The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century. The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick. The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees -- thus showing ZERO warming

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

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE. The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism. For a list of backups viewable at times when the main blog is "down", see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

31 March, 2013

Climate "wisdom" from  Eugene Robinson

Some excerpts from his half-digested "facts" below.  Even if he has got all of the facts concerned exactly right, however, NONE of them can reflect global warming.  Why?  Because even Jim Hansen and Rajendra Pauchauri now concede that there has been NO global warming for over 15 years.  Something that does not exist cannot cause anything!  Is that too profound for Mr. Robinson?

So what is wrong with Mr Robinson?  Why is he purveying a totally wrong picture of global climate? I am going to  be charitable.  I don't think he is a crook who set out to mislead.  I think he is just dumb

All right, now can we talk about climate change? After a year when the lower 48 states suffered the warmest temperatures, and the second-craziest weather, since record-keeping began?

Apparently not. The climate-change denialists — especially those who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim that warming has halted or even reversed course — have been silent, as one might expect. Sensible people accept the fact of warming, but many doubt that our dysfunctional political system can respond in any meaningful way.

And Sandy was part of a pattern. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 was “the second most extreme year on record,” with 11 weather-related disasters including hurricanes Sandy and Isaac as well as swarms of killer tornadoes across the Great Plains and the Ohio Valley.

The year was also exceptionally dry; by July, about 61 percent of the country was experiencing conditions that qualify as “drought.” On a cheery note, the situation was not as bad as the Dust Bowl droughts of the 1930s. Less happily, the lack of rainfall in 2012 exacerbated wildfire activity. “The Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, Colo., destroyed nearly 350 homes and was the most destructive fire on record for the state,” NOAA reported.

Hurricanes striking where they don’t usually strike, fires burning where they don’t usually burn, drought everywhere — these anomalies begin to add up. Scientists have long told us that one impact of climate change will be increased volatility, and unpredictability, in weather events. This appears to be what we’re getting.


Twenty-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists puzzled

They're not ready to give up their faith yet but are getting more and more apologetic and tentative

DEBATE about the reality of a two-decade pause in global warming and what it means has made its way from the sceptical fringe to the mainstream.

In a lengthy article this week, The Economist magazine said if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, then climate sensitivity - the way climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels - would be on negative watch but not yet downgraded.

Another paper published by leading climate scientist James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says the lower than expected temperature rise between 2000 and the present could be explained by increased emissions from burning coal.

For Hansen the pause is a fact, but it's good news that probably won't last.

International Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri recently told The Weekend Australian the hiatus would have to last 30 to 40 years "at least" to break the long-term warming trend.

But the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted.

Research by Ed Hawkins of University of Reading shows surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range projections derived from 20 climate models and if they remain flat, they will fall outside the models' range within a few years.

"The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations," says David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.  "If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change," he says.

Whitehouse argues that whatever has happened to make temperatures remain constant requires an explanation because the pause in temperature rise has occurred despite a sharp increase in global carbon emissions.

The Economist says the world has added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010, about one-quarter of all the carbon dioxide put there by humans since 1750. This mismatch between rising greenhouse gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now, The Economist article says.  "But it does not mean global warming is a delusion."

The fact is temperatures between 2000 and 2010 are still almost 1C above their level in the first decade of the 20th century.

"The mismatch might mean that for some unexplained reason there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-2010.  "Or it might mean that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period."

The magazine explores a range of possible explanations including higher emissions of sulphur dioxide, the little understood impact of clouds and the circulation of heat into the deep ocean.

But it also points to an increasing body of research that suggests it may be that climate is responding to higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before.

"This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy," the article says.

There are now a number of studies that predict future temperature rises as a result of man-made carbon dioxide emissions at well below the IPCC best estimate of about 3C over the century.

The upcoming IPCC report is expected to lift the maximum possible temperature increase to 6C.

The Research Council of Norway says in a non-peer-reviewed paper that the best estimate concludes there is a 90 per cent probability that doubling CO2 emissions will increase temperatures by only 1.2C to 2.9C, the most likely figure being 1.9C.

Another study based on the way the climate behaved about 20,000 years ago has given a best guess of 2.3C.

Other forecasts, accepted for publication, have reanalysed work cited by the IPCC but taken account of more recent temperature data and given a figure of between 1C and 3C.

The Economist says understanding which estimate is true is vital to getting the best response.

"If as conventional wisdom has it, global temperatures could rise by 3C or more in response to a doubling of emissions, then the correct response would be the one to which most of the world pays lip service; rein in the warming and the greenhouse gases causing it," the article says.

"If, however, temperatures are likely to rise by only 2 degrees Celsius in response to a doubling of carbon emissions (and if the likelihood of a 6 degrees Celsius is trivial) the calculation might change," it says.

"Perhaps the world should seek to adjust to (rather than stop) the greenhouse-gas splurge.

"There is no point buying earthquake insurance if you don't live in an earthquake zone."

According to The Economist, "given the hiatus in warming and all the new evidence, a small reduction in estimates of climate sensitivity would seem to be justified." On face value, Hansen agrees the slowdown in global temperature rises can be seen as "good news".

But he is not ready to recalculate the Faustian bargain that weighs the future cost to humanity of continued carbon dioxide emissions.

Hansen argues that the impact of human carbon dioxide emissions has been masked by the sharp increase in coal use, primarily in China and India.

Increased particulate and nitrogen pollution has worked in the opposite direction of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Another paper published in Geophysical Research Letters on research from the University of Colorado Boulder found small volcanoes, not more coal power stations in China, were responsible for the slowdown in global warming.

But this did not mean that climate change was not a problem.

"Emissions from volcanic gases go up and down, helping to cool or heat the planet, while greenhouse gases from human activity just continue to go up," author Ryan Neely says.

Hansen's bottom line is that increased short-term masking of greenhouse gas warming by fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution represents a "doubling down" of the Faustian bargain, an increase in the stakes.

"The more we allow the Faustian debt to build, the more unmanageable the eventual consequences will be," he says.


The Enviro’s War on Workers

Susan Sarandon has emerged from her crypt to join forces with radical environmentalists opposing hydraulic fracturing natural gas and oil production in New York.

Daryl Hannah, an actress who is more famed for hanging out with Kennedys than for anything she has done on screen, chained herself to the White House in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Mayor of Seattle speaks at rally opposing the transportation of coal from the Rocky Mountains to Pacific Ocean ports.

What do these three events have in common?

They reveal that the environmental left will pull every lever at their disposal to stop the development of energy in the United States no matter the harm they do to workers and the economy.

When NBC News has a story titled, “Energy boom begins ripple through U.S. economy,” that details how hydraulic fracturing in just North Dakota and Texas is changing America’s economic landscape.

Men and women, who previously were settling for temporary jobs in Obama’s “New Normal” economy are now finding careers because of the availability of inexpensive domestic energy.  And not just in those states where the energy is being produced but in places like Maryland where suppliers create products needed for the growing energy industry.

The NBC report states, “Marlin Steel Wire [a Maryland company], for example, has expanded its payroll and invested in high-tech equipment to keep up with a steady pick-up in orders from other U.S. manufacturers. Orders are rising, said owner Drew Greenblatt, because his customers are receiving a widening discount in the price of natural gas and electricity.”

Greenblatt goes on to connect the dots for those who are  too busy chaining themselves to fences to listen, “That’s making U.S. companies that used to be at a price disadvantage now uniquely positioned to win contracts they never won in the past — or haven’t for a while.  Everyone talks about what’s going on in North Dakota, but it’s filtering down now to conventional factories throughout America.”

NBC goes on to highlight an employee at the company who now has what he calls a “career” rather than a series of temporary jobs.

Yet, so-called environmentalists are raising millions of dollars to oppose the expansion and development of the very technology that is making a resurgence of the American manufacturing sector and the good, high paying jobs it creates possible.

Liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to block this development of this job creation engine that would drive down his citizens electricity costs while accelerating the reinvigoration of the manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates in his state all to woo the enviro crazies to support his presidential dreams.

Environmentalists have done the almost impossible with the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing together the head of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trade Union with energy industry leaders in support of the jobs and positive energy independent future that the pipeline represents.

The AFL-CIO affiliated union even issued a statement praising the passage of a Senate budget amendment urging approval of the pipeline saying, “The overwhelming support for Keystone in the U.S. Senate has served to send another strong signal to President Barack Obama that Keystone enjoys wide swaths of support throughout the nation, and that it is well past time to green-light.”

And seventeen Democrat Senators joined all of the Senate Republicans in urging approval of the Pipeline in a dramatic show of bi-partisan support.  A bi-partisan support rooted in an acknowledgement that energy development creates high paying jobs for American workers.

And the enviros continuing almost hysterical war on coal, even going so far as to oppose the sale of low sulfur U.S. coal to countries that currently burn higher sulfur coal which generates more pollution.  Operating under an almost a zombie-like trance, environmentalists seek to deny U.S. miners, railroaders, dock workers and merchant mariners work.  And incredibly by doing so, they actually hurt the world’s environment.

Is there any wonder why the effete environmental movement typified by the perpetually arrested Robert Kennedy, Jr., is being viewed as opposing the American worker?

In fact, the only thing that the environmental movement seems to be accomplishing is to fracture the always uneasy Democratic labor-environmental coalition.  And while it did not stop Obama’s re-election, the largest fissure in this coalition yet occurred during his campaign, when his EPA’s aggressive war on coal resulted in his losing the endorsement of the United Mine Workers union. The administration’s emphasis on “green jobs” — always a fiction — was intended to counter this coming rift. All it did was delay it.

The truth is that the environmental lobby and the liberal left actively work to destroy blue collar jobs in a deliberate attempt to offshore all environmental costs from the United States, as well as the wealth that is created when our nation builds and creates things.

They have declared a war on the American worker, and their worst nightmare is happening before their eyes.  American ingenuity born in the free markets that encourage profit has unleashed a rapidly burgeoning energy independence.

An energy independence that Obama and his minions have actively opposed through their refusal to allow the development of resources on federal lands, which has the potential to create a new American century.

An American century where we build things, dream and create new products and more economical ways to produce them, and where American workers not only have jobs, but have careers, not just pay stations until the next thing comes along.

The only thing standing in the way of this new American century is a massive, foundation money fueled, environmental lobby that would rather see an American worker unemployed on food stamps than getting dirty producing something.

But they can be beaten, when the American worker sees a brighter future for themselves, their children and their country.  As the energy economic boom takes root and the malaise of despair that has driven millions of American workers to leave the workforce lifts, the radical environmental left’s war on workers will not only be defeated, but will utterly discredit those who embrace it.

As we see the increasingly desperate attempts for attention by the environmental faithful as they see the wheel of the free market throwing their movement into the ash-heap of history, our nation’s politics will be transformed.

The left’s big government governing coalition ground to dust, all because some very smart people figured out how to turn rock into oil and natural gas.

In the end, if the enviros war on workers is defeated, America’s economic greatness will re-emerge with the heroes being the innovators and risk takers who believed in an energy future that the rest of the world scoffed at.

The rest of the world will scratch their heads wondering how it all happened without government leading the way, never realizing that the only way this new American century could ever happen is in spite of government not because of it.

And this is the American story.  Not one of government rules and regulations, but one of smart people empowered to follow their visions by a free market system that rewards risk taking in a natural selection of competing ideas, technologies and processes.

America can once again be a place that the middle class thrives as people work hard in meaningful careers producing personal wealth beyond the imaginations of prior generations.

But only if America chooses to reject the environmental scarcity vision and their war on workers.


British Warmist organization a flop at weather forecasts

Some basic philosophy of science:  If your theory is wrong, you won't get the results you predict

Those of us caught in downpours in our shorts or left peeling soggy sausages off the barbecue could probably have told them all along.

The Met Office finally admitted yesterday that the forecasts it gave of ‘dry’ weather last year were ‘not helpful’.

But the organisation’s chief scientist still insisted two-thirds of its long-term forecasts are ‘very helpful’ – without specifying quite what that means for the other third.

In its official guidance to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Met Office said that last April was likely to be ‘drier than usual’.

Instead, of course, it turned into a washout that spilled over into the rest of 2012 – which became the wettest year since records began.

So while the long-term forecast suggested a national drought that was going to get worse, tens of thousands actually found themselves facing widespread flooding. The embarrassing admission came to light thanks to a Freedom of Information request.

An internal document revealed that forecasters had said at the end of March that they expected ‘drier than average conditions for April to June, with April driest’.

But in a report sent later to Defra’s chief scientist, the Met Office admitted: ‘Given that April was the wettest since detailed records began in 1910, and the April May June quarter was also the wettest, this advice was not helpful.’

The Met Office has been so embarrassed by its errors in the past that it stopped issuing long-term forecasts to the public.

Instead, it continues to give ‘probability’ guidance for coming months to Government departments such as Defra which need to plan.

But last year, it seems, its forecast did nothing to help anyone.

Yesterday, Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo insisted that in almost two-thirds of cases their long term ‘probabilistic’ predictions were ‘very helpful’.

She said of last year’s forecast: ‘In March we were facing really very serious pressures on water resources – a major drought that had been going on for a couple of years. I thought I was right to emphasise the risk of dry conditions continuing as a precautionary principle.’

Still, Professor Sligo was not deterred from making a few predictions for those shivering their way through the Easter weekend.

She suggested better weather would arrive – but not until May.  She said: ‘We certainly see the cold weather continuing at least for the next few days, and potentially into the middle of April. Our monthly forecast looking at April slightly favours cold conditions continuing.

‘Beyond that, I think, into the summer, it’s much more difficult to predict. I think we’re expecting a return to normal conditions into May and then June.’

In the short-term, forecasters say most parts of the country can expect dry and bright spells until Tuesday, although temperatures will remain very low.


The £9million bonus bonanza dished out to British green energy bureaucrats

Bureaucrats in charge of the Government’s controversial green policies have benefited from a multi-million-pound bonus bonanza since the last election.

The total amount of performance-related handouts given to civil servants at the Department for Energy and Climate Change has almost tripled since Labour’s final year in office to £9million.

One official received a bonus of £12,000, while others received payments of more than £7,000, to reward them for their work promoting renewable power such as wind farms.

Last night MPs lambasted the department for handing out so much at a time when consumers’ energy bills were going up as a result of the very green policies they are working on.

Last year, the DECC admitted that its green policies – which will fund a new generation of wind farms and nuclear reactors – will add an average of £95 to gas and electricity bills.

A separate parliamentary question has revealed more questionable expenditure at DECC, where more than £7.6million has been paid out over the last two years in pay-offs for staff who have left the department. It means 141 people leaving have pocketed an average of £54,595 each. 

And earlier this month, the Daily Mail revealed that the department has gone on a recruitment spree since the last election, with staff numbers soaring by more than a quarter since May 2010. 

Now, thanks to a series of parliamentary questions by the Tory MP Priti Patel, it has emerged that the department – headed by Lib Dem Ed Davey – has also been spending millions on bonuses.

In 2011/12, the latest year for which figures are available, some £9,072,483 was spent on bonuses and other payments on top of salary. 

This is a 156 per cent rise on the £3,538,274 total in 2009/10, Labour’s last full year in office.  The figures show that 1,062 staff received bonuses and other payments. The 20 top payments included one payout of £12,000, five of £10,000, and 14 payouts of £7,500. 

To make things worse, the independent Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on energy policy has had its own bonus spree, with taxpayer-funded bonuses increasing by 43 per cent over the past four years. The highest was £15,000.

Miss Patel said: ‘Families will be shocked to see their taxes being used to fund a dangerously expensive and excessive bonus and entitlement culture among bureaucrats who are already handsomely paid. 

‘Not only are officials at DECC detached from reality as they plan to destroy our landscape with wind turbines and drive up energy costs with their green energy fantasies,  they also have no concept of the need to make savings  in Whitehall.’ 

A spokesman for DECC said the extra payments included, as well as bonuses, overtime and other superannuation costs.

She said: ‘We are working very hard to ensure energy bills are as affordable as possible.  ‘The Department focuses bonuses on its best performers. We believe performance awards help drive high performance towards achieving important policy objectives.’


With or Without Pipeline Canadian Oil Heads to US

 Marita Noon 

Environmentalists mistakenly think that blocking the Keystone pipeline will prevent crude oil, derived from Canada’s oil sands, from being extracted and from being conveyed into the US to be refined into gasoline, asphalt, and other products that are important to the transportation and manufacturing sectors. Their ultimate goal is to stop all development of the Canadian resource.

The oil spilled, as a result of a train derailment on Tuesday, highlights their misguided efforts.

News flash: Canada is developing their abundant oil sands and the crude oil is already being shipped to the United States—albeit in a more costly and less safe mode.

Early Wednesday morning, 14 cars of a 94-car mixed-freight train, derailed near Parker Prairie, MN. The Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) train was carrying oil from Western Canada to Chicago—though CPR does ship to refiners along the Gulf of Mexico, the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada. Of the 14 cars, one ruptured and, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, spilled as much as 26,000 gallons of crude oil (a car can contain 550 barrels of oil and trains often carry 80-150 cars). Two other cars had some leakage—though due to the frozen ground, “there’s no threat to ground or surface water” and there were no injuries.

The CPR train carrying Canadian oil to the US is part of a growing trend, as producers and refiners have turned to railroads to make up for a lack of pipeline capacity. It is estimated that, as Canadian production rises, “rail shipments of western Canadian crude had leapt about 150% to roughly 150,000 barrels a day in the last eight months.” The Wall Street Journal recently stated: “Pipeline or not, lots of Canadian crude oil is headed to the US.” It reported that, this year, more than 200,000 barrels a day will be shipped to the Gulf Coast refining hub, and called the increased use of railroads “an end run around the much-delayed pipeline”—which would more than quadruple capacity to 830,000 barrels a day. 

The March 11 article says: “Some oil industry executives and analysts, meanwhile, have raised concerns about rail accidents involving carloads of crude oil.” Despite, a decade-long drop in accident rates, Tuesday’s derailment/spill highlights Keystone’s importance—though a Keystone approval could hurt Obama supporter Warren Buffet’s recent purchase of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad that carries about 25% of the Bakken’s oil and “can ship higher volumes from North Dakota or Alberta in the future.”

The use of rail for Canada’s “stranded” crude oil is not new. Calling it a “pipeline on rails,” in February 2011, the Globe and Mail reported: “Although pipelines continue to carry the overwhelming majority of Canada’s oil production, both Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have begun using their rail networks to deliver crude.” Rail does offer several advantages for transporting Canadian crude. As the National Post, in 2009, points out: “Geopolitically, the rail option opens up the world markets for producers but also allows Canadian oil producers to bypass protectionism as well as the fickleness of environmental politics south of the border.” Oil crossing the international border via rail doesn’t require State Department approval.

Pro-pipeline pressure on the Obama administration is mounting. During the weekend’s Senate budget votes, 17 “moderate and conservative Democrats sided with Republicans on the Keystone pipeline.” Addressing the vote, the Wall Street Journal states: “The Senate vote is symbolic since the budget outline lacks the force of law. Still, the vote reflects the growing bipartisan consensus that a private investment creating tens of thousands of jobs trumps the scare tactics of environmentalists.”

Worry over “contamination from spills” is one of the “scare tactics” used by environmentalists to oppose the Keystone pipeline—yet pipelines are universally accepted as safer than transport by rail or truck (trucks bring the crude oil from the drilling site to the rail terminals).

Another “scare tactic” is to debunk the law of supply and demand; the ability of more resource to lower prices at the pump. On my own Facebook page, a “friend” posted the following: “My question, which neither you nor anyone else has answered is: If producing more oil here lowers prices as Marita says it will, why are we exporting it and why are prices so high?” From Bloomberg Businessweek, here’s an explanation. In short, Edward Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Global Markets, predicts that due to increased supply “$90 will be the new ceiling for oil prices rather than the floor it’s been in recent years.” The North American supply, he says, will result in a steep drop in oil imports “from OPEC’s biggest West African members” and “those barrels will have to find another home. The surplus African oil could end up competing with Mideast suppliers for customers in India, China, Europe, and Korea. As the global competition heats up, oil prices the world over will probably drop.”

In a few weeks, the State Department will be holding a pipeline hearing, a “listening session,” in Grand Island, NE. News reports state: “The meeting will give the public a chance to weigh in on the environmental impact of the proposed project.” Four State Department reviews have given the pipeline environmental clearance and, most recently, acknowledged that Canada will continue to extract its rich resource as “the oil sands are absolutely essential to maintaining the future living standards of Canadians,” and “pipeline or not, lots of Canadian crude oil is headed to the US”—though now coming via a “pipeline on rails.” As Wednesday’s little spill spotlights, those who really care about the environment support the Keystone pipeline. (Those unable to attend the April 18 hearing, can submit comments by emailing:




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


29 March, 2013

It’s the cold, not global warming, that we should be worried about

No one seems upset that in modern Britain, old people are freezing to death as hidden taxes make fuel more expensive

A few months ago, a group of students in Oslo produced a brilliant spoof video that lampooned the charity pop song genre. It showed a group of young Africans coming together to raise money for those of us freezing in the north. “A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s going on there right now,” says the African equivalent of Bob Geldof. “People don’t ignore starving people, so why should we ignore cold people? Frostbite kills too. Africa: we need to make a difference.” The song – Africa for Norway – has been watched online two million times, making it one of Europe’s most popular political videos.

The aim was to send up the patronising, cliched way in which the West views Africa. Norway can afford to make the joke because there, people don’t tend to die of the cold. In Britain, we still do. Each year, an official estimate is made of the “excess winter mortality” – that is, the number of people dying of cold-related illnesses. Last winter was relatively mild, and still 24,000 perished. The indications are that this winter, which has dragged on so long and with such brutality, will claim 30,000 lives, making it one of the biggest killers in the country. And still, no one seems upset.

Somewhere between the release of the 1984 Band Aid single and Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, political attention shifted away from such problems. The idea of people (especially old people) dying in their homes from conditions with which we are all familiar now seems relatively boring. Much political attention is still focused on global warming, and while schemes to help Britain prepare for the cold are being cut, the overseas aid budget is being vastly expanded. Saving elderly British lives has somehow become the least fashionable cause in politics.

The reaction to the 2003 heatwave was extraordinary. It was blamed for 2,000 deaths, and taken as a warning that Britain was horribly unprepared for the coming era of snowless winters and barbecue summers. The government’s chief scientific officer, Sir David King, later declared that climate change was “more serious even than the threat of terrorism” in terms of the number of lives that could be lost. Such language is never used about the cold, which kills at least 10 times as many people every winter. Before long, every political party had signed up to the green agenda.

Since Sir David’s exhortations, some 250,000 Brits have died from the cold, and 10,000 from the heat. It is horribly clear that we have been focusing on the wrong enemy. Instead of making sure energy was affordable, ministers have been trying to make it more expensive, with carbon price floors and emissions trading schemes. Fuel prices have doubled over seven years, forcing millions to choose between heat and food – and government has found itself a major part of the problem.

This is slowly beginning to dawn on Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. He has tried to point the finger at energy companies, but his own department let the truth slip out in the small print of a report released on Wednesday. The average annual fuel bill is expected to have risen by £76 by 2020, it says. But take out Davey’s hidden taxes (carbon price floor, emissions trading scheme, etc) and we’d be paying an average £123 less. His department has been trying to make homes cheaper to heat, and in a saner world this would be his only remit: to secure not the greenest energy, but the most affordable energy.

By now, the Energy Secretary will also have realised another inconvenient truth – that, for Britain, global warming is likely to save far more lives then it threatens. Delve deep enough into the Government’s forecasts, and they speculate that global warming will lead to 6,000 fewer deaths a year, on average, by the end of the decade. This is the supposed threat facing us: children would be less likely to have snow to play in at Christmas, but more likely to have grandparents to visit over Easter. Not a bad trade-off. The greatest uncertainty is whether global warming, which has stalled since 1998, will arrive quickly enough to make a difference.

It’s daft to draw any conclusions from this freakish, frozen spring. But in general, the computer-generated predictions do not seem as reliable as they did when Al Gore was using them to scare the bejesus out of us. A few weeks ago, scientists at the University of Washington found that man’s contribution to global warming may have been exaggerated – by a factor of two. The natural cycle of heating and cooling, they discovered, plays a far bigger role than they had imagined. Mr Davey’s fuel bill taxes may do nothing for the planet. But they will certainly lead to poorer, colder homes and shorter lives.

Our understanding of climate science may be weak, but our understanding of basic medicine is not. Low temperatures increase blood pressure and weaken the immune system, making everyone more vulnerable to bugs. For the elderly, this can be fatal. People don’t actually die of frostbite, as the Norwegian video teasingly suggested. They die of flu, or thrombosis, or other conditions they would not have acquired if their house had been warmer. Far fewer Scandinavians die in winter, because they have worked out how to defeat the cold: keep the heating on; insulate houses. It really is that simple.

So what’s stopping us? For years, various government schemes have sought to insulate lofts or upgrade boilers, but nowhere near quickly enough. When MPs looked into this three years ago, they heard from a Mr P of Cornwall. “The offer of a boiler is very much appreciated,” he said. “We hope that we will still be alive when we get the visit about the end of February.” With someone dying of the cold every seven minutes during winter, that may not have been a joke. The modest insulation scheme has been hit by cuts, while the mammoth winter fuel payment scheme continues untouched. The word “fuel” is, of course, redundant: it’s a simple bung, paid to all pensioners – who are more likely to vote.

I once drank a winter fuel allowance. It had been paid to a self-made millionaire who was appalled that people like him were being written a cheque, and he had used it to buy a magnum of claret in protest. He was a major philanthropist, but wanted to make the point to his lunch guests: the winter fuel payment is a scandal, whose very existence suggests that government is not serious about helping people make it through winter.

No one would wear a wristband or pin on a ribbon for the elderly victims of the cold – and yet freezing weather kills more than diabetes or breast cancer. The cause of death is perhaps too familiar, and the remedy too obvious, to attract much attention. If the money for winter fuel payments was instead used to help insulate homes, we might – like Norway – be able to joke about winter. As things stand, dying of the cold remains a horribly British disease.


Climate Models Are So Flawed They Fail History

 The alarmists want to place the world in servitude to the models that are predicting global warming. But those models can't even reconstruct the past.

A researcher at Sweden's University of Gothenburg analyzed climate models to see how closely their predictions fit with history, in this case, precipitation in China from 1961 to 2000. What Tinghai Ou found should crimp the alarmists' plans to establish regimes that punish and limit man's use of fossil fuels.

"Only a few climate models were able to reproduce the observed changes in extreme precipitation in China over the last 50 years," says the university's Department of Earth Sciences.

Ou himself said that the "results show that climate models give a poor reflection of the actual changes in extreme precipitation events that took place in China" during the period he examined.

"Only half of the 21 analyzed climate models were able to reproduce the changes in some regions of China," he said. "Few models can well reproduce the nationwide change."

Ou's work is important. If the models can't get the past right, how can they be trusted to predict future climate?

Seems more like guesswork than solid science to us.

Further evidence of the climate models' flaws was offered on March 16 by the London Daily Mail, which published a chart that "reveals how (the United Nations') '95% certain' estimates of the earth heating up were a spectacular miscalculation."

The Daily Mail charted the earth's actual temperatures against the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections of both 75% and 95% certainty. The lines track closely until recent years, at which point the line representing the observed temperatures "is about to crash out of" the boundaries of the lowest projections.

In other words, while the forecasts — to a supposed 95% certainty, which covers a lot of variation — show global temperatures climbing rather sharply from 1990 on, real temperatures haven't followed the rise.

That the climate models have defects and are severely limited shouldn't be a surprise. Four years ago NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt acknowledged that the "chaotic component of the climate system ... is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically."

Despite the sobriety of Schmidt and many others, the alarmists keep coming with their predictions of a grim future caused by man's use of fossil fuels. Pay no further attention to them.


The biggest fight over renewable energy is now in the states

Nowadays, a huge chunk of the action on clean energy in the United States is happening at the state level. Some 29 states and Washington D.C. have renewable energy standards requiring electric utilities to get a portion of their power from sources like wind or solar.

Those state-level standards have played a big role in doubling the amount of renewable-energy capacity in the United States in the past four years. And current standards are projected to add some 76,750 megawatts of new renewable power capacity by 2025 — enough, in theory, to power 47 million homes.

Yet those state laws are now facing a fierce backlash from both conservative advocacy groups and fossil-fuel interests. ”At least twenty-two of the 29 state renewables standards have been attacked by legislators or regulators in the last year,” writes Herman Trabish of GreentechMedia. He’s got a comprehensive new analysis that breaks down these challenges by the numbers. That includes:

Serious challenges to state laws. State renewable standards have faced the prospect of being weakened or repealed outright in Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin, among other places.

For example, Kansas currently has a standard that requires utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from sources like wind by 2020. Recently, Republicans in the state legislature proposed a bill that would give power companies more time to comply. Among other things, the lawmakers argued that electricity bills have surged 37 percent since 2008. (The bill ultimately failed in committee.)

In November, my colleague Juliet Eilperin reported that many of these repeal efforts were being coordinated by the libertarian Heartland Institute and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC has even crafted model legislation, the Electricity Freedom Act. Both groups argue that the renewable standards are costly to consumers, since wind and solar are often more expensive than coal or natural gas.

There’s also fossil-fuel money associated with these repeal efforts. “In many cases,” Eilperin wrote, “the groups involved accept money from oil, gas and coal companies that compete against renewable energy suppliers.”

Attempts to weaken renewable laws through a “hydro loophole.” Trabish notes that hydro-loophole fights have transpired in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Maine. This is a more subtle legislative maneuver to loosen the clean-energy standards.

Take Washington. The state already gets 66 percent of its electricity from hydropower. And, in 2006, voters approved a law requiring utilities to get an additional 15 percent of electricity from new renewable sources. But one Republican lawmaker is now pushing a modification that would allow utilities to satisfy the requirement through existing hydropower — a tweak that would significantly curtail the impact of the original law.

While this hydropower tweak is unlikely to pass in Washington, a similar bill just passed the Montana state house, and could reach the governor’s desk for the second year in a row (it was vetoed by Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer last time around).

Legal challenges and other attacks. There’s a lawsuit against Colorado’s renewable standard (30 percent by 2020) charging that the rule violates the Commerce Clause. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, conservative lawmakers are trying to pull the state out of RGGI, the regional cap-and-trade system for electric utilities, which could undermine the state’s renewable market.

You can read a full list of the challenges in the GreentechMedia report here. It notes that renewable standards have largely been left alone in deep-blue states such as California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey.


Let’s lose LOST

When Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech at the Ross Sea Conservation Reception on March 19, he suggested that we should have called our planet Ocean rather than Earth. He went on to outline an international environmental agenda centered around the oceans that we can expect to be the hallmark of his time in office. Saving the oceans will be the new rallying cry of the green movement and their political and corporate allies. We can therefore expect a new attempt soon to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This would be a disaster for America.

Kerry was forthright in his argument. He said:

    “[I]t is clear that we have an enormous challenge ahead of us as we face the extraordinary excess that we see with respect to each of those issues that I talked about: energy policy that results in acidification, the bleaching of coral, the destruction of species, the change in the Arctic because of the ice melt, and the change in the krill, the population of whales. The entire system is interdependent, and we toy with that at our peril.”

In a recent study Iain wrote for the National Center for Policy Analysis, “LOST at Sea,” he notes that UNCLOS — also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST — has been advanced at different times as the solution to all of these issues. This is because the convention includes provisions that require governments to take measures to “minimize to the fullest possible extent” the release of substances “harmful” to the oceans. It also establishes a tribunal — a permanent court — to police the treaty.

As Iain argues in the paper, anyone who knows the tactics of the environmental movement should realize that this would be manna from heaven for global warming alarmists. The release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels has been blamed for ocean acidification, coral bleaching, species loss, ice melt and virtually every other ill that greens have claimed is befalling the oceans.

If LOST is ratified, under the U.S. Constitution it has the force of law. The environmental movement would therefore be able to use the treaty, U.S. courts, and the UNCLOS tribunal to force the U.S. to minimize emissions of carbon dioxide.

Since the treaty does not take economic cost into account, and the U.S. is the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide (despite rapid emissions decreases caused by technological advances such as the development of fracking), such a requirement could amount to the forced deindustrialization of the United States. Economic disaster, mass unemployment, and vastly increased poverty would result.

Nor should we be sanguine that the tribunal will be presided over by impartial or even competent justices. As Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute noted, appointment to the tribunal seems to have been used as a “dumping ground” for “frustrated politicos,” many of them from undemocratic regimes where political power is arrived at by often unsavory means.

This should not be surprising given the convention’s history. It was drafted during the Cold War, and intended by the Soviet Union as a means of support for its satellite states in the developing world. By declaring the world’s oceans “the common heritage of mankind,” it provided a mechanism by which any development of subsea resources outside a nation’s 200-mile zone would help subsidize those regimes.

Indeed, the purpose of the treaty was so transparent that President Reagan refused to sign the treaty. It has failed to garner enough support to make it to the Senate floor every time it has been suggested since, even after the Clinton administration negotiated some amendments in 1994.

The treaty, however, contains other provisions relating to international navigation and more traditional “freedom of the seas” principles. That is why many current and former naval officers support the ratification of the treaty. Many corporations do as well, falsely believing the treaty will give them more certainty in planning exploration in areas such as the Arctic Ocean. In my NCPA study, I outline exactly why all these arguments are mistaken.

In short, there is no economic case for the United States to ratify LOST.  It uses the failed socialist economic theory to govern the ocean floors, it has proven unable to resolve disputes, it subsidizes dangerous regimes, it does not establish meaningful property rights and thus fails to provide certainty for developers, and because it requires technology transfers, it suppresses research and development.  Indeed, as designed it amounts to a scheme for transferring wealth from the poor in developed countries with ocean coastlines to wealthy oligarch’s in developing countries with no ready access to the world’s oceans.

It is, however, the threat of environmental extremism given new teeth that provides the biggest reason to reject the treaty. We rejected the Kyoto Treaty for good reason. This is the Kyoto Treaty with a court attached. Secretary Kerry has told us what he wants. We may choose to call our planet Ocean, but we should not let our people drown in a tidal wave of foolishness.


Climate change: an elite affectation

Rupert Darwall’s history of the idea of global warming shows how the belief in an impending manmade apocalypse emanated from the top of wealthy Western societies

‘If all man can offer to the decades ahead is the same combination of scientific drive, economic cupidity and national arrogance, then we cannot rate very highly the chances of reaching the year 2000 with our planet still functioning and our humanity securely preserved.’ - Barbara Ward, Only One Earth, 1972.

Long before there was climate change, there was environmentalism. As Rupert Darwall explains in his new book, The Age of Global Warming: A History, environmentalism had for decades proposed that humans were a blight on the planet. ‘During the course of the twentieth century’, he writes, ‘mankind’s relationship with nature underwent a revolution. At the beginning of the last century, human intervention was regarded as beneficient and a sign of the progress of civilisation. By century’s end, such interventions were presumed harmful unless it could be demonstrated they were not.’

Darwall spends the opening chapters of his book explaining the history of these ideas, from Thomas Malthus onwards. The notion that there were insuperable natural limits has been ever-present over the past 200 years or so, though the popularity of such ideas has ebbed and flowed. The Malthusian idea that population growth would outstrip the ability to produce food was quickly shown to be nonsense. But other forms of limits were postulated instead. In 1865, for example, William Stanley Jevons - the ‘foremost economist of the day’, notes Darwall - declared in The Coal Question that the mineral that had powered the Industrial Revolution would start to run out and become very expensive.

Jevons dismissed - as many greens do today - the idea that science would come to the rescue. ‘A notion is very prevalent that, in the continuous progress of science, some substitute for coal will be found, some source of motive power, as much surpassing steam as steam surpasses animal labour’, wrote Jevons. As Darwall notes, Marx and Engels were among the harshest critics of both Malthus and Jevons. He quotes Engels’ optimistic response to Malthus from his 1844 essay, The Myth of Overpopulation: ‘What is impossible for science?’

In fact, Jevons had massively underestimated the importance of oil and overestimated the need for coal. Darwall offers Jevons as a case study in the failings of forecasts. If even the finest minds of the day can be so spectacularly wrong, why should we accept any long-term forecast? The trouble is such forecasts cannot be tested against empirical reality. For Darwall, following Karl Popper, true science must create testable propositions that could falsify it. It is only by surviving such critical attacks that scientific theories can gain our trust. Thus, the notion that we should act on forecasts - before the results of the experiment are in, as it were - is absurd.

Yet while environmentalist ideas floated around the elites for many years, they were never really mainstream. Capitalism’s success in raising living standards meant that economic growth and technical progress were seen as the way forward - crucially, by both left and right on the political spectrum.

Things really started to change in the 1960s. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, with its narrative of chemicals causing cancer and pesticides destroying nature, was a big hit. It reflected a rejection of modern society, even better expressed in the work of a former Coal Board chief economist, Fritz Schumacher. His nonsensical ‘Buddhist economics’ in Small is Beautiful (1973) appealed to a certain strand of society that was weary of industrial society, despite its many benefits, and he developed a cult following. ‘Man is small and, therefore, small is beautiful’, wrote Schumacher - or as Darwall mocks him, the Sage of Surrey. This belittling of humanity, so soon after the moon landings, shows how the ongoing tension between enchantment and disenchantment with modern society is a recurring theme.

However, what really matters is the rise of environmentalism as an elite political project. Darwall argues the crest of the first modern wave of environmentalism came in 1972, which saw the publication of the Club of Rome’s doom-mongering computer projections of inevitable collapse, under the title The Limits to Growth, and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.

Which brings us back to Barbara Ward - the most famous person you’ve never heard of, as Darwall calls her. A former assistant editor at The Economist who later taught economics at Harvard, Ward befriended high-profile economist JK Galbraith and became a confidante of US president Lyndon Johnson. Ward was a player in high places, both in the West and in the newly independent countries of the developing world. She was friends with a number of the new African leaders, including Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta and Kenneth Kaunda, and it was Ward’s involvement that persuaded Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi to speak in Stockholm.

Ward believed that ‘the market alone cannot begin to accomplish the scale of readjustment that will be needed once the concept of unlimitedly growing wealth, mediated to all by a “trickle down” process, ceases to be a rational possibility for tomorrow’s world economy’. It was Ward - along with the Canadian conference organiser, Maurice Strong - who helped to forge a ‘political compact between First World environmentalism and Third World development aspirations’, as Darwall describes it. Further economic growth in the West would harm the environment, it was suggested, but growth in the developing world was good for the environment. This blatant piece of eco-diplomacy later became summed up in the concept of ‘sustainable development’. As Darwall argues, ‘sustainable development was the political fiction environmentalism needed to buy developing nations’ neutrality’. Such a fiction couldn’t survive the tensions created when the developing world started developing in earnest.

Nevertheless, having apparently united the world in concern for the environment, these early greens then saw the issue dropped off the global agenda. For Darwall, the moment that precipitated this change was the start of the Yom Kippur war in October 1973. Having failed to destroy Israel - in part, thanks to American support - the Arab oil-producing nations took their revenge by imposing huge hikes in the price of oil overnight. Suddenly, the notion of energy shortages seemed all too real. (In fact, US government energy policies created shortages where other countries merely had higher prices, argues Darwall.)

This inspired US president Jimmy Carter to decide that the energy crisis would be one of the major themes of his presidency. The trouble for Carter, as Darwall notes, was that ‘he saw limits where his fellow countrymen did not’. His energy plan was based on the false premise that energy supplies were running out. But world oil production actually jumped from 58.5million barrels per day in 1973 to 66million barrels per day by 1979. Even domestically, the US had plenty of supplies. ‘In April 1977’, writes Darwall, ‘shortly before Carter launched his energy plan, the Energy Research and Development Agency concluded that America’s natural gas reserves could be expected to exceed its total energy needs well into the twenty-first century’.

The depletionist idea that resources were running out kept being contradicted by ever-increasing supply. The Malthusian notion that there were too many people - most famously revived by Paul Ehrlich in the late 1960s - proved to be a wildly inaccurate scare story, too. For environmentalism to thrive, to get beyond endless international talking shops, it needed a killer issue that could not be so easily dismissed. That issue came along, at last, in the shape of global warming.

The idea that human activity might be changing the climate was not new. As early as the 1820s, explains Darwall, Jean-Baptiste Fourier had speculated about whether the atmosphere might enhance the temperature of the Earth. In 1859, the Irish scientist John Tyndall was able to declare that ‘the atmosphere admits of the entrance of the solar heat, but checks its exit; and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet’.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius argued that the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity must also have an effect, suggesting that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations would increase temperatures by between five and six degrees Celsius. However, the import of this finding was understood in a rather different way by Arrhenius than by modern greens. According to Darwall: ‘Arrhenius thought that burning fossil fuels would accelerate a virtuous cycle in preventing a rapid return to the conditions of ice age, removing the need for a forced migration from temperate countries to Africa.’ This was a view shared by Guy Stewart Callendar, a British scientist who argued in 1938 that carbon dioxide was responsible for two thirds of the warming trend seen over the previous 180 years.

Roger Revelle, Al Gore’s favourite scientist, had noted in the late Fifties that humanity was conducting a ‘large-scale geophysical experiment’ that ‘may yield far-reaching insight into the processes determining weather and climate’. But this was still not seen as necessarily problematic.

Global warming crept on to the agenda - just - at the 1972 Stockholm conference. But it warranted only half a page in the final agreement. Governments should be ‘mindful’ of potential atmospheric effects and set up remote monitoring stations to keep an eye on any changes. Global warming was very far from being centre stage. The UN-commissioned Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, published in 1987, mentions the risk of global warming in numerous places but the alarm bells were still not ringing.

The turning point was evidence given by NASA scientist James Hansen in June 1988 to the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: ‘The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now.’ Hansen made headlines, but it was the intervention of UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher that gave the issue high-profile political credibility. By then the longest serving G7 head of state, Thatcher gave a speech to the Royal Society in September 1988, warning: ‘We are told that a warming of one degree centigrade per decade would greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope.’ That might well have been so. But as Darwall notes, Thatcher was implying that global temperatures would be two degrees higher by 2010 - a much faster rate of warming than even the IPCC has ever suggested.

Now the bandwagon was rolling. By 1992, US president George HW Bush thought the issue important enough to appear at the Rio Earth Summit, which created the framework for climate-change talks that produced the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and all the subsequent jamborees in Bali, Cancun, Copenhagen, Durban and the rest. Since then, Western politicians and royalty, the management of giant corporations like BP and the offspring of the rich and powerful, like Zac Goldsmith and Robert F Kennedy Jr, have declared the importance of tackling climate change again and again.

The most high-profile of those banging the drum on this issue has been Al Gore. The US vice president under Bill Clinton in the Nineties - and a hair’s breadth from the White House himself in 2000 - has long been an avowed environmentalist. His book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit was published in 1992. Darwall describes it as ‘one of the most extraordinary books by any democratic politician seeking high elective office, for it constitutes an attack on Western civilisation and a fundamental rejection of two of its greatest accomplishments - the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions’. Gore would, of course, go on to win both an Oscar - for his error-strewn lecture, An Inconvenient Truth - and the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with the IPCC, in 2007.

A comment made by Gore in an interview in June 1992 is indicative of the importance of climate change to these elites. ‘The task of saving the Earth’s environment is going to become the central organising principle in the post-Cold War world’, he said.

While environmentalism is certainly an obsession of many rich people, and a natural fit for many conservatives, one of the major factors that Darwall cites in the rise of environmentalism is the collapse of the left. But interestingly, this is not the usual argument about disillusioned ex-Communists turning from red to green, although such people have indeed often been the brains behind the development of these ideas. Rather, it was the collapse of a left-wing opposition to eco-notions about lowering growth that was crucial. Darwall notes the strong tradition on the left, from Marx onwards, in support of the need to increase the material wealth of society.

That tradition was still important in the 1960s and 1970s to the UK Labour Party’s ‘foremost intellectual’, Tony Crosland. Darwall quotes Crosland’s damning assessment from 1971 of environmentalism and the class bias behind it: ‘Its champions are often kindly and dedicated people. But they are affluent and fundamentally, though of course not consciously, they want to kick the ladder down behind them… We must make our own value judgement based on socialist objectives: and that objective must… be that growth is vital, and its benefits far outweigh its costs.’

For all the talk of using environmentalism - made urgent by global warming - as the Big Idea to drive the global agenda, the wheels were always likely to come off this particular bandwagon. The unholy compromise between developed and developing countries made back in 1972 was never going to last. Its last stand was the Kyoto Protocol, where developed nations agreed to make cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions while developing countries did not. As it goes, the US never ratified the deal. Indeed, when Clinton and Gore negotiated it, they already knew that Congress would never pass it. Moreover, the terms of the deal meant that the collapse of the old Soviet Bloc, along with Britain’s entirely coincidental ‘dash for gas’, would account for more than the cuts required. In fact, even in spite of these enormous free passes, the unambitious Kyoto targets were barely met. Talk is cheap; cutting emissions is not.

The follow-up to Kyoto, however, had to be a global deal where everybody - including the big new economies like China, India and Brazil - agreed to reduce their emissions, or at least accept limits on their rise. This was never going to wash. Things came to a head at the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009. Despite the presence of almost all the world’s major leaders, including US president Barack Obama, only the most basic and meaningless deal between the US and the BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - could be cobbled together, a deal which bypassed the rest of the conference entirely. Since then, the best that has been achieved at subsequent shindigs has been to keep the process going. There is no prospect of a replacement for Kyoto being in place before 2020.

All of this is just one aspect of Darwall’s book, the writing of which has occupied ‘half of my marriage’, he notes. He also engages with the uncertainties of climate science and the disastrous attempts by some scientists, scientific academies and the IPCC to cover up that uncertainty. He also offers blow-by-blow accounts of the big environmental conferences, reinforcing the point that there was never any prospect of the developing world giving up on growth. Reining in development in the name of the planet was always a rich man’s fancy. The Age of Global Warming should certainly become a touchstone for anyone interested in examining this issue seriously.

The elitist idea of environmentalism could only become dominant because of the exit of working-class politics from the Western political stage and the shrivelling of the political voice of the mass of Western populations. The failure of socialist and social-democratic parties meant there were no longer critics of environmentalism from the left. The declining membership of all political parties deprived the bulk of the population of an important means to hold politicians to account. To criticise the science and politics of global warming now meant you were a lackey of big business or some kind of ‘flat Earther’ who denied the importance of science. What remains is weariness of the modern world among those - from the middle classes upwards, and most particularly among the elites - who can afford such self-indulgence.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


28 March, 2013

We don't have enough data to make predictions yet

That is the basic message in the journal article below by Carl Wunsch et al.  -- in which he points out how short are the timespans over which important datasets have been gathered

Predicting climate change is a high priority for society, but such forecasts are notoriously uncertain. Why? Even should climate prove theoretically predictable—by no means certain—the near-absence of adequate observations will preclude its understanding, and hence even the hope of useful predictions. Geological and cryospheric records of climate change and our brief recent record of instrumental observations show that the climate system is changeable on all time scales—from a few years out to the age of the earth. Major physical, chemical, and biological processes influence the climate system on decades, centuries, and millennia. Glaciers fluctuate on time scales of years to centuries and beyond. Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide has been emitted through fossil fuel burning, and it will be absorbed, recycled, and transferred amongst the atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere over decades to thousands of years.

As in most scientific problems, no substitute exists for adequate observations. Without sufficient observations, useful prediction will likely never be possible. Models will evolve and improve, but, without data, will be untestable, and observations not taken today are lost forever. The great difficulty facing scientists trying to understand and predict the system is the extremely limited duration over which even marginally adequate observations of the climate system exist.

The thermometer was not invented until the early 17th century. Atmospheric observations did not approach global coverage until the end of the Second World War. Oceanic observations became marginally adequate on a global scale only in the early 1990s. Mass-balance data for the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers began in the early 21st century. Paleo data do provide records for some variables (e.g., global average CO2 concentrations from ice cores), but are rough proxies having only limited precision and spatial coverage for the space and time scales of interest.

Few scientists would expect to understand any but the most trivial physical phenomenon without having observed its variation on all-important time scales. Oceanic surface waves have dominant periods not much different than one second. A suggestion that such a phenomenon could be understood from one second or less of observations would be greeted with ridicule. Scientists trying to understand the climate system are faced with the difficult problem of making sense of physical phenomena whose time scale exceeds both professional and human life spans. Proposals for geoengineering must include an understanding of their influence on a system that retains memories of induced disturbances for thousands of years. Who would claim to understand the impact of a major perturbation to the climate system based upon 10 years of data?

Understanding of climate change is a problem for multiple generations. One generation of scientists has to make provisions for the needs of successor generations, rather than focusing solely on its own immediate scientific productivity. Today’s climate models will likely prove of little interest in 100 years. But adequately sampled, carefully calibrated, quality controlled, and archived data for key elements of the climate system will be useful indefinitely.

This intergenerational problem must be faced by any entity—government or otherwise—hoping to eventually provide accurate forecasts of climate change. Weather forecasting and national weather services are often invoked as the analogue for climate problems. But long-duration observations require a very different approach than do those of near-term interest, such as in weather prediction. Many examples exist where attempts to use weather data as records of climate have proved ambiguous at best and useless at worst, because of inadequate calibration, poor documentation of calibrations, temporal gaps, and undocumented and/or poorly understood technology changes. The use of radiosonde humidity sensors is a case in point: Technology changes and differences among nations seriously compromise the use of such weather data for climate studies (1). Thompson et al. (2) show how difficult the interpretation is of such a seemingly simple data set as sea surface temperature.

Government agencies can do a reasonable job in satisfying the immediate needs of the public, e.g., in forecasting hurricane trajectories. But governments have not done well in sustaining long-term observations. For example, the iconic time series of CO2 observations at Mauna Loa, HI, was funded in 2-year increments for decades and was nearly terminated many times by shortsighted program managers (3).

Designing, maintaining, and coping with the technical evolution of climate observations is an extremely difficult problem requiring deep insight into the nature of the problem, and of the available and potentially available technologies. It cannot be sensibly done within a system funded year-by-year; it requires an agency with a long view—decades and beyond—a requirement that is alien to governments. Yearly budget battles put all programs at risk: Having a climate observing system started by one administration and disassembled by another, one political cycle later, is fatal.

In many cases—describing and understanding decadal variability in the ocean, for example—an honest scientific assessment would acknowledge the need for far longer observational records than are now available or obtainable by any individual. In today’s institutions with their short-term time horizons, young scientists interested in such phenomena cannot take on long-term problems. But if society does not find ways to support scientific careers directed at such problems, then we will never understand the fundamentals of this critical subject. What to do?

A few examples exist of comparatively long-lived, nominally focused organizations (universities, a few banks, some religious foundations). Although their true intellectual continuity is highly debatable, they do suggest the possibilities for the creation of a useful intergenerational climate-study infrastructure. Some components of astronomy and perhaps, uniquely, the Rothamsted Research agricultural station in the United Kingdom, are conceivable analogues. Elsewhere (4), we have outlined a possible approach, one that requires a private endowment to sustain the best scientists and engineers willing to devote a portion of their time to overseeing the data streams that future generations of scientists will need. Other means may exist to sustain scientifically and technically competent organizations over decades and longer. Methods must be found—perhaps in public, private, national, and international institutional partnerships—that can isolate core observations from the vagaries of year-to-year government funding decisions and that can provide oversight of calibrations, management of shifting technologies, and understanding so as to avoid obsolescence and quality loss.

Without confronting the problem as an intergenerational one, climate forecasts and our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change will remain rudimentary and inadequate for the challenges that lie ahead.


Friends Of The Earth?–No Friends Of Us

Outgoing UK Chief Scientist, John Beddington, was in the news yesterday, warning us of all the climate catastrophes that were going to hit us.  The Daily Telegraph reported on his speech, but tacked onto the end of the article was this comment.

"Responding to Sir John’s comments, Craig Bennett, policy and campaigns director for the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest threats the planet faces – and unless we urgently act to cut emissions we face an economic and environmental catastrophe.

“From droughts and floods to snow storms, Britain is increasingly battered by extreme weather.

“Ministers must listen to Professor Beddington and other leading scientists and slash UK emissions – starting with an amendment in the Energy Bill to decarbonise the power sector by 2030.”

Such a policy would be hugely damaging to the country, and it is inconceivable that they do not realise this. This shows exactly where the FOE stand.

They hate this country, its history and traditions,its industryand institutions, its capitalist systems and prosperity, and the people who live on these islands.

If they want to hold such extreme views, that is their prerogative. Fortunately for them, Britain is still a free country.

But why do the media continue to give the FOE and their ilk column inches to publicise their extreme agenda?


U.S. and China waste billions on solar panel race

What happens when China and the United States clash in a subsidy-fueled solar panel arms race? The world gets a lot more solar panels than anyone wants to buy, manufacturers go bankrupt, and taxpayers get stuck with the tab.

Will the recent bankruptcy of subsidized Chinese solar giant Suntech Power cause the Obama administration to tone down its argument that we need to match China's solar policy?

"As long as countries like China keep going all in on clean energy, so must we," President Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union. This is a typical refrain in Obama's industrial policy.

In a 2010 address at Georgetown calling for more green energy subsidies, Obama said "the countries that lead the 21st-century clean energy economy will be the countries that lead the 21st-century global economy. I want America to be that nation. I want America to win the future."

Sign Up for the Politics Digest newsletter!
John Kerry, now Obama's secretary of state, has sounded the same note for years, saying in 2011: "[W]e should be thinking about competing with China to win the next energy revolution. Why? Because the race is on to put the right policies in place so hundreds of thousands of new, good-paying renewable energy jobs will be created here, and not in China."

There's some interesting economics and rhetoric going on here. On one level, the Obama-Kerry line is not so different from the 1970s-vintage liberal view that America needs to emulate Asia and Europe. But that sort of talk doesn't fly with the average American swing-state voter, and so Obama has turned the rhetoric on its head: We can't let China or Europe beat us at solar panels!

But this skips a question that needs asking: Why should we want to win the solar panel-making race? If China wants to sell us subsidized solar panels, why should we begrudge them that? And if solar panel factories need subsidies in order to survive, doesn't that signify that this industry doesn't add value to the economy?

This month's Suntech Power bankruptcy is the latest piece of evidence that the solar arms race is not one worth winning.

Suntech, enjoying a $16 billion market capitalization at one point, declared bankruptcy for its main operating unit. Suntech's problem was the same problem facing the whole industry: Materials costs are going up, and solar panel prices are going down. The diagnosis is easy: overproduction. The cause is obvious: oversubsidization.

Suntech, like all Chinese solar panel makers, has enjoyed generous subsidies from the Chinese government. The Obama administration has chipped in, too, awarding a $2.1 million tax credit to reward Suntech for opening a manufacturing facility in Arizona.

But Suntech's subsidies didn't stop there. In 2010, Suntech was the first beneficiary of Arizona's Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program, getting a $1.5 million credit. The city of Goodyear, Ariz., awarded $500,000 to Suntech for worker training, bringing the U.S. total to $4.1 million in subsidies. Last week, Suntech announced it is closing the Arizona plant -- its only U.S. factory -- and laying off all the workers there.

For a solar company, subsidies lie around every corner.

The Energy Department hands out taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for the manufacture of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment. Solar manufacturer Solyndra famously got a $537 million loan guarantee before going bankrupt.

Uncle Sam, through the Treasury and Energy departments, also gives out Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits -- $2.3 billion in Obama's first term.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank in 2010 launched Solar Express to expedite taxpayer-backed financing for solar exports. Ex-Im that year awarded $455.7 million in loan guarantees to First Solar in Canada so that it could buy Ohio-made solar panels from itself.

Then there are straight-up federal grants. SolarWorld (which also got Solar Express Ex-Im financing and Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits, plus plenty of Oregon subsidies) pocketed $2.4 million in Renewable Energy Research and Development Grants. DOE has given out $5 billion in those.

Treasury has given $4 billion in Section 1603 grants (named for their section in the 2009 stimulus bill) to property owners who install solar panels. Throw in the Production Tax Credit that Congress just renewed, and boatloads of state-level subsidies, and you've got tens of billions in U.S. subsidies for solar power.

If you subsidize something, you get more of it. So even though installing solar panels is also subsidized, supply has far outstripped demand. The result is a string of solar company bankruptcies and solar factory closings.

Maybe Suntech's collapse will cure Obama of his China envy, and he will realize the solar race isn't worth the entry fee.


£286 green tax on average British energy bills: But ministers insist 'efficient appliances' will SAVE us money

Families will be paying almost £300 a year in green energy taxes by 2020. The levy will more than double until a quarter of each power bill goes on wind, solar, nuclear or home insulation schemes.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted last night that households will be better off thanks to the benefits of electricity-saving initiatives.  But families will be able to claw the money back only if they buy more efficient domestic appliances and boilers.

The average power bill is now £1,267 – with £112 of that going on green taxes, including an £18 wind farm subsidy.   By 2020, green taxes will have risen by more than 150 per cent, ensuring each family contributes £286, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

It reckons that by then households will be saving £452 a year by taking up schemes to lower energy use and by switching to more efficient kettles, fridges and TVs.

The ministry also hopes smart meters, which track energy consumption, will alter consumer behaviour and lower consumption.

But John Constable, of the charity Renewable Energy Foundation, said: ‘DECC is clearly embarrassed by the terrifying costs of its ever-growing range of green policies, and is covering up with a whitewash of wildly optimistic assumptions about energy efficiency.

‘If electricity prices increase by a third, as DECC admits they will, it is vanishingly unlikely that better dishwashers, kettles, and fridges, even assuming households can afford them, can cancel out the increases and deliver lower bills.’

Mr Davey said his projected savings would mean that households would end up paying £166 less than if the green policies had not been introduced in the first place.

‘Global gas price hikes are squeezing households,’ he added. ‘We are doing all we can to offset these global energy price rises and, while we have more to do, this new study shows that our policies are putting a cushion between global prices and the bills we all pay.

‘The analysis shows our strategy of shifting to alternatives like renewables, and of being smarter with how we use energy, is helping those that need it most save money on their bills.

‘The poorest who take advantage of the help that is available through the initiatives we have on offer stand to make the highest savings, from the warm home discount to our new regulation on energy firms to force them to improve the energy efficiency of fuel poor households.’

DECC claims ‘the large majority of households’ will benefit and even those that do not add insulation or take advantage of energy rebates will be £15 better off.

Caroline Flint, Labour’s energy spokesman, said last night: ‘The Government’s underhand attempt to mask the real impact of its policies on families’ energy bills is shameful.

‘At a time when hard-pressed families and pensioners are seeing their incomes squeezed, only this out-of-touch Government could expect people to fork out thousands of pounds on new TVs, fridge freezers and washing machines just to save a few pounds every few months on their energy bill.’

DECC admitted green policies had added £22 to household bills over the past two years.

Household energy consumption has fallen since 2005, with gas usage dropping by a fifth and electricity demand down by 11 per cent.

The drop is partly attributed to energy efficiency measures, but is also a result of belt-tightening, both of which the Government expects to continue.

By 2020, DECC estimates that householders will have replaced 12million boilers with more efficient models.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘The Government must ensure that the savings to consumers they have estimated will flow from their energy policies, become a reality. That will require more transparency and scrutiny of their plans and more practical help for people to make their homes energy efficient.

‘Effective competition in both the wholesale and retail energy markets will also help keep prices in check, but the Government’s plans for reform don’t yet go far enough to give people confidence that the price they are paying for their energy is a fair one.’

Under European climate change targets, around a third of our electricity will have to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2020.

Mr Davey said: ‘The analysis underlines the importance of pressing ahead with the range of steps we’re taking to decarbonise and insulate our economy from excessive reliance on imported gas.’
Meanwhile, green taxes on business will double, the Treasury admitted last night.

Total green taxes – including only those mainly designed to change behaviour – will rise from £2.5billion to £5.6billion by the time of the 2015 election.

They are then forecast to carry on rising to £5.9billion by 2017/8.

The figures released to Parliament include the cost of the climate change levy, the aggregates levy, the landfill tax and the EU’s environmental trading scheme.

They also include the new carbon price floor – a price per ton of carbon emitted. Analysts warn that because it only applies in the UK it will force energy intensive firms to move abroad.

The combined cost of the measure and the climate change levy is due to rocket from £600million this year to £2.4billion in 2015/6.

But the figures do not include other ‘revenue raising’ measures, which are sometimes credited with having a ‘green’ effect, such as fuel duty.

The Treasury said green taxes would rise as a proportion of total taxation from 0.5 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

Economic Secretary Sajid Javid said the Coalition was ‘on track’ to meet a commitment to increase the proportion of revenue from green taxes.


Climate-change skeptics challenge DNREC projections on sea-level rise

Warmist Mann: Trust me, after sea levels rose only 8 inches over the last 113 years, we should expect them to rise 39 inches over the next 87 years

Depending on who you talk to, Delaware's current work on sea-level rise (SLR) is either ground-breaking research that will be emulated by other states, or a set of exaggerated projections based on faulty assumptions and poor science.

Some climate-change professionals say the state's work on assessing and adapting to the threat of rising seas is leading the charge among states that are beginning to grapple with the anticipated effects of climate change.

But detractors contend that the official forecast for three feet or so of sea-level rise by the end of the century is overblown and is the result of a failure by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to do a legitimate scientific analysis of SLR.

They accuse DNREC of ignoring evidence from a leading global climate-change report that suggests oceans will rise much less than Delaware's official forecast - which officials say could result in up to 11 percent of the state's land mass being lost to rising seas by 2100.

The skeptics were out in force in Georgetown on Monday night when about 200 people attended a meeting titled "The Truth About Climate Change - It's Not What You've Been Told," organized by Delaware's free-market think-tank, the Caesar Rodney Institute, and the Positive Growth Alliance, a Sussex County-based group that champions low taxation and limited government.

David Legates, a University of Delaware climatologist and a member of Caesar Rodney's advisory board, argued that the official projection for sea-level rise by the end of the century is within a normal tidal range of plus or minus three feet, and that any rise around the Delaware coast is occurring not because the oceans are rising but because the land is subsiding.

Adjusted for land subsidence since 1970, sea-level rise is "virtually none," said Legates, a former state climatologist who who was asked by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner in 2007 to discontinue using that title when discussing public policy because his views on climate change were at odds with those of her administration. He stepped down as state climatologist in 2011.

The DNREC projection is inconsistent with global SLR forecasts from the widely quoted United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), Legates argued. He said the Delaware projections have been greater than those in successive IPCC reports in 1995, 2001 and 2007, and argued there's no evidence that sea-level rise is accelerating.

Legates, a long-time critic of global warming theory, said DNREC imposed a "settled" range of SLR forecasts on its Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee - a 24-member group representing government, academia, business, the environmental community, and private citizens - without discussion.

He argued that the committee's forecast reflects its lack of scientists. "The scientists are missing," he said.

Legates also criticized government efforts to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, saying they won't lessen the likelihood of storms such as Hurricane Sandy, or stop the subsidence of the Delaware coastline, which is resulting in local sea-level rise of about twice the global rate.

"Anything we do with C02 isn't going to make hurricanes and nor'easters disappear," he said. "If you are going to address CO2, you are not going to stop the land sinking."

Susan Love, a planner with DNREC's Coastal Programs unit, and a leader of its SLR work, dismissed Legates' claim that the committee has no scientists. She said the panel includes Chris Sommerfield, an oceanographer from the University of Delaware; Rick Perkins, a toxicologist from the Department of Heath and Social Services; Chad Tolman, a retired DuPont chemist, and Bob Scarborough, who holds a PhD in climatology.

She also rejected Legates' assertion that there has been almost no sea-level rise in Delaware since 1970 after allowing for the effects of land subsidence. Data reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show sea-level rise of 3.2 millimeters a year at Lewes and 3.46 millimeters a year at Reedy Point, Love said.

"The observed data indicates that his claim is incorrect," she wrote in an email.

Love acknowledged that DNREC's SLR forecasts are higher than those of the 2007 IPCC report which she said reduced its projections because of uncertainty about the effect of melting ice on global ocean levels. DNREC based its own assessment on IPCC and several other reports including those that took melting ice into account, and the department's forecasts have since matched others, she said.

DNREC's assessment is based on IPCC and several other reports
including those that took melting ice into account, as well as on the subsidence that is causing seas along the mid-Atlantic coast to rise at about twice the global rate, she said. The department's forecasts have since matched others.

"Recent national and regional reports indicate that Delaware's SLR scenarios are on target and are also similar to those in adjacent states," Love said.

But she said Legates is correct in arguing that there is no evidence that the rate of sea-level rise in Delaware is accelerating.

And she said she "wholeheartedly" disagrees with Legates' assertion that reducing carbon emissions wouldn't influence sea-level rise in Delaware.

"Global climate change is what will drive Delaware's future sea levels," she said. "Any actions that can be taken at a local, state, national or international level to decrease carbon inputs and decrease the effects of climate change will have tremendous benefit for Delaware's coastal residents and coastal resources."

More criticism of DNREC's work came from Willie Soon, an astrophysicist and consultant to the Caesar Rodney Institute, who told the Georgetown meeting that the state's projections are based on "bad science".

He argued that sea level has been rising at 3.2 millimeters a year since 1980, or about a foot over 100 years, roughly a third of the rate that is the state's central projection.  "DNREC's projection is completely impossible," said Soon.

He argued that measurement of sea level by satellite, as cited by some SLR studies, was too inexact to be credible, and said oceans are getting saltier, rather than more diluted, as would be expected if polar ice caps were melting as many climate scientists report.

"If you dig very, very deep, you will find that the explanation is that we don't know," he said....

Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, said Delaware's SLR projection is based on good science and is consistent with many other projections.

"Two meters of global sea-level rise by 2100 is not out of the question," said Mann, a prominent advocate of measures to curb carbon emissions. "One meter is a good mid-range estimate of what we might expect given business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions."


Electric car drivers could overload power grid, admits French energy chief

France's under pressure power grid could struggle to cope if growing numbers of electric car owners all recharge their batteries when they sit down for dinner, the industry said today.

The warning comes after French car-maker Renault launched its long-awaited electric car Zoe this month at a price on a par with petrol models, making it the first electric vehicle with mass-market potential.

The government, meanwhile, has been encouraging the technology with generous subsidies.

But this comes in a country with a power grid that is already extremely sensitive to spikes in demand because of its high reliance on electric heating.

Though the prospect of a fleet of hundreds of thousands of electric cars remains some distance off, France needs to consider how it will cope when cold winter evenings prompt households to turn on the heaters, lights and electric gadgets at the same time.

Olivier Grabette, head of R&D at French power grid RTE, said: 'If it's badly managed, it could prompt power surges, which would cost a lot in peak production, CO2 emissions and would also necessitate the construction of relatively costly infrastructure.'

Grabette said that under the 'ambitious' scenario of a fleet of two million electric vehicles by 2020, total French annual electricity consumption would rise by 1 to 3 per cent.

'It's not huge in terms of energy,' Grabette said. 'But if all these vehicles charge at peak times, even with slow car chargers, it could add between 3 and 6 gigawatts (GW) of peak demand, which would be felt if it comes at the wrong moment.'

Data last year from U.S. eco-town Mueller, in Texas, showed that owners of electric cars typically plugged in their vehicles when home electricity use spiked, causing potential problems for the grid.

The heavy reliance on electrical heating in France was instigated by successive governments to absorb surplus nuclear power. Its 19 nuclear power plants make France Europe's biggest electricity exporter and ensure generally steady power supplies.

However, it lacks flexible capacity - usually generated by gas, coal or oil-fired plants - to meet peak evening demand during cold snaps.

Peak demand has hit record highs in each of the past 10 winters. In February last year demand at one point hit more than 102 GW and pushed the network to its limits, obliging France to import a record 9 GW.

RTE and other state agencies identified the problem in a 2011 report and recommended car chargers that take up to eight hours to recharge a vehicle. Though quick chargers do the job in about 30 minutes, these draw more energy than a dozen electric hot-water heaters.

There is also the problem of a geographical concentration of cars drawing power from quick chargers; at supermarkets, motorway service stations or business districts, for instance.

'The issue is not the total number of vehicles, it's how they will spread - and we think they will spread in clusters,' said Laurent Schmitt, Smart Grid vice-president at French engineering company Alstom.

'You can have only 1,000 cars, (but) if 500 of these are connected to the same building, you'll have a problem with this building and the neighbourhood around it,' he said.

The key could be off-peak charging via 'smart grids' able to communicate with chargers that can then be operated remotely.

'There could be a problem, if we're not careful, in terms of peak capacity,' said Bruno Dobrowolski, in charge of the electric vehicle programme at ErDF, the electric distribution arm of state-owned utility EDF. 'That's why smart charging is necessary.'

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, the first Renault client to be handed the keys of a Zoe, has appointed a committee to advise on the expansion of the charger network.

Renault's decision not to provide chargers compatible with home sockets, thereby requiring Zoe owners to buy 'Wall-Box' chargers, could soften the impact. In Britain, Renault will subsidise the cost when the car is launched there in June.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


27 March, 2013

Climategate leaker: Our civilization is being destroyed by lying "science" elitists

The first two "Climategate" email disclosures sent shock waves through the arrogant, imperialistic "manmade catastrophic climate change" power structure - and awakened the world to just how little "science" was behind the global warming scare . and the incessant demands that we tear down the hydrocarbon energy foundation of our economy, prosperity and living standards. And those two disclosures were just 5,000 emails apiece!

Now Mr. FOIA (as the purveyor of climate alarm dishonesty calls himself) has sent a massive cache of 220,000 encrypted emails to selected friends, who will gradually decode and distribute them. We can only imagine what sordid new details will emerge. He also issued a statement, explaining why he decided he had to make the world aware of the depravity he had discovered.

Ron Arnold

"What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably."

This private musing between two climate scientist colleagues first surfaced along with a whole raft of embarrassing material in 2011, when the anonymous Climategate leaker who calls himself "Mr. FOIA" leaked his second set of emails from Britain's disgraced Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Now, Mr. FOIA has emerged for a third time, sharing with the world not only his entire batch of 220,000 encrypted emails and documents but also, for the first time, his thoughts.

Mr. FOIA had previously released two batches of 5,000 files each in 2009 and 2011. This enormous third batch went to a network of friends for decoding, sorting and publication.

The first and second email batches contained conversations among "scientists" who appear to have dishonored a once respectable discipline, documenting that their claims of a "man-made global warming crisis" look exactly like deliberate contrivances for academic career gain, research funding and positions of political power in "the cause."

Some big-name players are playing games with people's lives and livelihoods.

Biggest Player. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the scientific panel whose reports contain the work of Glimategate figures - and are highly politicized and publicized to increase fear of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW): "imminent catastrophic man-made climate change." Many horrendously expensive and needless local, state, federal and international policies have flowed from IPCC's flawed reports.

Most Powerful Symbol. Professor Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick Graph" was featured prominently in the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report. It alleged that global temperatures were flat for a thousand years before 1900, but then radically increased because of AGW. The chart looks like a hockey stick, a long straight line that bends sharply upward at the end. With recent IPCC admissions that temperatures have not increased for at least the past 16 years, the curve has now plunged downward to become as flat as the rest of the hockey stick, which is where public trust in climate science is headed.

The Game. "The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it," says an astounding, horrifying UK government-funded booklet leaked by Mr. FOIA titled "The Rules of the Game: Evidence base for the Climate Change Communications Strategy." Written by the UK public relations firm Futerra for six UK agencies - including The Carbon Trust - for use by ethics and public relations tone-deaf scientists,

"The Rules" teaches sophisticated behavior change tactics, including: "Climate change must be `front of mind' before persuasion works" . "Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations" . "Beware the impacts of cognitive dissonance" and "Use emotions and visuals" (e.g., scare people with the Hockey Stick Graph). It treats the public like gullible idiots who can be frightened and manipulated by seemingly trustworthy scientists to believe in AGW. For a long time, it worked.

The Team. Phil Jones, head of the CRU; Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office (the national weather service, originally the Meteorological Office) was joined by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis section head of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Tom Wigley, also of NCAR; and the litigious Penn State University Hockey Stick originator, Michael Mann.

James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute, sums their actions up this way." The team consciously distorted and actively suppressed critical knowledge, then furiously tried to hide their actions by conducting a vicious smear campaign to discredit critics."

Consciously distorted: NCAR's Wigley once complained to Mann, "Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive . there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC.."

Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office warned Phil Jones, head of the CRU: "Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere, unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary.. I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run."

Suppressed critical knowledge: Phil Jones wrote, "I've been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on the IPCC 5th  Assessment Report would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get - and has to be well hidden. I've discussed this with the main funder [the U.S. Department of Energy] in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data." The U.S. government was colluding with the hiders, who received tens of millions of dollars over the years.

Jones wrote to Mann, "Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith Briffa re AR4 [the IPCC 4th Assessment Report]? Keith will do likewise. . We will be getting Caspar Ammann to do likewise."

Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann's global warming hockey team, showed crass disregard for the lying and hiding: "I am not convinced that the `truth' is always worth reaching, if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships." It's more important to keep the career back-scratching team happy.

The distortion, spin, suppression and smear campaign went on for years. In fact, the revelations sparked a furious "hide the lies" denial campaign that ironically calls skeptics "deniers." What the skeptics actually deny is that there has been much honest science involved in the IPCC process; that there is any evidence to support claims that we face an imminent climate crisis; and that humans are primarily responsible for weather and climate variations that have always been controlled by hundreds of complex, inter-related natural forces and processes.

"Hide the lies" generated lawsuits between climate science "believers" (what kind of real science requires belief?) and skeptics of "dangerous man-made planetary warming" - along with ridiculous conspiracy theories such as "Big Oil hired evil hackers in a plot to discredit angelic climate scientists."

Mr. FOIA denies these absurd allegations in his 3.0 message. "I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again," he said. "That's right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn't plot this. USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK. There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere."

"The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to garner my trust in the state of climate science - on the contrary," Mr. FOIA continued. "I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact." Reveal what he had discovered, or keep it to himself and let the lies continue?

Didn't he fear discovery? "When I had to balance the interests of my own safety, the privacy and career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades ... millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. ... the first two weren't the decisive concern."

Why did he do it? His answer was both angry and anguished: "Climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material `might' .... The price of `climate protection' with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations," he wrote. "We can't pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it's not [taking] away from something and someone else."

That's the most important statement so far in the decades-old climate debate: You're forcing us backward into poverty and ignorance - for nothing, except to further your careers, funding and power.

Less than a week later, London's Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an outraged feature based on the British Meteorological Office's recent admission that global surface temperatures haven't risen in more than 15 years. Citing a chart of predicted and actual temperatures, the Mail noted: "Official predictions of global climate warming have been catastrophically flawed. The graph on this page blows apart the `scientific basis' for Britain reshaping its entire economy and spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The chart shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions. The eco-debate was, in effect, hijacked by false data."

Is it improper to label the people responsible for this costly, miserable catastrophe as "eco-thugs"? And should we worry that the latest no-real-energy "energy security" proposal from the White House is telling us that President Obama has become America's "Eco-thug in Chief," who will continue to peddle fraudulent science and nearly worthless renewable energy to further his agenda? It's worth pondering.

A set of pro forma "investigations" claim to have exonerated PSU's Mann. The internal PSU inquiry - with no impartial truth-seekers involved - was not going to harm their grant-getting cash cow Mann; instead, it whitewashed the evidence to ensure the preferred conclusion. Professional science groups that relied upon public funding for their financial survival fell in line behind a huge Tom Sawyer campaign of "exoneration." There was no exoneration.

Summaries presented in court filings for the case of American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia and Michael Mann - which demands release of Michael Mann's emails - say, "Mann has never been exonerated.. Exoneration requires investigation; investigation requires pursuit aimed at discovering material facts.  Mann's employer since 2005, Penn State University, has conducted no such thing. Neither has the University of Virginia."

The same conclusion applies to the UK's Muir Russell and Oxburgh inquiries, which didn't even mention Mann, because they were "investigating" only employees of the CRU.

I asked Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and attorney in the ATI v. UVa/Mann lawsuit for his take on the leaker's message. He told me, "Whatever prompted `Mr. FOIA,' I take it as a statement that, so far, the courts have failed us, as have our political institutions - and he has concluded that those in the public who have resisted the climate industry agenda should now have a chance to review these taxpayer-financed records, which are the subject of a remarkable campaign to subvert transparency laws."

We ourselves can't avoid blame for the science disaster uncovered by Mr. FOIA. As Peter Foster of London's Financial Times noted, we didn't heed President Dwight Eisenhower's warning. "Most people are aware of Ike's warning in 1961 about the military-industrial complex," Foster wrote. Our fatal error was to ignore what he said next: "In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite." [emphasis added]

Americans won't take captivity. It's time to demote our climate masters to our humble servants. We won't kill them. But we should sentence them to prison - or Siberia, where they'll wish the climate was warming.

Via email

Flagship German Daily DIE WELT Stuns Germany: "Scientists Warn Of Ice Age", Cites New Peer-Reviewed Russian Study

Mentioning the lethal "100-year, record-smashing" spring cold and snow spreading across Europe over the past month has for the most part been avoided like the plague by Germany's mainstream media. The silence over the record cold and frost, which has killed thousands and cost billions, has been ear-ringing.

Yet some leading dailies are breaking ranks, and have begun to examine the phenomenon critically and openly.

For example veteran journalist Ulli Kulke at German flagship daily Die Welt today has stunned the rest of the German mainstream media with a piece titled Scientists warn of ice age.

Kulke writes that recently a growing number of scientific publications have been appearing in leading journals, and that they have been challenging the simplistic "one dimensional CO2 explanation" for climate change and showing that even the unlikely "doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration by 2050 would not have dramatic effects."

Kulke writes:  "Yet, papers with such content, even though they have passed the peer-review process, do not make any headlines. But they have been becoming much more frequent recently."

Increasingly it seems more and more scientists are now seeing huge opportunity in overturning one of the most ballyhooed scientific hypotheses of modern time, funding be damned.

In the Die Welt piece, Kulke asks if the record cold and snow over much of the northern hemisphere "is just a coincidence". The odds are increasing that it is not, and that it's not for nothing that a growing number of scientists are becoming friendly to other explanations and that the body of evidence supporting a combination of explanations is taking shape quickly. Kulke writes that it is therefore no surprise that 2 Russian scientists have recently joined the ever more thunderous chorus of alternative explanations on what drives climate. He writes:

"It's probably no coincidence that ever louder scientific opinions warning of an imminent ice period are coming also from Russia. Vladimir Baschkin and Rauf Galiulin have recently recognized the ice age possibility in a study. Both biogeochemists - a discipline that also includes the study of the Earth's atmosphere - have written a study for the Research Institute Vniigaz of the Gazprom concern, an address of course that cannot be said is free of lobbyists. However, their arguments are underpinned by findings that are gaining more and more acceptance from independent science: solar activity is weakening considerably - to an extent that was last seen several hundred years ago, the Little Ice Age, according to scientists."

Kulke writes that not only is the CO2-science for explaining climate change one-dimensional, but that also only looking at changes in solar irradiance is completely inadequate. The sun's fluctuating magnetic activity and its impact on the Earth's atmosphere, direct and indirect, though not well understood, are proving to have a far greater influence on the Earth's climate than many are willing to admit. This is all being backed up by leading research institutes such as CERN in Geneva and the Danish National Space Institute of Denmark.


Coldest Easter EVER for Britain: Arctic misery set to last a week as temperatures drop to -15C

BRITAIN is braced for the coldest Easter on record with the bitter Arctic blast showing no signs of easing.  Another week of freezing temperatures, gales and snow is forecast as the UK shivers in the chilliest spring for 50 years.

Heavy snow showers and strong winds have swept through the country causing mayhem on the roads, closing schools and downing power lines.

The extreme cold is thought to have caused the deaths of at least four people including two men, aged 25 and 33, at the weekend. Forecasters said the mercury was likely to fall below -10C (14F) this week but windchill could make it feel like -15C or colder across swathes of the country.

Central and northern regions have been worst hit with several inches of snow in many places and drifts several feet deep.

Thousands of homes in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cumbria were yesterday without electricity for a third day as emergency crews struggled to restore supplies. Roads which became blocked on Friday were still impassible.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for ice today across much of the country.

With daytime temperatures likely to struggle above freezing, they last night extended a level-three cold weather health alert to Thursday, warning of a risk to the elderly and vulnerable.

They added that "heavy snow" threatens the Midlands and the South on Easter Saturday as a band of rain moves in from the Atlantic hitting cold air over the UK.

Forecaster Andrew Sibley said: "It is going to remain bitterly cold through the week with easterly winds keeping temperatures below freezing at night and just above during the day.

"There are likely to be more wintry showers along the east coast as this weather persists throughout the week.  "There is also going to be the problem of icy conditions on the roads as there is not likely to be any thaw in the next few days."

Forecasters have warned that next weekend could bring the lowest Easter temperatures since records began.  The record currently stands at -9.8C (14.4F) at Lagganlia, near Aviemore in Scotland, on Easter Monday 1986.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: "We are expecting bitterly cold conditions right through the week and into next weekend.

"Temperatures are on course to beat the record low for Easter, sinking well below -10C in many parts of the country, possibly hitting -15C in the wind.  "This is all going to go on for quite some time, possibly until after Easter. It is a very grim and wintery picture."


Global Warming Causes Warmer, Wetter Winters Say Met Office (in 2007)


Rest of article here

The winter of 2006/07 was a warm and wet one for the UK.  Interviewed by the BBC, Met Office meteorologist Wayne Elliott had this to say:-

"It is consistent with the climate change message. It is exactly what we expect winters to be like - warmer and wetter."

Perhaps he should have added - "except when they are colder and drier".


Have politicians had a mental blackout?

There's a real risk of energy shortages in Britain, yet still the political class is obsessed with cutting fossil fuel use

`Britain faces gas supply crisis as storage runs dry', warned Reuters last week. Unseasonably cold weather has meant that demand for gas has shot up just as it should be going down with the arrival of spring. Just to add a little spice to the warnings, tens of thousands of homes were left without power as blizzards knocked out power lines in Northern Ireland and Scotland. A taste of things to come?

As it goes, the claim that gas supplies could run out by 8 April is very much a worst-case scenario. There is normally plenty of supply, from a combination of the North Sea, Europe and shipments of liquefied gas coming from countries further afield, particularly Qatar. Nonetheless, it is daft that a modern, highly developed economy like the UK should even be discussing such things. That we are is the product of years of inertia in central government and an obsession with self-imposed greenhouse-gas emissions targets.

So perversely, just as a set of circumstances was emerging that showed how close to the wind the UK is sailing on energy security, Britain has been closing power stations. For example, on Friday, Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire was disconnected from the National Grid after 43 years. The 2,000-megawatt plant got the chop because it burns coal. Older coal plants are being phased out under EU regulations. Indeed, according to Alistair Buchanan, the boss of energy regulator Ofgem, 10 per cent of the UK's electricity generating capacity is due to be switched off this month.

Buchanan notes the speed at which plant closures will now kick in: `If you can imagine a ride on a rollercoaster at a fairground, then this winter, we are at the top of the circuit and we head downhill - fast. Within three years, we will see the reserve margin of generation fall from about 14 per cent to less than five per cent. That is uncomfortably tight.' In fact, some of those coal plants are closing ahead of schedule because their remaining operating hours have been used up quickly to take advantage of low coal prices. At a time when complaints about domestic energy costs are getting louder and louder, we are turning our back on the cheapest form of power available.

We've known for quite some time that there was the potential for a major shortfall in energy supplies. Coal and nuclear stations have been shutting but alternatives have fallen short. Wind is expensive to build and intermittent in operation. At some of the coldest periods of the year, wind supply can fall to nearly zero. Renewable UK celebrated the fact that wind produced a record proportion of UK electricity in 2012 - but it was still just 5.5 per cent of the total. New nuclear stations should be being built now, but years of political indecision mean that not a single new plant has actually got agreement yet. Even now, suppliers are haggling with government over guaranteed prices, though planning permission for Hinkley Point C - a new station on the site of two older nuclear reactors - has at least been approved. Nonetheless, it will still take eight to 10 years to build the plant.

Producing new domestic supplies of fuel is also being stymied by the government's overly cautious approach to shale gas. There are certainly substantial supplies under Lancashire, but overreaction to any safety issue is delaying exploitation. The latest hold-up is the need for an environmental assessment and concerns about the effect on wintering birds. (The latter hold-up is odd, since wind turbines are known to kill a lot of birds, with a disproportionate effect on raptors like eagles and vultures.) Even if shale gas finally gets the green light, significant supplies are still years away.

Another worry has been storage. While France, Germany and Italy hold around three months' worth of gas in reserve, the UK holds just 19 days. Given that the Lib-Con government's energy policy relies on burning a lot more gas in the next few years - cleaner than coal, much more reliable than renewables and cheaper than nuclear - storing gas will become much more important in the future. That's not so much because the UK might actually run out, but because in the future, as the FT`s Nick Butler points out, we're more likely to buy gas on the open market as and when we need it. If we don't have reserves, we'll be forced to pay whatever the price is at any particular moment rather than being able to wait for short-term fluctuations to pass.

The underlying problem is that the successive governments have been caught between a rock and a hard place. In normal circumstances, energy policy would be easy: pick the cheapest and most reliable sources of energy. On that basis, coal wins hands down. It's cheap and it's very flexible to use. No wonder King Coal is back with a vengence worldwide - not just in fast-developing countries like China and India, but also in Germany, which is burning more coal to make up for its decision to close its nuclear power stations. In the UK, gas would come second and we might add in hydro and nuclear to ensure diversity of supply.

However, the tunnel vision in the UK about climate change has massively complicated the issue. The UK parliament has committed itself - in what may well be the most expensive and boneheaded act of all time - to cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. So now the aim is to wind down coal use, while boosting wind power, with gas and nuclear as awkward compromises. But there has been such regulatory indecision that every option has been made more expensive. Big energy companies are now unwilling to invest in any particular energy source for fear that a new set of ministers will change the rules all over again. In future, UK consumers are not only paying extra for green energy but are forking out for an effective governments-can't-make-a-decision surcharge, too.

To put the tin lid on this ironyfest, this morning we had Sir John Beddington, the government's soon-to-retire chief scientific adviser, complaining that the problem of climate change was not being taken seriously enough. In a country experiencing its coldest March weather for decades, with power stations closing, energy prices rising and serious questions being asked about future security of supply - and all in the context of the fact that global temperatures have plateaued for the past 16 years - it is more the case that climate change has been taken too seriously.

That is not to let the political class off the hook. From the economy to energy production, the inability of governments to act decisively has become a material force in its own right, which holds back society. The real problem with UK politics today is that there's somebody home but the lights are off - and if the situation continues, that won't just be metaphorically.


Burning books, burning witches, burning corn

History is littered with ideology gone awry.  The most recent example? Burning corn as a substitute for fossil fuels in an effort to mitigate anthropogenic climate change (which supposedly has a negative impact on the production of crops such as corn).

This is about as logical as publicity-stunt burnings of Harry Potter books because of objections to the contents within, which only results in more people buying and reading the books to find out what got the book-burners so inflamed in the first place.

With Harry Potter it was the fantasy world of witchcraft and wizardry. With corn ethanol it is the fantasy world of agriculturally damaging climate change.

A few years ago, a paper was published in the prominent scientific journal Science by Stanford's David Lobell and colleagues that reported that human-caused global warming over the past 30 years resulted in a slowdown in global crop production. Modeling the climate response of the world's four largest commodity crops-corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans-Lobell's team calculated that as a result of rising temperatures and precipitation changes, global crop production was about 3 percent less than it otherwise would have been.

But consider this: The United States produces about 36 percent of the world's corn. And about 40 percent of U.S. corn is used to produce ethanol for use as a gasoline substitute in an attempt to lower net carbon dioxide emissions from driving and reduce climate change. Globally, corn makes up 30 percent of total worldwide production of the four crops studied by Lobell's group.

Multiply all these percentages out, and you get that the United States is burning a bit more than 4 percent of global crop production in an attempt to mitigate a climate-driven loss of 3 percent of the global crop production.

How crazy is that, you may ask?  About as crazy as burning witches because of climate change and associated crop failures (a popular pastime* during the Little Ice Age).

To make matters worse, the 3% slowdown in crop production (we use "slowdown" because during the 1980-2008 study period the total production of the four crops examined by Lobell et al. increased by about 75 percent, so global crop production is actually booming in the face of climate change), that calculation does not take into account the fertilization effect for crops of the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (from our burning of fossil fuels).

When Lobell et al. made a rough estimate of the benefits of additional carbon dioxide, the slowdown dropped to less than 1 percent.

And even this less-than-1 percent impact was described by Lobell et al. as perhaps being "overly pessimistic" because it did not fully incorporate long-term adaptive farming responses to changing climate conditions (i.e., farmers are not as dumb as statistical models make them out to be).

What this means is that even under overly pessimistic scenarios, we still currently burn more than 4 times as much grain as climate change has taken away. Thinking about this in future terms, if we observe twice as much climate change from 2010 through 2038 as we did from 1980 to 2008 (Lobell's study period), all we would have to do is stop burning half as much ethanol as we do now to make up for the entire global climate-related crop reduction.

The irrational fear that climate change will lead to global crop failures is risible. Burning crops to alleviate that fear will ultimately condemn the perpetrators to permanent laughingstock status, alongside those fanning the flames under witches, warlocks, and other objectionable words.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


26 March, 2013

Global Warming Policy Foundation Accepts Royal Society Offer For Meeting

It is worth going to the original of the press release below and reading the letters linked there.  Sir Paul is an angry man and makes some ill-founded assertions  -- which Lord Lawson refutes in his letter.  Warmists have good reason to be angry, of course.  Reality is very unkind to them.  It will be interesting to see if the offered meeting happens.  I predict not.  The GWPF would just have to put up the formidably well-informed Lord Monckton as a questioner and any Warmist would run a mile -- JR

London, 25 March: On behalf of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lord Lawson has accepted an offer by Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, who has offered to arrange a meeting between the GWPF and climate scientists.

In a recent letter to Lord Lawson, the GWPF chairman, Sir Paul suggested that the Foundation needed more mainstream and expert climate science advice and offered that the Royal Society “would be happy to put the GWPF in touch with people who can offer the Foundation informed scientific advice.”

In his response, Lord Lawson writes that he is “happy to accept your offer to arrange a meeting and look forward to hearing from you about this.”

“I hope this marks the start of a more productive dialogue with the Royal Society,” said Dr Benny Peiser, the Director of the GWPF.

Letter By Sir Paul Nurse to Lord Lawson

Letter By Lord Lawson to Sir Paul Nurse

see also: Lord Lawson’s initial letter to Sir Paul Nurse


Earth hour

It's the Greenies who have the money

The Greenpeace fleet includes the state of the art yacht Rainbow Warrior III.  "Mucking about in (expensive) boats" is what Greenpeace is all about

Envirofundamentalist organizations such as Greenpeace and the WWF often like to talk about the enormous sums Big Oil has at its disposal to counteract their activities. But a comparison done by American University professor Matthew Nisbet shows that the revenues generated by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the largest U.S trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, pale in comparison with such organizations as Greenpeace and the WWF.

In 2011 the World Wildlife Federation Network generated US$800 million, four times more than the API ($203 million). Greenpeace also clearly beat the API with revenues almost the double:

"Even more relevant are the figures reported for Greenpeace Worldwide, which according to the annual report represents the combined budget of Greenpeace International and its affiliated national and regional organizations. In this case, Greenpeace brought in global revenues of €241 million (US$336 million) and spent approximately €159 million on program activities (US$221 million) and €77 million on fundraising (US$107 million) across countries.-

Greenpeace global revenue also compares well to that of major U.S. industry associations which we commonly think of as having inconceivably large budgets. Consider that in 2009, the American Petroleum Institute generated $203 million in revenue and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $214 million in revenue from its industry members.

Germans are contributing most to Greenpeace funding, but the Dutch are the leading per capita donors.

At the global level, Greenpeace employs nearly 2,200 staff, with 1,039 based in Europe and 314 in the U.S and Canada. As displayed in this graph from its annual report, Germany is the leading source of the organization’s worldwide fundraising followed by the U.S., Netherlands, and Switzerland.

As big in scope as Greenpeace Worldwide might be, it still is smaller than at least one other multi-national environmental organizations. Consider that in 2011, the World Wildlife Federation Network, which includes the U.S. based World Wildlife Federation and affiliates in 80 other countries, generated €575 million in revenue (US$800 million) and employed 5,000 staff worldwide."


Challenge to John Beddington’s Climate Alarm

The UK Government’s chief scientist has warned time delays in the climate system means that greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere now will determine the weather the world experiences for the next 25 years. The head of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), however, said he is sceptical about anyone being able to predict what the weather would be like in the future

Sir John Beddington said climate change is one of the things he has been trying to bring to the Government’s attention but believes it is not talked about enough. He also noted the climate and weather we’re experiencing now comes from greenhouse gases that were in the atmosphere 25 years ago.

He said the international community’s failure to agree binding targets for cutting carbon emissions meant problems were being stored up for the future. He told BBC Radio 4: “They may reach agreement and they may start to reduce greenhouse gases in the next five years, or it may be a little longer. But they are still climbing and when that increase is reversed, we will be left with the weather and the climate for the next 25 years from whenever that happens.”

Sir John added: “You can think about mechanisms… carbon dioxide, carbon capture and storage, those things are very withdoing. But I kind of emphasise more on the time delays. I think the key here is this is sort of a simplistic way of thinking about it, that’s a nice indicator. But there are other things going on. For example, one of the results of the climate analyses is saying we do except more variability and we are seeing more variability… The Arctic is likely to be warming more than other parts of the planet. So I think that the issue in a sense needs to be taken out of a very simple, simplistic thing.”

He said the world faces huge problems of food, water and energy security as global population increases, which will be inevitable in the near future.

The head of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), however, said he is sceptical about anyone being able predict what the climate would be like in the future.

Director Benny Peiser said: “No one knows whether next winter will be warm or cold or average, no one knows whether next summer will be hot or wet or dry. It’s very, very difficult to make long-term predictions and therefore, I remain rather sceptical about the reliability and accuracy of these kind of speculation. They are pure speculation, they are not based on any hard facts, it’s an assumption.”

Dr Peiser added setting an international target would be the only way to limit emissions. However, he said that would not happen as it would mean countries like China and India would have to stop exploiting fossil fuels.

“It would mean to stop their economic growth and development. They can’t afford that. The negotiations have been going on for 20 years and they have been against it. So just because John Beddington says Government should take action doesn’t mean anything for them. It’s business as usual… They are using cheap energy because it’s the only way to develop”, he said.

He suggested Governments need to spend more money on preparing for extreme weather conditions and be more resilient.

“The only realistic and pragmatic approach to the issue of climate change and extreme weather events like droughts or flooding is to make countries throughout the world more resilient so that they can cope better. If you can heat your home in the cold winter, then that’s not a big problem. If you can cool your home in a hot summer, then that’s not a problem. If you have houses that can withstand storms, then we don’t have a problem.


Warmist loses a bet

Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s chief policy adviser, has conceded defeat in a £100 climate policy bet with Nigel Lawson which they had agreed four and a half years ago.

Towards the end of a climate debate between the two Conservative heavy-weights in the July 2008 issue of Standpoint, the following exchange took place:

Oliver Letwin: Nigel can’t know whether there is going to be a successor to Kyoto.

Nigel Lawson: Well, look, there’ll be an international agreement in the sense that there will be platitudes. The acid test is: will there be an agreement to have binding cutbacks for all participants on their carbon emissions? Instead of arguing about it, we could have a wager on it.

Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.

Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.

Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

The original Kyoto agreement which set binding CO2 emissions targets for 37 developed nations only ran out on the 31st of December 2012. There has been no new international agreement on CO2 emissions reduction, let alone a ‘substantial’ one. In the meantime, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have officially abandoned the Kyoto Protocol while Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have threatened to abandon it as well.

Oliver Letwin has now conceded that Lawson has won the bet.

Lord Lawson comments:

“I made the bet because I knew I would win. It has always been blindingly obvious that the positions of Europe, the United States and China were much too far apart for a truly global successor to Kyoto to be negotiable.”

“Oliver Letwin is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy - which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”


Dumb as a Potato: Cold Winters Caused by Global Warming

I’d say that “You can’t make this stuff up” except that obviously you can make this stuff up.

The Grauniad offers a laughable new argument that lack of Arctic sea ice is responsible for cold winters. Here it is:

“The sea ice is going rapidly. It’s 80% less than it was just 30 years ago. There has been a dramatic loss. This is a symptom of global warming and it contributes to enhanced warming of the Arctic,” said Jennifer Francis, research professor with the Rutgers Institute of Coastal and Marine Science.

According to Francis and a growing body of other researchers, the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream – the high-altitude river of air that steers storm systems and governs most weather in northern hemisphere.

“This is what is affecting the jet stream and leading to the extreme weather we are seeing in mid-latitudes,” she said. “It allows the cold air from the Arctic to plunge much further south"

Got that? Sure? Read it carefully, because we’re now dealing with such an incredible level of stupid that I’ll need to break it down to deal with it. So commit this argument to memory.

Okay. The Stupid. Part I: “The sea ice is going rapidly. It’s 80% less than it was just 30 years ago”  -

The Guardian is quoting a researcher here who is directly contradicting the UK Met Office’s own Chief Scientist, as quoted in their own article. In effect, you can take your pick of which fact to believe in at any given point:

"She [Julia Sligo, Met Office Chief Scientist] also said that suggestions the volume of sea ice had already declined by 75% already were not credible. “We know there is something [happening on the thinning of sea ice] but it’s not as dramatic as those numbers suggest.”

The problem, she explained, was that researchers did not know the thickness of Arctic sea ice with any confidence."

What conclusions should we draw when the Guardian quotes one “Scientist” who is making a claim that another, senior scientist, has previously slammed as “not credible”?


An accurate forecaster

Who Is America’s Best Climate Prediction Expert? It’s a fair enough question, given all our government and the mainstream media have been telling us about the threats we all face from climate change (a.k.a. man-made global warming).

With twenty five years and tens of billions of dollars spent by the US government alone on understanding what the causes and effects of climate change are, surely someone has risen to the top in terms of making accurate climate change predictions, right?

According to any number of internet searches, there is one person who may well rank number one in this question of who the best American climate prediction expert is. He has risked it all in publishing his predictions on line, with the science to back it up for all to see, and critique. In doing so, this lone researcher has been subjected to the ‘slings and arrows’ of the established scientific community and those who have invested so much capital, political power and personal prestige at making sure manmade global warming and its experts come out on top.

Despite being heavily criticized for years, this person has amassed an impressive list of major climate predictions that as of today makes him one of the best if not the best climate expert in the Americas. However he is not as you may surmise, on the list of the thousands of researchers the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC) has been using for its many climate reports. He is not a solar physicist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and definitely does not work for NASA’s Goddard center where much of the US media gets its manmade climate info. He is not on the staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or any of its several centers that deal extensively with climate change research. He is not a PhD professor at some prestigious university and also is not working for the Department of Defense or any national science agency.

In fact, this maverick among climate researchers is a single individual with a courageous band of other scientists from around the world who have, with little funding to speak of have been operating out of a small office with no special interests assisting from either side of the climate debate. Yet this team, led by this one person have routinely beat the best US government science agencies and the United Nations (UN) for the past six years in telling us what the Earth’s climate is doing and what it will do in the future.

Mr. Casey has had a distinguished career in any case. A former White House space policy adviser consultant to NASA Headquarters and a space shuttle engineer with a major aerospace contractor, he is no stranger to tackling and solving tough problems. For example, after the space shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986, NASA brought him in to chair an internal investigation into the breakdown in quality and space flight safety systems that were at the heart of the tragedy.

Many years later in 2007, while doing some solar physics research he stumbled on a curious pattern among sunspots that would prove to be the most important problem he had ever confronted – what causes climate change and what is the planet’s next climate era going to be like? A few months later after completing his research, he made several a startling announcements to the world. In April and May of 2007 he said:

1. Global warming was about to end, within three years!

2. The Sun was going to begin a “solar hibernation” beginning with the next solar cycle #24 (which began in 2008). This hibernation would result in a record reduction in the energy output of the Sun.

3. The Earth’s atmosphere and oceans were about to begin a long term drop in temperatures lasting for decades.

4. A new cold climate era was beginning that posed a serious threat to all with the potential to bring global crop damage and loss of life through starvation, cold weather fatalities, and social upheaval on a historic scale.

He proposed that a new climate theory which he called the “Relational Cycle Theory” or simply the “RC Theory” should replace the greenhouse gas theory of manmade climate change and asserted that the Sun and not mankind was the primary cause of climate change.

His announcement and predictions at that time were received with hostility reminiscent of that Galileo received by the Catholic Church when he said the Sun was at the center of the solar system instead of the Church’s opinion that the Earth was. Once more, by saying the Sun was at the center (of climate change) and not the Earth (not mankind), he immediately was attacked by all sides of the global warming debate including conservatives and liberals. He was slandered and demeaned by members of the established scientific community, some of whom were reaping windfall research grants to study man’s emissions of CO2. So called ‘authorities’ at prominent internet science blog sites were equally as unkind. The most prominent science periodicals and many in the media as well as the government did even worse – they ignored him!

Even Casey admits his timing was bad for his predictions by saying, “My announcements and predictions could not have come at a worse time. Both presidential party candidates were saying manmade global warming was real and they were going to fix it. Al Gore and the UN were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work in alerting the world to the effects of man’s industrial emissions on the climate. Many former friends stopped returning may calls or emails. My message was one that no one wanted to hear.”

Now six years later much has changed. Scientists outside the US and not tied to US politics or US government research funding began to take notice of his work. In June of 2011 when he published his internationally acclaimed climate science book, “Cold Sun,” it included some of the strongest endorsements yet seen from other scientists for a climate book. Other scientists have called his work “…simply a great work!” or “…adds a brilliant page to the history of science…,” or “…this is an Earth-shattering book!”

Here we are in early 2013 and his diligence in getting his word out about what is really happening with the climate for all to read has led to Mr. Casey becoming the most often quoted and referenced on the web on the subject of climate change to a cold era. He still sees a few lingering critics repeat personal attacks and derogatory remarks from 2008 but no one has countered any of his science. They can’t!

Other scientists have joined his team and are actively cooperating with him in their own countries by trying to alert their countrymen to the dangers of the coming cold climate. His prominent and vocal stance on the next climate change has made it easier for others to now come forward to make similar predictions. Past researchers who made such forecasts many years before Casey are now seeing a resurrection from the dusty science journals where their research was buried and are once again seeing the light of day.

Because of his success in climate prediction, other scientists from around the world in earthquake research have now asked him to help in the great humanitarian cause of saving thousands of lives yearly by finally predicting the world’s largest quakes well in advance. As of December 2012, this new group has already had some success!

He is now frequently called on to do interviews and speak to large groups of interested citizens on his RC Theory, his book “Cold Sun,” and most importantly how to prepare for the coming difficult cold climate.

In March of this year Mr. Casey stepped up the gain on describing what is happening with the Earth’s climate by publishing the Global Climate Status Report (GCSR) ©. This heavily researched and data filled resource he and his supporting scientists have published, is intended for all individuals and leaders who want to have a different perspective on climate change from the one they have been receiving from the government and the media. As Casey puts it, “Too long now our people and our leaders have been given only one side, the wrong side, of the climate change story. With the regular publication of the GCSR, anyone can now have a single source for the true status of the Earth’s climate rather than the heavily politicized version we have been force fed for twenty five years now.”

But what about the accuracy of his predictions?

Why should he be on our list of candidates for America’s best climate researcher? This one is easy. All his predictions, as disruptive and controversial as they were in 2007, have now either come to pass or are about to! This remarkable record according to internet searches is without peer. Casey acknowledges this by commenting, “No other climate researcher that I can find has such a public record for similar major climate predictions. There is nothing predicted by the UN-IPCC, NASA or NOAA from 2007-2008 that comes even close to what I was forecasting. In fact they all said that global temperatures could only go up for the foreseeable future and yet as I correctly predicted, they have been dropping.”

But, there is something else.

Among his major predictions he made a very specific one of a detailed scientific nature that goes far beyond simple chance that some may ascribe to it. In early 2007, he contacted NASA’s top solar physicist to discuss what Casey believed was a significant error by NASA in predicting the behavior of the Sun during the next 11-year solar cycle (cycle #24). Casey said at the time that NASA was, “way off” in its calculations for the peak year and level of activity for the next solar cycle. NASA was at the time saying cycle #24 was going to be of record high level of activity and as measured by sunspot count would be at least 145 average sunspot count, likely much higher, and peaking in 2011. Casey, on the other hand, said his math showed the peak would be in 2012 and would be no more than 74 sunspots at peak. In other words Casey told NASA they were more than 100 % in error! The NASA opinion in a joint conference with NOAA scientists went the same. They all said cycle #24 was going to be one of the most energetic ever.

This month, NASA, after making downward adjustments with NOAA every year since 2007, have now issued their latest forecast for cycle #24. Guess what? Now in the peak period for cycle#24, NASA says the peak will be this year, in 2013 with an average of 70 sunspots plus or minus 18 with a likely final cycle average of 69 sunspots! It looks like Casey has done it again – he has beat the US government best scientists on predicting the very complicated nature of the Sun’s behavior to an astounding level of accuracy! And he did it with a shoe string budget by himself, compared to these science agencies who had thousands of researchers, state of the art advanced computers and billions of dollars at their disposal.

According to one of Casey’s now growing number of supporters in a recent email, a Mr. RV said “In 2007 you said the (cycle#24) peak would be in 2012 and the sunspot count would not be greater than 74, half of what NASA was saying…Your prediction turned out to be SPOT ON! Congratulations on your prediction. That was nothing short of awesome.”

But what about the peak in 2013 as NASA now predicts. Casey said the peak of activity would be in 2012. Actually he got that call right also, Casey elaborates with, “ Most except a few solar physicists are not even aware that the typical 11-year solar cycle has a double peak, the first being the primary followed a year or two later by a lesser secondary peak. We then average the two as the cycle winds down and we are certain both peaks have passed. If we look at a chart of sunspots for cycle #24 we did in fact have the primary peak in late 2012 as I predicted.”

When it comes to picking America’s best climate prediction expert there are also some intangibles I think we should consider. The first that comes to mind is how tough a challenge was it for the researcher to make his predictions? Were they easy to make scientifically, or were they controversial and likely to bring the researcher much criticism? It takes a lot of endurance to last out a solar cycle and maintain one’s opinion in face of incredible public, media, scientific, and political opposition.

Second is purpose. Casey from the outset has said his goal and that of his company, SSRC is to do what they could to alert the people to the next climate change so they can be prepared for what he calls a “life altering event.” He never expected to get rich as many “warmists” have by pushing manmade climate change. He has on the contrary, spent all he had keeping his research going and the lights on in his little office. As to purpose, Casey reflects on a quote from his book “Cold Sun,” by George Elliott, by saying, “I think Elliott was right with his question, ‘What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?’ ”

Is there any doubt. Casey gets my vote. He is not only America’s best climate prediction expert, but he is also among America’s best, period!




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


25 March, 2013

Obama Overreach Includes Energy

Following the Conservative Political Action Conference—known as CPAC—it has been reported that the faithful feel discouraged, dispirited, and defeated. Dr. Ben Carson, who emerged from the Conference as the new conservative darling, has stated that America is heading for failure. Generally, I agree. However, I see a chink in the armor.

The alliance of the environmental lobby and big government advocates have been winning—Obama is back in the White House, the new cabinet members seem worse than the last, and the Keystone pipeline has become a battle line. With the victory, however, they’ve perhaps gotten over confident and pushed too hard. They’ve had a series of losses that have put them on the defense—and everyone knows, you win on the offense.

Their losses haven’t made headline news—making them easy to miss, and the alliance is not likely to beat a hasty retreat, but looking at them added together, I see an opening for a breakthrough.  In case you missed them, here are some of the recent reversals they’ve received:

 *       On March 20, the Supreme Court shot down “overzealous greens” that hoped to “hobble the logging industry by reclassifying rural storm water runoff under the Clean Water Act’s ‘point source’ standards, which require costly federal permits.” The Court ruled: “more effective regulation could be done by states and state foresters.”

 *       On March 19, the Obama Administration scrapped “a series of graphic warning labels on cigarette packages that were blocked by a federal appeals court”—a win for the “tobacco industry’s free-speech rights under the First Amendment.” Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the FDA won’t be deterred from implementing stronger warning labels.

 *       Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun-ban bill became a victim of friendly fire when, in a March 18 meeting, Majority Leader Harry Reid notified a “frustrated Feinstein” that her assault-weapon ban “wouldn’t be part of a Democratic gun bill.” The exclusion means “almost certain defeat” but, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Ladd Everitt, it has “fired up gun violence prevention advocates.”

 *       On March 15, hyper-liberal Bill Maher had an epiphany on his HBO show Real Time. In a conversation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, regarding Paul Ryan’s budget, Maher announced that rich people “actually do pay the freight in this country.” He continued, calling the taxes the rich pay: “outrageous” and “ridiculous.” He warned his liberal friends: “you could actually lose me.”

 *       Facing the reality of a nuclear attack, on March 15 the Obama administration announced a reversal on missile defense. In 2009, Obama killed the Bush administration’s plans for 14 US ground-based long-range missile interceptors—which are now, in opposition to the “Democratic Party’s long aversion to any kind of missile defense,” playing catch up. Missile Defense advocates are now vindicated.

 *       Government overreach received a setback on March 11, when “a judge threw out New York City’s ban on supersized sugary drinks.” Judge Milton Tingling said the soda ban “would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it.” And, that has the “potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened beverages.”

The list could continue to include NBC’s ratings fall and Obama’s sudden shift in relations with Republicans, but you get the idea.

“Marita,” you might say, “this is an interesting list, and I get your point, but you write on energy, and none of this has anything to do with energy.”  Here are some similar setbacks to the left’s energy agenda:

 *       Going back a couple of months, on January 25, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a unanimous decision, found that the EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic ethanol and mandating the exaggerated fuel standards—confirming that “EPA’s renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.” The nonexistent-fuel requirement is costing refiners $8 million dollars in fines paid to the federal government—which are passed on to consumer—due to the unreasonable 2012 mandate.

 *       Last month, regulators met in California “hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state’s network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy.” The state is “running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas” and now “it doesn’t have the right mix.” Utility executives are predicting rolling brown outs as early as this summer. Other states with high dependence on wind and solar resources face similar problems.

 *       “In a preemptive move to protect against possible court challenges,” “an early step toward President Barack Obama's second-term goal of cutting emissions linked to climate change has hit a snag.” Reported on March 19: “The Obama administration is weighing changes to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit emissions at new power plants.” The EPA’s rule would “essentially ban new coal-fired power plants”—which “may not withstand legal scrutiny.”

 *       On March 20, another Solyndra-esque, government-funded solar panel manufacturer embarrassment came to light. SoloPower began the first round of layoffs just months after opening with a high-profile ribbon cutting and is now “selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.” The story shows that “politicians are proving to be lousy venture capitalists with this and other green energy subsidies.”

Again, this sampling of stories illustrates the cause for my optimism.

In war, and we are in a war, when one side sees signs of weakness, it is time to act and exploit the vulnerabilities; go on the offensive. The weapons we have are social media, email, and our telephones. Here are some of the battles we could win if we join in the fight for American jobs, economic growth, and affordable energy.

 *       The Keystone pipeline is in the news again due to the recently released State Department report that concludes that it is environmentally safe. The pipeline, alone, has the unique ability to create jobs without taxpayer monies, spur economic growth in the states it will cross and other states that will participate in construction support, and lower the cost of gasoline through increased supply. We all need to add our “comments.” Tell the State department to end the four-year delay and approve the Keystone pipeline.

 *       Anti-surface mining ads running in Tennessee on March 19 are just the latest in the war on coal. The war is raging against coal mining—which provides good paying jobs for thousands of Americans—and against coal-fueled power plants with 300+ scheduled for closure in the next few years and no possible replacement. We need an energy policy that works for each locale rather than one-size-fits-all requirements. For example, in New Mexico, we have coal-fueled power plants built right next to a coal mine, yet EPA regulations are shutting down five of the nine units. Likewise, West Virginia has an abundance of coal, and they, too, are closing plants. In the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is efficient, effective, and economical, but environmental groups are forcing their removal. Call or email the White House and tell the Obama administration to make good on the “all of the above” promise and not limit or mandate specific electricity sources.

 *       Due to the combination of new technology and new applications of sixty-year-old technology, America now has an abundance of natural gas. Many markets across the globe need our natural gas—which could be liquefied and shipped worldwide and help the US trade deficit. In a free market, companies should be allowed to sell their products to the highest bidder, but due to trade agreements and the slow approval process of applications to build new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, this boost to the economy is being stifled. LNG exports are one of the few issues that truly have bipartisan support—yet, environmentalists oppose them and the Department of Energy has been dragging its feet on LNG export applications. Contact your Senators and Representative and tell them to oppose legislation that would limit LNG exports.

There is more we could do, but together these simple steps—passed on to everyone you know through Facebook, Twitter, and your personal email list, and acted upon—can serve as our forlorn hope (the first wave of soldiers attacking a breach in defenses). Let’s band together with a common strategy, a surge, that can turnaround the current direction and make America great again


UK's coldest spring since 1963 claims 5,000 lives: Pensioners worst affected - and experts say final toll could be 'horrendous'

Global warming wanted

Freezing Britain's unusually harsh winter could have cost thousands of pensioners their lives.

This month is on track to be the coldest March for 50 years – and as the bitter Arctic conditions caused blackouts and traffic chaos yesterday, experts warned of an 'horrendous' death toll among the elderly.

About 2,000 extra deaths were registered in just the first two weeks of March compared with the average for the same period over the past five years.

And for February, 3,057 extra deaths were registered in England and Wales compared with the five-year average for the month.

Campaigners at Age UK, which says 26,000 people die needlessly in winter every year, said the current weather could prove deadly for thousands more.

Director general Michelle Mitchell said: 'Colder, harsher winters tend to lead to an increase in life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which in turn leads to a high rate of excess winter deaths.

'For every one degree drop in average temperature, there are around 8,000 extra deaths.'

The Office for National Statistics said the extra death rate 'could be to do with the prolonged period of cold weather we've been experiencing.' But it cautioned that it was too early to make an absolute link. The March figures are still provisional.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said that last month almost 700 of his members had died, compared with 250 last year.

'If our membership is a representative sample that was replicated across the general population, then we could be looking at a horrendous number when all the figures are in,' he said.

'An increase in fuel costs and the extended winter means that more people are going to suffer, and more will be unable to afford to eat and heat their homes. It's a scary prospect.'

It is not just pensioners who are at risk. The body of a 27-year-old man who went missing while walking home from a night out was found in deep snow in farmland near Burnley, Lancashire, yesterday afternoon. Police said the man would not be named until all family members had been informed.

Chief Inspector Derry Crorken of Burnley Police said: 'Early indications suggest that it is a very tragic incident where a young man has been out with friends and has become caught up in the weather last night on his journey home.  'I would urge people to only go out if it is necessary.'

Blizzards and power cuts wreaked havoc across large parts of the country yesterday, leaving snowdrifts of up to 15ft in Cumbria and night-time temperatures plunging to -7C (19F) in the Pennines. Power lines were down in Northern Ireland, Scotland and North Wales, leaving 50,000 homes without electricity.

Ulster was hardest-hit, with 29,000 properties without power and 1,000 without water.

The transport network was also crippled. East Midlands, Leeds, Robin Hood (Doncaster) and Humberside Airports were all forced temporarily to close runways for snow and ice to be cleared.

Train services in the North-West were severely hit and even major roads were treacherous. In Cumbria 70 people were put up in a school after being stranded in their cars on the A595.

In North Wales, the Red Cross was brought in to transport vital medical staff to hospitals in 4x4 vehicles because the snow had made roads off limits to normal cars.

The M62 near Rochdale was closed for a time but gritters were out to ensure the route between Manchester and West Yorkshire remained open overnight.

Yesterday's sporting programme was also badly hit, with Northern Ireland's football World Cup qualifier against Russia called off for the second time in 24 hours as Belfast's Windsor Park was unplayable. Elsewhere, seven Football League games in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North were cancelled and race meetings at Doncaster and Newbury were abandoned. Theme parks at Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park closed, too.

The Environment Agency had 59 flood alerts in place last night, covering the Midlands, East Anglia, the south east and the south west.

Hundreds of schools were forced to close on Friday and many were expected to remain closed tomorrow, causing headaches for parents.

Weathermen forecast that the harsh conditions would gradually diminish over the coming week but a biting wind from the east would ensure temperatures remain at 4-6C (39-42F), well below the seasonal average of 11C (52F).

Greg Dewhurst of the Met Office said: 'While the rain, sleet and snow will peter out, it will still feel very cold because of strong easterly winds. The signals are that temperatures will start to return to normal after Easter.'

The weather is also taking its toll on retailers, especially fashion chains where spring lines are remaining on the racks. For DIY chains and garden centres, this is normally one of the most important months. But Mandy Murphy of the British Retail Consortium said: 'Bad weather could feed through to sales being poorer than hoped for over the big bank holiday weekend.'

It is all in stark contrast to the  same time 12 months ago, when sunbathers swamped beaches as temperatures hit 22C (71F), sparking fears of a possible drought.


It’s payback time for Britain's insane energy policy

An obsession with CO2 has left us dangerously short of power as coal-powered stations are forced to close

As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.

The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

Three more events last week brought home again just what a mad bubble of make-believe these people are living in. Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, we lost two more major coal-fired power stations, Didcot A and Cockenzie, capable of contributing no less than a tenth to our average electricity demands. We saw a French state-owned company, EDF, being given planning permission to spend £14?billion on two new nuclear reactors in Somerset, but which it says it will only build, for completion in 10 years’ time, if it is guaranteed a subsidy that will double the price of its electricity. Then, hidden in the small print of the Budget, were new figures for the fast-escalating tax the Government introduces next week on every ton of CO2 emitted by fossil-fuel-powered stations, which will soon be adding billions of pounds more to our electricity bills every year.

Within seven years this new tax will rise to £30 a ton, and by 2030 to £70 a ton, making it wholly uneconomical to generate any more electricity from the coal and gas-fired power stations that last week were still supplying two thirds of our electricity. Put all this together and we see more starkly than ever the game the Government is playing. It knows that no company would build wind farms unless it is given subsidies that, in effect, nearly double or treble the price of its electricity. The Government will only get CO2-free nuclear power if it promises it an equal subsidy. And now the Coalition is also hell-bent on driving our much cheaper and more reliable coal and gas-fired plants out of business, by imposing a carbon tax that will not only eventually double the cost of their electricity, but also make it impossible for them to survive.

So mad is this policy of “double-up all round” that it is driving even the largest and most efficient power station in the country, Drax, capable of supplying seven per cent of all the power we use, to switch from burning coal to wood chips, imported 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from the US. And how has the Government forced Drax to do this? By giving it a subsidy on wood chips that doubles the value of its electricity, while putting an increasingly prohibitive tax on coal.

This is all insane in so many ways that one scarcely knows where to begin, except to point out that, even if our rulers somehow managed to subsidise firms into spending £100?billion on all those wind farms they dream of, they will still need enough new gas-fired power stations to provide back-up for all the times when the wind isn’t blowing, at the very time when the carbon tax will soon make it uneconomical for anyone to build them.

So we are doomed to see Britain’s lights going out, all because the feather-headed lunatics in charge of our energy policy still believe that they’ve got to do something to save the planet from that CO2-induced global warming which this weekend has been covering much of the country up to a foot deep in snow. Meanwhile, the Indians are planning to build 455 new coal-fired power stations which will add more CO2 to the atmosphere of the planet every week than Britain emits in a year.

Thank you, David Cameron, leader of “the greenest government ever”. Thank you, Ed Miliband, father of the Climate Change Act, the most expensive suicide note in history. Between you, you seem determined to switch off our lights, lock the door and throw away the key. We owe you more than we can say.


Carbon's Wrongful Conviction

Viv Forbes

Three stubborn facts suggest that carbon is suffering a grave miscarriage of justice.

Firstly, despite all the bleating about humans causing "carbon pollution", man's use of carbon fuels has never managed to create even a single atom of carbon - all he has ever done is move a tiny bit of the Earth's huge store of it around.

Secondly, carbon dioxide gas, the beneficial plant food, is generated whenever carbon fuels and foods are consumed. Despite the "global warming" propaganda, carbon dioxide has zero ability to heat anything. The most it has ever done is to scatter a bit of the radiation energy coming from the sun or from the Earth's warmed surface. This makes Earth more liveable by moderating the daily temperature extremes.

Thirdly, carbon dioxide is always released from the vast oceans when natural global warming occurs. Blaming increased carbon dioxide for global warming is like blaming wet roads for rain.


New Mercedes face ban from British roads for flouting EU rules on 'green' air-con: Germans say compulsory coolant causes cars to catch fire and explode on impact

Thousands of new Mercedes are set to be banned from sale in Britain after they were declared 'illegal' by the EU.

The German luxury car maker is embroiled in an extraordinary row with EU bureaucrats over a decision to force all car manufacturers to use a new 'green' air-conditioning gas.  Mercedes has raised fears that the new coolant causes cars to catch fire.

But any car maker refusing to install the gas faces a ban on selling cars across the Continent, the European Commission warned this week.

The DVLA and the Vehicle Certification Agency in the UK are poised to suspend any new registration of the luxury German cars if they do not conform to the regulations.

All new Mercedes A-Class hatchbacks, B-Class family cars and SL roadster models will be affected because the manufacturer has failed to agree to the law, which came into effect on January 1.

Most manufacturers have already complied with the directive. But last September Mercedes appealed to delay the implementation of the law.

Internal tests by the company allegedly showed that ten out of 14 cars using the new coolant caught fire when subjected to conditions that simulated the coolant leaking into the engine in a front-end collision.

But the Commission last week rejected the claims and warned it is not possible for new cars to be sold within the EU if they do not conform to the legislation.

Implementing the directive could result in thousands of new cars being left on dealers' forecourts, unable to be registered by the DVLA.

In an update last week, the European Commission said 'controversial' testing techniques by Mercedes were to blame for the findings and the Department for Transport in the UK would be fined if it allowed the company to sell the affected models.

It stated: 'It is not possible for motor vehicles to be registered and marketed in the EU if they are not in conformity with the relevant legislation.'

The Department for Transport said it was monitoring the situation closely, but it could cost Mercedes almost £500 million in lost sales in the UK and more across Europe.

Mercedes predicts sales of about 15,000 A-Class cars this year, which cost from £18,970. About 6,500 £21,000 B-Class models and an estimated 800 of the £72,550 SL models are also expected to be bought by Britons – but all could remain unsold if the DVLA refuses to register them for the UK market.

Older models will be unaffected but from 2017 every vehicle released into the European car market must be installed with the new coolant.

Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, claims its tests show the new air-con chemical is 'highly flammable', poisonous and poses a danger to occupants and rescue services.

The European Commission is now involved in 11th hour talks with Mercedes. Volkswagen, which owns the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, has also refused to install the new coolant.

However, the fellow German manufacturer has insisted its engineers have designed a new coolant using carbon dioxide which adheres to the European environmental guidelines and is in advanced talks to use the new variant.

Mercedes claims it has instructed its engineers to design a similar chemical but the Commission denies knowledge of the plans. Critics have accused Mercedes of putting costs ahead  of global climate concerns because the new coolant is more expensive.

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies, who helped to draft the new law, said: 'This amounts to a declaration of war on Daimler. It is widely believed Daimler is trying to avoid paying extra costs of about £20 per vehicle.

'The Commission's briefing makes clear that new models using the old refrigerant should not be sold.'

Mercedes was last month confirmed as the leading premium brand in the UK. It registered 3,329 new cars in February – up 13.5 per cent on last year.

Professor Thomas Weber, from Daimler, claimed the  company was in the process of producing a new coolant using carbon dioxide which would be approved by the European Commission.

He said: 'Daimler has examined all possible options very closely over recent months and worked with the other manufacturers within the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) to find a solution that is acceptable to all.

'These efforts have shown clearly that CO2, is by far the most promising solution, as it is environmentally acceptable and safe. We have given our engineers the clear commission to develop the CO2 air-conditioning system.'

A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'The safety of all road users is paramount. However, we have seen no evidence that the air-conditioning fluid in this case poses any risk in appropriately designed vehicles. We continue to monitor this issue and the European Commission is leading a review to ensure a consistent approach for all vehicle manufacturers and purchasers.'

The European Commission said it would not take action against anyone who has bought one of the affected Mercedes models since January 1. But a spokesman said it would continue to appeal to countries to enforce the legislation and ban future registration of all new vehicles that do not contain the new coolant gas.


How a gas goldmine could help Britain end debt nightmare

As you approach Ground Zero of Britain’s potential shale gas bonanza and alight next to a 10,000ft-deep hole dug five miles east of Blackpool, your nostrils are suddenly assailed by the overwhelming smell of methane.

At first, you think there must be some catastrophic failure of a gas pipe deep below, and you wonder if the ‘fracking revolution’ really can be the answer to keeping the lights on and Britain’s houses warm.

But the smell, it turns out, has nothing to do with the drilling of a gas well two miles below Lancashire farmland. The villains are cows in the neighbouring field, making their own, very distinctive, contribution to greenhouse gases.

The pretty village of Singleton is an unlikely setting for what might become Britain’s natural gas bonanza – Galveston, Texas or Qatar it emphatically is not, though Cuadrilla Resources, the drilling company, believes up to 200 trillion cubic feet of gas lies trapped below.

Cuadrilla estimates the value of the gas at £136 billion. It could theoretically satisfy our national gas consumption for 60 years, keeping our central heating boilers going while generating about 40 per cent of the electricity we need.

It could do for us now what North Sea oil did in the Seventies. And crucially, shale gas will not leave behind the toxic legacy of our nuclear power programme. We would feel richer again, we would feel at the cutting edge of a revolution and we would lose our baleful sense of energy ennui as Blackpool becomes the new Aberdeen.

So you would have thought the Government and the environmental lobby would be delighted at the news that Britain has exploitable reserves of the shale gas that is propelling America towards energy self-sufficiency and lower carbon emissions. But you would be wrong.

When it burns, shale gas emits half the CO2 of coal, bringing the green targets enshrined in Kyoto and other treaties within sight. Surely even the Lib Dems and their ‘Big Green’ allies, who have profited so handsomely from the billions of pounds of carbon taxes imposed on consumers, would concede this is a breakthrough in achieving the UK’s mandated target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

Fracking involves firing water into shale rock at very deep levels and at very high pressure to release gas. It does not despoil the landscape in the way coal-mining does. It does not put working men at risk from rock bursts underground, or coat their lungs with coal dust.

Once the well is dug and capped, the plant left on the site of the fracking is deliberately low-level, and scarcely visible from the road as naturally occurring gas is pumped silently into the grid. How could anyone who worries about the planet cavil at this?

Yet Greenpeace, the Green Party, and other environmental interests have responded to the shale gas opportunity as though the carbon-polluted sky had fallen in, and then they have used every trick of the planning regime to obstruct the work of Britain’s shale pioneers.

As we again turn up central heating thermostats to counter the snow  this weekend, there are warnings – now dismissed – that the country might run out of gas we import from Russian and Norwegian fields.

More worryingly, Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, Britain’s second biggest electricity supplier, accuses the Coalition of ‘significantly underestimating the scale of the capacity crunch facing the UK in the next three years’ as we close  coal-fired power stations to meet green targets. There is, he adds, ‘a very real risk of the lights going out as a result’.

Even as evidence that the planet is warming melts away like a snowball in late spring – as documented in forensic detail in last week’s Mail on Sunday – the Government is astonishingly complacent in attaching ever more draconian and regressive ‘carbon’ taxes to our utility bills.

One of the main reasons we are suffering a double-dip recession is the loss of revenue from falling North Sea oil production. On top of that, carbon taxes on our utility bills further reduce the spending power that might otherwise drive a consumer-led recovery.

We learned from the Budget statement last week that this year’s growth forecast has been halved to a feeble 0.6 per cent. Government spending and the deficit remain out of control, while debt as a share of the economy is on course to rise from a shocking 75.9 per cent to 85.6 per cent in 2016-17.

Surely George Osborne and David Cameron should be pushing through the exploitation of shale as a national economic imperative?

Yes, there was a passing reference in the Chancellor’s speech to shale gas being ‘part of the future’, and ill-defined promises of local incentives to head off Nimbyist tendencies around the drilling areas.

But there was no sense of urgency,  perhaps because had Mr Osborne shown extravagant support for  a new carbon fuel source, albeit a relatively green one, the Lib Dems would have kicked up a fuss.

The absurdity of the situation is that gas could have been gushing out of the Singleton well, boosting the Treasury’s coffers and getting us through this freezing winter had  our reaction to fracking not been so mealy-mouthed.

In the United States, shale is hailed as a saviour, an engine of growth, the creator of 600,000 new jobs, as Barack Obama said. In Britain, it is dismissed dismally as a threat to the future of the planet.

Officially Britain’s shale gas revolution was put on hold after Big Green managed to whip up a frenzy of contrived fear about two earth tremors in 2011 when Cuadrilla was conducting exploratory fracks. The tremors registered 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale, making the latter some ten billion times less powerful than the 8.9 quake that caused the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

One of the Lancashire tremors occurred on April 1, prompting many locals who had not noticed it to assume media reports to be an elaborate joke.

Years ago, some journalists challenged each other to invent the dullest headline ever. The winner was ‘Small earthquake in Chile, not many dead’. In this case, the headline might have been ‘Two tremors in Lancashire, not many noticed’.

Yet Big Green seized upon these minor seismic events and forced Cuadrilla to suspend fracking operations. The saga of the trivial Lancashire tremors sums up the vacuity of the Coalition’s energy policy. It is not even clear fracking caused the tremors – in America, where tens of thousands of shale gas wells have been sunk, there have been almost no instances of uncontained geological activity.

Shale gas will not transform the energy market here as radically as it has shaken up the market in America, where natural gas prices have more than halved and cheap energy is encouraging manufacturing industries to come home in what has been called ‘re-shoring’.

Here is a carbon-based economic prediction: The American economy will bounce back into robust growth in the next two years, its recovery fuelled by cheap, relatively green shale gas. Meanwhile in Europe, where energy prices are kept high, only stagnation beckons.

In America, you own the gas or oil underneath your property, while in Britain the revenues go to the State, so there is no financial incentive to embrace the shale revolution.

But there is another reason why we  cannot embrace the benefits of abundant, cheap, green energy. Big Green does not want British consumers to have access to cheap shale gas – even if it reduces carbon emissions.

The narrative of the green lobby, and the one endorsed by the Coalition, is that we are running out of fossil fuels and that burning the remaining reserves destroys the planet.

The first proposition is absurd, as ever more vast reserves of shale gas and oil are discovered across Europe, Asia and Australia. The second, we now know, is bogus as the planet has stopped warming.

But the huge taxpayer subsidies to those interests behind wind and solar power are predicated on this narrative. Challenge it with the prospect of cheap and plentiful shale gas and the logic behind all the subsidies for wind and solar power collapses.

Renewable energy is only sustainable if fossil fuels are running out or if the Government taxes them into submission, which appears to be the Coalition’s preferred policy.

Our hills would not be despoiled with vast turbines but for the vast subsidies being handed out to the companies building wind-farms and the bribes to landowners with money expropriated from poor and middle-income earners through taxes and levies on their utility bills.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee has belatedly latched on to the fraud agreed by Ed Miliband when Environment Secretary and now implemented by the Coalition. Two months ago, the committee’s Labour chairman, Margaret Hodge, described the Government’s contracts with wind energy companies as a ‘licence for the private sector to print money at the expense of consumers’.

The contracts are structured in such a way that firms receive the ‘green’ subsidies even if the energy goes unused. The Big Green speculators get a guaranteed return of ten to 11 per cent on contracts which, the committee said, ‘appear heavily skewed towards attracting investors rather than securing a good deal for consumers’.

It is not hard to see why environmental policy so blatantly favours green energy interests. Tim Yeo, Conservative chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, trebles his MP’s salary with his work for three renewable energy and transport firms.

And Lord Deben, chairman  of the ‘independent’, official and influential Committee on Climate Change, pockets unknown amounts as chairman of Sancroft, an environmental lobbying group. Such conflicts of interest would not be tolerated across the Atlantic, where a freer energy market allows shale gas to power up the economy, cut the deficit and reduce bills.

In America, carbon dioxide emissions are falling back to the levels seen in the early Nineties, and per capita emissions are now lower than in the Sixties as power generation shifts from dirty coal to shale gas.

Market forces are making America greener and more competitive. In Europe, ‘green’ policies are making us poorer and our industries less competitive, while only the well-connected insiders of Big Green direct policy – and get rich.


Zealots who will let the lights go out

A well-run state should never be taken by surprise. It should have plans for every reasonable contingency, and then a few more besides. But it is clear that the current blast of cold weather – not that unlikely in March – has exposed huge and worrying gaps in our energy plans.

More significantly, it has shown that the virtual takeover of Whitehall by Green zealots has actively prevented this country from making wise plans for the future.

Experts have been warning for more than a decade that Britain faces a power crisis in 2015, as North Sea gas supplies tail off, elderly nuclear power plants shut down and the EU Large Combustion Plant directive forces the closure of several coal-fired generating stations, one of which was actually switched off forever on Friday, when demand was at its peak.

In an age when so much of our economy and society are wholly dependent on computers, power cuts would be far more damaging than they were in the days of Ted Heath and his Three Day Week.

One obvious and straightforward escape route is available, the swift and widespread exploitation of shale gas, or fracking. As The Mail on Sunday shows today, this has transformed the energy position in the USA, simultaneously cutting costs and reducing carbon emissions.

While Britain cannot expect a boom of the same size, there is no doubt that this country contains substantial shale gas reserves. Yet the Green lobby, for no clear reason, opposes such a move. Ministers must challenge this pig-headed dogmatism, before the lights go out.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


24 March, 2013

I Have Found Another Million Green Jobs! Or Not?

By Rich Kozlovich

Further to this article: "BLS Releases Another Phony 'Green Jobs' Report". 

The author outlines how this administration has presented a "chock full of charts claiming millions of new "green" jobs being produced by President Obama's efforts to heal the planet and lower the rising seas."  The problem lies in how one defines a green job.  Here is a paraphrased definition based on this article.

A "green" job is any job that is of benefit to the environment, or is capable of conserving natural resources.  Any job in which a workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

It would seem to me that a "green" job would be job that didn't exist before we adopted "green" alternatives to something that already existed, and unlike 'all' these green initiatives existed effectively I might add.  However, that isn’t the case.

Let's consider solar power programs.  I would have to assume that electricians put these useless things together and hook them up.  Right?  Is that a "green" job?  That seems unlikely to me since electricians have been around for a very long time. So being an electrician isn't a new job and it wasn't created by "green" technology; and that job will be here after the world returns to sanity and dumps all this green claptrap.  But by definition.....that must be a green job!

That got me to thinking.  We in the pest control industry have a bit of an identity crisis.  We have normal people like me who realize that to be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.  I do think clarity is important. 

Then we have those suffering from cognitive dissonance and insist that they must “go green” because their customers are demanding it.  Okay, I can understand meeting the needs or demands of one’s customers.  That’s a business decision, and one I have no fight over.  But the ones who seem to believe all the greenie mythology are the ones who drive me crazy.  To truly believe in green anything and to be in pest control is clearly a case of cognitive dissonance, believing in two diametrically opposing views and believing both are right.

Well, I have discovered a solution to all of that.   Based on the government's definition of a green job.....we.....all of us.….are now are holding green jobs.  After all; we strive to eliminate pests.  That must be good for the environment.  We strive to use less gasoline, less pesticides and less of everything else and still be effective; don’t we?  I know the reason is economic, but …..nonetheless….we are conserving….right?  So that means we are conserving and using less of a great many things…..right? 

Ergo…..We are a green industry with at the least 150,000 employees automatically added to the “green” jobs list.  And what about the greens keepers, lawn care companies, landscapers? I sit on a board of directors of an association that represents all the pesticide and fertilizer applicators in Ohio, and I know for a fact they are doing their darnedest to reduce costs on all that stuff….that makes those jobs green jobs also….right?

Wow!  Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy all over?  Exterminators, farmers, landscapers, greens keepers and lawn care workers are all green according to government standards.   Surely those categories alone must include at least a million workers.
I do have one question though.  Now based on the government's definition of what constitutes a “green” job, we must all be identified as “green” workers; therefore does that mean the “green” activists will stop attacking us?

There is one more thing; I didn’t notice “green” activists on the “green” jobs list.  So then….they aren't green….right?  Wow! Isn't that warm and fuzzy feeling getting better and better all the time?  Except there is still one more thing that bothers me; the author says those are 'phony' figures. 

Hey....just wait one minute!  Is it possible that there is no such thing as a "green" job at all?   And does that mean we are all right back to where we started? 

Well, if that's the case, then I still believe that to be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective, and I further believe those who on the opposing side in the pest control industry suffer from cognitive dissonance, and the administration loses a million green jobs.

I also believe it's so important to have clarity!


Deranged Science, Perverse Policy.  BOOK REVIEW of The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall.  Review by Peter Foster

In his brilliant new book, The Age of Global Warming, British writer Rupert Darwall notes a phenomenon known as “climate change derangement syndrome.” The phenomenon was on prominent display this week when NDP leader Tom Mulcair went to Washington.

It wasn’t just that Mr. Mulcair’s attack on the climate policies of Stephen Harper was diplomatically inappropriate, or that his support for the recent New York Times anti-Keystone XL editorial was fatuous, it was that Mr. Mulcair’s stance made absolutely no sense if he is truly concerned about the welfare of Canadians – or indeed humanity as a whole.

Mr. Mulcair criticized Mr. Harper for pulling out of Kyoto, but is he even aware that the Americans never signed on to Kyoto in the first place? To find out why, Mr. Mulcair badly needs to read Mr. Darwall’s book, which provides a thoroughly researched and lucidly written account of the truly amazing cultural, scientific and political background to the dominant global political issue of our age, at least until the subprime crisis came along.

The book should profoundly embarrass virtually the entire global scientific community, either for actively supporting the political corruption of science, or for standing silently by while it happened — although the consequences of speaking out shouldn’t be underestimated. As Mr. Darwall observes, skeptics “needed to be crushed and dissent de-legitimized. They were stooges of oil companies and fossil fuel interests, free market ideologues, or climate change deniers.”

Nobody foresaw the technocratic danger that emerged with the climate issue better than U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower. Most people are aware of Ike’s warning in 1961 about the military-industrial complex. Less quoted is his observation that “In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Mr. Darwall’s book, which is replete with such insightful references, dates the rise of the modern environmental movement to Rachel Carson’s wildly alarmist book, Silent Spring. Ms. Carson is one of three prominent women in Mr. Darwall’s story. The second is the British intellectual Barbara Ward, who essentially invented “sustainable development” to stitch together Western environmentalism with the development aspirations of poor nations. Sustainable development was an “ideology looking for a science.” It found it in global warming.

The book’s third, and most surprising, female protagonist is British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was important in putting global warming on the international agenda and setting Britain on the path to becoming —— at considerable cost — a “champion” of draconian policy. It is profoundly ironic that the woman who helped bring down the Soviet empire should have then supported what amounted to the reincarnation of bureaucratic socialism via the environment.

Mr. Darwall records that global warming entered the political scene in 1988, the year Mrs. Thatcher addressed the British Royal Society and NASA scientist James Hansen delivered his heated testimony to Congress (in a hearing room where the air conditioning had been sabotaged). This was also the year of a major climate conference in Toronto, and of the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, which was intensely politicized from the start.

Four years later, at the Rio Earth Summit, politics “settled” the science. One hundred and ninety-two nations agreed that mankind was causing global warming and carbon dioxide emissions should be cut. Hence began a series of cast-of-thousands policy meetings in exotic locales that effectively collapsed at Copenhagen in 2009. There Barack Obama, desperate for any kind of agreement, and far more concerned about the passage of Obamacare at home, burst into a meeting of delegates from China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and insisted on hammering out an “accord.” It assured that the zombie negotiating process would continue, but that all hopes of global agreement were dead, at least for the foreseeable future.

Canadians play a significant, if not always noble, part in Mr. Darwall’s story, although there is no doubting the heroic stature of Stephen McIntyre, the semi-retired mathematical wiz whose dogged investigations, along with those of academic Ross McKitrick, led to the exposure of the iconic “hockey stick” temperature graph, which was embraced for its political usefulness rather than its scientific accuracy. Mr. Darwall does a thorough job of explaining the massive, but still largely unrecognized, scandal of the related Climategate emails.

Maurice Strong gets his due as the political driving force behind making the 1972 Stockholm conference and the 1992 Earth Summit such “successes,” with a prominent role in the influential Brundtland commission on the way. He was also crucial in introducing radical NGOs into the global environmental negotiation process, both as propagandists and to hold politicians’ feet to the climate policy fire.

Mr. Darwall concludes that Copenhagen represented a crushing loss for the West, but it should hardly be a cause of disappointment for ordinary people in developed countries, whose masters have effectively been trying to deliver them into climate servitude since Kyoto.

The bookend to climate change derangement syndrome is the “Global Warming Policy Paradox:” that climate policies have brought about the very outcomes they were designed to avert: rising food prices, instability and reduced biodiversity.


One excerpt from “The Age of Global Warming: A History"

Mrs Thatcher was initially a Warmist but later repudiated it

Unlike the blanket TV coverage NASA climate scientist James Hansen generated at his 1988 appearance before Congress, there were no cameras when British prime minister Margaret Thatcher addressed the Royal Society on 27th September 1988. Told that the prime minister’s speech was going to be on climate change, the BBC decided it wouldn’t make the TV news.

The speech had been a long time in the making. Flying back from visiting French president François Mitterrand in Paris in May 1984, Thatcher asked her officials if any of them had any new policy ideas for the forthcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit in London. Sir Crispin Tickell, then a deputy-undersecretary at the Foreign Office, suggested climate change and how it might figure in the G7 agenda. The next day, Tickell was summoned to Number 10 to brief the prime minister. The eventual result was to make environmental problems a specific item, and a statement in the London G7 communiqué duly referred to the international dimension of environmental problems and the role of environmental factors, including climate change. Environment ministers were instructed to report back to the G7 meeting at Bonn the following year, and duly did so.

Tickell’s interest in climate change dated from the mid 1970s. Influenced by reading Hubert Lamb’s book Climate History and the Modern World, Tickell took the opportunity of a one-year fellowship at Harvard to study the relationship between climate change and world affairs and wrote a book on the subject in 1977. By 1987, Tickell had been appointed Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations and informally was acting as Thatcher’s envoy on global warming, his position at the UN making him privy to gossip from other nations.

On two occasions, Thatcher recalled him from New York to brief her.

Tickell was always struck by her determined approach; in the world of politics, Thatcher was a woman in a man’s world and someone with scientific training in a non-scientific world. To meet the test, you had to know what you were talking about; if she challenged you, you needed to be sure of your ground; she could be remarkably vigorous, Tickell found. The prime minister wanted the government to grasp the importance of global warming.

Ministers were called to Number 10 for briefings by climate scientists. “You are to listen, not to speak,” the prime minister told them. Returning to England for his summer holiday in 1988, Tickell called on Thatcher and suggested she make a major speech on global warming. She thought the Royal Society would be the perfect forum for it. She spent two weekends working on the draft with George Guise, one of her policy advisors.

In the speech, Thatcher addressed the society as a scientist and a fellow who happened to be prime minister. Environment policy was her main subject. Action to cut power station emissions and reduce acid rain was being undertaken “at great and necessary expense,” she said, building up to her main theme. “The health of the economy and the health of the environment are totally dependent on each other,” implicitly rejecting the view of conventional economics of there being a trade-off between resources used for environmental protection which couldn’t be used to raise output or increase consumption. It was also clear that the G7’s endorsement of sustainable development had not been an oversight or meant to be taken lightly, as far as she was concerned. “The government espouses the concept of sustainable economic development,” she stated, although the new policy had not been discussed collectively by ministers beforehand or with Nigel Lawson, the chancellor of the exchequer.

Thatcher concluded her speech by referring to one of the most famous events in the Royal Society’s history, when in 1919 Arthur Eddington displayed the photographic plates taken during the total eclipse of the Sun earlier that year. The eclipse enabled Eddington to record whether light from distant stars was bent by the sun’s gravity and verify a prediction of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Cambridge philosopher Alfred Whitehead witnessed Eddington’s demonstration. The scene, tense as a Greek drama, he wrote, was played out beneath the portrait of Isaac Newton, the society’s 12th president, “to remind us that the greatest of scientific generalizations was now, after more than two centuries, to receive its first modification.” In Vienna, reports of it thrilled the 17-year-old Karl Popper. What particularly impressed Popper was the risk implied by Einstein’s theory, that light from distant stars would be deflected by the Sun’s mass, because it could be subjected to a definitive test: “If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted. The theory is incompatible with certain possible results of observation — in fact with results which everybody before Einstein would have expected.” These considerations led Popper to argue that the criterion for assessing the scientific status of a theory should be its capacity to generate predictions that could, in principle, be refuted by empirical evidence, what Popper called its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.

Every “good” scientific theory is a prohibition. The more a theory forbids, the better it is. Scientists should therefore devise tests designed to yield evidence that the theory prohibits, rather than search for what the theory confirms. If we look for them, Popper argued, it is easy to find confirmations for nearly every theory. “Only a theory which asserts or implies that certain conceivable events will not, in fact, happen is testable,” Popper explained in a lecture in 1963. “The test consists in trying to bring about, with all the means we can muster, precisely these events which the theory tells us cannot occur.”

In 1988, proponents of global warming did not provide a similar black and white predictive test of the key proposition of global warming: the degree of warming with increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is therefore incapable of being falsified. The issue is not the capacity of carbon dioxide to absorb radiation in a test tube, which had first been demonstrated by John Tyndall in 1859, but the effect of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on the temperature of the atmosphere. An answer can only be derived from empirical observation.

Scientists Roger Revelle and Hans Suess’s characterization of mankind carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment, further illustrates global warming’s weakness as a scientific statement and its strength as a political idea. While prejudging the results of an experiment constitutes bad science, the proposition simultaneously generates powerful calls to halt the experiment before it is concluded. Yet questioning the science would inevitably be seen as weakening the political will to act. It created a symbiotic dependence between science and politics that marks 1988 as a turning point in the history of science and the start of a new chapter in the affairs of mankind.

Two years later, Mrs. Thatcher would address the UN: “We must have continued economic growth in order to generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment,” she told the General Assembly, “But it must be growth which does not plunder the planet today and leave our children to deal with the consequences tomorrow.”

In the past growth happened. Now it had to be the right sort.

The green car blues

They say virtue is its own reward. But some green-car owners seem to want a little more than that

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has drawn the fury of the environmentally minded by including in his transportation package a $100 annual fee on alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric cars and hybrids. The governor’s rationale is plain enough: People who use the roads should pay for them, but taxes on gasoline don’t adequately capture hybrids that burn less of it.

That didn’t persuade a group of hybrid owners who held a drive-in protest at the state capitol in late January. “We should be rewarding people for trying to do their part to stop the climate crisis and lower pollution,” said one. “We should be supporting people who want to (protect the environment,) not penalizing them,” said another.

Two Democratic lawmakers—Del. Scott Surovell and State Sen. Adam Ebbin—took so much offense at McDonnell’s proposal that they launched a petition website— Almost immediately, it collected more than 1,500 signatures, and by the time the legislators delivered it to the governor, it had more than 6,800. “The idea that we would tax people for being environmentally friendly is ridiculous,” Surovell said a few weeks ago.

This isn’t surprising. You might have noticed that some hybrid owners can be just a teensy bit self-righteous. According to a 2007 New York Times story, “The (Toyota) Prius has become, in a sense, the four-wheel equivalent of those popular rubber ‘issue bracelets’... it shows the world that its owner cares. In fact, more than half of the Prius buyers surveyed this spring by CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore., said the main reason they purchased their car was that ‘it makes a statement about me.’” As Surovell said when delivering the petition Monday, the signers see the hybrid-car fee as “a tax on virtue.”

Is the indignation about McDonnell’s green-car tax justified? To some degree, yes—but it is a smaller degree than his critics think.

The indignation is partially justified because hybrid cars still burn gasoline, and still pay taxes at the pump. In that regard they do not differ from traditional-engine cars that get good mileage—such as the Smart Fortwo, the Chevy Cruze or the Ford Fiesta. But McDonnell’s plan doesn’t tax those cars extra; it docks only alternative-fuel vehicles. As older gas-guzzlers fade away and newer vehicles built to higher mileage standards take over, that discrepancy will look odder and odder. (Indeed, increasing fuel economy—regardless of power source—is one reason many policy wonks argue for ditching the gasoline tax in favor of a GPS-based vehicle-mile fee.)

Furthermore, the hybrid-vehicle tax is set too high, at least based on Virginia’s current gasoline tax of 17.5 cents per gallon. At that rate, and assuming a motorist drives 15,000 miles a year, a standard-engine vehicle that gets 25 mph pays only $105 to the commonwealth. The same motorist driving a 50-mpg hybrid, meanwhile, pays $52.50 in gasoline taxes. To justify a $100 fee, he would have to drive an additional 28,000 miles — or get 525 miles to the gallon.

But there’s a flip side. First, some green-car drivers might be greatly overstating their environmental contribution. Hybrids, for instance, are scarcely more eco-friendly than other high-mpg vehicles on the road—and, according to some analyses, might actually be worse. There’s been a lot of debate about that. But even David Pogue, a technology writer for The New York Times who has hotly defended hybrids, will go no further than to say “the overall Prius environmental impact is, at worst, neutral, and at best, still positive.”

Meanwhile, fully electric cars inflict a host of hidden environmental costs, according to a study by Norwegian academics. Manufacturing is much more toxic, for example. It is also carbon-intensive: Building just one electric car produces 15 tons of CO emissions. Charging the battery produces still more—so the term “zero-emission vehicle” is quite a misnomer.

As Brian Palmer noted in The Washington Post last year, “coal is the most common source of electricity in the United States, and it emits 27 percent more carbon dioxide than oil, per unit of energy produced, by some calculations.” He cites a researcher at Carnegie Mellon who says electric vehicles are fine for places like Seattle, where hydroelectric plants generate much of the region’s juice. In coal country? They’re actually worse, at least for now. (Here in Virginia, coal and natural gas generate more than half the state’s electricity; nuclear power does most of the rest.)

All of this, however, ignores the main point: Even if green cars do confer tremendous ecological benefits, they still impose considerable costs on the transportation grid, just like everyone else. A bridge can’t tell whether it’s carrying electric cars or gasoline-powered ones; it wears out just as fast either way. Rush-hour traffic jams don’t miraculously dissipate when hybrid cars join them. You could wave a magic wand to make every car in Virginia a plug-in hybrid overnight, and the state’s transportation woes would not change a single bit. How much green cars really help the environment is an interesting question. But it has nothing to do with how much they use the roads.


Right wing? No, I'm a liberal and proud of it

by Australian physicist John Reid

Recently, a friend asked me why I have such “extreme right-wing opinions”. This came about after I had expressed some scepticism about human induced climate change and various other Green shibboleths. This is my response.

I associate the term “right wing” with the following political beliefs:

(i) the State is more important than the individual,

(ii) Capital is more important than Labour and trade unions and industrial action should be suppressed,

(iii) the State is justified in censoring books, newspapers and the media in order to suppress ideas that the government or important lobby groups may find unpalatable,

(iv) warfare is not merely unavoidable but desirable,

(v)  those in power know best; hierarchical forms of government are preferable to democracy, and

(vi) these self-evident truths are continually being undermined by the malign influence of International Communism in its various forms.

What are some of the beliefs of the Left? Nowadays, Marxist Socialism is largely discredited in the West, apart from a small minority of the faithful. In its place we have an amalgam of feminism, militant environmentalism and welfare state advocacy. This constitutes The Left in present day Australia and has, rather cleverly, avoided being branded as a particular “ism”. That is unless we include Post-Modernism, which acts as a sort of intellectual umbrella but which is so arcane and confusing that most Left-inclined non-academics tend to muddle along without it.

The Green-Left-Feminist (GLF) world-view includes many of the following:

1/ All cultures are equally valid (from Post-Modernism).

2/ Prior to the Modern Era (which usually began around the time when the speaker attended university) Western society was a Dickensian hell in which women were subjugated by their violent husbands and children underwent harsh physical punishment and rote learning at school.

3/ We have nothing to learn from our past, which was controlled by white male patriarchs.

4/ Owing to Capitalist Greed, the planet is about to come to an end as fragile ecosystems collapse under the strain of the resources taken from them and the poisons being pumped into them.

5/ All ecosystems are fragile – there is no such thing as a robust ecosystem.

6/ Human beings are a scourge on the planet. The world would be a better place without human beings.

7/ It is our job as human beings to ensure that the world is preserved exactly as it is now, like a giant museum. No more species should ever be allowed to become extinct whatever the economic cost of keeping them viable (David Attenborough).

8/ Scientists, and especially environmental scientists, have a profound understanding of the natural world and only they know how it should be managed. Lay people have no right to criticise them because they always know best.

9/ Scientific truth is whatever a consensus of grant-funded scientists say it is. Retired scientists and those employed by Big Business are not to be trusted.

10/ As there will be no more wars; all money spent on defence is wasted.

11/ Nuclear is bad. All nuclear power plants should be closed down.

12/ Carbon dioxide is bad (i.e. all combustion).We should obtain all of our energy from alternative, Green technologies.

13/ Hydro-electricity is bad because it involves building dams.

14/ Notwithstanding #1 above, pre-industrial societies like New Guinea hill tribes and Yanamomo Indians are superior to our own in their dealings with Nature and with one another. War is a product of capitalist society and is unknown among such people.

15/ All wilderness and all forests must be preserved, whatever the cost, because trees are more important than people and forests are more important than communities.

16/ Large native trees are sacred (Richard Flanagan). Whales are sacred.

17/ These self-evident truths are continually being undermined by the malign influences of the Energy Lobby and the Murdoch Press

Note the similarities. Both Right and Left downplay the individual, both appeal to authority, both, in the extreme, become totalitarian, both attribute evil motives to their detractors and subscribe to the malign influence theory.

The political philosophy which opposed them is liberalism. Liberalism is neither Right nor Left. In wartime the Left tends to be more liberal and the Right illiberal, as during the Cold War and the Viet Nam War. Today it is the Left which has become illiberal. To question the Leftist “truths” listed above is to be a “redneck” or a “denier”.

I am a liberal, with a small “l”, although recently I have joined the large “L” Liberal Party. I grew up in a family with a liberal orientation. I first became self-consciously liberal after hearing John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty read by Prof Sydney Orr when I was a student at the University of Tasmania. The year was 1959, the centennial of the essay.

Along with Voltaire and many others, Mill was part of the Enlightenment tradition of liberal thought. It is a tradition which is deeply embedded in our culture and one of the reasons for our stability and our success.

More than 150 years later, Mill’s ideas about the suppression of slavery and the desirability of female suffrage have come to pass in Western countries. I believe that he got it right about liberty, about freedom of speech, and about the necessity for informed and inclusive debate in a healthy democracy.

However his more socialistic ideas, about workers’ collectives and so on, sound more than a little naïve nowadays. I believe that if Mill were alive today he would not support socialism and would be horrified by the perversions to which it has led. In 1859, when he put pen to paper, Stalin’s purges, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the excesses of Pol Pot and the sheer lunacy of North Korea were yet to happen. He would have been appalled by the unnecessary suffering and suppression of the human spirit brought about by this fervent, mindless and un-self-critical ideology which holds the State or the Party above the individual.

To me, the problem with GLF’s, particularly the Greens, is that they confuse what is desirable with what is possible. They also confuse loyalty and truth. Being Left is rather like being a Collingwood supporter: you may, in your heart of hearts, suspect that the 'Pies are going to lose next weekend but you can’t say so publicly because that would be disloyal.

A society which puts loyalty before the truth is not a healthy society. The Vietnam war might have been avoided if the US had been able to talk to the Chinese, who were equally dissatisfied with North Vietnam at the time (according to Kissinger). However the US State Department had been purged of its China experts. Anyone who had actually been to China was seen as being “soft on Communism” by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. There could be no real debate or communication with China under those circumstances, and prejudice held sway at the cost of millions of lives.

In my view, in this country, liberalism has come under threat. We can no longer assume that we live in a society in which minority opinions can be heard and debated. There are several examples where this principle is increasingly disregarded.

One is the recently shelved attempt to install a government-controlled watchdog to censor media content following from the recommendations of the Finkelstein Report.

Another is the prosecution of Andrew Bolt under the racial vilification laws. Bolt was dragged before the courts for criticizing what he wrote was the opportunist use of scholarships and prizes, intended for disadvantaged Aborigines, by relatively affluent middle-class people. He hurt their feelings by speaking the truth, evidently. He in no way vilified Aborigines per se, some of whom agree with him. It should be noted that the affirmative action provisions, under which such prizes and grants were set up, actively discriminate on the basis of race and are, ipso facto, themselves racist. The disadvantaged should be given preference according to the nature of their disadvantage, not because of their DNA.

The controversy over the visiting Dutch politician Geert Wilders is another case in point. Wilders has always emphasized that he is not opposed to Muslims, only to their religion, Islam, which, he considers an oppressive ideology and an existential threat to Western liberal values. His position is similar to that of Churchill in prewar Britain who was condemned for expressing concern about the rise of Nazism in Germany. Churchill happened to be correct and Wilders may well be wrong, but at least he should have the right to be heard and have his views discussed. We suppress the ideas of such Cassandras at our cost.

Finally, I regard the so-called “climate debate” as a classic case of the breakdown of the liberal spirit, this time within the scientific community. Putting aside the technical details about whether climate variability is or is not influenced by human activity, the manner in which this campaign has been conducted is a disgrace. Even the term “climate change” is loaded, presupposing, as it does, that the climate was once stable and is now changing; real scientists would use the phrase “climate variability”.

The polemical nature of the IPCC reports, the way in which opponents have been systematically vilified and denied access to funds and publication, the absence of any critical third party evaluation of the models, all imply an illiberal and political agenda. Certainly scientists need to seek funds and to put their best foot forward in doing so, but the way in which the climate people are using Green hysteria to attract massive funding amounts to nothing less than the prostitution of science. It is illiberal to the core.

No, I am not right wing. I am a liberal.


Why Do People Believe Scientifically Untrue Things?

Because to do otherwise would be immoral

Ronald Bailey

You hear a lot about the politicization of science, but the real problem is the moralization of science. The New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt has made a compelling case that moral differences drive partisan debates over scientific issues. Dan Kahan and others at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project have identified cultural differences that bias how people assimilate information. Together, Haidt and Kahan’s research suggests that what you believe about a scientific debate signals to like-minded people that you are on their side and are therefore a good and trustworthy person. Unfortunately, this means that the factual accuracy of beliefs is somewhat incidental to the process of moral signaling.

For an illustration, consider a recent skirmish between Skeptic editor Michael Shermer and Mother Jones writer Chris Mooney. Shermer, whose political views lean toward libertarianism, wrote a column for Scientific American titled “The Liberal War on Science,” noting the left’s tendency to deny human cognitive evolution and the safety of biotech crops and nuclear power. Mooney, author of a book called The Republican War on Science, retorted with a story headlined “There is No Such Thing as a Liberal War on Science.” The right’s denial of evolutionary biology and man-made global warming, Mooney argued, are much more consequential for public policy. While acknowledging that a substantial percentage of Democrats don’t believe in human evolution or man-made global warming either, Mooney took comfort in the fact that “considerably fewer Democrats than Republicans get the science wrong on these issues.”

Kahan identifies the ideological left as people who tend to have egalitarian or communitarian views. Egalitarians want to reduce disparities between people, and communitarians believe that society is obliged to take care of everyone. People holding these cultural values are naturally biased toward collective action to address inequality and the lack of solidarity. When the results of scientific research are perceived to perturb those values, it should be no surprise that left-leaners have a greater tendency to moralize them, to favor government intervention to control them, and to disdain conservatives who resist liberal moralizing.

Haidt’s moral survey data suggests that ideological conservatives have a greater tendency to moralize about purity and sanctity than do liberals. This may be so, but it’s pretty clear that liberals are not immune from concerns about purity and sanctity. While conservatives moralize about the purity and sanctity of sex and reproduction, liberals fret about the moral purity of foods and the sanctity of the natural world.

One particularly powerful moralizing tool that is chiefly deployed by progressives is the precautionary principle. Mooney blandly writes that this “is not an anti-science view, it is a policy view about how to minimize risk.” Beliefs about how much risk people should allowed to take or to be exposed to are moral views. In fact, as Kahan and his colleagues have shown, the strong urge to avoid scientific and technological risk is far more characteristic of people who have egalitarian and communitarian values. The precautionary principle is not a neutral risk analysis tool; it is an embodiment of left-leaning moral values.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


22 March, 2013


Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is a serious mistake

 “Earth Hour [This Saturday] is a poignant symbol of how climate activists have hijacked the environmental movement,” said Tom Harris, executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). “Most people do not realize that, when they turn out their lights for sixty minutes on March 23, they are not supporting science-based environmental protection. Participants in Earth Hour are unwittingly helping prop up one of the most threatening scientific hoaxes in history—the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are known to be causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change.”

Read whole media release  here.

Earth Hour, Smog & Kim Jong Il

For Earth Hour’s eco-campaigners, barbaric oppression in North Korea is merely a talking point, something to casually make use of. describes itself as “an environmental charity” that uses creativity “to inspire people to be more sustainable.” Its latest campaign

    "involves creating 23 Posters with world-famous designers, artists and creatives, and publishing one a day from March 1st until Earth Hour on the 23rd.

    Each poster inspires people to do one of the sustainable actions chosen by Do The Green Thing’s nine environmental advisors. And it does so using world-class creativity, which we believe is a brilliantly effective tool to seduce, provoke and persuade people to change their behavior for the better."

Changing other people’s behaviour. That’s what these folks are about. You and I are the unwashed, uninformed masses. We behave the way we do not because we’ve considered our options and have chosen the path that makes the most sense.

We aren’t intelligent beings making intelligent decisions. Rather, we’re eco-sinners. And the DoTheGreenThing folks are missionaries spreading the gospel.

You can see the first 10 of the 23 posters here. A few days ago the featured image proclaimed loudly: “Hot dog, Hot Smog.” It insists that eating meat is responsible for 18% “of all greenhouse gas emissions.”

The fact that no source is provided for this factoid in the accompanying text suggests that the DoTheGreenThings folks don’t care whether it’s accurate or not. That number appears to come from a 2006 UN report, the findings of which have been disputed. Indeed, a 2010 news story is headlined: UN admits flaw in report on meat and climate change.

But the other obvious problem is that carbon dioxide emissions have long been the primary target of global warming campaigners. And carbon dioxide is both colourless and odourless. Whatever else one might say about it, it is not smog.

So we have an inaccurate claim and a dubious statistic on a poster that’s supposed to be connected to the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour event. Judging by the fact that the accompanying text contains three links to vegetarian recipes, this is really just an ad for vegetarianism.

But that’s nothing compared to another poster which features a photograph of North Korea’s late dictator, Kim Jong Il with the text: “Standby lights are evil” added to it. I can’t think of a better illustration of one of Ben Pile’s frequent themes. As he says: “environmentalists have no sense of proportion.” [Hooray for Ben!]

Between 1995 and 2000, hundreds of thousands of souls – and perhaps as many as 2.4 million – died of famine in North Korea as a result of a long sequence of actions taken by Kim Jong Il’s government. A 1998 report prepared for the US Congress includes a section on Prisons for the Hungry:

    "As North Korea’s food crisis deepened, Kim Jong Il issued an order on September 27, 1995 to “protect” people wandering for food by incarcerating them. Named after the date of this order, these “9.27? prisons represent a new low in the human rights record of a country that is already at the bottom of respect for international human rights."

Elsewhere the report tells us about Hyesan City Hospital No. 1:

    "The hospital was filthy. It had no water or electricity. Flies were everywhere. Sixty percent of the hospital’s 120 patients suffered from malnutrition… The children suffered from malnutrition, tuberculosis, and lung and kidney infections. We saw a “homemade” intravenous fluid (IV) attached to a child that was constructed from an empty glass bottle containing water and sugar. The IV tube was dirty and yellow. It was tied to the child’s head by a dirty piece of cloth."

The human tragedy that is North Korea is profound. But for Earth Hour’s eco-campaigners, that gaping wound of oppression and deprivation is a mere talking point, something to casually make use of. The text that accompanies this poster quotes the artist, Joe Stephenson:

    "The standby light embodies everything that’s wrong with the world: rather than walking two steps to turn the telly off properly, we just leave it on standby, sucking up electricity and driving up our energy bills. So I wanted to demonize those little red lights, by making everyone think of Kim Jong Il whenever they see one."

A few appliances on standby represent everything that’s wrong with this world. He actually says that.


An Hour of Darkness. Or Light!

By Alan Caruba

On Saturday, Greens around the world will turn off their lights in a symbolic “Earth Hour” gesture against climate change, the term they adapted in the face of the fact that the Earth has been cooling for seventeen years and is on the cusp of a mini-ice age that will ensure cold weather for many years to come.

Earth Hour is a protest against the use of electricity—energy—to light our lives in countless ways. Anyone who has gone through an outage as I did in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will tell you that life without electricity is an immediate return to primitive times. Mine lasted a week and included the loss of access to the Internet and the ability to use my computer and every other piece of equipment in the apartment. It was not fun.

We derive electricity from burning coal, from natural gas, from nuclear fission, and from hydroelectricity generated by huge dams. The least amount of electricity we use comes from oil and, in particular from wind and solar, a bare two percent or so. These latter two sources exist only because of government subsidies and mandates. Without these they could not compete against far more affordable and effective sources. Oil, of course, fuels all our vehicles.

What Americans generally have not absorbed is the fact that the large, multi-million dollar funded environmental organizations oppose every form of energy we use. Here is a week’s schedule of events planned to lead up to and follow Earth Hour in New Jersey by the Sierra Club chapter.

# On Thursday, March 21, they sponsored a “Fracking Waste Ban Lobby Day” in the state capital of Trenton.

# On Saturday they will sponsor an “adventure aquarium trip” devoted to sea turtles and a lecture on “how our plastic addiction impacts them.” We are no more “addicted” to plastic than to oil from which it is produced and found in virtually everything we use. Energy is not the enemy. It is the lifeblood of a successful economy and society.

# On Sunday there will be a town hall meeting about “clean energy solutions” in concert with Climate Mama, and the Sierra Club with a panel that will discuss how clean energy, solar and wind, “can dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels and move our state forward without the pollution.” It will also discuss how “climate change has impacted you.” Americans are not going to reduce the use of fossil fuels, oil, coal, and natural gas. We already enjoy the cleanest air and, more importantly, the Earth in general and America in particular has enormous reserves of these energy reserves.

# On Wednesday, March 27, another panel will engage in “pipeline education”, ignoring the fact that America has 170,000 miles of pipelines that transport oil and natural gas throughout the nation. They are safe and secure, but none carry ethanol, a chemical that erodes not only pipelines, but damages the engines of millions of cars and trucks. The pipeline panel will likely take note of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada that has been delayed for five years now and cleared of any charges of environmental harm.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute suggests that Earth Hour is a good time to celebrate “Human Achievement Hour”, a way to debunk the global warming hoax and the nonsense surrounding “climate change”, a process that has gone on for billions of years on the planet. The notion that people can do anything about the climate is so absurd it defies the imagination.

Earth Hour is just one more way for the Greens to continue spreading their lies about fossil fuels, plastic, and chemicals they want to demonize despite the advances in health and longevity, the manufacture of products we use, and the extraordinary lifestyle we enjoy with abundant food and protection against the multitude of insect and rodent pests that afflict us, along with the many species of weeds that affect crops.

Not that long ago, Greens were spreading nonsense about “peak oil”, saying that the Earth was running out of this energy source, but new reserves of oil are being found all the time. Between 1945 and 2010, the United States alone produced 167 billion barrels of oil, more than eight times more oil than the amount of proven oil reserves it had in 1944. Oil doesn’t merely fuel our cars and trucks, but as fracking techniques have been developed, more and more of it is available. Between 1980 and 2010, the U.S. produced 77.8 billion barrels of oil and still had 20.7 billion barrels of oil reserves left.

What Americans should keep in mind during Earth Hour is that we have a White House that has done everything in its power to deprive us of the coal, oil and natural gas that we have at our disposal. It has restricted the exploration and extraction of billions of barrels of oil from offshore of our east and west coasts, and in Alaska. It has generated regulations that have already shut down coal-fired plants and is seeking to impose greater restrictions despite the fact that we have enough coal to keep them operating for hundreds of years.

With more than 1.7 trillion barrels of recoverable oil under our soil, we have enough oil to fuel our present needs for the next 250 years. Delaying the Keystone XL pipeline has deprived the nation of thousands of jobs and will result in $5 billion being spent annually to import oil. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has wasted billions on “clean energy investments.”

Americans know their energy bills are increasing as the result of anti-energy policies, know that the energy sector, if allowed to flourish, would provide thousands of jobs, and should know that every drop of oil and cubic foot of natural gas we secure from our own reserves would reduce the cost to everyone in every way.

Turn on your lights at 8:30 PM on Saturday. Turn them all on. Send a message to the White House and to the world that energy is the heartbeat of life and economic growth for America and the world.

Hating energy is another form of hating humanity.


Even scientists are cooling on climate change

By: Ann Widdecombe, British parliamentarian

WHAT do Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie, Philip Davies Christopher Chope and I have in common?  We were the only MPs to vote against the 2008 Climate Change Bill, which is to say we had by then considered all the evidence and found it wanting.

For years we have endured insults.

Behind the scenes Fiona Bruce, normally the most courteous of broadcasters, called me a “flat-earther” to my face.

Others branded us “deniers” as if we were disputing the holocaust. The Al Gore film was accorded the status of Holy Writ. David Bellamy lost his job. Doubting scientists were scorned.

Nigel Lawson found it difficult to get his book An Appeal To Reason published.  Others branded us “deniers” as if we were disputing the holocaust

In short there was an orthodoxy which was enforced with all the rigour of communism or fascism or, for that matter, the Spanish Inquisition. Dissenters must not be heard and global warming became a religion.

Well the dissenters have now been proved right.

Heaven knows how many billions of pounds later the world is now being told that actually the warming is so far off predictions that all bets are off and indeed the world’s temperature is static or falling.

So all those wind farms were in vain, as were all those expensive carbon-saving measures inflicted on industry and passed on in costs to you and me.

If I could tell that from the published Hadley Centre figures, the scientists must have known for years yet only now do they admit it. Why?

Heaven forbid that it should be because of all that money tied up in their research.


British budget 2013: George Osborne vows to 'make shale gas happen' despite fracking concerns

Controversial "fracking" has won backing from the Government after Chancellor George Osborne used his Budget to promise a generous new tax regime for extracting shale gas.

Mr Osborne said "shale gas is part of the future and we will make it happen", as he unveiled measures to support the new industry, including gas field allowances to promote early investment in the sector.

Shale gas is exploited through drilling into rock and fracturing it with high pressure liquid to extract the gas - a process known as fracking.

Supporters say shale gas production in the UK could provide a cheap, secure source of energy, but opponents are worried about the possibility of earthquakes and water pollution caused by fracking. It could also lead to the development of shale wells in the countryside, potentially threatening house prices, and will make it harder for the UK to meet goals to cut emissions and tackle climate change, they argue.

The Chancellor said proposals would be developed to ensure that local communities would benefit from shale gas projects in their area.

But the Government will be keeping under review whether the largest projects could have the option to apply for the go-ahead through a central Government process rather than via local authorities.

Neil Sinden, The Campaign to Protect Rural England's director of policy, said: "We will make sure communities are not sidelined in the decision-making process, if we move beyond the exploration phase, and that the beauty and tranquility of the countryside aren't compromised by intrusive development related to shale gas."

Environmental groups were quick to criticise the Chancellor's support for fossil fuels.

John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director, said: "We got tax breaks for polluters and almost complete disinterest in the green economy, one of the only sectors that has consistently delivered jobs and growth in recent years.

"British businesses stand poised to become dominant forces in the global clean energy market, but they're being undermined by a Chancellor who seems increasingly ill-suited to the times we live in. This man lacks a vision."

Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns, said: "Shale gas is not the solution to rising energy bills - it's dirty, unnecessary and its extraction will have an earth-shattering impact on local communities across the UK."


Eco-Imperialism Joins Vulture Environmentalism

Paul Driessen

Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s choice to replace Lisa Jackson at the Environmental Protection Agency, has been chastised for having lied to Congress, in claiming that EPA did not use “dangerous manmade climate change” to justify new 54.5 mpg standards for cars and light trucks. She’s also been implicated in the agency’s practice of using fake emails to hide questionable dealings and activities.

These issues highlight attitudes toward ethics, law and public policy that prevail at EPA and too many other government agencies. However, that attention should not distract from other important matters.

Ms. McCarthy may be the worst of the new nominees. In addition to her dishonesty, she helped devise onerous mercury and soot rules that employed junk science to shutter coal-fired power plants and kill thousands of jobs – and those vehicle mileage standards, which will force people to drive less safe cars that will cause millions more serious injuries and thousands more needless deaths every year.

However, she, Ernest Moniz for Energy and Sally Jewell for Interior are all team players for the Obama White House; they all share ideologies and agendas that bode ill for America’s and the world’s energy, economic, health and environmental future. They represent a rapidly expanding, increasingly powerful government class that is determined to control what we eat, say, do and buy.

In the environmental arena, these would-be czars and czarinas want to regulate what kinds of energy we can produce and use, cars we can drive, and jobs and living standards we can have. They are the vanguard of a dangerous alliance of eco-imperialism and vulture environmentalism.

Driven by utopian, Deep Ecology and global governance ideologies, elected and unelected ruling elites pass laws, promulgate regulations and issue edicts, based on faulty to fraudulent science and unsupported proclamations about dangerous manmade global warming, resource depletion and sustainable development. They seek to radically and fundamentally transform the energy, economic and social fabric of our nation and world – in the name of “social justice” and “saving the planet.”

They operate with little or no transparency or debate, often with vague or minimal legislative or constitutional authority, and with virtually no accountability for the false pretexts they use to justify their intrusive actions, or the harm they cause to people and wildlife. Their attitudes and actions often reflect a callous disregard for environmental values and people’s property, civil rights, jobs, health and even lives.

Our courts give them almost limitless discretion to impose laws and regulations, select pseudo-scientific “facts” to justify them, and ignore both the imaginary benefits and substantive harm they cause. They allow and encourage sweetheart “sue and settle” legal actions between regulatory agencies and activist groups, capricious agency inaction on mineral leases and permits, and arbitrary bureaucratic waivers of endangered species and other environmental laws for gigantic wind and solar projects.

Nameless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats effectively control the lands and resources of federal lands that constitute 30-86% of the acreage in Alaska and our eleven westernmost states. America’s federal, state and private lands are rich in energy, mineral, timber and other resources that offer vast job and revenue opportunities. We could easily have drilling, mining, forestry and ranching, along with recreation, wildlife, parks and wilderness – and for decades government regulators emphasized this “multiple use” approach. But today, environmentalists and bureaucrats block these uses and vigorously promote preservation.

Today their motto seems to be: If it creates real energy, jobs and revenues – pillory, ban, delay and regulate it out of existence. If it can be labeled “renewable” – mandate it, subsidize it, waive endangered species laws, and ignore the policies’ impacts on wildlife and on people’s health and well-being. Instead of ensuring that resource development activities are conducted properly, don’t permit them at all.

Under their agenda, US domestic oil and gas production climbed during Mr. Obama’s tenure – but the increase was all on state and private lands, mostly because of fracking and despite Team Obama, which is trying to limit and control this game-changing technology even there. On federal lands, oil production fell 23% and gas production plummeted 33% from fiscal-2010 to FY-2012 – dragging jobs, living standards, and federal bonus, royalty and tax revenues downward with them.

The eco-imperialists profess concern for human health and lives, wildlife and environmental quality. They demand pristine air quality to reduce risks that exist only in EPA computer models. But then they issue lethal vehicle mileage regulations, corn ethanol standards that increase global food prices and harm nutrition, and myriad rules that kill jobs and cause foreclosures, stress, and more heart attacks and strokes. They blame deadly wildfires on global warming, instead of on Deep Ecology policies that prohibit forest thinning, prevent treating insect infestations, and require substandard fire suppressants.

Nearly 700 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa rarely or never have electricity. As a result, pollution from open fires causes asthma and other lung infections that kill a million African women and children annually; countless more die from intestinal diseases due to eating spoiled, unrefrigerated food. And yet, during a speech in Ghana, President Obama said hungry Africa should rely on its “bountiful” wind, solar and biofuel energy, while his administration refused to provide or support loans for gas or coal-fired generating plants, because he believes Earth is “threatened” by global warming.

Eco-imperialist politicians, regulators and environmentalists demand heavy penalties for birds and other wildlife killed by petroleum-related accidents. They delay or ban drilling, fracking and mining because these activities might “disturb” sage grouse. But when millions of birds and bats are exterminated year after year by wind turbines, they turn a blind eye and actively help hide the horrific slaughter, while ignoring evidence that turbines impair the health of people living near them.

Vulture environmentalists hijack environmental laws to further the venal interests of eco-activists, bureaucrats and wealthy elites, who covet private property but don’t want to pay fair prices. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has joined celebrity fracking opponents, green pressure groups and blueblood vultures that are salivating over beautiful Catskill farmlands. Overtaxed, over-regulated owners could save their family farms through careful natural gas production – but the hovering vultures prefer to force them into foreclosure, and grab the prime properties at fire sale prices.

Radical greens used imagined threats to the western spotted owl to eliminate logging jobs and a way of life in western states, to create playgrounds for the green 1 percent. Now the feds plan to shoot formerly eastern barred owls, to keep them from breeding their spotted cousins out of existence – before their habitats are incinerated in fiery conflagrations brought on by other ignorant eco-imperialist policies.

In states and communities all over the USA, the Endangered Species Act, Agenda 21, critical habitat areas and buffer zones, endless regulation and litigation, advisory panels stacked with eco-activists but nearly devoid of private property owners, lowball appraisals of lands and water rights, climate change scare stories and other tactics are used repeatedly to seize title or control over property, without payment of just (or any) compensation. The abuses are endless, and are occurring over the planet.

In just one example, over 20,000 Ugandans were evicted, impoverished and left homeless by the New Forest Company and government authorities, to make way for foreign investors promoting “clean development mechanisms” and carbon-trading credits, as solutions to “runaway global warming.”

We went to war with England over far less than this, back in 1776. It’s high time that our environmental laws were again used to address real air, water and wildlife problems – instead advancing what Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore has called the “anti-science, anti-technology, anti-human” agenda of eco-imperialists and vulture environmentalists.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


21 March, 2013

More Fascism from a Warmist

A bacteria expert, Helen Camakaris, explains neurology to us, writing on a site called "shaping tomorrow's world", an aspiration very reminiscent of Pol Pot's.  He knew it all too

We haven’t evolved to be successful in the modern world. Civilisation arose only 12,000 years ago; in evolutionary terms that’s just the blink of an eye. Ninety-nine per cent of human evolution occurred during the Stone Age, so our evolved instincts, personality traits, and even some of our cognitive “short-cuts” are much better suited to this Pleistocene world.

We might expect that intelligence and language would have been game-changers; they were, but not necessarily for the better. We learnt to tame nature and harvest its bounty, to build great cities, and to harness the laws of physics and chemistry. We may celebrate the Industrial Revolution as the beginning of modern civilisation, but it also ushered in burgeoning overpopulation, resource exploitation, pollution and climate change.

So if we evolved to exploit nature, and to be blind to the consequences, what now? Our only chance is to wrest control away from our emotional brain, and construct a new reality where our rational brain can take control.

We need to design a new kind of democracy Mussolini did it so why not? where many government decisions are made cooperatively, with multi-party representation and the input of experts. Such think tanks must have strategies in place to promote critical self-analysis and to “frame” policy to reflect the long-term reality. The cost of climate change mitigation can then be shown to be minute compared to the cost of inaction.

If we value a sustainable world, the GDP must be replaced by a measure of a country’s wealth, including resources, social capital and the cost of pollution. Costs should reflect the inclusive cradle-to-grave value of products and services, so that choices reflect out true long-term interests. Conspicuous consumption might be curbed further by offering workers the choice of more leisure rather than a salary increase, and by rewarding excellence with honours and privileges, rather than fat pay packets and obscene bonuses.

Education must produce adults who can think critically and understand what’s at stake and why our judgement is flawed. To counter self-interest, the government should use incentives and disincentives to guide public behaviour. We need to encourage altruism by instituting reciprocal, incremental improvements, and by showing leadership.

We are at the crossroads. Unless we recognise the less-adaptive aspects of human nature and devise ways of keeping them in check, the world we bequeath to our children will be a diminished one. We have the means to do this, but do we have the will? Evolution may have made us the most intelligent animal on Earth, but it makes no promise that we will be survivors.



A Warmist who gets some things right

He says that skeptics see Warmists as "borderline communists".  I couldn't put it better myself

MANY climate sceptics do not trust environmentalists because they consider them "borderline communists" who want to curtail people's freedom, a leading US social scientist says.

Speaking on Wednesday night, the University of Michigan's Andy Hoffman said US global warming sceptics had "a serious distrust of the political ideology behind its proponents".

"The fear is that environmentalists are left-leaning, they are socialist, borderline communists, and they are using the government to try to control your freedom," Prof Hoffman said in the Sydney Ideas lecture at the University of Sydney.

"The expression for environmentalists is watermelons, they're green on the outside, but they're red on the inside. That really represents their feeling."

Mr Hoffman said a scientific consensus that humans contribute to climate change had failed to lead to action on the issue because it was really a "debate over values".

He said despite compelling science, just 40 per cent of Australians believed humans contributed to a hotter planet.

"It's not about CO2, it's not about climate models, it's about values, it's about world views," the business and environment academic said.

"It's because deeply held beliefs that they hold dear are under threat."

Climate change was such a "thorny issue" because it represented "an existential challenge to our world views", he said.

In that context, he said giving climate deniers more scientific evidence was like "finding yourself talking to a wall, they're not going to hear it".  [Please give me that evidence.  I'm listening]

Professor Hoffman said a "social consensus" to fight climate change needed to be built, similar to that created in the past to combat smoking and slavery.

"One of the most important first steps in engaging the debate is not to blame or mock or ridicule," he said.  [He's pissing into the wind there  -- as he shows himself, by comparing skeptics to slavers]

SOURCEJo Nova heaps the ridicule onto him.

Chilling news for Britain: March could be the coldest for 50 years and winter is expected to stay for yet another week

Britain is on track to suffer its coldest March in more than 50 years as conservationists warned that the prolonged winter weather was damaging wildlife.

Forecasters said the latest cold spell was keeping average temperatures several degrees below the norm, with the next seven days to be chillier than usual.

The Central England Temperature – covering an area bounded by Lancashire, Bristol and London – shows temperatures have been 2.8C lower than normal.

The last time March was so cold was in 1962, when the average temperature was 2.4C (36F) – or 4.1C below the norm.

That astonishing difference - which is 36.5C when considering Aboyne's even colder overnight low last week of -12.9C - in just one year comes as another snowfall covered northern Britain overnight.

A Met Office spokesman said: ‘This time last year the UK was under the influence of high pressure. This gave us clear skies, plenty of sunshine and with a light southerly breeze, temperatures that were well above average.

‘This year, with a strong easterly wind bringing cold air from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, we have quite the opposite with eastern parts of the UK in particular seeing snow, ice and temperatures around 20C lower.

‘The direction of the wind therefore plays a major part in what type of weather you and I will see, especially as we have the Atlantic Ocean to our west and continental Europe to our south and east.’

'This time last year the UK was under the influence of high pressure. This gave us clear skies, plenty of sunshine and with a light southerly breeze, temperatures that were well above average'

Up to four inches of snow was predicted to settle in parts of Scotland and north England by this morning, with more expected to fall during the day as temperatures hover around a bitter 3C.

The Met Office has issued a number of amber weather warnings across north-east England and central and eastern Scotland urging people to be prepared for disruption.

But regions south of Cumbria and Yorkshire escaped the snowy weather, instead set to enjoy a dry day with relatively warmer temperatures, of up to 9C in London, with a risk of scattered showers.

MeteoGroup forecaster Matt Dobson said: ‘It's a real north-south split today. Over high ground up to 10cms (3.9in) could have fallen over night, with the potential for the same amount again today.

‘Even down to sea level there could be a covering of between 1cm (0.4in) and 4cm (1.6in), very likely in Edinburgh.

‘In the north of England there will be up to 6cm (2.4in) overnight and a few more falling throughout the day, along with higher parts of north Wales.

‘But south of the country there will be few showers but a lot of dry weather and some sunshine breaking through.’

'Whether you think that Spring officially starts on March 1 or March 21, this is certainly unusually cold for this time of year. It's very cold for mid-March when we should expect much higher temperatures'

More snow is expected on Friday. He added that the cold weather and snow storms across the north were likely to linger throughout the week and could even lead to blizzard conditions in Scotland.

It continues a cold month across the UK which has brought an unwelcome delay to spring weather. Mr Dobson said that while snow is not uncommon for March, the continued cold weather is.

He said: ‘Whether you think that Spring officially starts on March 1 or March 21, this is certainly unusually cold for this time of year. It's very cold for mid-March when we should expect much higher temperatures.

‘It's not unusual for it to snow in March, in fact we are far more likely to see snow at Easter than at Christmas. What is unusual for March is how persistent the cold weather and snow is.’

He added that it is too early to predict a white Easter. The cold weather is likely to bring more travel misery today.

Yesterday a number of key commuter routes were disrupted, including some south-east England journeys which were hit by a build-up of ice on the ‘third rail’ from which trains get their power.

'It's not unusual for it to snow in March, in fact we are far more likely to see snow at Easter than at Christmas. What is unusual for March is how persistent the cold weather and snow is'


First new British nuclear power station in two decades is given the go ahead at Hinkley Point, capable of powering 5million homes

And Greenies are fuming

The first in a new generation of nuclear power stations was given the go ahead today.

The new £14billion plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset could generate enough electricity to power 5million homes.

It is a major breakthrough for the government after several global firms pulled out of plans to build new reactors in the UK.

Mr Davey told MPs that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C.

The plant, which will be operated by EDF subsidiary NNB Generation, will be the first new nuclear power plant in the UK since Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995.

It is estimated the project will create between 20,000 and 25,000 jobs during construction and 900 permanent jobs once in operation.

Mr Davey said that affordable new nuclear would play a ‘crucial role’ in ensuring secure, diverse supplies of energy in the UK and decarbonising the electricity sector and the economy.

The plant's two nuclear reactors would be capable of producing 7 per cent of the UK's electricity, enough to power five million homes, EDF has said. It is thought the costs of the new power station would run to around £14 billion.

A final investment decision by EDF to go ahead with construction still depends on the deal being negotiated with the Government on the ‘strike’ price paid for electricity generated by the plant.

Mr Davey said: ‘It's vital to get investment in new infrastructure to get the economy moving. Low-carbon energy projects will bring major investment, supporting jobs and driving growth.

‘This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations.

‘This planned new nuclear power station in Somerset will generate vast amounts of clean energy and enhance our energy security.

‘It will benefit the local economy, through direct employment, the supply chain and the use of local services.’

Under electricity market reforms, low-carbon power such as nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms will have long-term contracts with a guaranteed price for their electricity, to give investors certainty to invest in projects with high capital costs.

EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said receiving planning permission for the project was ‘a huge achievement’ representing years of hard work.

But he urged that to make the opportunity a reality there was a need to reach agreement swiftly on the ‘contract for difference’ that will set out the guaranteed price paid for the electricity generated.

But environmental groups reacted angrily to the news that the new reactors were given the go-ahead.

Keith Allott, chief adviser on climate change at WWF-UK, said: ‘Backing nuclear means shifting a huge liability to British taxpayers for the cost of building, electricity and crucially, dealing with the waste.

‘Unlike renewable energy, the costs of nuclear keep on rising - as witnessed by the fact that the only reactors currently being built in Europe are massively over-budget and far behind schedule.

‘Focusing on renewables and energy efficiency, on the other hand, where the UK has huge potential to be an industrial leader, could deliver both huge cost reductions and a substantial boost to UK economic growth and manufacturing.’

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said Hinkley Point C failed the test on economic, consumer, environmental and arguably even legal grounds.

‘It will lock a generation of consumers into higher energy bills, via a strike price that's expected to be double the current price of electricity, and it will distort energy policy by displacing newer, cleaner, cheaper technologies.

‘With companies now saying the price of offshore wind will drop so much it will be on par with nuclear by 2020, there is no rationale for allowing Hinkley C to proceed.

‘Giving it the green light when there is no credible plan for dealing with the waste could also be in breach of the law,’ he warned.


Donors Trust

Greenpeace published a hit piece headlined, “Donors Trust laundering climate denial funding: The shadow operation has laundered $146 million in climate-denial funding.” A few days after that, New York-based media producer Democracy Now! broadcast a story called “The ATM for climate denial: Secretive Donors Trust funds vast network of global warming skeptics.”

This flank of the attack surge began with a PBS Frontline broadcast last October, followed by inquires by The Nation (November), the Center for Public Integrity (December), and Mother Jones (January), all resulting in February articles. The appearance of pre-arrangement, of course, is merely the old journalism fact of life, that the liberal media feed each other, and not necessarily collusion.

What did Donors Trust do to deserve this four-pronged (so far) attack? Nothing. That is, nothing beyond disagreeing with climate jihadists (or whatever the appropriate counterpart to “climate deniers” may be). I spoke with Donors president and CEO Whitney Ball, who told me that all the “shadow” and “secrecy” and “black box” and “dark money” accusations in these attacks could apply to every 501(c)(3) public charity, not just Donors Trust.

By Internal Revenue Code rules, the identity of these donors is not available for public inspection, no matter which group is involved. But the general reader doesn’t know that – so it sounds nefarious. If you’re dubious, contact Greenpeace or any of those other groups, and ask for their individual donor list. You won’t get it.

Donors Trust, is a “donor-advised fund,” established to promote liberty and help like-minded donors preserve their charitable intent. When donors make a gift to a donor-advised fund, they surrender all legal control over the gift to a steward 501(c)(3), but they may recommend recipients. Thus, “donor advised.”

In return, donors receive an immediate tax deduction and guaranteed anonymity. The anonymity protects donors from recipients eager for more grants. Being a secret donor is a good way to stay off junk mail lists and not have to worry about fundraiser phone calls during dinner time. And when it comes to donors who give to any 501(c)(3)s, all of them are secret, liberal and conservative alike.

Donors Trust also has its own rules. If a donor requests a liberty-oriented recipient with no more than 25% of its revenue from government sources, Donors Trust generally approves, though it is not legally obliged to do so.

Greenpeace engages in the same practices it labels as “laundering” when its critics are involved: receiving grant money from donors such as the Packard Foundation ($1.5 million in 2011; total from all foundations, $18.1 million), and then granting it to other non-profits. In 2011, for example, Greenpeace gave $4 million to US groups and $5.6 million to European groups, according to their IRS Form 990.

The attacks against Donors Trust try to make donor-advised funds sound alien, unusual, and dangerous. However, they are so common that Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab all run one.  IRS Form 990 even devotes a page to reporting on DAFs and asks every non-profit if it maintains DAFs. (It’s in Schedule D, Part 1, for the curious.) Tides Foundation, for example, houses hundreds of them.

Tides has also given over $1 billion to leftist causes, says its website (versus $2 million to “climate deniers,” aka groups that challenge claims that humans are causing catastrophic climate change.)

One of the most egregious insults to seep out of this insult-laden barrage came from UK Guardian correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg, during a recent Democracy Now! broadcast.

Ms. Ball asked, “How is it that the Tides Foundation, which funds environmental causes and does not publish donor lists, is never characterized in the same way by reporters?” Goldenberg replied: “There’s something really different here.” Donors Trust grantees “spread information that is factually incorrect, that is untrue…. You can’t draw this equivalence here.” In contrast, DT’s organizations, Goldenberg insisted, “were funded for the express purpose of spreading disinformation.”

Based on the Tides output I’ve seen, it’s the other way around: the climate alarmists are spreading deceit, disinformation, climate horror stories and junk science that have no basis in fact and made Climategate 1 and 2 such fascinating reading.

Anyway, just for your information, a massive database of IRS Form 990s shows that total US foundation support for environmental causes over the past decade or so is 331,256 grants totaling $19.3 billion, with a “b.” The portion specifically devoted to global warming or climate change is $797 million.

And the Greedy Lying Bastards producers are complaining about a couple million to manmade climate cataclysm skeptics. The film’s pathetic efforts underscore how desperate climate alarmists have become. There goes 30,000 feet of good (hydrocarbon-based) film stock, all shot to hell.



Three current articles below

Australian carbon tax contributes to record number of businesses insolvencies

As U.S. lawmakers debate imposing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, evidence is emerging that Australia’s carbon tax has hit businesses hard.

News Limited Network reported the country’s carbon tax was contributing to a record number of firms facing insolvency. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showed that a record 10,632 businesses faced insolvency for the 12 months to December 31 2012 — up from 10,481 for 2011.

Australia’s largest manufacturing firms asked the central government to scrap the nation’s carbon tax as it disadvantages local companies that are attempting to compete on a global market.

Critics argue that the carbon tax is putting Australian businesses at a disadvantage and will lead to job losses.

“In the absence of similar schemes by major trading partners, Australia’s carbon tax places tremendous pressure on Australian manufacturers and inevitably leads to job losses and business closures,” said the group Manufacturing Australia.

Origin Energy managing director Grant King said that the carbon tax as well as other green programs made up as much as 30 percent of small and medium sized businesses’ electric bills.

“No wonder (companies) are saying it is hurting us,” said King.

Australia has been taxing carbon emissions since July 1 of last year at a rate of $23AUD per ton. The system will become a full-blown cap-and-trade scheme in three years and will be integrated with the European cap-and-trade system.

Australia’s tourism industry has also been impacted by carbon pricing. A study commissioned by Tourism Accommodation Australia says the carbon tax will add $115 million in costs to hotels and motels.

“The additional costs imposed on hotels from the carbon tax are coming straight off the bottom line,” said Rodger Powell, TAA managing director.

However, the Australian government defended the carbon tax, saying that the effects on businesses and consumers would be modest.

“The Federal Government has always been up front that there would be a modest impact on the accommodation industry, such as small electricity price increases flowing through the economy under carbon pricing,” said a spokesman for Australian Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.

Minister Combet also said that the government was “acutely conscious of the pressures on parts of Australian manufacturing which are due to the high value of the dollar and intense competition on world markets.”


Qld moves to resume uranium mining

The Queensland Government is moving ahead with plans to restart uranium mining in the state, with a committee handing Cabinet a report that makes 40 recommendations on the matter.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says an inter-departmental committee will be set up to consider the findings.

"This group will submit a draft report to the Resources Cabinet Committee outlining an implementation strategy for the recommendations, including identification of any budget implications and necessary legislative changes," he said.

"We will also establish a Uranium Mining Stakeholder Committee comprising representatives from local governments, Indigenous groups, industry, environment and natural resource management groups in accordance with the report's recommendations."

Mr Cripps would not specify a timeline for implementing the findings.

Uranium was last mined in Queensland in 1982 near Mount Isa in the state's north-west.  It was banned by a Labor state government seven years later.

Committee chair Paul Bell says they have also recommended the development of environmental conditions specifically for uranium mining.

"There is a basic framework there in place now to provide a very safe and a very good place for people to not only work but certainly for communities to be ensured that safety in transport is now being able to be maintained in this industry," he said.

Mr Cripps says jobs will be a flow-on from the resumption of uranium mining.

"Particularly for regional and rural communities in Queensland, job opportunities and in particular to Indigenous communities in rural and remote areas of this state," he said.

The Queensland Resources Council says the community is on board with uranium mining because of the new investment and work it will create.


Green light for farmers to clear land under vegetation management laws

QUEENSLAND farmers will again be able to clear their own land as they see fit under changes to vegetation management laws being introduced to State Parliament today.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps travelled to Hughenden in the state's north-west to announce the changes designed to boost food production and deliver jobs.

They visited sheep and cattle farm Dunluce where owners Ninian and Anne Stewart-Moore have been unable to expand their dam under existing laws.

Mr Cripps said landholders would have to present a business case to support their application for land clearing.

"I stress that these reforms are not a signal that the Newman Government is relaxing environmental standards and do not give the green light for landholders to carry out indiscriminate clearing," said Mr Cripps.

A group of local farmers and councillors immediately welcomed the changes as a much needed easing of "unnecessary restrictions".

"It's an injection into agriculture that's definitely needed," said Mr Stewart-Moore.

"We hope to see a balance between some sensible clearing of trees to make way for some development."

"We're not talking about broad scale clearing of massive amounts of hectares, we're just talking about being able to use the best landforms to do the development that is potentially available to us."

Irrigator Corbett Tritton said the changes would "lift the cloud" under which farmers had been living for the past 10 years.

"We're not living with a cloud over us, feeling like criminals any more," said Mr Tritton.

"What the Minister's told us today is really going to stimulate the bush. "Everybody's so frightened to do anything in the bush you can't move without having to fill out forms and people coming to tell you what you can and can't do."

Mr Seeney said the government would also make changes to the over-policing of the vegetation management act that had occurred under Labor.

"The infringement provisions within the Vegetation Management Act have gone way out of kilter with everything else that it could be reasonably compared with," he said.

"We will be using this opportunity to amend the act and normalise those happenings and bring them in line with infringements in other acts."




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


20 March, 2013

A denier of the obvious calls farmers deniers of the obvious

Timothy Egan

A city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed type is steamed that farmers pay little heed to the theories of city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed types.  He gives no credit to the thought that the farmers might have noticed something he has not:  That global warming stopped 17 years ago.  Even Rajendra Pachauri has said it did, so it must be true.  Why then is the galoot writing below so out of touch?  It must be self-interest.  Writing for the NYT requires lockstep allegiance to Green/Left dogma, regardless of what the facts say

Everybody loves a farmer, judging by the popularity of this year’s hit Super Bowl ad about the virtues of those who coax food from dirt. And yet nobody wants to be one, with less than 1 percent of the population claiming it as an occupation.

But somewhere among the 315 million Americans is a farmer who is (rarer still) a Democrat willing to serve President Obama. Should this person be found, he or she should be put in charge of the daunting task of convincing food producers that nothing imperils their future more than climate change.

I realize that summoning images of wilted wheat, lizard-skin ground and scrawny cattle nosing through drought-ravaged forage just a few days after a major winter storm is not the most timely approach. Whenever it snows over a large portion of the country, climate change-deniers point to the blanket of white outside and cry “hoax!”

But with the announcement this week of the usual suspects of city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed types to the cabinet-level team that Obama is assembling to fight climate change, it’s time to consider a farmer as a leader of that cause.

Farmers don’t care much for Obama, so why should he reach out to them? He lost the rural vote by almost 20 points. And among big farmers (I’m talking productivity here, not bib overall size), he lost by 50 points. No surprise. Farmers haven’t had anything nice to say about a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt was touring cornfields in his open-air car.

The people who grow grain for breakfast cereal and raise pigs for prosciutto are also among the biggest deniers of the consensus scientific view that humans have altered the earth’s climate. While acknowledging that, yes, sir, the weather does appear to be changing for the worse, most farmers don’t think it is human-caused, according to several polls. You’d have to survey the leading talk-radio hosts to find a higher percentage of disbelievers of the obvious.

At first glance, this makes no sense, because farmers have the most to lose in a world of weather havoc. Droughts, floods, searing high temperatures and freakish storms that now appear with regularity pose more of a threat to global food supply than the whims of the market. Weeds, pests and fungi — agricultural nightmares in a bundle — thrive under warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels. Heat waves are livestock killers, increasing the prevalence of parasites and diseases.

These horrors were highlighted in two recent government assessments of what climate change will mean to the nation’s breadbasket. And since American exports supply more than 30 percent of all wheat, corn and rice on the global market, what’s bad for the fertile crest of the United States is bad for a planet with seven billion people to feed.

So, why the denial? Cost. Any fix in the sticks is likely to hit farmers hard, because they use a disproportionate amount of the fertilizers, chemicals and fossil fuels that power the American agricultural machine, and are likely to come under increased regulation.

It’s one thing to persuade hipsters in Portland, Ore., or Brooklyn to grow organic — hey, how cool is an artisan radish — in their rooftop gardens. It’s a much tougher push to get Big Ag, made up mostly of stubborn older men, to change its ways.


"Earth day"

Switching Off the Lights Sends the Wrong Message, says Bjorn Lomborg

On the evening of Saturday, March 23, people around the world are being asked by campaigners to switch off the lights for an hour to observe “Earth Hour”.  Professor Bjorn Lomborg says this gesture will do little to help the planet, and gives people the wrong impression about how to address climate issues. 

“Global warming is a real problem, but Earth Hour is not the answer,” says Lomborg. “Taken to its logical conclusion, if switching the lights off for one hour is a good idea, why not for all the other 8,759 hours of the year?” he asks. 

Lomborg explains, “Electricity, and affordable, plentiful energy, is the lifeblood of modern civilization and prosperity. If you do switch off the lights, do it in solidarity with the 1.3 billion people in the world who live in cold and misery because they lack access to electricity. Do it to celebrate the benefits of innovation and technology.”

Fundamentally, concludes Lomborg, “Cutting emissions in the short run is no easy task. Today, green energy is too costly to be a viable solution. Real breakthroughs in energy technology will only come with more investment in research and development.” 

Via email

Think Ethanol is Evironmentally Friendly? Think Again

America’s prairies are disappearing at the fastest rate since the 1930s’ “Dust Bowl.”  Given the pace at which U.S. farmers are converting grasslands into cornfields for ethanol production, this should hardly be surprising.

Driven in large part by government biofuel mandates on oil refineries, U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, according to a newly published study by scientists at South Dakota State University. In corn-belt states like Iowa and South Dakota, about 5 percent of pastureland is being converted into cropland every year.

This pasture destruction not only will almost surely lead to higher beef and milk prices, but to serious environmental harm.

Grasslands are key breeding grounds for ducks and other wildlife. Moreover, studies show that grassland soil captures carbon better than cropland. If farmers are digging up these grasslands to grow more corn, ethanol production thus loses its carbon advantage over gasoline.

The shift from grasslands to cornfields is part of a more troubling scenario, though, because corn growing requires more fertilizer and pesticides, which seep into groundwater systems.

Corn, moreover, is one of the most profligate water-using crops on the planet. Under drought conditions, as experienced across the Midwest and Great Plains in recent years, groundwater levels are plummeting, falling by six feet or more in some parts of the corn belt.

The roots of this looming environmental disaster can’t be traced to the boardrooms of ethanol manufacturers or to the headquarters of the farm lobby. The culprit is Washington.

Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, anticipating that there would be considerable production of cellulosic ethanol made from switch grass, wood chips and other plant materials by 2010. But the industry today is still in its infancy, and there’s no sign that production will increase measurably any time soon.

Yet the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates that ethanol production ramp up from 13 billion gallons this year to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Even now, ethanol production consumes 40 percent of America’s total corn crop. Production in substantially larger volumes will mean removing even more cropland from food production, which will drive up consumer prices across the board, harming millions of people in poor countries who rely heavily on U.S. corn exports.

Continued diversion of cropland to ethanol production is especially hard on beef herders and dairy farmers, whose access to cattle feed has been impacted by the severe drought.

When Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard, it must have known that it was creating problems.

The idea was that a biofuels mandate would help America achieve “energy independence” so we would no longer have to rely on imports from the volatile Middle East or Venezuela. But that idea was mostly a fiction being pushed by special interest lobbyists.

U.S. dependence on imported fossil fuels has declined dramatically in recent years, primarily owing to added domestic oil and natural gas production. Last year, America imported 40 percent of the oil it used, compared to more than 60 percent at its peak in 2005, the year the Renewable Fuel Standard was adopted.

We now know that the United States has abundant oil and natural gas right here at home, which can be exploited with technologies like hydraulic fracturing and deep-water drilling that make them accessible and economical to produce.

With every year that passes, with every new ethanol plant built, and with every increase in the ethanol mandate, the wrongheadedness of the Renewable Fuel Standard becomes more apparent.

We can only hope that the light bulb will turn on for Congress and the White House before the ethanol mandate destroys the American prairie and drives food costs even higher.


Indonesian Official Compares WWF to Thieves

The behaviour of green NGOs in the developing word resembles foreign adventurism: arrogant, reckless, and exploitative.

Just in time for Earth Hour this coming Saturday – that annual feel-good, accomplish-little World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event – a news story in the Jakarta Globe quotes Firman Subagyo, the head of the forestry commission for that country’s House of Representatives:

"Foreign NGOs like the WWF are like thieves visiting our homes to steal our treasures without us realizing it. The NGO’s arrogance has impacted our weakened industrial competitiveness overseas, which will [in the] end worsen Indonesia’s economy."

It seems the WWF took responsibility for helping to slow deforestation in a particular part of that country, but matters haven’t gone according to plan. The article quotes Ir. Darori, the director general for forest protection:

"We will evaluate [the WWF’s work]. If it proves to have no benefit, we will terminate the partnership."

The willful blindness of groups such as the WWF and Greenpeace toward economically struggling nations around the globe is breathtaking. Their own, narrow agenda is the only thing that matters to these activists. The welfare of ordinary people who reside in those countries doesn’t make it onto their radar (see a discussion of Mexico and Poland in this context).

History is unlikely to be kind to green NGOs. Their behaviour in the developing world is starting to look a great deal like foreign adventurism. They aren’t just arrogant – they’re reckless, exploitative, and anti-democratic.

They presume to know, better than local populations, what decisions should be made and what policies should be pursued. Moreover, they don’t hesitate to trash a country’s international reputation on the thinnest, most petty of grounds.

Some burning questions need to be asked:

* To whom is the WWF accountable?
* To whom do we complain if we think that organization is behaving immorally?

* What mechanisms are in place to keep tabs on an organization that, according to a recent research paper, “runs about 1,300 projects at one time in more than 100 different countries”

Each of us will make our own decision about whether to participate in Earth Hour events this year. People who are tempted to do so may wish to reflect on the fact that in many countries in which the WWF has a presence, most people are poor and ill-educated.

They aren’t remotely on an equal footing with an NGO that employs 5,000 people worldwide and has an annual budget of hundreds of millions. What chance do such people have of being heard?


Is Global Warming Causing More Snow and Less Snow at the Same Time?

By Joe Bastardi

In the Woody Allen comedy classic, "Bananas," there is a scene where the CIA is sending US troops to fight on both sides of a revolution because they're afraid of being on the wrong side.

While many of us laughed at such things then because of the absurdity of it, we find that the same kind of strategy is being used by AGW propagandists that seek to claim every idea they have as the correct one.

So in this piece, I will examine a recent claim that climate change is causing extremes that rational people know is not a sign it's getting warmer (such as bigger snowstorms -- snow is a sign it's cold). Irrational people are the ones that will claim the opposite answer of what they said before was right, because they will use any answer to justify their ideas.

In a second piece later I will explain how a cooling situation in the tropical Pacific leads to drought and heat in the US. The downturn in global temperatures that has started with the cooling Pacific means it cools globally, but the initial result, like the 1950s, is a warmer US -- again opposite of the AGW spin.

Now keep in mind, the argument when it's not snowing is that it's getting warmer. But their argument when it does snow, is also because it's getting warmer. So no matter what happens, the AGW crowd blames a warming climate. Wouldn't you love to have a class, where no matter what answer you put down on a test, you get to say it's correct?

Extrapolating the AGW crowd's logic on more snow, one can see that if ice floes make it into the Gulf of Mexico one of these winters, it will also be because it's getting warmer.

But here is an inconvenient truth: It's not getting warmer! For the umpteenth time, here's a graph of global temperatures vs. CO2:

With temperatures having leveled off, and even getting colder since the statements were made about it being warmer with less snow, the idea that warming is causing more snow is plainly wrong.

For the record, here in the US, winters have been getting colder:

Now, do you see me screaming about it getting colder resulting in more snow? I could, but I don't. But it's certainly not getting warmer in the US. The data is from the National Climatic Data Center which plainly shows that winters have cooled across all of the US over the last decade. The global temperature has leveled off or declined the past several years. So, if it's snowing more, it can't be because it's getting warmer -- because it's not.


British Local Councils Hire ‘Eco’ Snoopers

Councils across the UK are spending millions and employing hundreds of ‘low carbon’ officers to fight global warming – which now appears not to pose an imminent threat – at the same time as making sweeping cuts to children’s  services, the arts and the elderly.

The councils have increased their spending on salaries of climate change staff by 34 per cent since the 2008 crash, almost three times the rate of inflation, while grants from central government were slashed by 12 per cent.

Our investigation comes from data sought under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. It shows:

* Green salaries totalled £8.7?million in 2011 to 2012 at 65 councils, representing 17?million people – about one third of all councils. This sum does NOT include the cost of publicity materials urging people to cut their carbon footprints.
* Spending on green salaries rose by  137 per cent in Stoke. In 2010, the council spent £137,000 on solar panels for its civic centre roof. It is now set to close it and build a new centre for more than £50m.

* The highest-spending councils face deep cuts to core provisions.

* In Glasgow, where the green jobs spend of £390,000 is up 43 per cent on 2008 to 2009, the council is to cut £54 million from schools, social services and help for the disabled. In Birmingham, green salaries of £338,000 have risen 62 per cent, but £102 million is to be axed and 1,000 jobs lost.

*    In Bradford (where green salaries are up from zero to £289,000), the council has issued a 25-page booklet claiming locals face an influx of foreign migrants displaced by sea level rises and drought.

    Not all councils are burning money on climate change. In 17 areas, green salaries have been reduced. The biggest cut was in Colchester which will now do without any climate change officers, having spent £23,000 in 2008 to 2009.

    The hiring binge was sparked by the 2008 Climate Change Act. It demands a cut in CO2 emissions in the UK by 80 per cent by 2050. It was followed by the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, putting the onus on councils.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


19 March, 2013

True believers

Back in the '50s, some psychologists led by Leon Festinger looked at believers in prophecies about the end of the world.  He was particularly interested in what would happen when the due date for the end  came and the world continued on as before.  He found that most believers were unshaken.  They modified their beliefs slightly but otherwise continued on as before.  Below is what Festinger said about such believers in prophecy.  We must expect believers in the prophecy of catastrophic global warming to be the same

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks. But man’s resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view. --Leon Festinger, "When Prophecy Fails", 1956

We create resources by inventing the technology that does so

One of the things that is so difficult to get over to the "Arrrgh! We're running out of everything!" crowd is that we humans actually create resources by inventing the technology that does that creation. I've blathered about this with respect to minerals here often enough. Today's example is fresh water. Of course, we all know that there's a water cycle, that we don't destroy water by using it, we just dirty it. But it is true that there are areas of the world that are becoming short of potable water. We would obviously like there to be a solution for this and it looks like there is:

"The process, officials and engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp say, would enable filter manufacturers to produce thin carbon membranes with regular holes about a nanometer in size that are large enough to allow water to pass through but small enough to block the molecules of salt in seawater. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. Because the sheets of pure carbon known as graphene are so thin - just one atom in thickness - it takes much less energy to push the seawater through the filter with the force required to separate the salt from the water, they said."

This is reverse osmosis which is nothing very new. But here's what the new part is:

"The energy that's required and the pressure that's required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less."

100 x less?

"If you can design a membrane that's completely different than what we use today, then there's a chance for more than two orders of magnitude (100 times) increase in the permeability of the membrane," Grossman said."

Well, yes, because the cost in reverse osmosis is indeed the cost of maintaining the pressure differential on either side of the membrane.

Just to put this into actual numbers. The average UK household uses some 100 cubic metres of water a year. (100,000 litres). At current desalination costs this is $50 a year for a rough guide is 50 cents per cubic metre. Reduce that cost by 100 and we're talking about a cost per household of 50 cents, or 25 pence. At which price it really doesn't matter whether we're putting rainwater, rivers, reservoirs or desalinated water into the pipes now, does it?

This also applies everywhere else too of course. Lagos, Lima, LA...potable water simply becomes a non-problem. Agreed, you'd probably still not use it to irrigate wheat but at these sorts of prices water for industrial or human consumption simply becomes something that isn't a problem.

This is entirely apart from the fact that such a water filter fine enough to seive out the sodium and chlorine ions is obviously going to be fine enough to dispose of all microbes and viri, all heavy metals and so on, any oestrogen or other molecule, thus making cleaning up polluted water vastly cheaper. Factory run off, heck, if you really wanted to, fertiliser run off from farming.

There is good news for the worrying crowd though. You can still worry about the fact that we're running out of scarce resources to worry about running out of.


Ocean plankton sponge up nearly twice the carbon currently assumed

Models of carbon dioxide in the world's oceans need to be revised, according to new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated.

In making their findings, the researchers have upended a decades-old core principle of marine science known as the Redfield ratio, named for famed oceanographer Alfred Redfield. He concluded in 1934 that from the top of the world's oceans to their cool, dark depths, both plankton and the materials they excrete contain the same ratio (106:16:1) of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous.

But as any gardener who has done a soil test knows, amounts of those elements can vary widely. The new study's authors found dramatically different ratios at a variety of marine locations. What matters more than depth, they concluded, is latitude.

In particular, the researchers detected far higher levels of carbon in warm, nutrient-starved areas (195:28:1) near the equator than in cold, nutrient-rich polar zones (78:13:1).

"The Redfield concept remains a central tenet in ocean biology and chemistry. However, we clearly show that the nutrient content ratio in plankton is not constant and thus reject this longstanding central theory for ocean science," said lead author Adam Martiny, associate professor of Earth system science and ecology & evolutionary biology at UC Irvine.

"Instead, we show that plankton follow a strong latitudinal pattern." He and fellow investigators made seven expeditions to gather big jars of water from the frigid Bering Sea, the North Atlantic near Denmark, mild Caribbean waters and elsewhere.

They used a sophisticated $1 million cell sorter aboard the research vessel to analyze samples at the molecular level. They also compared their data to published results from 18 other marine voyages.

Martiny noted that since Redfield first announced his findings, "there have been people over time putting out a flag, saying, 'Hey, wait a minute.'" But for the most part, Redfield's ratio of constant elements is a staple of textbooks and research. In recent years, Martiny said, "a couple of models have suggested otherwise, but they were purely models. This is really the first time it's been shown with observation. That's why it's so important."


Hiding the slaughter                                                              

Big Wind hides evidence of turbine bird kills – and gets rewarded. Here’s how they do it

Jim Wiegand

In 1984 the California Energy Commission said “many institutional, engineering, environmental and economic issues must be resolved before the industry is secure and its growth can be assured.”  Though it was not clearly stated, the primary environmental issue alluded to was the extreme hazard that wind turbines posed to raptors.

Since the early 1980s, the industry has known there is no way its propeller-style turbines could ever be safe for raptors. With exposed blade tips spinning in open space at speeds up to 200 mph, it was impossible. Wind developers also knew they would have a public relations nightmare if people ever learned how many eagles are actually being cut in half – or left with a smashed wing, to stumble around for days before dying.

To hide this awful truth, strict wind farm operating guidelines were established – including high security, gag orders in leases and other agreements, and the prevention of accurate, meaningful mortality studies.                               

For the industry this business plan has succeeded quite well in keeping a lid on the mortality problem.  While the public has some understanding that birds are killed by wind turbines, it doesn’t have a clue about the real mortality numbers. And the industry gets rewarded with subsidies, and immunity from endangered species and other wildlife laws.

Early studies identified the extent of the problem

To fully grasp the wind turbine mortality problem, one needs to examine the 2004 report from the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). The study lasted five years (1998-2003), and researchers did not have full access to all the Altamont turbines.

This careful, honest effort analyzed turbine characteristics in relation to mortality and estimated mortality from body counts compiled in careful searches. Researchers then adjusted mortality numbers by examining statistical data based on searcher efficiency and other factors, such as carcass removal by predators and scavengers. The report even suggested that the mortality estimates probably erred on the low side, due to missed carcasses and other human errors.                                            

This study stands in marked contrast to studies being conducted today, especially the Wildlife Reporting Response System that is currently the only analysis happening or permitted at most wind farms. The WRRS is the power companies’ own fatality reporting system, and allows paid personnel to collect and count carcasses. It explains why mortality numbers are always on the low side and why many high-profile species are disappearing near turbine installations.

Incredibly, the APWRA report actually admitted: “We found one raptor carcass buried under rocks and another stuffed in a ground squirrel burrow. One operator neglected to inform us when a golden eagle was removed as part of the WRRS. Based on these experiences, it is possible that we missed other carcasses that were removed.” (Chap. 3, pg. 52) It’s easy to see how human “errors” keep bird mortality low.

The APWRA study also documented that raptor food sources, turbine sizes and turbine placement all directly affect raptor mortality. It was thus able to identify many of the most dangerous turbines or groups of turbines – those with a history of killing golden eagles, kestrels, burrowing owls and red-tailed hawks.

Studies worsen as turbines proliferate and increase in size

The study also discussed how higher raptor mortality occurred when smaller towers were “upgraded” with larger turbines and proportionally longer blades. These wind turbines offered what raptors perceived as intermediate to very big windows of opportunity to fly through what looked like open spaces between towers, but were actually within the space occupied by much longer, rapidly moving rotor blades.

The result was significantly more fatalities of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, burrowing owls, mallards, horned larks and western meadowlarks. Turbines with slower rotations per minute actually made it appear that there was more space and “greater windows of time.” This fooled birds, by giving them the illusion that they had open flight space between the rotating blades.

In fact, the illusion fools people, too. The newest turbines move their blades at 10-20 rotations per minute, which appears to be slow – but for their blade tips this translates into 100-200 mph!

All this was very important, because the industry was moving away from smaller turbines and installing much larger turbines, with much longer blades. However, the industry not only ignored the APWRA findings and rapidly installed thousands of these much larger turbines across America, despite their far greater dangers for birds and raptors. It also kept the APWRA out of the public’s awareness, and focused attention on new study results that reflected far less accurate (and honest) searches and surveys.                                                                                                                                                   

How the wind industry hides raptor mortality

The APWRA report also looked at the placement of carcasses in relation to turbine types. It documented that the distances carcasses were found from turbine towers increased significantly as turbine megawatt ratings and blade lengths increased. Based on sample of about 800 carcasses, the report revealed that birds were found an average of 94 feet (28.5) meters from 100Kw turbines on towers 81 feet (24.6 meters) high.     

Obviously, taller turbines with longer blades and faster blade tip speeds will catapult stricken birds much further. Figure 1 shows how a turbine 2.5 times larger will result in an average carcass distance of 372 feet (113.5 meters) from the tower. The wind industry is acutely aware of this.

That is why it has restricted search areas to 165 feet (50 meters) around its bigger turbines. This ensures that far fewer bodies will be found – and turbine operators will not need to explain away as many carcasses.

Recent mortality studies like those conducted at the Wolfe Island wind project (2.3 MW turbines) and Criterion project in Maryland (2.5 MW turbines) should have used searches 655 feet (200 meters) from turbines, just to find the bulk (75-85%) of the fatalities. Of course, they did not do so. Instead, they restricted their searches to 165 feet – ensuring that they missed most raptor carcasses, and could issue statements claiming that their turbines were having minimal or “acceptable” effects on bird populations.

Other methods and biased formulas allow the industry to exclude or explain away carcasses. The latest Altamont Pass studies found far more bird carcasses, but Altamont operators still claim mortality declines by using new adjustment formulas and other exclusionary factors. (Figure 2) For example, industry analysts:

 *          Exclude certain carcasses. The 2005-2010 WRRS data show that 347 carcasses (primarily raptors) – plus 21 golden eagle carcasses – were excluded from mortality estimates, because industry personnel claimed they were found outside standard search procedures, said the “cause of death was unknown” (even when the birds’ heads had been sliced off), or removed carcasses ahead of a scheduled search.

 *          Exclude mortally wounded or crippled birds found during searches, even if they display turbine-related injuries. Even though many birds hit by turbine blades die within days, if they are still breathing when found, they are considered mobile – and thus not fatalities.

 *          Simply avoid searching near some of the most dangerous and lethal turbines. The industry justifies this exclusion by claiming that “the number of turbines monitored was reduced and spatially balanced for a randomized rolling panel design.” That this “reduction and balancing” excluded the most deadly portion of the Altamont facility was presented as coincidental or part of a proper scientific methodology.

The cold reality is that honest, scientific, accurate mortality studies in the Altamont Pass area would result in death tolls that would shock Americans. They would also raise serious questions about wind turbines throughout the United States, especially in major bird habitats like Oregon’s Shepherds Flat wind facility and the whooping cranes’ migratory corridor from Alberta, Canada to Texas.

The techniques discussed here help ensure that “monitoring” studies match the facility operators’ desired conclusions, and mortality figures are kept at “acceptable” levels.

The bird mortality disaster must no longer be hidden

Not only has the wind industry never solved its environmental problem. It has been hiding at least 90% of this slaughter for decades. In fact, the universal problem of hiding bird (and bat) mortality goes from bad to intolerable beyond the Altamont Pass boundaries, because studies in other areas across North America are far less rigorous, or even nonexistent, and many new turbines are sited in prime bird and bat habitats.

The real death toll, as reported by Paul Driessen and others, is thousands of raptors a year – and up to 39 million birds and bats of all species annually in the United States alone, year after year! This is intolerable, and unsustainable. It is leading to the inevitable extinction of many species, at least in many habitats, and perhaps in the entire Lower 48 States.

Meanwhile, assorted “experts” continue to insist that the greatest threats to golden eagles are other factors like hikers getting too close to their nests, even when most abandoned nests in Southern California are nowhere near any hiking trails and wind turbines continue to slaughter eagles.

It is essential that people realize that no energy source comes anywhere close to killing as many raptors as wind energy does. No other energy companies are allowed to pick up bodies of rare and protected species from around their production sites on a day-to-day basis, year-in and year-out. No other energy producer has a several thousand mile mortality foot print (the highly endangered whooping cranes’ migratory corridor), like what wind energy has.

Once people understand all of this, they will rightfully demand that the wind industry obey the same environmental rules that all other industries must follow. This will require that wind turbines be sited only where the risk of bird deaths is minimal to zero; that turbines be replaced with new designs that birds recognize as obstacles and thus avoid; that fines be levied for every bird death, as is done with other industries; and that industrial wind facilities not be permitted where these requirements cannot be met.

America’s wildlife, and proper application of our environmental laws, require nothing less.

Via email

The Mini-Ice Age has Arrived

By Alan Caruba

Climatologists and meteorologists are familiar with the last Mini Ice Age (MIA) that occurred between 1350 and 1850 AD. It is also referred to as the Little Ice Age. Suffice to say it was cold and, as such weather cycles tend to do, it altered history in a variety of ways.

The failure of crops was one aspect of the cold spell and in France the revolution that overthrew the monarchy is attributed to the unhappiness of its citizens, but famine in the northern hemisphere was widespread. In the United States, it is best recalled for the horrid winter our revolutionary war soldiers spent at Valley Forge. At one point during the cycle Americans spent what they called “a year without summer” when the weather remained too cold to plant crops.

Since climate is cyclical, it is not surprising that the MIA followed the Medieval Warm Period, also known as a climate optimum. Crops flourished, empires rose and declined, and neither cycle had a thing to do with so-called greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and everything to do with what was happening on the sun.

As spring arrives in the U.S., there was also a broad band of snow storms that comes with it.

One of the world’s most respected long-term climate forecasters is Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist whose expertise is relied upon by corporations and others who need to know what the weather will really be as opposed to the criminally false claims about global warming. His website, WeatherAction, is well worth visiting.

In his own words, “WeatherAction is involved in the Global Warming/Climate Change debate where we point out that the world is now cooling not warming and there is no observational evidence in the thousands and millions of years of data that changes in CO2 have any effect on weather or climate. There are no scientists in the world who can produce such observational data. There is only effect the other way, namely that ocean temperatures control average CO2 levels.”

Recently Corbyn announced that “The CO2 story is over. It has been pointing the world in the wrong direction for too long. The serious implications of the developing mini ice age to agriculture and the world economy through the next 25 to 35 years must be addressed.” World cooling is now locked in says Corbyn, citing the decrease in average solar activity and a jet stream that is often further south than normal, resulting in extreme weather events.

Following in the heels of Corbyn’s forecast was the release of a new report by Dr. David Whitehouse, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and what makes it fairly extraordinary after decades of global warming propaganda is that he concludes that there has been no statistically significant increase in annual global temperatures since 1997. That’s seventeen years of atrocious lies about a warming earth.

The irony that Dr. Whitehouse includes in his report is that the atmospheric composition of carbon dioxide has increased during that time from 370 ppm to 390 ppm. So, everything you have been told about carbon dioxide emissions and those of other so-called greenhouse gases “causing” a warming earth is just lies, lies, and lies.

“If the standstill (lower temperatures) continues for a few more years,” wrote Dr. Whitehouse, “it will mean that no one who has just reached adulthood, or younger, will have witnessed the earth get warmer during their lifetime.”

Now here’s the kicker. The President of the United States, according to a recent Business Week article, “is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving projects, from pipelines to highways.” The result “could be significant delays for natural gas export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists say.”

“In taking the step,” said Business Week reporter Mark Drajem, “Obama would be fulfilling a vow to act alone in the face of a Republican-run House of Representatives unwilling to pass measures limiting greenhouse gases.”

The President, as usual, is lying through his teeth. There is no global warming or, as it is more frequently called these days, climate change unless you include a colder earth in that change.

The result will be four years of a second term in office during which Obama and his minions will do everything they can to slow what little is left of the U.S. economy, currently growing at a rate that requires a microscope to detect.

For the rest of us, the Mini Ice Age has arrived.


Sierra Club: Thy Name is Hypocrisy (natural gas for and against)

What’s the Sierra Club’s position on the development and use of natural gas from shale? Depends on whom you ask . . . within the actual organization.

By now, of course, we’re all well aware of the Sierra Club’s newly staked-out position in opposition to natural gas, notwithstanding the fact that the Club used to support it.

With its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign, the Sierra Club now proclaims (without even a shred of irony) that natural gas is “environmentally damaging and harms public health.” Yet empirical evidence–even studies commissioned by none other than the Sierra Club itself–shows the opposite is true (also see here, here, and here).

But no one ever accused the Sierra Club of being constrained by novelties such as consistency, accuracy, or metaphysics.

The shift toward ideological opposition to an energy source they once pragmatically supported was in some ways predictable. The Club couldn’t sit on the sidelines as American oil and natural gas production soared to record highs due to the development of shale and other tight resources. The activist uprising around “fracking” posed too great a fundraising opportunity for them to ignore.

But that rapid 180-degree turn on natural gas has also put the Sierra Club in an uncomfortable position. With the near-daily news stories explaining the air quality and climate benefits of natural gas, the Sierra Club’s opposition to natural gas undermines its stated goal of protecting the environment.

In response, the Sierra Club has come up with a bold and fascinating strategy: Say whatever the heck they want, regardless of whether it contradicts their statements elsewhere.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


18 March, 2013

The Great Green Con: The hard proof that finally shows global warming forecasts that are costing you billions were WRONG all along 

By David Rose

No, the world ISN'T getting warmer (as you may have noticed). Now we reveal the official data that's making scientists suddenly change their minds about climate doom. So will eco-funded MPs stop waging a green crusade with your money? Well... what do YOU think?

The Mail on Sunday today presents irrefutable evidence that official predictions of global climate warming have been catastrophically flawed.

The graph on this page blows apart the ‘scientific basis’ for Britain reshaping its entire economy and spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. These moves have already added £100 a year to household energy bills.

Steadily climbing orange and red bands on the graph show the computer predictions of world temperatures used by the official United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The estimates – given with 75 per cent and 95 per cent certainty – suggest only a five per cent chance of the real temperature falling outside both bands.

But when the latest official global temperature figures from the Met Office are placed over the predictions, they show how wrong the estimates have been, to the point of falling out of the ‘95 per cent’ band completely.

The graph shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions.

The eco-debate was, in effect, hijacked by false data. The forecasts have also forced jobs abroad as manufacturers relocate to places with no emissions targets.

A version of the graph appears in a leaked draft of the IPCC’s landmark Fifth Assessment Report due out later this year. It comes as leading climate scientists begin to admit that their worst fears about global warming will not be realised.

Academics are revising their views after acknowledging the miscalculation. Last night Myles Allen, Oxford University’s Professor of Geosystem Science, said that until recently he believed the world might be on course for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than five degrees this century.

But he now says: ‘The odds have come down,’ – adding that warming is likely to be significantly lower. Prof Allen says higher estimates are now ‘looking iffy’.

The graph confirms there has been no statistically significant increase in the world’s average temperature since January 1997 – as this newspaper first disclosed last year.

At the end of last year the Met Office revised its ten-year forecast predicting a succession of years breaking records for warmth. It now says the pause in warming will last until at least 2017. A glance at the graph will confirm that the world will be cooler than even the coolest scenario predicted.

Its source is impeccable. The line showing world temperatures comes from the Met Office ‘HadCRUT4’ database, which contains readings from more than 30,000 measuring posts. This was added to the 75 and 95 per cent certainty bands to produce the graph by a group that amalgamates the work of 20 climate model centres working for the IPCC.

The current Energy Bill is set to increase subsidies for wind turbines to £7.6 billion a year – leading to a combined cost of £110 billion. Motorists will soon see a further 3p per litre rise in the cost of petrol because this now has to contain ‘biofuel’ ethanol.

Many scientists say the pause, and new research into factors such as smoke particles and ocean cycles, has made them rethink what is termed ‘climate sensitivity’ – how much the world will warm for a given level of CO2.

Yesterday Piers Forster, Climate Change Professor at Leeds University, said: ‘The fact that global surface temperatures haven’t risen in the last 15 years, combined with good knowledge of the terms changing climate, make the high estimates unlikely.’

And Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said: ‘The models are running too hot. The flat trend in global surface temperatures may continue for another decade or two.’

James Annan, of Frontier Research For Global Change, a prominent ‘warmist’, recently said high estimates for climate sensitivity now look ‘increasingly untenable’, with the true figure likely to be about half of the IPCC prediction in its last report in 2007.

Avowed climate sceptics are more  unequivocal. Dr David Whitehouse, author of a new report on the pause published on Friday by Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘This changes everything. It means we have much longer to work things out. Global warming should no longer be the main determinant of anyone’s economic or energy policy.’

David Bellamy comments:

This graph shows the end of the world isn’t nigh. But for anyone – like myself – who has been vilified for holding such an unfashionable view, possibly the most important thing about it is its source: the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Since its creation in 1988, the IPCC has been sounding the alarm about man-made global warming. Yet here, in a draft of its latest report, is a diagram overlaying the observed temperature of the earth on its predictions.

The graph shows a world stubbornly refusing to warm. Indeed, it shows the world is soon set to be cooler.

The awkward fact is that the earth has warmed just 0.5 degrees over the past 50 years. And Met Office records show that for the past 16 years temperatures have plateaued and, if anything, are going down.

As the graph shows, the longer this goes on, the more the actual, real-world temperature record will diverge from the IPCC’s doom-laden prediction.

Yet this prediction is used to justify the ugly wind farms spoiling our countryside and billions in unnecessary ‘green’ taxes that make our industry less competitive and add up to £100 a year to household energy bills.

Man-made global warming has become scientific orthodoxy, with no room for dissent. Tragically, the traditional caution of my brethren has gone out of the window along with the concept of sceptical peer reviewing to test new theories.

Opponents of man-made global warming are regarded as dangerous heretics, as I learnt to my cost. Soon after the IPCC was created, I was invited to what is now the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter to hear a presentation on global warming.

As the face of natural history on the BBC and a science academic, they wanted to enrol me in their cause. But when I read the so-called evidence, I realised it was flawed and refused to ‘sign up’.

I rapidly found myself cast out from the BBC and the wider scientific community. When I helped some children campaign against a wind farm as part of a Blue Peter programme, I was publicly vilified. Abusive emails criticised me. I realised my career at the BBC was over.

But scientific theory should be tested. That’s why I question the science which casts carbon as the villain that will bring about the end of the world.

Geology tells us that fossil fuels are predominantly carbon which was part of our atmosphere before being locked away in the earth millions of years ago. At that time, there were more than 4,000 carbon parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. Over time this has been as low as 270ppm and is now about 385ppm.

It is obvious the world can live with these fluctuations in the level of atmospheric carbon.

Indeed, there may be many factors that determine our climate. Australian scientist David Archibald has shown  a remarkable correlation between the sun’s activity and our climate over the past 300 years. Climate scientists insist we must accept the ‘carbon’ orthodoxy or be cast into the wilderness.

But the scientists behind  the theory have a vested interest – it’s a great way to justify new taxes, get more money and guarantee themselves more work.

The reality is that man-made global warming is a myth: the global temperature is well within life’s limits and, indeed, the present day is cooler by comparison to much of Earth’s history. Perhaps this will be the moment that this fact becomes the new scientific orthodoxy.


Warmest Temperatures In 4,000 Years? Not So Fast, Global Warming Alarmists

The mainstream media are reporting in breathless fashion about a new paper claiming current temperatures are their warmest in 4,000 years. Already, however, objective scientists are reporting serious flaws in the paper. The media may wish to paint a picture of runaway global warming, but the science tells a completely different story.

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Shaun Marcott has published a paper claiming he compiled a proxy temperature reconstruction indicating current temperatures are their warmest in at least 4,000 years. Proxy temperature reconstructions require careful scrutiny because the proxies are not direct temperature measurements, but represent other data and factors that may or may not have a close correlation with past temperatures. Some proxies are better than others. Also, an agenda-driven researcher can easily cherry-pick certain anomalous proxies that support a predetermined conclusion while ignoring a much larger set of proxies that tell a different story.

Perhaps the most notorious of agenda-driven proxy reconstructions was published by global warming alarmist Michael Mann. As a young, relatively unknown recent Ph.D. graduate, Mann attained wealth, fame and adulation among global warming alarmists after assembling a proxy temperature reconstruction that he claimed showed global temperatures underwent a steady, roughly 1,000-year decline followed by a sharp rise during the 20th century. The media reported on the Mann hockey stick reconstruction as if it settled the global warming debate, but objective scientists pointed out several crucial flaws that invalidated Mann’s claims. Eventually, Congress commissioned distinguished statistician Edward Wegman to review and report on Mann’s methods and conclusions. After assembling a blue ribbon panel of experts to study Mann’s temperature reconstruction, Wegman reported the criticisms of Mann’s reconstruction were “valid and compelling.”

The Marcott proxy reconstruction shares much in common with the Mann hockey stick. Marcott is a young, recently graduated Ph.D. student whose asserted temperature reconstruction has launched him out of obscurity into media fame. As was the case with Mann’s hockey stick, objective scientists quickly pointed out serious flaws in the Marcott reconstruction. Also similar to the Mann hockey stick, the media is ignoring the devastating critiques of the Marcott reconstruction and misleading the public into believing that we finally have a study showing essentially the same thing that Mann claimed before his hockey stick was discredited.

Although objective scientists have had little time so far to dig into the meat of Marcott’s data, methods and conclusions, their initial observations are devastating. Don Easterbrook, geology professor emeritus at Western Washington University, has published two papers available here and here summarizing and documenting many of the already discovered flaws in Marcott’s reconstruction. Easterbrook reports that at least one more such paper is on the way, as he and other objective scientists find more and more flaws and areas of concern in Marcott’s reconstruction as they continue to analyze it.

Easterbrook points out that 80 percent of the data used by Marcott reflect oceanic data, not atmospheric temperatures. “Thus, they may reflect temperature changes from ocean upwelling, changes in ocean currents, or any one of a number of ocean variations not related to atmospheric climates,” Easterbrook writes. Given the opportunities for cherry-picking anomalous data to support a predetermined conclusion (such as objective scientists found regarding the Mann hockey stick), Marcott’s heavy dependence on oceanic rather than atmospheric proxies “in itself means that the Marcott et al. temperatures are not a reliable measure of changing atmospheric climate,” Easterbrook reports.

Easterbrook also notes that Marcott recycled Mann’s proxies to help compile the small portion of Marcott’s land-based proxies. Discredited proxies by any other name are still discredited proxies. Perhaps most damaging, Easterbrook observes that many other published studies and data, including analysis of extremely reliable Greenland ice core data, completely contradict Marcott’s asserted proxy data.

When many temperature studies, including studies presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate current global temperatures are cooler than the vast majority of the past 4,000 years, and then an outlier study with quickly identified serious flaws claims exactly the opposite, one would think the media would make note of the discrepancies. Unfortunately, the media has demonstrated little interest in doing so. There are several reasons for this.

First, the news media is prone to overhype the news events of the day. Hype sells newspapers and attracts viewers. This is the case for all news topics and certainly applies to global warming.

Second, fear captivates people. This is one of the reasons why television and print news contains so much bad news and so little good news. A single breathless report of impending global warming doom is going to rope in more viewers and readers than a whole collection of reports explaining that current temperatures are actually quite cool in historical perspective.

Third, it is no secret that the media drifts left on many issues, and drifts left on environmental issues in particular.

Combine these three factors and you have a textbook recipe for yellow journalism; a perfect storm representing all the reasons why people no longer trust the mainsteam media to be fair, balanced and accurate.

The scientific record shows quite clearly that current temperatures are significantly cooler than the 4,000-year average, yet the media uses a seriously flawed study to claim the opposite. Global warming alarmists put their trust in the media, while global warming realists put their trust in the science.


Climate propaganda cut from British national curriculum for children up to 14

And the Warmists are having a wail

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed "our duty to future generations".

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the "efficacy of recycling", again as a chemistry subject.

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue.

The draft contrasts with the existing curriculum: under the heading of geography, there are several mentions of the interdependence of humans and their environment and the impact of that on change, including "environmental change". The current syllabus explicitly discusses sustainable development and "its impact on environmental interaction and climate change".

"It's just hollowed out argument," said John Ashton, the government's climate change envoy until last summer, and a founder of the independent not-for-profit group E3G. "Climate change should have as much prominence as anything in teaching geography in schools."

The shift of any mention of climate change from geography to chemistry "makes me more concerned, not less", said Ashton. "What's important is not so much the chemistry as the impact on the lives of human beings, and the right place for that is geography."

The proposed changes, which are still under consultation by the Department for Education (DfE), were broadly welcomed by other groups, including the Geographical Association which represents more than 6,000 geography teachers, and the Royal Geographical Society.

"In the past, in some instances, young people were going to start on climate change without really knowing about climate," said Rita Gardner, the RGS director, who does, however, want climate change taught at GCSE and A-level. "What we have got [in the new draft] is a much better grounding in geography, and it has the building blocks for a much better understanding of climate change and sustainability."

A DfE spokesman said the idea that climate change was being excised from the national curriculum was nonsense: "All children will learn about climate change. It is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum."

A source at the Liberal Democrat-led Department for Energy and Climate Change said they were relaxed about the changes: "There's nothing from the DfE that says climate change is off the agenda or will never be taught. Sensible teachers will look at that as the broadest of signposting."

Sarah Lester, a policy researcher specialising in climate change education at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at Imperial College, London, said also rejected the argument that pupils first needed to learn the "building blocks" before they were taught about climate change. Such issues were already taught in the three sciences, even religious education and citizenship – and "all come together in geography", said Lester. "I don't think that's what's being done: I think it [climate change] is just being stripped out of the curriculum."


Attenborough should check his facts on polar bears

De rigueur though it may be to describe Sir David Attenborough as a “national treasure” and our “greatest living naturalist”, it really is time he was called to account for the shameless way in which he has allowed himself to be made the front-man for one particular propaganda campaign that has stood all genuine scientific evidence on its head. Last week yet another report picked up on the part Sir David has played in promoting what the facts show to have been no more than a colossal scare story.

It is now seven years since Sir David was first wheeled out by the BBC as the main cheerleader in its campaign to whip up panic over man-made global warming. In two documentaries, he presented himself as a one-time “climate sceptic” who had now been convinced by the evidence. The only problem was that, as he repeated a series of familiar alarmist mantras, there was little sign that he had checked the evidence for any of them: not least his claim that, thanks to the melting of Arctic ice, the world’s polar bear population, already down by a quarter, could be facing extinction.

Pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth had already made polar bears the most iconic image for their crusade to save the planet. WWF, in its relentless pursuit of funds, was moving on from pandas to appealing to the public to “pay £3 a month to adopt a polar bear”.

Vainly, in the face of this avalanche of propaganda, did an array of experts and bodies such as the US National Biological Service and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature point out that, thanks to curbs on hunting in the Seventies, the world’s polar bear population had, in fact, risen from 10,000 in 1966 to 25,000 or more in 2006; that all but one of their 19 main groups were significantly increasing in numbers; and that, based on observed data rather than highly questionable computer models, there was not a shred of evidence of any threat to the bears from climate change.

Al Gore twice famously fell flat on his face in promoting the cause, first when his film An Inconvenient Truth focused on the fate of four bears that were later shown just to have drowned in a storm; then when he made big play with a picture of two bears on a half-melted iceberg, which the photographer later protested she had only taken because it was a striking image, unconnected in any way with climate change.

But although Al Gore may have been notoriously reckless in misusing evidence, he has no pretensions to being a scientist. Sir David’s reputation, on the other hand, is that of a man with respect for science, although this did not prevent him in 2009 from supporting a ridiculous BBC publicity stunt involving a giant blow-up plastic polar bear floating down the Thames, or making polar bears a key feature of his Frozen Planet series in 2011, ending in a propaganda pitch for global-warming alarmism that somehow managed to overlook the fact that polar sea ice had recently been greater in extent than at any time in 30 years.

When, last week, the Global Warming Policy Foundation published a new report, Ten Good Reasons Not to Worry About Polar Bears, Matt (now Lord) Ridley referred in his foreword to Sir David’s bizarre determination to ignore the evidence. The report’s author, Susan Crockford, an experienced Canadian polar bear expert, explains just why there is no connection between the thriving polar bear population and climate change, and how this has been concocted into one of the great urban myths of our time.

Nothing is going to stand in the way of Sir David’s reputation as a national treasure, even though it rests so largely on the extraordinary skill of the cameramen who make his documentaries so memorable. But for his readiness to lend his immense prestige to a scare story that defies all the evidence he deserves no respect at all.


Green tax boost for wind farm profits

The full extent of the profits to be made by wind farms in Britain can be spelt out for the first time.

A briefing document on the wind industry written for investors – and seen by The Sunday Telegraph – shows how attempts to increase the supply of green energy will make turbines far more profitable over the next decade.

It predicts that wind farms will generate greater income following the introduction of a new tax on energy from gas and coal-fired power stations because it will drive up the cost of electricity over the next seven years.

The new tax, intended to cut pollution from traditional sources of electricity, will allow wind farm operators to charge more for the power they produce, with the extra costs expected to be passed on to consumers through their bills. Energy industry experts predict the new tax will cost electricity customers an extra £1billion a year from 2016.

The documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph show how:

* Wind farms are already making hundreds of millions of pounds of profits, with half the income from existing consumer subsidies;

* Coal-fired power plants are being forced to close ahead of the new carbon tax as it will make operating too expensive;

* Electricity prices are expected to increase at an accelerated rate due to the resulting reduction in power supplies;

* Energy costs will rise by around eight per cent each year between now and 2020, meaning wholesale prices will almost double.

The details are contained in a 70-page prospectus drawn up by Barclays Bank and sent to financiers looking to invest up to £260million in a new energy fund, Greencoat UK Wind, which is planning to buy stakes in six big wind farms around the UK.

The document will anger backbench Tory MPs, who have campaigned for wind farm subsidies to be cut – only to discover that they will effectively be receiving a new subsidy on top of existing ones the industry receives to encourage renewable energy.

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative MP who has led a campaign to reduce wind farm subsidies, said: “I find it hard to believe that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has pulled the wool over the eyes of those in the Treasury.

“This prospectus explains the massive rush of wind applications, as developers know they will get rich whilst pushing thousands of energy consumers into fuel poverty.”

The financial prospectus shows just how much money the bank is convinced investors can now make from wind energy, providing the most detailed insight yet into the workings of the wind industry.

Most of the profit comes from the generous subsidy currently offered by the Government to encourage green energy, which is subsequently added on to electricity bills.

The document says the introduction of the new green tax on polluting forms of energy – called the “carbon price floor” – will have the effect of driving up prices, not least because coal-fired power stations are being shut down as a result, making wind farms even more profitable.

The Government, through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has committed £50million to the Greencoat fund to underpin the scheme.

Critics complain that this means the Government is unlikely to reduce generous subsidies on which it is now also staking its own money.

Investors were told in the prospectus that electricity prices should rise by 55 per cent from £45 for each megawatt-hour to £70 by 2016. On top of that wind farms receive an additional subsidy of about £50 for each megawatt-hour.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity which has highlighted the cost of wind farms, said: “Wind power is already over-subsidised, so it is simply astonishing that government should calmly and one suspects incompetently spread another generous layer of jam on the revenue of existing wind farms.”

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said it was investing £50million in Greencoat “to help catalyse the additional private sector capital required” to increase investment in renewable energy.

Richard Nourse, managing partner at Greencoat Capital, which will manage the fund, said: “Greencoat UK Wind offers investors the prospect of a six per cent dividend yield expected to increase in line with inflation.

“In these days of low interest rates and high volatility, this seems to be attractive to investors.”


Radioactivity is good for you

I’m in my swimsuit sitting on what looks like a theme park ride, about to travel a mile into a mountain in Austria. It is 100F (38C) and sweat drips from every pore. I’m trying an amazing treatment.

At the Gastein healing caves, in Radhausberg mountain, a controversial form of therapy with radioactive radon gas is used to treat a long list of medical conditions, including arthritis and other joint pain, chronic bronchitis and skin conditions such as my psoriasis.

The medical staff are evangelical about the healing benefits of the low-level radon gas found in the caves: they say it can offer sustained pain relief, reduce the need for medication, stimulate the body’s anti-inflammatory abilities and help people who have suffered for years.

These may be eyebrow-raising claims but the patients who flock here – 75,000 last year, mostly from Central Europe – would agree with them. The therapy is so accepted in Austria and Germany, it’s available on health insurance.

Miners who went into the mountain in the Forties in search of gold were the first to discover their health  complaints disappeared. Studies  carried out by the University of  Innsbruck identified the temperatures of up to 106F (41C), high  humidity and the radon as the reason.

Yet the therapy is virtually unknown in the UK. Medics who have heard  of it tend to regard radon with  suspicion, for in high doses the gas is believed to be toxic and can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Dr Hasan Tahir, a consultant  rheumatologist at Whipps Cross University Hospital in East London, says: ‘It may be an interesting option for patients to take this treatment  alongside conventional medicine.

'However, as radon is potentially carcinogenic – admittedly at a much higher dose – I would like to see more long-term safety data.’

But doctors at the clinic in Austria say the radon in the caves is completely safe. ‘Scientific studies have shown exposure to low-dosage radon stimulates DNA repair, antioxidant action and immune response. And no adverse effects have ever been reported,’ says Dr Liane Weber, who has worked at the clinic for a  decade, alongside a team of physiotherapists and massage therapists.

The argument that low-level radon may be healing is based upon a  scientific principle called hormesis. Small doses of a particular substance may be beneficial – even if high doses are harmful or lethal.

In 2001, Maastricht University studied patients with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory condition which causes severe joint pain and stiffness. One group had radon treatment in the caves followed by physiotherapy, a second group had sauna treatments and physiotherapy, and a third had physiotherapy alone. Improvements were significantly better in the radon group.

Similar studies were carried out by Leipzig University in 2000 with patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. After six months, there were significant improvements in pain relief and function in the group exposed to the radon.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


17 March, 2013

The Liberals' War on Science

Warmist Michael Shermer sees through a dark glassily.  But it's not bad for an article in the Unscientific American.  He points out how religious the Green/Left is.  As Billy Graham often pointed out, there's a God-shaped hole in most of us.  It's a pity when it gets filled by something as destructive as Warmism, though -- JR

Believe it or not—and I suspect most readers will not—there's a liberal war on science. Say what?

We are well aware of the Republican war on science from the eponymous 2006 book (Basic Books) by Chris Mooney, and I have castigated conservatives myself in my 2006 book Why Darwin Matters (Henry Holt) for their erroneous belief that the theory of evolution leads to a breakdown of morality.

A 2012 Gallup poll found that “58 percent of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years,” compared with 41 percent of Democrats. A 2011 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 81 percent of Democrats but only 49 percent of Republicans believe that Earth is getting warmer. Many conservatives seem to grant early-stage embryos a moral standing that is higher than that of adults suffering from debilitating diseases potentially curable through stem cells. And most recently, Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin gaffed on the ability of women's bodies to avoid pregnancy in the event of a “legitimate rape.” It gets worse.

The left's war on science begins with the stats cited above: 41 percent of Democrats are young Earth creationists, and 19 percent doubt that Earth is getting warmer. These numbers do not exactly bolster the common belief that liberals are the people of the science book.

In addition, consider “cognitive creationists”—whom I define as those who accept the theory of evolution for the human body but not the brain. As Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker documents in his 2002 book The Blank Slate (Viking), belief in the mind as a tabula rasa shaped almost entirely by culture has been mostly the mantra of liberal intellectuals, who in the 1980s and 1990s led an all-out assault against evolutionary psychology via such Orwellian-named far-left groups as Science for the People, for proffering the now uncontroversial idea that human thought and behavior are at least partially the result of our evolutionary past.

There is more, and recent, antiscience fare from far-left progressives, documented in the 2012 book Science Left Behind (PublicAffairs) by science journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, who note that “if it is true that conservatives have declared a war on science, then progressives have declared Armageddon.”

On energy issues, for example, the authors contend that progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste-disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities. The underlying current is “everything natural is good” and “everything unnatural is bad.”

Whereas conservatives obsess over the purity and sanctity of sex, the left's sacred values seem fixated on the environment, leading to an almost religious fervor over the purity and sanctity of air, water and especially food. Try having a conversation with a liberal progressive about GMOs—genetically modified organisms—in which the words “Monsanto” and “profit” are not dropped like syllogistic bombs. Comedian Bill Maher, for example, on his HBO Real Time show on October 19, 2012, asked Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg if he would rate Monsanto as a 10 (“evil”) or an 11 (“f—ing evil”)? The fact is that we've been genetically modifying organisms for 10,000 years through breeding and selection. It's the only way to feed billions of people.

Surveys show that moderate liberals and conservatives embrace science roughly equally (varying across domains), which is why scientists like E. O. Wilson and organizations like the National Center for Science Education are reaching out to moderates in both parties to rein in the extremists on evolution and climate change. Pace Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of liberty may not be a vice, but it is in defense of science, where facts matter more than faith—whether it comes in a religious or secular form—and where moderation in the pursuit of truth is a virtue.


A stone-deaf Senator

He says that warnings about the damage to be  caused by global warming have been silenced.  Given the constant shrieks about it in the media, one wonders about his hearing and eyesight.  His beef boils down to the effect that Republican congressmen often refuse to do obeisance to the global warming theory.  How awful to have people disagree with you!  He must be quite infantile if he hasn't learnt to live with that by now

The office of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has issued the following news release:

Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I rise today, as I have at least two dozen times in the past year, to say again that it is time for us to wake up to the stark reality of the climate changes carbon pollution is causing.

Elected officials bear a responsibility every once in a while to escape the grip of the polluting special interests and to act in the interests of regular Americans. We need to wake up and start talking about the negative consequences, the harms of climate change. We need to wake up and mitigate–take steps to protect ourselves–and adapt to the consequences that are already hitting our coasts and our forests, our cities and our farms, our economy and our way of life.

But, of course, the climate deniers and the polluters do not want that. The deniers want to prevent discussion of climate change altogether. In the past few years, in this body, climate science has become a taboo topic.

I watched, when my back was out in the last few days, one of the Harry Potter movies on television. Lord Voldemort was called “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” in those Harry Potter stories. Well, carbon pollution is the “Pollution Which Shall Not Be Named.” Climate change–the harm that is caused by that pollution–is the “Harm That Shall Not Be Named.”

The obstructionists want to squelch any discussion of the “Pollution Which Shall Not Be Named” so as to let big polluters continue dumping carbon and other greenhouse gas into our oceans and atmosphere.



A very clear demolition of the shifty Marcott et al. paper
The latest foofaraw in the global-warming scene is the "Marcott et. al." paper (“A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years” by Marcott, Shakun, Clark, and Mix). The media are trumpeting variously that the Earth is "warmer than in most of the past 11,300 years", "a heat spike like this has never happened before", or that "temperatures are rising faster today" or are more volatile than ever before.

Hold on a minute. They're using data samples 120 years apart (median sampling interval), before smoothing. Their smoothing of the data seems to reduce the resolution to 400 years. You simply can't conclude that there was never a 50- or 100- year spike in temperatures, with data that coarse!

The scary graph being bandied about uses "Michael's Little Helper" -- they splice instrumental records for the last 150 years onto the chart. On the 13,000 year graph, the roughly 1-degree rise in the last 100 years looks like an upward spike. As a commenter at DotEarth observed,

[T]hey take these proxies that go back thousands of years and are smoothed to show an average and then tack on our recent temperatures. This is akin to showing our average temperature graphs for the year and then adding our daily temperatures for the last month to show the volatility of our recent climate.

Even using the "smoothed" data, it seems that some 3,100 of the last 11,300 years were warmer than today, and current temperatures are "about average for the Holocene" era. So much for today's temperatures being "unprecedented."

But wait, there's more:

1. The Marcott et. al. reconstruction differs significantly from other, established temperature data for the past 10,000 years -- data that shows warmer temperatures in prehistoric times.

2. The reconstruction averages 73 temperature proxies which are all over the map, numerically speaking. Some of the proxies show a rising trend; others are falling. Some show warming followed by cooling, others cooling followed by warming. Averaging this mish-mash gives, essentially, nothing -- the "handle" of the new hockey stick.

3. It has been pointed out that 80% of the source data is for marine temperatures, so splicing on a land temperature record will show an abrupt change.

4. Steve McIntyre is already finding likely errors in the data. (I do commend Marcott for releasing their data, if not their computational methods.)

5. Marcott et. al. show the recent warming as starting 100 years ago, before the widespread (post-WW2) use of fossil fuels.

I find myself thinking that this paper was rushed to publication to make the March 15 deadline for inclusion in the next IPCC report...and, conveniently, after the deadline for comments on that report. (Yes, the IPCC allows new papers to be included after the review process is over.) So be prepared for a deluge of breathless "unprecedented temperature rise" claims after that report is released. But the fact is, the Marcott report does not support any such conclusion.


Carbon Tax Fight Looms

The White House continues to inch closer to a carbon tax. In Obama’s first post-election press conference, he dodged the question. The next day his spokesman Jay Carney said: “We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one.” Great, but they don’t have to propose it. The proposals have now been made by Obama’s key allies. Senator Barbara Boxer, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee introduced a carbon tax bill with Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist. On the House side, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman, has introduced a carbon tax discussion draft. This week Obama indicated he’s quietly preparing to back these proposals.

“If we move aggressively on an issue like climate change -- that’s not an easy issue for a lot of folks,” Obama said to the first meeting of the operatives of Organizing for Action – his supposedly non-partisan continuation of his presidential campaign. “I want to make sure that a congressman, senator feels as if they've got the information and the grassroots network that’s going to support them in that effort.”

So the bills have been introduced and Obama is readying his grassroots army. This is looking increasingly real, and the economic stakes are enormous.

Let’s start with the pain at the pump. The Boxer-Sanders bill taxes carbon dioxide at $20 per metric ton, which works out to 17.8 cents a gallon of gasoline. So it basically would double the existing federal gas tax. (Which of course begs the question – don’t we already tax carbon enough?) It gets much worse; Boxer-Sanders automatically raises the tax 5.6 percent per year for 10 years, enough to double the tax to 30 cents. And the tax would also hit your electric bill, of course, and industrial energy users would be hit hard.

A study by the National Association of Manufacturers found that a carbon tax similar to Boxer-Sanders would knock an immediate half a percent off of GDP and threaten millions of jobs.

The Waxman discussion draft is potentially much worse. It proposes a range of starting prices and automatic increases up to $35 per metric ton and 8 percent. That would mean about 31 cents a gallon gas tax to start, automatically jumping to 67 cents by year 10 and $1.34 by year 20. Of course electricity generation, manufacturers, and every product grown, shipped, or manufactured would also be hit.

But perhaps the biggest danger is that despite the widespread economic damage, these proposals could become politically viable by incorporating large scale income redistribution. Even one supposedly conservative advocate of carbon taxes recently suggested 11 percent of the revenue should be used to increase social welfare spending to alleviate the impact of higher energy prices on the poor. We can safely assume the liberals will push for a much larger piece than that, perhaps issuing free gas cards much like existing food stamp cards so hardworking taxpayers can pick up the (fast-rising!) gas tab not just for themselves but for others, too.

Fortunately, some leaders in Congress are not waiting for the Democrats to spring this trap. Congressmen Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Joe Barton of Texas have introduced a resolution of disapproval making clear that a carbon tax would be economically destructive and should be rejected. Such “Sense of Congress” resolutions are usually just political statements, but given the marshaling of Democratic forces, it could serve as a vital prevention strategy to put the House firmly on the record in opposition now and prevent any risk of a carbon tax emerging as a real possibility. House leadership would be wise to bring the resolution to the floor and put the House on record against this terrible idea.


Tenn. university proposes fracking on its own land

 The University of Tennessee wants to allow hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas on a state-owned tract of rolling woodland, raising the hackles of environmentalists who question its stated goal of raising funds to research the environmental impact of such drilling.

With debate over "fracking" continuing, the unique proposal is being considered when many universities say they don't have enough money to properly study the environmental implications of an increasingly popular and lucrative method for energy companies to remove gas or oil from rock formations by forcing liquids underground at high pressure.

"We have not been able to find any instances of a university drilling on their land and funding their research with revenues from the drilling activities," said Gwen Parker, a Nashville-based staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. Her group is taking a lead in trying to block the move, saying the university's proposal raises ethical concerns.

The university is requesting permission from the state to allow an outside company to drill on about 8,000 acres of mature woodlands it maintains as an outdoor laboratory in the Cumberland Plateau — all while performing research on the effects on water quality, air quality and ground impacts.

University officials argue that because the property is state-owned, they can maintain control over the drilling project, and provide independent scientific results in an area of the industry where many environmental questions remain.

On Friday, the university will present its proposal on the project to a subcommittee of State Building Commission, which will decide whether to allow the university to seek bids from companies. Environmental groups are planning a rally and news conference before the 2 p.m. session.

Parker called the proposal a "fundamental conflict of interest." She argued that the university risks its credibility by funding research with the very proceeds from such drilling. Other environmental groups have joined in the opposition, although Gov. Bill Haslam is supportive.

Environmentalists also argue that preservation of the particular forest tract in question is critical because it is one of the few mature forests still intact in the state's Cumberland Mountains region.

Without an appraisal, it was unclear how much revenues such drilling could yield though some said it could potentially be lucrative in the range of millions of dollars annually.

Shale formations undergird a wide swath of Appalachia, crossing several states. Hydraulic fracturing has touched off a boom of sorts, making enormous reserves of natural gas accessible where previous methods could not. Natural gas is extracted using large volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals, injected deep underground to break rock apart, freeing the gas. But environmentalists say the fluids could pollute water sources and methane leaks could cause air pollution.

"There are questions surrounding natural gas extraction and we have the facilities, and we have the faculty, so have obligation to investigate in an unbiased, scientific way to provide those answers," said Dr. Bill Brown, dean for research and director of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station.

Other universities that have studied fracking have faced criticism about their scientific findings after discovering that researchers had ties to the energy industry.

The University of Texas at Austin recently said it would create a group of outside experts to review that school's Energy Institute, which issued a report on environmental effects from gas without disclosing that the lead researcher was also being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by an energy company.

And in May, a report from New York's University at Buffalo generated similar controversy because of the researcher's ties to the gas industry.

Brown said the faculty who would work on the project if it's approved would be screened for outside relationships with industry contacts. He said other funding sources, such as federal or state grants, would be sought. He also rejected any notion that possible involvement by an energy company in the project would affect research findings.

"We need to get past this notion that if the university works with an industry, that somehow we are compromised or tainted," Brown said. "Ultimately, many of the technologies that our faculty develops are going to be delivered to the market through the industry."

Parker, meanwhile, said the university has attempted to push this proposal through the approval process without getting an independent appraisal of the value of the property or the natural gas below ground. She also said there hasn't been enough time to get details about the project.

Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy Inc. hired Bryan Kaegi, a fundraiser for Haslam and other prominent Tennessee Republicans, to help shepherd the proposal through the approval process.

Kaegi, who has not registered as a lobbyist, said in the correspondence with school officials that he had met with the governor and environmental officials to make the case for the program. Kaegi did not return messages seeking comment.

Brown said if the subcommittee approves the university's request to seek bids, they will have to evaluate those and go back to the State Building Commission for final approval.


Germany’s Green Energy Disaster: A Cautionary Tale For World Leaders

There’s nothing wrong with expanding renewable energy sources. The more choices available in this (or any) marketplace the better consumers will be served — both from a price and a quality standpoint. However serious problems are caused when government starts using taxpayer resources to subsidize or incentivize these expansions. Things get even worse when centralized planners start manipulating market choices or trying to manage the marketplace itself by controlling the generation of power.

This is precisely what is happening in Germany — where command economists have failed spectacularly in their bid to force a national transition to renewable energy.

In 2000 Germany passed a major green initiative which forced providers to purchase renewable energy at exorbitant fixed prices and feed that power through their grids for a period of twenty years. Promulgated by a Socialist-Green coalition government — this initiative has since been embraced by Germany’s Conservative-Liberal majority, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In fact Merkel has doubled down on Germany’s renewable energy push in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan — ramping up government’s plan to phase in renewables while taking the country’s nuclear power industry offline.

Merkel’s government shut down eight reactors in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster (which was caused by a tsunami — a threat Germany isn’t exposed to) and has vowed to shut down all remaining nuclear facilities by 2022. The problem? Despite heavy government subsidization, renewable energies simply aren’t filling the void.

“After deciding to exit nuclear energy, it seems as if Ms. Merkel’s coalition stopped its work,” a former German environmental minister told The New York Times last year. “There is great danger that this project will fail, with devastating economic and social consequences.”

A year later the project is failing — resulting in what one German industry expert termed a “chaotic standstill.”

Merkel’s energy plan called for the addition of 25,000 megawatts of sea-based wind turbine power by 2030. However through the first six months of 2012 only 45 megawatts had been added to Germany’s existing 200-megawatt supply, according to an industry analyst quoted by Reuters. And despite massive subsidies funded by a household energy surcharge (which currently comprises 14 percent of German power bills), major wind projects in the North Sea are being delayed or canceled due to skittish investors.

The basic problem? Wind farms are notoriously unreliable as a power source. Not only that, they take up vast amounts of space and kill tens of thousands of birds annually.

“Generating energy with wind involves extreme fluctuations because it depends on the weather and includes periods without any recognizable capacity for days, or suddenly occurring supply peaks that push the grid to its limits,” a 2012 report from Germany energy expert Dr. Guenter Keil notes. “There is a threat of power outages over large areas, mainly in wintertime when the demand is high and less (power) gets delivered from abroad.”

A typical 20-turbine wind farm occupies an area of 250 acres. So in order for Merkel to achieve her objective, she would have to cover an area six times the size of New York City with turbines. Not surprisingly the erection of all those turbines — along with the infrastructure needed to route their inconsistent power supply back to the German heartland — would be astronomical.

“The costs of our energy reform and restructuring of energy provision could amount to around one trillion euros by the end of the 2030s,” Germany’s environmental minister announced last month.

That sum could rise even higher, as last month a Harvard University study revealed the extent to which the power generating potential of wind farms has been “overestimated.”

“The generating capacity of very large wind power installations may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter,” the study concluded. “Previous estimates, which ignored the turbines’ slowing effect on the wind, had put that figure at between 2 and 7 watts per square meter.”

Such are the shifting sands upon which Merkel has staked her country’s energy future.

Because renewable power sources have been so unreliable, Germany has been forced to construct numerous new coal plants in an effort to replace the nuclear energy it has taken offline. In fact the country will build more coal-fired facilities this year than at any time in the past two decades — bringing an estimated 5,300 megawatts of new capacity online. Most of these facilities will burn lignite, too, which is strip-mined and emits nearly 30 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal.

In other words Germany is dirtying the planet in the name of clean energy — and sticking its citizens with an ever-escalating tab so it can subsidize an energy source which will never generate sufficient power.

This is the cautionary tale of command energy economics — one other nations would be wise to heed.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


15 March, 2013

"The Team" members at UEA were warned that their tree ring interpretations were unsound

We now have what appears to be the first fruit of the ClimateGate 3 release of Warmist emails. Below is an email to Briffa and Jones from Don Keiller, a tree ring expert  -- unlike anybody in The Team. Briffa did reply to Keiller but was so slippery that he enraged Keiller.  Subsequent emails to the one below are at the link

From: Keiller, Donald
Sent: 02 October 2009 10:34
To: ‘’
Cc: ‘’
Subject: Yamal and paleoclimatology

Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly, particularly since I hear that you are unwell. However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a number of key papers by you and co-workers.

As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009). As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;

1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed

2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies

3) The concept of “teleconnection” by which certain trees respond to the “Global Temperature Field”, rather than local climate

4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to temperature in a linear manner.

Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers.

As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science.

There is a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers, further detailed explanation is urgently required.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Don Keiller.


Frack to the Future

John Stossel

Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I'd think celebrities would love fracking.

I'd be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don't feel the love. Yoko sang, "Don't frack me!" on TV.

Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.

Hollywood gave an Oscar to Gasland, a documentary that suggests fracking will shove gas into some people's drinking water, so the water will burn. It's true that some water contains so much natural gas that you can light it.

But another documentary, FrackNation, shows that gas got into plumbing long before fracking came. There's gas in the earth. That's why it's called "natural gas." Some gets into well water. Environmental officials investigated the flames shown in Gasland and concluded that the pollution had nothing to do with fracking.

FrackNation director Phelim McAleer tried to confront Gasland director Josh Fox about this, but Fox wouldn't answer his questions. Instead, he demanded to know whom McAleer works for. He also turned down my invitations to publicly debate fracking. Many activists don't like to answer questions that don't fit their narrative.

Even some homeowners who filed a lawsuit claiming that their water was poisoned by fracking weren't happy to learn that their water is safe. I'd think they would be delighted, but FrackNation shows a couple reacting with outrage when environmental officials test their water and find it clean.

The real story on fracking, say scientists, is that the risks are small and the rewards immense. Fracking lowered the price of natural gas so much that Americans heat our homes for less, and manufacturing that once left America has returned. For those concerned about global warming, burning gas instead of oil or coal reduces CO2 emissions.

Skeptical Environmentalist author Bjorn Lomborg points out that "green" Europe promised to reduce emissions, but "only managed to cut half of what you guys accidentally happened to do when you stumbled on fracking."

Still, the process sounds dangerous. It requires chemicals and explosions. So fracking is now scapegoated for the usual litany of things that peasants feared when threatened with curses centuries ago: livestock dying, bad crop yields, children born with deformities.

None of it is backed by scientific evidence. Even environmentalists who usually are too cautious (by my standards) see little danger. President Obama's first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, told Congress that the EPA cannot show "that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater."

One of the more outlandish fears is that fracking will cause earthquakes. Silly people at MSNBC say fracking creates "a skyrocketing number of earthquakes." Yes, cracking rocks does cause vibrations. But then, so does construction with dynamite or jackhammers -- not to mention trucks on the highway.

Time and again, as humans make a good-faith effort to find new, cleaner ways to produce the energy a growing population needs, environmentalists find a reason -- often very small or non-existent -- that makes the new method unacceptable.

They say coal is dirty and normal oil production might overheat the planet. Hydroelectric dams kill fish. Nuclear plants could suffer meltdowns. Windmills kill birds.

Some won't be happy unless we go back to what we did before industrialization: burn lots of trees and die young.

Nothing is completely risk-free. Companies make mistakes. Chemical spills happen.

But those risks are manageable. They are also far preferable to the risk of paying more for energy -- thereby killing opportunities for the poor.

So far, most regulators outside New York, Maryland and Vermont have ignored the silly people. So thanks to fracking, Americans pay less for heat (and everything else), the economy is helped, new jobs get created, we create less greenhouse gas, and for the first time since the 19th century, America may become a net exporter of energy.

Good things happen if the silly people can't convince all politicians to ban progress.


Eco-terror advocate slams climate 'deniers' on film

Last Friday, Big Green's entertainment division churned out yet another attempt to turn that around with a panicky new global-warming documentary. It opened on 51 screens with a weekend gross of $45,000 (that's $882.25 per screen, according to the Internet Movie Database). It was produced at an estimated cost of $1.5 million and comes with a screaming title: "Greedy Lying Bastards."

The illegitimi, of course, are "deniers," a term evocative of those who assert that Adolf Hitler's Holocaust against the Jews never happened. Nothing subtle here.

"Greedy Lying Bastards" seethes with catastrophic images -- wildfires, floods, droughts, dust storms, hurricanes -- as if such things have never happened before and anything bad that happens now is exclusively the fault of man-made climate change. Of course, the film's producers must have left their own trail of jet fuel-induced climate change behind them as they zipped to locations in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England, Kenya, Uganda, Peru and Tuvalu.

The documentary was directed and co-written by Craig Rosebraugh, former mouthpiece for convicted felon eco-terrorists of the Earth Liberation Front; he's also author of "The Logic of Political Violence." The movie is as thin on anything new as its skinny creator is on bulk, as seen on the cover of the DVD release. Reiteration, as noted by one movie reviewer, is the essence of "Greedy Lying Bastards": We've endlessly heard all this Koch-bashing and ExxonMobil stuff before. And Rosebraugh doesn't do himself any favors with his first-person voice-over: "He imparts all evidence in a snarky, patronizing tone that is sure to annoy many viewers sympathetic with his cause," said one review by the Austin Chronicle.

The major premise of "Greedy Lying Bastards" is that Big Oil moguls such as the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil "give billions to think-tank shills," including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute, who have convinced the public that global warming is a hoax. PR man James Hoggan comes on screen and explains that the mere repetition of talking points funded by the fossil fuel industry is winning the hearts and minds of the public. One viewer saw it differently: "I can't wait to hear the tally for the number of times the word 'deny' and its variations are uttered in this film." It comes as no surprise that leftie Hollywood star Daryl Hannah was executive producer for this disaster.

"Greedy Lying Bastards" begins with an epic dust storm engulfing Phoenix. One viewer who had lived in Phoenix noted, "That happens every summer because of the thunderstorm downdrafts."

The scene shifts to brushfires in hilly Colorado Springs, Colo., that burned many homes and left families horribly stricken. Global warming is stated as the cause. The homeowners, of course, didn't cut downhill brush in anticipation of such periodic conflagrations. The producers also didn't account for quirks of weather. A viewer told me, "I live just east of the High Park fire in Fort Collins. The rainfall map for the seven days before the fire shows most of the Front Range got inches of rain, but two places didn't -- the places where the fires occurred."

Of another scene, a viewer said, "We see what appear to be crops ruined by drought, yet fields of corn taller than a man are seen in the distance." Hmmm. Greenie lying bastards?

After that, the documentary sinks into an hour and 20 minutes of stale "ain't it awful" rants against fossil fuels. There's no need to pay to sit in a nearly empty theater to see "Greedy Lying Bastards." You only need to watch the three-minute online trailer to get the message. The rest is wretched excess.


Actor reveals he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars investing in windmills

Kelsey Grammer has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars investing in windmills.

The former Frasier star expected his investment to be 'lucrative' but the venture flopped, leaving him worse off financially.

Asked by TMZ for his worst ever investment, he said: 'Investing in windmills.

'You'd think it would be lucrative, but it's not really a friendly environment for new technology, it really isn't.  'Big wind is doing OK but small wind isn't and it cost me a lot of money - it's got six figures.'

Though Kelsey insists his finances are still 'OK', he admits there is no chance of recouping his original investment.  He added: 'I'm OK, but I didn't make up for it, it's one of those things that's just a straight loss.'


Religion: New versus old

Sometimes the best thing we can do is close our eyes, inhale the elevated CO2 levels in the air, and chill out. Although climate change alarmists want us to believe the contrary, fear will kill us before climate change will. Some things aren't worth the hassle, especially if you already know how the story ends. One day the earth will be renewed. Until then, we should enjoy life and do our best to maintain the planet.

The biblical truth "To everything there is a season" is valid and remains constant. Whether it is scorching summers or frigid winters, the earth continues to rotate while seasons change. From plant life forcing its way through volcanic ash to oceanic microbes swallowing up spilled oil, the earth has the Creator-granted ability to heal itself from wounds sustained by acts of man or God.

Of course, any mention of biblical principles in relation to scientific argument is consistently mocked by those who crow the sky is falling every time a cow passes gas or air temperatures fluctuate.

Indeed, carbon dioxide levels are on the rise, according to recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but there is no reason for panic. According to The Australian, the chief of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, recently confirmed despite elevated CO2 levels, there's actually been a "17-year pause in global temperature rises." On a lesser level, the University of Alabama's Earth System Science Center in Huntsville also confirmed what those weary from snow shoveling already knew: the planet experienced a rapid cool down in February from the month prior. Whew. Good news. It's okay to pull out your gas guzzling snow blowers.

Dr. Pachauri also said, " only thrives on the basis of questioning." If that is the case, then why do climate change alarmists not ask more questions? If they truly desire answers leading to solutions, why are they afraid to include the "God factor" in their line of questioning? Seems every time there's a drought, hurricane or snowstorm, alarmists suggest the planet is intentionally regurgitating on mankind for its ecological malfeasance. It seems laughable environmentalists and presumed scientific experts regularly talk about the planet having the ability to execute vengeance on global sinners, but scoff at the very mention of God playing a role in climate fluctuations.

Alarmists are quick to ridicule those embracing Biblical teaching suggesting an apocalyptic ending preceding a renewal of the planet, yet themselves promote a similar end, bereft the grace and hope for renewal. While they'd never admit it, they practice their own religion, coming across like Greek gods who can control the earth's climate and create weather.

Man can do neither, and the more we try, the more we hurt ourselves and the planet. A wind energy group, for example, is seeking permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to kill bald eagles and protected birds and bats through "Incidental Death." The USFWS claims a viable alternative to reducing those deaths is sporadic shut downs during certain migratory seasons, effectively reducing efficiency, and raising consumer energy costs. In a rare collision of liberal signature issues, fossil fuel wackos are willing to sacrifice bald eagles in the name of clean energy.

To understand the environmentalists' theology you must check common sense at the door. On the surface, wind turbines seem like a great alternative to fossil fuel. But the dirty little secret is fossil fuels are used to fill in during down times. And there are a lot of down times -- because the wind doesn't always blow...if only we could learn how to harness the hot air rising from the mouths of those who think they have the ability to change the climate.


Cars and conservatism

Why do the Green/Left hate them?

 The first car I ever personally purchased, a tan-colored ‘73 Subaru, seemed so fresh and frisky and up-to-date when I originally took it home, but a mere eight years later it had become an aging, non-descript clunker. In recent years, I’ve been switching cars more frequently because it makes sense to lease them for business purposes, so the attachment never gets especially intense.

And for my children, those connections mean virtually nothing because cars hardly count as the potent symbols of power, maturity and self-reliance they represented forty and fifty years ago. Al Gore and his acolytes equate the internal combustion engine with climate change, over-consumption and environmental devastation, and the mayors of trendy towns like Seattle and Portland have declared war on the automobile as the enemy of civilized values. For enlightened souls in the upcoming generation cars have become surprisingly un-cool; riding light rail, bicycles or even buses represents a healthier, more responsible alternative.

With cars becoming politically incorrect, politically incorrect voices naturally flourish in the one medium—radio—that relies almost entirely on drivers riding alone in their vehicles. Perennial questions about the unshakeable conservative dominance of talk radio may well stem from the fact that most radio listening occurs during automotive commutes. Those who rely on mass transit or even carpools (where conversation among fellow-travelers trumps conversation on the air) are less likely to listen to talk shows about politics, regardless of ideological perspective. And no one can doubt that conscientious liberals are over-represented on bicycles, in environmentally responsible carpools, or especially in big cities with well-developed subway systems where radio-listening counts as notably more difficult.

Cars also appeal powerfully to one of the most important conservative values, so it’s not surprising that those who drive the most would find themselves tilting to the right. The big shift from trains to automobiles after the turn of the last century provided a powerful boost to individualism and the notion of American independence. Strap-hangers in public conveyances can only travel in groups, moving along with hordes of strangers according to schedules imposed by others. Once you get into a car, however, you go wherever you want whenever you want to leave, subject only to your ability to put gas in your tank. Those who relish that sense of control, and make the requisite sacrifices to enjoy it, will quite naturally ride to and from work in splendid isolation, kept company by simpatico conservative commentary by Limbaugh, Hannity… or Medved.

The emphasis on independence and self-empowerment in conservative thinking helps to explain the red state romance with automotive transportation… and with guns, for that matter, another favorite target of liberal critics. Sure, people on the right of a certain age may prove more likely to expend emotion in saying farewell to one specific car, but we will never go along with the idea of saying goodbye to cars.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


14 March, 2013

Climategate 3 coming up?

The person who released the first two batches of Warmist emails has now made a third lot available.  The problem is that most of them are mundane and there are 200,000 of them.  So it will be a huge sifting process to get anything out of them.  It needs someone with a LOT of spare time -- which rules out most bloggers.  Anthony Watts has a record of co-ordinating volunteer efforts so maybe he will do so this time too.

The cowardly carbon tax

“Taxes should hurt.” That is what then-Gov. Ronald Reagan of California said back in the late 1960s. And while these words seem curious coming from the man who lowered the overall income tax rates significantly and flattened the tax code during his eight years in the White House, they are as true today as they were when Reagan uttered them.

Reagan’s premise was simple. If the people are separated from the cost of government through hidden fees, inflation or taxes, then they mistakenly believe that the government services they demand are free. And who wouldn’t want free?

In fact, this is the whole secret behind Obama’s victory in 2012. America ran a $5 trillion debt on his first four-year watch, unemployment payments were extended to almost two years, record numbers of people are on food stamps, and we even give people “free” Obama cellphones, and this doesn’t even count the cost of new regulations.

Yet, the costs of this spending and regulatory spree have been hidden from Americans as it is has been paid through what liberal economist Paul Krugman called, “depression-like” economic growth.

The so-called “carbon tax” is designed to hide the cost of government from the people. By taxing carbon based energy sources at their origin, the tax would ripple through the economy, leading to higher prices for consumers, who would naturally blame the grocer, the energy company, utility, car-maker or just the seeming whims of others that cause prices to skyrocket.

The net effect of this is a furthering of the political disconnect between the taxes Americans pay and the size and scope of government.

But a carbon tax would be even more destructive than most can imagine, because it would have the perverse impact of destroying federal government revenue growth, rather than expanding it.

Today, places like North Dakota and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas are at the cutting edge of a national industrial resurgence solely due to the work and ingenuity of very smart people who figured out how to unleash massive amounts of natural gas and oil from shale deposits: the very energy sources that the carbon tax would make dramatically more expensive.

While we are seeing that lower energy costs are creating mini-manufacturing booms around the country — employing workers, creating wealth and expanding government tax bases — a carbon tax would act as a knife to the heart of the newly developing industries.

Rather than embrace the opportunity for a new American century that is being laid before us, carbon tax radicals would prefer to check off their 20th century, alternative energy bucket lists. And by making energy more expensive through the imposition of a hidden carbon tax, the American voter will never even be able to identify those responsible for assassinating their hopes and dreams for a better economic future.

Reagan was right, “taxes should hurt.” In a town known for avoiding accountability, few ideas are as cowardly as a hidden carbon tax allowing politicians to benefit from government giveaways while shrugging their shoulders when asked why the prices we pay for things have gotten so high.


Another "Green" firm totters

Shi Zhengrong, the former billionaire dubbed the "Sun King" for the meteoric rise of his solar company, Suntech Power, remains "upbeat and very positive", even as a possible debt default looms and the stock dives, according to the firm's chief technology officer.

Stuart Wenham, who has served as Suntech's main technology executive since the firm's founding in China in 2001, said Dr Shi was relaxed and confident during a meeting last week, even after he was ousted as chairman.

"How can you own 30 per cent of the company - much more than the next biggest shareholder - and not have a say in its future?" said Dr Wenham, who was co-supervisor of Dr Shi when he was doing his PhD at the University of NSW, and serves as director of its Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence.

This week may prove crucial for the future of Suntech, which is one of the world's largest makers of solar PV panels.The New York Times overnight reported that the company has almost run out of cash and will soon be partially or fully taken over by the municipal government of Wuxi, in eastern China, where it is headquartered.

Doubts of Suntech's future sent its New York-listed shares plunging another 24 per cent on Wednesday, extending this week's fall to more than a third.

The company earlier this week secured agreement with 60 per cent of bondholders to delay repayments by two months to May 15 on convertible debt totalling $US541 million ($525 million).

Some of the remaining 40 per cent of bondholders, though, say they aren't prepared to wait that long and may sue the US-listed company if repayments are missed this week.

"Every piece of information that I've looked at suggests they will default on Friday," James Millar, a partner at law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in New York, told Bloomberg.

Stock turnaround

Suntech rose to prominence when it became the first Chinese solar company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Its stock quadrupled by the end of 2007, valuing founder Dr Shi's stake at more than $3 billion.

Suntech's stock price and Dr Shi's status have since plummeted amid a global glut of solar PVs.

Dr Shi, who turns 50 on Monday, was ousted as Suntech's chairman seven months after being replaced as the firm's chief executive officer. He said he was "shocked" by his removal and warned the company needed a "viable business plan".

Concerns about Suntech's possible debt default caused its shares to resume their slide this week. At the current level, the stock is worth less than 1 per cent of its record close on Boxing Day 2007.

The company's strained finances were on display on Tuesday when Suntech revealed plans to shut its US plant in Arizona next month - just 30 months after its opening.

The company blamed the closure, in part, on the US government's decision to slap anti-dumping tariffs of 36 per cent on its solar cell imports from China.

Government aid?

The firm's best chance of survival is likely to be in the form of a bailout by authorities in China, as has happened to several other cash-strapped solar energy firms.

“There’s a general confidence amongst the biggest companies that the Chinese government really values the industry and will make sure that it is protected in some shape or form,” Dr Wenham said.

Two Chinese government advisors, though, told Bloomberg that the government would not rescue Suntech because the solar industry needs to consolidate after excessive expansion.

“The government won’t intervene and shouldn’t,” Li Junfeng, director of the climate-change strategic research division at the government’s National Development and Reform Commission said in an interview.

Meng Xiangan, vice chairman of the China Renewable Energy Society, a liaison between the industry and the state, said Suntech should “not rely on government assistance.”

Whatever the outcome of the debt repayments or state bailouts, Dr Shi is certain to remain active in the solar industry, Dr Wenham said.

"It's his passion - it's not a job or a career," he said. "It's his life."


Ten Good Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears:  Polar Bears Are A Conservation Success Story

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honour of the International Polar Bear Day (27 February) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear– I have made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.

1) Polar bears are a conservation success story

Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four sub-populations of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero, the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).

2) The only polar bear subpopulation that has had a statistically significant decline  in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay. A few others have been  presumed to be decreasing, based on suspicions of over-harvest- of over-harvest of over-harvesting, assumed repercussions of reduced sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition – not actual population declines.

3) Polar bears in the US portion of the Chukchi Sea are in good condition and reproducing well, while sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years – good reasons not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi.

4) A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed that polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is not on a steadily precipitous decline – good reasons not to be worried about Hudson Bay bears.


Even RINO congressmen are backing away from global warming now

Changing weather patterns and a slightly shifting political landscape have spurred a renewed interest in climate change action among congressional Democrats but not with the Republicans who once expressed concern about the issue.

GOP senators including John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska still say that man-made climate change exists and deserves a response -- a position that sets them apart from many in their caucus who say warming is not occurring or is driven only by natural causes.

But they don't talk much about the issue anymore, nor do they propose mandatory programs to deal with it.

"I am always concerned about climate change, and I would like to see an incentive-based way of addressing some of the problems of greenhouse gas emissions," McCain told E&E Daily last week at the Capitol. But he added that he had not thought much about the issue "of late."

And his "incentive-based" solution likely would bear no resemblance to the cap-and-trade bill he first proposed a decade ago with former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

"I've never thought that raising people's taxes was the way we should approach the issue," McCain said, dodging a question about whether he now views all cap-and-trade measures in that light. Instead, he said the federal government could help bring down emissions by facilitating the production and export of natural gas and its broader use in transportation, and by incentivizing nuclear power.

McCain and Lieberman's long-ago effort made a brief appearance in this year's State of the Union address, when President Obama offered it as an example of how Congress could address climate change in a "bipartisan, market-based" way.

"I'm always glad to be mentioned in the State of the Union," said McCain, when asked about his former rival's words. But although he and Graham have since visited the White House to talk about immigration reform, both senators said the topic of climate change didn't come up.

McCain, who faced a tough primary challenge before being re-elected two and a half years ago, hasn't been out front on the issue since his failed 2008 turn as the GOP presidential nominee. He joined Republicans in the 111th Congress in painting cap and trade as "cap and tax," even as close allies Lieberman and Graham went to work on a new bill.

But Graham, too, has changed his tune considerably on climate change since collaborating with Lieberman and then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on cap-and-trade legislation.

"Cap and trade is dead," he told E&E Daily recently in a brief interview. "I think there's other ways to reduce carbon that are not so onerous to the economy."

Graham argued that U.S. EPA under Obama seems poised to implement a system akin to cap and trade through use of the Clean Air Act, but that would be a political mistake for Democrats.

"I think if they try to implement cap and trade through the EPA, a lot of Democrats would object," he said. Obama won't be running for re-election, but many of his Democratic allies in Congress will be next year.

"And if you use the regulatory system that way, you'd be running into trouble," he said.

The agency is in the early stages of crafting greenhouse gas rules for existing power plants, and some have urged it to consider adding flexibility mechanisms to those rules. But former Administrator Lisa Jackson and others stated repeatedly that cap and trade was not a model the agency was considering.

'Back on the reservation'

Graham left the cap-and-trade effort in April 2010, saying that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) had not been sufficiently supportive.

But David Woodard, a political consultant for Graham's campaigns and political science professor at Clemson University, said Graham's transformation on the issue really started back home in the Palmetto State.

His work on the issue was a factor in the decision by three South Carolina county GOP parties to censure him (Greenwire, Nov. 11, 2009).

"That was something that was wrapped up in the Obama administration, and the conservative revulsion was against Obama and climate change, and immigration, and everything," he said.

His caution on climate change solidified, however, following the June 2010 primary defeat of former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), an incumbent Graham had backed who also had been active on climate change policy.

After that, Woodard said, "Lindsey Graham began to head back on the reservation."

In statements from that spring and summer, Graham occasionally rejected even the science of man-made climate change. A Mother Jones article from June 2010 quoted him as saying of man-made climate change: "I think they've oversold this stuff, quite frankly. I think they've been alarmist and the science is in question."

Woodard said all indications are that Graham will not face a tough primary challenge this year, in part because he has managed to get himself back in the good graces of the right-leaning Republicans of South Carolina. But he would be unlikely to spoil that now by revisiting climate change, he said.


Climate change not all bad for fish

The first sentence  below is a bare-faced lie and an outright fraud.  The writer is treating a prophecy as a fact

Coral reef fisheries will be hurt by climate change in the tropical Pacific, but it could help tuna fishing and freshwater aquaculture thrive.

Pacific Island countries have an 'extraordinary dependence' on fisheries and aquaculture, scientists say in a report on how changes to the atmosphere and ocean are likely to affect the food webs, habitats and stocks underpinning fisheries and aquaculture across the region.

'Maintaining the benefits from the sector is a difficult task, now made more complex by climate change,' they say in Nature Climate Change on Monday.

'We found winners and losers.

'Tuna are expected to be more abundant in the east, and freshwater aquaculture and fisheries are likely to be more productive.

'Conversely, coral reef fisheries could decrease by 20 per cent by 2050 and coastal aquaculture may be less efficient.'

The potential impact on invertebrates is 'still poorly understood' but is expected to be more moderate.

The report from Australian and other scientists around the world says the potential benefits to the region from an eastward shift in skipjack tuna should exceed the threats.

They suggest that maintaining livelihoods in the region will require some income-earning activities to switch from coral reef fish to pelagic fish, particularly tuna.

Pelagic fish spend much of their lives in open water away from the bottom.

'Ironically in an archipelagic region, many of the extra jobs are likely to come from farming freshwater fish,' the report says

But a potential increase in freshwater fisheries could be negated if industries such as mining, agriculture and logging continue to pollute waterways, raising temperatures.

The onus is on governments, communities and their development partners to implement a range of supporting policies, the scientists say.


Australia: Gas exploration regulated into oblivion in NSW

Coal seam gas company Metgasco says it is putting its northern New South Wales programs on hold, blaming recent State Government regulation changes.

The company is suspending its Clarence Moreton exploration and development program, which has been the subject of a series of community protests.

In a statement, Metgasco's company director Peter Henderson says it has not been an easy decision to make but was necessary because of the uncertainty surrounding regulation of the CSG industry.

A series of new regulations including a two-kilometre exclusion zone imposed around residential areas were announced last month.

The State Government is also introducing exclusion zones for critical industry clusters, such as for horse breeders and wine producers.

Mr Henderson says the changes were brought in without consulting the industry.

"The CSG industry in New South Wales endured an 18-month shutdown while the State Government reviewed the industry and put in place regulations it lauded as the toughest in Australia, if not the world," he said.

"Only five months after introducing these new regulations and confirming its support for the industry, the NSW Government has yet again announced new regulations, this time without any consultation with the energy industry."

Drew Hutton from anti-CSG group the Lock the Gate Alliance says he hopes it is the beginning of the end of CSG in the state.  "Metgasco is reading the winds here," he said.  "They're realising that the State Government is changing tack as a result of an enormous amount of pressure from the community and the Federal Government likewise with its adoption of a water trigger."

Metgasco's statement contained no references to yesterday's decision by the Federal Government to toughen environmental laws covering coal seam gas projects.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


13 March, 2013

The Science of Deception

I have twice pointed out some of the holes in the recent Marcott paper but the media have made so much of the study that I offer below some further points by Doug Hoffman.  He points out that the authors have used the same "trick" that Michael Mann did in his fraudulent "Hockeystick" paper -- tacked together incomparable data:  proxies for most of the history with thermometer data in more recent times.  In Mann's data, proxies and thermometer data gave opposite conclusions for the C20 temperature trend.  How much confidence does that give us in any paper that merges the two as if they were the same? -- JR

There was much made in the media about a new report that claims modern day temperatures are the highest in 5,000 years. Moreover, the investigators assert that this century's temperature rise is “unprecedented,” echoing the assertions of climate change alarmists over the past 30 years. Various news outlets seized upon this report as final proof that the world is headed for a hot steamy demise because of human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

There are, however, a number of problems with that assertion. First among them is the methodology used to generate the global temperature history and the comparison of proxy data with instrument data from recent times. This may be science but it is being used to deceive the public into believing that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a crisis on an unprecedented scale.

Appearing the the journal Science—a publication with a notably biased stance regarding the theory of AGW—the report of a new study of historical global temperatures has reignited global warming fever in the news media and blogosphere

Aside from mostly getting the story wrong—the report did not claim that the present is the hottest time since the end of the ice age—the news mavens were beside themselves with glee. Nothing like pending disaster to help increase ratings and readership. It really is amazing the level of scientific ignorance among the news media “experts” that cover the environment. For them, climate change is the gift that keeps on giving.

The study itself, titled “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years,” was authored by Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, and Alan C. Mix. Beginning with a bow to climate science convention, the report's abstract is not as bombastic as the media reporting but clearly does obeisance to global warming dogma.

    "Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by ~0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (less than 5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with ~2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios."

No wonder the warmist media was excited. But should they be? Notice that even in the abstract, the authors admit that current temperatures have not exceeded the temperatures of more than 5,000 years ago, a time commonly known as the Holocene Climate Optimum. In fact, they reinforce the commonly held history of Holocene temperatures, including the Little Ice Age, a cool period that several previous studies have tried to erase. Even more important is how this study was conducted and the experimental limits on its results. To examine these we need to understand something about the use of foraminifera as a proxy for temperature.

There are a number of problems with using foraminifera sediment data to reconstruct a history of ancient temperatures. Here is a quote from chapter 3 of the Global Warming Field Guide by John Weaver, Jeff Braun, and William J. Szlemko, “Measuring Temperature in the Distant Past, The Art of Developing Temperature Proxy Data”:

    "The theory is that these creatures form near the surface at a certain sea temperature, then fall to the ocean floor over time, leaving behind a permanent record of historic sea temperatures – which are loosely related to air temperatures. Unfortunately, settling rates can be variable due to ocean currents and other, lesser, factors. Plus, settling rates are extremely slow for these tiny shells, so there can be mixing of many years before they actually make it all the way to the bottom. In the end, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that sediment layers contain much longer records than do ice core samples. The bad news is that it is nearly impossible to resolve the year-to-year differences that are possible with ice core data. The resolution for sediment cores is more likely on the order of hundreds of years, although the records cover several million years. In this sense, perhaps, ice core data and sediment cores sort of provide complimentary information."

Scientists know that all sources of palaeoclimatic proxy data differ according to their resolution, spatial coverage and the time period to which they pertain. There are several types of uncertainty lurking in the proxy method used in this study, including temporal, spatial and measurment. To start with, the number of samples is fairly small, only 73 scattered around the world, and they vary in quality. The southern hemisphere is acknowledged as being under represented. Then there is the resolution with which the proxy temperatures can be dated.

“The 73 globally distributed temperature records used in our analysis are based on a variety of paleotemperature proxies and have sampling resolutions ranging from 20 to 500 years, with a median resolution of 120 years,” they authors state. How did they compensate for differences in their datasets? “We account for chronologic and proxy calibration uncertainties with a Monte Carlo–based randomization scheme.” they explain.

“In addition to the previously mentioned averaging schemes, we also implemented the RegEM algorithm to statistically infill data gaps in records not spanning the entire Holocene, which is particularly important over the past several centuries.” It seems that their complete record of Holocene temperature contains a lot of gaps and uncertainties that have been filled with estimates and randomness. Far from the conclusive record of global temperatures trumpeted by the media.

In the past a number of studies based on tree rings have gotten things notoriously wrong—for example Mann's “hockey stick” graph resulted from the improper merging of several tree ring studies. “Published reconstructions of the past millennium are largely based on tree rings and may underestimate low-frequency (multicentury-to-millennial) variability because of uncertainty in detrending ... whereas our lower-resolution records are well suited for reconstructing longer-term changes,” the authors claim.

Notice how they include a sharp uptick in temperature at the end of each graph, supposedly those unprecedented temperatures mentioned at the beginning of the article. The only reason they seem so anomalous is that the older temperatures are averages, of at least 20 years and as many as 120 years, due to the inherent temporal uncertainty in the foram data. Modern temperatures, taken directly with instruments, should not be compared directly with the foram proxy derived data. To present an unbiased representation the graphs should all have stopped a decade ago.

“Because the relatively low resolution and time-uncertainty of our data sets should generally suppress higher-frequency temperature variability, an important question is whether the Holocene stack adequately represents centennial- or millennial-scale variability,” the authors confess. What this means is that sudden excursions in temperature during times past would be totally undetectable from the proxy data. To merge modern data with historical proxy data in this manner is disingenuous to say the least and, given the tone of the abstract, might even be construed as intentionally misleading.

What was the hottest year of the Holocene? What was the hottest decade? No one knows, but they almost certainly occurred during the “temperature plateau” extending from 9500 to 5500 years ago. Even by the flawed comparisons made in this paper the averaged temperatures during the Holocene Climate Optimum were higher than today. If the year to year variability could somehow be reconstructed we would surely find many years with much higher temperature spikes during that 4,000 year period of global warmth.

While this study is interesting and useful in its results, it is clear that the authors tried to spin the results into a prop for the failed AGW theory. It certainly had the intended result, news outlets around the world announced the new conclusive proof of AGW causing an unprecedented temperature increase—none of them realizing, or perhaps caring, that the comparison was invalid.

This may be science, but it is science distorted, it is the science of deception

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

The latest U.S. temperature trend

Swedish blogger Sophia has obtained the official figures for January/February and compared them with equivalent figures in previous years.  She finds a distinct COOLING trend.  Excerpt below

The trend for 1990 to 2013 is - 0.56 F / Decade

The trend for 2000 to 2013 is - 1.13 F / Decade

So the “warming trend” 2000-2013 for Jan-Feb is exactly - 1.13 F degrees a decade.  That is a whopping - 11.3 F COOLER in 100 years. That’s what I call “warming”!

And this is also the decade that the Global Warming Hysterics have been screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to scare us to death, about the catastrophic treat that the “extreme increase” in temperature is to mankind and earth.

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?


New ‘green’ petrol could drive up prices and damage cars

Britain has signed up to an EU directive which means that suppliers must dilute petrol with environmentally-friendly alternatives.

The oil companies have chosen ethanol, made from corn, which will make up 10 per cent of a new petrol called E10.

Due to be launched later this year it will be available at the pump alongside standard petrol and other green fuels

However, a study today warns it will add around £80 a year extra to the average family’s fuel bill as it gives less miles to the gallon.

The high ethanol content could also ruin the engines of some older cars and motorbikes as it could melt some components,The Daily Mail reported.

The Department for Transport estimate that up to 8.6million vehicles may not be compatible with the new fuel, which is being introduced to cut the use of fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gases.

Drivers may be confused by its arrival on forecourts unless pumps are clearly labelled and they know whether it is safe for their car.

The study by the respected think-tank warns: "The increased use of ethanol in petrol to meet EU sustainability targets is resulting in drivers paying extra at the pump."

Under the EU's Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation five per cent of fuel used in member states must be renewable by 2014, due to increase to 10 percent by 2020.

Oil companies have chosen ethanol, which mainly comes from the US, as this renewable source.

But using ethanol generally cuts a vehicle's fuel efficiency. If the 2020 target of 10 per cent of transport energy coming from renewable sources had been applied in the UK last year it would have cost motorists £1.5billion.

Author of the study Rob Bailey, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, warned E10 petrol is not compatible with millions of older vehicles and could cause corrosion and drivability problems for vehicles of ten years or older.

The green petrol was introduced in Germany two years ago and many drivers decided not to use it in case it damages their engines and because they are uncertain about the wider “environmental and social impacts of ethanol,” said Mr Bailey.

The Government has asked suppliers to delay introducing of E10 to allow time so that drivers can be fully informed and a list of incompatible vehicles can be compiled.

Mr Bailey added that taking farmland out of food production to grow fuel crops also threatens to put up food prices.

The study was funded by Olleco, a business which collects and refines waste cooking oil to be used as biodiesel in vehicles, which Mr Bailey found was a better option to be mixed with fuel than ethanol.


Japan cracks seabed 'ice gas' in dramatic leap for global energy

Japan has extracted natural "ice" gas from methane hydrates beneath the sea off its coasts in a technological coup, opening up a super-resource that could meet the country's gas needs for the next century and radically change the world's energy outlook.

The state-owned oil and gas company JOGMEC said an exploration ship had successfully drilled 300 metres below the seabed into deposits of methane hydrate, an ice-like solid that stores gas molecules but requires great skill to extract safely.

"Methane hydrates available within Japan's territorial waters may well be able to supply the nation's natural gas needs for a century," said the company, adding that the waters under exploration also contain large reserves of rare earth metals.

Government officials said it was the world's first off-shore experiment of its kind, though Japan been working closely with the Canadians. The US and China have their own probes underway.

The US Geological Survey said methane hydrates offer an "immense carbon reservoir", twice all other known fossil fuels on earth (illustrated in pie chart below). However, it warned that the ecological impact is "very poorly understood".

The immediate discoveries in Japan's Eastern Tankai Trough are thought to hold 40 trillion cubic feet of methane, equal to eleven years gas imports. The company described the gas as "burnable ice", saying the trick is free it from a crystaline cage of water molecules by lowering the pressure. Tokyo hopes to bring the gas to market on a commercial scale within five years.

The breakthrough comes after 17 years of research and several hundred million dollars of investment. It could be the answer to Japan's prayers, ending its reliance on expensive imports of fuel to meet almost all energy needs.

The country's trade surplus has vanished since the government shut down all but two of its 54 nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and switched to other fuels, mostly liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It imported a record 87m tonnes of LNG last year at roughly five times the cost of shale gas available to US chemical companies and key industries, putting Japanese firms at a huge disadvantage.

Japan's Institute of Energy Economics said methane hydrate could be the "game-changer" that restores Japan's flagging fortunes, acting as a catalyst for revival much like the shale revolution in the US.

The state oil group plans to drill as deep as 7,000 metres below the sea floor eventually, going out in seas with depth of up to 4,000 metres.

Environmentalists are deeply alarmed by new focus on ice gas, fearing that it will set off a fresh energy race in the fragile eco-systems of the oceans and may cause landslides on the seabed.

The risk of methane leakage into the atmosphere could be a major snag. The US Geological Survey says the gas has ten times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide.


Being Green Isn’t Harmless

We all care about the environment. But now we’re going to foolish extremes. And real people are getting hurt.

In conversations with individuals young and old, I’ve run up against a constant theme. Perhaps I’ve tried to explain why a particular green proposal is nonsensical once ill-founded assumptions are separated from cold facts. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that green activists alarm me because they are unelected and unaccountable.

The default, fallback position of good, solid, well-intentioned people usually amounts to: “Well, I think it’s important to protect the environment.”

Yes, we all love the environment. As a gardener and a photographer, few things attract me more than healthy, lush greenery.

But in the political arena, people who claim to be standing up for the environment often use that as a cover for something else. They’re trying to sell us on vegetarianism. They think capitalism should be swept away. They’re nostalgic for a simpler, Eden-like existence. They’re trying to convince themselves that they’re superheroes saving the planet rather than ordinary working Joes.

Or, they’re simply paying the bills, feeding their own machine. All those attorneys on staff at high-powered green groups cost money. All those rent payments for offices in multiple countries don’t come cheap.

When people say they think it’s important to protect the environment, surely we need to reply: Yes, but now we’re going to foolish extremes. And real people are getting hurt.

This past weekend, Christopher Booker, that iconoclastic granddaddy of UK newspaper columnists, published a tour de force titled: Eco madness and how our future is going up in smoke as we pay billions to switch from burning coal to wood chips at Britain’s biggest power station.

It’s a keeper. It’s the kind of essay we need to pass around because it demonstrates beyond a doubt that governments are prepared to do insane things in the name of protecting the environment.

In this instance, the UK is trying to meet emissions reduction – as well as renewable energy – goals. Therefore, its largest coal-fired power plant will, over the coming years, be retrofitted to burn wood chips instead.

In this brave new world that we who care about the environment have created, wood is call “biomass.” Green geniuses have decided that the CO2 that’s emitted when wood gets burnt doesn’t count. They’ve waved a magic wand and decided it doesn’t really exist. As Booker explains:

    "biomass is considered ‘sustainable’, because it supposedly only returns back to the atmosphere the amount of CO2 it drew out of the air while the original tree it came from was growing."

Take that accounting trick and add the bureaucratic ruling that wood is good because it’s a “renewable” source of energy and presto! we arrive exactly where the UK is today. In Booker’s words, most of the wood chips that will be burned at the UK power plant

    "will come from trees felled in forests covering a staggering 4,600 square miles in the USA, from where they will be shipped 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Britain."

How, in a world in which we’re urged to obsess over our personal carbon footprint, can that possibly make sense?

For good measure, it turns out that huge piles of wood chips are a significant fire risk (the industry calls this “spontaneous ignition” or “spontaneous combustion“). And did I mention that everybody knows that the above plan will double the electricity bills of ordinary people?

The British government – which is responsible for writing the rules and regulations that have brought about this state of affairs – has lost its way. It’s now forcing power companies to do unbelievably dumb things in the name of being green. It’s playing games with an essential service on which lives and jobs depend.

Doubling electricity bills will harm pensioners, those on disability benefits, and impoverished kids. It will cause jobs to disappear. Piling hardship on top of hardship in this manner, pretending that real people won’t really suffer, is not morally defensible.

Even in the name of protecting the environment.


Researchers put pristine Antarctic peninsula at risk

Scientists' activities on King George Island could harm the environment they are trying to study

Men and women wanted for hazardous duty. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Compensations include off-road driving, penguin spotting and no-hassle waste disposal.

That could be a job advertisement for station staff at Fildes Peninsula Antarctic research stations. It's not as noble as the apocryphal advertisement for explorer Ernest Shackleton's expedition in the early twentieth century, which promised honour and recognition, but then some of the site's modern occupants deserve neither, according to a report released last month by Germany's Federal Environment Agency1.

Fildes Peninsula is on King George Island, 120 kilometres off the coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, and just across the Drake Passage from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Because the island lies so far north compared with the rest of the region, it hosts one of the most diverse collections of life in Antarctica.

Six research stations crowd Fildes Peninsula, operated by Chile, China, Russia and Uruguay. The report's authors surveyed the Fildes Peninsula and human activity there from 2003–06 and again in 2008–12, and identified numerous and systematic violations of the Antarctic environmental protocol, which sets out basic principles for all human activities in the region.

Although some 27,000 tourists visited Antarctica last year, the report estimates that scientists have a larger impact on the Fildes Peninsula.

“It caught my attention that it’s scientists,” says environmental toxicologist Gustavo Chiang of the University of Concepción in Chile, who does fieldwork on Fildes Peninsula. Most researchers are careful not to damage the fragile environment they work in, Chiang says, but he has seen a few dispose of waste improperly or leave students unattended.

Such carelessness undermines the very raw material that scientists are there to study, the report says. Damaging activities cited in the report include the quarrying of rock from ancient beach ridges over an area of more than 5 hectares, which could contain fossils or clues about past climate change, and construction activity that has displaced Antarctic tern nesting grounds.
Research impact

One of the authors of the report, ecologist Hans-Ulrich Peter of Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and his colleagues have noted in a previous study how the high density of research stations and uncoordinated activity on the peninsula interferes with data collection and the environment2.

German scientists have advocated naming part of the peninsula an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), which would mean that any new human activity there would require the prior approval of all parties to the Antarctic Treaty.

Under the Antarctic environmental protocol, individual countries already agree to conduct environmental assessments before they construct anything new in Antarctica, but they do not need to consult other countries before they build. And the protocol's liability annex, which would establish penalties for violations, remains unratified. Chile has plans to expand its airport on the peninsula, for instance, which would require foreign approval if the peninsula became an ASMA.

The next opportunity to tackle the waste problem will be the Antarctic Treaty meeting is in Brussels in May, when Germany could convert the report into a working paper for discussion.

Victor Pomelov, the Russian Antarctic Expedition's delegate to the Committee for Environmental Protection, says that the German report “will be useful for the development of joint actions to protect the environment”.

He explains that Antarctic stations that were built before the signing of the environmental protocol in 1991 have difficulty with old landfills and historical waste disposal. “It is important that the process of waste disposal is carried out systematically,” he says, adding that the Russian government plans to use a new ship to transport waste away from the region.

Pomelov’s Chilean counterpart, Verónica Vallejos, says that Chile has banned at least three scientists from returning to its Antarctic installations, including one for driving off-road. There is a high turnover of staff at the bases, she says, and despite pre-trip briefings, “It’s very difficult for them to internalize all the Antarctic environmental protection information.”




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


12 March, 2013

A petition worth signing

To the British government

Responsible department: Department for Energy and Climate Change

I petition for the following action to be taken:

To stop immediately  the closure of any Power Station

To update existing conventional fuel Power Stations including Coal.

Not to allow any Power Station to close unless a replacement is up and fully running

To be self sufficient in Power Generation within the next five years



Talks on the great climate fraud

·         Tuesday 12th March: Evening (7:00 pm) Irish Club, 175 Elizabeth Street Brisbane CBD. opp. The HILTON

·         Wednesday 13th March: Gold Coast: Wednesday 13 March: 7:30 pm (Daylight saving time) at Coolangatta/Tweed Heads Golf Club, (end of) Soorley St, Tweed Heads South

·         Thursday 14th March - Evening (7:00) Gold Coast:  288 Gooding Drive CARRARA ~Reach Out For Christ Church; ~QLD launch of Rise Up Australia Party.

·         Friday 15th March - Cairns - Evening (7:00) Croswell Hall, Cairns State High School, Digger Street Entrance

·         Saturday 16th March - Daytime (1:00pm) Rockhampton - Elizabethan room, Leichardt Hotel, Bolsover Street

Another bite at Marcott and his egregious spin on the climate record

I have already pointed out that what we are dealing with here is prophecy.  But there are other holes in the story too.  You would never know that from the media, however.  Almost all of them ran the story and did so subserviently, with no hint of critical thinking.  I therefore reproduce the opening paragraphs of the WSJ version below followed by an email to the story author from Denis Ables of Virginia

New research suggests average global temperatures were higher in the past decade than over most of the previous 11,300 years, a finding that offers a long-term context for assessing modern-day climate change.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, aims to give a global overview of Earth's temperatures over the past 11,300 years—a relatively balmy period known as the Holocene that began after the last major ice age ended and encompasses all of recorded human civilization.

The research shows that a one-degree temperature variation that took 11 millennia to occur since the end of the last major ice age has been replicated in the 150 years since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

Within that framework, the decade 2000-2009 was one of the warmest since modern record-keeping began, but global mean temperatures didn't breach the levels of the early Holocene. Now they are on track to do so, according to the Science paper. If the scientists' forecasts are correct, the planet will be warmer in 2100 than it has been for 11,300 years.



With regard to current acceleration of warming, the start of our current warming (such as it is) began not in the late 1800s, but at the bottom of the little ice age --in the mid 1600s, so almost four centuries ago. That implies about 3 centuries of natural climate variation. (CO2 did not begin increasing until the mid 1800s, and at an average annual rate of increase of 2 ppmv would at best not have had any impact on warming for another century).  That takes us to the mid 1900s and from the 40s to the 70s was a cooling period (still no apparent impact from co2 increase. )

You also overlooked, or ignored, the fact that numerous previous studies show several earlier periods during which the temp was higher than now.  You also failed to mention that there has been no additional statistically significant warming for the past two decades.

Finally, you talk about CO2 driving the planet temperature as if there is some basis for that claim, when there is no CO2 correlation with planet warming, either currently or in the more distant past.  It is also well known that atmospheric feedbacks are not well understood.  Cloud cover variations brought on by sun activity and cosmic rays appear to be a sufficient offsetting negative feedback.

This new study appears to be just another variation of the bogus hockey stick fiasco.

Email from Denis Ables []

Bad Science and Bad Journalism are a Bad Combination

By Alan Caruba

On Wednesday, March 6, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent out a notice that its hearing on global warming was cancelled due to the chilly weather and a snowstorm that was about to hit the nation’s capital.

The Committee was going to be treated to “a comprehensive briefing on how well scientists understand the climate and humans’ effect on it.” On the same day in 1961, the temperature had hit a record 81 degrees. In 1888, it had been 10 degrees. Anyone who thinks that humans had anything to do with either is mistaken. When it comes to the weather, the only thing that humans do is endure or enjoy it.

Making sense of the weather and climate is something that puzzles paleoclimatologists, climatologists, and meteorologists. For example, none of these folks understand why clouds do what they do. That’s probably because the best definition of the weather is “chaos.” It’s the reason meteorologists cannot predict what the weather will be more than four or five days from now.

Instead, we continue to be the victims of global warming charlatans, some of whom are “scientists”, while other scientists with far more integrity have been engaged in debunking their lies since the 1980s. The only thing we know for sure is that the global warming “scientists” are destroying the public’s confidence in the integrity of climate science.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story on March 9, “In Study, Past Decade Ranks Among Hottest”. It was about a study published in a recent issue of the Journal Science claiming that a one degree temperature variation resulted in 2000-2009 being “one of the warmest since modern record-keeping began.” Their claim is that the planet will be warmer in 2100 than it has been for 11,300 years. That’s about the amount of time since the end of the last ice age and the beginning of the Holocene, an epoch of warm weather that gave rise to civilization—about 5,000 years ago. The length of the periods between ice ages is about 11,500 years. Another ice age will kick in any day now.

Predictions such as appeared in Science are utterly bogus. They are based on rigged computer models which have been constantly exposed for their lies. Both the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. government engage in this fraud. The study cited was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Climatologists measure changes in centuries, not decades. The article asked whether the alleged hottest decade is the result of “greenhouse gas emissions from human activity—or can it be explained as part of natural, long-term variations in temperature?” Generally unknown to the public is the fact that water vapor is a major “greenhouse gas” and plays a significant role in the earth’s overall temperature. Moreover, the oft-cited carbon dioxide plays no role in the earth’s temperature.

The “Science” study drew immediate criticism. James Taylor, the editor of The Heartland Institute’s “Environment & Climate News”, a national monthly, said “Global temperatures are essentially the same today as they were in 1995, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were merely 360 parts per million.” These levels “rose ten percent between 1995 and 2012, yet global temperatures did not rise at all.” That’s worth repeating, “global temperatures did not rise at all.”

This does not stop the “Warmists” from concocting their “studies” or journalists from repeating their lies in newspapers like The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal article was more cautious and balanced.

As Marc Morano noted at, a leading skeptics’ website, the earth is cooler today than 28% of the past 11,300 years. Yes, cooler. More recently, it has been cooling for nearly seventeen years and it is the direct result of an unusual solar condition. It is supposed to be in a “solar maximum” with lots of sunspots, magnetic storms, but there are few at this time, resulting in less radiation and cooler temperatures for the Earth.

“The new study is also counter to the preponderance of existing peer-reviewed studies,” said Morano, “showing the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warming were both as warm or warmer than today without benefit of modern emissions or SUVs.”

In 2009, one of the nation’s leading climatologists, MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen, wrote, “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in (a) global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations.”

“Such hysteria,” warned Dr. Lindzen, “simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing.”



By Prof. Vincent Gray

The world is a very confusing unpredictable place. Humans have, from the very beginning tried to create some sort of order and means of reducing its uncertainty.

They began by trying to find ways of ensuring the continuation of the regularities of the daily appearance of the sun, and of the annual cycle of the seasons. The responsible Gods had to be propitiated by sacrifice and ritual. The beginnings of this process are described in “The Golden Bough”1 .

The rituals that developed are still in existence in the form of daily prayers and annual holidays for Easter and Christmas, absorbed by more recent religions.

By the time of the Middle Ages it was believed that the world was basically static and unchanging, apart from any deviation which could be blamed on the Gods and solved by prayer or sacrifice.

The beginnings of modern science came with Kepler, Galileo and Newton who found that the behaviour of solid bodies could be predicted successfully by a fairly simple mathematical model. In order to do this Newton had to invent friction and gravity. It became possible to predict the movements of the planets as well as solid objects on the earth. The principle of mathematical models took hold to the extent that it was believed that the entire universe resembled a huge clock operated by mathematical formulae.

The complacency was disturbed by Einstein’s theory of relativity and by Planck’s quantum theory, but the idea has survived even the discovery of evolution, and the structure of atoms, ..

Science depends on measurement and all measurement inevitably involves inaccuracy. It was only in early 20th century that inaccuracy itself became subject to mathematical models. It is unfortunate that so many people who make use of them do not take care that their measurements comply with the assumptions of the model used.

The scientific study of the climate began, as with other disciplines, by the measurement of its properties. The science of meteorology is today amongst the most successful of all scientific institutions in its ability to measure and forecast local climate anywhere on the globe.

By comparison with other scientific disciplines it is faced with serious handicaps. Science demands that an experimental determination cannot be accepted unless it can be repeated, to an agreed level of accuracy, by an independent observer. Climate observations cannot be verified in this way. In addition, instruments, procedures, supervision, location are not standardised and the qualifications or the identity of the observer is often unknown. Recently the observer may just be automatic.

The climate is dominated, not by solid objects, but by the behaviour of fluids, by the atmosphere, and the oceans. Over the years many efforts have been made to try and develop a mathematical theory for the behaviour of fluids which can be used to assist weather and climate forecasting. The best that has been achieved involve the use of non linear equations with second order differential quantities. In order for this treatment to be successful it is necessary to define precisely the boundary conditions for the treatment to begin.

It was only with the work of Edward Lorenz2 that it was realized that the use of this type of model for the climate had serious limitations. He found that a very slight error in the setting up of the boundary conditions (for example, the movement of a butterfly’s wing) would be escalated by the equations to a very large extent if the equations are used to forecast long term future behaviour and thus make such a forecast impossible.

He concluded that for the climate “the prediction of the sufficiently distant future is impossible by any method”.

I have been reading “Chaos: Making a New Science” by James Gleick3. This book is claimed to be “The National Best Seller” in the USA in 1987. This is surprising as it is entirely concerned with the subject of what is now called “Chaos”, behaviour which is currently incapable of compliance with a mathematical formula. Unlike most books on mathematics there are no mathematical equations or symbols. There is mich information about the people who have developed the discipline, plus a layman’s account of what they have discovered. There are parts of it which can give predictable results, notably the beautiful “Fractals” and pictures of snowflakes and plant forms in some of the illustrations.

The applications are very widespread. They include the difficulty of deciding the length of the perimeter of a coastline, the behaviour of drops of water from a tap, and irregularities in heartbeats.

He remarks that climate scientists welcomed the arrival of better computers, believing that it would improve the accuracy and range of weather forecasts, but they have been disappointed. Despite the increased capacity of the computers, current weather forecasts are very little better in forecasting future weather than they were 50 years ago.

The book points out that chaotic observations are often referred to as “noise” and therefore neglected. The term accurately describes most current measurements of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. The existence of more than 90,000 accurate measurements in peer reviewed Journals that goes back to 18124 is never mentioned by the IPCC because they show that the atmospheric concentration varies with time of day, wind direction and strength and proximity to sources and sinks. It is chaotic. Simlarly no measurements over land surfaces today are published. Efforts to reduce “emissions “ of carbon dioxide, are therefore never checked as to whether they are effective in the localities where they are made.

In New Zealand a facility for the measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide was set up in Makara, just over the hill from this house, in the 1980s. Because most of its measurements were “noise” it was moved to the coast at Baring Head where only “baseline events” are allowed to be revealed, defined as follows

“A baseline event is normally defined as one in which the local wind direction is from the South and the standard deviation of minute-by-minute CO2 concentrations is less than 0.1ppm for 6 or more hours” The other measurements are discarded as “noise”.

The IPCC claims that its “projections” have successfully “managed chaos" in the following quote from “Frequently asked Questions No 1.

“The chaotic nature of the weather makes it unpredictable beyond a few days. Projecting changes in climate (i.e long-term average weather) due to changes in atmospheric composition or other factors is a very different and much more manageable issue”

Note that they do not claim “prediction” only “projection” .

They go on to mention the work of Lorenz but fail to mention that he was concerned with the movement of fluids which he, and all genuine meteorologists, know is the main influence on the climate.

Illustrations of IPCC models almost always ignore the movement of fluids altogether, and claim that all energy exchanges are due to radiation, the only procedure that is not subject to chaos but can only be calculated if you know the highly varying temperature of the emitter

But they cannot escape chaos. The formation and movement of clouds, periods of overcast behaviour and precipitation are chaotic and they decide how much of the sun’s radiation actually reaches the earth. The ocean oscillations which have an important effect on the climate are also chaotic and all efforts to predict them have failed.

The behaviour of the sun, volcanic eruptions, and even earthquakes, are chaotic. The solar wind, which influences cloud formation, is also chaotic6

To summarise: there are many phenomena whose future behaviour is not currently capable of being forecast successfully by a mathematical model. One of them is the climate.

Admittedly the IPCC do not claim that they can do it. All they can do is provide “projections” .

It is regrettable that so many people do not realise this


Time for Europe to let British farmers grow GM food, says environment minister

Genetically modified crops should be sold in Europe, despite consumers' concerns about 'Frankenstein foods’, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will say.

Mr Paterson, who has previously spoken out about the benefits of GM technology, has decided to make a high-profile speech in the hope of turning the tide on the issue.

It is understood he has the firm backing of Chancellor George Osborne, who believes GM food could provide opportunities for British farmers.

Brussels has so far only approved two GM crops for human consumption, although they are widely used in the US and China, and can be fed to animals in the EU. Supporters say Europe will suffer food shortages and be more reliant on imports if it continues to reject GM products.

But the Mail has highlighted concerns over 'Frankenstein foods' for years, amid fears that tampering with the genes in crops could damage natural ecosystems or even affect human health.

The Environment Secretary has dismissed these concerns as 'complete nonsense’. He believes Britain should be open to using the GM science to increase crop yields and prevent disease.

Last year he called critics of the technology 'humbugs' and said the case for GM  food needed to be made 'emphatically' in Britain.

But Mr Paterson, who has been criticised for his handling of the horsemeat scandal, faces an uphill struggle convincing the British public of the benefits of GM food.

A survey last month by the Food Standards Agency found two out of three UK shoppers wanted products from animals fed a GM diet to be labelled.

Mr Paterson will also have to win over countries who are deeply opposed to any form of GM farming or food such as France and Germany.

His most viable option is for every nation to be allowed to choose whether to sell GM food in their shops.

In 2010, the EU Commission considered giving back control over GM crop approval to member states.

But this policy was abandoned last year after widespread opposition, as the food industry is too globalised for it to work.

An aide to Mr Paterson  said: 'He wants to have a national conversation about it, based on scientific evidence, and the Prime Minister supports that.'

Tory MP George Freeman has been advising Whitehall on the UK’s agri-tech policy. He believes the safety debate is over.

He told the Financial Times: 'Over a trillion meals containing GM food have now been eaten in what is effectively  the biggest ever global clinical trial in the history of mankind, without one adverse health report.

'The world is adopting genetic crop science. The question is whether the UK is going to benefit or not?’

The Coalition has so far allowed scientists to carry out small-scale GM cultivation trials, but its use in consumer products is effectively banned.

However, British farmers have reportedly written to supermarkets warning them that they will not be able to guarantee chickens are fed on solely non-GM feed by May.


Windmills at Sea Can Break Like Matches

 Medium-sized waves can break wind turbines at sea like matches. These waves occur even in small storms, which are quite common in the Norwegian Sea.

"The problem is, we still do not know exactly when the wind turbines may break," says Professor John Grue from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oslo, Norway. Grue is one of the world's foremost experts on wave research. In 1989 he discovered an inexplicable wave phenomenon called ringing, which is a special type of vibration that occurs when choppy waves hit marine installations. The discovery was made in a 25-metre long wave laboratory located in the basement of the mathematics building at Blindern Campus.

So far scientists have studied ringing in small and large waves, but as it turns out, ringing is more common in medium-size waves.

For wind turbines at sea with a cylinder diameter of eight metres, the worst waves are those that are more than 13 metres high and have an 11-second interval between them.

Financial ruin

The ringing problem may increase significantly in the years ahead. There are plans to build tens of thousands of wind turbines at sea.  "If we do not take ringing into consideration, offshore wind turbine parks can lead to financial ruin," warns John Grue to the research magazine Apollon at University of Oslo.

Today, the largest windmill parks at sea are outside the coasts of Denmark and Great Britain. They are nevertheless like small miniatures compared to Statkraft and Statoil's enormous plans on the Dogger Bank outside Scotland. This windmill park is to produce as much electricity as 60 to 90 Alta power plants. A windmill park with the capacity of two Alta power plants will be built outside Møre og Romsdal in West-Norway.

"Thus far it has not been possible to measure the force exerted by ringing. Laboratory measurements show that the biggest vibrations in the wind turbines occur just after the wave has passed and not when the wave hits the turbine. Right after the crest of the wave has passed, a second force hits the structure. If the second force resonates with the structural frequency of the wind turbine, the vibration is strong. This means that the wind turbine is first exposed to one force, and is then shaken by another force. When specific types of waves are repeated this causes the wear to be especially pronounced. This increases the danger of fatigue."

It is precisely this secondary force that creates ringing and that the mathematicians until now have not managed to calculate.

Unfortunate vibrations

All structures have their own vibration frequencies, whether they are wind turbines, bridges, oil rigs or vessels.

When the vibration matches the structural frequency, things get tough. This phenomenon is called resonance, and can be compared to the steady march of soldiers on a bridge. If the soldiers march in time with the structural frequency of the bridge, it can collapse.

Unrealistic calculations

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have already made a number of calculations of ringing. Ecole Centrale Marseille and the French Bureau Veritas have also made such calculations. Det Norske Veritas is among those who use versions of these models.

"Current models are the best we have, but the estimates are too rough and erroneous. The theories are applied far outside of their area of validity. This means that we cannot calculate the fatigue adequately."

Ringing is not related to turbulence. Ringing is systematic and is about high underpressure at back of the cylinder.

Difficult mathematics

Internationally, very little has been done on this phenomenon. John Grue now has two Doctoral Research Fellows calculating these movements. He also collaborates with the Danish research community on wind power at Risø National Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark.

"Ringing is very difficult to calculate. There is great uncertainty. We want more precise descriptions of the physics of ringing. We are now trying sophisticated surface elevation models and complex calculations to reproduce these measurements accurately. We want to show that the ringing force arises systematically according to a general mathematical formula."

Saga Petroleum has previously conducted an extensive set of measurements of the ringing force in waves.  "These fit our measurements very well," says Grue.

Differences between deep and shallow waters

The scientists must also consider whether the installations are in deep or shallow waters.  "The structural frequency also depends on the conditions on the seabed.

You can compare it to a flagpole in a storm. The flag pole vibrates differently depending on whether the pole is fixed in concrete or on softer ground."  "There has been no research on the connection between vibrations and the conditions on the seabed."

Oil rig damaged

Ringing does not just harm wind turbines. Ringing has already been a great problem for the oil industry. The designers of the YME platform did not tak ringing into account, and lost NOK 12 billion.

"It is possible to build your way out of the ringing problem by strengthening the oil rigs. However, it is not financially profitable to do the same with wind turbines," says John Grue.

Arne Nestegård, Chief Specialist in hydrodynamics at Det Norske Veritas, confirms to Apollon that wind turbines at moderate depths may be exposed to high-frequency resonant oscillations if the waves are extreme, but they safeguard against this. Nestegård says that in the past twenty years, Veritas has developed ringing models and that they now work on improving the models for wind turbines at sea.


Australia: We'll fire climate staff and sub-let offices, warns Federal conservative spokesman

An incoming Coalition government might sack staff from the doomed Climate Change Department if they refuse to take redundancies.

The subsequent surplus office space in the Nishi building could be sub-let, or the Coalition might cancel the department's 15-year $158 million lease.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt detailed plans for abolishing the department amid reports the government might get in first to make savings in the budget.

Abolishing the Climate Change Department would reduce overlap with other areas, Mr Hunt said.

"From a managerial perspective, I think it makes a lot more sense. It's a significant and genuine efficiency and improvement," he said on Sunday. "It's more logical and more efficient to have a single department of climate and the environment."

Mr Hunt said the merger would result in job reductions. "The merged department will be significantly smaller," he said.

"Our preference is to have voluntary redundancies - we've never hidden that it would be a significantly smaller department."

Mr Hunt described the Climate Change Department's lease as one of the worst property deals for the Commonwealth in the past 20 years.  "They've managed to lock us in for an extraordinary amount of time with a building that is arguably surplus to needs," he said.

"We'll review the contract and review the options for sub-leasing to the private sector. I don't want to pre-empt the outcome of what would be a genuine review process.

"I am extremely confident from discussions I have had that we can save the Commonwealth very, very significant amounts of money.  "We will make significant savings in terms of staffing and associated administrative and building costs."

A Coalition government would also abolish the Energy Security Council, the Climate Change Authority and the Climate Change Commission, as well as the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund.

Speculation on the Climate Change Department was sparked after Prime Minister Julia Gillard said last month its secretary, Blair Comley, would leave.

Nishi developers Molonglo Group said on Wednesday the apartments were nearly finished but was unable to give a firm idea of when the project would be completed. Most work at the Acton site has been shut down since last Monday, when Ply, the main contractor, allegedly owing millions to local subcontractors, called in the administrators.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


11 March, 2013

The crookedness never stops

The NASA article below uses one of the oldest tricks in the book:  Pick your period.  By picking your period to be examined from the midst of oscillating data, you can "prove" almost anything.  The article below picked two periods, one during global warming and one that included some global warming.  And during both they saw more plant growth in cold regions, which is not terribly surprising.  In the second one, however, there was less growth (funnily enough).  So they imply that vegetation spread is still going on. Making their period the 21st century would clearly have undermined that little message

Perhaps most amusingly,  the lesser growth in the period with only some global warming is attributed not to the cessation of warming but to "water limitations"!

Vegetation growth at Earth's northern latitudes increasingly resembles lusher latitudes to the south, according to a NASA-funded study based on a 30-year record of land surface and newly improved satellite data sets.

An international team of university and NASA scientists examined the relationship between changes in surface temperature and vegetation growth from 45 degrees north latitude to the Arctic Ocean. Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.

"Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more," said Ranga Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment. "In the north's Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems."

The study was published Sunday, March 10, in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Myneni and colleagues used satellite data to quantify vegetation changes at different latitudes from 1982 to 2011. Data used in this study came from NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers (AVHRR) onboard a series of polar-orbiting satellites and NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on the Terra and Aqua satellites.

As a result of enhanced warming and a longer growing season, large patches of vigorously productive vegetation now span a third of the northern landscape, or more than 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers). That is an area about equal to the contiguous United States. This landscape resembles what was found 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 kilometers) to the south in 1982.

"It's like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years," said co-author Compton Tucker of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The Arctic's greenness is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and trees in locations all over the circumpolar Arctic. Greening in the adjacent boreal areas is more pronounced in Eurasia than in North America.

An amplified greenhouse effect is driving the changes, according to Myneni. Increased concentrations of heat-trapping gasses, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, cause Earth's surface, ocean and lower atmosphere to warm. Warming reduces the extent of polar sea ice and snow cover, and, in turn, the darker ocean and land surfaces absorb more solar energy, thus further heating the air above them.

"This sets in motion a cycle of positive reinforcement between warming and loss of sea ice and snow cover, which we call the amplified greenhouse effect," Myneni said. "The greenhouse effect could be further amplified in the future as soils in the north thaw, releasing potentially significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane."

To find out what is in store for future decades, the team analyzed 17 climate models. These models show that increased temperatures in Arctic and boreal regions would be the equivalent of a 20-degree latitude shift by the end of this century relative to a period of comparison from 1951-1980.

However, researchers say plant growth in the north may not continue on its current trajectory. The ramifications of an amplified greenhouse effect, such as frequent forest fires, outbreak of pest infestations and summertime droughts, may slow plant growth.

Also, warmer temperatures alone in the boreal zone do not guarantee more plant growth, which also depends on the availability of water and sunlight.

"Satellite data identify areas in the boreal zone that are warmer and dryer and other areas that are warmer and wetter," said co-author Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "Only the warmer and wetter areas support more growth."

"We found more plant growth in the boreal zone from 1982 to 1992 than from 1992 to 2011, because water limitations were encountered in the later two decades of our study," said co-author Sangram Ganguly of the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute and NASA Ames.


Mike’s AGU Trick

Michael Mann  is still fiddling the data

There has been considerable recent discussion of the fact that observations have been running cooler than models – see, for example, Lucia’s discussion of IPCC AR5 SOD Figure 9.8 (see here). However, Michael Mann at AGU took an entirely different line. Mann asserted that observations were running as hot or hotter than models.

In today’s post, I’ll look closely at the illustration in Mann’s AGU presentation, an illustration that gave an entirely different impression than the figure in the IPCC draft report. The reason for the difference can be traced to what I’ve termed here as “Mike’s AGU Trick”.

There were two components to Mann’s AGU trick. First, as in Mann and Kump, Mann compared model projections for land-and-ocean to observations for land-only. In addition, like Santer et al 2008, Mann failed to incorporate up-to-date data for his comparison. The staleness of Mann’s temperature data in his AGU presentation was really quite remarkable: the temperature data in Mann’s presentation (December 2012) ended in 2005! Obviously, in the past (notably MBH98 and MBH99), Mann used the most recent (even monthly data) when it was to his advantage. So the failure to use up-to-date data in his AGU presentation is really quite conspicuous.
Had Mann shown a comparison of Hansen’s Scenario B to up-to-date Land-and-Ocean observational data, the discrepancy would have been evident to the AGU audience, as shown in the loop below.

Figure 6. Excerpt from Mann’s AGU presentation. Loop 1- showing Mann’s actual diagram with GISS Land-Only to 2005; Loop 2 – showing GISS Land-and-Ocean to 2012.

Pierrehumbert Condemns Data Truncation

In a 2007 realclimate article, Raymond Pierrehumbert condemned use of non-updated temperature data, when the effect of the failure to use up-to-date data was that the image gave an entirely different impression to the reader. In that situation, Pierrehumbert even called into question the ethics of the author.

"there is no legitimate reason — in a paper published in 2007 — for truncating the temperature record at 1992 as they did. There is, however, a very good illegitimate reason, in that truncating the curve in this way helps to conceal the strength of the trend from the reader, and shortens the period in which the most glaring mismatch … occurs."

There does not appear to be any relevant difference between Mann’s AGU technique and the graphic so vehemently criticized by Pierrehumbert, though, to my knowledge, Pierrehumbert has not taken exception to Mann’s AGU Trick.

More here

Precautionary Principle in One Chart

The ultimate argument I get to my climate talk, when all other opposition fails, is that the precautionary principle should rule for CO2.  By their interpretation, this means that we should do everything possible to abate CO2 even if the risk of catastrophe is minor since the magnitude of the potential catastrophe is so great.

The problem is that this presupposes there are no harms, or opportunity costs, on the other end of the scale.  In fact, while CO2 may have only a small chance of catastrophe, Bill McKibben's desire to reduce fossil fuel use by 95% has a near certain probability of gutting the world economy and locking billions into poverty.  Here is one illustration I just crafted for my new presentation. 

A large number of people seem to assume that our use of fossil fuels is an arbitrary choice among essentially comparable options (or worse, a sinister choice forced on us by the evil oil cabal).  In fact, fossil fuels have a number of traits that make them uniquely irreplaceable, at least with current technologies.  For example, gasoline has an absolutely enormous energy content per pound of fuel.  Most vehicles - space shuttles, and more recently electric cars - must dedicate an enormous percentage of their power production just to moving the weight of their fuel.  Not so in gasoline engine cars, something those who are working with electric cars must face every day.

I was careful in the chart to say the two " are correlated".  I actually do not think one causes the other.  In this case, I think there are a third, and fourth, and fifth (etc.)  factors that cause both.  For example, economic development leads to (and depends on) increased fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions, and it leads to longer lives.


As Carbon Dioxide Levels Continue To Rise, Global Temperatures Are Not Following Suit

New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise but global temperatures are not following suit. The new data undercut assertions that atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing a global warming crisis.

NOAA data show atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose 2.67 parts per million in 2012, to 395 ppm. The jump was the second highest since 1959, when scientists began measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Global temperatures are essentially the same today as they were in 1995, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were merely 360 ppm. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose 10 percent between 1995 and 2012, yet global temperatures did not rise at all. Global warming activists are having a difficult time explaining the ongoing disconnect between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global temperatures.

This isn’t the first time in recent years that global temperatures have disobeyed the models presented by global warming activists. From the mid-1940s through the mid-1970s, global temperatures endured a 30-year decline even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose nearly 10 percent. From 1900 through 1945, by contrast, global temperatures rose rapidly despite a lack of coal power plants, SUV’s, and substantial carbon dioxide emissions.

Remarkably, global warming activists are spinning the ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, along with the ongoing lack of global temperature rise, as evidence that we are facing an even worse global warming crisis than they have been predicting.

“The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped,” the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Actually, the fact that temperatures remain flat even as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise is a devastating rebuke to assertions that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing a global warming crisis.

On a related front, the NOAA data amplify the futility of imposing costly carbon dioxide restrictions on the U.S. economy in the name of fighting global warming. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined 10 percent during the past decade, yet global emissions rose by more than 30 percent.

Regardless of the future pace of ongoing reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, global carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise. Even if the United States committed economic suicide by imposing all or most of the carbon dioxide restrictions advocated by global warming activists, the ensuing U.S. carbon dioxide reductions would amount to merely a drop in the bucket compared to the flood of emissions increases by the world as a whole and by developing nations such as China and India in particular.


Sea surface temperature going nowhere

The global average sea surface temperature (SST) update for Feb. 2013 is -0.01 deg. C, relative to the 2003-2006 average: (click for large version)

The anomalies are computed relative to only 2003-2006 because those years were relatively free of El Nino and La Nina activity, which if included would cause temperature anomaly artifacts in other years. Thus, these anomalies cannot be directly compared to, say, the Reynolds anomalies which extend back to the early 1980s. Nevertheless, they should be useful for monitoring signs of ocean surface warming, which appears to have stalled since at least the early 2000?s. (For those who also track our lower tropospheric temperature ["LT"] anomalies, these SST anomalies average about 0.19 deg. C cooler over 2003-2006.)

The SST retrievals come from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and are based upon passive microwave observations of the ocean surface from AMSR-E on NASA’s Aqua satellite, the TRMM satellite Microwave Imager (TMI), and WindSat. While TMI has operated continuously through the time period (but only over the tropics and subtropics), AMSR-E stopped nominal operation in October 2011, after which Remote Sensing Systems patched in SST data from WindSat. The various satellite datasets have been carefully intercalibrated by RSS.

Despite the relatively short period of record, I consider this dataset to be the most accurate depiction of SST variability over the last 10+ years due to these instruments’ relative insensitivity to contamination by clouds and aerosols at 6.9 GHz and 10.7 GHz.


UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology says rainforests will survive climate change

NEW research has challenged "catastrophic" climate change forecasts for the world's tropical rainforests, instead predicting that they will survive even if greenhouse gas emissions aren't cut.

An international team of computer climate modelling experts found rainforests in Asia, Africa and the Americas would not dramatically shrink, in contrast to warnings, including those from Australia's Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, that global warming was a catastrophe for tropical rainforests.

The new research says the ability for rainforest plants to adapt to climate change has been underestimated.

Professor Flannery last year said "rainforests are also being stressed by the warming, with many species at their limits of temperature tolerance and facing increased risk of extinction," as the Climate Commission unveiled its 14th report on global warming.

But the new research, led by the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, used 22 climate modelling computer systems and programs incorporating plant biology to explore the response of tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change.

"A number of previous analyses have investigated potential vulnerability of tropical forests under climate change. Some ... suggest that anthropogenically induced climate change across Amazonia could cause catastrophic losses of forest cover and biomass - die-back," the centre's peer-reviewed report, published in Nature Geoscience, said.

"We find the possibility of climate-induced damage to tropical rainforests in the period to year 2100 ... might be lower than some earlier studies."

"There is also increasing evidence that the long-term temperature response of respiration (in plants) is dynamic, capable of thermal acclimation (adaption to changing temperatures).

"Generally, acclimation, again not yet included in any major land surface model, is believed to mitigate the rate of increase in respiration rates (the amount plants breathe) in the event of a transition to warmer temperatures.

"There are suggestions that photosynthesis can also acclimate to rising temperatures, although the extent to which this might occur in tropical forest species remains unknown."

The research said rainforests would not be destroyed by 2100 even in a "business-as-usual" scenario where industry does not cut emissions.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


10 March, 2013

A tipping point that can't tip

Absolutely essential to global warming alarm are tipping points.  An extrapolation of the gentle warming we experienced in the last 150 years ago would not alarm anybody.  So something that will derail the existing trend in a big way has to be predicted.  And the usual prediction is that water vapour will build up and thus cause accelerated warming.  But what if water vapour is actually declining?  A paper by Ken Gregory shows that it is  -- under the heading:  "Water Vapor Decline Cools the Earth: NASA Satellite Data".  I have a letter from Bill Gray supporting  the conclusions.  I present just the introduction and conclusions below  -- JR

An analysis of NASA satellite data shows that water vapor, the most important greenhouse gas, has declined in the upper atmosphere causing a cooling effect that is 16 times greater than the warming effect from man-made greenhouse gas emissions during the period 1990 to 2001. The world has spent over $ 1 trillion on climate change mitigation based on climate models that don't work. They are notoriously poor at simulating the 20th century warming because they do not include natural causes of climate change - mainly due to the changing sun - and they grossly exaggerate the feedback effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Most scientists agree that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which takes about 150 years, would theoretical warm the earth by one degree Celsius, if there were no change in evaporation, the amount or distribution of water vapor and clouds.

Climate models amplify the initial CO2 effect by a factor of three by assuming positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, for which there is little direct evidence. Most of the amplification by the climate models is due to an increase in upper atmosphere water vapor.

The Satellite Data The NASA water vapor project (NVAP) uses multiple satellite sensors to create a standard climate dataset to measure long-term variability of global water vapor. NASA recently released the Heritage NVAP data which gives water vapor measurement from 1988 to 2001 on a 1 degree by 1 degree grid, in three vertical layers.1 The NVAP-M project, which is not yet available, extends the analysis to 2009 and gives five vertical layers. Water vapor content of an atmospheric layer is represented by the height in millimeters (mm) that would result from precipitating all the water vapor in a vertical column to liquid water. The near-surface layer is from the surface to where the atmospheric pressure is 700 millibar (mb), or about 3 km altitude. The middle layer is from 700 mb to 500 mb air pressure, or from 3 km to 6 km attitude. The upper layer is from 500 mb to 300 mb air pressure, or from 6 km to 10 km altitude.


Climate models predict upper atmosphere moistening which triples the greenhouse effect from man-made carbon dioxide emissions. The new satellite data from the NASA water vapor project shows declining upper atmosphere water vapor during the period 1988 to 2001. It is the best available data for water vapor because it has global coverage.

Calculations by a line-by-line radiative code show that upper atmosphere water vapor changes at 500 mb to 300 mb have 29 times greater effect on OLR and temperatures than the same change near the surface. The cooling effect of the water vapor changes on OLR is 16 times greater than the warming effect of CO2 during the 1990 to 2001 period.

Radiosonde data shows that upper atmosphere water vapor declines with warming. The IPCC dismisses the radiosonde data as the decline is inconsistent with theory. During the 1990 to 2001 period, upper atmosphere water vapor from satellite data declines more than that from radiosonde data, so there is no reason to dismiss the radiosonde data.

Changes in water vapor are linked to temperature trends in the upper atmosphere. Both satellite data and radiosonde data confirm the absence of any tropical upper atmosphere temperature amplification, contrary to IPCC theory.

Four independent data sets demonstrate that the IPCC theory is wrong. CO2 does not cause significant global warming.


Some strange religious fanatics

"The 11th Hour" Completely Debunked

Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2007 documentary The 11th Hour is about the collapse of our natural environment due to disharmonious human activities and the struggle for a sustainable way of living.  The intention of the speakers are sincere and honest, I have no problem with that.  However, it’s the implementation of that intention that I take issue with.  The implementation, like so many, involves the complete manipulation of viewers.  And even if the documentary leads to positive end results in changing the Earth, to do so through manipulative tactics is unethical.

The 11th Hour starts off with images of famine, animals dying, drought, severe malnutrition and extreme weather.  Later on as the speakers talk about sustainable ways of living the images change to beautiful sceneries of nature and people working together.  This is a clear manipulation ploy: choose either oil and death or solar/wind/water and natural beauty.  The 11th Hour presents the images as if they no longer exist, like a past time of natural beauty.  This isn’t the case though, all the beautiful scenes and images are still here today.  Connecting images of life with sustainability and the opposite to global climate catastrophe is a low blow to the viewer’s sense of intellect.  Every image and statement is carefully timed and edited to evoke a particular feeling from the viewer.  This isn’t like a movie where there are filler lines.  All of the elements (images, statements, sound bites) in The 11th Hour advocate the position that we’re on the brink of destroying the planet; or as Tom Linzey says, “it’s the 11th hour, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.”  This is complete and utter nonsense.

I’ll structure this article by pointing out the errors of the speakers.

Thom Hartmann says the biosphere is sick, it’s hurting, and acting like an infected organism.  Seriously?  Does Hartmann have a deep connection with the planet that no one else has? Does he know that if a tree is cut down the Earth feels pain?  Does he know that when nature unleashes a hurricane it’s in retribution for the pain people are causing it?  Making analogies of our everyday observations to the health of the planet is erroneous and misleading.  Many climate change “experts” take this kind of approach, where they’re somehow more in-tune with nature and understand it better than the mass public.  While I believe that nature is a living being and the planet is the body or shell I won’t take the position that I have a deep connection or any connection at all to understand why it does what it does.  When a hurricane takes place in the US, what does it mean?  What’s the purpose of it? Does it somehow help the planet?  I don’t know any of these answers, but apparently climate experts like Hartmann, and almost every speaker in The 11th Hour believes they know the answers.  A bit too much ego and PhD’s cloud their judgments in my opinion.

Hartmann goes on to talk about ancient sunlight (oil, natural gas, coal) stored in the earth, and if we don’t use it the planet can only support 0.5 - 1 billion people.  I don’t buy it.  I can understand it for the pre-industrial age, but definitely not today.  If oil disappears overnight, people can utilize solar energy panels and store the energy for later, operating with more than the available sunlight in a given year.  But the truth is that oil is not in low supply or disappearing anytime soon because oil is a renewable resource, just like wind, water and solar.  For Hartmann and Brock Dolman to depict oil as, “a fossil fuel death cycle” is erroneous. The purpose in writing my book, Oil, The 4th Renewable Resource is to dispel these myths and bring a sense of reason to the debate.

James Hillman (a psychologist) says that to think of yourself as separate from nature is a thinking disorder; excellent, another disorder for the DSM to be cured by prescription drugs or outdated theoretical models of the mind.  But the point leads to a question without an answer from any of the speakers: what is the definition of nature?  Is it the planet?  A blade of grass?  Dirt?  A micro-organism? A hurricane? A butterfly?  If it’s any one of these answers than yes I am a separate being from nature.  If the definition is a carbon based life form, then no I’m not separate from the planet, we’re both carbon buddies for life.  Many speakers in The 11th Hour talk about how we can’t think of ourselves as separate from nature, to do so would be foolish.  But making these kinds of broad philosophical statements doesn’t help in clarifying anything; it only shows a lack of intellect in understanding the aspects and dimensions of what it means to be human.  Does a butterfly, micro-organism or a blade of grass experience reality as humans do?  No, so why is it wrong to think that we’re separate beings?

Paul Stamets says he has dreams of future generations screaming that we’re at a critical point and to continue our way of life is suicide.  This is another over the top dramatic statement that manipulates people into action.  He goes on to say the planet is resilient but if we screw it up with a dramatic climate shift it may become like Mars.  Stephen Hawking sings the same tune with the worst case scenario due to manmade climate change is the Earth becoming like Venus.  Is this a documentary on facts or a science fiction movie?  No credible scientist believes our atmosphere is shifting to become like Mars or Venus due to climate change, and for those that do, it’s another scare tactic to spur actions.  I don’t have a problem with people reducing their carbon footprint or living a more sustainable lifestyle.  I have a problem when they do so out of manipulation and scare tactics.  Yes, the end result may be the same, but it’s not genuine action, it’s a farce that implies the public can’t differentiate genuine action from manipulated action.

David Orr and Ray Anderson make the claim we’re at the tipping point and that Hurricane Katrina events will become the norm.  This inference is very dangerous and one that environmentalists use on a daily basis: any type of extreme or even common weather is all due to manmade climate change.  A hurricane in the south...climate change, a flood in the warming, a bad crop season in developing countries...climate change.  This scapegoat tactic is not only erroneous but causes the public to misperceive natural events in nature. 

But this gets into something worse.  The most dangerous ideology in this documentary is about nature and/or God sending messages to humanity through these events.  Nathan Gardels says, “in the past there’s revenge of the gods or nature and that we’re now seeing it in our time.”  I can’t overestimate how dangerous this thinking is because it posits that every natural disaster is nature’s vengeance on humans for inflicting pain on it.  This is not the case and can never be proven; it’s just conjecture and interpretation from speakers with particular ideologies.  But statements like this convey the feeling of biblical authority, that if we’re not good humans we’ll be snuffed out by a vengeful God/planet.  We tell these kinds of stories to kids to keep them in line, using the threat of punishment.

David Suzuki says that we’ve forgotten an ancient truth, that if we offend nature we’ll have to pay a price.  Again, this gives the perception of “the wrath of God/nature” exacting vengeance on humanity.  This type of punishment ideology doesn’t belong in this debate and only fuels the flames of fear based actions. For Gardels, Suzuki and other environmentalists to use this to spur action, is one of the strongest manipulation ploys to keep the public on a short leash.


New York’s ‘Sustainability’ Plan: aka ‘Agenda 21’


"Agenda 21" was first introduced to the world at the 1992 UN-sponsored "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro. It addresses virtually every facet of human life and describes in great detail how the concept of "sustainable development" should be implemented at every level of government.

"Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by every person on earth.... It calls for specific changes in the activities of all people.... Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced."

"The Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program is also a step in implementing Agenda 21, the Global Plan of Action on Sustainable Development, signed by the United States at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. All of these programs require broad community participation to identify and address environmental issues." Environmental Protection Agency, 63 Fed. Reg. 45157 (August 24, 1998).

On January 26, 2012, I attended the final meeting in Batavia, NY for the Finger Lakes "Regional Sustainability Plan," part of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's $10 million statewide program to have regional Planning Departments orchestrate "sustainability" plans described in NYSERDA's "Cleaner, Greener Communities" Program. Following is my take on what is going on across New York State in regard to these extensive plans in the making.

As those who have studied the United Nations' "Agenda 21" plan know, "Sustainability" is a key buzzword that is part-and-parcel of the UN's Agenda 21 agenda. It's also meaningless and malleable - allowing activists and planners to bend and shape it to serve their agendas.

There is no doubt that the "Sustainability" Plan currently being devised by Planning Departments across the state, all of which are acting "under NYSERDA's thumb" (as one planner phrased it at their first meeting in Batavia), is Agenda 21, under development and in practice (think carbon taxes, "green" energy transfer-of-wealth schemes, and one-world governance). No wonder the Hollywood crowd loves sustainable development, Agenda 21 and Al Gore.

At the "open-house style" meeting in Batavia, folks were asked to read the poster boards relevant to each part of the overall plan: Land Use, Water Use, Agriculture, Forestry, Waste Management, Economic Development, and Energy - and then use sticky notes to post their comments on the boards for each particular segment of the plan.

Free-market economists sharply differentiate between central government planning and decentralized market planning (See F.A. Hayak's, Road to Serfdom, pages 34 - 35). Thus, while many see little wrong with developing an overall plan, remember that their coercion crowds out your own planning. And while different aspects of the extensive plans look good at first glance, the devil is in the details.

The fact that NYSERDA is the bureaucracy overseeing this process is the tell-tale warning sign, as the development of renewable energy across the state and ways to regulate hydrocarbon use and carbon dioxide emissions is the overarching goal in each area of the plan.

This should leave everyone very wary about the remaining $90 million - which came from the Northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) ratepayer dollars, and which will be offered as "grants" (the proverbial "carrots" used to lead the sheep) to guide our communities into "compliance" with the overall underlying agenda - that of Agenda 21.

Who knows where the money will come from for Governor Cuomo's proposed billion-dollar "Green Bank" and $1.5 Billion dollar Solar fund? Remember when Obama President Obama said there were other ways of "skinning the cat" besides cap-and-trade?

One of the biggest warning flags I noted at the meeting (besides the "green" energy push and carbon regulation goals) was on the chart regarding "Land Use." I noted one line that said, "Home Rule" interferes with inter-municipal cooperation...." The obvious subliminal message here is that "Home Rule" is a bad thing.

Our municipalities' long-held, Constitutional right to "Home Rule" is being progressively undermined through this whole process of State-led planning. We are unwittingly, slowly and methodically giving over total control to unelected bureaucrats, planners and activists, who are devising these "green" "sustainability" plans - which are part and parcel of Agenda 21 (which many officials and bureaucrats insist they still know nothing about).

The sad reality is that most of these planners are not at all educated about energy and power. As I was getting ready to leave the meeting, one of the FL Planners asked me what I had thought of the display.

I told him straight out that the obvious push for "unreliables" (aka "renewable") like wind is a complete waste of our tax- and rate-payer dollars. I told him that while I am certainly all for scientifically-vetted, economically-sound energy-innovation, industrial wind was the biggest scam to ever come down the pike.

Sadly, he responded with the decades-old propaganda line, "Well, we have to do something. Oil is responsible for so much of our pollution."

I responded, "I'm not talking about oil - which is used for transportation. I'm talking about unreliable wind power - which is used for electricity!"

He tried to argue that eventually we would end up going to all electric vehicles. I just laughed, and said, "Sir, I'm afraid you've drank the Kool-Aid! I couldn't even make it home and back in an electric car." And imagine trying to recharge car batteries using expensive, intermittent, bird-killing wind turbines!

Thankfully, a local guy who does get it stepped in and said, even if electric vehicles became more prevalent, they could never be used to do the kind of heavy work required on our farms.

As our conversation proceeded, we had the attention of the entire small crowd that was in the room - which played out great, as the facts totally destroyed this planner's entire argument.

Not one of the five planners who were there knew what "Capacity Value" was, nor that wind provided virtually NONE. I told him that wind is not the future, and in all actuality, there is a direct correlation between RELIABLE, AFFORDABLE power, and increased health and longevity in this country, which he could verify by doing a little research.

I ended up leaving a copy of John Etherington's The Wind Farm Scam: An Ecologist's Evaluation and Robert Bryce's Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future with one of the head planners there.

Hopefully, they will actually read them and reverse course, so that New York State can cut its budget, preserve the environment, and safeguard our neighbors' quality of life and property values - all at the same time. As it is now, the energy-illiterate planners guiding the development of (UN-initiated) "Sustainability Plans" in New York State (Governor Andrew Cuomo and his cohorts at NYSERDA) are not basing their decisions on sound science, but on politics surrounding the UN's "New World," state-supported religion of "Environmentalism."

As Paul Driessen stated so well: "Climate alarmism and pseudo-science have justified all manner of regulations, carbon trading, carbon taxes, renewable energy programs and other initiatives that increase the cost of everything we make, grow, ship, eat, heat, cool, wear and do - and thus impair job creation, economic growth, living standards, health, welfare and ecological values."

Whether the "Sustainability Plans" are in New York State or Timbuktu, there is nothing at all that is "sustainable" about any of this.


Eco madness and how Britain's future is going up in smoke as we pay billions to switch from burning coal to wood chips at Britain's biggest power station
Back to the third world.  Enough to give any Greenie an orgasm

There could be no better symbol of the madness of Britain’s energy policy than what is happening at the giant Drax power station in Yorkshire, easily the largest in Britain.

Indeed, it is one of the biggest and most efficiently run coal-fired power stations in the world. Its almost 1,000ft-tall flue chimney is the highest in the country, and its 12 monster cooling towers (each taller than St Paul’s Cathedral) dominate the flat  countryside of eastern Yorkshire for miles around.

Every day, Drax burns 36,000 tons of coal, brought to its vast site by 140 coal trains every week — and it supplies seven per cent of all the electricity used in Britain. That’s enough to light up a good many of our major cities.

But as a result of a change in Government policy, triggered by EU rules, Drax is about to undergo a major change that would have astonished those who built it in the Seventies and Eighties right next to Selby coalfield, which was then highly productive but has since closed.

As from next month, Drax will embark on a £700 million switch away from burning coal for which it was designed, in order to convert its six colossal boilers to burn millions of tons a year of wood chips instead.

Most of these chips will come from trees felled in forests covering a staggering 4,600 square miles in the USA, from where they will be shipped 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Britain.

The reason for this hugely costly decision is that Drax has become a key component in the so-called ‘green revolution’ which is now at the heart of the Government’s energy policy.

Because it burns so much coal, Drax is the biggest single emitter in Britain of carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas supposedly responsible for global warming.

The theory is that, by gradually switching to wood — or ‘biomass’ as it is officially known — Drax will eventually save  millions of tons of CO2 from going every year into the atmosphere, thereby helping to prevent climate change and save the planet.

Unlike coal, which is now demonised as a filthy, planet-threatening pollutant, biomass is considered ‘sustainable’, because it supposedly only returns back to the atmosphere the amount of CO2 it drew out of the air while the original tree it came from was growing.

The truth remains, though, that coal is still by far the cheapest means of creating electricity. But the Government is so committed to meeting its own and the EU’s targets for reducing Britain’s ‘carbon emissions’ that it is now going flat out to tackle the problem on two fronts — both of which forced the changes at Drax.

First, the Government wants to use a carbon tax to make burning fossil fuels such as coal so expensive that, before too long, it will become prohibitive for power companies to use them.

A new carbon tax will be introduced in three weeks’ time, and applied to every ton of carbon dioxide produced during electricity production. The tax will start at a comparatively low level, but rise steeply every year so that, within 20 years, the cost of generating electricity from coal will have doubled and it will no longer be economical.

Second, the Government is determined to boost all those ‘carbon neutral’ — but currently much more expensive — means of making electricity, such as wind farms, nuclear power and burning biomass. It hopes to achieve this by offering a host of subsidies, paid for by every household and business through electricity bills.

What forced Drax to embark on the switch from coal to ‘biomass’ was ministers’ decision last year to give any coal-fired power station which switched to ‘biomass’ the same, near-100 per cent ‘renewable subsidy’ that it already gives to the owners of onshore wind farms.

When the experts at Drax did their sums, they could see how, if they stayed with coal, they would gradually be priced out of business by a carbon tax which will eventually make their electricity become twice as expensive.

In terms of hard-headed realism, the Government was giving them little choice.

But it is hard to overstate the lunacy of this Drax deal. To start with, some of those environmentalists who are normally most fanatically in favour of ‘renewable’ power are among those most strongly opposed to the burning of wood as a means of producing electricity.

Campaigning groups, such as Friends of the Earth, scorn the idea that wood chips are  ‘carbon neutral’ or that felling millions of acres of American forests, to turn trees into chips and then transporting those chips thousands of miles to Yorkshire, will end up making any significant net reduction in ‘carbon’ emissions.

Their criticism chimes with the view of Sir David King, formerly the Government’s chief scientific adviser, who this week told Radio 4’s Today programme that when the full ‘life cycle’ of these wood chips is factored in, he doubted there would be any real saving in carbon dioxide emissions.

Drax disagrees with this, although what King had in mind was all the additional emissions arising from the laborious processes required between the growing of those millions of trees in America and the moment they go up in smoke.

The trees must first be felled, then turned into wood chips in two dedicated plants that Drax is building in America. The chips have to be transported in huge ships thousands of miles across the ocean to Yorkshire ports, then ferried in huge railway trucks to the power station.

Even then, before being pulverised into powder ready for use, the wood chips must be stored in giant purpose-built domes, where they need to be humidified in order to prevent spontaneous combustion — to which wood is 1,000 times more prone than coal.

This has already given rise to disastrous fires in other power plants that have converted to biomass, such as one which recently caused millions of pounds’ worth of damage to Tilbury power station in London.

As Drax admits, all this means that to generate nearly the same amount of power from wood as it does from coal will cost between two and three times as much, meaning that its fuel costs will double or treble — so that the only thing to make this possible will be that massive subsidy, which will eventually be worth over £1 billion a year.

This is hardly good news for us electricity users. We have already seen bills go up by over £1 billion a year because we are being forced to subsidise the use of wind farms. In the years to come, with these vast subsidies going to Drax, they will soar ever higher.

Yet while consumers are being hammered, government ministers are delighted by Drax’s decision to convert to wood chips. This is because it will result in a significant contribution towards meeting an EU-imposed target, which commits Britain to producing nearly a third of our electricity from ‘renewables’ within seven years.

At the moment, we produce only a fraction of that figure, way behind almost every other country in the EU.

Despite the huge subsidies that have been spent on wind farms, their contribution is negligible. On one windless day this week, for example, the combined output of the UK’s 4,300 wind turbines was just one thousandth — a mere 29 megawatts — of the electricity we need.

But when Drax has completed its conversion to biomass, it will be capable on its own of generating 3,500 megawatts, reliably and continuously, and contributing more than a quarter of our entire EU target for the use of renewable energy.

Yet the very fact that the Government is so desperate for this switch away from CO2-emitting fossil fuels brings us face to face with another devastating and much more immediate consequence of its energy policy.

This month sees the closure of several of our remaining major coal-fired power stations. Plants such as Kingsnorth in Kent, Didcot A in Oxfordshire and Cockenzie in Scotland (capable of generating nearly 6,000 megawatts a year — a seventh of our average needs) will stop production as a result of an EU anti-pollution directive. This means that, to keep Britain’s lights lit, we’ll soon be more dependent than ever on expensive gas-fired power stations.

The trouble is that our gas supplies are becoming ever more precarious. Only this week we were told that Britain has just two weeks’ worth of gas left in storage — the lowest amount ever.

So quickly have our once-abundant supplies of gas from the North Sea dwindled that we are increasingly dependent on expensive imports from countries such as Qatar and Algeria and, to a lesser extent, Russia — supplies on which we cannot necessarily rely at a time when world demand for gas is rising fast.

Given this fact, it is hardly surprising that Alistair Buchanan, the retiring head of our energy regulator Ofgem, recently warned that our electricity supplies are now running so low and close to ‘danger point’ that we may face major power cuts. Some of us have been warning about this for years, having watched the reckless hi-jacking of our energy policy by the environmentalists’ hostility to fossil fuels.

Crucially, what many people forget is that if we do have major power cuts, this will not be like the ‘three-day weeks’ Britain had to endure in the early Seventies.

Back then, the country managed to get by, as people lived and worked by candlelight or huddled over coal fires. But, today, 40 years on, we live in a world almost wholly dependent on constant supplies of electricity.

Computers power everything from our offices and factories, to cash machines, to the tills and freezers in our supermarkets, to the traffic lights and signalling systems which keep our roads and railways running.

It is all very well for Government ministers to be obsessed with wind farms and other ‘renewable’ energy sources, but the fact is that the wind is often not blowing — so we need  the constantly available back-up that will soon only now  be available from gas-fired  power stations.

And the great irony on top of all this is that gas itself will be subject to that rapidly escalating new carbon tax because, like coal, it is a fossil fuel — although, admittedly, it produces less carbon dioxide when burned.

The result of this dog’s dinner of an energy policy is that, on the one hand we can look forward to ever-soaring energy bills, while on the other hand we will have crippling power cuts.

The tragedy is that, listening to our politicians such as Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Secretary  of State for Energy and Climate Change, it is only too obvious that they haven’t the faintest idea of what they are talking about.

They live in such a la-la land of green make-believe that they no longer connect with reality — and seem unable to comprehend the national energy crisis now heading our way with the speed of a bullet train.

The fact that Drax, our largest and most efficient power station, is having to go through these ridiculous contortions to stay in business is a perfect symbol of the catastrophic mess our politicians of all parties have got us into — all in the name of trying to save the planet by cutting down our emissions of carbon dioxide further and faster than any other country in the world.

Germany, which already has five times as many wind turbines as Britain, is now desperately building 20 new coal-fired stations in the hope of keeping its lights on. The first, opened last September, is already  generating 2,200 megawatts; nearly as much as the average output of all of Britain’s wind farms combined.

China, already the world’s largest CO2 emitter, is planning  to build 363 more coal-fired power stations, without any heed of the vast amount of emissions they’ll produce.

India is ready to build 455 new coal-fired power stations to fuel an economy growing so fast that it could soon overtake our own.

If these countries deigned to notice what we are up to in Britain, where this week we lost  yet another of our handful of remaining coal mines, they might find it difficult to stifle a disbelieving smile.

But the sad truth is that we ourselves should be neither laughing nor crying. We should be rising up to protest, in real anger, at those politicians whose collective flight from reality is fast dragging us towards as damaging a crisis as this country has ever faced.


Conservationists beat Greenies  -- after plans to build 430ft wind turbines near historic estate are thrown out

Conservationists scored a major victory over the wind farm lobby yesterday after plans to build giant turbines near one of the nation’s finest surviving Elizabethan gardens were halted.

A High Court judge ruled preserving historic settings was of greater importance than renewable energy targets.

Mrs Justice Lang said the bid to build four 430ft high turbines on farmland owned by the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester was legally flawed.

She ruled the planning inspector had failed to ‘accord ‘special weight’ or considerable importance to ‘the desirability of preserving the setting’, and said the case must now be reconsidered in light of her judgement.

The case, which was brought by the National Trust and English Heritage, alongside East Northamptonshire Council, was hailed as a significant victory by conservationists, who had warned approval would undermine protection of other historic sites.

The giant turbines at Barnwell Manor, would have overshadowed the historic gardens at Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire. It is described as one of England’s oldest garden landscapes and features an unfinished 17th-century Tudor garden lodge, ‘steeped in Catholic symbolism’.

National Trust director of conservation Peter Nixon, said: ‘Of course we are pleased. The National Trust’s mission is to preserve what is very special to so many people. It is a huge judgement in favour of conserving of our historic landscapes.’ The charity is currently opposing or monitoring around 25 applications for wind farms due to concerns over their impact on the surrounding countryside or heritage sites.

Mr Nixon said yesterday’s ruling would strengthen the Trust’s hand when it came to future opposition.  ‘It sends an important signal that area of outstanding beauty or national significance need protecting and are unsuitable for these types of developments,’ he said. ‘Although it is not a legal precedent, this can only help in the context of preservation.’

Earlier this week, the Trust’s chairman Sir Simon Jenkins said communities were complaining on an almost daily basis of a wind farm or housing development proposed in a sensitive landscape.
He said that far from stimulating the economy, the reforms ‘will produce not more housing, but more conflict’ and spark ‘warfare’ in Britain’s countryside.

Plans for the Barnwell Manor wind farm were rejected by the district council in the first instance in 2010, after strong local opposition. But the developers appealed and in March last year public inquiry inspector Paul Griffiths allowed its construction.

The inspector said he recognised the case had wide implications for listed buildings and conservation areas, but said the Government’s green targets - to produce 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 - must come first.

Yesterday, Mrs Justice Lang ruled the inspector had failed to ‘properly interpret and apply the relevant planning policies on the effect of development on the setting of heritage sites’ and quashed the decision.

She said the planning inspector was wrong to treat the ‘”harm” to the setting and the wider benefit of the wind farm proposal as if those two factors were of equal importance.’

Reacting to the ruling, English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said: ‘We are very pleased with the judgment. We brought our joint challenge because we felt the planning inspector’s decision did not strike a proper balance between the conservation of outstandingly important historic sites and wind energy.

‘The effect of the proposed turbines on one of the most important, beautiful and unspoilt Elizabethan landscapes in England would be appalling.’


While Europe Goes Green, Russia Muscles In On Mediterranean Gas Boom

A new deal by Russia’s Gazprom energy giant to market Israeli liquefied natural gas puts Moscow firmly in the burgeoning and contentious east Mediterranean energy sector, and shows that it’s again emerging as a player in the strategic region.

The 20-year LNG contract between Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Marketing and Trading Switzerland and Levant LNG Marketing Corp. also provides a major boost for Russia’s drive to rebuild its Cold War influence in the Middle East that collapsed with the demise of the Soviet Union.

The deal, signed Feb. 26, is a direct consequence of a ground-breaking visit to Israel, the United States’ most valuable strategic ally in the region, by Russian President Vladimir Putin last June.

With U.S. interest in the Middle East seemingly diminishing, in part because of vast shale oil and natural gas deposits that lessen dependence on Persian Gulf oil, Putin clearly has ambitions of filling the vacuum.

“The Bill Clinton-era in the geopolitics of Caspian energy, which ran through the George W. Bush presidency, imbued with a great sense of rivalry over Russia’s status as an energy powerhouse, is giving way,” said veteran Indian analyst M.K. Bhadrakumar.

“This is one of the messages to be pulled from the … 20-year deal for Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field in the Mediterranean.

“Without doubt, the Tamar deal rewrites the ABC of the geopolitics of energy security,” Bhadrakumar wrote in an Asia Times Online analysis.

“This is an important milestone for strengthening Gazprom’s position in the global LNG market” and in particular “Gazprom’s hand in the booming Asian LNG market.”

The Tamar field, discovered in 2009, contains an estimated 9 trillion cubic feet of gas. Together with the smaller Dalit offshore field nearby, it constitutes the Tamar LNG Project due to be commissioned in 2017.

It’s expected to produce around 3 million metric tons of LNG a year.

This will likely involve an $8 billion floating LNG terminal, probably off Cyprus, that will also funnel gas from the island’s Aphrodite field, still being developed but thought to contain at least 7 tcf, for export.

Moscow’s also seeking partnerships with the Greek-controlled sector of Cyprus, and has provided a three-year, $3.5 billion loan to help it avoid economic meltdown after the collapse of the Greek economy.

The Greek Cypriots have approached the Kremlin for another $5 billion and may well get it because they share the Orthodox faith.

Moscow, which has long had close banking ties with Greek Cyprus, also sees the island, divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion, as a future regional energy power, just as it does Israel.

Moscow, which has little time for the Turks who are trying to block the Greek Cypriots’ gas bonanza, is thus maneuvering to get a slice of the Israel-Cyprus action.

It’s clearly anticipating Israel’s largest offshore field, Leviathan, with an estimated 25 tcf of gas, coming onstream in a couple of years.

But there’s a wider, and infinitely richer, energy bonanza developing in the region.

Lebanon, whose waters border both those of Israel and Cyprus, is expected to start issuing tenders to international companies to explore its maritime exclusive economic zone.

Seismic surveys of its southern sector, which overlaps Israel’s Leviathan, indicate reserves of at least 7 tcf, with further deposits in the north for a possible total of 25 tcf.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the Levant Basin, encompassing Syria, Lebanon. Cyprus, Israel and the Gaza Strip, contains 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


8 March, 2013

Earth's Average Temperature Lower Now Than It Was 5,000 Years Ago

The recent study summarized below has been misreported by Warmists as supporting their cause.  But as we see below, the only support is speculative.  They PROJECT that FUTURE warming will be great because recent warming has been faster than average.  But not only could that stop, it has in fact already stopped

That's the conclusion of a new study, "A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the past 11,300 Years," being published in the journal Science today. But before drawing in a sigh of relief about the future of global warming, the researchers also point out that the rapid warming over the last century has essentially cancelled out 2,000 years of gradual cooling.

The researchers from Oregon State University and Harvard University came to their results by combining 73 different proxy climate records (assembled into what they call stacks) spanning the past 11,500 years. They report:

    "Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.). These temperatures are, however, warmer than 82% of the Holocene distribution as represented by the Standard5×5 stack, or 72% after making plausible corrections for inherent smoothing of the high frequencies in the stack. In contrast, the decadal mean global temperature of the early 20th century (1900–1909) was cooler than >95% of the Holocene distribution under both the Standard 5×5 and high-frequency corrected scenarios. Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P."

From the abstract:

    "Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by approx. 0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (less than 5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with approx. 2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during approx 75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios."

The new study finds that changes in the amount of summertime sunlight striking the Northern Hemisphere due to changes in the Earth's orbital orientation toward the sun is chiefly responsible for the recent alternation between Ice Ages and warmer periods like the one we're currently in. From the study's press release:

    "During the warmest period of the Holocene, the Earth was positioned such that Northern Hemisphere summers warmed more," [Shaun] Marcott, [lead author from OSU] said. "As the Earth's orientation changed, Northern Hemisphere summers became cooler, and we should now be near the bottom of this long-term cooling trend – but obviously, we are not."

So how do recent changes in global average temperature compare to the past record of climate? Again from the press release:

    "The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age," said Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences, which co-funded the research with NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. "This research shows that we've experienced almost the same range of temperature change since the beginning of the industrial revolution as over the previous 11,000 years of Earth history – but this change happened a lot more quickly."

A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years

By Shaun A. Marcott et al.


Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by approx. 0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (less than 5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with approx. 2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during approx 75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios.


Capitalists do it with the lights on

It’s that time of year again when we at the Competitive Enterprise Institute celebrate the innovative power of humanity and demonstrate our commitment to protecting the rights of individuals against government action that would limit our ability to use earth’s resources and thus hinder human progress. We call this celebration Human Achievement Hour (HAH).

On Saturday, March 23 at 8:30pm (local time), some people, businesses and governments around the world will choose to sit in the dark for one hour as a symbolic gesture to take action against climate change. The organizers of Earth Hour say that they no  longer expect energy use to actually drop during the hour, but instead see it as a way for people to show their commitment to reducing energy use and taking action beyond the hour.

It’s absolutely every person’s right to decide if they want to conserve energy for whatever reason; they are free to sit in the dark as long as they want. However, it should not be their right to impose their beliefs or opinions on others. And that is what is at the heart of the environmentalist movement. While many participants in Earth Hour sincerely want a cleaner environment — a desire most of us share — the environmentalist movement whether implicitly or explicitly seeks to clamp down on human progress by reducing energy consumption whether through regulation and taxation. They want to make fossil fuels, which they see as dirty, more expensive to encourage the use of renewable “greener” energies.

Despite any good intentions, the ultimate result of environmentalist policies is not a healthier, cleaner environment. Instead we will see a population that is sicker and poorer. The only way we achieve technology that is “greener” is by building on older “dirtier” technology. As we make it harder and more expensive for those in the business of creating new technologies, all we do is slow progress and make it that much longer to reach more environmentally friendly solutions.

Even worse, as we make energy more expense we make everything more expensive. As a result individuals have less money and less time. And it’s hard to worry about the environment when you’re focused on putting food on the table, keeping your job, raising your kids, paying for your home, etc.

At 8:30pm on March 23rd, we at CEI will not turn our lights. In fact, we’ll be throwing a party to which you are all invited. Wherever you are in the world, we invite you to take part in Human Achievement Hour, a celebration of individual freedom and appreciation of the accomplishments and innovations of humans throughout history. To celebrate participants need only spend the 8:30pm to 9:30pm hour on March 31 enjoying the benefits of human innovation: gather with friends under the glow of electric lights, listen to music, read a book, drink a beer, or call a loved one on the phone. HAH celebrants can also utilize one of man’s greatest achievements, the Internet, to join CEI’s in-house party, which will be streaming live on the Web at beginning at 8pm and you can use the chat function to tell us how you are celebrating human achievement in your neighborhood.

See how far we’ve come.


Official Scientific Truth

This article is highly applicable to global warming mongers though not specifically about AGW

A pattern I have observed in a variety of public controversies is the attempt to establish some sort of official scientific truth, as proclaimed by a suitable authority—a committee of the National Academy of Science, the Center for Disease Control, or the equivalent. It is, in my view, a mistake,  one based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. Truth is not established by an authoritative committee but by a decentralized process which (sometimes) results in everyone or almost everyone in the field agreeing.

Part of the problem with that approach is that, the more often it is followed, the less well it will work. You start out with a body that exists to let experts interact with each other, and so really does represent more or less disinterested expert opinion. It is asked to offer an authoritative judgement on some controversy: whether capital punishment deters murder, the effect on crime rates of permitting concealed carry of handguns, the effect of second hand smoke on human health.

The first time it might work, although even then there is the risk that the committee established to give judgement will end up dominated not by the most expert but by the most partisan. But the more times the process is repeated, the greater the incentive of people who want their views to get authoritative support to get themselves or their friends positions of influence within the organization, to keep those they disapprove of out of such positions, and so to divert it from its original purpose to becoming a rubber stamp for their views. The result is to subvert both the organization and the scientific enterprise, especially if support by official truth becomes an important determinant of research funding.

The case which struck me most recently had to do with second hand smoke. A document defending a proposal for a complete smoking ban on my campus was supported by a claim cited to the Center for Disease Control. Following the chain of citations, it turned out that the CDC was basing the claim on something published by the California EPA, which cited no source at all for it. As best I could determine, the claim originated with research that was probably fraudulent, using cherry-picked data to claim enormous and rapid effects from smoking bans. Pretty clearly, the person on my campus who was most responsible for the document had made no attempt to verify the claim himself, merely taken it on the authority of the CDC. For more details see my post on the case.

An interesting older case involved Cyril Burt, a very prominent British Psychologist responsible for early  studies of the heritability of I.Q., a highly controversial subject. After his death he was accused of academic fraud of various sorts. The official organization consulted was The British Psychological Association, which concluded that he was guilty, a conclusion that many people then took, and some still take, for gospel. Subsequently, two different authors published books arguing convincingly that some or all of the charges against him were bogus. Interested readers can find a detailed discussion of the case in Cyrus Burt: Fraud or Framed, which concludes that much, at least, of the case against Burt was in error. I am not certain, but I believe that the BPA later reversed its judgement, withdrawing the claim that his work had been fraudulent. Perhaps one of my readers can confirm that—I did not manage to with a brief Google search.

It is natural enough that observers of such controversies want an authoritative answer from a authoritative source—quoting the CDC is much less work than actually looking at the research a claim is based on. But treating such answers as really authoritative is a mistake, and a pattern of treating them that way a dangerous mistake.


Energy campaigners concerned with protecting environment are 'bourgeois', says British government minister

Energy campaigners concerned with protecting the environment are “bourgeois”, the energy minister suggested yesterday, as he warned that the Government has to focus on “keeping the lights on”.

John Hayes, the Conservative MP for South Holland and The Deepings, dismissed the claims of anti-biofuels campaigners by saying that as a minister he has “got to deal with the practicalities”.

Power stations around the UK are being encouraged to burn wood as part of plans to cut carbon emissions.

Campaigners have warned that biofuels are harmful to the environment and damage valuable land that would otherwise be used for food production.

Sir David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, used an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to voice concerns about the damage biofuels are doing to the environment.

However Mr Hayes dismissed his concerns as “detached, kind of, bourgeois views”.

“My principle responsibility is to keep the lights on and if the lights went off there would be no use in me saying, ‘Well it was for the right reasons’,” Mr Hayes said. “So, energy security is fundamental and that depends on a mix of kinds. Bioenergy is part of that - it’s only part of it."

Mr Hayes was slapped down by Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, after he last year called for the spread of wind farms across the countryside to be brought to a halt.

Mr Hayes called for an end to wind farms "peppered" all over the countryside and said that “enough is enough”.

His latest comments risk deepening the Coalition rift over Britain’s green agenda.

Mr Hayes yesterday warned that a focus on environmental concerns could lead to an energy crisis.

“I’m trying to do two jobs,” he said. “I’m trying to make sure people get their power and light and heat they need and I’m trying to reduce carbon emissions.

“And you know it’s all very well having these slightly detached, kind of, bourgeois views about these things, but I’ve got to deal with the practicalities.”

He added: “This is about having a balanced policy a balanced energy mix. We need a bit of gas, we need some renewables, we need nuclear, we need a mix because that guarantees sustainability.”

Mr Hayes added: “We need to be careful and of course we need to be responsible. We have already got standards, and we’re doing further work, to make sure the sources of bioenergy will be sustainable.

“I’m very excited by the idea of energy from waste, if we can get our waste policy working with our energy policy that’s truly sustainable.”


British council spends £210,000 of taxpayers' money building two ponds for just 18 NEWTS... that's a cost of £11,666 each

Another Greenie burden on the taxpayer

Town hall bosses will spend £210,000 of taxpayers' money on two new ponds for just 18 newts

Cheshire East Council agreed the plans yesterday after being told it must create new habitats for a colony of great crested newts that are protected by European law before construction on a £30million bypass can begin.

The move has been slammed by campaigners as 'unrealistic' when councils are being forced to slash budgets on frontline services.

The council already has to make £13million of savings this year.

Work on building the new habitat will begin later this month to ensure that the area’s newt population has time to settle into their new habitat.

A council spokesperson said: 'Great crested newts are a protected species and as such we are required by law to protect their habitat.

'The £26.5m Crewe Green Link road is a major infrastructure project that will impact on their environment. The money is being used to create a suitable wildlife habitat, including the ponds, that will ensure the species continue to thrive.'

Plans for the 1.1km Crewe Green Link Road - running between Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent - went straight through an area dubbed ‘pond capital of Europe’.

An environmental survey of the affected area counted just 18 of the rare amphibians spread over a 500m area - putting the cost of the project at £11,666.66p per newt.

Construction of the bypass cannot go ahead until the newts are relocated to a new habitat next year.

The ecological study centered around wetlands on either side of Basford Brook, near the village of Weston, Cheshire - known as ‘the pond capital of Europe’ and noted for its wildlife.

Ecologists surveyed 30 ponds, marshes and swamps and found great crested newts in 14 of them.

The largest newt population discovered in a single pond was just six, although eggs were found at ten sites.

The discovery of the newts, which are protected by EU law, has already delayed construction.

The species are one of the most protected in Europe and one of the most endangered.  Population numbers are estimated at about 400,000 in the UK.

The cost of creating ‘artificial wetland’ areas is expected to reach £190,000, with an extra £20,000 needed to cover legal and surveying costs.

A report to the council said: 'The construction of the proposed Crewe Green Link Road South will result in the loss of natural great crested newt habitat areas which in accordance with protected species guidelines must be mitigated by the provision of suitable alternative habitat.

'This is also a condition of our planning permission for the road.

'The council will be able to claim some of the money back from the Department for Transport, which is providing 60 per cent of the funding for the bypass - but only if the road scheme goes ahead.'

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of TaxPayers’ Alliance said: 'This is an incredible amount of money to spend on relocating a group of amphibians to a new pond.

'For the size of this bill the authorities could have moved several families, not just a group of newts.

'Protecting endangered wildlife is important, but councils must ensure the costs of doing so are realistic and affordable to taxpayers.'

A Wildlife Trust spokesman said the area - between the A500 and A5020 - was known as a major newt habitat.

He said: 'This area is an important stronghold for great crested newts, given its long history of ponds and small wetlands. It may even be the "pond capital" of Europe.

'The creation of new ponds, especially if well-managed, is a tried-and-tested conservation technique to safeguard these rare amphibians.'


British judge rejects bid by recycling lobby to force millions of families to sort all rubbish into five separate bins

DEFRA has admitted that much of the household waste collected for recycling still goes to landfill

Millions of families were today spared the threat of having to split up their household rubbish into at least five separate bags and boxes.

A judge rejected a legal bid by the recycling industry - backed by green pressure groups - to enforce rigorous new recycling rules on every home in the country.

The new recycling regime would have required every council to demand that householders separate their rubbish for recycling into different bins for paper, metal, plastic and glass.

The system would have meant families would also have had to use yet more bins for food and non-recycling rubbish, and for garden waste.

Seven recycling firms who are part of the Campaign for Real Recycling - an organisation also backed by environmental groups including Friends of the Earth - said the complicated recycling rules are necessary to meet the demands of the EU's Waste Framework Directive.

But in a judicial review heard in the High Court in Cardiff, Mr Justice Hickinbottom said it was 'unambiguously clear' that local councils had a right to set their own rules on how to recycle, based on economic and technical practicalities.

The decision comes against a background of continuing political tension over how household rubbish is collected.

Local councils, and both Labour and Coalition governments, have faced discontent from voters following the introduction of compulsory recycling schemes.  These include the notorious fortnightly collection systems and kitchen slopbucket collections in which families can be asked to use as many as nine different bins.

Last month the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs admitted that much of the household waste collected for recycling in fact goes to landfill, and that published recycling figures are exaggerated.

It acknowledged that a high proportion of rubbish put out for recycling by householders is rejected by recycling processors as too impure for use in processing plants.

At the same time DEFRA also conceded for the first time that recycling rules have been set out not to meet any British requirements but to comply with the terms of the Brussels directive.

About four in 10 homes in England and Wales already have rubbish collection rules that demand they use separate bins for paper, metal, plastics and glass.

The recycling firms who brought the Cardiff judicial review said that in order to comply with EU rules householders should be made to ensure that recycling is carefully sorted before it is collected by the binmen.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom said in his ruling: 'They are all members of the Campaign for Real Recycling, and their commercial interest in this claim is underpinned by a strong belief in the environmental benefits of recycling.'

The companies said the EU Waste Framework Directive, agreed in 2008 and which went into operation in 2010, sets down that 'waste shall be collected separately if technically, environmentally and economically practicable, and shall not be mixed with other waste or other material with different properties.'

But the judge said that the primary objective of the EU regulation was the protection of the environment and public health, not the enforcement of separate collection of waste.

'It would be contrary to principle, and fundamentally incongruous, if the directive were to require separate collection of each of the four waste streams, if such collection were not necessary to achieve the higher objectives of the directive,' Mr Justice Hickinbottom said.

'The evidence before me does not begin to justify the assertion that such collection is in all circumstances necessary for the achievement of the directive's objectives or any of them.'

The judge refused the recycling companies the right to take their claim to the EU's Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

A spokesman for DEFRA said after the judgement was made public: 'This ruling shows our interpretation of the Waste Framework Directive is right.

'It recognises that it is for local authorities to decide, within the law, whether separate recycling collections are necessary and practicable.

'We will continue to work with local authorities, the waste industry and other partners to provide waste services that meet the needs of local communities and improve the quality of recycling.'




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


7 March, 2013

Hard Evidence of CO2 Warming Inflated by a Factor of 20

Dr. Claes Johnson, Professor of Applied Mathematics, has a post today demonstrating that computer models of radiation transmitted by the atmosphere attribute a warming effect of CO2 which is at least 20 times more powerful than that of water vapor. This is despite water vapor being a more powerful greenhouse gas, with a much wider absorption interval that also significantly overlaps the CO2 interval to further trivialize the effect of CO2. Climate models also assume that increased CO2 will increase water vapor, despite observations showing that water vapor has decreased. Furthermore, there is no evidence to support the global warming theory that outgoing longwave radiation [OLR] has decreased due to increased CO2, since satellite observations instead show an increase in OLR.

From Dr. Claes Johnson:

Hard Evidence of CO2 Warming Inflated by a Factor of 20

The hard scientific evidence of the warming effect of atmospheric CO2 consists of radiation spectra computed by the atmospheric radiation model Modtran, predicting a "radiative forcing" of 3.7 W/m2 from doubling of the concentration of CO2 to 0.06% from preindustrial level of 0.03%.

To get perspective, let us use the online model of Modtran to compare the present 0.039% of CO2 with a typical value of 2% water vapor. We get the following OLR spectrum for a 1976 USA standard atmosphere with 1.7 ppm CH4, trop. ozone 28 ppb, strat ozone scale 1:

We see the effect of water vapor as the area between the blue to the red curve for wave numbers smaller than 550 and the effect of CO2 as the comparable area between 550 and 800, thus with an effect of 0.039% of CO2 comparable to that of 2% water vapor. More precisely, Modtran gives the following OLR numbers:

    CO2 = 390, water vapor 2%: 248 W/m2
    CO2 = 0, water vapor 0%: 337 W/m2
    CO2 = 390, water vapor 0%: 304 W/m2
    CO2 = 0, water vapor 2%: 273 W/m2

which shows an effect of 0.039% CO2 which is about half of that of 2% water vapor.

Modtran thus attributes a warming effect of CO2 which is at least 20 times more powerful than that of water vapor!!

We can now summarize the recent posts on Modtran as the hard evidence of CO2 alarmism:

*    Modtran is supposed to be the hard scientific evidence of the warming effect of CO2.

*    Modtran appears to inflate the warming effect of CO2 by factor more than 20.

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

The green energy mirage will cost the earth

Britain is committed to unsustainable carbon targets only because our politicians duped us

In 1988, the year global warming made its entrance into politics, Margaret Thatcher declared that mankind had unwittingly been carrying out a massive experiment with the planet, in which the burning of fossil fuels would produce greenhouse gases, leading to higher global temperatures. The results of this experiment remain an open question. As Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, acknowledged last month, there has been a 17-year pause in the rise of average global temperatures.

Of more immediate consequence to British families is that the UK has embarked on perhaps the most aggressive political experiment attempted in peacetime – gradually outlawing the use of fossil fuels, which we have relied on since the Industrial Revolution, as our principal source of energy. The results are already evident. Two weeks ago, Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, warned of rising energy bills, and questioned whether Britain would be able to keep the lights on. When there is a glut of natural gas in the US and coal prices are plunging in Europe, this country faces a green energy crunch as it attempts to decarbonise its economy.

Environmentalism has taken the Marxist concept of the alienation of the working class and applied it to the rich man’s alienation from nature. “By losing sight of our relationship with Nature… ,” the Prince of Wales wrote in 2009, “we have engendered a profoundly dangerous alienation.” In one respect, environmentalism is even more radical than Marxism. Whereas Marxism aimed to change the relations of the working class to the means of production, environmentalism is about changing the means of production themselves. Ironically, Marxism was a flop in the West, whereas environmentalism has triumphed.

One reason Britain has gone so far down the green path is that politicians have not been honest about its economic implications. During the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2008, which commits Britain to cutting net carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, the energy minister Phil Woolas rejected his own department’s estimate that the costs could exceed the benefits by £95?billion. The House of Commons never debated the costs and the Bill was passed, with only five MPs voting against.

An even more egregious example is provided by Ed Miliband, when he was climate change secretary. The Tory MP Peter Lilley had written to Mr Miliband to say that, based on his department’s own impact statement, the Climate Change Act would cost households an average of between £16,000 and £20,000. The future Labour leader replied that the statement showed that the benefits to British society of successful action on climate change would be far higher than the cost. Mr Miliband should have known this was untrue; if he didn’t, he had no business certifying that he’d read the impact statement, which he’d signed just six weeks earlier. The statement only estimated the benefits of slightly cooler temperatures for the world as a whole, not for the UK.

Indeed, in April 2012, the current Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, confirmed that his department was not aware of evidence that would have allowed Ed Miliband to claim that the UK would be better off with green policies. The impact statement did, however, say that imposing green policies unilaterally in the absence of an international agreement would “result in a large net cost for the UK”.

Here environmentalism came up against an immovable object, which explains why there is no effective international agreement – and there is unlikely ever to be one. Led by India and China, the major developing economies – now responsible for most of the extra emissions – simply refuse to agree to any international treaty that might require them to limit their carbon footprint.

Western politicians spun the mirage of “green growth”, of environmentalism without tears. Green growth was for gullible voters back home. It wasn’t mentioned behind closed doors at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, when the West implored developing countries to sign on the dotted line. It should not have surprised anyone that the developing world did not. Ever since 1972 and the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm, the involvement of the developing world has been subject to a strict condition – international action on the environment must not fetter their economic development. Subsequently Canada – a climate change pioneer – announced its withdrawal from Kyoto.

The year before the Copenhagen conference, Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s chief policy adviser, bet the former chancellor Lord Lawson £100 that there would be agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol by 2012. On winning the bet, Lord Lawson remarked that Mr Letwin, one of the nicest people in politics, was totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.

Without an international agreement, it is pointless for the UK to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on green energy, reduce its growth and cut living standards. The green energy crunch promises to end up costing us all much more than Oliver Letwin’s losing bet.


Warmist says that support for Warmism is a social class issue

And that working class people are right to resent the costs of Warmist policies

Like it or not, environmentalism has long been primarily a cause of the educated upper-middle class in the United States, and it remains largely populated by experts and activists from that relatively privileged, non-majority class background (including university students headed for that stratum). Yet needed global-warming reforms go far beyond traditional environmental regulations, and they will require acceptance, and some enthusiastic support, from the majority of ordinary American workers and families. Almost all families now use carbon-intensive forms of energy to light and warm their homes. Because these families have not seen real wage increases in decades, they are extremely sensitive to even modest price increases in life necessities.

The climate-change deniers and opponents of carbon limits understand this, and they are well prepared to scare ordinary American families with claims that global-warming regulations will increase living costs. The enemies of any kind of carbon limits will tell ordinary Americans that “elite” environmentalists are about to shaft them by “taxing” their energy use. Climate reformers will need to be aggressive in telling regular Americans that, no, they will receive rebates more than equal to their higher energy costs under carbon-capping legislation.

Rebates of revenues raised from carbon taxes or caps must become central features in legislative pushes, because otherwise it will not be easy to get the message out. The recently introduced Boxer-Sanders bill, for example, includes modest monthly rebates to citizens as well as carbon taxes and investments in clean energy, but all that got highlighted in media reports were the taxes and the investments. Going forward, a simple carbon tax and “green dividends” approach may be best, with 75 to 80 percent of the revenues raised devoted to highly visible checks sent annually to each citizen. The advantage of this approach is that it would be simple to administer and explain, and the rebates would be front and center — impossible for media reporters to overlook, and impossible for voters to overlook.

So far, I find the global-warming movement to be tone-deaf to valid majority concerns about increased costs. Snippets here and there tell the story. At a recent Harvard event, a well-intentioned proponent of higher carbon prices remarked that they would “only raise electricity prices by $25 a month,” not much at all in her eyes. From the perspective of the upper-middle class in Cambridge, Mass., this is indeed a modest cost. But, of course, for most families that increase would be way too much to accept — and they would listen to right-wing attacks on global-warming regulations that threatened price increases of that much or more. Likewise, at the recent, inspiring D.C. rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, a blogger did an (unscientific) snap poll among attendees, asking them to choose among various things that would “give up” to pay for greenhouse gas regulations. By a large margin, the global-warming demonstrators were reported to be willing to delay Social Security benefits and raise the U.S. retirement age. Of course, this sounds like a harmless step to professionals who work at desks. But do they realize that virtually all of the increase in longevity in the United States in recent decades has gone to white-collar and professional people, while Americans who work on their feet all day, or lift things for a living, have not enjoyed any increase in life expectancy? How will the majority feel about being asked to work at physically taxing jobs much closer to the point of death to pay for global-warming remedies? Asking the question answers it.

For me, the bottom line is simple. Global-warming reformers must stop being blind and tone-deaf to the real-life circumstances of typical American families in an era of astonishing socioeconomic inequality. The current fashion is to suppose that severe weather emergencies will, in and of themselves, prompt most Americans suddenly to support governmental actions with real bite. I really doubt this. Severe weather events are not self-interpreting; they are most likely to be understood as signs of global warming by educated people who already believe in the reality of this threat. Beyond that, humans have, for thousands of years, grown accustomed to adjusting to weather events and trends. People just devise work-arounds and truck on, and that is what will happen if global-warming reformers cannot do better than cheer for speeches by President Obama that point to weather emergencies.

Anti–global warming policies that ordinary Americans can understand, policies that deliver concrete benefits to ordinary families, plus the construction of far-reaching networks of allied organizations able to push Congress — these are what it will take to pass carbon-capping legislation next time.


Give yourself a laugh today, pick holes in Ehrlich’s wild predictions

ONE of my favourite pastimes is picking holes in the population panic-mongering of people such as Paul Ehrlich.

It’s so easy: dig up any prediction made by these sourpussed baby-fearers 20-odd years ago, contrast it to how things actually turned out, and hey presto, you have hard evidence that Malthusian miserabilists always overstate how bad things are going to get.

Ehrlich, the population control lobby’s alarmist-in-chief, who’s in Australia to speak at the Adelaide Festival, is the easiest doom-monger to slap down. He wrongly predicts calamity as casually as the rest of us discuss the weather.

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, bible of eco-bellyachers everywhere, he said the planet was about to become so overpopulated that global famine would ensue and millions would die. He predicted that “by the year 2000 the UK will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people”. Nope. I can report that Britain is doing so well that we’re more freaked out by an alleged obesity epidemic than by hunger.

Ehrlich said India would not survive the 1970s. As a result of too many brown babies being born, we’d see the “dissolution of India as a viable nation”.

Wrong again. India’s population has more than doubled since 1970, from 550 million to 1.2 billion, yet there are fewer hungry people, more in the middle class, bigger cities, and life expectancy has risen from 49 years in 1970 to 65.1 years today. If India is anything to go by, more people means more stuff, more development, more life - not more disaster.

Amazingly, Ehrlich’s passion for misery-mongering hasn’t been dented by the failure of any of his horror scenarios to materialise. In The Australian this week he and his wife Anne warned of “global disaster” if women didn’t stop having “large-scale families”.

If you want to make some easy money, I suggest putting a bet on this prediction going the same way as all the others - straight into the file marked “Crazy Things Paul Ehrlich Predicted That Never Came True”.

Yet while many observers, like me, get a kick from exposing Ehrlich’s wrongheaded alarmism, the big fallacy on which all his other fallacies are built is rarely challenged.

Ehrlich’s core belief - that we live on a finite planet, with fixed resources - is never mocked. And that’s because this ill-informed prejudice is commonplace even among the more moderate greens and “progressives” who laugh in the face of Ehrlich’s crazier claims during his visit to Oz.

Like every Malthusian since Malthus himself, Ehrlich is convinced that resources are limited and therefore we can sustain only a certain number of people. As he told ABC radio in 2011, “You cannot have infinite growth in a finite space.” But it isn’t true that we live on a finite planet. That’s a spectacularly ahistorical way of understanding natural resources and humanity’s relationship with them.

Resources aren’t fixed; they’re fluid and changeable because the usefulness of a resource is determined by us.

Consider coal. For centuries it was a useless black rock that some Roman-era communities used to make jewellery. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that mankind unlocked coal’s secret: that it could be used to power new machines and in the process remake entire societies and overhaul human existence.

Or consider uranium. Two thousand years ago people used it as a dye, to make glass yellow. In the 20th century we used it to light up and power entire cities. We transformed a decorative chemical element into a source of awesome energy.

If you had said to a Roman woman, “One day that jewel around your neck will power things called steam engines”, or told an early Christian that his yellow dye would be used to create light and heat comparable to the sun’s, they would have laughed at you or locked you up.

As human society develops, so does our understanding of the secrets hidden within natural resources, alongside our ability to exploit those resources. Nature doesn’t determine what is a resource or how far it will go; we do.

The reason every population panicker and moody green has been wrong about future doom is because they’re addicted to the idea of finiteness; they think resources are fixed and will run out one day.

Nonsense. The only thing in short supply today is a willingness among people to experiment like earlier generations did, and to find out what else uranium, or some other as yet untapped earthly or planetary resource, can do for us.


D.C. snowstorm scrubs global-warming hearing

The snowquester has claimed yet another casualty: Wednesday's House hearing on global warming.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee announced early Wednesday that it's postponing its environmental subcommittee's scheduled 10 a.m. hearing on the state of the science behind climate change. As a reason, it cited "weather."

The panel hasn't announced when the hearing will take place.

The session was apparently designed to shore up the knowledge of subcommittee members ahead of expected new carbon regulations from President Barack Obama. As of Tuesday evening, a committee spokesman had insisted the show would go on.

From the start, the idea of holding a climate hearing during a paralyzing D.C. snowstorm seemed ripe for snarky comments.

Don’t buy into global warming science? Here’s your March snowstorm — call up Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and his grandchildren for help with your Al Gore igloo project.

Think the U.S. needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions and adapt in the face of climate change and ever more bizarre weather patterns? Aside from forecasts for fast-falling snow and warm air temperatures, D.C. residents could experience "thundersnow."

Scheduled witnesses included Judith Curry, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and leading storm and climate expert; William Chameides, dean at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University; and Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Lomborg sometimes rankles climate activists for his position that climate change is a real and man-made phenomenon, but that it’s not as bad as folks make it out to be.

The full committee also canceled a 2 p.m. hearing on government efforts to track and deal with asteroids and meteors.


The EPA’s McCarthyism

 Barack Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to replace Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And unless Senate Republicans mount a filibuster, she will undoubtedly be confirmed.

McCarthy is really not an exceptional nominee. Not very different from prior EPA nominees. We have little doubt she or any other Obama nominee will continue issuing job-killing regulations and hampering the fragile U.S. economy in the name of religion of radical environmentalism.

The question therefore arises why she ought to be  rejected. A senator might, for example, hone in on several instances of gross mismanagement that smacks of raw incompetence that call into question her qualifications.

One might take a look at the Office of Air and Radiation she heads, which has faced criticism. The EPA Inspector General recently issued a report revealing that at the time of the Fukushima disaster many of the Agency’s radiation monitors were out of service or so poorly maintained that they failed to work with 20 percent completely out of service.

The report goes on to report, “In addition, six of the RadNet monitors we sampled (50 percent) had gone over eight weeks without a filter change.”  EPA policy calls on operators to change the filters twice per week.

McCarthy has also approved of the use of DuPont’s R1234ef air conditioning refrigerant in U.S. vehicles, ignoring a massive European recall by Daimler Benz when the product caught fire in crash testing scenarios. McCarthy has completely turned a blind eye to the health and safety hazards that she is creating through EPA incentives for car companies to use this deadly refrigerant.

In short, McCarthy has been embroiled in scandal after scandal which can only indicate either pure managerial incompetence or a complicity in the failure to perform her most basic duties.

But even worse, if there ever was an agency that needed to be reined in, it was the EPA.  The problem with the agency is not that it lacks staffing, but that it is out of control.

The nomination comes at a time when the EPA is operating as a rogue agency, regulating carbon emissions and stormwater as harmful pollutants without any guidance in the law. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide. It does not even mention carbon dioxide, and yet the EPA has seen fit to restrict it, leaning on the errant 2007 Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts v. EPA that allowed it.

The carbon endangerment finding provides the basis for the agency to arbitrarily dictate fuel efficiency standards, power plant emissions, or even which fuels may be burnt. It gives the EPA virtually limitless powers to restrict the economy from growing.

Same with the Clean Water Act, which deals with pollutants in water, not water itself. Yet it has issued regulations on the amounts of stormwater allowable in waterways. These regulations threaten to cost local municipalities millions of dollars of additional costs.

It is also engaged in a sue-and-settle racket with radical environmentalist groups to expand its powers via judicial assent. And its regulations threaten America’s future ability to develop and utilize natural resources, to grow the economy, and to create jobs.

In addition, during Lisa Jackson’s tenure, she used several private email accounts to conduct official business, and the agency dragged its heels in revealing the contents of those emails in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. To the extent the agency has responded it has redacted much of the material from the emails, which may have been used to communicate to outside environmentalist groups advocating policy.

This is an agency completely unaccountable for its actions. Not to the people. Not to Congress. And not to the law.

Given Obama’s State of the Union threat to continue to pursue unilateral executive actions in lieu of climate change legislation, no nominee to the EPA should be confirmed.

Rather, bureaucrats there should have to answer for the destruction they are wreaking on the U.S. economy. Unless and until these harmful regulations are rescinded and the sue and settle racket is torn apart, the agency should be defunded, the bureaucrats that work there furloughed, and the offices they work in sold to pay down the deficit.

How will McCarthy, or any other nominee to head this agency, deal with these problem when the fundamental problem is that this agency is simply too powerful and unaccountable?




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


6 March, 2013

How to Win Any Climate Change Argument

Slate has put up an infographic under the heading above. It's mainly just the usual appeals to authority.  The writer below offers a detailed fisking of it

One thing the infographic shows clearly is that Warmists have only the vaguest notion of the arguments against Warmism.  They carefully shield themselves from knowing too much.  That "tipping points" are the key element of the Warmist argument and that such points are sheer guesswork they seem not to know

The arguments seem to progress from right to left, so I'll address them in that order.

* Argument: Negative outweighs positive. Sure, plants use CO2 to grow, but we can't expect them to absorb all the CO2 we pump out!

Why not? According to this NASA chart, plants already absorb thirteen times as much as humans pump out. There's plenty of evidence that increased CO2 enhances plant growth, which means enhancing plants' take-up of CO2 from the atmosphere. There is no evidence that plants are "saturated" and can't take up more CO2.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas--that's nothing new--and too much warming has severe impacts on the planet, including sea-level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather that damages our cities (about half the world's people live near coasts), and species extinction.

You assume your conclusion. Granting that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, there is little evidence that man's CO2 emissions are the dominant force in global temperature. For the last 17 years, CO2 has risen but temperature has remained flat, which suggests that some other influence is stronger than CO2. Also, "too much" warming is a judgment call -- there is no scientific basis for how much is too much. Sea level isn't rising any faster than it used to. The ocean isn't becoming acid; at most, it's becoming slightly less alkaline, and that change is well with natural variation from place to place. The scientific evidence is that there is no linkage between CO2 emissions and extreme weather, even the IPCC has admitted as much in their recent SREX report. And no one has named a single species that has gone extinct due to global warming.

The US army even says climate change is a national-security threat because while a thawing Arctic, for example, might be good for tourism or oil development, climate change might produce waves of refugees and food crises because of displacement, extended drought, and unrest.

"Might." Every bit of that is speculation, not backed up by science. The UN claimed there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010; the actual number was zero. There's no evidence that CO2 emissions will harm food production. The U.S. drought severity index has decreased as CO2 levels have risen. Scare stories about imaginary crises are, bluntly, fiction.

* Argument: Scientists agree. Ohh, scandal! Sorry to burst your bubble: Big reports, including one by the UK government, found no evidence of wrongdoing in so-called "Climategate."

First, those reports only looked at scientific ethics -- by their own admission, they did not investigate the science itself. Second, those reports did not take evidence from "the opposition" -- they were all defense and no prosecution. It's no wonder they found no wrongdoing when they weren't accepting evidence of wrongdoing. Third, with all that, some of those reports did censure the scientists for unprofessional behavior (like withholding data and violating the Freedom of Information Act).

The vast majority of scientists (~97%) agree that climate change is driven by humans.

Wrong. First, the 97% figure comes from just 77 scientists in a survey of over 3100 scientists. The survey-takers threw out over 3000 responses to get the result they wanted. Second, the survey did not ask whether climate change is "driven" by humans; it asked if human activity is a "significant contributing factor" in changing global temperature. "Significant" might be a 10% effect; and that activity might be deforestation or agriculture, rather than CO2 emissions.

In 2005, the science academies of the US plus 10 other countries cosigned a statement saying just that.

Actually, no: the executive committees of those academies issued those statements, without consulting their members. Some members have resigned as a result. And at least one of those academies has withdrawn the statement.

A UC-San Diego survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts about climate change from 1993-2003 revealed that not one rejected this position.

First, given what Climategate revealed about the deliberate manipulation of the peer-review system, this situation should not be surprising. Also, research funding is directed to -- some would say contingent upon -- "pro warming" research. Despite this, there are over 1100 peer-reviewed papers supporting climate-skeptic arguments.

The 2007 IPCC report says with "very high confidence" that "unequivocal" warming is caused by us. The real debate now is how bad is it going to get?

The IPCC produces a political report, not a scientific report. One edition explicitly reversed, in its summary, the scientific conclusion in the main text that the human "signature" on climate could not be identified. Chapter 8 of the Second Assessment Report was rewritten by one author to insert his own pet theory. In the Fourth Assessment Report it was found that almost one-third of the citations were from "grey literature", not peer-reviewed science. Many key positions are held by graduate students and Greenpeace activists.

And for the question of "how bad is it going to get," like the question of atmospheric sensitivity, you will find wide disagreement. One recent report concluded that up to 2 degrees C of warming would be beneficial.

* Argument: It's happening now. Yes, everyone agrees Earth has undergone drastic cooling and warming across millions of years. Hello ice age. But since 1900, the average global temperature has risen by 1.5 degrees F (0.8 C). 1988 was hot, but for global records, 2010 was the hottest on record, tied with 2005, in line with warming.

First, it's no surprise that the earth has warmed since the end of the "Little Ice Age" around 1850. Indeed, since 1850 there have been three other times when temperature rose as quickly as in the 1990s...and then fell back down. There is a cyclical component to temperature, which may be one reason temperatures have been stable for the last 17 years. By the way, 2010 was the hottest year in the U.S., not the world -- that honor goes to the year 1932.

Second, the fact that the earth is measurably warmer does not prove that man is responsible. Nor does it prove that warmth is a bad thing. The previous warm periods -- the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm Period -- were times of prosperity, not hardship.

The draft 1,000-page National Climate Assessment, authored by more than 240 US scientists, said future generations can expect more of what we are already seeing: "heat waves, heavy downpours, and in some regions floods and drought." It's oh-so here...and happening.

Need I point out again that science isn't decided by consensus, or by numbers of scientists? And, well, duh: of course we're going to see more heat waves, downpours, flooding, and drought. We've seen those all through history, and we'll see them again. Some of the worst examples in U.S. history occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s...not to mention the Dust Bowl. Weather happens. It always has, and always will. Trying to control it by reducing CO2 emissions is downright silly.

* Argument: Humans: it's us. Fact: Over the last 30 years, the sun has actually been cooling, just as the Earth has been warming.

Really? Global mean temperatures have flat-lined for the last 17 years. And yet CO2 emissions have continued to rise. Perhaps you have discovered what many of us already suspect -- that global temperatures are strongly driven by solar activity. (Climate is complex, and there are many contributing factors. The sun, with its various cycles, is one of them.)

Volcanoes, you say? They emit about 0.2 billion tons of CO2 per year. Sounds like a lot! But it's less than 1% of human CO2 emissions.

Actually, no, I didn't say. And I've yet to read any climate skeptic who claims that volcanic CO2 emissions are a cause of global warming. This is a straw man, I'm afraid.

(In fact, volcanoes might actually cool the Earth in the short-term because aerosols reflect the warmth of the sun).

That actually seems to be widely agreed, even among skeptics. So what?

The consensus is that humans are the driving force: Burning fossil fuels is contributing to unprecedented levels of CO2 in the 20th century.

Unprecedented? No. There have been many times in prehistory when atmospheric CO2 levels were far higher than they are right now. In fact, they were dangerously low for a while, not long ago -- 290 ppm, when a minimum of about 180 ppm is necessary to sustain life on earth.

Ten of the warmest years have all occurred since 1995, and seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.

First, this statistic is incorrect: there were as-warm or warmer years in the 1930s, before intensive use of fossil fuels. Second, the key phrase is "on record," which really means "since 1880." Third, those records have been systematically adjusted to increase recent temperatures. I could go on. But so what? Again, the fact that temperatures are increasing does not mean that man is the cause. Temperatures went up before, and went down before, long before fossil fuels.

Climate changes. Always has, always will. You might as well try to stop the tides, as try to halt climate change.


Settled science: 48% of models predict a drier California in 2060, 52% predict wetter

A paper published today in the Journal of Climate examines the output of 25 climate models for projected precipitation in California and finds little consensus, stating that "12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter." The paper adds to many other peer-reviewed papers demonstrating the failure of climate models to predict known temperatures of the past, much less the future, as well as an inability to even agree on the sign of future precipitation, the effect of clouds, ocean oscillations, solar activity, winds, internal waves, etc, etc.
The key role of heavy precipitation events in climate model disagreements of future annual precipitation changes in California

David W. Pierce et al.


Climate model simulations disagree on whether future precipitation will increase or decrease over California, which has impeded efforts to anticipate and adapt to human-induced climate change. This disagreement is explored in terms of daily precipitation frequency and intensity. It is found that divergent model projections of changes in the incidence of rare heavy (> 60 mm/day) daily precipitation events explain much of the model disagreement on annual timescales, yet represent only 0.3% of precipitating days and 9% of annual precipitation volume. Of the 25 downscaled model projections we examine, 21 agree that precipitation frequency will decrease by the 2060s, with a mean reduction of 6-14 days/year. This reduces California’s mean annual precipitation by about 5.7%. Partly offsetting this, 16 of the 25 projections agree that daily precipitation intensity will increase, which accounts for a model average 5.3% increase in annual precipitation. Between these conflicting tendencies, 12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter. These results are obtained from sixteen global general circulation models downscaled with different combinations of dynamical methods (WRF, RSM, and RegCM3) and statistical methods (BCSD and BCCA), although not all downscaling methods were applied to each global model. Model disagreements in the projected change in occurrence of the heaviest precipitation days (> 60 mm/day) account for the majority of disagreement in the projected change in annual precipitation, and occur preferentially over the Sierra Nevada and Northern California. When such events are excluded, nearly twice as many projections show drier future conditions.


Manufacturing Earth Hour

Canadian students are so jazzed about Earth Hour they need to be bribed to do volunteer work

In less than three weeks, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will hold its annual Earth Hour event. That event will be promoted aggressively by the lapdog – as opposed to the watchdog – media. (The largest circulation newspaper here in Canada, the Toronto Star, is once again an official Earth Hour sponsor.)

All sorts of preachy Earth Hour messages will soon be yammering in your ears and burrowing into your brain. But don’t be bamboozled. Rather than being a grassroots initiative, organized by the earnest and sincere, this is a slick, international campaign partly devised and owned by Fairfax Media Limited – a publicly-traded Australian conglomerate.

Rather than being an organic outpouring of concern for Mother Earth to which masses of people willingly donate their time, Earth Hour is highly orchestrated. For example, see this volunteer job posting at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in beautiful British Columbia.

Each full-time student at that institution pays $2 per semester to fund an organization called Sustainable SFU. What does Sustainable SFU do? For one thing, it’s in the business of recruiting Earth Hour project managers.

The three people on staff at Sustainable SFU are apparently so preoccupied with “lobbying decision makers” and “eliminating campus waste” they couldn’t possibly tack up a few Earth Hour posters on bulletin boards. Moreover, the student population is apparently so uninterested in Sustainable SFU’s goals that young people willing to donate a few hours to the Earth Hour cause are hard to come by.

Instead, the group needs to advertise. It needs to find someone who’ll formally agree to perform designated Earth Hour tasks.

Between March 1st and March 31st, this year’s project manager is expected to spend 20-28 hours “raising awareness at SFU around the Earth Hour event.” In exchange for a “letter of recommendation from the Executive Director upon completion of assigned duties.”

As a university student, I joined campus groups because I believed in certain causes. I donated my time to the activities of those groups out of a sense of community spirit. I wasn’t politically active because someone promised to reward me afterward with a letter that would help me climb the corporate ladder.

There’s a big clue here regarding Earth Hour’s essential nature. This isn’t about genuine, authentic, spontaneous expression. Instead, Earth Hour is a media event. One that is being deliberately and cynically manufactured.


A Scientist’s Misguided Crusade

From the NYT!

Last Friday, at 3:40 p.m., the State Department released its “Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement” for the highly contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which Canada hopes to build to move its tar sands oil to refineries in the United States. In effect, the statement said there were no environmental impediments that would prevent President Obama from approving the pipeline.

Two hours and 20 minutes later, I received a blast e-mail containing a statement by James Hansen, the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA — i.e., NASA’s chief climate scientist. “Keystone XL, if the public were to allow our well-oiled government to shepherd it into existence, would be the first step down the wrong road, perpetuating our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, moving to ever dirtier ones,” it began. After claiming that the carbon in the tar sands “exceeds that in all oil burned in human history,” Hansen’s statement concluded: “The public must demand that the government begin serving the public’s interest, not the fossil fuel industry’s interest.”

As a private citizen, Hansen, 71, has the same First Amendment rights as everyone else. He can publicly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline if he so chooses, just as he can be as politically active as he wants to be in the anti-Keystone movement, and even be arrested during protests, something he managed to do recently in front of the White House.

But the blast e-mail didn’t come from James Hansen, private citizen. It specifically identified Hansen as the head of the Goddard Institute, and went on to describe him as someone who “has drawn attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed.” All of which made me wonder whether such apocalyptic pronouncements were the sort of statements a government scientist should be making — and whether they were really helping the cause of reversing climate change.

Let’s acknowledge right here that the morphing of scientists into activists is nothing new. Linus Pauling, the great chemist, was a peace activist who pushed hard for a nuclear test ban treaty. Albert Einstein also became a public opponent of nuclear weapons.

It is also important to acknowledge that Hansen has been a crucial figure in developing modern climate science. In 2009, Eileen Claussen, now the president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told The New Yorker that Hansen was a “heroic” scientist who “faced all kinds of pressures politically.” Today, his body of work is one of the foundations upon which much climate science is built.

Yet what people hear from Hansen today is not so much his science but his broad, unscientific views on, say, the evils of oil companies. In 2008, he wrote a paper, the thesis of which was that runaway climate change would occur when carbon in the atmosphere reached 350 parts per million — a point it had already exceeded — unless it were quickly reduced. There are many climate change experts who disagree with this judgment — who believe that the 350 number is arbitrary and even meaningless. Yet an entire movement,, has been built around Hansen’s line in the sand.

Meanwhile, he has a department to run. For a midlevel scientist at the Goddard Institute, what signal is Hansen sending when he takes the day off to get arrested at the White House? Do his colleagues feel unfettered in their own work? There is, in fact, enormous resentment toward Hansen inside NASA, where many officials feel that their solid, analytical work on climate science is being lost in what many of them describe as “the Hansen sideshow.” His activism is not really doing any favors for the science his own subordinates are producing.

Finally, and most important, Hansen has placed all his credibility on one battle: the fight to persuade President Obama to block the Keystone XL pipeline. It is the wrong place for him to make a stand. Even in the unlikely event the pipeline is stopped, the tar sands oil will still be extracted and shipped. It might be harder to do without a pipeline, but it is already happening. And in the grand scheme, as I’ve written before, the tar sands oil is not a game changer. The oil we import from Venezuela today is dirtier than that from the tar sands. Not that the anti-pipeline activists seem to care.


Opposition to wind turbines in Ireland

Plans to build 2,300 wind turbines across the midlands to supply electricity to the UK were described last night at a public meeting as an “outrage”.

Local people in the Co Laois village of Ballyroan called for a moratorium on Government proposals to locate wind turbines in five midland counties until proper environmental assessments take place.

In January a memorandum of understanding between the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte and the British secretary for energy and climate change Edward Davey was signed which could see the export of 5,000 megawatts of electricity for export to the British market. ‘Done deal’ Andrew Duncan, of the Lakeland wind farms information group, said the Government was behaving as if the decision to locate so many wind turbines in five counties was a “done deal. We are the pawns in a very large game.”

He said both Government parties were closely involved in the two companies involved in the proposals.

Local people are fearful that the turbines involved will be up to 185 metres high, higher than the Dublin Spire.

Mr Duncan said such turbines had only been seen at sea before and were “monsters”.

“It’s been planned for a long time back. You’ve got to get up and get angry,” he said.  “It is going to railroaded through the people of the midlands unless we rise up.”

Engineer Pat Swords, who is taking a case to the High Court in relation to the European Union’s attitude to renewable energy targets, said local people were entitled under the terms of the Aarhus convention to be consulted about the proposals.

He said wind energy does not work and the people of the midlands were being “sacrificed on the altar of a populist cult”.

Local resident Henry Fingleton told the meeting that both companies had been signing contracts with farmers and had i mposed a confidentiality clause on the contracts.

The proposals were already proving divisive in local communities, he claimed. Strategic infrastructure Mr Fingleton said the companies involved had been on the ground for five to six months and were “lining up their ducks in a row”. They had no reason to seek local planning permission as the wind turbines were regarded as strategic infrastructure and went straight to An Bord Pleanála.

He read a letter from an elderly Roscommon couple whose lives had been made a misery by living within 700 metres of a wind turbine.

Mr Fingleton said it had been established beyond doubt that turbines created a low frequency noise which was detrimental to those living close to them.

He expressed puzzlement at the decision to locate so many wind turbines in the midlands, which did not have the highest wind speeds in Ireland. He said there might be a perception that midlands people were a “soft touch” and the area had no big tourism infrastructure. “We’re nice and we just get on,” he said.

Colm Fingleton from the Ratheniska, Timahoe and Spink (RTA) sub-station action group said the new sub station being built by Eirgrid was going to be used as a midland hub f or renewables, which was never discussed during public consultations.

“We asked them why they are building a facility that would power Dublin, but Eirgrid wouldn’t tell us,” he said.


Our real manmade climate crisis  

The crisis is due not to climate change, but to actions taken in the name of preventing change

Paul Driessen

In his first address as Secretary of State, John Kerry said we must safeguard “the most sacred trust” we owe to our children and grandchildren: “an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate.”

Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and British Meteorological Office now recognize that average global temperatures haven’t budged in almost 17 years. Little evidence suggests that sea level rise, storms, droughts, polar ice or other weather and climate events and trends display any statistically significant difference from what Earth and mankind have experienced over the last 100-plus years.

However, we do face imminent manmade climate disasters. Global warming is the greatest moral issue of our time. We must do all we can to prevent looming climate catastrophes.

But those cataclysms have nothing to do with alleged human contributions to planetary climate systems that have always been chaotic, unpredictable and often disastrous: ice ages, little ice ages, dust bowls, droughts and monster storms that ravaged and sometimes even toppled cities and civilizations.

Our real climate crisis is our responses to Mr. Kerry’s illusory crises. It takes four closely related forms.

Influence peddling. Over the past three years, the Tides Foundation and Tides Center alone poured $335 million into environmentalist climate campaigns, and $1 billion into green lobbies at large, notes Undue Influence author Ron Arnold. Major US donors gave $199 million to Canadian environmental groups just for anti-oil sands and Keystone pipeline battles during the last twelve years, analysts Vivian Krause and Brian Seasholes estimate; the Tides Foundation poured $10 million into these battles during 2009-2012.

All told, US foundations alone have “invested” over $797 million in environmentalist climate campaigns since 2000! And over $19.3 billion in “environmental” efforts since 1995, Arnold calculates! Add to that the tens of billions that environmental activist groups, universities and other organizations have received from individual donors, corporations and government agencies to promote “manmade climate disaster” theories – and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Moreover, that’s just US cash. It doesn’t include EU, UN and other climate cataclysm contributions. Nor does it include US or global spending on wind, solar, biofuel and other “renewable” energy schemes. That this money has caused widespread pernicious and corrupting effects should surprise no one.

Politicized science, markets and ethics. The corrupting cash has feathered careers, supported entire departments, companies and industries, and sullied our political, economic and ethical systems. It has taken countless billions out of productive sectors of our economy, and given it to politically connected, politically correct institutions that promote climate alarmism and renewable energy (and which use some of this crony capitalist taxpayer and consumer cash to help reelect their political sponsors).

Toe the line – pocket the cash, bask in the limelight. Question the dogma – get vilified, harassed and even dismissed from university or state climatologist positions for threatening the grants pipeline.

The system has replaced honest, robust, evidence-based, peer-reviewed science with pseudo-science based on activism, computer models, doctored data, “pal reviews,” press releases and other chicanery that resulted in Climategate, IPCC exposés, and growing outrage. Practitioners of these dark sciences almost never debate climate disaster deniers or skeptics; climate millionaire Al Gore won’t even take questions that he has not preapproved; and colleges have become centers for “socially responsible investing” campaigns  based on climate chaos, “sustainable development” and anti-hydrocarbon ideologies.

Increasingly powerful, well-funded, unelected and unaccountable activist groups and bureaucracies use manmade global warming claims to impose regulations that bypass legislatures and ignore job and economic considerations. They employ sweetheart lawsuits that let activists and agencies agree to legally binding agreements that leave out the parties who will actually be impacted by the court decisions.

The green behemoth wields increasing power over nearly every aspect of our lives and liberties, with no accountability for screw-ups or even deliberate harm to large segments of our population. All in the name of controlling Earth’s temperature and preventing climate change

Climate eco-imperialism impoverishes and kills. Climate alarmism and pseudo science have justified all manner of regulations, carbon trading, carbon taxes, renewable energy programs and other initiatives that increase the cost of everything we make, grow, ship, eat, heat, cool, wear and do – and thus impair job creation, economic growth, living standards, health, welfare and ecological values.

Excessive EPA rules have closed numerous coal-fired power plants, and the agency plans to regulate most of the US hydrocarbon-based economy by restricting carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, generating plants, cement kilns, factories, malls, hospitals and other “significant” sources. Were it not for the hydraulic fracturing revolution that has made natural gas and gas-fired generation abundant and cheap, US electricity prices would be skyrocketing – just as they have in Britain and Germany.

EU papers carry almost daily articles about fuel poverty, potential blackouts, outsourcing, job losses, economic malaise and despair, and deforestation for fire wood in those and other European countries, due to their focus on climate alarmism and “green” energy. California electricity prices are already highest in USA, thanks to its EU-style programs. The alarms are misplaced, the programs do nothing to reduce Chinese, Indian or global emissions, and renewable energy is hardly eco-friendly or sustainable.

Wind energy requires perpetual subsidies and “backup” fossil fuel power plants that actually produce 80% of the electricity attributed to wind, and blankets wildlife habitats with turbines and transmission lines that kill millions of birds and bats every year. In fact, industrial wind facilities remain viable only because they are exempted from many environmental review, wildlife and bird protection laws that are enforced with heavy penalties for all other industries. Solar smothers habitats with glossy panels, and biofuels divert crops and cropland to replace fuels that we have in abundance but refuse to develop.

Now climate activists and EPA want to regulate fracking for gas that was once their preferred option.

By far the worst climate crisis, however, is eco-imperialism perpetrated against African and other poor nations. When their country was building a new power plant that would burn natural gas that previously was wasted through “flaring,” President Obama told Ghanaians they should use their “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels energy, instead of fossil fuels that threaten us with dangerous global warming. Meanwhile, his Administration refused to support loans for South Africa’s critically needed, state-of-the-art Medupi coal-fired power plant, which the Center for American Progress, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club and other radical groups stridently opposed.

The actions ignored both the livelihoods and living standards that electricity has brought the world, and the millions of deaths from lung infections and intestinal diseases that these power plants would prevent.

Ready-made excuse for incompetence. Hurricane / Superstorm Sandy proved how “dangerous manmade climate change” can give politicians a handy excuse for ill-considered development decisions that increase storm and flood risk, failure to prepare their communities for inevitable severe weather events, misleading storm warnings, and slow or incompetent responses in their aftermath. Blaming carbon dioxide emissions and rising seas is always easier than manning up and shouldering the blame for Bloombergian failures. Citing IPCC computer forecasts of nastier storms and flooded coastlines likewise gives insurers a convenient excuse for hiking insurance rates.

When the conversation next turns to climate change, discussing the real climate crisis – and the true meaning of environmental justice – could open a few eyes.

Via email



Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


5 March, 2013

A Warmist who doesn't even listen to himself

And he doesn't know the difference between "effect" and "affect" either.  Below are two of his paragraphs. In the first he properly notes many of  the doubts about global warming theory and in the second he assumes all that away and talks as if GW were a certainty.  The article is from a Maine outfit called "Unity College" which describes itself as:  "We Train Environmental Professionals in Sustainability Science".  So they would cut their own throats if they really looked at "the science".  What if everything we do is already "sustainable"?  I can think of no exceptions

In any discussion of the current and future impacts of climate change we must look at the science for what it actually says and avoid jumping to any conclusions about the outcome.  The most important thing to understand is that climate change scenarios are projections, they are not predictions.  A projection is a conditional prediction, and thus, it does not imply certainty.  For example, the current projections for end-of-century global average temperature rise range from 4? to 6?C, but these are dependent on maintaining our current rate of increasing emissions, especially that of carbon dioxide.  There are many reasons why the rate of emissions might change, resulting in more or less warming as we move forward in time.   For example, changes in economic activity strongly affect the rate of carbon dioxide emissions. The recent recession resulted in a decrease in the growth rate of emissions from about 3.1% per year to -1.3% for 2009.  Thereafter, the world’s economic engine cranked up considerably, increasing the growth rate of emissions to 5.9% per year in 2011.  To be sure, such small changes in the growth rate of emissions have little potential to slow the rate of warming.   Another factor that is outside the conditional prediction of this scenario is the rate of positive feedback from natural sources of greenhouse gas such as the thawing permafrost, or the well documented process of worldwide forest decline.  These factors could considerably accelerate the rate of warming and take us well beyond 6?C.  In all candor I must say that there are very few factors that will significantly slow the rate of human-caused emissions, short of concerted and intensive efforts at mitigation.  Wildcards that could change the future include unpredictable events like an asteroid strike or volcanism sufficient to put aerosols into the stratosphere and thus cool the planet.  Just how lucky do you feel?

The current generation of young adults in college will experience an increasingly dangerously disrupted climate during their lives.  We have only limited ability to affect this outcome because there is a 30-40 year time lag in the equilibration of ocean heat loading with the atmosphere.  About 93% of energy imbalance caused by the greenhouse gases goes into the oceans, and it takes time for this energy to be expressed in the climate system.  Evidence of massive ongoing change in the oceans is seen in the slowing of the Gulf Stream and widespread changes in salinity and surface temperatures.  The hydrologic cycle has sped up about 40% since the mid 20th century, and the rate of acidification of the oceans is faster now than at any time during the previous 300 million years.  Accordingly, this generation of students must prepare to adapt as the impacts of these changes ramify across the planet.  Even casual inspection of higher education shows that institutions are generally failing to prepare students to face these challenges.  As educators we have an ethical obligation to do so. 


Global warming to blame for crumbling stone walls of 13th century fortifications

They admit that “There is evidence of repair over the centuries right from the thirteenth century right through" but this lot of crumbling is different, apparently.  That there has been NO global warming in recent years they do not address.  Myths are apparently enough to cause ancient stone walls to crumble

For centuries they stood firm against marauding Welsh invaders but now the historic walls of Ludlow are said to be under threat from a new enemy – climate change.

Residents living near one section of the medieval structure were this weekend advised to leave their homes temporarily after engineers found that it was unsafe.

Three other sections of the wall in the picturesque Shropshire town have collapsed in the past fortnight.

Parts of the structure date back to 1233, when Ludlow, now better known for its listed buildings and Michelin-starred restaurants, was a fortified border town.

Colin Richards, head of conservation and archaeology for Shropshire, said: “It’s amazing that they have stood for 800 years and the climate change that has affected them over the last couple of years has wreaked so much damage.”

Mr Richards told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is evidence of repair over the centuries right from the thirteenth century right through, but last year was the second wettest year on record.

“It’s this alternation between very wet periods and then very dry periods.

“Recently we’ve had a saturation of the material behind the wall and then the frosts which come and expand the moisture and it just gives it sufficient pressure to cause it to move out beyond its plane of stability and collapse.”

In places, water had leeched through the bedrock of the ground, turning to frost.

“The frost has eroded the stone and so we’ve got areas of wall which are just hanging there at the moment.”

The local authority took action at the weekend after an inspection of the wall backing onto the gardens of 14 properties in the town.

An engineer found that its condition had “seriously deteriorated over the past year, and is now considered to be unsafe”.

Shropshire Council said the safety concerns were confined to part of the walls in The Linney, which back on to the gardens of a small number of residential properties.

The local authority was already liaising with English Heritage after a 30ft section of the walls, which date back to the 13th century, collapsed last month, damaging a parked car.

Council leader Keith Barrow said: "We are talking to the Diocese of Hereford and advising them to urgently review the safety of this particular section of the wall.

"Our number one concern is the safety of residents and we are advising the people who live in these particular properties to temporarily leave their homes to be absolutely sure that they are safe."

Rosanna Taylor-Smith, county councillor for Ludlow North, added: "We would like to reassure people that we are doing everything possible to manage the situation."

However, it was believed that only one homeowner has decided to leave so far though engineers were continuing to monitor the wall section in case it deteriorates further requiring an evacuation.

Residents have been offered temporary accommodation by the council.

The walls, which are owned by the Diocese of Hereford, are one of the most complete ancient perimeter defences of any historic town in England.

Officials at the Ludlow Town Walls Trust are reportedly preparing to submit a bid for a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help preserve the structure.

More than £1 million is thought to have been spent shoring up sections of it over the last four years while the council is facing a bill for £250,000 for recent collapses.


Solar vs. Anthropogenic - Obtaining a Better Understanding of Global Warming

On March 21, Dr. Nir Shaviv will discuss solar influences on the Earth's climate at a forum hosted by the George C. Marshall Institute.

Dr. Shaviv, a professor of physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will discuss the evidence demonstrating that the sun has a large effect on climate and the physical mechanism for this link.

He will show that by considering the solar forcing, a much more consistent picture emerges for the observed 20th century climate change, with part of it being solar and part being anthropogenic.

In this picture, however, Earth's climate sensitivity is modest and therefore the 21st century global warming is expected to be modest as well (about 1°C).

A recent talk by Dr. Shaviv can be found below:

Prof. Dr. Shaviv is a fast-talking Israeli who gave his talk to a German audience in slightly accented English so even I found him a bit hard to follow.  So it's no wonder the Germans offered a quick summary in German:  "Der Einfluss kosmischer Strahlung auf das Klima! Die Untersuchung der Wolkenbildung durch kosmische Strahlung im Magnetfeld der Sonne ist seit mehreren Jahren ein wichtiges Feld, Klimaänderungen besser zu verstehen" (The influence of cosmic rays on climate.  Research on cloud formation by cosmic rays in the magnetic field of the sun has now for several years been an important field for a better understanding of climate change) -- JR



By Sharon Sebastian

Few realize that the "green movement" is about building large personal fortunes for an elite few. As with all robber barons, it is about the money. It is why President Barack Obama laid out his threat to again bypass Congress and ignore the American people during his 2013 State of the Union address. Mr. Obama will attempt to force his ill-conceived green energy plans into existence with the stroke of his pen via Executive Orders:

"I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy." - President Barack Obama, February 12, 2013

Obama is determined to resurrect his green energy schemes by drying up America's access to oil and gas no matter the pain inflicted on American families and businesses. Having put the coal industry on life-supports, his next target -- restricting power plants that generate electricity to homes and businesses.

What the President hides behind the curtain and does not reveal is his alliance with international green elites, White House and Wall Street cronies and energy regulatory czars who have orchestrated a CO2 carbon-taxing scheme that puts billions of dollars into their own hands. It's a money scheme. Three years ago, the global-warming money transfer scam surfaced and named not only this president, but a former Democrat president and vice-president as participants planning to accumulate vast personal wealth as a result. One need only ask, why did Al Gore so confidently tout that he was destined to become the "first global-warming billionaire?"

Long in the designing, the elements were close to being in full play. The plans were drawn, the carbon-credit trading exchange registered as the Chicago Climate Exchange was formulated (New York Times - Click here // Trading symbol CCX - Click here.), set to both transfer and stash cash, the green barons' privately-owned Chicago bank was on the ready and the right president was in office to perpetrate the scam on the American people. That is, until the great global-warming-climate-change fraud stopped the United Nations-supported, elite cadre of well-connected political, banking and Wall Street associates in their tracks. British Freedom quotes The Times of India:

"Billionaire globalists like George Soros fund green groups and seek to promote the globalist 'climate change' scam as a way to enrich themselves and infiltrate developing nations in order to financially exploit them and their natural resources for profit."

The June 2009 Bloomberg article, Sandor Got Obama's Nod for Chicago-Style Climate Law by Jim Efstathiou Jr., reported that a carbon-capping bill set to be imposed on American businesses was the cornerstone of Obama's environmental agenda. Bloomberg quotes CCX founder Richard Sandor as saying that the bill ".began "way, way to the left with provisions to push U.S. utilities into bankruptcy." The article further reads: "Sandor launched the Chicago Climate Exchange, or CCX, in 2003 after getting two research grants from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation. Obama was on the foundation that gave us the grant, Sandor said. We know him well." CCX reportedly now operates under the auspices of Environmental Financial Products.

When "global-warming-climate-change" was exposed as a blatant fraud, the American people and a Republican House refused to play ball. By doing so, they stymied the global clique of politicians and socialist ideologues who remain ready to bring America to its economic knees for their own financial and ideological gains. Even so, Mr. Obama is making another high-stakes play to push through his green agenda to fully activate the global CCX exchange despite the high cost to even the poorest of Americans.

While Obama is gearing up to invest billions of America's tax dollars into the green abyss, other countries are backing away. Never mind that China and India refuse to put a dime into the scam. European nations have already experienced a severe hit to their economies and negative blow-back from their citizens. In the face of worldwide data to the contrary, Obama claimed during his State of the Union address that: ".the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15." How an American President can make such an erroneous claim to the American people in the face of existing facts reveals him as sorely misstating or misinformed.

A February 27, 2013 news release by the Global Warming Policy Foundation states that it has highlighted the global warming standstill for many years against fervent denial by climate activists. Its Chairman, Nigel Lawson, states: ".there has been no further recorded global warming at all for at least the past 15 years." Backing-up Lawson's findings are reported reversals by such global-warming heavy-weights as the United Nation's Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NASA's James Hansen who both reportedly now recognize that global temperatures have not risen for more than a decade.

Europe is facing a green backlash.

"The BBC has backed down over Sir David Attenborough's widely contested claim that parts of the world have warmed by 3.5C over the last two decades. ...The comment was removed from Sunday night's repeat of the show." -- Harley Dixon, The Daily Telegraph, 11 Feb. 2013

"...long-term consequences of the Energy Bill will be horrible. It's a recipe for deindustrialization." -- Professor Gordon Hughes, Mail on Sunday, 24 February, 2013

"Today energy policy is framed with only one factor in mind: satisfying the green lobby. It is, to be blunt, mad." -- Stephen Pollard, Daily Express, 20 February 2013

"Carbon emissions are no longer the driving factor setting UK energy policy. The new and dominant issue is cost." -- Nick Butler, Financial Times, 21 February, 2013

Scientific facts that Mr. Obama and his cronies prefer you not know come from Edmund Contoski, an environmental consultant for more than 40 countries. In Liberty Unbound, Contoski writes: "The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere comes from nature, not from man." Based on scientific data, "Not only are worms contributing to the CO2 in the atmosphere," Contoski further notes that, "volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Even natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined." Nature itself foils the environmentalists as The U.S. Department of Energy admits that once emitted that 98% of all the carbon dioxide emissions are again absorbed by nature. Contosky then queries, "Termites emit ten time more CO2 than humans, should we cap-and-tax them?"

The media neglect the real reason Barack Obama wants your dollars to flow into his green machine that will swallow them up and then divvy them up among an elite group that will reap financial gain as America loses. The scheme is hidden in plain sight. Perhaps a great investigative journalist like Bob Woodward will peel back the layers of this political fraud. After all, he's already endured one tongue-lashing threat from the White House.

Via email

What fun!  New York Times Kills Green Blog

By Alan Caruba

Fewer and fewer people care about the apocalyptic claims and outright lies of the environmental movement these days. The end of the world is nowhere in sight unless a stray asteroid is headed our way and, after some seventeen years of a natural cooling cycle, it’s hard to convince people that global warming is a problem.

In January The New York Times that has printed every global warming lie it could since the late 1980s shut down its “environmental desk” and reassigned its editors and reporters to other tasks. On March 1 it announced it was discontinuing the “Green Blog”, leaving only Andrew C. Revkin to rave on at “Dot Earth.”

Tim Graham, the Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, noted that Revkin’s paycheck is being underwritten by financing from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and, if that dries up, Revkin will have to take his fear-mongering somewhere else. Graham opined that “The reality must be that people don’t read it (Green Blog) and people simply don’t find global warming a scintillating subject. So much for the notion it’s the ‘story of the century.’”

The Times promised “we will forge ahead with our aggressive reporting on environmental and energy topics, including climate change, land use, threatened ecosystems, government policy, the fossil fuel industries, the growing renewable sector and consumer choices.” Readers have already made their choice; they are no longer interested in the torrent of lies that pours forth from the pages of the Times on the topics they will continue to report about. They have figured out that it is a steaming pile of horse manure.

It won’t be long before other print news media conclude that writing about “climate change”, aka global warming, no longer gets their reader’s hearts pumping faster.

A case in point from the alternative world of Internet blogs is the fact that 13 of the 17 blogs nominated for Best Science & Technology Weblog Awards were those of climate and environmental skeptics!

At The Guardian, a British daily that, like the Times, never failed to report that the Earth is warming, Leo Hickman who writes an environmental blog for it was fuming. He accused the climate skeptics of “gaming” the awards competition because they have succeeded in generating so much enthusiasm.

P. Gosselin, the writer of the No Tricks Zone blog admitted that “It was tough not to gloat” after reading Hickman’s screed. “It’s indeed a good look at a sour grapes display by the increasingly defeated looking alarmist side, now that they see they have got no chance of winning. Of the five finalists, four are skeptic blogs. The sole remaining alarmist blog, Skeptical Science, has dropped out.”

“The problem for them”, the alarmist blogs, “is that nobody is listening to their message any more. And, except for themselves, nobody else even has an inkling of enthusiasm left o nominate them, let alone vote. They’re rapidly sinking into irrelevance.”

It took time, but a consensus has been growing about the alarmists, whether it’s their absurd claims or the media that has been reporting them. It will take more time—and Mother Nature—before more people conclude that they have been victimized by the Greens who have foisted “renewable energy” (solar and wind) that not only provides less electricity than traditional sources, but drives up their bills in the process.

Environmentalism has never really been about science or even the Earth. Judi Bari of Earth First made that clear when she said, “If we don’t overthrow capitalism, we don’t have a chance of saving the world ecologically” or Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund who said, “”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.”

Writing recently in Investors Daily Business, Dennis Prager, a syndicated columnist, noted that the Philippines recently decided after twelve years to permit the planting of genetically modified (GM) rice. The reason for the reversal was that 4.4 million Filipino children suffer from vitamin A deficiency, causing 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind; half die within a year.” GM rice provides that vital vitamin. The Greens where and everywhere fight against the use of GM crops.

“So who would oppose something that could save millions of children’s lives and millions of other children from blindness?” asked Prager. “The answer is people who are move devoted to nature than to human life. They are called environmentalists. These are the same people who coerced nations worldwide into banning DDT.”

Who is really saving the world and our fellow humans? The skeptics. The scientists and others who have debunked the lies and exposed the agenda of the environmentalists. The Green Blog is dead. It is a victory for all of us.


Australia: Greenies attacking Coca Cola

Their sort probably don't drink Coke anyway.  It has after all got both caffeine and sugar in the standard product.  Horrors!  And the low calorie version has ASPARTAME in it.  Could anything be worse (aside from global warming, that is)?  It's probably even got that nasty hydrogen hydroxide in it

ANGRY consumers are flooding social media with threats to boycott Coca Cola after the company's court win yesterday to dismantle a Northern Territory recycling scheme.

The Federal Court yesterday ruled in favour of the beverage company who argued the state government's 10 cent deposit recycling scheme, introduced in January 2012, was costly and ineffective.

Coke had argued the extra 10 cents added to its products was unfair to consumers, despite the fee being refundable.

The soft drink company yesterday had to call police to break up a protest at its Sydney headquarters led by Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan and Greenpeace CEO David Ritter, but it's having a harder time dealing with the angry mob online.

Hundreds of people have flooded the company's Facebook page with furious messages and complaints, with many users pledging to never buy Coke products again.

One user posted a picture of a dead bird with a cut open stomach full of plastic waste, along with the message "Brought to you by Coca Cola".

"Disgusted with your resistance to the NT recycling scheme. Have you never heard of corporate responsibility?" the user wrote.

"Bad move. Bad corporate citizenship. You've lost me as a customer for ALL your products," wrote another, while one user commented: "My family believe in recycling so no more Coke products for us EVER AGAIN."

The protest has also spilled over to Twitter, where users have been tweeting angry messages under the hashtag #CokeFail.

"Help stop @CocaCola trashing Australia #cokefail," tweeted @RiaLettner.

"Don't buy Coke. Shame. #cokefail" tweeted @Visivoz.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


4 March, 2013

"No Certain Doom: On physical accuracy in projected global air temperatures"

Patrick Frank, a Ph.D. chemist with more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, gave a talk at Stanford last month on climate models.  The title of the talk was as in the heading above.  Below is the blurb for the talk:

The UN IPCC predicts that by 2100, human CO2 emissions could increase global surface air temperature by about 3 Celsius. The validity of this projection depends upon the physical accuracy of general circulation climate models (GCMs). However, model uncertainties or errors are never propagated into air temperature projections, which invariably lack physically valid error bars. This seminar will explore how GCMs project global air temperature. GCM cloud error will be described and propagated to produce a lower limit estimate of physical uncertainty in projections of future global air temperature. The extent of our knowledge of future climate will be clarified.

The talk does not appear to have been recorded but Dr. Frank reports as follows:

 The talk went well. About 70 people attended, including at least two climate modelers, who took some issue during Q&A afterwards. But I'd  heard their arguments before and so was prepared to rebut them, and had  some extra graphics in anticipation of them.

 The criticisms will be familiar to you. Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate  modeler and a WGII lead author in the up-coming AR5, recapitulated your  comment, Andreas [Schmittner], that the calculated growth of uncertainty would be different if I used a different time-step in the calculation for future  temperature. I agreed this is true, but pointed out that the  uncertainties would never be small.

 He also claimed that successful simulation of 20th century temperature  means that the models are accurate. But he had no response when I  pointed out that models are tuned using 20th century observables before  they're used to simulate the 20th century climate.

 A second audience member, name unknown, said that the growth of cloud error in GCM temperature projections, to confidence intervals of (+/-)10 C after 100 years, was ridiculous because it supposed that temperatures might be 10 degrees warmer or colder by 2100.

 I thanked him for that comment, because it gave me the opportunity to point out that confidence intervals are statistical values, not thermodynamic quantities. They estimate our level of ignorance, but say nothing about where the truth lays; an important distinction that seems obscure to many.

 Another point that seems obscure to many is that, as the cloud error confidence intervals are about accuracy not about precision, the mean  line through the confidence bars is not necessarily the most probable line.  Any physically plausible line through the intervals is as good as any other, and the mean line is just one among their number. Because of this, "ensemble averages" of GCM projections have no special physical significance, even if they do get closer to the observed data. I plan to be explicit about this in any future seminar.

 Some in the audience were glowering during my talk, but others were very receptive. There were a few other questions, but nothing seriously challenging. Over all it was a good experience, going into the lions den and seeing how sharp were the teeth and claws. So far, it's worked out OK.

Gordon Fulks comments to Dr Frank:

You certainly had a great turnout that spanned the spectrum from true believers to heretics.  That speaks well for Stanford University.  It should be possible to discuss controversial topics in a university setting.  Princeton Professor of Physics Will Happer mentioned to me that he had a far more attentive audience at UC Berkeley than at a nearby community college when he gave identical lectures on Global Warming.  The Nobel Laureates in the Berkeley audience were polite and asked good questions while the community college audience was disruptive.

It is interesting that the climate modeler who questioned you did not realize the fallacy in saying: "successful simulation of 20th century temperature means that the models are accurate."  That is circular reasoning, a mortal sin in science!  I'm glad you pointed out that the models are "tuned" to 20th century observables.  That makes them data fits that fit the data!  Wow, any child can do that by connecting the dots.  But what does the child do after the last dot?

Freeman Dyson described an encounter with Enrico Fermi where the young Dyson tried to impress the great Fermi with his ability to fit the data they were discussing.  Fermi asked how many free parameters he had and then quoted John von Neuman: "With four free parameters I can fit an elephant.  With five I can make him wiggle his trunk."  That ended their conversation!  (Climate models have far more than five free parameters, as you well know).

If our university system were working, you would be invited to give your talk at Oregon and Washington universities too.  But your ideas are far too much of a threat to the status quo for them to risk hearing you out.  The faithful might come away with doubts.  That cannot be allowed!

Via email

The Scary Hidden Stressor

The excerpt below from an article in the NYT by the inimitable Thomas Friedman is right for the wrong reasons.  Food shortages were undoubtedly a factor in the recent upheavals in Arab lands.  But what caused the shortages?  There were several factors but it was primarily the EPA mandate to poison American gasoline supplies with ethanol.  That mandate produced a huge new demand for ethanol which was primarily supplied from the massive American corn crop.  Supply does not respond instantly to demand, however, so the price of corn shot up.  And that affected wheat prices as well as corn prices because the two grains are to an extent substitutable.  And at the new high prices poor people (including most of the Arab world) could not afford either grain.  Obama could have solved the food shortage in a penstroke by suspending the ethanol mandate but he did not.

IN her introduction to a compelling new study, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” released Thursday, the Princeton scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter notes that crime shows often rely on the concept of a “stressor.” A stressor, she explains, is a “sudden change in circumstances or environment that interacts with a complicated psychological profile in a way that leads a previously quiescent person to become violent.” The stressor is never the only explanation for the crime, but it is inevitably an important factor in a complex set of variables that lead to a disaster. “The Arab Spring and Climate Change” doesn’t claim that climate change caused the recent wave of Arab revolutions, but, taken together, the essays make a strong case that the interplay between climate change, food prices (particularly wheat) and politics is a hidden stressor that helped to fuel the revolutions and will continue to make consolidating them into stable democracies much more difficult.

Jointly produced by the Center for American Progress, the Stimson Center and the Center for Climate and Security, this collection of essays opens with the Oxford University geographer Troy Sternberg, who demonstrates how in 2010-11, in tandem with the Arab awakenings, “a once-in-a-century winter drought in China” — combined, at the same time, with record-breaking heat waves or floods in other key wheat-growing countries (Ukraine, Russia, Canada and Australia) — “contributed to global wheat shortages and skyrocketing bread prices” in wheat-importing states, most of which are in the Arab world.

Only a small fraction — 6 percent to 18 percent — of annual global wheat production is traded across borders, explained Sternberg, “so any decrease in world supply contributes to a sharp rise in wheat prices and has a serious economic impact in countries such as Egypt, the largest wheat importer in the world.”

The numbers tell the story: “Bread provides one-third of the caloric intake in Egypt, a country where 38 percent of income is spent on food,” notes Sternberg. “The doubling of global wheat prices — from $157/metric ton in June 2010 to $326/metric ton in February 2011 — thus significantly impacted the country’s food supply and availability.” Global food prices peaked at an all-time high in March 2011, shortly after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in Egypt.

Consider this: The world’s top nine wheat-importers are in the Middle East: “Seven had political protests resulting in civilian deaths in 2011,” said Sternberg. “Households in the countries that experience political unrest spend, on average, more than 35 percent of their income on food supplies,” compared with less than 10 percent in developed countries.

Everything is linked: Chinese drought and Russian bushfires produced wheat shortages leading to higher bread prices fueling protests in Tahrir Square. Sternberg calls it the globalization of “hazard.”

Ditto in Syria and Libya. In their essay, the study’s co-editors, Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, note that from 2006 to 2011, up to 60 percent of Syria’s land experienced the worst drought ever recorded there — at a time when Syria’s population was exploding and its corrupt and inefficient regime was proving incapable of managing the stress.

In 2009, they noted, the U.N. and other international agencies reported that more than 800,000 Syrians lost their entire livelihoods as a result of the great drought, which led to “a massive exodus of farmers, herders, and agriculturally dependent rural families from the Syrian countryside to the cities,” fueling unrest. The future does not look much brighter. “On a scale of wetness conditions,” Femia and Werrell note, “ ‘where a reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought,’ a 2010 report by the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows that Syria and its neighbors face projected readings of -8 to -15 as a result of climatic changes in the next 25 years.” Similar trends, they note, are true for Libya, whose “primary source of water is a finite cache of fossilized groundwater, which already has been severely stressed while coastal aquifers have been progressively invaded by seawater.”


Realism peeps through in a  "Guardian" article

The author below knows that scares are now heavily discredited so tones that down.  The foundation of his story is however still risible  -- None other than a quote from the hysterical Jim Hansen.  That there is at the present no warming to lead to the calamities he predicts he ignores.  Global warming is for him an axiom, not a testable fact.  More cynically, it is just a good hook to hang his book on

After millennia of falsely predicting the apocalypse, humanity has become understandably flippant. There were so many threatened catastrophes in 2012, from rolling earthquakes to interstellar collisions and a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar that the quips began to flow. "People are making apocalypse jokes like there's no tomorrow,' was a favourite.

But just because we've been wrong so many times before, does that mean we're safe forever? Or have we been lulled into a false sense of security, and do the timeframes involved disguise the scale of the risks posed to conditions for human civilisations?

Look back far enough and you'll see that very bad things do happen. The world has experienced five mass extinction events during which over 95% of marine species and 80% of four legged creatures died out.

The climate warmed during the gloriously named Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), driving one of Earth's more recent extinction events 55m years ago. Now we are living through a man-made mass extinction event.

The PETM was bad, but NASA climate scientist James Hansen notes that with global warming today, climate zones are moving about 10 times faster than they did during the PETM extinction. It's an indicator of the force and speed of the unintended consequences of our economic activity, and something which makes it impossible for many species to adapt. And left unaddressed that could be the case for humanity too.

Homo Sapiens may feel smugly secure in our abilities, but its worth remembering we've only been around for a humble 300,000 years or so. The dinosaurs lasted for about 165m years, and we seem to be trying hard not to outlive them.

Vast subsidies pour into the fossil fuel industries, and in the UK new tax breaks have encouraged investment at a 30-year high into North Sea oil and gas exploration and production.

That is in spite of the best science available suggesting that we can only afford to burn around a quarter or a fifth of proven reserves if we are to avoid potentially runaway global warming. And, instead of climate campaigners being applauded for their actions, they are being hounded with £5 million law suits.

My new book, Cancel the Apocalypse, is about how we can face this challenge positively, without slipping into denial, despair or cynical profiteering.

With the right approaches we can all benefit from re-engineering our financial, food, transport and energy systems. We can re-imagine the shape of our high streets and the pattern of our working weeks to improve the quality of our lives and lessen our burden on the biosphere. But this can only happen if we let go of the tenacious economic dogma that has taken root in recent decades. Perversely, as evidence mounts of its failure to spread the benefits of enterprise, its lack of respect for its natural resource base, or even its ability to succeed on its own terms, the old ideas are clung to more tightly. Political familiarity misinterpreted as security.


State Department Finds Keystone XL Pipeline Won't Accelerate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Well it looks like now not only do the Republicans have what’s best for the economy and people in mind, but they also care about the environment?! Imagine Democrats with confused looks on their faces! The journey to clearing the path for the Keystone Pipeline has been a bitter fought battle, but it looks like now the White House and its administration can’t fight any more.

In a new report done by the State Department it has been confirmed, “the project would not accelerate global greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the natural habitats along its route”.

As ABC reports (yes even the mainstream media is picking up on this),

“The approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including this proposed project, really remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of development of the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil in the U.S.,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The State Department, which conducted the study because the pipeline would cross an international boundary, also suggested in a voluminous report that impacts on air, water and landscape would be minimal.

The agency found it “very unlikely” that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed. It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, “these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater.”

Government analysts found that Keystone XL would each year produce the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 620,000 passenger cars operating for a year. But they concluded that whether or not the pipeline is approved, those emissions would still likely occur because of fuels produced and obtained from other sources.

Now, we all know the fight that has been going on between environmental activists and those who support the Keystone Pipeline. But now it seems that there is no real argument for the environmentalists. What can they possibly complain about now? Oh wait, here it is, apparently the government and the State Department don’t really know what they’re talking about, according to the president of Friends of the Earth. He says, “The draft SEIS reads like an on-ramp to justify the Keystone XL pipeline project. We cannot solve the climate crisis when the State Department fails to understand the basic climate, environmental and economic impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

So basically it seems that no matter what supporters of the pipeline do, it is not good enough. We now have the Obama administration on our side, and it is still not enough for these “green” people. They used to try the excuse that the people of the states affected didn’t like it, but now Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota have all signed-off on the pipeline plan and their governors and congressional delegations have been calling on Obama to follow suit. It is time everyone wakes up and realizes this pipeline is the best choice to create thousands of new jobs and provide gas to thousands of people across the country.


Why no Environmental Impact Statement on "immigration reform?"

The federal government has just released a 2,000 page environmental impact statement on the proposed Keystone pipeline from Canada to the U.S. I haven't quite gotten around to reading it yet, but that reminds me of something: Why shouldn't there be a required environmental impact statement on proposed amnesty and guest workers plans? How can the politicians blithely make changes that will have vast environmental consequences without first submitting an environmental impact statement?

Back in 2010, I estimated the impact of immigration on American and global carbon emissions. After all, pretty much the whole point of moving to America is to live larger and emit more carbon. I came up with immigration to the U.S. from 2005 to 2050 adding about 6% to global carbon emissions, which is a gigantic number.

Perhaps somebody else would come up with a different number, but, that's kind of the point: nobody is looking at this question.



Three current articles below

Marine park poorly conceived

Manta ray habitat not protected, other areas inappropriately protected

Up to 150 mantas have been spotted by divers off Lady Elliot Island after a spike in nutrients flushed out by record flooding at Bundaberg.

Rated as the best place on the planet to dive with the marine creature, Lady Elliot is home to the Project Manta survey.

The project's latest research shows the graceful animals can migrate up to 3000km every year.

Scientists also found they stop at "cleaning stations", the aquatic equivalent of a fishy car wash, where smaller fish nibble off dead skin. Popular sites are North Stradbroke Island and Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

But the Osprey Reef site is under threat, with outraged dive operators and researchers condemning as a "sham" the latest plans by the Federal Government to lock up nearly a million square kilometres of the Coral Sea in the world's biggest marine reserve.

Underwater filmmaker Richard Fitzpatrick said the giant mantas were at risk because the critical "cleaning station" site known as The Entrance, on the western side of Osprey Reef, was unprotected under the plan.

"(Federal Environment Minister) Tony Burke has singled out Osprey Reef yet he has failed to protect it," the Emmy-award winning diver said.

"Green zones are useless unless they take in movement patterns of animals. The plan takes no notice of the science."

Veteran dive operator Mike Ball said the new no-go zones need more bite to protect sharks and manta rays.

Osprey Reef, a 2km-deep seamount that plunges into the deep blue, is the state's only underwater shark feeding dive site and an iconic $16 million-a-year dive expedition destination.

Mr Ball and others want a 3km-wide no-go fishing zone to protect the entire seamount, 140km outside the Great Barrier Reef.

The 25-year veteran of Coral Sea dive expeditions said the whole Coral Sea plan was a sham if it did not protect the most iconic of the isolated ocean reefs.

"There is zero protection for the southwest part of the reef," Mr Ball said.

But aquarium collectors, charter boat operators and spearfishing crews oppose the move to lock up such a vast swathe of the ocean, home to prized black marlin, whales, tuna and swordfish.

Mr Burke said plans would be finalised mid-year before coming into force in July 2014.


Everything is caused by global warming says Australia's official Warmist

Since there has been no global warming for 16 years (even the head of the IPCC says so), he is clearly talking through his anal aperture

CATASTROPHIC bushfires, damaging rain and the most intense heatwave on record this summer are just a taste of what climate change will bring, a new report says.

Climate Commissioner Will Steffen said the extreme weather of 2012/13 was climate change in action, and more events are on the way.

In his Climate Commission report, Angry Summer, released today, Prof Steffen also said Queensland's one-in-100-year flood was one part of a "very, very unusual summer".

"We've been storing extra heat in this system for about a century now, due to increasing greenhouse gases," he said.  "When we do the sums, as we do in the climate models, for the next couple of decades you're going to see increasing likelihood of very hot weather and more record hot weather."

That means wilder weather than last summer, when a staggering 123 records were broken throughout Australia in 90 days.

It was the hottest summer, capped by the longest and most extreme heatwave on record. Sydney, Newcastle and Hobart sweltered through their hottest days on record. The average temperature in Australia was 40.3C on January 7.

Rainfall records were smashed along eastern Australia, tropical cyclones wreaked havoc, bushfires raged in every state and territory and tornadoes hit Bundaberg.

Prof Steffen acknowledges Australia has always had extreme weather.  But he argues the way these events are shifting "tells a very, very compelling story" because extreme weather events are occurring in a climate system that is warmer and moister than it was 50 years ago.

Prof Steffen said action taken now to cut greenhouse gas emissions would have a big influence on how hot it would be in the second half of the century.

Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery argues the events of summer didn't happen out of the blue and were forecast decades ago by scientists warning of the dangers of man-made climate change.

"As these record-breaking conditions continue, it gets ever more difficult to deny there is a link between them and human activity," he said.


Pressure among Australian Federal conservatives to wind back global warming support

Pressure is mounting within the federal Coalition to abolish or scale back the 20 per cent renewable energy target, with Nationals senator Ron Boswell claiming his party backs his demand the policy be axed.

While pledging to abolish the carbon price, the Coalition has always offered bipartisan support for the RET, which remains the biggest driver of investment in renewable energy.

But Senator Boswell told the Senate on Thursday that the RET should be abolished because it was increasing electricity prices and was "costing jobs in western Sydney".

"The whole of the National Party agrees with me, although we haven't got a formal policy on it yet, and I suspect many Liberals do also," Senator Boswell said.  "If we want to have a manufacturing sector in Australia, we have to dump the carbon tax and abolish the RET."

A high-profile Liberal candidate in the New South Wales seat of Hume, Angus Taylor, said last week that the RET was an inefficient and expensive way of reducing emissions, and argued it should be restructured, possibly to include projects generating electricity from gas.

The Coalition climate change spokesman, Greg Hunt, has said there are no plans to change the RET, but the Coalition would consider a review to be held in 2014.

Meanwhile, Greens senator Christine Milne will use a speech on Friday to take aim at the Coalition's Direct Action climate policy, which she claims is a "sham".

Direct Action proposes to spend more than $1 billion a year, mostly on competitive government grants to companies or farmers who "bid in" ideas for how they might reduce emissions.

But Senator Milne will outline why she believes the scheme has no chance of working.

"The Coalition expects more than 60 per cent of the abatement to come from soil carbon - but the science to back this up is not yet solid, so this abatement would not be recognised in international treaties. That's a show-stopper," she will say.

And she will quote Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull to make the point that "assessing the tenders to ensure that they involve genuine reductions in emissions is fraught with difficulty.

"As Malcolm Turnbull has said, and I quote, 'If a scheme operates whereby the government pays the firm to reduce its emissions intensity … there is firstly going to be a substantial and contentious debate about what the correct baseline is, and then whether it will actually be reduced …

"Arguments of considerable ferocity will arise as to whether a new piece of equipment would have been bought anyway, with the risk that the government ends up funnelling billions of dollars to companies to subsidise their profit without achieving any real additional cuts in emissions.' "




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


3 March, 2013

Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?  The present system, if continued, may seriously impede, if not stop, the advance of science

The paper below, by Frank J. Tipler Professor of Mathematical Physics Tulane University New Orleans, was published in 2003 and there have been a few green shoots of doubt about the academic publication process since then.  There has been no systematic change however so the points made are still true to life.

My own experience reinforces everything he says.   With just one highly technical  exception NONE of my papers appeared in "mainstream" (APA) journals.  And the reason is glaringly obvious.  I have always been unwaveringly critical of Leftist ideas, which are the orthodoxy in academe.  So nearly all of my 200+ published papers were published in just  three journals with sympathetic editors.  Amusingly, however two of those journals are very widely circulated and cited.  So my papers still got good exposure and appeared in journals that were highly creditable.  As soon as the editors changed, however, my papers ceased to be accepted!

So the bias in the academic journals towards global warming is actually only one subset of a larger and highly discreditable phenomenon.  The excerpts from Tipler below do  therefore reinforce the view that ANY overall bias in the academic journals is to be distrusted

There is however now no reason to rely on academic journals as a path to truth.  The internet has made ALL ideas highly accessible and many "incorrect" ideas get good exposure.   So one can readily find all sides to a question aired and make up one's mind based on the balance of the evidence rather than on just one side of it.  Let the defenders of orthodoxy keep mumbling  to one another in their journals  while the rest of us  get on with the real work of understanding the world

NOTE on Christianity:

Tipler is rather amusing  in reporting the way Christianity is regarded with great horror among academics.  I can however confirm the basic truth of what he says.  I have been an unwavering atheist for the whole of my adult life so comments to me on the matter by colleagues have always been unguarded.  And their contempt for Christianity has been almost universal.

I on the other hand have always defended Christian ideas as creditable.  Although I have come to my own conclusions, I feel no need to be dogmatic about it.  And, as I have said before, I think there is better evidence for the divinity of Christ than there is for dangerous global warming!

I shall offer evidence that "peer" review is not peer review: the referee is quite often not as intellectually able as the author whose work he judges. We have pygmies standing in judgment on giants.

Einstein's experience is illustrative. He published three super breakthrough papers in 1905. One presented to the world his theory of (special) relativity. A second paper showed that light had to consist of particles that we now call photons; using this fact, he explained the emission of electrons from metals when illuminated by light. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for this explanation. The third paper explained the vibration of dust particles in air by attributing the motion to molecules of air hitting the dust particles. Einstein's explanation of this "Brownian motion" allowed properties of the molecules to be calculated, and it was Einstein's explanation that finally convinced physicists that atoms actually existed. Not bad for one year!

And Einstein wrote these papers in his spare time, after he returned home from his paying job as a patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland. All three papers were published in Annalen der Physik, one of the major physics journals in Germany. But none of the papers were sent to referees. Instead the editors-either the editor in chief, Man Planck, or the editor for theoretical physics, Wilhelm Wien-made the decision to publish. It is unlikely that whoever made the decision spent much time on whether to publish. Almost every paper submitted was published.

 And if Annalen der Physik rejected a paper, for whatever reason, any professional German physicist had an alternative: Zeitschrift fr Physik. This journal would publish any paper submitted by any member of the German Physical Society. This journal published quite a few worthless papers. But it also published quite a few great papers, among them Heisenberg's first paper on the Uncertainty Principle, a central idea in quantum mechanics. There was no way in which referees or editors could stop an idea from appearing in the professional journals.

In illustration of this, the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr said, according to Abraham Pais (The Genius of Science, p. 307), that if a physicist has an idea that seems crazy and he hesitates to publish so that someone else publishes the idea first and gets the credit, he has no one to blame but himself. In other words, it never occurred to Bohr that referees or editors could stop the publication of a new idea.

Bohr would not say that today. If one reads memoirs or biographies of physicists who made their great breakthroughs after, say, 1950, one is struck by how often one reads that "the referees rejected for publication the paper that later won me the Nobel Prize." One example is Rosalyn Yalow, who described how her Nobel-prize-winning paper was received by the journals. "In 1955 we submitted the paper to Science.... The paper was held there for eight months before it was reviewed. It was finally rejected. We submitted it to the Journal of Clinical Investigations, which also rejected it." (Quoted from The Joys of Research, edited by Walter Shropshire, p. 109).

Another example is Gnter Blobel, who in a news conference given just after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, said that the main problem one encounters in 4 one's research is "when your grants and papers are rejected because some stupid reviewer rejected them for dogmatic adherence to old ideas." According to the New York Times (October 12, 1999, p. A29), these comments "drew thunderous applause from the hundreds of sympathetic colleagues and younger scientists in the auditorium."

In an article for Twentieth Century Physics, a book commissioned by the American Physical Society (the professional organization for U.S. physicists) to describe the great achievements of 20th century physics, the inventor of chaos theory, Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, described the reception that his revolutionary papers on chaos theory received:

"This has been my full experience. Papers on established subjects are immediately accepted. Every novel paper of mine, without exception, has been rejected by the refereeing process. The reader can easily gather that I regard this entire process as a false guardian and wastefully dishonest. (Volume III, p. 1850)."

Earlier in the same volume on 20th century physics, in a history of the development of optical physics, the invention of the laser by Theodore Maiman was described. The result was so important that it was announced in the New York Times on July 7, 1960. But the leading American physics journal, Physical Review Letters, rejected Maiman's paper on how to make a laser (p. 1426).

Scientific eminence is no protection from a peer review system gone wild. John Bardeen, the only man to ever have won two Nobel Prizes in physics, had difficulty publishing a theory in low-temperature solid state physics (the area of one of his Prizes) that went against the established view. But rank hath its privileges. Bardeen appealed to his friend David Lazarus, who was editor in chief for the American Physical Society. Lazarus investigated and found that "the referee was totally out of line. I couldn't believe it. John really did have a hard time with [his] last few papers and it was not his fault at all. They were important papers, they did get published, but they gave him a harder time than he should have had." (True Genius: The Life and Science of John Bardeen, p. 300).

Stephen W. Hawking is the world's most famous physicist. According to his first wife Jane (Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen Hawking, p. 239), when Hawking submitted to Nature what is generally regarded as his most important paper, the paper on black hole evaporation, the paper was initially rejected. I have heard from colleagues who must remain nameless that when Hawking submitted to Physical Review what I personally regard as his most important paper, his paper showing that a most fundamental law of physics called "unitarity" would be violated in black hole evaporation, it, too, was initially rejected.

Today it is known that the Hawaiian Islands were formed sequentially as the Pacific plate moved over a hot spot deep inside the Earth. The theory was first developed in the paper by an eminent Princeton geophysicist, Tuzo Wilson: "I . sent [my paper] to the Journal of Geophysical Research. They turned it down.. They said my paper had no mathematics in it, no new data, and that it didn't agree with the current views. Therefore, it must be no good.

Apparently, whether one gets turned down or not depends largely on the reviewer. The editors too, if they don't see it your way, or if they think it's something unusual, may turn it down. Well, this annoyed me, and instead of keeping the rejection letter, I threw it into the wastepaper basket. I sent the manuscript to the newly founded Canadian Journal of Physics. That was not a very obvious place to send it, but I was a Canadian physicist. I thought they would publish almost anything I wrote, so I sent it there and they published it!" (Quoted from The Joys of Research, p. 130.)

The most important development in cloning after the original breakthrough of Dolly the Sheep was the cloning of mice. The result was once again described on the front page of the New York Times, where it was also mentioned that the paper was rejected for publication by the leading American science journal, Science.

Everyone knows today that the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid hit the Earth. Science did publish the article presenting this theory, but only after a fierce fight with the referees, as one of these referees later confessed.

On the Nobel Prize web page one can read the autobiographies of recent laureates. Quite a few complain that they had great difficulty publishing the ideas that won them the Prize. One does not find similar statements by Nobel Prize winners earlier in the century.

Why is there more resistance to new ideas today? Why Does Peer Review Suppress New Ideas Today? Philip Anderson, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics opines that "in the early part of the postwar [post-WWII] period [a scientist's] career was science-driven, motivated mostly by absorption with the great enterprise of discovery, and by genuine curiosity as to how nature operates. By the last decade of the century far too many, especially of the young people, were seeing science as a competitive interpersonal game, in which the winner was not the one who was objectively right as [to] the nature of scientific reality, but the one who was successful at getting grants, publishing in Physical Review Letters, and being noticed in the news pages of Nature, Science, or Physics Today.... [A] general deterioration in quality, which came primarily from excessive specialization and careerist sociology, meant quite literally that more was worse." (20th Century Physics, pp. 2029).

 In the first part of the 20th century, a grant rejection, like a paper rejection, would not stop an idea from being presented or from being developed. In this earlier period, a tenured professorship came with a small amount of research funds. Since the universities of the time were not dependent on government grant money, tenure decisions were not dominated by whether a scholar up for tenure obtained a grant. Now most American universities, even the liberal arts colleges, are desperately dependent on government grants.

Pushing an idea that is contrary to current opinion is not a good way to obtain large grants. I have experienced this form of discrimination first hand. When I came up for tenure at Tulane in 1983, I was already controversial. At the time I had proposed that general relativity  might allow time travel, and I had published a series of papers claiming that we might be the only intelligent life form in the visible universe. At the time, these claims were far outside the mainstream. (They are standard claims now. Kip Thorne of Cal Tech has argued for the possibility of time travel, using the same mechanism I originally proposed. The scientific community is now largely skeptical of extraterrestrial intelligence, if for no other reason than the failure of the SETI radio searches.)

But my views made it very difficult to get an NSF grant. One reviewer of one of my grant proposals wrote that it would be inadvisable to award me a grant because I might spend some of the time working on my "crazy" ideas on ETI. I didn't get the grant. It began to look as if I wouldn't get tenure. I had a large number of papers published in refereed journals-including Physical Review Letters and Nature-but no government grants. For this reason, and for this reason alone (I was told later), the initial vote of the Tulane Physics Department was to deny me tenure.

But I had another grant proposal under consideration by the NSF. I called Rich Isaacson, the head of the Gravitation Division of the NSF, and told him about my situation. Rich called me a few weeks later, and told me that the referee reports for my proposal were "all over the map"-some reviewers said I was the most original relativity physicist since Einstein, and others said I was an incompetent crackpot. Rich said that in such a circumstance, he could act as he saw fit. He saw fit to fund my proposal. I had grant support! I also had tenure; the physics department reversed its negative vote.

But even at the time I worried that this sequence of events boded ill for science. Rich was the head of the only government agency that supplied funds for research in relativity physics. He knew that an influential minority of physicists thought well of my work (especially John Wheeler of Princeton, who is really the father of most relativity research in the U.S.). But what if I was engaged in a long-term project that had not definitely established itself? Except for the lack of a grant, I had impressed many of my colleagues as a capable physicist. But in today's science, this is not enough. It is absolutely essential to obtain a government grant.

 I got the grant-and tenure-only because a single man thought well of my work. If he did not, then I would not have gotten tenure. Nor would I have gotten tenure at any other American university.

 The most radical ideas are those that are perceived to support religion, specifically Judaism and Christianity. When I was a student at MIT in the late 1960s, I audited a course in cosmology from the physics Nobelist Steven Weinberg. He told his class that of the theories of cosmology, he preferred the Steady State Theory because "it least resembled the account in Genesis" (my emphasis).

 A recent poll of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, published in Scientific American, indicated that more than ninety percent are atheists. These men and women have built their entire worldview on atheism. They would be exceedingly reluctant to admit that any result of science could be valid if it even suggested that God could exist.

 I discovered this the hard way when I published my book The Physics of Immortality. The entire book is devoted to describing what the known laws of physics predict the far future of the universe will be like. Not once in the entire book do I use anything but the known physical laws, the laws of physics that are in all the textbooks, and which agree with all experiments conducted to date.

Unfortunately, in the book I gave reasons for believing that the final state of the universe-a state outside of space and time, and not material-should be identified with the Judeo-Christian God. (It would take a book to explain why!)

My scientific colleagues, atheists to a man, were outraged. Even though the theory of the final state of the universe involved only known physics, my fellow physicists refused even to discuss the theory. If the known laws of physics imply that God exists, then in their opinion, this can only mean that the laws of physics have to be wrong.

This past September, at a conference held at Windsor Castle, I asked the wellknown cosmologist Paul Davies what he thought of my theory. He replied that he could find nothing wrong with it mathematically, but he asked what justified my assumption that the known laws of physics were correct.

At the same conference, the famous physicist Freeman Dyson refused to discuss my theory-period. I would not encounter such refusals if I had not chosen to point out my theory's theological implications.

In the foreword to The Physics of Immortality, I included the standard acknowledgment of grant support. The government official (of Austria in this case) who provided funds to partially support my research told me that he had received enormous criticism from his fellow bureaucrats. They were outraged that a defense of Christianity was being supported by a respectable science organization.

The California Skeptics Society founder, Michael Shermer, informs me that a proposal to the NSF to fund the publication of all of Isaac Newton's to-date unpublished work on theology was rejected even though the proposal was made by one of the world's leading Newton scholars. The reason given, according to Shermer, was that it would be bad for science if it became generally known that the greatest scientist of all time actually believed in God.

Clearly, the scientific community is not open to any evidence or any theory that might even hint that God really exists and might actually act the in physical universe.


An alleged  skeptic decides that the grass is greener on the other side

He seems to have been skeptical because sea temperatures off California were falling.  As soon as he found a way out of that dilemma, he embraced authority, no doubt with great relief.  He makes no attempt to look at any other climate history.  And note that any "conversion" on Mr Lindsey's part is at least not recent.  He was already a Warmist four years ago

I was a global warming skeptic. I questioned the validity of the studies purporting to be factual. You see, since the 1970s seawater temperatures along the coastline of San Luis Obispo County weren't changing to any great extent. If anything, they've been slowly trending downward. What caused this condition if the oceans were supposedly warming?

After careful review of the wind data from the Diablo Canyon meteorological tower, I discovered that the northwesterly winds during the spring and summer months have slowly increased from decade to decade. These onshore winds produce greater amounts of upwelling and cooler seawater temperatures along our beaches.

Our northwesterly winds may have increased in response to a more intense area of low pressure that develops over the Great Central Valley of California as air temperatures warm, especially, during the spring and summer months. As that air rises, northwesterly winds flow from the Pacific to equalize the pressure difference between the ocean and the valley.

However, this condition is the least of the changes we are seeing. Record low amounts of ice in the Arctic Ocean, temperature records that fall like bowling pins, prolonged droughts, increasing wildfires and epic storms and floods have convinced me that the planet is warming at an unprecedented rate.

Historically, temperature changes of this magnitude have occurred over hundreds of thousands of years, not over a few decades!  All of these changes are in lockstep with increasing amounts of man-made carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Over the last four Saturdays, I've attended a climate change workshop taught by Dr. Ray Weymann at the PG&E Energy Education Center in Avila Valley through the Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast. Ray is a retired Director and Chair of the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona, and Director and Staff Member Emeritus of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena.

Dr. Weymann debunked the notion that climate change was caused by increasing amounts of energy from the sun and not by human activities. If anything, the solar radiation from our star is slowly diminishing.  He also discredited the idea that there is no scientific consensus on climate change.

Over 95 percent of scientists working in disciplines contributing to studies of climate accept the fact that global warming is caused by human activities.

If you think that these warnings are only embraced by radical environmentalists, you may want to reevaluate your position.

The chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, became so concerned with a warmer planet that he established Task Force Climate Change, led by Rear Adm. David Titley, the former oceanographer of the Navy. The goal of the task force is to ensure the U.S. Navy is ready to meet its mission in spite of a warmer ocean and increasing sea levels. Insurance companies along with many corporations, including PG&E, list climate change as one of their main concerns.


Another poll shows that most people no longer consider global warming a serious issue   

Concerns about the environment have reached a two-decade low since the start of the financial crisis, a global survey has revealed.

Fewer people now consider pollution, species loss and fresh water shortages to be 'very serious' problems than at any time since tracking began 20 years ago.

Fears over global warming are far lower than they were between 20003 and 2008, with less than one person in two regarding it as 'very serious'.

Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the Nineties, found the poll of more than 22,000 people in 22 countries.

Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years, as increased fears of economic meltdown pushed worries of man-made environmental catastrophe from the public consciousness.

Climate concern dropped first in industrialised countries, but this year's figures show that concern has now fallen in major developing economies such as Brazil and China as well.

The findings are drawn from the GlobeScan Radar annual tracking poll. A total of 22,812 people in 22 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone during the second half of 2012.

Twelve of these countries have been regularly polled on environmental issues since 1992.


Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link (?)


Some  interesting admissions below not generally made public by Warmists:  1).  In the proxy record, warming came first, not CO2 rise.  And even in their "revised" findings they could not get it to go the other way around, which is what their theory implies;  2). They have no exact idea what era the gases in ice cores represent (if any.  They could be an amalgam of a long period)  -- so only the broadest inferences can be drawn from them  -- JR

A meticulous new analysis of Antarctic ice suggests that the sharp warming that ended the last ice age occurred in lock step with increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the latest of many indications that the gas is a powerful influence on the earth's climate.

Previous research suggested that as the world began to emerge from the depths of the ice age about 20,000 years ago, warming in Antarctica preceded changes in the global carbon dioxide level by something like 800 years.

That relatively long gap led some climate-change contrarians to assert that rising carbon dioxide levels were essentially irrelevant to the earth's temperature - a side effect of planetary warming, perhaps, but not the cause.

Mainstream climate scientists rejected that view and argued that carbon dioxide, while it certainly did not initiate the end of the ice age, played a vital role in the feedback loops that caused a substantial warming. Still, a long gap between initial increases of temperature and of carbon dioxide was somewhat difficult for the scientists to explain.

A wave of new research in the last few years has raised the likelihood that there was actually a small gap, if any.

The latest paper was led by Fr‚d‚ric Parrenin of the University of Grenoble, in France, and is scheduled for publication on Friday in the journal Science. Using relatively new, high-precision chemical techniques, his group sought to reconstruct the exact timing of the events that ended the ice age.

Scientists have long known that ice ages are caused by variations in the earth's orbit around the sun. When an intensification of sunlight initiates the end of an ice age, they believe, carbon dioxide is somehow flushed out of the ocean, causing a big amplification of the initial warming.

Since the 1980s, scientists have been collecting a climate record by extracting long cylinders of ice from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and from glaciers atop high mountains.

Air bubbles trapped in the ice give direct evidence of the past composition of the atmosphere. And subtle chemical variations in the ice itself give an indication of the local temperature at the time it was formed.

The trouble is that air does not get sealed in the ice until hundreds or even thousands of years after the snow has fallen, as it slowly gets buried and compressed.

That means the ice and the air bubbles trapped in it are not the same age, so it becomes tricky for scientists to put reconstructed atmospheric composition and reconstructed temperature onto a common time scale.

With its improved techniques, Dr. Parrenin's group sought to clarify the dating of previously recovered ice cores from Antarctica. Instead of the 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide increases found in some previous research, their work suggests that the lag as the ice age started to end was less than 200 years, and possibly there was no lag at all.

"Before, because of these wrong results of CO2 lagging temperature, people were interpreting it as a weak role for CO2 in the climate variation of the past," Dr. Parrenin said.

Indeed, though most climate scientists have never seen the supposed gap as a major conceptual problem, it has been invoked repeatedly by American politicians who want to delay action on global warming.

More HERE.  The journal article is "Synchronous Change of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature During the Last Deglacial Warming"

Martin Hertzberg replies to Gillis (above)

Note Gillis' failure to ask the most obvious question about the data discussed in the article. Whether atmospheric CO2 increases lag temperature increases by 800 or 200 years during the several Interglacial Warmings of the last half-million years, the obvious question is where did all those increases come from at a time when human emission was essentially zero?

Gillis' disparaging reference to "carbon dioxide ... somehow (being) flushed out of the ocean" shows that he doesn't have a clue and doesn't seem to care. But, of course, it is the same CO2 that bubbles out of your soda water as it is poured into a warm glass. The ocean contains 50 times more dissolved CO2 than is present in the atmosphere, and the ocean is indeed the source of both current and past changes in atmospheric CO2. As oceans warm, they emit CO2 and as they cool, they absorb it.

    Furthermore, the CO2 amplification theory fails miserably to account for the onset of the Glacial Cooling cycle that follows the Glacial Warming. How can the cooling begin when the the CO2 is at its maximum at the peak of the warming? With CO2 at its maximum, the warming should continue to be amplified indefinitely according to their theory. That theory has no mechanism for cooling to start.  But we have to forgive Gillis, Gore, Shakun and their friends: after all, they are in global warming business, glacial cooling is someone else's job!

    Instead of Gillis' "cherry-picked" factoids, a responsible newspaper would publish the conclusions of some 130 of the world's most distinguished scientists who have analyzed the totality of the data, and who state: "the incidence and severity of extreme weather events has not increased....the hypothesis that our emission of CO2 have caused or will cause global warming is not supported by the evidence". The identity of those scientists and their detailed conclusions are available here.

Received via email

Cooking Books for Hot Summers

The lack of good history at the BoM makes their pronouncements of "hottest" etc. of dubious worth. It should be remembered that  Watkin Tench recorded Sydney temperatures very similar to the recent Sydney maximum in 1790.  BoM records are a long way short of 1790 (Yes.  1790. Not 1970) -- JR

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has "confirmed" that it is been the hottest summer on record in Australia. But I'm sceptical.

The "record breaking hot summer" is apparently a statistical fact derived from simply averaging across 104 or 112 localities - depending on whom at the Bureau is providing the information.  No mention is made of how the temperatures for all of these localities have been "corrected" over recent years through the ACORN program [2]. In general the "corrections" are such that temperature records for specific localities pre-1970 are adjusted down, while records for specific localities post-1970 are adjusted up.

In their media release [1] attention is drawn to the town of Moomba in South Australia which apparently had the highest temperature recorded at 49.6 degrees C. Interestingly the station of Moomba only opened in 1972 - this of course is not reported in the same media release.

I've been trying to get a good long temperature series for some rainfall hindcasting that I've been doing for southeast Queensland, and have found that none of the Brisbane temperature recording stations have had any permanence. While once the main temperature recording station for Brisbane was in a bay-side suburb, in recent years the temperature recording station has been moved to the middle of East Brisbane just south of the city's CBD - where coincidently it tends to be hotter.

The Bureau's media release goes on to claim this summer follows a pattern of extremely hot summers in various parts of the world over the last few years.

The phenomena whereby government climate scientists correct the historical temperature record to support their theory of anthropogenic global warming is not unique to Australia. In fact the Australian Bureau of Meteorology may be simply following instructions from The Team. The Team are, of course, that notorious in-group who run policy at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. In the leaked Climategate emails there is discussion involving The Team focused on the need to reduce global sea surface temperatures, SST, during the early part of the 20th Century by about 0.15 degree C.. By reducing, the blip in SST temperatures for example between 1940 and 1945, it is suggested that the rate and magnitude of global warming for the period 1910 to 1945 can be made to not exceed the rate and magnitude of warming for the 35 year to 2009.

Interestingly recent "corrections down" to historical global temperatures by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, GISS, have been concentrated in this period, Figure 1. The net effect of the adjustments has been to generate a more smoothly increasing global temperature since 1880, and reduce a warming blip that occurred in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The US National Climatic Data Center has also been making "corrections" to the historical global temperature record, Figure 2.  Indeed through administrative means January 1915 can be made to appear significantly cooler than January 2013, Figure 2.

This used to be known as cooking the books, however, of course, our esteemed climate scientists have detailed justifications for all the changes they have been busily making to all the global historical temperature databases


So much for global warming! Four out of the last five British winters have been COLDER than average

Cold weather usually requires some degree of hibernation.

But if you feel like the urge to curl up in your duvet and never leave the house has been getting stronger over the past few winters, well - you're right.

Because four out of five of them have been chillier than average, according to the Met Office.

There is hope on the horizon, however. Today marks the beginning of spring - albeit in the meteorological calendar.

Met Office figures showed that the average temperature for this winter was 3.3C (38F), 0.4C below the 30-year seasonal average of 3.7C (39F).

With the exception of 2011/12, which was milder at 4.6C (40F), every winter since 2007/08 has been colder than the average. The winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 were particularly chilly, with average temperatures of 1.6C (35F) and 2.4C (36F) respectively.

But forecasters say the recent crop of cold winters is part of normal weather patterns.

Both 2006/07 and 2007/08 were very mild winters, with mean temperatures of 5.6C (42F) and 4.9C (41F).

Forecaster Helen Chivers said a cyclical phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) could be contributing to the colder winters.

This describes the pattern of high and low pressure above Iceland and the Azores. In years when air pressure is high above Iceland, Britain tends to get colder winds blown from the north. When it is higher over the Azores, Britain basks in warmer air.

She said: `This is the classic example of the variability that we can see in the British weather. If you look back past the last five years, then three out of the last seven winters were milder than average, while 2006/07 was the second warmest on record. The recent trend does suggest there are natural cycles that influence our weather, with a negative NAO also occurring in the 1960s and 1980s and resulting in colder winters.' 

She explained that this winter was a season of `two halves', with more rain falling in December than in January and February combined. She added: `This winter being slightly colder than average does not tell the whole story.

`The first half of winter, the temperatures were normal but it was a mixture of sunshine and heavy rain, which led to flooding. But after mid-January, we have had cold and snowy weather.

`The chilly spell continued, which has pushed the average temperatures down, but February was dry.'

But the weather should soon be improving. She said: `Temperatures are returning to normal after the weekend, up to 12C (54F) with the very cold weather now coming to an end. March is looking mixed, with colder weather perhaps returning in a couple of weeks' time.'




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


1 March, 2013

What a great heap of steaming crap this is:  'Cancer risks higher' in worst-hit Fukushima area

I have read the full WHO report and it is about what I expected of them.  Their "findings" are all based on theory and modelling.  I can find no mention of any actual data being gathered.  Who needs facts when you have got theory?

Even according to them: "The values presented in the report should be regarded as inferences of the magnitude of the health risks, rather than as precise predictions". 

Immediately following the report below, I put up another recent article which DID look at the facts.  No prizes for guessing what it found

People in the area worst affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident two years ago have a higher risk of developing certain cancers, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

A magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011, killed nearly 19,000 people and devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing about 160,000 people to flee their homes.

In a statement, WHO director for public health and environment Doctor Maria Neira said the disaster brought with it higher risks of cancer.

"A breakdown of data, based on age, gender and proximity to the plant, does show a higher cancer risk for those located in the most contaminated parts," she said.

Read the full WHO report
In the most contaminated area, the WHO estimated there was a 70 per cent higher risk of females exposed as infants developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime.

The thyroid is the most exposed organ as radioactive iodine concentrates there and children are deemed especially vulnerable.

The report estimated that in the most contaminated area there was a 7 per cent higher risk of leukaemia in males exposed as infants and a 6 per cent higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants.

The report concluded that for the general population inside Japan, the predicted health risks were low, but one-third of emergency workers were estimated to have increased risk.

But there was no discernible increase in health risks expected outside Japan, the WHO said in a 200-page report, which was based on a comprehensive assessment by international experts.

Jim Smith, professor of environmental science at the University of Portsmouth in England, said: "Apart from emergency workers, the most affected people were those who remained in some highly contaminated towns and villages to the north west of the power station for up to four months before evacuation.

"The report found that these people received a lifetime radiation dose of up to 50 milli-Sieverts (MSV) and therefore have a significant, but relatively small, additional risk of contracting cancer in later life."

He said the average British person receives more than 150 MSV during their lifetime from background radiation.

He said the report did not yet give data on the numbers of people who received particular radiation doses, so it was not yet possible to estimate the overall health consequences.

Dr Neira said the WHO report outlines the need for long-term health monitoring of those who are at high risk, as well as follow-up support.


No signs yet of radiation-induced illness near Fukushima Daiichi plant

In March 2011, Japan was shaken by a once-in-a-lifetime earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami, resulting in the destruction and subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At the time, officials were concerned that nearby residents may have been harmed by low levels of radiation, but now, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should help to allay those fears.

After measuring levels of radioactive cesium-137 (a proxy for radiation exposure) in nearly 10,000 residents who lived approximately 14 miles from the nuclear plant, researchers from the University of Tokyo found that, with the exception of one person, none of the study participants had internal radiation levels exceeding common dose-limit recommendations. The voluntary screening program, which included those aged six and older, was conducted between September 2011 and March 2012.

The authors also observed that no cases of acute health problems have been reported thus far. However, in a second study published in the same journal, researchers from the National Defense Medical College in Japan did find that 47 percent of the nearly 1,500 Daiichi workers surveyed reported symptoms of general psychological distress, including post traumatic stress response.

“Unlike what many anti-nuclear energy activists may have you believe, the real devastation resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown was the psychological toll it took on the Japanese people,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross. “And though the adverse health effects of radiation exposure may often take many years to manifest, this study was unable to detect even one acute health problem, which should put many folks at ease.”

For an earlier take on ridiculous claims about the accident, take a look at an op-ed in Forbes by ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom.


Global Tipping Point Not Backed by Science, Experts Argue

Tipping points are absolutely central to global warming alarm

A group of international ecological scientists led by the University of Adelaide have rejected a doomsday-like scenario of sudden, irreversible change to Earth's ecology.

In a paper published Feb. 28 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the scientists from Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom argue that global-scale ecological tipping points are unlikely and that ecological change over large areas seem to follow a more gradual, smooth pattern.

This opposes recent efforts to define 'planetary tipping points' ? critical levels of biodiversity loss or land-use change that would have global effect ? with important implications for science and policy-makers.

"This is good news because it says that we might avoid the doom-and-gloom scenario of abrupt, irreversible change," says Professor Barry Brook, lead author of the paper and Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide. "A focus on planetary tipping points may both distract from the vast ecological transformations that have already occurred, and lead to unjustified fatalism about the catastrophic effects of tipping points.

"An emphasis on a point of no return is not particularly helpful for bringing about the conservation action we need. We must continue to seek to reduce our impacts on the global ecology without undue attention on trying to avoid arbitrary thresholds."

A tipping point occurs when an ecosystem attribute such as species abundance or carbon sequestration responds rapidly and possibly irreversibly to a human pressure like land-use change or climate change.

Many local and regional-level ecosystems, such as lakes and grasslands, are known to behave this way. A planetary tipping point, the authors suggest, could theoretically occur if ecosystems across Earth respond in similar ways to the same human pressures, or if there are strong connections between continents that allow for rapid diffusion of impacts across the planet.

"These criteria, however, are very unlikely to be met in the real world," says Professor Brook. "First, ecosystems on different continents are not strongly connected. Second, the responses of ecosystems to human pressures like climate change or land-use change depend on local circumstances and will therefore differ between localities."

The scientists examined four principal drivers of terrestrial ecosystem change ? climate change, land-use change, habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss ? and found they were unlikely to induce global tipping points.

Co-author Associate Professor Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says: "As much as four fifths of the biosphere is today characterised by ecosystems that locally, over centuries and millennia, have undergone human-driven regime shifts of one or more kinds. Recognising this reality and seeking appropriate conservation efforts at local and regional levels might be a more fruitful way forward for ecology and global change science."


Green Madness: California Faces Electricity Crisis Due To Renewable Energy

Green/Left wet dreams about to collide with reality

California is weighing how to avoid a looming electricity crisis that could be brought on by its growing reliance on wind and solar power.

Regulators and energy companies met Tuesday, hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state's network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy. Power production from renewable sources fluctuates wildly, depending on wind speeds and weather.

California has encouraged growth in solar and wind power to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. At the same time, the state is running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas, that can adjust their output to keep the electric system stable. The amount of electricity being put on the grid must precisely match the amount being consumed or voltages sag, which could result in rolling blackouts.

At Tuesday's meeting, experts cautioned that the state could begin seeing problems with reliability as soon as 2015.

California isn't the only state having trouble coping with a growing share of renewables. Texas also needs more resources, such as gas-fired power plants, that can adjust output in response to unpredictable production from wind farms.

Renewable power has seen a boom in both states. On Feb. 9, wind farms in Texas set a record for output, providing nearly 28% of the state's supply for the day. Production hasn't hit that level yet in California, but the state's goal is to get one-third of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020.

"I think we're going to end up closer to 40%," said Robert Weisenmiller, chairman of the California Energy Commission, the state's policy and planning agency for electricity.

A decade ago, California was hit by an electricity crisis marked by price surges and rolling blackouts, stemming from market manipulation and tightening electricity supplies in a newly deregulated market. To prevent a recurrence, state regulators passed rules requiring utilities to line up enough energy to meet even high power demand, with a special emphasis on in-state renewable resources.

"California has been well served by the procurement process since the crisis," said Steve Berberich, chief executive of the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's grid. "The problem is we have a system now that needs flexibility, not capacity."

Changes in California's market have attracted lots of new generation; the state expects to have 44% more generating capacity than it needs next year. Grid officials say they expect the surplus to fall to 20% by 2022, though it will remain high for about a decade.

However, the surplus generating capacity doesn't guarantee steady power flow. Even though California has a lot of plants, it doesn't have the right mix: Many of the solar and wind sources added in recent years have actually made the system more fragile, because they provide power intermittently.

Electricity systems need some surplus, so they can cover unexpected generator outages or transmission-line failures, but having too much can depress the prices generators can charge for electricity. In part because of low power prices, many gas-fired generation units aren't profitable enough to justify refurbishments required by pending federal regulations under the Clean Water Act. That means they are likely to be shut by 2020, adding to the state's power woes.

By July, state officials hope to have a plan in place addressing the problem. Turf issues among state and federal regulators could complicate the process.

Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates utilities, said action is clearly needed, but he isn't sure whether the market needs "small adjustments or a major overhaul."

Utility executives are calling for immediate action, pointing to the risk of rolling blackouts. "We see the issue hitting as soon as 2013, 2014, 2015," said Todd Strauss, the head of planning and analysis for PG&E Corp., a big utility serving Northern California, who attended Tuesday's meeting. "If we thought it was far out, we wouldn't be here."


Fisker hybrid car project in Delaware was always a sham

This is not a post about whether or not Governor Markell should or should not have invested our tax dollars in stimulating industry and job growth.  That sort of decision will always be debatable along party/ideological lines, and--in fact--all rhetoric to the side both major parties do so on a regular basis.

This is about what appears to have been outright fraud--fraud that should have been easily detectable.

Over the past several years I have spoken, independently, to about a half dozen Fisker employees, all of whom were experienced auto workers and most of whom had previously worked at the Boxwood Road plant.  The earliest was at a Conrad High School football game 2 1/2 years ago; the latest was yesterday.

All of them told exactly the same story.  It goes like this:

In all the time they worked for Fisker, none of the old machinery was removed from the plant.  No new machinery was installed.  Think about that for a second.  To retool a conventional (and elderly) automobile production facility to produce an entirely different line of vehicles is a massive undertaking. It had happened several times in the history of the Boxwood Road plant, and that was just to change between different vehicles in the same line of cars.  The Fisker vision was a completely different type of vehicle.  And yet there were no significant changes made to the facility, according to people who worked there.

(In a way I can verify this personally.  Two years ago I had a niece who went to Conrad and I drove by the plant on an almost daily basis.  You never saw deliveries being made there.  Never.  My niece's best friend lived a block from the plant.  Her family said they never saw deliveries being made there.)

So what did the employees do?  "Mop the floor" is what I have been told by multiple workers.  Mop the damn floor.  They would come in, mop the floor and clean the windows for two hours, take a break, get up when a manager came through, and mop the floor again.  Then they'd take a 2-3 hour lunch before mopping the floor again during the afternoon.

As one of them told me, "They might not ever have produced any cars, but they had the cleanest floor of any automobile factory ever."

There were apparently a couple of areas set up as display areas, where there were big charts and diagrams showing the kind of machinery that would some day be delivered, and how the assembly line would some day look--but tomorrow never came.  Visiting dignitaries came, looked at the charts, listened to the spiel, shook hands with the smiling workers.

And apparently never asked why there was no machinery being installed to manufacture cars.

Why, one wonders, did none of these factory workers ever come forward publicly or drop a dime to the District Attorney's office ... or something?

First, I don't know for sure that none of them did, but two of them explained it to me thus:

"We've all been laid off before.  We've all seen our families go through tough times, and we've all had our unemployment run out before.  As long as they were paying us to feed our families, we weren't going to blow the scam."  Almost embarrassed, one of them told me:  "I thought of it as the two years of unemployment benefits I never got before."

I don't actually blame them:  if a private employer wants to pay you to show up and not work, who wouldn't take the money?

But then one wonders about the due diligence supposed to have been exercised by the State, especially given our multi-million dollar investment.  There seem to be three, and only three, possibilities:

1.  All of the employees and former employees who spoke to me were exaggerating, lying, or mistaken.  It's possible, I guess, that the Fisker plant is actually brimming with new equipment that they really did intend to use to produce new cars.  Of course, I've never even seen a picture of it ...

2.  State authorities were so overconfident and so lax in their exercise of due diligence that they either never seriously examined the situation, or were taken in by the "show" areas of the facility.  That would be disturbing.

3.  State authorities figured out what was going on, and decided to remain silent.  In this scenario you never know how many state officials figured it out, or at what level.  Maybe they feared for their jobs if they told Jack Markell or Al Levin.  Maybe political considerations kept people from talking.  Maybe the fact that some people had jobs was considered a good enough return on our investment, even if Fisker ultimately decided to build the car of the future in China.

But you do have to wonder:  beyond the occasion campaign reference, beyond the occasional editorial or letter to the editor, why the General Assembly has never conducted an investigation to determine if Fisker ever seriously intended produce cars or significant car parts in Delaware?

$25 million in tax money would have produced a lot of construction jobs if put toward major caps or transportation funding.  $25 million would have closed some of the holes in Delaware's Medicaid coverage.  $25 million would even have been an economic stimulant back in the hands of Delaware taxpayers.

$25 million to Fisker--even if some of it eventually gets repaid--is money down the toilet in pursuit of an opportunity that now seems more and more to always have been a chimera.

Maybe it wasn't such a bright idea to turn economic development in Delaware over to the guy who gave us all those Walgreens ...


World+Dog don't care about climate change, never have done

Seventeen years of continuous surveys covering countries around the world show that people not only do not care about climate change today - understandably prioritising economic misery - they also did not care about climate change even back when times were good.

The new information comes in a study released by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago - a large, long-standing and respected non-profit. The results are based on surveys which began in 1993, back in the boom times, and “are the first and only surveys that put long-term attitudes toward environmental issues in general and global climate change in particular in an international perspective,” according to NORC's Tom W Smith.

According to a NORC statement issued yesterday:

    "The economy ranked highest in concern in 15 countries, followed by health care in eight, education in six, poverty in two, and terrorism and crime in one country each. Immigration and the environment did not make the top of the list in any country over the 17-year period; in the United States, the economy ranked as the highest concern, while concern for the environment ranked sixth. In terms of national averages, the order of concern was the economy (25 percent); health care (22.2); education (15.6); poverty (11.6); crime (8.6); environment (4.7); immigration (4.1); and terrorism (2.6), the surveys showed."

Essentially, the environment joins terrorism and immigration on the list of subjects nobody has ever been able to really give a toss about, though the compiling profs did note that in Turkey they do consider terrorism serious: the Turks rate it number one, in fact, though nobody else does.

"Terrorism’s low ranking was notable in light of the widespread attention the issue has received since 2001," comment the NORC analysts, perhaps sounding a knell of doom for environmental activists who believe they can gain support for their agenda through incessant publicity.

The NORC spokespersons add that decades of climate alarmism have had basically no effect on people's attitude around the world:

    "The latest surveys were completed in 2010. Similar surveys have been conducted since 1993, and little change has been noted on people’s concern for climate change ... widespread public support for current action on the issue will represent a major shift in attitude."




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


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.

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.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

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 great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: