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

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

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31 March, 2014

Climate change could make humans extinct, warns health expert

And pigs might fly.  The IPCC has just released its latest round of prognostications so floods of fears are breaking out worldwide at the moment.  The article below is one example of that.

The very first sentence is a lie.  The earth is not warming at all and has not done so for 17 years.  What the author has done is look at one of the IPCC "Scenarios" and take it as fact.  And the one she has lifted  is one of the more extreme scenarios.  A 2 degree temperature rise is the one most predicted by Warmists but she has picked a 4 degree rise.

Everything she says is true -- but only if global warming is occurring  -- and she offers only assertions about that.  The next article below gives you the actual figures.  I won't comment on the lady's health science.  It is as bad as her atmospheric science

The Earth is warming so rapidly that unless humans can arrest the trend, we risk becoming "extinct" as a species, a leading Australian health academic has warned.

Helen Berry, associate dean in the faculty of health at the University of Canberra, said while the Earth has been warmer and colder at different points in the planet's history, the rate of change has never been as fast as it is today.

"What is remarkable, and alarming, is the speed of the change since the 1970s, when we started burning a lot of fossil fuels in a massive way," she said. "We can't possibly evolve to match this rate [of warming] and, unless we get control of it, it will mean our extinction eventually."

Professor Berry is one of three leading academics who have contributed to the health chapter of a Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report due on Monday. She and co-authors Tony McMichael, of the Australian National University, and Colin Butler, of the University of Canberra, have outlined the health risks of rapid global warming in a companion piece for The Conversation, also published on Monday. The three warn that the adverse effects on population health and social stability have been "missing from the discussion" on climate change.

"Human-driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale, to wellbeing, health and perhaps even to human survival," they write.

They predict that the greatest challenges will come from undernutrition and impaired child development from reduced food yields; hospitalisations and deaths due to intense heatwaves, fires and other weather-related disasters; and the spread of infectious diseases.

They warn the "largest impacts" will be on poorer and vulnerable populations, winding back recent hard-won gains of social development programs.

Projecting to an average global warming of 4 degrees by 2100, they say "people won't be able to cope, let alone work productively, in the hottest parts of the year".

They say that action on climate change would produce "extremely large health benefits", which would greatly outweigh the costs of curbing emission growth.

A leaked draft of the IPCC report notes that a warming climate would lead to fewer cold weather-related deaths but the benefits would be "greatly" outweighed by the impacts of more frequent heat extremes. Under a high emissions scenario, some land regions will experience temperatures four to seven degrees higher than pre-industrial times, the report said.

While some adaptive measures are possible, limits to humans' ability to regulate heat will affect health and potentially cut global productivity in the warmest months by 40 per cent by 2100.


Some climate history

Fig.3. The upper panel shows the air temperature at the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet, reconstructed by Alley (2000) from GISP2 ice core data. The time scale shows years before modern time. The rapid temperature rise to the left indicate the final part of the even more pronounced temperature increase following the last ice age. The temperature scale at the right hand side of the upper panel suggests a very approximate comparison with the global average temperature (see comment below). The GISP2 record ends around 1854, and the two graphs therefore ends here. There has since been an temperature increase to about the same level as during the Medieval Warm Period and to about 395 ppm for CO2. The small reddish bar in the lower right indicate the extension of the longest global temperature record (since 1850), based on meteorological observations (HadCRUT3). The lower panel shows the past atmospheric CO2 content, as found from the EPICA Dome C Ice Core in the Antarctic (Monnin et al. 2004). The Dome C atmospheric CO2 record ends in the year 1777.

The diagram above (Fig.3) shows the major part of the present interglacial period, the Holocene, as seen from the summit of the Greenland Ice cap. The approximate positions of some warm historical periods are shown by the green bars, with intervening cold periods.

Clearly Central Greenland temperature changes are not identical to global temperature changes. However, they do tend to reflect global temperature changes with a decadal-scale delay (Box et al. 2009), with the notable exception of the Antarctic region and adjoining parts of the Southern Hemisphere, which is more or less in opposite phase (Chylek et al. 2010) for variations shorter than ice-age cycles (Alley 2003). This is the background for the very approximate global temperature scale at the right hand side of the upper panel. Please also note that the temperature record ends in 1854 AD, and for that reason is not showing the post Little Ice Age temperature increase. In the younger part of the GISP2 temperature reconstruction the time resolution is around 10 years. Any comparison with measured temperatures should therefore be made done using averages over periods of similar lengths.

During especially the last 4000 years the Greenland record is dominated by a trend towards gradually lower temperatures, presumably indicating the early stages of the coming ice age (Fig.3). In addition to this overall temperature decline, the development has also been characterised by a number of temperature peaks, with about 950-1000 year intervals. It may even be speculated if the present warm period fits into this overall scheme of natural variations?

The past temperature changes show little (if any) relation to the past atmospheric CO2 content as shown in the lower panel of figure 3. Initially, until around 7000 yr before now, temperatures generally increase, even though the amount of atmospheric CO2 decreases. For the last 7000 years the temperature generally has been decreasing, even though the CO2 record now display an increasing trend. Neither is any of the marked 950-1000 year periodic temperature peaks associated with a corresponding CO2 increase. The general concentration of CO2 is low, wherefore the theoretical temperature response to changes in CO2 should be more pronounced than at higher concentrations, as the CO2 forcing on temperature is decreasing logarithmic with concentration. Nevertheless, no net effect of CO2 on temperature can be identified from the above diagram, and it is therefore obvious that significant climatic changes can occur without being controlled by atmospheric CO2. Other phenomena than atmospheric CO2 must have had the main control on global temperature for the last 11,000 years.


Prof. Bob Carter comments:

Can I say that I view this diagram as the single most deadly illustration available with which to nail the DAGW coffin tightly shut.

The two messages it contains are (i) that 20th century warming falls completely within a well established natural rhythmn of warming and cooling (the 1500 year cycle that Fred has written a book on); and (ii) that over the late Holocene, as carbon dioxide levels rose gently the long-term temperature signature declined.

Each of these arguments is fatal to the simple DAGW hypothesis, which is why you will very rarely find IPCColytes referring to this graph.

For some reason there has been a recent outbreak of comments about modern temperatures being warmer than those of the MWP. A third use for this graph is to show the irrelevance of that assertion (even were it to be true, which it is probably not) - the real comparison should be with the early Holocene Climatic Optimum which was obviously significantly warmer than today for an extended period. On top of which, earlier interglacial climatic optima are known from Antarctic ice cores to have been up to 5 degrees warmer than today.

The sole caveat to all this is that these records represent regional high latitude and not global temperatures. And so they do. But, that said, many other palaeoclimatic records from all latitudes show similar patterning.

More Fraudulent Science From EPA

Paul Driessen

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency recently slashed the maximum allowable sulfur content in gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 ppm. The agency claims its new “Tier 3” rule will bring $7 billion to $19 billion in annual health benefits by 2030. “These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment and a win for our pocketbooks,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy insists.

It’s all hokum. Like almost everything else emanating from EPA these days, the gasoline regulations are a case study in how America’s economy, jobs, living standards, health and welfare are being pummeled by secretive, deceptive, and indeed fraudulent and corrupt government practices.

Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, America’s cars have eliminated some 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz. Since 2004, under Tier 2 rules, refiners have reduced sulfur in gasoline from an average of 300 ppm to 30 ppm – a 90% drop, on top of pre-2004 reductions. In addition, because newer cars start out cleaner and stay cleaner throughout their lives, fleet turnover is reducing emissions by 8 to10 percent per year, steadily improving air quality.

The net result, says a 2012 Environ International study, is that ground-level ozone concentrations will fall even more dramatically by 2022. Volatile organic pollutants will plummet by 62%, carbon monoxide by 51% and nitrous oxides by 80% – beyond reductions already achieved between 1970 and 2004.

EPA (which once promised to be ultra-transparent) claims its rules will add less than a penny per gallon to gasoline prices; but it won’t say how it arrived at that estimate. Industry sources say the Tier 3 rules will require $10 billion in upfront capital expenditures, an additional $2.4 billion in annual compliance expenses, significant increases in refinery energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, an extra 5-9 cents per gallon in manufacturing costs, which will certainly hit consumers at the pump.

But regardless of their ultimate cost, the rules will reduce monthly ozone levels by just 1.2 parts per billion during rush hour, says Environ. That’s equivalent to 12 cents out of $100 million or 1.2 seconds out of 32,000 years. These minuscule improvements could not even have been measured by equipment existing a couple decades ago. Their contribution to improved human health will be essentially zero.

Not so, say the EPA, Sierra Club and American Lung Association (ALA). The rules will reduce asthma in “the children,” they insist. However, asthma incidences have been increasing, while air pollution has declined – demonstrating that the pollution-asthma connection is a red herring. The disease is caused by allergies, a failure to expose young children to sufficient allergens to cause their immune systems to build resistance to airborne allergens, and lack of sufficient exercise to keep lungs robust. Not surprisingly, a Southern California study found no association between asthma hospitalizations and air pollution levels.

Moreover, EPA paid the ALA $20 million between 2001 and 2010. No wonder it echoes agency claims about air quality and lung problems. The payments continue today, while EPA also funnels millions to various environmentalist pressure groups – and even to “independent” EPA scientific review panels – that likewise rubber stamp too many EPA pollution claims, studies and regulatory actions.

As Ron Arnold recently reported in The Washington Examiner, 15 of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members have received $180.8 million in EPA grants since 2000. One CASAC panelist (Ed Avol of USC) received $51.7 million! The seven CASAC executive committee members pocketed $80.2 million. Imagine Big Oil paying that kind of cash to an advisory group, and calling it “independent.” The news media, government and environmentalists would have a field day with that one.

The Clean Air Act, Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12866 and other laws require that agencies assess both the costs and benefits of proposed regulations, adopt them only if their benefits justify their costs, and even determine whether a regulation is worth implementing at all. However, EPA and other agencies systematically violate these rules, routinely inflate the alleged benefits of their rules, and habitually minimize or even ignore their energy, economic, health and social costs.

Reporting on a hearing held by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Arnold noted that CASAC members say they weren’t even aware that they are obligated to advise EPA on both benefits and costs. Former EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeff Holmstead testified, “As far as I know, CASAC never fulfilled this requirement as it relates to the ozone standard or any other” rule.

Former CASAC chairman Dr. Roger McClellan told Rep. Smith he did not think the panel “ever advised EPA to take account of the role of socioeconomic factors, unemployment or other risk factors” adversely affecting people’s health. Another former CASAC member testified that the advisory committee was not even “allowed to discuss any of the adverse consequences” associated with new rulemakings.

EPA regulations impose countless billions of dollars in annual impacts on the US economy, according to studies by the Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Government Accountability Office. Estimates of total compliance costs for all federal regulations range to nearly $2 trillion per year. Some may bring benefits, but many or most also inflict significant harm on human health.

They mean millions of layoffs, far fewer jobs created, and steadily declining quality of life for millions of Americans, who cannot heat and cool their homes properly, pay the rent and mortgage, or save for retirement. They mean increased commuting to multiple jobs, poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, and lower life expectancies.

In another example, EPA justifies its onerous carbon dioxide regulations by asserting that Earth’s climate is highly sensitive to C02, hypothesizing every conceivable carbon cost, and imputing huge monetized damages from hydrocarbon use and CO2 emissions ($36/ton of CO2 emitted). It completely ignores even the most obvious and enormous job, health and welfare benefits of using fossil fuels; even the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels for food crops, forests and grasslands; and even the harmful effects that these regulations are having on energy prices and reliability, and thus people’s jobs, health and welfare.

The EPA, ALA and CASAC likewise insist that new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards for coal-fired power plants will bring huge health benefits. However, the mercury risks were hugely overblown, the proclaimed dangers from fine particulates were contradicted by EPA’s own illegal experiments on human subjects – and the agency never assessed the health and welfare damage that the MATS rules will impose by causing the loss of 200,000 jobs and 23,000 megawatts of reliable, affordable electricity by 2015.

Similarly, EPA and CASAC blithely failed to consider the human carnage that will result from their new 54.5 mpg vehicle mileage standards, as people are forced into smaller, lighter, less safe cars. Having based numerous regulations on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that have been roundly criticized as erroneous and even fraudulent, EPA now refuses to reconsider any of its rules, even though there has been no warming for 17 years and the IPCC itself is back-peddling on previous claims.

Ignoring all these facts, the nation’s automakers nevertheless supported EPA’s Tier 3 sulfur rules. They prefer to have a single national standard, instead of one for California and one for the other 49 states. But to “Californiacate” America’s regulatory system is exactly the wrong direction to go. The once-Golden State has among the most perverse taxes and regulations – and thus some of the highest unemployment rates, especially for blacks, Hispanics and inland communities. Instead of emulating its strangulation by regulation proclivities, we should be forcing it to adopt more commonsense, scientifically sound rules.
Congress, state legislatures, attorneys general, people and courts need to exert much greater control over now unaccountable government agencies. At the very least, we need to ensure that legal and scientific standards are followed, and the harmful effects of regulations are fully and honestly analyzed, accounted for and debated, for all pending and recently promulgated regulations, at every level of government.


Scams, Fraud Flourish in Solar Still

Consumers considering installing solar panels on their rooftops have far more to think through than the initial decision to “go solar.”

They may search for the best price, only to discover, as customers in central Florida did, that after paying $20,000-40,000 for their systems, they are stuck with installations that may be unusable or unsafe. BlueChip Energy—which also operated as Advanced Solar Photonics (ASP) and SunHouse Solar—sold its systems at environmental festivals and home shows. Buyers thought they were getting a good deal and doing the right thing for the environment. Instead, they were duped.

A year ago, it was revealed that BlueChip Energy’s solar panels had counterfeit UL labels—this means that the panels may not comply with standard safety requirements established by the independent global certification company Underwriters Laboratory. The Orlando Sentinel reports: “UL testing assures that a product won't catch fire, will conduct electricity properly and can withstand weather. Without such testing, no one is certain if the solar panels may fail.” Additionally, it states: “Without the safety testing, they shouldn't be connected to the electric grid”—which leaves customers nervous about possible risks such as overheating. Other reports claim that BlueChip inflated the efficiency rates of its photovoltaic panels, which do not meet “65 percent of the company’s published performance ratings.”

In July 2013, BlueChip’s assets were sold off at pennies on the dollar and customers were left with rooftop solar packages that now have no warranty.

With the shakeout in the solar photovoltaic industry, bankruptcy is a key concern for buyers. No company equals no warranty.

Two of China’s biggest panel makers have failed. On March 20, 2013, Suntech, one of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers, filed bankruptcy. Earlier this month Shanghai Chaori Solar became China's first domestic corporate bond default. The Wall Street Journal reports that another, Baoding Tainwei, has reported a second year of losses and investors are waiting to “see if officials will let it fail.”

Regarding Suntech’s bankruptcy, an industry report says the following about the warranties: “While Suntech has said that it was committed to maintaining the warranty obligations on its products following the bankruptcy, we are unsure if customers will be willing to take a risk considering the firm’s faltering financials.”

Last month, it was reported that solar panels can be “dangerous in an emergency.” Firefighters have been forced to stop fighting a fire due to electrocution concerns. The report quotes Northampton, MA, Fire Chief Brian Duggan as saying electrocution is not their only concern: “cutting through the roof for ventilation would also take a lot longer.” Springfield fire commissioner Joe Conant says: “nothing will stop them if there’s a life to be saved, but if it’s simply to save the structure, solar panels may keep them from going on the roof.

A Fox News story on the risk solar panels pose to fire-fighters states: “Two recent fires involving structures decked with solar panels have triggered complaints from fire chiefs and calls for new codes and regulations that reflect the dangers posed by the clean-energy devices. A two-alarm fire last week at a home in Piedmont, Calif., prompted Piedmont Fire Chief Warren McLaren to say the technology ‘absolutely’ made it harder on firefighters. Weeks earlier, in Delanco, NJ, more than 7,000 solar panels on the roof of a massive 300,000-square foot warehouse factored into Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt’s refusal to send his firefighters onto the roof of a Dietz & Watson facility.”

Then, of course, there are new concerns about scam artists like the one in North Carolina who collected “money from victims under false pretense that he would buy and install solar panels in their residences.”

As if all of that wasn’t enough, a new potentially fraudulent scheme has just been exposed.

A recent report from the Arizona Republic, points to complaints the Arizona Corporation Commission—the state’s top utility regulator—is getting from Tucson customers of SolarCity Corporation. They claim: “the solar leasing company is misleading them regarding the state rules for hooking up a solar array.”

In essence, customers in Tucson are being told one thing by their utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), but something else by a private solar power company, SolarCity—the nation’s second largest solar electrical contractor. This has drawn the ire of Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). “This is an issue of consumer protection and solar installer transparency,” Stump told the Arizona Republic.

Stump made his concerns clear in a March 12 letter to Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s Chief Executive Officer: “I am concerned that you—as well as other solar providers—may be communicating with customers in a way that is both confusing and misleading and which deprives them of the balanced information they need in order to make informed decisions.”

The letter states: “Some customers … say that solar providers have told them that the rates, rules and regulations applicable to net metering are ‘grandfathered,’ thereby implying that the rates associated with net metering are not subject to change.” As a result, Stump says: “Customers are then surprised, disappointed, and angry to learn from TEP that this may not be the case.”

As a vocal advocate for responsible energy—which I define as energy that is efficient, effective and economical—I have closely followed what is happening with Arizona’s solar industry. There, when the ACC proposed a modification to the net-metering policies to make them more equitable to all utility customers, the solar industry mounted an aggressive PR campaign in attempt to block any changes. When the decision was made in November to add a monthly fee onto the utility bills of new solar customers to make them pay for using the power grid, I applauded the effort.

In light of this new issue, with a leading solar company misleading customers, it is time for the nation’s regulators to take a hard look at their states’ policies. Remember, this past summer, Georgia regulators voted for solar leasing such as SolarCity offers.

Pat Lyons, one of New Mexico’s Public Regulatory Commissioners, watched what happened in Arizona’s net metering battle. Upon learning about SolarCity’s potential deception, he was alarmed. “As solar leasing, like SolarCity pushes, moves into additional markets, regulators across the country need to be aware of the potential pitfalls and misrepresentations.”

It is vital that solar providers be held to the same high standard to which we hold our electric utilities and are made to answer tough questions about consumer protection, safety, and operation issues. Stump’s letter to SolarCity’s CEO asked for responses to his questions by March 31 and said he will “be placing this matter on a Commission open meeting agenda in the near future in order to discuss these important concerns with my fellow commissioners.”

It may be too late to protect some solar customers in Tucson, but there is still a chance to make sure others are treated fairly. If things don’t change, the dark clouds hovering over the industry will be raining on unsuspecting customers.


White House looks to regulate cow flatulence as part of climate agenda

As part of its plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama administration is targeting the dairy industry to reduce methane emissions in their operations.

This comes despite falling methane emission levels across the economy since 1990.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020. Although U.S. agriculture only accounts for about 9 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it makes up a sizeable portion of methane emissions — which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

Some of these methane emissions come from cow flatulence, exhaling and belching — other livestock animals release methane as well.

“Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence,” according to How Stuff Works. “Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels. Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day… while others say it’s up to 500 liters… a day. In any case, that’s a lot of methane, an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.”

“Of all domestic animal types, beef and dairy cattle were by far the largest emitters of [methane],” according to an EPA analysis charting greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Cows and other animals produce methane through digestion, which ferments the food of animals.

“During digestion, microbes resident in an animal’s digestive system ferment food consumed by the animal,” the EPA notes. “This microbial fermentation process, referred to as enteric fermentation, produces [methane] as a byproduct, which can be exhaled or eructated by the animal.”

It’s not just the dairy industry that the Obama administration is clamping down on. The White House is looking to regulate methane emissions across the economy from agriculture to oil and gas operations — all this despite methane emissions falling 11 percent since 1990.

Methane emissions have largely been reduced because of the incentive for companies to capture it and sell it for monetary gain. Oil and gas companies, for example, have been looking for ways to increasingly capture methane leaked from drilling operations which they can then sell.

“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions of methane by developing new technologies and equipment, and recent studies show emissions are far lower than EPA projected just a few years ago,” said  Howard Feldman, head of scientific and regulatory affairs at  the American Petroleum Institute. “Additional regulations are not necessary and could have a chilling effect on the American energy renaissance, our economy, and our national security.”

“Methane is natural gas that operators can bring to the market,” he added. “There is a built-in incentive to capture these emissions.”

Environmentalists have been pushing the Obama administration to crack down on methane emissions for some time, arguing that they drive global warming and pollute the air and water. Activists have argued that the methane leakage rate from natural gas operations is 50 percent higher than the EPA estimates.

“President Obama’s plan to reduce climate-disrupting methane pollution is an important step in reining in an out of control industry exempt from too many public health protections,” Deborah Nardone, campaign director of the Sierra Club’s Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground campaign. “However, even with the most rigorous methane controls and monitoring in place, we will still fall short of what is needed to fight climate disruption if we do not reduce our reliance on these dirty fossil fuels.”

Republicans and the oil and gas industry argue that the methane leakage rate has been estimated to be 50 times lower than the EPA’s estimate. The GOP argues that the EPA’s estimate is simply an attack on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“The EPA has been on a witch hunt to shut down hydraulic fracturing, and yet again the evidence doesn’t back up their excessive claims,” said Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter. “All too often we see the Agency using flawed science for political purposes, but this report – partially funded by environmental activists no less – shows EPA’s emissions estimates from hydraulic fracturing are way off.”


Dr. Patrick Moore states his credentials

That one of the founders of Greenpeace now disses global warming disturbs people who rely on authority for their opinions.  So Moore is regularly misrepresented by Warmists.  He replies below to one such misrepresentation in "The Missoulian"

Dear Editor,

I must reply to the nasty characterization of myself by Ron Scholl (Climate Change: Information not Exactly Credible, March 28). He makes a number of false statements, including to question my credibility as a scientist.

For his information I hold an Honours B.Sc. in Biology and Forest Biology, a Ph.D in Ecology, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from North Carolina State University and in 2009 received the National Award for Nuclear Science and History from the Einstein Society. In 1989 I founded the British Columbia Carbon Project and ever since have remained abreast of the climate change discussion on a daily basis.

In my testimony before the US Senate I simply stated “There is no scientific proof that humans are the main cause of the minor warming that has occurred over past 150 years.” This is why the IPCC uses the word “likely” when it states that humans are the main cause. This is a judgement (opinion), not a proof. If there was an actual scientific proof they would write it down on a piece of paper and show it to us.

Mr. Scholl also claims that I am not a co-founder of Greenpeace. If would take the time to Google “Who are the Founders of Greenpeace”, he would find my name clearly displayed. Just because Greenpeace has tried to write me out of their history doesn’t actually change historical fact. I was in the leadership of Greenpeace for 15 years, from the first campaign against US H-Bomb testing in 1971 until 1986 when I left due to disagreements on points of science and policy. Today Greenpeace campaigns are mainly based on sensation, misinformation, and fear. I prefer to base my environmental policies on science and logic.

Via email


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

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


30 March, 2014

Yet another problem of global warming?

This is supposed to be a science process?

The IPCC clearly does politics, not science

Government officials and scientists are gathered in Yokohama this week to wrangle over every line of a summary of the report before the final wording is released on Monday – the first update in seven years.

Nearly 500 people must sign off on the exact wording of the summary, including the 66 expert authors, 271 officials from 115 countries, and 57 observers.

But governments have already signed off on the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to "abrupt and irreversible changes"


Did Nate Silver take down the Roger Pielke article in response to a campaign by a tiny minority of malcontents?

Lubos Motl

Nate Silver is a statistician who has analyzed baseball and elections. I don't know him but it seems that some other people do. At any rate, he started a new expensive online news server (the number is 538). Some mostly left-wing pundits have criticized the new server and made its childhood a rocky experience.

The first study he happened to publish on that server was one by Dr Roger Pielke Jr, a "climate lukewarmer" [in the middle between skeptics and alarmists] who does research into damages caused by meteorological phenomena:

Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change (by Pielke)

His main point is simple: the absolute amount of money destroyed by natural disasters is increasing but so is the total GDP. The ratio stays pretty much constant – as he demonstrates by some graph from the Munich Re reinsurance company – and it should.

(Well, there is even some decrease that seems statistically insignificant; if it ever became significant, it would probably be due to people's increasing ability to protect their assets.)

There exists no scientific or otherwise rational reason to think that the "losses to GDP" ratio should be significantly changing with time. As people are getting wealthier, they have more assets that may be destroyed by unpleasant weather and so on.

Needless to say, a "lukewarmer" like Pielke Jr is a sufficient heretic for the climate activists to go ballistic; his claims – self-evidently correct claims – were a blasphemy. So they have spammed the comment section with tons of negative comments (80% of comments were claimed to be negative), posted a long pseudoscientific rebuttal at SkepticalScience.COM, a rant at Salon.COM mentioning the grilling of Silver by Jon Stewart, a diatribe at HuffPo, and dozens of other anti-Pielke replies on assorted far left-wing servers and blogs.

All the data I can access are consistent with the hypothesis that all these insane anti-skeptic "fireworks" you can see on the Internet and in the media are the result of an orchestrated campaign by 25 or fewer unhinged alarmist trolls, at least 90% of the "fireworks".

This is actually the mean value of my estimate. Such a claim may sound remarkable but people who don't have access to any data about the visitors and commenters on a website generally underestimate how intensely amplified the visibility of certain views becomes due to the relentless work of a very small number of obsessed trolls and spammers.

I am fortunately not getting too many truly obnoxious comments these days. But during the last 3 months, I got about 5 comments from different posters praising guest posts on The Reference Frame, with the implicit suggestion that I should stop writing my own essays. OK individual opinions, I thought for a while. After all, I try to pick high-quality guest bloggers (and yes, I prefer native speakers, something I am not) so if the comparison ends up in this way, it shouldn't shock me.

However, when I saw the fifth comment of this sort, I finally checked the IP addresses. Needless to say, every single comment from this set was posted by the very same user in Halifax, Canada. Without this check (I am not doing them often, but sometimes I am), I could easily believe that there were 5 people holding this opinion; in reality, there was just 1 troll. This is just one recent anecdote but over the years, I have accumulated many stories of this kind. The general conclusion seems clear to me: on the Internet, a huge fraction of the "violent opposition" to some opinions is created by a tiny group of people.

The critics that were mentioned as contributors to Silver's apology by the media belonged to this list:

Michael Mann
Kevin Trenberth
Rob Honeycutt
... and a few others.

Have I seen the names before? You bet. All of them belong to the aforementioned "list of 25 top climate alarmist trolls". They keep on trolling, trolling, trolling. They are spamming, spamming, spamming. They are attacking, attacking, attacking climate skeptics. They are whining, whining, whining that they were unfairly attacked even though they haven't. They are lying 24 hours a day. Michael Mann is threatening others with lawsuits all the time (and sometimes even sues, being supported by some really immoral wealthy individuals), yet he has the breathtaking arrogance to claim that it's others who are threatening him. They are doing these things all the time, seven days a week, 52 or 53 weeks a year, and a large percentage of the "climatic portion of the blogosphere" is created by this small group of people. If you removed these trolls from the surface of the globe, climate alarmism would pretty much cease to exist on the Internet. Incidentally, yes, this is my recipe how to solve the climate problem.

I find it sort of shocking that people like Nate Silver who should already know something about the "behavioral science about the Internet commenters" and about the sociology of the climate debate – election-related statistics are not too far from this discipline – still fail to understand these points. I find it shocking that they still get manipulated by these aggressive yet intrinsically inconsequential scumbags and crackpots.

Let me just mention one graph – the only "apparently non-trivial" argument against Pielke's assertions that I have seen anywhere in the hurricane of vitriol directed against his self-evident assertions. You see that the "number of natural catastrophes" has more than doubled over the last 30 years. But one must be careful about the definition of a "natural catastrophe". Note that in 1980, the world population was less than 4.5 bilion, so it has "almost" doubled since that time, too. Moreover, the people are much wealthier and they have many more things that may be damaged or insured and damages of these things count as "natural catastrophes".

My point is that the quantity "number of natural catastrophes" doesn't really have a robust, time-independent definition here. If you actually look at the overall money which have a much more robust definition, as Pielke did, you will see that the claims or losses were increasing proportionally to the total GDP.

There's one more observation that is being mentioned by Pielke's critics: the number of "geophysical events" like earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruption wasn't substantially increasing – only "the weather got worse". But they always prefer to automatically assume that any such asymmetry is due to their favorite "climate change". The actual reason of the unequal growth is simply that people may escape from the places where earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions are occurring because these places are known and ultimately determined by the fault lines, tectonic plates, and other geological entities. On the other hand, one can't really escape bad weather! So the rate of the increase of the concentration of people and their wealth in "geologically risky" places was much smaller (and insurance companies wouldn't insure you at certain places) than the concentration of people in places where "bad weather" may occur (which is the whole surface of the Earth).

At any rate, the right interpretation of all these graphs is a science of a sort. It is not as hard a science as particle physics. But one needs some expertise. And Roger Pielke Jr has accumulated about 10,000 citations by work focusing on these questions – despite the fact that his basic philosophy wasn't exactly aligned with the political establishment of the Academia. Why would Nate Silver surrender to 25 trolls whose total number of citations in these matters is 100 times lower than those of Roger Pielke Jr? And if Nate Silver thinks that the total loudness of the trolls is more important than the truth and the people's expertise, why did he hire Roger Pielke Jr to write the piece in the first place? Why didn't he establish a new server as a footnote to a random crackpot's blog, for example as 538.SkepticalScience.COM? A researcher (or an essayist) who may only conclude what the majority already believes is a useless parasite.

Roger Pielke Jr isn't necessarily my "#1 cup of tea" but I can still see that Nate Silver's behavior towards him was disrespectful. More generally, the freedom of expression and journalism ethics seems to be evaporating from the Internet in the U.S. that is increasingly controlled by the aforementioned groups of violent trolls and by the group think they want to impose – and they have already imposed in vast portions of the American Internet and the American society. Twenty-five years ago, I wouldn't predict that I would be writing these things in 2014. But it's true, anyway: I think that the freedom of expression – especially journalists' freedom to evaluate the data in the way they see fit – is much better e.g. in Russia these days than it is in the U.S. And despite all the annoying trends I am observing, I think that the journalism ethics and especially the freedom of expression is in a much better shape in Czechia than it is in either of the countries above.

I have embedded Robert Foster's ("funny fake rapping media host") "report" about the recent Russian-American tension. He is doing fun of both sides and makes some good points – well, at least good for those who are not following the events in any objective way. The funny video was reposted by Russia Today but I am afraid that it would be censored in all the U.S. media that look at themselves way too seriously when they moralize about the "evils" done by Russia. Around 4:20, journalist Abby Martin adds her contribution to the rap, too. She is saying things that Putin would probably disagree with – but she can do so despite her being an employee of the Kremlin-funded Russia Today. I think that nowadays, the journalists in MSNBC or other American TV channels wouldn't be able (well, I mean "wouldn't be allowed") to display their editorial independence and freedom of expression in this way. It would be enough for a few left-wing jerks like Michael Mann to launch an e-mail campaign against anything they find inconvenient and in the evening, the boss of the news would already be apologizing for and firing the blasphemous employee.

So I have grown increasingly disillusioned by the status of human rights and professional ethics in the U.S. It's a system de facto controlled by several cliques of aggressive fascists who are blackmailing everyone who is inconvenient them, who are spamming the Internet and news with lies, whining, demagogy, and character assassinations, and who are using the gullible brainwashed sheep – the average Americans – both as a weapon and as a final target to be conquered. Couldn't at least one Nate Silver find the balls to tell Manns and Trenberths of this world "fuck you"? It's probably too much to ask.

As the anthem indicates, the U.S. may have been a "land of the brave and the free" sometime in the past. But these days, it's mainly a country of spineless unfree cowards like Nate Silver.

And that's the memo.


Cook's 97%: A Climate Falsehood You Can Check for Yourself

One problem in arguments about climate (and many other things) is that most of the information is obtained at second, third, or fourth hand, with the result that what you believe depends largely on what sources of information you trust. One result is that people on either side of the argument can honestly believe that the evidence strongly supports their view. They trust different sources; different sources report different evidence. It is thus particularly interesting when on some point, even a fairly minor one, you can actually check a claim for yourself. I believe I have found an example of such a claim.

Cook et. al. (2013) is the paper, possibly one of two papers, on which the often repeated claim that 97% of climate scientists support global warming is based. Legates et. al. (2013) is a paper which criticizes Cook et. al. (2013). Bedford and Cook (2013) is a response to Legates et. al. All three papers (the last a pre-publication version) are webbed, although Legates et. al. is unfortunately behind a pay wall.

Bedford and Cook (2013) contains the following sentence: "Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause."

To check that claim, look at Cook et. al. 2013. Table 2 shows three categories of endorsement of global warming reflected in the abstracts of articles. Category 1, explicit endorsement with quantification, is described as "Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming."

Category 2 is explicit endorsement without quantification. The description, "Explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a known fact" is ambiguous, since neither "causing" nor "anthropogenic global warming" specifies how large a part of warming humans are responsible for. But the example for the category is clearer: 'Emissions of a broad range of greenhouse gases of varying lifetimes contribute to global climate change.' If human action produces ten percent of warming, it contributes to it, hence category 2, as implied by its label, does not specify how large a fraction of the warming humans are responsible for.

 Category 3, implicit endorsement, again uses the ambiguous "are causing," but the example is '...carbon sequestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change,' which again would be consistent with holding that CO2 was responsible for some but less than half of the warming. It follows that only papers in category 1 imply that "human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." Authors of papers in categories 2 and 3 might believe that, they might believe that human emissions of greenhouse gases were one cause among several.

Reading down in Cook et. al., we find "To simplify the analysis, ratings were consolidated into three groups: endorsements (including implicit and explicit; categories 1–3 in table 2)." It is that combined group, ("endorse AGW" on Table 4) that the 97.1% figure refers to. Hence that is the number of papers that, according to Cook et. al., implied that humans at least contribute to global warming. The number that imply that humans are the primary cause (category 1) is some smaller percentage which Cook et. al. do not report.

It follows that the sentence I quoted from Bedford and Cook is false. Cook et. al. did not find that "over 97% endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." (emphasis mine). Any interested reader can check that it is false by simply comparing the two papers of which Cook is a co-author. John Cook surely knows the contents of his own paper. Hence the sentence in question is a deliberate lie.

That Cook misrepresents the result of his own research does not tell us whether AGW or CAGW is true. It does not tell us if it is true that most climate scientists endorse AGW or CAGW. It is nonetheless interesting, for two related reasons.

In recent online exchanges on climate, I repeatedly encountered the claim that 97% of climate scientists believed humans were the main cause of global warming. That included an exchange with one of the very few reasonable and civil supporters of the CAGW claim that I encountered in the online arguments, where most participants on either side are neither. So far as I know, the paper says nothing that is not true. But it appears designed to encourage the misreading that actually occurred. It does so by lumping together categories 1-3 and reporting only the sum and by repeatedly referring to "the consensus" but never stating clearly what that consensus is.

The closest it came to defining the consensus is as the "position that humans are causing global warming," which leaves it unclear whether "causing" means "are one cause of," "are the chief cause of," or "are the sole cause of." To discover that it meant only the former, a reader had to pay sufficiently careful attention to the details of the paper to notice "contribute to" in the example of category 2 in Table 2, which few readers would do. The fact that Cook chose, in a second paper, to misrepresent the result of the first is pretty good evidence that the presentation of his results was deliberately designed to mislead.

There is a second, and more important, reason why all of this matters. Beliefs on either side depend largely on what sources of information you trust. I have now provided unambiguous evidence, evidence that anyone on either side willing to carefully read Cook (2013) and check what it says against what Bedford and Cook claims it says can verify for himself, that John Cook cannot be trusted. The blog Skeptical Science lists John Cook as its maintainer, hence all claims on that blog ought to be viewed with suspicion and accepted only if independently verified. Since, as a prominent supporter of the position that warming is primarily due to humans and a very serious threat, Cook is taken seriously and quoted by other supporters of that position, one should reduce one's trust in those others as well. Either they too are dishonest or they are over willing to believe false claims that support their position.

The fact that one prominent supporter of a position is dishonest does not prove that the position is wrong. For all I know, there may be people on the other side who could be shown to be dishonest by a similar analysis. But it is a reason why those who support that side because they trust its proponents to tell them the truth should be at least somewhat less willing to do so.

P.S. A commenter has located the data file for Cook et. al. (2013). By his count, the number of articles classified into each category was:

Level 1 = 64
Level 2 = 922
Level 3 = 2910
Level 4 = 7970
Level 5 = 54
Level 6 = 15
Level 7 = 9

The 97% figure was the sum of levels 1-3. Assuming the count is correct—readers can check it for themselves—that 97% breaks down as:

Level 1: 1.6%
Level 2: 23%
Level 3: 72%

Only Level 1 corresponds to "the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause." (emphasis mine) Hence when John Cook attributed that view to 97% on the basis of his Cook et. al. (2013) he was misrepresenting 1.6% as 97%. Adding up his categories 5-7, the levels of rejecting of AGW, we find that more papers explicitly or implicitly rejected the claim that human action was responsible for half or more of warming than accepted it. According to Cook's own data.

Would anybody now like to claim that lumping levels 1, 2, and 3 together and only reporting the sum was not a deliberate attempt to mislead?




The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its latest figures on the annual death toll caused by pollution--and they look shocking. Of all the deaths across the globe in 2012, no fewer than seven million--1 in 8--are apparently the result of pollution.

Even if you take the WHO's estimates with a huge pinch of salt--and you probably should--that doesn't mean the pollution problem in some parts of the world isn't deadly serious. During the 20th century, around 260 million are reckoned to have died from indoor pollution in the developing world: that's roughly twice as many as were killed in all the century's wars.

Here, though, is the point where the WHO loses all credibility on the issue.

    "Excessive air pollution is often a by-product of unsustainable policies in sectors such as transport, energy, waste management and industry. In most cases, healthier strategies will also be more economical in the long term due to health-care cost savings as well as climate gains," Carlos Dora, WHO Coordinator for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health said.

    "WHO and health sectors have a unique role in translating scientific evidence on air pollution into policies that can deliver impact and improvements that will save lives," Dr. Dora added."

See what Dora just did there? He used the shock value of the WHO's pollution death figures to slip three Big Lies under the impressionable reader's radar.

First, he's trying to make out that outdoor pollution is as big a problem as indoor pollution. It isn't: nowhere near. Many of the deaths the WHO links to the former are very likely the result of the latter (cooking and heating in poorly ventilated rooms using dung, wood, and coal) which, by nature, is much more intense.

Secondly, he's implying that economic development is to blame. In fact, it's economic development we have to thank for the fact that there are so many fewer pollution deaths than there used to be. As Bjorn Lomborg has noted, over the 20th century as poverty receded and clean fuels got cheaper, the risk of dying of pollution decreased eight-fold. In 1900, air pollution cost 23 per cent of global GDP; today it is 6 per cent, and by 2050 it will be 4 per cent.

But the third and by far the biggest of the lies is the implication that the UN's policies on climate change are helping to alleviate the problem.

In fact the opposite is true. It's the UN's policies on climate change which are killing the world's poor.

Two years ago, at the Rio + 20 Earth Summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon launched a program of "sustainable energy for all."

But "sustainable energy" is often merely an environmentalist euphemism for costly, inefficient, intermittent, unreliable renewable energy--such as solar or wind: a heavily subsidized, first-world luxury which no developing country could possibly afford because it makes no economic sense.

Another energy form that would fit into the "sustainable" category would be "biomass"--ie dung, vegetation--which is the very thing responsible for all those indoor pollution deaths.

The surest, quickest way to reduce pollution deaths in the developing world would be to develop a stable electric grid system so that people could keep themselves warm and cook relatively cleanly. But thanks to the UN's obsession with "climate change" this opportunity is being denied developing countries. The World Bank now more or less refuses to finance the building of any coal-fired power stations in places like Africa in order to promote "alternative energy sources." This anti-cheap energy policy has been endorsed by the Obama administration.

As one Ugandan writer once put it:

    "Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished.

    Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside of wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning – or offices, factories and shops to make things and create good jobs.

    Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities."

If the WHO's mother organization the United Nations wanted to stop those seven million pollution deaths, it could do so in short space. Unfortunately, like so many of those involved in global governance these days, it gives Gaia worship higher priority than the lives of the world's poor.


Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm

Even while it exaggerates the amount of warming, the IPCC is becoming more cautious about its effects

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists' accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come. But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

The 2007 report was riddled with errors about Himalayan glaciers, the Amazon rain forest, African agriculture, water shortages and other matters, all of which erred in the direction of alarm. This led to a critical appraisal of the report-writing process from a council of national science academies, some of whose recommendations were simply ignored.

Others, however, hit home. According to leaks, this time the full report is much more cautious and vague about worsening cyclones, changes in rainfall, climate-change refugees, and the overall cost of global warming.

It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade (or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government.

The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses "very little confidence" that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013.

In this space on Dec. 19, 2012, I forecast that the IPCC was going to have to lower its estimates of future warming because of new sensitivity results. (Sensitivity is the amount of warming due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.) "Cooling Down Fears of Climate Change" (Dec. 19), led to a storm of protest, in which I was called "anti-science," a "denier" and worse.

The IPCC's September 2013 report abandoned any attempt to estimate the most likely "sensitivity" of the climate to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The explanation, buried in a technical summary not published until January, is that "estimates derived from observed climate change tend to best fit the observed surface and ocean warming for [sensitivity] values in the lower part of the likely range." Translation: The data suggest we probably face less warming than the models indicate, but we would rather not say so.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a London think tank, published a careful survey of all the reliable studies of sensitivity on March 5. The authors are British climate scientist Nic Lewis (who has no academic affiliation but a growing reputation since he discovered a glaring statistical distortion that exaggerated climate sensitivity in the previous IPCC report) and the Dutch science writer Marcel Crok. They say the IPCC's September report "buried good news about global warming," and that "the best observational evidence indicates our climate is considerably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than climate scientists had previously thought."

Messrs. Lewis and Crok argue that the average of the best observationally based studies shows the amount of immediate warming to be expected if carbon dioxide levels double after 70 years is "likely" to be between one and two degrees Centigrade, with a best estimate of 1.35C (or 2.4F). That's much lower than the IPCC assumes in its forthcoming report.

In short, the warming we experienced over the past 35 years—about 0.4C (or 0.7F) if you average the measurements made by satellites and those made by ground stations—is likely to continue at about the same rate: a little over a degree a century.

Briefly during the 1990s there did seem to be warming that went as fast as the models wanted. But for the past 15-17 years there has been essentially no net warming (a "hiatus" now conceded by the IPCC), a fact that the models did not predict and now struggle to explain. The favorite post-hoc explanation is that because of natural variability in ocean currents more heat has been slipping into the ocean since 2000—although the evidence for this is far from conclusive.

None of this contradicts basic physics. Doubling carbon dioxide cannot on its own generate more than about 1.1C (2F) of warming, however long it takes. All the putative warming above that level would come from amplifying factors, chiefly related to water vapor and clouds. The net effect of these factors is the subject of contentious debate.

In climate science, the real debate has never been between "deniers" and the rest, but between "lukewarmers," who think man-made climate change is real but fairly harmless, and those who think the future is alarming. Scientists like Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Richard Lindzen of MIT MITD -21.88%  have moved steadily toward lukewarm views in recent years.

Even with its too-high, too-fast assumptions, the recently leaked draft of the IPCC impacts report makes clear that when it comes to the effect on human welfare, "for most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers," such as economic growth and technology, for the rest of this century. If temperatures change by about 1C degrees between now and 2090, as Mr. Lewis calculates, then the effects will be even smaller.

Indeed, a small amount of warming spread over a long period will, most experts think, bring net improvements to human welfare. Studies such as by the IPCC author and economist Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University in Britain show that global warming has probably done so already. People can adapt to such change—which essentially means capture the benefits but minimize the harm. Satellites have recorded a roughly 14% increase in greenery on the planet over the past 30 years, in all types of ecosystems, partly as a result of man-made CO2 emissions, which enable plants to grow faster and use less water.

There remains a risk that the latest science is wrong and rapid warming will occur with disastrous consequences. And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population "bomb," pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.


For Once, an Energy Pivot in the Right Direction

To the surprise of many, the Obama administration seems to be taking a positive look at exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European nations, particularly Ukraine, in an effort to cut Russian influence in the region. “The situation in Ukraine proves the need to reinforce energy security in Europe and we are considering new collaborative efforts to achieve this goal. We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners,” said the administration in a release.

A good first step would be to expedite decisions on exporting LNG to countries with which we do not have a free-trade agreement. So far the Department of Energy has approved just seven such deals, with a backlog of 24 more in the pipeline.

But a much more important step is investment in infrastructure to export LNG, and one such project in Washington's backyard is under attack from environmentalists. Cove Point, in southern Maryland, was built more than 30 years ago as an import facility, but owner Dominion Resources wants to invest over $3 billion to convert it to an export terminal.

Replicating a strategy that has thus far prevented natural gas extraction in Marcellus Shale states like Maryland and New York, environmentalists want to scuttle the project by studying it to death, asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do an exhaustive “environmental impact” study. They're claiming that approving the Cove Point project would produce a negative greenhouse gas impact. “Building a new LNG terminal doesn't strengthen our nation, and it further disrupts our climate,” sniffled Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Meanwhile, founder Bill McKibben warned Democrats that they won't escape notice if they back the project because it encourages more “exploitation” of resources. “Fracking's become a dirty word, for good reason,” McKibben opined.

But the geopolitical benefits of eventually reducing Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas may convince regulators to ignore these radical environmentalists. Ironically, many of these same nations have instituted their own bans on fracking but will be happy to buy our natural gas. Perhaps the environmentalists should just move there and await our energy bailout.



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

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28 March, 2014

A naive survey

James Lawrence Powell has recently updated his survey of academic journal articles concerned with climate.  And he concludes that: "10,883 out of 10,885 scientific articles agree: Global warming is happening, and humans are to blame".

I have probably said most of what can be said about all that on some previous occasion but perhaps a recap of the basics might still be useful.

His big mistake is to get his taxonomy wrong.  Taxonomy is the first step in science but not, apparently, for James Lawrence Powell.  He just does not realize that most climate skeptics would fall into his "believer" category!

The great majority of climate skeptics accept that a warming response to CO2 is a reasonable theory so they don't get detected as skeptics by James Lawrence Powell.  Where most climate skeptics differ from the hysterics is in estimating the magnitude of the warming effect.  Skeptics say that Greenies greatly overestimate and exaggerate any possible effects of CO2 buildup. 

I myself can see theoretical grounds for expecting that CO2 buildup will have a warming effect but those same theoretical grounds lead me to believe that the effect will be so minute as to be probably undetectable.

And that is what we find.  CO2 and temperature each go their own merry way quite independently of one-another.  Temperature does vary at times in response to various natural causes (mostly solar) but a response to CO2 is not detectable.

The most glaring example of that is of course the temperature standstill of the last 17 years while atmospheric CO2 has  steadily been rising.  The two variables are clearly uncoupled.

Pumping out exaggerated cries of alarm is of course what Greenies do so the fact that they have chosen just about the most alarming figure possible for the influence of CO2 on temperature should surprise no-one. Reality eventually trashes most of their wild  claims however and this is no exception.

Just for a bit of fun, have a look at the graph below.  It is two excerpts from the temperature record.  The IPCC says that human influence did not begin until 1950 -- so temperature variations before that must be due to natural influences.   Yet the slopes of the  two graphs are virtually identical.  So if one can be all natural, why is the other not natural too?  -- JR

The full graph is here. AMO is a running index of North Atlantic temperatures from NOAA.

Greenies have won the war in Britain

 by Tim Worstall

I both know and like Nick Cohen but it's also necessary to call out this extremely strange argument he made in The Observer. He seems to think that "climate change deniers" have won the war and that therefore all is doomed. When, actually, here in the UK at least, the government has already put in place the mainstream scientific remedy for the perils of climate change. We've actually already solved the problem:

If global warming is not new, it is urgent: a subject that should never be far from our thoughts. Yet within 24 hours of the American association's warning the British government's budget confirmed that it no longer wanted to fight it. David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary.

George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be "at the heart of this historic fight against climate change", now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can't call us "global warming deniers " because "denier" makes us sound like "Holocaust deniers", and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

To take my standard position here: let's assume that the IPCC is correct and see where that assumption takes us. That assumption takes us to the standard economics of how to deal with an externality. Some version of either cap and trade or a Pigou Tax will solve the entire problem for us. And we even have things like the Stern Review (or, giving us slightly different numbers for a variety of reasons, the work of Richard Tol and William Nordhaus) telling us how much that carbon tax should be: $80 per tonne CO2-e.

So, if the climate change deniers, whoever they are, have won we should see that there's no cap and trade program and no carbon tax. But if we look up at the world that we actually inhabit, what is it that we do see? We see that the EU has a cap and trade programme. Emissions are limited, exactly as the standard economics of the problem tell us they should be. Here in the UK we also have a carbon tax: in power generation it's been done in the rather silly manner of a floor to the price for a carbon emissions permit but while this is inefficient it does do the job. We have raised taxes on petrol (the fuel duty escalator) by twice what that Stern calculation would tell us we ought to. We have Air Passenger Duty which is again above that Stern calculation. In fact, when you add up all of the various green taxes we already pay on emissions we find that we're considerably over the amount that Stern said would be the optimal Pigou Tax to solve the problem.

No, really: I get some very odd looks when I try to explain this to people but it is actually true. If we accept the IPCC, then again accept the Stern Review, we have already put in place all of the policies necessary to solve climate change as a problem according to both the IPCC and the Stern Review findings.

And I simply cannot work out at all how this is supposed to be a victory for climate change deniers.


Senators Should Know the Truth about Global Warming

Recently almost 30 Democratic United States Senators stayed up all night taking turns delivering speeches about the importance of climate change and getting lowering the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.

The event was organized to try and raise public visibility of the issue in hopes of forcing Congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. “Sure we should use all of our resources, but what we really need is a comprehensive strategy that reduces CO2 emissions,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

While these Senators emitted lots of CO2 in the chamber for 15 hours, they are misinformed about the facts. Humans have been fertilizing Earth’s greenery worldwide, but not with nitrogen-based fertilizer that runs into the rivers and oceans with very negative effects. We have been raising the level of CO2, which has no negative effect on any plant or animal life.

There is no instance of CO2 being a pollutant; ask any chemistry professor. CO2 is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The vapors you are shown bellowing from the various smoke stacks are not CO2, although some may be present. The colorful emissions the media shows you secretly imply they contain what is referred to as CO2 pollution.

Since CO2 is not a pollutant, what impact does it have? As we learned in the third grade, CO2 is what plants eat. The more of it they eat, the faster and larger they grow, including the food crops. It is also a mild greenhouse gas that helps warm the Earth somewhat. Most plants and trees also respond favorably to a modest warming. With more moisture in reasonably warm air than in cold, dry air, all three key ingredients are present: food, water and warmth.

This knowledge should start opening the eyes of Americans who have been deluged with propaganda from alarmist organizations that are trying to scare us that our planet is under attack by CO2.

Let’s examine and debunk some charges that these Democratic Senators and “warmist groups” make:

The rate and magnitude of recent warming is unprecedented. This is absolutely false. A number of peer-reviewed studies, including the journal Climate Dynamics, recently concluded that average global temperatures stopped warming a full 15 years ago. Looking farther back, there have been many periods of rapid warming before man’s measurable release of CO2.

The number and intensity of major hurricanes and tornadoes is rising. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season since 1994 to end with no known major hurricanes. Data published by Florida State University indicates global cyclonic intensity has been trending down for 20 years.

Droughts and floods are more frequent and intense. Again false. According to 106 peer-reviewed global drought and 47 global flood studies, this is not true.

Forest fires and acreage destroyed have intensified. The National Interagency Fire Center statistics of total wild land fires and acres destroyed from 1960 to 2012 concludes that there is no evidence to support this claim.

The rate of sea level rise is increasing. Global statistics refute this claim. Sea level is continuing its rate of rising 7 inches per century, unrelated to human contributions to global warming.

The oceans are becoming more acidic. This is grossly misleading. Mother Earth’s oceans are highly alkaline, not acidic, and there is no evidence human emissions can cause Earth’s oceans to become acidic.

Why has Earth been warming for 300 years, not just since the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago when CO2 begin to rise? Natural factors have been occurring over and over, long before the Industrial Revolution. Nothing new is taking place.

Climate models indicate that Earth is likely to warm to dangerous levels by 2100. All of these climate models are un-validated. They contain many assumptions that are not supported by actual observations.

Do not just take the word of this author, visit the website of former NASA scientists and astronauts that provide insightful analysis at Ask these Senators to provide you with the actual scientific data to support their statements. Please remember, un-validated models do not produce scientific data.

Doesn’t everyone want robust habitats and ecosystems, bountiful food crops, lush forests and grasslands? The good news is that it is already happening. Humanity has been running a real, worldwide experiment for a century and a half and it is paying dividends. Mother Nature is responding positively to our real-life, albeit inadvertent, actions that increase CO2 levels, and NASA satellite data proves that Earth has grown greener for at least the past three decades.


Analysis Shows Solar Modules Cause More Greenhouse Gas Emissions

It turns out that because of the emissions of extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases NF3 and SF6 and energy during the manufacture of solar modules, solar energy ends up being worse for the climate than burning coal (assuming the global warming hypothesis is valid).

A Swiss engineer has made a thorough analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacture, transport and operation of solar panels. His conclusion:

Solar energy in Germany is climate killer no. 1!”

Ferrucio Ferroni writes here how China is the number 1 manufacturer of solar panels globally and that the production of solar panels there requires immense amounts of electricity, which in China is mainly produced by coal power plants. Moreover the manufacture of solar panels also involves substantial amounts of potent greenhouse gases that leak out into the atmosphere.

The result Ferroni writes:

The comparison on CO2 emissions of a modern coal power plant and that of a PV system shows that per kilowatt-hour of power produced, PV systems damage the climate more. This statement is true if the hypothesis of the IPCC is correct to start with.”

Ferroni writes that it is accepted as fact the coal power plants emit carbon dioxide. But what is little known is that PV systems also lead to the emission of considerable quantities greenhouse gases – not during their operation, but during their manufacture.

Ferroni writes that when calculating the climate impacts of PV systems per unit, it is first necessary to account for the energy used in their manufacture in China, which involves the processing of solar silizium. Silizium processing involves considerable amounts of chemicals and raw materials. Also the manufacture of peripheral systems and their subsequent transport of materials to Europe and North America and their modest outputs in many northern locations have to be taken into account.

In comparison, modern steam power plants using clean-coal-technology now reach an efficiency of 52%, which means they emit 846 grams of CO2 per kWh when powered with stone coal (heat value: 30 MJ/kg). Moreover, nowadays highly efficient filters keep dust emissions to a minimum.

Producing 1 square meter requires 300 kg of coal

The manufacture of the silizium for the panels is immensely energy-intensive. According to Prof. Jian Shuisheng of the Jiatong-University in Peking, one square meter of solar module production requires more than 300 kg of coal, which leads to more than 1100 kg of CO2 emissions.

Also the production in China of peripheral systems for PV systems, like frequency converters, batteries, copper cable, switches, instruments etc., require fossil energy. According to literature this is estimated to be an additional 13%. Thus so far the emission for one square meter of solar module now adds up to 1243 kg CO2.

Potent gases needed for manufacturing solar modules

According to Ferroni, the other huge drawback presented by PV systems are the nasty chemicals and industrial gases used for their manufacture. The production of solar panels in China entails nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which are extremely potent heat-trapping gases that leak out during the process. NF3 has a greenhouse gas potency that is 16,600 times greater than CO2; SF6 is 23,900 times more potent. Reports show that these gases emitted annually into the atmosphere from the manufacture of solar panels is equivalent to over 70 million tonnes of CO2 in terms of greenhouse effect. In 2010 over 17.5 GW of rated capacity of solar cells were installed. Thus the emissions per square meter of solar panels comes out to be 513 kg CO2 – a huge amount!

Other chemicals in the production process

The manufacture of solar cells also uses other chemicals like (HCl), silizium carbide, and silver among others. The total alleged warming potential of these chemicals comes out to be an estimated 30 kg CO2 per square meter of PV module. Oddly (likely to avoid embarrassment) the solar industry has yet to release any detailed data on the warming potential and impacts of the chemicals used in their manufacture.

Emissions-intensive transport

Also the transport of the PV systems and modules represent a considerable source of emissions. Ferroni writes that the transport of the systems from China to Germany results in 23 kg CO2 per square meter of solar module, more than what is used to transport coal from South Africa to Europe.

In total 1809 kg of CO2 equivalent is emitted into the atmosphere per square meter of solar panel manufactured and transported.

Ferroni then calculates that over the entire lifetime of a solar panel (25 years) one square meter will produce a total 2000 kwh in Germany. But then there are losses from conversions and so the real value is closer to 1850 kWh.

Over the entire lifetime and taking all factors into account, Ferroni finds that each kwh of electricity produced by solar modules emits 978g of CO2. How does this compare to coal? Ferroni:

In comparison, a modern coal power plant emits 846 g CO2/kWh, i.e. about 13% less. As a result, under German conditions, PV modules are the no. 1 climate killers. By comparison a gas power plant is more advantageous because its CO2 emissions are about half as much: approx.: 400g CO2/kWh.”


End of the road for nasty, dirty rich environmental bullies

John Briscoe, a South African who spent most of his life working for the World Bank, has just been awarded the Stockholm Water Prize, regarded by some as the water equivalent of the Nobel. But after 40 years in the development business, he is angry at the way in which rich people tell poor people how to live their lives – and keep them in the dark. The sooner a BRICS Bank is up and running, the better, he says. What has made him so angry?

From his CV, US Senator Patrick Leahy looks like a nice progressive guy, for an American career politician. He supports organic farmers and renewable energy and has campaigned against landmines and cluster weapons. So why did this man from Vermont, a small, pretty state with a population considerably smaller than Limpopo’s Vhembe district, decide to tell Africans to stay poor; aggravate Southern Africa’s power shortage; and incidentally trash his own President’s plan to “Power Africa”?

The answer helps to illustrate the how American and European NGO politics impacts on poor people without effective voice. It also shows just how vulnerable Africa has been to foreign bullies. Fortunately, that era is coming to an end. And not a moment too soon.

A decade ago, Uganda was running out of electricity as the population and economy grew. Power cuts were becoming increasingly frequent and factories were finding it difficult to cope. The state power company and individual companies turned to dirty and very expensive diesel generators. The transport of diesel by tanker on the notorious Mombasa - Nairobi – Kampala road was profitable for some but many industrial users could not afford the high prices and simply shut up shop. Unemployment and poverty grew.

Uganda had an alternative. At Jinja, where the Nile river flows from Lake Victoria, the Owen Falls hydroelectric dam had been built in colonial times to capture the river’s power. The Ugandan government planned to build a further power station a few kilometres downstream, to double the power generated by the controlled flow.  But environmentalists, mainly from the USA and Europe, objected and started lobbying the development banks to stop the project. They alleged that the dam required would displace large numbers of people, destroy local cultures and damage the environment. They had little local support; their Ugandan associate, the “National Association of Professional Environmentalists” was famously documented by Washington Post reporter Sebastian Mallaby to have just 25 members. Mallaby commented that:-

“Time after time, Western publics raised on stories of World Bank white elephants believe them. Lawmakers in European parliaments and the U.S. Congress accept NGO arguments at face value, and the government officials who sit on the World Bank's board respond by blocking funding for deserving projects.”

There was a bitter exchange between Mallaby, the journalist who told the story and the California based International Rivers Network over the details. But a few years ago, when I visited the site where the Bujagali dam was finally being built, it was evident that just a handful of people had been affected. The reservoir is small, covering less than 400 hectares (including the original course of the river) since water is stored in the vast Lake Victoria. Aside from the foreign-owned white water rafting company which had to relocate, the main complaints were the inconvenience caused by the construction and the fact that not enough locals were being employed.

But the cost of delay can be documented. Electricity shortages and high energy prices were identified by the International Monetary Fund as a major drain on the economy. The resulting increase in unemployment and poverty has been measured; the increase in infant mortality caused by increased poverty is well documented. The available data suggests that perhaps 10,000 children died as a result of the delayed electricity project.

But Uganda is by no means the only place in Africa where countries have been prevented from using cheap, reliable and renewable hydroelectricity. Closer to home, the Zambezi River could be producing 10,000Megawatts more than is already generated at Cabora Bassa and Kariba. That could be supplying the regional power pool from which South Africa would also have benefited. But that capacity was not developed when it was needed.

The donors, on whom countries like Mozambique and Zambia depend, would simply not allow aid money to be spent on planning and developing water infrastructure projects. In the early 2000s, I sat through one particularly ill-tempered meeting in Europe where African water Ministers said that they needed funding to prepare infrastructure projects and their European counterparts simply refused to put that on the agenda for discussion. They wanted to talk conservation.

At the root of this conflict is a family of environmental NGOs that has been remarkably effective at stifling Africa’s hydropower development proposals even as they fail abjectly to influence their home countries’ environmental and climate change policies. The Germans, amongst the most vocal opponents of dam development, have increased their use of coal for electricity generation over the past few years even as they lecture Africans about the need to reduce CO2 emissions and prepare for climate change.

But the NGOs have targeted the World Bank and the wider family of regional development banks because they are gatekeepers for funds to poor countries. Even if they don’t lend all the money needed for projects, their involvement gives comfort to other financiers who don’t have the capacity to evaluate projects.

South African born John Briscoe, former Chief Water Advisor to the World Bank has documented the consequences of the attack on the Bank for investment in water:

“… poor developing countries without choices had to deal with the enormous transaction costs and processes which piled up in the Bank. ‘I am ashamed to even come here’ said President Museveni of Uganda, when he thought he was inaugurating the Bujagali dam in 2002. ‘I am not happy because a project that should have taken two years has taken seven years to start. All this hullabaloo has been a waste of time and a lack of seriousness... this was a circus’ (Reuters, 2002) (little knowing that the process would take another six years before the project was to be actually approved!).

In short, there was an impasse between the urgent needs for financing of infrastructure in poor countries, on the one hand, and an ever-more skittish set of institutions (with the World Bank, the iconic institution) unable and unwilling to make capital available for reasonable projects which should be built. Bank lending for hydropower fell by 90% in the 1990s.

Briscoe documented how the US government worked, back then, to ensure that its positions were adopted by an institution where decision-making is, nominally, the responsibility of its 180 country members. In the formal meetings of the Bank’s directors,

“… the rich countries did not contradict the views of the developing countries but did their talking in other ways. Immediately after one of these sessions the phone rang in the office of my Vice President. It was the US Executive Director who, uncharacteristically, had not said a word during the discussion. ‘If this is the position taken by the Bank, then you should know that it will be very difficult for the US to support the next round of IDA’. IDA is the concessionary tail which wags the hard-lending dog in the World Bank.“

More recently, it appeared that this approach was history. The World Bank reviewed its water policies and recognized that if they did not invest in water infrastructure, they would be failing in their job as a development bank. They recognized that hydropower, which uses the solar energy that drives the hydrological cycle, is an excellent way of producing cheap, reliable low-carbon energy. They also acknowledged that storing water in infrastructure like dams was important to allow poor countries to ensure reliable supplies of the water that they need for their development despite their unpredictable and variable climates.

The example of South Africa is frequently cited. Were it not for the dams that augment the Vaal’s flow during dry seasons, Gauteng and its surrounds would have just one tenth of the current water supply reliably available. The economy would close down and the majority of Gauteng’s people – who consume most of the stored water – would have to move elsewhere.  But while South Africa has dams in which it can store approximately 600 tonnes of water per person, the figure in many sub-Saharan African countries  is closer to 60 tonnes. Meanwhile, the USA stores over 6000 tonnes of water per person.

But Patrick Leahy, the Democrat from Vermont, first elected in 1974 and now his country’s longest-serving senator, has decided that he does not want to allow African countries to enjoy the benefits that he already has. He introduced a clause into the 2014 US budget, now passed into law, that instructs the World Bank (and the wider family of regional development banks in Africa, Asia and Latin America) not to allow Africans to build dams. He can do this because he is chairman of the foreign affairs sub committee of the Appropriation Committee, which draws up the US budget and sets conditions for its use. Although in June last year, President Obama had promised to help bring Power to Africa, his Vermont Senator had other ideas.  The clause he introduced into the law stated clearly that:

“The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director of each international financial institution that it is the policy of the United States to oppose any loan, grant, strategy or policy of such institution to support the construction of any large hydroelectric dam.” (Section 7060(c)(7)(D).)

So why should a good guy like this introduce into US budget legislation a provision that will keep poor people in poverty and stall African development?  The answer, it would appear, is that he has to keep his environmental constituency sweet. And he doesn’t have to worry about offending black voters, who might raise African concerns. The 2010 census found only 6277 African-Americans in Vermont, just 1% of the population. This is presumably why he was also able to help pass an agriculture Bill that made significant cuts to the food stamp programmes on which many poor - disproportionately black - Americans, depend. And Senator Leahy clearly worries even less about the feelings of the millions of people in Africa and Asia on whom he imposes his views. He certainly does not account to them.

The fact that most of Vermont’s electricity comes from the kind of large dams he opposes elsewhere just passes him by.  He is comfortable to abuse the US Treasury to carry instructions into the World Bank that override any internal analysis. His instructions will overrule the Treasury’s own staff let alone the World Bank and its members, simply to please his lobby group.

He can do this because the Banks work on a “one dollar, one vote” system that allows richer shareholder countries to veto policy and projects that they don’t like, regardless of the quality of the proposals. Yet Leahy knows that his own country’s aid programmes are seriously flawed. In 2012, he told the heads of his government’s USAID programme that,

“I have long voiced my concerns with the way a few large U.S. contractors and NGOs obtain the vast majority of USAID funding. Years ago I created the Development Grants Program, a small fund to support innovative proposals of small, mostly local NGOs. But USAID has done what it does too often – take a good idea and either fail to implement it or redesign it in such a way as to thwart the original intent.

“I hope you can tell us what you expect from the changes to USAID’s procurement process, because they need to fundamentally reform the way USAID does business. If these changes just end up shifting resources to big contractors in developing countries that is not the reform we seek.”

In 2007 I met a group of US Congressmen, the HELP commission, who were on a round-Africa junket to find ways to make their foreign assistance more effective. I asked whether they could they pool their resources with other donors - “SWAPs” – sector wide approaches are widely used to help both donors and recipients use external assistance more effectively. That would be a step too far they said, their big contractor lobbies were simply too powerful to fight.

The consequence was seen in another attempt to make US aid work more effectively. The Millennium Challenge Programme tried to go beyond normal USAID pork barrel process of appointing an American main contractor, who would then often appoint an American sub-contractor and then a local contractor (who would do all the work). But in Mozambique, they could only fund just over half of their intended projects, because their bureaucratic procedures added so much to the costs.

Yet the Help Commission report highlighted that a Principle underlying American aid should be that it “Supports the promotion of democratic principles and recognize that good governance and accountable leaders advance development.”

Accountability, like charity, it seems, should start at home but doesn’t go much further.

So, one reason that Leahy’s intervention was approved may lie in the fine print of the Power Africa proposals. The problem with the World Bank is that it insists on (relatively) objective tender procedures, under which companies from countries like China, Korea and India regularly wipe the floor with American competition. Power Africa will not allow such indignities. It will rather use traditional US institutions to extract as much business for themselves as they give help to poor countries.

This is where the BRICS and their bank comes in. A decade ago, the World Bank and its regional family were the only game in town. If poor countries could not get their support, they could not build dams. So many countries, faced like Uganda with power shortages, ended up burning dirty coal or expensive diesel to try and keep up with growing demand for electricity. Hydropower was simply off the agenda.

Then China got in on the act. As their trade with Africa and other developing regions has expanded, they have offered attractive deals to pay for the minerals and other goods that they are exporting. And, while this has been viewed with suspicion by many – particularly western – commentators, the basic rule is that China is willing to provide what it is asked for.

Help with dams is one area where they can offer obvious value. Over the past couple of decades, China has built hundreds of large dams to provide water for its cities and agriculture, for flood protection and to generate clean electricity – a high priority as the ongoing Beijing smog crisis is showing us. So, in their discussions with African and Asian countries, they offered to support dam building projects for hydropower as well as water supply and irrigation.

The response has been remarkable. According to the International Rivers Network, the leading anti-dam NGO (located, bizarrely, in California, whose economy would collapse without water from large dams) China is now financing and building over large 15 dams in 8 African countries and there are more to come. Chinese companies are also building projects financed by other parties as in Lesotho, where Sino Hydro, China’s leading dam construction company, won the billion rand contract to build the Metolong dam to supply Maseru, with finance from Middle East Development Funds. Brazil and India, also capable dam builders, are following suit. Because alternative sources of funding are now available, the World Bank’s effective ban on water infrastructure has just opened up the market to other players.

So this is another piece in the puzzle about Senator Leahy. People who think he is a nice guy will say that he is just starting a conversation about social and environmental protection in developing countries.  But that is not how it will be seen in Africa and Asia. Says John Briscoe:

“it reinforces a prevalent view that US policy towards the developing world is driven by politicians who are driven by extreme single-issue groups at home, and give little attention to the proven instruments – including infrastructure – which lead to growth and poverty reduction.”

The outcome is already clear:

“Africans and others are turning and will turn, with great appreciation, to the governments and companies of China and Brazil and potentially to a BRICs Bank, who understand that electricity is one of the keys to a better life, and who will help Africans build the infrastructure they need for economic growth and poverty reduction.”


Australia:  Pressure on cattlemen to be "sustainable"

They already are

SENATOR Ron Boswell has attacked the power of environmentalists to damage the prosperity of regional communities.

In a speech in the Senate today, Senator Boswell warned cattle producers to closely examine a campaign to force them to prove their environmental sustainability.

“The apparent growing power of environmental non-government organisations and corporations raises fundamental questions about the future role of government, science and rational resource management in Australian primary production,” he said.

Senator Boswell foreshadowed a Senate inquiry to examine the implications of an international campaign to develop sustainability criteria for beef production.

“This goes to the very essence of not simply who is running the Australian beef industry but who is running the country,” Senator Boswell said.

“Who determines how our primary industries are managed and how they are administered? Who decides how our resources are utilised and where they are marketed? Who determines the prosperity of our communities, our industries and our nation? Those are questions that must be answered.

“I believe this issue should be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport. Before I do that, I will discuss this further with my colleague, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.”

Senator Boswell said indications were that meeting basic sustainability criteria could cost Australia’s 77,000 cattle properties some $135 million in fees in the first year.

“I do not want to see Australian farming families burdened with more cost and more paperwork and more unnecessary environmental obligations to keep WWF in business and provide a marketing point-of-difference for the likes of McDonald’s,” he said.

Senator Boswell was referring to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), established by WWF and McDonald’s.

“On March 17, the GRSB published a document called the ‘Draft Principles and Criteria for Global Sustainable Beef’, which potentially could shape how Australian cattle producers are allowed to operate in years to come.

“We can call witnesses to the inquiry from the main players. We can thoroughly examine who will bear the cost of this sustainability scheme and who will enjoy the benefits.

“We can investigate what the implications are for rural and regional communities that depend on cattle and other primary production. Also the implications for Australia’s trade sovereignty and its ability to freely trade in primary products, products we already know to be sustainable.”

Via email from Sen. Boswell


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

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27 March, 2014

Climate change: the debate is about to change radically

As many Warmists now acknowledge, there is no point in trying to stop global warming;  all we can do is adapt to whatever arises

The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due out next week. If the leaked draft is reflected in the published report, it will constitute the formal moving on of the debate from the past, futile focus upon "mitigation" to a new debate about resilience and adaptation.

The new report will apparently tell us that the global GDP costs of an expected global average temperature increase of 2.5  degrees Celsius over the 21st century will be between 0.2 and 2 per cent. To place that in context, the well-known Stern Review of 2006 estimated the costs as 5-20 per cent of GDP. Stern estimates the costs of his recommended policies for mitigating climate change at 2 per cent of GDP – and his estimates are widely regarded as relatively optimistic (others estimate mitigation costs as high as 10 per cent of global GDP). Achieving material mitigation, at a cost of 2 per cent and more of global GDP, would require international co-ordination that we have known since the failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change simply was not going to happen. Even if it did happen, and were conducted optimally, it would mitigate only a fraction of the total rise, and might create its own risks.

And to add to all this, now we are told that the cost might be as low as 0.2 per cent of GDP. At a 2.4 per cent annual GDP growth rate, the global economy increases 0.2 per cent every month.

So the mitigation deal has become this: Accept enormous inconvenience, placing authoritarian control into the hands of global agencies, at huge costs that in some cases exceed 17 times the benefits even on the Government's own evaluation criteria, with a global cost of 2 per cent of GDP at the low end and the risk that the cost will be vastly greater, and do all of this for an entire century, and then maybe – just maybe – we might save between one and ten months of global GDP growth.

Can anyone seriously claim, with a straight face, that that should be regarded as an attractive deal or that the public is suffering from a psychological disorder if it resists mitigation policies?

The 2014 Budget recognised reality, with the Government now introducing special measures to keep energy prices low for energy intensive firms – abandoning what little pretence remained that it was attempting to prevent climate change by limiting energy use so as to limit CO2 emissions. The new IPCC report – though it remains as robust as ever in saying that there will be climate change and its effects will be material (points that relatively few mitigation policy sceptics deny) – has a marked change of focus from the 2007 report.

Whereas previously the IPCC emphasised the effects climate change could have if not prevented, now the focus has moved on to how to make economies and societies resilient and to adapt to warming now considered inevitable. Climate exceptionalism – the notion that climate change is a challenge of a different order from, say, recessions or social inclusion or female education or many other important global policy goals – is to be down played. Instead, the new report emphasised that adapting to climate change is one of many challenges that policymakers will face but should have its proper place alongside other policies.

Quite so. It has been known since the late 1970s that there would be material warming during the 21st century and we will need to adapt to it. At present, though, in the UK we still carry the legacy of a panoply of enormously expensive but futile policies that were designed to be pieces of a global effort to mitigate that is just not going to happen.

Our first step in adapting to climate change should be to accept that we aren't going to mitigate it. We're going to have to adapt. That doesn't mean there might not be the odd mitigation-type policy, around the edges, that is cheap and feasible and worthwhile. But it does mean that the grandiloquent schemes for preventing climate change should go. Their day is done. Even the IPCC – albeit implicitly – sees that now.


Do Skeptics ‘Reposition’ Warming as ‘Theory’ or Do Alarmists ‘Reposition’ Fear as ‘Fact’? Revisiting an Urban Legend

How many times have you heard climate activists claim skeptics are just latter-day “tobacco scientists?” Google “tobacco scientists” and “global warming,” and you’ll get about 1,110,000 results. With so much (ahem) smoke, surely there must be some fire, right?

Al Gore helped popularize this endlessly repeated allegation. In An Inconvenient Truth (p. 263), he contends that just as tobacco companies cynically funded corrupt scientists to cast doubt on the Surgeon General’s report linking cigarette smoking to cancer, so fossil fuel companies fund “skeptics” to create the appearance of scientific controversy where none exists.

Here’s the pertinent passage:

The misconception that there is serious disagreement among scientists about global warming is actually an illusion that has been deliberately fostered by a relatively small but extremely well-funded cadre of special interests, including Exxon Mobil and a few other oil, coal, and utilities companies. These companies want to prevent any new policies that would interfere with their current business plans that rely on the massive unrestrained dumping of global warming pollution into the Earth’s atmosphere every hour of every day.

One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group’s stated objective: to “reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact.”

This technique has been used before. The tobacco industry, 40 years ago, reacted to the historic Surgeon General’s report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer and other lung diseases by organizing a similar disinformation campaign.

One of their memos, prepared in the 1960s, was recently uncovered during one of the lawsuits against the tobacco companies in behalf of the millions of people who have been killed by their product. It is interesting to read it 40 years later in the context of the global warming campaign:

“Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing controversy.” Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company memo, 1960s

There’s just one problem with this tale of corruption and intrigue — much of it is false and all of it is misleading. Let’s examine the flaws in this urban legend, going from minor to major.

First, Gore’s alleged source, Ross Gelbspan, is not a Pulitzer Prize winner. Gelbspan’s 1997 book, The Heat Is On, supposedly exposes how fossil fuel companies and conservative politicians collude to ”confuse the public about global warming.” The jacket of the book describes Gelbspan as a “Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist.” But former JunkScience.Com blogger Steve Milloy searched the list of Pulitzer journalists, and found that Gelbspan was not among them. Gelbspan later claimed only to have conceived, directed, and edited a series of articles that won a Pulitzer in 1984.

Second, Gelbspan was not the source of Gore’s story. Gore discussed the leaked documents in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance (p. 360), which was published five years before Gelbspan’s book. So how did Gore find out about it? Blogger Russell Cook notes that the documents were first “reported in a 1991 New York Times article which claimed they came from an unnamed source at the Sierra Club.”

Why did Gore credit Gelbspan with breaking the story? Who knows! Maybe because information sourced to “Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter” sounds credible even if the reporter neither won a Pulitzer nor broke the story.

Third, Gore gives the false impression that ExxonMobil and other oil companies were part of the “group” behind the “disinformation campaign” supposedly revealed in the memo that Gelbspan supposedly “discovered.”

The memo was one of several documents drafted by an ad hoc group calling itself Information Council for the Environment. ICE was a project of Southern Company (an electric utility) and Western Fuels Association (a non-profit supply cooperative of consumer-owned electric utilities). No oil companies were involved.

Fourth, the documents are not an adopted plan to ”reposition” global warming but a proposal to “test market” the effectiveness of such messaging.

The actual objectives of the project were to:

1) Demonstrate that a consumer-based media awareness program can positively change the opinions of a selected population regarding the validity of global warming.

2) Begin to develop a message and strategy for shaping public opinion on a national scale.

3) Lay the solid groundwork for a unified national electric industry voice on global warming.

The plan was never developed, much less implemented. As the 1991 New York Times article reported, different members of the electric utility industry took different positions on climate change:

The utility industry is divided on the question of global warming. Two California utilities, Southern California Edison, the nation’s second-largest utility after the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the Los Angeles Water and Power Department, the largest municipal company, volunteered in May to cut their carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 percent in the next 20 years. Most of the savings, they said, would come from efficiency improvements in lighting, motors and cooling that would pay for themselves.

The Arizona Public Service Company, which serves Flagstaff, declined an invitation to participate in ICE. Mark De Michele, president and chief executive, did not reply to repeated phone calls seeking comment. But he told The Arizona Daily Sun in May, “The subject matter is far too complex and could be far more severe than the ads make of it for the subject to be dealt with in a slick ad campaign.”

The Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group based in Washington that also helped organize the ICE campaign, takes the position that because of the possibility that climate change is a real threat, steps should be taken to cut carbon-dioxide output if those steps are justifiable for other reasons — for example, saving money through higher efficiency or reducing the output of sulfur dioxide from power plants. That chemical causes acid rain.

Some of the advertising messages test-marketed in Flagstaff, Ariz., Bowling Green, Ky., and Fargo, N.D., were goofy. From the Times article:

In Bowling Green, an ad showed a cartoon horse in earmuffs and scarf and said, “If the Earth is getting warmer, why is Kentucky getting colder?” Another, with a cartoon man bundled up and holding a snow shovel, appeared in Minnesota and substituted “Minneapolis” for “Kentucky.”

Did any skeptical scientists endorse those messages? No. As the Times reported, Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling, and Sherwood Idso, the ICE science advisory panel, ”said in telephone interviews that the salient element in two of the ads, that some areas might be getting cooler, did not contradict the theory of global warming.” The article also reported that Balling and Michaels “have both asked to have their names removed from future mailings.”

Indeed, as Gelbspan acknowledged in his book, “Michaels has insisted that he dissociated himself from the ICE campaign when he learned of what he called its ‘blatant dishonesty.’” When Balling and Michaels pulled out, the ICE project collapsed. So much for the grand fossil-fueled conspiracy.

Fifth, there is no shame in repositioning as theory that which is not fact.* The “repositioning” memo is dated May 15, 1991 — four and a half years before the IPCC famously concluded, in November 1995, that the ”balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” Note too that the IPCC’s iconic formulation is not an assertion of what is demonstrably true, only an assessment of what the “balance of evidence” “suggests.”

From 1979 to 1991, two of the three main data sources — satellites and radiosondes (weather balloons) — showed no warming or even a slight cooling trend in the bulk atmosphere (troposphere). It was the land record that was the odd man out. Given that radiosondes were calibrated to measure global temperature and the satellites were specifically designed for that purpose, while the surface network was designed to measure agricultural weather, which should objective scientists trust least?

In 1998, the Remote System Sensing (RSS) team led by Frank Wentz discovered an orbital decay-induced spurious cooling in the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) satellite record. The UAH scientists corrected their record, the balloon record was also revised, so all three records showed a warming trend. Only at that point did global (as distinct from urban or local) warming become a “fact” — a trend confirmed by multiple independent observations. But then, irony of ironies, global warming plateaued in the RSS record, and “the pause” has persisted for 17 and a half years.

Even today, calling anthropogenic global warming a ”fact” – meaning conclusively demonstrated – would still be an exaggeration.

A study published last year by Benjamin Santer and colleagues in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, alluding to the IPCC’s iconic attribution statement, proudly proclaimed “clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.” Since 1979, the middle atmosphere has warmed (albeit less than predicted) while the stratosphere has cooled. This observed pattern matches the model-predicted vertical structure (“fingerprint”) of anthropogenic climate change.

Why is that evidence of anthropogenic warming? If the Sun were responsible for global warming, the stratosphere should also get warmer. But if warming is due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the troposphere, then the stratosphere should cool because more upwelling heat is trapped in the layer beneath it.

Santer et al., however, chose their words carefully — perhaps artfully. A “discernible human influence” can include the cooling effects of manufactured substances, chiefly hydroflourocarbons, that destroy ozone in the troposphere. Ozone is itself a greenhouse (heat absorbing) gas. So some significant part of stratospheric cooling could be due to ozone depletion rather than to greenhouse gas emissions trapping more heat in the troposphere. A study cited by the Santer team, led by one of its co-authors, acknowledges that possibility:

In the mid and upper stratosphere the simulated natural and combined anthropogenic responses are detectable and consistent with observations, but the influences of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances could not be separately detected in our analysis.

Sixth, when read in context, “reposition as theory, rather than fact” refers not to anthropogenic warming per se but to the prediction “that higher levels of carbon dioxide will bring a catastrophic global warming.” For example, an ICE document quotes then University of Virginia climatologist Patrick Michaels: “I am one of many scientists who believe the vision of catastrophic global warming is distorted.”

The key climate science question for policymakers and citizens is not whether anthropogenic global warming is real but whether, in Al Gore’s words, climate change is “a planetary emergency — a crisis that threatens the survival of civilization and the habitability of the Earth.” The climate alarm narrative was not a “fact” in 1991 and certainly is not today.

Mounting evidence indicates that the climate is substantially less sensitive (reactive) to greenhouse gas emissions than “consensus” science had assumed. The oft-asserted link between warming and extreme weather continues to elude researchers. More importantly, the climate trilogy of terror – ocean circulation collapse, rapid ice sheet disintegration, and runaway climate change (the methane “bomb”) – has far less scientific plausibility today than it did in 1991.**

Gore and other climate campaigners have been trying for decades to reposition fear as fact. Their j’accuse directed at skeptics is Orwellian.


Mudslides & Global Warming

There is no natural phenomenon these days that is not somehow linked to a (non)warming world. Slate's Eric Holthaus wasted no time blaming the recent devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, on the side effects of global warming. “One of the most well-forecast and consequential components of human-caused climate change is the tendency for rainstorms to become more intense as the planet warms,” he writes. “As the effect becomes more pronounced, that will make follow-on events like flooding and landslides more common. But we don't have to wait for the future. This is already happening.” Yet according to the Associated Press, “A scientist working for the government had warned 15 years ago about the potential for a catastrophic landslide in the fishing village where the collapse of a rain-soaked hillside over the weekend killed at least 14 people and left scores missing.” Holthaus admits in the same article that the “disaster occurred in an area known for its landslides.” But like all alarmists, he just couldn't resist provoking the debate.


UK Prime Minister: Fracking Must Start By End Of Year

Britain has a "duty" to embrace fracking in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, David Cameron has said, as he accused opponents of shale gas exploration of not "understanding" the issue properly.

The Prime Minister said that Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea should be a "wake up call" and that European countries must become less reliant on Russian gas.

There is growing concern that European leaders are unable to put sufficient pressure on Mr Putin over the crisis in Ukraine because they are so dependent on Russia for energy supplies.

Asked whether it is now "our duty to ensure that we are more energy independent by embracing fracking", the Prime Minister said: "Yes I think it is. Something positive should come out of this for Europe which is to take a long hard look at its energy resilience, and its energy independence."

"Britain is not reliant on Russian gas to any extent, it's a few percentage points of our gas intake," Mr Cameron said. "But the variety around Europe is very, very wide. Some countries are almost 100 per cent reliant on Russian gas so I think it is something of a wake up call and I think action will be taken."

Fracking, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract natural gas, has dramatically cut energy bills in the USA.

Ministers are hoping that it could do the same in the UK. However, the process led to protests last year in West Sussex.

Barack Obama this week used a summit in the Netherlands to press Mr Cameron and other European Union leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over Mr Putin's aggression in Ukraine.

Officials believe that Britain can learn from the speed with which America has embraced fracking.

Mr Cameron said: "Why has it taken so long in the UK and Europe as compared to the US? We can ponder that or alternatively we can just do what this Government is doing which is to roll up the sleeves, simplify the process, make the permissions easier, getting on with some wells moving."

However, in comments that risk angering opponents of fracking, Mr Cameron said that there is a "lack of understanding" about how shale gas exploration works.

"A lot of people think that the process of fracturing shale goes forever and ever rather than having a process and then you release the gas and then you take the gas off," Mr Cameron said.

"There's a lack of understanding about the nature of what actually happens and how much it has in common with the ways that we extract gas in the world today."

He added: "When I look at a lot of the concerns expressed, I think a lot of them are based on concerns and people worrying about things but I think when you actually look at them all and go through at all the issues, I think there's a really good answer to all the questions. "

He said that there will be some shale gas wells "up and running" in the UK by the end of this year.

A study backed by the British Geological Survey this week warned that shale gas exploration could be dangerous and lead to water contamination because wells may leak underground.


US Republicans Pressure Obama On Natural Gas Exports To Europe

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is ramping up pressure on President Obama to fast-track natural-gas exports to reduce Europe's dependence on Russia.

During a briefing with Republican leadership on Tuesday, Boehner hit the administration and Senate Democrats for opposing "common-sense measures."

"President Obama is in Europe today. I hope he uses this as an opportunity to discuss how we can help the Europeans reduce their dependence on Vladimir Putin," Boehner said.

"Expediting the approval of U.S. natural-gas exports would send a clear signal that Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe will not continue. And just as important, it would create more American jobs and help more Americans as they face the squeeze of not enough jobs and not enough increase in wages," he added.

Republicans aren't backing down on natural-gas exports, and have found some allies in a few Senate Democrats.

Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) both affirmed their support of sending more liquefied natural gas overseas during Landrieu's first hearing as chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.


The carbon dioxide level is dangerously LOW

By: David Archibald

The following has been excerpted from Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century will be Nasty, Brutish, and Short by David Archibald:

The United States is needlessly penalizing itself and squandering its resource endowment, all because of the big lie that carbon dioxide is causing dangerous global warming. The Chinese, in contrast, merely pay lip service to that big lie. The only reason they are making a token effort on the “global warming” front is to encourage Western countries to continue hobbling their own economies. One can be forgiven for thinking that there must be some truth in the global warming notion given how much noise its advocates have made. But as with most causes promoted by leftist ideologues, the truth is exactly the opposite to their claim. The fact of the matter is the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere remains dangerously low at four hundred parts per million. In fact the more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the better for all forms of life on planet Earth.

Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at 286 parts per million. Let us round this number to 300 parts per million to make the sums easier. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases ensure that the planet is 30°C warmer than it would otherwise be if they were not in the atmosphere, so the average temperature of the planet’s surface is 15°C instead of -15°C. Water vapor is responsible for 80 percent of that effect, and carbon dioxide for only 10 percent, with methane, ozone, and so forth accounting for the remainder. So the approximately 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide is good for 3°C degrees of warming. If the relationship between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature were arithmetic—in other words, a straight linear relationship—then adding another 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide would result in one degree of warming. We are adding 2 parts per million to the atmosphere annually, or 100 parts per million every fifty years. At that rate, humanity would fry.

Thankfully, the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature is logarithmic, not arithmetic. The first 20 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere provides 1.6°C of warming, after which the effect drops away rapidly. From the current level of 400 parts per million, each addition of 100 parts per million adds only 0.1°C of warming. By the time we have dug up all the rocks we can economically burn, and burned them, we may reach 600 parts per million in the atmosphere. So perhaps we might add another 0.2°C of warming over the next two centuries. That warming will be lost in the noise of natural climate variation. So much for the problem of global warming! As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is tuckered out. On the positive side of the ledger, it is very beneficial as aerial fertilizer. The carbon dioxide that mankind has put into the atmosphere to date has in fact boosted crop yields by 15 percent. This is like giving the Third World countries free phosphate fertilizer. Who could possibly be so heartless as to deny under- developed countries that benefit, at no cost to anyone?

The real threat is dangerously low levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Earth has been in a glacial period for the last 3 million years, including some sixty separate glacial advances and retreats. The current Holocene interglacial period might last up to another 3,000 years before the Earth plunges into another glaciation. Carbon dioxide is a gas highly soluble in water, and its solubility is highly temperature dependent. The colder the planet is, the more carbon dioxide the oceans absorb. During glaciations the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere has fallen to as low at 180 parts per million. It needs to be stressed that plant life shuts down at 150 parts per million, as plants are unable to operate with the partial pressure differential of carbon dioxide between their cells and the atmosphere. Several times during the last 3 million years, life above sea level was within 30 parts per million of being extinguished by a lack of carbon dioxide. The flowering plants we rely upon in our diet evolved 100 million years ago when the carbon dioxide level was four times the current concentration. For plant life, the current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is near starvation levels

And unfortunately, the carbon dioxide that human beings are pumping into the atmosphere will not be there for very long. There is fifty times as much carbon dioxide held by the oceans as there is in the atmosphere. As the deep oceans turn over, on an eight-hundred-year cycle of circulation, they will take the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere down into Davy Jones’s Locker, where it will be of no use to man, beast, or plant life. Agricultural productivity will rise for the next two centuries or so, along with the atmospheric carbon dioxide level, after which it will fall away. By the year 3000 AD, the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide level will be only a couple of percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution. Life above sea level will therefore remain dangerously pre- carious because of the low carbon dioxide level.

“Global warming” is an irrational belief whose proponents demonstrate no interest in examining scientific evidence that may prove their beliefs incorrect. As a simple cult, it has failed to progress much beyond the concept of original sin, apocalyptic visions, sumptuary laws, and the selling of indulgences. Wind farms are the temples of this state-sponsored belief system. This cult doesn’t extend to building aged-care homes, hospitals, or anything much for the common good. Instead it degrades the fabric of society by misdirecting human effort. Its true believers can hardly be blamed; the global warming cult is not much different from any of the other end-of-the-world cults that have preceded it. Society’s opprobrium should be saved for the gatekeepers who have failed in their duty to protect the public from the depredations of the global warming rent-seekers and charlatans. The boards and executive staffs of a number of learned societies across the Western world have embraced this cult against the wishes of the majority of their members…idso positive CO2

The fact that the world has not warmed since 1998 (in defiance of the global warming scare) hasn’t dented cult members’ faith. Arguing scientific evidence with them is pointless. It will take something far worse than a return of the frigid winters of the 1970s to create doubt in their minds. That something worse is coming. Millions of people may have to endure many harsh years before this pernicious cult is vanquished. And until the global warming myth is exploded, the security of the United States—and thus of the world—is also at risk.



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

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


26 March, 2014

NEW BOOK "To Kill an Error" - A novel approach to Global Warming Scepticism

by Jed B van de Poll

Kindle Price: US$6.68

"To Kill an Error" is a fictional account of the furore surrounding the 2010 accusations of data manipulation associated with the world's temperature record.

While Al Gore's book 'An Inconvenient Truth' was a factual book based on fiction, 'To Kill an Error' is a fictional book based on fact.

The story is a fast-paced thriller of corporate greed and intrigue on an international scale that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you learn some uncomfortable truths about climate change, the environmental industry and the real cost of being 'green'.


Chills Down My Spine Caused by Global Warming

If you’re like me this will send chills down your spine.

Nature Climate Change recently published a paper that contends that temperate zones will see reduced crop yields by 2030, presumably plunging the world into a man-caused famine not seen since the last time communists were in charge.

From Blue and Green Tomorrow:

“As more data have become available, we’ve seen a shift in consensus, telling us that the impacts of climate change in temperate regions will happen sooner rather than later,” said Professor Andy Challinor, lead author of the study.

Yes, any time I see the word “consensus” in the context of the "settled science" of global something I break out into a cold sweat, I hyperventilate and my sight grows dim.

And that should happen to you too.

Because I next wonder: “How much is this going to cost me exactly?”

But then I remember, upon studied reflection, that every time the WeatherNazis come to a consensus about anything they’re as wrong Hitler was in invading Russia without winter clothing.

“Oh, don’t worry,” he said. “It’s gonna be a lot warmer than people think.”

Certainly, it’s a lot warmer for him now.

For the estimated $100 billion annually that we will be spending on “climate change” programs by 2020, I’m thinking that there might be a better way to spend that money, like terraforming Mars for human population or throwing a really big Fourth of July Parade.

These are certainly better ideas than the rationing of electricity, wearing clothes made exclusively of hemp and dating chicks with hairy armpits.

Or driving a Chevy Volt.

But the news gets worse for liberals.

The indoor hemp industry apparently produces the same amount of carbon in the atmosphere as 3 million cars.

“'[I]ndoor Cannabis production uses 1% of the nation’s entire electricity consumption,' reports Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Evan Mills in the Huffington Post. 'This comes to energy expenditures of $5 billion per year.' While 1% may not seem like a lot, the report claims that smoking one single Cannabis joint is equivalent to running a 100-watt light bulb for 17 hours. That Cannabis cigarette carries two pounds of CO2 emissions."

I don't know what a gram of dope costs these days, but that's a lot of carbon for a gram.

While the doomsday date for the final destruction of mankind due to global warming gets pushed back farther and farther, I’m wondering if any of these WeatherNazis actually understand human history.

It would be wonderful if human activity could warm the planet.

The danger to civilization isn’t a warm planet, but a cold one.

It was only with the retreat of the last Ice Age that the ascendancy of modern man took hold. Without that, we’d all be living in caves, each of us ineligible to be president of the United States because we’d all still live in Kenya.

Instead we live in the house of cards that the president of the United States built—who by the way was born in Hawaii, a place much warmer than most of the globe; and presumably what Montana will be a lot like in the global something future.

Weather does influence culture, but not in the ways the alarmists would have you believe.

A new study by Matthew Ranson—no relation (my relatives know how to spell)—made possible by a fellowship from Harvard, predicts that because of global warming crime will spike, with your daughters unsafe to roam the streets day or night.

“The results show that temperature has a strong positive effect on criminal behavior,” writes Ranson, “with little evidence of lagged impacts. Between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States.”

See and all this time I thought that dinosaurs failed to adapt and thus became extinct.

I never knew it was dino-on-dino crime caused by high global temperatures.

And so reports like these send chills down my spine.  Because believe me: It’ll cost us. One way or another, it’ll cost us.

That’s the liberal way.


New paper finds no effect of "acidification" on plankton from CO2 levels 8 times higher than today

A paper published today in Biogeosciences finds that prior claims about the effects of ocean "acidification" on calcifying plankton are highly exaggerated because the artificial laboratory conditions utilized do not correctly simulate the effects in natural seawater. The authors find exposure of the plankton to "acidification" from elevated CO2 concentrations of up to 3247 ppm [over 8 times higher than the present] had no effect on the life cycle (population density, growth and reproduction) of calcifying plankton when natural buffering sediment was present in the experiment.

The paper adds to several others invalidating the vast prior literature on the effects of "acidification" as overblown due to biased, artificial laboratory conditions [often just putting sulfuric acid in an aquarium] that don't correctly simulate the buffering effects of a natural environment.

Needless to say, the effects of increased CO2 on non-calcifying plankton are 100% positive due to CO2 fertilization.

Biogeosciences, 11, 1581-1597, 2014

Response of benthic foraminifera to ocean acidification in their natural sediment environment: a long-term culturing experiment
by K. Haynert et al.


Calcifying foraminifera are expected to be endangered by ocean acidification; however, the response of a complete community kept in natural sediment and over multiple generations under controlled laboratory conditions has not been constrained to date. During 6 months of incubation, foraminiferal assemblages were kept and treated in natural sediment with pCO2-enriched seawater of 430, 907, 1865 and 3247 ?atm pCO2. The fauna was dominated by Ammonia aomoriensis and Elphidium species, whereas agglutinated species were rare. After 6 months of incubation, pore water alkalinity was much higher in comparison to the overlying seawater. Consequently, the saturation state of ?calc was much higher in the sediment than in the water column in nearly all pCO2 treatments and remained close to saturation. As a result, the life cycle (population density, growth and reproduction) of living assemblages varied markedly during the experimental period, but was largely unaffected by the pCO2 treatments applied. According to the size–frequency distribution, we conclude that foraminifera start reproduction at a diameter of 250 ?m. Mortality of living Ammonia aomoriensis was unaffected, whereas size of large and dead tests decreased with elevated pCO2 from 285 ?m (pCO2 from 430 to 1865 ?atm) to 258 ?m (pCO2 3247 ?atm). The total organic content of living Ammonia aomoriensis has been determined to be 4.3% of CaCO3 weight. Living individuals had a calcium carbonate production rate of 0.47 g m?2 a?1, whereas dead empty tests accumulated a rate of 0.27 g m?2 a?1. Although ?calc was close to 1, approximately 30% of the empty tests of Ammonia aomoriensis showed dissolution features at high pCO2 of 3247 ?atm during the last 2 months of incubation. In contrast, tests of the subdominant species, Elphidium incertum, stayed intact. Our results emphasize that the sensitivity to ocean acidification of the endobenthic foraminifera Ammonia aomoriensis in their natural sediment habitat is much lower compared to the experimental response of specimens isolated from the sediment.


New paper finds global sea level rise has decelerated 31% since 2002 along with the 'pause' of global warming

New paper attempts to explain the 'pause' in sea level rise

A paper published today in Nature Climate Change finds that global sea level rise has greatly decelerated 31% since 2002 from 3.5 mm/yr to 2.4 mm/yr. According to the authors, "This decreasing Global Mean Sea Level [GMSL] rate coincides with the pause observed over the last decade in the rate of Earth’s global mean surface temperature increase, an observation exploited [very unscientific choice of words] by climate sceptics to refute global warming and its attribution to a steadily rising rate of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." [Apparently, the authors think that any skeptical scientist who points out an obvious inconsistency between datasets is exploiting the observational data.]

This observation, of course, is a crisis for CAGW alarmism and therefore must be solved by a computer model. The authors simply create a hydrological model programmed to say that the reason why sea levels have decelerated is because it must be raining more over land due to ENSO and therefore the land ate the 31% decrease in sea level rise [No mention why ENSO also didn't cause more rain over the oceans]. The authors admit there is no data to support land water stores prior to GRACE since ~2003, therefore they just fabricate estimate the comparison data for the period 1994-2002 of how much sea level rise was ameliorated by land precipitation. Abracadabra, the land must have more than eaten the sea level rise from AGW, allowing it to decelerate, and the AGW "missing heat" is still very much alive somewhere in the ocean.

The authors also find that even with this huge adjustment to sea level rise, there is no evidence of acceleration over the past 20 years, which means there is no evidence of a human influence on sea levels.

The authors redeem themselves a bit in the conclusion and appear to contradict their earlier statements in the paper: "Although progress has been achieved and inconsistencies reduced, the puzzle of the missing energy remains, raising the question of where the extra heat absorbed by the Earth is going. The results presented here will further encourage this debate as they underline the enigma between the observed plateau in Earth’s mean surface temperature and continued rise in the Global Mean Sea Level [GMSL]."

Climate science has sunk just like the 'missing heat' to the depths of the ocean trying to explain away the "pause" of both global warming and global sea level rise, using synthetic data generated by climate models that can be programmed to obtain any result one desires.


New paper finds Arctic sea ice was much less than present-day during the Holocene Climate Optimum ~6,000 years ago

A new paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews finds Arctic sea ice extent and thickness was much less than present-day conditions during the Holocene Climate Optimum from ~10,000-6,000 years ago. According to the authors, "Arctic Ocean sea ice proxies generally suggest a reduction in sea ice during parts of the early and middle Holocene (?6000–10,000 years Before the Present) compared to present day conditions."

The authors show 8 different proxy studies reveal extended periods lasting hundreds of years without perennial sea ice in the Arctic [ice-free conditions], and find solar insolation explains these changes.

Arctic Ocean perennial sea ice breakdown during the Early Holocene Insolation Maximum

By Christian Strannea et al.


Arctic Ocean sea ice proxies generally suggest a reduction in sea ice during parts of the early and middle Holocene (?6000–10,000 years Before the Present) compared to present day conditions. This sea ice minimum has been attributed to the northern hemisphere Early Holocene Insolation Maximum (EHIM) associated with Earth's orbital cycles. Here we investigate the transient effect of insolation variations during the final part of the last glaciation and the Holocene by means of continuous climate simulations with the coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean column model CCAM. We show that the increased insolation during EHIM has the potential to push the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover into a regime dominated by seasonal ice, i.e. ice free summers. The strong sea ice thickness response is caused by the positive sea ice albedo feedback. Studies of the GRIP ice cores and high latitude North Atlantic sediment cores show that the Bølling–Allerød period (c. 12,700–14,700 years BP) was a climatically unstable period in the northern high latitudes and we speculate that this instability may be linked to dual stability modes of the Arctic sea ice cover characterized by e.g. transitions between periods with and without perennial sea ice cover.


Australian Environmentalists take government to court over Barrier Reef plans

They haven't got a leg to stand on but may inflict costly delays

Environmentalists will launch court action against the Abbott government and its decision to allow dredging and spoil dumping in Great Barrier Reef waters for the expansion of coal export terminals.

The Mackay Conservation Group, backed by $150,000 raised by activist group GetUp!, will file documents in the Federal Court on Monday challenging the decision on the grounds the government failed its legal obligations to protect a world heritage site by approving the project.

It is the second legal challenge to the proposed Abbot Point development. Last month the North Queensland Conservation Group launched an appeal against a separate decision to allow the dumping of dredge spoil in reef waters by the authority which oversees the marine park protecting the site.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the Abbot Point project in December under strict conditions, including the dredging and dumping of three million tonnes of sludge in the reef's waters to expand coal export terminals.

The Abbot Point development is one of many resource projects proposed for the coast along the Great Barrier Reef. Industrial development and other threats have raised the concern of the World Heritage Committee, which has asked the Australian and Queensland governments to install several measure to better protect the reef or else risk it being considered world heritage "in danger".

The Mackay Conservation Group is challenging the Abbot Point decision through a provision in the national environment laws that allow for a judicial review by the Federal Court of any decision.

Group campaigner Ellen Roberts said the review would be the first test of national environment laws protecting world heritage sites.

"If we are successful then potentially the decision could have implications for other world heritage areas as well," Ms Roberts said.

Brad Fish, chief executive of the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, said the focus on dredging had taken the debate about the reef's future away from the real issues threatening its survival.

He pointed to an article by University of Central Queensland coral ecologist Alison Jones and marine scientist and consultant Brett Kettle posted on The Conversation that said green groups had wrongly argued dredging and dumping were major threats to the reef.



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

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


25 March, 2014

Climate scientists refuse to debate global warming with skeptics

The few that have done so have clearly lost so the rest aren't game

Climate scientists and environmentalists are venting their frustrations debating those who are skeptical of man-made global warming — and some have even gone so far as to refuse debating skeptics.

Dan Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the liberal Center for American Progress, refused to appear on Fox Business to debate climate skeptic Marc Morano last week. Morano runs the blog Climate Depot, where he reports on environment and climate news.

Weiss was set to debate Morano on the show “The Independents” but “refused to debate directly with Morano, and chided [the show] for airing his views,” according to the Fox Business show.

“In what is part of a growing trend,  yet another global warming activist ducked a TV debate,” Morano told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Weiss and other activists claim the debate is so settled that granting a skeptic ‘equal time’ does some type of disservice to ‘science.’ Climate activists want to impose everything from carbon taxes,  UN treaties, cap-and-trade,  EPA regulations, light bulb restrictions, automobile regulations,  even our bedtimes — yet they will not debate the basis for these actions

“I have had many debate cancellations previously,” Morano added. “In 2010, I was set to debate Hollywood producer James Cameron after weeks of negotiations, only to have the debate cancelled at the last moment when my plane landed in Colorado for the debate.”

Weiss isn’t the only proponent of man-made global warming that has refused to debate a climate skeptic. Last year, Fox Business host John Stossel asked about a dozen climate scientists to debate skeptic Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist who now teaches at the University of Alabama.

Stossel also asked the environmental group the Union of Concerned Scientists if they would debate Spencer on TV. Stossel said UCS replied that debating Spencer “would be doing the public a disservice because it would give [his] extreme ideas credibility.” NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate scientist Gavin Schmidt did go on that episode but only after Spencer was no longer on the set.

As the debate surrounding global warming has intensified this past year, some news outlets have opted not to provide a platform for climate skeptics. Most recently, the BBC Scotland has barred debates between climate scientists and skeptics from being aired.

The Daily Mail reports: “A BBC executive in charge of editorial standards has ordered programme editors not to broadcast debates between climate scientists and global warming sceptics.”

Alasdair MacLeod, who is head of editorial standards and compliance for BBC Scotland, sent an email in February to senior producers and editors, saying that “we should not run debates / discussions directly between scientists and sceptics.”

Last year, the Los Angeles Times announced that it would not be publishing letters to the editor that were critical of the theory of man-made global warming because the evidence provided by scientists suggests that human activity is warming the planet.

“I’m no expert when it comes to our planet’s complex climate processes or any scientific field,” wrote Paul Thornton, the Times’ letter editor. “Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.”


25 March, 2014

The Genocidal Duck Whisperers of the Post-Human Left

Pick up a copy of Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget and there among the TSA fee hikes, Medicare payment cuts and the $400 million for the Department of Homeland Security to fight Global Warming is a curious little item.

On Page 930 of the budget that never ends is $575 million for “family planning/reproductive health” worldwide especially in "areas where population growth threatens biodiversity or endangered species."

The idea that the way to protect insects, fish and animals is by preventing human beings from having children is part of an approach known as Population, Health and Environment (PHE) which integrates population control into environmentalist initiatives.

PHE dates back to the 1980s and is practiced by mainstream organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund.  The Smithsonian's Woodrow Wilson Center, which is funded partly by the US government, aggressively champions PHE eugenics and USAID funds PHE programs and distributes PHE training manuals derived in part from Wilson Center materials.

PHE had been baked into Congressional bills such as the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2013 co-sponsored by Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and Sheila Jackson-Lee which urged meeting United Nations Millennium Development Goals by using birth control as, among other things, a means of "ensuring environmental sustainability".

Obama's budget is more open about its PHE eugenics agenda. While PHE backers usually claim that they want to reduce population to prevent famine and promote gender equality, the PHE budget request explicitly states that its goal is to reduce human population growth for the sake of the animals, without any of the usual misleading language about feminism and clean water.

The budget is a blunt assertion of post-Human values by an administration that has become notorious for its fanatical environmentalism, sacrificing people on the altar of Green ideology.

When Obama's Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Alaska, she told the residents of an Eskimo village where nineteen people had died due to the difficulty of evacuating patients during medical emergencies that, "I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals."

Jewell rejected the road that they needed to save lives because it would inconvenience the local waterfowl. When it came to choosing between the people and the ducks, Jewell chose the ducks.

Ducks don't talk, but environmentalists do, and they had vocally opposed helping the people of King Cove. Jewell had received the Rachel Carson Award, named after an environmentalist hero whose fearmongering killed millions. Compared to the Carson malaria graveyards of Africa, nineteen dead Eskimos slide off the post-Human conscience of a fanatical environmentalist like water off a duck's back.

The arguments against DDT often focused not on saving lives, but on taking them. PHE prevents children from being born, but environmentalists don't stop with the unborn. Malaria was an even more effective tool for reducing populations than targeted abortion and birth control programs.

USAID, which played a key role in the war on DDT, has openly embraced PHE. "When couples can plan the number, timing, and spacing of their children, that helps the environment and the economy." said Beverly Johnson, chief of the Policy, Evaluation, and Communication Division of the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health.

Environmentalist population reduction activists originally cloaked their real agenda in claims about worldwide famine. Paul Erlich, author of The Population Bomb, had predicted mass starvation by the 1970s and the end of England by 2000. Today Global Warming activists set empty dates for the destruction of mankind that they themselves don't believe in.

The post-Human left seeks to maintain a perpetual state of crisis so that governments and corporations will be more inclined to accept even horrifying solutions as the alternative to the end of mankind. What it does not tell them is that its goal is the end of mankind. 

In February, Population Action International and the Sierra Club sponsored a Congressional briefing on PHE post-2015. Population Action International was originally founded as the Population Crisis Committee in the sixties. Its preceding organizations included the Hugh Moore Fund for International Peace which claimed that population control was necessary to defeat Communism.

Like the Communists, the post-Human activists were adept at disguising their agenda in the concerns of the moment, shifting from national security, feminism, the coming Ice Age, mass starvation and now Global Warming. Environmentalists are even attempting to shoehorn the War on Terror into their agenda as the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program attempts to tie every terrorist conflict zone from Yemen to Mali to Global Warming.

Environmentalists are even attempting to repeat their old trick by trying to shoehorn the War on Terror into their agenda. The Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program attempts to tie every terrorist conflict zone from Yemen to Mali to Global Warming.

Paul Erlich, whose book was prompted by the Sierra Club and carried the same title as Hugh Moore's tract, wrote that, "We must use our political power to push other countries into programs which combine agricultural development and population control." PHE jettisons agricultural development for its exact opposite, but otherwise it maintains the same formula of tying population control to a shifting collection of crisis agendas.

Typical of PHE's intersection of environmentalism and eugenics,the Wilson Center cites a report which claims that "the effect of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per capita in developed countries between 2000 and 2050 would be entirely offset by the increase in emissions attributable to expected population growth in poorer countries over this period."

The only way to fight Global Warming is Third World population control and eventually First World population control.

Environmentalist fearmongering has never been about saving people. Its activists, like Sally Jewell, are too busy playing duck whisperer to care about people.

Green programs have yet to save lives, but they do cost lives. The elderly in the United Kingdom are dying of electric poverty after facing cold winters and shocking price increases due to sustainability mandates, asthma sufferers are dying because the affordable albuterol inhalers they used were banned by the EPA and people die in fires and floods, in natural disasters that could have been prevented, but are instead blamed on their victims by the environmentalists, who helped make them so lethal.

Not only do the environmentalists kill, but they profit from the deaths of their victims.

Elliot Morley, UK Labour's Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, had directed that flooding in Somerset should be promoted because “wildlife will benefit from increased water levels”. Baroness Young, an environmental activist, who had become the chief executive of the UK's Environment Agency, took steps to increase the possibility of flooding.

As she said, the formula was "for ‘instant wildlife, just add water’".

When the flooding came, children were trapped on buses, 7,000 homes were flooded and many residents lost everything. Environmental activists blamed Global Warming and "careless farming" for the floods that they themselves had engineered.

Survivors of the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia which killed 173 people blamed environmental regulations for worsening the fires by preventing residents from clearing trees. The environmentalists blamed Global Warming and sent around an editorial suggesting that people "who don't like to end up in flames" should read the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report.

California's drought was likewise engineered by environmental activists who then blamed their own handiwork on Global Warming.

Environmentalists wield unprecedented power over the lives of millions and yet they claim that each engineered disaster could have been averted if they had only been given even more power.

The left is not only becoming post-American or post-Western, but post-Human, applying the same tactics that they used to target majorities in Western countries to the human race as a whole. Class war and race war are giving way to species warfare. And since the ducks cannot talk, ultimate power rests with the duck whisperers, those who speak for the animals, the fish and the trees.

The post-Human left takes social justice to its natural conclusion, going beyond all the human categories to level mankind with the polar bear, the duck and the microbe. Total equality for the post-Human left is not the equality of the rich and the poor, of men and women, of blacks and whites, or even of the First World and the Third World, but the equality of man and microbe, of a pregnant woman in a small Alaskan fishing village with a duck and a hungry California child with the Kangaroo rat.


The UN Renounces Biofuels

I had to check to be sure that it was not yet April Fools Day.  Surely our friends in the UK would not be so unkind as to mislead their unrepentant ex-colonists over here, would they? The March 23, 2014 Telegraph carried this article stating that “Biofuels do more harm than good, UN warns.”  The United Nations said that?

Of course a lot of other people have been saying that for years.  In 2007, near-riots took place in Mexico over the increase in corn meal prices triggered by corn for automobile biofuel alcohol. Even Al Gore fessed-up in 2010 that his idea for corn ethanol was a “bad idea” prompted by his presidential ambitions.

What about the U.S. armed forces now committed to run on green biofuels?  What about the U.S. Air Force?  What to tell the Navy?

What to tell the EPA which has mandated the use of nonexistent stocks of biofuels, and fines consumers for not using the nonexistent fuel?

The day of reckoning seems to have come for all these acolytes of the green goddess.  The U.N. IPCC, the self-declared expert on all things climate, has finally seen the light of reason and perhaps the multitudes of the food-starved.  The new mantra seems to be easier to swallow…”biofuels bad.”


T. Boone Pickens: I’ve lost my a** in wind power

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, oil magnate T. Boone Pickens boasted of his oil, gas, wind and solar bona fides — and accused the president of not just having a poor national energy policy, but of having no national energy policy at all (h/t NewsBusters).

    Co-host Mika Brzezinski said that domestic oil production is up, and asked her guest what the Obama administration has done that is good concerning energy.

    “Well, they don’t have an energy policy,” answered Pickens. Brzezinski followed by asking if Obama has done anything to increase oil production. He replied, “It has nothing to do with the administration…We’ve gotten someplace, but it’s because of technology advanced by the industry.”

    “What’s getting ready to happen to you,” offered Pickens, “the horizontal drilling and the multiple frack zones in it, that’s all going, it’s going to be exported away from America. Is that bad? No, it’s not bad. It’s an industry developed here, share with other people, develop reserves.”

    “Let me tell you,” Pickens continued, “you are looking at a fundamental change in energy globally is what you have. The OPEC nations are going to have the power taken away from them that they’ve enjoyed for the last twenty years.”

Pickens also said he couldn’t think of a single time in the last 40 years when government truly facilitated energy production and said he knows not to expect the advancement of any kind of coherent policy before the election because “Obama’s hands are tied.” “The greenies and the Left” would punish Obama for any defection, for any kind of support (or at least lack of punishment) for oil and gas production, even though “the jobs are in the oil and natural gas industry.”

It was unclear precisely what policy Pickens was promoting, but, for all that he’s arguably invested more than anyone else in renewable energy, he made it clear he doesn’t think the time to transition to wind and solar is now:

    “I’m in the wind business … I’ve lost my ass in the business.”

    Host Joe Scarborough said laughing, “You’ve invested more in alternative energy than anybody else.”

    “Exactly,” replied Pickens. “My issue is not political. I mean, this is an opportunity for America to advance, get on the back of cheap energy and recover your economy. It can be done, but we have no plan.”

    Pickens continued, “Obama needs to go in, study it, look at it, and decide what an energy plan is, and then go forward with it. He needs to explain to his people, ‘Hey, we can get on everything green. We can get on everything renewable. Then the cost of power will go up ten times.’ So be careful when you start fooling with it. Know what you’re working with.”

With that last comment, Pickens hit the nail on the head: At some point, the president and all those responsible for the nation’s energy policies have to decide whether affordability or renewability should take priority. Private companies can and should be investing in renewable energy, but government shouldn’t be propping them up — and government certainly shouldn’t be trying to force a transition to fuels that are presently economically unviable.

Given the abundance of clean, affordable natural gas, the idea that we have to choose between “dirty” fossil fuels and “clean” renewables is obsolete. The choice is actually between a clean, affordable fossil fuel and clean, but expensive renewables. Once we recognize natural gas as the ideal bridge fuel, we’ll then have a choice between a government-based or market-based method of incentivizing the transition. That’s where Pickens and I depart: He’s fine with subsidies for natural gas, whereas I think the market will eventually take care of the transition itself.


Obama administration propagandist and WaPo "reporter" Juliet Eilperin chose... poorly

If you missed the kerfuffle that's erupted between Power Line's John Hinderaker and the execrable Washington Post's propaganda machine, well, check this out.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin titled “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” ...

So Thursday evening, I wrote about the Post article here. I pointed out that Koch is not, in fact, the largest leaser of tar sands land; that Koch will not be a user of the pipeline if it is built; and that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would actually be harmful to Koch’s economic interests, which is why Koch has never taken a position on the pipeline’s construction. The Keystone Pipeline, in short, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Koch brothers.

My post garnered a great deal of attention, and Mufson and Eilperin undertook to respond to it here... [their] response attempted to explain “Why we wrote about the Koch Industries [sic] and its leases in Canada’s oil sands.” Good question! What’s the answer?

The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.

So in the Post’s view, it is acceptable to publish articles that are both literally false (Koch is the largest tar sands leaseholder) and massively misleading (the Keystone Pipeline is all about Koch Industries), if by doing so the paper can “stir and inflame public debate in this election year?” I can’t top Jonah Goldberg’s comment on that howler:

By this logic any unfair attack posing as reporting is worthwhile when people try to correct the record. Why not just have at it and accuse the Kochs of killing JFK or hiding the Malaysian airplane? The resulting criticism would once again provide “strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”

Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points.

Which frames a very interesting contrast. The Keystone Pipeline is by no means the only energy-related controversy these days. “Green” energy is also highly controversial. “Green” energy is controversial, in part, because, unlike the Keystone Pipeline, it harms the consumer: solar and wind energy are inefficient, and therefore raise energy costs to consumers. “Green” energy is also controversial because it harms taxpayers: because they are inefficient, solar and wind energy can survive only through taxpayer-funded subsidies. Further, the federal government has invested in numerous “green” energy projects that have gone bankrupt, sticking taxpayers with the tab. Solyndra is only one of a number of such debacles.

“Green” energy is also controversial because it has been used to enrich government cronies. Let’s take, for instance, the billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has made much of his fortune by using his government connections to secure support for uneconomic “green” energy projects that have profited him, to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. See, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. As is explained here, Tom Steyer is a bitter opponent of the Keystone Pipeline. His financial interests, in “green” energy and perhaps also in pre-pipeline oil sources like BP, stand to benefit if Keystone is killed.

Haven’t heard much about Tom Steyer, you say? Maybe that’s because he isn’t heavily involved in politics. Heh–just kidding. Steyer, as you probably know, is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This year, he has pledged to contribute $100 million to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, as long as they toe the line on environmental issues–which includes, presumably, taxpayer support for “green” energy and opposition to Keystone.

So the Post could have written a very different story about the Keystone Pipeline. The Post could have written that opposition to the pipeline is being funded in large part by a billionaire who has a personal financial interest in the pipeline not being built. And that’s not all! The billionaire is a political crony who has used his connections in Washington to get rich and to fleece consumers and taxpayers. Now, with Keystone, he is doing it again! How is that for a story that would “stir and inflame public debate in this election year”?

The Post, of course, didn’t write that story...

Hinderaker observes that the Post has written glowing puff pieces about Tom Steyer. Oh, and that John Podesta -- head of the Center for American Progress -- is a cheerleader for Steyer for (yes, you guessed it) Energy Secretary. Neither Steyer nor Eilperin happened to mention that Steyer would benefit financially -- in a major way -- from nixing the Keystone pipeline.

Further, "reporter" Juliet Eilperin is married to Andrew Light, who opines on climate policy for the Center for American Progress, the Marxist front group that has spent a year attacking private citizens like the Koch brothers.

Oh, and Eilperin's husband is also a member of the Obama administration, serving as "Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the Department of State" (the title alone is proof that the budget for the Department of State needs to be slashed by 80 percent).

So Eilperin quoted her husband's boss in a puff piece on radical billionaire leftist Tom Steyer, who would benefit greatly from the death of Keystone.

Hinderaker adds one additional data-point: Tom Steyer sits on the board of the Center for American Progress.

My opinion is that the Washington Post is not so much a news organization as it is a 24-by-7 infomercial for the radical Left.


New Noah epic awash in flood of criticism for green agenda and taking liberties with Bible

Hollywood studio adds "artistic licence" warning for "the least biblical biblical film ever made" starring Russell Crowe as Noah

It is truly a Hollywood epic of biblical proportions, the original disaster story of the man chosen by God to undertake the greatest rescue in history before an apocalyptic flood engulfs the world.

But even before it opens in America this week and Britain on April 4, Noah, a $130 million blockbuster with Russell Crowe in the lead role, is already awash in a turbulent sea of controversy.

The film, packed with special effects based around a massive replica arc built in Long Island near New York, also stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah and Emily Watson, the Harry Potter actress, as Noah's adopted daughter.

Noah's director Darren Aronofsky, a self-described atheist who made the Oscar-nominated hit The Black Swan, has described the movie as is "the least biblical biblical film ever made" and called Noah "the first environmentalist". According to one early review, the name "God" is not actually spoken at any stage.
Now, amid a wave of criticism from some Christian groups about its loose interpretation of a sacred script, the Paramount studio has taken the unusual step of issuing an "explanatory message" to accompany marketing material.

It notes that while the film is "inspired by the story of Noah... artistic licence has been taken". And it adds, for anyone unclear about the source material: "The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis." It has also highlighted praise for the film by some Christian leaders.

After advance test screenings, there were complaints that the film did not adhere strictly enough to the Old Testament verses and portrays Noah as an environmental crusader to deliver a secular ecological doomsday message.

"The insertion of the extremist environmental agenda is a problem," said Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters group.

The Pope was dragged into the debate when Crowe tried but failed to secure a private audience during a recent visit to Rome to promote the film there.

The famously rabble-rousing star even sent a series of pleading messages to the pontiff's Twitter account urging him to watch the "fascinating" film.

The Vatican quashed both proposals. Rev Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, said that the Pope would not watch the film and nor would the Noah team Crowe be granted an audience.

Aronofsky's version of Noah is described as a "dark parable about sin, justice and mercy" in which Noah must decide who is good enough to make it on the boat that will save humanity. But Paramount has now issued its note of "explanation" for viewers.
"While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," it states.
Crowe has also addressed the criticisms, saying that the film was not intended to be a "Sunday school story" and would challenge viewers' understanding of the Bible.

Brian Godawa, a Hollywood screenwriter and commentator on Christian issues, was one of the first to raise religious alarms after seeing an early version of the script.

In an article titled Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko, he said the director transformed a scriptural story into "environmental paganism" by blaming the Great Flood on man's "disrespect" for the environment.

It is not of course the first time that Hollywood epics have come under fire from some biblical scholars for their interpretation of the scriptures. Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments both faced similar criticism, And even strict adherents to the Bible note a problem in trying to make a film out of the story of Noah - it is just 40 verses in length, which would make for about 10 minutes on screen.

"Noah is a very short section of the Bible with a lot of gaps, so we definitely had to take some creative expression in it," producer Scott Franklin told Entertainment Weekly. "But I think we stayed very true to the story and didn't really deviate from the Bible, despite the six-armed angels."

In a effort to stymie the criticism, Paramount has just released a new eight-minute promotional video called Noah Featurette running praise from Christian leaders for the film.

"Movies aren't meant to preach. Movie's aren't sermons, and so if they can bring up the topic and start conversations, that's a good movie," said Karen Covell, founder of the Hollywood Prayer Network. "And this one made me ask questions."

Phil Cooke, a Christian media producer and consultant, who has advised the studio on the film, said: "Christians have to stop looking at Hollywood as the enemy, and start reaching out.

Missionaries have discovered that you don't change minds by criticism, boycotts or threats. You change minds by developing a relationship and a sense of trust."

Christians in America and Britain will at least have the chance to reach their own conclusions about whether the film takes too many liberties with the account of Noah's ark and the great flood, a story that features in varying forms in many major world religions.

For cinema-goers in many Muslim countries, there will be no such opportunity. Noah has already been banned there because it depicts a Koranic prophet, a taboo in the Islamic world.



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24 March, 2014

Unsettling “Settled Science”

I was making a Costco run with my friend George on Friday, and the subject of the weather came up. It was a nice day, relatively speaking, but Saturday was going to be nicer – nearly 70 degrees. This was a nice change of pace from the polar vortexes and dump trucks full of snow we’ve been hit with here in Maryland for the past three months. Then I looked at my iPhone and noted the forecast calls for another possible large snowstorm Tuesday.

George said that seemed a little far away to predict such things with any certainty, and he’s right. Considering meteorologists rarely can tell you with any accuracy what happened yesterday, why should they be believed on what will happen next week? The fact is they shouldn’t.

What drives me nuts, as I told George, isn’t that they’re wrong so often. It’s the certainty with which they make predictions knowing they don’t truly know and so often are so off-base. It’s at this time that George, a medical doctor with a master’s degree in biology, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and minor in chemistry, laughed, saying, “Nothing is absolute in science, except maybe in physics.” (Another area he spent a lot of time studying. He’s an over-achiever.)

It’s true: We know very little about the world in which we live or even our own bodies.

The Earth was flat and the sun revolved around it. Bleedings were prescribed for healing at one point by science. But we don’t need to go back that far to find confusion and contradictions in “settled science.”

Smoking causes cancer, but not in everyone and we don’t know why. Why eating a diet of fried foods makes one person fat but with normal blood pressure and someone else can be incredibly fit with a healthy diet but have high blood pressure remains an unknown. Science, at it’s most certain, is probability – sometimes extremely high, but still not 100 percent. And it’s changing all the time.

A few years ago, we were told saturated fat caused heart disease, and polyunsaturated fat was a “good fat” that was great for the heart. Labels were changed to highlight the absence of one and the presence of the other. Diets were launched. Cookbooks were written. Lives were altered. And it may all have been for naught.

The UK Telegraph reported this week, “Scientists have discovered that saturated fat does not cause heart disease while so-called ‘healthy’ polyunsaturated fats do not prevent cardiovascular problems.” This wasn’t just a 180-degree turn from what we “knew” to be true, it’s a full 540-degree loop from what used to be orthodoxy.

The fact is we don’t know which fats are good, if any, and which are bad, if any, with any certainty. What two months ago was known to be true, beyond any doubt, is now known to be false.

The true nature of science is truth-seeking, rarely finding. But in that seeking, some truth can be found. That smoking is unhealthy, even if it doesn’t cause cancer in someone, is beyond question. That a bleeding is not the best treatment for pneumonia seems obvious, even though it once was the treatment for it. It was the consensus, it was “settled science.”

The concept of “settled science” based on majority vote is the mantra of the climate change industry. Were pro-lifers to flood the field of biology, become the majority and vote that life unequivocally begins at conception, they’d reject the notion by a show of hands.

Science, by its very nature, requires proof. And proof is the one thing the hierarchy of the environmentalist movement hasn’t provided. Newsweek once wrote, “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth.” (Emphasis added.) Quite a few qualifiers in that sentence, don’t you think?

This was from an article in 1975 entitled, “The Cooling World” about the consensus among scientists that we were on the verge of a new ice age. (Read the whole thing here.) The science was settled. The vote had been taken. We were doomed. Only someone forget to tell the planet because the ice age didn’t happen.

Yet the solutions proposed then – more government control of the economy and us, higher taxes, less freedom, etc. – are nearly identical to the “solutions” proposed for global warming decades later. Since the planet hasn’t warmed in 18 years, despite consensus that it would, the catch-all term has been updated to “climate change.” This empowered progressives to blame anything on it – cold, hot, storms, droughts. But the solutions are constant – the same governmental power expansion they’ve been seeking for nearly a century.

Their faith, if not their facts, remains unwavering.

They believe in “science” – just ask them – but they hide their data from skeptical scrutiny and coordinate efforts to “hide the decline” in temperatures. Science is the seeking and understanding of provable fact – it’s knowledge, precisely what these progressives and academics seek to keep from the masses.

Ironically, the very people who attack anyone who dares question their faith is labeled a shill for “big oil.” Meanwhile those progressives control the bureaucracy that oversees the government spigot from which flows billions of dollars in grants to academics to study more “climate change.”

This leads to an obvious questions: If temperatures are rising, and it’s an irrefutable fact that humans are to blame, why does it require hundreds of millions of dollars to continue to prove it each year?

The answer is simple – scientists and academia is every bit as addicted to the money that flows to the belief in manmade climate change as they accuse skeptics of being to money from oil companies.

Progressives have their agenda. The American public rejects it – at the polls, when they run on it in campaigns, or later when they are again found to have concealed it. But they don’t care. What they can’t get at the ballot box, they seek from the courts.

What they can’t get in the courts, they seek through regulation. When they can’t win an argument, they create a moral imperative to justify it (ironic considering they’ve spent decades telling conservative “you can legislate morality”).

“Save the planet,” “For the children,” and so on have been the battle cry of the greatest affronts to liberty this country has ever seen. And it’s all funded by the very taxpayers who oppose the end result – against their will and without their knowledge.

It’s the ultimate article of faith, a religion based not on a Supreme Being, but the supremacy of certain beings – progressives. But while there’s no proof God doesn’t exist, there’s ample proof their agenda does not work. Undeterred, they press on … ever “forward.”

The Holy Church of Global Warming (a wholly owned subsidiary of Climate Change, Inc. and its bureaucratic and political clergy in the progressives movement) are every bit as much a religion as any church you can name. It’s a religion based on faith not in a higher power but in a better, smarter group of people who know better how you should live your life than you do.

Just like those who tell you what’s good to eat, drink, etc., progressives would like people to believe science is on their side, and that once a vote is taken it is settled. Of course, science isn’t consensus. It’s not about a majority vote. And unlike the reality of their failed agenda, it rarely, if ever, is settled.


Lawmakers looking to renew the wind production tax credit that just won’t die
Unfortunately, we knew this was coming. The wildly generous wind production tax credit that provides 2.3 cents/kilowatt-hour of energy during the first ten years of a project’s operation, as well as the investment tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the costs of developing wind turbines, have been allowed to lapse multiple times over the years, only to be resurrected — zombie-like — shortly thereafter. The well-monied wind lobby has its hands full with the industry-wide freakout that ensues every time the tax credits near their expiration dates, since wind energy is so thoroughly reliant on federal special treatment for survival, and credits’ expiration at the end of 2013 resulted in a whole lotta’ wind project proposals making it in under the wire during last year’s fourth quarter.

But that expiration was never going to be allowed to stand for long. Via The Hill:

A group of 144 members of the Congress sent letters Friday urging their colleagues to renew tax credits that help the wind energy industry. …

“Like all businesses, the wind industry seeks certainty and predictability so that long-term project decisions and investments can be made,” said the letter signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), along with 24 other senators.

“Without that stability, we once again risk losing many of the jobs, infrastructure and investment that the wind industry has created,” they wrote.

Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) sent a similar letter along with 116 of their colleagues. …

“We look forward to Congress, in particular the Senate Finance Committee, acting quickly to extend the PTC and ITC so that the U.S. remains a global leader and our businesses can continue building, expanding and hiring,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a Friday statement.

Dear Tom Kiernan and wind’s Congressional apologists (Democrats and “small government, free-market” Republicans): Since, as you say, the wind industry cannot “continue building, expanding and hiring” without these tax credits in place, maybe you are in the wrong industry. At this stage, by your own admission, wind energy cannot yet compete with alternative sources like natural gas — so maybe instead of throwing gobs of taxpayer money at building political preferred energy infrastructure that has yet to achieve competitive price efficiency, you could maybe throw some of that cash into R&D, or at least just stop wasting it? I absolutely agree that the wind industry needs some stability to work with, which is precisely why these subsidies should be eliminated once and for all instead of going along in this costly, torturous shame cycle of special-interest pandering.


Job Creators Sue Federal Government

For years environmentalists have usurped individual private property rights and thwarted economic development. Now, thanks to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, it appears that the job creators may have finally learned something from the extreme tactics of groups, like the Wild Earth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which have been using the courts to their advantage by filing lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday, March 17, on behalf of the state of Oklahoma and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), Pruitt filed a lawsuit against the federal government, specifically the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The lawsuit alleges the “FWS engaged in ‘sue and settle’ tactics when the agency agreed to settle a lawsuit with a national environmental group over the [Endangered Species Act] listing status of several animal species, including the Lesser Prairie Chicken.”

The Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) is especially important, as the FWS is required—based on the conditions set forth in the settlement of a 2010 lawsuit—to make a determination, explicitly, on the LPC by March 31, 2014. A “threatened” listing would restrict the land use in the bird’s 40-million-acre, five-state habitat: Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas. The affected area includes private, state, and federal lands—lands rich in energy resources, ranch and farm land—plus, municipal infrastructure, such as water pipelines and electric transmission.

Understanding the negative impact a listing would have, industry (oil and gas, electric transmission and distribution, pipelines, agriculture and wind energy), states, and the FWS have collaborated to develop a historic range-wide plan (RWP) to demonstrate that the LPC and its prairie habitat can be protected without needing to list it. The RWP includes habitat management goals and conservation practices to be applied throughout the LPC’s range. According to a press release about the Oklahoma law suit, the cooperative effort has spent $26 million dollars on the voluntary conservation plan—which would be more than enough to protect restore LPC habitat, as well as to develop an elaborate state-of-the-art LPC hatchery. RWP enrollees are optimistic the FWS can cite the conservation commitment as justification for a decision not to list the LPC as a threatened species.

A DEPA spokesman states: “this designation could disrupt drilling and exploration on hundreds of thousands of very promising oil and gas lands in this part of the country.” The CBD has made no secret of their disdain for oil and gas extraction and has filed many successful lawsuits specifically to block development.

Pruitt says: “the sue-and-settle timelines force the FWS to make determinations without a thorough review of the science. This violates the original statute requiring sound science before listing species.”

Stephen Moore, formerly with the Wall Street Journal, explains: “Under the Obama administration, the feds have entered into a consent agreement with the environmentalists to rush forward a judgment on an unprecedented number of species. A 2012 Chamber of Commerce study found record numbers of such ‘sue and settle’ cases under Obama.” Pruitt adds: “Under President Obama, we have had sue and settle on steroids.”

Political impacts

The “rush” as Moore calls it, is being driven by the desire to get the decisions made under the friendly Obama Administration—which may appease the environmental base while, unwittingly, hurting Democrats in the 2014 elections and handing the Senate to Republicans.

The LPC decision impacts five western states, from which even Democrat Senators, aware of the potential economic impact, sent a letter to the FWS asking to delay listing the LPC as threatened. The next big listing is the Greater Sage Grouse (GSG) with a habitat covering eleven western states. If the LPC is listed, after the groundbreaking efforts to preserve its habitat, there will be no similar cooperation on the GSG. The GSG will surely be listed—triggering a modern Sage Brush Rebellion and costing Democrats the Senate (and some House seats, too).

The Democrats are in a bind. The rushed listings are being forced by the environmental base, which is myopically focused on the anti-fossil-fuel (job-killing) agenda of restricting oil-and-gas development on western lands and isn’t looking at the bigger political consequences.

It appears the decision has been made. Sources tell me that Dan Ashe, Director of the FWS, has called a meeting on Capitol Hill to brief the stakeholders prior to Thursday’s announcement. If he decides to list the LPC, Pruitt’s lawsuit could be just the first shot that ignites the new rebellion pushing states to take control of the lands within their borders.

Kent Holsinger, a Colorado-based attorney specializing in Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues, told me: “State wildlife management is much more efficient and effective than federal listings. Oklahoma and DEPA should be commended for pushing back on these issues.”

The environmentalists are looking at the end, but not the political means.


Revised global warming

The issue of global warming was revitalized for me when I made a statement that the current global temperature is 58 degrees Fahrenheit and this has only risen by half a degree in the past century. This stimulated a wonderful friend of mine, Josh Gnaizda, to challenge me to provide the data . The two of us together discussed and investigated the data.

What I concluded, and I think Josh joins me, is that the thermometer data which goes back at least a hundred fifty years is not very reliable because it probably covered less than 15 percent of the globe and was derived from a changing sample of thermometers. 

3-23 satellitesIt didn't include oceans, the poles and most of the uninhabited world of Russia, China and Africa as well as mountain ranges. Furthermore there is strong evidence of changing and backdating  numbers for different stations. This was evident in the disclosures about the Hadley Center at East Anglia University and my own records of the data.   (It was a Russian computer college that publicly disclosed the email evidence of the fraud.)

Fortunately, at the very same time that a rise in global temperature was occurring according to thermometer data, it was the first year the United States put a satellite in orbit to measure global temperatures.

Since that time we have gathered 34 years of satellite data from at least five different satellites. There are two extraordinary advantages of the new data.

The first is that we do not have to deal with selecting thermometer stations to be added or subtracted from the data . The satellites circle the globe roughly every 90 minutes and they cover the entire planet so that the number they come up with after each circumnavigation is a reliable number.  We have data now from 12,400 days.

The second thing that we have is observations of the most rapid increase in temperature for the globe, that occurred between the beginning of 1996 and late Spring of 1998.  We know that that rapid rise occurred and was accurately measured.  

Now that we have the data you can manipulate it by going to our Google Documents page here,  and take the data to use for your own purposes.

This is important because the conclusions you come to are your own.  They probably won’t match many other people’s observations of the same data.

My personal conclusion on the basis of this 34 years of reliable data is that if you take the full 34 years we will see a roughly 1.2 degree centigrade increase in global temperature for a century if it continues exactly as it did for the 34 years.  That is considerably lower than the IPCC’s lowest estimate. 

However I see two different global temperature patterns in the satellite data.  One period was stable from 1979 to 1996.  Then there was a global disruption between 1996 and 1998 that set the new global temperature level .3 degrees centigrade higher.  It has been stable again for the period 1998 to 2014.  If we project the pattern from the past 16 years forward we see virtually no increase in global temperature for the rest of the century.

I need not make any strong statements about global warming. If you want to take the full 34 years of reliable satellite data you will get a 1.2 degrees centigrade warming over the next century.  If you want to take the most recent  (roughly) half that amount of data, you will find virtually no global warming trend.

Its up to you. You have the data.


If temperatures don’t rise, the hype must..

If the temperatures don’t increase like the IPCC claimed, then there’s only one option left - to increase the hype:

UN scientists are set to deliver their darkest report yet on the impacts of climate change, pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed.

A draft of their report, seen by the news organisation AFP, is part of a massive overview by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, likely to shape policies and climate talks for years to come.

Strange, given the IPCC only last year conceded that much of the predicted disaster wasn’t actually happening.

In fact, according to one of the most important climate-related measures of all, we are doing brilliantly:



US electricity system in regulatory and terrorist crosshairs

EPA and other agencies pile on costs and delays, as saboteurs reveal acute vulnerabilities

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

Government agencies are forcing us to spend countless billions on illusory risks and anti-fossil fuel mandates, while ignoring real threats to our livelihoods, living standards and lives.

America runs on electricity. Our lights, refrigerators, air conditioners and furnace controls, computers and internet, social media, radios and televisions, banks and ATMs, cell phone chargers and transmitters, electric cars and gasoline pumps, hospitals and schools, offices, factories, refineries, farms and water purification systems – all run on electricity. 68% is generated by fossil fuels, 20% by nuclear and 7% by hydropower.

Electricity reaches its billions of destinations through a complex, interconnected system of power lines, substations and transformers called the power grid. The entire United States is divided into just three separate grid segments: East, West and Texas

Without abundant, reliable, affordable electricity, America would sink into Third World status. If our electricity were cut off for a prolonged period, the nation would collapse into survivalist chaos.

And yet President Obama insists that electricity prices must “necessarily skyrocket” and the United States must be “a global leader in the fight against climate change.” Secretary of State John Kerry calls climate change “the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says there is “no more urgent threat to public health than climate change.”

In response, using faulty computer models and secretive pseudo-science, federal agencies are imposing “social cost of carbon” analyses, carbon dioxide emission limits and “carbon capture and storage” standards. They are implementing stringent pollution, drilling, mining and other regulations – and requiring costly power grid upgrades to accommodate expensive, unreliable, intermittent electricity from wind and solar installations. They are compelling the early closure of efficient, low-cost coal-fired power plants, with many remaining years of productive life, thereby raising electricity prices for businesses and families, and forcing ratepayers to pay for mothballed plants and new ones to replace them.

They are spending 20 billion taxpayer dollars a year just on climate change initiatives, while forcing the electric power industry to spend billions of dollars every year to comply with a plethora of rules. The Heritage Foundation calculates that EPA’s proposed climate regulations alone will cost our economy $2.2 trillion between 2015 and 2038.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is ignoring real threats.

On April 16, 2013, saboteurs attacked a power substation near San Jose, California, the Wall Street Journal reported on February 5. They cut fiber optic cables in a manner designed to maximize repair time and shot up 17 transformers, causing them to leak their oil coolant, overheat and fail.

It took them less than an hour, after which they disappeared into the night, leaving no fingerprints on more than 100 cartridges. It took 27 days to get the substation back online. Thankfully, grid operators were able to reroute power and avoid blackouts. Otherwise we could have repeated the 2003 transformer failure that triggered a cascading blackout affecting 50 million people in the eastern USA and Canada.

Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) director Jon Wellinghoff called the attack “purposeful, extremely well planned and executed by professionals who had expert training.” Other utility experts said it could have been a “dress rehearsal” for much bigger operation. One called it “preparation for an act of war,” in which a few terrorists with cheap bolt cutters and bullets unleash a real weapon of mass destruction – not an imaginary one – as calamitous as what an electromagnetic pulse or hacker-initiated computer system meltdown could inflict.

Many substations are in rural areas, with no human staff, protected only by cameras and chain-link fences. On a hot summer day, experts fear, by destroying or disabling a dozen carefully chosen interconnection substations and transformers, terrorists could set off cascading blackouts, taking down much of the US or even North American power grid for an extended period.

Communications, jobs, food, fuel, safe drinking water and other benefits of modern civilization would quickly disappear. The United States could be plunged into darkness, chaos, crime, anarchy and widespread deaths. Even smaller, less coordinated attacks could be devastating across entire regions.

Replacing these huge, 40-ton, high-voltage, multi-million-dollar transformers could take weeks, months, a year or more, depending on many factors. Few American companies make the big transformers, and those factories could be affected by the blackout. Replacing one behemoth recently took nearly two years and a 7,000-mile journey from Korea. Bringing one of these monsters in on rush basis could require a jumbo cargo plane that only one country builds: Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Who could launch such an act of war? Al Qaeda, Iran and North Korea certainly come to mind. Even Mexican drug cartels are suspects, after an attack on power installations in Mexico’s Michoacan State.

Nevertheless, within weeks of the first WSJ article, Russia invaded Crimea, Secretary Kerry said the “aggression” would bring “serious repercussions,” President Obama worked on his short game and March Madness “bracketology,” and 28 Senate Democrats held an all-night gabfest to rant and obsess about – climate change! None of them mentioned the threat of terrorist attacks on our grid and nation.

Just as maddening, responsibility for protecting the grid is apparently not in the job description of any US government agency. Homeland Security says it is the utility industry’s job, and FERC recently gave the industry until early June 2014 to propose new standards for securing critical facilities against threats of this nature and magnitude.

Thankfully, the industry is taking the challenge very seriously and is examining ways to improve both site security and the equipment replacement process. Mr. Wellinghoff says “there are probably less than 100 critical high-voltage substations that need to be protected from physical attack. It is neither a monumental task, nor would it take an inordinate sum of money to do so.”

Defining “inordinate” is not easy, however, especially in the context of other regulatory demands. Utilities will have to find the money, while also spending billions to comply with countless environmental rules of dubious value. The Congressional EMP Commission estimates the cost of hardening the national grid will be about $2 billion. But all the necessary precautions will likely run into the tens of billions.

Virginia’s Dominion Resources alone plans to spent up to $500 million over the next seven years to harden its facilities, the WSJ reports. Multiply that and 24/7/365 monitoring times numerous other utility companies, facilities and weak points, and the price tag is significant. But the Obama Administration and many members of Congress are intent on spending billions for climate change “prevention” and health and environmental rules that will bring minuscule benefits, because the risks are exaggerated to illusory.

Responsible federal and state legislators, utility companies and citizen groups need to make protecting America’s electrical transmission system and civilization against terror attacks a high priority – and a central topic in the 2014 campaign debates and elections.

If others want to make “dangerous manmade climate change” their central them, voters will decide which issues truly merit our uppermost attention.

Via email


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

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23 March, 2014

European governments rip up renewable contracts

Governments across Europe, regretting the over-generous deals doled out to the renewable energy sector, have begun reneging on them. To slow ruinous power bills hikes, governments are unilaterally rewriting contracts and clawing back unseemly profits.

In Italy, one of Europe’s largest economies and one that lavished billions in subsidies on the renewable sector, the government in 2013 applied its so-called “Robin Hood tax” to renewable energy producers. Under the new rule, renewable energy producers with more than €3 million in revenue and income greater than €300,000 must now pay a tax of 10.5%.

That follows a 2012 move to charge all solar producers a five cent tax per kilowatt hour on all self-consumed energy. The government also told solar producers that it would stop taking their power – and would offer no compensation – when their output overwhelms the system.

The result of these and other changes, says the solar industry, has been a surge in bankruptcies and a massive decrease in solar investment.

In Belgium – where both regional and federal bodies hand out renewable subsidies – a number of retroactive changes have capped the largesse renewable producers once received. In one region the price for “green certificates” – which producers received for renewable energy – was slashed by 79%. The government original committed to buy green certificates at a benchmarked price for 20 years, then cut it to 10 years.

Belgium’s regulators tried to impose a fee on all energy added to the grid from small- to medium-sized solar producers. While the country’s court of appeals struck down that fee, a defiant regional government plans to reintroduce it next year, forcing all solar producers to pay an annual fee that varies with the power they pump into the grid. Various municipalities, meanwhile, are introducing taxes on new and existing wind turbines.

As in Italy, Belgium’s renewable sector in the county has gone dark –“imploded” in the view of a solar industry publication. Many companies shrank or went bankrupt.

In France the government last year cut by 20% the “guaranteed” rate offered to all solar producers, and retroactively applied it to projects connected to the grid in the previous three months. The government is also considering ending an 11% tax break on solar energy producers.

Perhaps the most dramatic moves occurred in Spain, for years the poster child for those touting a transition to green energy. Since 2000, Spain has given renewable producers $41-billion more for their power than it has fetched on the open market. To recover those subsidies, the Spanish government recently killed its Feed In Tariff (FIT) program for renewables, which paid them an outlandishly high guaranteed price for their power, replacing it with the market price for their power plus a subsidy deemed more “reasonable.” Companies’ profits are now capped at a 7.4% return, following which they must then sell their power at market rates. That measure is retroactive, with renewable energy producers who got too fat off their profits now being starved until they reach the 7.4% cap.

For example, if a company spent $100-million on a solar installation in Spain and was posting a return of 14%, or $14-million, annually on that investment, then the government would cut it off from subsidies until its total return – starting from when it was first built – fell to 7.4%, or $7.4 million, a year.

Wind projects built before 2005 will no longer receive any form of subsidy – a move a wind energy trade group called a “sacking” of the sector that will see more than a third of wind producers lose their subsidy.

The fallout in Spain was immediate. Its solar sector, which once employed 60,000 workers, now employs 5,000. The wind sector is estimated to have laid off 20,000 workers. Ikea – the Swedish furniture retailer that became enamoured of renewables – announced it was cutting its losses and abandoning a solar plant it had built in Spain. Investment in the sector also collapsed. In 2011, Spain attracted $10 billion in solar investment. In 2013, the level of investment dropped by almost 90%.

Spain’s Supreme Court offered no sympathy to the solar industry, in ruling against its argument that the government’s retroactive changes were wrong.  “The evolution of the energy sector …  was putting the financial sustainability of the electricity system at risk,” the court decided, adding that the companies “do not have a right [to expect the government compensation regime] not to be changed.”

Europe’s renewable energy investors are facing a harsh reality – that the promises from politicians can be taken away at any moment. Canada’s renewable energy investors may soon face that same reality.


Environmental groups tell Obama natural gas exports undermine climate goals

Environmental groups fired a shot Tuesday in the growing discussion about natural gas exports as they urged President Obama to block new export terminals on climate change grounds.

The flashpoint is a $3.8 billion Dominion Resources-proposed export facility in Cove Point, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, which the groups are rallying to prevent as a burgeoning effort to prohibit exports of fossil fuels.

"The truth is that Cove Point, like other proposed [liquefied natural gas] export terminals, will raise U.S. gas prices -- harming virtually all Americans -- while becoming a historic catalyst for more fracking across the Mid-Atlantic and triggering a huge new pulse of climate pollution," wrote the 16 groups, which included the Sierra Club, Earthjustice and Environmental Action.

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The groups demanded Obama direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to perform an environmental impact statement for the project rather than the less stringent environmental assessment it decided to pursue last week.

"We call on you to reverse course on this plan and commit instead to keeping most of our nation’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground, in line with the recommendations of most of the world’s leading climate scientists," they said.

But the missive is coming amid growing Capitol Hill support for exporting natural gas for geopolitical reasons.

Republicans, with some Democrats, are pushing the Obama administration to expedite export approvals as a means to reduce Russia's grip on energy supplies in Central and Eastern Europe, a position it uses to wield political influence.

Those lawmakers have pointed to the situation in Ukraine, where the country's state of Crimea voted to join Russia over the weekend in a referendum the United States has refused to recognize. Russian President Vladimir Putin officially announced that it had annexed Crimea on Tuesday.

But export proponents argue the Energy Department's approval process is too slow. It must determine that shipments to nations lacking a free-trade agreement with the U.S. are in the public interest. It has given the OK to six such projects, with 24 pending.

Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., pushed the administration Tuesday to render a decision on the outstanding applications within 60 days and expand preferable natural gas export status beyond free-trade nations, while also conducting a strategic review of U.S. energy policies and establishing a joint U.S.-European Union initiative on energy security.

"[A]cting strategically to increase our natural gas exports will weaken Putin’s grip on energy supplies for Europe and Ukraine,” Warner said. “We’re suggesting a comprehensive, bipartisan approach that will have a positive impact in the near term and the longer term on the energy security of Ukraine and the EU.”

In the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to hold a hearing next week on a bill that would immediately green-light all natural gas export applications on file at the Energy Department. The measure also would make it easier for future projects to gain approval by allowing all World Trade Organization members to go through the less-stringent review currently afforded to nations that have free-trade deals with the U.S.

Opponents of natural gas exports have argued that the U.S. won't be supplying Ukraine or the rest of Europe anytime soon, if at all. Just one U.S. export terminal is slated to go online before 2017, and even then much of the gas is likely Asia-bound, where the price spread is greatest.

Some Democrats also have suggested exports would raise domestic natural gas prices, undercutting a competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers.

A December 2012 Energy Department-commissioned study by NERA Economic Consulting said marginal price increases would occur, but that natural gas exports were still a net winner for the economy.

Environmental groups aired the price issue in their letter, and said exports would incentivize hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that many of them oppose.

"President Obama, exporting [liquefied natural gas] is simply a bad idea in almost every way. We again implore you to shift course on this disastrous push to frack, liquefy and export this climate-wrecking fossil fuel," they said.


Can fracking save the world?

If the early 21st century is the “golden age of gas,” as the International Energy Agency has declared, who will be its king? Until 2009, the answer seemed obvious: Russia. But a funny thing happened on the way to the “third Rome” that Russian nationalists view as their destiny. In that year, propelled by the technological innovations of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) and horizontal drilling, U.S. gas production surpassed that of Russia.

As crisis erupts in the Ukraine and policymakers struggle to regain our footing amidst its geopolitical aftershocks, we can indeed be grateful that the United States has surpassed Russia as the world’s largest producer of natural gas. Though largely symbolic, observers have still noted the psychological importance that the rise of shale gas and the fall of Russia from the top of the world’s “League Table” of natural gas producers has had in the offices of Gazprom and the Kremlin. Within the worldview of Russian President Vladimir Putin's and his inner circle of KGB veterans, this sort of thing might seem to matter a great deal. Meanwhile, as U.S. leaders react to the Ukrainian crisis, the call has now gone out from both Democrats and Republicans for the U.S. to wield its “gas weapon” and commence exports to Europe immediately.

In the world of energy infrastructure, however, the pace of change moves much slower than that of a major international crisis. The first U.S. export terminal for liquified national gas (LNG) is still under construction in Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and is not scheduled to come online until late 2015. Moreover, the contracted destination for most of the currently planned U.S. exports of natural gas is Japan, where demand skyrocketed after the Fukushima disaster and the shuttering of that country's nuclear power plants. According to BP, the 2012 average price (evening out seasonal variations) per million British thermal units (Btu) of natural gas was $16.75 in Japan, more than 50 percent higher than the average German import price of $11.03 -- and more than 600 percent higher than the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub price of $2.76 in that year. Nonetheless, even though exports to Europe will not occur anytime soon (and possibly never given the prevailing market conditions), globalizing the market can't hurt over the long term.

Every cubic foot of US natural gas sold to Japan could, for example, free up another unit of gas from Qatar or the Middle East to be available for Europe to replace sources from Russia.
In the long run, it never hurts to add to supplies. In the oil market, we have already seen the advantages that fracking and other unconventional extraction methods such as oil sands have provided to the U.S. geopolitical bargaining position. Added supplies from North Dakota and Alberta, Canada have more than made up for losses in production due to sanctions on Iran and the freeze on investment in Venezuela. This has placed enormous pressure on those regimes as they face reduced export volumes without the price increases that they rely on for buying the quiescence of their populations.

Diffusion of fracking technology can also help. It would allow countries in central Europe tap their own shale gas reserves -- instead of maintaining or increasing their use of coal, including moist brown coal or lignite, which is even dirtier, more polluting, and carbon-intensive than the anthracite black coal we are accustomed to in the United States.

Finally, such diffusion is likely to make its biggest impact in the world beyond Europe. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) currently estimates that the largest reserves of shale gas deposits are in neither Europe nor the United States, but in China. This represents a tremendous opportunity. If natural gas is used to replace coal in Chinese power generation, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would dwarf any other technologically feasible step that any single country could take.

So yes, fracking can help save the world -- so long as we are patient enough to see a decade-long process through to its end.



An increasing number of scientists are worried that global cooling, not warming, currently poses the greatest threat to life. To register their growing concerns, scientists are being asked to join a new campaign to help educate the public and policymakers.icebergs

At the forefront of the campaign is the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) of Orlando, Florida, a leading independent US climate research company. It is the foremost institution in the United States dedicated to the analysis and planning for the next climate change - forecast to bring decades of record cold weather.

John L. Casey, SSRC President says, "The SSRC possesses the capability to conduct planning and research on how best to prepare individuals, businesses, and governments at all levels for the next climate change to a period of long lasting and potentially dangerous colder weather."

Fellow scientists, unconnected with SSRC, at Principia Scientific International (PSI) share Casey's concerns. PSI's own independent research supports the analysis that our planet appears to be entering a prolonged cooling phase not seen since the Little Ice Age (LIA), a climatically harsh era that saw untold famine and war during the 17th and 18th Centuries.


The Kerry Climate Capers

By S. Fred Singer

It looks like John Kerry’s peace efforts may not garner him a Nobel Prize—so why not try Global Warming?

    “The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society. And in a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” – John Kerry, in Jakarta on Feb 16, 2014

Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, sometimes known as “Ketchup Kerry,” has serious ambitions for fame and fortune. Actually, he has already achieved fortune—by marrying two wealthy women, the second of which made him a billionaire—with five residences, a yacht, and a private jet. But fame has eluded him—so far. Many speculate that he is trying to get the Nobel Peace Prize, like Barack Obama and Al Gore before him—and PLO terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat before them.

One sure way would be arranging a real and lasting Middle East peace accord between Arabs and Israelis. Good luck with that! The Palestinians’ popularly elected Hamas government, now ruling Gaza with an iron hand, has already made it crystal-clear that they do not want any kind of peace agreement. The other half of the Palestinian Authority (PA) runs the disputed West-Bank territories, which Israel captured in a defensive war in 1967. On the West Bank, there is no elected government; at least there hasn’t been one for many years. Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), whose term as president of the PA expired six years ago, does not want to risk an election, which he is sure to lose to the terrorist Hamas.

Another big hope for Kerry is to achieve a nuclear breakthrough with Iran. But such a feat is also likely to elude him, since it seems fairly certain that Iran will break any agreement in order to build a nuclear weapon.

Never discouraged, Kerry is also trying to achieve peace in what has become a civil war in Syria. Not much chance of that, either. Bashir Assad, backed by Iran and maybe Russia, will never resign as president of Syria—and the Sunni Moslem majority fighting him is unlikely to give up. These rebels feel sure that demography will win out in the end—and they draw major support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Sunnis elsewhere.

But ever resourceful, Kerry has now tried a new gambit: Climate Change, formerly known simply as “Global Warming.” In a heavily publicized speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, he slammed climate skeptics, labeling them “deniers,” “shoddy scientists,” likening them to believers in a “flat earth.” For good measure, he also invoked the phony 97% consensus on climate science.

However, a survey of more than 1,800 members of the American Meteorological Society showed that less than half believe humans are the primary cause of any recent warming. Reviews of published climate papers by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report on thousands of peer-reviewed studies that contradict the alarmist global-warming narrative; the Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a condensed version of NIPCC reports. But many scientific organizations and academies are still sharply split on the issue of dangerous AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

Clearly, Kerry is aiming for the big climate meeting in Paris in 2015, which he hopes will lead to a new Kyoto Protocol. Good luck with that also! Quoting Dr Charles Battig, “the failed 2010 Kerry-Lieberman ‘American Power Act’ apparently lives on in Kerry’s psyche.” Also, Kerry seems to have forgotten, conveniently, that as a Senator in July 1997 he voted for the anti-Kyoto Byrd-Hagel Resolution. Perhaps someone should remind him.

Much has changed since 1997; but one constant is that the proponents of AGW have yet to publish any firm evidence that man-made CO2 is doing anything dangerous. They hadn’t done it in 1988 when James Hansen told a Congressional committee that we are headed to disaster; they hadn’t done it in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was signed by almost 200 countries (but never ratified by the US Senate); and they haven’t done it now.

So the science about global warming cannot be called “settled.” It no longer supports AGW—if indeed it ever did; in fact, there has been no significant warming trend for at least 16 years, while atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by more than 8%. Japan, India, and Russia are opposed to a new Kyoto Treaty, as are Australia and Canada. The position of China is enigmatic; apparently, Kerry takes their polite smiles for assent. But economic considerations, and the need to create more jobs, dictate further industrial expansion and use of the cheapest means to create energy: fossil fuels, primarily coal.

So how is Kerry doing these days? Not at all well on his foreign policy ventures—and his pronouncements on climate have been ridiculed by most scientists, except for confirmed “Global Warming Nazis”—to use the label invented by Dr Roy Spencer.

Kerry’s “flat earth” analogy has been neatly shot down by Professors Richard McNider and John Christy, of the University of Alabama. They point out, quite logically, that the flat earth position was held by the Establishment and that the skeptics of that time, including Pythagoras, relied on empirical evidence that the Earth was round. So Kerry has the argument just exactly 180 degrees wrong.

Kerry also raises the specter that AGW is worse than weapons of mass destruction (WMD). So how many millions has AGW killed so far? If truth be told, a slightly warmer climate (since about 1850) and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have promoted more productive agriculture and may have saved many millions from starvation. Besides, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was warmer than today and permitted a higher standard of living. It was the Little Ice Age (LIA) that killed off millions by starvation and disease during 1400-1800.

Two Democratic lawmakers are defending John Kerry’s remark likening climate change to a weapon of mass destruction. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) were wrong to criticize Kerry’s speech on the consequences of climate change. “Secretary Kerry needs allies in this fight for the future of our planet,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to McCain and Gingrich. “History will not look back and fault him for leading the charge to prevent the worst impacts of climate change while we still have time. But,” they added, “history may question why Republican leaders who were once their party’s champions on climate change fled the field at a crucial moment.” Gingrich took to Twitter and airwaves to call Kerry “delusional” and “dangerous to our safety.” McCain also faulted Kerry for comparing climate change to terrorism, poverty and epidemics, asking “on what planet does he reside?”

[Incidentally, the latest fear imagined by Global Warming Nazis is the “methane bomb.” They imagine that a warming will release billions of tons of methane from frozen tundra, and maybe even from the ocean, causing overwhelming greenhouse warming. However, we can point to the warmer MWP and the much warmer periods of 5000-8000 years ago: no such methane release was observed.]

Yet, there are plenty of controversies left. Scientific supporters of AGW are still working earnestly, trying to explain the absence of a significant warming trend of the last 16 years. In the meantime, mischief-makers, actively promoted by the White House, are trying to blame global warming for weather disasters. Good examples are the instability of the Polar Vortex that brought extremely cold weather to the US this past winter—while Obama has been trying hard to blame the California drought on AGW. In Britain, chief meteorologist Dame Julia Slingo has blamed the unusual flooding in southwestern England on AGW. Her views have been disputed by the UK Met Office; her own scientists have “hung her out to dry.”

Meanwhile, Algore is still actively promoting AGW—just to show he really earned his Nobel Peace Prize. At the 20-million-dollar home of Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge-fund manager trying to raise 100 million dollars for AGW propaganda, Gore referred to him as “Mr. Tipping Point.” The group does not ignore extra-terrestrial concerns about Global Warming. At the recent annual UFO conference, it was announced that Aliens want a warmer planet before they will come to Earth. Apparently, they’ve forgotten the remarkable speech by the late Michael Crichton: “Aliens Cause Global Warming.”

When it comes to AGW, Kerry is as much of a clown as Gore—and so is the White House staff. The serious argument now is the one before the Supreme Court, which has to decide by July whether the EPA Endangerment Finding (EF) about CO2 can be used to effectively stop the building of new coal-fired electric plants and even shut down existing ones. The bad science of the EF will likely be rehashed by the Court, but there is a little chance of reversing its truly awful 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which declared non-toxic and beneficent CO2 a pollutant. On the contrary, all signs point to the fulfillment of Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “sky-rocket.” How sad.


Old king coal

Natural gas prices at a four-year high have utilities shifting to coal to generate 4.519 million megawatt-hours a day, the most since 2011, government data show. Within three years, coal’s share of power production could climb to 40.3 percent from about 39 percent last year, while gas’s share will probably drop to 27 percent from 27.5, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

An arctic blast has helped put the U.S. on pace for the coldest winter in more than 30 years through January, prompting utilities to burn more of the less expensive coal. The U.S. is poised to emit the most carbon dioxide in three years, undermining President Barack Obama’s efforts to reduce pollution and steer utilities away from the fossil fuel.

“The idea of coal disappearing is not an effective climate change policy,” said John Thompson, an analyst at the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force. “Coal use is growing.”

Thompson said implementing technology that allows utilities to capture carbon is better than trying to eliminate coal because other countries are increasing use of the fuel.

Coal on the New York Mercantile Exchange has risen 13 percent to $57.58 a ton, from its 12-month low of $50.84 on Sept. 4. Gas has surged 58 percent to $5.223 per million British thermal units. Prices reached $5.557 on Jan. 29, the highest since January 2010.

Cold December

Temperatures during the U.S. heating season, which runs from November to March, have been below the 20th century average, with December coming in the coldest since 2009, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

U.S. electricity output in the week ended Feb. 8 was 11 percent higher than the same week a year earlier, data from the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based group that represents power companies, show.

That’s helped to push gas prices up more than 50 percent from a year ago while coal prices have slipped 1.9 percent during the same period. An average U.S. natural gas plant can make a profit of $3.04 a megawatt-hour, based on March prices, compared with a profit of $31.58 for the typical coal-fired generator, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The counter argument for coal’s rebound is that a return of mild winters combined with record gas production could knock back gas prices, making coal less competitive to burn, said Lucas Pipes, an analyst at Brean Capital LLC in New York.

Coal’s Command

Coal commanded 50 percent of total U.S. electricity. generation as recently as 2005. It sank to a record low of 37 percent in 2012 as gas prices tumbled to a 10-year low of $1.902 in April of that year.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocked shale deposits that previously were uneconomical to produce and helped cause a glut of gas. Mild winters in 2012 and 2013, also contributed to lower utility reliance on coal, according to Hans Daniels, executive vice president at Doyle Trading Consultants LLC, a Grand Junction, Colorado-based coal analysis company.

The utility industry’s turn away from coal swelled stockpiles above 200 million tons in 2012 for just the second time in the last 20 years, Energy Information Administration data show. Coal stocks have fallen 14 percent through October, the most recent month for which data is available, according to the government.

Carbon Emissions

As utilities eat through the excess supply, they set the U.S. on a course to boost carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 percent to the highest since 2011, the EIA said in its Feb. 11 Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Burning coal emits 205.7 pounds of carbon dioxide per million British thermal units compared with 117 pounds per million Btu for natural gas.

Obama’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, will be implemented next year, forcing older plants to install technology to reduce the pollutants or retire. In his Jan. 28 State of the Union Address Obama signaled that he’s prepared to act without Congress to advance parts of his agenda and said the country has to “act with more urgency” to fight climate change.

Electricity generation contributed about 39 percent of the U.S.’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2012, government data show. Still, the country’s efforts to reduce pollution may be muted if other nation’s increase coal use, said Wyatt King, resident expert on climate and environmental issues at Washington-based Albright Stonebridge Group.

Dethroning Oil

Coal is the fastest growing energy source in the world, rising 2.3 percent a year through 2018, and poised to dethrone crude oil as the largest source by 2020, the International Energy Agency said in its December Medium-Term Coal Market Report.

That’s being driven mostly by China, “where coal is powering an industrial revolution,” Laszlo Varro, head of the agency’s gas, coal and power markets, said in a Jan. 29 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The fuel is also experiencing a resurgence in Europe as the continent’s economic woes increase its appetite for cheap electricity, he said.

“We get a sense that coal is backing natural gas out of the stack,” said Brison Bickerton, head of strategy at Freepoint Commodities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “Coal burn should remain on for some time. Prices are incentivizing unused coal capacity to come on and back out natural gas demand.”



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

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21 March, 2014

NEW BOOK:  CORNUCOPIA: Our Inexhaustible Resources

George Boyce (Author)

Kindle Price:     $7.52

Cornucopia is an optimistic view of the universe we live in and its inexhaustible resources. We are constantly bombarded with claims of future shortages, usually food, water, energy and minerals. This has been going on since humans became sentient, but none of these predictions ever materialise. Cornucopia examines resources in the light of the past, present and future, explaining why Malthusian predictions always fail. Ultimately, when something becomes scarce, we find more of it, substitute one material for another, or use our own ingenuity to create something entirely new. By applying our intelligence, creativity, and ever-improving technology, we have access to effectively unlimited resources.


Is Leftist Science-Denial The Most Dangerous Kind?

In a column for Scientific American January of last year, Michael Shermer, the founder of The Skeptics Society, exposed what he calls “The Liberals’ War on Science.” Shermer observes that, while it is true that Republicans are more overwhelmingly opposed to well-established scientific consensus like anthropogenic climate change theory and evolution, the problem of science denial also reaches epidemic proportions on the left.

“Try having a conversation with a liberal progressive about GMOs—genetically modified organisms—,” Shermer writes, “in which the words “Monsanto” and “profit” are not dropped like syllogistic bombs.”

Taken only at face value, this seems fairly innocuous  but I offer this riposte: Rick Santorum and his ilk don’t teach science.

Discovery News, on the other hand, does– and in June, they posted a YouTube video by Laci Green, a popular online social justice advocate, feminist and peer sex educator, about genetically modified organisms.  In this video, Laci doesn’t explicitly state her own opinion with regard to whether or not genetically modified foods are safe, choosing instead to present arguments for and against, with a heavy bias against, ending by asking viewers to post their thoughts on the matter in the comments section below the video.

This is a clear example of “false balance,” a tendency for media to overstate controversy in scientific matters.  Fox News has been criticized for this because their coverage of climate science greatly over-represents those who disagree with anthropogenic global warming theory while there is a strong consensus among climate scientists that the theory is correct.  As it happens, there is a similarly strong scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified foods, but Laci conveniently ignores it for the sake of manufactured controversy– and she’s not alone.

SciShow, hosted by Hank Green, is a YouTube channel with over 1.5 million subscribers devoted to discussing scientific topics.  Last year, Hank posted a video wherein he discusses genetically modified organisms– what they are, why they exist, how they’re made, etcetera– which included some cherry-picked information and outright fabrications about the supposed dangers of genetic modification, in spite of the existing scientific consensus to the contrary.  It was later removed, and re-uploaded by another YouTube user– in the comments section there, Hank explains “We dropped it because we cited studies that have since been discredited.”

But Hank and Laci Green are just a couple of online personalities– No real harm, right?

Enter Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”  Bill has been, for the most part, strongly against science denial– he has spoken against teaching creationism to children as well as climate change denial, but oddly, he breaks form when the topic is genetically modified organisms.

Let that sink in for a moment– perhaps the most well-known science popularizer alive, Bill Nye, trying to scare people into thinking GMOs are harmful.

That’s a far cry from some preacher doing the same thing because it conflicts with his religious dogma.  It’s science education programming being used to spread pseudoscience, and the consequences could be devastating.

Golden rice, a genetically engineered rice which is rich in beta carotene, was developed to help curb vitamin A deficiency in the third world, and has been shown as effective as beta carotene in oil at providing vitamin A.  If policy or activism regarding genetically modified foods were to be based on the anti-science fear-mongering of people like Bill Nye, it would hinder efforts to stave off the ailments caused by micronutrient deficiency in the third world.

According to statistics compiled by UNICEF, this includes 1-2 million deaths annually of children 1-4 years old that could be averted by improved vitamin A nutritive.

Greenpeace activists have vandalized testing sites for this potentially life saving genetically modified rice.  Tons of genetically modified beets have been torched.  Greenpeace has also broken into a CSIRO experimental farm in Australia to destroy genetically modified wheat, and anti-GMO activists in Hawaii cut down genetically modified papaya trees during debates about whether or not they would be banned in the state.

This is the same Greenpeace, by the way, which cites the broad and overwhelming scientific consensus that exists on the subject of climate change in support of their environmentalist views.  Science, it seems, only matters when the conclusion is agreeable.

Science denial also seems to have been quite successful legislatively as of late, with Kauai and Hawaii’s Big Island each passing their own anti-GMO bills, heavily Democratic Portland, Oregon voting against fluoridation in its water, and about 20 states last year considered GMO labeling mandates, with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, signing one into law.

This is all in addition to the fact that the US Department of Agriculture’s “organic” certification prohibits the use of genetically engineered crops– and “organic” food is a 63 billion dollar industry worldwide, with the US its biggest market.

Furthermore, several countries ban or heavily regulate GM crops, which is often cited as a reason the US should institute such regulation– a sort of pseudoscience positive feedback loop.

Mind you, none of this is to say that the issue I have been giving the most focus– genetic engineering– doesn’t have a large body of science deniers on the right.  Rather, the fact that the “pro-science” left has anti-science voices in its midst lends undue credibility to those issues.  This is not thousands of years of religious tradition being contradicted by relatively recent scientific discovery, it’s pure organic bullshit, and it is, right now, costing lives.


How the Greens help Putin in Crimea incursion

The eco-left’s opposition to oil and gas use leaves Ukraine at the mercy of Russia

A primary duty of a sovereign nation is to put policies in place to protect the country from both military and economic aggressors.

This normally includes the creation of a capable military force (and protective military alliances) and competent economic policies to make sure the country is not dependent on key resources from or exports to potential enemies. Ukraine, for a variety of reasons, some outside its control, violated these defensive principles.

After the breakup of the old USSR, Ukraine was left with a large nuclear-missile force, but the country was financially bankrupt. The United States made a deal with Ukraine to give up all of its nuclear weapons and missiles in exchange for major financial payments, to allow it to get through an economic transition period and for a guarantee of future sovereignty.

On Dec. 5, 1994, the presidents of Ukraine (Leonid Kuchma), Russia (Boris Yeltsin) and the United States (Bill Clinton), and the prime minister of the United Kingdom (John Major) signed three memorandums to provide security assurances to Ukraine, in exchange for Ukraine agreeing to relinquish its nuclear weapons.

The memorandums read, in part: Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States “reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty.”

Russia now stands in clear violation of the agreement. Other than going to the United Nations (which the Russians just vetoed), no enforcement mechanism was created for Ukraine’s protection.

The United States and the United Kingdom have no military obligation to protect Ukraine, but having signed the 1994 agreement, they appear to be obligated to take other actions to try to enforce Ukraine’s borders and independence — which, in effect, means economic actions that will hurt Russia.

When a country engages in economic sanctions or other forms of economic warfare, it must be sure that it will do more damage to its enemy than itself.

The Russian economy is highly dependent on oil and gas exports, and reducing Russian oil and gas exports would be the most direct way to cause pain to the Russian leadership. However, Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil, particularly gas.

Six European Union countries — Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria — are 100 percent dependent on Russian gas. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and Greece depend on the Russians for more than 50 percent of their gas.

The countries in the EU did not need to be in this position, because the EU has plenty of gas reserves that could be economically tapped using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Because of the environmental lobby, though, the EU has allowed itself to become dependent on foreign energy sources — particularly Russian.

Perhaps Peter Foster said it best in The Financial Post on March 8: “Europe’s alternative-energy policy is in a shambles. The EU would be even more vulnerable but for a typically unanticipated example of free-market ingenuity: hydraulic fracturing and the boom in oil shale gas.

But guess what: Greens are everywhere resolutely opposed to fracking, and nowhere more than in Europe. [L]ike their peace march colleagues half a century ago, they are ultimately dupes for an authoritarian agenda .”

Russia used its natural-gas supply as a weapon back in 2006 and 2009 when it cut off supply to Ukraine, which affected the rest of Europe as well. A number of European leaders are now getting the message and arguing for opening up the EU’s gas potential — but this is obviously too late to have any impact on the current crisis — and they are still opposed by the green lobby.

Two weeks ago, the ambassadors to the United States from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, asking it to remove export limits and help them buy American natural gas to reduce their dependence on Russia. Many lawmakers and others have applauded the idea.

The reality is that the first possible liquefied natural-gas export terminal at Sabine Pass in the Gulf of Mexico is still two years away, and others won’t be ready until many months after that. The Department of Energy has been engaging in regulation by strangulation.

As John Kemp of Reuters reported on March 13: “By making regulatory barriers and the permitting process insurmountable, environmental organizations have been able to stop most fracking on lands controlled by the U.S. government.”

The result is that the United States is still dependent on foreign oil and less able to help supply Europe with various forms of energy — because of various environmental regulations, which have delayed both the production and development of the necessary export infrastructure.

Economic warfare is far preferable to military warfare, but economic warfare requires that those who engage in it are not dependent on the enemy for needed raw materials, energy or markets. Europe is dependent on Russia for all three — and America has so hobbled itself that it cannot bail out Europe. Poor Ukraine, poor Europe, poor America.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Glob


End this obsession over climate change: It stops us tackling floods and storms now say British experts

Obsessing over climate change is distracting politicians from dealing with floods and storms, experts warned yesterday.

Trying to link all extreme weather to man-made global warming ‘has been a social and policy disaster’, they said.

Instead, the focus should shift towards dealing with the impact of fierce weather, which will  happen regardless of climate change, argued David Schultz and Vladimir Jankovic.

The academics from the University of Manchester said flood defences must be given greater priority to avoid a repeat of the impact of this winter’s storms.

In a paper published last night, they said the Government was too focused on cutting  greenhouse gases, which was crucial but would never eliminate devastating floods or powerful tidal surges.

Senior politicians have been eager to link Britain’s severe floods to global warming.

The Prime Minister said man-made climate change was ‘one of the most serious threats’ the country faced and that he ‘very much suspected’ it caused the floods in Somerset and along the Thames Valley.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has described global warming as  ‘an issue of national security’ which would bring ‘more flooding, more storms’.

And UN executive Christiana Figueres prompted fury when she said the floods had a ‘silver lining’ as they forced climate change on to the political agenda.

But Professor Schultz, an expert in meteorology, and Dr Jankovic, a climate historian, said that it was almost impossible to link any one weather event to global warming.

Trying to do so was ‘a distraction’, they wrote in the journal Weather, Climate and Society.

Linking ‘climate change and high-impact weather events, although an interesting scientific question, has been a social and policy disaster’, they added.

‘The over-emphasis on “was this associated with climate change?” distracts from the issue that weather happens whether or not climate change  is occurring.

‘For most purposes, any change due to climate change is a less immediate concern than the impact of the weather itself.

'Society ought to do its best to protect the planet but society should also protect itself against weather disasters.’

Politicians wrongly thought cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be the main response, the authors said.

They said this was important but governments should also focus on measures such as building flood defences. But Bob Ward, policy director at the London School of Economics Grantham Institute said talking about climate change was vital.

‘Frankly it is dangerous to suggest that all we need to do is make ourselves resilient to weather extremes,’ he added.

It was important ‘the public understands climate change is already occurring and the scale of the risk is huge’, he said.

Dr Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, agreed extreme weather was likely with or without climate change.

‘But I also think there is a strong case that such events may become more extreme due to climate change,’ he added.

The Manchester paper comes a week before the latest report from the UN on climate change. Leaked drafts predict that the changing climate will cause severe flooding globally.

Chancellor George Osborne announced an extra £140million for flood schemes in his Budget but this was dismissed as grossly insufficient by engineers.


Finally, Some Real Climate Science

Comment from Australia

The American Physical Society has been amongst the loudest alarmist organisations whipping up hysteria about CO2, but a review of its position that has placed three sceptics on the six-member investigatory panel strongly suggests the tide has turned

The 50,000-strong American body of physicists, the American Physical Society (APS), seems to be turning significantly sceptical on climate alarmism.

The same APS put out a formal statement in 2007 adding its voice to the alarmist hue and cry. That statement caused resignations of some of its top physicists (including 1973 Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever and Hal Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara).[1] The APS was forced by 2010 to add some humiliating clarifications but retained the original statement that the evidence for global warming was ‘incontrovertible’.

By its statutes, the APS must review such policy statements each half-decade and that scheduled review is now under way, overseen by the APS President Malcolm Beasley.

The review, run by the society’s Panel on Public Affairs, includes four powerful shocks for the alarmist science establishment.[3]

First, a sub-committee has looked at the recent 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  and formulated scores of critical questions about the weak links in the IPCC’s methods and findings. In effect, it’s a non-cosy audit of the IPCC’s claims on which the global campaign against CO2 is based.

Second, the  APS Panel’s review sub-committee, after ‘consulting broadly’, appointed a workshop to get science input into the questions. The appointed  workshop of six expert advisers, amazingly, includes three eminent sceptic scientists: Richard Lindzen, John Christy, and Judith Curry. The other three members comprise long-time IPCC stalwart Ben Santer (who, in 1996, drafted, in suspicious circumstances, the original IPCC mantra about a “discernible” influence of manmade CO2 on climate), an IPCC lead author and modeler William Collins, and atmospheric physicist Isaac Held.

Third, the sub-committee is ensuring the entire process is publicly transparent — not just the drafts and documents, but the workshop discussions, which have been taped, transcribed and officially published, in a giant record running to 500+ pages.[4]

Fourth, the APS will publish its draft statement to its membership, inviting comments and feedback.

What the outcome will be, ie what the revised APS statement will say, we will eventually discover.  It seems a good bet that the APS will break ranks with the world’s collection of peak science bodies, including the Australian Academy of Science, and tell the public, softly or boldly, that IPCC science is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The APS audit of the IPCC makes a contrast with the Australian Science Academy’s (AAS) equivalent efforts. In 2010 the AAS put out a booklet, mainly for schools, ”The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers”, drafted behind closed doors. The drafters and overseers totalled 16 people, and the original lone sceptic, Garth Paltridge, was forced out by the machinations of  then-President Kurt Lambeck.

The Academy is currently revising the booklet, without any skeptic input at all. Of the 16 drafters and overseers, at least nine have been IPCC contributors and others have been petition-signing climate-policy lobbyists, hardly appropriate to do any arm’s length audit of the IPCC version of the science. Once again, the process is without any public transparency or consulting with the broad membership.


As warming slows, denunciation grows

By Don Aitkin (Don is a very eminent Australian academic.  Google him)

Two little essays, both published on The Conversation (13 and 14 March*), and a compilation of surveys, provide the basis for this post. I’ll start with the surveys first, which come courtesy of Donna Laframboise, who has written an amusing little piece on surveys about ‘climate change’. Imagine, she asks, that you are on a transcontinental rail journey. You go to eat in the buffet car, and at every meal you are asked what you would like — but, whatever you ask for, the food is always vegetarian. She says opinion surveys and political oratory about global warming are like that.

American surveys routinely place global warming or ‘climate change’ last in the list of important issues, so far as the electorate is concerned, and the same is largely true both of the UK, and of the United Nations’ own global surveys. In Australia the poll evidence is that Australians are more concerned than Americans, but there are no truly equivalent poll results. Ms Laframboise points out that despite this lack of interest, politicians and the ‘concerned’ go on telling us that we are wrong: we should be concerned like them, and must be deficient in sense and altruism for not being so. She lists Secretary of State John Kerry as a Cassandra example, pointing to the same speech that I wrote about three weeks ago.

So the orthodox go on waiting impatiently for the warming to return, and becoming even louder and more aggressive in their contempt for those of us who ask for good argument and good data and point out what seem to be problems in the orthodoxy. The decline in interest in AGW is certainly connected to the lack of significant warming to match the increase in carbon dioxide, but there is a lot more to it, I think. So to the first of these  articles, which is by Rod Lamberts, Deputy Director of the ANU’s National Centre for Public Awareness of Science. What do you think of this?

The fact is that the time for fact-based arguments is over. We all know what the overwhelmingly vast majority of climate science is telling us. I’m not going to regurgitate the details here, in part because the facts are available everywhere, but more importantly, because this tactic is a core reason why climate messages often don’t resonate or penetrate. If, like me, you’re convinced that human activity is having a hugely damaging effect on the global climate, then your only responsible option is to prioritise action.

I don’t think that what he proposes is at all a ‘responsible option’. The most responsible surely would be to look hard at what you think are the facts. Like Bernie Fraser, however, of whom he speaks well in this essay, Mr Lamberts knows what ‘the vast majority of climate science’ is telling him, though he won’t tell his readers. I’m certainly not sure what it is, and I think by now I have a reasonable understanding of ‘the science’. We don’t need any more facts, he says, we need action. Nor is it clear what sort of action he has in mind, other than noisy behaviour.  But then we get this: What we need now is to become comfortable with the idea that the ends will justify the means.

That really worries me, and it should worry anyone. That is not how democracies should behave, and indeed it is what people object to about people who think they know The Truth: they are always telling the rest of us what to do. Mr Lamberts says that deniers should just be disregarded.  Ignore them, step around them, or walk over them. I object to this sort of talk, especially from an academic at the ANU, from which I have my PhD. It is stormtrooper stuff, and has no place either in universities or in a website funded by universities.

The second essay is by Lawrence Torcello, an American academic who teaches philosophy in the USA. It is not in any way a sensible article, and while I wonder why it was accepted for publication in Australia it is certainly another good illustration of the aggressive style which you can find from the ‘believers’. Here is a sample:

We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus… What are we to make of those behind the well documented corporate funding of global warming denial? Those who purposefully strive to make sure “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” is given to the public? I believe we understand them correctly when we know them to be not only corrupt and deceitful, but criminally negligent in their willful disregard for human life. It is time for modern societies to interpret and update their legal systems accordingly.

Nowhere in this is any attempt to define anything; apparently it’s not needed by philosophers like Mr Torcello, though I would have thought ‘climate denial’ at least needs some kind of explanation if funding it is to be regarded as criminal behaviour. As I’ve said a few times, I am simply unaware of any funding that flows to me or to the others with whom I discuss AGW. Nor can I see any ‘sustained campaign to undermine the the public’s understanding of scientific consensus’. What does Mr Torcello have in mind?

No matter. Any innocent reading this will come away with the view that ‘climate deniers’, whoever they are, should be jailed. It’s different stormtrooper talk, and just as objectionable. Neither Lamberts nor Torcello deserves much respect, on the evidence of these essays, but I put to them that it is indeed time for a debate, a real debate, the kind that I mentioned in my piece on Bernie Fraser last week. The more they denounce citizens who ask questions about ‘climate change’ the weaker their position becomes. Let us discuss these ‘facts that are available everywhere’, and in public. And soon.


A good comment by Colin Davidson that appeared on Don's site below the article above:


I think you have done a great service by drawing attention to academics wanting, nay advocating, the shutting down of free speech, and the sanctioning of anyone who dares to oppose their own beliefs.

And I would also add that skeptics in general, and I in particular, do not want to stop the proponents of action from having their say. The nasty sentminent that opponents must be coerced into agreement is coming almost wholly from the proponents of action. Dictators to a man. Lovers of concentration/extermination camps. Nazis.

There is no other way to say it. That group represents a group which does not believe in the rule of law, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press. It believes in slavery for us all, and is working hard to achieve that.

Cut their funding, I say. I'm happy for them to be whackos, play with their doodles, boil their sweets. But not on the public purse. Let them exist on the funding that skeptics receive - as I think Jo Nova pointed out skeptics receive very little funding, and certaimnly no public monies. On the orther side there are vast rivers of Government Gold pouring into the coffers and funding halfwits like the two turkeys you mention.

Let them fund their beliefs by themselves. I hate it that my taxes are going to academics who, rather than being seekers after the truth, are just ill-educated, lazy thinkers, full of themselves up to the hilt.

Amazing that they can walk.


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

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


20 March, 2014

Déjà Vu All Over Again: UN Climate Talks In Bonn Fail

The latest round of UN Climate Talks in Bonn have failed with the usual lack of trust between the parties.

The UN Climate Circus met in Bonn, Germany last week, though with the exception of dedicated Green news outlets and blogs the whole event passed with no main stream media attention, such is the state of global warming fear fatigue these days.

The divisions are along the usual lines of who will cut emissions and by how much, the lack of contributions from the so called rich countries to the Green Climate Fund and Loss and Damage, more commonly known as wealth redistribution.

Loss and Damage was the reason that COP19 was dead in the water, even before it had started. Barack Obama instructed US Climate Envoys prior to COP19 that giving away trillions of dollars for years to pay for the guilt of being an industrialized nation would not “float with the voters.”

A few months on little has changed as the latest round of UN climate talks achieved nothing:

Levels of trust between leading developing countries and the USA and EU member states appears to have hit a new low after a week of UN climate talks in Bonn.

India, China and 24 other countries in the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LDMC) group say the brunt of greenhouse gas cuts must be made by industrialised countries.

The US, EU and Switzerland say the global climate deal scheduled to be agreed in Paris next year will only work if all countries make commitments, which they say was agreed in 2011 in Durban.

The problem with who cuts CO2 emissions goes like this, the LDMC group say that the countries who have historically emitted the most CO2 must bear the brunt of emissions reductions, other factions including the industrialized world say the cuts must be based on current CO2 emissions.

The objective of the Bonn meeting was to do ground work on how a Climate deal at COP21 Paris in 2015 could work, instead the meeting quickly broke down into fractious exchanges between delegates.

Switzerland’s Ambassador for the Environment Franz Perrez told RTCC “dogmatic views such as all Annexe 2 have to pay, and it’s only them to have to pay” are preventing the talks from progressing.

He said climate vulnerable countries such as the Philippines should disassociate themselves with the LDMC group, which he accused of trying to slow the talks.

Perrez said: “I do not understand, if you look at what the position of the Philippines should be, they should not defend the interest of China, of India, of Singapore, of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, so it’s surprising how they are arguing in favour of maintaining a regime that is not in their advantage.”

The UN backed Green Climate Fund (GCF) is still struggling for money and there is a GCF board meeting scheduled for May to decide how to distribute the money, always assuming that the GCF board members have decided whether to fly First or Business Class to Bali for the meeting.

The delivery of extra flows of finance – long the subject of bitter exchanged between countries – is likely to depend on when the UN-backed Green Climate Fund comes online.

In 2009 rich nations committed to supplying $100 billion a year by 2020, and delivered $30 billion between 2010-2012.

The world is a far apart as ever, a fact we should all be thankful for, from agreeing a climate deal that would spell disaster for civilization as we know it.

Heads of state in the democratic industrialized world know that they can never sell the idea to voters of declining living standards and giving away billions of pounds, dollars, euros et al to the developing world.

Little wonder then that the head of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres thinks that dictatorship and communism are the best forms of government to force Agenda 21 through.


John Podesta Pushes Back on Environmentalists

When President Barack Obama hired John Podesta, an outspoken environmentalist who opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, as his special adviser late last year, many environmentalists anticipated that they were getting a strong ally in the West Wing.

Maybe so. But on Wednesday, Mr. Podesta showed that he’s not afraid to push back at environmental groups when he feels they’re going too far.

“If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn fossil fuels off tomorrow, that’s a completely impractical way to move toward a clean-energy future,” Mr. Podesta said at a briefing with reporters on a climate data initiative. His comments came in response to questions about a letter that 17 environmental groups sent to Mr. Obama on Tuesday urging him to oppose the exports of natural gas to other countries.

“With all due respect to my friends in the environmental community, if they expect us to turn off the lights and go home, that’s an impractical suggestion,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Podesta has tangled with environmental groups over climate change. Earlier this year he questioned a letter sent from a broader set of environmental groups urging the administration to drop its “all of the above” energy strategy that embraces fossil fuels.

The latest conflict is more focused on natural gas, specifically exporting it. The Tuesday letter was organized in part by the Sierra Club and, two groups integral in the fight against Keystone XL pipeline, who are opposed to an export facility in Maryland. They asked the administration to conduct a broader review of it.

While rebuffing the opponents of natural gas, though, Mr. Podesta also said the administration was close to finalizing rules for controlling methane—a greenhouse gas that comes from natural-gas emissions.

“We are in the throes of finalizing a methane strategy across the government,” Mr. Podesta said to reporters in a roundtable meeting at the White House. “You can expect an announcement in the not too distant future.” He didn’t elaborate more on details of the strategy. Mr. Obama first announced the intent to create such a strategy at his climate-change speech in June.

Mr. Podesta’s dual comments showed the White House’s efforts to thread the needle on natural gas by embracing its use while also regulating its emissions. It is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, emitting 50% less carbon than coal and 30% less that of oil and has helped the country cut its greenhouse-gas emissions to levels not seen the 1990s. But the primary component of the fuel—methane—is a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon, meaning its impact warming the planet’s atmosphere occurs in a shorter time frame than carbon.

As the country’s production of natural gas has soared to record levels in the past few years, environmental scrutiny of the fuel has similarly risen. Environmentalists are worried that too much methane is inadvertently being released during the production and transmission of the fuel. Comprehensive, up-to-date data on just how much methane is leaking is lagging, which feeds the conflict.

“The [methane] emissions are definitely big enough to be worth reducing, but they’re not big enough to [negate] the advantage of natural gas over coal as a way to generate electricity,” said John Holdren, the director of the White House’s office of science and technology.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 finalized air-pollution standards that indirectly cuts methane emissions, but no federal rule exists that targets methane specifically. Mr. Podesta did say that earlier on Wednesday he attended a meeting hosted by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on this issue, which included participants from both energy industry and the environmental community.

“We remain committed to developing the resource and using it, and we think there is an advantage, particularly in the electricity generation,” said Mr. Podesta, who founded and was previously chair of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. He said Wednesday he spends about 50% of his time on climate issues.


Rich ‘Greens’ Spend Liberally to Kill Hated Fossil Fuels

"Climate change" historically polls very low, so the Republicans seem not to have noticed that an attack on the American energy revolution is going to be a hot political issue in at least the 2014 elections and probably 2016 as well.

Liberal activist groups have noticed, though, and are raising money, flexing for a game of hardball, already sitting on a win, and setting their sights on a complete victory.

In mid-February, billionaire and major Democratic National Committee donor Tom Steyer held a dinner at his palatial San Francisco home for 70 of his closest friends.

Former Vice President Al Gore was the headliner, and in attendance were Democratic Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Mark Udall of Colorado.

Also present was Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is running for an open Senate seat in Michigan. League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski and former Sierra Club President Carl Pope circulated among the guests. The event raised more than $400,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

February was a busy month for Mr. Steyer. Early on, he held a similar event for other Democrat high rollers at his ranch in Pescadero, Calif. The New York Times published a long feature on Mr. Steyer that appeared above the fold on the front page.

National Public Radio broadcast an interview, and the usual liberal publications such as Politico ran features on him and his plans.

What has everyone's attention is this number: $100 million. Mr. Steyer has announced that he intends to put $50 million of his own money into Democrats' races in 2014 and has challenged his fellow deep-pocket liberals to match it with an additional $50 million of their own.

His issue is "climate change," which conservatives correctly recognize as the suppression of fossil-fuel production, particularly shale oil.

Mr. Steyer has certainly demonstrated that he can put his money where his mouth is. With an estimated family wealth of at least $1.5 billion, he has long been a generous donor to liberal and Democratic Party causes.

A short surf through the Federal Election Commission website reveals more than $1.1 million of soft-money donations in his own name to liberal groups, and page after page of direct contributions to individual Democratic candidates and Democratic Party organizations adding up to almost another million dollars.

Other Steyer family members living in the San Francisco Bay area, including his older brother James, seem to be almost as generous. Counting the soft-money and the hard-money campaign contributions from the Steyer family that we know about, it would certainly add up to high tens of millions of dollars at least.


U.S. Winters Cooling

It's been a brutal winter for many, and winter refuses to loosen its grip on a good chunk of the country even as spring rapidly approaches. But despite what climate alarmists want you to believe, this season's bone-chilling cold wasn't and isn't some fluke; in fact, according to Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo, average temperatures across the United States in the December-February period have dropped by 2.26 degrees Fahrenheit over the last two decades based on data from the National Climate Data Center. This occurred despite some notably warm winters. Call us crazy, but that sure doesn't sound like global warming to us; in fact, Earth as a whole hasn't experienced any warming for more than 17 years. No wonder they're now calling it "climate change."

Here is the CONUS trend for the last 20 years, down 2.26F (1.13F per decade). This is the trend from NCDC for the period 1995-2014. The base period is the conventional last 3 complete decades -1981-2010


Britain To Freeze Carbon Tax As Energy Cost Becomes Biggest Worry For Voters

It is being widely predicted that George Osborne may decide to abandon any further increases in the Carbon Price Floor, introduced in April 2013. [Now confirmed]

Any freeze in the tax could cut as much as £50 from consumer bills by 2020.

Meanwhile, a BBC survey has suggested that energy bills are the biggest worry for households.

The Carbon Price Floor (CPF) is designed to penalise companies who create pollution, and to encourage investment in green energy.

The merits of freezing the tax have been advocated by an unusual array of allies, including the CBI, manufacturers' organisation the EEF, energy suppliers and consumer groups including Which? and Consumer Futures.

However, those in favour of more investment in green energy are likely to be disappointed. Environmentalists say it could mean fewer wind turbines or solar farms being constructed.

The Carbon Price Floor (CPF) ensures that polluters pay a minimum price for the gas or fossil fuels they burn.  In effect, it is a surcharge on the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EETS), which was designed to tax polluters across the EU.

However, the market price of the right to emit carbon has fallen so much that the EETS is no longer as strong a disincentive to pollute as it was.

But the implementation of the CPF has left many big British companies paying more in tax than their counterparts elsewhere in the EU.

Last year, the CPF added £5 to a typical UK energy bill, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

But as the tax is due to be ramped up over the next few years, so too is the contribution from consumers.

"The Carbon Price Floor is set to become a bigger and unnecessary burden on struggling consumers in coming years and we think it should be scrapped," said Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?

A BBC survey, meanwhile, has suggested that energy bills are the top worry for consumers.

The survey, conducted by ComRes for BBC Breakfast, concluded that more people worry about paying utility bills or council tax than any other household expenditure.

The cost of food came second, with the cost of petrol and diesel in third place.

More than a quarter of people questioned said their financial situation was causing them stress.


Prominent Australian Warmist under attack

Aussie skeptics say they have one of their nation’s top climate alarmist professors cornered in an ongoing battle of words over who holds the high ground on scientific integrity. Scientist, Dr Judy Ryan and her colleague, Dr Marjory Curtis are going public with a series of damning emails they’ve had with government-backed promoters of fears about man-made global warming.

Their latest target is Professor David Karoly, a climatologist who they claim dishonestly championed a government campaign to depict human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as black smoke, contrary to scientific fact.

Dr Ryan reports, “On 18th February 2014 I sent an email to David Karoly with Marjory Curtis, a retired geologist, as my co-signer. Approximately 180 australian and overseas media outlets, politicians, universities, including their student newspapers, and prominent climate hysteria mongers were openly copied in.”

Ryan and Curtis are among many highly-qualified scientists who, as skeptics of the wrong-headed hysteria over supposed man-made global warming, are fighting to restore scientific integrity.

Dr Curtis says Karoly’s “error” over the CO2 as black smoke “may have been a fortuitous oversight” for the cause of alarmists who some say are trying to dupe the public on the issue.

Judy Curtis has advised Karoly all the correspondence, because of its significance to public policy, will be published as open letters. She says, “We replied 21st February and added in our fellow skeptics. So there are now close to 220 observers for Karoly’s next response. To date we have not heard back, but it is early days yet.”

The first letter and Karoly’s immediate response are below.

As with many independent scientists frustrated with the apparent bias of government climatologists, Ryan understands that such public emails are becoming a powerful tool and she provides many helpful tips on how to formulate and send them. She tells readers “Feel free to copy, paste and use  them, and if you have questions you only need to ask.”

18th February 2014

Dear Professor Karoly,

We have been writing to you for a year requesting that you provide one credible study that supports your hypothesis of catastrophic, human caused global warming (CAGW). You have not been able to provide one. The  letters and your responses are all on the public record

In March 2013 we issued you the opportunity to either renounce your alarmist claims on the ABC news, or publicly provide empirical data-based evidence, that is available for scientific scrutiny, to support them.

Almost a year has passed and still you have not provided the evidence.

We remind you that the Australian people are experiencing financial disadvantage as a result of the host of policies and administrative decisions driven by advice regarding the science of climate change. Is that advice false or misleading? Does it deceive by concealing or omitting or embellishing or misrepresenting relevant facts?

 The definition of fraud is, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, quote: “a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury.”

According to Malcolm Roberts author of the CSIROh! report , you are prominently involved in many taxpayer-funded climate bodies fomenting unfounded climate alarm. One of your roles is that you are Editor-In-Chief of the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM’s) in-house journal. On page 10 of his report’s Appendix 7, Malcolm Roberts cites Peter Bobroff’s analysis, quote: “Publishing the research. The Bureau of Meteorology has its own in-house journal: the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal (prev Aust. Meteorol. Mag.). The editor-in-chief responsible for the defence of the scientific method, elimination of all types of bias, automatic release of all relevant data and code is none other than David Karoly – the strident proponent of human causation of future catastrophic global warming. The BOM itself has taken a strong partisan position on the subject.”

Despite your BOM responsibilities, Malcolm Roberts adds, quote: “Yet David Karoly has repeatedly publicly contradicted empirical scientific evidence”.

According to their website you also appear to be BOM’s principal author. Graphs on the following pages were obtained or produced by various independents non-aligned examiners and auditors of BOM records. Are you are the author of the original regional temperature data or graphs used by BOM?

Every graph shows that the raw data, which shows either a flat or downward (cooling) trend has been “adjusted” to a warming trend.  Are you are associated in any way with producing BOM’s adjusted graphs? If so, in our opinion it is very misleading of both you and the BOM personnel to adjust the data to the extent that it misrepresents reality. We also think that it is very misleading of both you and BOM  to omit to declare to the Australian people  that you have “adjusted” the raw data.

Under Australia’s strong democracy no one is above the law. Judges, politicians, scientists, academics, senior public servants, and managing directors can be held to account for breaching their fiduciary duty.

It seems that you have prominent roles across many taxpayer-funded entities promoting unfounded and unscientific claims of anthropogenic global warming and contradicting empirical scientific evidence. Your many prominent roles place you at the hub of the web of such agencies. You have thereby positioned yourself perfectly for answering our fundamental and straight-forward questions. As taxpayers and concerned scientists we look forward to your evidence based response. It is not a good look if you do not acknowledge this very public letter.

In closing, if there is anything we have said that you think is untrue please click reply all and let us know and we will apologise.

Dr Judy Ryan

Dr Marjorie Curtis

David Karoly clicked “Reply All” and sent this email within 24 hours.

On 19 Feb 2014, at 6:11 am, David John Karoly wrote:

Hi Judy,

It's interesting to receive another of your emails as they keep me amused.

If you are so convinced that I have committed fraud, I recommend that you pass the evidence to my employer, the University of Melbourne; the major funder of my research, the Australian Research Council, and to the police. In the past, your claims have been considered and dismissed, as have those from Malcolm Roberts. I am sure that you will find that further evidence of a conspiracy.

All the evidence of the human causes of global warming is assessed thoroughly in the 5th assessment report of the IPCC, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, available at

The specific chapter on human causation, Chapter 10 Detection and Attribution of Climate Change: from Global to Regional

 Is available at

No doubt you will again refuse to accept this evidence.

I have no idea what you mean when you state "you also appear to be BOM’s principal author".

I am not "the author of the original regional temperature data or graphs used by BOM".

I recommend that you contact the Bureau of Meteorology or look carefully at their web site for the sources of their data and the reasons for the adjustments to minimise inhomogeneities.

As always, I keep your emails and refer them to the legal office at the University of Melbourne.

David Karoly


Prof David Karoly

School of Earth Sciences

University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, AUSTRALIA

ph:  +61 3 8344 xxxx

fax: +61 3 8344 xxxx



From: Judy Ryan ;

Subject: [execnzcsc] Re: Do These Temperature Graphs Represent Reality? That is the Question

Date: 21 February 2014 10:29:49 am AEDT

To: David John Karoly ;Dear Professor Karoly, and about 220 other observers


Dear Professor Karoly,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

 I have included other scientists, including past and present IPCC reviewers in this reply to you. These scientists are much more conversant with the Working Group Ones final, final report than either Dr Curtis or I.  But, I assure you I have read Working Group Ones final draft report, which was released to the public as an unapproved draft.  Dr Curtis and I will be looking and learning as we see the evidence  from the final, final report unfold.

 In your response below you have stated that you are not the author of the original BOM temperature graphs. But, you have not answered the second part of the question. 

It is an honest, straightforward, legitimate question.

Professor Karoly, are you the author of the BOM’s  adjusted/homogenised graphs shown below?

Please click Reply All and answer the question.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Respectfully yours

Dr Judy Ryan

Dr Marjorie Curtis

P.S. Dr Curtis and I  will appreciate your courtesy in addressing both of us in your correspondence.  Marjory has been an active skeptic for more than three decades, and as many of her students know, she is a force to be reckoned with.



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

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


19 March, 2014

CFC quack singing an old song

Below is an attempt to leverage off the prestige of an earlier Greenie hero.  Everything he says is Greenie boilerplate and mostly wrong.  But his claim to fame is his theory that CFCs caused the ozone hole in Antarctica.  But both fact and theory have since demolished that theory.  CFC reduction has not led to the hole shrinking and "Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart" by recent findings.  So the Warmists are relying on a man who was demonstrably wrong before

Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize.

Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming.

The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.

“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.”

And the association does not plan to stop with the report. The group, with a membership of 121,200 scientists and science supporters around the world, plans a broad outreach campaign to put forward accurate information in simple language.

The scientists are essentially trying to use their powers of persuasion to cut through public confusion over this issue.

Polls show that most Americans are at least somewhat worried about global warming. But people generally do not understand that the problem is urgent — that the fate of future generations (not necessarily that far in the future) is being determined by emission levels now. Moreover, the average citizen tends to think there is more scientific debate about the basics than there really is.

The report emphasizes that the experts have come to a consensus, with only a few dissenters. “Based on well-established evidence, about 97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening,” it says.

That is not the same as claiming that all questions about climate change have been answered. In fact, enormous questions remain, and the science of global warming entails a robust, evolving discussion.

The new report walks through a series of potential consequences of planetary warming, without asserting that any is sure to happen. They are possibilities, not certainties, and the distinction is crucial for an intelligent public debate about what to do. The worst-case forecasts include severe food shortages as warming makes it harder to grow crops; an accelerating rise of the sea that would inundate coastlines too rapidly for humanity to adjust; extreme heat waves, droughts and floods; and a large-scale extinction of plants and animals.

“What’s extremely clear is that there’s a risk, a very significant risk,” Dr. Molina said by telephone from Mexico, where he spends part of his time. “You don’t need 100 percent certainty for society to act.”


NOTE: Molina is in any case far from impartial.  He is the director of the Climate Leadership Corps,  a member of WWF-México’s Senior Advisory Council and was a member of the IAC Panel, charged with assessing the IPCC. He also just happened to be a review editor for IPCC AR4 WG1 ch 7, a drafting author for AR4 WG1 Summary for Policy Makers and a Lead Author of the Technical Summary

Did the Romans produce wine in Cambridge? 2,000-year-old irrigation system for vineyards unearthed on farmland

More evidence of the Roman warm period.  Only modern viticultural techniques enable wine grapes to be grown in Britain today and even then the vines are in the South

The earliest example of Roman irrigation in Britain, dating back almost 2,000 years, has been discovered in Cambridge - and it may have been used to produce wine.

A network of ditches and ridges was found on the site of a proposed new £1 billion development on farmland at the edge of the town, near the M11.

Researchers believe the channels were used as a vineyard, or to grow asparagus, and are being hailed as evidence of 'intense agriculture' dating back to around 70AD.

Historians have long suspected the 370-acre (150 hectare) site could have been home to an ancient Roman settlement.  Archaeologists were invited to explore the site 18 months ago before work begins on the major new development of housing, shops and a new school.

Team leader Chris Evans said it was evidence of an ‘intense agricultural regime’ dating as far back as 70AD.

‘Our findings from excavating around the ridgeway have unearthed zebra-like stripes of Roman planting beds that are encircled on their higher northern side by more deep pit-wells,’ continued Evans.

‘The gully-defined planting beds were closely set and were probably grapevines or possibly asparagus.


The dubious apocalypse of global warming

The climate isn’t changing, but doomsday rhetoric is rising

The world isn’t warming. The Climate Depot website obtained the latest satellite measurements and found the Earth’s thermostat hasn’t budged since September 1996.

That’s 210 straight months without any trend of the planet growing hotter, or colder, by even a tenth of a degree. This ought to be good news for buyers of a Toyota Prius or carbon-dioxide offsets. They could imagine themselves as having saved the world. But they’re more depressed than ever.

Matthew Ranson, an economist, describes in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management the chaos that he thinks awaits. “Between 2010 and 2099,” he writes in the peer-reviewed journal, “climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States.” No estimates of mopery or pillaging.

Mr. Ranson said he examined the effect that temperature has on crime rates, based on FBI records. The numbers recognize the obvious criminal preference to rob and pillage in balmy conditions; a blizzard is bad for everybody’s business.

He speculates that a great crime wave would follow the heat wave predicted by computer models of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The U.N. panel is raising its rhetoric, too. London’s daily Independent reports that the panel predicts crop yields will fall by 2 percent every decade, leading to malnutrition and starvation. There will be floods, fires, civil war, hay fever, heat waves, boils, various itches, pestilence and plagues on mankind.

The net cost to the world’s economy could be as much as $1.4 trillion a year, disaster on the scale of Obamacare.

If that’s not bad enough, researchers at the University of Maryland insist that global warming will destroy civilization. A forthcoming journal article asserts that expanding population and the difference in wealth between the rich (“the elites”) and the poor (“commoners”) will bring down the United States in the way the barbarians brought down the Roman Empire.

There’s a solution, of course. Higher taxes, increased regulation and more government supervision of everyone’s lives, and other liberal nostrums.

In an earlier presentation on “Population and Climate Change,” the Maryland researchers find hope. “In order to avoid collapse, government policies are needed to stabilize population and stabilize industrial production per person.”

A powerful centralized government must take over the means of production and even reproduction. “Family planning is cost-effective,” they write, “and should be a primary method to reduce [carbon-dioxide] emissions.”

Sacrificing babies to the ancient gods of Carthage didn’t save that ancient empire, and abortion won’t chill the climate today. The public is tuning out the likes of Al Gore and his prophecies because they notice that two decades of hysterical predictions haven’t come true.

In a climate of skepticism, the only way for scientists with a scam to get attention (and government grants) is to concoct ever more over-the-top claims.

If driving a Chevy Volt will reduce incidents of rape or a curlicue light bulb will rescue Western civilization, a finding that Earth’s temperature hasn’t budged in 210 months should be something to celebrate. It means the planet is doing just fine.


Mainstreaming fringe science with John Holdren

The White House science adviser confuses global-warming fact and fancy


By Chip Knappenberger

In recent months, White House science adviser John Holdren has repeatedly pushed the link between extreme weather events and human-caused climate change well beyond the bounds of established science. Now, veteran climate scientists are pushing back.

Mr. Holdren’s efforts started in January, as much of the nation was shivering in the midst of an excursion of arctic air into the lower 48 states.

Anyone with a passing interest in the climate of the United States knows that is hardly an unusual occurrence (“citrus freeze” anyone?), but outfit the chill with a new, scarier-sounding moniker and a blase-sounding “cold-air outbreak” goes viral as the “polar vortex.”

Apparently, sensing the time was ripe for a bit of global-warming alarmism, the White House released a video titled “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes,” featuring Mr. Holdren describing how “a growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”

Although this statement is not outright false, it is, at its very best, a half-truth — and a stretch at that. In fact, there is an ever-larger and faster-growing body of evidence that directly disputes Mr. Holdren’s contention.

This was pointed out last month in a letter to Science magazine authored by five veteran climate scientists, who are all experts in the field of atmospheric circulation patterns.

The scientists disputed Mr. Holdren’s explanation, writing that “we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it to be compelling” and concluded that while such research “deserves a fair hearing to make it the centerpiece of the public discourse is inappropriate and a distraction.”

One of the letter’s authors, atmospheric science professor John Wallace from the University of Washington, even wrote a guest post at the popular Capital Weather Gang blog run by The Washington Post, to proclaim, “I disagree with those who argue that we need to capitalize on recent extreme weather events to raise public awareness of human-induced global warming.”

Such pushback didn’t stop Mr. Holdren, though.

A couple of weeks ago at a congressional hearing, Mr. Holdren attacked the views of University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr. concerning the connection between anthropogenic global warming and the ongoing drought in the Southwest.

Mr. Pielke, an expert on the relationship between natural disasters and climate change, had previously testified to Congress that the best science regarding many types of extreme weather, including hurricanes, tornados, floods and droughts, indicated no detectable tie-in to global warming.

Mr. Holdren described Mr. Pielke’s views as being outside of “mainstream scientific opinion” and submitted a six-page explanation to the Senate subcommittee describing why he thought so, focusing on drought and specifically California drought (a copy of which was also posted at the White House website).

In response, Mr. Pielke defended himself, laying out a strong and overwhelming scientific case in a lengthy essay for The New Republic and accusing Mr. Holdren of “wielding his political position to delegitimize an academic whose views he finds inconvenient.”

Mr. Pielke was not alone in his defense. Recently, Martin Hoerling, lead scientist of the Interpreting Climate Conditions Team of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, expressed surprise at Mr. Holdren’s response to Mr. Pielke in the DotEarth blog hosted by The New York Times.

Mr. Hoerling wrote that the type of drought currently facing California “has been observed before” and that “[i]t is quite clear that the scientific evidence does not support an argument that this current California drought is appreciably, if at all, linked to human-induced climate change.”

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for “more urgency” in combating climate change, and with his Climate Action Plan — his attempt to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions by fiat — a central theme to his legacy, we have to wonder just who is advising who?

Is the president giving orders to his science adviser to make the case that carbon-dioxide emissions are the cause of weather disasters in the United States despite the best science that argues otherwise? Or is his science adviser misinforming the president as to what the collection of science actually says, leading him to pursue carbon-dioxide regulation where it is not needed?

In either case, the situation is badly in need of repair.


Wind farms are 'ruining Scotland for visitors' - says new poll

They are the controversial contraptions that stand tall on the horizon – providing eco-friendly, renewable energy according to some, blotting the landscape according to others.

But a new survey has planted a foot firmly in the former camp – suggesting that wind farms are now in danger of destroying the beauty of some of the most striking portions of the Scottish countryside.

The poll, carried out by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, has found that climbers and walkers are being deterred from visiting the country’s rural areas because of the increasing encroachment of turbines into what were once wide-open spaces.

In results that will make worrying reading for the Scottish government, the survey found that over two thirds of people – 68 per cent – say that parts of Scotland are now less appealing to visitors thanks to the proliferation of wind farms.

A similar number – 67 per cent – say that wind farms are making Scotland a less appealing place in general.

Two thirds of those surveyed say they have been put off visiting Scotland by wind farms – and will not revisit places they have already visited where turbines now exist.

Over fourth fifths of respondents are insisting that there must be protection for National Parks and National Scenic Areas. And two-thirds of those questioned want to see buffer zones around areas of specific beauty, so that wind farms cannot be placed on their edges.

‘The survey results are a stark warning to the Scottish government,’ says David Gibson of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. ‘Badly sited wind farms are a serious threat to Scotland’s reputation as a tourism destination.’  ‘The more that are built in our mountains, the more visitors are put off.’

Scotland has taken a marked step towards the wide use of wind power in the last decade.  The Scottish government hopes to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s energy from renewable sources by 2020 – with the majority of this power coming from wind farms.

Whitelee Wind Farm, which opened in East Renfrewshire in 2009, is the largest on-shore wind farm in the UK, with 215 turbines (and the second largest in Europe, behind only the Fântânele-Cogealac development in Romania).

Clyde Wind Farm, in South Lanarkshire, is another sizeable wind project, with 152 turbines.

The rising use of wind power is of concern to Mr Gibson. ‘Many of the wind farms planned for Scotland’s most remote and beautiful areas have yet to be built,’ he continues. ‘The evidence from this, and other, surveys, suggests that visitors dislike them more and more as they cease to be a novelty.’

The survey consulted 970 regular climbers and hikers who are members of either the Mountaineering Council of Scotland or the British Mountaineering Council.  Over three quarters of those surveyed – 77 per cent – live in Scotland.

Wind power is a consistently divisive topic.  A YouGov poll commissioned by the Sunday Times last October found a pretty even split on the question of whether the UK government is right – considering future energy needs – to invest money in the development of wind technology.

Fifty-one per cent of those questioned said that the government was right in this case.


Blatant Global Warming Propaganda In Kindergarten School Book…

Pretty sad when you have to start de-brainwashing your kids when they are only in kindergarten.

Via EAG News:

A West Michigan mother is questioning a book her kindergarten son brought home from his school’s library, because it portrays the global warming debate from one perspective only, and ignores other arguments.

The book – “The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge” – tells the story of a teacher, Ms. Frizzle, taking her students on a globetrotting trip to show them the impacts of global warming.

Published by Scholastic in 2010, it features drawings of the what the Artic used to look like – with ice as far as the eye could see – to today, with polar bears supposedly clinging to measly icebergs with desperate looks on their faces.



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

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


18 March, 2014

How the Global Warming Scare Began

Heartland friend John Coleman is among the many courageous meteorologists who are speaking out against the fake science of man-caused global warming. He’s brave, influential, and has the backing of his TV station in San Diego, KUSI, to produce videos such as the one at left titled “How the Global Warming Scare Began.”

Coleman is the founder of The Weather Channel, was the first weatherman on “Good Morning America,” and was named “Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year” by the American Meteorological Society. (NOTE: Coleman quit the AMS when, he says, it was clear “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.”)

In the video in the player to the left, Coleman says something all global warming “skeptics” could agree upon: If the science actually backed up the notion that humans were endangering the earth’s climate, he’d be on the front lines to save the planet. “But it’s just not happening,” he said.

The little warming we have now is well within (and even below) natural variations over the centuries. But the fruitless “fight” against man-caused global warming is wasting enormous sums of money — seen in government outlays, and in the unduly rising energy bills of every American.

In his video, Coleman gives us many “Cold Hard Facts.” Here are some of them:

Arctic ice levels are well within the average measured by satellites since first recorded about 35 years ago.

Polar bear populations are up, not down.

The “global warming” superstorms the alarmists predicted have not materialized. No hurricanes hit the US in 2013. Superstorm Sandy was nothing compared to the Galveston Hurricane in 1900, before man supposedly had influence on the climate. Strong tornadoes have been diminishing, too.

We haven’t had a “killer heat wave” since the 1950s.

Al Gore got a “D” in the only science course he took at Harvard, taught by the godfather of climate alarmism, Roger Revelle … and the rest is history (including Revelle apologizing for his previous alarmism and Gore responding by calling him “senile.”)

There is so much more. The video in the player above is the primer you must show your alarmist friends.

For more information on what’s really happening to the earth’s climate, visit The Heartland Institute’s archive of its eight international conferences on climate change — featuring more than 300 presentations by 187 scientists, economists, and policy experts (including Coleman).

For the very latest observable climate science, as opposed to political climate science, visit the Climate Change Reconsidered site. Stay tuned to that site, and The Heartland Institute, for news about yet another report from the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) that will be released later this month.


China reconsiders carbon tax, citing Australia's planned repeal

China is reconsidering plans for a carbon tax as local air pollution trumps concerns over climate change and some rich nations back away from imposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, a top official said.

Premier Li Keqiang last week declared war on pollution, which is expected to speed up the process of turning China's limited environmental levy into a full-blown tax targeting the nation's major polluters.

But the all-out efforts to combat China's disastrous pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to stunt the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions, Zhu Guangyao, the vice environment minister, said.

"We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds," he told the Beijing Morning Post from the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary sessions.

A carbon tax is increasingly controversial among lawmakers, said Zhu, adding that an environment tax would be easier to push through without carbon in the mix.

The carbon and air pollution taxes would target mostly the same sources, and in difficult economic times China is wary of hitting companies with too many costly regulations.

Zhu also referred to the fact that Australia, under the Abbott government, is trying to abolish the country's carbon tax, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.

China's Ministry of Environment currently collects a modest levy on air pollution, waste water and solid waste. As China's environmental problems have caused large-scale public anger the past year, the ruling Communist Party wants to ramp up taxation efforts.

The Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission have both said a tax on carbon emissions might be implemented in addition to China's planned emissions trading scheme, its main policy to combat climate change, although studies are still being carried out on how it would work.


Another rubbishy "model" from NASA

They have no shame

LOVING life? Well, lap it up because the days of driving around in comfy cars, feasting on fancy food and enjoying an aircon-cooled civilised existence could be numbered.

With rising population, depleting natural resources and stretching social divide, civilisation could be facing collapse within the next few decades according to a scientific study funded by NASA. And if you think this is a load of scaremongering tosh, it’s happened before. Remember the Roman Empire?

In the report conducted by applied mathematician, Safa Motesharri, his ‘Human And Nature Dynamical’ (Handy) model claims “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history”.

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilisations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

Our modern world might appear to be pretty sure of itself with advanced technologies helping people live longer and revolutionising everyday life but this might be to blame. Using his theoretical model Motesharri explored several factors and ran different scenarios that could lead to the collapse of industrial civilisation and found a break down of society could arise from global population growing rapidly and unsustainable resource exploitation.

And as resources deplete, they will become more expensive. This is where he further states that “economic stratification” — where society is further divided based on wealth — will create “Elites” (rich) and “Masses” (poor) with the Elites being responsible for over consuming leaving the Masses in famine and collapsing social structure.

But before you start hoarding resources, the study does conclude that this scenario is not inevitable and that in order to prevent such catastrophe it calls on action by the Elites to share the wealth and to do their bit in restoring balance.

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion”

It does serve as a wake up call that if we don’t want to face disaster we need to seriously consider how we manage resources, population growth and wealth. The end is not yet nigh...if we can help it.


Scared to death by Warmist howls

Driven demented by fear, a mother thinks of setting herself alight to draw attention to the (missing) global warming crisis

Here is a woman who looks young enough to have been exposed to climate alarm propaganda throughout her school and college years.  Children get frightened by that, and some may never grow out of it as they get older.  She may well be one of them:

In an article (hat-tip Climate Depot) on an Oregon news-site, she explains:

'A Tunisian man set himself on fire in 2010 and sparked an international movement. Don’t tell my family, but I’ve considered that route. I mean, wouldn’t any parent sacrifice a kidney, lung or life for her child? Imagine the headline: “Soccer mom desperate to save children’s future self-immolates.”'

On her own blog (linked to below the pic), she displays this banner:

This may represent a delayed success of sorts for the climate alarm campaigners.  Some of them, including for example UNESCO and also Pachauri of the IPCC, want children to be little political activists.  First they scare'em then they snare'em.  Well, this woman got so scared she thought of killing herself for the sake of her children.  I'd say she was snared as well.  Let us hope for her sake, and her children's, that she calms down a lot more and starts to develop a calmer perspective on climate variation and its various causes.

PS Another example, from 2013.  Here is a father from the other side of the States: 'When Ian Kim imagines the world his 7-year-old daughter will be living in 20 years from now, he says, it keeps him up at night. Images of ever more frequent super storms like Sandy, along with rising seas, or drought and heat waves wreaking havoc with crops haunt his waking hours.  “It’s a huge worry for me,” said Kim, a self-described environmental and social justice activist. “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10.” '  Once you are such an activist, you do need a good crisis to keep you going, even it is largely in his own mind.


Doom is a good shtick

Paul Ehrlich and Ann Ehrlich, two long-time prominent voices in the environmental community, often speculate about the future of humanity. They recently shared this anecdote:

    "A few years ago we had a disagreement with our friend Jim Brown, a leading ecologist.  We told him we thought there was about a 10 percent chance of avoiding a collapse of civilization but, because of concern for our grandchildren and great grandchildren, we were willing to struggle to make it 11 percent.  He said his estimate of the chance of avoiding collapse was only 1 percent, but he was working to make it 1.1 percent.  Sadly, recent trends and events make us think Jim might have been optimistic.  Perhaps now it’s time to talk about preparing for some form of collapse soon, hopefully to make a relatively soft “landing.”"

If you want to know why the Ehrlichs think it’s essentially game over for civilization, read their 2013 paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Their diagnosis:

    "The human predicament is driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and the use of unnecessarily environmentally damaging technologies and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens’ aggregate consumption."

Translation: Too many damn people on the earth, driving cars, buying too much crap, all made possible by a globalized, industrialized, capitalistic system. Or something like that. Unsurprisingly, the Ehrlichs don’t agree with those who paint a sunnier view of humanity’s current trajectory. (What might a model sustainable society look like? Paul Ehrlich recently pointed to Australia’s Aboriginal culture.)

Now I’m not the only one to observe that the environmental community, as a whole, has a bleak view of the future.

But is the near-future collapse of civilization virtually guaranteed, as the Ehrlichs seem to think? Is there no reversing this collision course? Here’s what UK environmentalist Jonathan Porritt said last week in an interview:

    "A lot of people in my community of sustainability professionals have basically come to the conclusion it’s too late."

This strikes me as a self-defeating outlook, as I hinted the other day. It lends itself to the fatalism that has already infected environmental discourse, as I have previously discussed:

    "If you are a regular consumer of environmental news and commentary, you are familiar with the narrative of humanity’s downfall."

In the current issue of The New York Review Of Books, the novelist Zadie Smith is conflicted about this eco-doomsday narrative. On the one hand, she is bothered that most people aren’t taking seriously “the visions of apocalypse conjured by climate scientists and movie directors,” which she refers to as “the coming emergency.” But she also seems to get the futility of this storyline:

    "Sometimes the global, repetitive nature of this elegy is so exhaustively sad—and so divorced from any attempts at meaningful action—that you can’t fail to detect in the elegists a fatalist liberal consciousness that has, when you get right down to it, as much of a perverse desire for the apocalypse as the evangelicals we supposedly scorn."

Indeed, the merchants of eco-doom who peddle their vision of apocalypse to a secular choir are just as self-rightous and scornful of humanity as the fundamentalist preachers who hawk their hellfire and brimstone sermons. And like the most warped fundamentalists who exploit tragedy, the merchants of eco-doom also cynically seize on current events. On this score, nobody rivals Nafeez Ahmed (the UK Left’s faux-scholarly equivalent to Glenn Beck), who has an unquenchable appetite for peak-everything porn. (For commentary on his latest connect-the-collapse dots, see this post.)

Not all greens have a fetish for doomsday scenarios. Some are are trying to chart a more empowering vision for environmentalism. Porritt belongs to this group. He has a new book that appears hopeful about the future.

If only more environmentalists could snap out of their endless mourning for the planet and offer the rest of us something to look forward to other than imminent eco-collapse.


Ukraine Crisis Signals Shift In Global Energy Politics

The standoff between Russia and Ukraine that precipitated [yesterday’s] farcical referendum on Crimean secession evokes memories of past attempts to use energy as a geopolitical weapon.

Upon closer inspection, it also reveals the early stages of a historically significant shift in global energy politics that would have seemed improbable a generation ago.

During the similarly brutal winters of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States was heavily dependent on foreign supplies of energy. As the U.S. stared down the barrel of the oil weapon amid the 1979-'80 Iranian hostage crisis, energy expenditures as a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product reached 14%, triggering double-digit inflation and a double-dip recession.

Since then, energy's share of the domestic economy has fallen by about half as a combination of conservation measures, improved efficiency and increased production has begun to turn the tables on foreign suppliers like Russia and the OPEC cartel.

In 2013, U.S. oil production reached its highest level in 24 years.

Yet crude oil is so...20th century. In 1973, 46% of global energy supplies were derived from petroleum-based products. By 2011, that number had fallen to 36.1%.

These days, the story is natural gas, whose world market share over that same period rose from 18.9% to 25.7%, a number that is expected to increase sharply in coming years as more gas is extracted from shale rock formations through fracking, especially in the United States.

According to Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Prize" and an expert on all things energy, shale gas now accounts for more than a third of U.S. natural gas production, up from 2% in 2000, and could reach 50% or more within six years.

Unlike oil, natural gas is difficult to ship across oceans. Pipelines, like the ones Russia has used to sell its gas to Europe, can transmit energy through vast landmasses. That method, however, is vulnerable to one or more parties turning off the spigot for political reasons.

Russia's state-owned energy behemoth, Gazprom, did exactly that twice in the last 10 years, and recently rescinded the price discount it gave the Ukraine as a "reward" for allowing Russian gas to reach its major export markets in Western Europe.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the United States now produces more oil than it imports, the latter having fallen 30% since 2005. In fact, the U.S. is projected to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer within a few years and already has passed Russia as the top gas producer.

The global economic impact of shale gas could be magnified when the first facilities to ship it from the U.S. in liquid form, known as liquefied natural gas, or LNG, become operational late next year. That will begin to put American policy-makers in the once-unfathomable position of having an energy weapon with which to apply geopolitical leverage.



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

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


17 March, 2014

EPA Bureaucrats Paint the Town Red with Federal Charge Cards

There appears to be a flourishing culture of financial misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This culture has been perpetuated by a lack of administrative oversight leading to millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted. At a time when D.C.’s fiscal climate is characterized by a national debt that is spiraling out of control, there is no excuse for any government organization to be lacking financial accountability.

A report released this month by the EPA Inspector General (IG) found EPA employees improperly used federal charge cards to purchase everything from gym memberships to gift cards. The report indicated over 90 percent of the sampled transactions were for prohibited, improper, or erroneous purchases, all paid for by American taxpayers. Ironically, Senate Democrats this week carried on an all-night filibuster in hopes of generating even more power and funding for the EPA.

In compiling the report, the IG’s office obtained a spreadsheet of 67,000 EPA transactions from Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, and randomly selected 69 transactions. They also selected 11 transactions that seemed inappropriate because of the merchant involved. For instance, some transactions were with merchants listed as dance halls, child care organizations, music venues and theatres. Of the 80 transactions sampled, 75 were for prohibited, improper, or erroneous purchases.

The IG’s report outlined nine specific internal control oversight issues, ranging from the approval of prohibited transactions to the outright failure to maintain transaction records. Some specific instances of misconduct were so egregious they are worth mentioning. In three instances, cardholders purchased gym memberships totaling $2,867. Two of those purchases were not even for EPA employees but for family members. According to the report, cardholders further violated EPA guidelines regarding inappropriate food purchases:

    “Although light refreshments are defined as those that do not include portions of food typical of a meal, in one of our samples, light refreshments included all elements of a meal for an awards ceremony. Four different appetizers, chicken tenderloin, fresh fruit, pasta salad, large cookies, soft drinks and punch were purchased at a cost of $2,900. Meals are not an allowable expense for an awards recognition ceremony.”

The report also found the purchase of gift cards by EPA cardholders was a problem in seven transactions. For example, in one transaction 20 American Express gift cards were purchased totaling $1,588. Additionally, the report highlighted instances where EPA employees violated records keeping requirements:

    “Two transactions totaling $26,152 could not be located despite instructions to maintain supporting documentation. The EPA’s policy requires the retention of documentation for 3 years on a fiscal year basis. Cardholders were not attentive to this basic requirement. In two cases, the cardholders left their positions and no arrangements were made to retain the records. In another transaction the cardholder stated that records were not kept because of privacy concerns. This lack of documentation increases the risk that purchases could be fraudulent, improper or abusive.”

It must be noted the report focused on only 80 transactions out of 67,000. Over 90 percent of those transactions were prohibited or improper. For FY 2012, the EPA had 1,370 cardholders that transacted more than $29 million in purchases. The EPA also had 309 convenience check writers who wrote more than 1,000 checks totaling over $500,000. It’s likely the 80 transactions sampled are the tip of an iceberg characterized by improper and wasteful spending of federal funds.

The ultimate irony is a similar report conducted in 2008 found the exact same internal control weaknesses as those from the most recent report. The IG’s report isn’t the only example of EPA administrative failures, lest we forget the saga of John Beale that played out from the early 90’s to 2012.

Beale was a former EPA employee whose fraud cost taxpayers almost a million dollars. Beale was one of the highest paid EPA employees, due in part to his receipt of a fraudulent retention bonus. A 2014 report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) titled “Dirty Business at the EPA” also found that from 2000-2012 Beale was absent from work over 600 days, often citing the outlandish excuse he was conducting CIA missions.

The kicker is that at the height of Beale’s fraud from 2009-2012, his direct supervisor was then OAR Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy. IER’s report found in just three years under McCarthy, Beale committed fraud totaling $373,799, almost as high as the amount of his three previous supervisors combined.

One would predict that after Beale’s decade long fraud heads would have rolled at the EPA. Instead, Gina McCarthy is now the Administrator of the EPA. To quote directly from the IER’s report, “if McCarthy’s oversight of employees is so lax that someone can get paid without showing up for work for over a year then how can the American people trust the other pronouncements from McCarthy’s EPA?”

The IG’s recent report evidences an ongoing culture of financial misconduct at the EPA. It’s doubtful this culture will change given the current EPA Administrator failed to notice the greatest fraud in EPA history was being committed on her watch. Thus in years to come, Americans could again find themselves footing the bill for EPA employees’ gym memberships and fictitious CIA missions.


The EPA is charging $75,000/day over a private citizen’s pond, but don’t you worry about their revisions to the Clean Water Act

Earlier this week, I mentioned an NYT article detailing the concerns of a large group of farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, builders, and etcetera over the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent undertaking to personally revise the parameters of the Clean Water Act. The Act was originally meant to give the EPA the authority to regulate waters connecting to the “navigable waterways” of the United States, but as the EPA has steadily and aggressively tried to expand their jurisdiction over the years, they have had to deal with far too many bothersome lawsuits challenging their authority. Ergo, they decided to rewrite the rules to more clearly define exactly what bodies of water are within their regulatory power — and a bunch of lawmakers, lobbies, businesses, and private citizens are worried that the end result is going to be yet another massive EPA power grab that will make big government an even more pervasive and retarding for in commercial activity and on private property.

The EPA, of course, is scornfully dismissing these concerns and would really like for everyone to just calm down. After all, these bureaucrats are just trying to do their munificent “green” jobs, and as one lawyer in the aforementioned NYT article impatiently noted of the draft regulations leaked late last year, “The draft guidance is clear that irrigation ditches, drainage ponds and even groundwater are not considered waters of the U.S. Nor are gullies, rills, swales and other erosional features. This has been explained over and over again.”

Yes, I simply can’t imagine why any of these concerned groups think they have a reason to worry. Via Fox News:

    "All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.

    But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine.

    The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.

    The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it. …

    But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines."

But those Clean Water Act revisions they say they have no intention of abusing? You should definitely just take their word for it.



Ecofascist Professor Wants Climate Change “Deniers” Thrown in Jail

An assistant philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology has proposed a bold plan to settle the debate on Global Warming. Lawrence Torcello wrote an essay suggesting that scientists who fail to fall in line with global warming alarmists should be charged with criminal negligence, and possibly even be thrown in jail. Nothing screams academic freedom like a little intellectual Fascism. Right?

When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on.

Well, Larry (can we call him Larry?), it might surprise you – an assistant professor of philosophy – to learn that science is not a democratic study. Skepticism, opposition, and deviation from the adopted narrative are more responsible for scientific discovery than blind allegiance to any prevailing theory. And, quite frankly, the theory of anthropogenic global warming has been delegitimized by some of its greatest proponents… Most scientists would agree that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe in a theory that has routinely failed to produce any moderately accurate models or predictions. But, of course it gets better:

With such high stakes, an organized campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.

Laughably, Larry is not talking about East Anglia, Al Gore, or the UN Climate Change Scandal (where a number of scientists were quoted out of context to give the impression of a consensus view on climate change). In fact, while Larry alleges that “deniers” (apparently the word “skeptic” doesn’t have the right amount of stigma attached to it) are engaged in a misinformation campaign, he never once defends the propagandistic efforts of the global-warming-faithful.

Governments, activist groups, well connected CEOs, and elite billionaire Liberals have pushed trillions of dollars into the propagation of global warming fears. And yet, strangely, this assistant philosophy professor seems incapable unwilling to see the irony of his allegations. But, wait… He soon goes for the jugular:

We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.

Ah… So scientists who dare to question the provably wrong predictions of melted ice caps, winterless years, and raising sea levels should be charged with negligence for “undermining the public’s understanding of scientific consensus”? Well, here’s some scientific consensus for you, Larry:

The world has not seen a measurable increase in temperatures for over 15 years. Arctic ice has increased in mass since 2013. The “Polar Vortex” is part of a broader, and predictable, weather shift that has been happening for thousands of years. “Climate Change” has been occurring, without man-made forces, for every single one of the billions of years this rock has been spinning around the sun.

But, let’s be honest: Larry isn’t really worried about the science (even though I’m sure his studies in philosophy have yielded him great insights into climatology, atmospheric science, and meteorological changes throughout history). He’s worried about opposition to his beliefs. He even acknowledges some of the pushback that his idea might receive:

"My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech."

Misguided? The Left’s intolerance, it seems, has no bounds. A student from Harvard recently argued against academic freedom. Not wanting to be outdone, this assistant professor is now suggesting that political opponents (or for that matter, scientists who don’t tow his ideological ideals) be criminally charged. It is almost stunning how easily the Left will adopt the notion of censorship and intellectual fascism to limit their opposition.

For being an assistant professor of philosophy, Torcello seems stunningly married to an egocentric world view. People who disagree with him, in his mind, are not merely “wrong”… They’re crossing the threshold into criminality. This is a point of view that is growing among the Left. Opponents to the President are racist. Opponents of Nancy Pelosi are sexist. Advocates for traditional marriage are bigots. And, apparently, opponents to the theory of anthropogenic global warming are worthy of a little jail time. This doesn’t seem like positions that lend themselves to any degree of philosophical integrity.

If Larry really wants to help fight global warming, he should keep his totalitarian mouth shut… Currently, he’s spewing too much hot air into the atmosphere.


The Withering of Wind Power; or Obama's Not a Smart Investor

We learned something really surprising about the wind energy industry from President Obama's FY2015 budget proposal. He doesn't believe that the industry will ever be capable of economically sustaining itself.

Here's how we know. Tucked away within the proposal, President Obama is proposing making the wind energy production tax credit permanent.

    "Mr. Obama’s budget would permanently extend the production tax credit for wind electricity, which expired last year after Congress failed to pass a bill renewing it. Over the next 10 years, the tax credit would cost $19.2 billion, according to the budget plan.

    Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) has indicated he wants to pass a bill extending this tax credit and other temporary ones. But it’s unclear whether he has enough support to pass it in the full Senate, and the House seems even less likely to support such a proposal."

Originally established in 1992, the wind energy production tax credit has had a lot to do with fueling the growth of the nation's wind energy generating capacity since its inception. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports just how much the installed capacity for wind has grown in the years from 2000 through 2012, much of which has been enabled by the wind energy production tax credit subsidy:

So with that kind of "success", why does the wind energy industry need a permanent tax credit? After all, the purpose of the tax credit was to greatly accelerate the growth of the nation's installed capacity for wind energy - not to permanently sustain it.

That's why the U.S. Congress is willing to do away with the wind energy industry's tax credit:

    "This sweetheart deal looks to be on its way out, in part because it succeeded in what it set out to do. Over the past five years, wind has accounted for 36 percent of all new electricity generation installed in the U.S., second only to new natural gas installations. Wind now supplies more than 4 percent of the country’s electricity. At about 60,000 megawatts, there’s enough wind energy capacity to power 15.2 million U.S. homes, a more than twentyfold increase since 2000. It’s still tiny compared to fossil fuel: Combined, coal and natural gas supply roughly two-thirds of U.S. electricity. But wind produces about six times more electricity than solar. That’s led Congress to take steps to do away with tax incentives first established in 1992 to help the fledgling industry take root. In December lawmakers allowed the credit to expire."

The problem though is that for all its apparent success, wind energy is far from being as reliable as the fans of renewable energy would make it seem:

    "In Texas, the wind tends to blow the hardest in the middle of the night. That’s also when most people are asleep and electricity prices drop, which would be a big problem for the companies that own the state’s 7,690 wind turbines if not for a 20-year-old federal subsidy that effectively pays them a flat rate for making clean energy no matter what time it is. Wind farms, whether privately owned or part of a public utility, receive a $23 tax credit for every megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. (A megawatt-hour is enough juice to power about 1,000 homes for one hour.) This credit, which was worth about $2 billion for all U.S. wind projects in 2013, has helped lower the price of electricity in parts of the country where wind power is prevalent, since wind producers can charge less and still turn a profit. In Texas, the biggest wind-producing state in the U.S., wind farms have occasionally sold electricity for less than zero—that is, they’ve paid to provide power to the grid to undercut the state’s nuclear or coal energy providers."

To find out how reliable wind energy is for utility consumers, we've taken the NREL's data and calculated the average production for the nation's installed wind capacity

For our calculation of Average Wind Energy Produced, we divided the total electricity generated by wind by 8,760, which is the number of hours in a year. The result gives us a good indication of how much of the claimed "Installed Capacity" for wind energy was actually realized, for which we've also calculated the percentage.

That math assumes that the wind power generating equipment that has been installed would be running 24 hours a day, which is far from the case, as the strength of the wind varies throughout the course of a day, and also for more mundane reasons, such as the need to perform periodic maintenance, during which the wind turbines are shut down from operating. As such, it does not give an indication of the efficiency at which electricity is generated while the wind turbines are running.

What it does do however is give us a good sense of how reliable wind energy is in generating electricity for utility consumers. From 2000 through 2012, what we find is that wind energy delivered anywhere from 18% to 29% of its installed capacity, demonstrating a considerable degree of unreliability for utility consumers compared to other methods of generating power. Going by the wind energy industry's own claims, instead of powering the equivalent of 15 million American homes, it's actually only powering enough power for somewhere between 2.7 and 4.35 million of them.

Put another way, for utility consumers, wind energy is only capable of delivering somewhere between one-fifth to less than one-third of its promise. And even then, it doesn't deliver what it produces when it's really needed.

That's why the wind energy industry badly needs its production tax credit to be made permanent:

    "That the green energy lobby is now working to make the wind energy tax credit a permanent burden upon U.S. taxpayers, even as the industry supporters claim the industry's "success", really means that the entire industry's business model is fatally flawed. In calling to make the tax credit permanent at their behest, President Obama is really communicating on their behalf that the wind energy industry will never be able to sustain itself without it.

    A smart investor would recognize these things and cut their losses so they could move on to greener opportunities. Allowing the wind energy industry's tax credit to permanently expire rather than be made a permanent burden for American taxpayers would make that possible."

Alas, President Obama is not a smart investor. Especially where green energy is involved.


World’s next shale boom taking shape

Top on the list of potential venues for the next shale boom are China, Russia and Argentina, but the world’s next shale revolution likely will be in Australia, which appears to be the most attractive place for companies to pursue tight oil and gas, according to a Lux Research analysis released recently.

While companies have eyed shale development in China, lured by the prospect of huge reserves and easy financing, Australia is said to have the know-how, experience and infrastructure to be a more attractive place to drill into shale plays.

It also beats out Argentina, which has expansive shale reserves, but has experienced political instability despite attractive government incentives, according to the Lux report, written by research associate Daniel Choi.

Australia also emerged as the third top investment destinations in 2014 after US and Brazil, according to a recent research report published by DNV GL, the leading technical advisor to the oil and gas industry.

“Australia does not have the seemingly bottomless development capital of China, or the powerful government incentives of Argentina,” the Lux report said. “However, Australia more than makes up for this by having the characteristics conducive to successful commercial production, which other front-runners like Argentina, China, U.K., and Poland lack.”

“This includes existing infrastructure, low population density in key shale plays, and citizens who welcome resource extraction through its long mining legacy,” the report said.

Massive projects being constructed in Australia to produce and export natural gas to Asia make the country more attractive for shale exploration.

Chevron is leading the development of two massive LNG projects in Australia, at a cost of around $81 billion. The projects will liquefy and ship natural gas to energy hungry Asian nations.

Certainly, investors are eyeing the massive projects going up in Australia to produce and export natural gas to Asia, where it will fetch high prices.

Shale boom in the United States

The massive glut in shale oil and gas resources has brought about drastic changes in the country, with calls now being made for restrictions on crude oil and liquefied natural gas to be lifted.


Australia:  Conservatives claim victory in Tasmanian state election

A nasty one for the Greenies, whose work of destroying Tasmanian forest  industries will now be halted.  Most of Tasmania's vast forests have been locked up by deals with the Greenies, leading to high levels of unemployment.  Some of those deals will now be unwound

Winning Liberal [party] leader Will Hodgman claimed an emphatic mandate for change in the Tasmanian election after his party was swept to majority government.

Mr Hodgman appeared to have taken up to 14 seats in the 25 seat House of Assembly as Labor and Green votes fell away, according to election analysts.

"We will be decisive and we will not, we will not, adopt a business as usual approach," Mr Hodgman told cheering supporters in the Hobart tally room on Saturday night.

"Tasmanians have voted for change and that is what they will get."

Both outgoing Labor premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim implored Mr Hodgman in their speeches not to re-ignite the state's protracted forests conflict.

"I say tonight to Will Hodgman, don't take us back to war," Mr McKim said. "Protect those forests and protect our people from another four years of bitter conflict."

But Mr Hodgman went to the election promising to tear up a peace deal drawn up by industry and environmental groups.

"We intend to deliver on all those things we have committed to Tasmanians," he said. "That includes in our forest industry, and supporting those regional towns who have voted resoundingly for a change for a better state."

Ms Giddings was returned to parliament, but her potential successor David O'Byrne looked to have been squeezed out by the size of the swing to the Liberals, potentially leaving the ALP with as few as six seats.

In the cut-up of preferences, the Greens were clinging to four seats, with the final make-up of the House of Assembly was unlikely to be known for weeks.

"After 16 years Tasmanians have voted for change and I congratulate Will Hodgman," Ms Giddings said. "I'm proud to be part of this Labor government and all we've done."

She admitted that it had been difficult to sell the message of Labor achievements after so long in power, but her campaign was dogged by dissent inside the party.

Backbencher Brenton Best, repeatedly voiced his disapproval of the party leader, and said Labor should have broken an alliance with the Greens.

As he trailed in his own seat, Mr Best repeated his demands. "I had suggested she should have stood aside and if she had we might have had a different result tonight," he said.

Despite a prominent campaign by billionaire party leader Clive Palmer, the Palmer United Party's vote fell away from the 2013 federal result that brought in senator-elect Jacquie Lambie in Tasmania.

"I think they would have done better to pack up and go home a fortnight ago," said Greens MP Tim Morris.  "They would have had a better result."

Morris admitted he was hanging on to his own seat by his fingernails.



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16 March, 2014

No warmer now than it was in 2003

And other differences are microscopic when expressed as percentages of degrees Kelvin

No warming.  That is what can be deduced from data compiled by NASA as it relates to temperature over the past decade.

The average temperature in 2003 was 14.61 degrees Celsius. And the average temperature in 2013 was 14.61 degrees Celsius, at a growth rate of 0 percent.

Yet, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased by more than 5.5 percent, from 375.77 parts per million (ppm) to 396.48 ppm, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Curious.

In fact, since 1959 — as far back as NOAA’s dataset goes for carbon dioxide levels — carbon dioxide has increased a whopping 25.48 percent, from 315.97 ppm to today’s level of 396.48 ppm.

Casting further doubt on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s man-made global warming hypothesis, carbon emissions have been accelerating, too. For example in the 1960s, they grew at an average rate of 0.27 percent a year, 0.39 percent in the 1970s, 0.45 percent in the 1980s, 0.42 percent in 1990s, and 0.54 percent in the 2000s.

Shouldn’t temperatures be accelerating, too?

They only grew at an average rate of 0.18 percent in the 2000s. That compares with 0.01 percent average annual increase in the 1990s, 0.12 percent in the 1980s, and 0.14 percent in the 1970s. In the 1960s, temperatures actually dropped an average annual 0.39 percent rate, even as emissions increased.

Does this suggest that the more carbon increases, the less impact it has on temperature?

A better question then might be to what degree the rate of increase in carbon emissions actually affects temperatures? The below chart shows CO2 increasing at a rate far faster than temperatures.

In the meantime, policy makers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say we have to take their word for it and attempt to curb carbon emissions here in the U.S. — if that’s even possible — while those emissions promise to continue growing unabated overseas at an ever-faster pace.

According to BP, carbon emissions will increase by 29 percent by 2035 based on continued growth in emerging markets.

That implies carbon dioxide will be at a whopping 114.98 ppm above today’s levels, or an average annual increase of 1.3 percent. That is faster than carbon dioxide has ever grown.

And so, if carbon emissions will be accelerating over the next couple of decades, then temperatures should, too, eventually. Right?

The good news is we’ll find out very soon if the rapidly increasing carbon emissions result in the increasing temperatures the UN has predicted. So far, they have not, calling into question why the EPA is issuing any carbon emission restrictions. This isn’t settled at all.


Not reproduced above is some nonsense about Celsius not being a ratio scale.  The author has evidently been bluffed by Greenies.  Celsius can be converted to a ratio scale (degrees Kelvin) simply by adding a constant and if you compared temperatures using the Kelvin scale, you would get an even SMALLER percentage change in temperature in recent times

The bonfire of insanity: Woodland is shipped 3,800 miles and burned in Drax power station. It belches out more CO2 than coal at a huge cost YOU pay for... and all supposedly for a cleaner, greener Britain!

On a perfect spring day in the coastal forest of North Carolina I hike along a nature trail – a thread of dry gravel between the pools of the Roanoke river backwaters. A glistening otter dives for lunch just a few feet away.

Majestic trees soar straight and tall, their roots sunk deep in the swampland: maples, sweetgums and several kinds of oak. A pileated woodpecker – the world’s largest species, with a wingspan of almost 2ft – whistles as it flutters across the canopy. There the leaves are starting to bud, 100ft above the ground.

The trees seem to stretch to the horizon: a serene and timeless landscape.

But North Carolina’s ‘bottomland’ forest is being cut down in swathes, and much of it pulped and turned into wood pellets – so Britain can keep its lights on.

The UK is committed by law to a radical shift to renewable energy. By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.

The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood, man’s oldest fuel – because EU rules have determined it is ‘carbon-neutral’.

So our biggest power station, the leviathan Drax plant near Selby in North Yorkshire, is switching from dirty, non-renewable coal. Biomass is far more expensive, but the consumer helps the process by paying subsidies via levies on energy bills.

That’s where North Carolina’s forests come in. They are being reduced to pellets in a gargantuan pulping process at local factories, then shipped across the Atlantic from a purpose-built dock at Chesapeake Port, just across the state line in Virginia.

Those pellets are burnt by the billion at Drax. Each year, says Drax’s head of environment, Nigel Burdett, Drax buys more than a million metric tons of pellets from US firm Enviva, around two thirds of its total output. Most of them come not from fast-growing pine, but mixed, deciduous hardwood.

Drax and Enviva insist this practice is ‘sustainable’. But though it is entirely driven by the desire to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a broad alliance of US and international environmentalists argue it is increasing, not reducing them.

In fact, Burdett admits, Drax’s wood-fuelled furnaces actually produce three per cent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal – and well over twice as much as gas: 870g per megawatt hour (MW/hr) is belched out by wood, compared to just 400g for gas.

Then there’s the extra CO2 produced by manufacturing the pellets and transporting them 3,800 miles. According to Burdett, when all that is taken into account, using biomass for generating power produces 20 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

And meanwhile, say the environmentalists, the forest’s precious wildlife habitat is being placed  in jeopardy.

Drax concedes that ‘when biomass is burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere’. Its defence is that trees – unlike coal or gas – are renewable because they can grow again, and that when they do, they will neutralise the carbon in the atmosphere by ‘breathing’ it in – or in technical parlance, ‘sequestering’ it.

So Drax claims that burning wood ‘significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared with coal-fired generation’ – by as much, Burdett says, as 80 per cent.

These claims are questionable.  For one thing, some trees in the ‘bottomland’ woods can take more than 100 years to regrow. But for Drax, this argument has proven beneficial and lucrative.

Only a few years ago, as a coal-only plant, Drax was Europe’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and was often targeted by green activists. Now it boasts of its ‘environmental leadership position’, saying it is the biggest renewable energy plant in the world.

It also gets guaranteed profits  from the Government’s green energy subsidies. Last year, these amounted to £62.5?million, paid by levies on consumers’ bills. This is set to triple by 2016 as Drax increases its biomass capacity.

In the longer term, the Government has decreed that customers will pay £105 per MW/hr for Drax’s biomass electricity – £10 more than for onshore wind energy, and £15 more than for power from the controversial new nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The current ‘normal’ market electricity price is just £50 per MW/hr.

Mr Burdett admitted: ‘Our whole business case is built on subsidy, like the rest of the renewable energy industry. We are simply responding to Government policy.’

Company spokesman Matt Willey added: ‘We’re a power company. We’ve been told to take coal out of the equation. What would you have us do – build a dirty great windfarm?’  Meanwhile, there are other costs, less easily quantifiable.

‘These are some of our most valuable forests,’ said my trail companion, Derb Carter, director of the Southern Environmental Law Centre in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

‘Your government’s Department  for Energy and Climate Change claims what’s happening is sustainable,  and carbon neutral. But it’s not. What you’re actually doing is wrecking the environment in the name of saving  the planet.

After our hike through the forest, Mr Carter and I drove to a nearby airfield, where we boarded  a plane. From 2,000ft up, the forest spread beneath us. Soon, however, we reached an oblong wedge, an open wound in the landscape.

It was a recent ‘clear cut’ where every tree had been removed, leaving only mud, water and a few stumps. Clear cuts are the standard means of harvesting these forests, and this one covered about 35 acres.

In the next 10 minutes, we flew over at least a dozen such holes in the tree cover. Finally a looming smokestack appeared up ahead: Enviva’s pellet plant at Ahoskie.

To one side lay the material that provides the plant’s input: a huge, circular pile of logs: tens of thousands of them, each perhaps 30 or 40ft long.  In the middle was a heavy-duty crane. It swivelled round and grabbed bunches of the logs as if they were matchsticks, to feed them into the plant’s machines.

Later, we inspected the plant on the ground. It’s clear that many of the logs are not branches, but trunks: as Carter observed, they displayed the distinctive flaring which swampland trees often have at their base.

Here the story becomes murky. At Drax, Burdett said that in making pellets, Enviva used only ‘thinnings, branches, bentwood .??.??. we are left with the rubbish, the residue from existing forestry operations. It’s a waste or by-products industry.’  He insisted: ‘We don’t actually chop whole trees down.’

But looking at the plant at Ahoskie, Carter said: ‘I just don’t get this claim that Drax doesn’t use whole trees. Most of what you’re seeing here is whole trees.’

Pressed by The Mail on Sunday, Enviva yesterday admitted it does use whole trees in its pellet process. But according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Woodworth, it only pulps those deemed ‘unsuitable for sawmilling because of small size, disease or other defects’.

She claimed such trees, no more than 26 inches in diameter, make up a quarter of the wood processed at Ahoskie. Another 35 per cent comes from limbs and the top parts of trunks whose lower sections went to saw mills. To put it another way: 60 per cent of the wood cut by the loggers who supply Enviva is turned into pellets.

The firm, she added, was ‘committed to sustainable forestry… replacing coal with sustainably produced wood pellets reduces lifecycle emissions of carbon dioxide by 74 to 90 per cent.’

How fast do these forests, once cut, really regrow?

Clear-cut wetlands cannot be replanted. They will start to sprout again naturally quite quickly, but according to Clayton Altizer of the North Carolina forest service: ‘For bottomland sites, these types of forests are typically on a 60 to 100-year cycle of growth depending on the soil fertility.’ Other experts say it could easily take more than 100 years.

That means it will be a long time before all the carbon emitted from Drax can be re-absorbed. For decades, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be higher than it would have been if Drax still burnt only coal.

Drax’s Nigel Burdett yesterday admitted he did not know how long a North Carolina clear-cut bottomland swathe would take to regrow, but insisted this simply doesn’t matter. What counted, he said, was not the areas which had been cut, but the whole region from which the pellets were sourced.

Drax’s website implies unmistakeably that biomass deserves its ‘carbon neutral’ status because the wood cut for pellets regrows. But Mr Burdett said: ‘The rate at which it re-grows is irrelevant. The crucial issue is how much there is across the whole catchment area.’

He said that in North Carolina, as in other southern states, more wood is growing than being cut so the ‘sustainable’ claim is justified.

There is an obvious objection to this: the forests would be growing still faster, and absorbing more CO2, if they weren’t being cut down.

Burdett’s argument gets short shrift from conservationists.

Danna Smith, director of North Carolina’s Dogwood Alliance, said the pellet industry increases the pressure to ‘over-harvest’ forests, as landowners know they have a guaranteed market for material which they could not otherwise sell: ‘It adds to the value they get from clear-cutting.’

Moreover, she added, if this incentive did not exist, they would wait until the smaller trees were big enough to cut for furniture and construction – and all that time, they would be absorbing carbon.

A recent study showed that bigger, older trees absorb more CO2 than saplings. As for Drax’s claim that what counts is regrowth across the region, ‘that just doesn’t capture what’s happening around the mills where they’re sourcing the wood’.

According to a study by a team  of academics, published in December by Carter’s law centre, Enviva’s operations in North Carolina ‘pose high risks to wildlife and biodiversity, especially birds’.

The Roanoke wetlands are home to several rare or endangered species: the World Wildlife Fund said in a report that the forests constitute ‘some of the most biologically important habitats in North America’ and constitute a ‘critical/endangered resource’.

Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, the sheer scale of Drax’s biomass operation is hard to take in at first sight. Wood pellets are so much less dense than coal, so Drax has had to commission the world’s biggest freight wagons to move them by rail from the docks at Hull, Immingham and Port of Tyne. Each car is more than 60ft high, and the 25-car trains are half a mile long. On arrival, the pellets are stored in three of the world’s largest domes, each 300ft high – built by lining colossal inflated polyurethane balloons with concrete. Inside one of them, not  yet in use, the echo is impressive. Light filters in through slits in the roof, like a giant version of the Pantheon church in Rome.

To date, only one of Drax’s six turbine ‘units’ has been converted from coal to biomass: another two are set to follow suit in the next two years. Eventually, the firm says, its 3.6 gigawatt capacity – about five per cent of the UK total – will be ‘predominantly’ biomass, burning seven million tons of pellets a year.

From the domes, the pellets are carried along a 30ft-wide conveyor belt into a milling plant where they are ground to powder. This is burnt in the furnaces, blown down into them by deafening industrial fans.

All this has required an investment of £700?million. Thanks to the green subsidies, this will soon be paid off. Even if all Britain’s forests were devoted to Drax, they could not keep its furnaces going. ‘We need areas with lots of wood, a reliable supply chain,’ Mr Burdett said.

As well as Enviva, Drax buys wood from other firms such as Georgia Biomass, which supplies mainly pine. It is building new pellet-making plants in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change issued new rules on biomass sourcing, and will insist on strict monitoring to ensure there really is ‘sustainability’.

In North Carolina, this will not be easy: as Carter points out, there is very little local regulation. But wouldn’t a much more effective and cheaper way of cutting emissions be to shut down Drax altogether, and replace it with clean new gas plants – which need no subsidy at all?

Mr Burdett said: ‘We develop  our business plan in light of what the Government wants – not what might be nice.’


It's time for GM crops, adviser tells British PM

There is no evidence genetically modified crops are dangerous and they may even be more beneficial to health than natural produce, says government's top science adviser

Genetically modified crops could be more nutritious than natural produce, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has told the Prime Minister.

Sir Mark Walport has written to David Cameron recommending that farmers should start to plant GM crops.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that such crops are dangerous to humans or the environment, he says.

They could even be more beneficial to health, he argues. Scientists could add nutrients to the genetic make-up of plants.

They would cut down on the need for pesticides and help farmers feed a growing population at a time when global warming threatens climates. “Extensive studies have failed to reveal any inherent risks to humans or the environment,” said Sir Mark. “We take it for granted that because our shelves and supermarkets are heaving with food that there are no problems with food security. But we have limited land in the UK and climate disruption and population growth are putting pressure on food supply.”

GM crops have polarised opinion since they were first produced by American scientists in 1982.

Activists claim they could cause cancer, damage ecosystems and cross-pollinate with grasses to produce “super-weeds”.

No GM crops are currently grown in Britain. Sir Mark is calling for a new body to approve GM crop production on a case-by-case basis, in the same way that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence regulates new drugs. Currently GM crops must be passed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and then approved by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes — an independent body of scientific experts.

But scientists have accused the EFSA of being increasingly “hostile” to GM plants.

However, other academics said that the European Union regulations were important. Prof Joe Perry, of the University of Greenwich, said: “The regulatory process within the EU gives confidence to consumers.”

Previous studies have suggested that some modified crops could cause tumours and early death. But a report published on Thursday by academics from Cambridge and Reading Universities ruled out any link to cancer.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the government was working to allow GM crops to be grown in Britain.


Strange Democrat priorities

They pulled an all-nighter in the Senate on one of the coldest nights in DC, after the coldest winter on record with over 55 new lows having been recorded. They held their all-nighter not to discuss the Ukraine and the invasion of the SECOND independent state by the smug thug in the Kremlin; or a downed possibly-by-terrorism Malaysian airliner; they were concerned not that more people will wind up uninsured than before Obamacare began, or that a huge number of doctors are leaving with no one who will replace them or to take Obamacare payments anyway; not about the election in Florida that will turn congress Republican...(oh yes, the Republican candidate won!)...but Climate Change.

Before the AGW narrative took hold, I mean, the one cartoonists with a great sense of humor at Walt Disney's studios created, the climate has never changed. Every day the climate was exactly like the day before, the month before, the year before - the same. The idea that climate is capable of changing naturally as the deniers insist, is preposterous.

The Ukraine is coming apart at the seams, 30,000 Russian troops wearing no insignia (both the invasion and the no insignia is a violation of international law) have invaded eastern Europe, and one Democratic senator after another Democratic senator thought it proper to get up on his soapbox with pre-prepared speeches from the White House, to talk at length about the $50 million donation some hedgie offered to support the narrative that Global Warming is "real." In other words, after having already spent billions over the last decade trying to convince  unbelievers, aka infidels, by repeating it a million times that Global Warming is real will make it so, the Democrats are looking to fund out of the nation's treasury another round of AGW religious indoctrination of the nation's citizens at taxpayer's expense.

Global Warming? It's about money and if you thing it's about science, there's a really cute pet DODO I can sell you. It talks and walks like a duck and dispenses cash like an ATM.

The Democrats tell us that 98% of the American people believe Global Warming is real - which must be true if one had recalculated the US population where 98% of Americans were democrats who lived in The Village or Palm Beach, and the nation's Republicans are represented by the 2% who own penthouse pied a terres next to The Donald's at Trump Towers. As it happens, only Democrats - and no one else - actually believe the warming narrative the very year after the planet had experienced a 60% polar ice cap growth; and after a three ft. sheet of ice covered the North American continent and much of the world too, for almost three months...

...which reminds me before I forget:

If Global Warming were not a political, but a genuine scientific issue, "settled science" as our president tells us just as convincingly as he told us that "words have meaning" and that "You can keep your health care plan; you can keep your doctors," I ask why is this story about a global meltdown only believed by  Democratic operatives and no one else but Democrats hype it?  Just asking, but then who am I  to ask anything?

Because it isn't political? Of course it's not political!

It's financial!

People will make a lot of money in the world's largest redistributionist scheme ever devised. Money from your pockets to theirs. They have a lot of money riding on the AGW story, including the hedgie who will "donate" $50 million to propagate it.

Indeed, we Americans do live in The Twilight Zone, the epicenter is Congress, and with the all nighter in mind, one can observe that DC is like a roach motel into which one can check in, but one cannot check out.

Email from

China’s Shale Revolution Taking Shape As Production Surges More Than Fivefold

China, which sits on the world’s largest shale reserves, may exceed its 2015 output goal, as a new project in the nation’s southwest and the promise of fresh investment leave government targets looking outdated.

China Petrochemical Corp., the parent of the listed company known as Sinopec, agreed last week with local government to build shale gas capacity at its Fuling site to 5 billion cubic meters a year by 2015. It suggests a national target of 6.5 billion cubic meters will be met or surpassed.

“China can easily beat the 2015 target, thanks largely to the accelerated pace of development from Sinopec’s Fuling project,” said Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. in Shanghai. Shi said contributions from other shale producers could lift 2015 output as high as 10 billion cubic meters.

While China’s reserves are almost double that of the U.S., its production target is meager compared to U.S. output in 2012 of 266 billion cubic meters. High costs, difficult terrain and lack of infrastructure have stunted development and cast doubt on whether even its existing targets could be met. As concerns over coal-fired pollution mount, the nation is pushing harder to unlock its potential shale bonanza.

“China is on the way to achieve its 2015 target, especially with the suddenly expanded capacity from Sinopec,” said Gordon Kwan, regional head of oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. He said PetroChina Co., the nation’s biggest oil and gas company, may produce as much as 2 billion cubic meters of shale gas in 2015.

Output Surge

China’s annual shale gas production surged more than fivefold in 2013 to 200 million cubic meters a year, according to the Land and Resources Ministry. The country consumed 169 billion cubic meters of gas in 2013, with about one third coming from imports.

The Fuling project recorded daily production of 2.2 million cubic meters on March 2, up from 1.5 million cubic meters, according to the Chongqing Daily, the official newspaper of the municipality where Fuling is located. Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu said the Fuling agreement signals the start of a “massive” development phase for shale gas in China, according to a report on the land ministry’s website on March 4.

At the National People’s Congress in Beijing, which wraps up this week, both Fu and Zhou Jiping, the chairman of PetroChina and its parent China National Petroleum Corp., said they would open up shale development to private investment, as part of government-driven reforms.

Collective Effort

The collective effort makes the 2015 target achievable, said Neil Beveridge, a senior research analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong. However, it will still be “a bit of a stretch” to meet China’s far more ambitious annual target of 60 billion to 100 billion cubic meters by 2020, he said.

China holds 25.08 trillion cubic meters of exploitable onshore shale-gas reserves, the land ministry said in March 2012. The U.S. has 13.65 trillion cubic meters of technically recoverable gas from shale formations, its Energy Information Administration said in January that year.

Lv Dapeng, Sinopec’s Beijing-based spokesman, and Li Runsheng, CNPC’s Beijing-based spokesman, didn’t answer two calls each to their office lines seeking comment on the companies’ production targets.


Green Hypocrisy: CEO of Virgin Airlines Says Global Warming Skeptics Should ‘Get Out of Our Way’

Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, recently said that climate change deniers should “get out of our way.” The comment comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month that global warming skeptics should not buy shares in his firm. But the Daily Caller pointed out that Branson’s statement is, well, just a bit hypocritical to say the least.

    Virgin CEO Richard Branson may be championing green business investments but his airline empire has emitted more than 7.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the years.

    Branson recently took to his blog to decry global warming denialism, saying that those who are skeptical of mankind’s effect on the planet should “get out of our way.” But Branson’s own airline companies have emitted millions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

I think it’s a good time to revisit this video of filmmaker and journalist Phelim McAleer pointing out the hypocrisy of environmentalists at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009.



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

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


14 March, 2014

Under Putin's Shadow, EU Parliament Excludes Shale Gas From Tougher Environmental Rules

EU politicians on Wednesday voted for tougher rules on exposing the environmental impact of oil and conventional gas exploration, while excluding shale gas.

Member states such as Britain and Poland are pushing hard for the development of shale gas, seen as one way to lessen dependence on Russian gas, as well as to lower energy costs as it has in the United States.

The plenary vote of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France follows a compromise deal on the draft law in December, which was struck only after negotiators agreed to leave out references to shale gas.

Member states are expected to give their endorsement over the coming weeks, after which the law will become final.

Under the planned law, assessments of a range of infrastructure projects, as well as oil and gas, will include their impact on biodiversity and climate change, plus measures to ensure authorities granting approval have no conflict of interest.

Industry said the new law avoided placing too many restrictions on projects during their early phases when commercial viability is unclear.

"While not imposing unnecessary requirements on the upstream oil and gas industry, the new rules will guarantee that any development, including exploration for shale gas, will be subject to strict environmental standards," Roland Festor, director for EU affairs at the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, said.

Shale Gas Europe, which brings together companies such as Chevron, Total and Cuadrilla Resources, also welcomed the law.

"Shale gas could potentially play an important role in meeting Europe's acute energy challenges," Marcus Pepperell, spokesman for Shale Gas Europe, said.

Green politicians, however, said the decision to leave out shale gas was a major setback and that the fracking process, which involves using chemicals to extract gas from the shale rock, posed risks to health and the environment.

"The Greens believe there is already sufficient evidence to ban fracking but ensuring informed permit decisions through the environmental impact assessment procedure must be the absolute minimum," Sandrine Belier, environment spokeswoman for the European Greens, said.


Relentless Global Warming "Scientists" Continue Their Scams

By Alan Caruba

Despite the growing worldwide recognition that global warming—now called climate change—is a hoax and that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle going on seventeen years, those most responsible for it continue to put forth baseless “science” about it.

The hoax has its base in the United Nations which is home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and got its start with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 that went into force in 2005. It limits “greenhouse gas” emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2). It purports that the gases are warming the Earth and many nations signed on to reduce them. The U.S. did not and in 2011 Canada withdrew from it. Europe is suffering economically from the billions it invested in “alternative energy” sources, wind and solar power.

Five years ago, emails between a group of the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia scientists and others who were generating computer models that “proved” global warming were revealed. It was quickly dubbed “climategate” for the way the emails demonstrated the manipulation of data claiming that global warming was real. They had good reason to be worried, given the natural cooling cycle the Earth has entered, but of even greater concern was the potential loss of enormous amounts of money they were receiving for their deception.

To date, not one of theirs and other computer models “proving” global warming have been accurate.

On Wednesday, March 10, The Wall Street Journal published an article, “Scientists Say Four New Gases Threaten the Ozone.”  It reported on the latest effort of “scientists” at the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia and it is no coincidence that the university was the center for the original IPCC data created to introduce and maintain the global warming hoax.

“Traces of four previously undetected man-made gases have been discovered in the atmosphere, where they are endangering Earth’s protective ozone layer, a team of scientists from six countries reported Sunday.”

Trace gases are those that represent less than 1% in the Earth's atmosphere. CO2, for example, represents a meager 0.038% of the atmosphere and represents no impact whatever on the Earth’s climate. It is, however, vital to all life on Earth as it is the "food" for all of its vegetation.

“The gases are of the sort that are banned or being phased out under a global treaty to safeguard the high altitude blanket of ozone that protects the planet from dangerous ultraviolet radiation, experts said.” These “experts” failed to mention that everywhere above the Earth’s active volcanoes the ozone is naturally affected by their massive natural discharge of various gases. The oceans routinely absorb and discharge CO2 to maintain a balance. The bans included the gas used primarily in air conditioners and for refrigeration. It has since been replaced.

Another gas that was banned is a byproduct of chemicals called pyrethroids that “are often used in household insecticides.” Banning insecticides is a great way of reducing the Earth’s population as insects spread diseases and destroy property. Ironically, termites produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

The means used to detect the gases included comparing “the atmosphere today to old air trapped in annual layers of Greenland snow” and they also studied “air collected by high altitude research aircraft and by sensors aboard routine passenger jet flights around the world.” Not mentioned is the fact that the Earth has had higher amounts of CO2 in earlier times which posed no threat to it, so a few trace gases hardly represent a “threat.”

This kind of questionable “science” was practiced by one of the most well-known of the East Anglia scientists, an American scientist named Michael Mann, who used tree ring data to prove a massive, sudden increase in CO2 in his “hockey stick” graph that has since been debunked by skeptical scientists.

Mann has brought a libel law suit against columnist Mark Steyn, the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, charging defamation. Such suits cost a lot of money and Robert Tracinski, writing in Real Clear Politics in February noted that “it’s interesting that no one asks who is going to go bankrupt funding Mann’s lawsuit. Who is insuring Mann against this loss?”

Tracinski pointed out that “It is libel to maliciously fabricate facts about someone” but that it is “legal for me, for example, to say that Michael Mann is a liar, if I don’t believe his erroneous scientific conclusions are the product of honest error. It is also legal for me to say that he is a coward and a liar, for hiding behind libel laws in an attempt to suppress criticism.” The East Anglia emails revealed that they were doing whatever they could to suppress the publication of studies that disputed global warming in various science journals.

How specious is this latest announcement about trace gases that they assert are a threat to the ozone layer? An atmospheric chemist, Johannes Laube of the East Anglia group making the announcement, was quoted as saying “We are not able to pinpoint any sources” for the trace gases. “We are not able to point a finger.”

The objective of the announcement is the same as the creation of the entire global warming hoax. It provides the basis for the transfer of funds between developed and undeveloped nations and would grant greater power to the United Nations to reduce the world’s manufacturing base while endangering and controlling the lives of everyone on Earth.

Is the latest “research” a lie? The data it cites has some basis in fact, but those facts are an excuse, like those cited about greenhouse gases, to frighten nations into wasting billions on climate threats that do not exist. The real threats remain climate events over which mankind never has and never will have any control.


Warmist Jim Hansen pisses on renewables

I gather he likes nukes

    “… efficiency and renewables are not causing carbon emissions to decline – on the contrary, emissions are growing rapidly [because of demand growth]. This situation was predictable.”

    “Foundations and major environmental organizations (“greens”) are pretty much on the same page, so don’t expect to get support if you question their position. Instead, expect to be attacked.”

    “[Green] groups have scientists on their staffs, but they do not act like scientists, continually questioning their own position with an open mind. Instead, like scientist-deniers, renewables-can-do-all scientists act like talking-head lawyers hired to defend a predetermined position.”

    “I used to think that [greens] would change their tune as a little more empirical data on energy use accumulated. Instead, like climate-deniers, they cherry-pick data, concluding that we are on the verge of renewables providing all of our energy.”

    “The Koch brothers could not purchase such powerful support for their enterprise. The renewables-can-do-all greens are combining with the fossil industry to lock-in widespread expansion of fracking.”

    “Courageous actions to block mountaintop removal, tar sands pipelines, destructive long-wall mining and all such things will be in vain without adequate energy alternatives. Obama is not supporting fossil fuels because he loves them. He does not have adequate alternatives.”

    “Greens fanatically support an anti-nuclear-power agenda, asserting that even low level radiation is harmful to human health, an assertion that is not supported unequivocally by scientific evidence.”


The Environmentalist Eugenics of the Left

Pick up a copy of Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget and there among the TSA fee hikes, Medicare payment cuts and the $400 million for the Department of Homeland Security to fight global warming is a curious little item.

On Page 930 of the budget that never ends is $575 million for “family planning/reproductive health” worldwide especially in “areas where population growth threatens biodiversity or endangered species.”

The idea that the way to protect insects, fish and animals is by preventing human beings from having children is part of an approach known as Population, Health and Environment (PHE) which integrates population control into environmentalist initiatives.

PHE dates back to the 1980s and is practiced by mainstream organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund. The Smithsonian’s Woodrow Wilson Center, which is funded partly by the US government, aggressively champions PHE eugenics and USAID funds PHE programs and distributes PHE training manuals derived in part from Wilson Center materials.

PHE had been baked into congressional bills such as the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2013 co-sponsored by Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and Sheila Jackson-Lee which urged meeting United Nations Millennium Development Goals by using birth control as, among other things, a means of “ensuring environmental sustainability.”

Obama’s budget is more open about its PHE eugenics agenda. While PHE backers usually claim that they want to reduce population to prevent famine and promote gender equality, the budget explicitly states that its goal is to reduce human population growth for the sake of the animals, without any of the usual misleading language about feminism and clean water.

The budget is a blunt assertion of post-human values by an administration that has become notorious for its fanatical environmentalism, sacrificing people on the altar of Green ideology.

When Obama’s Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Alaska, she told the residents of an Eskimo village where nineteen people had died due to the difficulty of evacuating patients during medical emergencies that, “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals.”

Jewell rejected the road that they needed to save lives because it would inconvenience the local waterfowl. When it came to choosing between the people and the ducks, Jewell chose the ducks.

Ducks don’t talk, but environmentalists do, and they had vocally opposed helping the people of King Cove. Jewell had received the Rachel Carson Award, named after an environmentalist hero whose fearmongering killed millions. Compared to the Carson malaria graveyards of Africa, nineteen dead Eskimos slide off the post-human conscience of a fanatical environmentalist like water off a duck’s back.

USAID, which played a key role in the war on DDT, has openly embraced PHE. The arguments against DDT often focused not on saving lives, but on taking them. PHE prevents children from being born, but environmentalists don’t stop with the unborn. Malaria was an even more effective tool for reducing populations.

Environmentalist population reduction activists originally cloaked their real agenda in claims about worldwide famine. Paul Erlich, author of “The Population Bomb,” had predicted mass starvation by the 1970s and the end of England by 2000. Today Global Warming activists set empty dates for the destruction of mankind that they themselves don’t believe in.

The post-human left seeks to maintain a state of perpetual crisis so that governments and corporations will be more inclined to accept even the most horrifying solutions to avoid the end of mankind. What it does not tell them is that its goal is the end of mankind.

In February, Population Action International and the Sierra Club sponsored a congressional briefing on PHE post-2015. Population Action International was originally founded as the Population Crisis Committee in the sixties. Its preceding organizations included the Hugh Moore Fund for International Peace which claimed that population control was necessary to defeat Communism.

Like the Communists, the post-human activists were adept at disguising their agenda in the concerns of the moment, shifting from national security, feminism, the coming Ice Age, mass starvation and now Global Warming.

Environmentalists are even attempting to shoehorn the War on Terror into their agenda as the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program attempts to tie every terrorist conflict zone to global warming.

Environmentalist fearmongering has never been about saving people. Its activists, like Sally Jewell, are too busy playing duck whisperer to care about people.

Green programs have yet to save lives, but they do cost lives. The elderly in the United Kingdom are dying of electric poverty after facing cold winters and shocking price increases due to sustainability mandates, asthma sufferers are dying because the affordable albuterol inhalers they used were banned by the EPA, and people die in fires and floods, in natural disasters that could have been prevented, but are instead blamed on their victims by the environmentalists, who helped make them so lethal.

Not only do environmentalists kill, but they also profit from the deaths of their victims.

Elliot Morley, UK Labour’s Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, had directed that flooding in Somerset should be promoted because “wildlife will benefit from increased water levels.” Baroness Young, an environmental activist, who had become the chief executive of the UK’s Environment Agency, took steps to increase the possibility of flooding.

As she said, the formula was “for ‘instant wildlife, just add water.’”

When the flooding came, children were trapped on buses, 7,000 homes were flooded and many residents lost everything. Environmental activists blamed global warming and “careless farming” for the floods that they themselves had engineered.

Survivors of the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia which killed 173 people blamed environmental regulations for worsening the fires by preventing residents from clearing trees. The environmentalists blamed global warming and sent around an editorial suggesting that people “who don’t like to end up in flames” should read the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report.

California’s drought was likewise engineered by environmental activists who then blamed their own handiwork on global warming.

Environmentalists wield unprecedented power over the lives of millions and yet they claim that each engineered disaster could have been averted if they had only been given even more power.

The left is not only becoming post-American or post-Western, but post-human, applying the same tactics that they used to target majorities in Western countries to the human race as a whole. Class war and race war are giving way to species warfare. And since the ducks cannot talk, ultimate power rests with the duck whisperers, those who speak for the animals, the fish and the trees.

The post-human left takes social justice to its natural conclusion, going beyond all the human categories to level mankind with the polar bear, the duck and the microbe. Total equality for the post-human left is not the equality of the rich and the poor, of men and women, of blacks and whites, or even of the First World and the Third World, but the equality of man and microbe, of a pregnant woman in a small Alaskan fishing village with a duck and a hungry California child with the Kangaroo rat.

The post-Human left seeks to put the species in its place. That is the final endgame of the environmentalist movement. It isn’t out to save mankind; it’s out to destroy it.


Walport and his evidence

UK Government Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport, has been testifying before the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee. His only skill seems to be name-calling.

Another entertaining episode in the hearings this morning was where Mark Walport was asked about Matt Ridley's suggestion that global warming would bring net benefits over 40-50 years. This conclusion is based on Richard Tol's metaanalysis of mainstream economic studies into such questions.  In response to this, Walport had this to say:

"I understand the point [Ridley] is trying to make but I think he's completely wrong unfortunately. While there might be trivial benefits in some parts of the world for some of the time the long term direction for all of us is a negative direction. And frankly I think he is...he described himself as a "rational optimist". I'm not sure about the rational bit."

I wonder if Walport has any actual evidence to support his position that Ridley is wrong. The words read like our chief scientist substituting name-calling for a lack of evidence.


In the comments, Matt Ridley reveals that he has written to Walport, who is signally failing to substantiate his remarks.

Viscount Ridley adds:

I sent this email to Sir Mark Walport:

Dear Mark,

I see that this morning in testifying to the Energy and Climate Change Committee in answer to a question from Graham Stringer MP you described my reporting on studies of the benefits of climate change as "completely wrong" and me as not rational. You will understand that I find these charges damaging to my standing as a journalist and author who takes great care with his research. I also find them surprising coming from somebody who I consider a friend.

It is possible that you had not read my article on the benefits of climate change directly, but had relied on second-hand accounts of it, in which case I can understand how you came to be misled. If so, you can read it here, with links to sources, together with some detailed responses that I made to ill-informed criticisms of the article. My article states:

"There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080. That was the conclusion of Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University after he reviewed 14 different studies of the effects of future climate trends."

Are you saying that the academic, peer-reviewed work by these 14 teams, and the meta-analysis of them by Richard Tol, as well as all the other studies I cited in my article, are all "completely wrong"? Or are you arguing that my reporting of this work was "completely wrong"? Professor Tol thinks my reporting of his paper was accurate, and none of the other authors have objected, so the second charge is certainly unfair.

I know you are busy, but please may we meet to discuss this matter? I am available in the House of Lords on a regular basis. I emailed you on a previous occasion on 13 January, after your letter to the Times, but did not receive a response. I would be grateful if you would acknowledge this email at the very least so that I know it has reached you.

Yours sincerely


I received a reply in which he did not address the question of why he thought I was "completely wrong" but agreed to set up a meeting. However, his criticism remains on the record, so I have asked him to withdraw it.


A reply to "Salon"

"California’s record-breaking drought. Britain’s record-breaking floods. Australia’s unprecedented heat wave. And the polar vortex, times three. The only thing that matched the degree of extreme weather we saw this past winter was the extreme amount of climate denial that arose in response"  -- from "Climate buffoons’ real motives: 5 reasons they still spout debunked garbage"  in Salon

Quite a righteous opening, but factually challenged. Every week brings many similar articles, all examples of the Left’s abandonment of the IPCC, the major climate agencies, and of climate science.  Let’s review the evidence rebuking Ms Abrams’ alarmist rhetoric.

(2)  About those droughts

California and Australia have histories of frequent, severe, and long droughts. Droughts worse and longer than recent ones. More generally, the consensus of climate scientists is clear about the global trend in droughts.

(a)  Aspen Global Change Institute’s “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” (CCSP, 2008):

"Similarly, long-term trends (1925-2003) of hydrologic droughts based on model derived soil moisture and runoff show that droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century (Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends (Groisman et al. , 2004; Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The trends averaged over all of North America since 1950 (Figure 2.6) are similar to U.S. trends for the same period, indicating no overall trend."

(b)  From page 8 of the IPCC’s “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX, 2012)

"There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have  experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. [3.5.1]"

(c)  From the new IPCC AR5, Working Group I, Chapter 2:

"Confidence is low for a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century, owing to lack of direct observations, methodological uncertainties and geographical inconsistencies in the trends. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, this masks important regional changes: the frequency and intensity of drought have likely increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and likely decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950. {}"

There is, of course, ample research supporting these conclusions.

(d)  A broad explanation: “Historical drought trends revisited“, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Nature, 15 November 2012 — “A new assessment of drought trends over the past 60 years finds little evidence of an expansion of the area affected by droughts, contradicting several previous estimates.”

(e)  One study, with a more technical analysis: “Little change in global drought over the past 60 years“, Justin Sheffield et al, Nature, 15 November 2012 — From the abstract:

"Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming. … More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years."

(f)  What are the worst drought months in America from 1900 to March 2013?

Top months with the greatest extent of Moderate–Extreme on the Palmer Drought Index. (Source here)

1934 – July     80.3
1934 – Aug    78.0
1934 – June     75.0
1934 – May    73.1
1934 – Sept     70.3
1934 – Oct    68.2
1934 – April 63.9
2012 – July     62.8
1939 – Dec    62.5
2012 – Aug    61.0

(g)  Good news: the NY Times is on the job.  Many journalists are doing excellent work reporting on both the consensus and frontiers of climate science. Such as these:

“Science Linking Drought to Global Warming Remains Matter of Dispute“, New York Times, 16 February 2014

“A Climate Analyst Clarifies the Science Behind California’s Water Woes“, Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times, 6 March 2014

(2)  About the UK floods

(a)  In February the UK Met Office issued a special report about the UK storms:

"As yet, there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding. This is in part due to the highly variable nature of UK weather and climate."

(b)  From the new IPCC AR5, Working Group I, Chapter 2: Floods {}

AR4 WGI Chapter 3 (Trenberth et al., 2007) did not assess changes in floods but AR4 WGII concluded that there was not a general global trend in the incidence of floods (Kundzewicz et al., 2007). SREX went further to suggest that there was low agreement and thus low confidence at the global scale regarding changes in the magnitude or frequency of floods or even the sign of changes.

… In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.



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

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


13 March, 2014

Guacamole Crisis Dissolves Like other Global Warming Myths

James M. Taylor

Chipotle Mexican restaurants reported it is experiencing no shortage of avocadoes, putting an end to the latest mythical global warming crisis just hours after it began.

Chipotle made international news Tuesday when it strategized in its annual report that it may choose to respond to spikes in salsa or guacamole ingredients by temporarily not offering salsa or guacamole with its dishes. The annual report speculated weather volatility or global warming might be potential causes of such price spikes.

No sooner did global warming activists report with glee that they had discovered a climate change crisis than Chipotle put a damper on the alarmist claims. Chipotle reported it has experienced no avocado or guacamole problems. Instead, ingredients for salsa and guacamole have been plentifully available.

"As a public company ... we are required to disclose any potential issues that could have potential impact on our business, and we do that very thoroughly,” Chipotle explained to the Los Angeles Times.

Chipotle’s explanation embarrassed global warming activists and their media allies, who had already begun spreading the Chicken Little alarm that avocadoes were falling from the sky.

“Chipotle’s Climate Change Warning: Guacamole Could Be at Stake,” warned the Huffington Post.

“Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole if Climate Change Gets Worse,” exclaimed the leftist climate activist group Climate Progress.

As I documented last year in an article for, global warming is substantially improving growing conditions at the national and global level for virtually all crops. Increasing soil moisture, longer growing seasons, and the beneficial fertilizing effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing a dramatic long-term rise in crop production.


Rand Paul: U.S. Anti-Energy Policies Empower Russian Aggression

James M. Taylor

The Obama administration’s anti-energy policies empower Russia aggression and take away America’s ability to respond, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) explained in a Time magazine editorial. Paul said America has all the means to deter and punish Russian military aggression without the use of American military force but the Obama administration has taken important economic weapons off the table with its anti-energy policies.

Vladimir Putin violated international law by invading the Ukraine, Paul noted. The senator from Kentucky insisted the United States should take the lead role in deterring and responding to such aggression. Paul outlined several potent economic weapons at the United States’ disposal, many of which draw upon our prodigious energy resources.

One economic weapon would be taking decisive stepts to eliminate Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and natural gas.

“I would do everything in my power to aggressively market and export America’s vast natural gas resources to Europe,” said Paul. “I would immediately remove every obstacle or current ban blocking the export of American oil and gas to Europe, and I would lift restrictions on new oil and gas development in order to ensure a steady energy supply at home and so we can supply Europe with oil if it is interrupted from Ukraine.”

“Because of so many of our current needless laws and regulations, President Obama has left Europe completely vulnerable because of its dependence on Russian oil and gas,” Paul explained.

Paul observed that building the Keystone Pipeline would bolster America’s supply of oil from friendly nations.

“I would support immediate construction of the Keystone Pipeline,” said Paul.

“The Budapest Memorandum said that Russia wouldn’t violate the integrity of Ukraine, but now it has,” Paul explained. “There is no realistic military option in this conflict, at least for the U.S. But this does not mean there aren’t options, many of which I’ve outlined here. The real problem is that Russia’s President is not currently fearful or threatened in any way by America’s President, despite his country’s blatant aggression. But let me be clear: If I were President, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it.”


The "Green" Democrat sugar-daddy

Monday night in the U.S. Senate, something historic happened. Democrats took to the floor and demanded…um…nothing, really. And they weren’t going to leave until…they felt like it, I guess. That was the gist of the PR stunt known as “#Up4Climate” on Twitter.

It was a filibuster that wasn’t really a filibuster that sought to draw attention to an issue progressives have deemed so important they have not offered or attempted to pass anything on since they took control of the Senate in 2007. That’s right, Senate Democrats have no legislation to address the coming “doom” they predict from the Artist Formerly Known As Global Warming. They just wanted to draw attention to it.

The Artist Formerly Known As Global Warming has been lingering near toenail fungus and the Canadian Football League Championship on the list of concerns for Americans. This presents a problem for Democrats. They raise millions in campaign cash from rich donors who stand to make billions from subsidies from so-called “green energy” scams, er, “investments” from government. It’s one hand washing the other, then stealing your wallet. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Normally Democrats wouldn’t waste their time with speeches after midnight that no one will watch on an issue no one cares about. But this dog and pony show had an audience of one – progressive sugar daddy Tom Steyer. It was such an obvious dance-for-campaign-cash that even the Washington Post said “There is another more political reason for the decision by Senate Democrats to devote their time to the issue right now. And that issue is campaign cash.” And there’s a lot of cash at stake, for everyone involved.

Tom Steyer is a hedge fund billionaire who made a fortune in oil and now spends his time and money trying to purge himself of the guilt he feels for the “harm” he’s done. He does this by buying politicians to force Americans to live how he wants them to live and to make a fortune in the process. He could just write a check to charity, but that would mean he’s genuinely interested in helping others rather than his investments return a healthy, taxpayer-provided profit. Everything progressives accuse Charles and David Koch of being Tom Steyer is.

Steyer is invested in “green” technologies and companies that simply do not work, at least not yet on the scale needed to replace current energy sources. They may some day, but not today.

But when you have billions there’s no need to wait for an investment to mature and be able to meet the needs of the market. You can just buy a political party, have it mandate people use your product and then collect subsidies along the way. Spending $100 million to elect Democrats who will make his will law seems like an insane proposition to a normal person, but normal people don’t generally become billionaires. Steyer isn’t taking a risk, he’s making an investment. And there’s no investment with a better return than politicians in Washington.

Steyer isn’t buying free-thinkers. He’s buying an army of progressive flying monkeys to force the use of his product and acceptance of his will on 330 million people. Although $100 million seems like a lot, it’s a drop in the Pacific Ocean compared to what success would return. Solar panels and windmills can’t compete with oil and coal for cost, reliability and efficiency, so people don’t use them. That’s the free-market. That’s why Steyer and the other “watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside) want government to give them money to build their businesses (risk is for suckers), then obligate everyone to use their product.

It’s exactly how the iPhone was developed, minus the subsidies and the forced purchases. Apple took a risk and created a product it thought people would want and buy. If people hadn’t bought it, Apple would’ve lost billions. But people did want it, and Apple made hundreds of billions. No one was forced to buy it. In fact, people slept outside Apple stores voluntarily to buy it.

If an energy source could be created that ran cars and light bulbs on hope and good vibes, people would be lining up to spend whatever it cost to buy it. Just like people would slap a solar panel and a windmill on their house in a second if it could do more than eventually partially toast a piece of bread. But if the cost of electricity could be taxed and regulated to unaffordable levels, alternatives, no matter how shoddy, would skyrocket in value.

That’s the problem with people such as Steyer. They’re anti-free-market, anti-opportunity, anti-that which made them successful, and they’re anti-American. That last one is harsh but perfectly accurate.

The Koch brothers, often accused by progressives as being anti-American, support organizations and a political philosophy that seeks to get government to leave people alone and allow them to earn what they can within the law and without harming others.

The Steyers of the world “invest” in politicians explicitly to not leave people alone. The politicians he invests in seek to control others, tax them, then take a slice of that tax pie and require the use of their products to get an even bigger pie all for themselves. Anti-American is the perfect word for that, but if you prefer another feel free to pick from a list of so many littered throughout history that end with “ism.” Or simply call it “progressive.”


Gallup: Climate Change Ranks Low on Americans' Worry List

The day after Senate Democrats pulled an all-nighter in an attempt to recruit new climate-change believers, a Gallup poll says the American people aren't that worried about climate change.

Only 24 percent of Americans say they worry a great deal about climate change, Gallup found. In fact, both "climate change" and "quality of the environment" were near the bottom of a list of 15 issues Gallup asked Americans to rate.

Only "race relations" ranked lower than those two issues in Gallup's March 6-9 survey.

The majority of Americans say they worry about climate change and quality of the environment "only a little" or "not at all"; but more than half of Americans worry about the other 13 issues at least "a fair amount."

At the top of the list in this election year were the economy, federal spending, and health care.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell questioned what the Democrats had accomplished with their all-night talkathon. He called it an "empty political stunt."

Democrats, who control the Senate, didn't introduce new legislation, nor did they announce a vote on any pending bills.

"They basically just talked. And talked. And tossed out political attacks at a party that doesn't even control the Democrat-run Senate. No wonder the American people have such a low opinion of Congress."

McConnell said the nation needs "two serious political parties in this country, debating serious ideas. When we see Washington Democrats throwing seriousness out the window like this, it's just bad for everyone."

If Democrats are really serious, they could -- and should bring up a "cap-and-tax" bill. "Let's have a debate," said McConnell, who opposes cap-and-trade.

But they won't do it, he added, "because too many members of their own party would vote against it."

McConnell said the American people don't want a "national energy tax" that would boost their utility bills. But he said Americans do want an end to the "jobs crisis."

"If only our friends on the other side were willing to talk a little less and work with us a little more, there's so much we could get done on that front.


Environmentalists Threaten Energy Development

Unhappy with their inability to halt the nation's growing oil and gas industry, envirofascists are pushing the Department of the Interior to add a record 757 new species to the Endangered Species Act in an attempt to close off 50 to 100 million acres to any kind of economic development. One bird for which they seek “protection” is the sage grouse, which is found in 11 western states, raising the question that if it lives in such a wide swath of territory, just how endangered can it be?

That is a question Interior refuses to answer. Like many of its studies over the years that have led to numerous additions to the ESA list, the department won't divulge the method by which it arrives at its decisions to define animals as endangered. A recent report put together by 13 House members and led by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings details numerous discrepancies in ESA research, including the use of selective data, biased sampling, inaccurate mapping and subjective interpretation of results.

The shoddy research stands unchallenged because environmental groups use a “sue and settle” strategy that basically floods the government with lawsuits that are more easily settled out of court than challenged on the merits. Two groups, Wildlife Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been involved in more than 1,000 such lawsuits since 1990. Their aim is nothing short of ending fossil-fuel production in the United States. Their tactics have become so brazen that even Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have complained that adding the sage grouse to the ESA list will have a massively negative economic impact on their respective states. Whether they will do anything about it is another story.

According to the Department of the Interior, the sage grouse and the prairie chicken, another potential addition to the list of endangered species, have habitats near the Bakken Shale fields of North Dakota and the Permian Basin in Texas, respectively. If the department's actions go unchallenged, these huge sources of fossil fuels could be essentially cut off from development. If the “science” of the environmentalists is as solid as they claim, then they should be called upon to defend their findings in an open forum. Let the facts speak for themselves, if they can.


The works of Lord Deben

Fraud and deceit in the usual Greenie way.  Formerly John Gummer, Lord Deben is a prominent member of many Greenie organizations so he cannot afford to confront the facts  -- JR

by Matt Ridley.

Lord Deben is chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, a body funded by the British taxpayer. He draws a salary of more than £35,000 from you and me. On the masthead of its website the committee claims to give “a balanced response to the risks of climate change” and “independent, evidence-based advice to the UK government and Parliament”.

Yet the committee consists entirely of people who think climate change will be dangerous; no sceptics or lukewarmers are on it, even though most hold views that are well within the “consensus” of climate science. Under Deben’s chairmanship since 2012 its pronouncements have become increasingly one-sided. Deben himself is frequently highly critical of any sceptics, often mischaracterizing them as “deniers” or “dismissers”, but has never to my knowledge been heard to criticize anybody for exaggerating climate alarm and the harm it can do to disadvantaged people. These are not the actions of an impartial chairman.

In the past year, as I shall detail, Lord Deben has three times launched sharp criticisms of me for arguing that some climate change projections are exaggerated. In each case, I have replied with detailed rebuttals based on peer-reviewed scientific literature to show that his criticisms were wrong, but my replies have been dismissed or ignored by Lord Deben. I suppose I should be flattered that this vendetta against me indicates that he clearly feels that my arguments threaten some part of his agenda. But on this third occasion he has sunk to a new low.

On 28 October 2013, I made a speech in the House of Lords in which I gave “nine separate examples of ways in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has retreated to a slightly less alarming and less certain position than six years ago”. Notice first that this was a very mild claim. I was not saying there was no cause for alarm in the new report of the IPCC. I was not even saying that overall the document was less alarming (though in my judgment, it is). I was merely saying that in nine instances, it was “slightly” less alarming than in the previous report.

In other words, I was not adopting a position of denial, or even of skepticism. I was adopting, as I usually do, a “lukewarm” position: that there is a strong chance that climate change will happen but will be comparatively mild and slow and may well do less harm than the policies promoted in its name. The IPCC is slowly coming closer to this position in its main reports. My nine examples show this clearly. AR5 has acknowledged:

    the recent “hiatus” in temperatures;

    the likelihood that medieval temperatures may have been as high as today’s;

    the unpredicted increase in Antarctic sea ice;

   that 111 of 114 models had predicted too much warming over recent years

    that the low end of equilibrium climate sensitivity is lower;

    that the high end of transient climate response is lower;

    that likely sea level rise is not as high as some experts have forecast

    that collapses of the Gulf Stream, of Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets or of methane clathrates are “very unlikely” ;

    that there is “low confidence” in the collapse of tropical forests, of boreal forests and of the monsoon, an explosion of greenhouse gases from the Arctic permafrost and an increase in megadroughts.

All in all, it is not unreasonable for an intelligent reader of the AR5 report to conclude that in these nine respects, the IPCC is reflecting the fact that scientists are slightly less alarmed or certain than they were six years before. I am not the only person to have reached this conclusion. Professor Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, testifying to the Senate recently went considerably further than I did:

    Multiple lines of evidence presented in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is weaker than the previous assessment AR4 in 2007.

A chairman of a Committee on Climate Change and who read my speech might decide to argue with me, and might even commission a report from an expert to assess my claims. He would however (1) tell me he was doing so; (2) seek my response; (3) tell me he was publishing the report on my speech; (4) publish the name of the author(s) of the report on my speech. He may not be under any legal obligation to do these things; but he would be under a moral one.

Lord Deben chose to do none of these four things. He did not have the courtesy to tell me he was commissioning a report, despite seeing me regularly in the House of Lords. He did not have the caution to ask for a response in case his report had missed an important source I had used. He did not have the manners to tell me the report had been published. He did not have the courage to put the report’s author’s name on it.

I came across the report by accident one day, when checking something else on the Committee’s website. I immediately wrote to Lord Deben (letter here) asking him a set of specific questions and giving a detailed response to his report. I pointed out that his report had several errors. The most striking was that in quoting the IPCC AR5 report they had cut some words and numbers out of a sentence. Those words and numbers were the very ones that proved me right, by showing no warming during the past 15 years. The only reason for excising these words and numbers was plainly to alter the sense of the sentence to mean something other than what it plainly said.

    ...the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Nino, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951.

The words in bold were omitted.

In more than 30 years of science reporting I have never come across such a deceitful trick, let alone in an official government document. It is the sort of thing I might have expected to find coming from some of the more rabid and intolerant activist green groups, yet I do not think even they would stoop this low. Yet this was only one way in which the anonymous author of the report on my speech had cherry-picked, omitted, mined and distorted the words of the IPCC to try to imply that I was wrong in my moderate and careful assessment that in nine respects there is “slightly” less alarm in AR5 than there was in AR4.

I received a reply from Lord Deben that was dismissive and empty (see attached). He answered none of my questions, addressed none of my points and merely reasserted his right to commission such reports – a point I had not challenged. Having given him the opportunity to respond to my questions, which he has spurned, I am now prepared to go public.

So I am now publishing this account of the sorry saga, so that readers can decide for themselves whether my original speech was fair, whether the criticisms made by Lord Deben’s anonymous report were fair, and whether this is an appropriate way for a public servant to have behaved. I am putting it in the public domain so that, if others share my concerns about the bias of the Committee on Climate Change they can raise them with the committee themselves.

It would be interesting to ask: Who wrote this document? Why was it published without informing me? Why were key words omitted from key sentences in quotations? Why does the committee never challenge exaggerations in the same way as it challenges those arguing that climate change is moderate? How much did the preparation of this report cost? Why was I given no right of reply? Why did Lord Deben refuse to post my response to his report on his website? If you do raise these questions, please be polite, be factually accurate and be brief. And, as always, please quote exactly the words I or others used, not some paraphrase of them.

My recent experience, of being smeared in an inaccurate way about this topic of climate change policy by somebody employed in a public body is not unique. The same thing has happened to Roger Pielke Jr recently at the hands of Dr John Holdren, to Nic Lewis, Donna Laframboise and Dick Lindzen recently at the hands of Bob Ward, and to Bjorn Lomborg and Richard Tol also at the hands of Bob Ward. Not forgetting Ward’s attacks on Bishop Hill.

As I mentioned above, this is not the first time I have been attacked by Lord Deben. About a year ago, in a lecture in Oxford he mocked me for having a doctorate in biology (he has an English degree), and falsely charged – on the basis of a blog post written by a novelist (!) – that I had not cited the mainstream scientific literature when writing about ocean acidification. In fact in the relevant passage I had included direct quotations from 17 papers in the mainstream scientific literature, including a major meta-analysis of 372 peer-reviewed papers. Despite being requested twice to do so, Lord Deben declined to write to the organisers of the lecture to correct his mistake.

Later he wrote to fellow peers following a debate in the House of Lords saying that the “facts that were presented [by me in a speech] would be denied by almost every climatologist in the world”. I replied with direct quotations to show that I was citing mainstream scientific publications in every item of my speech. He ignored my letter.

In taking part in the debate on climate change over more than 25 years I have always tried to act with good manners, despite severe provocation. When I first covered this topic, I accepted alarming projections on trust. Since becoming more sceptical of exaggerated claims, I am used to being abused, ridiculed, smeared and inaccurately misquoted not only by amateur bloggers but by senior scientists and politicians and their spin doctors. I try never to respond in kind. The rudeness of the climate establishment towards anybody who argues for moderation is quite extraordinary, but I do not believe in emulating it. On Twitter Lord Deben has recently criticised sceptics for their rudeness. He should look in the mirror.



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

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12 March, 2014

Correlation is causation?  Don't be misled by Petr Chylek

It's sort of pesky to be a former teacher of research methods and statistics.  It means that you see huge faults in what is published as science.  Scientists very often don't observe the basic precautions that people such as I have attempted to inculcate in students.  I see it in my own field of social science research, I see it in the medical journals, I see it in climate science journals.

And one of the biggest holes that I see in published research is that the writers ignore just about the first thing you are told in any statistics course:  That correlation is not causation.  Just because two things go together in some way, does not mean one causes the other.  They may both be effects of some underlying third factor or their association might be just a random event.

Let me point out a recent example in climatology: The article "The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation as a dominant factor of oceanic influence on climate'  by  Chylek et al.  It is one of the most recent articles appearing in  "Geophysical Research Letters", a major climatology journal.  Here is the Abstract:

"A multiple linear regression analysis of global annual mean near-surface air temperature (1900-2012) using the known radiative forcing and the El Ni¤o-Southern Oscillation index as explanatory variables account for 89% of the observed temperature variance. When the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index is added to the set of explanatory variables, the fraction of accounted for temperature variance increases to 94%. The anthropogenic effects account for about two thirds of the post-1975 global warming with one third being due to the positive phase of the AMO. In comparison, the Coupled Models Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble mean accounts for 87% of the observed global mean temperature variance. Some of the CMIP5 models mimic the AMO-like oscillation by a strong aerosol effect. These models simulate the twentieth century AMO-like cycle with correct timing in each individual simulation. An inverse structural analysis suggests that these models generally overestimate the greenhouse gases-induced warming, which is then compensated by an overestimate of anthropogenic aerosol cooling".

Note the sentence "The anthropogenic effects account for about two thirds of the post-1975 global warming with one third being due to the positive phase of the AMO"

And in the Discussion section of the article we read:  "Our analysis suggests that about two thirds of the late twentieth century warming has been due to anthropogenic influences"

So there you have it:  Global warming has been proven to be mainly  caused by "anthropogenic effects".  When a very sophisticated and careful piece of research comes to that conclusion is there any room left for climate skepticism?

I am afraid there is a very large room left.  The study is correlational:  "A multiple linear regression analysis" and you can't infer causation from correlation.  Yet the sentences I have singled out appear to do exactly that.  An unsophisticated reader would conclude that anthropogenic global warming has now been proven.

Now I feel confident that Chylek and his friends are reasonable people who would be ready to admit to what I have just charged and would say that they were just expresssing themselves in a shorthand way and that they knew from the beginning that the coincidence of temperature rise and CO2 rise in the late 20th century was no proof of anything  -- particularly in the light of the later divergence of those two variables.  But the global warming debate now involves so many people outside the scientific community that I will still charge them with carelessness in the matter.  When unsophisticated people are likely to read your words, you have a duty to make them as clear as you can.

Inhofe: Obama Wasted $120 Billion on Global Warming Which Could Buy 1400 F-35s

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday at a hearing on the Defense Department's Fiscal Year 2015 budget that President Barack Obama has wasted $120 billion on global warming over the past five years - money that would be better spent on the military.

"I've been working on this for quite some time ... In the last five years, between 2009 and 2014, the president has spent $120 billion on the environmental agenda, mostly global warming, climate and that type of thing," said Inhofe. "And in that respect, if you'll just take the amount that was not authorized by Congress -- and I'm talking about the environmental agenda, you could actually buy 1,400 F-35s."

The Navy plans to order 33 fewer F-35s than originally planned over the five years beginning fiscal year 2015, because of budgetary pressures, and the Air Force is deferring orders for four F-35 models in FY2015, Reuters reported. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the total number of F-35s might be scaled back even further if automatic budget cuts set to resume in FY 2016 are not revoked.

The FY 2015 budget cuts would reduce the military to pre-World War II levels - "the first budget to fully reflect the transition [the Defense Department] is making after 13 years of war," Hagel said, warning that the military "will assume additional risk in certain areas," including training and maintenance. Should major conflicts break out in several places at once, the military would be stretched thin, he added.

"And I think people need to understand that there's a price we're paying for all these agendas that have been rejected by Congress," Inhofe said. He told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on the weekend edition of "Washington Watch" that Obama has "denigrated our military to the point where we're not the force we were at one time."


Dems' All-Night Talkathon on Climate Change Includes Swipes at Republicans' 'Dark Money'

 Democrats control the Senate, but instead of bringing up a Democrat-sponsored climate-change bill, a few dozen of them pulled an all-nigher on the Senate floor to draw attention to the issue.

It's a clear indication that Democrats don't have the votes -- or the public support -- to pass their own climate-change legislation. And they blame the lack of bipartisanship on billionaire Republican donors and "all that dark money," as one Democrat described it.

When it was his turn to speak, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) once again mentioned the Koch brothers by name, blaming them for their alleged corrupting influence on politics.

"It's time to stop acting like those who ignore this (climate) crisis - the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress - have a valid point of view," Reid said.

This was Reid's third recent broadside at the conservative "oil barons."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told the empty Senate chamber early Tuesday morning that there used to be bipartisanship on climate change -- "until Citizens United got decided by the Supreme Court. Until all that big money came in, until all that dark money came in. Until people on the Republican side who were willing to speak up about climate change were punished and threatened so badly that they could no longer do it."

Whitehouse said the "Citizens United effect" hasn't trickled down to governors and counties as much as it has to the Washington establishment: "Here, it's different," he said. "We don't have to live in that same real world. We live in a more political world. And so people can say things that are frankly, irresponsible, untrue -- and they can get away with it longer. And the intimidation factor of that big money is worse here."

Where is the bipartisanship? Whitehouse asked around 4:30 Tuesday morning. "Well, it will be back. It will be back here. It's inevitable."

Speaking to Ronan Farrow on MSNBC on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) another climate-change believer, said, "My great fear is that both economically and politically, this nation is moving toward an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are going to control the political life and the economic life of this nation.

"And what this supreme court case is about, and what Citizens United is all about, is saying to large corporations and billionaires, 'You can spend as much money as you want on the political process. You can buy and sell candidates. You can do everything you want to create a right-wing agenda which will benefit the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.'

"This is not what American democracy is supposed to be about," Sanders said. He said this is why he believes in public funding of elections, and it's also why Democrats are "working hard to try to overturn Citizens United."

Sanders also singled out the Koch brothers, along with Sheldon Adelson, describing them as billionaires whose wealth is increasing: "They can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns which, by and large, will benefit Republicans.

"Are there some billionaires who help Democrats? Sanders asked. "Yes, there are. But the vast majority of the money (is) going to go to right-wing extremist candidates."

Sanders said the American people "have no idea" how much time members of Congress -- both Republicans and Democrats -- spend raising money. And "the money is with wealthy people," who set the agenda for the politicians.

"So, if you're going to the wealthy to ask for campaign contributions, your political views are going to be shaped by that reality. You're not worried about the high unemployment in this country. You're not worried about the need to create millions of jobs. You're not worried about the fact that we have more people living in poverty than in any time in our history. What you're worried about are the needs of the wealthy and the powerful."

Sanders noted that he and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have sponsored "probably the most comprehensive climate change legislation ever introduced, which, among other things, calls for a tax on carbon, which would invest very, very substantially in energy efficiency and sustainable energy."

"But I think what we're trying to do now, in terms of tonight, is to make the American people aware that the debate about climate change really is over. That the scientific community is virtually unanimous in agreeing that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity, that it is already causing devastating problems in the United States and around the world.

"So, what we're doing now is speaking to the American people, and saying, 'You have got to be involved in this process. Because if you aren't, the planet that we're going to leave to our kids and our grandchildren will be significantly less habitable than the one we have today, and will cause enormous problems at great expense in terms of trying to address.' So, we got to act now, and that's what we're trying to do."


Vladimir Putin's green allies

In many ways, both Vladimir Putin's Russia and the modern green movement are offshoots of the collapse of the Soviet empire. They remain united against the old Soviet enemy: free markets and free minds.

The global warming policy labyrinth offered obvious potential to a KGB politician who had thrived in a climate of devious hypocrisy

Few environmentalists would regard themselves as allies of Vladimir Putin. Indeed, in their stout opposition to petroleum, which the Russian president is using both as a piggy bank and a weapon for expanding his power, it might appear that they are opponents. Such a view is superficial.

In many ways, both Mr. Putin's Russia and the modern green movement are offshoots of the collapse of the Soviet empire. They remain united against the old Soviet enemy: free markets and free minds.

Petroleum has been the energy driver of economic growth and prosperity for much of the past century, but it has also fuelled tyranny: "the resource curse." Oil and gas were indeed a curse for the Soviet people for seventy years. However, the dependence of the Soviet state on petroleum revenues during a time of sagging prices in the 1980s also helped push it into collapse.

Many pundits naively believed that the collapse would lead to the spontaneous outbreak of democratic capitalism. The prospect of democracy was welcomed. Capitalism not so much. Not only was capitalism the demonized fiction on which Communism had been based, its alleged flaws were the rationalization for the vast bulk of interventionist policies that kept Western politicians in business. The latest and greatest, which was just beginning to rear its head as Communism collapsed, was man-made global warming.

The notion that capitalism might somehow have "triumphed" with the break up of the Soviet Empire was in any case as outrageous for Western left-liberal elites as the collapse of that empire was tragic for Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin ten years after the collapse, in 2000, and brought back the resource curse. He did so by exploiting the strategic error of "shock therapy," which had enabled former Soviet insiders known as "oligarchs" to grab petroleum and other resources assets. Mr. Putin used public resentment against the oligarchs to seize back control of Russian petroleum, which would fund his twin ambitions: to make Russia feared once more on the international arena, and to seize back choice parts of the old Soviet empire, an objective which he is currently pursuing in the Ukraine.

The timing of Mr. Putin's return to de facto control of oil was impeccable, as both the explosive growth of China and loose money policies in the West led to a surge in oil prices in the early years of the twenty first century. He was also helped by another less obvious ally: the environmental movement and its demonization of the carbon dioxide emissions that had driven capitalist global prosperity.

It might appear that a movement that wanted to end the age of petroleum would be antithetical to a man whose aspirations were based on petroleum. However, the global warming policy labyrinth offered obvious potential to a former Soviet secret policeman who had thrived in a climate of devious hypocrisy.

From the perspective of those behind "official" climate science and the Kyoto process, Russia's industrial collapse in the 1990s had been not so much a disaster as a model. They even offered rewards to Russia in the shape of "credits" for the reduction in greenhouse gases that went with post Soviet turmoil.

In the Alice-in-wonderland climate policy world, Russia would be able to sell its non-emissions to Western producers, who would be forced to buy them as a penalty for creating wealth under a relatively free market.

The European Union dangled membership of the World Trade Organization as another incentive to Mr. Putin to sign onto Kyoto, which Mr. Putin duly did, even though one of his most insightful former advisors, Andrei Illarionov, called it a "death pact." However, just as millionaire climate evangelists such as Al Gore, Neil Young and Tom Steyer think that lifestyle restraint is for others, so Mr. Putin no doubt grasped that Kyoto commitment was only for suckers (such as Canada).

He realized that the environmental movement's attempts to end the age of petroleum would impact only his Western rivals, first in their campaigns against private oil companies, and second in the disastrous impact of green policies in weakening Europe.

Europe has been sideswiped a couple of times since 2006 as Mr. Putin has used natural gas - of which Russia is still a significant supplier - as a weapon in the Ukraine.

The EU's initial response was to claim that what was needed was more state energy monopolization a la Gazprom, Mr. Putin's energy vanguard, and more alternative energy. After all, the main problem wasn't that the EU was importing energy from an aspiring tyrant, it was that it was emitting too much CO2.

When Russian assumed the presidency of the G8 in 2006, Mr. Putin called for a global energy strategy that was "environmentally sustainable" and castigated "energy egotism," by which he presumably meant free markets.

Fast forward seven years and Europe's alternative energy policy is in a shambles. The EU would be even more vulnerable but for a typically unanticipated example of free market ingenuity: hydraulic fracturing and the boom in shale gas.

Natural gas is much less emissions intensive than oil and coal, so you would think that any movement concerned to reduce emissions would welcome this development. But guess what: Greens are everywhere resolutely opposed to fracking, and nowhere more than in Europe.

One does not doubt that the majority of young people who chain themselves to shale gas facilities are "well-motivated" and "environmentally-concerned," but, like their peace march colleagues half a century ago, they are ultimately dupes for an authoritarian agenda, be it that of the high priests of Gaia, or Vladimir Putin.


South African scientists debunk climate change myths

("Wits" is the University of the Witwatersrand)

Wits University scientists have debunked two big myths around climate change by proving firstly, that despite predictions, tropical storms are not increasing in number. However, they are shifting, and South Africa could be at increased risk of being directly impacted by tropical cyclones within the next 40 years. Secondly, while global warming is causing frost to be less severe, late season frost is not receding as quickly as flowering is advancing, resulting in increased frost risk which will likely begin to threaten food security.

FavioAccording to Jennifer Fitchett, a PhD student in the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES), there has been an assumption that increasing sea surface temperatures caused by global warming is causing an increase in the number of tropical cyclones.

But looking at data for the south-west Indian Ocean over the past 161 years, Fitchett and co-author Professor Stefan Grab, also from GAES, confirmed the results of previous studies which have found that there has been no increase in the number of tropical cyclones and that much of the perceived change in numbers is a result of improved storm detection methods. "From 1940, there was a huge increase in observations because of aerial reconnaissance and satellite imagery," she says.

The big surprise came when Fitchett and Grab looked at where storms have been happening. As the oceans have warmed and the minimum sea surface temperature necessary for a cyclone to occur (26.5 degrees Celsius) has been moving further south, storms in the south-west Indian Ocean have been moving further south too.

Most cyclones hit Madagascar and do not continue to Mozambique, and those which hit Mozambique develop to the North of Madagascar, but in the past 66 years there have been seven storms which have developed south of Madagascar and hit Mozambique head-on. More notable is that four of them occurred in the past 20 years. "This definitely looks like the start of a trend," says Fitchett.

South Africa is already feeling the effects of this shift. The cyclones that hit southern Mozambique cause heavy rain and flooding in Limpopo. But according to Fitchett, the trend becomes even more concerning when one considers that the 26.5 degrees Celsius temperature line (isotherm) has been moving south at a rate of 0.6 degrees latitude per decade since 1850. "At current rates we could see frequent serious damage in South Africa by 2050," she says.

"This is not what we expected from climate change. We thought tropical cyclones might increase in number but we never expected them to move."  

In a separate study, Fitchett and co-authors looked at different types of citrus - oranges, lemons and tangerines - in two cities in Iran, where the existence of heritage gardens meant data were easily available. They found that while global warming is causing the fruit trees to flower as much as a month earlier than 50 years ago, which is a very rapid shift, changes in late season frost are not happening nearly as quickly.

Before 1988 there were zero to three days between peak flowering and the last day of frost in Kerman, Iran; since then, the number has increased to zero to 15.

Jennifer Fitchett"The layman's assumption is that as temperatures get warmer, there will be less frost. But although the severity of the frost has decreased, the last day of frost hasn't been receding as quickly as the advances in flowering. The result is that frost events are increasingly taking place during flowering and damaging the flowers. No flowers equals no fruit," says Fitchett.

According to the study, at current rates, it will take only 70 years before it becomes a certainty that frost will occur during peak flowering in Kerman. Already, since 1988, frost has occurred during peak flowering in 41% of the years.

"Iran is a top citrus producer but they don't export and we don't yet have data on whether there has been an impact on their citrus yields. We think that if there hasn't already been a huge impact, there soon will be," says Fitchett.

South Africa also produces a lot of citrus - for local and international consumption - and the country has been experiencing similar climate warming to Iran. South African farmers are not yet recording the flowering dates of their crops which makes it hard to repeat the study locally, but according to Fitchett, the threat is of concern.

Fitchett and Grab's paper titled: A 66-year tropical cyclone record for south-east Africa: temporal trends in a global context was published in the International Journal of Climatology in February 2014 and evolved out of work Fitchett undertook during her honours degree at Wits.


Australian Green politician was a libellous liar

GREENS senator Scott Ludlam debased himself and lowered the tone of his campaign for re-election by accusing Tony Abbott of being homophobic and racist in a Senate speech, community leaders said yesterday.

The speech, which was delivered to an empty chamber on Monday but went viral on social media and has received almost half-a-million views on YouTube, accused the Prime Minister of “waving homophobia” and “racist exploitation” of the electorate.

Former Labor national president and chair of the Prime Minister’s indigenous advisory council Warren Mundine said Senator Ludlam was “full of crap”.

“Look, I know them both and they’re both pretty good guys but Scott is ramping up his election campaign and he’s playing politics,” he said.

“It’s a load of rubbish, he’s way off the board.” Mr Abbott’s personal friend Cate McGregor, who transitioned from male to female while serving in the army, defended him against claims of transphobia on social media this week.

“He has shamed many progressives, including lawyers, in his acceptance of me as well,” she wrote.  “He is my friend. And a good one.”

Mr Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, a Sydney City councillor and in a committed same-sex relationship, said her brother showed his real colours by the friends he kept across the sexuality spectrum, including the openly gay journalist — and a former mentor of Mr Abbott — Christopher Pearson, who wrote a column for The Weekend Australian.

“He was very good friends with Christopher Pearson, and his passing was a terrible loss for Tony,” she said.

“You know, it’s almost tiring having to say Tony is not a homophobe, he’s not racist.

“Scott is a Green and in that speech he was talking to Greens and it was a cheap way to get a headline.”

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said it was unhelpful to charge Mr Abbott with homophobia when he had clear but changing views on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“Many people who oppose marriage equality do so, not out of homophobia, but out of sincerely held religious beliefs or views about the nature of marriage, and I think the Prime Minister falls into this latter category,” Mr Croome added.

“While I’d like Mr Abbott to support marriage equality I also acknowledge that he has already come a long way on the issue.”

Senator Ludlam did not respond to a request for comment.



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11 March, 2014

Forget his fearsome reputation - Genghis Khan rose to power thanks to a period of wet and warm WEATHER

During what climate historians know as the Medieval Warm Period.  Against all  evidence, Warmists doggedly insist that the MWP occurred only in  North Atlantic regions.  Mongolia is in the North Atlantic area?  It is in fact on the opposite side of the Eurasian continent  

He was one of the most feared warriors in history, waging bloody war across Asia and Europe.  But Genghis Khan’s 13th-century rampage may have never happened had it not been for a spell of good weather.

The leader of the Mongol armies created a vast empire that eventually stretched across China, India, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Historians used to think his armies of nomadic horsemen were fleeing the bleak, cold and dry Mongolian plains for warmer regions.  But now scientists have discovered that the rise of the Mongol Empire coincided with a 14-year spell of weather that was the warmest and wettest for 1,000 years.

The academics, from Columbia University in New York, discovered the weather anomaly by studying the rings of ancient trees.  They think the conditions created those needed for a boost in lush growth of grass, which would have fuelled the soldiers' horses and fattened their livestock.

The good weather lasted from 1211 to 1225 - the exact period when Genghis Khan and his armies rose to prominence.

Amy Hessl, co-author of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: ‘The transition from extreme drought to extreme moisture right then strongly suggests that climate played a role in human events.

‘It wasn’t the only thing, but it must have created the ideal conditions for a charismatic leader to emerge out of the chaos, develop an army and concentrate power.

‘Where it’s arid, unusual moisture creates unusual plant productivity, and that translates into horsepower. Genghis was literally able to ride that wave.’

Before Khan rose to power the Mongol tribes had been racked by disarray and internal warfare.  In the early 1200s he united the tribes, creating a military state that invaded its neighbours and expanded, soon ruling most of what would become modern Korea, China, Russia, eastern Europe, southeast Asia, Persia and India.

Khan made himself master of half the known world, and inspired mankind with a fear that lasted for generations.

He was a prolific lover, fathering hundreds of children across his territories. Some scientists think he has 16 million male descendants alive today.

In all, Genghis conquered almost four times the lands of Alexander the Great. He is still revered in Mongolia and in parts of China.

The empire eventually fragmented, but the Mongols’ vast geographic reach and their inventions survived.  Their ideas included an international postal system, organized agriculture research and a civil service based on merit.

Neil Pederson, who co-wrote the paper, said: ‘Before fossil fuels, grass and ingenuity were the fuels for the Mongols and the cultures around them.

Other historical events that studies say were affected by climate include the disappearance of the Maya, the expansion and fall of Roman imperial power and the 13th-century collapse of south east Asia's Angkor civilisation.


Unwinding the Energiewende

The Energiewende or “energy transition” in Germany is a cautionary tale in many respects not least the unintended consequences of policy.

The German energy policy has been guided by three European directives. A target for reduction in carbon emissions, an effort to increase energy efficiency and critically a target for renewables in the energy mix. The desire to cut carbon emissions may be laudable if somewhat ineffective if China and India continue to increase their output of CO2, and a push to reduce energy efficiency seems sensible. However it is the third of the EU directives that has possibly led to most harm.

A target for renewables in the energy mix has forced EU governments to pick and support the only technologies that are scalable within the present timescale, regardless of cost. So Germany has offered large subsidies for solar and wind which has led to a huge increase in German energy prices but then had to offer subsidies to German heavy industry to shield them from the increasing costs of power. But then these energy subsidies to industry have in turn been challenged by the EU.

Furthermore, the German government’s stance on energy includes decommissioning its nuclear power stations. This combined with an increase in renewables which by their nature provide intermittent power and which have priority access to feed the grid has destabilized the energy market. Gas plants previously providing base load power are now only used to balance renewables making them uncompetitive and leading to the bizarre consequence that Germany is now building new lignite coal power stations to provide this back up generation capacity for its large renewable sector.

So the end result is that due to the skewed policy response caused by EU energy policy, Germany is locked into very heavily subsidized solar and wind production causing energy prices to rise whilst at the same time building more coal fired capacity to back up the intermittency of its large renewable sector which negates the central plank of EU policy to reduce carbon emissions. And the increasing price of energy is seeing large German energy users turning to the US to invest in new plant and further carbon leakage to the developing nations

All this is in stark contrast with the US.  Cheap and abundant shale gas has pushed much of the  dirtier coal energy production out of the energy mix, so without heavy market intervention the US has dramatically reduced its CO2 emissions whilst slashing its energy costs. And whilst once the energy debate in the EU was in part characterized by showing the world how policy directives could lead the way in effective CO2 reduction the result seems to prove the exact opposite.


Blowing the Budget in the Wind

If the history of the Obama administration is any indication, one of the most efficient ways for the federal government to waste money is to “invest” it in green energy projects. Projects that are doomed to fail because they are nowhere near being economically viable.

In fact, we could argue that the green energy industry itself just isn’t sustainable, which makes these kinds of government-subsidized “investments” a very bad deal for taxpayers.

It would be one thing if only the money of millionaires and billionaires were at high risk of being lost, but when ventures like these are entirely dependent upon government subsidies to even exist in the first place, that’s a very good indication that there are a lot of better and smarter things that could be done with the taxpayers’ money. Especially when there is no hope of the green energy projects ever living up to their promises.

Unfortunately, because the green energy industry is so dependent upon the government’s subsidized support for its existence, rather than developing economically viable technologies and businesses, it spends a lot of its limited resources on keeping the stream of government subsidies that feed it going. Their latest gambit has reached all the way into the White House, as President Obama’s latest budget proposal is actually proposing disadvantaging their profitable competitors while making their own subsidized support permanent:

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his proposed national budget for fiscal year 2015, and it includes a smorgasbord of efforts on climate issues.

“We know that future generations will continue to deal with the effects of a warming planet,” the President said yesterday in a speech introducing the budget.

The $3.9 trillion document allocates about $1 trillion for discretionary spending across both defense and non-defense, with the rest going to mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare. Within that $1 trillion, Obama carves out numerous programs to push forward the climate action plan he announced last year….

This includes a permanent extension of the production tax credit for wind — a cost of $19.2 billion over ten years — which expired at the end of 2013….

The budget would axe about $4 billion in tax breaks that are currently available to the oil and natural gas industries, and another $3.9 billion in tax preferences for coal.

It must be really nice to have a “friend” in the White House who is willing to help you stack the deck in your favor, no matter the cost to taxpayers. Bloomberg Businessweek explains how important it is for the wind energy lobby to get that tax credit made permanent:

In Texas, the wind tends to blow the hardest in the middle of the night. That’s also when most people are asleep and electricity prices drop, which would be a big problem for the companies that own the state’s 7,690 wind turbines if not for a 20-year-old federal subsidy that effectively pays them a flat rate for making clean energy no matter what time it is. Wind farms, whether privately owned or part of a public utility, receive a $23 tax credit for every megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. (A megawatt-hour is enough juice to power about 1,000 homes for one hour.) This credit, which was worth about $2 billion for all U.S. wind projects in 2013, has helped lower the price of electricity in parts of the country where wind power is prevalent, since wind producers can charge less and still turn a profit. In Texas, the biggest wind-producing state in the U.S., wind farms have occasionally sold electricity for less than zero—that is, they’ve paid to provide power to the grid to undercut the state’s nuclear or coal energy providers.

This sweetheart deal looks to be on its way out, in part because it succeeded in what it set out to do. Over the past five years, wind has accounted for 36 percent of all new electricity generation installed in the U.S., second only to new natural gas installations. Wind now supplies more than 4 percent of the country’s electricity. At about 60,000 megawatts, there’s enough wind energy capacity to power 15.2 million U.S. homes, a more than twentyfold increase since 2000. It’s still tiny compared to fossil fuel: Combined, coal and natural gas supply roughly two-thirds of U.S. electricity. But wind produces about six times more electricity than solar. That’s led Congress to take steps to do away with tax incentives first established in 1992 to help the fledgling industry take root. In December lawmakers allowed the credit to expire.

That the green energy lobby is now working to make the wind energy tax credit a permanent burden upon U.S. taxpayers, even as the industry supporters claim the industry’s “success”, really means that the entire industry’s business model is fatally flawed. In calling to make the tax credit permanent at their behest, President Obama is really communicating on their behalf that the wind energy industry will never be able to sustain itself without it.

A smart investor would recognize these things and cut their losses so they could move on to greener opportunities. Allowing the wind energy industry’s tax credit to permanently expire rather than be made a permanent burden for American taxpayers would make that possible.


Wealthy environmentalists push Democrat Harry Reid to lean-in to green energy

Democrats have decided to lean-in, not back-away, from so-called clean energy. Despite the embarrassing history of government-funded green-energy failures, “wealthy environmentalists are pushing Democrats to take bolder positions on climate change”—and global warming, as an issue, provides the impetus for more green-energy spending.

The Boston Globe reported on a recent “summit between Washington’s liberal elite and San Francisco’s climate intelligensia” that included “Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, six other senators, and … Al Gore.” The Globe points to new efforts by Democrats to “make global warming a central issue during the midterms.”

Reid has, according to the Globe, “pledged to allot time to anyone who wants to discuss climate change at party lunches or on the Senate floor.” He needs to keep the ruse alive because he is connected to more than $3 billion in Energy Department green-energy deals that helped him get reelected in 2010—behavior that has earned him the moniker: “one of America’s most corrupt politicians.”

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), has planned an all-night talkathon on the subject that will take place on Monday, March 10—about which Boxer said: “So many Senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change.” According to a press release from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 28 Senators will be participating—slightly more than one quarter of the Senate.

Apparently they don’t want to miss out on the $100 million in campaign cash the “wealthy environmentalists” have committed to cooperative candidates—while also “threatening to withhold money from candidates in swing states who support the Keystone oil pipeline.”

The Globe quotes Wade Randlett, a renewable energy entrepreneur who co-hosted the San Francisco fundraiser, as saying: “What was really energizing is everyone understood clean energy would be at the forefront of the Senate agenda. It wasn’t back-away; it was clearly lean-in.”

So, who are these “wealthy environmentalists,” who are driving the agenda and making powerful U.S. Senators jump like an organ grinder’s monkey to do their bidding? The answer is found in Christine Lakatos’ newest report for the Green Corruption Files: The dark, driving force behind the president’s massive green-energy scheme.

Since 2012, Lakatos and I have partnered to expose Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. She does the research and writes the thorough exposé on the chosen topic and, based on her work, I write the overview report and link to the Green Corruption File for those who want the full story. Our collaborative efforts have been cited by prominent commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, and referenced in many news stories.

Lakatos focuses on left-wing think tank, Center for American Progress (CAP) founded by John Podesta—who is now serving as White House counselor specializing in climate change issues. The Huffington Post (HP) says this about CAP and Podesta: “John Podesta probably is and has been the most important opinion leader for progressives in America in the last decade, certainly during the term of the Obama Administration, through his leadership of the Center for American Progress (CAP).” HP points out: CAP has “been a vocal voice for this president’s policies in the media and on the Hill. But their area of highest visibility is advocacy for a clean energy economy where John Podesta has personally led the effort.”

Podesta is the organ grinder from within the White House and progressive political platforms. Tom Steyer is now doing the same from outside Washington—leading “San Francisco’s climate intelligensia.”

Lakatos chronicles many key players with readily recognizable names who have connections to the Obama White House, CAP, and green energy projects. They include Lawrence Summers, Carol Browner, Steve Spinner, and Van Jones—as well as many others who have been heavily involved but have maintained a lower profile and corporate donors that are tied to tens of billions of green energy funds. However, in light of his recent political-influence reveal, Tom Steyer—CAP Board Member and donor, Obama bundler, and host of the recent “summit” (held on his 1800-acre ranch, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge)—is worthy of special attention.

Lakatos states: “Like most prominent Obama fundraisers, Steyer has enjoyed relatively easy access to the White House, and as of the summer of 2012, it was reported that he had met with senior White House officials in the West Wing on at least four occasions. Steyer was even handpicked to make a cameo appearance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.”

Steyer founded and was the Senior Managing Member of Farallon Capital Management—until late 2012 when the firm’s partners bought out his “profit share.” His net worth is estimated to be $1.55 billion—some of which is reported to have been made through millions of dollars worth of shares his firm invested in big oil companies such as BP and pipeline company Kinder Morgan. Fox News reports: “He continues to have significant investments with Farallon, according to a spokesman, Steyer has directed the fund to ‘green’ his portfolio and divest him of all positions in oil and coal—including Kinder Morgan.”

Regarding his recent interest in California’s blooming green-technology industry, the New York Times (NYT) quoted Steyer as saying: “really what we’re fighting is self-interested dirty-energy companies.”

Having made billions through “dirty-energy companies,” Farallon Capital Management has been greening its portfolio. The NYT cites Steyer, when he was still with Farallon, as “the main financial backer of Greener Capital [now EFW Capital], a venture firm that invests in renewable energy start ups.” A 2012 Washington Free Beacon report points out some of Farallon’s other green-energy investments:

Farallon owns nearly $14 million worth of shares of Westport Innovations, the self-described “global leader in natural gas engines.” The Westport Carbon Project (WCP), according to its website, “was established to monetize the carbon emission reductions associated with the Westport HD engine, the Cummins Westport ISL G and other natural gas engines developed with our OEM partners. The WCP enables customers to earn annual carbon rebate cheques for the natural gas vehicles in their fleet as of January 1, 2010.”

Farallon also owns more than $8 million worth of shares of Fuel Systems Solutions, which according to its website “designs, manufactures and supplies proven, cost-effective alternative fuel components and systems for transportation and industrial applications. Its gaseous fuel technology for propane (LPG) and natural gas (CNG) generates savings, reduces emissions, and promotes energy independence.”

While a 2011 Forbes profile on Steyer quotes him as saying: “I am a true believer that we have to change the way we generate and consume energy in the United States,” it would also be easy to view his combined investment and politicking efforts as “self-interested,” as he does stand to profit from the polices he’s promoting.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA), in the Fox News story accuses Steyer of having financial interest in the death of a pipeline he opposes on environmental grounds. Vitter says: “I think it’s hypocrisy, quite frankly. Who knows when he's going to divest of these investments ... maybe in a few months when his helping kill Keystone will boost them up to top value. ... Who knows?”

According to Steyer spokesman Chris LeHane, “This divestment has been taking place consistent with the applicable legal requirements.”

Steyer calling traditional energy companies “self-interested” is like the presumed morally superior pot calling the proven economically superior kettle black. Perhaps he really is a “true believer.” If so, he should remove himself from any form of financial gain he can reap from his political activism and donations. But maybe, like I do, those self-interested oil companies truly believe that developing our own resources to provide all Americans with energy that is efficient, effective and economical is in America’s best interest.

The 2014 elections give Americans the opportunity to decide whether they side with the 28 Democrat Senators at Monday night’s sleepover who are dancing at the behest of the organ grinders—or if we want to learn from the mistakes of their failed green-energy projects only profiting the wealthy while robbing taxpayers, raising electricity rates and hurting the poor.

Do we lean-in or back-away?


"The great Stalin plan for the transformation of nature"

Stalin preferred trees to people too


 On October 20, 1948, the Soviet government announced the world'ss first state- centered program to reverse human-induced climate change, a grandiose plan to construct 5.7 million hectares of forest in the Russian south. However, the plan collapsed upon Stalin's death in 1953 because of a fundamental contradiction at the plan's heart. At first, the Stalin Plan advanced a basically conservative vision of restoring the steppes to an imagined prehistoric state, but soon a group of radical scientists advancing untested silvicultural theories managed to take control. The resulting struggle between the old approach and the new brought about the plan's collapse.

TWENTIETH-CENTURY DICTATORS liked trees. Although the environmental record of authoritarianism offers a dismal list of failures, including the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Chelyabinsk-65, the fouled air of Beijing and Shanghai, the vanished fisheries of the Aral and Caspian Seas, and the acidified industrial wastelands of Bitterfeld and Katowice, afforestation projects represent a notable exception. Indeed, afforestation on a massive scale was the environmental panacea of choice for dictators in the twentieth century.

The Nazis and their Reichforstmeister, Hermann Göring, in addition to making the conservation-spirited Dauerwald the preferred forestry method for the German Reich, initiated a sweeping National Afforestation Program in 1934, focused on creating ecologically sound mixed forests, a program which succeeded in increasing the overall forest cover of Germany despite aggressive industrialization and the rigors of war.

Benito Mussolini created a “ National Forest Militia", a black-shirted paramilitary group under the direction of the General Command of the Voluntary Militia for Natural Security, to assist in “ technical work, reforestation ... and propaganda in the field of silviculture. ”

Mao Zedong devoted little attention to forestry matters, and his Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960) and Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1969) resulted in widespread forest destruction, but his followers have taken afforestation very seriously, embarking in 1978 on the construction of a “ Great Green Wall ” more than four thousand kilometers in length, with the aim of doubling the forest cover of the Chinese north.

But older and bolder than any of these was the Soviet effort, which began in the early 1920s and reached its zenith in 1948 with the “Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature”, the world's first state-directed effort to reverse human-induced climate change.

The Stalin Plan foresaw the creation of nearly six million hectares of new forest — an area greater than that of all the forests of Western Europe — in the form of windbreaks along the rivers of the Russian south and the perimeters of the collective farms. According to Soviet claims, these new forests would halt desiccating Central Asian winds, cool and dampen the climate of southern Russia, and eliminate the periodic droughts that had afflicted the steppe for decades. But despite an enormous propaganda blitz, including a patriotic oratorio composed by Dmitrii Shostakovich, and the allocation of huge sums of money, the plan was abandoned after fewer than five years,


All Scientists are Sceptics ~  Australia's Professor Bob Carter

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the science of climate change is the lack of any real substance in attempts to justify the hypothesis ~Professor Stewart Franks

ICSC Chief Science Advisor Professor Bob Carter discusses the NIPCC report:  "Any human global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system"

"Professor Bob Carter, PhD on the latest NIPCC report", radio interview on Truth News radio, Australia.

"In today's show we are joined by Professor Bob Carter for the entire second hour to discuss the findings contained in the latest NIPCC report.

"The NIPCC ("Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change")  is an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change from a sceptical viewpoint, looking at information which is routinely ignored by the official U.N. body, the IPCC.

"The NIPCC was formed in response to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007 with the aim of providing an independent, second opinion on the IPCC's findings. The first full report of the NIPCC was published in 2009. Another report followed in 2011, and the latest report was published in 2013.

"The 2013 NIPCC report contains an Executive Summary and a Summary for Policy Makers which present the findings in an approachable way for general readers. "From the Summary For Policy Makers:

"NIPCC’s conclusion, drawn from its extensive review of the scientific evidence, is that any human global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system and is not dangerous. At the same time, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does. A phase of temperature stasis or cooling has succeeded the mild twentieth century warming. It is certain that similar natural climate changes will continue to occur.

"In the show today, Professor Carter goes through some of the key findings in the latest report and addresses some popular misconceptions about polar ice and climate variability over the past ten thousand years."



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

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


10 March, 2014

Climate Science Consensus: Last 60 Years of Global Warming Below Earlier Periods, Experts Say

Scientists associated with the UN's IPCC predicted that the huge consumer/industrial emissions of the modern era would cause not only "unprecedented" global warming but also dangerous "runaway" warming, which would then produce "tipping point" climate change.

The climate science consensus today is that these speculative climate forecasts, based on flawed computer models, did not happen and expert analysis of the gold-standard of temperature datasets (the UK's global HadCRUT4) confirms it.

As this adjacent chart reveals, modern warming increases over the last 60 years don't even match the warming increases of the prior 60-year period, when earlier human emissions were just a fraction of contemporary amounts. (The vast difference of increases for atmospheric CO2 levels, between the two 60-year periods, is depicted on the chart - an 18ppm increase for the earlier period versus an 82ppm increase for the modern 60-year period.)

The climate science fact that huge modern CO2 emissions did not generate the expected runaway warming over the long-term, nor even over the shorter-term, now has the establishment science journals questioning the obvious - how was the IPCC so wrong?

And this empirical evidence refutation of conventional climate science has become so glaring, that even the traditional mainstream press is finally taking notice that something is truly amiss regarding the IPCC's climate science orthodoxy.


Changes in the Sun's activity may have led to natural climate change

Welsh researchers have found changes in the Sun's activity over the last thousand years may have led to marked natural climate change.

Scientists at Cardiff University studied the seabed to determine how the temperature of the North Atlantic had altered, with the results showing that changes in the sun's activity can have a considerable impact on the dynamics of the ocean, with potential effects on regional climate.

They say the study will allow them to better predict regional climate change.

Professor Ian Hall, from the University says this could lead to colder winters.


Democrat Climate Caucus Reveals Its Stupidity

By Alan Caruba

The nation seems to be passing through a period in which too many U.S. Senators have been elected without so much as a high school level understanding of what drives the Earth’s climate and it isn’t the 0.038% of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

On Monday, March 10, some twenty of them will stay up overnight on the Senate floor, according to The Hill, “to bring attention to the impacts of climate change.”  You don’t get more idiotic than that. Climate, measured in decades and centuries, is always in a state of change. Meanwhile, the weather anywhere in the nation, determined by the changing seasons and responsive only to short-range forecasts, has turned colder thanks to a cooling cycle that is now into its 17th year.

Giving speeches all night in the Senate will not change that, but Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has partnered with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to announce a new “climate change caucus” when you can ask any of the million unemployed Americans what the Senate’s real priority should be.

Sen. Whitehouse seems to think that a winter storm that causes “little summer cottages (be) washed into the sea” makes the non-existent issue of climate change “a bit personal.”  Does this moron take rain or snow storms personally? When the sun rises in the morning, does he think it does so just for him?

Democrats are so afraid of the political fallout from the devastation of Obamacare and the lies told to support it that they are desperate to divert voter’s attention to anything else and climate change rates higher than having to discuss why we are still in a major recession after one full term by President Obama and the first year of his second. So, between now and the midterm elections in November, they will engage in all manner of theatrics to stay in office.

Thank goodness we have men like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in office. For a long time know he has been on record calling climate change—formerly called global warming—“a hoax.”  When he takes a head count, he finds “fewer and fewer members of the United States Senate that are sympathetic to this whole cause.”

Behind the climate change “cause” falsehoods is the intention to impose fees on all aspects of American business and industry that emit carbon dioxide. Sen. Whitehouse wants to force up the cost of energy by making the larger emitters pay for doing what volcanoes do—emit CO2. In addition, all of the Earth’s living creatures do that as well. Congress has defeated 692 similar bills.

Sen. Whitehouse and his climate caucus are depending heavily on the 30% or so voters who still think that global warming is real. To some extent you can’t blame them. They were taught that in school and college. They read and hear that it is real in the news media every day. As of today, however, not one high school graduate has lived in a period of global warming.

And what is the rest of the world supposed to think when both British Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences have just released a report, “Climate Change: Evidence & Causes” that is a rejection and abandonment of the most fundamental values of science.  The report asserts that “Continued emissions of these gases (CO2 and other greenhouse gases will cause further climate change, including substantial increases in global average surface temperatures and important changes in regional climate.”

Tom Harris, the executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, responded saying the report “does a serious disservice to science and society.”  And that is an understatement. “This is not the language of science…it is appalling that two of the world’s foremost science bodies should engage in such unconditional rhetoric.” Not to mention that it is an outright lie.

So, while the twenty or so desperate Democrats gather all night, keep in mind that (1) there has been no global warming since 1997, (2) more than 31,000 scientists have signed a petition saying humans are not causing global warming, (3) Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012, and (4) every one of the climate computer models predicting warmth has been wrong over and over again.

Find out if one of those Senators is from your State and is up for reelection in November. Then vote him or her out of office and replace them with a candidate who wants smaller government, less spending, and demonstrates a devotion to both the truth and the U.S. Constitution.


"Global-Warming / Climate Change POLICY, not the weather, is a threat to National Security in the UK and Europe

Miliband's claims are as deluded as the charge of the light brigade**"

"While Putin sabre-rattles in the Ukraine and Crimea UK and European political leaders dither and reel in terror at losing Russian gas supplies.

"YET it is they who made Britain and Europe impotent by adopting deranged so-called green energy policies which slashed home produced power of Coal and sacrificed British and European Energy independence to the Russian Bear in the name of 'Saving the Planet'.

"Ed Miliband's wailing outburst that so-called man-made climate change, which he claims caused the winter storms, is 'a threat to national security' IS AS DELUDED AS THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE**.
"The FACTS are:-

1. The storms were solar-driven and predicted by WeatherAction*;

2. The notion of man-made Climate change is an anti-scientific and baseless lie.

3. There is no evidence that changes in CO2 levels in the real world drive or have ever driven world temperatures or climate in the last hundred, thousand or million years;

4. The reality is the other way around and if Mr Miliband and other politicians believe  in the deluded CO2 theory we challenge them to come up with actual evidence and to organize a public TV debate on the matter between WeatherAction and others on one side and the Met Office charlatan's like Julia Slingo on the other.

5. The way to build energy independence and improve living standards in the UK is:

a) Bring back UK coal and any other cheap home-based energy sources

b) Support fracking in safe places

c) Scrap ALL CO2 handouts and green subsidies which are ALL driving up the cost of living.

d) Repeal the Climate Change Act and terminate all funding of green parasites in Govt, business and Councils who are guided by it.

e) Prepare for weather extremes through application of solar-based long-range forecasts which can be funded by the termination of the Met Offices failed Long Range ventures which have misled the public for a decade.


Greener than “green”

Fracking is friendly to protected species and mosquito-devouring bats

Deroy Murdock

A constant, mild hiss.  That was my chief observation when I returned to Anadarko Petroleum’s Landon Pad A, a natural-gas site in Lycoming County, PA. October’s quietude was totally unlike the cyclone of equipment, personnel and activity that had dominated this spot just four months before, when Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute hosted journalists and policy analysts here.

Back then, engineers used a pressurized blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand, and 0.5% chemicals to crack subterranean shale deposits and awaken natural gas that has slumbered since the dinosaurs died. This hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” occurs some 6,000 feet underground. This is 5,000 feet beneath the water table – deep enough to bury three Empire State Buildings.

This spot now resembles the scene of a once-raging party that has been cleared out and cleaned up. The trucks have driven off. Dozens of workers have moved on. The cranes are gone. What remains are three acres of gravel-covered farmland, five completed wells, rising three to six feet above the soil, and a steady, low-volume whoosh.

This is the sound of natural gas being captured; counted by a “cash register” gauge that measures output and thus royalties; and conveyed via yellow pipes into the broader natural-gas market. The result? Warm bedrooms on crisp nights and hot showers on cold mornings.

Despite the shrill complaints of fracking foes, this productive but tranquil patch demonstrates how much greener fracking is than other power sources – even “green” ones.

* Fracking should soothe those who fret about CO2.

Since 2002, carbon dioxide output has grown 32 percent globally, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce wrote for Bloomberg View in September. “In the U.S., meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions were 8 percent lower in 2012 than they were in 2002, largely due to a surge in shale gas production, which has reduced coal use.” Indeed, fracking has helped America keep its unratified Kyoto Protocol commitments while other countries decry so-called global warming and yet continue boosting CO2.

New York City, home of über-frackophobe Yoko Ono, is benefiting enormously from fracking.

“New York has the cleanest air now of any major American city,” Gotham mayor Michael Bloomberg told journalists on September 26. Thanks to both purer heating oil in local buildings and the conversion of others to natural gas fracked along the Marcellus Shale, New York’s air has not been this clear in 50 years, officials say.

As the Associated Press’s Deepti Hajela reported, decreases in sulfur dioxide, soot and other pollutants are preventing 2,000 emergency-room visits and 800 deaths annually. This concrete positive vastly outweighs the theoretical risk that fracking someday, somewhere possibly might taint someone’s drinking water – maybe.

* Water is a precious resource. So, conservationists should smile at how little water fracking requires – compared to other energy sources. According to the U.S. Energy Department and the Ground Water Protection Council, it typically takes three gallons of water to produce 1 million British thermal units of energy from deep-shale natural gas/fracking.

Atomic energy requires 11 gallons per million BTUs. Coal: 23 gallons. Corn ethanol? A whopping 15,800 gallons. And soy biodiesel requires nearly triple that amount: 44,500 gallons per million BTUs. That’s 14,833 times the water needed for fracking.

But what about groundwater pollution? The hysteria that fracking poisons drinking water lacks one key ingredient: evidence.

As former EPA EPA chief Lisa Jackson testified before Congress  in May 2011: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” Even New York State’s politically frackophobic Andrew Cuomo administration concluded that “no significant adverse impact to water resources is likely to occur due to underground vertical migration of fracturing fluids through the shale formations.” A December 2011 Department of Environmental Conservation draft report added that “there is no likelihood of significant adverse impacts from the underground migration of fracturing fluids.”

* Protecting habitat is another key eco-priority. Fracking succeeds here, too. An SAIC/RW Beck study found that natural-gas companies use 0.4 acres of land to generate a year’s supply of electricity for 1,000 households. Nuclear power requires 0.7 acres. Coal consumes 0.75 acres. Wind power needs six acres. And solar cells require 8.4 acres to fuel 1,000 households annually. This is 21 times the habitat impact of natural gas. So, if you are a Gila monster or a Joshua tree, cheer fracking and hiss solar.

* What about wildlife?

Anadarko’s Brad Milliken says rattlesnakes are protected in Pennsylvania, unlike his home state of Texas. The company, Milliken says, retains “what I would call a rattlesnake wrangler. If we see a snake, we call him up, and they relocate the snake temporarily,” until work has been completed. “All of our contractors understand not to disturb the snakes.”

Before installing a new pipeline, Anadarko checks for Indiana bats, as they migrate in May and June. Obstructing their flight paths “changes their way of life and can be detrimental to their health,” Milliken explains. In such cases, he says, Anadarko would reroute a pipeline rather than threaten these bats.

In contrast, the “Earth friendly,” taxpayer-subsidized wind industry slaughters thousands, perhaps millions of bats (including Indiana bats) unlucky enough to fly into the giant Cuisinarts that are their turbines. (My friend Paul Driessen of the Center For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) has documented this carnage with tragic eloquence.)

Nearly a century of horror movies have equated bats with Dracula. Too bad. These hideous creatures do a beautiful thing: Gobble mosquitoes. By one estimate, a brown bat devours nearly 8,700 such insects annually. So, ironically, fracking protects bats, while “ecologically sensitive” wind turbines are butchering bats.

This is great news for mosquitoes, which do suck human blood. It’s not such great news for people who fall victim to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Could gas producers frack even more cleanly? Innovation could and gradually will yield still safer and more Earth-friendly production methods. Cal Cooper of the Apache Corporation wisely proposed at a Manhattan Institute energy policy conference that gas companies “could transport fracking chemicals in powder form and mix them with water at production sites, rather than ship them around in liquid form, which risks a spill in transit.”

Rather than blindly decry fracking, environmentalists should encourage more ideas like Cooper’s. Beyond that, they should embrace fracking for being easy on the air, water, land and wildlife – in most cases far easier than the “sustainable” energy sources that ecologists adore.

Via email

Australian PM says Greens are toxic

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has labelled the Greens as “toxic” in his first salvo for next month’s WA senate election.

Ahead of a visit to Perth this week, Mr Abbott fired back at a vicious attack by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam in federal parliament, in which he labelled the Prime Minister as “homophobic” and “racist”.

The Prime Minister yesterday labelled the Greens and other minor parties who were contesting the fresh election as toothless tigers, whose major contribution to the Australian Parliament was to “attract media attention”.

He said Mr Ludlam’s attack was water off a duck’s back.

“I am defamed every day in parliament, and I have learnt to be fairly oblivious to it I have got to say,” Mr Abbott said.

“I think West Australians are fairly resistant to the kinds of toxins which emanate from the Greens.”

Laughing he retorted: “I might have to have an extra half glass of good Margaret River wine tonight to console myself.’’

WA Greens Senator launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister during his final parliamentary speech ahead of the April 5 senate vote.

Senator Ludlam invited Mr Abbott to visit WA, but urged him to leave his “excruciatingly boring three-word slogans at home”.

The speech concludes with Senator Ludlam telling the Prime Minister to take his “heartless racist exploitation of people’s fears and ram it as far from Western Australia as your taxpayer funded travel entitlements can take you”.

“Western Australians are a generous and welcoming lot, but if you show up waving your homophobia in people’s faces and start boasting about your ever more insidious attacks on the trade union movement and all working people, you can expect a very different kind of welcome.”

WA will vote for six senators on April 5, after the bungled poll in September saw that result quashed.

West Australians have to go back to the polls after 1370 votes were lost.

After securing three senate positions at the September election, the Liberals are now in danger of losing one of those positions, which would make it even more difficult for Mr Abbott to pass legislation in the senate.

He currently holds 33 seats in the senate, but needs 39 to pass laws.

Mr Abbott said losing another Liberal senate position would make it more difficult to scrap the mining and carbon taxes.

“The election is important because the result will make it easier or harder to get rid of anti WA taxes like the carbon or mining taxes,” he said.

In a pot shot at the Greens and minor parties, Mr Abbott said: “Ask yourself: What do minor parties actually get done, other than make it harder for government to do its job?

“Minor parties are much better at attracting media attention rather than getting things done.  “Don’t vote for a minor party and in particular don’t vote for a minor party that is going to be constantly with the Opposition.  “The Greens are really the second wing faction of the Labor Party – that’s what they are.

“I think people want a strong voice in the federal parliament, rather than people who just make a noise. To do that, you need to vote for people who are part of government.”

Mr Abbott said West Australians had every right to be angry about having to vote again.

“It is monumental incompetence,’’ he said.  “I am annoyed. I think everyone is annoyed.  “I can’t imagine they (Australian Electoral Commission) would make the same mistake twice.”

Mr Abbott is expected to arrive in Perth late Monday.



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

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


9 March, 2014

ObamaCar Replacement Batteries Cost $34,000 According to GM Dealers

Here’s the good news about the ObamaCar known as the Chevy Volt: There haven’t been any reported fires connected with the ObamaCar since the company recalled 8,000 of the electric vehicles—that’s one in six vehicles.

That is no fires, if you don’t count the people who’ve been “fired” from the Volt production line as sales continue to make Obama’s “one million” electric car promise just another broken dream in a crooked scheme.

Obama promised that by the time he finished as president, he’d put a million electric cars on the road. 

Thankfully, he won’t quite make it.  No telling how much it would cost to put a million on the road after calculating the costs of putting 60,000 on the road.

So far the GM has manufactured only about 62,000 cars, if you count sales of the European model the Ampera.

“Sales of the Volt meanwhile fell 25.6 percent from February 2013 to 1,210 units last month,” says the GM Authority blog. “And while the Volt still holds on to the overall sales lead over the Leaf, Volt sales appear to be slowing in 2014. In January, Chevrolet moved 918 units of the Volt, down from 1,140 in January 2013 and 2,392 in December 2013.”

And despite slashing the price by $5,000, 2013 saw fewer Volt sales than 2012.

“The Volt saw a boost upwards from a November slump and sold 2,392 units in December,” says AutoblogGreen. “That puts the plug-in hybrid's annual total at 23,094, just down from the 23,461 sold in 2012.”

If Ralph Nader contended that the Corvair was “unsafe at any speed,” then I contend that the ObamaCar demand has reached it’s apex and is “unwanted at any price.”

That might be because no one can actually tell buyers what it might cost to replace the batteries in the car.

Continues the AutoblogGreen:

We called up Keyes Chevrolet in Los Angeles and were quoted a broad price range of between $3,400 and $34,000 to replace a "drive motor replacement battery" in a 2012 Volt. Tellingly, perhaps, the dealer we spoke with was not sure what replacing a 'drive motor replacement battery' (and the 'Grade B' version, at that) entails, and told us we'd have to bring a Volt in to see what's wrong with the pack to get a real estimate. We got the same confusion and numbers to replace the battery from Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We asked GM to clarify what this $34,000 charge includes, but that information was not forthcoming.

GM’s hilarious official response to this was a non denial denial: "The high end of what you provided is not consistent with what we would expect the customer to pay," says Kevin Kelly, manager of electrification technology communications for General Motors.

And that’s the ObamaCar problem.

GM actually has manager responsible for “electrification technology communications”?

So THAT’s where the $11 billion…and more… went in the auto bailout that taxpayers got stuck for.

Divide by two, carry the one and… for only $215,696 per battery taxpayers could provide FREE batteries to every Chevy Volt owner.

That is if they could rely on a plant to manufacture the things.   Because here’s where it gets really silly.

GM expected sales of the Chevy Volt to be so robust that they got the government to “invest” $150 million in a third party manufacturing plant owned by Korean company LG Chem that can produce 50,000 to 600,000 batteries per year.

For a car that’s selling only 25,000 per year? And supposedly has batteries that last 8 years or 100,000 miles?

And still they can’t quite nail down how much it will cost to replace the batteries in the Chevy Volt.

And that’s the great telltale: We know, despite denials from the White House and GM, that the Chevy Volt really is an ObamaCarm designed by the softest minds in the federal hierarchy.

And its problem isn’t its power source.  No.  Its problem is the same that all great, signature ObamaProducts have.  Its problem is simple math.  It doesn’t add up.


Has the EPA lost its mind?

Here’s a bright idea. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a new regulation requiring retrofitting or that some new technology be used by energy providers, perhaps they should double-check to see if the technology actually exists yet.

That is the subject of an amendment to H.R. 3826 by Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that would ensure that EPA standards for all types of new power plants are achievable using existing technology.

The bill itself, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) passed the House by a vote 229-183 on March 6.

Smith all but called carbon sequestration mandates fictitious in his statement: “By requiring carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that doesn’t even exist, the EPA’s new power plant proposal effectively bans new coal power. There is no coal power plant anywhere in the world that can meet the EPA’s radical proposal.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is already required to set standards using the “best system of emission reduction” with technology that has been “adequately demonstrated.”

The Smith bill would reinforce that aspect of the law and guarantee that the agency is not setting an impossible standard, thus killing the electrical grid when no provider could meet the new requirements.

Coal as a percent of the net electricity generation has dropped from 49 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2012, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). For now, this is being partially offset by increases in natural gas.

But, that actually represents a smaller piece of a smaller pie, EIA data shows. While natural gas has increased electricity production by 330 billion kilowatthours (kWh) to 1.132 trillion kWh a year in 2012, coal production has dropped by 498 billion kWh to 1.5 trillion kWh.

Largely as a result of the coal plant closures, overall electricity generation in the U.S. has dropped from 4.005 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2007 to 3.89 trillion kWh in 2012 meanwhile end use has only decreased from 3.89 trillion kWh in to just 3.832 trillion kWh.

The difference between electricity generation and end use, or implied spare capacity, has dropped from 115 billion kWh to 58 billion kWh from 2007 to 2012.

That’s a decrease of almost 50 percent — leading to worries that very soon the ability to keep up with demand could be compromised and brownouts could be on the horizon.

But by requiring that providers use technology that does not even exist as a prerequisite to selling electricity, the outcome could be devastating, with more than one third of the supply at risk.

To paraphrase the words of the immortal Harold Ramis, we could wind up with a grid that is substandard and completely inadequate for our power needs.

Considering the practical, potential impact of the new EPA regulation, one has to wonder if that isn’t precisely what the agency has had in mind all along.


EPA’s Latest Ban Has Chilling Consequences For Many Rural People

Greenies are passionate about "renewable" resources  -- except for practical ones like wood and hydro power

It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore.  The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. The agency’s stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.

While EPA’s most recent regulations aren’t altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe.  Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 microgram limit. To put this amount in context,EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.

Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast-to-coast can’t meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

The impacts of EPA’s ruling will affect many families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 survey statistics, 2.4 million American housing units (12 percent of all homes) burned wood as their primary heating fuel, compared with 7 percent that depended upon fuel oil.

Local governments in some states have gone even further  than EPA, not only banning the sale of noncompliant stoves, but even their use as fireplaces. As a result, owners face fines for infractions. Puget Sound, Washington is one such location.   Montréal, Canada proposes to eliminate all fireplaces within its city limits.


Another people hater

She doesn't like food very much either  -- by the look of her.  An interview with The Guardian and her below

Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of The Sixth Extinction, which argues that a catastrophe that may be as significant as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs is under way around us. But whereas the previous five mass extinctions were caused by natural phenomena, Kolbert shows us that this one is manmade. One third of all reef-building corals, a third of all freshwater molluscs, a third of sharks and rays, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles, and a sixth of all birds, says Kolbert, "are heading towards oblivion".

When did you first hear the phrase the Sixth Extinction, and how did it become the subject of your book?

Not that long ago. I read a paper in the National Academy of Sciences that set me down this whole road. That came out in 2008 and it was called Are We In the Midst of The Sixth Extinction? That was sort of the beginning of this whole project. Then I wrote a piece for the New Yorker called "The Sixth Extinction?" , and it involved amphibian-hunting in Panama. I knew I hadn't scratched the surface, that there was a book there.

Your previous writing on climate change met with scepticism. Do you think this broader approach might have a more engaged reception?

Climate change, especially in the US, has been extraordinarily politicised, and that is a real barrier to getting people to even think about the issue. The other issues in the book, which are all contributing to this mass extinction – invasive species and ocean acidification – have not been politicised. But acidification is completely the same phenomenon as global warming. It's all about carbon emissions. Unfortunately the public discourse has really taken leave of the science and just exists in its own realm.

The irony of the previous catastrophes is that we wouldn't be here without them…

Yes, there's a consensus that the dinosaurs were doing just fine 66m years ago and presumably could have done fine for another 66m years, had their way of life not been up-ended by an asteroid impact. Life on this planet is contingent. There's no grand plan for it. We are also contingent. Yet although we are absolutely part of this long history, we turn out to be extremely unusual. And what we're doing is quite possibly unprecedented.

Reading your book, one wonders if it might not be good for the rest of the planet if we died out?

A few species would be worse off if we weren't here but probably most would be better off. That's sounds like a radical or misanthropic thing to say but I think it's evidently true.

It seems that from the moment we arrived we've been busy wiping out species.

There is incontrovertible evidence that when people reached Australia, 50,000 years ago, they precipitated the extinction of many species. Giant marsupials, giant tortoises, a huge bird – all were gone within a couple of thousand years of people arriving.

Those "people" arriving were Aborigines  -- one of those wonderful primitive people who lived in harmony with nature!


How Many Jobs Are Threatened by the EPA in YOUR District?

The Obama Administration is trying to regulate Americans’ livelihoods away. Will Congress do anything to stop it?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing regulation of “greenhouse gases”—something even its own officials have admitted would have no noticeable impact on the climate.  New Heritage research shows the devastating impact it would have, however, on American manufacturing jobs.

EPA regulation has been dubbed the “war on coal,” but Heritage’s Nicolas Loris and Filip Jolevski report that “the casualties will extend well beyond the coal industry, hurting families and businesses and taking a significant toll on American manufacturing across the nation.”

Just what would happen if these regulations went forward? Jolevski and Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow, found that by the end of 2023 (emphasis added):

"nearly 600,000 jobs will be lost, a family of four’s income will drop by $1,200 per year, and aggregate gross domestic product decreases by $2.23 trillion"

And they broke down those numbers on the local level. You can actually see just how many manufacturing jobs would vanish in your own state and congressional district. A few notable points:

Average of more than 770 jobs losses per congressional district
Districts in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois hit especially hard

19 out of the top 20 worse off congressional districts located in the Midwest

As if that weren’t enough, this extends beyond local jobs. The negative effects on manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries would damage America’s competitiveness in the world, in addition to hurting those at home.

Squeezing major energy sources like coal would drive up energy prices—and that hits poor Americans the hardest. They are already spending a higher proportion of their income on running their households.

The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would tie greenhouse gas regulations to standards on economic damage vs. environmental benefits. But as Loris and Jolevski said, “Congress should stop the EPA and all other federal agencies from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Obama Administration is already going around Congress to accomplish many parts of its agenda. Members of Congress shouldn’t let bureaucrats bypass them to kill jobs.


Australia's Great Barrier Reef: Hoagy is squawking  again

Disaster looming, says the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, writing for  But to quote Mandy Rice-Davies, "But he WOULD say that, wouldn't he?" 

I have had a look at Hoagy's "report" and the evidence he musters for bad things happening is mostly quotations from his own writings and the the writings of his  fellow Warmists.  Andrew Bolt points out that other reef scientists say the reef is doing fine and bounces back swiftly from setbacks. 

Hoagy's own research showed a resilient reef  a few years ago and Hoagy retreated into embarrassed silence for a while but the embarrassment seems to have faded. Maybe he needed to do a screech to hang on to his job.

But a point that nobody can deny is that the reef is most luxuriant in the WARMEST part of its range e.g. the Torres Strait.  The reef LIKES warmth

The Great Barrier Reef will suffer “irreversible” damage by 2030 unless radical action is taken to lower carbon emissions, a stark new report has warned.

Unless temperatures are kept below the internationally agreed limit of 2C warming on pre-industrial levels, the reef will cease to be a coral-dominated ecosystem, the report warns.

Coral bleaching, which occurs when water becomes too warm and coral’s energy source is decimated, is now a “serious threat” to the reef, having not been documented in the region prior to 1979.

The increase in carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere, 90% of which is absorbed by the oceans, has already caused a 30% rise in the hydrogen ions that cause ocean acidification. This process hinders the ability of corals to produce the skeletal building blocks of reefs.

Co-author Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, told Guardian Australia that current climate trends signal “game over” for the Great Barrier Reef.



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

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


7 March, 2014
DC’s green-approved buildings using more energy

Washington, D.C. may have the highest number of certified green buildings in the country, but research by  Environmental Policy Alliance suggests it might not be doing much good.

The free-market group analyzed the first round of energy usage data released by city officials Friday and found that large, privately-owned buildings that received the green energy certification Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) actually use more energy than buildings that didn’t receive this green stamp of approval.

LEED is the brainchild of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a private environmental group.

Washington, D.C.’s Department of Environment made the capital the first city in the nation to mandate LEED certifications in the construction of public buildings. The standards are now being phased in.

The results are measured in EUI’s, a unit that relates a building’s energy consumption to its size; the higher the number, the more energy is expended by a smaller building.

Take the Green Building Council’s Washington headquarters. Replete with the group’s top green-energy accolade, the platinum LEED certification, the USGBC’s main base comes in at 236 EUI. The average EUI for uncertified buildings in the capital? Just 199.

Certified buildings’ average comes in at 205 EUI, still less efficient than that didn’t take home the ultimate green trophy.

“LEED certification is little more than a fancy plaque displayed by these ‘green’ buildings,” charged Anastasia Swearingen, LEED Exposed’s lead researcher on the project. “Previous analyses of energy use by LEED-certified buildings have consistently shown that LEED ratings have no bearing on actual energy efficiency.”


Former Obama Scientist Now Favors Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline

 Marcia McNutt, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey under President Barack Obama until 2013 and now top editor at Science magazine, is no longer opposed to the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“I believe it is time to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands deposits of Alberta, Canada, and from the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” McNutt wrote in a Feb. 21 editorial in the magazine.

Keystone is a proposed 1,179-mile 36-inch diameter pipeline that will transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb., according to the website of TransCanada, the company in charge of the project.

“Along with transporting crude oil from Canada, the Keystone XL Pipeline will also support the significant growth of crude oil production in the United States from producers in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota,” the explanation on the company’s website stated.

A summary of McNutt’s commentary is available on Science magazine website, but subscription is required to access the whole article:
“I drive a hybrid car and set my thermostat at 80°F in the Washington, DC, summer,” McNutt wrote. “I use public transportation to commute to my office, located in a building given ‘platinum’ design status by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The electric meter on my house runs backward most months of the year, thanks to a large installation of solar panels,” McNutt wrote. “I am committed to doing my part to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize global warming.

“At the same time, I believe it is time to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands deposits of Alberta, Canada, and from the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” McNutt wrote.

In a Feb. 20 article in the National Journal, more of McNutt’s editorial is quoted, including her stating that the pipeline could be safer and more regulated than transportation of crude oil by rail or truck.

"No  method for moving hydrocarbons can be considered completely fail-safe,” McNutt is quoted as saying in the article. “At least the current permitting process can, and should, be used to ensure that Keystone XL sets new standards for environmental safety.

“There is no similar leverage on the truck and rail transportation options, which produce higher GHG emissions and have a greater risk of spills, at a higher cost for transport," McNutt wrote.

When interviewed for a National Public Radio article on Feb. 21, McNutt said Canadian crude oil would be used one way or another.

NPR’s Morning Edition host David Greene asked McNutt why she had changed her mind.

“Just because there hasn't been a pipeline really did not stop the development of the Canadian tar sands,” McNutt said.

“They were going to be developed anyway, you're saying?” Greene said.  “Yeah,” McNutt said. “In fact, they are developed anyway.

“Rather than putting the oil in a pipeline, they are now putting the oil on trucks and railway cars, and trucks and trains actually use more fossil fuels themselves to get that crude oil to market than a pipeline,” McNutt said.                                

Greene then stated that the pipeline “might be the cleanest of the options.”

“Not only the cleanest, but potentially safer, because the pipeline is still to be permitted. Environmentalists can demand the pipeline be the safest ever engineered,” McNutt said. “One of the reasons for opposing the pipeline is the emissions of greenhouse gases when the tar sands are converted to a liquid to put into the pipeline.

“There actually could be some concessions in exchange for approving the pipeline that could require a limit on the carbon emissions in that process,” McNutt said, adding that the pipeline “is the very cheapest way” to transport crude oil, which could free up funding for “renewable energy.”


Chevron vs Big Green: Capitalism Finally Grows a Pair

This week the environmental movement suffered its biggest defeat since Climategate. And at the hands of its most hated enemy: Big Oil.

Here are the reasons why the court ruling by a US federal judge that Chevron should not have to pay $9.5 billion in damages to victims of oil pollution in Ecuador is a victory for common sense and justice which we should all be celebrating.

1. It's not about David v Goliath.

Though, of course, that's how it was spun by the left-liberal media: on the one hand, plucky maverick New York lawyer Steven Donziger, representing thousands of Ecuadorean natives whose forest lands had been polluted; on the other, the oil giant Chevron, America's third largest company.

But if anyone was being bullied here, it was Chevron. As Donziger well knew, it is almost impossible for an oil company to get a fair hearing in a world brainwashed by environmentalist propaganda. Chevron knew this too. It could have settled for much less out of court - and most oil companies in its position probably would have done. However, Chevron's chief executive John S Watson took the bold and principled decision to fight it all the way.

2. Chevron had done nothing wrong. No really.

The damage was done in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties in the Oriente region of Ecuador by Texaco and the national oil company Petroecuador.

Texaco later reached a settlement with the Ecuadorian government whereby it paid $40 million to clear up the 37 per cent of oil damage for which it accepted responsibility; the rest were assumed to be the responsibility of the Ecuador national oil company (which didn't clear up its share).

Chevron has never drilled in Ecuador. But when a Chevron subsidiary absorbed Texaco in 2001 it became a target for environmentalists who still held Texaco partly responsible for the remaining pollution.

3. The case against Chevron was rigged.

In 2011, an Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay $19 billion in damages to the native people allegedly poisoned by oil spills. This was subsequently reduced by the Ecuadorian National Court of Justice to $9.5 billion. Chevron appealed on the grounds that the case was fraudulent - extortion of "greenmail" masquerading as concern for the environment. This has now been confirmed by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in a 500-page ruling.

4. Read the ruling: it's great entertainment!

As Judge Kaplan says in his highly-readable summary "This case is extraordinary. The facts are many and sometimes complex. They include things that normally only come out of Hollywood..."

Indeed. What Kaplan concluded beyond reasonable doubt was that Donziger's case was constructed on a web of lies, deceit and corruption.

The initial expert assessments of the damage had been conducted by a man driving past the pollution sites at 50 mph; the supposedly neutral and independent expert testimony had been in fact written by a US environmental company in the pay of Donziger; the presiding judge had been bribed with a promised $500,000; the judge's decision had been written for him by the plaintiffs; Ecuador's left wing president Rafael Correa - a close ally of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela - had cheerled the affair.

4. Donziger's dodgy past.

"I feel like I have gone over to the dark side" wrote Donziger in one incriminating email. What possibly could have caused this? I make no comment whatsoever on this biographical detail from a profile in The New Yorker. It seems that he belonged to the same Harvard Law School year group as one Barack Obama. Apparently they played basketball together.

5. Green Greed

Donziger stood personally to make $600 million from the litigation should it prove successful.

Other companies lured to the trough included an investment company called Burford Capital (which planned originally to invest $15 million to help fund the case in return for a 5.545 per cent share of the $9.5 billion proceeds - but pulled out, having only "invested" $4 million, after it smelt a rat); and also the large, left-wing Washington lobbying and law firm Patton Boggs which stood to make hefty contingency fees from the affair - and whose future now may be in jeopardy, no doubt causing tears of real sadness among Republicans across DC.

Two years ago, partner James E Tyrrell Jr told a Washington district court: "If someone seriously suggests that [the] 50-year-old law firm of Patton Boggs would wreck, would risk its professional reputation for a group of Ecuadorans whose case we feel strongly about, that we would be involved in a broad fraud, I suggest whoever might believe that: I have a bridge in New York I might like to try to sell them."

Take us to the bridge, James. Where's that confounded bridge?

6. Green parasites.

Among the other organisations shown in a deeply unflattering light by the court ruling is a Colorado-based environmental consultancy - regularly employed by various branches of government - called Stratus Consulting. The original Ecuador legal case required an independent environmental expert to present the court with impartial advice on how much pollution had been caused by Texaco and how much ought to be paid in damages.

Supposedly this was the work of an independent local expert named Cabrera. In fact however, on Donziger's instructions, Cabrera's testimony was in fact written for him by Stratus - which went to the trouble of disguising this fact by writing in the first person and then having its words translated into Spanish. It was Stratus which came up with an arbitrary damages figure - $16.3 billion.

Then, in a further act of deception calculated to make Cabrera's "independent" assessment look more plausible, Stratus prepared a series of criticisms of the report (which it had itself written) which could then be put to Cabrera by the plaintiffs, so that they could pretend to attack him in court for not going far enough...

Anyone familiar with the myriad environmental consultancies which have sprung up to take advantage of the lucrative green money machine will know that this kind of behaviour is par for the course. Really, the only unusual thing about this particular example is that Stratus were found out in a court of law.

7. The complicit media: if it's green it must be good.

There have been several long articles about the Chevron/Ecuador story - one in The New Yorker, one in Vanity Fair, one in Bloomberg Business Week - each one more sympathetic to Donziger than to Chevron.

The same has been true virtually everywhere the story has been reported in the media from The New York Times and the Telegraph to the Guardian and The Huffington Post.

This isn't just lazy journalism. It's a salutory reminder of the degree to which our media, not just on the left but in corners of the centre right, is in thrall to the green propaganda machine.

8. The usual rent-a-celeb suspects weigh in...

Among those who championed Donziger's cause were Mia Farrow, Sting, Trudy Styler and Darryl Hannah. Pop stars and rich people who've been in movies: is there ANYTHING they don't know about the environment?

9. Big Green sticks its oar in too.

No green campaign is complete without a few ad hoc, allegedly grassroots campaign groups there to give the illusion of diverse and committed support: Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network both supported the campaign against Chevron. So too, inevitably, did the Sierra Club.

"I have tremendous professional respect for Steven," says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "He is the driving force behind what's probably the most important environmental lawsuit in the world seeking to hold an oil company accountable for its actions."

10. Green hubris.

Almost none of this information would have come to light in court if Donziger had not made one fatal mistake. In a supreme act of arrogance, he decided to turn his legal adventures into a Michael-Moore-style documentary with himself as the crusading hero negotiating his way through a corrupt legal system, battling a powerful and heartless oil giant, on behalf of the ordinary people of Ecuador. The movie - inevitably - was premiered at the Sundance Festival.

Donziger was under the illusion that this supposedly independent (though not really) movie could not be used in evidence. Judge Kaplan thought differently and subpoenaed 600 hours of footage.

This enabled the court to demonstrate some entertaining contrasts between what Donziger said about the Ecuadorean legal system in court - ie that its decision was reliable - and what he said about it in the various outtakes from Crude.

"They're all corrupt! It's - it's their birthright to be corrupt."

"These judges are really not very bright."

"I've never seen such utter weakness. It's the same kind of weakness that leads to corruption."

It was, as we now know, Donziger himself who was doing all the corrupting in this case.


The reason this case is so important is because it very nearly didn't happen. Though environmental activists like Michael Mann, James Hansen and Al Gore often like to claim that their enemies are in the pay of Big Oil, the truth is the exact opposite.

Few corporate entities pump quite so much money into environmental causes as the Big Oil companies - Shell sponsored the Guardian's environment pages; BP invested heavily in renewables as part of its Beyond Petroleum rebranding under the card-carrying greenie CEO Lord Browne - because for years they have been running scared of the green movement, because they're big enough to wear the additional costs of green regulation and because it suits them to "greenwash" their image.

What none of them seems to have learned is that when you pay Danegeld to your natural enemy it only makes him greedy for more of the same.

This is why we should all be applauding the decision by Chevron's CEO John S Watson (no relation of Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson, it seems likely) to fight this case. It represents a victory not just for the Chevron shareholder, but for all those who believe in the capitalist system and are sick and tired the way so rarely it seems prepared to grow a pair and stand up for itself.

For too long it has been held hostage by a minority of hard left, deep green activists whose anti-capitalist agenda has been given a veneer of respectability by the intervention of high end law firms, glossy environmental consultancies, Hollywood campaigners, "caring" grassroots pressure groups, expert scientific witnesses, "independent" moviemakers and sympathetic mainstream media coverage.

It happens all the time, all around the world, and usually they get away with it. This time they didn't. The good guys fought back - and won.


Ex-Greenpeacer Patrick Moore questions climate change, challenges liberals

As a former Greenpeace insider, Patrick Moore wasn’t surprised by the heated reaction from the left on his explosive testimony about climate change last week before a Senate committee.

Mr. Moore drew headlines for disputing the environmental movement’s doomsday scenario, depicting climate change over the past century as “minor warming” and arguing that “there is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause.”

As a result, Mr. Moore came under fire for “climate denial” from the liberal group Media Matters for America. He has been persona non grata at Greenpeace for years.

Mr. Moore dismisses such criticism as an “ad hominem personal attack that doesn’t have anything to do with the subject at hand.” At the same time, he doesn’t mind taking a swipe at those who advocate drastic emissions reductions in the name of stopping climate change.

“I describe the climate change movement as a combination of an extreme political ideology and a religious cult all rolled into one,” said Mr. Moore. “It’s a very, very dangerous social phenomenon. It causes them to think they have the right to dictate what we do.”

The Canadian ecologist has long been a thorn in the side of Greenpeace, which carries two statements on its website disputing his credentials as an environmentalist.

“While it is true that Patrick Moore was a member of Greenpeace in the 1970s, in 1986 he abruptly turned his back on the very issues he once passionately defended,” says a Greenpeace statement. “He claims he ‘saw the light’ but what Moore really saw was an opportunity for financial gain.”

Mr. Moore often is described as a Greenpeace co-founder, which Greenpeace officials dispute, but it’s safe to say that he was there almost from the start. The group that became Greenpeace was founded in 1970; Mr. Moore joined a year later and quickly assumed a leadership role.

“I don’t claim that has necessarily any overwhelming importance, whether I was a founder or not, but the fact is I was there at the beginning, even before it was called Greenpeace,” said Mr. Moore. “I was on the first voyage, and I played a very central role in the organization for 15 years.”

He said he left because he was alarmed by the shift in the organization’s goals. Greenpeace was originally about saving the environment and ending the threat of nuclear war. Over time, he said, the “green” overtook the “peace.”

“By the time I left in ‘86, Greenpeace had drifted into a position of characterizing humans as the enemies of the Earth, a cancer on the planet,” said Mr. Moore. “One of my main contentions is that to see humans as separate from nature and the ecology and the environment is defying the most important first law of ecology, which is that we are all part of nature.”

Teaching children that “the human species is a separate, evil thing from nature is extremely damaging to their orientation of life,” he said.

He said environmentalists have attempted to discredit him because his remarks are devastating to the climate change movement. The path to significantly lowered emissions in the name of combating climate change leads to some alarming places, he said, namely a world with greater poverty and less democracy.

The climate change argument “gives them an overarching policy framework to dictate human civilization,” said Mr. Moore. “It basically allows them to say what the energy policy should be, which is the key policy underlying the whole of modern civilization.”


New Report: Climate Less Sensitive To CO2 Than Models Suggest

Oversensitive: How The IPCC Hid The Good News On Global Warming

A new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation shows that the best observational evidence indicates our climate is considerably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than climate models are estimating.

The clues for this and the relevant scientific papers are all referred to in the recently published Fifth Assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, this important conclusion was not drawn in the full IPCC report – it is only mentioned as a possibility – and is ignored in the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

For over thirty years climate scientists have presented a range for climate sensitivity (ECS) that has hardly changed. It was 1.5-4.5°C in 1979 and this range is still the same today in AR5. The new report suggests that the inclusion of recent evidence, reflected in AR5, justifies a lower observationally-based temperature range of 1.25–3.0°C, with a best estimate of 1.75°C, for a doubling of CO2. By contrast, the climate models used for projections in AR5 indicate a range of 2-4.5°C, with an average of 3.2°C.

This is one of the key findings of the new report Oversensitive: how the IPCC hid the good news on global warming, written by independent UK climate scientist Nic Lewis and Dutch science writer Marcel Crok. Lewis and Crok were both expert reviewers of the IPCC report, and Lewis was an author of two relevant papers cited in it.

In recent years it has become possible to make good empirical estimates of climate sensitivity from observational data such as temperature and ocean heat records. These estimates, published in leading scientific journals, point to climate sensitivity per doubling of CO2 most likely being under 2°C for long-term warming, with a best estimate of only 1.3-1.4°C for warming over a seventy year period.

“The observational evidence strongly suggest that climate models display too much sensitivity to carbon dioxide concentrations and in almost all cases exaggerate the likely path of global warming,” says Nic Lewis.

These lower, observationally-based estimates for both long-term climate sensitivity and the seventy-year response suggest that considerably less global warming and sea level rise is to be expected in the 21st century than most climate model projections currently imply.

“We estimate that on the IPCC’s second highest emissions scenario warming would still be around the international target of 2°C in 2081-2100,” Lewis says.


Australia:  Shark-loving Greenies

Sharks do what Greenies would like to do:  Reduce the human population.  Greenies are would-be super sharks so no wonder they like sharks

SEA Shepherd has failed to secure a court injunction to force the suspension of the West Australian government's shark culling program, with its lawyer saying the "heart" has been ripped from the case.

The marine activists launched the fast-tracked legal challenge on Wednesday last week, seeking to have dozens of baited drumlines off Perth and the South West region removed.

Their argument questioned the validity of an exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, granted by federal environment minister Greg Hunt, which allowed the state government to kill any protected great white, tiger or bull shark bigger than three metres caught in certain zones.

The exemption runs until the end of the trial program on April 30, but Sea Shepherd wanted it stopped immediately.

Their lawyers argued the exemption was not valid as it was not published in an official government gazette.

But on Wednesday, Judge James Edelman disagreed and decided against granting the injunction.

Patrick Pearlman, principal solicitor for WA's Environmental Defender's Office, who led the action for Sea Shepherd, said hopes of a judicial review had been extinguished.

"In ruling on the preliminary question of whether the exemption is valid, he has in essence taken the heart out of the case," Mr Pearlman told reporters.   "We're obviously disappointed. We thought we had a very good argument. It's a very legal, technical argument."

Mr Pearlman maintained the exemption should have been gazetted so parliamentarians had the chance to examine, debate and vote upon it.   "Then, I think, every member of parliament would be able to be on the record and say whether they think this program is a good idea."

He said an appeal would be considered.

There was still a chance the state government could be forced to remove the drumlines before the trial ended, Mr Pearlman said, with the WA Environmental Protection Authority still considering whether to assess the program.

With the WA government's lawyers now seeking to slug Sea Shepherd with court costs, the activist group faces a bill of up to $19,000.  But it was worth it, Mr Hansen said.  "We had to have a shot at this," he said.  "We will continue no matter what because we have right on our side."



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

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


6 March, 2014

Calling the Global Warming Charlatans "Nazis" is historically accurate

Nature fantasists and authoritarian people-haters in both cases.  Details here -- JR

 By Alan Caruba

On February 20th, the noted meteorologist, Dr. Roy W. Spencer, fed up with being called a “denier” of global warming, posted a commentary on his blog titled “Time to push back against the global warming Nazis.”

“When politicians and scientists started calling people like me ‘deniers’, they crossed the line. They are still doing it,” said Dr. Spencer. “They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.” The Holocaust happened, but global warming’s latest natural cycle ended about 17 years ago and, as a lot of people have noticed, it has been getting cold since then.

“Like the Nazis,” said Dr. Spencer, “they advocate the supreme authority of the state (fascism), which in turn supports their scientific research to support their cause…”  In the case of global warming, this huge hoax was put forth by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN would like to be the world’s global government, but that’s not going to happen. In the meantime, the IPCC provided scientists that cooperated with lots of money for their alleged research, all of which “proved” that carbon dioxide was dramatically heating the Earth. Others like Al Gore made millions selling “carbon credits”. Along the way, both Gore and the IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Spencer received a Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. He was a Senior Scientists for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center where he and a colleague, Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. He became a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001 and continues to advise NASA as a U.S. Science Team Leader.  As he points out on his blog, his research has been supported by U.S. government agencies, so the usual claim by Greens that he is a paid stooge of Big Oil just doesn’t work in his case.

Dr. Spencer’s decision to call a Nazi a Nazi ignited a lot of discussion among the global warming hustlers and those whom they have been calling “deniers” for many years. I always found it particularly offensive, but I suspect those I called charlatans and hustlers felt the same way. The difference, however, is the connotation applied to the term, “denier.” Even today anti-Semites of various descriptions deny that six million Jews died in the death camps of Nazi Germany during World War Two along with millions Christians and Eastern Slavic Europeans

What makes this particularly offensive and horrid is the fact that those in the Nazi leadership under Adolf Hitler were all environmentalists, deeply committed to conservation and similar expressions that put the Earth above the value of human life.

This is all revealed in a book by R. Mark Musser, “Nazi Oaks”, now in its third printing. Musser was introduced to environmentalism at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, from which he graduated in 1989. In 1994 he received Master of Divinity and spent seven years as a missionary to Belarus and in the Ukraine.

Musser’s book is absolutely astonishing as he documents how “Green” the Nazis were from their earliest years until their defeat. It was Heinrich Himmler, the Reich Leader from 1929 to 1945, who was responsible for the “Final Solution”, the mass killing of Europe’s Jews. He led the Nazi party’s SS.

As Musser notes, “The Nazis were trying to eliminate both global capitalism and international communism in order to recover a reverence for nature lost in the modern cosmopolitan world.”  The Nazis also held Judeo-Christian values in contempt.

“That this evolutionary Nazi nature religion was clothed in secular biology and colored by environmental policies and practices, is a historical truth that has been ignored and underreported for too long a time in all the discussions about the Holocaust,” writes Musser.

I am inclined to believe that it is no accident that the global warming charlatans began to use the term “deniers” to describe skeptics.

By 2011, a Gallup poll that surveyed people in 111 countries revealed that most of the human race did not see global warming as a serious threat. Still, worldwide 42% told Gallup that they thought global warming was either ‘somewhat serious’ or ‘very serious.’ That was down from 63% in polls taken in 2007 and 2008 in the U.S.

More than just a spat between scientists, in April 2012, the Congressional Research Service estimated that, since 2008, the federal government had spent nearly $70 billion on ‘climate change activities.’  That kind of money could build or repair a lot of bridges and roads. It could fund elements of our military. It could be spent on something other than a climate over which neither the government nor anyone in the world has any influence.

Bursting onto the national stage, Dr. Spencer’s decision to call the global warming scientists Nazis for their efforts to intimidate or smear the reputations of those whose research disputes their claims, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. a Wall Street Journal columnist, wrote on March 1 that “Surely some kind of ending is upon us. Last week climate protesters demanded the silencing of Charles Krauthammer for a Washington Post column that notices uncertainties in the global warming hypothesis.”

“In coming weeks,” wrote Jenkins, “a libel trial gets under way brought by Penn State’s Michael Mann, author of the famed "hockey stick" graph (Editor’s note: an IPCC graph Mann created that asserted a sudden, major increase in heat has been widely debunked) against the National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writer Rand Simberg and roving commentator Mark Steyn for making wisecracks about his climate work.”

Revelations of several thousand emails between IPCC scientists, one of whom was Mann, were christened “climategate” and demonstrated the efforts in which they engaged to suppress the publication of any papers that questioned global warming in scientific journals. As the climate turned cooler, they became increasingly alarmed.

What we are likely witnessing are the long death throes of the global warming hoax. Calling those scientists and others like myself “deniers” and other names simply reveals the desperation of those who are seeing a great source of money slip away under the spotlight of scientific truth, nor will they be able to impose their lies on the rest of us.


Frack For Freedom: What Ukraine Needs Now Is A Shale Revolution

Ukraine could hold more than 40 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas, enough to satisfy decades of demand

Natural gas was the origin of the crisis in Ukraine. The country serves as a transit point for about 6 billion cubic feet per day of Russia’s natgas exports into Europe. That’s about 2.2 trillion cubic feet per year, or 14% of Europe’s total supply.

More than just serving as a middleman for Russian gas, Ukraine is like the dealer who got hooked on his own supply. Under the terms of its last supply deal, Gazprom agreed to sell gas to Ukraine at $7.70 per thousand cubic feet, a 33% discount to what European customers pay (but a big premium to U.S. gas prices of roughly $4.50 per mcf). Moscow even agreed to gradually buy $15 billion of new Ukrainian bonds, to keep the country from defaulting on other debts.

Yet even at that discounted price, Ukraine has had a tough time paying Gazprom’s invoices. Earlier today Russia suggested that if Ukraine didn’t pay its $1.5 billion gas bill Gazprom might just shut off the valves and renege on those price discounts. Since 2006, Putin has twice cut off the gas to Ukraine, most recently in 2009.

Edward Chow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in this essay last December that Ukraine’s being “addicted to cheap gas … has blocked the modernization of its industry, economy and politics.”

Ukraine has been a junkie for Russian gas. Putin clearly had no problem with that; it is in Russia’s interest to keep Ukraine and Europe hooked on Russian gas at prices just low enough to quash incentives to drill and frack for shale gas. Russia’s state-run news and propaganda outlets have for years disseminated articles critical of fracking and supported opponents of the technique, despite its 50-year track record of proven efficacy and scant mishaps.

Even Ukraine’s ousted President Yanukovich, despite his dealmaking with Russia, had clearly acquiesced to pressure to explore Ukraine’s other energy options. Last year Ukraine signed natural gas exploration deals with Royal Dutch Shell as well as Chevron, which pledged to invest as much as $10 billion if adequate supplies of shale gas were found. The government said it hoped the two companies’ projects would add more than 50% to Ukraine’s current domestic natgas supply. Ukraine could hold more than 40 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas, enough to satisfy decades of demand.

Now with Yanukovich gone it’s as if Putin has taken the Crimea as a kind of hostage — collateral to hold against what Ukraine owes Russia for gas. A few billion dollars in IOUs is, of course, a less than flimsy pretext for thuggery. Which is why the Kremlin’s propaganda machine has been spreading lies about how his soldiers are there to save Ukraine’s ethnic Russians from right-wing crazies.

The desperation of Putin’s actions underscore the threat that shale gas development really does pose to Russia’s gas-fueled diplomacy.

Even if Gazprom were to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, there is no real fear of a gas shortage in Europe, according to Bernstein Research. This winter has been a warm one in the region (as witnessed by the balmy temps for the Sochi Olympics), so demand for heating has not been as great. Thus, natural gas volumes in storage are higher than average, at about 50% of capacity.

What’s more, even if Russia did halt shipments through Ukraine, there’s enough extra space in the Nord Stream pipeline running from Russia into Germany to pick up about half of the slack.

The rest of any shortfall could likely be met with greater imports of superchilled LNG. Europe has been building more gas storage in recent years precisely to balance out Russia’s influence and to position itself to receive LNG not just from established gas giants like Qatar, but also from giant new projects in Australia, a host of planned export terminals in the U.S. and even new developments in the works offshore Israel.


News from the hip-pocket

Insurer Warren Buffett says  global warming not causing extreme weather, and he should know.  If he gets it wrong he loses money

Business magnate Warren Buffett contradicted a major Obama administration talking point by saying that global warming was not causing extreme weather.

The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC that he has not changed the way his companies calculate the likelihood of a natural disaster because of global warming.

Berkshire Hathaway owns several insurance companies that often have to pay out huge claims when natural disasters strike. Environmentalists and the Obama administration have warned that global warming has caused natural disasters like hurricanes to become fiercer and more common.

But Buffett’s experience leads him to believe otherwise, saying that insuring against hurricanes in the U.S. has been a profitable venture in recent years as only a few storms have actually made landfall.

“I think that the public has the impression that because there has been so much talk about climate, that events of the last 10 years, from an insured standpoint on climate, have been unusual,” Buffett told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The answer is, they haven’t.”

“You read about these events, but you read about events 30, or 40, or 50 years ago,” he added.

Buffett’s comments fly in the face of efforts by the Obama administration to tie weather events to global warming. Recently, President Obama traveled to drought-stricken California to announce his plan for a $1 billion fund to prepare communities for the impact of global warming.

“Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say, ‘Yes, we did,’” Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union Address.

But scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Research by University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. found that weather events have not been getting more extreme due to global warming.

In particular, Pielke found that hurricanes “have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.”

Pielke also noted that the costs of disasters have not been increasing either, when economic and population growth are taken into account. For example, the economic losses from floods have fallen 75 percent as a percentage of GDP since 1940.


Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather? I Said No, and Was Attacked by the administration


Last Friday, the White House posted on its website a six-page criticism of me by the president’s science advisor, John Holdren, expanding on testimony he had given to Congress last week claiming that my views on climate change and extreme weather are outside of "mainstream scientific opinion.” Holdren was specifically responding to Senate testimony I gave last year where I argued that recent extreme weather events, including hurricanes, droughts, floods, and tornadoes, have not increased in recent decades due to human-caused climate change.

In this debate the facts are on my side. The claims I made in my congressional testimony are no different from the ones made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded") and broadly supported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Even Warren Buffett recently explained that more extreme events haven't affected his insurance investments, but that "I love apocalyptic predictions" because they increase insurance rates, earning him more money. When Holdren links specific weather events to human-caused climate change—such as the California drought or the cold winter—he is exaggerating the state of scientific understandings.

His subsequent attack on me has him serving not as science advisor to the president, but rather wielding his political position to delegitimize an academic whose views he finds inconvenient. We academics wouldn't stand for such behavior under George W. Bush and we shouldn't under Barack Obama either.

Our debate aside, Holdren’s exaggerations on climate science will make it harder, not easier, to establish a bipartisan consensus for action on climate change.

As background, I am an expert on the relationship between natural disasters and climate change. I have published extensively in the scientific, peer-reviewed literature over the past several decades. I believe the basic science of climate change is sound and has been for decades. Humans influence the climate today and will into the future, mainly through the emission of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, and this influence poses unknown, but potentially large and irreversible risks in the future. The conclusions lay at the core of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which despite a few missteps along the way, has well-summarized these fundamental understandings.

Moreover, I have argued for nearly two decades that stronger policy action is needed by nations to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. I have called for a carbon tax linked to greater government spending on energy technology innovation. And I have supported what President Obama has done to combat climate change, including stronger regulations on efficiency, power plants, and his funding for energy innovation and investment overseas.

Why, then, am I being attacked by the White House science advisor as outside the scientific mainstream?

Because I have also argued against exaggerating the relationship between climate change and extreme weather. While politicians and environmental advocates routinely attribute natural disasters with human-caused climate change, the uncomfortable reality is that such attribution remains speculative. There is not yet a scientific basis for making such a connection. That is not an argument against taking action, but it is an argument for accurately representing the science.

Start with drought. According to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, drought has, “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century. The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.” Globally, according to the IPCC in its special report on extreme events, “There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”

A new review paper just out by a team of drought experts from around the world, and who hold a range of views on climate change and drought, explained many of the complexities, “How is drought changing as the climate changes? Several recent papers in the scientific literature have focused on this question but the answer remains blurred.”

And it’s not just drought. It is wrong to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity, or damage since at least 1900. The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970 (at which point the data became available to allow for a global perspective).

Floods in the U.S. have not increased in frequency or intensity since at least 1950. Indeed, flood losses as a percentage of U.S. GDP have dropped by about 75 percent since 1940. At the global scale there is a similar lack of evidence for upwards trends in floods. Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage in the U.S. since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

If this comes as a surprise to anyone it is because of the tendency by campaigners to cherry-pick details, obscure the larger context, and, ironically enough, attack as "deniers" anyone who disagrees.

A considerable body of research projects that various extremes may become more frequent and/or intense in the future as a direct consequence of human-caused climate changes. However, our research, and that of others, suggests that assuming that these projections are accurate, it will be many decades, perhaps longer, before the signal of human-caused climate change can be detected. Extremes are by definition rare events, and for that reason they are just not the best place to be looking for, or expecting to see, the consequences of climate change today.

Climate change is an important issue that will be managed for decades and centuries to come, making accurate representation of climate science by scientists and government officials crucial to maintaining public trust. Exaggerations by advocates of climate action, like those of science advisor Holdren, undermine that trust when they go beyond what the science is telling us. Efforts to quash mainstream, legitimate voices will further undermine that trust.


Are Rockefeller, Tides charities violating tax-deductible status opposing Canadian oil sands?

Are environmental advocacy charities, which are eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, violating their tax-exempt status in opposing extraction in the Canadian oil sands, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and other pet projects of the radical left?

That is the subject of a series of audits by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that have been ordered under the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The groups facing additional scrutiny include the David Suzuki Foundation, Tides Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, the Pembina Foundation, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, and the Ecology Action Centre.

No more than 10 percent on politics

Under Canadian rules, tax-deductible charities — the equivalent of 501(c)(3)s here in the U.S. — are only allowed to spend 10 percent of their resources on allowed non-partisan political activity.

According to the CRA, those activities allowed under the 10 percent limit include activity that “explicitly communicates a call to political action (that is, encourages the public to contact an elected representative or public official and urges them to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country); explicitly communicates to the public that the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country should be retained (if the retention of the law, policy or decision is being reconsidered by a government), opposed, or changed; or explicitly indicates in its materials (whether internal or external) that the intention of the activity is to incite, or organize to put pressure on, an elected representative or public official to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country.”

The reasons for the limits are obvious. Because donations to the groups are tax-deductible, they represent a net taxpayer subsidy.

Similar rules exist in the U.S., as between 501(c)(3) charities versus 501(c)(4) organizations allowed to engage in unlimited lobbying and issue advocacy. Both are technically tax-exempt and not subject to any donation tax, but with a big difference.

The 501(c)(3) charity receives the tax-deductible donation subsidy, whereas 501(c)(4) does not. Read that again: (c)(4)s do not take tax-deductible donations.

In a similar vein, like in Canada, (c)(3)s cannot engage in electioneering — that is, advocacy for or against a candidate for public office — whereas (c)(4)s can so long as it does not constitute a majority of their activities.

So did the environmental charities violate their tax-exempt and deductible status by exceeding the 10 percent limit on allowed political activities?

$75 million spent opposing oil sands, Keystone, led to riots and attacks on police

It may be soon to tell, as the audits are ongoing, but a December 2013 report by the Financial Post’s Vivian Krause suggest that the money spent by the charities on anti-oil sands advocacy was and is quite substantial: “these foundations have provided at least $75-million for campaigns and land use planning initiatives that thwart the development and export of Canadian oil.”

$75 million is no chump change. Krause named names, many of whom are now being audited: “the main sources of funding for this campaign are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Sea Change Foundation, the Tides Foundation and other charitable foundations, most of which are based in California.”

Much of the funds have been devoted to aggressive campaigns, grassroots organizing, and even blockading oil sands production and distribution including via Keystone, such as a campaign called Idle No More that happens to be funded by Tides USA.

One such oil blockade by an aboriginal First Nation group, Elsipogtog, got out of hand and turned into a full-scale riot, complete with gunshots and Molotov cocktail attacks that torched at least five police vehicles.

A police raid of the Elsipotog camp revealed guns, homemade explosives, knives and bear spray.

Elsipotog even took over a Royal Canadian Mounted Police station and replaced the Canadian flag with a First Nation flag, reports Warrior Publications, a pro-First Nation blog.

Is this what tax-deductible donations both from the U.S. and Canada to campaigns like Idle No More funding? Perhaps an audit is just what the doctor ordered.

Engaging in foreign politics can also violate U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charity status

Tides in particular was very much concerned that the funds might at least be used politically, issuing cover letters for its donations stating that recipient organizations agree “not to use any portion of the granted funds to carry on propaganda nor to attempt to influence specific legislation either by direct or grassroots lobbying.”

However, that might not be enough to excuse these foundations from violations of their tax-exempt status, reports Krause: “these letters suggest to me that [influencing legislation] this is precisely what Tides is funding. The numbering and timing of these payments indicates that they have been made systematically.”

Again, the CRA still has to finish its audits, and so we are very early in this process, but the investigation has vast implications in the U.S. where these charities are based.

Pursuant to the U.S.-Canada Income Tax Convention ratified by the Senate in 1984 tax deductibility for exempt organizations applies across borders. So, U.S. residents can claim a tax deduction for donations made to Canadian charities, and vice versa.

Moreover, 501(c)(3) clearly applies to overseas lobbying, according to an IRS publication, “Foreign activities of domestic charities and foreign charities,” which states, “As with inurement and private benefit, the restriction against lobbying and the prohibition against political activity on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for elective public office (electioneering) exist in a foreign context as well. For example, Rev. Rul. 73-440, 1973-2 C.B. 177, concludes that the term ‘legislation’ includes foreign as well as domestic laws, for purposes of the IRC 501(c)(3) lobbying restriction.”

That’s a big deal. If Canadian authorities and courts find that U.S. tax-deductible donor dollars were misused for politics and lobbying either directly or at the grassroots level, that might be prima facie evidence for pressing an investigation into groups’ tax-exempt status here on a similar basis.

Again, the issue here is not simply one of tax-exempt status. Donations to non-profits should be tax-exempt. Whether they should be tax-deductible and enjoy a state subsidy is another matter entirely.

As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” Tax deductions are subsidies. The question the CRA will be answering is whether such a state-sanctioned incentive should be enjoyed by organizations to fundraise whose sole apparent purpose is undermining U.S. and Canadian energy production?


Australia:  No more national parks as government pledges to support loggers as the 'ultimate conservationists'

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he will not support the creation of any more national parks in a speech lauding timber workers as "the ultimate conservationists".

Mr Abbott also told a timber industry dinner on Tuesday night that he would create a new Forestry Advisory Council to support the industry.

The council will be co-chaired by Rob de Fegely, president of the Institute of Foresters Australia. Mr de Fegely is the former Liberal Party election candidate for the seat of Eden Monaro.

"We don't support, as a government and as a Coalition, further lockouts of our forests," Mr Abbott said. "We have quite enough National Parks, we have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."

Mr Abbott said the federal government was pushing to delist a world heritage listing of 74,000 hectares of forest in Tasmania. Mr Abbott said the area – which was protected under Tasmania's forest peace deal – was not pristine forest and was too degraded to be considered a sanctuary.

Tasmanians go to the polls on March 15 with jobs and the forestry industry big issues as Labor struggles to hold on to government.

"I don't buy the Green ideology, which has done so much damage to our country over the last couple of decades and I'm pleased to see that there are some sensible Labor Party people who don't buy it either," Mr Abbott said.

"When I look out tonight at an audience of people who work with timber, who work in forests, I don't see people who are environmental bandits, I see people who are the ultimate conservationists.

"I salute you as people who love the natural world, as people who love what Mother Nature gives us and who want to husband it for the long-term best interests of humanity."

Mr Abbott said Canberra would now be "friendly country" rather than "hostile territory" for the forestry industry following the change of government.

Greens leader Christine Milne said: "Who in the 21st century would say the environment is meant for man and not just the other way around?

"There is no economic future for Australia in trashing our precious native forests and national parks ... In pandering to the forestry industry the Prime Minister's statements last night reveal he's not only anti-environment and anti-conservation, he's anti-jobs."



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

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5 March, 2014

Is global warming killing the oysters and other shellfish?

Oyster die offs in the West coasts of the USA and Canada have been in the news for some time now.  The latest story below.  The claim that the die-offs are due to ocean acidity caused by global warming is absurd for a number of reasons so just some comments received from Lord Monckton:

"There are two knockdown arguments against ocean "acidification". The first is that notwithstanding CO2 concentrations many times higher than today's, the oceans have remained pronouncedly alkaline for 540 million years (with the exception of a brief and little-understood period 55 million years ago). The reason for the pronounced alkalinity is that the oceans are buffered by the basalt rock basins in which they lie.

The second argument is that there is far greater natural variability in ocean pH than the bed-wetters realize. It can vary by 1.4 pH units close to some coasts. Yet the various marine species, including calcifying organisms, thrive. In mid-ocean, the variance is much smaller."

Lord Monckton has also provided a more detailed coverage which I reproduce at the foot of the article below

When Yves Perreault looks out over the pristine waters of Desolation Sound, where his family annually harvests half a million oysters, he fears for the future of the ocean – and the industry that supplies Canada with half its shellfish.

Something is killing oysters and scallops in dramatic numbers, causing suppliers to warn of shortages and producers to worry about the future of their businesses. The cause is unknown, but ocean acidification is the main suspect.

“It’s a remote area, the water is clean … we haven’t had any environmental concerns, so I’m not sure what’s going on,” said Mr. Perreault, who owns Little Wing Oysters and is president of the BC Shellfish Grower’s Association.

Over the past two years, Mr. Perreault’s oyster farm on B.C.’s south coast has experienced 80 to 90 per cent mortality of young shellfish – the normal attrition rate is 50 per cent – and last year, nearby Pendrell Sound had a massive die-off of wild oysters.

“It was in the billions,” he said of the Pacific oysters that died only a few months after they hatched.

“It’s hard to say without having somebody there monitoring what’s going on. It could be food related. Maybe there were too many oysters and there was not enough food and they just starved – or something else [is happening] in the water like the acidity level,” he said. “To be frank, we don’t know a lot about it and that’s what’s scary.”

Mr. Perreault routinely monitors the ocean for food abundance, temperature and salinity – but thinks he should test the pH level too, to keep track of how acidic the water is.

The Vancouver Aquarium has been doing just that – and its records show the pH level in Vancouver’s harbour steadily declining, from 8.1 (1954-74) to a low of 7.3 by 2001.

A pH unit measures acidity with a range of 0-14. The lower the value, the more acidic the environment.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has noted a direct correlation between rising levels of C02 in the atmosphere and levels in the ocean. As more C02 accumulates in the Pacific, the pH decreases and the acidic level rises.

Sophia Johannessen, a research scientist with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, said it is clear oceans are becoming more acidic.

Asked if ocean acidification is to blame for oyster die-offs – and the recent collapse of scallop stocks in a Vancouver Island operation – she said: “I’m not sure yet. … We need to know if there is some local problem.”

Dr. Johannessen said waters off the coast of B.C. are getting warmer and there has been a change in the timing of zooplankton blooms, which shellfish eat. She said a shortage of food, or increased temperatures, could have put shellfish under stress, and then a slight change in pH could knock them out. Chris Harley, a zoology professor at the University of B.C., feels the same way.

“It’s an interesting puzzle. … I’m not sure what’s killed all those scallops out in the Strait of Georgia. … It might have been low pH, but I’m not sure we can say that with much confidence,” he said.

But Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops, says he has tracked pH levels closely and sees a link between increased acidity and shellfish die-offs.

“I’m convinced the ocean is getting much more acidic, and much more acidic than anyone anywhere believed it could happen that fast,” he said.

“It’s definitely a sign. It’s like the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “That is the early indicator of climate change and how it is going to affect the availability of various products.”


More detail from Lord Monckton:

The acid-base balance of the oceans, measured in pH units (where rainwater is strongly acid at 5.6, and 7.0 is neutral), is pronouncedly alkaline at 7.8-8.3. The oceans have been alkaline for 540 milllion years, except for a brief and little-understood interval 55 million years ago. Because they are buffered by the basalt rock basins within which they lie, they cannot become acid. Indeed, they cannot even become significantly less alkaline.

Rainwater reacts with feldspar, the commonest mineral, in an acid-consuming reaction to produce clays. Alkali and alkaline earths are leached into the oceans, accounting for their salinity. Silica is redeposited in sediments in the form of cements in another acid-consuming reaction accelerated by temperature.

Since pH is a logarithmic scale, there is insufficient CO2 in recoverable fossil fuels to acidify the oceans, for most of the planet’s CO2 is securely fixed in rocks.

In the Precambrian era, these reactions responded rapidly to major changes in temperature (–40 to +50 Cº) and sea level (+600 m to –640 m) over a few thousand years from snowball Earth to very hot conditions. For instance, 750 million years ago Neoproterozoic cap carbonates that formed in water at ~50 deg C lie directly on glacial rocks. In the Neoproterozoic, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere was 30%, compared with 0.04% today.

During these times, there were rapid changes in oceanic pH and CO2 was removed from the oceans as carbonate. From this time onward, life began to extract substantial amounts of CO2 from the oceans. This process continues. CO2 concentration was 15 times today’s in the Ordovician-Silurian glaciation and five times today’s in the Cretaceous-Jurassic glaciation. During the Permian glaciation, both methane and CO2 concentrations were above today’s.

The process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere via the oceans has led to CO2 sequestration by way of carbonate deposition. CO2 concentration today is the lowest it has been for billions of years, and carbonate sedimentation continues to remove it from the oceans, which continue to be buffered by the basalt basins in which they lie, as shown by Walker et al. (1981). The feldspar and silicate buffering reactions are well understood. The oceans cannot acidify.

The latest temperature graph

As used by Greenpeace heretic Patrick Moore on Fox Business News with Stuart Varney & Co.

Monckton comments:

1: This graph is highly topical. It is right up to date. Remote Sensing Systems, Inc. (RSS) is one of the two satellite-based datasets (the other is the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH). And RSS is one of the five standard global temperature datasets, which include the two satellite datasets and the three terrestrial datasets - Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS); the Hadley Centre/CRU dataset, version 4 (HadCRUT4); and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). As this month, RSS is usually the first to report, and its latest monthly value, for February 2014, became available just hours ago. As far as I know, no one else yet has a graph including this hot-off-the-press data point.

2: The satellite datasets are based on measurements made by the most accurate thermometers available - platinum resistance thermometers, which not only measure temperature at various altitudes above the Earth's surface via microwave sounding units but also constantly calibrate themselves by measuring the known temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which is 1% of the freezing point of water, or just 2.73 degrees above absolute zero. It was by measuring minuscule variations of the cosmic background radiation that the NASA anisotropy probe enabled the age of the Universe to be determined: it is 13.82 billion years.

3: The graph is accurate. The data are lifted monthly directly from the RSS website. They are read down from the text file by a computer algorithm and plotted automatically using an advanced routine that automatically adjusts the aspect ratio of the data window at both axes so as to show the data at maximum size. The latest monthly data point is visually inspected to ensure that it has been correctly positioned. The light blue trend line plotted beneath the dark blue spline-curve showing the actual data is calculated by the method of least-squares linear regression, which determines the y-intercept and slope of the line via two well-established and functionally identical equations that are compared with one another to ensure no discrepancy between them. Least-squares linear regression is used by the IPCC and by most other agencies for determining global temperature trends. Interestingly, it is recommended by Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in one of the Climategate emails, so no one on the true-believing side will challenge its appropriateness. The reliability of the trend calculation by the algorithm was verified by Dr Stephen Farish, Professor of Epidemiological Statistics at the University of Melbourne.

4: The graph is visually very clear. The design, the layout, the colors used, the text font, and the line thicknesses are intended to be as clear and comprehensible as possible. The aspect ratio of the graph is similar to that of most modern television monitors, so that the graph can be displayed full-screen.

5: The graph is news. Not only is it very recent: it is also something that the mainstream news media very seldom reveal. They tend to keep the now embarrassingly long hiatus in global warming secret, so that this graph will astonish many viewers. I do not know of a more recent, more reliable, more accurate, more visually appealing graph.

Via email

Green eugenics taking off

Green/Left Fascism reverts to type.  Nazis believed in selective breeding too

All life on our planet has changed as our planet has changed. From the birth of our planet out of the cosmic Big Bang, to the time of the dinosaurs, through the ice ages, life has gone extinct, been reborn, and evolved to survive. Could the high-tech scientific world genetically alter a future version of you to survive climate change?

Over the past three-years, about 30 healthy genetically modified people have been born in the United States. Genes from three or more “parents” were used to alter these genetically modified babies, in couples that had trouble conceiving children. Although this allowed people unable to conceive children to have kids, it is a new science, and a controversial one, raising numerous ethical dilemmas about weeding out the very faults which make us human.

For years, scientists have been researching ways to alter us through the building blocks of life. From preventing baldness and heart disease, to changing the color of an unborn baby’s eyes from brown to blue. So far, the genetic engineering of people has focused on the obvious traits that we all desire. Genetic researchers want to make us stronger, faster and more intelligent people.

What if we put aside the ethical issues and looked at the genetic engineering of our species not as a tool to make us better, but a necessity for our species to survive? Although there is much debate about who is to blame for climate change, the real issue is our very survival as a species.

Over 280,000 people have died in the United Kingdom so far, due to the dramatically brutal winter they are experiencing this season. That’s pretty close to the estimated 300,000 people globally that die every year from climate change, according to a United Nations Global Humanitarian Forum report.

But what if instead of focusing on making us stronger, faster and smarter, genetic researchers tried to make us more resistant to the effects of climate change? Human beings are very fragile and weak when compared to most other living things on our planet – if it wasn’t for our brain power, we’d never have made it out of the stone age.

Heatstroke occurs when the core temperature of the body exceeds 40°C (105°F), which can happen in temperatures over 30°C (86°F). At these high temperatures, our body’s cooling system fails, and you simply cannot cool down, leading to nausea, seizures, disorientation, unconsciousness, coma and death.

Instead of trying to tweak us humans to be smarter, perhaps science could re-engineer us to resist these temperature extremes? Other animals over hundreds of thousands of years have evolved to withstand the elements.  The polar bear has evolved over time to take the frigid Arctic cold, able to handle temperatures from 25°C to -67°C (77°F to -90°F). Camels can go eight days without water, and take temperatures as high as 49°C (120°F). However, the winner has to be the tardigrade, which can go 10 years without water and handle temperatures from 151°C to -273°C (304°F to -459°F).

Tardigrades are teeny-tiny waterbears that live in the farthest northern reaches of our planet, including Iceland and northern Russia, and measure a mere 0.5mm (0.020 inches) long.

Although we can’t handle temperatures that extreme, science may one day be able to make us more resilient to survive climate change.


New Rule From Obama's EPA Means Higher Gas Prices

The Obama administration is driving ahead with a dramatic reduction in sulfur in gasoline and tailpipe emissions, declaring that cleaner air will save thousands of lives per year at little cost to consumers.

Public health groups and automakers cheered the new rules, finalized Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency, with some insisting they could prove to be President Barack Obama's signature environmental accomplishment in his second term. The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, panned the move, calling it gratuitous and accusing the government of grossly underestimating the increased cost at the pump.

"The benefits far outweigh the costs," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, calling it a win for both consumers and automakers. "These standards will reduce pollution, they'll clean the air we breathe and protect the health of American families."

In the works for years, the rules require refineries to cut sulfur levels in the gasoline by about two-thirds by 2017. Less sulfur in gasoline makes it easier for a car's pollution controls to effectively filter out emissions, resulting in cleaner air, the EPA says. For car manufacturers, stricter limits on tailpipe emissions will require engineering changes so that cars weed out more pollution.

More than 2,000 premature deaths and about 50,000 cases of kids with respiratory problems will be avoided by 2030 if the rules go into effect, the EPA said.

The cost to consumers: Less than a penny per gallon of gas, McCarthy said. The EPA also projects the rules will raise the average cost of buying a vehicle by $72 in 2025.

But not everyone agrees.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil and gas industry, pointed to studies it has commissioned estimating that the limits would add 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon to refiners' manufacturing costs while requiring $10 billion in capital costs. American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade group, called it "the most recent example of the agency's propensity for illogical and counterproductive rulemaking."

"This rule is all pain and no gain," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. "This winter's cold snap underscores just how vulnerable American families and businesses are to any increases in energy costs, and yet the administration is moving forward to raise prices at the pump."

Pushing back on those charges, McCarthy said that API's study constituted an "outdated estimate" that didn't account for changes the EPA made to the rules after receiving public comment — such as a phasing-in that gives some refineries more flexibility to come into compliance.

"We stand behind our estimate," said Bob Greco, API's downstream group director.

The political wrangling over the latest round of regulations to hit the energy industry offered a familiar reprise of a long-running debate over Obama's attempts to use his regulatory power to clean up the nation's sources of fuel.

With just a few years left in his term and no appetite in Congress for major environmental legislation, Obama has vowed to take action unilaterally to tackle climate change and other pollution. Energy advocates have staunchly opposed Obama's proposed emissions limits on new and existing power plants, and accuse him of dallying on approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. The issue promises to play a prominent role in the 2014 midterm elections, as Democrats from energy-dependent states find themselves squeezed between economic and environmental concerns.

Tellingly, there was little pushback from the auto industry, with major automakers like Ford, Toyota and Honda praising the EPA for setting one standard for emissions that will apply nation-wide. California already uses the new sulfur standard, and while the U.S. has tightened sulfur limits twice before, it still lags behind many other countries.

"The EPA has effectively harmonized the federal and state emissions requirements, and that's a big deal for us," said Mike Robinson, a vice president at General Motors Co. "It allows us to engineer, build and calibrate vehicles on a national basis."

Breathing the pollutants that come out of a car's tailpipe leads to coughing and shortness of breath for healthy adults, but for those with underlying conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the implications can be grave: asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and ultimately death, said Paul Billings, the American Lung Association's vice president.

The Obama administration already has moved to clean up motor vehicles by adopting rules that will increase fuel efficiency and putting in place standards to reduce the pollution from cars and trucks blamed for global warming.


Modern wind power

George Boyce

Where to start on this one? The proliferation of wind turbines is one of the greatest boondoggles in human history. Driven by the myth that carbon dioxide is pollution, governments have spent billions in taxpayer money on technology that is, like our earlier example of generating power from lemons, more of a laboratory curiosity than a practical energy source.

These wind turbines are a major environmental problem, encouraged by those who somehow think an invisible trace gas is a problem. If anything human-made has the potential to create an environmental catastrophe, then this is it. It is now clear - as should have been obvious from the outset - that wind turbines rob the very wind that drives them of energy, thereby reducing the efficiency of other turbines behind them, but more seriously affective the micro- climate of the area. If we erect enough of these monstrosities, then there is a real chance that we will affect bigger weather patterns.

Also from an environmental point of view: modern wind turbines each require a massive foundation made from hundreds, if not thousands of tons of concrete. Should the turbines be taken down at some future date, this land will be rendered useless for farming, recreational and other purposes, as these bases would probably never be removed. Furthermore, they require hundreds of kilometres of cable to join them to the electricity network. A nuclear power station can be erected on two square kilometres of land. The equivalent rated wind power requires two thousand square kilometres of land, criss-crossed with electrical cables to connect the individual turbines. Note that the rated (or "sticker") power of wind turbines is grossly misleading. They very seldom deliver more than 15% to 20% of their rated capacity, for obvious reasons: they only work when the wind blows. Too low or too high wind speeds incapacitate them.

Without massive government subsidies, there would be no wind turbines: they can never recover the cost of manufacturing, installing and running over their useful lifetime, originally touted as twenty years, but turning out to be closer to ten years.

From cradle to grave, wind turbines create more pollution, more carbon dioxide and consume more energy than they will produce over their lifetime:

 *     Wind turbines contain large quantities - several tons each - of rare earths. These create extreme mining and production health hazards, and a disposal problem on a par or exceeding that of nuclear waste.

 *     During cold, windless conditions, wind turbines actually draw electricity from the grid to keep the machinery warm. So, just when power is most in demand, they create an additional burden on conventional power stations. The blades have to be heated in cold weather to avoid ice build-up, which renders them useless. (Like an airplane's propeller, the ice deforms the blade so that it produces less or no lift.) The generating equipment must also be kept warm in windless conditions to avoid damage.

 *     Some researchers now believe that some wind farms may be net users of electricity. Power is drawn from the grid for heating, as mentioned above, but also for other reasons: During windless conditions, the massive blades must be rotated continuously by using the generators as motors to prevent gravitational warping of the blades, prop shafts and gears. During operation, power is consumed to change the pitch and angle of incidence of the blades relative to the wind. The entire mechanism, weighing many tons, needs to be rotated by electrical motors from time to time to untangle the cables linking the generator to the grid. (The cables get wound up as the head of the installation follows the wind, rotating through 360 degrees repeatedly over a period of time). The energy drawn from the grid for heating and other purposes is never monitored, but is estimated to consume, at the very least, as much as half of the already low actual output, reducing the 15 to 20% mentioned above to as little as perhaps less than 10% of the rated output.

There is a very simple test to determine the value of this technology: the operators of conventional power stations will tell you that they generate no less power and consume no less fuel than before the windmills came along.

 *     Because the rated capacity is a fictional number, never achieved in real life by a wide margin, wind turbines cannot make up for the energy that went into manufacturing, transport, erection and maintenance, even assuming generous life times. They are therefore net carbon dioxide emitters - as if that mattered - and add to overall emissions.

 *     Conventional generating power equivalent to the entire capacity of the wind infrastructure must be brought on line in windless conditions to keep industry, businesses and our homes running. This is a total duplication of resources, at enormous expense.

 *     The backup power required for wind and solar is sometimes called "spinning reserve". This means that these power stations are always running, and can never be turned off, even when not producing power: they need to respond instantly when the "renewable" resources go offline. During these idle periods, backup stations actually produce more pollution that when running under the design load, a result of inefficient fuel combustion.

 *     One of the most serious problems with wind turbines is that they kill thousands of birds and bats. The tips of the blades move at deceptively fast speeds - literally hundreds of miles per hour - and birds simply don't detect the danger of a side-swipe from a blade whilst flying into what appears to be empty space. Bats are killed by the high pressure generated by the rotating blades, exploding lungs and ear drums.

Excerpt from forthcoming book:  "CORNUCOPIA  -- Our Inexhaustible Resources".  

Cornucopians say  that there is no reason to believe that we will ever run out of anything.  So far we haven't, despite may dire predictions of it going back centuries

Carbon tax costs struggling Australian airline over $100 million

The Prime Minister urged Labor to help axe the carbon tax, rejecting claims by the Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese that the airline reportedly agreed to voluntarily pay the tax.

“This idea that Qantas somehow likes the carbon tax even though the carbon tax adds $106 million to its costs … is just crackers,” Mr Abbott said.

“Tell them they’re dreaming,” he added, directing the comment to Labor MPs.

Earlier Mr Abbott talked up the need to liberate Qantas during the Coalition joint party room meeting.

Channelling Ben Chifley’s “light on the hill’, Mr Abbott argued the government will be successful if it is principled.

“Our light is freedom, we are the freedom party,” he told colleagues.

Deputy PM Warren Truss conceded there is no guarantee their proposal to change the Sale Act will get through the Senate.

Mr Truss claimed both the Flying Kangaroo and Virgin are bleeding, but he warned if they were to back Qantas in a domestic war it would be unfair to its competitor.

Four colleagues are said to have congratulated Cabinet on its decision during the meeting



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

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


4 March, 2014

Pest controllers have been hugely hampered by Greenie pseudo-science

Rich Kozlovich is recommending to all his fellow workers in pest control an article by Ron Arnold titled "Putting an end to the EPA’s ‘secret science'"  -- headlined on this blog yesterday

As we approach NPMA Legislative Day we need to keep in mind that we are the hunters that keep the tribe healthy.We stand on the wall telling the world no one will harm you on our watch. Or at least that’s what we should be doing. Because what we do is a mission, not a job.

As we go up to the hill we will focus on positions that will benefit our industry and the nation - especially the nation’s poor, the nation’s infirm and the nation’s weak. In the war for public health we are the front line. However, if we really want to help our people we can't just focus on the symptoms of the problem we face, i.e., the regulatory infection that plagues America.

We need to focus on foundational things that can alter the war forever, and let’s stop deluding ourselves into thinking this isn’t a war. We face an irrational, misanthropic and morally defective movement that has infected the minds of the entire regulatory state with their junk science and outrageous rhetoric.

Society is now suffering from Green Fatigue, and the time is ripe to put a stop to it. This article discusses a foundational problem with the EPA and how to fix it.  The green corruption of science, academia and their scientists who produce studies that can’t be replicated (up 90%), and green activists disguised as government bureaucrats must be dealt with or we’re merely playing Whac-A-Mole with these people. Whac-A-Mole is what we have been left with until now. This is a piece of federal legislation every trade association in America should embrace – and it should also be addressed with our nation's state legislators.

By email

Greens Exploit Widespread Science Ignorance

By Alan Caruba

I frequently have to tell people that I am a science writer, not a scientist. The only science course I took in college was zoology and I passed it only because my paper on Procyon Lotor—raccoons—demonstrated an ability to do some good research and present it cogently.

In the decades since then I have had the opportunity to write about many science-based topics and it became evident that a huge portion of our society and worldwide is ignorant of how science functions and the incredible advances for mankind that it has provided.

It is this ignorance that is constantly exploited by the many environmental groups. Scaring people about the climate has been their bread and butter for decades, but a natural cooling cycle that is approaching two decades in a few years is killing that goose that laid so many golden eggs. The same is occurring for “renewable energy” as Europe is beginning to regret pouring billions into wind energy while multi-million U.S. subsidies are on the chopping block as well.

The “food police” are generating a scare campaign about genetically modified food crops. As Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, pointed out in a December 2013 article, “Not one single human has been harmed by genetically improved food.” So, naturally, some Greens are pushing to have everything made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) subjected to warning labels.

Do you know who the first environmentalists were? Farmers! It is the original “green job” because farmers were among the original users of renewable energy—the solar power—to grow their crops. They used wind power to draw water and grind grain into flour. They built irrigation systems to make more efficient use of water.

When the United States declared its independence the nation was largely composed of farmers. Now less than two percent of the population grows enough food to feed all of us and have plenty left over to export. The current exception to this is California’s central value when farmers have been denied water to save the lives of bait fish, smelt. They’re getting no help from the federal government either.

Throughout the last century the American Farm Bureau Federation and state farm bureaus were leaders in conservation tillage, well-water testing, and many other environmental improvements. As one observer noted, “Long after the current excitement about the green economy has worn off, American farmers and ranchers will remain green collar workers as they have always been—efficient producers of food, fiber, and fuel and stewards of natural resources.

In the meantime, we are subjected to celebrities like Al Gore, Bill Maher, and Daryl Hanna, who have no science degree.  The outspoken actors, Ed Begley and Leonardo Dicaprio only have a high school diploma and many others who opine on environmental issues are literally high school dropouts. A long list of news media personalities has no science degree. They include ABC’s Sam Champion, NBC’s Matt Laurer, and CBS’s Harry Smith. CBS’s Scott Pelley is a college dropout.

Among the scientists, many have degrees in areas that do not reflect meteorology or climatology. They include Bill Nye known as the “science guy” who has a degree in mechanical engineering.

As Dr. Lehr points out, “There is little food on the plate of humans anywhere that has not been genetically improved.” This goes back four thousand years to the creation of wine. In 1862, an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel began to crossbreed simple garden peas to improve their taste, yield and strength. Thirty years later his work on the subject was published in the journal of the Royal Society of London, “and the new agricultural science of hybridization was born to improve our food.”

Writing in the February edition of Wheat Life, a publication for Washington state farmers, John Moffatt, a wheat breeder for Syngenta, noted that “Wheat is not only the largest crop in the world with acreage surpassing that of even corn and soybeans, it is also one of the most complex.” Sygenta is one of North America’s leading wheat genetic research companies, responsible for helping farmers grow profitable wheat with research that begins with seeds that undergo a certification process. Their crop varieties consistently outperform saved seed in yield, quality and test weight.

“If genetic labeling laws are passed throughout the United States,” warns Dr. Lehr, “it will severely set back the scientific and human health benefits of genetic food advances. Billions of people around the world have consumed genetically modified food since it became widespread during recent decades. Billions more will benefit from such foods in the coming decades.”

Meanwhile, the Green liars will continue to wage war on humanity. From Paul Ehrlich who in 1968 forecast global famine to the Club of Rome that in 1972 predicted exhausted resources and famine and then had to recant the forecasts in 1976, to an endless series of “science” lies before and since, it behooves us all to be wary and skeptical of their claims.

We owe a debt of gratitude to those scientists who have greatly enhanced the lives of the seven billion with whom we share planet Earth. We owe a lot to the farmers who, thanks to scientific breakthroughs in genetics, are feeding us.


Energy availability already starting to falter

By Rich Kozlovich

What is the beginning of wisdom? Well, that’s not an easy question to answer since so many factors come into play. However, when it comes to Global Warming and all the ancillary arguments for and against - the beginning of wisdom is the availability and price of energy!

Last night approximately 43 percent of First Energy’s customers in Lake County lost their power starting for sure at 12:00 when I awoke. Of course having lost "my" power it was clear to me - we now have a "really serious” problem!

Actually I can’t complain because my power wasn’t out for much more than two hours, and the temperature in the house didn’t drop all that much, but what happens when the power goes out around Sunday morning at 12:00 AM, and nine hours later it isn't restored?

Originally the outages affected 43 percent of Lake County’s FirstEnergy customers. At 9:00 AM it was closer to 24 percent and with no clear timetable for complete restoration. (Update: According to FirstEnergy's website as of 8:16 PM over 1800 customers are still without power)

What are people supposed to do to protect their families and property? Without electricity there is no heat, even if we're using gas heat. It still takes a fan to push that heat around the house, and that takes electric power. If someone has one of those ventless gas heaters then there's nothing to worry about, but how many have them? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet the number is small.

The EPA now wants to restrict the use of wood burning fireplaces and has done all in its power to restrict drilling and mining, and is attempting to put Clean Air Standards in place that will be doing exactly what President Obama promised during the 2008campaign. Put coal fired power plants out of business. Did everyone think he was just kidding around?

Ohio has now experienced a cold period that has lasted longer and deeper than we have experienced for decades. For or the first time in recorded history the Great Lakes are on the verge of becoming completely ice covered. Lake Ontario is the hold out, but the next few days have been predicted to be ‘cold’.

Alternative energy is a failure!

The German government - which has been the great bastion of arguments for alternative energy and CO2 reduction to prevent Global Warming – hired a consulting firm that has now concluded three things.

“An independent committee of expert advisors to the German government is recommending in a report that the country’s once highly ballyhooed EEG renewable energy feed-in act be scrapped altogether because it is 1) “not doing anything for the climate”, 2) “not promoting innovation”and 3) driving up the cost of energy.”

Although it is expected the green activists will rail against this report and find all sort of excuses to justify their anti-energy positions it is clear “the pressure on the German government to radically scale back the EEG act is mounting as citizens struggle with skyrocketing electricity price.”   The beginning of wisdom!

As for support of renewable energy mandates in Ohio, an article by Travis Fisher February 12, 2014 entitled IER Expert Testifies on Ohio’s Alternative Energy Standard states the following.

“Support for Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs), such as Ohio’s Alternative Energy Standard, are based in large measure on misperceptions. Common misperceptions regarding these mandates include:

* RPSs will create jobs

* RPSs are needed because America is running out of coal, oil, and natural gas

* RPSs are needed because renewable energy is an infant industry in need of help

* RPSs will reduce the cost of electricity

* RPSs are an effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

None of these are true, but what is true is that RPSs raise the cost of electricity, and the states that have RPSs tend to have the most expensive electricity. More expensive electricity hurts people and businesses, and it hurts the long-run competitiveness of local and state economies because it drives energy-intensive industries out of the state. RPSs hurt consumers by shielding producers of renewable energy from market forces that drive reductions in cost and real increases in efficiency through technological progress.”

Inexpensive readily available energy sources are foundational to a modern industrial society.  The availability and price of energy is the beginning of wisdom! 

Oh, one more thing! For those who are constantly bleating, "we need to return to nature", I would like to expand on the progress we've made today by linking the article, "In Balance With Nature".


British wind farm earnings hit by plans to freeze carbon tax

Wind farm owners across Britain will earn tens of millions of pounds less than expected because of plans by the Government to freeze the carbon tax.

Solar farm, biomass and nuclear plant owners will also see future earnings cut by the change, widely expected to be announced in the Budget later this month.

The carbon tax was announced in the 2011 Budget and came into effect last year, with the aim of encouraging new green power plants. It sets a “floor” for the price of burning carbon each year.

The tax has the effect of pushing up the wholesale market price for electricity — increasing profits for renewable and nuclear generators who do not have to pay it.

Critics say it has not attracted investment, but has handed windfall profits to green plants built before it was introduced. Most damagingly, they say, it makes UK manufacturers uncompetitive and pushes up consumer energy bills.

Amid political pressure to curb rising energy costs, the Chancellor is widely expected to freeze the tax at 2015-16 levels of about £18 per tonne of carbon, up from about £5 now, and potentially rule out further rises for the rest of the decade.

“Anybody who has either developed or bought a wind farm over the past three years, since the carbon floor was introduced, would have been working on the basis power prices would rise alongside the carbon tax,” said John Musk, analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “Now that that is likely to be frozen, the return they would have hoped for will be diminished.”

He estimates 2020 power prices would be £5 to £6 per megawatt hour lower if the tax is frozen – shaving £300,000 off forecast annual revenues of a typical 20MW wind farm.

With more than 7,000MW of onshore wind installed in the UK, tens of millions of pounds may be wiped off expected earnings.


Australia: Tony Abbott's green army enlisting now

Tony Abbott is Prime Minister of Australia and a conservative

Tony Abbott's federally funded "green army" will enlist 15,000 young people in environmental work, striking young workers from official dole queue figures as youth unemployment soared in the year to January to 12.4 per cent.

But young people who fill the green army's ranks will be paid as little as half the minimum wage, earning between $608.40 and $987.40 a fortnight.

The scheme - the cornerstone of the government's environmental policies - is modelled on John Howard's Green Corps, and will be an alternative to work-for-the-dole programs.

Under the legislation introduced by Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday, green army participants - who will be aged 17-24 - will work up to 30 hours a week. They will be given the chance to undergo formal training as part of their duties, but will lose their Centrelink benefits for taking part in the scheme and fall off official joblessness figures.

The basic rate for a single person getting Newstart (the dole) is $501 a fortnight. But Mr Hunt said the scheme would pay young people "significantly" more than they would receive from Centrelink allowances, and he hoped the skills young people learnt on the job would encourage them to move into full-time work.

"It's giving every young person in Australia the chance to do something for the environment, and it's bizarre that anybody would oppose, at this time, a youth training program that helps the environment and increases, significantly, the youths' wages."

Mr Hunt's office stressed that the green army was "an environmental and training program, not an employment program", although the government has repeatedly described the army as Australia's largest ever "environmental workforce".

The government is aiming the scheme at indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, gap-year students, graduates and the unemployed. Enlistees will do manual labour, including clearing local creeks and waterways, fencing and tree planting.

Green army members will not be covered by Commonwealth workplace laws, including the Work, Health and Safety Act, the Fair Work Act and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.

Despite this, Mr Hunt said all green army members would be covered by workplace protections, including state and territory occupational health and safety laws, insurance provided by the government and by "service providers" paid by the government to recruit, establish and manage green army teams, and federal work, health and safety "compliance orders".

But ACTU president Ged Kearney said the workers should be covered by the appropriate federal workplace protections.

"This is about taking away well-paid, well-protected jobs from people and replacing them with low-paid, unsafe jobs," she said. "This is not about getting people on the margins of the workforce into work, this is about providing a low-paid workforce."

Greens MP Adam Bandt said: "Only Tony Abbott could create a 'workforce' where the workers aren't legally workers and have no workplace rights. If a green army supervisor and a worker under their command get injured while wielding a pick or building a lookout, the supervisor will have the same safety and compensation protections as ordinary employees but the worker won't."


Australia:  Let’s dump Great Barrier Reef dredging myths

Mr Reichelt mentions it obliquely but it deserves pointing out WHY good landfill material is being dumped at sea.  It is because Greenies won't let it be dumped on land!  Dredged material used to be poured directly onto waterfront swamps and mangroves as land reclamation.  Most of the Cairns foreshore was built up that way. I watched the dredge TSS Trinity Bay discharging into polders there when I was a boy.  But littoral swamps and mangroves  are now "wetlands" so must not be touched, even though there are untold miles of them left

AUTHOR:  Russell Reichelt,  Chairman and Chief Executive of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s recent decision to allow 3 million cubic metres of dredge material to be disposed of 25 kilometres off Abbot Point in north Queensland has attracted passionate commentary around the world.

Millions of people from Australia and overseas have a fierce desire to protect one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. As the independent body managing the Great Barrier Reef for future generations, all of us at the Authority understand and share that desire: it’s what makes us want to come to work every day.

But the debate about Abbot Point has been marked by considerable misinformation, including claims about “toxic sludge”, dumping coal on the reef and even mining the reef. Late last week, it was confirmed that our decision to allow the dredge disposal will be challenged in court.

So what’s true, and what’s not? I hope with this article, I can clear up some of those misunderstandings on behalf of the Authority, particularly about our role, the nature and scale of the dredge disposal activity, and its likely environmental impacts.

If you still have questions at the end of this article, I and others from our team at the Authority will be reading your comments below and we’ll do our best to reply to further questions on The Conversation.

A sizeable challenge

At 344,400 square kilometres, the Marine Park is roughly the same area as Japan or Italy.

Of this vast and richly diverse expanse, one-third is highly protected; some places are near pristine, while others are feeling the effects of centuries of human uses.

But rather than locking the entire area away, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) role — as set out under Australian law — is to protect the region’s ecosystem, while also ensuring it remains a multiple-use marine park open to sustainable use. This includes tourism, commercial fishing, shipping and other operations.

While there are five major ports in the region, to this day only 1% of the World Heritage Area is set aside for ports. Most of the region’s 12 ports existed long before the Marine Park was created in 1975, and nearly all fall inside the World Heritage Area, but outside the park itself.

Responding to “toxic” claims

Among the many claims made about the Abbot Point decision is the assertion that the “Reef will be dredged” and that “toxic sludge” will be dumped in marine waters.

Both of those claims are simply wrong, as are suggestions that coal waste will be unloaded into the Reef, that this natural wonder is about to be mined, or that Abbot Point is a new coal port.

The reality is that disposal of dredge material of this type in the Marine Park is not new. It has occurred off nearly all major regional centres along the reef’s coastline before now.

It is a highly regulated activity and does not allow material to be placed on coral, seagrass or sensitive marine environments.

The material itself in Abbot Bay is about 60% sand and 40% silt and clay, which is similar to what you would see if you dug up the site where the material is to be relocated.

In addition, testing by accredited laboratories shows the material is not toxic, and is therefore suitable for ocean disposal.

Limiting new port development

As Queensland’s population has grown over the past 150 years, so too have the size and number of ports along the Great Barrier Reef coastline.

We recognise the potential environmental risks posed at a local level by this growth, which is why we have strongly advocated limiting port development to existing major ports — such as Abbot Point — as opposed to developing new sites.

This will produce a far better outcome than a proliferation of many, albeit smaller, ports along the coastline. And that’s not just our view: it’s a view shared by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which oversees the Great Barrier Reef’s listing as one of Australia’s 19 World Heritage sites.

Given Abbot Point has been a major port for the past 30 years, our approval of the dredge disposal permit application from North Queensland Bulk Ports is entirely consistent with this position.

The added benefit of the port is its access to naturally deep waters, meaning it requires less capital dredging than other ports. It also has a much lower need for maintenance dredging.

What’s being done to protect the reef?

With this as our backdrop, we analysed the potential impacts and risks to the Great Barrier Reef from disposing dredge spoil off Abbot Point within the Marine Park.

In this case, we reached the conclusion that with 47 stringent conditions in place, it could be done in a way that makes us confident there will be no significant impact on the reef’s world heritage values.

These safeguards are designed specifically to ensure potential impacts are avoided, mitigated or offset, and to prevent harm to the environmental, cultural or heritage values associated with the nearby Holbourne Island fringing reef, Nares Rock, and the Catalina World War II wreck.

Our conditions are in addition to those already imposed by the federal government in prior approvals.

Again, just to clear up any confusion: the dredge material will not be “dumped on the reef”.

Instead, we are looking at an area within the Marine Park that is about 25 kilometres east-northeast of the port at Abbot Point, and about 40 kilometres from the nearest offshore reef.

When the dredge disposal occurs, the material will only be allowed to be placed in a defined 4 square kilometre site free of hard corals, seagrass beds and other sensitive habitats.

If oceanographic conditions such as tides, winds, waves and currents are likely to produce adverse impacts, the disposal will not be allowed to proceed.

As an added precaution, the activity can only happen between March and June, as this falls outside the coral spawning and seagrass growth periods. As the sand, silt and clay itself will be dredged in stages over three years, the annual disposal volume will be capped at 1.3 million cubic metres.

Compared with other sites in this region, it is much less than has been done in the past. For example, in 2006 there were 8.6 million cubic metres of similar sediments excavated and relocated in one year at Hay Point, near Mackay. Scientific monitoring showed no significant effects on the ecosystem.

The dredge disposal from Abbot Point will be a highly managed activity — and it will not, as some headlines have suggested, mean the Great Barrier Reef will become a sludge repository or that tonnes of mud will be dumped on coral reefs.

This is not Gladstone Harbour all over again

I have often heard during this debate that Abbot Point will become “another Gladstone”.

I can assure you that GBRMPA understands strongly the need to learn the lessons from past port developments, including ones like Gladstone that fall outside of the Marine Park. This is why the recommendations from an independent review into Gladstone Harbour have been factored into our conditions.

Much of the criticism of the development at Gladstone Harbour centred on monitoring and who was doing it. This is why one the most common questions we’ve heard at GBRMPA about Abbot Point is “Who is going to make sure this is all done properly?”

The answer is: there will be multiple layers of independent oversight. Indeed, past authors on The Conversation have used Townsville’s port as a good example of how local impacts can be managed safely through transparent, independent monitoring and reporting, and active on-site management.

This is why we will have a full-time staff member from GBRMPA located at the port to oversee and enforce compliance during dredge disposal operations. This supervisor has the power to stop, suspend or modify works to ensure conditions are met.

In addition, an independent technical advice panel and an independent management response group will be formed. Membership of both these bodies will need the approval of GBRMPA.

Importantly, the management response group will include expert scientists as well as representatives from the tourism and fishing industries, and conservation groups. Together, GBRMPA and those other independent scrutineers will be overseeing the disposal, and will have the final say — not North Queensland Bulk Ports, which operates Abbot Point, or the coal companies that use the port.

Water quality monitoring will take place in real-time to measure factors such as suspended solids, turbidity and light availability. This is in addition to a long-term water quality monitoring program that will run for five years — much longer than what is normally required.

It’s vital that there is utmost transparency and scrutiny of what happens. We believe that with our staff on the job, plus independent oversight that includes the community, it will be a highly transparent process.

What are limits of the Authority’s powers?

It is true to say that despite all these safeguards, placing dredge material on land rather than in the Marine Park remains our preferred choice, providing it does not mean transferring environmental impact to sensitive wetlands connected to the reef ecosystem.

Indeed, land-based disposal is an option that must always be examined under national dredging guidelines.

But we recognise onshore disposal is not always immediately practical. Some of the challenges include finding suitable land, the need for dredge settlement ponds and delivery pipelines, and potential impacts on surrounding environments.

Ultimately, what occurs on land is outside of GBRMPA’s jurisdiction. We do not make decisions about mines, railways and loading facilities, and have never had the power to compel a port authority to place dredged material onshore or to build an extension to existing jetties.

Nor do we have the ability to stop dredge disposal from occurring in port limits that fall inside the World Heritage Area, but outside of the Marine Park.

Our legislative powers simply enable us to approve or reject a permit application for an action in the Marine Park, or to approve it with conditions.

Based on the considerable scientific evidence before us, we approved the application for Abbot Point with conditions, on the basis that potential impacts from offshore disposal were manageable and that there would be no significant or lasting impacts on the reef’s world heritage values.



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

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


3 March, 2014

Putting an end to the EPA’s ‘secret science’

American taxpayers foot the bill for the Environmental Protection Agency’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. EPA bureaucrats routinely hide this public information, insolently foreshadowing President Obama’s recently outed code of ethics, “I can do anything I want.”

As Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) bluntly forced the issue, “Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama Administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims.”

“Nontransparent data and unverifiable claims?” Translated from scientese, it’s like this: If you’re a good scientist, you make an exact, detailed description of how you did your study or research so anybody else can follow your description and get the same result.

If you won’t tell anybody how you did it, your work is not “transparent.”  If you do tell and nobody else can get the same result you got, your science is junk, or not “reproducible” – not verifiable.

Face it, EPA science is junk and they’re hiding that fact.

Smith is in a position to do something about Obama’s scofflaws: he’s chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, where his panel on February 11 held a hearing on “Ensuring Open Science at EPA.”

It was the launching pad for the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, a bill to bar the EPA from proposing regulations based upon science that is not transparent or not reproducible.

That sent shockwaves through Big Green, which has a vested interest in hiding outdated, biased, falsified, sweetheart-reviewed, and even non-existent “science” that has destroyed the lives of thousands in the death-grip of agenda-driven EPA rules.

Environment Subcommittee Chairman Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) gaveled the hearing to order. “For far too long,” he said, “the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions.”

The average American would probably ask why the EPA is such a problem. The first witness told why: John D. Graham, a dean at Indiana University and former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has years of experience telling good science from junk.

Graham surprisingly said that EPA science standards are “quite high” because lives depend upon proper rules to protect us from the harmful effects of pollution while avoiding data errors that can unjustly destroy whole sectors of America’s economy.

The EPA isn’t living up to its standards. Why not?

The EPA’s downfall is its poorly developed science culture, said Graham. “In my experience working with the EPA, I have found that the political, legal, and engineering cultures are fairly strong but the cultures of science and economics are highly variable … First-rate scientists who are interested in public service employment might be more inclined to launch a career at the National Academy of Sciences” or elsewhere.

Most damning, Graham cited a decade of National Science Foundation reports documenting the bad quality, transparency, and reproducibility of EPA’s scientific determinations.

Dr. Louis “Tony” Cox, chief sciences officer at Nexthealth Technologies, needs access to sound data for his work on health risk assessment, but he’s more than alarmed at the state of EPA science. Cox sees “catastrophic failure in the reproducibility and trustworthiness of scientific results.”

Even science editors complain that many published research articles are false and even peer-reviewed results are not reproducible.

EPA demands sensational reports, true or not, and isn’t checking scientists’ work.  In short, we need junk sniffers.

Raymond J. Keating, chief economist of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, who testified for the Center for Regulatory Solutions, provided one of the hearing’s big shockers: “The annual cost of federal regulations registered $1.75 trillion in 2008.”

A highly credentialed witness, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Professor Ellen Silbergeld, picked the Secret Science Reform bill apart. She hit two points: lack of protection for patient information privacy in EPA health studies, and a requirement for everyone but industry to reveal their data.

In rebuttal of both points, Graham noted that the National Academy of Sciences is now focusing not on whether patient data is to be shared, but how to do it while protecting privacy; and the Secret Science Reform bill requires all EPA science, regardless of source or funding, to have open data, including industry.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) asked of the witness panel, “Do any of you disagree with the principle that in [the] case of taxpayer-funded research or studies, the public should have access to the underlying data?” Silbergeld responded, “As stated in my testimony, for reasons given, I disagree with that – respectfully.”

EPA is basing major regulatory decisions on junk and inviting a rebellion by doing it.  Taxpayers must become America’s army of junk sniffers and ruthlessly axe the EPA’s heart rot – respectfully, of course.


The Original Sin of Global Warming

It might seem strange to say it, but I am a global warming skeptic because of Carl Sagan.

This might seem strange because Sagan was an early promoter of the theory that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are going to fry the globe. But it’s not so strange when you consider the larger message that made Sagan famous.

As with many people my age, Sagan’s 1980 series “Cosmos,” which aired on public television when I was eleven years old, was my introduction to science, and it changed my life. “Cosmos” shared the latest developments in the sciences of evolution, astronomy, and astrophysics, but its real heart was Sagan’s overview of the history of science and the distinctive ethos behind the scientific method.

Sagan returned again and again to one central theme: that the first rule of science is to follow the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of one’s wishes or preconceptions. He spoke eloquently about the Ancient Greek Pythagoreans and their attempt to suppress the facts about “irrational numbers” that didn’t fit their theory. And he spoke admiringly about the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, who started out pursuing a theory in which the planets move in circular orbits reflecting the ratios of the perfect Pythagorean solids—and ended up being driven by the evidence to reject this theory and discover completely new laws of planetary motion.

I didn’t end up becoming a scientist, but I absorbed Sagan’s basic lesson and have tried my best to adhere to it in my own field: follow the evidence wherever it leads.

But this can be a difficult rule to follow. It is easy to spot the unexamined assumptions of others, but harder to root out your own prejudices. A few years ago, while watching “Cosmos” again for the first time in 25 years, I was reminded that Sagan did not always practice what he preached, and his error sheds light on the global warming theory’s original sin against science. It is a sin that has only gotten worse and which explains the scandalous state of today’s debate over global warming.

In the third episode of “Cosmos,” Sagan presents our nearest planetary neighbors, Venus and Mars, as cautionary tales of what happens when a potentially Earth-like planet goes wrong and become inhospitable to life. In his telling, Venus is a warning about how a runaway greenhouse effect can turn a planet’s surface into an acidic furnace, while Mars is a cautionary tale about how an inadequate greenhouse affect can leave a planet cold, dry, and barren. He proceeds to apply these lessons to Earth, predicting two possible doomsday scenarios: one in which deforestation causes the Earth to cool, and one in which fossil fuels cause it to warm. (You can hear some of the audio here, but without Sagan’s original visuals.)

    Human activities brighten our landscape and our atmosphere. Might this ultimately make an ice age here? At the same time we are releasing vast quantities of carbon dioxide, increasing the greenhouse effect…. It may not take much to destabilize the Earth’s climate, to convert this heaven, our only home in the Cosmos, into a kind of hell.

This is a bit of a cultural time capsule, preserving the precise moment at which scientific alarmists were switching from warning about a new ice age, in the 1970s, to warning about runaway warming.

Much of the planetary science behind these claims, by the way, turned out to be speculative and premature. In the 1990s, detailed satellite maps of Venus revealed the remains of enormous volcanoes and vast rivers of lava, implying that the planet had been entirely resurfaced by a volcanic apocalypse as recently as 100 million years ago—which strikes me as a much more reasonable explanation for why Venus has a surface temperature of 900 degrees and an atmosphere full of sulfuric acid. As for Mars, its much smaller size and lack of a planetary magnetic field, which allows its atmosphere to be stripped off by the solar wind, are adequate explanations for its cold, thin air and the absence of surface water. So Venusian SUVs and overenthusiastic Martian loggers are probably off the hook.

To his credit, Sagan admits that the science on this subject is still in its early stages—but then he makes a disastrous error.

    And yet we ravage the Earth at an accelerated pace, as if it belonged to this one generation, as if it were ours to do with as we please…. Our generation must choose. Which do we value more: short-term profits or the long-term habitability of our planetary home?…

    The study of the global climate, the sun’s influence, the comparison of the Earth with other worlds, these are subjects in their earliest stages of development. They are funded poorly and grudgingly, and meanwhile we continue to load the Earth’s atmosphere with materials about whose long-term influence we are almost entirely ignorant.

Can you see the error? Sagan enters this topic with a clear animus against the profit motive and a pre-established belief that industrial civilization is “ravaging the earth.” These are the obvious cultural biases of a late-20th-century modern liberal. So he considers two alternative theories—that we are destroying the planet by cooling it down, or we are destroying the planet by heating it up—and calls for more government funding to figure out which is correct. But his bias prevents him from seriously considering the obvious third option: that our effect on the Earth’s climate is negligible, any heating or cooling is within the normal range of natural variation, and the benefits of industrial civilization far outweigh any negative effects. But if we don’t treat this as an option, much less as an equally likely option, no government funding is likely to be devoted to pursuing that theory.

This is the original sin of the global warming theory: that it was founded in a presumption of guilt against industrial civilization. All of the billions of dollars in government research funding and the entire cultural establishment that has been built up around global warming were founded on the presumption that we already knew the conclusion—we’re “ravaging the planet”—and we’re only interested in evidence that supports that conclusion.

That brings us to where we are today. The establishment’s approach to the scientific debate over global warming is to declare that no such debate exists—and to ruthlessly stamp it out if anyone tries to start one.

That’s how we get the Los Angeles Times loftily declaring that it won’t even publish letters to the editor that question global warming. That’s how we get Michael Mann’s lawsuit attempting to make it a legally punishable offense to “question his intellect and reasoning.”

That’s how we get the appalling petition to spike Charles Krauthammer’s Washington Post‘s column for expressing mere agnosticism about global warming.

It’s how we get the New York Times casually suggesting that global warming “deniers” should be stabbed.

And then there is this doozy, from my own backyard: at the University of Virginia, Thomas Forman II declares in the student newspaper that global warming skeptics shouldn’t even be allowed to speak on campus, because “we should keep our debates out of our science classes.”

This, at the university founded by Thomas Jefferson, who said, “here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” He also said, “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

Forman is the president of the UVA Environmental Sciences Organization, which “provides a link between the Environmental Sciences Department and the students of the University,” “mainly geared toward undergraduate majors and minors in the department.” So the guy who believes in keeping debate out of our science classes has appointed himself as a guide for every undergraduate who wants to enter the field of climate science.

This puts a whole new light on the claim that a “consensus” of climate scientists backs global warming. It’s easy to manufacture such a consensus when you decree ahead of time that no contrary opinion may be heard. When I saw the recent claim that 97% of climate scientists endorse the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming, it struck me that this is the same margin by which dictators typically claim they have won re-election—and for the same reason. These are both systems in which voting for the “wrong” result is not tolerated.


Keystone Foes Form Circular Firing Squad After Running Out of Arguments

In the New York Times today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona who serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, fires a warning shot above the White House’s bow. “If the president approves the Keystone XL pipeline,” Grijalva threatens grimly, “it would be a bad end to what could still be a very strong environmental legacy.”

And that — “Environment Good, Keystone Bad” — is about the sum total of his argument. Rather bizarrely, much of the op-ed is spent relitigating the Bush years. He remembers vividly when “George W. Bush was president and big business wrote environmental policy.” He recalls with horror “Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.” And he harks back to the days when Barack Obama’s election seemed to promise a “change from Mr. Bush’s way of doing business with business.” There’s a lot of harking, actually. Insofar as the op-ed has a clear point at all, it seems to be that under Bush our environmental policy was disastrous, that it is a little better now, but that Obama might ruin all that if he has the temerity to approve a pipeline. Grijalva makes this point eight times in eleven paragraphs.

In the remaining three, he fails to marshal a single solid argument against Keystone XL. We are informed about “lobbying and bad science” but given no good examples of either; we are told that “Keystone is a bad deal for the American taxpayer on the merits” but never allowed any indication as to why; and we are given notice that the Obama “administration’s approach to the pipeline is a throwback to the time when endangered species were defenseless in the face of corporate moneymaking.” But we are never treated to anything that so much as approaches an explanation as to why. One suspects that the author would have enjoyed Occupy Wall Street.

The closest that Grijalva comes to outlining what he means by the project’s being a “visible and sometimes painful reminder of the way things were done under Mr. Bush” is to claim that,

the contractor chosen by the State Department to assess the pipeline’s environmental impacts violated federal conflict-of-interest rules to get the job, and nothing has been done about it. That company, Environmental Resources Management, did work for TransCanada, Keystone’s parent company, in the recent past and told the State Department the exact opposite on disclosure forms that anyone in the world can now read for herself.

Sadly for Grijalva, though, this is flatly untrue — as his own New York Times confirmed yesterday. In a piece titled “No Conflict of Interest Found in Favorable Review of Keystone Pipeline,” Coral Davenport bluntly recorded that “the inspector general’s report concludes that the State Department’s process in selecting ERM followed, and was at times more rigorous, than was prescribed by agency guidance.” Further, Davenport noted, the report

"concludes that ERM fully disclosed its prior work history — including its work with TransCanada — and completed all previous work with TransCanada before undertaking the Keystone review.”

Pretending as usual that he was on the cusp of a decision, President Obama intimated last year that he would approve Keystone only if he was convinced it wouldn’t “significantly exacerbate” carbon emissions. He should now be satisfied. The State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement confirms that the pipeline would not make a difference to the overall amount of carbon being emitted:

Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios.

In other words, to deny the pipeline is not to prevent its allegedly dangerous consequences. Given that the federal government is now routinely issuing statements such as this one, it isn’t especially surprising that the dissidents are shying away from discussing anything of substance. The environmental movement can continue to flail against Keystone XL if it so wishes, but eventually it will come to recognize that that ship has sailed — and literally. As Grist’s Lisa Hymas noticed in 2012, “Keystone pipeline protesters are having an unintended impact.” That impact? To push exporters to use other modes of transport while their project is stalled. “Thanks in part to anti-pipeline activism,” Hymas noted, “oil in North America is increasingly being shipped by train.”

And by boats and trucks and barges, too — all of which are not only more dangerous and less cost-effective than pipelines but serve to move precisely the same goods to precisely the same places as Keystone would have. Which is to say that for the anti-Keystone argument to have any merit, it would need to be established that the oil it is intended to carry would never have been extracted, moved, refined, or consumed. And, as repeated analyses have demonstrated, this case can simply not be made. Building Keystone is almost certainly not going to yield faster oil-sands production; not building Keystone is not going to stop the long march toward North American energy independence. What exactly are Grijalva and his allies achieving here?

The answer, as so often, is that they are shoring up the base — impressing what is now a relatively minor issue into a much larger battle and hoping that the faithful will believe that campaign gestures and political victories are synonymous. Alas, the harsh truth is that, of late, Keystone has become more of a political football than a pressing question of economics or environmentalism — more important to consultants than to industrialists. It is telling that Mr. Grijalva elected to spend the vast majority of his brief moment in the sun taking backwards shots at an administration that has been out of power for over five years. Instructive, too, that having laid out his rather vapid reasons for opposing the approval, he concluded that “more important” in this instance is that “environmentalists have decided that enough is enough.” Where art thou, Michael Kinsley?


Obama Wants to Waste a Billion on "Climate Change"


Barack Obama will be remembered for many things during his two terms in office, but high on the list, right after lying to everyone about everything, will be his determination to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on every Green scheme from solar and wind energy to electric cars, and now on "climate change."

He is calling for a billion-dollar climate change fund in his forthcoming budget, due out next month. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the fund "would be spent on researching the projected effects of climate change and helping Americans prepare for them, including with new technology and infrastructure, according to the White House.

We don't need any research and we don't need any new technology. The National Weather Service has hugely expensive computers that enable it to predict what the weather will be anywhere in the U.S. with some measure of accuracy for up to three or four days. After that, it gets fuzzy. What will the weather be next week? Well, maybe a bit warmer or a bit colder.

As for the effects of weather events, we have centuries of knowledge regarding this. We know what happens after a blizzard or a hurricane, a drought or a flood.

When a huge storm like Sandy hit the East Coast, we had FEMA that was supposed to come in and help the victims. The federal government also came up with a couple of million for the States most affected, but it is still a problem that local first responders and utilities have to address most directly.

Obama was out in California to show his concern for the drought-stricken farmers and the administration is speeding delivery of $100 million of aid to livestock farmers, $15 million for areas hit hardest, and $60 million for California food banks to help the poor. Rep. Kevin McCarthy(R-CA) pointed out that the drought has been "exacerbated by federal and state regulations" including an environmental rule that placed "the well-being of fish...ahead of the well-being" of communities.

Like Rep. McCarthy, those on the scene point out that the drought is in part the result of the failure to restore the water flow from California's water-heavy north to farmers in the central and south. House Bill 3964 does that, but only if the Senate will stop holding it up. Rep. McCarthy is joined by Rep. Devin Nunes explaining that California's system of aqueducts and storage tanks was designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years.

As pointed out, "Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish. That move forced the flushing of three million acre-feet of water originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years."

Obama made no mention of that, but it is an example of how, in the name of climate change billions are wasted or lost, such as when the outcry over Spotted Owls caused a vast portion of the Northwest's timber industry was decimated by the false claim that they were "endangered."

All this traces back to the founding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program. The IPCC was given a formal blessing by the UN General Assembly through Resolution 43/53.

And what has the IPCC done? It has championed the utterly false claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for warming the Earth and that all the industries and other human activities that create CO2 emissions had to reduce them in order to save the Earth. In 2007 the IPCC and Al Gore would share a Nobel Peace Prize. As an organization and as an individual these two have proved to be the among the greatest liars on planet Earth.

Dr. Craig D. Idso, PhD, is the founder and chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. He is an advisor to The Heartland Institute and, with Dr. Robert M. Carter and Dr. S. Fred Singer, authored the 2011 study, "Climate Change Reconsidered", for the entertainingly named NIPCC-Not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Published by The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank that has led the effort to expose the IPCC since 2009, sponsoring eight international conferences, the report was updated in 2013 and a new update is due in March.

Writing in The Hill on January 30, Dr. Idso said "the President's concerns for the planet are based upon flawed and speculative science; and his policy prescription is a recipe for failure" noting that "literally thousands of scientific studies have produced findings that run counter to his view of future climate."

"As just one example, and a damning one at that, all of the computer models upon which his vision is based failed to predict the current plateau (the cooling cycle) in global temperature that has continued for the past 16 years. That the Earth has not warmed significantly during this period, despite an 8 percent increase in atmospheric CO2, is a major indictment of the model's credibility in predicting future climate, as well as the President's assertion that debate on this topic is ‘settled'."

"The taxation or regulation of CO2 emissions is an unnecessary and detrimental policy option that should be shunned," said Dr. Idso. Unfortunately for Americans, that is precisely the policy being driven by Obama's Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Department of the Interior and other elements of the government.

So the trip to California with its promise of more million spent when, in fact, the Green policies of that State have caused the loss of the Central lands that produce a major portion of the nation's food stocks, reveals how utterly corrupt Obama's climate-related policies have been since he took office in 2009.

Billions of taxpayer dollars have been squandered by the crony capitalism that is the driving force behind the IPCC's and U.S. demands for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

There is climate change and it has been going on for 4.5 billion years on planet Earth. It has everything to do with the Sun, the oceans, volcanic activity and other natural factors. It has nothing to do with the planet's human population.

What is profoundly disturbing is the deliberate political agenda behind the President's lies and Secretary of State John Kerry's irrational belief that climate change is the world's "most fearsome" weapon of mass destruction


Australia:  Brain-dead meteorologist thinks that because his city is hot it must be hot everywhere

In parts of the USA there is record cold. See below.  So which place do we go by?  It takes a Warmist to claim that local warming tells you about global warming.  Warmists mostly now don't do that nonsense because they have found to their pain that skeptics can turn the tables on them just about every winter.  So this guy is obviously just not bright

THE weather bureau says Perth’s record-smashing summer was “madness” and it has used temperature and rainfall data to lash out at climate change sceptics.

And the state’s top meteorologists are warning West Australians they face decades of rising temperatures – with hotter, drier and more extreme summers.

The 2011-12 summer was Perth’s hottest on record and this summer was the second hottest on record, tied with both the 2009-10 summer and the 2010-11 summer with an average maximum of 32C.

This summer was also the driest in five years for Perth, with just 2mm of rain, and the driest on record for Mandurah.

Perth had only three days where rain fell and not one drop fell last month – the first dry February since 2000.

It might have been the start of autumn but there was no respite yesterday, with temperatures nudging 37C in Perth.

The weather bureau is normally conservative, but Bureau of Meteorology climate expert Neil Bennett said the data was staring climate change sceptics “in the face”.

“It’s climate change. It’s warming. It’s staring you in the face,” he said.  “This is crazy. This is madness, what’s going on now.

“The climate doesn’t change like this. This is really remarkable. The last four summers have all either been the hottest or second hottest on rec­ord.  “It’s not just Perth – in Bunbury eight of the hottest summers have occurred since the turn of the century.

“What we are saying is when you look and see the trend is going up, it seems foolish to try to ignore that trend.  “This is really, really unusual. It’s a sign that the temps across Australia are warming. There is no getting away from it.”

Mr Bennett said the climate models for “30, 40 and 50 years ahead” were also all “pointing upwards”.


Great Lakes Approaching 100% Ice Cover – For The First Time On Record

So if we reason from the local to the global, as Warmists have often done, we are at the beginning of a new ice age

Lake Ontario is the only major holdout, and the forecast there is for extreme cold during the next two weeks.



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

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


2 March, 2014

Virginia Congressman warns EPA regs could cause brownouts

“There is the possibility of some brownouts.”  That was U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith’s (R-Va.) take on the impact of recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations against coal burning power plants in a brief conversation with Americans for Limited Government on February 27.

Rep. Griffith said in his district alone based in southwestern rural Virginia, Appalachian Power Co. was closing two coal-burning power plants, only one of which would be replaced by a natural gas facility.  But with a big downside — it would not produce as much electricity as the coal plant once did.

Griffith’s story in Virginia is emblematic of what is happening nationally to America’s shrinking electric grid.

Consider that coal as a percent of the net electricity generation has dropped from 49 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2012, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). For now, this is being partially offset by increases in natural gas.

But, that actually represents a smaller piece of a smaller pie, EIA data shows. While natural gas has increased electricity production by 330 billion kilowatthours (kWh) to 1.132 trillion kWh a year in 2012, coal production has dropped by 498 billion kWh to 1.5 trillion kWh.

Largely as a result of the coal plant closures, overall electricity generation in the U.S. has dropped from 4.005 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2007 to 3.89 trillion kWh in 2012 meanwhile end use has only decreased from 3.89 trillion kWh in to just 3.832 trillion kWh.

The difference between electricity generation and end use, or implied spare capacity, has dropped from 115 billion kWh to 58 billion kWh from 2007 to 2012.

That’s a whopping decrease of 49.5 percent — leading to worries that very soon the ability to keep up with demand could be compromised and brownouts could be on the horizon.

Griffith echoed the concern, but, he said, “when that is, we don’t know.” He noted that if future winters are as cold as 2014 has been in the continental U.S., the odds of power shortages would go up, with more warnings from providers to curb usage.

According to, an industry group, the number of coal-burning power plants closing or converting on account of EPA regulation was 330 as of January, up from 285 in May 2013.

According to an American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity analysis, the hardest hit states by EPA policy are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Indiana. Nationwide, the number of actual plant closures is five times greater than EPA predicted would occur because of its regulations.

So, which regulations are harming this vital industry?

Perhaps the biggest one is the EPA’s 2009 carbon endangerment finding, which ruled that carbon dioxide, a biological gas necessary for the very existence of life, is a “harmful pollutant” under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

But then there’s also the regional haze rule, carbon restrictions on new and existing power plants, and the “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants” that restricts mercury emissions from plants.

Sue-and-settle arrangements the agency enters with organizations are a problem, too. This is where a group sues demanding that the EPA enforce the law in a new, expanded way and the agency enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge. This leaves the agency with new powers under the Clean Air and Water Acts.

No agency possesses the power to make law, and yet that is precisely what the EPA has done by placing itself above Congress on all matters relating to energy production and consumption.

And until Congress does something about it by defunding the agency’s implementation of these regulations, or federal courts rein in this rogue entity, it appears all but certain that there will be brownouts.


Climate policy robs the world’s poor of their hopes

We need technologies that work in the US and in Pakistan, say Roger Pielke and Daniel Sarewitz

Having failed to stem carbon emissions in rich countries or in rapidly industrialising ones, policy makers have focused their attention on the only remaining target: poor countries that do not emit much carbon to begin with.

Legislation to cap US carbon emissions was defeated in Congress in 2009. But that did not prevent the Obama administration from imposing a cap on emissions from energy projects of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US federal agency that finances international development. Other institutions of the rich world that have decided to limit support for fossil fuel energy projects include the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Such decisions have painful consequences. A recent report from the non-profit Center for Global Development estimates that $10bn invested in renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa could provide electricity for 30m people. If the same amount of money went into gas-fired generation, it would supply about 90m people – three times as many.

In Nigeria, the UN Development Programme is spending $10m to help “improve the energy efficiency of a series of end-use equipment ... in residential and public buildings”. As a way of lifting people out of poverty, this is fanciful at best. Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil exporter, with vast reserves of natural gas as well. Yet 80m of its people lack access to electricity. Nigerians do not simply need their equipment to be more efficient; they need a copious supply of energy derived from plentiful local sources.

Or consider Pakistan, where energy shortages in a rapidly growing nation of 180m have led to civil unrest – as well as rampant destruction of forests, mostly to provide firewood for cooking and heating. Western development agencies have refused to finance a project to use Pakistan’s Thar coal deposits for low-carbon natural gas production and electricity generation because of concerns over carbon emissions. Half a world away, Germany is building 10 new coal plants over the next two years.

These examples emerge from a larger, uglier background: a widely shared assumption that poor nations need not aspire to the sort of energy consumption seen in North America, western Europe and other wealthy regions. For example, the World Bank’s action plan for energy access fails to foresee that residents of a poor nation such as Chad might eventually aspire to use more than, say, a 10th of the energy consumption enjoyed by a middle-income nation such as Bulgaria.

Aspirations are critical here. If two lightbulbs, a fan and a radio are the goal – a standard measure of “energy access” used by the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative – then a couple of solar panels or windmills might do the job. But if the rapidly urbanising poor are to have any chance of prosperity, they need access to energy on the same scale as all modern economies.

Climate activists warn that the inhabitants of poor countries are especially vulnerable to the future climate changes that our greenhouse gas emissions will cause. Why then, do they simultaneously promote the green imperialism that helps lock in the poverty that makes these countries so vulnerable?

If, in coming decades, Africa was to achieve rapid economic growth of the kind that China has experienced, it would lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But as the rich world can attest, economic growth both requires energy consumption and leads to more of it – most of which must be provided by fossil fuels.

Last year China’s 1.4bn people were responsible for more than 10bn tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, while the 1bn people on the entire African continent emitted just a 10th of that amount. Africa’s population could exceed China’s within a decade; it could be double China’s by the middle of the century. The prospects of these billions of people depend in large part on growth in their energy production and consumption.

Nations such as China and Brazil have big aspirations. They have not accepted a future without fossil fuels. If we are to reduce emissions without condemning vast swaths of humanity to unending poverty, we will have to develop inexpensive, low-carbon energy technologies that are as appropriate for the US and Bulgaria as they are for Nigeria and Pakistan. Even this will involve sacrifice; it will require an investment of significant resources over many decades.

Until these technologies are brought to fruition, we must work with what we have. We in the rich world have chosen economic growth over emissions reductions. It is cruelly hypocritical of us to prevent poor countries from growing, too. If we are forced to adapt to life on a planet with a less hospitable climate, the poor should at least confront the challenge with the same advantages that are enjoyed by the rich.


Obama’s Interior Secretary to Dying Eskimos: “I’ve Listened to Your Stories, Now I Have to Listen to the Animals.”

 Obama with the old bag concerned

In one of Alaska’s most remote outposts, where a thousand hardy souls make their homes, the Obama administration has put the fate of birds and bears above the lives of people, blocking construction of an 11-mile gravel trail connecting a tiny fishing hamlet to a life-saving airport.

King Cove has a clinic, but no hospital or doctor. Residents must fly 600 miles to Anchorage, via Cold Bay’s World War II airstrip, for most medical procedures including serious trauma cases and childbirth. Frequent gale-force winds and thick fog often delay or jeopardize medevac flights.

According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 as a result of the impossible-to-navigate weather conditions during emergency evacuations.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday rejected a proposal for a one-lane gravel road linking the isolated community of King Cove with the all-weather airport in Cold Bay some 22 miles away.

During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.

“She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.”

Della Trumble, spokesperson for the Agdaagux Tribal Council and King Cove Corp., called Jewell’s decision “a slap in the face” just in time for the holiday week.

The Interior secretary called her personally, Trumble said, but she was at the store and only got the message when she returned to the office.

“She says that she knows that I’m not going to like her decision and wishes me and my family a very merry Christmas,” she said. “I’ve not returned the call because I don’t trust myself.”

Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old King Cove resident who serves as Agdaagux tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section in March after going into early labor with her now 9-month-old daughter, Sunnie Rae. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby, she said.

But with medevac flights grounded by ugly weather, Kuzakin waited in labor for 10 hours until the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew her out in the afternoon.

“If there had been a road, it would be two hours out,” she said. “I sat there in labor not knowing if I was going to die or my kid was going to die. Pretty traumatic.”

Back in 1997, Bill Clinton threatened to veto the King Cove Safety Act. Presumably Bill was also listening to the animals.

This is what environmentalists are like. They are constitutionally incapable of empathy for human beings. Instead they deploy a self-righteousness that masks an inner callousness and cruelty.


Crushing People Into Tight Housing Won't Cut CO2 Levels

'Smart growth" projects across the country aim to jam people into high-density housing near mass transit systems.

Proponents think this will make people abandon their automobiles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But new research shows "stack-and-pack" housing is an ineffective way to reduce carbon dioxide levels.

Researchers at the University of California Energy and Resources Group in Berkeley used Census, weather, economic and transportation data — 37 variables in total — to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from the energy, transportation, food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households.

They calculated "household carbon footprints" for more than 31,000 U.S. ZIP codes (of approximately 43,000 total) in all 50 states and found that a "10-fold increase in population density in central cities yields only a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."

In other words, the number of people living in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and New York would have to increase 10 times — from 1.5 million in Philadelphia, for example, to 15 million — to yield a 25% reduction in CO2.

As the study's co-author, Christopher Jones, put it: "(A 10-fold increase) would require a really extraordinary transformation for very little benefit."

Stack-and-pack living is a blueprint for misery in urban America. Few people would want to live in such conditions. Yet this is exactly the vision that smart-growth advocates and their political allies are pushing.

For example, the regional smart-growth plan for the San Francisco Bay Area, approved last summer, calls for jamming an additional 2 million people into just 5% of the Bay Area's land over the next 27 years.

Similar plans exist, or are being discussed, in metro Chicago, El Paso, Minneapolis-St. Paul and a seven-county area of South Florida — including Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties — to name a few locations.

These regional government master plans effectively eliminate local control of communities. They also run into the Law of Unintended Consequences.

As politicians force urban centers to embrace more high-density housing, people who still want the American dream of a single-family home with a yard must move to the suburbs and commute farther.

As Jones, the UC Berkeley researcher, explained: "High-carbon suburbanization results as an unintended side effect." Carbon emissions ripple out as dense suburbs emerge and, in turn, these suburbs spawn their own suburbs even farther out. The overall effect in large metropolitan areas is a net increase in total household carbon emissions.

And here lies the folly of government master plans to control growth. People are not chess pieces to be moved about at the will of politicians and bureaucrats. People have dreams and aspirations for themselves and their families.

Those dreams stand independent of planners' preferences, and are often at odds with them. People still want single-family homes and are willing to drive long distances, if they must, to have them.

It would come as no surprise if smart-growth promoters next try to ban gasoline-powered automobiles or tax commutes beyond a certain radius. The end result of smart growth is greater political control over our daily lives.

The Berkeley study unintentionally offers strong support for the idea that local housing, transportation and land-use decisions should be made locally — not by regional governments, not in state capitals and certainly not in Washington.

CO2 emissions would fall in metro areas if people could get the housing they want close to where they work, not miles and miles away.

If governments ended their war on home construction, builders could buy the land they need to construct the housing that local people want, not housing that politicians and smart-growth activists want. That would increase the stock of affordable housing and help the environment too.



 The Spanish government said it plans to end all price subsidies for wind capacity online before end-2004, while slashing remuneration for younger capacity.

The full 1,700-page regulation, a summary of its long-awaited renewables regulation, was sent to regulator CNMC for a 20-day consultation period. It has not yet been made public. wind turbine burnsThe summary alone, nonetheless, discloses an act of institutional "retroactive looting", Spanish wind association AEE told Windpower Monthly.

Investors behind all of Spain's 22.6GW of online wind capacity were drawn by the state's promise of maintaining feed-in tariffs for 20 years.  Just over 8.4GW was online by end-2004. Under the new regulation, all that capacity will now only receive the wholesale power market price.

The proposed regulation, to take immediate effect, establishes 1,600 parameters for calculating renewables remuneration. It fleshes out a June 2013 law replacing all renewables feed-in tariffs with a remuneration based, instead, on a "reasonable profit" of 7.5% across plant lifecycle.

"It is the most harmful policy dictated against wind in any country," said the AEE, which is calling for EU intervention.


Australia:  Move to limit ideological objections to Qld mining projects

The Queensland Government is looking to restrict who can object to mining applications, in a bid to crack down on what it calls philosophical opposition to projects.

Currently any group or person can object to applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was "frustrating" for the Government.  "It's obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry - for whatever reason - to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects," he said.

"The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that."

In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications.

"What we're looking at is a process that will have an assessment process that is relative to the risk the project poses," Mr Seeney said.

"So for the really big projects I think it should be open to almost anyone, but for the smaller projects and for the lesser approvals ... there is a much different requirement."

Mr Seeney declined to spell out the definition of a big project.

The changes in the latest paper are broadly similar a 2013 discussion paper called Reducing Red Tape for Small Scale Alluvial Mining.

It suggests restricting objections to mining leases to "affected landholders" and local governments.

EDO chief solicitor voices reservations about changes

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland principal solicitor Jo Bragg says she has grave concerns about the impact this could have.  "It's hard to see what the Government means, but it appears to mean just a person where the mine is on their land," she said.

"But the community ... concerned about endangered species, groundwater - they should also be able to object as they can now."

As the discussion paper has not been publicly released, the Deputy Premier also declined to define an affected landholder.

In the Darling Downs community of Acland, some locals are concerned about how any potential changes could affect them.  The New Acland Coal Mine wants to expand to export up to 7.4 million tonnes of coal a year.

Veterinarian and farmer Nicki Laws is a member of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance and lives 30 kilometres away from the mine itself.

She says she wants to make sure her voice is heard.  "These ecosystems underpin us all, they underpin our communities, our living, our health, our prosperity as a district - so if we're threatening it, anyone should be allowed to comment on that," she said.

Mr Seeney said he would encourage everyone to participate in the discussion once the discussion paper is released.

"This proposal is about reviewing the assessment process, understanding the Government has a mandate from the people of Queensland and ensuring that the process allows us to fulfil that mandate," Mr Seeney said.

He did not provide specific examples of philosophical or vexatious objections.  "This review is not about any particular circumstance," he said.

"It's part of a broader commitment that we've given to the people of Queensland to review the assessment processes to ensure the projects the Queensland economy needs can proceed and respond in a responsible and appropriate way."



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

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


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)

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