Sydney researchers, is believed to be the first in the world to document how exposure to information and media reports about climate change can influence people with OCDs.

"We suggest that mental health professionals need to be aware of, and assess for the presence of such concerns," the study, led by Dr Mairwen Jones, recommends.

Dr Jones, and her co-researchers at University of Sydney's Anxiety Disorders Clinic, studied 50 people with OCDs and found 14 (28 per cent) had concerns directly related to climate change. The most common were about wasting water, electricity and gas, often leading to constant checking light switches, taps and stoves.

Other concerns were more out of the ordinary. "Two of the 14 participants were concerned that increased air temperatures would result in rapid evaporation of the water in their pet bowls," the study found. This led them to constantly check their pets had enough water.

"One participant had idiosyncratic concerns that global warming was contributing to a number of different problems including the floors cracking and the house subsequently falling down," authors wrote.

Other concerns included "pipes leaking, roof problems and white ants eating wooden structures in the house such as front and back doors and cupboard doors".

The study highlighted how the media can influence opinion on potentially emotive issues. It refers to a 1994 study that found some children developed obsessive thoughts about AIDS when media reports about the virus and its spread became common.

It said some reports about climate change could be "potentially alarming".

The study was published in the March edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.


The high priests of global warming have lost their prestige and the realists are winning the debate

James Delingpole

Something extraordinary is happening in the great Climate Wars. I had a taste of it just the other day on an LBC [a London commercial radio station] talk show. The producer had only booked me in for a ten-minute slot, in case the listeners weren't interested in my boring new book about that tediously hackneyed subject Man Made Global Warming. But the switchboards were jammed and the station ended up keeping me in for a full hour to reply to all the calls.

There was one big problem though: "We can hardly find ANYONE who disagrees with you," whispered the show's host, Julia Hartley-Brewer. This was true. By the end, things had got so desperate that I found myself accidentally picking fights with callers who were on my side. An easy mistake to make for someone on my (sceptical) side of the debate: we card-carrying Satanic "deniers" are so used to being vilified at every turn it really feels kind of weird suddenly to be in tune with the popular mood.

And I'm not the only one to have noticed. A climate sceptical blogger called Pointman has written a superb post on the subject(which is well worth reading in full). The enemy - that's the alarmists who've been making most of the running in the last two decades - is in serious disarray. As Pointman puts it: "All reason has fled. There’s a real feeling of April 1945, Berlin, der Fuhrerbunker and its mad occupants, barking unrealistic orders down phones and moving long ago destroyed units around on maps, as if it really meant something."

It's a good point and an accurate analogy. The kind of analogy, unfortunately, which will undoubtedly have the usual greenie/lefty suspects wheeling out their favourite Godwin's Law defence: ie if you ever mention the Nazis it invalidates you argument because, er, it does because someone called Godwin made a "law" saying it does.....

Yup, I'm weariedly familiar with the Godwin's law weasel-out. Just as I'm familiar with: the "Appeal to Authority" (eg "the Royal Society/the National Academy of Sciences says"; "98 per cent of the world's climate scientists agree....."); the crude ad hom: ("James Delingpole is a C***"; "James Delingpole is in the pay of Big Koch", etc); the straw man ("How can you deny climate change is happening when four of the ten hottest years happened this decade?"). The Warmists use them all the time.

What all these tricks have in common is this: they're not arguments; they don't address any of the points we sceptics (or "realists" as we prefer to term ourselves) painstakingly make in article after article, blog after blog; they're simply rhetorical tropes designed to confuse, obfuscate, distract, wear down, bruise, irritate, hurt, clog up the comments section and give the illusion of moral and intellectual victory. Above all, though, their purpose is to distract from what you might call the climate alarmists' Polar Bear In The Room: the world stopped warming in 1998, even as CO2 emissions continued to rise; not only that but none of the computer modelers’ doomsday "projections" of runaway climate catastrophe have been even closely matched by observed real world data.

Or, if you prefer to hear this truth served up with world-weary scientific uber-authority, here's MIT atmospheric physicist Professor Richard Lindzen addressing the House of Commons in February: "Perhaps we should stop accepting the term 'skeptic' because 'skepticism' implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the cause over 20 years makes the case even less plausible, as does the evidence from Climategate and other instances of overt cheating."


In the past - till very recently in fact - the powerful, hugely well-funded alarmist lobby has been able to skate over these inconvenient truths by relying on the propaganda techniques outlined above, as well as on the complicity of the political establishment. Not even the Climategate revelations were quite enough to derail the global warming alarmist gravy train.

So what has changed now? One factor, undoubtedly, has been the fall-out from Fakegate or Gleickgate - the failed attempt by prominent environmental activist Peter Gleick to smear the Heartland Institute (the US think tank best known for its annual climate sceptics' conference) using stolen or faked documents. The attempted smear was bad enough (imagine the media outrage if climate realists had tried something similar!) but where the stunt really backfired was as a consequence of its handling by left-liberal news organisations like the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

All of them leapt into report the story gleefully without bothering to check whether or not it was true. And when evidence began to emerge that it wasn't true, they compounded their error by seeking to defend Gleick's duplicity and criminal actions regardless. Numerous left-liberal commentators argued that Gleick was in fact a hero whose crime was entirely justified in seeking to expose the manifest evils of this sinister, right-wing think tank.

Problem was, even this argument wasn't borne out the facts. As far as environmental think tanks go, Heartland is little more than a Mom & Pop operation, run on the relative shoestring budget of $4.7 million (only a proportion of which goes towards "climate change" issues). Now compare this with the budgets of left-leaning environmentalist pressure groups such as the Sierra Club ($84.8 million), Natural Resources Defense Council ($97 million), or the World Wildlife Fund ($177.7 million). And that's before you take into account US government spending on climate change issues, which according to calculations by blogger Jo Nova exceeds spending on sceptical science by 3500 to one.

During the last two decades global warming alarmist propaganda has depended on Hitler's Big Lie principle (whoops: Godwin's Law. So shoot me). But that principle, as first Hitler discovered and now the AGW lobby is discovering too, is flawed. In fact there are only so many times you can tell a whopping great lie (be it on the solidity of AGW theory or that climate sceptics are lavishly funded by Big Oil) before the people see through it. And once the people discover that they have been consistently lied to (and cheated out of a great deal of money to boot) they don't like it one bit.

Coming soon - indeed it has already started - is the mother of all backlashes against the AGW alarmism industry. It will happen on lines predicted over a century ago by Gustave Le Bon in his seminal 1895 work, The Crowd.

Le Bon (whose analysis of crowd mentality influenced Freud, Hitler and Mussolini) argued that the secret of demagoguery was to repeat an idea over and over again in order to create a "contagion" which would infect the popular mind and hold the culture in its grip. This is what, until very recently, happened with the global warming religion.

But this contagion can only keep going, Le Bon argues, so long as those spreading it possess "prestige" in the eyes of the mob. Once that "prestige" is lost, the crowd turns brutally against those seers and experts and leaders in whom it once had such faith. Suddenly it sees them for the liars and cheats and manipulators they really are.

This is what is happening now in the great climate debate. Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann's new book is not selling; George Monbiot is mocked as a conspiracy theorist; the Royal Society's Sir Paul Nurse climate science ignorance is eviscerated in a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation; Yale economics professor William D Nordhaus publishes an essay in the New York Review of Books called Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong - and is almost instantaneously and comprehensively rebutted at Watts Up With That?

The high priests of global warming have lost their prestige. They're still chanting the same old mantras. But no one's listening, no one cares.


Hansen Says He Is Shy – Demonstrates That He Is Either Senile Or Corrupt
Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, began a recent TED talk with two important questions.

He asks, “What do I know that would cause me — a reticent, midwestern scientist — to get myself arrested in front of the White House protesting? And what would you do if you knew what I know?”

He seeks constant media attention, but is shy.
Hansen explains that his work as a climate scientist dates back to 1981 and a paper he co-authored on global warming. He and his colleagues found that “observed warming of 0.4 C in the prior century was consistent with the greenhouse effect of increasing CO2.” He says that they also found, “that Earth would likely warm in the 1980s, and warming would exceed the noise level of random weather by the end of the century.”

Vostok ice cores show 12C swings in temperature as normal, but Hansen says 0.4C is abnormal. GISS is currently at 0.36.
Most strikingly, Hansen says, the paper predicted that the 21st century “would see shifting climate zones, creation of drought-prone regions in North America and Asia, erosion of ice sheets, rising sea levels and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.”

Alzheimers or corruption? Hansen wrote the text below in 1999. At one time he knew about the Dust Bowl.
Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

Regardless of whether he is a crook or has simply lost his memory, he needs to step down. All of North America is drought prone, and has been for as long as people have been living here.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

The Greens Think You're Stupid

By Alan Caruba

Every day sends me an email that features links to several articles on issues they regard as urgent and important. If I had no knowledge of science or much else, I would be spending my days in a state of panic and that would be just fine with the EcoWatch folks.

In late February, one of the articles to which one could link was “Top Earth Scientists Warn of Global Ecological Emergency” that was the epitome of everything that is wrong with the environmental movement in general and the machinery of the United Nations whose goal is to be the single global government with which to rule the Earth. Towards this end, the UN has an Environmental Program whose most recent gift to humanity has been three decades of lies about “global warming.”

Now the UN has its eyes set on “transforming” the world’s economic system in general and the destruction of capitalism in particular. That is what the upcoming Rio+2- Earth Summit in June is all about. Why anyone would believe anything these people have to say defies explanation.

“Ecological Internet (EI) reiterates is declaration of a planetary ecological emergency, first issued two years ago. Since then abrupt climate change has revealed itself in all its fury. Habitat loss and extinction have intensified, food and water have become increasingly scarce, and human inequity and injustice have grown.”

This kind of Chicken Little blather is the very lifeblood of environmentalism.

If individuals and nations cannot be driven to pay dearly for “carbon credits” in order to emit carbon dioxide, than some new scheme must be devised and driven by the same scare tactics and campaigns that worked for global warming until it became apparent that it was a complete fraud and those who advanced it little more than criminals with PhDs.

Parenthetically, it is precisely the Big Lie of carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” that is at the heart of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule-making that would destroy the nation’s manufacturing and energy production sectors.

Americans and others around the world are largely unaware of the massive propaganda machine, aided and abetted by the news media and even Hollywood, that works relentlessly to shape public perceptions and opinion.

In just four day’s time, EcoWatch emails provided twenty-four links to stories, some of which had the following headlines:

“Who’s Funding Climate Change Denial?”

“Overfishing leaves Swaths of Mediterranean Barren”

“Water Scarcity Impacts at Least 2.7 Billion People Each Year”

“As Fracking Boom Hits Ohio, Deceptive Industry Practices Squeeze Landowners”

“10 Ways Monsanto and Big Ag Are Trying to Kill You—And the Planet”

“School Lunchrooms Put Planet and Kids at Risk”

“7 Dangerous Lies About Plastic”

There are common environmentalist themes in just these few examples. All corporations are evil, but those seeking to provide sources of energy are more evil than, say, those providing farmers the means to grow more crops to feed more people. Anything that might improve the economy or enhance the lives of Americans is vigorously opposed.

The use of deliberate deception is a constant factor in environmental claims.

The assault on America’s children continues unabated, especially in their classrooms where they are routinely taught that humans are to blame for destroying entire eco-systems, the climate, and everything else.

The latest abuse of young minds is “The Lorax”, an animated film that one critic said “all but shouts its disdain for capitalism” as the Lorax proclaims “I speak for the trees.” Another critique concluded that the film “is relentless in propagandizing how the use of natural resources to create consumer products is inevitably catastrophic.”

In sum, environmentalists, the vast matrix of eco-organizations, and the United Nations, all think you’re stupid. They are counting on it, but they are taking no chances as they overwhelm the news media, motion pictures, the Internet, and every other form of communication with their message that we must abandon common sense for their brand of Green slavery.


A classic of throwing good money after bad: After the Volt Debacle, Obama Calls for More Spending on Car Batteries

President Barack Obama is discussing spending more on green energy and on electric car batteries less than a week after the bailed-out General Motors temporarily laid off 1,300 employees and halted the production of the Chevy Volt.

Obama, speaking Tuesday night to the Business Roundtable at the Newseum, and said, “folks are getting killed right now with gas prices,” acknowledging the need for more production of oil and natural gas.

“It also means, though, we’ve got to invest in the energy sources of the future,” Obama said. “We’ve got to invest in clean energy. We’ve got to invest in efficiency. We’ve got to make sure that the advanced batteries for electric cars, for example, are manufactured here in the United States.”

Earlier on Tuesday, during a White House news conference, Obama asserted he did not want gas prices higher while he was running for reelection.

“Just from a political perspective, do you think a president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?” Obama asked rhetorically to the room full of reporters and cameramen.

During the Tuesday night speech to the Business Roundtable, the business leaders had the opportunity for a question and answer. However the accompanying press pool was ushered out of the room so as not to hear the Q & A. According to the White House pool report, the president was overheard saying, “This doesn't look like a tweeting crowd.”

Obama also touted the auto bailout for saving the industry in the United States. He said a similar comeback can happen in American manufacturing.

“What's happened in the auto industry can happen in other areas, and we've got to make sure that we understand even though manufacturing will not be the same percentage of our economy as it once was, it still remains this incredible multiplier for services and consumers and prosperity all across America,” Obama said.

In light of rising gas prices, Obama has also come under criticism for promoting algae as a solution to the fuel problems, claiming 17 percent of U.S. oil imports could be replaced with biofuels.

“We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance, algae - you’ve got a bunch of algae out here,” Obama told an audience at the University of Miami in late February. “If we could figure out how to make fuel out of that, we’ll be doing all right.”



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, 2012

U.S. February figures reinforce recent cooling trend

The original warming scare was based on a trend that was observed for only about 20 years in the second half of the 20th century. The figures below show that there has now been a COOLING trend over a similar time-period: "The trend for 1990 to 2012 is - 1.27 F / Decade". So, using Warmist logic, we should all now be shrieking about the dangers of freezing to death! -- JR

The official February temperature figures are out. As usual I thought it would be interesting to look at the recent February US temperature from a “historic” perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 112 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 42 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

And as I always point out:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.

US temperature February 1990-2012

The trend for 1990 to 2012 is - 1.27 F / Decade

US temperature February 2000-2012

The trend for 2000 to 2012 is - 1.63 F / Decade

And as I said in the beginning – always remember that these figures are based on the official data that has been tweaked, “adjusted” and manipulated to fit their agenda (cool the past, ignore UHI and land use change factors, huge smoothing radius – 1200km etc.)..

So the “warming trend” 2000-2012 for February is exactly - 1.63 F degrees a decade. That is a - 16.3 F COOLER in 100 years. That’s what I call “warming”!

Noticing the “accelerated warming” trend??

And to REALLY show you this “accelerated warming” trend lets recapitulate the last three months and their trend /decade (see my previous posts):

US temperature December 2000-2011

The trend for 2000 to 2011 is - 0.86 F / Decade

US temperature January 2000-2012

The trend for 2000 to 2012 is - 1.18 F / Decade

US temperature February 2000-2012

The trend for 2000 to 2012 is - 1.63 F / Decade

You REALLY, REALLY can see the accelerating trend can you not?

Take cover – The sweat is really breaking out.

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, worship and blindly follows (especially our intelligent politicians), it should be EXACTLY the opposite.

And we are supposed to be very worried about a predicted rise of 3-4 F? But not this ACTUAL trend?

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

More Warmist psychologizing

For a Warmist, anything is better than looking at actual temperature data!

Liberal foundations (there are several prominent ones) that fund efforts here in the United States to make sure climate change is properly reported, and to have rapid response in place to rebut arguments from climate skeptics -- they all live in their heads. Their approach is rational. They underappreciate the fact that the issue at hand is emotional and visceral.

Conservative attack dogs understand this. They have no hesitation going for the jugular, or playing to our most primordial instincts and fears. The liberal elite, meanwhile, continue to try to influence policy and public opinion by citing science, by correcting factual mistakes and by engaging in "substantive debate."

They will never win, because they are not only playing by the wrong rules, they are playing the wrong game.

Prompting action on climate change requires open warfare. Gloves off. If there are rules, they are street rules, i.e. logic is out the window. On the street, it is all about protecting your people.

The idea that accurate reporting will change the way anyone thinks or acts on Capitol Hill is ridiculous. It's like planting a seed in Death Valley and expecting it to miraculously sprout into a beautiful carbon-mitigating flower. Not going to happen.

New research from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change backs that up: Almost 4 in 10 Americans still don't believe in man-made climate change (and that's actually an improvement from 50 percent in 2010). Additional research by Third Way, a moderate Washington think tank, unveils an alternative to focusing messaging on global warming, and this alternative is rooted in the idea of talking about the benefits of arresting climate change.

As any good marketer knows, when you're selling something, you're selling the personal benefits, not the product itself. In the same sense with climate change, we need to sell the benefits of stopping man-made climate change.

Recent focus groups conducted in Ohio and North Carolina by Third Way confirm this approach. Besides concluding that "voters in traditional energy states want to get America running on clean energy," their findings -- Moving Clean Energy to the Center: Insights from Swing Voters in the Midwest and South -- reached three other important conclusions:

* Focusing on long-term economic growth potential and the consequences of inaction works. Selling near-term job creation doesn't.

* Tapping into concerns about pollution and the strong desire to eliminate coal works. Focusing simply on climate change doesn't.
Describing a vision of government as a facilitator for the private sector works. Direct spending by government doesn't.

As the California campaign against Proposition 23 last year proved, concern about public health because of pollution made a huge difference in defeating the proposition, which aimed to cancel the state's nation-leading and progressive climate policy.


Why Early Earth Didn't Freeze Over Still a Mystery

A "consensus" crumbles: No sign of a CO2-induced warming effect billions of years ago. Maybe something like a Greenhouse Effect exists somewhere in the universe. But it has yet to be found on earth

Global warming gases cannot explain why Earth was not frozen billions of years ago when the sun was cooler, researchers say.

In the Archean Eon about 2.5 billion to 4 billion years ago, before the first advanced life appeared on the planet, the sun was only about 70 percent as bright as it is today. This means the amount of heat felt on Earth was much less, and Earth's surface should have been frozen.

However, ancient rocks at Isua near the southwest coast of Greenland indicate liquid water and even life was present on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago. "So Earth's climate had to be somewhere between the freezing point and boiling point of water, and probably pretty close to the temperature we have today, which sustains life," said researcher Emily Pope, an isotope geochemist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

The contradiction between the cold Earth that apparently should have existed and the temperate Earth that apparently did exist is known as the "faint young sun paradox." Until now, the most popular explanation for this enigma was that there was a higher concentration of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than today. These gases absorb heat from the sun, helping warm the planet.

"Just like the average temperature of Earth is getting higher today because there are more greenhouse gases than there were before the Industrial Revolution, or even before the invention of agriculture, the presence of high concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane should have kept the early Earth warm," Pope said.

For greenhouse gases to explain the faint young sun paradox, their concentrations would need to have been extremely high, hundreds to thousands of times as much as today.

"If levels of carbon dioxide were that high, they would be recorded in ancient soils and sediments in the rock record," Pope said. "If levels of methane were that high, they would actually form a kind of organic haze in the atmosphere that blocks the sun's rays and would counteract its properties as a greenhouse gas."

Now scientists analyzing relatively pristine 3.8-billion-year-old rocks from Isua find no evidence that greenhouse gas levels were high enough to explain the faint young sun paradox, further deepening the mystery, Pope told LiveScience.

Specifically, researchers looked at serpentine mineral deposits, which form when ancient seawater interacts with deep ocean crust (the outer layer of Earth). These deposits record details of the water such as the hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios found within, which rely in part on ocean size. Isotopes are atoms of the same element, like hydrogen, with differing numbers of neutrons. Light hydrogen isotopes are more likely to be found in the air and escape into space than heavier ones; the smaller the oceans, the more their waters will have slightly lower concentrations of light isotopes.

The rocks suggest that the oceans were up to 26 percent larger in the past. These shrunk over time to present-day volumes — seawater became trapped in newly formed continental rocks, and hydrogen that is one of the key ingredients of water instead escaped to outer space.

The rate of hydrogen loss to space is linked to atmospheric levels of methane and carbon dioxide; both these greenhouse gases can interact with hydrogen and other gases such as oxygen in complex ways. The hydrogen loss rate the researchers estimated based on these findings suggests that concentrations of these greenhouse gases were nowhere near high enough to reconcile the faint young sun paradox.

"We have new concrete data that characterizes the early oceans," Pope said. "This will hugely help our ability to put realistic constraints on our models of how Earth's oceans and atmosphere first evolved."

An alternative explanation for the faint young sun paradox is that early in Earth history, there were fewer continents because a number had not formed yet; less land mass would have meant less cloud cover, because there weren't biologically generated particles such as pollen and spores that could behave as seeds around which the clouds could form.

"The result was that the planet, covered mostly by oceans, was darker, and like an asphalt road on a hot day, could absorb a lot more heat, enough to keep the Earth clement," Pope told LiveScience.

The scientists detailed their findings online March 5 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


£120 billion gamble on wind turbines in Britain: Green energy 'ten times dearer than power stations'

A rush to green energy by spending billions covering much of the countryside with wind turbines would be an expensive blunder, a damning study has found.

Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University said the massive programme will cost consumers £120billion by 2020 through higher bills.

This is almost ten times more than the £13billion it would cost to generate the same amount of electricity from efficient gas-fired power stations, according to the leading energy and environment economist.

Supporters of wind power insist the key benefit is that it allows a huge reduction in CO2 emissions, in line with EU obligations.

This is challenged in the study, which suggests the switch to wind will actually deliver only a tiny reduction.

The report is published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think-tank devoted to challenging conventional wisdom about climate change. GWPF’s chairman is the former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson and its findings are backed by Lib Dem peer Emma Nicholson.

Professor Hughes said families are being forced to subsidise wind farms through their bills. Meanwhile business energy costs are also being driven up, so harming their profits and ability to invest and grow.

By contrast around a dozen landowners who allow wind farms to be erected on their property are to share an £850million subsidy windfall. A wind turbine generating £150,000 of electricity a year is eligible for ‘monstrous subsidies’ of £250,000 a year.

Professor Hughes warned: ‘Unless the Government scales back its commitments to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder.’

Wind farm support stems from a pledge in the 2008 Climate Change Act for a 34 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. However, Professor Hughes insists figures show opting for wind power rather than building efficient gas-fired power stations will – at best – reduce emissions by 2.8 per cent.

He said the figure is so low because any investment in wind farms will have to be backed up with the building of gas turbine power stations to ensure the lights stay on when there is no wind.

Professor Hughes said: ‘There is nothing inherently good or bad about investing in renewable energy and green technology. The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment to a technology that is not very green but which is very expensive and inflexible.’

Baroness Nicholson joined the attack, saying: ‘A dozen of the biggest landowners will between them receive almost £850million in subsidies, a huge amount paid by ordinary families through hidden taxes on their electricity bills. ‘I am immensely unhappy wind power has attracted such monstrous subsidies. I am particularly unhappy because the facts have been hidden from the consumer who will have to pay the bill for this folly.’

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said developing wind power will mean the UK is less reliant on imported gas. She said: ‘We need investment in new energy capacity. Wind will be a crucial part of that, alongside gas, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage.

‘Home grown renewables will help insulate our economy and consumers from depending excessively on gas imports.’


Wind power companies lose luster with investors

Surprisingly enough!

The weather's getting worse for wind-power companies, which are finding it increasingly difficult to attract venture backers.

U.S. investments in turbine farms and wind-energy businesses tumbled 38 percent last year to $9.7 billion, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Venture capitalists have practically left the sector altogether. They invested only $177.6 million in wind startups last year, down 71 percent from the year before.

Wind power is bucking a broader trend for clean energy, which is seeing a surge of investment. Venture backers pumped $4.29 billion into the sector in 2011, up 13 percent from the previous year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. With wind, it's harder for early investors to afford the large outlay of cash needed to get a business off the ground, said Jason Matlof, a partner at Battery Ventures in Menlo Park.

"We can't compete as venture investors in capitalizing energy companies," Matlof said.

There's also a glut of turbine production - fueled by investments over the last half decade in the United States, Europe and Asia - and not enough demand. Global purchases of turbines will fall 14 percent this year from 2010 and won't surpass 2011 levels for two years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.

That's hurting the biggest makers of turbines, the giant fanlike devices that turn kinetic energy from gusts of wind into mechanical energy. Vestas Wind Systems in the Netherlands and India's Suzlon Energy reported wider-than-anticipated losses last month, and China's Sinovel Wind Group estimates that its 2011 profit fell by more than half from 2010. The companies have seen their stocks plunge in the past year.

With a market that's battering publicly traded companies, there's little room for startups to find opportunities, said Matlof, whose firm has invested in one early-stage wind company, Modular Wind Energy.

"Historically, there's been a handful of wind turbine companies that own all the development, all the technology and all the integration," he said.

Wind companies in the United States also face the expiration of a tax credit at the end of this year, adding to their risk. The industry is seeking a four-year extension to the credit, which helps lower the cost of wind power to make it more competitive with traditional sources of energy.

Venture capitalists for the most part are steering their investments toward technologies that make existing energy sources more efficient and alternative-energy sources easier to deploy, Matlof said.

As far as investing in production itself, "that is not a winning formula going forward," he said.


Australia: Hospitals face $170m hit from sick carbon tax

VICTORIA'S health system faces a $170 million carbon tax slug in the next decade. A secret report reveals the controversial tax will add 15 per cent to hospital power bills.

Private hospital patients also face higher charges, as leading operators warn they will pass on tens of millions of dollars in costs of the Gillard Government's greenhouse emissions scheme.

2A report commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health reveals the state's public hospitals will have to find $12.3 million more for energy bills in the first year of the carbon tax.

Cost increases will also hit medical supplies such as anaesthetic. Ambulance and hospital catering bills will soar.

Hospital catering costs will rise by $131,000 from next year, while Victoria's ambulance service will have to find an extra $334,000 as higher energy and aviation fuel costs flow through.

The total annual tax hit from July across the public health sector will be $13.4 million.

The Sinclair Knight Merz report, obtained by the Herald Sun, shows carbon tax costs will rise to $14.8 million in 2014 and hit $19 million by 2020. Over 10 years, the total cost to the Victorian public health system will be $170 million - about two thirds of the price of a new Monash Children's Hospital, which is still to be financed.

According to the report, "the carbon price results in an average real increase of 14 per cent" in electricity prices while natural gas will rise by an even steeper 16 per cent next year.

For Melbourne's biggest public hospitals, such as the Alfred and the Austin, the annual cost will be about $1 million. "Should the Federal Government not come to the party and compensate our hospitals for this massive impost, it's Victorian patients that will suffer," Health Minister David Davis said. "This tax will slow the growth in operations and other patient services."

Private hospitals warned the tax could result in higher private higher insurance premiums.

Chris Rex, the head of Australia's largest private hospital chain, Ramsey Health Care, said his company expects to pass on the costs.

A spokesman for federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the costs of health services were forecast to rise by just 0.3 per cent - 10c a week for the average household - according to Treasury modelling.

The Government will provide increased family payments and pensions to counter the effects of the carbon tax on family living costs.



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, 2012

Announcing SaveTheBarredOwl.Com

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) today announced the launching of, a website devoted to exposing the harm done by federal government regulations designed to "help" the environment.

The website is inspired by the case of the Barred Owl, which has been given the federal government death penalty due to its rudely sharing the habitat with the "sacred" Spotted Owl.

"The federal government has wiped out almost the entire timber industry in the northwestern United States in an effort to save the spotted owl only to discover that the endangered owl thrives in land where timbering occurs. Now, years later, the federal government is back trying to wipe out the Barred Owl so it won't compete for food with the favored Spotted Owl."

Young and old alike will remember the Barred Owl, which was used as the model in the federal government's beloved "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" campaign. In homage to this government advertising effort, Americans for Limited Government has named its Barred Owl campaign, "Give a Hoot, Don't Shoot!"

Ironically, the U.S. Department of the Interior's decision to kill Barred Owls is a response to their own failed policy that destroyed the habitat that the endangered Spotted Owl actually thrives in.

Wilson summarized the campaign saying, "The case of the Spotted Owl is just one more example of the federal government acting at the behest of environmental extremists and the wake of destruction that they leave in their paths. The Barred Owl campaign will put a spotlight on these lowlights and hold those government agencies responsible and accountable for the consequences of their actions."

The website launched by Americans for Limited Government will provide a place for Americans to voice their concerns about the government's actions with a specific petition calling on Congress to defund all actions pertaining to the planned annihilation of the Barred Owl species.

Received via email

Cooling forecast for the Arctic

Anything connected with the Arctic seems to give Warmists erections so something deflationary about the Arctic should be of particular interest. And note that this forecast is based on actual trends, not on models with all sorts of speculative input.

Situated at 78 degrees North, Longyearbyen is a Norwegian town well inside the Arctic circle (66 degrees North)
Solar activity and Svalbard temperatures

By Jan-Erik Solheim et al.


The long temperature series at Svalbard (Longyearbyen) show large variations, and a positive trend since its start in 1912. During this period solar activity has increased, as indicated by shorter solar cycles. The temperature at Svalbard is negatively correlated with the length of the solar cycle. The strongest negative correlation is found with lags 10-12 years. The relations between the length of a solar cycle and the mean temperature in the following cycle, is used to model Svalbard annual mean temperature, and seasonal temperature variations. Residuals from the annual and winter models show no autocorrelations on the 5 per cent level, which indicates that no additional parameters are needed to explain the temperature variations with 95 per cent significance. These models show that 60 per cent of the annual and winter temperature variations are explained by solar activity. For the spring, summer and fall temperatures autocorrelations in the residuals exists, and additional variables may contribute to the variations. These models can be applied as forecasting models. We predict an annual mean temperature decrease for Svalbard of 3.5±2 oC from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 (2009--?20) and a decrease in the winter temperature of ~6 oC.

To be published in a Special Issue of "Advances in Meteorology" on Svalbard Meteorology in March 15 2012

Those pesky sunspots again

Warmists don't want to know about them -- with good reason. Sunspots really do influence temperature, unlike CO2
The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24

By Jan-Erik Solheim et al.


Relations between the length of a sunspot cycle and the average temperature in the same and the next cycle are calculated for a number of meteorological stations in Norway and in the North Atlantic region. No significant trend is found between the length of a cycle and the average temperature in the same cycle, but a significant negative trend is found between the length of a cycle and the temperature in the next cycle. This provides a tool to predict an average temperature decrease of at least 1 degree Celsius from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 for the stations and areas analyzed. We find for the Norwegian local stations investigated that 25–56% of the temperature increase the last 150 years may be attributed to the Sun. For 3 North Atlantic stations we get 63–72% solar contribution. This points to the Atlantic currents as reinforcing a solar signal.


* A longer solar cycle predicts lower temperatures during the next cycle.

* A 1 °C or more temperature drop is predicted 2009–2020 for certain locations.

* Solar activity may have contributed 40% or more to the last century temperature increase.

* A lag of 11 years gives maximum correlation between solar cycle length and temperature.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics

New paper shows major glacier was smaller than the present during the Medieval Warming Period

A paper published today in the journal Climate of the Past used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of trees uncovered in 2003 by retreat of a major glacier located in Southern Patagonia. The authors conclude that the glacier was smaller than the present during the Medieval Warming Period, and that the trees were covered by advance of the glacier during the Little Ice Age from 460 to 250 years ago.
Little Ice Age advance and retreat of Glaciar Jorge Montt, Chilean Patagonia

By A. Rivera et al.


Glacier Jorge Montt (48°20' S/73°30' W), one of the main tidewater glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Icefield (SPI), has experienced the greatest terminal retreat observed in Patagonia during the past century, with a recession of 19.5 km between 1898 and 2011. This retreat has revealed trees laying subglacially until 2003. These trees were dated using radiocarbon, yielding burial ages between 460 and 250 cal yrs BP. The presence of old growth forest during those dates indicates that Glacier Jorge Montt was upvalley of its present position before the commonly recognized Little Ice Age (LIA) period in Patagonia. The post-LIA retreat was most likely triggered by climatically induced changes during the 20th century; however, Glacier Jorge Montt has responded more dramatically than its neighbours. The retreat of Jorge Montt opened a 19.5 km long fjord since 1898, which reaches depths in excess of 390 m. The bathymetry is well correlated with glacier retreat rates, suggesting that dynamic responses of the glacier are at least partially connected to near buoyancy conditions at the ice front, resulting in high calving fluxes, accelerating thinning rates and rapid ice velocities.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia: Greenie mayor stymied by State government conservatives

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell spikes Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore's city-of-bikes strategy. Zeg will be pleased

Clover Moore in Greenie uniform

THE Sydney CBD's controversial network of bike paths has hit a major road block - Premier Barry O'Farrell. Declaring war on Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Mr O'Farrell will today announce new laws that will take away Ms Moore's transport and traffic planning powers. Under the changes, a joint state government-City of Sydney committee will manage the city's transport issues.

The move comes after it was revealed yesterday Ms Moore was planning to make on-street parking as expensive as commercial carparks and hoped to turn dozens of parking bays into bike racks.

"There will be no extension of bike lanes, no change to traffic routes unless it goes through this committee on which the government has four nominees," the Premier said.

"The Sydney CBD is too important to be held hostage to the political constituency of Clover Moore. It's very clear Clover Moore's pitch for re-election is built around more bike lanes and making the CBD as unfriendly to cars as possible. That is why we have decided to act in the best interests of wider Sydney."

The committee will have four representatives from the government, including the transport ministry director-general, as well as three representatives from council. Asked what he would do if Ms Moore did not fill the council spots, the Premier said the committee would operate with only the government's nominees.

Mr O'Farrell said the government was taking action on behalf of CBD workers, businesses, residents and visitors to "ensure major transport decisions are properly co-ordinated between the NSW government and City of Sydney Council".

The Premier said the government was in disagreement with the council on speed limits and car access to the CBD, the provision of layover space for buses, the extension of the network of bikeways and the extension of low-speed shared zones. "The lord mayor's vision of the CBD is at odds with Sydney's position as a global city," Mr O'Farrell said.

The Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee would be responsible for "co-ordinating plans and policies for public transport and traffic within central Sydney and making decisions on major transport issues".

"Sydney is Australia's only global city and the CBD deserves a first rate and properly functioning roads and transport system," Mr O'Farrell said. "Transport issues in the Sydney CBD have a far broader impact on the state's economic activity. We need to ensure both levels of government working together to deliver the best results for the state's economy.

"I've come to the conclusion that the only way to ensure this is to establish a legal framework that requires coordination between the state and the council, modelled on the successful Central Sydney Planning Committee." Mr O'Farrell said the committee would "for the first time, bring all traffic and transport decision-making under the one umbrella".

Ms Moore warned today that the transport authority could become just another layer of bureaucracy for Sydney. In a statement she said she was interested to see how the new system would differ from current arrangements. "The city has limited powers and the NSW government already has to approve all of the city's transport projects - including all bike routes," she said.

She added the council already worked closely with NSW transport agencies. "The city has neither stopped anything the state has sought to improve transport, nor has the city done anything without state approval," she said. "So unless this new panel has any authority or funding to take action, it will be in danger of becoming just another level of bureaucracy."

Both the council and the government shared the same objective in wanting to see 80 per cent of city commuters using public transport and 10 per cent of all trips made by cycling, she said.


Coal hatred from Greenpeace Australia

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson on Tuesday said environmental activists were living in "fantasy land" after a plan to disrupt the country's coal export boom was leaked to the media.

Greenpeace is spearheading a multi-million dollar campaign to disrupt and delay key projects and infrastructure by eroding public support for the industry while funding legal challenges against controversial mines.

The plan also involves exploiting opposition to coal-seam gas to put pressure on governments to block mining, The Australian reported, citing confidential documents.

Australian resources, including coal, are in big demand from developing countries such as India and China as they build power projects to fuel their fast-growing economies.

But environmentalists are concerned about the impact of the boom on farmland and groundwater aquifers as land is increasingly used for mining, as well as the consequences for climate change.

"If we fail to act decisively over the next two years, it will be too late to have any chance of stopping almost all of the key infrastructure projects and most of the mega-mines," the Greenpeace-led coalition says.

It added that it was seeking investment "to help us build a nationwide coal campaign that functions like an orchestra with a large number of different voices combining together into a powerful symphony".

Emerson said the concept was "recklessly irresponsible". "The idea of flicking a switch from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable energy cannot be done," he said. "We would have a global depression if we just said 'that's it, we're out of coal, we are just going to move to renewable energy' just because they believe that is good for the world. "It would mean mass starvation and they ought to wake up to that, instead of living in a fantasy land and organising these sorts of campaigns."

The trade minister said Australia was tackling issues of concern by putting a price on carbon pollution from July 1.

From that date, a levy of Aus$23 (US$23.80) per tonne of carbon pollution will apply before the country moves to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

Greenpeace Australia's John Hepburn, co-author of the campaign document, told ABC radio there were legitimate concerns about the scale of the mining boom. "We're looking at mega-mines that would increase Australia's coal exports two or threefold within the next 10 years, with massive impacts on our best farmland, on our groundwater aquifers, on the global climate," he said.

"And they're also having a big negative impact on the economy, destroying jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. So we think it's completely legitimate."

Mining-powered Australia was the only advanced economy to dodge recession during the global downturn due to the resilience of resources exports to Asia, but other parts of the economy are struggling due to the strong local dollar.



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, 2012

Gone with the wind in Britain

The government has finally seen through the wind-farm scam - but why did it take them so long?

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine - despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron's government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. The biggest investors in offshore wind - Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens - are starting to worry that the government's heart is not in wind energy any more. Vestas, which has plans for a factory in Kent, wants reassurance from the Prime Minister that there is the political will to put up turbines before it builds its factory.

This forces a decision from Cameron - will he reassure the turbine magnates that he plans to keep subsidising wind energy, or will he retreat? The political wind has certainly changed direction. George Osborne is dead set against wind farms, because it has become all too clear to him how much they cost. The Chancellor's team quietly encouraged MPs to sign a letter to No. 10 a few weeks ago saying that `in these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines'.

Putting the things offshore may avoid objections from the neighbours, but (Chancellor, beware!) it makes even less sense, because it costs you and me - the taxpayers - double. I have it on good authority from a marine engineer that keeping wind turbines upright in the gravel, tides and storms of the North Sea for 25 years is a near hopeless quest, so the repair bill is going to be horrific and the output disappointing. Already the grouting in the foundations of hundreds of turbines off Kent, Denmark and the Dogger Bank has failed, necessitating costly repairs.

In Britain the percentage of total energy that comes from wind is only 0.6 per cent. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, `policies intended to meet the EU Renewables Directive in 2020 will impose extra consumer costs of approximately œ15 billion per annum' or œ670 per household. It is difficult to see what value will be got for this money. The total carbon emissions saved by the great wind rush is probably below 1 per cent, because of the need to keep fossil fuels burning as back-up when the wind does not blow. It may even be a negative number.

America is having far better luck. Carbon emissions in the United States fell by 7 per cent in 2009, according to a Harvard study. But the study concluded that this owes less to the recession that year than the falling price of natural gas - caused by the shale gas revolution. (Burning gas emits less than half as much carbon dioxide as coal for the same energy output.) The gas price has fallen even further since, making coal seem increasingly pricey by comparison. All over America, from Utah to West Virginia, coal mines are being closed and coal plants idled or cancelled. (The US Energy Information Administration calculates that every $4 spent on shale purchases the same energy as $25 spent on oil: at this rate, more and more vehicles will switch to gas.)

So even if you accept the most alarming predictions of climate change, those turbines that have ruined your favourite view are doing nothing to help. The shale gas revolution has not only shamed the wind industry by showing how to decarbonise for real, but has blown away its last feeble argument - that diminishing supplies of fossil fuels will cause their prices to rise so high that wind eventually becomes competitive even without a subsidy. Even if oil stays dear, cheap gas is now likely to last many decades.

Though they may not admit it for a while, most ministers have realised that the sums for wind power just don't add up and never will. The discovery of shale gas near Blackpool has profound implications for the future of British energy supply, which the government has seemed sheepishly reluctant to explore. It has a massive subsidy programme in place for wind farms, which now seem obsolete both as a means of energy production and decarbonisation. It is almost impossible to see what function they serve, other than making a fortune from those who profit from the subsidy scam.

Even in a boom, wind farms would have been unaffordable - with their economic and ecological rationale blown away. In an era of austerity, the policy is doomed, though so many contracts have been signed that the expansion of wind farms may continue, for a while. But the scam has ended. And as we survey the economic and environmental damage, the obvious question is how the delusion was maintained for so long. There has been no mystery about wind's futility as a source of affordable and abundant electricity - so how did the wind-farm scam fool so many policymakers?

One answer is money. There were too many people with snouts in the trough. Not just the manufacturers, operators and landlords of the wind farms, but financiers: wind-farm venture capital trusts were all the rage a few years ago - guaranteed income streams are what capitalists like best; they even get paid to switch the monsters off on very windy days so as not to overload the grid. Even the military took the money. Wind companies are paying for a new œ20 million military radar at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland so as to enable the Ministry of Defence to lift its objection to the 48-turbine Fallago Rig wind farm in Berwickshire.

The big conservation organisations have been disgracefully silent on the subject, like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which until last year took generous contributions from the wind industry through a venture called RSPB Energy. Even journalists: at a time when advertising is in short supply, British newspapers have been crammed full of specious but lucrative `debates' and supplements on renewable energy sponsored by advertising from a cohort of interest groups.

And just as the scam dies, I find I am now part of it. A family trust has signed a deal to receive œ8,500 a year from a wind company, which is building a turbine on land that once belonged to my grandfather. He was canny enough not to sell the mineral rights, and the foundations of the turbine disturbs those mineral rights, so the trustees are owed compensation. I will not get the money, because I am not a beneficiary of the trust. Nonetheless, the idea of any part of my family receiving `wind-gelt' is so abhorrent that I have decided to act. The real enemy is not wind farms per se, but groupthink and hysteria which allowed such a flawed idea to progress - with a minimum of intellectual opposition. So I shall be writing a cheque for œ8,500, which The Spectator will give as a prize to the best article devoted to rational, fact-based environmental journalism.

It will be called the Matt Ridley prize for environmental heresy. Barring bankruptcy, I shall donate the money as long as the wind-gelt flows - so the quicker Dave cancels the subsidy altogether, the sooner he will have me and the prizewinners off his back.

Entrants are invited forthwith, and a panel of judges will reward the most brilliant and rational argument - that uses reason and evidence - to gore a sacred cow of the environmental movement. There are many to choose from: the idea that wind power is good for the climate, or that biofuels are good for the rain forest, or that organic farming is good for the planet, or that climate change is a bigger extinction threat than invasive species, or that the most sustainable thing we can do is de-industrialise.

My donation, though significant for me, is a drop in the ocean compared with the money that pours into the green movement every hour. Jeremy Grantham, a hedge-fund plutocrat, wrote a cheque for œ12 million to the London School of Economics to found an institute named after him, which has since become notorious for its aggressive stance and extreme green statements. Between them, Greenpeace and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) spend nearly a billion a year. WWF spends $68 million a year on `public education' alone. All of this is judged uncontroversial: a matter of education, not propaganda.

By contrast, a storm of protest broke recently over the news that one small conservative think-tank called Heartland was proposing to spend just $200,000 in a year on influencing education against climate alarmism. A day later, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with assets of $7.2 billion, gave a grant of $100 million to something called the ClimateWorks Foundation, a pro-wind power organisation, on top of $481 million it gave to the same recipient in 2008. The deep green Sierra Club recently admitted that it took $26 million from the gas industry to lobby against coal.

But money is not the only reason that the entire political establishment came to believe in wind fairies. Psychologists have a term for the wishful thinking by which we accept any means if the end seems virtuous: `noble-cause corruption'. The phrase was first used by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir John Woodcock in 1992 to explain miscarriages of justice. `It is better that some innocent men remain in jail than the integrity of the English judicial system be impugned,' said the late Lord Denning, referring to the Birmingham Six.

Politicians are especially susceptible to this condition. In a wish to be seen as modern, they will embrace all manner of fashionable causes. When this sets in - groupthink grips political parties, and the media therefore decide there is no debate - the gravest of errors can take root. The subsidising of useless wind turbines was born of a deep intellectual error, one incubated by failure to challenge conventional wisdom.

It is precisely this consensus-worshipping, heretic-hunting environment where the greatest errors can be made. There are some 3,500 wind turbines in Britain, with hundreds more under construction. It would be a shame for them all to be dismantled. The biggest one should remain, like a crane on an abandoned quay, for future generations to marvel at. They will never be an efficient way to generate power. But there can be no better monument to the folly of mankind.


A Hawk Goes Off Message

In his weekend op-ed, Thomas Friedman indicated he was ready to embrace a form of climate pragmatism: "This is a column about energy and environment and why we must not let the poisonous debate about climate change so tie us in knots that we cannot have any energy policy at all, particularly one focused on developing much more efficient use of resources, through better designs and systems."

Friedman still had some tart words for those who think that belief in climate science is a slippery slope to one-world, UN-led government. Actually, this is what he said: "If you are so reckless as to dismiss all climate science as a hoax, and do not accept the data that our planet is getting hotter and the oceans rising, I can't help you."

Translation: He's moving on. He's realized that fighting climate contrarians-much less trying to reason with them-is futile. And counterproductive. He's concluded: "We can't let the climate wars continue to derail efforts to have an energy policy that puts in place rising efficiency standards, for buildings, windows, traffic, housing, packaging and appliances, that will drive innovation - which is our strength - in what has to be the next great global industry: energy and resource efficiency."

Friedman's philosophical shift prompted Andy Revkin to tweet: "Tom Friedman pushes smart-energy endrun past CO2 stasis echoing climate pragmatism"

Needless, to say, this non-climate-centric rhetorical approach was not received well in certain quarters. The Climate Orthodoxy Police (COP), an outfit run by blogger Joe Romm at the Center for American Progress (CAP), sounded its internal alarms. This happens nearly every day when someone goes off message or does anything to undermine the dictates by the COP. Friedman's column definitely put him on the wrong side of COP.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Naomi Klein: `If You Take Climate Change Seriously, You Have to Throw Out the Free-Market Playbook'

Nice to see a prominent Green/Leftist admitting that the entire American way of life is the enemy and that Fascism is the way to go

Klein says in an interview:

"You can set up carbon markets, consumer markets, and just pretend, but if you want to get serious about climate change, really serious, in line with the science, and you want to meet targets like 80 percent emissions cuts by midcentury in the developed world, then you need to be intervening strongly in the economy, and you can't do it all with carbon markets and offsetting. You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. And we need to build public transport systems and light rail and affordable housing along transit lines to lower emissions. The market is not going to step up to this challenge. We must do more: rebuild levees and bridges and the public sphere, because we saw in Katrina what happens when weak infrastructure clashes with heavy weather-it's catastrophe. These climate deniers aren't crazy-their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Why Warmism is not settled science (Excerpt)

by Dr. Robert Brown, Duke University Physics Department

When I teach students introductory physics, I tell them up front - "Everything I'm going to teach you over the next two semesters is basically wrong - but it works, and works amazingly well, right up to where it doesn't work and we have to find a better, broader explanation." I also tell them not to believe anything I tell them because I'm telling them, and I'm the professor and therefore I know and its up to them to parrot me and believe it or else. I tell them quite the opposite. Believe me because what I teach you makes sense (is consistent), corresponds at least roughly with your own everyday experience, and because when you check it in the labs and by doing computations that can be compared to e.g. planetary observations, they seem to work. And believe me only with a grain of salt then - because further experiments and observations will eventually prove it all wrong.

Where does that leave one in the Great Climate Debate? Well, it damn well should leave you skeptical as all hell. I believe in the theory of relativity. Let me explain that - I really, really believe in the theory of relativity. I believe because it works; it explains all sorts of experimental stuff. I can run down a list of experimental observations that are explained by relativity that could scarcely be explained by anything else - factors of two in spin-orbit coupling constants, the tensor forms and invariants of electromagnetism, the observation of \mu-mesons produced from cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere far down near the surface of the Earth where they have no business being found given a lifetime of \sim 2 microseconds - and observation I personally have made - and of course all the particle accelerators in the known Universe would fail miserably in their engineering if relativity weren't at least approximately correct. Once you believe in relativity (because it works) it makes some very profound statements about causality, time ordering, and so on - things that might well make all the physics I think that I know inconsistent if it were found to be untrue.

Yet I was - and continue to be - at least willing to entertain the possibility that I might have to chuck the whole damn thing, wrong from top to bottom - all because a silly neutrino in Europe seems to be moving faster than it should ever be aver to move. Violations of causality, messages from the future, who knows what carnage such an observation (verified) might wreak! I'm properly skeptical because what we have observed - so far - works so very consistently, and the result itself seems to be solidly excluded by supernova data already in hand, but you know, my beliefs don't dictate reality - it is rather the other way around.

The sad thing about the Great Climate Debate is that so far, there hasn't really been a debate. The result is presented, but no one ever takes questions from the podium and is capable of defending their answers against a knowledgeable and skeptical questioner.

The Great Climate Debate, however, is predicated from the beginning on one things. We know what the global average temperature has been like for the past N years, where N is nearly anything you like. A century. A thousand years. A hundred thousand years. A hundred million years. Four billion years.

We don't, of course. Not even close. Thermometers have only been around in even moderately reliable form for a bit over 300 years - 250 would be a fairer number - and records of global temperatures measured with even the first, highly inaccurate devices are sparse indeed until maybe 200 years ago. Most of the records from over sixty or seventy years ago are accurate to no more than a degree or two F (a degree C), and some of them are far less accurate than that. As Anthony has explicitly demonstrated, one can confound even a digital electronic automatic recording weather station thermometer capable of at least 0.01 degree resolution by the simple act of setting it up in a stupid place, such as the southwest side of a house right above a concrete driveway where the afternoon sun turns its location into a large reflector oven. Or in the case of early sea temperatures, by virtue of measuring pails of water pulled up from over the side with crude instruments in a driving wind cooling the still wet bulb pulled out of the pail.

In truth, we have moderately accurate thermal records that aren't really global, but are at least sample a lot of the globe's surface exclusive of the bulk of the ocean for less than one century. We have accurate records - really accurate records - of the Earth's surface temperatures on a truly global basis for less than forty years. We have accurate records that include for the first time a glimpse of the thermal profile, in depth, of the ocean, that is less than a decade old and counting, and is (as Willis is pointing out) still highly uncertain no matter what silly precision is being claimed by the early analysts of the data. Even the satellite data - precise as it is, global as it is - is far from free from controversy, as the instrumentation itself in the several satellites that are making the measurements do not agree on the measured temperatures terribly precisely.

In the end, nobody really knows the global average temperature of the Earth's surface in 2011 within less than around 1K. If anybody claims to, they are full of shit. Perhaps - and a big perhaps it is - they know it more precisely than this relative to a scheme that is used to compute it from global data that is at least consistent and not crazy - but it isn't even clear that we can define the global average temperature in a way that really makes sense and that different instruments will measure the same way. It is also absolutely incredibly unlikely that our current measurements would in any meaningful way correspond to what the instrumentation of the 18th and 19th century measured and that is turned into global average temperatures, not within more than a degree or two.

This complicates things, given that a degree or two (K) appears to be very close to the natural range of variation of the global average temperature when one does one's best to compute it from proxy records. Things get more complicated still when all of the best proxy reconstructions in the world get turned over and turned out in favor of "tree ring reconstructions" based upon - if not biased by - a few species of tree from a tiny handful of sites around the world.

The argument there is that tree rings are accurate thermometers. Of course they aren't - even people in the business have confessed (in climategate letters, IIRC) that if they go into their own back yards and cut down trees and try to reconstruct the temperature of their own back yard based on the rings, it doesn't work. Trees grow one year because your dog fertilizes them, fail to grow another not because it is cold but because it is dry, grow poorly in a perfect year because a fungus attacks the leaves. If one actually plots tree ring thicknesses over hundreds of years, although there is a very weak signal that might be thermal in nature, there is a hell of a lot of noise - and many, many parts of the world simply don't have trees that survived to be sampled. Such as the 70% of the Earth's surface that is covered by the ocean.

But the complication isn't done yet - the twentieth century perhaps was a period of global warming - at least the period from roughly 1975 to the present where we have reasonably accurate records appears to have warmed a bit - but there were lots of things that made the 20th century, especially the latter half, unique. Two world wars, the invention and widespread use and testing of nuclear bombs that scattered radioactive aerosols throughout the stratosphere, unprecedented deforestation and last but far from least a stretch where the sun appeared to be far more active than it had been at any point in the direct observational record, and (via various radiometric proxies) quite possibly for over 10,000 years. It isn't clear what normal conditions are for the climate - something that historically appears to be nearly perpetually in a state of at least slow change, warming gradually or cooling gradually, punctuated with periods where the heating or cooling is more abrupt (to the extent the various proxy reconstructions can be trusted as representative of truly global temperature averages) - but it is very clear indeed that the latter 19th through the 20th centuries were far from normal by the standards of the previous ten or twenty centuries.

Yet on top of all of this confounding phenomena - with inaccurate and imprecise thermal records in the era of measurements, far less accurate extrapolations of the measurement era using proxies, with at most 30-40 years of actually accurate and somewhat reproducible global thermal measurements, most of it drawn from the period of a Grand Solar Maximum - climatologists have claimed to find a clear signal of anthropogenic global warming caused strictly by human-produced carbon dioxide. They are - it is claimed - certain that no other phenomena could be the proximate cause of the warming. They are certain when they predict that this warming will continue until a global catastrophe occurs that will kill billions of people unless we act in certain ways now to prevent it.

I'm not certain relativity is correct, but they are certain that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a true hypothesis with precise predictions and conclusions. I have learned to doubt numerical simulations that I myself have written that are doing simple, easily understandable things that directly capture certain parts of physics. They are doing far, far more complex numerical simulations - the correct theoretical answer, recall, is a solution to a set of coupled non-Markovian Navier-Stokes equation with a variable external driver and still unknown feedbacks in a chaotic regime with known important variability on multiple decadal or longer timescales - and yet they are certain that their results are correct, given the thirty plus years of accurate global thermal data (plus all of the longer timescale reconstructions or estimates they can produce from the common pool of old data, with all of its uncertainties).

Look, here's how you can tell - to get back to your question. You compare the predictions of their "catastrophic" theory five, ten, twenty years back to the actual data. If there is good agreement, it is at least possible that they are correct. The greater the deviation between observed reality and their predictions, the more likely it is that their result is at least incorrect if not actual bullshit. That's all. Accurately predicting the future isn't proof that they are right, but failing to predict it is pretty strong evidence that they are wrong.

Such a comparison fails. It actually fails way back in the twentieth century, where it fails to predict or explain the cooling from 1945 to roughly 1965-1970. It fails to predict the little ice age. It fails to predict the medieval climate optimum, or the other periods in the last 10,000 years where the proxy record seems to indicate that the world was as warm or warmer than it is today. But even ignoring that - which we can, because those proxy reconstructions are just as doubtful in their own way as the tree-ring reconstructions, with or without a side-serving of confirmation bias to go with your fries - even ignoring that, it fails to explain the 33 or so years of the satellite record, the only arguably reliable measure of actual global temperatures humans have ever made. For the last third of that period, there has been no statistically significant increase in temperature, and it may even be that the temperature has decreased a bit from a 1998 peak. January of 2012 was nearly 0.1C below the 33 year baseline.

This behavior is explainable and understandable, but not in terms of their models, which predicted that the temperature would be considerably warmer, on average, than it appears to be, back when they were predicting the future we are now living. This is evidence that those models are probably wrong, that some of the variables that they have ignored in their theories are important, that some of the equations they have used have incorrect parameters, incorrect feedbacks. How wrong remains to be seen - if global temperatures actually decline for a few years (and stretch out the period with no increase still further in the process) - it could be that their entire model is fundamentally wrong, badly wrong. Or it could be that their models are partially right but had some of the parameters or physics wrong. Or it could even be that the models are completely correct, but neglected confounding things are temporarily masking the ongoing warming that will soon come roaring back with a catastrophic vengeance.

The latter is the story that is being widely told, to keep people from losing faith in a theory that isn't working - so far - the way that it should. And I have only one objection to that. Keep your hands off of my money while the theory is still unproven and not in terribly good agreement with reality!

Well, I have other objections as well - open up the debate, acknowledge the uncertainties, welcome contradictory theories, stop believing in a set of theoretical results as if climate science is some sort of religion. but we can start with shit-canning the IPCC and the entire complex arrangement of "remedies" to a problem that may well be completely ignorable and utterly destined to take care of itself long before it ever becomes a real problem.

No matter what, we will be producing far less CO_2 in 30 years than we are today. Sheer economics and the advance of physics and technology and engineering will make fossil-fuel burning electrical generators as obsolete as steam trains. Long before we reach any sort of catastrophe - assuming that CAGW is correct - the supposed proximate cause of the catastrophe will be reversing itself without anyone doing anything special to bring it about but make sensible economic choices.

In the meantime, it would be so lovely if we could lose one single phrase in the "debate". The CAGW theory is not "settled science". I'm not even sure there is any such thing.


Greenie people-hating never stops

There was a time in the '70s and 80s when psychologists saw misanthropy as a major form of maladjustment. With the rise of the Greenies you don't hear that much any more

Dr Philip Cafaro, who teaches on environmental philosophy and ethics at Colorado State University, has recently written a paper arguing that not just halting but actually reducing the number of people alive may well be necessary to stop global warming: "Ending human population growth is almost certainly a necessary (but not suf?cient) condition for preventing catastrophic global climate change. Indeed, signi?cantly reducing current human numbers may be necessary in order to do so."

Dr Cafaro goes on to argue that the threat of global warming means that any policy other than one which "significantly supports reducing the size of the current human population" simply cannot "pass ethical muster". Therefore: "We should support policies that limit human numbers, not just in the poor countries that are conventionally understood to be overpopulated, but in rich ones, where each additional person generates much larger amounts of greenhouse gases"

Dr Cafaro, perhaps a little paradoxically, portrays this as actually protecting people's rights. Such is the threat posed by global warming, apparently, that not only having children must be curtailed, but also buying stuff and consuming as well: "In order to protect the human rights to life, health and subsistence in the crowded world we have created, we must limit excessive consumption and excessive procreation. Both steps are necessary, since one without the other cannot solve the problem of growing emissions and rising temperatures"

So, it seems that according to Dr Cafaro, as well as "significantly reducing current human numbers" global warming also means that we can no longer be free to buy the car, TV, or computer we want. We have to limit such "excessive consumption" as well as our children. And not just people in the West, but also those irresponsible breeders in non-Western nations. As Dr Cafaro explains for our benefit: "Another way to put this point is that people who are overprocreating, wherever they live, are threatening the human rights of future people. In Bangladesh and Niger, overprocreators are creating people who are likely to suffer from extreme weather events, droughts, and lack of food in the decades to come"

Damn those selfish overprocreators! If only we could somehow reduce their numbers, ey? Dr Cafaro is so concerned about them he has written anti-immigration papers like "The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States" which is available on the website of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Well, we wouldn't want "the human rights of future people" (i.e. people who don't actually exist) to be threatened do we? Much better to significantly constrain our rights to buy what we want, eat what we want and have the number of children we want now than to possibly infringe on the sacred rights of the future people which Dr Cafaro and other environmental ethics professors are concerned about.



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pouring scorn on the Green/Left Lord Mayor of Sydney over her plans to get cars out of the CBD

Australian property developer may sue to trigger rethink on sea level rises

Warmist-inspired laws and regulations being tested in court! Could be fun

CRACKS are appearing in the state's response to rising sea levels, with one council facing potential legal action from a developer and other residents worried about planning controls and insurance risks.

Lake Macquarie Council recently updated its recommendations for about 10,000 people living up to three metres above the average sea level. All their properties could be exposed to inundation and increased flood risks by the end of the century, according to guidelines developed by the CSIRO.

But a property developer, Jeff McCloy, said he was contemplating leading a class action suit against the council, which he said was "falling for this unjustified, worldwide idiocy about sea level rises".

Mr McCloy recently arranged for climate change sceptics Ian Plimer, Bob Carter and David Archibald to address residents and councillors, and said the presentation seemed to convince many people there was nothing to worry about.

It comes as the NSW government reassesses its plans regarding sea level rises, including the possibility of a moratorium on sea level-related planning restrictions until more studies are done.

Mr McCloy is seeking to gain approval for a subdivision of 24 homes that is likely to be affected by the Lake Macquarie planning guidelines.

"This is not about me though; this is about the poor little property owner who had had hundreds of thousands of dollars knocked off the value of their property," Mr McCloy said.

He said he had studied sea level rise on the internet and concluded it was rising at only a very slow rate, and that rate had slowed in the past decade, so any planning restrictions were unjustified.

Lake Macquarie Council said its guidelines were based on rational science. "Our position is informed by the available evidence," said the council's sustainability manager, Alice Howe.

"In November last year we revised our policy in light of new flood-mapping, and we have written to all the affected residents," Dr Howe said. The area in question consists of a low-lying area near the lake that is expected to be partly submerged by the end of the century, a middle zone that could be affected by extreme weather and high tides, and an outer zone including areas up to three metres above sea level that could be affected by extreme events in 2100.

The mapping is based on coastal projections developed under the previous state government that used CSIRO studies to determine sea level heights as climate change intensifies in coming decades.

A committee chaired by the the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, will review the coastal planning guidelines. "Establishing this task force is an important step in ensuring that NSW has the best arrangements in place to manage coastal erosion and other coastal hazards," a spokesman for the minister 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


5 March, 2012

Warmists cautious in trying to exploit bad weather this time

"Climate Central" actually admits that tornado frequency could DECREASE in a warming world. But they are not giving up their religion just yet. They say: "Climate change is already changing the environment in which severe thunderstorms and their associated tornadoes form". But how can it be changing anything when it doesn't exist? Even Warmist scientists now admit that average temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years. So "Climate Central" is still faith-based, certainly not reality-based

Hours after one of the biggest storm outbreaks in March’s history, residents across at least 10 states turned to the frantic search for survivors on Saturday after a series of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms ripped apart the South and Midwest, killing at least 37.

At last report, the storms killed 19 in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one in Alabama, but the death toll may rise as the scale of the devastation made it impossible to immediately assess the damage.

According to Mike Hudson of the National Weather Service’s office in Kansas City, the breadth of the storm system stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and was so wide that an estimated 34 million people were at risk from severe weather. At one point, the storms were coming so fast that as many as four million people were within 25 miles of a tornado.

Climate change is already changing the environment in which severe thunderstorms and their associated tornadoes form, and at some point in the future it may have a discernible influence on tornado frequency and/or strength. Tornadoes form when ingredients such as wind shear, warm and unstable air, and a triggering mechanism such as a cold front, come together at the right time and in the right proportions. Massive outbreaks such as this one are rare, and are most common between now and June. The record for the largest March outbreak is 74 tornadoes from March 11-13, 2006.

With regards to climate change and tornadoes, no discernible trend has been detected in the long-term observational data, and studies of how tornadoes will fare in a warmer world show somewhat conflicting results, largely because computer models don’t yet have the ability to accurately simulate events on such small scales.

While hurricanes can be hundreds of miles wide, tornadoes are often less than a mile in diameter, which requires much more computing power in order to accurately simulate. Scientists are currently working to overcome that challenge.

Rather than simulating tornadoes themselves, scientists have made progress in studying the factors that make conditions favorable for severe thunderstorms to form.

As temperatures warm, air holds more water vapor, which adds “fuel” to the fire, so to speak. Last spring, when the Southeast was struck by multiple deadly outbreaks, the Gulf of Mexico was warmer than average, and the same situation is occurring today. This is important because it means there is more moisture flowing northward from the Gulf, and a humid environment is necessary for severe thunderstorms to form.

But wind shear, which was present in abundance during this latest outbreak, is projected to decrease as the climate warms. This would suggest that tornadoes will become less frequent in the future.

Which factor wins out in the end - the increase in water vapor and heat energy, or the decrease in wind shear - may determine how tornadoes fare in a warming world.


An Embarassment of Riches

There is seemingly a bottomless well of nonsense on disasters and climate change. I have long ago accepted that such nonsense is, like the presence of arguments rejecting the basic science of climate change, a situation to be lived with rather than changed. Even so, I can still poke some fun.

* Climatewire reports uncritically a claim coming from Swiss Re that "the financial toll of global weather disasters amounts to between 1 and 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product annually." This totals $160 billion to almost $2 trillion.

* Reality Check: The actual number for global losses as a percent of US GDP is closer to 0.1%, with the maximum about 1.2% in 2005. The total cost of all hurricanes since 1900 in normalized dollars is about $1.4 trillion. The media (in general) rarely question numbers given to them from the reinsurance industry and on disasters and climate change have a strange aversion to the peer reviewed scientific literature. Innumeracy.

* NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and NCDC head Tom Karl write in Physics Today about the 14 "billion dollar disasters" tabulated by NOAA for 2011 and ask "Why did we see such expensive damage last year?" Their answer, predictably, includes "climate change" and is followed by a lengthy exposition on why NOAA needs more money.

* Reality Check: Lubchenco and Karl somehow failed to note that NOAA and NCDC have cautioned against drawing any such conclusions from the "billion dollar disasters." And even though Lubchenco and Karl cite the recent IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events, they also somehow forgot to mention this part: "Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded." Deceiving.

* Swiss Reinsurance and the Reinsurance Association of America teamed up yesterday with a few US Senators to call for the US government to adopt policies to protect their industry from extreme events resulting from climate change. They also ite the NOAA billionz analysis and explain via press release ""From our industry's perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear," said Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America."

* Reality Check: The ability of the reinsurance industry to accurately reflect the state of the science of disasters and climate change has long been questionable. The industry is currently awash in money, a condition that Guy Carpenpter characterized just a few months ago as "the reinsurance sector remains adequately capitalized with a significant excess capital position" (PDF). In such a context, when reinsurers ask the government to take on some of their risks justified by "climate change," you should hold tight to your wallet. Conflicted.


Warmists jump onto a very old bandwagon

Measuring the wealth of a nation by way of per capita GDP is universally acknowledged to be imperfect. So as far back as I can remember (over 40 years) there have been rumblings that a better measure is needed. But all proposals founder on the subjectivity required. How do we weight the various components that we want to incorporate into a new measure? There will never be broad-based agreement on that. And that is why GDP is still generally used. It is basically an accounting measure that does not require subjective decisions. It may be imperfect but it's the best we have got from a scientific point of view. So the aspirations below will not be met

Politicians, scientists, businesspeople, academics, economists and environmental groups are among a loose coalition forming to push for a radically new measure of the costs of economic growth as a tool to help estimate the looming risks posed by climate change.

Instead of using the universal yardstick of gross domestic product, which looks only at production and consumption, to gauge economic well-being, the unusual amalgam wants a far broader measure — or rather range of measures — that takes account of sustainability, environmental damage, biodiversity and social impacts.

The new measure, which some call GWB for Global Well-Being, will be among the larger issues raised at the so-called Rio+20 international talks in Rio de Janeiro beginning June 13. The U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development will mark the 20th anniversary of talks that led to the Kyoto Protocol to curb climate change…


LA Times flunks basic journalism to promote climate alarm

A recent Brookings Institution opinion poll asked Americans the vague question: "Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer?" -- and found 62% agreed. The poll did not ask any questions about the cause or whether mankind is fully or partially responsible for global warming or climate change.

Nonetheless, the alarmist LA Times conflated and twisted the poll result to report that "62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring."

After several years of finding that fewer and fewer Americans believed in man-made climate change, pollsters are now finding that belief is on the uptick.

The newest study from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which is a biannual survey taken since fall 2008 and organized by the Brookings Institute, shows that 62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and 26% do not. The others are unsure.

That is a significant rise in believers since a low in spring 2010, when only about 50% of Americans said they believed in global warming, but still down from when the survey first began, when it was at around 75%. The pollsters talked to 887 people across the country.

What’s caused the sudden rise? Mostly the weather. “People, for good or for bad, are making connections in what they see in terms of weather and what they believe in terms of climate change,” said Christopher Borick, co-author of the survey. He is an associate professor of Political Science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Pennsylvania. His co-author is Barry Rabe, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and a professor at the University of Michigan.


Saving Face by Slaying Owls

The sun was setting, and the miles of skyscraper (tall sunflowers) served as the backdrop for this cool picture perfect evening. And there it was: a giant owl not in flight but gliding through the sky without flapping its wings.

The owl maneuvered with the grace of an Olympic ice-skater and defied gravity by moving higher and lower at will. The owl was on the prowl for an evening meal, and the intended target would never see or hear it coming. It was simply a blessing to sit there to watch, absorb, and appreciate that moment.

This brings me to the news the Obama administration is prepared to shoot and kill the barred owl in an effort to save the spotted owl. Keep in mind the spotted owl became a major cause of contention as efforts to save it from loggers eventually saw hundreds of logger jobs lost as millions of acres were set aside for their protection. Those special efforts haven't stopped the population of the spotted owl from plummeting more than 40% over the last 25 years. So, once again drastic measures must be taken.

In this case, Ken Salazar has given the green light to shoot and kill the larger cousin to the spotted owl. Environmentalists have taken to calling the barred owl, just 2 pounds in weight, a "bully" driving out their symbol of victory against mankind and capitalism.

Of course the spotted owl is a carnivore, and its prey includes flying squirrels, wood rats, and smaller birds. Maybe it's from my childhood and watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I have a soft spot for flying squirrels¡Vwhere are their rights not to be eaten? But more seriously, this is really amazing that one species could be destroyed to stop what might simply be the process of natural selection. For those enlightened folks in the elitists halls of the White House who spend their day patting themselves on the back laughing at us simpletons, there is surely respect for the course of nature.

Obviously, it's not the case that the natural course of things should be allowed to happen in nature or business.

The administration admits an "ethical dilemma" but says they came to this decision from a science-based approach to forestry. It's one thing to kill sea lions to preserve salmon, which still doesn't sit well with me, or to kill coyotes and other predators to save livestock¡Xa no-brainer. But, I think what we are seeing in the newest chapter in the saga of the spotted owl is a sense of outsized power to decide winners and losers in all facets of our lives. There are 162 species of owls in the world, and I would think they all had the same rights to evolve and survive without interference from mankind. Perhaps it¡¦s symbolism and the need to avoid embarrassment.

Back in the heat of the battle to save the spotted owl, (Northern variety) environmentalists hid huge spikes in into trees that not only ripped teeth out of chainsaws but exacted bloody damage to loggers working to pay bills and feed their own families. What would it say if, after all the verbal and psychical attacks, all the money and time and all of the finger wagging preaching from elites that never saw an owl and might eat one off a menu of a fancy Manhattan restaurant, the spotted variety still saw its demise?

Even as hardworking Americans were being put out of work, we were told new jobs for biologist would be created to conduct surveys. Of course the net job loss and true economic value of logging lumber that's used to build homes and create paper that carries words that change worlds and help to maintain order could never be covered by biologists and surveys. But as the sidebar shows, there is a lot of money being poured into this thing. What's really being protected with the killing of barred owls?

Not to belabor this point, but another story getting little press is another Ken Salazar scheme to wreak havoc in the name of saving a single species of animal. The administration wants to demolish three dams on the Klamath River in order to help Steelhead trout, Coho salmon and Chinook salmon. There are numerous dams along the river, and I'm not sure which would be blown away, but they are all so old you wonder why they need to go now in order to save these fish?

Link River Dam 1921
Fall Creek Dam 1903
Keno Dam 1931
Copco Dam 1917 and 1920
JC Boyle Dam 1958
Iron Gate Dam 1962

Destroying these dams would hurt homeowners, ranchers and small businesses, along with destroying sources of clean hydroelectricity and water for irrigation. Professor Paul R. Houser of George Mason University called the source of this decision "junk science," and even Bullwinkle is smart enough to know that's probably right.

It would be a serious dilemma if the spotted owl ate Chinook salmon. This isn't lightweight stuff as it points to an attitude that is very dangerous. I'm willing to live with and deal with obstacles created by God not by those created by a single human being with his own idea for who wins and who loses based not on fitness but fancy.


Psychologist Lewandowsky at the University of Western Australia claims that Greenie lies and deceit are justifiable

During my career in psychological research I repeatedly came across very low intellectual standards among my colleagues so Lewandowsky is no surprise. Psychologists are very good at believing what they want to believe -- JR

Comment below by Anthony Cox

In a recent article Stephan Lewandowsky has attempted to justify the fraudulent procurement of confidential material from the Heartland Institute by Peter Gleick. Gleick is described as:
"a hydroclimatologist by training, with a B.S. from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley from the Energy and Resources Group. His research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrological impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.

Dr. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert and was named a MacArthur Fellow in October 2003 for his work. In 2001, Gleick was dubbed a “visionary on the environment” by the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 2006 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C."

That’s as good as it gets in respect of climate credentials. Gleick is at the top of the global warming [AGW] pile. Yet what Gleick did is lie, deceive, procure and publically disseminate private information; along with a fake document which he either produced or willingly used.

Lewandowsky, a psychologist and avid disciple of the AGW ‘church’, would have us believe that Gleick’s actions put him in the same class as strategy to defeat the Nazis or Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon papers. This is a weird comparison. How can a strategy to put an enemy like the Nazi’s off-guard or the release of documents which contain important, relevant information for citizens in a democratic society be compared with fraudulently obtaining irrelevant information about a private entity in a democracy?

Lewandowsky claims that since Heartland is at the forefront of denialism [sic] and opposing measures to ‘save’ the planet from AGW that infringement of its rights is in order.

We should not be surprised about this line of ‘reasoning’ from Lewandowsky. The pro-AGW side has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to exaggerate, lie [see comment 246], break the law, oppose the democratic structure itself to ‘save the planet’ and be misanthropic. Lewandowsky and other pro-AGW advocates have indicated a willingness to censor and suppress ‘denier’ viewpoints; they have been prepared to hide their doubt about the ‘science’ supporting AGW in private while promoting the false idea that this ‘science’ is settled. The Climate-gate emails clearly show this.

So, we should not be surprised at any tactic used or capacity of the pro-AGW supporters.

But is their cause a noble one? Lewandowsky is in no doubt: “Revealing to the public the active, vicious, and well-funded campaign of denial that seeks to delay action against climate change likely constitutes a classic public good.”

Some facts about this noble cause of “action against climate change”:

* AGW ‘science’ and predictions unquestionably contributed to and acerbated the consequences of the 2 worse natural disasters in Australia in recent times. They were the 2010 QLD floods and the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

* The funds directed to ‘solving’ AGW in Australia runs into 10’s of $billions. Between now and 2015 the Gillard government will ‘give’ $13 billion to sustainable energy schemes. That is money down the drain since the primary recipients of this money, wind and solar, do not work in any meaningful way and never will.

But it is worse than just $13 billion. All the ‘real’ energy producers will be obligated to source 20% of their power from renewables by 2020. The $13 billion will allow start-up schemes to be created on paper with the ‘potential’ power able to be on-sold to the hapless ‘real’ power producers. That will at least double the initial $13 billion and will be passed straight on to the consumer, assuming the ‘real’ power producers don’t close, who will pay for nothing in return.

* There is no doubt the $23 per tonne carbon tax will send many companies to the wall; there is no doubt it will bankrupt Australia and in all likelihood cause power shortages. People will suffer and possibly die to lack of heating or air-conditioning.

* There is not a scintilla of evidence to support AGW; if the effect of AGW does exist it is entirely dominated by natural processes and variation. All the predictions of AGW have either not eventuated or are false correlations and a product of natural variation.

So, we have a theory, AGW, with no evidence, which has already greatly harmed people and will economically decimate the nation being used by people like Lewandowsky as an excuse for illegal and otherwise unethical behaviour.

There is no noble cause. So this is not noble cause corruption. It is just corruption.



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, 2012

A credulous economist

And in calling him credulous I am putting the most favourable spin on his words. I am referring to a recent article in the NYT by Prof. Nordhaus in which he claims to refute the climate skeptics.

I reproduce the first two parts of the article below. Each part has a large hole in it.

1). Quite aside from the issue of what smoothed graphs hide (Adequately covered by Steve Goddard), we see that the Nordhaus graph shows a temperature rise for the last 130 years of less than one degree Celsius. Yet Nordhaus uses this to support alarmism! I would have thought that it shows that we live in a era of exceptional temperature stability. Projecting it forward would yield a rise of little more than one degree by the year 2100, which is often portrayed as Armageddon year by Warmists. It's an absurdity. We experience much greater temperature changes than that in a single day, let alone seasonal variations. If the trend in the Nordhaus graph continues we will not even notice it.

2). In the second part he quotes the corrupt and politicized IPCC as Gospel and finds -- surprise! -- that natural influences cannot reproduce the known 20th century temperature changes. Yet there has been in the scientific literature for some years now an article showing one natural influence that tracks the historical temperature record very well. See the aricle immediately following the Nordhaus effusion below. Why did Nordhaus ignore that? It has been very widely publicized and the theory behind it was even confirmed recently at the CERN "Large Hadron Collider" in Geneva. Is Nordhaus credulous, ignorant or simply dishonest? I leave that judgment to others

I guess I could go on to look at other points in his article but I think that what we have seen so far would make that superfluous

1). The first claim is that the planet is not warming. More precisely, “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”

It is easy to get lost in the tiniest details here. Most people will benefit from stepping back and looking at the record of actual temperature measurements. The figure below shows data from 1880 to 2011 on global mean temperature averaged from three different sources. We do not need any complicated statistical analysis to see that temperatures are rising, and furthermore that they are higher in the last decade than they were in earlier decades.

One of the reasons that drawing conclusions on temperature trends is tricky is that the historical temperature series is highly volatile, as can be seen in the figure. The presence of short-term volatility requires looking at long-term trends. A useful analogy is the stock market. Suppose an analyst says that because real stock prices have declined over the last decade (which is true), it follows that there is no upward trend. Here again, an examination of the long-term data would quickly show this to be incorrect. The last decade of temperature and stock market data is not representative of the longer-term trends.

The finding that global temperatures are rising over the last century-plus is one of the most robust findings of climate science and statistics.

2). A second argument is that warming is smaller than predicted by the models:

"The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause."

What is the evidence on the performance of climate models? Do they predict the historical trend accurately? Statisticians routinely address this kind of question. The standard approach is to perform an experiment in which (case 1) modelers put the changes in CO2 concentrations and other climate influences in a climate model and estimate the resulting temperature path, and then (case 2) modelers calculate what would happen in the counterfactual situation where the only changes were due to natural sources, for example, the sun and volcanoes, with no human-induced changes. They then compare the actual temperature increases of the model predictions for all sources (case 1) with the predictions for natural sources alone (case 2).

This experiment has been performed many times using climate models. A good example is the analysis described in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (for the actual figure, see the accompanying online material4). Several modelers ran both cases 1 and 2 described above—one including human-induced changes and one with only natural sources. This experiment showed that the projections of climate models are consistent with recorded temperature trends over recent decades only if human impacts are included. The divergent trend is especially pronounced after 1980. By 2005, calculations using natural sources alone underpredict the actual temperature increases by about 0.7 degrees Centigrade, while the calculations including human sources track the actual temperature trend very closely.

In reviewing the results, the IPCC report concluded: “No climate model using natural forcings [i.e., natural warming factors] alone has reproduced the observed global warming trend in the second half of the twentieth century.”


Sorry folks, cosmic rays really are in charge

Nigel Calder

On this blog and others, most comments about my previous post “Yet another trick of cosmic rays” have been friendly. Thank you. But some people still want to dismiss all the meticulous experimental, observational and theoretical work of Henrik Svensmark and his colleagues in the Danish National Space Institute by saying there is simply no link between cosmic rays and the climate.

Having written two books on the subject, and still engaged with it, I could in rebuttal flood this post with evidence of many kinds, on time scales from days to millennia or longer. I’ll content myself with just one pair of graphs spanning 50 years. They’re from a 2007 report by Svensmark and the Institute’s director, Eigil Friis-Christensen, and they’re based on a European Space Agency project called ISAC. The carbon dioxide boys and girls would die for a match of cause and effect of this quality.

Cosmic ray intensity is in red and upside down, so that 1991 was a minimum, not a maximum. Fewer cosmic rays mean a warmer world, and the cosmic rays vary with the solar cycle. The blue curve shows the global mean temperature of the mid-troposphere as measured with balloons and collated by the UK Met Office (HadAT2).

In the upper panel the temperatures roughly follow the solar cycle. The match is much better when well-known effects of other natural disturbances (El Niño, North Atlantic Oscillation, big volcanoes) are removed, together with an upward trend of 0.14 deg. C per decade. The trend may be partly due to man-made greenhouse gases, but the magnitude of their contribution is debatable.

From 2000 to 2011 mid-tropospheric temperatures have remained pretty level, like those of the surface, despite the continuing increase in the gases – in “flat” contradiction to the warming predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meanwhile the Sun is lazy, cosmic ray counts are high and the oceans are cooling.


Windmills come before people

Before windmills are built, the builder puts up towers to gather data on how much wind there is in that location. The towers can kill

The death of a 58-year-old crop duster on Jan. 10, 2011, was one of those random tragedies—and like many others, it could have been prevented. The 26,000-hour commercial pilot was killed when his Rockwell S-2R hit an unmarked meteorological evaluation tower (MET) while he was treating a field in Contra Costa County, Calif. Witnesses confirmed that he made a reconnaissance pass before beginning the application, but the tower was bare metal, unpainted, and not marked by any lights, flags, or other warning devices. The NTSB quoted an article by the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) which observed, “The fact that these towers are narrow, unmarked, and grey in color makes for a structure that is nearly invisible under some atmospheric conditions.” According to the witnesses, he made no apparent attempt to avoid it before the impact.

The tower had been erected in April 2009 “for wind resource measurements.” It stood 197 feet, 8.25 inches tall, and four sets of guy wires extended up to 184 feet from its base. In the permit application filed with Contra Costa County, its operator noted that its height was “lower than the 200-foot threshold set by the FAA, and thus meets FAA regulations.”

True enough, as far as it went—but the permit was only valid through August 2009, after which the operator was required to remove it within 30 days. The permit also offered the option of applying for a one-year extension, which the operator did not do. So although this “nearly invisible” tower should have been dismantled a year and a quarter earlier, it was still standing, and the county didn’t follow up.

This is at least the third time in eight years that a pilot has been killed in a collision with an unmarked meteorological tower, which the NAAA notes also pose hazards to “emergency medical services (EMS) operations, Fish and Wildlife, animal damage control, aerial fire suppression, and any other low-level flying operation.” Just five days before the accident the FAA had issued a request for comments on its proposed guidelines for voluntarily marking these structures, which included painting the towers themselves in alternating bands of orange and white and marking the guy wires with flags, balls, or high-visibility sleeves. Many of the 460 comments they received specifically referred to this accident. After reviewing submissions from individual operators and groups including NAAA, the Helicopter Association International, the Experimental Aicraft Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and both the American and California Wind Energy Associations, the FAA issued a revised version of its recommendations on June 24—but these recommendations remain voluntary.

Individual states have been more assertive. Wyoming and South Dakota, for example, both require METs to be marked. Wyoming also maintains an online database of their locations, something the FAA insists is not feasible on a national level. While talk of additional regulation goes against most pilots’ grain, the increasing interest in developing wind power can be expected to lead to the assessment of “wind resources” in more locations, most of them rural. Pilots living in those areas might want to know what their states do to make sure those who have to fly down low have a fair chance of coming home again. Private landowners may also choose to require markings as a condition for siting towers on their property.

Aerial application is essential work, and tricky enough at the best of times. Handling heavy aircraft at low altitudes, minimizing the time and fuel lost during turns, it’s a little much to expect even the most expert pilots to watch out for uncharted obstructions that can’t be seen.


It's Happening: 5 Coal-Fired Power Plants Shutting Down

At the close of 2012, the EPA dictated a politically calculated--oops, I mean, for the sake of the public welfare, issued a--huge new stack of emissions regulations aiming to force coal-fired power plant operators to choose between installing pollution control equipment, switching to cleaner natural gas, or shutting down their plants. Which is good, because in 2008, President Obama did promise to bankrupt the coal industry... so, that's at least one promise he's kept, right?
Edison International (EIX) plans to shut down at least two aging coal-fired power plants in what could be a growing wave of retirements as low natural-gas and electricity prices and stricter pollution rules make many of these facilities unprofitable.

Edison will shut down its two Chicago coal-fired power plants -- one this year and one by 2014 -- rather than install pollution-control equipment to comply with state pollution limits, the company said. Edison said it also would likely shut down a third coal plant in Waukegan, Ill., and possibly others. ...

Companies are increasingly announcing plans to shut down aging coal plants as the cost of installing pollution-control equipment can exceed the value of the plant.

The Sierra Club estimates that these regulations are preventing a lot of premature deaths (I'm not sure how they think they know that), but Sen. Pat Toomey is not pleased:

But Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, said that as many as 315 people could lose their jobs.
"I am dismayed by the news that hundreds of Pennsylvanians will lose their jobs because of this impending wave of federal regulations. While I fully support sensible, existing power plant regulations to protect our air, the cumulative effect of these new rules, which are some of the costliest in the EPA's history, is overwhelming."

And while the Obama administration can certainly hope and dream that the ensuing energy vacuum will be filled by the bounteous sources of wind, solar, and other greenie endeavors, you can bet that more 'necessarily skyrocketing' electricity prices are what's for dinner.


Obama Backed Solar Company Slashes 70 Percent of Workforce

See if this sounds familiar. A solar energy company with a principal investor who is a huge supporter Barack Obama and Democrat causes got a Department of Energy loan for hundreds of millions of dollars. The President publicly claims the company will “create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.” However, fourteen months later the company is bleeding financially, laying off hundreds of workers, shutting down production to retool, and complaining that it is all China’s fault.

No, it is not Solyndra. The company is Abound Solar; winner of a $400 million DOE loan in December, 2010. Abound was to make solar panels at its Longmont, Colorado facility and build a second plant in Indiana. Obama used part of a regular weekly radio address in 2010 to praise Abound who he said would “create 2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.” Barely a year later, Abound Solar is a skeleton of Obama’s fertile imagination. The workforce is being slashed by 70%, 280 workers. The anticipated Indiana plant is nowhere to be found.

Company executives say competition from Chinese low-cost manufacturers has negatively impacted business forcing them to sell their solar panels below the cost of production. Was China not in the solar panel market 14 months ago? Did nobody notice?

So, how did Abound convince the Obama Administration to approve a $400 million loan? Just as Solyndra and other companies that received millions and billions for green projects were connected to campaign contributors and administration officials, one of the main investors in Abound – Pat Stryker - is a big Democrat financier. The following is courtesy of Joel Gehrke and the Washington Examiner. What Gehrke failed to mention is that billionaire Stryker is also a founding member of the "Gang of Four" who invested millions in what became known as the Colorado Model, a largely covert political strategy that reversed the political power in Colorado and became embraced by the Democrat Party.
“Pat Stryker, founder of Bohemian Companies (an Abound Solar investor, as the Sunlight Foundation first observed), donated $50,000 to support President Obama's 2009 inauguration and bundled another $87,500 for the event, Stryker also gave $35,500 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012, according to FEC reports, and another $5000 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund in 2008.”

“In addition to supporting Democratic candidates, Stryker also provides significant financial backing to third-party groups that support Democratic candidates.”

“For instance, FEC reports show Stryker donated $145,000 in 2010 to America's Families First Action Fund (AFFAF) and $75,000 to ‘Women Vote’ operation organized by the pro-choice group, Emily's List. the Washington Post reported in October 2010 that AFFAF had spent almost $6 million during that cycle on behalf of Democratic candidates only. ‘Women Vote’ is a similarly partisan effort by Emily's List to ‘turn out women voters for our pro-choice Democratic women candidates and every Democrat on the ticket.’ “

Barack Obama played Investor-in-Chief with $80 billion borrowed dollars as part of his Economic Stimulus boondoggle. Pretending he was the smartest guy in every room, Obama and his administration rejected warnings of industry analysts, sound business practices, and common sense, blindly throwing huge amounts of money at anything remotely “green” to satisfy his personal obsessions and placate contributors and friends. As I wrote earlier this week, with the Obama Administration, Green has become the color of rotten corruption.
In the real world, an investment banker with such consistently flawed – even corrupt - judgment would be fired – and investigated. That should be the case in politics, too. November can’t come soon enough.


Polish report: shale gas extraction not harmful

A scientific study in Poland has found that shale gas extraction at one site produced some toxic refuse but that the waste was reused and didn't harm the environment.

The report was presented Friday by the Polish Geological Institute, which carried out its study last year when a company, Canadian Lane Energy, began test drilling near Lebien, in northern Poland.

Poland has some deposits of shale gas and is hoping to exploit them to cut its dependence on Russian natural gas. It hopes to repeat what has happened in the United States, where large shale gas discoveries in the past 10 years have given the country independence in the gas sector.

It is still unclear, however, how much shale gas there is in Poland, and the process of extracting it has come under fire by environmentalists.

In hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technology developed in the United States, large quantities of pressurized water and some chemicals are used to break underground rocks and release gas trapped in them. Most of the water remains underground, but some returns to the surface and is toxic.

"Cases of leakage and water contamination in the U.S. show that this is not a safe technology," Katarzyna Guzek of Greenpeace told The Associated Press.

The report said the procedure at the site it studied produced some highly toxic liquid and some solid refuse, but that it was all either reused or utilized. Laboratory studies found no pollution to surface or ground water, soil or air, it said.

"Soil, air, water _ the studies show that all these elements of the environment are safe if exploration of shale gas is conducted in accordance with legal regulations," the study said.

Guzek said the study was carried out at the start of exploration in Poland and does not reflect dangers from a long-term activity.

Lane Energy is among more than a dozen international companies that have obtained licenses to explore for shale gas in northern and eastern Poland.


Greenie people-hatred marches on

In the good ol' ZPG days, they used projected resource shortages as an excuse for population control. Now it's that Jim-dandy All-purpose "Global Warming" that they are using

During a discussion series on Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., speaker and activist Kavita Ramdas argued that contraceptives should be part of a strategy to save the planet, calling lower birth rates a “common sense” part of a climate-change reduction strategy.

At the event, titled “Women’s Health: Key to Climate Adaptation Strategies,” Ramdas pointed to studies conducted by health consultants at the for-profit Futures Group, the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, to connect contraception with climate change.

Ramdas told The Daily Caller that the research shows “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally.

“It is common sense that when women are able to plan their pregnancies, populations grow more slowly and as a result so do greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained. “Providing access to contraception and preventative health should be one of the many effective strategies used to fight climate change.”

Ramdas is also executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University.

Global warming activists argue increasing greenhouse gas emissions, partly resulting from unsustainable population growth, is resulting in “environmental devastation” such as frequent severe weather events and rising sea levels.

The United States and other countries with high levels of emissions, Ramdas told TheDC, have the potential to make the biggest impact by making contraception more accessible. She said every child in America absorbs, on average, 40 percent more of the earth’s resources than children in other countries.



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, 2012

Another amusing example of "Going back to the original"

Read the research summary for a popular audience below (small excerpt only) and then read the actual journal abstract. The abstract is MUCH more tentative, reflecting the uncertainty of the data.

The popular summary clearly implies, for instance, that glaciers worldwide are melting rapidly and that Icelandic glaciers are part of that. But the article simply says that global warming is likely to increase dust! A very different statement.

The summary also definitely states a link between dust and ice melting whereas the article says only that dust and melting "appear to be associated".

So the actual findings of the article in fact prove nothing about global warming or "rapidly retreating" glaciers

If you are capable of reading an academic journal article much fun awaits you, surprising though that may seem

A University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science-led study shows a link between large dust storms on Iceland and glacial melting. The dust is both accelerating glacial melting and contributing important nutrients to the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean. The results provide new insights on the role of dust in climate change and high-latitude ocean ecosystems......

Due to increased air temperatures linked to global climate change, glaciers worldwide are rapidly retreating. The melting of glaciers, including those on Iceland, would also contribute to sea level rise.

High-Latitude Dust Over the North Atlantic: Inputs from Icelandic Proglacial Dust Storms

Joseph M. Prospero1 et al.


Mineral aerosols play an important role in the atmosphere-ocean climate system. Research has focused almost exclusively on sources in low-latitude arid regions, but here we show that there are substantial sources in cold, higher latitudes. A 6-year record of measurements made on Heimaey, an island south of Iceland, reveals frequent dust events with concentrations exceeding 20 micrograms per cubic meter. Much of this potentially iron-rich dust is transported southward and deposited in the North Atlantic. Emissions are highest in spring and spatially and temporally associated with active glacial outwash plains; large dust events appear to be associated with glacial outburst floods. In response to global warming, ice retreat on Iceland and in other glacierized areas is likely to increase dust emissions from these regions.

Science 2 March 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6072 pp. 1078-1082

Hey! Give us ALL some gravy, say grassroots Greenies

I don't know that they have it right about their movement failing. Their windmills worldwide are chopping up flying creatures by the millions and the greater use of paper bags and cardboard containers in lieu of the evil plastic bags and polystyrene containers is causing millions of trees to be cut down. What more do they want? Will Obama's proposed slaughter of barred owls appease them?

A searing new report says the environmental movement is not winning and lays the blame squarely on the failed policies of environmental funders. The movement hasn't won any "significant policy changes at the federal level in the United States since the 1980s" because funders have favored top-down elite strategies and have neglected to support a robust grassroots infrastructure. Environmental funders spent a whopping $10 billion between 2000 and 2009 but achieved relatively little because they failed to underwrite grassroots groups that are essential for any large-scale change, the report says. Released in late February by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Cultivating the Grassroots was written by Sarah Hansen, who served as executive director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association from 1998 to 2005.

Environmental funders mainly support large, professionalized environmental organizations instead of the scrappy community-based groups that are most heavily impacted by environmental harms. Organizations with annual budgets greater than $5 million make up only 2 percent of all environmental groups, yet receive more than half of all environmental grants and donations.

The report makes the simple but profound argument that the current environmental funding strategy is not working and that, without targeting philanthropy at communities most impacted by environmental harms, the movement will continue to fail. "Our funding strategy is misaligned with the great perils our planet and environment face," Hansen writes.

"Environmental activists and funders all share a gnawing sense that something has to change. No sensible environmental activist would argue that we, as a field, have done what is needed to respond to environmental degradation," Hansen said in an interview.

Instead of funding community-based groups to generate ideas, strategies and political support for transformative change, environmental donors have thrown their weight behind narrow lobbying campaigns in Washington, D.C. -- for example, the failed inside-the-beltway campaign in 2009-2010 to pass "cap and trade" legislation to curb global warming. For their part, mainstream environmental groups hang pleas for environmental change on the apolitical hook of rational appeals, expecting that decision-makers confronted with powerful evidence will do the right thing. But this strategy has not worked because "a vocal, organized, sustained grassroots base is vital to achieving sustained change," the report asserts.


Data Tampering: GISS Caught Red-Handed Manipulating Data To Produce Arctic Climate History Revision

GISS and the GHCN are preoccupied with the Arctic, bestowing large “corrections” on the few and far northern stations. The raw data of the Arctic did not tell the story they wanted to hear, and so GISS took it upon themselves to rewrite it.

Let’s start with Figure 1 from Paul Homewood’s article How GISS has totally Corrupted Reykjavik’s Temperature, used by permission.

Figure 1: Corrupted Reykjavik’s temperature

In January of this year, Paul Homewood of Not A Lot of People Know That, wrote an article describing GHCN and GISS changes to the temperature data that resulted in early 20th century cooling in Reykjavik, Iceland. Because I had stored many annual temperature records for Arctic stations in preparing A Light In Siberia in September of 2010, this prompted an investigation into whether GHCN and GISS had pulled the same on other station data. The short answer…yes they had!

Last year in May, GHCN did a major revision of their historical temperature database. They changed the title of the database to GHCN-M version 3. GISS followed. They refer to the new data as GHCN_v3. The important thing to note is that GHCN_v3 already contains homogeneity “corrections” so there is in most cases now, no difference between
GISS “raw” data (after removing suspicious records), and “after GISS homogeneity adjustments.” As a result, we only get to see temperature data that has already been modified by the hand of man (or a computer under the direction of a man).

What has this done to temperatures? You get one guess.

Figure 2. This is a GHCN comparison of database version 2 and version 3. Land and Ocean Temperatures for January. Source: NOAA/GHCN here.

The chart is subtle in that the scale is chosen to hide the slope and amount of the change trend. But look closely. Note that the change trend is from cooler in the past to warmer in the present, even though the temperature trend is already in that direction. They just added another ~0.1°C to the century trend.

What did they do in the Arctic? Above the Arctic Circle, there are few weather stations.

Figure 3. This is the last ten years temperature trend. From GISS.

The red Arctic grids on the anomaly maps represent ten stations, most in Arctic Russia. It is a bit difficult to sort out specifically which stations these are. Eleven stations in or close to these locations were investigated. Many have quite large “corrections.” Ostrov Dixon is the red grid square on the left on the north coast of Russia. Barrow is the orange grid square at the top of Alaska. Figure 4 is the first example.

Figure 4. This is the temperature change and change amounts to the Ostrov Dixon (Dickson Island) station.

The mainstream climate scientists have always disliked the warming in the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, and the cooling in the 1960’s and 70’s. At several locations in the Arctic they have sought to “correct” these years.

Figure 5. Ostrov Kotel (Kettle Island)

At Ostrov Kotel they simply warmed the whole series from just before 1950 to 1995 With obvious steps at each end of the change. At Barrow, (Figure 6) the change was a series of ramps. This makes little sense at Barrow. For all its history the measuring site has been at the airport. Barrow has a well-documented heat island, but the correction is in the wrong direction for that. Again, the correction takes away most of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s cooling.

Figure 6. This is the temperature change at Barrow.

At most locations they were not so obvious. For 11 locations that seem to be the heart of the warm grids, here are the plots.

Figure 7. The GHCN/GISS corrections at 11 Arctic locations.

It is very difficult to see a pattern in Figure 7. Some stations have a wild pattern of corrections of several degrees. Some have just a few spikes here and there. Some have a definite pattern.

Figure 8. This is the average “correction” of all the stations in Figure 7 with a linear trend line.

Figure 8 shows the pattern: cooling of the distant past, and warming of the inconvenient 60’s and 70’s.

Figure 9 below shows the average anomaly for those 11 stations:

Figure 9. This is the average anomaly for the 11 stations before and after GHCN “corrections”, with trend lines.

In Figure 9, the “corrections” have doubled the warming trend from 0.7°C per century to 1.4°C per century. The pesky warming in the 20’s and 30’s, and the cooling of the 60’s and 70’s are now nearly on the same level, almost wiping out that inconvenient AMO cycle.

I had data from a dozen other Arctic and Northern Siberian stations from last year. Most of those had just a few minor changes. Here (Figure 10) is the average correction for all 23 stations. As one gets further from the extreme Arctic, the changes begin to average out. If all stations around the globe are included, the average becomes that slow warming “correction” seen in Figure 2.

Figure 10. This is the average of 23 Arctic stations.

GHCN seems preoccupied with the Arctic, bestowing large “corrections” on the few far northern stations. This is in line with the “climate scientists” belief system:

This confirmation bias gets reflected in every evaluation step when reviewing temperature records. The result is that each new data release further confirms what they look for. Can we trust the GHCN and GISS temperature data? You be the judge.


The Fictive World of Rajendra Pachauri

In 2005 the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, flew to a Washington conference. He spent ninety minutes getting through the airport formalities. A chauffeur-driven car had been waiting outside, with the engine and air-conditioner running so that Pachauri would have a cool car to step into. Pachauri was indignant. “My God! Why did you do that?” he rebuked the driver. “You probably had the engine on for two hours. Was that really required?” He told North Carolina legislators three years later: “So that’s the kind of change in lifestyle that I’m talking about … which when put together will really make an enormous difference.” [1]

In January 2010 Pachauri was under fire for the howler in the 2007 IPCC report about melting Himalayan glaciers. The fracas inspired the London Mail OnLine to check out Pachauri’s lifestyle in Delhi.[2] It turned out that Pachauri ran a chauffeur-driven Corolla; a smoky Indian derivative of the Morris Oxford; and an eco-friendly G-Wiz electric car provided for his short urban trips. On January 29 Pachauri had his chauffeured Corolla collect him for the 1.6 kilometre drive from his home to the office. The chauffeur hung round (meanwhile being chatted up by the villainous Mail reporter) before driving Pachauri in the Corolla to lunch at an upmarket restaurant one kilometre from Pachauri’s home. The battery-powered G-Wiz stayed in the carpark. The next day Pachauri issued a statement urging the masses to use public transport......

Pachauri’s standing as chair has degraded in the past two years. Principally, there was the melting-glacier gaffe, and rapid exposure of other serious errors in the fourth Report. A chastened Pachauri in March 2010 had to call in the Inter-Academy Council (IAC), a world peak-of-peak science body, to report on necessary IPCC reforms. The IAC in August 2010 recommended in four places, but in vain, that IPCC chairs serve only one term: “A 12-year appointment (two terms) is too long for a field as dynamic and contested as climate change.”[32] Pachauri is in his second term to 2013, although senior IPCC members, including a German co-chair of a Working Group, have put him on notice to shape up.[33] The IPCC panel at Abu Dhabi last May (2011) agreed about the “one-term limit” but said it could make exceptions, and anyway the one-term limit would only apply post-2013. Other important IAC recommendations were also negated by the IPCC at Abu Dhabi.[34] At the following session in Kampala last November the IPCC adopted—after twenty-three years—its first conflict-of-interest policy, but exempted any conflicted authors for the fifth Assessment Report in 2014 because, as Pachauri put it, it wouldn’t be “fair” to the authors to include them retrospectively.[35]

In October 2011 the investigative journalist Donna Laframboise published her “Delinquent Teenager” expose of the IPCC’s reliance on grey-lit and its wholesale infiltration by Greenpeace-style activist authors. Other tidbits included documentation about graduate students and sub-PhDs mysteriously doubling as “world-leading” scientists to become IPCC authors, lead authors and even top-rung “co-ordinating lead authors”. She also revealed how quality-assurance rules supposedly binding on IPCC writers and reviewers were routinely flouted. Within weeks Professor Ross McKitrick, a prominent sceptic, issued his own documentation of why the IPCC should either shape up or be replaced by a non-political scientific body.[36]

Pachauri’s nadir was in January 2010 when he had to issue to the world the Himalayan-glacier correction. He failed to “man up”, with the statement coming not from the chair, but from the chair plus nearly a dozen vice-chairs and co-chairs.[37]

The gaffe about the Himalayan glaciers melting away by 2035 is far worse than Joe Public realises. Rather than traverse the universe of IPCC failings, for which Pachauri as chair is procedurally accountable, I’ll focus on just this Himalaya episode.

In late 2009, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a sixty-page discussion paper by glacier expert Vijay Raina, who had a track record of forty years of glacier fieldwork and research. He concluded that the glaciers were not retreating abnormally, neither through global warming nor anything else. On November 9, 2009, New Delhi Television brought Pachauri on to its evening news to defend the IPCC report.[38]

Q: Are you questioning this report’s credibility completely?

Pachauri: I am questioning this evidence. They are totally wrong. This is one government report. The IPCC uses thousands of scientists and uses peer-reviewed literature … [Raina’s report] is, if I may say so, voodoo science, this is not science.

Q: The Minister says the IPCC report is “alarmist”.

Pachauri: I don’t think he has any business questioning a body that has established its credentials over the last 21 years, and whose reports are accepted by every government of the world including India.

Q: Are you willing to sit down with the Minister … ?

Pachauri: No, I will not sit down with the Minister ... If this report is all that solid, let them publish it, let it go through a peer review process … I question these [Raina’s] findings completely. They don’t make sense to me at all.

This was not just a Pachauri brain-snap. He gave the same message to print interviewers, deriding the Raina report as “divine intervention ... magical science … indefensible”.

In fact the IPCC’s Himalaya forecast was based on nothing more than speculation by an Indian scientist, Syed Hasnain, in an Indian eco-magazine in April 1999, recycled into the New Scientist and then into a report in 2005 by the activist group WWF. The grey-lit WWF report was then cited in the IPCC’s draft glacier chapter in 2007. (By February 2010 Pachauri was back-pedalling on his previous claims about use solely of peer-reviewed material, saying it was “perfectly valid” to use grey-lit provided the grey-lit was carefully scrutinised and authenticated, and caveats noted.[39] Incidentally, IPCC guidelines mandated that grey-lit be specifically flagged as such, but this requirement was ignored in all but six instances out of the 5587 IPCC grey-lit citations that Laframboise found, and the IPCC has since dropped the “flagging” rule.)

Six IPCC experts reviewed the draft chapter and none saw anything odd. Twelve reviewers looked at it again in second draft. One of them (from Hebron University) said caustically that two elements in the forecast contradicted each other. Another, (from Newcastle University in the UK) told the authors to look up certain contrary references that cited glacier expansion (the IPCC authors’ brief is to assess the full range of scientific views on a topic). The reviewers’ comments were ignored. None of the total eighteen reviewers found anything untoward about the lone WWF citation for the dramatic forecast.[40] The page even included a table showing the annual rate of retreat of nine well-studied glaciers. It took me one minute’s googling to calculate that one of the glaciers, Bara Shigri, is eleven kilometres long and would therefore take 305 years to disappear—that is, by 2317, not 2035. The Milam glacier drips its last in the year 3024.

The IPCC authors also got the area of Himalayan glaciers wrong (33,000 square kilometres, not 500,000!), and the number of glaciers wrong (9000 to 12,000, not 15,000). The Pindari glacier shown as having annual shrinkage of 135 metres is actually shrinking only by 25 metres a year [41]. A bright high-school student would have done a better job at checking these IPCC authors’ sensational claims.

Later, the second draft was taken up and run in the all-important Summary for Policy Makers. The draft summary was reviewed line-by-line by 190 government representatives (if the politicians’ changes clash with the science sections, the science sections are altered retrospectively). Only one commented, hitting the bullseye: “This is a very drastic conclusion. Should have a supporting reference otherwise should be deleted (Government of India).”[42]

Even then, IPCC rigour was not to be seen. The summary was watered down, leaving untouched the howlers in the source text. Thus the gold-standard fourth report of the IPCC was launched to the world. Looking at the chapter online today, the single page on the Himalayan glaciers, amounting to 497 words, has attracted not one but nine official errata.[43] (The reviewers obviously took special care not to be caught out again.) In a lifetime of journalism, I seldom made more than five errors per story. However, Glacier-gate has plenty more swings yet.

* A year after the 2007 report, Pachauri, wearing his TERI hat, recruited Syed Hasnain, the source of the 2035 nonsense, to run a new glacier team in TERI, where Hasnain is now a Professor and Distinguished Fellow.[44]

* In May 2009 TERI obtained a major share of a $3.9 million European Union grant for Himalayan glacier study, based on the IPCC’s prediction. In January 2010, after the melt hit the fan, the Eurocrats rationalised, in Yes, Minister mode: “Not all glaciers are about to disappear, but their recession is real.” Hence the project is studying a threat due to emerge several centuries hence.[45]

* Earlier, in September 2008, TERI as part of a small Iceland-based consortium called Global Centre, successfully won approval for a $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation for glacier study. The 2035 forecast was dubbed a “humanitarian challenge”. The Foundation, perhaps smelling a rat, at some point “suspended” the handover of the cash. It claimed that the Global Centre had declined the cash because of Iceland’s “political and economic challenges”.[46]

* The debunking report by Raina, the glacier expert, was in November 2009. On January 15, 2010, the President of Iceland, Dr Olafur Grimsson, no less, announced via TERI that academics from Iceland, TERI and Ohio would use the Carnegie $500,000 to speed up study of glaciers, given the 2035 melt prediction. Pachauri (wearing his TERI hat, certainly not his Jane Austen bonnet) added helpfully: “It is universally acknowledged that glaciers are melting because of climate change.”[47]

* The Iceland announcement from TERI was a bare five days before Pachauri (IPCC hat) had to issue his public regrets over the 2035 gaffe. It is barely conceivable that on January 15, while shmoozing with the President of Iceland, Pachauri (TERI and IPCC hats) was unaware of the gathering storm over the gaffe. Had he not even checked the IPCC chapter after his stoush with Raina? And since Carnegie for sixteen months had failed, for whatever reason, to disgorge the promised $500,000, wasn’t Pachauri jumping the gun about deploying the money for scholarly exchanges?

* In December 2011 we had the arrival at the Durban IPCC meeting of three studies from the Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) asserting that Himalayan glaciers are retreating after all. [48] David Molden, director-general of ICIMOD, informs me that the new studies are “a peer-reviewed ICIMOD report” funded by the Swedish government, and that the findings will be submitted to journals.[49]

* Finally, the melting-glacier literature, for good or ill, seems a bit overblown. There are long-term data for at most twenty to thirty of the 10,000 Himalayan glaciers; swathes of the region, apart from being uncomfortable, are off-limits for military reasons; and in the whole of the Himalayas, there is only one automated temperature-recording station.[50]

Gaffes notwithstanding, Pachauri is too committed to his “cause” to step down. It’s worth asking, what precisely is this “cause”? In a 5000-word interview with Nature he said it was not the global warming threat but something more important.[51] “I am not going to rest easy until I have articulated in every possible forum the need to bring about major structural changes in economic growth and development. That’s the real issue. Climate change is just a part of it”. The “major structural changes” he wants involve transferring wealth from the West to developing countries—such as India—leading to a convergence of living standards. The West thereby pays for its past sins of emission. Climate Professor Fred Singer waspishly describes this as shifting money “from the poor in rich countries to the rich in poor ones”.[52]

The key instrument for the wealth transfer is the UN’s Kyoto-designed “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM). Through this, the West pays to invest in low-emission ventures in the developing world, a process which is usually cheaper than the West cutting its own emissions. India is getting a big share of this investment, with 1400-plus carbon credit projects worth $33 billion approved or under way.[53] Pachauri’s TERI is heavily involved, directly and through TERI executives’ close links and roles with the Indian government’s strategic energy planning. Pachauri’s view is that India, the world’s fifth-biggest emitter, need not itself abate its emissions in its catch-up phase, but should aim merely for reduced carbon-intensity per unit of output.[54]

I began this profile with Pachauri’s address to the North Carolina legislators and will end with it. First, he wrongly thought he was “off the record”. Second, he clearly set out to scare the legislators witless, with such forecasts as a 90 per cent drop in African crop harvests by 2100, along with security and peace issues with Africans heading out of Africa literally for greener pastures. To avert such perils, including “several metres” of sea-level rise, he said that the world need only give up one year’s GDP growth (3 per cent) by 2030, or 5.5 per cent of world GDP if we rashly delayed the emission targets to 2050.

Pachauri climaxed his address with a quote (probably taken from Al Gore’s book Earth in Balance) by native American Chief Seattle in 1854: “Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” My b.s. detector beeped and sure enough, Chief Seattle’s eco-poetry is, in polite academic-speak, “inauthentic … an evolving work of fiction”.[55]


'Consensus' on Global Warming is a Manmade Concept

International panel selectively chooses scientists it knows will push a 'melting planet' agenda

With the ongoing media coverage of a well-known scientist lying to get confidential documents from the Heartland Institute regarding global warming, there's been consistent reporting in the media about the "scientific consensus" that climate change is manmade.

Numerous articles on blogs and news sites cite that scientific "consensus" of man-made global warming without citing any reference.

The phrase may be a reference to the body of work done over the years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which involves work done by thousands of scientists from more than 120 governments.

John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center and a climatologist from the University of Alabama-Huntsville, says the IPCC's process does not promote a disparity of opinion on global warming and is more political than scientific. Christy says the problem is the degree of warming. He thinks 90 percent would agree that mankind has some impact on the climate. "But a lower percentage would say it was a dangerous impact. You really can't get a good answer to this," Christy said.

Christy has served as a "lead author" for a report done by the IPCC.

He said he believes a problem is that the scientists selected to be considered by the IPCC are nominated by governments that for the most part have a man-made global warming bias.

"The selection of lead authors through a two-step political process is a problem," Christy wrote. "Presently, national governments nominate to the IPCC those who over the years, they can generally count on to be consistent with national policy. From this pool, the IPCC itself selects those it wants to be lead authors."

Christy said he believes IPCC-selected authors have significant authority over what they accept and reject when determining a paper's conclusions, adding that lead authors are allowed to judge their own work against their critics. "This has led to biased information in the assessments and thus raises questions about a catastrophic view of climate change because the full range of evidence is not represented."

One example Christy cited the work of Penn State University's Michael Mann, who was a lead author on a report for a chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In the email scandal known as "Climategate," Mann wrote an email to members of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit about how to deal with research that countered their own theories on global warming.

". I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper," Mann's email read. " . The last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper." Mann later wrote they should "encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal."

A Penn State University investigation cleared Mann of any scientific misconduct.

"The term `consensus science' will often be appealed to in arguments about climate change. This is a form of `argument from authority,' " Christy wrote. "Consensus, however, is a political notion, not a scientific notion. . the IPCC and other similar assessments do not represent for me a consensus of much more than the consensus of those who already agree with a particular consensus. The content of these reports is actually under the control of a relatively small number of individuals - I often refer to them as the `climate establishment' - who through the years, in my opinion, came to act as gatekeepers of scientific opinion and information, rather than brokers. The voices of those of us who object to various statements and emphases in these assessments are by-in-large dismissed rather than acknowledged."


The climate Scare is big business -- and school materials are one means of keeping it alive

But tiny Heartland is nipping at their heels

Most of these state-funded bodies have grown hugely bigger, richer, and more powerful by jumping on the CO2 Scare bandwagon with alacrity. I suspect they also all produce materials for schools with some of their funds. They no doubt see children as a means of influencing their parents as well as voters of the future.

Meanwhile, some climate alarmists have tried to frame, abuse, and attack the tiny Heartland Institute for daring to consider producing some educational materials on climate themselves. The moral and intellectual mess which Peter Gleick has got himself into in this smearing and deceit is tragic for him, and has itself drawn out more reprehensible comments from his 'side' (for examples, see this post by Donna Laframboise ).

The reality is the funding of that institute is minimal in comparison with those who push the establishment's line, while their integrity may well be orders of magnitude greater than that of their critics. I would hazard a guess that the science and reasoning and basic humanity in any climate materials they might produce for schools will be outstanding compared to the alarmist dross currently polluting the minds and spirits of the young.

Josh (Cartoons by Josh) captures a sense of the funding discrepancy with his superb graphic shown above. Ben Pile does the same, also superbly but using prose:

'The environmental movement is as promiscuous with its ‘ethics’ as it is with ‘The Science’. You can make stuff up, apparently, just so long as you do so in order to ‘save the planet’. And this is why sums as paltry and insignificant as $1,000 are so important to their perspective. It is only by amplifying the trivial that the myth of ‘networks’ of ‘well-funded deniers’ can be sustained. It’s only when you lose a sense of proportion that a few million dollars can stop global action on climate change. Trivia, vanity and mythology allows environmentalists to turn ordinary facts of politics – funding, associations of people, and campaigning organisations – into secret conspiracies to explain their own failure to create a popular movement.'

Those wealthy agencies may well turn on a sixpence as and when their political masters change tack. They will continue to do as they are bid. The glossy materials, the fancy websites, the PR machines, the outreach to the young - all of it could look the same from the distance, but, and here is the dream, one day the words will be different, the fearmongering will go, the manipulation, the condescension and the authoritarianism will vanish.

Proper science, respect for others - especially for the trust and vulnerability of the young - and a sense of calm perspective about what we know and don't know about the climate system will take their place, along with more respect for the great industrial achievements of the past and for our ability to rise to the challenges of the future.

And all on greatly reduced budgets! There's the rub. And there's the value for money in small outfits like the Heartland Institute. I hope they do proceed with their climate materials for schools - they could scarcely fail to improve on some of the stuff out there, and they might just help with the long climb out of this pit of fear and smear we find ourselves in thanks to the political and financial power of people driven crazy by their phobia concerning CO2.



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, 2012

Tears from a modern Malthus

His panic is as old as Malthus and just as shallowly grounded. He has learned nothing from the fact that life for all of us continues to improve. His dislike of people regulates his brain

SILICON Valley giants at the prestigious TED innovation conference here on Tuesday were warned that the worship of technology will ruin the world before it saves it.

Activist and author Paul Gilding made a case for the peril of obsession with modern technology and how lust for the latest gadgets is distracting people from acting to stop global disasters such as climate change.

"The Earth is full," argued Mr Gilding, author of The Great Disruption in which he reasons that as technology drives efficiency and economic growth it powers breakneck consumption that the planet cannot endure.

"It is full of us. It is full of our stuff, full of our waste, and full of our demands," he said. "We have created too much stuff. This is not a philosophical statement, this is just science."

The world's population has topped seven billion people and resources are being devoured faster than they can be replenished, he argued.

"Our approach is simply unsustainable," said Mr Gilding, the former director of Greenpeace International. "Thanks to those pesky laws of physics, it will stop. The system will break."

On a TED stage famous for presentations from leading entrepreneurs developing ways to make the world a better place, Mr Gilding argued that technology was making matters worse.

With China and other developing countries booming, in many cases thanks to technology, the world's resources are being rapidly devoured, the author argued.

"The Earth doesn't care what we need," Mr Gilding said. "Mother Nature doesn't negotiate; she just sets rules and administers consequences."

He cited national debt crises, the Occupy Wall Street movement and rising global temperatures as signs the breakdown of modern life is underway.

"We've had 50 years of warnings and pretty much done nothing to change course," he lamented, his eyes watering with tears.

"Those people who think technology will get us through are right; they are only missing that it takes a crisis to get us going... We really do love a good crisis and this one is a master."

The head of the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, which is devoted to technology breakthroughs for the good of mankind, was then brought on stage to provide a counter-point to Mr Gilding's dark vision.

"I'm not saying that we don't have our share of problems - climate change, species extinction, resource shortage - but ultimately we have the ability to see problems way in advance and knock them down," Peter Diamandis said.

He argued that rapidly improving sensors, robotics, digital medicine, synthetic biology and computing power in the Internet "cloud" provided hope for a better future.

He added that a Slingshot device about the size of a college dorm room refrigerator and capable of cheaply making drinking water from even the most tainted of sources was being tested with the backing of a beverage company.

Mr Diamandis also heads Singularity University in Silicon Valley, which serves as a training ground and academic boot camp for entrepreneurs, inventors and technology industry executives.

The strongest defense against overpopulation is making people educated and healthy, he said, adding: "I have extraordinary confidence in the innovators who are out there."


The death of peak oil

Here's another structural transformation to add to all the others that you have to get your head around: it's the transformation of global energy markets as a result of shale oil and gas.

We've already got the digital revolution and the switch from consumption to savings after the GFC, not to mention the rise of China and India. Now we have the death of peak oil.

For years we have assumed that fossil fuel reserves were running out, that peak oil production had occurred some time ago and that it was only a matter of time before the oil price rose to such heights that energy-dependent economies would be crushed, starting with the United States.

In a way these assumptions have helped underpin the movement against global warming (that is, we'll have to give up oil anyway since it's running out, so we might as well make the best of a bad lot and embrace electric cars and wind farms and save the planet from climate change while we're at it).

In fact the existence of vast reserves of oil and gas in shale formations, mainly in the United States, combined with the return of the oil price to $US100 a barrel without, so far, causing a global recession, is producing a profound transformation of energy markets.

Forget declining oil, there is a new global oil rush. The US has an estimated 2 trillion barrels of shale oil reserves - about 70 per cent of the world's total and eight times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The gas reserves, in the US, Australia and elsewhere, are vast.

The cost of extracting shale oil ranges from $US95 per barrel down to $US12, although the process of fracking, where water is pumped in to break up the shale and release the oil, is very controversial - as highlighted on the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program last night.

But where there's oil there's a way. BHP Billiton has paid $15 billion for shale oil and gas acreage, through its acquisition of Petrohawk, and now owns four large areas in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. The company is spending billions developing the project; its Haynesville project in Arkansas is already the largest shale play in the US, producing 6.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

There was an earlier shale energy rush in the 1980s, following the second oil shock, but it quickly collapsed with the oil price.

However, now the price is back to where it was in real terms, making it economic, and extraction technology has advanced enormously as well. It wasn't until the late 1980s and early 1990s that the first commercial horizontal wells were successfully drilled and modern 'multi-stage' hydraulic fracturing (fracking) techniques did not emerge until ten years ago.

Production of shale gas in the US began to increase rapidly in 2010 thanks to advances in fracking technology. It has now been used in more than 1 million wells, and operators are currently fracturing about 35,000 wells a year.

It's a remarkable process: the reserves are usually about five kilometres below the surface (much deeper than coal seam gas); wells are drilled down to them and then horizontally through them for another five or six kilometres; the horizontal part of the well is perforated by explosives and then fluid and sand are pumped down at high pressure to fracture the shale. The hydrocarbons then flow to the surface.

The opposition to this in the US is similar to the growing opposition to coal seam gas developments in Australia; whether any of the opponents get anywhere is a different matter, especially in the US.

The drive for self-sufficiency in oil and gas is very powerful indeed, and in pursuit of that there is a massive boom in shale energy development, leading to big fortunes being made in infrastructure and servicing, not to mention the energy itself.

Australia has relatively small shale oil reserves - here it's more about coal seam methane. China has more shale energy reserves in total than the US but they're deeper and the geology is more difficult. There are big reserves in Poland and France, as well as Russia and the Congo in Africa.

But so far it's all about the United States, which has the reserves and the largest market close by.

The importance of this for the world is hard to exaggerate. The distribution of energy on the planet is shifting: the stranglehold that Middle Eastern dictatorships have over the world's energy supply is loosening and just as the rise of manufacturing in China shifted the world's economic axis, so will the rise of shale energy in North America.

There will be a rapid substitution of coal by cleaner gas, especially as (or perhaps if) emissions trading schemes and carbon taxes spread.

It means renewable energy and nuclear will become less and less economic as the supply of gas increases, whether it's from coal seams or shale. Gas is less carbon intensive than coal, but it still produces greenhouse gases, so it may be that the policy response to reduce global warming will actually have to increase if the world moves too far towards gas and away from renewables and nuclear.

If the United States could become self-sufficient in energy, its current account deficit would disappear and the US dollar would start rising again.

In fact, shale energy could be responsible for the resurgence of the United States as an economic superpower, with cheap local energy underpinning the second coming of its manufacturing industry as well as helping to balance its twin deficits - the current account and federal budget.

One thing is for sure: the world isn't running out of oil and gas any more.


BOOK REVIEW of The Delinquent Teenager who was mistaken for the world's top climate expert by Donna Laframboise

Donna Laframboise comes with a first-rate track record in human rights, non-conformism and feminism (she supports father's rights). The book contains 36 short chapters plus extensive documentation to ensure that her claims can be checked.

Chapter 1 is "A closer look at the world's leading climate body". It is essential to realise that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political body, created by that most political organization, the United Nations to do the work of two of their subsidiary bodies, one concerned with weather and the other with the environment.

Every country in the world sends delegates to its occasional meetings: these are political representatives, not scientists. It is a little over 20 years old, strictly speaking not a teenager any more, but you could say it suffers from arrested development because it is driven by a particular political agenda, which has nothing to do with science and it is not restrained by democratic accountability.

Chapter 2 "Showered with Praise" runs through some of the glowing accolades that the IPCC has received from its political boosters and the mainstream media.

Chapter 3 "The Top Scientists & Best Experts?" takes up the claim by the longserving Chairman Rajendra Pachauri that the authors of the IPCC "Climate Bible" 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".

How many times have we been told that all the thousands of legitimate climate scientists have reached a consensus and the only dissenters are unqualified outsiders, ideologues, cranks, or doing it for money from Big Oil?

So what do we find when we examine the processes which convert data and the raw material of science into IPCC papers? Who are the key people who control the process? What the the checks on the quality of the input to the reports? How are the thousands of legitimate climate scientists used in this process, especially if they have concerns about the quality of the data or the processes involved in writing and reviewing the papers?

And what do we find about the background and qualifications of the insiders who turn out to have far more influence on the final reports than the most eminent and experienced scientists in the relevant fields if they are not key figures on the report-writing teams?

Cutting to the chase, the insider circles are dominated by bureaucrats and ideologues. Science and the scientists are used and abused to fit the agenda of the insiders. You can get a hint of the way this works from the experience of some scientists during the campaign against uranium mining years ago.

The UN has been penetrated by people dedicated to the anti-nuclear doctrine, as demonstrated by the sabotage of papers that scientists submitted to the UN Environmental Programme conference on nuclear energy at Geneva in November 1978. Over 20 consultants submitted papers in advance and when they arrived in town they found that the conference report had been printed and the conclusions could be read in the local press. The report did not represent the material that was submitted. It was heavily edited with anti-nuclear bias. A running battle ensued with letters from the Chairman of the panel of scientists demanding a re-write.

This effort was stonewalled by the Secretariat, led by a Mr El Hinawai, who gave out press releases which continued to misrepresent the situation, prompting more letters from the Chair of the panel, to no avail. The message of the scientists did not get officially accepted but Grover reported that an article by Mr Hinawai on the dangers of nuclear waste appeared in the official journal of the International Atomic Energy Agency and was quoted by an anti-nuclear letter writer in an Australian newspaper in not long after. Bad news travels fast and far!

The chapters "Twenty-something Graduate Students", and "Activists" describe the number of senior authors who are not at the top of their professions, are young, and experienced mostly in political roles as environmental activists. Later chapters detail many cases of genuine "top of the tree professionals" who have been snubbed and marginalized by the IPCC.

If you have key people inside the organization you can run rings around scientists outside who have other things to do apart from dealing with obstructive ideologues. Laframboise found that this kind of thing happens all the time in the IPCC. Nothing is easy to find out due to the lack of transparency but with persistence some patterns emerge, of which the most significant include the selection of key people in report-writing, the handling of material which is not peer-reviewed (given the emphasis on peer review), the experience and qualifications of many key people (given the emphasis on the role of the very best and brightest climate scientists), the way that rules on quality control and deadlines are manipulated and the way that efforts to improve quality control are blocked.

Lack of transparency

On page 26 there are quotes about the superb transparence of the IPCC processes including a statement by over 250 US scientists but the evidence is clear from other sources that lack of transparency (and the failure of journalists and science writers) is a major problem.

The Climate Bible authors are chosen by a secretive process for starters (p 27). The IPCC receives nominations from governments (that should be a warning!). The names are not made public (another warning!). Finally the only information given out about the selected authors is their country of origin (never mind about qualifications and experience, that is assumed in such a reputable scientific organization). Resumes are submitted as part of the nomination process, why not put them on the website?

The key people producing the reports

There are three classes of writers (p 10). Coordinating lead authors (usually 2) are in charge of each chapter. Lead authors, ranging in number from a handful to dozens, do the bulk of the writing. Contributing authors provide material, usually on very specific topics, to be incorporated, cited or re-worked. Depending on the chapter there may be no contributing authors or as many as 20. Typically they do not attend the meetings of the other authors.

Obviously the coordinating lead authors are overwhelmingly the really key figures, followed by the lead authors. Some of these are incredibly unlikely figures, in terms of experience, qualifications and background. Like Richard Kline who achieved the status of a top world expert and coordinating lead author long before completing his doctorate. And Lisa Alexander, who in 2008 was still completing her PhD at Monash after she had been a contributing author to the 2001 Bible and a lead author in 2007.

Climate modelers are under the microscope in chapter 7. All of the scary scenarios come from models and so the modelers represent a very specialised, very influential and very closed shop. For some balance on models check out Garth Paltridge in The Climate Caper, especially the story about the "worst case" selection of the model for the Garnaut report which was used to craft our tax on carbon dioxide. Of course the details of the Australian modeling are yet to be revealed.

We are told that the science has been settled on the basis of "an immense edifice of painstaking studies published in the world's leading peer-reviewed journals...vetted and documented in excruciating detail..." And a climate modeler claims that the input to the reports "has been scrutinized to the highest level possible" (p 33). And "A core principle of the IPCC is that only peer-reviewed literature is cited" (p 41).

The Chairman himself made that claim in a speech to the legislators of North Carolina.

Leaving aside what we have learned about the corruption of the peer-review process, claims about the exclusive use of peer-reviewed literature are bogus. In a chapter on "the peer review fairy tale" Laframboise described a collaborative project involving a worldwide team of helpers who checked all the cited references in the 44 chapters of the 2007 report, counting how many were peer-reviewed and how many came from the "grey" literature.

Her suspicions were aroused by reports from IPCC expert reviewers (not insiders to the writing) that some items were being submitted which did not have scientific status. These even included some press releases, however their concerns were dismissed and the reports were listed as input to the final report (p46).

The final score for 18,531 references in the 2007 report was 5,587 (one third) not peer reviewed. In 21 of the 44 chapters the score for peer reviewed references did not reach 60%. This would not be so bad if it was admitted up front and in public, also if there were clearly defined and properly policed rules for vetting the grey matter (not peer-reviewed) for use by the inner circle of authors.

Among the sources used to support IPCC recommendations were newspapers and magazine articles, unpublished theses, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund documents, and yes, press releases.

More here

Bird-lovers killing birds?

The unfortunate owl that is in Obama's gunsights

To save the imperiled spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside.

The plan is the latest federal attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the passive, one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.

The government set aside millions of acres of forest to protect the owl, but the bird's population continues to decline - a 40 percent slide in 25 years.

A plan announced Tuesday would designate habitat considered critical for the bird's survival, while allowing logging to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and to create jobs. Habitat loss and competition from barred owls are the biggest threats to the spotted owl.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the draft plan "a science-based approach to forestry that restores the health of our lands and wildlife and supports jobs and revenue for local communities."

By removing selected barred owls and better managing forests, officials can give communities, foresters and land managers in three states important tools to promote healthier and more productive forests, Salazar said.

The new plan, which replaces a 2008 Bush administration plan that was tossed out in federal court, affects millions of acres of national, state and private forest land in Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

The plan to kill barred owls would not be the first time the federal government has authorized killing of one species to help another. California sea lions that feast on threatened salmon in the Columbia River have been killed in recent years after efforts to chase them away or scare them failed.

The U.S. Agriculture Department kills thousands of wild animals each year - mostly predators such as coyotes - to protect livestock. Other animals, including bears, wolves and raccoons also are killed through the program.

The latest plan for spotted owls was accompanied by a presidential memorandum directing Interior to take a number of steps before the plan is finalized, including providing clear direction for how logging can be conducted within areas designated as critical habitat and conducting an economic analysis at the same time critical habitat areas are proposed.

Officials acknowledge that the plan to kill barred owls creates an ethical dilemma, but say an experiment on private land in northern California has shown promising results. Spotted owls have returned to historic territories after barred owls were removed.


Australian Labor Party government attacked over 'solar vandalism' after ending hot water subsidy

Warmism slowly dying

THE Government's decision to abruptly end a solar hot water subsidy is being called "solar vandalism" in attacks by the Opposition and Greens.

Late yesterday the Government announced that the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme would end from today, except for installations already underway.

The reason was the need for savings to meet the promise of a Budget surplus in 2012-13. The Government will save about $70 million from a program which so far has cost $320 million.

More than 250,000 households have used the scheme which had been a boost to the solar installation industry which expected many more families to take up the rebate.

The scheme will officially end on June 30 but effectively stopped today. "To be eligible for the rebate before the scheme closes, systems must be installed, ordered (and a deposit paid) or purchased on or before 28 February 2012," said Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus in a release issued just after 5pm yesterday.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt called the shut-down "solar vandalism". "Businesses who are on the ground building the clean energy economy have invested in stock, parts and production schedules and are now being thrown on the scrap heap by the Government," said Mr Hunt.

"My office has taken calls from several businesses shocked that they would be treated in this way when car manufacturers, smelters and others in the old economy get handouts of hundreds of millions of dollars."

The Greens said Mr Hunt said just $24.5 million was allocated for the scheme in 2012-13 and the closure of the program would not do much for the Budget.

Deputy Greens leader Christine Milne said the Government was sending the wrong signal on the move to a clean energy economy and demanded the scheme be reinstated. "Solar hot water is a great Australian clean, green manufacturing industry, exporting to the world and helping householders to cut their power bills and their greenhouse footprint," said Senator Milne.

"Cutting this scheme with no notice at all is a short-sighted sacrifice of a great industry to meet a political target of a Budget surplus next year."


Australian Warmist criticized over false prophecies

METEOROLOGISTS suggested Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery leave weather forecasting to them as the big wet defies his prediction rain would become scarce.

In 2007 Professor Flannery said Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane were in urgent need of desalination plants.

Four years on, Warragamba Dam is on the verge of overflowing and Brisbane last year endured the worst flooding in almost four decades.

After yesterday discovering Professor Flannery is not a meteorologist, the Weather Channel's meteorologists said it was probably best he left the forecasting to them. "People ideally suited to that are meteorologists. From what I can see on Tim Flannery, meteorology wasn't one of his specialties," Weather Channel's Dick Whitaker said.

A commission spokeswoman yesterday said Professor Flannery was in Germany, but said droughts were expected to become more frequent and "just because it is raining does not mean we should not think ahead and prepare for a drier future."

Professor Flannery's statements in 2007 came "in the midst of a record-breaking drought with dam levels perilously low," she 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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

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.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


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?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

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)