Sunday, May 31, 2009

Japan considering an INCREASE in CO2 emissions

The high costs Japan would incur if Tokyo promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 would be hard for the public to accept during the recession, Prime Minister Taro Aso said on Friday. His comments showed there was still no consensus within the government after Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito said earlier this week that setting a mid-term target for cuts in a range of 15 to 25 percent was one option.

Aso has said he would announce Japan's mid-term target by mid-June, so he can set out Japan's views at a July meeting of G8 leaders and a U.N. conference in December that is meant to agree a new global climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Japan, the world's fifth largest emitter, is under great pressure from developing nations to show leadership by opting for deep emissions reductions to ensure a strong outcome in December's gathering in the Danish capital Copenhagen. A panel of experts, professors and industry officials has presented Aso with a choice of six target options relative to 1990 levels. It said that curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by regulations or other measures would boost energy costs, increase job losses and thus have a net negative impact on the economy.

The other five options, ranging from an increase of 4 percent to a cut of 15 percent, all fall short of a 25-40 percent cut required of rich nations by a U.N. panel of scientists to minimise the risk of the worst impacts of global warming. "At a time of deep recession like this, it would be difficult to ignore the (larger) costs for the public to bear," Aso said, when asked about the minus 25 percent option. "To trust their morale only would not be the resolution," Aso told a budget committee in Friday's parliament session.

Aso referred to an assessment by economists of the effect of each option on the economy, which showed under the minus 25 percent target scenario, energy costs in 2020 would be 140,000 yen ($1,453) per household per year more than those under the weakest one. The same estimate also showed annual disposable income per household would be 220,000 yen less than that under the weakest option, in which users are allowed to keep the current pace of buying low-emission goods and facilities, resulting in emissions exceeding by 4 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Aso also told the same committee that he would take into account that the plus 4 percent option attracted the largest number of comments from the public in the past month.

How to gauge voters' views is critical for Aso as public opinion polls put the opposition Democrats ahead of his Liberal Democratic Party in the run-up to an election, which many speculate will be in August and must be held by October.



According to Germany's Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD), there is no chance of the emissions trading scheme being introduced for the EU airlines industry anytime soon. He said: "The Federal Government supports in principle the plans of the EU Commission, but the emissions trading scheme should not be a competitive disadvantage for Europe's leading airlines."

Given current circumstances, this could not be guaranteed as the U.S. and other non-European countries continue to reject the EU emissions trading process for all incoming and outgoing flights.

SOURCE. (In German; Transl. BJP)


An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is tempting to describe such a cycle as "weak" or "mild," but that could give the wrong impression. "Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather," points out Biesecker. "The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013."...

The latest forecast revises an earlier prediction issued in 2007. At that time, a sharply divided panel believed solar minimum would come in March 2008 followed by either a strong solar maximum in 2011 or a weak solar maximum in 2012. Competing models gave different answers, and researchers were eager for the sun to reveal which was correct.

"It turns out that none of our models were totally correct," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's lead representative on the panel. "The sun is behaving in an unexpected and very interesting way."



It's a surprisingly common phenomenon generally and the way Warmist scientists repeatedly refuse to release their raw data and details of their analytical procedures tells its own story

It's a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research. [That I can believe. Any reader of my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog will know of the low to juvenile standards in medical research]

Recent scandals like Hwang Woo-Suk's fake stem-cell lines or Jon Sudbø's made-up cancer trials have dramatically demonstrated that fraudulent research is very easy to publish, even in the most prestigious journals. The media and many scientists tend to explain away these cases as pathological deviations of a few "bad apples." Common sense and increasing evidence, however, suggest that these could be just the tip of the iceberg, because fraud and other more subtle forms of misconduct might be relatively frequent. The actual numbers, however, are a matter of great controversy.

Estimates based on indirect data (for example, official retractions of scientific papers or random data audits) have produced largely discrepant results. Therefore, many researchers have asked scientists directly, with surveys conducted in different countries and disciplines. However, they have used different methods and asked different questions, so their results also appeared inconclusive.

To make these surveys comparable, the meta-analysis focused on behaviours that actually distort scientific knowledge (excluding data on plagiarism and other kinds of malpractice) and extracted the frequency of scientists who recalled having committed a particular behaviour at least once, or who knew a colleague who did.

On average, across the surveys, around 2% of scientists admitted they had "fabricated" (made up), "falsified" or "altered" data to "improve the outcome" at least once, and up to 34% admitted to other questionable research practices including "failing to present data that contradict one's own previous research" and "dropping observations or data points from analyses based on a gut feeling that they were inaccurate."

In surveys that asked about the behaviour of colleagues, 14% knew someone who had fabricated, falsified or altered data, and up to 72% knew someone who had committed other questionable research practices.

In both kinds of surveys, misconduct was reported most frequently by medical and pharmacological researchers. This suggests that either the latter are more open and honest in their answers, or that frauds and bias are more frequent in their fields. The latter interpretation would support growing fears that industrial sponsorship is severely distorting scientific evidence to promote commercial treatments and drugs.

As in all surveys asking sensitive questions, it is likely that some respondents did not reply honestly, especially when asked about their own behaviour. Therefore, a frequency of 2% is probably a conservative estimate, while it remains unclear how the figure of 14% should be interpreted.

More information: Fanelli D (2009) How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738



Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce potential future harm from human-caused climate change, and the vehicle is a climate-and-energy bill commonly referred to as Waxman-Markey. But the reasoning behind this proposal is innumerate, even if we accept the scientific and economic assumptions of its advocates.

According to the authoritative U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under a reasonable set of assumptions for global economic and population growth, the world should expect to warm by about 2.8°C over the next century. Also according to the IPCC, a global increase in temperature of 4°C should cause the world to lose about 3 percent of its economic output. So if we do not take measures to ameliorate global warming, the world should expect to be about 3 percent poorer sometime in the 22nd century than it otherwise would be. This is very far from the rhetoric of global destruction. Because of its geographical position and mix of economic activities, the United States is expected to experience no net economic costs from such warming through the end of this century, and to begin experiencing net costs only thereafter.

A government program to force emissions reductions to avoid some of these potential future losses would impose a cost of its own: the loss in consumption we would experience if we used less energy, substituted higher-cost sources of energy for fossil fuels, and paid for projects — which are termed “offsets” — to ameliorate the effect of emissions (an example would be planting lots of trees). It’s complicated to estimate the cost of an emissions-reduction program, but the leading economists in this area generally agree that it would be large, and that we should simply let most emissions happen, because it would be more expensive to avoid them than to accept the damage they would cause. This makes sense, if you consider that most such plans (for example, Waxman-Markey) call for eliminating something like 80 percent of carbon emissions within the next 40 years or so. Even if the economy becomes more efficient over this period, such a quick transition away from our primary fossil-fuel sources will be expensive.

If a) the total potential benefit of emissions abatement is about 3 percent of economic output more than 100 years from now, b) we can avoid only some of this damage, and c) it’s expensive to prevent those emissions that we can prevent, the net benefit of emissions reduction will likely be a very small fraction of total economic output. William Nordhaus, who heads the widely respected environmental-economics-modeling group at Yale, estimates the total expected net benefit of an optimally designed, implemented, and enforced global program to be equal to the present value of about 0.2 percent of future global economic consumption. In the real world of domestic politics and geostrategic competition, it is not realistic to expect that we would ever have an optimally designed, implemented, and enforced global system, and the side deals made to put in place even an imperfect system would likely have costs that would dwarf 0.2 percent of global economic consumption. The expected benefits of emissions mitigation do not cover its expected costs. This is the root reason that proposals to mitigate emissions have such a hard time justifying themselves economically.

The mechanism for mitigation proposed in the Waxman-Markey bill is a “cap and trade” plan. The idea is quite simple: The government sets a fixed annual limit to total carbon-dioxide emissions and distributes ration cards for the right to emit a portion of this amount (that’s the “cap”); it also allows those who receive ration cards to sell them (that’s the “trade”). Now, “distributes” is an artfully chosen word: How would the government decide who gets the ration cards? One method is to sell them; another is to give them away, theoretically based on some objective criterion such as historical emissions, but in practice more likely based on campaign contributions. Waxman-Markey doesn’t specify how the distributing is to be accomplished. The Obama administration expects to sell ration cards, bringing the government $80 billion a year in revenue over the next decade. This revenue represents a cost increase for more or less any company that uses lots of fossil-fuel energy in one way or another (i.e., most of the economy). Like all raw-material cost increases, these will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. So in reality this is a backdoor tax on energy that conscripts private companies into being collection agents.

Would these costs be justified by the benefits we could expect Waxman-Markey to create? No, for the reasons outlined above.



We all know that the financial stakes are enormous in the global warming debate — many oil, coal and power companies are at risk should carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases get regulated in a manner that harms their bottom line. The potential losses of an Exxon or a Shell are chump change, however, compared to the fortunes to be made from those very same regulations.

The climate-change industry — the scientists, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists and, most importantly, the multinationals that work behind the scenes to cash in on the riches at stake — has emerged as the world’s largest industry. Virtually every resident in the developed world feels the bite of this industry, often unknowingly, through the hidden surcharges on their food bills, their gas and electricity rates, their gasoline purchases, their automobiles, their garbage collection, their insurance, their computers purchases, their hotels, their purchases of just about every good and service, in fact, and finally, their taxes to governments at all levels.

These extractions do not happen by accident. Every penny that leaves the hands of consumers does so by design, the final step in elaborate and often brilliant orchestrations of public policy, all the more brilliant because the public, for the most part, does not know who is profiteering on climate change, or who is aiding and abetting the profiteers.

Some of the climate-change profiteers are relatively unknown corporations; others are household names with only their behind-the-scenes role in the climate-change industry unknown. Over the next few weeks, in an extended newspaper series, you will become familiar with some of the profiteers, and with their machinations. This series begins with Enron, a pioneer in the climate-change industry.

Almost two decades before President Barack Obama made “cap-and-trade” for carbon dioxide emissions a household term, an obscure company called Enron — a natural-gas pipeline company that had become a big-time trader in energy commodities — had figured out how to make millions in a cap-and-trade program for sulphur dioxide emissions, thanks to changes in the U.S. government’s Clean Air Act. To the delight of shareholders, Enron’s stock price rose rapidly as it became the major trader in the U.S. government’s $20-billion a year emissions commodity market.

Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, keen to engineer an encore, saw his opportunity when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were inaugurated as president and vice-president in 1993. To capitalize on Al Gore’s interest in global warming, Enron immediately embarked on a massive lobbying effort to develop a trading system for carbon dioxide, working both the Clinton administration and Congress. Political contributions and Enron-funded analyses flowed freely, all geared to demonstrating a looming global catastrophe if carbon dioxide emissions weren’t curbed. An Enron-funded study that dismissed the notion that calamity could come of global warming, meanwhile, was quietly buried.

To magnify the leverage of their political lobbying, Enron also worked the environmental groups. Between 1994 and 1996, the Enron Foundation donated $1-million to the Nature Conservancy and its Climate Change Project, a leading force for global warming reform, while Lay and other individuals associated with Enron donated $1.5-million to environmental groups seeking international controls on carbon dioxide.

The intense lobbying paid off. Lay became a member of president Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development, as well as his friend and advisor. In the summer of 1997, prior to global warming meetings in Kyoto, Japan, Clinton sought Lay’s advice in White House discussions. The fruits of Enron’s efforts came soon after, with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol.

An internal Enron memo, sent from Kyoto by John Palmisano, a former Environmental Protection Agency regulator who had become Enron’s lead lobbyist as senior director for Environmental Policy and Compliance, describes the historic corporate achievement that was Kyoto.

“If implemented this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural-gas industries in Europe and the United States,” Polisano began. “The potential to add incremental gas sales, and additional demand for renewable technology is enormous.”

The memo, entitled “Implications of the Climate Change Agreement in Kyoto & What Transpired,” summarized the achievements that Enron had accomplished. “I do not think it is possible to overestimate the importance of this year in shaping every aspect of this agreement,” he wrote, citing three issues of specific importance to Enron which would become, as those following the climate-change debate in detail now know, the biggest money plays: the rules governing emissions trading, the rules governing transfers of emission reduction rights between countries, and the rules governing a gargantuan clean energy fund.



As government representatives head for the next round of UN climate talks in Bonn starting Monday, hopes for an agreement that would avert catastrophic climate change are being seriously undermined by the developed world in two key areas: targets for emissions cuts and finance for developing world mitigation and adaption, Greenpeace said today.

Developing countries – such as China - are showing the willingness to take real action, provided that industrialised countries show leadership. However, a small group of rich countries are placing the climate in peril because of their lack of commitment to make dramatic cuts in emissions. Most notable is the US, closely followed by Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“If the US doesn’t strengthen its position significantly, President Obama will put a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen at risk,” said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace International. Kaiser warned, however, that the weak US position should not be used as an excuse for inaction by other developed countries.



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


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Their track record shows up forecasters

An email from Mark Lawson [], an editor at The Australian Financial Review. He is commenting on an emailed draft of the confident but poorly supported forecasts by enthusiastic Warmist Andrew Glikson. Glikson seems to think that a lot of pretty graphs will be enough to make his arguments convincing

As forecasts of varying quality are the bread and butter of business journalism, I believe I can offer a few comments.

Firstly, almost everyone but climate scientists have abandoned forecasting of complex systems. I would be interested to hear of any complex system in science, aside from day-to-day forecasts in meterology, where forecasting is of any use. But certainly in disciplines everywhere - demography, the social sciences, economics and in particular in business, long-term forecasting has been largely abandoned. In the exceptions in science that I know of, such as astronomy or quantum mechanics (for the later I'm talking about lab results, not forecasts as such), scientists can point to track records.

Outside of those fields it's harder. If say a business wants to forecast what might happen in its field, such as telecommunications, one of the approaches may be to construct a series of scenarios and then try and match current developments in the field with those scenarios, or wait a year of two and see what's happening.

Okay, so what's happening with the earth? If we look at the recent results from Hadley without benefit of extensive training in climatology it looks as if temperatures are coming off a peak. No tipping point in sight. Yes there is a distinct increase in temperatures in previous decades, but one of the rules of forecasting is that achievements must be measured against data unknown at the time of the forecast. In that run up, the rate of increases might have briefly touched 0.3 degrees centigrade a decade. Forecasts in 2001 and 2007 by the IPCC pointed to top range increases at the rate of 0.6 degrees and 0.45 degrees centigrade a decade respectively (in other words, an acceleration), and a bottom range of around 0.1 degrees a decade. The actual result is now well into negative territory.

In short to speak convincingly of tipping points, one has to point to a forecasting track record, and it isn't there. For that matter the climate models at the centre of all the fuss have yet to demonstrate any real success in modeling known climate changes outside the past 100 years or so.

What of all this talk about melting glaciers etc? Is any of that showing up in the figures? A glance at the sea height data compiled by the University of Colorado through various satellites doesn't show anything much, and certainly no marked acceleration.

Glikson does say this: "Given that warnings by scientists have proven mostly correct, as contrasted with watered-down reports percolating upward through bureaucracies, there is little evidence the authorities are listening to the recent dire warnings by climate scientists [16]."

What warnings have proved correct? Footnote 16 is a reference to an article in the West Australian newspaper about scientists asking a coal plant operator to shut up shop to save the planet. Before we pay much attention to Dr Glikson's erudite discussion concerning future tipping points, we need to examine what forecasts, if any, have proven correct, given that the major forecasts have failed dismally. Until there is more of a track record, I would ask him nicely not to clutter up the newsroom.

Another comment on Glikson from John C. Menzies []:

I wonder if Dr Glikson can answer the following: Dr Glikson could you please provide a statistical argument for your statement: "Since the mid-1990s the mean global temperature trend has become increasingly irregular, representing an increase in climate variability with global warming,....."

From this data temperature looks pretty irregular most of the time.

Glacial cycles unpredictable

Sounds like this guy should have got the Warmists and their "models" to do his predictions for him. They would have solved all his problems for him in two ticks

How glacial-interglacial cycles and the long-term variability of sea level depend on the amount of energy received by Earth from the Sun is unclear. Thomas et al. report results from fossil corals found in Tahiti that indicate that sea level began to rise when insolation at 65° North latitude was near a minimum, not after it had begun to rise, as predicted by the Milankovitch theory. In contrast, the timing of the last deglaciation agrees well with the Milankovitch theory. Thus, glacial cycles do not behave as simply as the Milankovitch theory suggests.


Journal abstract follows:

Penultimate Deglacial Sea-Level Timing from Uranium/Thorium Dating of Tahitian Corals

By Alex L. Thomas et al.

The timing of sea-level change provides important constraints on the mechanisms driving Earth’s climate between glacial and interglacial states. Fossil corals constrain the timing of past sea level by their suitability for dating and their growth position close to sea level. The coral-derived age for the last deglaciation is consistent with climate change forced by Northern Hemisphere summer insolation (NHI), but the timing of the penultimate deglaciation is more controversial. We found, by means of uranium/thorium dating of fossil corals, that sea level during the penultimate deglaciation had risen to ~85 meters below the present sea level by 137,000 years ago, and that it fluctuated on a millennial time scale during deglaciation. This indicates that the penultimate deglaciation occurred earlier with respect to NHI than the last deglacial, beginning when NHI was at a minimum.

Science Vol. 324. no. 5931, pp. 1186 - 1189


By Roger Pielke, Jr.

I am quoted in today’s NYT on a new report issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum which makes the absurd claim that 315,000 deaths a year can be attributed to the effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations. Here is what I said:
Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who studies disaster trends, said the forum’s report was “a methodological embarrassment” because there was no way to distinguish deaths or economic losses related to human-driven global warming amid the much larger losses resulting from the growth in populations and economic development in vulnerable regions. Dr. Pielke said that “climate change is an important problem requiring our utmost attention.” But the report, he said, “will harm the cause for action on both climate change and disasters because it is so deeply flawed.”

Strong comments I know. Shoddy work on disasters and climate change is the norm, unfortunately, and something I’ve been closely following for well over a decade. I have no illusions that this latest concoction will be repeatedly cited regardless.

Below are my comments to the NYT upon reading the report (cleaned up and formatted). Caution, strong views ahead.
Let me apologize for the length of this reply. But it is important to be clear and to set the record straight.

Let me say first that human-caused climate change is an important problem requiring our utmost attention. Second, the effects of disasters, particularly in poorer countries, is also an important problem that to some degree has been overlooked, as I have argued for many years.

However, I cannot express how strongly I feel that this report has done a disservice to both issues. It is a methodological embarrassment and poster child for how to lie with statistics. The report will harm the cause for action on both climate change and disasters because it is so deeply flawed.

It will give ammunition to those opposed to action and divert attention away from the people who actually need help in the face of disasters, yet through this report have been reduced to a bloodless statistic for use in the promotional battle over climate policies. The report is worse than fiction, it is a lie. These are strong words I know.

1. Let me first start by noting that the same group that did the analysis for the UN, the Geo-Risks group in Munich Re, earlier this year published a peer-reviewed paper arguing that the signal of human-caused climate change could not presently be seen in the loss data on disasters. They wrote (emphasis added):
It should be noted when assessing the results of both this paper and Schmidt et al. (2008) that it is generally difficult to obtain valid quantitative findings about the role of socioeconomics and climate change in loss increases. This is because of criteria such as the stochastic nature of weather extremes, a shortage of quality data, and the role of various other potential factors that act in parallel and interact. We therefore regard our results as being an indication only of the extent to which socio-economic and climate changes account for the increase in losses. Both studies confirm the consensus reached in May 2006 at the international workshop in Hohenkammer attended by leading experts on climate change and natural catastrophe losses.

I co-organized the Hohenkammer workshop (referred to in the quote above) with Peter Hoeppe of Munich Re and that workshop concluded (among other things):
Due to data-quality issues, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, the lengths of the time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss records, it is still not possible to determine what portion of the increase in damage may be due to climate changes caused by GHG emissions.


The quantitative link (attribution) between storm/flood loss trends and GHG-induced climate changes is unlikely to be determined unequivocally in the near future.

On p. 84 the GHF report itself says:
However, there is not yet any widely accepted global estimate of the share of weather related disasters that are attributable to climate change.

One would think that would be the end of the story. However, to fill in for the fact that there is no accepted estimate, the report conjures up a number using an approach that is grounded in neither logic, science, or common sense.

2. Specifically, to get around the fact that there has been no attribution of the relationship of GHG emissions and disasters, this report engages in a very strange comparison of earthquake and weather disasters in 1980 and 2005. The first question that comes to mind is, why? They are comparing phenomena with many “moving parts” over a short time frame, and attributing 100% of the resulting difference to human-caused climate change. This boggles the mind. The IPCC itself says that 30 years are needed for the detection of changes in the climate system, and this time frame does not even reach that threshold. More to the point earthquakes and weather events do not have the same variability and earthquake disasters affect only a small part of the total inhabited area of the earth, whereas weather disasters occur much more widely. The assumption that weather disasters should track earthquake disasters is flawed from the outset for both geophysical and socio-economic reasons.

An alternative, more scientifically robust approach would be to look specifically at weather-related disasters, and consider the role of socio-economic changes, and to the extent possible, try to remove that signal and see what trends remain. When that has been done, in every case (US floods, hurricanes, Australia, India TCs, Latin America and elsewhere, all in the peer-reviewed literature) there is not a remaining signal of increasing disasters. In other words, the increase in disasters observed worldwide can be entirely attributed to socio-economic changes. This is what has been extensively documented in the peer reviewed literature, and yet — none of this literature is cited in this report. None of it! Instead they rely on this cooked up comparison between earthquakes and weather related disasters.

(Consider also that in no continental location has there been an observed increase in tropical cyclone landfalls, and yet this accounts for almost all of the windstorm disasters cited in the report. The increase must therefore be due to factors other than geophysical changes. This fact renders the comparison with earthquakes even more meaningless).

Munich Re’s own peer-reviewed work supports the fact that socio-economic factors can explain the entire increase in global disasters in recent decades.
Consider that in 2005 there were 11 earthquakes magnitude 7 or higher and in 1980 there were 14. by contrast, 1980 was a quiet weather year, and 2005 was very active, and included Katrina.


3. The report cites and undates the Stern Review Report estimates of disaster losses, however, in a peer-reviewed paper I showed that these estimates were off by an order of magnitude and relied on a similar sort of statistical gamesmanship to develop its results (and of course this critique was ignored):

Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, 17:302-310. (PDF)

This report is an embarrassment to the GHF and to those who have put their names on it as representing a scientifically robust analysis. It is not even close.


Climate smart aid is anything but

International organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations are supposed to help the world’s poor escape poverty, but fully convinced they are doing good, these development agencies are pushing an anti-development agenda.

Now here’s an inconvenient truth: curbing the planet’s carbon footprint necessarily slows economic growth, the primary engine of human well-fare. International aid organizations need to carefully consider the impact of the climate “solutions” they advocate, lest they do more harm than good.

The International Energy Agency estimates that it would cost $45 trillion through 2050 to mitigate global warming through efforts aimed at “greening” the global economy. Most of that would be spent in developing countries, to prevent them from fueling their growing economies with hydrocarbon energy sources like coal and oil. These fossil fuels are cheap and still plentiful, but burning them to create energy frees the CO² they store, contributing to climate change.

Raising hundreds of billions of dollars a year to finance a global green energy revolution is a key component of current negotiations for a successor climate treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas recently declared, “No money, no deal.” And clean energy aid was a topic of discussion at last month’s Major Economies Meeting, hosted by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Naturally, international aid agencies are jockeying for position to broker this wealth transfer.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that his organization is the “natural arena” for coordinated international action on climate change. To that end the U.N. operates two programs to facilitate the flow of climate mitigation aid to developing countries—the Global Environment Facility and the Clean Development Mechanism.

Not to be outdone, the World Bank recently unveiled a “Strategic Framework” for global warming and development that calls for “unprecedented global cooperation” for the “transfer of finance and technology from developed to developing countries.” The Bank established a Carbon Finance Unit and several Carbon Investment Funds to distribute climate change mitigation aid.

Besides the inefficiencies inherent to duplicative bureaucracies, there are major problems with this “climate smart” approach to development. For starters, it is unlikely that Western bureaucrats can create a green energy infrastructure in developing countries. The history of development assistance is littered with abandoned projects backed by the best of intentions. Already there is evidence that climate aid is more of the same.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, for example, companies subject to climate regulations can meet their carbon “cap” by paying for emissions reduction projects in developing countries. According to the journal Nature, the U.N. certified $6 billions’ worth of emissions “savings” for reductions in HFC-23, a potent greenhouse gas. Yet removing the HFC-23 cost $130 million. That’s a lot of waste.

There are also ethical considerations. A coal-fired power plant may offend environmentalist sensibilities, but it would be a blessing for the almost 2 billion people in the world today who use charcoal, dung, and wood to heat and cook.

In his book, Global Crises, Global Solutions, Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg persuasively argues that humanity faces many problems that are more pressing than warming decades down the road. After all, what good is a slightly cooler planet a century from now to a child dying of malaria today? In terms of saving lives, Lomborg shows why climate change mitigation is an inferior, albeit far less ‘sexy’, investment to water sanitation and halting disease.

Aid agencies should also consider forgone economic development. The U.N. and the World Bank want to redistribute trillions of dollars to create new green energy infrastructure whereas in the free market these scarce resources would be allocated to create wealth. In a globalized world, inefficiencies of this magnitude lower the tide and all boats with it.

Slowing economic growth has very real human consequences, such as fewer schools, worse health care, and lower environmental quality. That’s why a richer-but-warmer future is better for human well being than a poorer-but-cooler future, according to Indur Goklany, author of The Improving State of the World.

Instead of economically harmful global warming policies, development agencies should concentrate their considerable institutional knowledge on advancing pro-growth policies, like trade liberalization. Today, free trade needs an influential booster like the World Bank. Energy intensive export industries in developing countries are threatened by carbon taxes imposed by rich countries, under the pretext of fighting climate change. Retaliatory tariffs would be likely, which could easily escalate into a global trade war.

That would be a tragedy. By allowing developing countries to use their comparative advantage—inexpensive labor—international free trade has proven the fastest route out of poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

To avoid giving atmospheric chemistry priority over human welfare, the aid industry should ensure that the risks of global warming policies are considered as rigorously as the risks of global warming itself.


Warmism: A vitriolic climate in the academic hothouse

By Ian Plimer, emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Plimer once again has the temerity to mention some of the "missing facts" that Warmists ignore

It is well known that many university staff list to port and try to engineer a brave new world. The cash cow climate institutes now seem to be drowning in their own self-importance. In a wonderful gesture of public spiritedness, seven academics who include three lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a former director of the World Climate Research Program wrote to Australian power generating companies on April 29 instructing them to cease and desist creating electricity from coal.

In their final paragraph, they state with breathtaking arrogance: "The unfortunate reality is that genuine action on climate change will require the existing coal-fired power stations to cease operating in the near future. "We feel it is vital that you understand this and we are happy to work with you and with governments to begin planning for this transition immediately. "The warming of the atmosphere, driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases, is already causing unacceptable damage and suffering around the world."

No evidence is provided for this statement and no signatory to this letter has published anything to support this claim.

These university staff are unctuously understanding about the plight of those who face employment extinction in the smokestack towns of Australia. They write: "We understand that this will require significant social and economic transition that will need to be managed carefully to care for coal sector workers and coal-dependent communities.". This love for fellow workers brings tears to the eyes.

The electricity generating companies should reply by cutting off the power to academics' homes and host institutions, forcing our ideologues to lead by example. Some 80 per cent of Australia's electricity derives from coal, large volumes of cheap electricity underpin employment and our self-appointed concerned citizens offer no suggestion for alternative unsubsidised base-load power sources to employ Australians.

The Emissions Trading Scheme legislation poises Australia to make the biggest economic decision in its history, yet there has been no scientific due diligence. There has never been a climate change debate in Australia. Only dogma. To demonise element number six in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food. Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.

The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth's early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today's atmosphere. This CO2 was recycled through rocks, life and the oceans. Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2. The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and limestone 65,000,000 billion tonnes. The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth.

Deeper in Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere. So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into glasshouses to accelerate plant growth.

The first 50 parts per million of CO2 operates as a powerful greenhouse gas. After that, CO2 has done its job, which is why there has been no runaway greenhouse in the past when CO2 was far higher. During previous times of high CO2, there were climate cycles driven by galactic forces, the sun, Earth's orbit, tides and random events such as volcanoes. These forces still operate. Why should such forces disappear just because we humans live on Earth?

The fundamental questions remain unanswered. A change of 1 per cent in cloudiness can account for all changes measured during the past 150 years, yet cloud measurements are highly inaccurate. Why is the role of clouds ignored? Why is the main greenhouse gas (water vapour) ignored? The limitation of temperature in hot climates is evaporation yet this ignored in catastrophist models.

Why are balloon and satellite measurements showing cooling ignored yet unreliable thermometer measurements used? Is the increase in atmospheric CO2 really due to human activities? Ice cores show CO2 increases some 800 years after temperature increase so why can't an increase in CO2 today be due to the medieval warming (900-1300)? If increased concentrations of CO2 increase temperature, why have there been coolings during the past 150 years?

Some 85 per cent of volcanoes are unseen and unmeasured yet these heat the oceans and add monstrous amounts of CO2 to the oceans. Why have these been ignored? Why have there been five significant ice ages when CO2 was higher than now? Why were warmings in Minoan, Roman and medieval times natural, yet a smaller warming at the end of the 20th century was due to human activities? If climate changed at the end of the Little Ice Age (c.1850), is it unusual for warming to follow?

Computer models using the past 150 years of measurements have been used to predict climate for the next few centuries. Why have these models not been run backwards to validate known climate changes? I would bet the farm that by running these models backwards, El Nino events and volcanoes such as Krakatoa (1883, 535), Rabaul (536) and Tambora (1815) could not be validated.

In my book, I correctly predicted the response. The science would not be discussed, there would be academic nit-picking and there would be vitriolic ad hominem attacks by pompous academics out of contact with the community. Comments by critics suggest that few have actually read the book and every time there was a savage public personal attack, book sales rose. A political blog site could not believe that such a book was selling so well and suggested that my publisher, Connor Court, was a front for the mining or pastoral industry.

This book has struck a nerve. Although accidentally timely, there are a large number of punters who object to being treated dismissively as stupid, who do not like being told what to think, who value independence, who resile from personal attacks and have life experiences very different from the urban environmental atheists attempting to impose a new fundamentalist religion.

Green politics have taken the place of failed socialism and Western Christianity and impose fear, guilt, penance and indulgences on to a society with little scientific literacy. We are now reaping the rewards of politicising science and dumbing down the education system. If book sales, public meetings, book launches, email and phone messages are any indication, there is a large body of disenfranchised folk out there who feel helpless. I have shown that the emperor has no clothes. This is why the attacks are so vitriolic.



Environment Minister Jim Prentice says Canadian industrial emitters might not face greenhouse gas limits for another six years. The government is delaying the development of regulations until next year, in order to match a proposed U.S. timetable. It's a far cry from the Conservative government's former "Made in Canada" climate change plan that was supposed to come into force on Jan. 1, 2010.

Prentice, speaking to reporters by conference call from London, said regulations for big industrial emitters will have to be harmonized with U.S. rules in order to protect Canadian jobs and investments.

The current American timetable won't see anything taking effect until between 2012 and 2016. Former Tory environment minister John Baird said last year that his government was taking real action and that rules would come into force next Jan. 1.



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


Friday, May 29, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []:

The CO2 molecule is linear and symmetrical and therefore doesn’t have a permanent dipole moment, thus limiting its effect on the Earth’s thermal radiation to a single vibrational bend mode centred at 14.77microns. Spectral measurements of the Earth’s thermal radiation clearly show that this effect is near saturation within this band and further increases in atmospheric CO2 can only have an exponentially diminishing effect on the small amount of energy remaining in this band.

The greenhouse effect from the current atmospheric concentration of 386ppmv CO2 is less than 10% of the Earth’s total greenhouse effect of 34°C. Because this radiative band is near saturated, a doubling of CO2 could only add an additional 0.3°C to the 3.4°C greenhouse effect already caused by the current level of CO2. (This is a maximum value with a more likely computed value being less than 0.1°C.)

The IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report states that models predict forcing of 3.71watts/m2 for a doubling of CO2 Using the stated conversion to temperature of 1watt/m2 giving rise to an increase in global temperature of 0.75°C, the IPCC predicts warming from a doubling of CO2 of 2.78°C.

Physics and observational measurement predict 0.3°C but models predict 2.78°C; a value over nine times greater than what would be deemed physically possible.

Atmospheric CO2 is increasing at a rate of 2ppmv/year. At this rate a doubling from the current level of 386ppmv will occur by the year 2202, and the IPCC predicts that the temperature will be 2.78°C warmer 193 from now.

The global temperature has been dropping at a rate of 0.025°C per year since 2002. If we project this 193 years into the future, the world will be 4.83°C cooler than today. If we remove the warming effect from CO2 increases as predicted by the IPCC models this will be reduced to just 2.05°C of cooling, instead of the 4.53°C of cooling that would be predicted using the actual physical values for the effect of CO2 instead of the contrived values from the models.

Either way, unless there is some way to predict that this current cooling trend will end before 2202, there is no possible global warming threat for at least the next 193 years regardless of how much CO2 gets pumped into the atmosphere.

It boggles the mind to know that the world leaders are ignoring all physical evidence and are willing to sacrifice the global economies based on nothing more than speculative rhetoric from mindless climate alarmists.

Climate change 'kills 315,000 a year'

Since there has been no global warming for the last 10 years, the article below is propaganda that would make the old Soviet disinformation practitioners proud. But it is only for those who want to believe. Blind Freddy knows that winter is the time of most illness so any warming would save lives

CLIMATE change kills about 315,000 people a year through hunger, sickness and weather disasters, and the annual death toll is expected to rise to half a million by 2030. A study commissioned by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, estimates that climate change seriously affects 325 million people every year, a number that will more than double in 20 years to 10 per cent of the world's population (now about 6.7 billion).

Economic losses due to global warming amount to over $125 billion ($160 billion) annually - more than the flow of aid from rich to poor nations - and are expected to rise to $340 billion ($345 billion) each year by 2030, according to the report. "Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general and GHF president, said. "The first hit and worst affected are the world's poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem."

The report says developing countries bear more than nine-tenths of the human and economic burden of climate change, while the 50 poorest countries contribute less than one percent of the carbon emissions that are heating up the planet.

Mr Annan urged governments due to meet at UN talks in Copenhagen in December to agree on an effective, fair and binding global pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the world's main mechanism for tackling global warming. "Copenhagen needs to be the most ambitious international agreement ever negotiated," he wrote in an introduction to the report. "The alternative is mass starvation, mass migration and mass sickness."

The study warns that the true human impact of global warming is likely to be far more severe than it predicts, because it uses conservative UN scenarios. New scientific evidence points to greater and more rapid climate change.

The report calls for a particular focus on the 500 million people it identifies as extremely vulnerable because they live in poor countries most prone to droughts, floods, storms, sea-level rise and creeping deserts. Africa is the region most at risk from climate change, home to 15 of the 20 most vulnerable countries, the report says. Other areas also facing the highest level of threat include South Asia and small island developing states.

To avoid the worst outcomes, the report says efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change must be scaled up 100 times in developing countries. International funds pledged for this purpose amount to only $400 million ($510 miilion), compared with an average estimated cost of $32 billion ($40 billion) annually, it notes.


VIDEO interview with Professor Ian Plimer, "Author of Heaven and Earth - Global Warming, The Missing Science"

In an extensive interview with Professor Plimer, Carlton takes the pragmatist's chair and speaks with the author about the new book.

Challenging the Climate Change status quo, Plimer reveals why he thinks that the new Climate Change Religion is a "load of hot air".

"Well, I am not skeptical about climate change at all. Climates always change, they always have and they always will, and that's in many ways the purpose of the book, that if you ignore history you come up with a conclusion that just doesn't fit in with the evidence. And that is, that we are suddenly in a period where climates change. We're not! Climates always change, they've changed much quicker and much greater than anything we measure today."

Ian Rutherford Plimer is an Australian geologist and academic. He is a prominent critic of creationism and of the theory of anthropogenic global warming. He has authored approximately 60 academic papers over 36 years, and six books.

Video here


EU ministers responsible for industry, trade and research are due to agree a new approach to industrial policy that takes greater care of key sectors such as the chemicals and automotive industries as Europe battles through its worst economic recession since the 1930s. Germany in particular reckons that all additional environmental legislation should be put on ice until economic conditions return to normal, according to one senior diplomatic source.

The REACH regulation on chemicals and the extension of carbon dioxide emission limits to light duty vehicles in the automotive sector were both cited as areas where industry will be offered special treatment. The aim is to soften the impact of Europe's strict environmental rules as industries fight their way through the economic recession.

Draft conclusions of the ministerial meeting point to the risk that "regulatory burdens could lead to 'production leakage', notably in the present economic crisis". The term refers to the risk that manufacturing industries might relocate abroad due to strict environmental rules in Europe (see EurActiv LinksDossier on 'carbon leakage'). "Compliance with new requirements should not cause excessive costs to businesses in all policy areas," the draft conclusions read.

"The conclusions [...] will contain horizontal measures targeting all industrial sectors and particular measures for specific sectors (chemicals, cars, the electric and electro-technical industries) following recently concluded work on these sectors by various high-level groups," according to a statement by the Czech EU Presidency.

"At the same time, the conclusions will acknowledge that focused and coordinated measures may be extended to cover other sectors of the economy facing the consequences of the economic crisis," the statement adds.

This sectoral approach to industrial policy seems to find consensus among EU member states. "We need to have concrete measures, sector-by-sector," said a diplomat from one of the larger EU member states. "We will welcome European action along those lines," said another.



Rural Democrats are threatening to vote against climate change legislation unless the Environmental Protection Agency halts new proposals that could hamper the development of corn ethanol.

Ethanol has long been an energy third rail in Congress, with lawmakers — particularly those from the Midwest and other states with large agricultural industries — clamoring to support the biofuel both to transition away from foreign energy and to support rural economies. But in recent years, environmentalists, livestock producers and grocery manufacturers have raised concerns about the fuel, claiming that it threatens to exacerbate global warming and that it raises food prices...

Peterson and the 26 Democrats on his committee say they will vote against climate change legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week unless it better addresses several concerns raised by farmers, including reversing the EPA decision.

The issue could be even dicier in the Senate, where Democrats most likely need almost every Democratic vote to pass a climate change bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and 12 other farm-state senators sent a letter in March asking the EPA to refrain from including the effects of indirect land-use changes in their calculations; the agency has not yet responded, Harkin said last week.



ATTEMPTS to toughen carbon emissions targets were rejected by MSPs yesterday. Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes called for Scotland's climate change laws to include a target of 3 per cent annual emissions reductions. This was rejected by members of Holyrood's Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

As the climate bill stands, the draft laws will only bring in annual 3 per cent reduction targets from 2020.

Campaign group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said the lack of early action in the current draft legislation "put at risk" hopes that it would be "world leading".

MSPs also voted against an amendment by Green MSP Robin Harper to increase the 2050 target for emissions reductions from 80 to 90 per cent.


"Green" Labor party trading Australia's future away with very poor politics

Piers Akerman

CLIMATE Change Minister Penny Wong says the Federal Government is determined “to keep, continue to press forward” on emissions trading legislation because “it is the right thing to do”.

No, it is the Wong thing to do.

Of all the useless things the Rudd Labor Government has proposed - and we could cite many - the ETS is the most dangerous and damaging to Australia. Yet an ETS would not alter the climate. That Wong is flying the flag for this meaningless gesture and is prepared to sacrifice the jobs of Australians to this empty goal is the height of vanity politics. Both the Government and the Opposition claim they want to give “business” certainty so it can plan for the future. They should think of their other constituents.

The “business” community has no natural national interest. It has shown time and time again, through companies like Bonds or James Hardie, that it is prepared to take jobs offshore if the bottom line is at stake. Their responsibility is to shareholders, not citizens. Strip away business arguments and the proposed ETS legislation is exposed as futile. It won’t affect the Great Barrier Reef, as Kevin Rudd claimed. Or put more water in the Murray-Darling or change the weather.

The Government’s claim that the Great Barrier Reef would be saved if Australians sacrificed the equivalent of $1-a-day is an absolute nonsense. Every MP who spouts this bilge should have their mouths rinsed out with untreated effluent and be charged with false advertising. It is just not true.

What it will do is take jobs away from the mining sector at the very time Australians are looking to the miners to rebuild the economy. It will drive energy-intensive industries offshore to developing nations.

The legislation is based on the assumption that human activity is a major factor in climate change. This remains unproven and contentious, although the Rudd Government does not want to engage in this debate. Instead, it has put forward a model for an ETS that is among the most ambitious in the world. It would require that 70 per cent of carbon permits be purchased. By comparison, the US is looking to have 15 per cent of permits purchased and the European model calls for 4 per cent of permits to be purchased. It can only be concluded from proposing such a fanciful target that the Rudd Government wants to grab the international spotlight when it goes to the Copenhagen summit at the end of this year.

But the assumptions behind the Rudd Government scheme only get worse, as it is based on the hope that the US would sign up to an equivalent scheme next year, China by 2015 and India by 2020. As Opposition spokesman on emissions trading Andrew Robb has said repeatedly, none of this is remotely possible.

Rudd and his ministers are trying to nail the Opposition for deferring this ridiculous legislation but it is the Labor Government which should be put through the wringer. Labor has been so delinquent in its role to present reasonable policy that it has not even factored the impact of the global financial crisis into its climate change proposal.

An analysis leaked from the NSW Government revealed all major regional centres - the Hunter, Gladstone, Central West Queensland, Illawarra, the Kimberley, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Geelong, Gippsland and parts of Tasmania - would shrink by 20 per cent or more under the scheme. Who do they really think they are kidding with their phony protestations of good governance and concern for the future? The flaws in the scheme are obvious. It is the greatest threat facing our economic recovery, and it is coming from Canberra.



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


Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Green" technology gives China the whip-hand

JAPAN'S increasingly frantic efforts to lead the world in green technology have put it on a collision course with the ambitions of China and dragged both government and industry into the murky realm of large-scale mineral smuggling. The robust international trade in illegally mined, quota-busting rare-earth metals highlights China's near monopoly on the raw materials for environmental technology - a 95 per cent dominance of world supply that is likely to become more widely noticed as China tightens its grip.

The weight and magnetic properties of rare-earth metals have made them important for wind turbines, essential to hybrid cars, and indispensable if the world ever hopes to covert to fully electric vehicles.

One mining company president told The Times that governments that had promised a way out of economic turmoil with bold schemes to subsidise green cars, solar panels and other environmental technology had "spoken without understanding the upstream of modern products". Don Burbar, the chief executive of Avalon Rare Metals, said: "The crux of the matter is that there are now a lot of technologies that can't work without rare earths, and China is currently in effective control of the global supply. China has positioned itself to retain control, and meanwhile politicians around the world do not appreciate how the supply side of green technology works."

In Japan, the world's biggest importer of rare-earth metals, more than 10,000 tonnes per year about a fifth of the country's total annual consumption are thought to enter the country through a thriving black import network without which Japan would already be in a severe supply crisis, a senior government official said.

China has been lowering its export quotas for rare-earth metals by about 6 per cent annually since the start of the decade, with Japan expected to be allotted only 38,000 tonnes in 2009. Toyota and Honda alone will consume about that quantity and experts in Australia have predicted a wider global supply crunch within three years as demand surges beyond existing refinery and extraction capacity.

But rare-earth specialists at two of Japan's largest trading houses said that loopholes and smuggling substantially raise the quantities of rare metals that enter Japan each year. Kazunori Fukuda, deputy director of the non-ferrous metals division at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said: "If the Chinese export quota limits were the reality of what comes into Japan each year, we would be even more worried than we already are. All green technology depends on rare-earth metals and all global trade in rare earth depends on China."

Ginya Adachi, from the Japanese Rare Earth Association, said that China's dominance of rare earths would serve the developed world with a rude shock about global trade: Japan, America and Europe must now realise that some markets are not real, but political. But he added: "The Chinese Government wants full control but it doesn't have it. It is not in control of the rare-earths market in the same way that OPEC is in control of oil. Local miners will sell even if the government tries to control the price or the quotas."

The Japanese Government has begun looking for alternative supply sources in Vietnam and elsewhere; rare earths are not as rare as the name suggests. There are potential supplies around the world, but prospective miners in Australia and the US are experiencing financing difficulties and as soon as new facilities have emerged in Asia and elsewhere, Chinese companies have quickly become majority investors.



Among the many catastrophes that are to befall our world due to global warming, the imminent demise of coral reefs is one of the worst. According to climate change proponents, as waters warm the ocean's reefs will bleach out and die, leaving the seas aquatic deserts, devoid of life. Now comes news that scientists have discovered live, healthy corals on reefs already as hot as the oceans are supposed to get 100 years from now, according to IPCC predictions. Looks like the corals didn't read the IPCC reports.

Climate catastrophists have warned that more than half of the world's coral reefs could disappear in the next 50 years, in large part because of higher ocean temperatures caused by climate change. Supposedly, corals—tiny sea creatures that, working together, manage to build gigantic ocean reefs—are so delicate that a shift in water temperature of little more than 1 degree Celsius can cause them to whither and die. Corals create the most diverse ecosystems in the oceans: the beautiful and vibrant tropical reefs. If corals were to go extinct, the repercussions would likely affect all life on Earth.

Corals live in a symbiotic relationship with tiny, single-celled algae. It's a partnership, with the corals provide a home for the algae and the algae provide nourishment for the corals. Rising temperatures can stress the algae, causing them to stop producing food. The corals evict the deadbeat algae, spit them out to fend for themselves. Without their algal partners, the reefs die and turn stark white, an event referred to as coral bleaching.

In a report this month in Marine Ecology Progress Series, Stanford University scientists have found evidence that some coral reefs are adapting and may actually be able to shrug off the worst of the IPCC's predicted global warming. They discovered that some corals resist bleaching by hosting types of algae that can handle the heat, while others swap out the heat-stressed algae for tougher, heat-resistant strains.

“The most exciting thing was discovering live, healthy corals on reefs already as hot as the ocean is likely to get 100 years from now,” said Stephen Palumbi, a professor of biology and a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. “Corals are certainly threatened by environmental change, but this research has really sparked the notion that corals may be tougher than we thought.”

For their investigations, Palumbi and Tom Oliver, a former student, traveled to Ofu Island in American Samoa. Ofu, a tropical coral reef marine reserve, has remained healthy despite gradually warming waters. In cooler lagoons, Oliver found only a handful of corals that host heat-resistant algae exclusively. But in hotter pools, he observed a direct increase in the proportion of heat-resistant symbionts, suggesting that some corals had swapped out the heat-sensitive algae for more robust types. “These findings show that, given enough time, many corals can match hotter environments by hosting heat-resistant symbionts,” Oliver explained.

The whole matter of coral delicacy is a bit puzzling, since reef building corals have been around since at least the Permian period. All corals in the sea, particularly the familiar kinds that form reefs, have hard external skeletons. In a 2006 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of researchers led by Allen Collins dated the origin of stony corals to between 240 and 288 million years ago, much more closely matching the fossil record of corals than earlier estimates.

This means that corals survived the worst ever mass extinction event in the history of Earth—the Permian-Triassic Extinction, 251 million years ago—and lived through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. During this span of nearly 200 million years, CO2 levels were 5-10 times higher than they are now with temperatures as much as 10ºC higher than today.. After surviving the event that killed off the dinosaurs, corals have remained the ocean's primary reef builders during the Cenozoic era, roughly the past 63 million years. Scientists should have known that any creatures who can live through all that are tough enough to put up with slight fluctuations in water temperature.


Corporate Sellouts on Global Warming

Communist Godfather Vladimir Lenin is alleged to have famously said, "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

Nowhere is that observation more relevant than in the sorry spectacle taking place in Congress as corporations, in exchange for short-term government handouts, fall over themselves to endorse a carbon dioxide regulation bill that will impose a crushing energy tax on the American people.

Sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), the "cap-and-trade" legislation, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, would put a cost on carbon dioxide by imposing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. On May 22, the committee approved the legislation, which will be referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and other committees for consideration. The bill would establish a market in which regulated industries, such as the electric power and petrochemical sectors, would buy and sell allowances in an auction market. As the cap is reduced each year, companies that emit too much carbon dioxide would have to buy an ever-decreasing number of permits from "clean" companies with extra emissions credits.

Besides being complex, the Waxman-Markey bill would be enormously expensive for both companies and workers. A recent Heritage Foundation study estimated it would destroy over 1.1 million jobs, hike electricity rates 90 percent, and reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $10 trillion over the next 25 years.

That is why it is inexplicable that corporations, some of which used to be against such onerous environmental measures, are jumping on the "Green" bandwagon.

As is too often the case, the reason is that companies are selling out their long-term interests for short-term financial gain -- or at least what they perceive to be short-term gain. Instead of the companies having to buy all of their emissions permits, the government will give most of them away provided the recipient companies spend billions of dollars on supposedly cleaner technologies. In other words, it is a multi-billion dollar Green Bailout.

The list of corporate sellouts reads like a Who's-Who of the Fortune 500: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Alcoa, and Caterpillar. Wal-Mart has not officially endorsed the Waxman-Markey bill but is on record as supporting cap-and-trade in principle. This corporate support was pivotal in reviving a bill that appeared to be fatally stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In trying to get his bill reported out of the committee, Waxman ran into stiff opposition from about a dozen Democrats representing districts dependent on coal or petrochemical industries. With near-unanimous Republican opposition, Waxman was forced to make major changes in the bill to lessen the impact on energy-sensitive industries and woo back wayward Democrats.

The original bill, reflecting President Obama's goals, called for the government to sell off all 100 percent of the emissions credits. The idea was to raise $646 billion over ten years to help pay for Obama's massive expansion of government-run health care. The bill set a goal to cut carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020. However, several Democrats balked at a measure they feared would cost their districts jobs. These included Rick Boucher (D-VA), Gene Green (D-TX), and Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX).

The revised plan would cut greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020. The most dramatic change, though, is in the allocation of credits. It would give away 85 percent of the emissions credits for free. That includes 35 percent for the electricity sector, 9 percent for natural gas companies, 3 percent for the auto industry, and 2 percent for oil refiners. All of the free credits will be phased out by 2025. The 15 percent of permits that will be auctioned off is expected to generate $12 billion in 2012, the first year the program could start working.

Free credits for the refiners was the price for winning the support of Texas Democrats Gonzalez and Green. John Dingell was won over because the auto industry's share of the permits is supposed to total $12 billion to $15 billion over the first six years of the trading program. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers praised the allocation of credits as an "encouraging" development.

However, the most dramatic reversal of position came from the utility industry. Given that half the nation's electricity is generated by coal, utility companies stand to get hit especially hard by a punitive program to reduce fossil fuel use. Thus, the industry has always been strongly opposed to any such measure. Not anymore. The utilities are estimated to get $21 billion in free credits in 2012. While not yet giving a full endorsement, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the utility trade association, says it is committed to seeing the bill passed. Said Jim Owen, EEI's media-relations director, "There are probably some things that different people want to see tweaked in the legislation, but…we would like to see it get into the end zone."

Individual power companies are publicly endorsing the Waxman bill. On May 19, David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, wrote a letter to Waxman praising his "admirable" leadership on the issue and said NRG "will do what we can to support you and your colleagues in advancing your critically important bill."

This was all the cover needed for coal-state Democrats to end their opposition to the bill. Rep. Boucher, who led the push for the allocation of credits to the utility companies, said that while he still has "remaining concerns," he is now "committed in the full committee to be supportive of this bill, to encourage others to be supportive."


House Democrats battle new emissions standards … again

Even as some House Democrats moved closer last week to installing first-of-a-kind limits on the carbon emissions blamed for global warming, others are in a full-court press to kill a separate White House effort to curb those same greenhouse gasses.

The episode is just the latest in a series of confrontations between liberal Democrats who favor strict emission-cutting reforms and a number of moderates who have sided with the various industries that would be affected by the changes. Unfortunately for environmentalists, the moderates, thus far, are winning the fight.

On Thursday, for example, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed sweeping climate change legislation sponsored by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) — but not before the proposal was diluted to satisfy panel Democrats representing the coal, oil and automobile industries. As a result of the changes, many environmental groups are opposing the Waxman bill outright.

In the latest episode, most members of the House Agricultural Committee contend that newly proposed White House emission rules for biofuel producers would hobble the industry and increase the nation’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Similar to the earlier E&C debate — where key Democrats leveraged their votes in order to water down Waxman’s bill — many of the Democrats on the Agriculture panel are poised to join Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) in opposing the Waxman bill unless something is done to eliminate the biofuel rules being proposed by the White House.

The saga is emblematic of the difficulty facing environmentally minded lawmakers as they push reforms opposed by enormously influential industries like those found in the energy and agriculture sectors. It also highlights the difficulty of moving such reforms in the middle of a recession when any actions imposing additional costs on industry — even if they’re done in the name of public and global health — are quickly labeled job-killers. In what is quickly becoming a common theme in Washington, the Obama administration’s plans to cut emissions are running smack into an industry buzz saw that they just might not escape.

The new White House proposal, unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency this month, aims to shift the country away from foreign oil by mandating an increase in renewable fuel usage — to 36 billion gallons by 2022, up from 9 billion gallons in 2008. In a controversial move, EPA has also outlined a plan — mandated by Congress in 2007 — for ensuring that the shift to biofuels won’t unintentionally hike carbon emissions elsewhere. For example, there are fears that increasing the U.S. production of corn for ethanol — once the darling in the renewable fuels debate — would lower food supplies on the global market. In that case, EPA’s model is designed to account for deforestation by overseas farmers who might be forced to expand cropland in response to higher food costs. Those fuels failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by certain amounts relative to the gas and diesel they would replace would no longer be eligible for federal subsidies.

Appearing last week before the House Appropriations environmental subpanel, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told lawmakers that the agency “did propose to take into account indirect land use because that’s what the law required us to do.”

Although the proposal exempts most corn ethanol from the so-called “indirect land use” requirements, the biofuels industry and its congressional champions are up in arms. Peterson, who voted for the 2007 energy bill that mandated the EPA’s new rules, said Thursday that the proposed limits “are short on science and long on obstructive and excessive restrictions for domestically produced biofuels.” Tom Buis, who heads Growth Energy, a biofuels lobbying firm, told House lawmakers Thursday that “it’s about the most bizarre concept I’ve ever heard.” Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said the EPA is preparing to penalize ethanol producers for overseas decisions “over which our industry has absolutely no control.” And Carlos Riva, president and CEO of Verenium Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, said the EPA is “putting stumbling blocks in front of the infant before it’s learned to walk.”

The concerns are timely. Following the passage of the Waxman bill through Energy and Commerce, Democratic leaders must decide how to bring it to the floor without diluting it even further. On Wednesday, they dodged a bullet when the panel killed an amendment, sponsored by Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry (R), that would have prevented the EPA’s indirect land use proposal from ever taking effect.

Peterson, for his part, is pressing for the entire bill to pass first through his Agriculture Committee, where members would surely be more successful than Terry in killing the land use provision. Indeed, Peterson and Rep. Frank Lucus (Okla.), the senior Republican on the Agriculture panel, have already introduced legislation to do just that.

Waxman’s office said Friday that it will be Democratic leaders who decide how the bill will reach the floor. Peterson’s office did not return calls for comment.

If opponents of the indirect land use proposal are successful in stripping it out, environmentalists argue, it would spell bad news for the fight against climate change.

Kate McMahon, an energy policy expert at Friends of the Earth, was quick to point out that the EPA’s proposal is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not prop up biofuel industries that might be contributing to the problem more than they’re solving it. “If we’re going to call these advanced biofuels,” McMahon said, “then they should be better than what’s already out there.”

The EPA’s proposal is similar to new emissions standards adopted by California in April. The California framework rates the “carbon intensity” of the various fuels imported into the state — everything from oil squeezed from the tar sands of Canada to corn ethanol produced by coal-fed refineries in the mid-West. The state is currently gathering data from the industries that will reveal baseline carbon intensity figures by 2010. Those baselines will then have to be reduced by 10 percent by 2020.

Like the EPA proposal, the California strategy also takes into consideration the use of food crops to create fuel — an international land use standard designed to see to it that the cumulative effect of using the renewable isn’t to add to global emissions. That international approach, said Dimitri Stanich, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, “accounts for emissions that would overwhelm our effort to reduce climate change.”

Stanich said the pushback from the corn ethanol industry is probably an indication that those companies recognize that corn-based fuels could be phased out in coming years in favor of more advanced recipes that emit fewer greenhouse gasses. “They’re feeling bullied,” he said, “but [California’s rule] doesn’t single anyone out … The regulation is designed to gravitate toward any of the cleanest fuels.”

Even some farm state Republicans are beginning to doubt the powers of corn-based ethanol to solve the world’s energy and climate change problems. At last week’s Appropriations hearing with Lisa Jackson, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) conceded that the popular fuel is beginning to lose its luster. “I’m not sure ethanol, in retrospect, will have turned out to have been as wise a choice as we thought when we started down this road,” Cole said. “But it’s got quite a political constituency behind it now.”


Sarkozy in climate row over reshuffle

President Nicolas Sarkozy's desire to appoint an outspoken climate-change sceptic to a new French super-ministry of industry and innovation has drawn strong protests from party colleagues and environmentalists. Claude Allègre argues that global warming is not necessarily caused by human activity. Putting him in charge of scientific research would be tantamount to "giving the finger to scientists", said Nicolas Hulot, France's best-known environmental activist.

Mr Sarkozy wants to bring Mr Allègre, 72, a freethinking, former socialist education minister, into the government in a reshuffle after next month's European parliamentary elections. The president appears to reckon that appointing someone from outside his own centre-right party will help to counter perceptions that he is a polarising, sectarian leader who decides everything himself. Several portfolios are already held by figures from the left and centre.

Alain Juppé, the former centre-right prime minister, said the appointment would send a "terribly bad signal" ahead of international negotiations to secure a successor to the Kyoto treaty on cuts to carbon emissions. One critic said that associating Mr Allègre with the government's ambitious environmental policy was like putting "organic farming alongside Chernobyl". Mr Sarkozy is said to value Mr Allègre's experience, his plain speaking and his convictions on the need to free up the economy and shake up the public sector - particularly the university research establishment.

The president's allies rode to Mr Allègre's defence yesterday. Xavier Bertrand, the general secretary of the ruling UMP party, paid tribute to his qualities as a "reformer", saying Mr Allègre had "an interesting profile in French political life".

Mr Allègre hit back at his critics and their "lies and distortions" about his record and beliefs. The climate was certainly changing, he said, but not all the reasons for it were known. "As a scientist and citizen, I, unlike others, do not want environmentalism to accentuate the crisis or make the least well-off suffer more," he said.

The idea of a super-ministry of industry and research is not favoured by Christine Lagarde, the finance minister. Ms Lagarde has been tipped for an exit, with a possible move to Brussels as France's European commissioner. But government insiders say she is unlikely to be moved.

Mr Sarkozy will have to reshuffle his government before the summer because Michel Barnier, agriculture minister, and Rachida Dati, justice minister, look likely to win seats in the European parliament.

*Mr Sarkozy opened a French military base in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Dubbed "Peace Camp", it is France's first permanent military base in the oil-rich Gulf and will be home to about 500 personnel, writes Andrew England in Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates has a defence accord with France dating back to the 1990s. However, the opening of the base comes at a time of tensions in the region, with concerns among Arab Gulf states about Iran's rising influence and nuclear ambitions. Mr Sarkozy said the base was aimed at "no one", but was a sign of France's willingness to contribute to regional stability.


Britain: Green homeowner hit with noise abatement order because 40ft wind turbine is driving his neighbours mad

When Stephen Munday spent £20,000 on a wind turbine to generate electricity for his home, he was proud to be doing his bit for the environment. He got planning permission and put up the 40ft device two years ago, making sure he stuck to strict noise level limits. But neighbours still complained that the sound was annoying - and now the local council has ordered him to switch it off.

Officials declared that the sound - which Mr Munday says is 'the same pitch as a dishwasher and quieter than birdsong' - constituted a nuisance, and issued a Noise Abatement Order. This is despite the turbine being more than 164ft from the nearest neighbour's house, as ordered by the planners. The ruling could have serious implications for the Government's drive to promote wind power and the use of renewable domestic energy if repeated across the country.

Electrician Mr Munday, 55, and his wife Sandra, a veterinary nurse, challenged the decision by the Vale of White Horse district council in Oxfordshire. But Didcot magistrates rejected their appeal and they were left to pick up the £5,392 court costs as well.

The turbine generated five kilowatts of electricity a day - the equivalent of boiling 300 kettles - and provided two-thirds of the family's energy needs. It also saved them an average of £500 a year in electricity costs.

Mr Munday, of Stanford in the Vale, near Abindgon, said: 'I am very disappointed. 'We were trying to cut down on our electricity bills and help the environment but have been clobbered for doing so. 'Everyone is encouraged to be environmentally friendly and we wanted to do our bit. We never dreamed that going green would land us in court and £25,000 out of pocket.'

The Government planning inspector granted planning permission on the condition that the turbine did not make more than five decibels of noise above that of the 'prevailing background'. It stands in a paddock 230ft from the Mundays' four-bedroomed detached house. But five neighbours complained about the noise after the turbine began generating power in February 2007.

Patrick Legge, team leader of the council's environmental protection team, said: 'We accept that the noise did not breach the conditions in the planning application but it was decided that the character of the noise was a nuisance. 'There are no strict overall noise limits but each case is examined by their independent circumstances.'

Michael Stigwood, an independent noise and nuisance adviser to the council, told the court that the noise affected people's ability to 'rest and relax'. 'The noise was continual,' he said. 'It's irritating and gets under your skin and is intrusive.'

Neighbour Virginia Thomasson, 49, said: 'I can hear it inside and outside my house - at night, in the daytime, all the time. 'I cannot sleep with the window open. 'I am a tolerant person but with this noise it superimposes itself over everything I hear.' Another resident, Michael Brown, 49, added: 'The rhythmic mechanical noise is very irritating and incessant.'

Chairman of the bench Liz Holford told the Mundays, who represented themselves in court, that the council's order was 'reasonable and necessary'. Now their only option is to appeal to the High Court - but they cannot afford to do so.

According to the BWEA, the wind industry trade body, more than 10,000 small wind turbines have been set up since 2005 and an estimated 600,000 could be installed by 2020.



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


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Claim that 'climate change is the cholera of our era' ridiculed as 'load of garbage' by renowned disease expert

A May 25, 2009 article in the UK Times warning that "climate change is the cholera of our era" has raised the ire of an internationally known disease expert formerly of the UN IPCC.

"The article is a rehash of a similar load of garbage unloaded in 1996, plus (identical wording) other writings of the past, including, I suspect, IPCC," Dr. Paul Reiter told Climate Depot.

Reiter is a malaria expert formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and professor of entomology and tropical disease with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and a member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Committee on Vector Biology and Control.

The UK Times article, by Professor Sir Muir Gray is Public Health Director of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare, alleges that man-made global warming is a greater threat to mankind than the scourge of cholera -- an acute diarrheal illness-- which killed an nearly 3000 people in Zimbabwe alone earlier this year. A May 26, 2009 article from VOA reveals cholera cases are expected to reach 100,000 in Zimbabwe alone.

Muir wrote in the UK Times: "In the 19th century, cholera outbreaks that escaped from the slums to kill rich and poor alike caused the great Victorian revolution in public health. Fear of cholera ensured that vast sums were spent on building sewers and ensuring that everyone had clean water. Climate change is the cholera of our era — fear of the havoc that climate change will wreak should stimulate a new public health revolution." "Smoking, Aids, swine flu? They all pale into insignificance compared to climate change's threat to health," Muir added.

But Reiter, was blunt in his rebuttal to Muir's article in the UK Times. "They have cherry picked without remorse. I have huge response to my article in Malaria Journal. Yet these peddlers of garbage quote a 1998 model by two activists whose work is ridiculed by those of us who work in this field," Reiter continued. "What the hell can we do? I am flabbergasted that this can go on, and on, and on," Reiter, who is featured in the U.S. Senate Report of more than 700 dissenting scientists of man-made global warming, concluded.

Reiter was also formerly with the UN IPCC and was so appalled at UN IPCC process that he threatened legal action to get his name removed from the reports.


Obama's energy chief wants to paint the world white to fight climate change

As unrealistic as Warmism generally. Another product of "modelling". Still, it would be a lot less harmful than other Warmist proposals

AS a weapon against global warming, it sounds so simple and low-tech that it could not possibly work. But the idea of using millions of buckets of whitewash to avert climate catastrophe has won the backing of one of the world's most influential scientists. Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by US President Barack Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white.

A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more of the Sun's light and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday. Speaking at the opening of the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium in London, for which The Times is media partner, Professor Chu said that this approach could have a vast impact.

By lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the colour of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world's cars off the roads for 11 years, he said. Building regulations should insist that all flat roofs were painted white, and visible tilted roofs could be painted with "cool-coloured" paints that looked normal, but which absorbed much less heat than conventional dark surfaces.

Roads could be lightened to a concrete colour so they would not dazzle drivers in bright sunlight. "I think with flat-type roofs you can't even see, yes, I think you should regulate," Professor Chu said.

Pale surfaces reflect up to 80 per cent of the sunlight that falls on them, compared with about 20 per cent for dark ones, which is why roofs and walls in hot countries are often whitewashed. An increase in pale surfaces would help to contain climate change both by reflecting more solar radiation into space and by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep buildings cool by air-conditioning.

Professor Chu said his thinking had been influenced by Art Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission who drove through tough new building rules in the state. Since 2005 California has required all flat roofs on commercial buildings to be white; the measure is being expanded to require cool colours on all residential and pitched roofs.

Dr Rosenfeld is also a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, of which Professor Chu was director. Last year Dr Rosenfeld and two colleagues from the laboratory, Hashem Akbari and Surabi Menon, calculated that changing surface colours in 100 of the world's largest cities could save the equivalent of 44billion tonnes of carbon dioxide - about as much as global carbon emissions are expected to rise by over the next decade.

Professor Chu said: "There's a friend of mine, a colleague of mine, Art Rosenfeld, who's pushing very hard for a geo-engineering we all believe will be completely benign, and that's when you have a flat-top roof building, make it white.

"Now, you smile, but he's done a calculation, and if you take all the buildings and make their roofs white and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of colour rather than a black type of colour, and you do this uniformly ... it's the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years."

The US needed to increase its investment in clean energy research, he said, citing high-tech industries that spent 10 to 20 per cent of their income on research. The US was spending $US1trillion on generating electricity, but "nothing like" the $US 100billion to $US200 billion on research that would meet that standard, he said.


Why I am a Climate Realist

By Dr Willem de Lange, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand -- specialising in coastal oceanography.

In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Second Assessment Report was released, and I was listed as one of approximately 3000 “scientists” who agreed that there was a discernable human influence on climate.

I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations. In keeping with IPCC procedures, the chapter was written and reviewed in isolation from the rest of the report, and I had no input into the process after my review of the chapter draft. I was not asked if I supported the view expressed in my name, and my understanding at the time was that no evidence of a discernable human influence on global climate existed.

The chapter I reviewed dealt primarily with the economic consequences of an assumed sea level rise of 1 m causing extensive inundation. My response was that I could not comment on the economic analysis, however, I disagreed with the initial assumptions, particularly the assumed sea level rise in the stated time period. Further, there was good evidence at the time that sea level rise would not necessarily result in flooding of small island nations, because natural processes on coral atolls were likely to raise island levels.

The IPCC Second Assessment Report assessed sea level rise by AD 2100 as being in the range 0.20-0.86 m, with a most likely value of 0.49 m (less than half the rate assumed for the economic analysis). Subsequent research has demonstrated that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase in elevation as sea level rises. Hence, the assumptions were invalid, and I was convinced that IPCC projections were unrealistic and exaggerated the problem.

Following the release of IPCC Second Assessment Report I also co-authored the sea level rise section of the New Zealand impact report, and same section for a revised report following the release of IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). The third report followed the trend of decreasing sea level rise projections evident in sea level rise literature, with a most likely projection of 0.44 m. However, some extreme scenarios were added at a late stage of the review process to give a wider range of projections from 0.09-0.88 m. There was little support in the literature for these extremes, and my view was that a range of 0.31-0.49 m was more reasonable. I also expected future projections to be lower.

For the New Zealand 2001 report, I was asked to state that sea level rise was accelerating, or at least could be accelerating. However, my own research and published literature shows that sea level fluctuates at decadal time scales. Therefore, although there was an increase in the rate of sea level rise around 1998, I expected sea level rise to slow and reverse early in the 21st Century. The underlying long-term trend, however, was likely to decrease, and there were some tide gauge data to indicate that it had started to do so. In the 1980s, the New Zealand rate was 1.8 mm per year. By 1990, it was 1.7 mm per year, and by 2001 it was 1.6 mm per year. These changes are small, and were not enough to prove that sea level rise was slowing. However, they clearly did not show that sea level rise was accelerating.

After 2001, published studies continued to project lower global sea level rises over the 21st Century, and several reported a slowing of the rate of rise during the 20th Century. Shortly before the IPCC Assessment Report 4 was published I undertook a literature review of all sea level studies, which: projected lower levels than the IPCC Third Assessment Report review; indicated a slowing of the rate of sea level rise; emphasised the role of decadal scale fluctuations; and there was concern about the discrepancy between satellite and tide gauge sea level measurements. It was recognised that, although satellite sensing gives a better overall measurement of global sea level, satellites reported twice the rate of sea level rise being measured at the coast. It was evident that satellite data could not be combined with tide gauge data.

The IPCC Assessment Report 4 report emphasises a single paper, which was not available when I conducted my review, which spliced the satellite data onto the tide gauge data to “find” acceleration in sea level rise over the period of satellite measurement. This is being used to imply that global sea level rise is accelerating due to global warming (now renamed Climate Change). The satellite data only covered the period of increasing sea level associated with decadal cycles, and the known discrepancy between satellite trends and tide gauge trends was not corrected for. This is poor science comparable to the splicing of proxy and instrument data in the infamous Hockey Stick graph, and the splicing of ice core and instrumental CO2 measurements to exaggerate the changes.

Despite therefore finding accelerating sea level rise, the latest IPCC assessment projects lower sea level rises than the previous ones. The methodology used to report the projections was changed to make comparisons harder, but the range of 0.18-0.59 m equates to a most likely rise of around 0.39 m. The IPCC Assessment Report 4 also included an extra 0.20 m allowance for uncertainties associated with destabilisation of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Caps. Various groups have speculated that the collapse of these Ice Caps could produce a much higher additional sea level rise. In contrast, published studies that have specifically studied this contribution have concluded that given the worst possible scenarios, the maximum extra contribution is 0.18 m. Hence, the IPCC Assessment Report 4 allowance is a very conservative upper bound.

What has sea level actually done so far this century? There have been large regional variations, but the global rate has slowed and is currently negative, consistent with measured ocean cooling. Claims to the contrary are exaggerations and not realistic.

So, given my understanding of oceanography, what do I believe about climate change? Firstly climate change is real, and has occurred on Earth for at least 4 billion years – as long as an atmosphere and oceans have existed. Climate change occurs in cycles at various time scales, with the shorter time scales known as weather (by convention the distinction is 35 years). Trying to stop or control climate change is akin to stopping ocean tides. Secondly, I believe human activities affect climate, otherwise why would I bother with a mortgage. The climate inside my house is different to the climate that would exist if my house were gone.

There are many ways human activities affect climate on a small scale. Interestingly the concentration of CO2 is not one of them (CO2 are often elevated inside buildings). As the size of the area considered increases, the impact of human activities decreases. As the latest IPCC report notes, there is no convincing evidence of the impact of CO2 (or any other human influence on climate) at a continental scale. Yet, they say that the impact of a CO2 (and other gases treated as effective CO2) is the dominant driver of climate at a global scale and will have catastrophic consequences. This conclusion I strongly disagree with. Why?

It is frequently pointed out that the Earth is approximately 32°C warmer than it would be without an atmosphere due to the Greenhouse Effect. This is misleading, as the climate system responsible for this extra warmth includes many components. Important ones omitted in most discussions are clouds and oceans. About 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, which absorbs sunlight and warms up. The oceans retain heat better than land, and, while slow to warm up, they cool slowly and warm the surroundings (a maritime climate).

Considering the available data, it is clear that the oceans warmed over the 20th Century by about the same amount as the atmosphere. This agreement should not be entirely surprising as 70 percent of the mean global air temperature comes from over oceans. The inconvenient truth that is generally ignored, is that the atmosphere is not capable of warming the oceans to any significant degree – 99.9 percent of ocean heat is derived from sunlight at wavelengths less than 3 microns. The balance is mostly from heat leaking from the interior of the Earth. The Greenhouse Effect involves a delay in the loss of infra-red radiation at wavelengths greater than 5 microns.

What does this mean for climate change? It means that variations in the amount of sunlight reaching the oceans will control the rate at which the oceans warm. This is influenced at long time scales by changes in the Earth’s orbit. At short time scales there are changes in the amount of sunlight associated with the sunspot cycle. These changes are small, but due to the ability of the oceans to store heat it may be possible to have a cumulative effect as sunspot cycles wax and wane. However, the main control is the amount of cloud and ice cover. Clouds and sea ice reflect sunlight before it can be absorbed by the oceans, and is referred to as albedo. Albedo changes have a greater influence on climate than the Greenhouse Effect, and are usually invoked to produce the catastrophic consequences of “Climate Change” (aka Accelerated Global Warming).

Oceans lose heat through evaporation (53 percent), infra-red radiation (41 percent) and conduction (6 percent). The Greenhouse Effect can slow the loss of the infra-red radiation, thereby warming the atmosphere but not the oceans. However, evaporation accounts for more than half the heat loss. Evaporation produces clouds, and hence there is a feedback loop – warming the oceans results in more evaporation, producing more clouds, which increases albedo, which cools the oceans. This is exactly what was observed during The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) that was set up to investigate the Pacific Warm Pool – the warmest ocean water in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean. COARE also found that rainfall would cool the ocean surface, so increased evaporation producing rain is another feedback loop.

What does this have to do with the 20th Century? Well the observed climate change is consistent with variations in albedo and associated ocean warming and cooling, suggesting that it is just a natural cycle. This pattern of behaviour is evident in palaeoclimate data for most of the last 10,000 years. None of this is simulated in climate models. Instead they focus on the 20th Century increase in CO2, CH4 and a few other greenhouse gases. The increasing concentrations correlate well with global temperature. This is taken as proof that the greenhouse effect is driving temperature.

However, it is also correct that changing ocean temperatures affect the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere. At annual and 2-7 year time scales it is clear that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is strongly driven by the ocean. At longer time scales it is also clear that the concentration of greenhouse gases lags behind, and therefore is driven by, temperature. Once again the oceans are the likely control on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The IPCC position requires that for 50-100 year periods everything works in reverse, which still showing an oceanic influence at shorter time periods. It is more likely that the warming of the oceans since the Little Ice Age is a major contributor to the observed increase in CO2. Carbon isotopic ratios indicate that while there is a contribution from the burning of fossil fuels, it is of the order 1-5 percent of the increase.

So, I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans, and the consequences this has for the rest of the Earth’s climate system. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis runaway catastrophic climate change due to human activities.


Feds plan $4 billion for “green jobs”

That good ol' generous American taxpayer again

Some $4 billion from President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan that was budgeted to renovate public housing will be spent to create so-called "green jobs" by making the dwellings more energy efficient. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was making the announcement Tuesday in Denver at a meeting of Obama's Middle Class Task Force.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, another task force member, also will announce that $500 million from the stimulus is becoming available to train workers for these jobs. That sum includes $50 million for communities battered by job losses and restructuring in the auto industry.

Both Donovan and Solis also were announcing that their departments are working together to make it easier for public housing residents to find training programs or a green job.

The task force, which includes several other Cabinet secretaries, has been working since January to highlight policies and practices to help improve the standard of living of the middle class, an income group that suffered as the economy faltered.

The meeting at the Denver Science Museum, where Obama signed the stimulus plan into law three months ago, was being held to outline different ways government departments are working together to steer the middle class toward green jobs.

These jobs, broadly defined as related to helping the environment, pay up to 20% more than other jobs, are more likely to be union jobs and are more likely to be held by men, less so by minorities and people who live in cities, according to a report the task force issued in February. These jobs also are ones that cannot be easily transferred overseas.

Obama has pushed greening the economy — reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, developing domestic alternatives and easing the effects of climate change — as ways to help pull the economy out of its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Donovan said Monday that the investment in public housing will help meet several goals: improving the quality of public housing, reducing energy costs for residents and the government, and creating jobs for people who live in the units and in the surrounding community. "A whole set of things can repay investments in a short period of time," Donovan said in an interview. Replacing windows, insulation, appliances and even light bulbs are among the possible renovations.

Jared Bernstein, the task force executive director, said the panel's agenda complements Obama's. "By boosting the green economy, you're promoting green energy and clean production at the same time that you're generating green jobs," Bernstein, who is also Vice President Joe Biden's chief economist, said Monday in an interview. Biden is in charge of the task force.

The energy, education and labor secretaries also were set to announce a partnership to help link the unemployed with jobs, training and education opportunities.



Three current articles below

"Prodos", global warming and the CIS

"Prodos" is a flamboyant Melbourne libertarian of Greek extraction who has done some good work in publicizing libertarian ideas but who is in my view a bit too sensationalist for me to take much notice of. For that reason, I don't think I have ever linked to any of his writings. On his occasional blog, however, he has recently put up an attack on Greg Lindsay, head of the Sydney-based "Centre for Independent Studies" claiming that Greg is a supporter of global warming. Greg is an old friend of mine and I was one of the first donors to CIS so when Gerry Jackson of Brookes News sent me a link to the Prodos article, I immediately emailed Greg expressing amazement that he had fallen for such humbug.

Greg emailed back noting that he has NEVER personally taken any position at all on global warming but referred me to a post on the subject by John Humphreys, which in turn links to his CIS monograph on the subject.

The work of CIS is to offer scholarly contributions to public policy debates from a free-market viewpoint and CIS publications often get respectful mentions in the press. And on this occasion, Humphreys took as a starting point the apparent intention of both major Australian political parties to implement global warming laws of some sort. From that point he set out to argue for the least harmful set of laws that could be adopted.

And that is what Prodos objects to. He thinks that CIS should just oppose all global warming laws and thus have no influence on what laws are adopted. I think Prodos's ego has run away with him. He thinks that his own approach is the only defensible one, whereas it is my view that you are more likely to defeat the enemy if you attack him from all sides. And the currently-proposed Warmist laws would certainly be a major enemy of Australia's prosperity. So I welcome the CIS approach and deplore the narrow-minded hostility of Prodos towards an organization that is much more influential than he is. And putting a picture of Greg Lindsay at the top of his post when Greg has never said a word in public about the subject is just plain dishonest.

Global Warming Pauses

By His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

The tide on climate change is starting to turn. The Australian government is becoming more cautious. It is rare to read a new book likely to make a huge difference to public opinion. Professor Ian Plimer's 500 page book with 2300 footnotes "Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science" is such a book. 30,000 copies were sold in its first month.

Plimer is not a climate change denier, because history shows the planet is dynamic and the climate is always changing, sometimes drastically. Ice Ages have come and gone and we don't know why. History has seen glaciers at the equator and at one time Scandinavia was under 5 kilometres of ice. Sea levels have been 130 metres lower than today. Some consolation comes from the fact that ice sheets predominated for only 20 per cent of the earth's history.

Plimer demonstrates that a considerable amount of scientific evidence has been produced to counter the still predominant view that human activity, especially through industry, has polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which will produce disastrous climate changes including a rise in temperature, a melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels.

Contrary evidence is already changing the debate. Australia, with its tiny economy, is no longer aiming to lead the world. The threat of massive job losses and increasing awareness of new evidence will provoke even greater caution in the future.

Originally we were warned about the "greenhouse effect"; then it was "global warming", followed in turn by "climate change". Now we talk about reducing the "carbon footprint". The light is dawning and 30 per cent of scientists are sceptics or deniers.

Non-scientists should not blindly follow expert opinion and this includes Plimer. To the extent we can, we should examine their evidence. While it is still early days in the debate, Plimer's critics have been heavy with the abuse and short on counter evidence.

We should also look back at history for more accurate information and ignore computer models of the long-term future. Climate models making claims for decades into the future cannot work, because we do not know enough about many factors which influence weather, such as the level of activity of the sun, the earth's orbit and wobbles, the level of cloud cover, volcanoes.

One basic claim of Plimer is that an increase of carbon dioxide does not cause temperature rises, but might follow such rises. What do we make of these facts? The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise, but the world's temperature has not risen since 1998. In Roman times and in the Medieval Warming (900 - 1300 A.D.) temperatures were higher than today by five and six degrees Celsius. No industries then! In different Ice Ages the earth's atmosphere contained five and ten times the amount of carbon dioxide today.

Evidence shows the wheels are falling from the climate catastrophe bandwagon.


New election needed to pass Warmist laws

VOTERS are closer to an early election after every federal political party yesterday manoeuvred to ensure the defeat of the emissions trading scheme. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull raised the stakes yesterday by proposing the Government defer the vote of its ETS legislation until after global climate change talks in December. But he failed to secure numbers in the Senate, which means the legislation will be brought on in June and defeated.

With the gun now half-cocked and the Bill set for defeat, the second and final trigger for a double dissolution will be sounded if the legislation is re-introduced within three months and voted down again. The election is due in November next year but can be held as late as April 2011. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mr Turnbull and all the cross-benchers have lined up for a game of chicken, warning they would be willing to go to an early election if they cannot get what they want on climate change.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, who wants the Bill defeated in exchange for greater mitigation, said the Government's policy stance was untenable and she was ready for an early election. "If the Coalition and the Independent Senators have a three-month delay or a six-month delay, it is dead as far as the Government is concerned . . . (and) let's bring it (an election) on," she said.

Mr Turnbull said he would give Mr Rudd a bi-partisan mandate to take to the meeting in Copenhagen so he could argue for targets of 5-25 per cent and urged him to wait for the advancing US legislation next year. But he said he would not vote for it in its current form. He also outlined a plan to set up a Government-authorised voluntary carbon market from January so business could start banking carbon credits.

Despite knowing the Bill is set for defeat, Mr Rudd has refused to delay it and accused Mr Turnbull of being at the mercy of climate change sceptics within his own party. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will not support the Coalition's ploy to delay the Bill and wants the vote in August or September, but he has no support. He also plans to defeat it in its current form. Family First's Steve Fielding, who does want the Bill delayed, will vote against the "dog of a policy" when it is introduced in the week beginning June 15.

At the heart of Mr Turnbull's position of trying to delay the Bill until after Copenhagen is his untenable position of trying to unite his party.



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


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Half-witted British doctor says climate change is the cholera of our era

See below. He of all people should know that cold (as in winter) kills a lot more people than warmth (as in summer). He should be celebrating warming if it were public health that concerned him. But Professor Sir Muir Gray is obviously an establishment figure who is just doing his best to uphold establishment beliefs. He didn't get a knighthood for rocking the boat

In the 19th century, cholera outbreaks that escaped from the slums to kill rich and poor alike caused the great Victorian revolution in public health. Fear of cholera ensured that vast sums were spent on building sewers and ensuring that everyone had clean water. Climate change is the cholera of our era — fear of the havoc that climate change will wreak should stimulate a new public health revolution. And just as doctors led the Victorian campaign, so the medical profession should be in the vanguard of this new revolution in public health.

The front page of The Lancet of May 16 says it all: “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” This prestigious journal, which usually gives no more than ten pages to vitally important clinical research, made space for a 39-page report.

Climate change will hit the poorest nations hardest, but it will affect us too. In the summer of 2003, la canicule, an unexpected heatwave, killed 14,000 elderly people in France. Rising temperatures will bring that type of problem to our shores. Our health services will be put under pressure by severe weather and floods. But it is the global effects that will hit us, and especially our children and grandchildren, because of the effect that climate change will have on world food and water supplies; millions of climate refugees will disrupt the borders of even an island nation.

Smoking, Aids, swine flu? They all pale into insignificance compared to climate change’s threat to health. That proposition will instantly provoke a hostile reaction from the diminishing band of climate-change sceptics. But as a doctor of 40 years’ standing who has been involved in running public health services for 30 years, I know that the evidence is good enough to make action, not inaction, the sensible choice. An empirical view of the data shows that delay will not just increase the amount of preventable harm, it may take us past a point of no return.

So the medical profession must accept responsibility in the campaign for change. However, with a few notable exceptions, doctors are effectively silent on the health threat that will come to define our age. My fellow doctors cannot just leave this issue to their leaders, to the presidents of the Royal Colleges and to the members of the Climate and Health Council. They should be active in their local communities, where they are known and respected, using their influence to press for national and international action.

Leaders, no matter how great, must have courage and a mandate to act. What is needed, for instance, is for 20 or 30 MPs to collar Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary, as he rushes across the lobby and say: “Three [or more] doctors have been to my surgery in the last month warning me about the concern that they and their patients have about climate change — that’s more doctors than have ever come to see me about the NHS or even their pay. They tell me the medical profession is clear what needs to be done.”

“Why do I never get letters from doctors about smoking?” an MP asked me when I was the secretary of Action on Smoking and Health. “Why do I get more letters on animal welfare than human health?” Why indeed. The medical profession is too silent, and sometimes too apathetic. Fortunately, many of today’s medical students and young doctors have fire in their bellies and are taking to the streets demanding action. Their older colleagues should join them and use their influence. Perhaps, they could try some “collar-and-tie” direct action — those doctors who own shares should be at AGMs demanding that companies clean up their environmental acts.

But the medical profession needs to put its own house in order too. I was in a hospital last month that is doubling its electricity supply “to meet demand”, with no thought about the future. Sometimes the NHS is not unlike Dickens’s Mrs Jellyby, keen to reform others while her own children were scalded through neglect.

The NHS is gigantic and has a carbon footprint that is nearly one twentieth of the whole UK’s footprint — 1.3 million staff each with their own footprint, the drugs bought, the buildings, the transport, the water and the food, too much of it thrown away. Now is the time for the profession to mobilise and show the passion that took them into medical school but is then so often extinguished.

In December in Copenhagen, the vital United Nations Climate Change Conference meets. Unfortunately, British MPs are distracted, so the medical profession has a duty to act to make the politicians focus on it.

A recent summit meeting of leading doctors at the British Medical Association unanimously agreed that the need for action is essential. However, battles are not won in headquarters but by the troops on the front line. So I would like to see 90 per cent of doctors making environmentally friendly personal changes; half of doctors signing the Climate and Health Council pledge; and at least one in 20 doctors lobbying their MPs face-to-face. What more appropriate place than a constituency surgery could there be for a doctor to tell his or her MP that the medical profession thinks that urgent treatment is needed?


A Closer Look at Climate Change and the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is widely regarded in the media as the ultimate authority on climate change. Created by two divisions of the United Nations, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, its pronouncements are received as if they come down from Mount Olympus or Mount Sinai. The common presumption is that the IPCC has assembled the best scientific knowledge. Let’s take a closer look at this organization to see whether it merits such uncritical deference.

The IPCC’s Feb. 2007 report stated: It is “very likely” that human activity is causing global warming. Why then, just two months later, did the Vice Chair of the IPCC, Yuri Izrael, write, “the panic over global warming is totally unjustified;” “there is no serious threat to the climate;” and humanity is “hypothetically … more threatened by cold than by global warming?”

IPCC press releases have warned about increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, yet Dr. Vincent Gray, a member of the IPCC’s expert reviewers’ panel asserts, “There is no relationship between warming and [the] level of gases in the atmosphere.”

A 2001 IPCC report presented 245 potential scenarios. The media publicity that followed focused on the most extreme scenario, prompting the report’s lead author, atmospheric scientist Dr. John Christy, to rebuke media sensationalism and affirm, “The world is in much better shape than this doomsday scenario paints … the worst-case scenario [is] not going to happen.”

Clearly, the IPCC does not speak as one voice when leading scientists on its panel contradict its official position. The solution to this apparent riddle lies in the structure of the IPCC itself. What the media report are the policymakers’ summaries, not the far lengthier reports prepared by scientists. The policymakers’ summaries are produced by a committee of 51 government appointees, many of whom are not scientists.

The policymakers’ summaries are presented as the “consensus” of 2,500 scientists who have contributed input to the IPCC’s scientific reports. “Consensus” does NOT mean that all of the scientists endorse the policymakers’ summaries. In fact, some of the 2,500 scientists have resigned in protest against those summaries. Other contributing scientists, such as the individuals quoted above, publicly contradict the assertions of the policymakers’ summaries.

To better understand the “consensus” presented in the policymakers’ summaries, it is helpful to be aware of the structure of the IPCC. Those who compose the summaries are given considerable latitude to modify the scientific reports. Page four of Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work states: “Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group of the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter.” In other words, when there is a discrepancy between what the scientists say and what the authors of the policymakers’ summaries want to say, the latter prevails.

Here is a specific example: One policymakers’ summary omitted several important unequivocal conclusions contained in the scientists’ report, including, “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of observed climate change] to anthropogenic [i.e., man-made] causes,” and “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.” These significant revisions were made, according to IPCC officials quoted in Nature magazine, “to ensure that it [the report] conformed to a policymakers’ summary.”

Elsewhere, Rule 3 of IPCC procedures states: “Documents should involve both peer review by experts and review by governments.” In practice, IPCC sometimes bypasses scientific peer review, and the policymakers’ summaries reflect only governmental (political) review. This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, the IPCC is a political, not a scientific, entity. It is the “Inter-GOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change,” not a “global SCIENTISTS’ panel.”

Also, “consensus” is a political phenomenon, a compromise, whereas scientific truth is not subject to obtaining a political majority. (Actually, 31,000 scientists have signed a petition protesting the “consensus” that human activity is dangerously altering the Earth’s climate. Consider that against the 2,500 scientists cited by IPCC—many of whom publicly refute IPCC’s press releases.)

To its credit, the IPCC debunks many of the alarmist exaggerations of radical greens. However, its scientific authority remains irreparably compromised by political tampering. When a U.S. State Department official writes to the co-chair of the IPCC that “it is essential that … chapter authors be prevailed upon to modify their text in an appropriate manner,” the political character of IPCC is plain.

The sponsors of the IPCC, the United Nations, and liberal American politicians all share the goal of reducing Americans’ wealth by capping our consumption of energy with a binding international climate change treaty. They are willing to resort to scientific fraud to further their goal. In the words of Al Gore’s ally, former Under-Secretary of State Tim Wirth, “Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing” by reducing Americans’ consumption of fossil fuels. Keep that in mind whenever the IPCC is cited in support of a climate treaty


Windfarms a security threat

The body that monitors UK airspace is seeking a solution to the potentially disastrous problem of commercial and military aircraft disappearing in radar blackout zones caused by wind farms. National Air Traffic Services (Nats) has asked Raytheon, the American defence company, to design the world's first system for allowing radar to see through wind farm interference. The cost of the £5 million project is expected to be picked up by the wind energy industry.

Wind farm turbines create a Doppler effect as they turn, which shows up on radar screens. As the area and number of these wind farms has increased, the number of radar blackout zones has also risen. Aircraft passing through the area can disappear in the blackout and air traffic controllers can lose their exact position. The Royal Air Force is concerned that enemy bombers or other aircraft could hide behind interference from offshore wind farms and approach Britain undetected.

A Nats spokesman said: “We have a duty to safeguard our operations, so in the past we have objected to the development of a number of wind farms that threaten aircraft safety. We need a system that can eliminate this problem.”

Raytheon has been asked to create a software system that will filter out the wind farm noise from other radar signals. This will effectively allow air traffic controllers to see through the wind farms. The company, which is the largest manufacturer of radar systems in the world, hopes to complete the project by the end of next year. Once completed, it will also be deployed in the Netherlands.

Andy Zogg, vice-president of command and control systems at Raytheon, said: “As the number of wind farms grows, there are more and more of these radar black holes. They show up as clutter on the radar screen and the concern is that aircraft approaching from behind the turbines or flying over them cannot be seen.”

Brian Smith, general manager of Raytheon Canada, said: “Our work will be to develop the algorithms that allow us to discriminate between turbines and aircraft. It is called clutter erasure.”

The Government has identified wind power as a key to reducing reliance on carbon dioxide producing energy sources. Europe's largest onshore wind farm opened last week at Whitelee in Scotland. The 140 turbines cover an area of 55 square kilometres and are each 110 metres high. The wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 250,000 homes.


Britain wastes huge sums on windmills while the need for reliable electicity supplies becomes ever more urgent and costly

On a barren hillside outside Glasgow, dozens of wind turbines are spinning in the breeze as Britain's largest onshore wind park starts to generate electricity. With 140 turbines producing enough power to supply tens of thousands of homes, it is among the largest and most vivid symbols of the Government's drive to replace Britain's collection of ageing coal, gas and oil-fired power stations with a cleaner, greener alternative.

But this effort to transform Britain's energy industry, which is being propelled by tough new emissions rules and by the sheer decrepitude of much of the network, does not come cheap and has profound implications for consumers.

The site, at Whitelee on Eaglesham Moor, has cost ScottishPower, its developer, £300 million, but this is a tiny fraction of what will be required to upgrade Britain's power network. According to Ernst & Young, the total cost of doing so and meeting tough targets to cut carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 will be no less than £233.5 billion. Although some of that burden is likely to be shared with power companies, the figure, divided among the UK's 26million households, implies a total bill of up to £8,977 each — or £598 a year for the next 15 years.

Tony Ward, power and utilities partner at Ernst & Young, said that about half of the total, or £112 billion, will need to be spent building new supplies of renewable energy, including vast new offshore wind parks - each many times the size of Whitelee — as well as biomass-fired power stations, tidal and wave-energy projects.

Britain must also renew almost all of its ageing nuclear power plants, which account for about 20 per cent of the country's electricity supply, a project that is expected to add £38.4 billion to the cost. A further £28 billion or so will have to be poured into the grid to build a transmission network capable of supporting new reactors and remote wind parks sited as far north as the Shetlands and in the North Sea. This excludes the cost of building new coal-fired stations equipped with carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), bolstering the UK's gas storage facilities, new gas-fired power plants and a rollout of “smart meters” in every home and business in the country.

Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid, whose company will be at the centre of this effort, said: “It's very clear from the renewables and new nuclear stations being planned that there is going to be a need for a substantial increase in investment to build a modern, 21st-century grid.”

He expects National Grid alone to spend up to £5 billion a year from 2012 and he is already drawing up plans for a network of seabed cables feeding renewable electricity from Scotland to consumers in the South, as well as sweeping reinforcements to conventional high-voltage lines that criss-cross the country.

Craig Lowrey, director of markets for EIC, the energy consultancy, said: “These are massive investments — we are talking about potentially the biggest investment programme in Britain's history. But if the Government is serious about meeting its emissions targets, it needs to make people understand the true scale of these costs.”

Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish & Southern Energy, Britain's second-largest utility, takes a similar view: “In the long term, the unit price of energy is going to have to go up significantly. We are going to have to produce energy in a greener and more secure way and that will cost money.”

Ernst & Young's figures might underestimate the total expense because they do not include regular maintenance costs, Mr Marchant said, suggesting that a figure of £300 billion could be closer to the mark. However, he is optimistic that dramatic improvements in energy efficiency could mean that consumer bills will remain stable or even fall in the long term.

The fear is that in Britain's liberalised energy market this tidal wave of required investment simply will not materialise.

Dr Lowrey believes that, under its current structure — which relies on market forces plus consumer-funded incentives designed to boost investment in renewable energy — the scale of investment needed is unlikely either to meet expectations or to be allocated in the way that the Government or society wants. It is a concern that has been compounded in recent months by a collapse in funding that has accompanied the credit crunch and the plunging value of the pound, forcing up the cost of imported power-generating equipment.

The falling prices of oil, coal and gas have also undermined the economic rationale of many investments in more costly, alternative forms of energy. “There is a need for greater intervention to make this investment a reality,” Dr Lowrey said. “We need a guiding hand from government.”


Climate Change Act: Now the world faces its biggest ever bill

One of the mysteries of our time is how impossible it is to interest people in the mind-boggling sums cited by governments all over the world as the cost of the measures they wish to see taken to "stop climate change", observes Christopher Booker.

One measure of the fantasy world now inhabited by our sad MPs was the mindless way that they nodded through, last October, by 463 votes to three, by far the most expensive piece of legislation ever to go through Parliament. This was the Climate Change Act, obliging the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to reduce Britain's "carbon emissions" by 2050 to 20 per cent of what they were in 1990 – a target achievable only by shutting down most of the economy.

Such is the zombie state of our MPs that they agreed to this lunatic measure without the Government giving any idea of what this might cost. Only one, Peter Lilley, raised this question, and it was he who, last month, alerted me to the fact that the minister, Ed Miliband, had at last slipped out a figure on his website (without bothering to tell Parliament). The Government's estimate was £404 billion, or £18 billion a year, or £760 per household every year for four decades.

Such figures, produced by a computer model, are, of course, meaningless. But one of the mysteries of our time is how impossible it is to interest people in the mind-boggling sums cited by governments all over the world as the cost of the measures they wish to see taken to "stop climate change".

Last week I dined with Professor Bob Carter, a distinguished Australian paleoclimatologist, who has been trying to alert politicians in Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand to the scarcely believable cost of these proposals. He gave me a paper he presented to a committee of New Zealand MPs. China and India, as the price of their participating in the UN's planned "Kyoto Two" deal to be agreed in Copenhagen next December, are demanding that developed countries, including Britain, should pay them 1 per cent of their GDP, totalling up to more than $300 billion every year.

Africa is putting in for a further $267 billion a year. South American countries are demanding hundreds of billions more. In the US, the latest costing of President Obama's "cap and trade" Bill is $1.9 trillion, a yearly cost to each US family of $4,500.

Meanwhile, as Mr Obama's Nobel Prize-winning Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, babbles on the BBC's Today programme about how the world's energy needs can be met by wind and solar power (for which, he assured us, we would need to cover only 5 per cent of the planet's deserts with solar panels), a study shows that for every job created in Spain's "alternative energy industry" since 2000, 2.2 others have been lost. (Mr Obama talks about creating "five million green jobs" in the US.)

Last week the BBC and various newspapers excitably greeted the opening by Alex Salmond of Whitelee, "Europe's largest onshore wind farm", 140 giant 2.3 megawatt turbines covering 30 square miles of moorland south-east of Glasgow. It was happily reported that these would "generate" 322MW of electricity, "enough to power every home in Glasgow". They won't, of course, do anything of the kind. Due to the vagaries of the wind, this colossal enterprise will produce only 80MW on average, a quarter of its capacity and barely enough to keep half Glasgow's lights on.

It really is time people stopped recycling the thoroughly bogus propaganda claims of the wind industry in this way. Any journalist who still falls for these lies by confusing turbines' "capacity" with their actual output is either thoroughly stupid or dishonest. The truth is that the 80MW average output of "Europe's largest wind farm" is only a fraction of that of any conventional power station, at twice the cost. For this derisory amount of power, the hidden subsidy to Whitelee over its 25-year life will, on current figures, be £1 billion, paid by all of us through our electricity bills.

Truly, our world has gone off its head, and no one seems to notice – not least those wretched MPs who allow all this to happen without having the faintest idea what is going on.

On May 15, the Guardian’s famed environmental crusader George Monbiot triumphantly posted on his blog an item headed “How to disprove Christopher Booker in 26 seconds”. This was the time, he claimed, it took him to discover how the figures that I had reported on the melting of Arctic ice were wrong.

Guardian groupies piled in to congratulate him, calling for my editor to sack me. Then one or two suggested he should look again at what I wrote. Three hours later, a disclaimer appeared at the top of his blog: “Whoops – looks like I’ve boobed. Sorry folks”. The Great Moonbat conceded that he had been looking at the wrong figures. Still, it was good of him to admit it – and at least his blog ended up with an impressive 514 comments.



Electric cars have a big role to play in reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but it's going to cost a lot, according to a new report. It could even push automakers into further trouble. For electric and hybrid vehicles to achieve their environmental potential, the world's governments will need to step in with high levels of financial support for consumers and industry, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm. And the cost savings in fuel won't be nearly enough to provide the incentive without that government cash.

Electric vehicles could realistically make up a significant fraction of the world's car market in the foreseeable future, but not nearly a majority, according to BCG. "The costs of creating an automotive market dominated by electric and hybrid cars are prohibitively high," said the report. Under what BCG calls the "most likely" scenario - where oil costs about $150 a barrel and governments enforce existing CO2 regulations - about 11 million hybrid and 3 million electric vehicles will be sold globally in 2020. Even then, they will make up just 28% of those sold in the word's biggest markets.

But even that level of market penetration will require governments in Europe alone to spend about $70 billion in industry support, BCG said. In return, a relatively small amount - about $6 billion - would be saved by switching vehicles from oil-based fuel to electricity. The numbers would be similar for the United States, said Xavier Mosquet, one of the report's authors.

Most of that money would go to help the auto industry engineer and manufacturer the vehicles and to provide cash incentives to offset their high costs to consumers. These investments will require a firm commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, according to the report, regardless of cost.

If cost-effectiveness were the goal, improving the performance of today's internal combustion engines would be the best option. Using technologies like turbocharging and advanced fuel injection to boost engine output would cost between $70 and $140 per car for each percentage point of CO2 reduction, according to the report. A 20% improvement in fuel efficiency would cost about $1,200 per vehicle.

Partly or fully electric cars can achieve much greater efficiency, but at much higher costs. For every percentage point decease in C02, a hybrid or electric car would cost about $140 to $280 more to produce. BCG estimates that a hybrid car today costs about $7,000 more to produce than a similar non-hybrid, but that that cost will come down to about $4,000 by 2020. By that time, with a cost of $130 to $160 per percentage improvement in CO2 emissions, hybrid cars will become an economical solution compared to further development of non-hybrid engines.

Plug-in vehicles of various types - plug-in only, plug-in hybrids and range-extended plug-in vehicles - present greater cost challenges because of they need expensive batteries. BCG estimates that by 2020, when battery costs will have come down, a battery for an electric car with an 80 mile range will still cost about $14,000. While some consumers will pay more for electric cars even if they don't make it up in fuel savings, most won't, the report said. That means government incentives to make up the price difference.



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


Monday, May 25, 2009

Roast lamb threatens the planet

Tomatoes too! And don't mention booze! But Coca Cola and chocolate are OK. All of which shows what absurdities you end up with when you start from silly assumptions

GIVE up lamb roasts and save the planet. Government advisers are developing menus to combat climate change by cutting out "high carbon" food such as meat from sheep, whose burping poses a serious threat to the environment. Out will go kebabs, greenhouse tomatoes and alcohol. Instead, diners will be encouraged to consume more potatoes and seasonal vegetables, as well as pork and chicken, which generate fewer carbon emissions.

"Changing our lifestyles, including our diets, is going to be one of the crucial elements in cutting carbon emissions," said David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change. Kennedy has stopped eating his favourite doner kebabs because they contain lamb. A government-sponsored study into greenhouse gases found that producing 2.2lb of lamb released the equivalent of 37lb of carbon dioxide.

The problem is because sheep burp so much methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Cows are only slightly better behaved. The production of 2.2lb of beef releases methane equivalent to 35lb of CO2 Tomatoes, most of which are grown in heated glasshouses, are the most "carbon-intensive" vegetable, each 2.2lb generating more than 20lb of CO2 Potatoes, in contrast, release only about 1lb of CO2 for each 2.2lb of food. The figures are similar for most other native fruit and vegetables.

"We are not saying that everyone should become vegetarian or give up drinking but moving towards less carbon intensive foods will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health," said Kennedy.

The climate committee is analysing emissions from farming and will suggest measures to reduce them. However, it has concluded that people will have to change their habits.

Alcoholic drinks are another significant contributory factor, with the growing and processing of crops such as hops and malt into beer and whisky helping to generate 1.5% of the nation's greenhouse gases.

The Carbon Trust, a government-funded firm, is working with food and drink companies to calculate the "carbon footprints" of products - sometimes with surprising results. Coca-Cola, for example, generates only about half the greenhouse gas emissions of Innocent's "smoothies". Cadbury's chocolate generates about 4«lb of CO2 for every 2.2lb eaten - less than half that from the same weight of chicken.


"Philanthropist" means "lover of people". But the very rich ones despise people and want fewer of them. They seem embarrassed about it though

But it's all "For the environment", of course. Note that according to that logic, Westerners are the big polluters and users of resources -- so it is you and I that they hate and want to get rid of as soon as possible. No wonder they tried to keep their meeting secret!

SOME of America's leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world's population and speed up improvements in health and education. The philanthropists who attended a summit convened on the initiative of Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.

Described as the Good Club by one insider it included David Rockefeller Jr, the patriarch of America's wealthiest dynasty, Warren Buffett and George Soros, the financiers, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, and the media moguls Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. These members, along with Gates, have given away more than œ45 billion since 1996 to causes ranging from health programmes in developing countries to ghetto schools nearer to home.

They gathered at the home of Sir Paul Nurse, a British Nobel prize biochemist and president of the private Rockefeller University, in Manhattan on May 5. The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires' aides were told they were at "security briefings". Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said the summit was unprecedented. "We only learnt about it afterwards, by accident. Normally these people are happy to talk good causes, but this is different - maybe because they don't want to be seen as a global cabal," he said.

Some details were emerging this weekend, however. The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an "umbrella cause" that could harness their interests. The issues debated included reforming the supervision of overseas aid spending to setting up rural schools and water systems in developing countries. Taking their cue from Gates they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.

This could result in a challenge to some Third World politicians who believe contraception and female education weaken traditional values. Gates, 53, who is giving away most of his fortune, argued that healthier families, freed from malaria and extreme poverty, would change their habits and have fewer children within half a generation. [He's probably right about that] At a conference in Long Beach, California, last February, he had made similar points. "Official projections say the world's population will peak at 9.3 billion [up from 6.6 billion today] but with charitable initiatives, such as better reproductive healthcare, we think we can cap that at 8.3 billion," Gates said then.

Patricia Stonesifer, former chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which gives more than œ2 billion a year to good causes, attended the Rockefeller summit. She said the billionaires met to "discuss how to increase giving" and they intended to "continue the dialogue" over the next few months.

Another guest said there was "nothing as crude as a vote" but a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat. "This is something so nightmarish that everyone in this group agreed it needs big-brain answers," said the guest. "They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming."

Why all the secrecy? "They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government," he said.


Warmist challenges Pielke Sr. to a debate. Pielke accepts

Amusing to see if the Warmist follows through. Pielke does not deny global warming via CO2 but suspects that it is a minor effect. He is a fully qualified meteorologist

There is part one of an interview with Professor Stephen Schneider regarding global warming and climate change issues published on on May 24 2009. It is titled "The global warming debates: Stephen Schneider" and is written by Thomas Fuller who is the San Francisco Policy Environmental Policy Examiner reporter. This interview is an excellent example of the failure to present a balanced presentation of the climate science issues.

The reporter asked the following question

"More specifically, the principal skeptic websites (Watt's Up With That, Climate Skeptic, Climate Audit and Climate Science) that I look at regularly seem to think they are winning the day. They think data is coming in that questions the established paradigm."

First, the reporter erroneously presented my perspective as a "skeptic" website.

Steve Schneider, unfortunately, chose not only to fail to correct this error, but demeaned the scientific value of these websites.

His reply is

"They have been thinking that as long as I have observed them and they have very few mainstream climate scientists who publish original research in climate refereed journals with them-a petroleum geologist's opinion on climate science is a as good as a climate scientists opinion on oil reserves. So petitions sent to hundreds of thousands of earth scientists are frauds. If these guys think they are "winning" why don't they try to take on face to face real climatologists at real meetings-not fake ideology shows like Heartland Institute-but with those with real knowledge-because they'd be slaughtered in public debate by Trenberth, Santer, Hansen, Oppenheimer, Allen, Mitchell, even little ol' me. It's easy to blog, easy to write op-eds in the Wall Street Journal."

On the first issue, the characterization of my website as a "skeptic website" is completely inaccurate. In 2006, Andy Revkin of the New York Times also erroneously described me as a "climate skeptic", and after confronting him on this mistake (see), the New York Time published a correction (see). My views on climate science, hardly those of a climate skeptic (which I consider a perjorative characterization of my perspective), are summarized, for example, in my weblogs

Summary Of Roger A. Pielke Sr's View Of Climate Science

Roger A. Pielke Sr.'s Perspective On The Role Of Humans In Climate Change

Roger A. Pielke Sr.'s Perspective On Adaptation and Mitigation

and in my House subcommittee testimony in 2008; see:

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing "Climate Change: Costs of Inaction" - Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp.

More importantly, I am disappointed that Steve Schneider personally attacked the websites that are listed. I have quite a bit of respect for Dr. Schneider's past work [e.g. his book Genesis Strategy is an excellent example of why we need a resource-based, bottom-up assessment of vulnerability, as has been discussed in our peer reviewed papers (e.g. see) and books (e.g. see)].

However, his casual denigration of each of the websites, Watt's Up With That, Climate Skeptic, Climate Audit and Climate Science (each of whose contributions to the discussion of climate science are informative and very valuable) represents a failure to engage in constructive scientific debate.

This cavalier dismissal of these websites illustrates that instead of evaluating the soundness of their scientific evidence, the authors of these websites, who provide a much needed broader viewpoint on climate science, are insulted. This is not the proper way to discuss scientific issues.

I would be glad to debate Dr. Schneider (or any of the other individuals who are listed).

I also challenge them to refute in the professional literature (and in a debate) the numerous peer reviewed articles and national (e.g. see) and international climate assessments (e.g. see) that present scientific evidence that conflicts with the narrow perspective on climate science that Steve Schneider is representing.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Skepticism heard in N. Ireland Parliament

On Thursday 21 May 2009, at Stormont, Belfast, Dutch scientist Hans Schreuder, who now lives in East Anglia, told the Northern Ireland Climate Change Committee that there is no evidence for global warming or climate change being man-made. Quoting from eminent scientists world-wide, Mr Schreuder dismissed the entire climate alarmist scenario. From his testimony, these quotes:

"[...] the longstanding paradigm says that because of trace gases like CO2, the atmosphere heats the earth. But this isn't true."

"Any and all evidence that has ever been presented to support the idea that carbon dioxide has an effect on global temperatures has been biased, opinionated and based on an agenda that pre-emptively dismissed alternative explanations."

"Computer simulations regard the earth as a flat disk, without North or South Pole, without the Tropics, without clouds and bathed in a 24 hour haze of sunshine. The reality is two icy poles and a tropical equatorial zone, with each and every square metre of our earth receiving an ever varying and different amount of energy from the sun, season to season and day to day. This reality is too difficult to input to a computer. Did you realise that?"

"If carbon dioxide really is such a danger to mankind, as the US Environmental Protection Agency would have us believe, then the upcoming Olympic Games should be cancelled, as well as all other big sporting events, as well as all road transport and all air transport and all coal- and gas-fired powerstations should be shut down. Clearly there is no need for such drastic action and clearly carbon dioxide is not dangerous at all."

"The above makes a mockery of saying that today's level is unprecedented."

"As a further rebuttal of the influence of carbon dioxide over the climate, the alleged IPCC greenhouse effect is a non-existent effect. No greenhouse, whether made from glass, plastic, cardboard or steel will reach a higher inside temperature due to the magic of re-radiated infrared energy. If it did, engineers would have long ago been able to design power stations made from air, mirrors and glass, extracting more energy out of it than was put into it - if only!"

"The periodicity in the data and the unequivocal solar linkage were not even addressed. This is not science. The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart. Heads will roll."

"Any and all schemes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are futile in terms of having an effect on global temperatures or the climate and any and all carbon trading exchanges are a fraudulent exercise amounting to no more than hidden taxation."

Above is a press release from Schreuder []. Full presentation here

Comment on the above received by email:

Courtesy of Prof. Ian Plimer, let me offer you another conundrum. The earth is approx 3.5bn years old. For half of this almost unimaginable span of time, its atmosphere was largelydevoid of O2, a statement which is scientifically uncontentious, I believe. O2 now accounts for roughly 21% by volume whilst poor old CO2 languishes at all of 0.03%.

Question - why?

Answer - because the rise of green plants and photosynthesis have sequestered carbon from CO2 and left behind good ole oxygen. Before green plants, was there a runaway greenhouse effect? To be sure, there was not - in fact, repeatedly the opposite, namely glaciation. All very odd, but for the true believer irrelevant!


It was the year 1799, during the "Dalton Minimum" when the sun was quiet that George Frederick Bollinger led a group of early pioneers from North Carolina to establish early settlements in Missouri. They hoped to cross their largest obstacle, the Mississippi River, on the ice, frozen solid in mid-winter.

The pioneers and their wagon train moved westward a few miles each day, making and breaking camp each night, fording the small streams and floating across the larger ones on rafts which they made from the nearby trees, following roads that were barely trails through forests and valleys.

They arrived on the east bank of the Mississippi River opposite St. Genevieve in late December, pitched camp and explored potential river crossings. St. Genevieve is located about a hundred miles downstream from Saint Louis. Winter had come early and the Mississippi river was already covered with ice. It was bitterly cold. They determined the ice was not yet thick enough to support a crossing of ox-carts and covered wagons. Daily the thickness of the ice was measured and then on December 31, a chopped hole in the ice indicated thickness well over two feet. They tested the ice by making a few trips across on foot and horseback. The believed the ice was thick enough to support a loaded wagon.

As a test, a wagon was selected to be driven across with no one riding and the driver would walk ahead watching the ice and leading his team. The trip across and back to camp was made without the ice cracking and preparations were made for an early crossing New Years Day.

The next morning final preparations were made to break camp and all supplies were loaded. The weather remained bitter cold with dark skies overhead and light snow falling, but the decision had been made to cross and there was no turning back. The group was devout German Reformed Protestants and they gathered together in the early cold gray dawn to seek guidance from their God for a safe crossing.

The cracking of whips like pistol shots rang out over the heads of the oxen to coax them out onto the ice; the crossing had began. All that were able, walked to lighten the loaded wagons, keeping a safe distance from the wagons, which were also spaced far apart to lessen the danger of breaking the ice. The crossing was made successfully with no mishaps, except extremely cold hands and feet.

The townsfolk of St. Genevieve had built a large fire to welcome and warm these new settlers. Safely across the Mississippi, they were relieved of their crossing fears and enjoyed the local hospitality. They exchanged news from the East for information of what they might expect ahead. Needed supplies were purchased and even the weather abated a little as the sun broke through the clouds. They settled along the Whitewater River where the soil was rich.

We are transitioning into Solar Cycle (SC) 24 and the sun has become fairly quiet. During most of the last century (SC 16-23) the sun has been in a "Grand Maxima". As a result the Earth has experience warming. But with SC 24 the sun is again changing states. From the peak year 1998, the lower Troposphere temperatures globally have already fallen around 1/2 degree Celsius. This is despite the fact that during that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen 5% from 367 ppm to 386 ppm. Several solar scientist are predicting the sun will slide into a "Dalton Minimum" event in SC 25, about a decade from now. If that happens, the Earth will experience some bitterly cold winters for several decades.

The winters may once again resemble the winters 200 years ago during the time of the early pioneers. Imagine for a minute the west fork of the White River near Bloomfield, Indiana freezing into a block of ice two feet thick.


Australian carbon plan will cause jobs carnage

THERE is a surreal aspect to the present debate about the accuracy of short to mid-term economic growth forecasts contained in the recent budget. As this debate plays out, the 76 members of the Australian Senate are preparing for a crucial vote next month on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a policy initiative the Government has described as the most substantial economic reform of the Australian economy for decades.

Yet those 76 senators will have to make their decisions on this once-in-a-generation reform without the benefit of any detailed forecasts of the scheme's short and medium-term impact. While the Government describes its Treasury modelling as the most comprehensive ever attempted, the analysis provides no forecasts on the sectoral or regional employment impacts over the first decade of the CPRS. None at all. The Treasury analysis provides intricate detail about the shift in employment shares between sectors in 2050, but nothing about what the scheme will mean for jobs in key Australian sectors between now and 2020.

Senior Treasury officials admitted this week that a limitation of its modelling is that it "doesn't capture all the transitional elements". For those unfamiliar with bureaucratic eco-jargon, a "transitional element" means someone losing their job.

In other words, the Government's premier economic agency officially has no clear sense about the near-term employment impact. This is economic policy-making with a blindfold on.

The minerals sector considers this sort of economic risk-taking is unwise at best. So we asked Australia's most experienced economic forecaster -- Brian Fisher -- to assess the impact on employment in the sector that produces about 50per cent of Australia's exports. Fisher -- a former executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics -- used the same Treasury assumptions and the same data sources used in the Treasury modelling. Unlike the Treasury, he took into account the global financial crisis. It is a sober, straightforward analysis. The results are even more sobering.

The CPRS scheme will shed 23,510 jobs in the minerals sector by 2020 and more than 66,000 by 2030. These are direct jobs. All minerals sectors will be affected, whether in coal mining, gold and base metals, alumina refining, mining services, copper, zinc, lead and aluminium smelting and so on. No state, or the Northern Territory, will be spared, no mining region will be untouched. The impact on regional Australia will be severe, including thousands of jobs in the Illawarra and the Hunter in NSW, the Bowen Basin in Queensland, remote regions in Western Australia, including the Pilbara and Kalgoorlie, South Australia, Victoria's Latrobe Valley, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

You can add to these numbers the jobs of the council workers, the school teachers, the nurses, gardeners, and employees in the hundreds of small businesses in the towns and communities that service these mining regions.

Not surprisingly, I consider these numbers should prompt a Government re-think of its CPRS legislation.

In particular, the Government has made one basic mistake. It decided that raising revenue was more important than establishing a sensible measured transition to an emissions trading scheme. It decided to auction 70 to 75 per cent of its permits from the outset of the scheme.

It is a mistake that puts the Australian scheme at odds with the European scheme and the one being developed by Barack Obama's Democratic Party in the US. The present draft of the US legislation will auction only 15 per cent of permits; that compares with 70 to 75 per cent in Australia.

That emphasis on revenue raising is at the core of the threat to job losses in Australian industry. It will mean that the CPRS will cost the mining industry $10 billion in the first five years, a cost none of our international competitors will bear. Over time, as the new analysis shows, that means a steady drain of jobs out of the industry, and out of the regional communities that depend on it.

Repairing the mistake in the CPRS will not weaken the environmental integrity of the scheme. Allocating permits without charge will not make a scheme less environmentally rigorous than if all permits are sold. But don't take my word for it. The head of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Policy (and former Clinton administration climate negotiator) Eileen Claussen told a recent congressional hearing that the "free allocation (of permits) provides the same economic incentive to reduce emissions as does an auction".

There is a simple solution. Let's do what the Europeans and Americans are doing. Let's phase in the auctioning of permits. Such an approach will establish a carbon price signal without putting the economy into reverse. It will reward firms who reduce their emissions. It will also raise sufficient revenue to ensure low and fixed income earners are not economically disadvantaged. There is no need for special treatment or compensation for certain sectors: the burden of the new scheme will be spread evenly across the economy.

We'd also have a better chance of meeting those economic growth forecasts that are front and centre of the present political debate.



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


Sunday, May 24, 2009

How sensitive is the climate to rises in CO2?

The sensitivity question is of course central. Lord Monckton answers that question at length but I like the following excerpt. Note that CO2 doubling is a fairly extreme scenario if we take into account doubts about proxy measures from the past and the levels tabulated from actual past measurements by Prof. Beck. Monckton's calculations predict a temperature rise of just over one degree from a CO2 doubling

Svante Arrhenius, the Swedish theoretical chemist and Nobel laureate, provided the first respectable quantification of climate sensitivity to a CO2 doubling in a paper of 1906, published in Vol. 1 No. 2 of the Journal of the Royal Nobel Institute, of which the relevant conclusion is reproduced in facsimile and in translation below –
"In aehnliche Weise berechne ich, dass eine Verminderung des Kohlensaeuregehalts zur Haelfte oder eine Zunahme desselben auf den doppelten Betrag Temperaturaenderungen von -1.5 C bzw. +1.6 C entsprechen wuerde"

“Likewise, I calculate that a halving or doubling of the CO2 concentration would be equivalent to changes of temperature of –1.5 K or +1.6 K respectively.”

Arrhenius, like many more recent commentators on the IPCC’s calculations, does not accord the same very high values to temperature feedbacks as does the IPCC itself. Also, the IPCC has chosen the highest value for the Planck parameter that occurs in the mainstream literature, and there are good theoretical reasons for the conclusion that its chosen value is excessive.

Making appropriate adjustments for these apparent exaggerations by the IPCC, I calculate that true climate sensitivity may well be as little as 1.1 K at CO2 doubling.

Furthermore, one must make allowance for the fact that atmospheric CO2 concentration is rising at only half the rate predicted by the IPCC, even though CO2 emissions are rising at the higher end of the IPCC’s expectations. This is because, as the IPCC’s 2001 report admits, the IPCC is unable to add up the Earth/troposphere “carbon budget” to within a factor of two of the right answer.

The hydrosphere and biosphere – perhaps through increased rates of photosynthesis – are taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and “fixing” it faster than the IPCC had expected. Figure 1 illustrates the discrepancy

CO2 concentration is rising, but well below IPCC predictions

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Report states there is no anthropogenic global warming

In May 2006 we were told, with the most alarming language possible, that humans were causing the planet to warm with their use of Carbon based fuels. We must follow all of the recommendations of the IPCC report coming out in 2007 or humanity's existence on earth would end. We were told that we must do something now, in order to prevent the deaths of untold millions, and the loss of humanity’s very ability to survive on earth. We must start taxing "Global warming Gasses" in order to stop their production, no matter the human cost!

It’s a complete lie. The IPCC – the International Panel on Climate Change is a committee with an agenda, and one it was pre-programmed to execute. It was designed from the outset, from its very beginnings to come up with a specific result. This is in direct contradiction to every principle of real science, the aim of which is to describe reality as it is, not reality as one wishes it to be.

To illustrate this, in 1995 the IPCC completely ignored Satellite evidence, very clear evidence, that there was no warming according to a report from the Heartland Institute Released in 2008. The full pdf. is titled Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate The institute claims, and is backed by anecdotal reports that the IPCC changed portions of the text of its report to make it appear that humans were the cause of the warming they artificially detected, or in other words, manufactured. Also attributed to the Heartland Institute’s report, the IPCC ignored further data confirming the lack of warming – if not showing a slight cooling – that became available after the May 2006 deadline.

The report the column speaks of is the NIPCC. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. A completely independent examination of all the evidence available in published peer-reviewed literature. They included every single piece or evidence available to them, positive and negative, they did not select research that proved their predetermined result as the IPCC did. They went through everything. Their conclusion, there is no human caused global warming.

“The 1995 IPCC report was notorious for the significant alterations made to the text after it was approved by the scientists – in order to convey the impression of a human influence. The 2001 IPCC report claimed the twentieth century showed ‘unusual warming’ based on the now-discredited hockey-stick graph. The latest IPCC report, published in 2007, completely devaluates the climate contributions from changes in solar activity, which are likely to dominate any human influence”

For anyone who has any sort of intellectual honesty at all, the report from the Heartland Institute is a MUST read. Dr. Fred S. Singer who conceived and directed the NIPCC project is an honored and decorated scientist. His Raison d'être is truth, not political machinations, or power. He is deeply concerned by the absolute mis-use of science in what has now become a multi-billion dollar business, that is based on what amounts to a hoax.

"The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC [IPCC-AR4 200 "When new errors and outright falsehoods were observed in the initial drafts of AR4(The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC [IPCC-AR4 2007]), SEPP [Science and Environmental Policy Project] set up a ‘Team B’ to produce an independent evaluation of the available scientific evidence. While the initial organization took place at a meeting in Milan in 2003, ‘Team B’ was activated only after the AR4 SPM appeared in February 2007. It changed its name to NIPCC and organized an international climate workshop in Vienna in April 2007."

This group of scientists, who have looked at all available evidence, from satellite to very unreliable ground temperature readings to historical records, concludes correctly; if Human governments are going to be institution policies that will drastically affect the lives of its citizens, and the Waxman-Markley Cap and trade energy bill is without a doubt just that, then it must be utterly certain of the science that backs the supporting reasons for the existence of the legislation.

This report states unequivocally that there is zero evidence of man-made global warming. We are about to kill a Nation, literally for hot air that does not exist.

But wait, there more: In an article titled Proved: there is No Climate Crisis written by Robert Ferguson July 15th 2008, he reports on mathematical proof “that there is no “climate crisis”.

“Christopher Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, demonstrates via 30 equations that computer models used by the UN’s climate panel (IPCC) were pre-programmed with overstated values for the three variables whose product is “climate sensitivity” (temperature increase in response to greenhouse-gas increase), resulting in a 500-2000% overstatement of CO2’s effect on temperature in the IPCC’s latest climate assessment report, published in 2007.”

"Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered demonstrates that later this century a doubling of the concentration of CO2 compared with pre-industrial levels will increase global mean surface temperature not by the 6 °F predicted by the IPCC but, harmlessly, by little more than 1 °F. Lord Monckton concludes – “… Perhaps real-world climate sensitivity is very much below the IPCC’s estimates. Perhaps, therefore, there is no ‘climate crisis’ at all. … The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.” "

Considering the likely ramifications of Waxman-Markley Cap and trade energy bill, indeed, we must have the fortitude to re-examine honestly all of the information available to us.

For those of you who believe whole heartedly in Man-made Global warming, then these reports are a must read for you. They are peer reviewed documents based in fact. If you are supporting legislation that will wreck such economic devastation not only on your fellow Americans but also on yourself, it should be read so that you can counter those who do not believe in global warming caused by man. Because you will have some explaining to do. Be cautioned however, upon reading them, you will find yourself starting to realize that you have been had. On a Global scale.

Human caused Legislation like the Waxman-Markley Cap and trade energy bill will do more harm to more people in a year, than human caused Global Warming will in the next century. It is nothing short of a massive money stealing scheme made by our Governement to pay for the whorish excesses of the last 6 months. Now that is an inconvenient truth.


Climate bill 'badly flawed' -- 'It would be difficult to implement even in Sweden' -- 'It's not too late to change our minds'

Something very important has been happening this week -- more important, if you can believe it, than what Nancy Pelosi knew about waterboarding or why Kris Allen scored his upset victory on "American Idol."

I refer to the marathon committee markup on Capitol Hill of a monster piece of legislation that promises to reduce by 83 percent over the next 40 years the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from American cars, power plants and factories.

There remains a robust argument over whether the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 represents a crucial step in preserving life as we know it. But there is no question that there are few pieces of legislation that are likely to have a more profound effect on the U.S. economy. It would bring about dramatic changes in the relative prices of energy and goods produced by energy-hungry industries. It would redistribute trillions of dollars in business sales and household income and generate hundreds of billions in government revenue. And it would represent the most dramatic extension of government's regulatory powers into the workings of the economy since the early days of the New Deal.

For all that, there are probably not more than a few hundred people who really understand what's in this legislation, how it would work and what its impact is likely to be. As it moves through the legislative process, it's worthy of closer attention.

Given the bill's scope and complexity, just getting it out of committee is a monumental achievement on the part of its principal authors, Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts. To do so, they had to make numerous compromises and concessions to powerful special interests and regional voting blocs that would be most affected by the transition to a system in which companies and consumers are forced to pay, indirectly, for the environmental damage they cause. Waxman and Markey are wily and experienced politicians, so it is a fair assumption that the bill their committee passed last night in a 33-25 vote is pretty close to what the U.S. political system is now willing to accept.

The other thing to say about it is that it is a badly flawed piece of public policy. It is so broad in its reach and complex in its details that it would be difficult to implement even in Sweden, let alone in a diverse and contentious country like the United States. It would create dozens of new government agencies with broad powers to set standards, dole out rebates and tax subsidies, and pick winning and losing technologies, even as it relies on newly created markets with newly created regulators to set prices and allocate resources. Its elaborate allocation of pollution allowances and offsets reads like a parody of industrial policy authored by the editorial page writers of the Wall Street Journal. The opportunities for waste, fraud and regulatory screwup look enormous.

To test my reaction to the House bill, I called Paul Portney, an old friend and the former president of Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank that brings economic rigor and a market sensibility to environmental issues. Portney is now dean of the University of Arizona's business school.

As Portney explained it, there are three basic approaches to reducing carbon emissions. The simplest is to impose a carbon tax that would raise prices so much that households and businesses would use less energy from coal, oil and natural gas. Proceeds from the tax could be rebated to consumers or used for other government purposes.

Another is the cap-and-trade system that would limit carbon emissions and require companies that produce or use carbon energy to buy carbon emission credits from the government or an open market.

A third approach would use a command-and-control model in which government would set carbon emission standards for power plants and factories, and energy-efficiency standards for cars, buildings and appliances, while favoring other energy sources with tax breaks and subsidies.

The problem with the House bill, Portney said, is that to satisfy the various political constituencies and exigencies, it wound up using all three approaches. The result is an unwieldy compromise with lots of belt-and-suspenders redundancy.

The Waxman-Markey bill may be the best bill that the political system can produce, and surely it is far preferable to doing nothing. But now that we know what a climate-change bill looks like when it is jury-rigged to accommodate all the special interests, maybe Americans will be willing to reconsider one of the cleaner, simpler approaches -- a carbon tax with all the revenue rebated to households, for example, or a cap-and-trade system that generates enough revenue to erase the national debt, or even a tough new regulatory regime requiring businesses to produce more fuel-efficient cars, buildings and appliances.

It's not too late to change our minds.


Climate change “morality”

The climate “crisis” is a “moral issue that requires serious debate,” Al Gore proclaimed in an April 27 blog post. His conversion to the Anglo-American tradition of robust debate came a mere three days after the ex-VP refused to participate in a congressional hearing with Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Republicans had invited Monckton to counter Gore’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But Gore froze like a terrified deer in headlights, and Chairman Henry Waxman told the UK climate expert he was uninvited. Their hypocritical cowardice simply reflects a recognition that their entire energy rationing crusade would collapse if they ever allowed real debate.

Monckton would have focused on the science. But is morality that truly requires serious debate. Climate Armageddon claims are being used to justify malignant policies that have no rational basis.

Global average temperatures stabilized in 1998 and have even cooled slightly, despite steadily rising CO2 levels. Except in its Western Peninsula, Antarctica is gaining ice. Arctic ice is seasonably normal. Land-based temperature data have been corrupted by air conditioner exhausts and other heat sources.

Scientists are hard-pressed to point to long-term state or country climate trends that differ from historic experience and can reasonably be linked to anthropogenic global warming. Merely asserting that obesity causes warming or increased house cat populations are due to warming does not make it so.

Even more devastating to alarmist claims, long-held assumptions about the deep Atlantic counter-current below the Gulf Stream (the so-called “conveyor belt”) have been rendered inoperable by recent studies. Those assumptions are a fundamental component of climate models and their scary worst-case scenarios about alleged planetary crises. The models and GIGO scenarios are now even more questionable. Yet, they’re constantly portrayed as “evidence” – “proof” that immediate, drastic action is required to avert disaster. Nonsense. Climate changes and their causes are complex, our knowledge is still limited, and the inputs and assumptions are deficient.

Climate models are no more reliable than computer predictions of future Super Bowl winners and scores. Their Frankenstein scenarios are no more valid as a basis for law and policy than the special effects in Day After Tomorrow or Jurassic Park.

Worse, even the 942-page Waxman-Markey climate bill’s absurd target – a 17% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and 83% by 2050 – would have no detectable benefits, even if CO2 does cause climate change. Research climatologist Paul “Chip” Knappenberger calculates that even these draconian measures would result in global temperatures rising a mere 0.1 degrees F less by 2050 than doing nothing, mostly because Chinese and Indian emissions would quickly dwarf America’s job-killing reductions.

Perhaps that’s why China and South Africa want developed nations to slash carbon emissions 40% by 2020 – and give poor countries $200 billion annually, to help them cope with global warming’s imagined disasters. Bolivia wants $700 billion a year. Our children will get the bill for that, too.

None of this apparently matters to congressional leaders, Climate Action Partnership members or other professional alarmists and rent seekers. If anything, it has spurred them into even hastier action, to transform America’s energy and economic system, regardless of the consequences. Waxman-Markey was approved by the E&C Committee May 21 on a 95% party-line vote.

Above all, they want to replace vile hydrocarbons with wind power. That would require $$$ billions in taxpayer subsidies; hundreds of thousands of turbines, across millions of acres of scenic land, habitats and sea lanes; thousands of miles of transmission lines and towers; and billions of tons of concrete, steel, copper and fiberglass – plus raw materials and natural gas for backup generators.

Spain’s experience should be cautionary, but probably won’t be. According to a study by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, Spanish taxpayers spent $800,000 for each new job in the wind turbine industry (mostly installing towering turbines) – and destroyed 2.2 regular jobs for each “green” job, primarily because pricey “renewable” electricity forced companies to lay off workers, to stay in business.

A recent Lauer Johnson Research poll found 78% of respondents saying even a $600 per year increase in utility bills would be a “hardship.” They should be so lucky.

Compared to no cap-and-tax regime, Waxman-Markey would cost the United States a cumulative $9.6 trillion in real GDP losses by 2035, according to an updated study by the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. The bill would also cost an additional 1.1 million jobs each year, raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for inflation, cause a 74% hike in inflation-adjusted gasoline prices, and add $1,500 to the average family’s annual energy bill, says Heritage.

The Congressional Budget Office says the poorest one-fifth of families could see annual energy costs rise $700 – while high income families could see their costs rise $2,200 a year. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that the average person could pay an extra $1,500 per year for energy. MIT says household energy costs could climb $3,000 per year. Where will families find that extra cash? “What do I tell a single mom, making $8 an hour?” asked North Carolina congressman (and Congressional Black Caucus member) G. K. Butterfield.

That was a few days before he and his Democrat colleagues voted against amendments to Waxman-Markey that would have suspended the punitive law if electricity prices go up more than 10% after inflation, unemployment reaches 15% or gasoline prices hit $5. What will he tell that single mom?

Eco-activists gleefully predict that oil, gas and coal companies, utilities, vehicles and investors are destined for extinction. No wonder lobbyists have descended on Washington – over 2,300 of them just on climate change: 4.4 per member of Congress.

Some are getting $400-$850 an hour for their skill in promoting mandates, subsidies, legal measures to hobble competitors, and cap-tax-and-trade versions of the mortgage derivatives market. Al Gore alone boasts of having received $300 million (from unnamed sources) to trumpet alarmism and draconian legislation.

Colleges, scientists, activists, unions and companies receive billions in taxpayer money, to hype climate chaos claims, intimidate skeptics and lobby Congress. African bureaucrats get millions from the UN (and thus US taxpayers) to hype climate disaster claims that keep millions of Africans impoverished and deprived of the life-enhancing benefits of reliable, affordable electricity.

President Obama says the Bush Administration “made decisions based upon fear, rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.” He and his Democrat allies in Congress should take that critique to heart on global warming.

As it stands, this Congress is rapidly shaping up to be the most unethical, immoral and dictatorial in history. When the people finally rebel, it won’t be a pretty sight.


Nutty radiation scare in Scotland

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has defended the need for radiation testing at Dalgety Bay beach, following claims the contamination found there could be natural. Monitoring has been carried out on the foreshore for several years and it is widely accepted the heightened radium levels come from the remains of aircraft dials burnt and emptied out after the war.

However, pro-nuclear campaigner Neil Craig (55) believes the paint blamed for the problem is water-soluble and would have dissolved over time. He said, “SEPA are still maintaining this claim to have tested such sub-microscopic particles and proven them to be paint containing radium. “It seems like kicking an argument when it is down to mention that the original radium paint was water- soluble, so that even if a fraction of a gram had been there 64 years ago it would be long gone, Scotland not having a desert climate. “In any case, the fact is that the level of radiation is so much lower than background radiation elsewhere in Scotland. “Yet SEPA are allowed to spend probable millions on such pointless nonsense.

“This is indicative of the way false fears have been used, worldwide, for bureaucratic eco-empire building.”

Radium-based luminescent paint was typically made by mixing a radium salt, zinc sulphide and a carrier material such as varnish or lacquer. SEPA claim test results and circumstantial evidence point to the radiation being man-made and the solubility of the paint could have been altered during burning. A spokesperson said, “The radionuclide analysis of particles at Dalgety Bay showed that they contained radium and its associated daughters. “The lack of high concentrations of the higher members of the uranium-238 series is consistent with the radium being of man made origin.

“It is possible that the action of burning of luminised dials can produce a diverse range of chemical forms, each of which has a differing potential for absorption and uptake by man. “This change and resultant variability in the chemical composition caused by burning also affects the solubility, and this could be a reason why the residues of the radium are still being detected after all this time.”

Over the years many items have been recovered from the beach, including dials and a vial of active material. Small particles or flakes found there are similar to those described by a former employee who worked where the instruments were made. In March the MoD submitted its action plan to the SEPA after a survey found the radiation could provide a dose higher than safe limits. It was agreed to have additional monitoring and clearer warning signs.

Plans to cover part of the beach with a protective membrane were submitted to Fife Council by the Defence Estates department this week. The blanket will be used for a programme of identification and removal, to establish where particles are coming from.

SOURCE. (H/T Neil Craig).

Malaria, Politics and DDT

The U.N. bows to the Greenies

In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking the disease. The result is a victory for politics over public health, and millions of the world's poor will suffer as a result.

The U.N. now plans to advocate for drastic reductions in the use of DDT, which kills or repels the mosquitoes that spread malaria. The aim "is to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT worldwide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s, if not sooner," said WHO and the U.N. Environment Program in a statement on May 6.

Citing a five-year pilot program that reduced malaria cases in Mexico and South America by distributing antimalaria chloroquine pills to uninfected people, U.N. officials are ready to push for a "zero DDT world." Sounds nice, except for the facts. It's true that chloroquine has proven effective when used therapeutically, as in Brazil. But it's also true that scientists have questioned the safety of the drug as an oral prophylactic because it is toxic and has been shown to cause heart problems.

Most malarial deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where chloroquine once worked but started failing in the 1970s as the parasite developed resistance. Even if the drugs were still effective in Africa, they're expensive and thus impractical for one of the world's poorest regions. That's not an argument against chloroquine, bed nets or other interventions. But it is an argument for continuing to make DDT spraying a key part of any effort to eradicate malaria, which kills about a million people -- mainly children -- every year. Nearly all of this spraying is done indoors, by the way, to block mosquito nesting at night. It is not sprayed willy-nilly in jungle habitat.

WHO is not saying that DDT shouldn't be used. But by revoking its stamp of approval, it sends a clear message to donors and afflicted countries that it prefers more politically correct interventions, even if they don't work as well. In recent years, countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia have started or expanded DDT spraying, often with the help of outside aid groups. But these governments are also eager to remain in the U.N.'s good graces, and donors typically are less interested in funding interventions that WHO discourages.

"Sadly, WHO's about-face has nothing to do with science or health and everything to do with bending to the will of well-placed environmentalists," says Roger Bate of Africa Fighting Malaria. "Bed net manufacturers and sellers of less-effective insecticides also don't benefit when DDT is employed and therefore oppose it, often behind the scenes."

It's no coincidence that WHO officials were joined by the head of the U.N. Environment Program to announce the new policy. There's no evidence that spraying DDT in the amounts necessary to kill dangerous mosquitoes imperils crops, animals or human health. But that didn't stop green groups like the Pesticide Action Network from urging the public to celebrate World Malaria Day last month by telling "the U.S. to protect children and families from malaria without spraying pesticides like DDT inside people's homes."

"We must take a position based on the science and the data," said WHO's malaria chief, Arata Kochi, in 2006. "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual spraying. Of the dozen or so insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT." Mr. Kochi was right then, even if other WHO officials are now bowing to pressure to pretend otherwise.



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


Saturday, May 23, 2009


A word of explanation: In parts of the USA, a "snipe" is a fool or a blockhead and snipe hunting is sending someone on a fool's errand. The original snipe is a very elusive waterbird and only a skilled marksman (a sniper) has much chance of shooting one. Curiously enough, I own a car that is called a "snipe" -- a Humber Super Snipe. It is a British car and Brits are very fond of their "feathered friends" so name lots of things after birds. They even named a powerful steam locomotive after a duck! -- the "Mallard"

Being a hopeless steam buff, I cannot resist putting up below a picture of the magnificent "Mallard". It is now in a museum at York. It holds the world speed record for steam traction: 120 mph


"In principle" agreements only are the goal in Copenhagen now

U.S.-run talks on strategies for major nations to fight climate change may stop short of setting firm new targets and dates, such as 2050 goals for greenhouse gas emissions, Washington's top climate envoy said on Thursday. Todd Stern said Washington wanted major economies including China, the European Union and Russia to seek more common ground on issues such as green technology, finance and emissions cuts at talks in Paris on May 25-26.

The talks are the second among major nations accounting for about 80 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions under a plan by U.S. President Barack Obama to contribute to a new U.N. climate pact due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

Stern told Reuters that many nations viewed the meetings as "a place where actual progress may be made on issues that otherwise would hang up the (U.N.) negotiations". But Stern, who is U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, said the U.S.-run Major Economies Forum (MEF) would not necessarily seek to culminate in July with agreement on firm greenhouse gas targets and dates. "It may be that we have some numbers ... in July. The honest answer is that I don't know yet," he said in a telephone interview. A MEF summit is due on the margins of a summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations in Italy in July. Paris is the second preparatory ministerial meeting after one in Washington in April. A third is due in Mexico in June.

Asked if Washington might try to get MEF nations to agree to harden a "vision" of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 agreed by a G8 summit in Japan last year, Stern said: "I don't think it's necessarily a question of thinking about this all in terms of whether there will be a 2050 (target) as much as 'are countries going to move towards agreeing a set of principles of the kind that will advance the ball in Copenhagen?'



California Rep. Henry Waxman has spent most of the year catering to the concerns of other Democrats on his Energy and Commerce Committee. Now it's everyone else's turn. Waxman won a long-sought legislative victory Thursday night with committee approval of his sweeping climate-change bill. But the nimble chairman still has to get over some rocky terrain before the bill - or one like it - ever becomes law.

In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel is threatening to sit on the legislation until his panel approves health care reform, and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is leading a rebellion by rural Democrats who believe the bill would create enormous new burdens for farmers and ranchers.

And the Senate is ... well, the Senate. "This stuff is going no place in the Senate," a frustrated Peterson told reporters on Thursday. "They can do whatever they want with this, but I can tell you, there is no way this is going to pass."



US Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the US will not be able to cut greenhouse emissions as much as it should due to domestic political opposition.

Prof Chu told BBC News he feared the world might be heading towards a tipping point on climate change. This meant the US had to cut emissions urgently - even if compromises were needed to get new laws approved.

Environmentalists said Prof Chu, a Nobel physicist, should be guided by science not politics. The American political system is in the throes of a fierce battle over climate policy. President Barack Obama says he wants cuts in greenhouse gases but has left it to Congress to make the political running. The House of Representatives is debating a climate and energy bill but even if it passes it may be rejected by senators, many of whom are funded by the energy industry.

Prof Chu is a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a world expert on clean energy. But he said it was impossible to ignore political reality. "With each successive year the news on climate change has not been good and there's a growing sensation that the world and the US in particular has to get moving," he said. "As someone very concerned about climate I want to be as aggressive as possible but I also want to get started. And if we say we want something much more aggressive on the early timescales that would draw considerable opposition and that would delay the process for several years.

The US energy secretary said that awareness of climate tipping points had increased greatly only in the past five years. He added: "But if I am going to say we need to do much, much better I am afraid the US won't get started."

To the anger of environmentalists, he said that one compromise would be approving new coal-fired power plants without obliging them to capture and store their carbon. The UK government has made this a stipulation for new coal plants but Prof Chu declined to explain why the US government would not follow suit.


What Obama’s cap-and-trade policies would result in, if enacted

Throughout his presidential campaign, Barack Obama pledged to address the “crisis” of anthropogenic global warming. Since taking office his cabinet appointments and policy initiatives have not disappointed those who believe such a crisis exists and that America should act boldly and decisively on this front.

In his February 24 address to the nation, Obama said, “I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.” About a month later, Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) obliged by introducing the cleverly titled “America’s Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” (ACES) on March 31.

The legislation, which hinges on the cap-and-trade regimen favored by the president and key members of his administration, is currently working its way through various committees and subcommittees in the House of Representatives, though many pundits wonder aloud whether it has any chance ever to reach the Senate floor.

In addition to his cap-and-trade proposal and the ACES bill, both the stimulus legislation and the president’s 2010 budget contain heavy incentives to move America away from fossil fuel-based energy (the energy form that enabled America to become the envy of the world in terms of standard of living). Obama and his followers on the environmental left promise that this new era of CO2 control and alternative energy development will “save us from the ravages of climate change,” will create “green jobs,” will enable America to lead the world in clean energy production, and are central to our emergence from the current deep recession.

But are these policies really the economic lifeline for America and a benefit to the planetary environment they have been portrayed to be by the administration and its neo-environmentalist supporters?

Huge New Tax Burdens

When he initially laid out his CO2 cap-and-trade policy, the president stated publicly his expectation that it would raise “revenue” (read: tax) of approximately $650 billion over eight years. But in a briefing to Senate staffers in late February, Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council and an Obama staffer, said the administration actually believed it could raise two to three times that amount through the cap-and-trade program during that period.

All credible analyses of the costs of a cap-and-trade approach to controlling CO2 emissions suggest it will cost the world 1 to 4 percent of global GDP. The United States is an approximately $14 trillion annual GDP economy. So for America, 1 percent = $140 billion annually, 2 percent = $280 billion annually, 3 percent = $420 billion annually, and 4 percent = $560 billion annually.

Supporters of cap-and-trade have endlessly attacked the 1 to 4 percent of GDP figure, but the Obama administration’s own number uttered by Furman seems to kill their argument. Using even two times his publicly stated figure of $646 billion over eight years (which works out to more than $160 billion per year), even Obama admits that estimates of the cost of cap-and-trade in this range are realistic.

Thus it is pointless to argue the administration’s numbers vs. the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers vs. any number of calculations from top, credible environmental economists across the world (and there are plenty). In terms of what matters domestically, the Obama administration essentially concedes that annual costs in the range of 1 to 4 percent of America’s GDP are just the freight we have to pay. Thank you for confirming this for us, Mr. Furman.

No Benefits

Since we now have a basic understanding of the costs of Obama’s cap-and-trade policy, it seems appropriate to try and understand the potential benefits. Here too, the peer-reviewed literature helps.

If all Annex I and II nations had signed the Kyoto Protocol, implemented it, met their CO2 emissions reduction targets, and extended these protections in perpetuity, the most likely difference this would make to planetary temperatures by the year 2100 vs. business as usual would be approximately .13 to .20 degrees Celsius. In case you missed the decimal, that’s less than a quarter of a degree Celsius, 91 years from now, at a cost of 1 to 4 percent of global GDP. And that means 1 to 4 percent of global GDP not once but annually, from now until the Earth explodes from “global warming” or humanity comes to its senses.

Feel free to fact check these figures. In fact, start with the high church of global warming policy, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), because their own estimates are within this range.

Currently, global annual GDP is approximately $50 trillion. Ergo, 1 percent = $500 billion annually, 2 percent = $1 trillion annually, 3 percent = $1.5 trillion annually, 4 percent = $2.0 trillion annually. (As an aside, ask yourself this question: What could be done to improve the environment and the lot of humanity for this amount of money--or even a fraction of it--each year, every year?)

But alas, these cost/benefit figures assume all Annex I and II nations implement Kyoto, meet their CO2 emissions reduction targets, and extend those reductions in perpetuity. If we assume that China, India, and Brazil will not implement such policies (and they already have indicated they won’t, as their bigger priority is pulling millions out of poverty, a goal technologically and financially incompatible with restricting CO2 emissions), the calculated benefit to global temperatures from just the current Kyoto signatories continuing their efforts, plus adding the United States using the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade plan, is even less than .13 to .20 degrees Celsius.

If it were clear that taking such drastic measures would surely avert a planetary crisis, there might be an argument for spending such enormous amounts, because the cost/benefit tradeoff would be obvious. But alas, computer models are not clear evidence of harm from anthropogenic CO2 (they are merely predictions) and no such hard evidence exists. In fact, much evidence to the contrary has been known to scientists for many years, and more arrives almost daily.

At less than a quarter of a degree Celsius by the year 2100--an amount which cannot even be differentiated from natural climate variability--taking such measures today “for future generations” makes no sense at all. In fact, ironically enough, it fits precisely the term Al Gore has used to brand those who disagree with him: “morally reprehensible.”

Huge Drag on Economy

It is thus clear that the Obama administration’s cap and trade policy will be (a) environmentally inconsequential and (b) extremely costly. The administration also claims that cap-and-trade is a key to our economic growth and emergence from the current deep recession. But in addition to the direct cost (expressed above as a percentage of annual GDP), there is a substantial indirect cost to the economy that is conveniently overlooked by many proponents of cap-and-trade policy.

No one on the environmental left suggests with a straight face that cap-and-trade won’t raise energy prices; actually, most proponents are rather proud of this fact and say “that’s exactly the point.” Raising energy prices has a demonstrable negative effect on economic growth. This is not just a computer model projection or hypothesis; it has been proven true in the real world over and over again. Witness the drag on the U.S. economy caused by high energy prices in the past, including as recently as the summer of 2008. Since it is a foregone conclusion that cap-and-trade will raise energy prices, it is safe to bet the farm that such a policy will have a long-term negative effect on U.S. GDP growth, in addition to the direct cost in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

Annual U.S. GDP growth in the twentieth century averaged approximately 3 percent in real dollars. If we hinder this growth by even 1 percent of total GDP (one-third of our average GDP growth) through a cap-and-trade CO2 policy, as many credible analyses show, it is difficult to see how such a policy can be viewed as creating future economic growth and a way out of the current recession.

Inefficient Pursuit of Other Goals

Obama and left-leaning environmentalists also portray cap-and-trade as a means of creating “green” jobs. However, academic analyses of the potential green jobs created by the administration’s cap-and-trade proposal, the green jobs elements of the recently passed stimulus bill, potential green jobs related to Obama’s renewable energy standard preferences (25 percent of electricity from renewables by 2025), and the experiences with green job creation in many European Union countries all suggest that using such means to create job growth is a net negative to society.

A recently released study from Spain’s Juan Carlos University on Spain’s renewable energy initiatives, for example, found that for every “green” job that was created, 2.2 “dirty” jobs were destroyed. Yet Obama regularly holds Spain out as a shining example of the “green jobs” policy he favors.

Punishing fossil fuel-based energy, closing coal-fired power plants, shifting to alternative forms of energy with much higher costs, and transforming 100 years of energy use patterns overnight with the stroke of a pen will eliminate many jobs in the power and utility, heavy manufacturing, steel, cement, and other energy-intensive industries. Many of these jobs will simply head to countries without strict CO2 emissions regulation.

In effect, we will have willingly created a situation where the United States experiences net job losses and at the same time exports “carbon leakage,” where domestic CO2 reductions are more than offset by increases in emissions in another country, hampering our economy while helping the economies of developing countries (some of which, like China, are direct competitors). And we will have done so in the hope of an environmentally inconsequential effect on the planet’s climate that we will fail to achieve.

Finally, the Obama administration portrays its cap-and-trade proposal as a critical means of funding “alternative energy research and development.” Spending a portion of GDP to develop future low- or no-carbon energy supplies that lessen our dependence on foreign oil would likely be a good thing for America, even if it provides no meaningful effect on global climate. But is a cap-and-trade policy the best means of providing funds for this purpose?

The initial figures coming from the Obama administration suggested that $646 billion in “revenue” (read: taxes) would be raised via its cap-and-trade proposal for the period 2012-2019, and that $150 billion of this would be dedicated to clean energy R&D. That means only 23 percent of the cap-and-trade tax money will go to alternative energy R&D. Regardless of whether we use the administration’s figures, the Congressional Budget Office’s figures, or any other analysis to arrive at the total direct cost (the so-called “revenue”), we can assume that 23 percent of the actual revenue will go to fund alternative energy R&D if Obama gets his way.

By his own administration’s measure, then, every dollar spent on alternative energy R&D will cost us $4.35 under Obama’s cap-and-trade plan. If we want to spend $15 billion or so per year on alternative energy R&D--a wholly worthwhile pursuit at some level of expenditure--wouldn’t we be better off directly burdening the U.S. economy to the tune of $15 billion per year than $81 billion per year (or as much as $240 billion per year by Mr. Furman’s own admission)?

Real Agenda: Redistribution of Wealth

All of this brings us right back to the title of this article. Is Obama’s cap-and-trade policy for controlling CO2 emissions and saving the planet “from the ravages of climate change” (his words, certainly not mine), creating “green jobs,” and reconstituting America as the global epicenter of clean energy really a lifeline or a noose? Before we decide, let us quickly review:

We have credible evidence suggesting the president’s cap-and-trade policy won’t affect the global temperature in any amount distinguishable from natural climate variability, with or without the participation of China, India, and Brazil.

We have the Obama administration itself telling Senate staffers that the real direct cost of this policy is within the range of 1 to 4 percent of U.S. GDP every year.

We have credible analyses suggesting we will lose one or more “dirty” jobs for every “green” job we create (no net gain, possibly worse).

By the administration’s own figures, only 23 percent of the tax money raised via cap-and-trade will go towards alternative energy R&D.

Hidden Agenda?

Since cap and trade won’t fix “global warming,” will be very costly for a minuscule (if any) climatic benefit, won’t be a net job creator for the U.S., and is a poor means of funding alternative energy R&D, might there be something else going on here? The answer lies in the numbers.

If 23 percent of the tax money raised from Obama’s cap-and-trade policy is going toward alternative energy R&D, then 77 percent is going somewhere else. Where is all that money going? Most of it is going to two specific purposes.

First, a significant portion of this 77 percent will come right off the top and be used to fund the new gargantuan bureaucracy to administer CO2 emissions regulations and the cap-and-trade program itself. During the debate over Lieberman-Warner-Boxer last summer, it became obvious that 40 or more new agencies, departments, or other edifices of government would have to be created to administer the program. CO2 emissions allowances have to be calculated, tracked, and enforced. The legislation would create an entirely new government commodities market in CO2 emissions allowances out of thin air, and that would require regulation, monitoring, and other administrative efforts. These examples merely scratch the surface.

Second, as has become obvious over the past two months, the administration plans to use something on the order of 50 to 70 percent of the revenue raised from his cap-and-trade plan to directly provide “middle class” tax cuts, much of them to people who are already essentially net tax consumers rather than net sources of tax revenue.

All of this is to say that what’s really going on here isn’t about saving the planet, efficiently funding alternative energy R&D, creating green jobs, or helping America emerge from the current recession. What it is really about is using the Teflon shield of environmental apocalypse as one of many means to pay for Obama’s wealth redistribution agenda. As an added benefit, neo-environmentalists love cap-and-trade because it puts the brakes on economic growth, redirects America away from consumerism (which they blame for all planetary ills), and shifts more power to the government. A “three-fer,” if you will.

Are we really in a position right now to impose a huge added cost on society, burden our economic recovery, drive more manufacturing jobs overseas, and pay for tax breaks for people who don’t pay taxes, all for something that is inconsequential to the planet’s climate?

America may need a lifeline, but what it doesn’t need is to be sold a lifeline that turns out to be a noose.



It is probably not generally recognized, but the Chinese have an excellent sense of humour. I suspect that they having a great laugh over all this. They are hoisting the West with its own petard

China adopted a hard line yesterday ahead of climate change negotiations, calling on rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels and help pay for reduction schemes in poorer countries. Beijing reiterated its belief that developing countries, including China, should curb emissions on a voluntary basis, and only if the cuts "accord with their national situations and sustainable development strategies".

It also demanded that developed countries be bound to give at least 0.5-1.0 per cent of their annual economic worth to help poorer countries, including China, to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with global warming

Although it only spells out China's initial bargaining position, the strident stance will encourage other developing nations to take tougher positions. It will not be welcomed in Washington and Brussels, where policymakers yesterday made tackling climate change a central theme in bilateral talks with Beijing.

China's proposals are one of a series of demands made by developing countries as part of this year's crucial climate change talks. Formal negotiations begin officially on June 1 in Bonn, with three or more meetings to follow before the final summit in Copenhagen in December to forge a successor to the Kyoto protocol. Other developing nations have asked for higher percentages of the rich world's GDP to be transferred to poorer countries and have demanded emissions cuts of up to 80 per cent by 2020 from certain rich nations.

Officials in Europe and the US privately dismissed the Chinese demands as posturing. "They're hoping that if you ask for 1 per cent, you may get a small fraction of a per cent," said one.

China had taken a more helpful stance at the negotiating table - by discussing the many measures the Chinese government had taken - and had promised to take on improving energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy.

Rich countries accept that China, India and other emerging economies will not agree to absolute cuts in emissions in the medium term. But before they agree to finance packages to help poor countries tackle global warming, they want commitments from those countries to curb their emissions so that they do not rise to the levels they would reach under "business as usual". China's unwillingness to offer early concessions could signal a tough road ahead for policymakers who hoped progress on this issue could lead to breakthroughs on other topics, such as trade, human rights and the military build up in Asia.



By David Whitehouse

It is very interesting to see today's story on BBC News Online about BSE/CJD "vCJD carrier risk overestimated.". It is the latest in a long line of similar assessments of the vCJD situation.

After many years of sporadic interest the BSE/vCJD story took off in 1996 after an admission in parliament by the health minister that there was a link between BSE contaminated meat and a new strain of the degenerative vCJD brain disease that had afflicted a handful of people. Initially, few people knew anything definite about the disease and its possible progression and, depending upon assumptions, computer models predicted anything from a small number of people being affected to a large fraction of the population. While such uncertainty existed it was right for journalists to reflect the scientific situation but as I was science correspondent for BBC Radio at the time, I soon began to realise the tension between science and journalism and the changing approach to science within BBC News at the time.

In terms of news the potential for a modern day catastrophic plague is a much 'better' story than the possibility that nothing much more will happen. So whilst the uncertainty persisted that was the story that was emphasised with the appropriate caveats. However, it soon became clear to most scientists at least that a major catastrophe was not in the making. The increase in numbers afflicted, despite the unknown incubation of the disease, was not increasing as some predicted, but that fact was inconvenient to some and did not impinge on our general approach to the story.

In such circumstances I took the view that journalists should stay close to the data and not let the scientific possibilities, however dramatic and 'newsworthy,' obscure what was actually happening, especially when those possibilities rested on a cascade of debateable assumptions being fed into a computer model that had been tweaked to hindcast previous data. It was not a point of view taken by other arms of the BBC one part of which was repeatedly promoting the same scare story coming out of one institution based on said computer models and predictions. I believed that taking a sober approach was the right one, especially for the BBC, which was looked to for responsible reporting. Wanting to get on air with a story and make an impression with editors and management was one thing, but I took the view that a journalist should not tailor the science to suit ones ambitions, or survival, that way. The political journalist John Sergeant summed it up when he said that there were many journalists who reported what they could get away with rather than what they know.

My approach was not favoured by the BBC at the time and I was severely criticised in 1998 and told I was wrong and not reporting the BSE/vCJD story correctly. But with hindsight I was correct in my approach. To date the total number of people afflicted with BSE/vCJD remains very small. In fact, far smaller than many illnesses that never get a mention in the media, and the scientific doom mongers have moved onto new pastures. But the attitude towards science still remains at the BBC and has been evident in its evangelical, inconsistent climate change reporting and its narrow, shallow and sparse reporting on other scientific issues.

Reporting the consensus about climate change (and we all know about the debate about what is a consensus in the IPCC era) is not synonymous with good science reporting. The BBC is at an important point. It has been narrow minded about climate change for many years and they have become at the very least a cliché and at worst lampooned as being predictable and biased by a public that doesn't believe them anymore.

Times are changing. New data is emerging, the world refuses to warm in the past decade, the sun becomes quiet, and scientists are beginning to study themselves investigating how entrenched positions become established and whether consensus is a realistic concept. History and science will always correct things in the end. It has done so with vCJD and it is not impossible that the judgement of history and science on current environmental reporting will be the same.



By Bjorn Lomborg

Some business leaders are cozying up with politicians and scientists to demand swift, drastic action on global warming. This is a new twist on a very old practice: companies using public policy to line their own pockets.

The tight relationship between the groups echoes the relationship among weapons makers, researchers and the U.S. military during the Cold War. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned about the might of the "military-industrial complex," cautioning that "the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." He worried that "there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."

This is certainly true of climate change. We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test. We must ask whether a "climate-industrial complex" is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.

This phenomenon will be on display at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen this weekend. The organizers -- the Copenhagen Climate Council -- hope to push political leaders into more drastic promises when they negotiate the Kyoto Protocol's replacement in December.

The opening keynote address is to be delivered by Al Gore, who actually represents all three groups: He is a politician, a campaigner and the chair of a green private-equity firm invested in products that a climate-scared world would buy.

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking."



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


Friday, May 22, 2009

As Alaska Glaciers Melt, It’s Land That’s Rising

The story below reminds me of a study I saw a few years ago (too busy to track it down) which looked at what would happen if the Antarctic ice DID all melt. We would lose the margins of the existing continents but we would gain a whole new usable continent, Antarctica -- which is roughly the size of the continental USA. That plus the gains of habitability in Siberia, Greenland and Northern Canada could well mean no net loss of quality habitable area.

The much increased rainfall from a warmer climate would also mean no deserts. Deserts at the moment occupy a considerable proportion of the earth's land area. But could humans stand a hot climate of frequent heavy rains? I know they could. Where I grew up in tropical Australia, we averaged 7 yards of rain per year. Yet our lifestyle was little different from anyone else's. We just wore raincoats a lot.

Note below that there is no attempt to separate out tectonic and glacial effects. Could the whole of the rise be due to tectonic movements?

Global warming conjures images of rising seas that threaten coastal areas. But in Juneau, as almost nowhere else in the world, climate change is having the opposite effect: As the glaciers here melt, the land is rising, causing the sea to retreat. Morgan DeBoer, a property owner, opened a nine-hole golf course at the mouth of Glacier Bay in 1998, on land that was underwater when his family first settled here 50 years ago. “The highest tides of the year would come into what is now my driving range area,” Mr. DeBoer said.

Now, with the high-tide line receding even farther, he is contemplating adding another nine holes. “It just keeps rising,” he said.

The geology is complex, but it boils down to this: Relieved of billions of tons of glacial weight, the land has risen much as a cushion regains its shape after someone gets up from a couch. The land is ascending so fast that the rising seas — a ubiquitous byproduct of global warming — cannot keep pace. As a result, the relative sea level is falling, at a rate “among the highest ever recorded,” according to a 2007 report by a panel of experts convened by Mayor Bruce Botelho of Juneau.

Greenland and a few other places have experienced similar effects from widespread glacial melting that began more than 200 years ago, geologists say. But, they say, the effects are more noticeable in and near Juneau, where most glaciers are retreating 30 feet a year or more. As a result, the region faces unusual environmental challenges. As the sea level falls relative to the land, water tables fall, too, and streams and wetlands dry out. Land is emerging from the water to replace the lost wetlands, shifting property boundaries and causing people to argue about who owns the acreage and how it should be used. And meltwater carries the sediment scoured long ago by the glaciers to the coast, where it clouds the water and silts up once-navigable channels.

A few decades ago, large boats could sail regularly along Gastineau Channel between Downtown Juneau and Douglas Island, to Auke Bay, a port about 10 miles to the northwest. Today, much of the channel is exposed mudflat at low tide. “There is so much sediment coming in from the Mendenhall Glacier and the rivers — it has basically silted in,” said Bruce Molnia, a geologist at the United States Geological Survey who studies Alaskan glaciers. Already, people can wade across the channel at low tide — or race across it, as they do in the Mendenhall Mud Run. At low tide, the navigation buoys rest on mud.

Eventually, as the land rises and the channel silts up, Douglas Island will be linked to the mainland by dry land, said Eran Hood, a hydrologist at the University of Alaska Southeast and an author of the 2007 report, “Climate Change: Predicted Impacts on Juneau.” When that happens, Dr. Hood said, the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, 4,000 acres of boggy habitat, will be lost. “That wetland will have nowhere else to go,” he said.

In some places along the coast, the change has been so rapid that kayakers whose charts are not up-to-the-minute can find themselves carrying their boats over shoals that are now so high and dry they now support grass or even small trees. In and around Juneau, “you can walk around and see what was underwater is turning into grassland and eventually into forest,” Dr. Hood said.

The topographical changes have threatened crucial ecosystems and even locally vital species like salmon. “The lifeblood of our region has been salmon species and their return — and what is the impact when they return and the streams are dry?” said Mayor Botelho, who was born and raised in Juneau. “The salmon is bound to our identity as a region, who we are.” He said he did not think that any species were in imminent danger, but added, “Anyone who is following climate change has to see that there are risks, perhaps great ones.”

Dr. Hood said many people in Juneau had hoped to maintain a waterway called Duck Creek as a salmon stream. But small streams like that “appear to be drying out,” he said. “There are a lot of people in town saying, Let’s just let it return to a greenway.” Relative to the sea, land here has risen as much as 10 feet in little more than 200 years, according to the 2007 report. As global warming accelerates, the land will continue to rise, perhaps three more feet by 2100, scientists say.

The rise is further fueled by the movement of the tectonic plates that form the earth’s crust. As the Pacific plate pushes under the North American plate, Juneau and its hilly Tongass National Forest environs rise still more. “When you combine tectonics and glacial readjustment, you get rates that are incomprehensible,” Dr. Molnia said. In Gustavus, where Mr. DeBoer’s property is, the land is rising almost three inches a year, Dr. Molnia said, making it “the fastest-rising place in North America.”

In addition to expanding the golf course, Mr. DeBoer is negotiating with the Nature Conservancy to preserve some of the newly emergent land. He can do both, he said, because the high tide line has pushed almost a mile out to sea since his family first homesteaded on the property. Where the shoreline is relatively flat, “it doesn’t take much uplift to make quite a bit of difference,” Mr. DeBoer said.


Arctic Comedy: Global warming trek 'makes it less than half way' to North Pole due to temps dropping below -40C!

News summaries below:

Global warming trek 'makes it less than half way' to North Pole due to temps dropping below -40C! – UK Guardian – May 13, 2009

Excerpt: The team of four trekked more than 269 miles for 73 days but were unable to make it to the North Pole because of extreme weather, with temperatures dropping below -40 degrees Celsius. The Catlin Arctic Survey, the first Polar expedition to monitor the affects of climate change on sea ice, was also unable to measure the ice using state-of-the art equipment because of the freezing conditions.

Pysicist Dr. Lubos Motl: Warming explorers learned 'Nature is in charge of the atmosphere' – May 13, 2009

Excerpt: The three explorers have learned that the Arctic Ocean is pretty cold! They saw all their advanced scientific gadgets freeze and break. They have survived frozen-solid clothes, a frost-bitten and stinky toe, a needle in a buttock, and an anti-septic cream pretending to be a toothpaste. The expedition has showed that the Arctic Ocean is cool enough for the airplanes to safely land in the middle of May, much later than what used to be considered as the limit back in 2003 (April 30th). They learned that there are places without any multi-year ice and the new ice can still be very thick. Most importantly, they have learned that Nature, and not arrogant or other humans, is in charge of the atmosphere. When it comes to millions of squared kilometers of ice, the human civilization is pretty weak and impotent.

North Pole trek mapping Arctic sea ice ends early – AFP - May 13, 2009

Excerpt: There was also "a lot less open water" than expected, Hadow said, noting the team was prepared to swim in the frigid Arctic waters up to two hours each day, but only had to get wet once during the trip. [...] Hadow said a hot shower awaited them upon their arrival at Eureka station in Canada's far north. [...] Daniels said she looked forward to drinking a glass of "full-bodied red wine" in front of a roaring fire and sleeping in a bed with fresh sheets, after discarding her smelly sleeping bag.

Arctic global warming explorers 'battered by wind, bitten by frost, bruised from falls on the ice' – BBC – March 12, 2009

Excerpt: A team of polar explorers has travelled to the Arctic in a bid to discover how quickly the sea-ice is melting and how long it might take for the ocean to become ice-free in summers. Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley will be using a mobile radar unit to record an accurate measurement of ice thickness as they trek to the North Pole. The trio will be sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition. The Catlin Arctic Survey team started its gruelling trek on 28 February.


Conditions have been hard. We have been battered by wind, bitten by frost and bruised from falls on the ice. Occasionally it's disheartening too when you've slogged for a day and then wake up the next morning having drifted back to where you started.

Ad for Arctic trek prompts meteorologist to declare: 'I weep for science' - April 23, 2009

Excerpt: Catlin Arctic Ice Survey: paid advertising of results before they are even off the ice! - Either they just don't care that they are running ads for “results” prior to any hard data being published or this is some sort of advertising scheduling slipup. Given how sloppy this laughable facade of a scientific expedition has been so far, publishing “live” biometric readings that were actually 30 days old, I'm guessing the latter.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming May Result In Some Periods Of Cooling In Southeastern United States

Homeostatic feedbacks beginning to be recognized but the explanation is twisted to suit Warmism. See the comment by long-range weather forecaster Piers Corbyn at the foot of the article

Global warming may include some periods of local cooling, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Results from satellite and ground-based sensor data show that sweltering summers can, paradoxically, lead to the temporary formation of a cooling haze in the southeastern United States.

The study, to be published the week of May 18 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that when manmade pollutants mix with the natural compounds emitted from forests and vegetation during the hot summer months, they form secondary aerosols that reflect light from the sun. Such aerosols may also contribute to the formation of clouds, which also reflect sunlight. The results of this study suggest that climate models need to better account for the effects of organic aerosols, the authors said. [That's a fact!]

The researchers conducted observations of aerosols throughout the earth's atmosphere using space-based satellites in combination with ground-based sunphotometers between March 2000 and February 2007. "This is the first time a study has shown that the aerosols formed from the combination of manmade and natural emissions observed from space are relevant for understanding earth's climate," said study lead author Allen Goldstein, UC Berkeley professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

The study began when former UC Berkeley Ph.D. student and study co-author Charles Koven showed Goldstein satellite data that indicated a summertime spike in aerosol haze in the southeastern United States. Goldstein noticed that the increased haziness, which could not be explained by human activities alone, coincided with the known regional pattern of biogenic volatile organic compounds. The emission of these compounds - natural hydrocarbons from plants and trees - increases exponentially when the temperature rises, said Goldstein.

"These natural emissions are highly volatile, and when they react with human sources of pollution in the atmosphere, aerosols are created," said Goldstein, who also holds a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "Nobody realized until now that enough of these aerosols were forming to influence cooling over an entire region."

The researchers estimated that the cooling effect from the aerosol haze over this region in summer is outpacing the warming effect from carbon dioxide emissions by 2-to-1 in a negative feedback system.

The results do not mean, however, that aerosols negate the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, emphasized atmospheric scientist Inez Fung, co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment and a co-author of the study. "The cooling effect of the organic aerosols we are reporting here are regional and temporal [I suppose she means "temporary"]; they are dwarfed by the changes in the climate we are witnessing globally," said Fung, a UC Berkeley professor with joint appointments in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. "Aerosols only remain in the atmosphere for five to 10 days, whereas carbon dioxide lingers for decades. To counter all the warming effects from greenhouse gases with aerosols, levels would have to be so high that we'd have trouble breathing, and the sky would no longer appear blue."


Comment by Piers Corbyn:

The title and the introduction are nothing to do with the actual findings of the research which they summarize as follows:
"..when manmade pollutants mix with the natural compounds emitted from forests and vegetation during the hot summer months, they form secondary aerosols that reflect light from the sun. Such aerosols may also contribute to the formation of clouds, which also reflect sunlight."

Nowhere do they identify the manmade pollutants/human sources of pollution in the atmosphere with CO2. Therefore this research has nothing to say about CO2 as a driver of anything.

The headline is a dishonest attempt to propagate the religion all 'bad' weather is caused by global warming and comes under my category of GW propaganda of the fourth kind. It is intended as a twisted explanation for any cold spells which might happen to come along. Perhaps ask them for an explanation of the cold and snowy weather in much of USA and Canada over the last few days"

Climate Depot Banned in Louisiana! State official sought to have climate skeptic's testimony 'shut down' at hearing

Commissioner Foster Campbell of the Louisiana Public Service Commission is demanding to know why a witness skeptical of man-made global warming was not "shut down" during a May 13, 2009 hearing in Baton Rouge.

According to an article in The Times-Picayune on May 19, 2009, Campbell was irate that Climate Depot's executive editor Marc Morano was invited to speak at the hearing by Commissioner Eric Skrmetta. The paper reported: "Campbell criticized [Chairman] Boissiere for not shutting down Morano's presentation."

Campbell attempted to verbally grill Morano during the hearing and has since publicly accused the Climate Depot editor of being a "phony" and a "hack" who is part of a "fringe group" and he accused Morano of "deception" and taking "quotes out of context." (See Times-Picayune article: Global warming presentation prompts Foster Campbell to ask for PSC testimony under oath )

Campbell, who engaged in a testy back and forth during the standing room only hearing with Morano, is now apparently demanding any future witnesses that challenge his scientific understanding of global warming be promptly “shut down.” [Morano note: Campbell's low-brow insults and impulse to cut off debate only serve to diminish his reputation.]

The Times-Picayune reported: “After a presenter at last week's Public Service Commission meeting asserted that global warming is a hoax, Commissioner Foster Campbell said Tuesday he plans to introduce a motion at the June meeting requiring most people testifying before the commission to do so under oath.” [Morano note: The paper is incorrect; I never testified that global warming is a “hoax.” ]

Campbell's call for future witnesses to be sworn-in is apparently his attempt to scare off any future skeptics of man-made global warming fears from testifying. Campbell implies "swearing" in witnesses would somehow force witnesses to change their dissenting views of climate change. [Morano note: Sadly, it seems as though Campbell actually believes that if you present scientific evidence refuting Gore's climate view, you must be a liar. I would be delighted to return to Baton Rouge to testify again under oath and allow Campbell all the time he would like to question my presentation.]

The paper reported that Morano's testimony “upstaged” Campbell's invited witness.

“Marc Morano, a former aide to Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma who now runs an anti-global-warming website called, said there's no proof that the planet is getting hotter and called the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a 'political gimmick.'” [Morano note: I merely quoted award-winning physicist Dr. Claude Allegre -- who reversed his view on warming to become a skeptic -- stating Gore's Nobel award was "a political gimmick.” ]

The paper continued: “Campbell maintains that [his witness] offered the commission an analysis of a proposed policy change while Morano, who once worked for Rush Limbaugh, delivered a political rant that was of no value to the commission. He criticized [Chairman] Boissiere for not shutting down Morano's presentation.”

[Morano note: A frustrated Campbell sat through my presentation which contained extensive analysis of cap-and-trade and I cited peer-reviewed scientific studies, prominent international scientists and the latest real world developments exposing the errors in man-made climate fears. My testimony even cited left wing environmentalists and promoters of global warming fears like the UK's James Lovelock, NASA's James Hansen and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader trashing the concept of cap-and-trade as “verging on a gigantic scam.” In addition, I presented the overwhelming polling data showing the public is rejecting climate fears. ]

During the question and answer portion of the testimony, Campbell accused Morano of representing "big business" and not being kind to former Vice President Al Gore. Campbell has been on a public relations war path since Morano's 35 minute testimony at the hearing. Last week, Campbell released a May 14, 2009 letter calling Morano a “political operator from Washington, D.C. and he accused him of giving a “far-right sermon on Global Warming straight out of Rush Limbaugh, complete with obscure references, quotes out of context and personal attacks on a former Vice President and winner of the Nobel Prize.” Campbell called Morano's testimony a “political circus.” He then went on to label him a “hack” who used “deception.”

[Morano note: In addition to providing comic relief, Campbell's angry rants are quite chilling. As the science behind man-made global warming fears utterly collapses, many of the biggest promoters of the theory are growing increasingly desperate. NASA's James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for "high crimes against humanity.” Environmentalists Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors”

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown “into jail.” In 2007, The Weather Channel's climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists. A 2008 report found that 'Climate blasphemy' is replacing traditional religious blasphemy. See also: A July 2007 Senate report details how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation]

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Cap-and-trade delusions

Proponents need to stop pretending cap-and-trade will cost nothing and create tons of jobs

"The Waxman-Markey bill will create jobs by spurring investment in renewables and efficiency." So declared the liberal Center for American Progress as it announced support for the new cap-and-trade climate change bill introduced in Congress last week.

Clocking in at nearly 1000 pages, the American Clean Energy and Security Act—or Waxman-Markey after its sponsors Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—proposes to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below their 2005 level by 2020, by 42 percent by 2030, and by 83 percent by 2050. In addition, the bill requires that electricity retailers meet 20 percent of their load by 2020 using either renewable sources of electricity or conservation. To achieve these goals, the U.S. will have to spend money on clean energy technologies which are far more expensive than conventional energy technologies.

All rhetoric aside, mandates cost money. Today, for example, President Barack Obama declared that new U.S. automobiles must get an average of 35 miles-per-gallon by the year 2016. Yet it is widely acknowledged that meeting this new standard will add $1,300 to the cost of each new car. In general, when prices go up, people buy less. So, all other things being equal, less demand for a product (like cars) means fewer jobs, not more. (Of course, there is one way to raise prices and create more jobs: reduce worker productivity. If policy makers deliberately encourage inefficiency in an industry, more jobs will likely follow. But that reduced productivity also means workers will receive lower wages.)

Producing low-carbon electricity will also cost more money. Currently, producing solar photovoltaic electricity costs about 33 cents per kilowatt hour; wind generated electricity is about 9 cents per kilowatt hour; and coal-fired production with carbon capture and sequestration is estimated to cost up to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. In contrast, producing electricity by means of conventional coal-fired plants now costs 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour and nuclear power comes to 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Once again, all other things being equal, higher costs mean that the energy industry will raise the prices of its goods and services. Which means that consumers will buy less, thus leaving the industry with less to spend on producing goods and services or to pay its workers. Will there be more people specifically employed making and installing higher-cost, government subsidized wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, batteries for plug-in hybrid automobiles, and weatherized houses? Sure. But on net, there will fewer new jobs thanks to rising low-carbon energy costs.

In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year, Peter Orszag, Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, admitted that a 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions would reduce American incomes. According to Orszag, the lowest quintile of households would pay an average of $680 more each year for goods and services (3.3 percent of their incomes) and the highest quintile would pay $2,180 more (1.7 percent of their incomes) than they would have in the absence of carbon rationing.

Another way to look at the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade proposal is that it functions like a tax increase. Under the bill, about half of all revenues raised by the cap-and-trade system between 2012 and 2025 will be recycled to businesses and consumers, with the other half spent by federal government. While recycling revenues is better than nothing, it introduces inefficiencies because the process distorts how workers and businesses would have spent the money had it not been collected and redistributed by the government.

Finally, Christina Romer, the head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, calculated last year that a 1 percent increase in taxes reduces economic output by 2 to 3 percent over the following three years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cap-and-trade scheme will collect about $80 billion per year in revenues, a figure that represents about 3 percent federal tax increase.

Man-made climate change may be a huge problem, but cap-and-trade proponents need to stop pretending that the solution will cost virtually nothing while producing more jobs than it destroys.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

“Clean Energy” is a Dirty Lie

By Alan Caruba

What does it take to be a dedicated environmentalist—a Green—these days?

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” An example would be a belief in “global warming” despite the fact that the planet has been cooling for a decade.

“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed.” This describes anyone who says that carbon dioxide, CO2, is responsible for a warming that is not occurring or that this gas could cause it.

“To deny objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.” This is how Congress can restrict access to national energy sources—oil, natural gas, and coal—while claiming it wants the USA to be “energy independent.”

The definition above comes from George Orwell’s “1984” and describes “double think” in his allegory of Communism.

President Obama’s environmental beliefs and policies are a composite of outright lies and high on the list is his promise of “Green jobs.” This is based on his intention to radically transform our society from one in which energy jobs in areas such as oil production and mining are replaced by those providing wind and solar energy.

The auto industry is getting a makeover as General Motors brands that sell well are forced by government fiat to be abandoned for those few that people want or can afford.

Regarding so-called Green jobs, Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, recently pointed out that a study in Spain that was released in late March made clear that, “Spain has spent billions in taxpayer resources to subsidize renewable energy programs in an effort to jumpstart its ailing economy and what they have gotten in return are fewer jobs, skyrocketing debt and some of the highest and most regressive energy prices in the developed world.”

The lies Greens are telling, whether in Spain are here in the USA, always produce the same results. For every “Green job” created by the Spanish government over the past decade, 2.2 other jobs were destroyed as a result. To not expect the same result here is to be willfully ignorant.

All the talk of “clean energy”, wind and solar, is now shifting into high gear with the introduction of the Waxman-Markey legislation on March 31. It is touted as “a new direction for America’s clean energy future and fighting global warming.” At the risk of being repetitive, there is NO global warming. The Earth is now ten years into a cooling cycle.

This is possibly the most dreadful piece of legislation to be put before Congress in the history of the nation. It is the deliberate reordering of American society because without adequate energy, the economy will implode and the lifestyles that Americans take for granted, all based on affordable electricity and fuel for transportation will cease to exist.

It is based entirely on the “global warming” lie. It is based entirely on the lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the driving force behind “climate change.”

Clean jobs are just one more of the endless lies that Greens tell in order to put an end to America’s capacity to compete in the global marketplace.

Clean energy is the term applied to wind and solar energy, deemed “renewable”, amidst more lies about the oil and coal which most surely will neither be renewable nor even available if Congress and the White House continue to put the national lands under which they exist off limits to all exploration and extraction.

Totally supported by government subsidies and mandates for their use, wind and solar energy represents barely one percent of the electricity Americans use every day.

In countless ways, the Greens are working to destroy America’s ability to have the energy it needs to survive and grow. Our economy, already suffering from government mandates that destroyed the nation’s housing market, will utterly collapse when it can no longer access the energy required for the future. Clean energy is a dirty lie.



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


Thursday, May 21, 2009


China is drafting a long-term plan for climate change that will focus on raising energy efficiency, developing clean-coal technology and expanding carbon-absorbing forests, a top climate policy official said. Xie Zhenhua, a deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission who steers climate change policy, said the plan would strengthen China's "capacity to enforce international covenants". "The goal of the national plan is to strive for a double-win of both responding to climate change and also developing the economy," Xie said in the interview with Xinhua news agency, which was published in the official People's Daily on Wednesday.

A global U.N. conference in Copenhagen in December is aiming to agree on a new pact spelling out nations' responsibilities to contain the greenhouse gases from fuels, industry, farming and land clearance that scientists say are dangerously heating the atmosphere. As the world's biggest emitter of these gases, China faces pressure to begin cutting them soon. But Beijing says it and other developing countries should not be forced to accept mandatory emissions caps to solve a problem caused by wealthy countries over the centuries.

The long-term plan and other energy proposals could be part of Beijing's case to the world that it is serious about combating climate change -- without needing to take on mandatory caps as part of a new global pact. "China's steps against climate change will not slow because of the global financial crisis," Xie said. "China's determination to deal with climate change will not falter."

Xie did not disclose any proposed numbers for energy saving or greenhouse gas emissions goals. Nor did he say when the plan would be released or what years it would cover. China produces about 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power stations. The plan would extend government efforts to raise energy efficiency and curtail emissions, promote renewable energy and clean-coal power and "vigorously expand carbon capture through tree planting and afforestation", said Xie.

China released its first national plan for addressing global warming in 2007. Xie said that the country's next five-year development plan, due to start from 2012, would incorporate climate change policies.



This proposed legislation has descended into high farce. Its main effect will be to give many of America's industries to China -- where the "pollution" will go on as before. And for the major "polluters", it doesn't kick in until 2025 anyway! It won't affect the climate but it will fulfil the underlying Leftist aim of weakening and impoverishing America

Democrats debating climate-change legislation in the House Energy and Commerce Committee rejected Republican attempt to delay a cap on U.S. pollution levels until China and India adopt similar standards. The committee also voted against an "emergency exit" amendment that would have lifted pollution caps if electricity rates rose more than 10 percent. The votes were part of a weeklong effort to craft legislation that would set limits on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to buy and sell pollution permits.

Republican Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri offered language to abandon a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if electricity rates increase. Missouri utility regulators have estimated that the proposed legislation would increase electricity rates by as much as 40 percent, Blunt said. "We must look at the real ramifications this bill will have on our already struggling economy," he said. The committee rejected the amendment on 32-23 vote that broke largely along party lines.

The provision focusing on China and India, offered by Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, would have allowed greenhouse-gas emission limits in the U.S. only if those two countries adopted standards that were "at least as stringent." The committee rejected the proposal on a 36-23 party-line vote.

Republican Representative Fred Upton of Michigan argued that the U.S. economy would lose jobs if Congress enacted a pollution cap-and-trade bill without similar environmental guidelines adhered to in China and India. "If we don't demand that they have the same kind of criteria that we do, we're going to see those jobs go," Upton said. "We can put a gun to China's head" to push them to adopt pollution limits, he said.

Democrats said the climate program would create jobs by spurring demand for clean energy technologies in the U.S. The American Clean Energy and Security Act would give free pollution permits to steel, aluminum, paper, chemical and other manufacturers whose prices are sensitive to foreign imports.

The free permits would last until at least 2025 to protect against energy cost increases that could benefit non-U.S. competitors, said Representative Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat who opposed Rogers's amendment. After 2025, the cap- and-trade legislation would let the president impose a tariff on goods produced in countries without limits on greenhouse gas emissions. "I wouldn't vote for a bill if I believed this was going to cause us to lose jobs in the steel industry," Doyle said.

Rogers's amendment triggered a debate over the potential effect of the greenhouse-gas limits on domestic manufacturing, international trade and global climate change negotiations. "What bothers me about this amendment is we're going to let some other country decide our fate," said committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and co-sponsor of the legislation.

Earlier in the day, the committee voted 51-6 to create a federal loan program to finance "breakthrough" clean-energy technologies. The provision would create a Clean Energy Deployment Administration to promote investment in clean energy technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration.



Add Congressman Mike Ross' name to the list of Arkansas politicians in Washington who have a higher-than-usual profile. Counted among the 50 or so moderate to conservative House Democrats called the Blue Dog Coalition, Arkansas' 4th District representative, who also chairs the group's health care working group, made an unsettling discovery late last week....

This was the second time that he and his allies had been excluded from one of the most significant policy discussions of the past 50 years. The first time, which occurred just a few weeks ago, was during the crafting of cap-and-trade legislation.

Ross explained that it became obvious to him that the Democratic leadership's strategy on cap-and-trade included blowing past the Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Moderates on the committee responded by slowing down what was, in their estimation, a very bad bill. "We were never brought in," he pointed out. "We put the brakes on and tried to make it a better bill."

But after nearly two weeks of work by the moderates on the committee, only modest changes were made. "This bill is to the left of Barack Obama," Ross said, adding that it could get worse during the final mark up. That said, he predicts the controversial legislation will clear the committee and pass the full House, although without his support. And then he believes the legislation will go to the U.S. Senate and die.



Sen. John McCain now appears to oppose climate-change legislation, an abrupt switch that could seriously threaten any movement on such a bill. "Nearly 1000 page Climate Change legislation -- appears to be a cap & tax bill that I won't support," McCain wrote in a Twitter message Monday, a reversal of the position he took on the Senate floor in March.

Two months ago, McCain and his close friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, took the floor in strong support of climate-change legislation. This marked a return to form for McCain, who co-sponsored a 2002 climate-change bill with longtime friend Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), but had tamped down his rhetoric during the 2008 presidential campaign. "Let me just say to my colleagues, I'm proud of my record on climate change," McCain said in March. "I've been all over the world and I've seen climate change, and I know it's real, and I'll be glad to continue this debate with my colleagues and people who don't agree with that."

Though he stressed the need for investment in nuclear power and so-called 'clean coal' -- as well as bipartisanship rather than a budget-reconciliation process -- McCain lauded a prior cap-and-trade system dealing with acid rain, which is often cited as a model for climate-change law. "I believe that what we did in addressing acid rain, which was through a cap-and-trade kind of dynamic, that we were able to largely eliminate the problem of acid rain in America," McCain said. "So it has been done before and we can do it again."

Without McCain's help, however, a new climate-change bill seems unlikely to gain the necessary bipartisan support.



European Union moves to exempt industries such as steel, refining and cement from the cost of buying carbon permits risk handing them windfall profits and could blunt EU green investment, analysts say. Heavy industries in Europe and the United States are battling hard to avoid paying for permits to emit carbon dioxide, saying the added cost will harm their ability to compete with overseas rivals, for example in India and China.

EU leaders reached a deal in December to curb carbon dioxide emissions to a fifth below 1990 levels by 2020, but to clinch that agreement they were forced to promise some countries such as Italy and Germany opt-outs for sectors at risk from 2013.

That risk list of sectors is currently being fine-tuned in Brussels according to a complex formula that looks set to hand pollution permits from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) worth billions of euros to the most polluting sectors -- steel, cement, and refining. At stake is around 4.5 billion euros ($6.13 billion) a year for the steel industry, roughly 5 billion for cement and just under 4 billion for refining, says analyst Olivier Lejeune at New Carbon Finance in London. Help for the cement industry in particular hangs in the balance, hovering close to the threshold for support.

But by giving manufacturers ETS permits for free, the EU risks handing them windfall profits, as it did in previous years with the power sector, analysts say.



President Obama's move to toughen Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards is bipartisanship of sorts. CAFE standards were signed into law by Gerald Ford in 1975. George W. Bush, in a rare fit of environmentalism, raised them in 2007. Foreign policy realists and environmentalists alike support stricter standards. None of this alters the fact that CAFE is a deeply flawed policy. Fuel efficiency is a worthy goal. It helps fight global climate change and it promotes energy independence. From an economic point of view, who can be against more efficiency? But CAFE is about the worst possible way to pursue it.

CAFE standards are inefficient because they block normal market mechanisms. To impose the same average standard on each manufacturer's fleet of cars sold forces car companies to produce similar ranges of vehicles rather than specialise. Such command-style regulation can only hamper the effort to make the US car industry retrieve its long-lost commercial acumen.

Even when CAFE does differentiate by type of car it does so inefficiently. Until recently, one standard applied to passenger cars and a laxer one to light trucks, which includes, for instance, sports utility vehicles. The predictable result is that more people are buying light trucks, which now make up half of US car sales, compared with about 10 per cent 30 years ago. Rather than reducing fuel consumption, therefore, CAFE has encouraged the use of larger cars. Recent changes make this problem even worse.

Beyond these perverse incentives, CAFE pre-empts rational consumer choice about how to consume less fuel. Neither the climate nor energy dependence depend on whether people buy more efficient cars, drive less or cut back on other energy- intensive activities. Artificially encouraging only one narrows the opportunities for improvement.

Fuel efficiency did rise after CAFE was introduced: from under 20 miles per gallon in 1978, 2009 model cars average 28.2mpg. But most of the increase coincided with high oil prices: fuel efficiency peaked for model year 1987 at 26.2mpg and stayed below that until 2007, when oil again reached record highs.

CAFE amounts to a hidden, biased and inefficient tax. Mr Obama's reported plan to raise standards for cars to 39mpg would be warranted if there were no alternative. But there is: introducing a price on fossil fuel, through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade programme extended to vehicle fuel.



Sounds Orwellian

Naysayers aside, the world appears to have nudged its way towards the view that there is a scientific consensus that human activity has changed our climate. For many academics, the question is now about finding ways of dealing with the consequences of climate change. In that endeavour, natural scientists are increasingly being joined by other academics - most notably social scientists - in teams where many disciplines can interact.

But there is concern that a government desire to protect science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects by ringfencing funding could, in the long term, affect the ability of these teams to conduct research.

For Professor Paul Wellings, chairman-elect of the 1994 group of smaller research-intensive universities, it is a question of getting together what he calls a "dream team", comprising not just scientists, but researchers from the social sciences and humanities, to deal with the nightmare scenario recently conjured by the government's chief scientist, John Beddington, in which the world is gripped by a "perfect storm" of war, starvation and mass migration.

For Wellings, it is not enough simply to rely on science and technology to come up with the answers we need. Looking at individuals' behaviour and getting them to change that is, he argues, as important as new technology.



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


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


An email from James Rust []

Another angle to the "Persistent Doomsterism Syndrome" was reported in an article in the May 18 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "In the U. S., teen suicide is the second leading cause of death for college-age kids, the third leading cause for those between 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

For more than a decade, the United States media has been almost unanimous in spreading the story that carbon dioxide from human activity causes uncontrollable global warming with all sorts of catastrophic events. This story has been picked up by the education community to give a sense of urgency to young minds that the Earth is doomed. Thus our young people develop a sense of pessimism about their future instead of the optimism I had fifty years earlier. Could one of the reasons for this senseless increase in suicides be due to media hype?


On Friday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) released the closely-held details of his bill rationing energy use in the name of global warming, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES).

The details had been kept secret for two reasons. First, Waxman had been working desperately to buy off key Democrats on his own committee -- such as Virginia's Rick Boucher and Michigan's John Dingell -- whose states would suffer hugely under the "cap and tax" scheme, plus others with energy-intensive employers in their districts. He succeeded by, in short, giving energy use ration coupons to select employers for resale to some poor saps without Washington lobbyists.

And before those lawmakers were bought off with targeted limitations of the bill's effects, it was impossible to assess the bill's cost, leaving us only with the president's guidance uttered when he let on to this agenda item: "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

That was an uncharacteristic expression of modesty because cap-and-trade actually will cause the cost of gasoline to skyrocket, too, and increase the cost of everything that uses energy in its production. Which is everything. And the only difference between Obama's plan and Waxman's is that Waxman bought votes by giving away many of the ration coupons; either way, Obama's budget director Peter Orszag has serially admitted, it is you the consumer and ratepayer who will pay.



Russia's new climate doctrine hints at Moscow's growing willingness to engage with the international community in fighting climate change, but EU observers are not pinning their hopes on ambitious commitments from their Eastern neighbour to aid the passage of a post-Kyoto climate treaty. Last month, the Russian government endorsed a draft climate plan, ending the long silence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's government. Until now, Russia's official line on climate change has centred on arguments against halting Russia's economic growth.

Russian Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev said the document predicted both how global warming would impact upon Russia and how the government's climate policies should facilitate adaptation when he presented the new plan to the Cabinet on 23 April. Trutnev stressed that climate mitigation policies could in fact benefit the Russian economy. "The economy will develop in different climatic conditions in the future. That's why climate changes need to be taken into account," he told a press conference, according to the Moscow Times. The policy paper calls for structural changes to the country's economy to adapt to new extreme weather conditions and help mitigate climate change.

Incentives for sustainable use of natural resources and a shift to energy-efficient technologies and renewable sources are among these new priorities, according to environmental organisation Bellona. Moreover, Trutnev said that fines for air pollution could increase as much as twenty-fold, the Moscow Times wrote.

Following Cabinet discussions, Prime Minister Putin called for a domestic climate action plan which would focus on resource and energy efficiency. He went on to stress that the problem needed to be solved at international level, and Russia would "take a responsible approach to its domestic policies and measures," according to Anna Korppoo, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA).

The emergence of the Russian plan was interpreted as an encouraging sign that the country might be ready to take action to cut emissions. At present, climate change maintains a low profile in public discussions and people are generally unaware of its impacts. "In the past, many good initiatives have got caught in the heavy Russian bureaucracy and been deterred by the lack of attention at the highest political level. In this rare case, with the issue having attracted the attention of Prime Minister Putin, new developments could be triggered in the Russian debate if other G8 countries, especially the US, as well as the international media, recognise these positive signs from Russia," Korppoo said.

Nevertheless, environmental NGOs are concerned that the Kremlin's plan focuses on adaptation rather than efforts to reduce emissions. "The document is by and large taken up by how Russia should adapt to climate change, not the fight against climate change that the rest of the world is occupied with," said Kristin Jørgensen, the leader of Bellona's Russia group.

The paper has been kept under a veil of secrecy throughout its drafting and is yet to be made public. Moreover, it was drawn up without consulting any environmental or civil society organisations. As such, the climate plan does not give away much of what Russia might offer in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions in Copenhagen, where a post-Kyoto climate deal is set to be agreed in December. It does not suggest any targets, nor does it commit to any concrete obligations or deadlines. "They haven't adopted any firm position. They've only got some conceptual ideas down, so they are still keeping their cards close to their chest," said Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Russia Centre.

The EU will hold talks with Russia at the end of the week (21-22 May), and international climate negotiations will feature high on the agenda. But Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's EU ambassador in Brussels, told EurActiv that he did not expect any tangible results from the EU-Russia summit. "So far we haven't noticed a great deal of international consensus emerging, beyond the overall general recognition that something needs to be done," Chizhov said. The EU is currently the only region with a firm commitment to a 20% emissions reduction by 2020, but different targets are currently being discussed in many parts of the world.

Russia might, however, be reluctant to adopt a target as it views emissions increases as a natural part of economic growth, argued a new report published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) on 4 May. According to the research institute, Russia could seek to reclassify itself as an emerging economy under the new climate regime in order to secure its government's priority objectives. Russia might nevertheless agree to a reduction target if it is allowed to use surplus allowances from the 1990s when its economy plummeted, bringing emissions down, FIIA said.

Stefan Singer, WWF director of global energy policy, was more pessimistic. He said he is worried about last-minute demands from Russia at the Copenhagen climate conference in December. "Experience tells us that Russia always comes in at the eleventh hour with some kind of ridiculous demand," he told EurActiv in a recent interview (EurActiv 07/04/09). "We had this a couple of times - in Kyoto, in Montreal, in India - always. And not just on climate, on all issues, because Russia has an understanding of the UN as a self-service shop: everyone goes in and picks what he or she wants." "Unfortunately nobody takes Russia too seriously. No one knows what is going on in Russia, because it is a big black box," he lamented.



Investing time into lengthy deliberations in order to construct a broad consensus is an inescapable step in Japanese decision-making. Yet it is also true that in the case of a deadlock concerned parties, rather than engaging in open confrontation, settle their differences in backstage negotiations. This is why the current public meetings on the country's mid-term commitments for greenhouse gas emissions reductions are such an unusual phenomenon in Japanese domestic politics.

The Cabinet had announced that it would release its final position on Japan's mid-term emission reduction targets for the Copenhagen climate negotiations based on the outcome of the five meetings organized throughout Japan, during which public support for each of the six options lying before the Prime Minister was supposed to be evaluated. Audiences however, consisting largely of climate NGOs and representatives of business interests instead of average citizens, predictably clashed over seemingly irreconcilable differences.

With the Bonn meeting prior to Copenhagen lying weeks away, this impasse is fast coming to a head. Citing "overbooking of previous events", a new, sixth meeting was hastily organized in Tokyo. A nation-wide public survey on the matter is also underway - with results to be published at some point at the end of May. Meanwhile, the big players are sticking to their guns. The Japan Iron and Steel Association, a key member of the Japan Business Federation Nippon Keidanren, has on April 28 called all possible targets other than the least ambitious one (a 4% increase relative to 1990) "unrealistic". Conversely, WWF Japan is calling for 15 to 30% reductions.

The Japanese government finds itself in the unenviable position of having to lend its weight to a compromise unlikely to gain any backing from any of the stakeholders. Amid the fog of war, some support seems to be crystallizing around the figure of 7% reductions relative to 1990, which is what a study by the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry deems achievable in a scenario featuring maximum induction of best-available technologies. Japanese NGOs, though disappointed, believe the target to be realistic, should the government finally support more credible domestic policies and measures: a capped emissions trading system, absolute instead of intensity-based reduction targets for industries, housing insulation, etc.

-7%, it should be noted, represents what the government believes to be Japan's maximum achievable domestic emission cuts from sectors other than forest sinks, and thus also excludes the Kyoto mechanisms. While discussions about the latter may influence the final number during the Copenhagen meeting itself, outside negotiators should interpret this figure as a sign from Japanese industries re-enforcing their dissatisfaction with the perceived unfairness of the current Japanese target under the Kyoto Protocol.

Even though it may come as a disappointment to those hoping for a more substantial Japanese commitment, one should consider oneself lucky if even this figure holds. Given startlingly low approval rates, it remains to be seen if Prime Minister Aso has enough political clout left to force this target down the collective throats of Japan's industries. While the opposition party, who had introduced a tough climate bill to the Diet in late April, reels from a debilitating corruption scandal that question its prospects for the upcoming September elections, raising approval for this target rests solely on Aso's shoulders.



Jim Prentice, the Minister of the Environment, yesterday warned U. S. lawmakers to drop proposed trade sanctions on imports from countries with higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, saying the measure would be a "prescription for disaster" for the global economy.

In the Harper government's toughest critique yet of draft U. S. climate legislation, Mr. Prentice told a Washington audience a proposal to slap a "carbon-border adjustment" fee on foreign manufacturers violates the core principles of international trade.

In addition, any U. S. decision to impose such a trade tariff threatens the chances of reaching an international climate change deal later this year in Copenhagen, Mr. Prentice said. "Trade protectionism in the name of environmental protection would be a prescription for disaster for both the global economy and the global environment," the Minister said in remarks at the State Department to the Conference of the Americas.

"Border carbon adjustments would be a thinly disguised restriction on trade and an impediment both to wealth creation and to the attainment of our collective objective, which is to address greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce them. They would constitute arbitrary discrimination. They won't work and they threaten constructive negotiations." Mr. Prentice was referring to sweeping climate legislation proposed by Democratic lawmakers Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, which is being debated in the House energy and commerce committee.



Whether a climate change bill emerges from the US Congress this year is much in doubt. Most Republicans still oppose the very idea of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Democrats are less than united in their commitment to it, once forced to consider the implications. The signs are that if a bill does somehow pass, it will be ugly.

A subcommittee of the House of Representatives has taken the lead in drafting a cap-and-trade plan - the approach promised by Barack Obama - but its initial efforts give one pause.

Under cap and trade, emitters require permits and the supply of these allowances is capped at a level that reduces total emissions. So long as the cap binds, the permits have a value and the system creates a market to trade them. This ensures that cuts in emissions happen where they can be made at least cost. As a result, cap and trade is much more efficient than decreeing a uniform cut regardless of the source of emission.

The problem is not with the basic idea. A well-designed cap-and-trade scheme, though lacking the simplicity and transparency of an outright carbon tax, can do the job nearly as well. Unfortunately, Congress seems keen to take the opportunities for gaming that cap and trade presents, and increase them tenfold.

During the campaign for the presidency, Mr Obama promised that all permits would be auctioned. His first budget counts on revenues from that source to finance his "Make Work Pay" tax credits for the low-paid - to the tune of more than $600bn over 10 years. The House committee's current proposal chooses to give 85 per cent of the permits away. The hole in Mr Obama's long-term fiscal arithmetic just got bigger.

That is not all. Predictably, in the disbursement of this enormous windfall gain, the House proposes to reward favourites, such as regulated utilities, and punish villains, notably the oil companies. Some emitters will receive more permits in relation to their needs than others. This would create a perpetual struggle for political advantage. If you wanted to promote corruption, this would be a good way.

Still not content, the House wants to set conditions on its gifts of permits - including commitments to shield consumers from higher energy costs. Yet the whole point of this exercise is to make high-carbon energy dearer. On the drawing board is a vast and unfathomably complex new system, which fosters corruption, raises little revenue and tries to suppress the incentives that are its entire purpose. Otherwise, it all looks quite promising.



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


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sun found to be more variable than expected

An email from David Whitehouse []

This recent paper by Harder et al. (2009) 'Trends in solar spectral irradiance variability in the visible and infrared' is very interesting and a good example of the new data that is emerging that may result in a reappraisal of the strength of the sun's signal in climatic trends.

Using the spectral irradiance monitor aboard the SOURCE satellite the researchers have monitored the solar output between 2004 -2008 (solar max to min) in 6 regions the 200 - 2400 nm band, which accounts for 97% of its total irradiance.

They found that the solar irradiance is a function of wavelength. Visible light decreased during this period but, unexpectedly, UV increased. The researchers say that because the visible and UV are out of phase with the solar cycle, and that the observed total irradiance changes of the sun averaged over all bands is 0.1%, then the spectral bands that are in phase with the solar cycle, such as UV, must vary more than has been supposed.

Jeffrey Hall in his excellent blog here (where you can see some graphs from the paper) points out that most climate simulations assume that the sun's spectrum tracks the changes in irradiance. Now it has been shown that this is not the case it will be interesting to see how the models are modified and what the observations over the next few years will bring.

Even if fully implemented, the Democrat "climate" bill will have negligible impact on the climate

Climate is just a shallow pretext for weakening America and impoverishing Americans

The economics and the regulatory burdens of climate change bills are forever being analyzed, but the bills' primary function -mitigating future climate change- is generally ignored. Perhaps that's because it is simply assumed. After all, we are barraged daily with the horrors of what the climate will become if we don't stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (the primary focus being on emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels). So doing something as of focusing on climate impacts, is shrouded in economics and climate alarm. drastic as that proposed by Waxman-Markey-a more than 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the United States by the year 2050-must surely lessen the chances of climate catastrophe. Mustn't it?

But if that were the case, why aren't the climate impacts being touted? Why aren't Representatives Waxman and Markey waving around the projected climate success of their bill? Why aren't they saying: "Economics and regulations be damned. Look how our bill is going to save the earth from human-caused climate apocalypse"?

That reason is that it won't. And they know it. That is why they, and everyone else who supports such measures, are mum about the outcome. The one thing, above all others, that they don't want you to know is this: No matter how the economic and regulatory issues shake out, the bill will have virtually no impact on the future course of the earth's climate. And this is even in its current "pure" form, without the inevitable watering down to come. So discussion of the bill, instead of focusing on climate impacts, is shrouded in economics and climate alarm.

Getting a good handle on the future climate impact of the proposed Waxman- Markey legislation is not that difficult. In fact, there are several ways to get at it. But perhaps the most versatile is the aptly named MAGICC: Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change. MAGICC is sort of a climate model simulator that you can run from your desktop (available here). It was developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (primarily by Dr. Tom Wigley) under funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations. MAGICC is itself a collection of simple gas-cycle, climate, and ice-melt models that is designed to produce an output that emulates the output one gets from much more complex climate models. MAGICC can produce in seconds, on your own computer, results that complex climate models take weeks to produce running on the world's fastest supercomputers.

Of course, MAGICC doesn't provide the same level of detail, but it does produce projections for the things that we most often hear about and care about-for instance, the global average temperature change. Moreover, MAGICC was developed to be used for exactly the purpose that we use it here-the purpose for which Representatives Waxman and Markey and everybody else who wants a say in this issue should be using it. That purpose is, according to MAGICC's website, "to compare the global-mean temperature and sea level implications of two different emissions scenarios" - for example, scenarios both with and without the proposed legislative emissions reductions. So that is what we'll do. We'll first use MAGICC to produce a projection of global average temperature change through the 21st century under two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's future emissions scenarios (which assume no explicit policy implementation).

The two are: a mid-range emissions scenario (SRES A1B for those interested in the details) and a high-end emissions scenario (SRES A1FI). Then, we'll modify these IPCC scenarios by entering in the emissions reductions that will occur if the provisions outlined in the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill are fully met (leaving aside whether or not that could be done). Basically, Waxman- Markey calls for U.S. emissions to be reduced to 20% below the 2005 emissions level by 2020, 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. We'll assume that U.S. emissions remain constant at that reduced value for the rest of the century. We'll then use MAGICC to produce temperature projections using these modified scenarios and compare them with the original projections.

By the year 2050, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result in a global temperature "savings" of about 0.05§C regardless of the IPCC scenario used- this is equivalent to about 2 years' worth of warming. By the year 2100, the emissions pathways become clearly distinguishable, and so to do the impacts of Waxman-Markey. Assuming the IPCC mid-range scenario (A1B) Waxman- Markey would result in a projected temperature rise of 2.847§C, instead of 2.959§C rise- a mere 0.112§C temperature "savings." Under the IPCC's high-emissions scenario, instead of a projected rise of 4.414§C, Waxman-Markey limits the rise to 4.219§C-a "savings" of 0.195§C. In either case, this works out to about 5 years' worth of warming.

In other words, a full implementation and adherence to the emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years-a scientifically meaningless prospect.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


Since climate change fears first gripped the globe, tourists have flocked to the Maldives to enjoy the islands' spectacular vistas before they vanish. Do they really need to rush? Scientists have long warned that the Maldives, an archipelago nation of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, will be wiped out by rising sea levels in the coming decades. President Mohamed Nasheed is so convinced of his nation's demise he has proposed relocating all 350,000 inhabitants to other countries. On average, the islands are 7 feet (2.1 meters) above sea level, making them the lowest-lying nation on Earth.

Most experts agree the Maldives have plenty to worry about: In the worst-case scenario, if global sea levels rise higher and faster than expected, the islands may indeed be swallowed up. But some recent data challenge the widespread belief that the islands are destined to disappear _ and a few mainstream scientists are even cautiously optimistic about their chances for surviving relatively intact beyond the next century.

"The outlook for the Maldives is not all doom and gloom," said Paul Kench of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "The islands won't be the same, but they will still be there." Kench said his studies of the Maldives show the islands can adjust their shape in response to environmental changes, such as the rising seas and warmer temperatures predicted in the next century.

Kench suggests the islands might move onto their reefs and build vertically, offsetting the potential threat of sea level rises. His research _ published together with other scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives _ shows some islands have rebuilt themselves as much as 1.6 feet (49 centimeters) higher. Their studies have been published in recent years in journals including Geology and the Journal of Geophysical Research. "It's quite convincing work and seems to be quite widely accepted by the scientific community," said Andrew Cooper, a professor of coastal studies at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. "They have detailed geological evidence that this kind of growth has happened before in the past. ... I think the question of the Maldives being completely wiped out may be overstated."

Following the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami, many scientists assumed the Maldives would be damaged. But Kench and his colleagues not only found little evidence of island erosion, but also that the tsunami had washed sediment ashore, making some islands taller than they were before the catastrophe.

Kench warned, however, that while only a small number of Maldivian islands may not be able to adapt to rising sea levels, those are unfortunately the ones where many people live: Male, the nation's capital, and Hulule. Residents of those islands will probably need to relocate to another country or move to other Maldivian islands that won't disappear so quickly, he said.

Building taller and moving to higher ground are examples of a hot trend in climate change policy: emphasizing adaptation. While much global warming work aims to limit emissions, adaptation advocates argue for the need to combat the inevitable effects of climate change through forward planning and construction. That includes moving people, building sea walls, and new construction techniques.

Sea levels worldwide have been steadily rising, except in a handful of places, including the Maldives. But in the last 50 years, some data from satellite pictures and tide measurements suggest sea levels in the Maldives have DROPPED by as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters). "That was definitely unexpected," said Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. Overpeck said the decline in the Maldives' sea levels is probably due to local factors like ocean temperatures and currents.

Such data is inconclusive, however, and with few available records, the Indian Ocean remains one of the world's least understood oceans.



Repeating past mistakes has long been a part of Washington's energy policy, but Congress used to wait a while before making the same blunder again. Not anymore. New legislation requiring wind energy closely resembles the ethanol mandate that sparked a backlash just last year.

For many years, wind has benefited from generous tax credits and subsidies, but it still provides less than 2 percent of the nation's electricity. By comparison, coal supplies around 50 percent (and with considerably fewer federal incentives). Natural gas and nuclear, meanwhile, account for about 20 percent each.

No wonder wind supporters want a federal mandate atop all the handouts. The targets in various bills range from 15 percent to 25 percent electricity from wind and other renewable sources, to be ramped up from current levels over a decade or longer.

Let's see: a heavily-subsidized energy source that needs a mandate to get it over the top. Sound familiar? It should. It's the same situation we were in with corn ethanol a few years ago. Up through 2005, ethanol's high cost, among other problems, were such that even a 51-cent-per-gallon tax credit and other giveaways couldn't enable it to capture much more than 2 percent of the motor-fuel market.

However, the minuscule market share worked to ethanol's advantage in that its shortcomings weren't noticed by the public. This made it possible for the corn lobby and other proponents to get away with calling it a success and prevailing upon the feds to mandate that more of it be mixed into the gasoline supply.

By 2008, 9 billion gallons of ethanol were required to be used, nearly triple the 2005 levels. But at these volumes, the problems were no longer so easily hidden. Last year was one of record oil and gasoline prices. Yet ethanol still added to the overall burden on the driving public. In addition, the diversion of corn from food to fuel use raised the price not only of corn itself but of related items like corn-fed meat and dairy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 15 percent of food price increases from April 2007 to April 2008 were due to the ethanol mandate.

That costly double whammy - higher costs to drive to the supermarket and higher prices once you're there - really soured consumers on the ethanol mandate. It also contributed to global food price inflation and hardships in the developing world, eroding the already-shaky moral high ground that ethanol had held. Surprisingly, many environmental activists piled on, arguing that the "green" benefits of ethanol were overstated, and claiming that this once-favored alternative actually contributes to global warming. Congress has yet to correct its ethanol mistake. The mandated levels rise to 10.5 billion gallons in 2009 and 12 billion 2010, so the difficulties are only going to intensify.

Are lawmakers about to make the same mistake with wind energy? As with ethanol, wind is too expensive to expand without a lot of help. Right now, its added cost is an unnoticeable speck on people's electric bills. But a hefty mandate would change that.

One often-overlooked factor is wind's unreliability. Wind can stop blowing at any time, and often does during hot summer days when electricity demand peaks. Since people expect electricity 24/7, additional wind power would need to be backed up with additional conventional sources ready to carry the full load at any time - further raising costs and undercutting the rationale for this alternative.

The new transmission lines necessary to bring more wind from where it's produced to where it's needed is another substantial cost. And like all the other costs, it would filter down to ratepayers.

There's also reason to expect that wind's green status will evaporate. For one thing, the pending proposals would require tens of millions of acres of new wind farms, much of it on land currently in its natural state. Environmentalists already object to certain wind farm sites and transmission line routes, and their complaints would greatly multiply if wind power expands. Its claimed global-warming benefits could also come under attack. As with ethanol, familiarity is likely to breed contempt for wind - and contempt for a government that foisted this predictable mistake on the American public.


Warmist laws meeting resistance in Australia

Conservatives dig in heels on carbon tax

MALCOLM Turnbull has locked the Coalition into a bruising fight with the Rudd Government over Labor's controversial carbon tax on big polluters. On the same day Peter Costello backed Mr Turnbull's decision to block moves to means-test the private health insurance rebate, Mr Turnbull reaffirmed his opposition to the emissions trading scheme in its present form. Asked if the Government's ETS was unacceptable to the Coalition, Mr Turnbull said: "At the moment, yes of course it's unacceptable, but it's not going to stand where it is."

The ETS is shaping as the most likely trigger for a possible double-dissolution election, which can be called if the Senate twice blocks the same piece of legislation more than three months apart. The Government's climate-change troubleshooter, NSW MP Greg Combet, was last night meeting with the Queensland Resources Council over concerns the ETS will gut mining jobs in Queensland.

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition also had major concerns with Labor's plan to set the income threshold for employee share schemes at $60,000. The changes, he said, would "effectively shut down just about every employee scheme around the country", affecting millions of Australians. "If it was (the Government's) intention, then I think it may prove to be one of most controversial and unpopular and unpalatable elements in the Budget," Mr Turnbull told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week said he wanted the Budget passed in its entirety and threatened a double-dissolution election if key pieces of legislation or Budget measures were blocked in the Senate. But on the weekend, Mr Turnbull indicated the Opposition would no longer block the Government's tax hike on pre-mixed drinks.

Asked for comment, former treasurer Peter Costello said the important thing was to follow good policy. "These are always judgment calls," he said. "But I am not in the camp that says just vote for anything that Mr Rudd wants so that he can't get a double dissolution. For example, I think it is absolutely right to oppose the Government's attempts to restrict private health insurance rebates." Mr Costello said he did not believe Mr Rudd would rush to an early election.

The latest Nielsen opinion poll, the first to be taken after the federal Budget, showed Mr Rudd's personal approval rating had plummeted 10 percentage points to 64 per cent. "You would have seen last week that (Mr Rudd) was threatening an early election," Mr Costello said. "After today's polls, he may get a little less keen on an early election."

Mr Rudd said the Government had taken a hit because it had made tough decisions in last week's Budget.


Environmentalism goes back a long way

And it has generally been elitist, with a contempt for ordinary people

Core ideas with multiple meanings and a hostility to applied science were tell-tale features of Europe’s early 19th century Romantic/Naturalist movement. In 1815 Moritz Arndt tied protecting German soil and forests to a fierce nationalism. His rhetoric was unmistakably environmentalist. His “On the Care and Conservation of Forests” contains the following:

“When one sees nature in a necessary connectedness and interrelationship, then all things are equally important – shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first or last but all one single unity.” (5)

Nature was romanticized as a fragile web. Disrupting any part threatened the whole balance. The static character of Nature was overstated; the destructiveness of natural forces, understated. The fragile system he really fretted over was the economic system propping up German aristocrats. Industrialization/urbanization threatened forests, landscapes and the status quo. Romantics sought to replace Christian traditions with Pagan ones claiming the latter were more ‘Natural.’

Romanticism was not exclusively German. A “mystique of wilderness” is found in Rousseau’s idyllic State of Nature. Shelley’s Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus was an attack on applied science. (The name ‘Frankenstein’ was a play on ‘Benjamin Franklin’ following Kant’s designating Franklin the “modern Prometheus.”)


By 1850, while proto-environmentalism dominated neither British industrial nor foreign policy, it reigned over land use policy. Malthusianism justified the consequent hardships. Here again is Carey:

“The miseries of Ireland are charged to over-population, although millions of acres of the richest soils of the kingdom are waiting drainage to take their place among the most productive in the world...The wretchedness of Scotland is charged to over-population when a large portion of the land is so tied up by entails as to forbid improvement, and almost to forbid cultivation. The difficulty of obtaining food in England is ascribed to over-population, when throughout the kingdom a large portion of the land is occupied as pleasure grounds...Over-population is the ready excuse for all the evils of a vicious system.”

British admiration for material progress peaked in the 1850s. Industrialism’s subsequent declining popularity reflected the aristo-financiers’ ongoing appropriation of key institutions. By 1896, 167 noblemen, a fourth of the peerage, were corporate directors. Financial services rivalled landownership as a material base for aristocrats. Landownership’s decline counter-balanced the ascent of non-productive forms of capitalism centered in the City of London, especially during the 1870-1914 capital export boom when banks withdrew from long-term investment in domestic industry and became internationally orientated. By the 1890s Britain was dependent on overseas earnings by the financial services sector, international shipping and related investments. Physical exports lagged those of her competitors. The banker-insurer milieu mirrored the aristocracy’s traditional world. Aristocrats mastered a civil service increasingly insulated from Parliament. As the aristo-financial elite became the supreme lobby upon government, anti-industrial prejudices shaped policy and culture. Non-competitive, oligopolistic markets were favoured. Military interventions were undertaken to suppress economic development. Aristocratic values triumphed over scientific-technical ones in higher education. Being “British” became associated with conservatism and class snobbery. Aristocratic and bureaucratic values blended into a lukewarm contempt for expansion, entrepreneurialism, and efficiency.

The term ‘conservationist’ dates to the 1860s. (“Conservancies” were state-run forests in British India.) The aristo-financial-bureaucratic elite formed the base of England’s innately reactionary, High Tory and elitist conservationist movement. Conservationism was an aristocratic survival strategy illuminated by the likes of Mathew Arnold and John Ruskin who promoted no-growth economics and smeared modernity as ‘ugly.’ They led a cultural counterrevolution against scientific-technical progress. Rural nostalgia, and a belief that England’s greatness was rooted in her countryside, became ubiquitous. An organized conservationist movement emerged critical of material prosperity to the point of offering to selectively sacrifice property rights to preserve heritage. The Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society was founded in 1865. An Act for the Preservation of Seabirds was passed in 1869. The Malthusian League was formed in 1878 (by a clique including Theosophists). A Society for the Protection of Birds began in 1889. The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty was established in 1895 around the same time the Duke of Bedford devoted his life to saving wildlife.

Similar, coterminous tendencies arose in America out of the same anxiety over the rising tide of industry, the city and republicanism. Here these ideas found hostile terrain. American political traditions precluded a titled aristocracy and Americans revelled in the conquest of wilderness. American conservationism had to manufacture a base.

British-American connections, dating to the colonial era, were enhanced by mid-19th century economic integration. Financial power-houses Drexel, Morgan and Kidder, Peabody accumulated vast wealth as intermediaries between American railroads and British banks. British finance quasi-colonized the US South into a non-industrializing provider of cotton. They hoped to do the same in the West but American political strength prevented this. American industrialization proceeded in the face of British designs partially because US manufacturers successfully campaigned for tariffs. Leading American anti-industrialists were the “Mugwumps” – an elitist movement situated in New England and the South. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s Mugwumps campaigned against protecting America industry by calling for “free markets” and by denouncing taxpayer subsidies to manufacturers.

Mugwumps figured prominently in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC, est. 1876): the first US conservationist organization. Foreshadowing the AMC were the writings and speaking tours of Ralph Waldo Emerson et al. and an 1852 campaign to save sequoias led by Atlantic Monthly owner James Russell Lowell. AMC founder, Edward Pickering descended from a famous New England separatist. Other founders (the “Boston Brahmins”) were Harvard profs and scions of New England’s first families: Cabots, Lowells, Peabodys, Lawrences, Eliots, and Higginsons. This chauvinistic “old WASP gentry” was home base for US conservationism.

Over the next generation the US branch of the movement divided between “conservationists” and “preservationists.” America’s untitled aristocracy were more attracted to the anti-modernist preservationist wing. Henry Osborn was their leader. He was Princeton man who went to Cambridge to study under T. H. Huxley. Henry was a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Jay and a favourite nephew of J. P. Morgan. He was well connected in London; even more so in New York City where he frequented both the Boone and Crockett Club and the prestigious Century Club. Henry was a protagonist in the Audubon Society, American Bison Society, and Save the Redwoods League. His championed the field biologist and condemned the laboratory biologist. Repelled by America’s urbanization and ethnic pluralism, he called for preserving the Anglo-Saxon elite. He was a zealous eugenicist, Aryan enthusiast and proponent of “aristogenesis” – a belief that those of certain ancestry should guide evolution. His American Museum of Natural History exhibits engendered fear of unrestricted immigration.

Another Century Club member and preservationist was Robert Johnson. He was editor of the influential Century magazine. In 1889 Johnson recruited John Muir to pen articles about the Yosemite wilderness as part of a successful campaign to make Yosemite a national park. On Johnson’s urging, Muir became front man for a West Coast version of the AMC. The “Sierra Club” set sail in 1892 in the offices of Establishment attorney, Warren Olney. Johnson took Muir to Osborn’s Castle Rock estate overlooking the Hudson River. Johnson introduced Muir to British luminary Lord Curzon and the Roosevelts of New York. (Earlier, avid outdoorsman and Boone and Crocket Club founder, Teddy Roosevelt, “TR”, paid a surprise visit to Johnson’s Century office accompanied by Henry Cabot Lodge.) TR and Muir went camping in Yosemite. By the late 1890s Muir was a traveling companion of the ultra-rich Edward Harriman whose wife was the main bankroller of the eugenics movement. Muir himself was born unto well-to-do Scottish immigrants. He rejected Christianity in 1867 in favour of Paganistic nature worship. After he hit the big time he frequented Swedenborgian spiritualist circles. His warblings are motifed with aristocratic clichés about his personal alienation “from the mass of mankind.”

Preservationists and conservationists clashed over a proposed dam on California’s Tuolomne River. Muir led the campaign to block the dam supported by Johnson, the Harrimans, the Osborns, the AMC, Century, Collier’s and Nation magazines, and the New York Times. Conservationists, acquiescing to the dam, were led by Warren Olney and Gifford Pinchot. Gifford was a Yale man who studied forestry in Europe. His first job was Forester on the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate in North Carolina. Like his father he was a Century Club member. On TR’s insistence he joined Boone and Crockett. Pinchot was an inner-circle Republican who never openly challenged growth-oriented businessmen or their culture of industry and applied science. Instead he advocated “multiple uses of land and resources.” He wanted land simultaneously used for timber, mining, ranching and homesteading as the prevailing culture desired but also for “recreation and conservation” as his movement preferred. Pinchot’s “resource conservation” was the reformist’s thin-edge-of-the-wedge; ideal for spiking specific development proposals but with a utilitarian rationale. Pinchot modernized Malthusianism by adding to its soil-scarcity phobia new fears of resource scarcity. He claimed North America was running out of coal and iron. Conservationist Pinchot was politically not far from preservationist Muir whom he greatly respected. New England’s elite preferred Muir’s preservationism to Pinchot’s pragmatism but preservationism was alien to the electorate, especially to business interests. TR, as New York Governor, was sympathetic to preservationism but made Pinchot supervisor of state forests. President TR made Pinchot his Chief Forester.

In the mid-1800s Arndt disciple, Wilhelm Riehl, claimed Germany’s forest and peasant based essence was ruined by industrialization. His romantic anti-modernism fused with anti-Semitism to prefigure late 1800s Volkism. Ingredients were: ethnocentric populism; Nature mysticism; a sense of alienation and rootlessness; and hostility to reason and the city. More important than Riehl in this movement was Ernst Haeckel. He coined the term “ecology” in 1867. Ecologists eulogized Nature’s interconnectedness and preached equality of all life-forms. Urbanization was demonized for wrecking, and severing human contact with, Nature. Ecology was a “religion of Nature” programmatically coupled to a right-wing political agenda. Haeckel’s Monist League disseminated Darwinist ideas of Nordic racial superiority and blamed Jews for modernity’s weakening of the Nordic race. Eugenics was the solution to the “Jewish problem.” He was a member of the Thule Society which was directly involved in creating the Nazi Party.


In the early 20th century pessimism and disdain for industry pervaded the domestic British policy discourse. Under-development aims motivated pre-WWI interventions in Latin America. Only during and immediately after the World Wars did pro-industrial forces rule.

British ecologists and Malthusians were inseparable. Both were reactionary, elitist and racist. In 1903 the Society for Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire was founded. In 1904 the British Vegetation Society was formed out of which grew the British Ecological Society. Major Leonard Darwin (Charles’ son) led the First International Congress of Eugenics in London in 1912. The Congress was the fruition of the labour of Eugenics Education Society founder, Sir Francis Galton. Leonard was Galton’s successor. Published in time for the Congress was Havelock Ellis’ The Task of Social Hygiene. In 1927 the Malthusian League confederated with like-minded groups into the Society for Constructive Birth Control. By the 1930s the Eco-Malthusianism was entwined with quasi-feudal High Tory notions that economic forces must accommodate traditional society. Contempt for commercialism and profiteering were expressed by potentates like Viscount Halifax and by academics like Arnold Toynbee and John Maynard Keynes. American-cum-Tory poet, T.S. Eliot, mixed a critique of industrialism with cautions of disappearing resources.

Early 20th century American trashing of industry was confined to small upper class cliques. Seldom was heard a general rejection of progress. This muted opposition to the rise of the machine strengthened along with bonds between the North-Eastern Establishment and the European aristocracy. By 1915, 500 American heiresses had married aristocrats. There were 42 American princesses, 33 marchionesses, 136 countess, 19 viscountesses, 64 baronesses, 46 ladies and 17 dutchesses. Hundreds of similar marriages followed. The Rockefeller and Mellon clans developed close working relationships with Britain’s aristo-financiers. Aristocratic culture also came to America via exclusive social clubs and via prep schools modelled on the British system. Also modelled on a British institution was the remarkably influential New York-based think tank: Council of Foreign Relations. CFR was founded in the 1920s with British participation and it maintained a relationship with the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Rockefellers have long played important roles in the CFR.

What the American branch of the movement lacked in numbers it made up for in media influence. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Collier’s, Century, Nation magazines brought the enthusiasm of a religious crusade to “save” America from modernization. They lauded the countryside and denounced the artificial, materialistic and dangerous culture of cities. Their clout was revealed in 1908 by TR’s White House Conference on National Conservation. One Conference speaker pled for “conservation” of the Anglo-Saxon race. Racism was standard among conservationists who openly disparaged the Irish, Italians and Slavs. In his 1913 classic, Our Vanishing Wild Life, W. Hornaday wrote: “All members of the lower classes of Southern Europe are a dangerous menace to our wild life...Italians are spreading, spreading, spreading.” Racism permeated the prose of Madison Grant; co-founder of the Bronx Zoo and a leader in the Save the Redwoods League and Boone and Crockett Club. His signature book was The Passing of a Great Race. TR was not above racist commentary.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. gave tens of millions of dollars to the Cause and created his own park at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 1911 he set up the Bureau of Social Hygiene which, with the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation, promoted eugenics. His views were not unusual among his peers who collectively took eugenics to a new level in 1921 by founding the American Birth Control League under the direction of Havelock Ellis protégé Margaret Sanger. In the same year, Rockefeller ally Henry Osborn presided over the 2nd International Congress of Eugenics and then headed the committee, formed at that Congress, which founded the American Eugenics Society. Osborn was V-P of the 3rd International Congress of Eugenics held at the American Museum of Natural History in 1932. His keynote address claimed over-population caused the “reign of terror of the criminal and the tragedy of unemployment.” Humanity was bedevilled by six “overs”: over-population, over-mechanization, over-use of resources, over-construction of transportation infrastructure, over-production of food and over-confidence in the future.

Osborn was a movement moderate. Another Congress speaker claimed “dysgenic classes which are rapidly increasing in the US constitute our vast aristocracy of the unfit...This increasing horde will ultimately overrun and destroy the diminishing prosperity of the better classes.” Defectives, whose reproduction needed policing, included: criminals, paupers, the blind, the deaf, the feebleminded, and epileptics. Dr. Alexis Carrel was a senior officer in the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research for 40 years and co-author of a popular conservationist-occultist book with Nazi-symp Charles Lindbergh. In a separate book Carrel called for replacing prisons with places where petty criminals could be scientifically tortured and where serious criminals including those who “misled the public in important matters” could be “disposed of in small euthanasic institutions supplied with proper gases.” At this time Frederick Osborn, Henry’s nephew and protégé, was a partner at the banking firm of Grayson M.P. Murphy & Co; a firm infamous for its involvement in a fascist coup d’ etat plot. Margaret Sanger, co-founder of Planned Parenthood (an American Birth Control League/American Eugenics Society merger) believed Earth was over-populated and advocated mass sterilization campaigns.

Anti-modern, aristocratic ideas appeared in force in the essay collection, I’ll Take My Stand (1930), by the Nashville Fugitives – a cell of Southern intellectuals at Vanderbilt U. They re-articulated Malthus’ warning about unrestrained economic growth’s threat to countryside culture. The book became a manifesto on the American movement’s academic front.

In the early 1900s German ecologists were pivotal in the massive German Youth Movement – a hippy-esque counter-cultural jumble of Romanticism, Asian religions and Nature worship with strong communal impulses. A Youth Movement manifesto was Ludwig Klages’ Man and Earth (1913).Klages ranted against: deforestation, species extinction, urban sprawl, eco-systemic disturbance, aboriginal culture disappearance, and man’s alienation from Nature. He denounced Christianity, capitalism, utilitarianism, over-consumption and progress. (Man and Earth was re-issued by German Greens in 1980.) The USA was viewed in this movement as the prime example of out-of-control technology and soulless materialism. The movement’s anti-Christian sentiment was part Nietzsche-mania. Alfred Baeumler, a top Nazi philosopher, wrote: “Nietzsche asserts the aristocracy of nature. But for thousands of years a life-weary morality has opposed the aristocracy of the strong and healthy. Like National Socialism, Nietzsche sees in the state, in society, the ‘great mandatory of life,’ responsible for each life’s failure to life itself. ‘The species requires the extinction of the misfits, weaklings, and degenerates.”

Nazism is distinguishable from other fascisms by its ecological emphasis. Senior Nazis formulated a “religion of Nature” combining mysticism, misanthropism, and a myth of racial salvation through a return to the land. Themes were harmony with Nature and the superiority of the irrational. Nazism opposed Europe’s modernization into a “mechanical, materialistic” civilization. The primitive was genuine. The countryside was sincere. City life impeded union with Nature’s “cosmic life spirit.” Pagan Nazis, like Himmler and Rosenberg, obsessed about finding man’s lost connection to Nature. Hitler and Himmler were vegetarians and occultists.

Hitler boasted much knowledge of renewable energy, particularly wind power. A platoon of greens atop the Nazi state, led by Hesse, pushed through a raft of reforestation, species protection, and anti-industry legislation immediately after capturing power. Their Imperial Conservation Law protected: plants, animals, monuments of nature and “remaining portions of landscape in the free Nature whose preservation on account of rarity, beauty, distinctiveness or on account of scientific, ethnic, forest or hunting significance lies in the general interest.”

The Reich Agency for Nature Protection indoctrinated the masses about humanity’s interconnectedness to Nature’s organic whole. Agriculture Minister Darre claimed taking land in the East re-established the natural harmony between Germans and their native land. Himmler was pre-occupied with soil purity in Poland. Nazi ecologists justified genocide by claiming conquered Eastern lands would be used with greater ecological sensitivity. They justified political repression by invoking “Natural laws” to which humans had to submit. Playing the Nazi movie backwards distorts the picture. Science and mechanization became vital for the war effort. Salient 1942-5 images of a pro-production and technophile Wehrmacht are but the hubris-packed final scenes of a movement that for years disparaged reason and industry.



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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Gulf stream is broken

Well, not quite. But the ocean circulation of which it forms a part has been found to be much more complex than the Warmist models allow for:

News has come that the famed ocean conveyor belt, subject of countless TV documentaries and science lessons, is not as simple as scientists believed. The 50 year old model of global ocean circulation that predicts a deep Atlantic counter current below the Gulf Stream has been called into question by an armada of drifting subsurface sensors. As shocking as this news is to oceanographers it is even worse for climate modelers—it means that all the current climate prediction models are significantly wrong.

It is known by many names: the meridional overturning current (MOC), the thermohaline circulation (THC), and, popularly, the great ocean conveyor belt. It has been the subject of study by oceanographers for half a century and is known to be a fundamentally important part of earthly climate regulation. It is the primary mechanism for transferring heat from the tropics to higher latitudes, the proximate reason that the occasional palm tree grows on the south coast of England. Until now, scientists thought they had a pretty good handle on how the current flows, the mechanisms that drive the circulation and affect climate world wide.

A new report by Amy Bower of Wood’s Hole and Susan Lozier of Duke University et al., to be published in a forthcoming issue of Nature, has rocked the climate community's complacency. A bevy of subsurface RAFOS floats, drifting 2200 – 4900 feet (700 – 1500 m) deep, have shown several fundamental assumptions about the structure of the current to be wrong. RAFOS floats (SOFAR spelled backward) are floating instruments designed to move with the water and track the water's movements. It seems that 75% of the RAFOS floats escaped the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC) and drifted into open ocean. Only 8% of the RAFOS floats followed the DWBC conveyor belt current, according to the Nature report.

This confirms suspicions that that first began surfacing in the 1990’s, that things were not quite as neat and simple as oceanographers had thought. Earlier observations had led to the widely held view that the DWBC is the dominant pathway for the export of cold Labrador Sea Water (LSW) from its formation site in the northern North Atlantic towards the Equator. The new findings indicate that instead of the single, orderly current flow previously envisioned that the conveyor belt is actually comprised of many slower, more variable and possibly wandering eddies in the interior ocean. Quoting from the report:

"Here we show that most of the recently ventilated LSW entering the subtropics follows interior, not DWBC, pathways. The interior pathways are revealed by trajectories of subsurface RAFOS floats released during the period 2003–2005 that recorded once-daily temperature, pressure and acoustically determined position for two years, and by model-simulated 'e-floats' released in the subpolar DWBC. The evidence points to a few specific locations around the Grand Banks where LSW is most often injected into the interior. These results have implications for deep ocean ventilation and suggest that the interior subtropical gyre should not be ignored when considering the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation".

Triggered by a bunch of drifting ocean monitoring instruments, this new revelation represents a major paradigm shift in ocean circulation theory. Even more dramatic is the impact on current ocean circulation models, major components of the general circulation models (GCM) used to predict climate change. To understand how global climate changes in response to natural and human generated changes, it is essential to determine how quickly and by what pathways climate change signals are transported throughout the global ocean. Ocean currents not only redistribute surface warmth, the oceans themselves are a vast reservoir for heat and carbon dioxide, affecting both short term and long term climate change.

“Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn't hold anymore,” said Duke oceanographer Susan Lozier. “So it's going to be more difficult to measure these climate change signals in the deep ocean.”

This has been a particularly disquieting week for the climate change establishment, with new discoveries regarding the importance of aerosols' impact on sea surface temperatures (SST) and cloud formation, and the halving of predicted sea-level increases due to ice sheet melting coupled with predictions of significant change in Earth's gravity field and rotational axis if Antarctica even partially melts. Add the news regarding the THC and one has to ask, how many revelations of erroneous assumptions are necessary before climate modelers admit that their computer programs are incapable of accurately predicting future climate change?

Climate skeptics are sometimes accused of selectively interpreting scientific data in order to bolster their case against anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The term used is “cherry picking.” When a theory makes certain predictions it is totally acceptable, even obligatory, to investigate those predictions. When a theory is based on certain fundamental assumptions regarding underlying science it is perfectly logical to question that theory when its underlying assumptions are shown to be in error. This is not cherry picking, it is how science works. It may discomfort those who complacently believe in the “consensus view” of AGW, but that is of no importance to science.

In this blog I have showcased a dozen or more scientific papers that end with a statement saying “the climate models need to take this into account,” or words to that effect. Time after time the theory of global warming and the models it rests on have been shown to be lacking. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large, fundamental ways (as is the case here) holes in the AGW theory keep appearing. The IPCC and the climate modeling crowd have constructed complex models of a chaotic system based on incomplete and erroneous assumptions —they have built a house of cards and asked us all to move in without checking the soundness of the foundation. Thankfully, anthropogenic global warming is dying the death of a thousand cuts —this is often the fate of flawed theories.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Black Carbon and climate: Something else that the IPCC "forgot"

Black carbon, or soot, has been recognised as a pollutant for many generations. When coal was the main fuel for domestic heating and cooking, urban landscapes were shaded black, and it is only the last few generations which have been able to see the natural colour of famous buildings, previously often covered in a layer of soot. Readers of a certain age may also remember the inside of King’s college chapel, Cambridge, as black from the smoke of candles used to light it since the sixteenth century. But for European city-dwellers, this is now history. Coal has long been replaced by gas, electricity or coke in the home. And with coal gone, so has the soot.

Not so for hundreds of millions of poor people in developing countries. For them, wood or dung are the primary fuels for cooking stoves, often used indoors. It has long been recognised that this is a major contributor to respiratory disease, particularly among women and young children, who spend most time near the fires. But, ironically, it may take concerns about global warming for serious progress to be made.

A recent New York Times article makes the point in its headline: “Third-world stove soot is target in climate fight”. Although it mentions in passing the health benefit of replacing traditional stoves by cleaner, more efficient ones, the article is the first in a series (By Degrees) about “stopgap measures which could limit global warming”, so the main focus is clear.

Apart from the direct localised pollution caused by smoky fires, black carbon has a direct warming effect on the air when suspended in the atmosphere, and also contributes to melting of glaciers and polar ice by settling on the surface and changing its albedo. According to the article, recent research suggests that soot may be responsible for 18% of global warming, compared to 40% for carbon dioxide. And the effect on Arctic ice may be even more marked: black carbon could account for 40% of the loss.

Given the certainty of so many scientists that they understand the drivers of climate change, and that carbon dioxide dominates, it is sobering to note that the last IPCC Assessment Report, published just two years ago, makes no mention of the significant effect of soot. Moving from certainty that all drivers were accounted for to suddenly finding a basic 18% error is not calculated to build confidence in the state of knowledge. But the effect of black carbon now seems to be generally acknowledged, as witnessed by the recent unprecedented agreement of both climate activists and sceptics in the US Senate to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to make a study of options to reduce levels of soot entering the atmosphere.

The problem is that, if climate modellers have completely left out a factor which appears to account for nearly one fifth of climate change, what else might they have overlooked or underestimated? The obvious answer is the role of the Sun, where most mainstream scientists dismiss the changes in total radiance as trivial in climate terms, while many sceptics insist that its effect is far more complex and significant than that. They also point to the well-established historical correlation between sun-spot numbers and weather patterns. Periods of low activity correlate with poor harvests and high food prices due to cooler weather in mid-latitudes. Since the Sun is now entering a period of extremely low activity, we can expect to see its influence on the weather over the next decade or so if a causative correlation is valid.

For policymakers, the attraction of targeting black carbon reductions to influence climate is that it does not build up in the atmosphere: once soot production is reduced, the amount in the air goes down quite quickly. So something can be done which can be expected to have an almost immediate impact. The pity is that this is the motivator for change, but if the end result is better health for subsistence farmers, then the policy is guaranteed to do some good.


The coming ice age

By David Deming (David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma)

Those who ignore the geologic perspective do so at great risk. In fall of 1985, geologists warned that a Columbian volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, was getting ready to erupt. But the volcano had been dormant for 150 years. So government officials and inhabitants of nearby towns did not take the warnings seriously. On the evening of November 13, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, triggering catastrophic mudslides. In the town of Armero, 23,000 people were buried alive in a matter of seconds.

For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F.

We don't know what causes ice ages to begin or end. In 1875, a janitor turned geologist, James Croll, proposed that small variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun were responsible for climate change. This idea enjoyed its greatest heyday during the 1970s, when ocean sediment cores appeared to confirm the theory. But in 1992, Ike Winograd and his colleagues at the US Geological Survey falsified the theory by demonstrating that its predictions were inconsistent with new, high-quality data.

The climate of the ice ages is documented in the ice layers of Greenland and Antarctica. We have cored these layers, extracted them, and studied them in the laboratory. Not only were ice ages colder than today, but the climates were considerably more variable. Compared to the norm of the last million years, our climate is remarkably warm, stable and benign. During the last ice age in Greenland abrupt climatic swings of 30 °F were common. Since the ice age ended, variations of 3 °F are uncommon.

For thousands of years, people have learned from experience that cold temperatures are detrimental for human welfare and warm temperatures are beneficial. From about 1300 to 1800 AD, the climate cooled slightly during a period known as the Little Ice Age. In Greenland, the temperature fell by about 4 °F. Although trivial, compared to an ice age cooling of 50 °F, this was nevertheless sufficient to wipe out the Viking colony there.

In northern Europe, the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315. Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain. Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food. In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.

The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race. One-third of the human race died; terror and anarchy prevailed. Human civilization as we know it is only possible in a warm interglacial climate. Short of a catastrophic asteroid impact, the greatest threat to the human race is the onset of another ice age.

The oscillation between ice ages and interglacial periods is the dominant feature of Earth's climate for the last million years. But the computer models that predict significant global warming from carbon dioxide cannot reproduce these temperature changes. This failure to reproduce the most significant aspect of terrestrial climate reveals an incomplete understanding of the climate system, if not a nearly complete ignorance.

Global warming predictions by meteorologists are based on speculative, untested, and poorly constrained computer models. But our knowledge of ice ages is based on a wide variety of reliable data, including cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this case, it would be perspicacious to listen to the geologists, not the meteorologists. By reducing our production of carbon dioxide, we risk hastening the advent of the next ice age. Even more foolhardy and dangerous is the Obama administration's announcement that they may try to cool the planet through geoengineering. Such a move in the middle of a cooling trend could provoke the irreversible onset of an ice age. It is not hyperbole to state that such a climatic change would mean the end of human civilization as we know it.

Earth's climate is controlled by the Sun. In comparison, every other factor is trivial. The coldest part of the Little Ice Age during the latter half of the seventeenth century was marked by the nearly complete absence of sunspots. And the Sun now appears to be entering a new period of quiescence. August of 2008 was the first month since the year 1913 that no sunspots were observed. As I write, the sun remains quiet. We are in a cooling trend. The areal extent of global sea ice is above the twenty-year mean.

We have heard much of the dangers of global warming due to carbon dioxide. But the potential danger of any potential anthropogenic warming is trivial compared to the risk of entering a new ice age. Public policy decisions should be based on a realistic appraisal that takes both climate scenarios into consideration.


Eco house fails even before it opens

'Breakthrough Technology’ or broken technology?

It was supposed to be a shining example of the green movement — a completely independent solar-powered house with no gas or electrical hookups. Seven months ago, officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the $900,000 house owned by the city of Troy that was to be used as an educational tool and meeting spot. But it never opened to the public. And it remains closed. "It is disappointing that we can't tour, but the summit will still be of great value. I don't think it's reflective of the technology."

Frozen pipes during the winter caused $16,000 in damage to floors, and city officials aren't sure when the house at the Troy Community Center will open. "It's not safe right now, and there's no estimated opening time because it depends on when we can get funding," said Carol Anderson, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

That surprised the Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Department, which advertised tours of the house for its Tuesday Oakland County Green Summit. "No, I didn't know anything about it," said Steve Huber, spokesman for county planning. Bret Rasegnan, planning supervisor for the department, said the solar tours have been removed from the finalized agenda for the summit.


Comment on the above:

Troy, Michigan, is in my Detroit backyard and the troubles of the celebrated Troy solar house (dubbed ALOeTERRA, which means “to nourish the earth,” natch) that Greg Pollowitz reported above are noteworthy for a number of reasons.

The first is that this anti-global-warming temple’s closure is due to water damage caused by frozen pipes — a result of 2009’s record-cold Michigan winter.

The house is also one of “breakthrough technologies” that Energy Sec. Chu is targeting with DOE’s new, $400 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (see here). In fact, the house — designed by a Lawrence Tech University (Mich.) team — was the winner of an alternative energy competition, the Solar Decathlon, which already receives substantial funding from the DOE.

The house, reports green-friendly Metromode, is billed “as a showcase on how regular people can conserve energy in housing.” But at $900,000, this 800-square-foot green house is hardly in the price range of “regular folk.”

Of course, building a solar house in a state that is in winter overcast six months out of the year might seem a tad ambitious. But its green builders promised that the home’s full-roof solar panels would not only provide electricity, but also charge a home battery system that would store energy for all heating needs.

Or not.


Indiana Says 'No Thanks' to Carbon trading

No honest person thinks this will make a dent in climate change

This week Congress is set to release the details of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, a bill that purports to combat global warming by setting strict limits on carbon emissions. I'm not a candidate for any office -- now or ever again -- and I've approached the "climate change" debate with an open-mind. But it's clear to me that the nation, and in particular Indiana, my home state, will be terribly disserved by this cap-and-trade policy on the verge of passage in the House.

The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.

Quite simply, it looks like imperialism. This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers -- California, Massachusetts and New York -- seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies in order to prop up their own decaying economies. Because proceeds from their new taxes, levied mostly on us, will be spent on their social programs while negatively impacting our economy, we Hoosiers decline to submit meekly.

The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. "Closed: Gone to China" signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories.

Our state's share of national income has been slipping for decades, but it is offset in part by living costs some 8% lower than the national average. Doubled utility bills for low-income Hoosiers would be an especially cruel consequence of the Waxman bill. Forgive us for not being impressed at danglings of welfare-like repayments to some of those still employed, with some fraction of the dollars extracted from our state.

And for what? No honest estimate pretends to suggest that a U.S. cap-and-trade regime will move the world's thermometer by so much as a tenth of a degree a half century from now. My fellow citizens are being ordered to accept impoverishment for a policy that won't save a single polar bear.

We are told that although China, India and others show no signs of joining in this dismal process, we will eventually induce their participation by "setting an example." Watching the impending indigence of the Midwest, and the flow of jobs from our shores to theirs, our friends in Asia and the Third World are far more likely to choose any other path but ours.

Politicians in Washington speak of a reawakened appreciation for manufacturing and American competitiveness. But under their policy, those who make real products will suffer. Already we observe the piranha swarm of green lobbyists wangling special exemptions, subsidies and side deals. The ordinary Hoosier was not invited to this party, and can expect at most only table scraps at the service entrance.

No one in Indiana is arguing for the status quo: Hoosiers have been eager to pursue a new energy future. We rocketed from nowhere to national leadership in biofuels production in the last four years. We were the No. 1 state in the growth of wind power in 2008. And we have embarked on an aggressive energy-conservation program, indubitably the most cost-effective means of limiting CO2.

Most importantly, we are out to be the world leader in making clean coal -- including the potential for carbon capture and sequestration. The world's first commercial-scale clean coal power plant is under construction in our state, and the first modern coal-to-natural gas plant is coming right behind it. We eagerly accept the responsibility to develop alternatives to the punitive, inequitable taxation of cap and trade.

Our president has commendably committed himself to "government that works." But his imperial climate-change policy is government that cannot work, and we humble colonials out here in the provinces have no choice but to petition for relief from the Crown's impositions.


Our Nobel Prize Moron

By Alan Caruba

I know you’re thinking the title refers to Al Gore, but no, it belongs to Paul Krugman, an economist best known as a New York Times columnist, and winner in 2008 of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. He is widely regarded as an expert in international economics and has very impressive curriculum vitae. By all the standards of our times, the man is a genius.

Anyone who has worked for an institution of higher learning as I once did soon loses his awe of PhDs. Their expertise is usually very narrow. The intellectual hot house which they share also includes immense pressure to demonstrate through research and publication that they are productive. There is a herd mentality and some vicious politics that goes on as well.

Krugman may know about economics, otherwise known as the “dismal science” because I suspect the capacity to be very wrong is equal to or greater than the chance of getting things right. Most certainly, his May 15 column, based on a trip to China demonstrated he knows nothing about meteorology, climatology, the science of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Nobel Prize winner demonstrated what a moron he is when he strayed into the usual discredited blather associated with “global warming.” He spouts the nonsense about greenhouse gas emissions like some Red Guard reading from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.

“The scientific consensus on prospect for global warming,” wrote Klugman, “has become much more pessimistic over the last few years.” Firstly, the Greens have been predicting global warming since the 1980s, always concluding it was due to arrive ten, fifteen, twenty or fifty years from now. This is usually a good indicator of how flawed and false such predictions actually are.

Second, there is no such thing as a scientific “consensus” about global warming, unless you include the growing consensus that it is a huge scam designed to further a hidden agenda to destroy the economies of industrialized nations.

In March I attended the 2nd annual Climate Change Conference sponsored by The Heartland Institute. It was wall-to-wall seminars by climatologists and others demonstrating why carbon dioxide in particular plays no role whatever in determining the Earth’s climate trends and never did.

But for Klugman, like Al Gore, facts are of no value when writing about global warming. “Indeed, the latest projects from reputable climate scientists border on the apocalyptic. Why? Because the rate at which greenhouse gas emissions are rising is matching or exceeding the worst-case scenarios.”

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Since carbon dioxide, a gas as vital as oxygen to all life on earth, plays no role in climate change, this assertion is just a regurgitation of Al Gore’s boldfaced lies. As to worst-case scenarios, that is the stock-in-trade of the Greens who conjured up the global warming hoax. It is based entirely on flawed and deceptive computer models.

The Earth has been cooling for the past ten years and, given the low activity of the Sun, the primary determinant of the Earth’s climate and temperature, solar scientists and others are predicting we could be on the cusp of a new little ice age or worse---a full-scale ice age that will render civilization’s short rise moot as nations find themselves buried under miles of ice for the next 100,000 years until the next interglacial period. It is, quite simply, colder everywhere.

Krugman’s main criticism of China, where he had visited prior to writing his column, was that “In January, China announced that it plans to continue its reliance on coal as its main energy source and that to feed its economic growth it will increase coal production 30 percent by 2015.” Good for China! I wish that the United States would permit, nay encourage, coal-fired plants to provide the electricity we will need by 2015 and beyond.

The opposite, however, is happening in the United States which has elected a President who’s on record saying he’d prefer to “bankrupt” any company that dared to build a coal-fired plant. Meanwhile, coal is the source of just over 50 percent of all the electricity we currently use!

If the U.S. continues to refuse to permit more coal-fired plants and continues to delay the building of more nuclear plants, we will not have the energy the economy needs to grow and Americans will begin to experience blackouts and brownouts like the banana republic we shall surely become.

Krugman was annoyed that the Chinese, more than a billion of them, seem to believe they have as much right to a lifestyle similar to ours, most of which was built on the availability of cheap energy and remains dependent on its affordability. If Congress passes the insane “cap and trade” emissions legislation, it will crash the nation’s economy. And they know it!

“The burden should fall,” wrote Krugman, “on those foreign consumers instead, that shoppers who buy Chinese products should pay a ‘carbon tariff’ that reflects the emissions associated with these goods’ production.” So, instead of benefiting from affordable Chinese exports, Americans should pay more for something—global warming—that is not happening and punish China and themselves in the process.

It just gets worse from that point on as Krugman writes that, “Sooner than most people think, countries that refuse to limit their greenhouse gas emissions will face sanctions, probably in the form of taxes on their exports.”

Great! That’s just what we need with China, a trade war! If this is the best a Nobel Prize winning economist has to offer then the process of destroying our economy is already under way. Lesser mortals will instantly identify his remedies as idiotic.



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


Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Global cooling has arrived. Global warming is dead'‏

By Terri Jackson, a Queens graduate physicist, climatologist and formerly founder of the Energy Group at the Institute of Physics, London

There is now irrefutable scientific evidence that far from global warming the earth has now entered a period of global cooling which will last at least for the next two decades. Evidence for this comes from the NASA Microwave Sounding Unit and the Hadley Climate Research Unit while evidence that CO2 levels are continuing to increase comes from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Professor Don Easterbrook one of the principal speakers at the recent World Conference on climate change held in New York in March this year attended by 800 leading climatologists, has documented a consistent cycle of warm and cool periods each with a 27 year cycle. Indeed the warm period from 1976 to 1998 exactly fits the pattern of climate changes for the past several centuries long before there were any CO2 emissions. Greenland Ice core temperature measurements for the past 500 years show this 27 year cycle of alternating warm and cool periods. Recently the global temperature increased from 1918 to 1940, decreased from 1940 to 1976, increased again from 1976 to 1998 and has been decreasing ever since.

However throughout this time CO2 has been added to the atmosphere in increasing amounts. This point was brought out by at the New York conference by Vaclav Klaus the rotating President of the EU and President of the Czech Republic. If CO2 emissions cause temperature rises than why is it that every 27 years the earth climate switches to a cooling mode with decreasing temperature? Clearly there is another explanation that does not include humans.

Nearly ten years into the 21st century it is clear that the UN IPCC computer models have gone badly astray. The IPCC models have predicted a one degree increase in global temperature by 2011 with further large temperature rises to 2100. Yet there has been no warming since 1998 with a one degree cooling this year being the largest global temperature change ever recorded. Nasa satellite imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has confirmed that the Pacific Ocean has switched from the warm mode it has been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period.

The evidence that the earth is in a cooling mode rather than a warming mode is there for all to see. the RSS(Remote Sensing System) in Santa Rosa California has recorded a temperature fall of two to three degrees in the Arctic since 2005, while US Army buoys show an increase in Arctic ice thickness to 3.5 metres. North America has had two of its worst winters for sixty years with the temperature in Yellowstone Park falling to a staggering minus 60 degrees.

About 46” of snow fell in New York in two weeks! Last February Toronto had over 70 cms of snow, more than anything since 1950! Snow has fallen in parts of China and Asia for the first time in living memory while Britain had its worst January for twenty years. "Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" ran a newspaper headline last December. Strange indeed that the BBC, who like us to believe it is impartial does not mention these freezing temperatures and Arctic conditions.

Some warming in the Antarctic has only been on a small 20 mile strip of the Antarctic Peninsula as a result of the 1977- 1998 warming period. This is insignificant compared to the overall size of the huge Antarctic continent.

Studies by the WeatherAction team( led by astrophysicist Piers Corbyn and also the measurements of sun spots by the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial physics in Irkutsk in Russia show that over the last 50 years solar activity has been at its highest for the past several thousand years.

The Russian physicists have analysed sun spot activity from 1882 to 2000 and have noted that the minimum of the cycle of solar activity will occur around 2021 to 2026 and that we will be facing not global warming but global cooling leading to a deep freeze around 2050.

The UN IPCC graphics have left out the medieval warming period (950-1300AD) and the Little Ice Age (1350- 1850). This alters the picture entirely and does not then portray the alternating warm cool warm cool cycle of recorded world temperatures. Also statements put out by the UN IPCC are unrepresentative of many of its members. I do not recall any votes being taken of the opinion of members.

At the New York climate change conference in March as well as Vaclav Klaus delegates also heard Dr Richard Linzen from MIT probably the leading climatologist in the world today, as well as Professor Syun-Ichi Akasofu, former director of the International Arctic Research Center, Dr Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for astrophysics and Professor Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute who all demolished the global alarmists case piece by piece.

In his speech the EU President Vaclav Klaus had these controversial words for the environmentalist lobby: “Environmentalists-even mainstream environmentalists are less concerned about any crisis posed by global warming than they are eager to command human behaviour and restrict economic activity” He also said “their true plans and ambitions: to stop economic development and return mankind centuries back. They are interested in their businesses and their profits made with the help of politicians” He got a standing ovation from the assembled audience.

His assertion about the involvement of politicians is not surprising. This whole movement is in many parts a political movement with nearly all the recognised climatologists throughout the world dissenting from the man made global warming theory.

This can be seen on the US Senate Environment committee web site with over 700 leading climatologists from 24 different countries including Nobel Prize laureates all dissenting from the man made global warming theory. It has been well reported that at least one of the architects of Kyoto has strong links with the New Age Movement which is not a movement that would promote economic growth.

We have all recently noticed the escalating price of food. The reason for this is because American grain, the breadbasket of the world, is increasingly being turned into ethanol which has led to a three fold increase of maize prices worldwide. This has the potential to cause worldwide starvation!


What if global-warming fears are overblown?

In a Fortune interview, noted climatologist John Christy contends the green crusade to fight climate change is "all cost and no benefit."

With Congress about to take up sweeping climate-change legislation, expect to hear more in coming weeks from John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at University of Alabama-Huntsville. A veteran climatologist who refuses to accept any research funding from the oil or auto industries, Christy was a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as well as one of the three authors of the American Geophysical Union's landmark 2003 statement on climate change.

Yet despite those green-sounding credentials, Christy is not calling for draconian cuts in carbon emissions. Quite the contrary. Christy is actually the environmental lobby's worst nightmare - an accomplished climate scientist with no ties to Big Oil who has produced reams and reams of data that undermine arguments that the earth's atmosphere is warming at an unusual rate and question whether the remedies being talked about in Congress will actually do any good.

Christy's critics in the blogosphere assume his research is funded by the oil industry. But Christy has testified in federal court that his research is funded by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and that the only money he has ever received from corporate interests - $2,000 from the Competitive Enterprise Institute for penning a chapter of a global warming book in 2002 - he gave away to a charity, the Christian Women's Job Corps.

His most controversial argument is that the surface temperature readings upon which global warming theory is built have been distorted by urbanization. Due to the solar heat captured by bricks and pavement and due to the changing wind patterns caused by large buildings, a weather station placed in a rural village in 1900 will inevitably show higher temperature readings if that village has, over time, been transformed into small city or a suburban shopping district, Christy says.

The only way to control for such surface distortions is by measuring atmospheric temperatures. And when Christy and his co-researcher Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist now teaching at UA-Huntsville, began analyzing temperature readings from NOAA and NASA satellites, they found much slighter increases in atmospheric temperatures than what was being recorded on the surface. Christy and Spencer also found that nearly all the increases in average surface temperatures are related to nighttime readings - which makes sense if bricks and pavement are in fact retaining heat that would otherwise be dispersed.

In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in February, Christy displayed a chart showing central California temperature trends for both the developed San Joaquin Valley and the largely undeveloped Sierra foothills. "The daytime temperatures of both regions show virtually no change over the past 100 years, while the nighttime temperatures indicate the developed Valley has warmed significantly while the undeveloped Sierra foothills have not," Christy told the committee.

I recently spoke with Christy about his controversial research.

Q. Why did you help write the 2001 IPCC report and the 2003 AGU statement on climate change if you disagreed with their fundamental conclusions?

A. With the 2001 IPCC report, the material in there over which I had control was satisfactory to me. I wouldn't say I agreed with other parts. As far as the AGU, I thought that was a fine statement because it did not put forth a magnitude of the warming. We just said that human effects have a warming influence, and that's certainly true. There was nothing about disaster or catastrophe. In fact, I was very upset about the latest AGU statement [in 2007]. It was about alarmist as you can get.

Q. When you testified before Ways and Means, did you have any sense that committee members on either side were open to having their minds changed? Or are views set in stone at this point?

A. Generally people believe what they want to believe, so their minds will not change. However, as the issue is exposed in terms of economics and cost benefit - in my view, it's all cost and no benefit - I think some of the people will take one step backward and say, Let me investigate the science a little more closely.

Q. In laymen's terms, what's wrong with the surface temperature readings that are widely used to make the case for global warming?

A. First is the placement of the temperature stations. They're placed in convenient locations that might be in a parking lot or near a house and thus get extra heating from these human structures. Over time, there's been the development of areas into farms or buildings or parking lots. Also, a number of these weather stations have become electronic, and many of them were moved to a place where there is electricity, which is usually right outside a building. As a result, there's a natural warming tendency, especially in the nighttime temperatures, that has been misinterpreted as greenhouse warming.

Q. Are there any negative consequences to this localized warming?

It's a small impact, but there is an indication that major thunderstorms are more likely to form downwind of major cities like St. Louis and Atlanta. The extra heating of the city causes the air to rise with a little more punch.

Q. Have you been able to confirm your satellite temperature readings by other means?

A. Weather balloons. We take satellite shots at the same place where the balloon is released so we're looking at the same column of air. Our satellite data compares exceptionally well to the balloon data.

Q. During your House Ways and Means testimony, you showed a chart juxtaposing predictions made by NASA's Jim Hansen in 1988 for future temperature increases against the actual recorded temperature increases over the past 20 years. Not only were the actual increases much lower, but they were lower than what Hansen expected if there were drastic cuts in CO2 emissions - which of course there haven't been. [Hansen is a noted scientist who was featured prominently in Al Gore's global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."] Hansen was at that hearing. Did he say anything to you afterwards?

A. We really don't communicate. We serve on a committee for NASA together, but it only deals with specific satellite issues. At the Ways and Means hearing, he was sitting two people down from me, but he did not want to engage any of the evidence I presented. And that seems to be the preferred tactic of many in the alarmist camp. Rather than bring up these issues, they simply ignore them.

(Contacted by Fortune, Hansen acknowledges that his 1988 projections were based on a model that "slightly" overstated the warming created by a doubling in CO2 levels. His new model posits a rise of 3 degrees Celsius in global temperatures by 2100, vs. 4.2 degrees in the old one. Says Hansen, "The projections that the public has been hearing about are based on a climate sensitivity that is consistent with the global warming rate of the past few decades." Christy's response: "Hansen at least admits his 1988 forecasts were wrong, but doesn't say they were way wrong, not 'slightly,' as he states." Christy also claims that even Hansen's revised models grossly overestimated the amount of warming that has actually occurred.)

Q. I know you think there's been something of a hysteria in the media about melting glaciers. Could you explain?

A. Ice melts. Glaciers are always calving. This is what ice does. If ice did not melt, we'd have an ice-covered planet. The fact is that the ice cover is growing in the southern hemisphere even as the ice cover is more or less shrinking in the northern hemisphere. As you and I are talking today, global sea ice coverage is about 400,000 square kilometers above the long-term average - which means that the surplus in the Antarctic is greater than the deficit in the Arctic.

Q. What about the better-safe-than-sorry argument? Even if there's a chance Gore and Hansen are wrong, shouldn't we still take action in order to protect ourselves from catastrophe, just in case they're right?

A. The problem is that the solutions being offered don't provide any detectable relief from this so-called catastrophe. Congress is now discussing an 80% reduction in U.S. greenhouse emissions by 2050. That's basically the equivalent of building 1,000 new nuclear power plants all operating by 2020. Now I'm all in favor of nuclear energy, but that would affect the global temperature by only seven-hundredths of a degree by 2050 and fifteen hundredths by 2100. We wouldn't even notice it.


Arctic Cooling Has Begun

What follows is the first guest post on Talking About The Weather. I chose Peter Taylor’s short essay on the Arctic out of respect for Peter’s research, his calm during intense debates, and the focus he brings to the issues. As Peter makes clear, those “banking” on rapid Arctic sea ice deterioration in the decades ahead seem to know very little about climate cycles — Harold

I hope to be around in 2020, when some have suggested those of us on the sceptics’ side should have been vindicated, but I think we will prevail much sooner. The Arctic heat-wave of 1920-1940 is of course well-known to real Arctic climate scientists. I reviewed 32 temperature data sets for Arctic stations to 2004 some with very long records. In 2006 I could find only one with higher temperatures in 2004 than in the late 1930s or early 1940s – that was on the eastern coast of Greenland. Since then I have reviewed dozens of papers on surface air temperature, sea surface temperatures, ice-mass, glacier speeds and sea-ice, and all show a clear cyclic pattern of roughly 70 years. Some Greenland and Alaskan temperatures peaked in 2006-2008, but the pattern looks set to repeat.

The latest Arctic heat wave is not identical to the last – firstly it is higher, by maybe 20% in some places, and secondly, the hot-spots are different. But one thing is clear – it is driven by two distinctive factors – a 14% increase in clouds over the North Pole and Beaufort Sea between 1980-2000, and the incursion of warm Atlantic water under the ice and into the Beaufort Gyre. The rapid summer ice loss is due to melting from above (infra red from the clouds) and below (warm Atlantic water).

The strength of the Beaufort Gyre determines how far Atlantic water penetrates the Arctic – when the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is warm and Alaskan Shelf winds are low, the gyre weakens and may reverse flow; when cold (as it has been since late 2006), the Alaskan interior cools, the winds strengthen and the gyre strengthens accordingly – there is a lag of a few years.

Thus, this domino effect from the Pacific will eventually reach the area between Greenland and Norway and summer sea-ice ought to return to the long-term norm (unless there really is a strong greenhouse element – which I can’t see it greater than the difference between this warm period and the last – ie about 20%) and unless there is an even steeper decline in global temperatures due to the quiet sun effect.

On the latter – there is a body of evidence that during quiet solar periods, the jetstream is shifted along with Arctic pressure systems that lead to blocking high pressure over Iceland – sending the jetstream further south and cooling western Europe. The eastern seaboard of the USA gets a little warmer, but the mid-West suffers late springs, dry summers, and bitter winters – not good for the breadbasket of the world!

We should get to see this play out over the next five years.


Green jobs: All pain for no gain

Green Jobs means creating jobs in businesses that manufacture solar panels and wind turbines. But those gains would come at the expense of industrial suppliers and users of energy, which would pass along higher production costs to consumers. Demand would plummet, markets would contract and those businesses would have to shed jobs.

This trade-off is known among economists as the “broken window fallacy.” At first glance, smashing a window might seem as though it adds to the economy, because it employs a window repairman. Yet the owner of the window must pay for the damage, which means he has fewer resources to pay for other things, whether hiring an assistant or buying a new suit. In the end, the window smasher makes everyone worse off.

But that’s not all. Not only does cap-and-trade yield no net gain to the economy, but when you factor in efficiency losses due to higher energy costs, job losses almost certainly exceed job gains.

This is no secret to the Obama administration. Last April, Peter R. Orszag, who now serves as the president’s top budget expert, told Congress, “The higher prices that would result from a cap on CO2 emissions would reduce demand for energy and energy-intensive goods and services and thus create losses … for workers in the sectors of the economy that supply such products.” This is from a man who has the president’s ear.

Obama also wants to spend billions in taxpayer money to subsidize green industries to create green jobs. Yet this would benefit the economy only insofar as these investments are a productive use of capital. Indeed, taxpayer money spent on green jobs comes out of the market economy, which otherwise would have allocated those resources more efficiently to produce goods and services consumers actually want.

The government’s track record in energy investment does not inspire confidence that these resources would be used wisely. Government is run by bureaucrats and regulators, not venture capitalists. That’s why the federal government has wasted so much money in the past on failed energy initiatives such as hydrogen fuel cells and synfuels.

Rather than produce a technological breakthrough, Obama’s clean-energy subsidies are more likely to become a pork-barrel fund for legislators to reward constituent companies and universities. Is it any wonder that, according to a recent article in Politico, there are now four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress? The green energy trough promises billions of dollars, and everyone wants a piece of the action.

As for those millions of “green” jobs, the only jobs government can create are those for bureaucrats and regulators. Under Obama’s cap-and trade scheme, the government would

have to grow significantly to monitor and control billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from thousands of businesses across America. According to the Institute for Energy Research, the government would need 600,000 new employees to administer Obama’s climate policies.

And for what? It takes only one person to read a thermometer. Global temperatures have not increased in almost a decade, despite a steady increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. In his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore claims, “There is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this: When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.” Well, emissions have gone up, yet temperatures have stayed the same. Where’s the warming?

Many powerful politicians are promoting policies to fight climate change as an economic opportunity to create millions of so-called green jobs. President Obama made green jobs an important component of his plan to stimulate the American economy. United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon says that they are the key to a global economic recovery.

In fact, policies to address the supposed threat of global warming hurt the economy by creating more pink slips than green jobs. In short, they are all pain for no gain.



Efforts by countries worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security are in trouble if nothing is done to check the energy gobbled by both information and communication technologies and consumer electronics.

This warning came in a report published yesterday in Paris by the International Energy Agency. The study warns that energy used by computers and consumer electronics will not only double by 2022, but increase threefold by 2030.

IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in a press release accompanying the report that the increase was equivalent to the current combined total residential electricity consumption of the United States and Japan.

"It would also cost households around the world USD 200 billion in electricity bills and require the addition of approximately 280 Gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity between now and 2030," he added. The report is called "Gadgets and Gigawatts: Policies for Energy Efficient Electronics."



China will remain firm in its call for developed nations to cut emissions and for other nations to receive funding as the world attempts to formulate a post-Kyoto deal on climate change.

A climate change official said yesterday that China's long-held position had been detailed in a document that will be sent to the United Nations ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Li Gao, a division director of the Climate Change Department of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said: "Together with each country's document, we submit ours to the UN to facilitate the negotiations before a global climate change deal is sealed."

Once the UN receives submissions from China and other countries involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it will map out a draft deal.

While the exact details of China's document are unknown, the government has often said it wants developed nations to cut emissions by up to 40 percent.

It has also said that China, as a developing nation, would give an undertaking to improve energy efficiency and that less developed nations should receive financial assistance to combat climate change.



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


Saturday, May 16, 2009


An email from Roy Tucker []

I'm a bit dismayed about how computer models have come to be more important than actual observations and so I offer a formal statement of the Scientific Computer Modeling Method.

The Scientific Method

1. Observe a phenomenon carefully.

2. Develop a hypothesis that possibly explains the phenomenon.

3. Perform a test in an attempt to disprove or invalidate the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is disproven, return to steps 1 and 2.

4. A hypothesis that stubbornly refuses to be invalidated may be correct. Continue testing.

The Scientific Computer Modeling Method

1. Observe a phenomenon carefully.

2. Develop a computer model that mimics the behavior of the phenomenon.

3. Select observations that conform to the model predictions and dismiss observations as of inadequate quality that conflict with the computer model.

4. In instances where all of the observations conflict with the model, "refine" the model with fudge factors to give a better match with pesky facts. Assert that these factors reveal fundamental processes previously unknown in association with the phenomenon. Under no circumstances willingly reveal your complete data sets, methods, or computer codes.

5. Upon achieving a model of incomprehensible complexity that still somewhat resembles the phenomenon, begin to issue to the popular media dire predictions of catastrophe that will occur as far in the future as possible, at least beyond your professional lifetime.

6. Continue to "refine" the model in order to maximize funding and the awarding of Nobel Prizes.

7. Dismiss as unqualified, ignorant, and conspiracy theorists all who offer criticisms of the model.

Repeat steps 3 through 7 indefinitely.


An email from Wendell Krossa []

Persistent doomsterism afflicts far too many people, particularly in the environmental movement. In Lester Brown's case it has blinded him to the long history of progress in improving the food supply. And just an aside: what amazing things were done by just one person to improve the human food supply, Norman Borlaug. Julian Simon was right about the value of extra human minds being born. Who knows how many more Borlaugs are yet to come and what new discoveries they may bring to life?

I've tried to understand what fuels persistent apocalyptic as it has such a noted influence on public consciousness across the globe. The environmental variety has produced such things as the new pathology of excessively anxious children (eco-anxiety), scared to death over the ever more dangerous world presented by the alarmists.

One line of thought that may help in understanding what drives persistent apocalyptic has to do with the deeper historical roots of such thinking. Things that may have become almost hardwired in human mentality.

Researchers tell us that the modern human brain achieved its present form about 100,000 years ago. I would assume that modern human consciousness was also emerging and developing at that time. It was also around that time that the previous interglacial (the Eemian) suddenly ended and the world descended into the most recent glacial period (See here). Things got worse very rapidly, especially for people in the higher latitudes.

Some researchers have suggested that early people may have already held myths of a previous golden era (a time of more abundant food supplies and warmer climate). I would suggest this mythology may even date back to the people who lived through the inception of the last glaciation. They appear to have possessed the capacity to develop mythologies (see for instance, John Eccles' The Human Mystery, John Pfieffer's Explosion: an inquiry into the origins of art and religion, Jacquetta Hawkes' Prehistory, Eliade's History of Religious Ideas, and Campbell's Masks of God). The notable descent into worsening natural conditions at that time could have led those people to believe that life overall was in decline and heading toward disaster (proto-apocalyptic). Apocalyptic may then have become one of the earliest pathologies influencing modern human consciousness.

A complex of other mythical ideas were developed over human history in relation to the apocalyptic belief in the decline of life from some original pristine condition. We understand from early mythologies that people viewed nature and its forces as expressions of greater spiritual forces. Hence, such things as natural disasters and diseases came to be viewed as expressions of the anger of spirits/gods, as punishment for human failure, a failure that set the decline of life in motion in the first place. Salvation mythologies also grew out of this type of perception. Sacrifice was seen as necessary to appease angry gods (and a sacrificial lifestyle would also appease the gods: self-flagellation or self-punishment to appease).

So a whole slew of related myths grew up around that core idea of life having declined from some more pristine original condition. This mythology is as primitive as any known but it persists in human belief systems and mentality even today.

This archaic apocalyptic narrative was passed down through the history of human thought, rebirthing itself repeatedly in various religions along the way in both the West and the East (see Eliade's Myth of the Eternal Return). It is most evident in contemporary environmental religion (the green apocalypse). We see it in environmental perceptions that there was once a more pristine era for nature, a pure and undefiled time before corrupt humanity defiled nature. And now the angry gods of nature are expressing their displeasure at humanity and its excesses (the revenge of GAIA or Mother Nature). And what is the required response in order to procure salvation? A return to a simpler lifestyle, a sacrificial lifestyle. Reduce your footprint. Same old, same old.

Apocalyptic is a pathology in the human mind. It must be acquired (beaten into our brains) against the natural orientation of the brain which is toward optimism (Pfiefer in The Emergence of Humankind). Fortunately, many people are able to use their better sense (their natural orientation to optimism) and see through the distortion that is apocalyptic.

We all hold some story or narrative and try to make sense of reality and life in terms of our stories. These stories can even influence our practice of science- what data we will view as most important, what data we will ignore, and how we evaluate the data we hold (what conclusions we will arrive at). These personal narratives may be more influential than actual scientific data, as valuable as that is.

I would suggest that this historically powerful narrative of apocalyptic may in part explain the persistant turning toward doomsterism such as we find in the case of people like Lester Brown. And I would not claim that someone like Brown consciously holds such mythology in his personal belief system. It is more about the subtle influence of basic themes that have a long history of having been beaten into human mentality, whether individuals recognize them or not (perhaps more subconscious). The almost hardwired stuff.

When we see the repeated reincarnation (de ja vu all over again) of the structure of an ancient mythology in scientific debate, then it may be time to recognize that its not really about science but about the greater narrative/story that has always held a prominent place in shaping human perspective on things.

Perhaps then our response to apocalyptic needs to include more of this element of appeal to greater narratives. And we do have a new narrative emerging from the past few centuries of science. We have information that points not to some overall decline in reality or life from an original perfection or purity, but rather, it points to an overall rise and progression in the trajectory of life from less developed beginnings. This rise is evident in the greater cosmos that progresses from more simple and chaotic beginnings toward more order and development (the structure of basic matter, galaxies, stars, and solar systems). It is evident in life on earth that progresses from relatively simple beginnings toward more complexity and diversity and organization. We see this progress and advance also in the history of human consciousness/civilization which develops from more barbaric and primitive beginnings and moves irreversibly toward a more humane future. Apocalyptic decline is so entirely distorting of these fundamental long-term trends of life.

And recognizing this foundational direction of life does not mean that any of us will be spared from the setbacks, downturns, and disasters that still plague life. But what recognition of the overall trajectory of life does is inspire hope that our efforts to improve life are part of a much grander and irreversible rise and progress toward something better. The pathology that is apocalyptic misses the new narrative entirely.

I know this focus on the essential rise and progress of life upsets some devotees of the 2nd Law like Bill Rees who has his own ecological version of the Second Law (Notes on Sustainability Conundrum here ). But even Rees once puzzled over the apparent contradictory growing organization of life against disorder and dissipation of energy. Huber (Bottomless Well, Hard Green) may have stated the relationship here more correctly in arguing that the expenditure and dissipation (waste) of energy serves the greater purpose of increasing order (which is what we do in human civilization).

Whatever people's final conclusions are on this, it appears that a fundamental rise in reality and life has trumped any forces of decline. I can see no evidence of any overall long term decline in any of the three great emergences and trends of reality- the cosmos, life, or human civilization. The mistake of the ancients was to seek to return to some imagined original perfect order. We understand better today that there was no such original perfection but that we are part of a rising trajectory toward something better and we (conscious humanity) are taking ever more responsibility to achieve such desired order and improvement for life (e.g. more control of natural forces to lessen their destructiveness).

Yes, Simon was right that progress defines the essence of life (its essential direction).

Health and global warming: More dishonesty from Lancet

On anything with political implications, Lancet has been a Left-wing propaganda sheet for a long time -- and many of its purely medical articles draw unsustainable conclusions too -- as I often set out in FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC

Is a major new report about “the health effects of climate change” that describes “Climate” as the “biggest health threat” for the 21st century actually based upon a convenient forgetfulness of parts of the literature, and the scientific equivalent of chinese whispers? It may never be possible to answer that question in full and in full confidence. But there is one interesting, major detail that relates to something I just blogged about.
Today (May 14) the “Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission” launched a report titled “Managing the health effects of climate change” (Lancet 2009; 373: 1693–733).

I looked at the report in terms of cold- and warm-weather related deaths and this is what I have found: The Lancet/UCL 2009 report’s claim that warming is worse than cooling is based on a single book chapter from 2003 that forgets to mention two very relevant articles; and that disregards exactly the effect used in one of those two articles to demonstrate that cooling is worse than warming.

Here’s how I started: having had read that at least in Europe, cooling kills more than warming, I looked with interest for any mention of that aspect in the report. My search brought me to page 9:
From a conservative perspective, although a minority of populations might experience health benefits (mostly related to a reduction in disease related to cold weather), the global burden of disease and premature death is expected to increase progressively.(ref. 16)

That looked like a peculiar statement indeed: sporting a reference to “health benefits” for the few (all of them, in Europe?), but suddenly making warming a bigger killer than cooling on a global scale. When was all of that discovered, I wondered? Thankfully, I could find reference 16 on the web:

16. Campbell-Lendrum DH, Corvalán CF, Prüss Ustün A. How much disease could climate change cause? In: McMichael AJ, Campbell-Lendrum DH, Corvalan CF, et al, eds. Climate change and human health: risks and responses. Geneva: WHO, 2003.

Relevant quotes from Campbell-Lendrum DH et al. (curiously, again from page 9):
[...] Direct physiological effects of heat and cold on cardiovascular mortality – Strength of evidence

The association between daily variation in meteorological conditions and mortality has been described in numerous studies from a wide range of populations in temperate climates (16, 17). These studies show that exposure to temperatures at either side of a “comfort range” is associated with an increased risk of (mainly cardio-pulmonary) mortality.

Given the limited number of studies on which to base global predictions, quantitative estimates are presented only for the best supported of the direct physiological effects of climate change—changes in mortality attributable to extreme temperature for one or several days. For cold and temperate regions, a relationship from a published study was used (24) [...]

The mystery was just deepening, with people suddenly dying not because of warmth or cold, but due to daily meteorological changes, and in particular because of “exposure to temperatures” outside of a “comfort range”. It was time then to take a look at what those numerical references were about:

16. Alderson, M.R. Season and mortality. Health Trends 17: 87–96 (1985).

17. Green, M.S. et al. Excess winter-mortality from ischaemic heart disease and stroke during colder and warmer years in Israel. European Journal of Public Health 4: 3–11 (1994).

24. Kunst, A. et al. Outdoor air temperature and mortality in the Netherlands—a time series analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology 137(3): 331–341 (1993).

And what was even more notable were the “forgotten” references:

Keatinge, W.R. et al., Heat related mortality in warm and cold regions of Europe: observational study. BMJ 2000;321:670-673 ( 16 September )

Donaldson, G.C. and Keatinge, W.R. Excess winter mortality: influenza or cold stress? Observational study. BMJ 2002;324:89-90 ( 12 January )

In summary: the Lancet/UCL 2009 report claims warming is worse than cooling on the basis of a single book chapter from 2003 that mentions: a very old article from 1985; a 1993 research on Israel; a single 1994 article about the Netherlands to represent “cold and temperate regions“.

And that very same single book chapter avoids any reference to two much more recent works, from 2000 and 2002, covering the whole of Europe, and pointing in the direction of…cooling being worse than warming.

The “forgotten references” from 2002 may as well have been unknown to the authors of the 2003 book chapter. But that is no excuse for the authors of the 2009 report. Also, the fact that those articles were forgotten is obviously due to pure chance: because otherwise, it would be an unfortunate case of “foul play in citation“, a.k.a.“bibliographic negligence” or “citation amnesia“. [Omitting mention of "inconvenient" references is sadly all too common in every scientific literature I know -- JR]

But that was not all. Here a bit more from Campbell-Lendrum DH et al. (2003):
There also is evidence for a “harvesting effect”, i.e. a period of unusually lower mortality following an extreme temperature period. This indicates that in some cases extreme temperatures advance the deaths of vulnerable people by a relatively short period, rather than killing people who would otherwise have lived to average life expectancy. However, this effect has not been quantified for temperature exposures and is not included in the model. As there is large uncertainty about the number of years that the casualties would have lived (i.e. the attributable years which are lost by exposure to the risk factor) the relative risk estimates will be used to calculate only attributable deaths, not DALYs. [...]

That is not the way Keatinge WR et al (2000) presented their results three years before:
Some of those who died in the heat may not have lived long if a heat wave had not occurred. Mortality often falls below baseline for several days after the end of a heat wave, and this has been interpreted as indicating that some of the people dying during the heat wave were already close to death.

[...] Falls in temperature in winter are closely followed by increased mortality, with characteristic time courses for different causes of death. The increases are of sufficient size to account for the overall increase in mortality in winter, suggesting that most excess winter deaths are due to relatively direct effects of cold on the population.“

Campbell-Lendrum DH et al. (2003) may as well have had a disagreement with Keatinge WR et al (2000): but if that were the case, they should have referenced to it and discussed however briefly the reasons for their disagreement. And of course the authors of the 2009 report should have included some remarks on why they would care not a bit about the “harvesting effect”, since the…effect of that effect directly relates to people’s health (well, it kills them…)

In summary: the Lancet/UCL 2009 report claims warming is worse than cooling on the basis of a single book chapter from 2003 that disregards the “harvesting effect”, the very same effect used in a 2000 article to demonstrate that cooling is worse than warming.

It looks as if the information was available out there, but reached the authors of the 2009 report distorted by the opinion of the 2003 book chapter’s authors . One may be forgiven to equate that with a game of..Chinese whispers (a.k.a. Telephone)!

Obviously there are so many claims one can investigate. But the fact that I was able in a few minutes to identify what are potentially major flaws in the estimation of the net benefits of CO2, suggests that more problems may lurk somewhere else, in the Lancet/UCL report.


Pesky! Plants Absorb More Carbon Dioxide Under Polluted Hazy Skies

Plants absorbed carbon dioxide more efficiently under the polluted skies of recent decades than they would have done in a cleaner atmosphere, according to new findings published this week in Nature. The results of the study have important implications for efforts to combat future climate change which are likely to take place alongside attempts to lower air pollution levels.

The research team included scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the Met Office Hadley Centre, ETH Zurich and the University of Exeter. Lead author Dr Lina Mercado, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "Surprisingly, the effects of atmospheric pollution seem to have enhanced global plant productivity by as much as a quarter from 1960 to 1999. This resulted in a net 10% increase in the amount of carbon stored by the land once other effects were taken into account."

An increase in microscopic particles released into the atmosphere (known as aerosols), by human activities and changes in cloud cover, caused a decline in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface from the 1950s up to the 1980s (a phenomenon known as 'global dimming').

Although reductions in sunlight reduce photosynthesis, clouds and atmospheric particles scatter light so that the surface receives light from multiple directions (diffuse radiation) rather than coming straight from the sun. Plants are then able to convert more of the available sunlight into growth because fewer leaves are in the shade.

Scientists have known for a long time that aerosols cool climate by reflecting sunlight and making clouds brighter, but the new study is the first to use a global model to estimate the net effects on plant carbon uptake resulting from this type of atmospheric pollution.

Co-author Dr Stephen Sitch from the Met Office Hadley Centre (now at the University of Leeds) said, "Although many people believe that well-watered plants grow best on a bright sunny day, the reverse is true. Plants often thrive in hazy conditions such as those that exist during periods of increased atmospheric pollution."

The research team also considered the implications of these findings for efforts to avoid dangerous climate change. Under an environmentally friendly scenario in which sulphate aerosols decline rapidly in the 21st century, they found that by cleaning up the atmosphere even steeper cuts in global carbon dioxide emissions would be required to stabilize carbon dioxide concentrations below 450 parts per million by volume.

Co-author Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter summed up the consequences of the study, "As we continue to clean up the air in the lower atmosphere, which we must do for the sake of human health, the challenge of avoiding dangerous climate change through reductions in CO2 emissions will be even harder. Different climate changing pollutants have very different direct effects on plants, and these need to be taken into account if we are to make good decisions about how to deal with climate change."


World Bank Says India Right In Resisting Mandatory Emission Reductions

The World Bank recently conducted a study according to which it came to the conclusion that since the Indian government is likely to aggressively push for rural electrification it would be difficult to control the resulting increase in carbon emissions. The organization noted that there would be a 3.5 times increase in India’s carbon emissions by 2031-32 from current levels, however, this increase can be abated to 2.7 times if low-carbon policies are implemented by the government.

The study is going to add teeth to Indian government’s stand at the international level as it continues to oppose calls to agree to some kind of emission reduction targets. While the developed countries argue that an international climate change agreement would be meaningless without developing countries like India and China being a party to it, India has maintained that owing to their historical responsibility the developed national need to set more ambitious reduction targets before asking developing countries to do the same.

The backbone of India’s argument in opposition to emission reductions is its low per capita emissions - India’s per capita emissions are almost twenty times less than of those of the United States. India and China have often targeted the luxurious lifestyles common in the Western countries and have argued that governments of developed countries must take step to reduce their domestic carbon output.

Obviously it would be wrong to make India reduce its carbon emissions at the expense of economic development, especially at this time of economic recession when the developing countries have become the new centers of growth. Electricity is a major problem in India with thousands of villages still reeling under hours of black outs, the situation is only marginally better in the second-tier cities. India with its large reserves of coal would naturally prefer using it over other costly and less abundant fuels like oil and gas.

However, India is the third largest GHG producer and that is because of the comparatively less clean technologies used by its industries. Thus India must work on improving the technology used by its industrial sector. A way of reducing carbon emissions could be through voluntary sectoral emission reductions.

India already enjoys significant amount of investment through United Nations Clean Development Mechanism and the EU recently proposed a plan through which India could reduce its carbon emissions with monetary and technical help form the developed countries without worrying about penalties in case of failure to meet emission targets.

Under the proposed plan, developing countries would set voluntary emission targets for carbon-intensive industries like cement and steel and would try to keep emissions below that limit. If they succeed in doing so they can sell emission rights to other countries and generate revenue. There will not be any penalties, however, if the industries exceed the emission limits. Private as well as public sectors companies, with revenue from selling carbon credits, can very well support a part of this emission reduction plan.

Since India is still considered primarily an agricultural country, supply of electricity to rural areas is essential and any increase in the utility bills would be highly unwelcome. However, the government must study the option of reducing carbon emissions from other industries. Companies already selling credits can set small emission targets for themselves and can also apply for acquiring cleaner equipment. The developed countries are bound by international treaty to reduce emissions but India, too, should recognize its responsibility and contribute whatever little it can while the developed countries are offering to help.


Obama and the alternative energy fiasco

It's only a matter of time before President Barack Obama's vast popularity runs aground on his energy policies. In the name of saving the planet from global warming, he has delayed new oil drilling, an action that will have major political repercussions once the world economy recovers. Instead of using some the stimulus billions to produce more gas and oil, Obama's wild-eyed supporters dream of "renewable" energy derived from corn, wind, sunshine, and even grass.

With the appointment of extremists like climate czar Carol Browner and science adviser John Holdren, Obama has placed his administration's environmental policy in the hands of radicals. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposes replacing oil and coal with windmills. Yet Barron's recently reported that America would need to build 500,000 giant offshore windmills and transmission lines to produce Salazar's specified 1,900 gigawatts of electricity. In contrast, oil and gas drilling could provide hundreds of thousands of solid, well-paying blue-collar jobs. Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson explains this in "The Bias Against Oil & Gas," describing how alternative energy job creation is miniscule compared to what an expansion of oil production would create. Meanwhile, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have proposed legislation giving legal standing to allow Americans to sue any company that produces "greenhouse" gasses.

All of these things are happening at a time when natural gas is abundant and cheap. The new technology of horizontal fraccing has made it economically feasible to drill into vast shale deposits in many states, even famously difficult ones like Michigan and New York. Many cars could run on natural gas, much like many buses do already. On a recent trip to Peru, I learned that most taxicabs have been converted to natural gas for a cost of about $1,000 each. New technologies continually revive old oil and gas fields and make new ones economically viable. So it's little more than socialist Malthusianism to argue that the world is running out of cheap energy. Science will always find and harness new sources. Even the liberal New Republic recently admitted that, "Utopian environmentalism has, to some extent, always promised to heal the alienation wrought by modernity... it is a form of escapism and disengagement from reality." The extremists scoff at science and would apparently prefer scarcity so that bureaucratic rationing will enforce a change in American lifestyles.

Instead of producing more of the cheap, abundant energy that fueled America's dynamic growth, the extremists who support and surround Obama dream of drastically cutting American consumption. Many of them would like to see the government force General Motors to make flimsy little cars that run on electricity (or alternative energy) at the cost of billions. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club magazine recently boasted of helping to block construction of 96 coal-fired power plants and helping to impose a de facto moratorium on all new plants.

Currently, half of the drilling rigs in America are shutdown because of low oil and gas prices. Most smaller oil companies have suffered severe damage or even gone bankrupt by their inability to renew loans or gain credit. Likewise, the majors have few safe options in foreign countries but would invest heavily in offshore American exploration, if it were permitted.

So what about the so-called green alternatives? Forbes recently detailed the problems with windmills. First, they depend upon a two-cent-per-kilowatt taxpayer subsidy to remain competitive. They also require backup gas generators (in case the wind isn't blowing when needed) and new transmission lines running from windy places to population centers. And while new technologies to store wind-generated electricity are in the works, they have so far proven uneconomical. Nor does this even begin to consider the years of legal delays that would likely result from litigious neighbors opposed to new transmission towers. Solar power is even more expensive and would also require additional billions for backup generators and new transmission lines. Compare those unseen costs to the clear benefits of coal and gas plants where transmission lines are already built.

New oil and gas technologies could also help the U.S. from importing so much oil. But the Obama administration is stalling and trying to stop the offshore drilling approved by the previous Congress. The White House has also shut down previously permitted onshore drilling and burdened drillers with costly new restrictions. Meanwhile, $80 billion in stimulus spending has been earmarked for "renewable" energy. The plan is to give a 30 percent tax credit for the associated costs.

Americans will soon again feel the sting of gasoline costing $3.00 or $4.00 per gallon and then come to recognize how we've wasted years of opportunity to produce more energy domestically. For instance, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 85 billion barrels of offshore oil. (And that is an old number. It is almost certain to increase once new exploration and testing are permitted.) New supplies in continental America, not to mention the billions of barrels now accessible in Alaska, could transform our trade deficit by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in imports. This would help rescue the value of the dollar, alleviate the cost of maintaining armies and navies in the Middle East, and help save free trade from the latest round of restrictions.

It's also essential to remember that so-called renewable energy cannot replace oil and natural gas in any significant way. For example, corn-based ethanol production "costs" nearly as much to produce as it saves in oil and can only exist with the help of costly and unending subsidies. Government, in other words, gets what it pays for. If it offers subsidies to alleviate global warming or make gasoline from grass, it will find promoters who will gladly accept that money and deliver scant results.

With the Republicans no longer handicapped by leaders like George W. Bush and John McCain, both of who caved before environmental extremists, Obama's energy policies might be a strong issue for conservatives and libertarians to rally around, and perhaps change their political fortunes. Remember that McCain famously opposed drilling in ANWR, while Bush promised the country that a gasoline substitute could be produced from switch grass.

One day the alternative energy fiasco will be studied as a vast example of waste and fraud that contributed to the collapse of the dollar and to lower living standards for most Americans. Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.



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


Friday, May 15, 2009

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Sea rise from ice melt 'overestimated'

A bit of encroaching realism here. They admit that the main mass of the Antarctic ice will never melt but they have a new scare to make up for that. They think that over the next 500 years enough ice will melt to throw the earth's rotation out of balance! But it is all speculation which ignores the fact that Antarctic ice is if anything growing overall. There is no evidence since measurements began of Antarctice ice loss on anything like the scale projected. And as a prediction of what could happen in 500 years' time, it is pure hubris and imagination.

And the projections seem to rely on some very optimistic calculations. Melting of the seaborne ice will of course have no effect on sea-level and nor will that part of the inland ice that is based below sea-level, UNLESS the inland ice concerned has a huge overburden that is way above sea level. I don't doubt that it has some overburden but that much? The authors themselves seem to be very wobbly on that, discussing rises of between one meter and three. But it's all hypothetical anyway as there is no sign of the huge warming that would be required for any such effect.

It deserves a very old and cynical response: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no room for tinkers". I learnt that as a nursery rhyme when I was aged about 2 but I doubt that there are even many college graduates today who would understand it. Hint: In Middle English. "an" meant "if" -- also sometimes still encountered in the expression: "An I were you". Tinkers were people who fixed holes in pots and pans, still remembered in the verb "to tinker"

WHILE a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet will have devastating impacts on global sea levels, a study has found the anticipated impact has been seriously overestimated. Using new measures of the ice sheet's geometry, British and Dutch researchers predict its collapse would cause sea levels to rise by 3.2m, rather than previous estimates of five to seven metres.

But the study published in the journal Science today, found that even a one metre rise in sea levels would be significant enough to weaken the Earth's gravity field in the southern hemisphere and affect the Earth's rotation.

That rotational shift would cause water to pile up in the northern oceans and could result in dramatic regional differences in sea levels, with the largest rise on the east and west coast of the United States.

"The pattern of sea level rise is independent of how fast or how much of the (Western Antarctic Ice Sheet) WAIS collapses," said lead author Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol in England. "Even if the WAIS contributed only a metre of sea level rise over many years, sea levels along North America's shorelines would still increase 25 per cent more than the global average."

Antarctica holds about nine times the volume of ice as Greenland and is considered a sleeping giant when it comes to sea levels. The western ice sheet is of particular concern because enormous sections sit in inland basins on bedrock that is entirely below sea level. Vast floating ice shelves currently limit ice loss to the ocean but scientists fear the sheet could collapse if the floating ice shelves break free.

The study authors based their predictions on the assumption that only ice on the downward sloping and inland-facing side of the basins would be lost, while ice grounded on bedrock that is above sea level or slopes upward would survive.

Researchers do not know how quickly the shelf would collapse. But if such a large amount of ice melted steadily over 500 years it would raise sea levels by about 6.5 millimetres per year. That's about twice the current rate due to all sources. "Though smaller than past predictions, the scale of the fully manifested instability is enormous," said Erik Ivins of the California Institute of Technology in an accompanying article.

"The total mass gained by the oceans ... would be roughly equal to the mass showered to Earth by the impact of about 2000 Halley-sized comets."

Further complicating the situation is the fact that Greenland seems to be losing as much or more ice than Antarctica, even though it doesn't have the same unstable configuration. "Greenland needs only half the mass loss rate of Antarctica to have an equivalent effect on polar motion due to its less polar position," he wrote.

Even "more ominous" are the current accelerations of ice flow into the Amundsen Sea Embayment in Antarctica, he wrote. "Should the ice sheet grounding line migrate farther inland, ice resting on bedrock well below sea level could become unstable."



Below is the journal article referred to above

Reassessment of the Potential Sea-Level Rise from a Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

By Jonathan L. Bamber et al.


Theory has suggested that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be inherently unstable. Recent observations lend weight to this hypothesis. We reassess the potential contribution to eustatic and regional sea level from a rapid collapse of the ice sheet and find that previous assessments have substantially overestimated its likely primary contribution. We obtain a value for the global, eustatic sea-level rise contribution of about 3.3 meters, with important regional variations. The maximum increase is concentrated along the Pacific and Atlantic seaboard of the United States, where the value is about 25% greater than the global mean, even for the case of a partial collapse.

Science (2009), Vol. 324. no. 5929, pp. 901 - 903


Cold water ocean circulation doesn't work as expected

The familiar model of Atlantic ocean currents that shows a discrete "conveyor belt" of deep, cold water flowing southward from the Labrador Sea is probably all wet.

New research led by Duke University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution relied on an armada of sophisticated floats to show that much of this water, originating in the sea between Newfoundland and Greenland, is diverted generally eastward by the time it flows as far south as Massachusetts. From there it disburses to the depths in complex ways that are difficult to follow.

A 50-year-old model of ocean currents had shown this southbound subsurface flow of cold water forming a continuous loop with the familiar northbound flow of warm water on the surface, called the Gulf Stream.

"Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn't hold anymore," said Duke oceanographer Susan Lozier. "So it's going to be more difficult to measure these climate change signals in the deep ocean."

And since cold Labrador seawater is thought to influence and perhaps moderate human-caused climate change, this finding may affect the work of global warming forecasters.



Japan's power firms paid a combined 100.1 billion yen, or $1 billion, for carbon credits in the year that ended on March 31, their annual earnings reports showed, giving investors a rare glimpse into how much utilities are spending to offset their own carbon emissions.

The sector is one of the biggest buyers of carbon credits from abroad and is expected to buy more as it struggles to meet its voluntarily set targets, which were based on a model in which its carbon-free nuclear plants run at 80 percent or more of their capacity -- well up from 60 percent now.

The inclusion of carbon credit figures in earnings statements, effective from 2008/2009, gives investors information that is otherwise largely hidden, on how each firm strikes a balance among burning relatively cheap coal, funneling money abroad through carbon credits and investing in costlier but cleaner alternatives at home.

Japan's No.1 utility, Tokyo Electric Power Co, and five others, spent a combined 75.6 billion yen on credits for redemptions in the past year as part of efforts to help Tokyo to meet its goals for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.



The political and international divide over green energy politics is growing. Not only are the prospects of over ambitious plans such as Koyoto II getting gloomier in the ongoing financial crisis, it is becoming increasingly clear that the green renewable energy issues could create problems of the same magnitude as our present oil-dependency. As the Atlantic reports in its May issue, the exploding demand for hybrid cars and windmills is likely to create a bottle neck in the supply of a commodity with the exotic name of neodymium.

Neodymium is a crucial material for build lightweight permanent magnets "that make the Prius motors zoom" and are needed for the generators of wind mills as well. In fact, the present production of neodymium would have to be doubled in order to make just a few million electric cars. The main pit for neodymium in the US, California's Mountain Pass, has recently been closed after a series of leaks released hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive waste into the environment. The dirty little secret of green cars and windmills is that the neodymium has to be yielded from rare-earth ore, which are regularly contaminated with radioactive thorium.

So much for the green ideologues and main stream media hypocrites who don't accept nuclear energy with zero CO2 emission as clean energy.


Rep. Barton: Even Democrats Divided on Climate Change

As if running a marathon isn’t taxing enough, runners now have to worry about whether their breathing would violate Obama administration pollution standards and close down the New York and Boston marathons, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas tells Newsmax.

The ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton says that under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency can impose limits on any source of pollution emitting more than 250 tons a year. The EPA technically should not consider an emission a pollutant unless it is listed as such by the act, he says. But the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has said that since the Clean Air Act didn’t specifically exclude carbon dioxide, the EPA potentially could regulate it.

“The EPA could have just come out and said that for the following reasons carbon dioxide shouldn’t be regulated,” Barton says. “But what the Bush administration did was say we’re going to conduct a notice of proposed rule making. We’re going to go out and open a record, accept public comments, and then make a decision. Well they left, and the Obama administration came in, and they immediately said yeah, we think it should be regulated.”

Under Obama, the EPA has issued an endangerment finding saying that carbon dioxide is a hazard to public health. “Of course, they’ve not really given any explicit examples of that, because they can’t,” Barton says. “There’s never been anybody who’s been treated in an emergency room for CO2 poisoning. It doesn’t cause asthma; it doesn’t cause your eyes to water; it doesn’t cause cancer.”

Barton says the average healthy adult exhales between four-tenths of a ton and seven-tenths of a ton of CO2 a year. “So if you put 20,000 marathoners into a confined area, you could consider that a single source of pollution, and you could regulate it,” Barton says. “The key would be whether the EPA said that 20,000 people running the same route was one source or not.”

One indication that the EPA likely would consider 20,000 runners a single source of pollution is that the agency is trying to regulate waste-water runoff and emissions of drilling rigs in oil fields by attempting to define entire areas as a single source of pollution, Barton says. “So if you have 10 wells, they try to amalgamate those wells into one single source,” Barton says. “Now the courts have rejected that, but the EPA has attempted to do that.”

By the same token, the EPA could consider a truck stop on an interstate highway, a shopping mall, or an apartment complex a single source of unacceptable carbon dioxide emissions. “Those definitely emit over 250 tons of CO2 a year, and they could be regulated as point sources under the Clean Air Act under the EPA’s standards,” Barton says.

The EPA says carbon dioxide endangers the population because worldwide temperatures are going up, causing droughts, Barton says. While carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have gone from 250 parts per million to around 385 parts per million since the Industrial Revolution, and average global temperatures have increased, no one knows for sure whether man-made carbon dioxide emissions have anything to do with global warming, he says. “The United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most definitive statement is that there’s 90 percent consensus that man-made CO2 is a probable cause of global warming,” Barton says. “That’s pretty weak.”

Based on that conclusion and a projection that the atmosphere will increase in temperature by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050, President Obama wants to levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Barton says. “The Al Gores of the world say that the scientific debate’s all over,” Barton says, “Well, we never really had a scientific debate, number one. They jumped to a conclusion kind of ex post facto, and so now they’re in heat to put the U.S. economy in a straitjacket by putting these rigid caps and cap-and-trade controls on.”

Thankfully, Barton says, “The country’s waking up and fighting back a little bit, because somebody in Pennsylvania or Ohio says, ‘Well let me get this straight. If we put this CO2 cap-and-trade program into effect, I’m going to lose my job right now. And the temperature worldwide is not going to change enough in the next hundred years that it’ll even be measurable. I don’t think I like that.’”

To capture carbon dioxide from a coal-burning power plant now requires about 40 percent of the power of the plant, Barton notes. That raises the cost of generated electricity “somewhere between 50 percent and 100 percent.” Consumers would pay the higher cost, both in higher electric bills and in higher prices for almost every product that requires electricity to produce. “If you’re a manufacturing facility where energy cost is a big part of your costs —and in the steel industry and the aluminum industry and some of those industries, energy is 25 to 50 percent of their cost — you raise the costs 25 to 50 percent or 50 to 100 percent, you go out of business,” Barton says. “They just shut down, move to Mexico, move to India, move to China.”

Obama seems oblivious to the potential impact on the economy. “President Obama has never worked in a for-profit situation,” Baryon says. “His support groups have tended not to be the business groups that really create the jobs, and he has focused on listening to the environmental groups who really don’t care too much about the cost, and they’re interested in it purely from the possible negative effects on the environment. And they think whatever the cost, we need to act, and we need to act now. When he was a senator and when he was a candidate, he accepted that.”

The good news is that when Democrats on Barton’s committee met with Obama last week, Barton says, the president did not seem as ardent about passage of cap-and-trade legislation. “He made the statement that he wouldn’t oppose them moving a bill on climate change, which is pretty weak, because it’s a major part of his domestic agenda,” Barton observes. “If they can have a secret ballot, I bet 90 Democrats — maybe 100 — would vote against it,” Barton says. “There are 36 Democrats on the energy committee, and 18 of them are undecided. That tells you something.”

Still, environmental groups could bring in the big guns, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “So,” Barton says, “it’s yet to be seen how much pressure the more junior members of the committee in the caucus can withstand if Pelosi says, I want this done, and you’re going to do it.”


Ireland: Green energies give rise to 'eco-bling'

ATTEMPTS TO make buildings more energy-efficient by installing expensive “green technologies” have resulted in the rise of “eco-bling”, a symposium in Trinity College heard yesterday.

Academics and practitioners of sustainable energies said much money was being spent on micro-renewable energy systems when extra insulation and draught-proofing would be more effective.

The symposium heard some expensive technologies such as photo-voltaic cells, which take energy from sunshine, can take up to 50 years to pay for themselves in saved energy costs. However, photo-voltaic cells often have a useful life of just 20 years, making them effectively “eco-bling”.

Howard Liddell of Gaia Architects, which has been working on eco-design in Scotland and Norway since 1984, said heat pumps, photo-voltaic cells, solar panels, even in some instances wind turbines, were types of renewable energies which frequently did not stand up to “crunching the numbers”.

In his lecture, “Nega Watts – the antidote to Eco-bling” Mr Liddell said preventing heat loss was by definition among the best ways to achieve energy efficiency. He said he had never seen a heat pump in operation which offered a return as good as three units of energy output for each unit which went in, yet these were regularly advertised as “four units of output for one unit in”.

Photo-voltaic cells which make energy from sunshine offered a 50-year payback, but all too often have a 20-year useful life.

He was critical of new housing schemes which advertised “10 percent of energy from renewables” when research showed clearly the best way to achieve energy efficiency was simply to reduce waste.

The optimum measure was “super insulation”, making a house air-tight, “instead of heating the sky”. However, he asked, “How do you make insulation and air-tightness sound as sexy as 10 per cent from renewables?”

He said “green” buildings with micro-renewable energies tended to be lived in by environmentalists, and cost more to build. Super-insulated buildings with only air tightness and passive solar gain tended to be lived in by “ordinary people” and did not cost more to build.

In his address, “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” Prof David MacKay of the department of physics at Cambridge University, England, asked whether renewable energy has the capacity to meet society’s demands. He concluded that Britain, as an example, could survive on renewable energies alone – but only with massive societal changes and most of its land mass utilised by biofuel crops, alongside tidal, wind and wave energy farms.



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


Thursday, May 14, 2009


There are signs that the administration might have realized what it has done with all its talk of regulating greenhouse gases. First, there was the surprising decision last Friday not to reverse the Bush administration's rules surrounding its listing of the Polar Bear under the Endangered Species Act, causing the Center for Biological Diversity to call the rule an "extinction plan" which the administration had "made its own."

Second, there surfaced an interagency memo circulated by OMB which said that the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare could inflict severe harm on the U.S. economy while itself being based on shaky grounds. The memo specifically says:

Making the decision to regulate CO2 under the CAA for the first time is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities and that there is a concern that EPA is making a finding based on (1) 'harm' from substances that have no demonstrated direct health effects, such as respiratory or toxic effects, (2) available scientific data that purports to conclusively establish the nature and extent of the adverse public health and welfare impacts are almost exclusively from non-EPA sources, and (3) applying a dramatically expanded precautionary principle.

This is pretty strong stuff, but of course it's exactly the same sort of warnings that were presented in the Bush administration, but were decried as part of a "war on science."

Now, today, confronted with the memo by Senator Barroso, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson somehow managed to say that an endangerment finding "does not mean regulation." The EPA was unable to clarify what that meant, probably because it is is nonsense under the clear meaning of the Clean Air Act and its interpretation by the Supreme Court in Mass. v EPA. A coalition of free-market groups pointed this all out in its submission to EPA on the finding.

What this all suggests is that sober voices somewhere in the administration have realized just what an economic disaster regulating greenhouse gases will be. The timing of these remarks also suggests that the White House is withdrawing cover from the extremists pushing the Waxman-Markey bill. It also means that the well-funded CBD's $17 million* that they have for litigation is going to be well-used as they tie up the administration with legal challenges.

If Obama wants to get himself out of this mess, he should sponsor legislation expressly excluding greenhouse gases from the purview of the ESA and CAA.



The Waxman-Markey climate bill-characterized as a "648 page cap-and-trade monstrosity" by Al Gore's mentor, James Hansen-is intended to bring the U.S. into line with Europe and Japan on CO2 policy. But as I have explained previously, the current U.S. policy discouraging new coal and new nuclear capacity will:

* Make the U.S. more dependent on energy imports,

* Drive up generation costs,

* Artificially incite demand for fickle natural gas, and

* related infrastructure such as LNG regasification facilities, and Increase reliance on old coal and old nuclear for baseload power, resulting in less efficient, less clean, and less reliable electricity.

Such government intervention will block self-interested private investors who would otherwise provide America with more domestic, lower-cost energy, and more modern infrastructure for better reliability. And ironically, our more expensive, imported and unreliable electricity system will hardly make a difference in worldwide CO2 levels and associated global climate change.

Much more HERE


Millions making big sacrifices to pay utilities bills, new research confirms

Warnings of pensioners going hungry in order to heat their homes weren't over-the-top, after all, new research shows. A new report has served to confirm the fears of many consumer groups and charities - that millions of UK households are having to cut back on their food bills and other essential simply to pay for their gas and electricity.

For several months now, organisations such as Help the Aged have been shouting Cassandra-like from the wings for the government to do more to help the most vulnerable in British society, particularly the elderly who are at the greatest risk from cold weather yet who are the least able to go online and switch utilities suppliers.

Now, such claims don't appear so sensationalist, with fresh research carried out by Consumer Focus revealing that 44 per cent of customers have been forced to cut back on essential items as the average combined fuel bill stands at £1,288.

What's more, the study also found that 65 per cent of those polled were "shocked" at the size of their most recent utilities bill, with around the same proportion far from optimistic that the recently-announced price cuts from the 'big six' suppliers will make any real difference to their personal finances.



Parts of the green movement have become hijacked by a political agenda and now operate like multinational corporations, according to two senior scientists and members of the House of Lords. The peers, who were speaking at an event in parliament on science policy, said they felt that in some areas green campaign groups were a hindrance to environmental causes. "Much of the green movement isn't a green movement at all, it's a political movement," said Lord May, who is a former government chief scientific adviser and president of the Royal Society. He singled out Greenpeace as an environmental campaign group that had "transmogrified" into one with primarily an anti-globalisation stance.

"Maybe they are right, but I wish they would wear the uniform of the army they are fighting [under]," said May, adding that he used to be involved with Greenpeace in the 1970s.

Greenpeace's chairman John Sauven said he did not recognise the characterisation. "I don't know who he is talking about," he said, "As far as I know, no mainstream environmental organisation has been anti-globalisation per se...Frankly that does not represent what we are about." He said that Greenpeace did, however, campaign against examples of unsustainable trade, such as transporting bottled water between continents. "There are a million and one examples of the madness of globalisation that are having a detrimental effect on the environment," he added.

May also criticised green groups who campaign against initiatives such as wind farms and the Severn tidal barrage scheme, while also proclaiming the need to tackle climate change. He said such groups were "failing to recognise the landscape is human-created".

As an example of how attitudes can change, he cited the poet John Ruskin's angry condemnation of the Monsal Dale railway. The line, built in the 1860s, runs through beautiful countryside between Matlock and Buxton. At the time, Ruskin raged: "The valley is gone and the Gods with it, and now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half-an-hour." The railway is now regarded fondly by many people as an integral part of the landscape, May said.

Lord Krebs, the former chairman of the Food Standards Agency and current principal of Jesus College Oxford also criticised Greenpeace, saying that it had been set up to peddle fear on environmental issues. "Greenpeace is a multinational corporation just like Monsanto or Tesco. They have very effective marketing departments... Their product is worry because worry is what recruits members," he said.


Australia: How governments get people out of their cars (another example)

Where did they get this insane bus driver? What training was he given? Are they psychologically evaluated before being given charge of lots of people? And judging by many past verdicts (e.g. this one) he will do no jail time for his appalling behaviour

A BRISBANE City Council bus driver assaulted a 79-year-old passenger because he was "a few cents short" of his fare, a court has been told. Dennis Fath Chow, 38, was yesterday committed to stand trial for the serious assault of the man, who cannot be identified, at Chermside West in September 2008.

A Brisbane Magistrate's Court committal hearing was told the men had argued over the price of a bus fare. High school student, Jaqueline Williams, 16, told the court she was travelling on a No.345 bus when it stopped at the corner of Rode Rd and Maundrell Tce at Chermside West. She said Chow became involved in an argument with his elderly passenger when he could not produce the correct fare.

After rebuffing the girl's attempt to pay the fare, Chow started pushing and shoving the elderly man, the court was told. "The bus driver just started screaming at him," the girl said. "He was grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking and pushing him. He lifted him up and chucked him off, kind of like a footy."

The man fell headfirst on to the concrete footpath, the girl said. "I saw the old man bleeding and I went to see if he was all right. I had tissues in my bag so I was just trying to clean up as much blood as I could," she said. The court was told the man sustained facial fractures and extensive bruising and cuts to his hands, hips and elbows.

Another witness on the bus recounted hearing the sound of the man hitting the concrete. "I could hear his head crack like an egg on the footpath," he said. "(The bus driver) was going to drive off but I told him I was calling the police and to stay right there."

Magistrate Jacqueline Payne committed Chow to stand trial in the District Court.


"Eco-friendly" posters for Ireland's Green party fall apart

And they want to lecture everybody else on how to do things!

An unusual flaw has emerged in the Green Party’s environmentally friendly batch of election posters. Around half of the party’s 100 local election candidates opted for eco-friendly election posters, but the wood used has turned out to be below the standard required and the posters have split and disintegrated during inclement weather over the weekend.

A party spokesman confirmed last night that it had ordered the recall of all that batch of posters as a precautionary measure. The recall affects some 50 candidates. The spokesman said the party had contracted an Irish company to use a specific type of board that would withstand all elements of Irish weather and not break apart or cause litter. However, during the high winds and rains of the past week, it was found that some of the posters disintegrated when exposed to the elements.

The posters, purchased because they were ecologically friendly, were produced in Ireland from a renewable tree source, specifically for the Green Party’s election campaign at a cost of around €150,000. Between 12,000 and 13,000 posters were printed for the election campaign, all of which have been recalled. Mick Murphy, a Green candidate for Cork City Council, said the party immediately withdrew the posters late on Friday, shortly after the fault was identified.

It is understood that the company contracted to provide the posters specialises in creating a high-quality visual finish on timber board from a sustainable source. The timber was sourced from the Irish State Forest and the Green Party had specified that for every tree used to make the election posters, six trees would be planted to replace those cut down, according to Mr Murphy. “Once we were informed of the fault, we went immediately to remove any posters that had been erected.”

The party spokesman said last night that replacement posters had been ordered for the affected candidates and the party hoped that they would be available by the end of the week.



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


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?

How do we know global warming is a problem if we can't trust the U.S. temperature record?

by Anthony Watts. (Anthony Watts is a 25-year broadcast meteorology veteran and currently chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM radio. He got his start as on-air meteorologist for WLFI-TV in Lafayette, Indiana and at KHSL-TV in Chico, California. In 1987, he founded ItWorks, which supplies broadcast graphics systems to hundreds of cable television, television, and radio stations nationwide. ItWorks supplies custom weather stations, Internet servers, weather graphics content, and broadcast video equipment. In 2007, Watts founded, a Web site devoted to photographing and documenting the quality of weather stations across the U.S.)

Executive Summary

Global warming is one of the most serious issues of our times. Some experts claim the rise in temperature during the past century was "unprecedented" and proof that immediate action to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions must begin. Other experts say the warming was very modest and the case for action has yet to be made.

The reliability of data used to document temperature trends is of great importance in this debate. We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data.

The official record of temperatures in the continental United States comes from a network of 1,221 climate-monitoring stations overseen by the National Weather Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Until now, no one had ever conducted a comprehensive review of the quality of the measurement environment of those stations. During the past few years I recruited a team of more than 650 volunteers to visually inspect and photographically document more than 860 of these temperature stations. We were shocked by what we found. We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas. In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations - nearly 9 of every 10 - fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/ reflecting heat source. In other words, 9 of every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited.

It gets worse. We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7 degrees C (about 1.2 degrees F) during the twentieth century. Consequently, this record should not be cited as evidence of any trend in temperature that may have occurred across the U.S. during the past century. Since the U.S. record is thought to be "the best in the world," it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable.

This report presents actual photos of more than 100 temperature stations in the U.S., many of them demonstrating vividly the siting issues we found to be rampant in the network. Photographs of all 865 stations that have been surveyed so far can be found at, where station photos can be browsed by state or searched for by name.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Heaven+Earth on Fire: Warmism fading in the Australian parliament

That's "Heaven+Earth", the new book by Prof. Ian Plimer debunking the Global Warming Scare, now in its 5th printing. Yes, the 5th. Already. It's out-selling the most wildly optimistic estimates.

I went to a book signing at Abbey's in Sydney and had the pleasure of speaking a few words with the great man himself. The dictionary definitions of 'humble' and 'down to earth' could have a photo of this guy in the margin.

He has been meeting with all the major State and Federal politicians in Australia recently - at their invitation. He says there has been a sea-change in attitudes to the Global Warming Scare in the political sphere. As little as a year or two ago he couldn't get an audience with any politician - now they're all calling him. In response to my question as to whether it would be worth sending a copy to Malcolm Turnbull he said he has already spoken extensively with him and has given him a copy of the book. He added, with a bit of a twinkle in the eye, that he has also had long discussions with Peter Costello. The Liberals are 80% on board with us sceptics. The Nationals 100%, as we know. A large number of Labor politicians (basically most except the caucus) are as well. Things are definitely moving in our direction and away from the alarmist's.

The book, which none of the major publishers would touch, is now planned for release in the UK and the USA. (It's being published by a tiny husband and wife publishing firm. Just goes to show how stupidity opens up opportunities). Plimer's son is getting married in Canada soon, and so he will be combining that visit with a US book tour. US readers keep watch!


India Chooses Coal, Not Kyoto

With the rest of the world talking about carbon dioxide emissions and another Kyoto-style emission reductions plan, India continues to utilize the energy source that it has in abundance: coal. India gets 51.4 percent of its primary energy from coal, making it the fourth-most coal dependent country in the world. And the primacy of coal will continue for decades to come as India has enough coal reserves to last for the next 100 years.

The result of all that coal use: India's carbon emissions are rising faster than nearly every other country on the planet. Between 1980 and 2006, the country’s carbon output increased by 341 percent. That’s a greater rate of increase than that of China (312 percent), Brazil (103 percent), Indonesia (238 percent), or Pakistan (272 percent). By 2006, India was the third-largest carbon emitter in the world, with nearly 1,300 million tons of carbon dioxide, behind only the US (5,902 million tons) and China (6,017 million tons).

Given those numbers and India’s enormous population, two additional points are obvious: India’s carbon emissions are going to continue rising; and India will not be agreeing to any type of mandatory emission caps in the post-Kyoto Protocol world.

The key issue for India is electricity. The country desperately needs more electric power and coal is the cheapest and easiest way for the country to produce more electricity. About 69 percent of India's electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. The country has over 80 coal-fired power plants and more are on the way.

Coal is the most abundant hydrocarbon in India, with reserves of some 56.5 billion tons, about 6.7 percent of the world’s known reserves. And while the country wants to increase its use of renewables and nuclear, those sources will remain small players for the foreseeable future. By 2012, India hopes to have 10 percent of its power capacity comprised of renewable sources like hydro, wind, and solar. Those sources now account for about 8 percent of the country’s capacity. Nuclear continues to be a niche player, with a 2.5 percent share of the electricity market.

Between 1990 and 2007, electricity generation in India jumped by 172 percent, making it the 14th-fastest growing electricity market in the world over that time frame. Over that same time frame, India’s coal consumption grew by 124 percent. In 2007, the latest year for which accurate data is available, India’s coal use was the equivalent of about 4.1 million barrels of oil. That was a 6.6 percent increase over 2006 levels.

One factor could restrain India’s coal plans: politics. The richest coal mining regions are in the eastern and central states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Bihar. And some of those regions have been affected by communist rebels known as Naxalites.

Nevertheless, the Indian government has said that it wants to make electricity available to all of its citizens by 2012. If it is to achieve that goal, and keep the electricity flowing, India will be burning lots of coal.


British car emissions exceed forecasts

New roads built in the UK since 2002 have led to double the increase in carbon emissions originally forecast by the government. The data, which have not been publicised, could raise questions about official assumptions on road traffic emissions resulting from Heathrow's expansion. Norman Baker - transport spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who obtained the data - said the figures showed government concern for climate change was "little more than greenwash".

The figures come from the Highways Agency, part of the transport department, and apply to 27 big road schemes. They show that these produced an extra 21,870 tonnes of carbon - almost twice the 11,240 predicted by the government.

Mr Baker said: "This government continues to push ahead with massive road-building schemes that cost millions more than predicted, as well as increase traffic and carbon emissions. These huge schemes are responsible for thousands of tonnes of extra carbon emissions every year."

Richard George of the Campaign for Better Transport, said the figures showed that the government was not only underestimating carbon emissions but had "no workable method" of making such forecasts. "The estimates were nowhere near what actually happened, it seems they don't know how to work out what carbon emissions will be," he said. "There were some projects where they expected an increase and there was a decrease, or vice versa. "Overall it was a massive underestimate."

The Highways Agency said the figures should be put in perspective - they only showed net changes rather than total emissions produced.

However, the data might raise concerns about the prospect of enlarging Heathrow without breaching European guidelines. There were already fears about the high level of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide, in the air around the airport - much of which comes from cars rather than aircraft. Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, has told the Financial Times that nitrogen oxide in places near Heathrow already broke limits which were about to become statutory. A report by BAA, which owns the airport, has estimated that a third runway would generate more than 10m extra car and taxi journeys each year.

Mr George did not know whether the DfT was using similar modelling for its Heathrow pollution forecasts. But he said: "It is worrying . . . I would also want to know the difference between modelling for this and for aviation work."

Geoff Hoon, transport secretary, has pledged to prevent Heathrow's expansion if air quality conditions are not met. A DfT spokesman said: "We published our decision on the third runway in January this year and at the time we highlighted the measures we would take to mitigate the environmental impact of the runway."


Australia: Greenie opposition to evolution

Reduction of native species by "invasive" species is just evolution speeded up: With the fitter dispacing the less fit. It is a completely natural process that man has simply speeded up

RESIDENTS across NSW may be asked to put traps in their backyards to capture and eradicate pest birds. About 30 councils and 35 community groups will meet to discuss a plan to reduce numbers of Indian myna birds.

The territorial pests drive protected native bird species from nesting hollows, kill chicks and destroy eggs.

Efforts to reduce myna numbers - including one council which spent $5000 and caught two - have failed. The main group to have been successful in slashing numbers, the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc, will tell the conference in Nowra tomorrow how it succeeded.

President Bill Handke said traps in 620 backyards took the birds from third most common to 12th in three years. Residents lured the birds with dog food into a wire trap where pest controllers destroyed them.

University of Western Sydney native and pest animal unit biology lecturer Dr Ricky Spencer, who worked with Blacktown City Council on a $48,000 trial, said councils would need to employ a professional to handle the birds, then humanely destroy them.

Mynas were first known as the "farmers' friend" but soon after their release into NSW in 1862, they became the "cane toad of the sky". Like the ugly amphibians, they were brought in from the subcontinent to eat cane beetles but bred out of control.


UK: New Greenie hospital is useless

Greenies can mess up even such an ancient technology as central heating

A £36million hospital has been closed to patients for more than six months because the floors are too hot to walk on. Faults with the under-floor heating system at the 108-bed hospital have caused floor tiles to buckle and pushed temperatures in the wards up to 40c (104f).

Rhondda Valley Hospital in South Wales was due to admit its first patients last autumn but may not now open until next year. The hospital's opening has been delayed after temperatures inside reached 40C. Patients are instead being treated at the crumbling Victorian hospital at nearby Llwynypia even though NHS bosses said it was to close last year.

Leighton Andrews, Welsh Assembly member for the Rhondda Valleys, said: 'This was meant to be one of the most environmentally-friendly hospitals because of the nature of the heating system. 'But the underfloor heating has made the floor too hot to walk on - I understand that temperatures have reached 40C. 'It was meant to be state of the art but we are now well behind the scheduled opening date.'

The NHS-funded hospital was described as being one of the first in the UK to use sustainable resources. The underfloor heating system was championed as being environmentally-friendly because it recycles heat. But staff say they cannot control the heat of the floor in some parts of the hospital, including the corridors. One said: 'The floor is as hot as a Mediterranean beach in some spots - too hot to stand on in bare feet. 'Some spots are fine whereas others are stone cold. 'It is a bit of a farce all in all. It doesn't do much for patients faith in the NHS when it is like a bakehouse.'

The hospital was scheduled to open last autumn but is on course to be completed at least 18 months late. It was built on the site of a former factory and will have 100 rehabilitation beds and an eight-bed stroke unit - and it followed a 20-year campaign to get a new hospital. It will also house an outpatient department, minor injuries unit and an integrated primary care centre.

David Lewis, director of finance at Cwm Taf NHS Trust, said: 'We have had practical completion of the hospital and there are apparent defects in the flooring. 'We have commissioned an independent review to determine whether there are defects and, if so, what remedial action needs to be take. 'We will have this report by the end of the month and we will then know what the next step will be.'



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


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Newsnight is facing a 15% budget cut and two BBC environment and science reporters will also lose their jobs as part of BBC News's latest round of job losses. BBC News insiders are said to be "horrified" by the proposals, which were put to the Newsnight and science and environment teams along with the rest of the division's staff earlier this week. Newsnight is expected to make a 15% budget reduction as part of the cuts.

The BBC2 programme's culture correspondents, Madeleine Holt and Steve Smith, will become general reporters. One general reporter will then be lost from the programme's pool of around seven in total.

The two science and environment jobs will disappear as part of a plan to cut 88.5 posts from BBC News by next April as part of the corporation's five-year saving plan announced in 2007 aiming to save £155m. BBC News's team of science and environment correspondents includes Roger Harrabin, David Shukman, Christine McGourty, Pallab Ghosh, Sarah Mukherjee and Jeremy Cooke, all of whom report for various news programmes across BBC TV and radio services.

"The science and environment beat is a massive growth area and the reporting team are pre-eminent so many there are puzzled to say the very least about it," said a BBC source. "It needs expertise for these stories, a lot of preparation needs to be put in, and to lose two reporters in one go is madness."

The source also pointed at the "huge irony" of the decision given the "importance the organisation places on climate change as part of the news agenda".



These predictions are pretty worthless but they do mean continued global cooling. The sunspot/cooling correlation has been known for over a century

The sun's new solar cycle, which is thought to have begun in December 2008, will be the weakest since 1928. That is the nearly unanimous prediction of a panel of international experts, some of whom maintain that the sun will be more active than normal. But even a mildly active sun could still generate its fair share of extreme storms that could knock out power grids and space satellites.

Solar activity waxes and wanes every 11 years. Cycles can vary widely in intensity, and there is no foolproof way to predict how the sun will behave in any given cycle. In 2007, an international panel of 12 experts split evenly over whether the coming cycle of activity, dubbed Cycle 24, would be stronger or weaker than average. The group did agree the sun would probably hit the lowest point in its activity in March 2008 before ramping up to a new cycle that would reach its maximum in late 2011 or mid-2012.

But the sun did not bear out those predictions. Instead, it entered an unexpectedly long lull in activity with few new sunspots. It is thought to have reached its minimum in December 2008, and now seems to be slowly waking up. One such sign is two new active regions captured this week by the ultraviolet camera on one of NASA's twin STEREO probes.

"There's a lot of indicators that Cycle 24 is ready to burst out," panel chair Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, told reporters on Friday.

The panel now expects the sun's activity will peak about a year late, in May 2013, when it will boast an average of 90 sunspots per day. That is below average for solar cycles, making the coming peak the weakest since 1928, when an average of 78 sunspots was seen daily.

Sunspots are Earth-sized blotches that coincide with knotty magnetic fields. They are a common measure of solar activity - the higher the number of sunspots, the higher the probability of a major storm that could wreak havoc on Earth (see Space storm alert: 90 minutes from catastrophe).

A lower number of sunspots could mean space weather will be relatively mild in the coming years. But Beisecker cautions it may be too early to call. "As hard as it is to predict sunspot number, it's even harder to predict the actual level of solar activity that responds to those sunspots," he told reporters. If there are fewer storms, they could still be just as intense, he said.

But not everyone on the panel expects the coming cycle to be weaker than average. "The panel consensus is not my individual opinion," says panel member Mausumi Dikpati of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado. Dikpati and her colleagues have developed a solar model that predicts a bumper crop of sunspots and a cycle that is 30% to 50% stronger than the previous cycle, Cycle 23. Because it is still early in the new cycle, it is too soon to say whether the sun will bear out this prediction, Dikpati says. "It's still in a quiet period," she told New Scientist. "As soon as it takes off it could be a completely different story."



You can get any result you like from a model

Two computer modelers from CMU have written a program to simulate the interaction of cosmic rays with Earth's atmosphere. Because the model failed to predict significant increases in cloud cover, global warming activists are claiming the theory linking cosmic rays to climate change has been discredited. Climate models have failed to accurately predict the current downward trend in temperatures and now we are asked to accept a model as proof of how the Universe works. In truth, the paper cited is nothing more than a study of a computer program, and has nothing to do with the physical reality of how Earth's climate functions.

Appearing in Science under the title, "Study Challenges Cosmic Ray-Climate Link," a review of the paper by Jeffrey Pierce and Peter Adams of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was used as an excuse to cast doubt on the theory that cosmic ray levels affect the creation of clouds in Earth's atmosphere. This theory was first proposed in 1997 by physicists Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen of the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. They reported that Earth's cloud cover seemed to vary in step with galactic cosmic rays-high-energy charged particles from outer space-striking Earth's atmosphere. The more cosmic rays, the more cloud cover, the more cloud cover the fewer warming rays from the sun reaching Earth's surface to affect the climate.

One of the reasons that the cosmic ray theory is so intriguing is that, to a significant extent, the sun's activity regulates the volume of particles impacting Earth, thus providing a mechanism for variation in the sun to impact earthly climate in ways other than irradiance (direct solar radiation). If Svensmark and Friis-Christensen's theory is correct, changes in solar activity are responsible for a large portion of climate variation, greatly diminishing the importance of greenhouse gases like CO2. This assault on climate change orthodoxy, combined with the fact that Svensmark and Friis-Christensen are not members of the climate change fraternity, have singled them out for attack by global warming true believers.



Giant carbon tax plan to reduce global warming chills even some Democrats

Democratic dissenssion, Republican opposition and growing public skepticism may derail Congress' potentially economy-crippling carbon cap-and-trade bill, perhaps saving Americans billions of dollars. The bill's author, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, is opposed by centrist Democrats, who fear the Draconian regulations would severely harm their constituents. Congress members representing the steel industry and coal and nuclear power generators oppose the 648-page American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, authored by Rep. Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

Meanwhile, Republicans cite studies showing the bill would increase a typical family's energy prices at least $3,100 a year, and over 20 years result in 7 million lost jobs and $7 trillion in reduced economic output. Republicans say the legislation is essentially a "tax bill," and plan alternative legislation to create incentives for "clean" coal and more nuclear energy.

President Barack Obama invited 36 House Democrats to the White House last week to urge passage of the legislation that would sell permits to companies, gradually diminishing allowable greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the prodding, negotiations remained stalled.

Growing skepticism over the approach - and even the need - to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions isn't limited to Capitol Hill. An artificial market in government-mandated carbon credits would be "monstrously stupid to do right now," Berkshire Hathaway Inc. CEO Charlie Munger told CNBC, adding that the move is "almost demented" considering other nations' intention to continue industrial development, emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

Public sentiment is at a new low, too, says pollster Zogby International. Only 30 percent of Americans support cap-and-trade, and 57 percent oppose it. A Pew Research poll of voter priorities ranked global warming dead last behind the economy and 18 other areas. The Gallup Poll recently found a record 41 percent surveyed believe global warming claims are exaggerated, and at most 2 percent even cite the environment as their biggest concern.

In addition, a recent study by the National Center for Climate Research shows that if fully implemented, the Waxman-Markey bill would produce global temperature "savings" of only 0.05 degree centigrade over 50 years. Even James Hansen, the NASA scientist and perhaps most ardent proponent of manmade global warming as a threat, urges the bill's defeat, saying it would be ineffective in reducing greenhouse gases.

Even the premise for curbing greenhouse gases is flawed. There has been no cause-and-effect relationship convincingly established between rising carbon emissions and higher temperatures. Indeed, temperatures have leveled off or declined since 1998 while CO2 emissions have skyrocketed, the opposite of the global warming theory. Considering its questionable assumptions, economic costs and hardships, this bill promises a paltry return on investment. One might say it's "almost demented."



"Could food shortages bring down civilization?," asks environmental activist Lester Brown in the current issue of Scientific American. Not surprisingly, Brown's answer is an emphatic yes. He claims that for years he has "resisted the idea that food shortages could bring down not only individual governments but also our global civilization." Now, however, Brown says, "I can no longer ignore that risk." Balderdash. Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute, has been a prominent and perennial predictor of imminent global famine for more than 45 years. Why should we believe him now?

For instance, back in 1965, when Brown was a young bureaucrat in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he declared, "the food problem emerging in the less-developing regions may be one of the most nearly insoluble problems facing man over the next few decades." In 1974, Brown maintained that farmers "can no longer keep up with rising demand; thus the outlook is for chronic scarcities and rising prices." In 1981, Brown stated that "global food insecurity is increasing," and further claimed that "the slim excess of growth in food production over population is narrowing." In 1989, Brown contended that "population growth is exceeding the farmer's ability to keep up," concluding that, "our oldest enemy, hunger, is again at the door." In 1995, Brown starkly warned, "Humanity's greatest challenge may soon be just making it to the next harvest." In 1997, Brown again proclaimed, "Food scarcity will be the defining issue of the new era now unfolding."

But this time it's different, right? After all, Brown claims that "when the 2008 harvest began, world carryover stocks of grain (the amount in the bin when the new harvest begins) were at 62 days of consumption, a near record low." But Brown has played this game before with world grain stocks. As the folks at the pro-life Population Research Institute (PRI) report, Brown claimed in 1974 that there were only 26 days of grain reserves left, but later he upped that number to 61 days. In 1976, reserves were supposed to have fallen to just 31 days, but again Brown raised that number in 1988 to 79 days. In 1980, only a 40-day supply was allegedly on hand, but a few years later he changed that estimate to 71 days. The PRI analysts noted that Brown has repeatedly issued differing figures for 1974: 26 or 27 days (1974); 33 days (1975); 40 days (1981); 43 days (1987); and 61 days (1988). In 2004, Brown claimed that the world's grain reserves had fallen to only 59 days of consumption, the lowest level in 30 years.

In any case, Brown must know that the world's farmers produced a bumper crop last year. Stocks of wheat are at a six-year high and increases in other stocks of grains are not far off. This jump in reserves is not at all surprising considering the steep run-up in grain prices last year, which encouraged farmers around the world to plant more crops. By citing pre-2008 harvest reserves, Brown evidently hopes to frighten gullible Scientific American readers into thinking that the world's food situation is really desperate this time.



The operators of Britain's first "biofuel" power plants are considering burning palm oil, which is blamed for causing rainforest destruction in south-east Asia.

At least four new power stations are being planned around the UK to burn vegetable oils with the assurance that they will generate less pollution than burning climate-change-causing fossil fuels. Two that would power more than 50,000 homes, at Portland in Dorset and Newport in South Wales, are considering using palm oil.

W4B Energy, which has submitted a planning application to build the £30m Portland plant, says it would use only sustainable supplies certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Vogen Energy, behind the plant at Newport, says production of its palm oil would not harm the environment.


Australia: World Vision children's charity goes into the global warming business

Comments below by Andrew Bolt. I too was once a World Vision donor but stopped immediately when they started making anti-Israel statements. In 2006 I asked them could I sponsor a poor Jewish child in Israel. They said No. I still have the emails concerned. Maybe I should put them online -- JR

I’ve been a donor to World Vision for more than a decade. I’ve helped to publicise its work and urged you to support it, praising above all its commitment to giving the poor the direct help they need.

That’s now over. When my current sponsorships end, I will not renew. I will not donate a dollar more than I’ve already promised. An organisation I once admired for pragmatism has now fallen for the giddiest ideology of all. Under Tim Costello, so ignorant and alarmist that he blames global warming even for tsunamis, donors’ money is now being wasted on a great sham. A once-Christian organisation is now switching its focus from saving people to saving Nature, as it follows a neo-pagan gospel. The latest evidence? From World Vision’s jobs page:
Strategic Technical Advisor (Carbon and Poverty Reduction Facility - Asia Pacific)

This exciting and newly created role based in the Asia Pacific provides technical assistance in the design and implementation of carbon and poverty reduction projects and programmatic responses, helping position World Vision Australia as the pre-eminent development NGO in climate change.

Campaigns Leader - Climate Change

We are seeking an experienced Campaign Leader for our Policy & Programs Group to work on effecting change within our region.

Project Manager

This role has been created to provide multi-disciplinary support through business analysis, research, proposal development, project design and management, stakeholder engagement and communications, particularly around climate change related to Carbon and Poverty Reduction Projects.

Reader Daniel is furious:
World Vision through very expensive advertising campaigns educate and look after children in deprived circumstances in the third world. What are they doing joining the very crowded world of those preaching global warming?

That leaves me needing a new charity. I’m starting already to switch my support to Very Special Kids. Could anyone also recommend a charity that gives meaningful help to the poor overseas?


A number of readers say they’re cancelling their sponsorships immediately. That’s not something I’m doing. I’ve made implied promises to children that I intend to keep. The issue is what I do with my money once those sponsorships lapse. I hope no one makes children suffer for the ideological giddiness of Tim Costello.


4BC’s Michael Smith isn’t impressed, either.


Tim Costello has rung to make the following important points:

- None of the money given for World Vision’s sponsorships go to its global warming programs.

- By getting involved in global warming, World Vision actually makes money, getting donations from governments and international bodies.

- The money it gets for carbon offsets, for example, is used to benefit people though the planting of trees that are also a food source.

Tim has challenged me to consider what I would do in his place, if there was so much money I could use for the poor that was being offered by global warming campaigners.

My answer to him was and is: I would take it, indeed, but I would not preach as true that which is false. There are ways to help the poor that do not involve endorsing a new faith that is a threat to reason, development and even humanity itself. You, however, may consider his answer sufficiently pragmatic to continue to support World Vision.

SOURCE. See the original for links


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


Monday, May 11, 2009

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: theory that Atlantic Ocean is warming due to climate change laid to rest

This is the BBC catching up with the academic journal article I mentioned yesterday

The North Atlantic is hotting up fast but it's not because of climate change, say scientists in the most recent edition of the journal Science. No, it's because there's less dust around to keep the water cool.

Over the past 30 years, the North Atlantic has been warming up at a rate of a quarter of a degree Celsius per decade. (That's pretty fast for a tropical ocean basin, apparently.) Like the left-handed man in a Sherlock Holmes novel who limps, smokes Indian cigars and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket, suspicion immediately fell upon climate change. But the real culprit, it now emerges, is a drop in the amount of dust and sulphate in the skies above the Atlantic.

Dust blown out of West Africa (the world's largest 'dust superstore') and volcano-belched sulphate, both of which cool the atmosphere by scattering sunlight, are on the decline, say the scientists, which is why the ocean is warming.

Of course, climate change could still get the last laugh, according to the study, a joint project between the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Wisconsin.

In fact, the report concludes that rising CO2 concentrations could change wind patterns and reduce sand erosion through 'fertilisation' of desert vegetation, thereby driving the temperature of the Atlantic up by another 0.4° Celsius by 2050. Not cool.


Getting real about the urban heat island effect

A MUCH higher estimate here of the urban heat island effect than Warmists normally allow. Jones and Wang argued for just half a degree and it is their work that dominated the IPCC conclusions

LONDON and other cities could see summer temperatures rise to more than 10C above those in the surrounding countryside, according to Met Office research being used to help devise the first official climate change map of Britain. Scientists have been studying a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect, in which cities become significantly hotter than the areas around them because of the heat they generate themselves.

Big cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow already reach temperatures 2C - 3C above their surroundings in the summer. Scientists fear that difference could grow four to fivefold as hotter weather combines with soaring energy use and population growth, making such temperature gaps more frequent and more extreme.

The research is linked to a wider project aimed at helping scientists predict the impact rising temperatures will have on different parts of the country. The full results will be released next month by Hilary Benn, the environment secretary.

Vicky Pope, the head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said: “As the climate gets warmer, sweltering summer temperatures will combine with rising energy use, the heat-retaining properties of buildings, and the sheer volume of people, to push temperatures higher and higher. “It may sometimes make life in the metropolis intolerable. Imagine the scorching conditions that commuters will face on London’s Tube network.”

The warning follows the disclosure by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global temperatures have risen by almost 1C since preindustrial times. The panel predicts global temperatures will have risen by 2C by 2050 with total warming of up to 5-6C possible by 2100.

Such findings are now widely accepted but questions remain, especially regarding the impact on cities, where more than half the world’s population live. New York – hotter in summer than British cities - is regularly 7C-8C hotter than nearby rural areas.

In Britain, 90% of the population lives in urban or suburban areas so the impact on people is potentially huge. The research is based partly on data from heatwaves, such as the one in 2003, and on computer projections. It also looked at cities such as Athens and Beirut which suffer from the urban heat phenomenon. The August 2003 heatwave saw England’s daytime temperatures top 30C for 10 days and exceed 35C in many places. The same heatwave saw temperatures in the upper 30Cs in the centres of cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. This was often 6C-7C above those in rural areas.

Researchers fear central city temperatures may exceed 40C as the century progresses. “The high temperatures of 2003 were extraordinary but may become common by 2050 and even be seen as relatively cool by 2100,” said Pope.

One of the factors that made London so hot was its inability to cool down. At night during the heatwave, the city centre was sometimes 9C warmer than its surrounding green belt. This is because rural and suburban areas lose heat at night but in cities the materials used for hard surfaces store more solar energy and lose it more slowly. This effect is amplified by the heat from lights, electrical equipment and cars. Also, as cities get warmer, they consume more power trying to stay cool, because of air-condition-ers and fridges working harder.

Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office, who oversaw the research, said Tokyo showed what British cities might face. Its tall, densely packed buildings and high energy use mean the Japanese capital is often 10C hotter than the surrounding countryside. [Yet Tokyo is thriving! How odd!!] “We must change how we plan cities, to maximise green spaces and create structures that dissipate heat,” said Betts.

Urban heat islands have a serious impact on health. In 2003 there were 2,091 more deaths than normal between August 4 and 13 in Britain, most of them among elderly people in southeast England. For people aged over 75 there was a 33% increase in mortality.


When CO2 increase led to an ice age

It's actually a very weak Greenhouse gas

An international team of geologists may have uncovered the answer to an age-old question - an ice-age-old question, that is. It appears that Earth's earliest ice age may have been due to the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, which consumed atmospheric greenhouse gases and chilled the earth.

Scientists from the University of Maryland, including post-doctoral fellows Boswell Wing and Sang-Tae Kim, graduate student Margaret Baker, and professors Alan J. Kaufman and James Farquhar, along with colleagues in Germany, South Africa, Canada and the United States, uncovered evidence that the oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere - generally known as the Great Oxygenation Event - coincided with the first widespread ice age on the planet.

"We can now put our hands on the rock library that preserves evidence of irreversible atmospheric change," said Kaufman. "This singular event had a profound effect on the climate, and also on life."

Using sulfur isotopes to determine the oxygen content of ~2.3 billion year-old rocks in the Transvaal Supergroup in South Africa, they found evidence of a sudden increase in atmospheric oxygen that broadly coincided with physical evidence of glacial debris, and geochemical evidence of a new world-order for the carbon cycle.

"The sulfur isotope change we recorded coincided with the first known anomaly in the carbon cycle. This may have resulted from the diversification of photosynthetic life that produced the oxygen that changed the atmosphere," Kaufman said.

Two and a half billion years ago, before the Earth's atmosphere contained appreciable oxygen, photosynthetic bacteria gave off oxygen that first likely oxygenated the surface of the ocean, and only later the atmosphere. The first formed oxygen reacted with iron in the oceans, creating iron oxides that settled to the ocean floor in sediments called banded iron-formations - layered deposits of red-brown rock that accumulated in ocean basins worldwide. Later, once the iron was used up, oxygen escaped from the oceans and started filling up the atmosphere.

Once oxygen made it into the atmosphere, the scientists suggest that it reacted with methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, to form carbon dioxide, which is 62 times less effective at warming the surface of the planet. "With less warming potential, surface temperatures may have plummeted, resulting in globe-encompassing glaciers and sea ice" said Kaufman.

In addition to its affect on climate, the rise in oxygen stimulated the rise in stratospheric ozone, our global sunscreen. This gas layer, which lies between 12 and 30 miles above the surface, decreased the amount of damaging ultraviolet sunrays reaching the oceans, allowing photosynthetic organisms that previously lived deeper down, to move up to the surface, and hence increase their output of oxygen, further building up stratospheric ozone.

"New oxygen in the atmosphere would also have stimulated weathering processes, delivering more nutrients to the seas, and may have also pushed biological evolution towards eukaryotes, which require free oxygen for important biosynthetic pathways," said Kaufman.

The result of the Great Oxidation Event, according to Kaufman and his colleagues, was a complete transformation of Earth's atmosphere, of its climate, and of the life that populated its surface. The study is published in the May issue of Geology.


Carbon Capture?

Here's a handy boil-down of "Carbon Capture and Burial — a Stupid Answer to a Silly Question," from the Carbon Sense Coalition's Viv Forbes:

"These are the likely effects [of carbon capture and storage (CCS)]:

About 30% [some say as high as 50%] of the power station electricity will be wasted in separating, compressing and pumping of CO2. Thus a power station now using 1 million tonnes of coal per annum will need 1.5 Mt of coal to produce the same output of usable power for electricity consumers or other industries.

A 50% increase in coal used will require a similar increase in coal mine capacity and transport and handling facilities — a huge waste of community land, resources and capital.

The resource life of every thermal coal mine will be reduced by 30% [50%].

Capital costs for every power station forced to wear this ball-and-chain will rise 30-100%, and electricity charges must rise by a similar amount to cover the parasitic power losses and the increased capital and operating costs.

No wonder some greens support CCB [carbon capture and burial] – it will make coal fired electricity so expensive that even piddle power from windmills will look attractive.

The same dismal story will emerge at every cement plant and steel works that is forced to install CCB.

The figures for gas powered facilities are similar in principle, and only slightly better.

The use of oxygen instead of air in the boilers merely shifts the nitrogen separation costs from the end of the process to the beginning.

And after all that trouble and expense, the effect on climate is probably undetectable. There is no proof or evidence that man’s production of CO2 controls the climate.

A typical 1,000 MW power station could burn about 3 million tonnes of coal per year, requiring 300 trains per year to supply the coal. If CCB is installed, the extra power needed will call for another 150 trains of coal. And if trains were used to haul away the captured CO2, the mass of material moved would require another 1,150 trains per year, each train carrying 10,000 tonnes.

Australia currently uses 128 million tonnes of coal per year to generate electricity. The CO2 produced by all of these stations could total over 300 million tonnes py. If triple header trains were used to transport this as liquefied CO2 it would require 30,000 trains per year or 600 trains per week. No matter what method of transport is used, the tonnage realities are still there and it will require immense energy to capture, compress, transport and bury the CO2 anywhere."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate change: The elements conspire against the warmists

An international team of scientists has used the latest electro-magnetic induction equipment to discover that the Arctic ice is in fact "twice as thick" as they had expected, says Christopher Booker.

As the clock ticks down towards December's historic UN Copenhagen conference on climate change, the frenzied efforts of the warmists to panic us over all that vanishing Arctic and Antarctic ice are degenerating into farce.

That great authority Ban Ki-moon, the UN's Secretary-General, solemnly tells us that the polar ice caps are "melting far faster than was expected just two years ago". Yet the latest satellite information from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (passed on by the Watts Up With That blog) shows that, after the third slowest melt of April Arctic ice in 30 years, the world's polar sea ice is in fact slightly above its average extent for early May since satellite records began in 1979.

This news came as the website was reporting "It's snowing all over the world". Snow was still falling in the Alps after a record winter, while in the southern hemisphere the skiing season was starting "five weeks early".

Meanwhile, up in the Arctic, after yet another delay for bad weather, the hapless Catlin trio, sponsored by an insurance firm which hopes to make money out of alarm over global warming, continue their painful progress towards the distant North Pole, measuring the ice with an old tape measure and assuring Prince Charles by satellite telephone that it is "thinner than expected".

When the trio heard a passing aircraft, which they hoped was bringing much-needed supplies, they little realised it was a DC-3 carrying an international team of scientists, using the latest electro-magnetic induction equipment to discover rather more efficiently that the ice was in fact "twice as thick" as they had expected.

A last symbolic drama was the fate of another three-man expedition aiming to publicise the effects of climate change. Followed by schools across Britain, they were aiming to reach Greenland in a "carbon-free" boat powered only by wind and the sun. Last week, after running into appalling weather, they were rescued by – it had to be – a US oil tanker. I wonder whether the schoolchildren were told.


Global warming goes missing in NZ

More evidence has emerged that the world is indeed warming in the way that the global warming brigade have been warning. Not.

Check this out from New Zealand, where the Helen Clark-led former labour Government signed up to the Kyoto Protocol to stop a cold country warming:

Canterbury’s Mt Hutt looks set for a bumper ski season this winter. Assistant ski area manager James McKenzie says the wintry weather over the past week has seen snow at levels that are not usually seen at this time of the year. The latest front has delivered around 40 to 50 centimetres of snow which comes on top of the existing 90 centimetres.

Please read on - it’s only early May and winter has well and truly arrived well ahead of schedule. So much for global warming.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Parrot endangers 1000 jobs in Australia

All based on speculation that the birds MIGHT be upset. Nobody is killing them and they are still there after years of work in the area

A PARROT is about to cost 1000 workers their jobs because the Federal Government has ordered a timber industry to be shut down to protect the bird. The unprecedented government intervention will see the jobs cut within days.

The Daily Telegraph has learned Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett's department issued a stop-work order to the New South Wales Government 10 days ago, a move the industry claims could wipe out the entire town of Deniliquin in the state's south.

The Opposition says the move is overkill and has branded Mr Garrett a "warbling twit". "There are a lot of them out there," Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said of the parrots. "As one person put it to me this morning, you've got the warbling twit protecting the green leak parrot but sacrificing 1000 jobs."

The Environment Department ordered New South Wales cease all clear felling of red gum in the Central Murray Darling region - timber used mainly for firewood and railway sleepers - due to concerns over the future of the parrot.

Sometimes referred to as the green leek parrot, the social bird nests in the hollows of the red gums and is nationally listed as vulnerable. Conservationists claim the flight patterns of the bird, which lives for up to 25 years, are being disrupted as it does not like flying over open spaces.

The discovery hundreds of families face losing their livelihoods comes a day before Treasurer Wayne Swan hands down a Budget aiming to help buffer the country against unemployment. The State Government is seeking an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Garrett, claiming the intervention by the Commonwealth to declare the logging illegal would cause the immediate loss of at least 500 timber jobs and 360 indirectly related jobs.

The NSW Government is also seeking legal advice on whether it can get around the Federal Government order, which has given NSW State Forests until May 31 to stop logging of the Central Murray wetlands in the Riverina area or face legal action. A Forests NSW briefing note obtained by The Daily Telegraph warned 11 sawmills would be forced to close overnight and 800 people would lose their jobs along with the closure of an industry worth $60 million to the NSW economy. It accused the Federal Government of being cavalier in its approach to NSW by acting before a $2 million State Government funded Environmental Impact Statement on logging in the area had been completed. It was due to go on public exhibition a day later on June 1.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained a letter of demand to stop work, written on May 1 from Mr Garrett's secretary for the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), Rose Webb, to Forests NSW manager Garry Rodda. Ms Webb raised concerns about the impacts of the State Government's harvesting practices on the birds' flight patterns and nesting habitat.



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


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Urban heat-island fraud

An email to Benny Peiser from Madhav Khandekar [], Expert Reviewer 2007 IPCC Climate Change, Toronto Canada:

I congratulate Prof James Rust for making a bold and a correct statement that "Frauds, mistruths are common practice by those promoting the AGW". Prof Rust has pointed out two previous examples, one re: the infamous "Hockey Stick" by Mann et al (Nature 1998) and the other by NASA data managers who used September data (instead of October) to show Russian Territory warming significantly when in fact there was cooling!

The sordid saga of the alleged fraud by Prof Wang at the University of Albanay in USA begins with Phil Jones (East Anglia UK), the lead author of a paper published in Nature 1990, which the authors ( Phil Jones, Wong et al) have used to the hilt to keep insisting that the "urban bias" ( the urban heat island effect on city centre) magnitude is NO MORE than just 0.05C over 100 years! The Nature 1990 paper is now running a strong second to Mann et al paper of 1998, as one of the "most poorly reviewed papers by Nature"

Phil Jones and co-authors have totally ignored so many excellent studies on urban heat island reported in peer-reviewed literature by (late) Prof Helmut Landsberg (USA) and Prof Tim Oke ( Canada). Landsberg and Oke have amply demonstrated (in the 1970s and 1980s) how urban heat island can produce a temperature difference of up to 5C or more between a city centre and its surroundings. By completely ignoring previous work and pushing only thier 1990 paper (with flawed data, as it appears now), Phil Jones and co-authors while preparing the IPCC 2007 Climate Chnage Documents have refused to accept a higher value for urban bias than the value of 0.05C, which most meteorologists now agree is too small. Several recent papers have shown this urban bias to be about 0.18C for the recent 30 years to about 0.35C over a one-hundred year database. A paper by McKitrick and Michaels (2007 J of Geophysical Research) shows clearly that for a gridded temperature data (commonly used in climate models) the urban bias can account for up to half the recent warming of the earth's surface.

If the urban bias is carefully removed from the temperature data, the "left-over" warming ( about 0.4C over 100 years or even less) is hardly something to be overly concerned about!

Once again, it is time to re-iterate: Global Warming is NO crisis for humanity!

NOTE in reply from Benny Peiser: As a matter of principle, I would like to make clear that Professor Wang's university has cleared him of scientific fraud. The University of Albany has come to the conclusion that "there is no evidence whatsoever that you have committed data fabrication or any research misconduct with respect to this allegation" and "that the University at Albany takes appropriate steps to restore your scientific reputation". It is regrettable that as a result of the inadequate and unconvincing manner in which the University of Albany has conducted this scientific misconduct investigation, it seems unlikely that it can fully restore Professor Wang's reputation. As long as the flaws of the investigatory process are not addressed, as long as the university is preventing the scientific community from assessing the existence and authenticity of the data in question, a troublesome suspicion will always remain. As Aubrey Blumsohn emphasised quite rightly: "When you see universities reluctant to investigate things properly, it provides reasonable evidence that they really don't want to investigate things properly."

Two thirds of ocean temperature changes caused by dust

Not much role for CO2, it would seem. I wonder how much weighting dust is given in all the famous Warmist "models"? A lot less that twon thirds of the causation, I'll warrant

The temperature of North Atlantic surface waters has a major effect on climate in a variety of ways, not least because its heat content helps to control hurricane formation and strength. The North Atlantic surface has warmed considerably in recent decades, a trend generally associated with global or regional air temperature increases, or with changes in ocean circulation. Evan et al. (p. 778, published online 26 March) use nearly 30 years of satellite data to examine another source of ocean temperature variability, the radiative effects of atmospheric aerosols. Low frequency changes in local tropical North Atlantic surface temperatures seem mostly to be caused by variability in mineral and stratospheric aerosol abundances. Thus, to provide more accurate projections of these temperatures, general circulation models will need to account for long-term changes in dust loadings.

The Role of Aerosols in the Evolution of Tropical North Atlantic Ocean Temperature Anomalies

By Amato T. Evan et al.


Observations and models show that northern tropical Atlantic surface temperatures are sensitive to regional changes in stratospheric volcanic and tropospheric mineral aerosols. However, it is unknown whether the temporal variability of these aerosols is a key factor in the evolution of ocean temperature anomalies. We used a simple physical model, incorporating 26 years of satellite data, to estimate the temperature response of the ocean mixed layer to changes in aerosol loadings. Our results suggest that the mixed layer’s response to regional variability in aerosols accounts for 69% of the recent upward trend, and 67% of the detrended and 5-year low pass–filtered variance, in northern tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures.

Science 8 May 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5928, pp. 778 - 781

The Brainless Green/Left again

If they had half a brain they would not have mentioned this evidence of an unusually severe winter. I think their brains must be completely addled by incessant manual abuse of their genitals

Gov. Sarah Palin has cancelled her trip to D.C. for the White House Correspondents' prom to attend to major flooding in Alaska.

Think Progress, rather obviously, calls the flooding a "climate disaster" — clearly, proof that we're all about to die from global warming.

The waters, of course, come from the melting of unusually heavy winter snow. And, as we all know, for snow to melt in May is an unprecedented weather event.


Once more, reality intrudes on a Greenie dream

It was meant to be a carbon-neutral adventure to fire the imaginations of 25,000 schoolchildren.

Raoul Surcouf, 40, a landscape gardener from Jersey, and Richard Spink, 32, a physiotherapist from Bristol, shunned the polluting aircraft normally used to reach Greenland's polar ice cap and set sail in Fleur, a 40ft yacht fitted with solar panels and a wind turbine. Schools were poised to follow their green expedition online; once the duo had skied across the Arctic wastes they had hoped to boast of the first carbon-neutral crossing of Greenland.

On Friday, nature, displaying a heavy irony, intervened. After a battering by hurricane force winds, the crew of the Carbon Neutral Expeditions craft had to be rescued 400 miles off Ireland.

As if their ordeal wasn't terrifying enough, their saviour seemed chosen to rub salt in their wounds: a 113,000-ton tanker, Overseas Yellowstone, carrying 680,000 barrels of crude. In a statement from the tanker, Spink said: "We experienced some of the harshest conditions known, with winds gusting hurricane force 12 ... The decision was made that the risk to our personal safety was too great to continue."

In truth, the crew could not afford to be choosy. They were in a life-threatening predicament, and heaped thanks on Captain Ferro, the tanker's skipper, and his crew for being "outstanding in the execution of the rescue". But the rather awkward twist was not lost on Spink, who ruefully noted afterwards that "the team are now safely and ironically aboard the oil tanker" as they headed to Maine, where they are due to arrive in three days.


CO2 And You

While a bill that's intended to cut carbon dioxide emissions wends its way through Congress, an arm of the legislative branch is warning that doing so will have nasty economic consequences.

Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told members of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday that "Under a cap-and-trade program, consumers" — not demonized corporations, we might add — "would ultimately bear most of the costs of emission reductions." This is because industry and other groups (hospitals, schools, any institution that discharges carbon), forced under a federal cap-and-trade regime to buy government permits to release CO2, would pass on their costs to consumers.

Cutting carbon emissions by 15% through this method would cost each American household an average of $1,600 a year, the CBO found. In a worst-case scenario, the cost is $2,200 per household. Current House legislation would carry even heavier economic penalties than the CBO's model suggests.

Should it become law, it would require that CO2, the greenhouse gas some (but far from all) scientists believe is warming the planet, be cut 20% from 2005 levels by 2020. By 2050, the emissions would have to be 83% below 2005 levels. In light of this, $1,600 a year seems like a bargain.

Elmendorf is no crazed right-wing economist. He was on the Clinton Council of Economic Advisers and worked at the left-leaning Brookings Institution before being named CBO director by Congress' Democratic leadership. The findings of his office should carry some weight with the Democrats who are pushing hard for legislation to cut CO2 emissions. Some, particularly those who represent the heartland, might consider the CBO assessment.

But Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee that is looking at a cap-and-trade bill, won't. Neither will the White House, which is putting pressure on House Democrats to pass legislation quickly. "The president says he wants legislation, he wants us to move as quickly as possible," Waxman said.

OK, now we're convinced. The country does need cap-and-trade — preferably a cap placed on the many poor ideas flowing out of Washington and a large-scale trade of the existing political leadership for a fresh class of elected officials who can think straight.


Obama Strips Funds for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells, once hailed by President George W. Bush as a pollution-free solution for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, will not be practical over the next 10 to 20 years, the energy secretary said Thursday, and the government will cut off funds for the vehicles’ development.

Developing those cells and coming up with a way to transport the hydrogen is a big challenge, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in releasing energy-related details of the administration’s budget for the year beginning Oct. 1. Dr. Chu said the government preferred to focus on projects that would bear fruit more quickly.

The retreat from cars powered by fuel cells counters Mr. Bush’s prediction in 2003 that “the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.” The Energy Department will continue to pay for research into stationary fuel cells, which Dr. Chu said could be used like batteries on the power grid and do not require compact storage of hydrogen.



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


Friday, May 08, 2009

Nuclear reactor realities

An email from DuPree Moore []:

From 1968 to 1973, I was an engineering officer aboard U. S. nuclear submarines. The chief engineer would routinely sneak back into the engineering spaces and trip some piece of equipment off the line. These were not computer simulations. The equipment really would be in an emergency condition. We would be sitting in the reactor control room, and suddenly alarms would go off. We would have to figure out what had happened, and recover from it. The equipment is designed to survive such accidents. After many decades of operation under those conditions, the Navy has had zero deaths from nuclear power. You are more likely to drown in your bathtub than to die from operating a nuclear reactor.

A coal-fired electric power generating plant uses 120 railroad cars full of coal every day. A nuclear plant uses one semi truckload of nuclear fuel rods every few years. All the spent fuel from every nuclear reactor in the United States could be stored on one football field, a pile nine feet tall. Recycle it as the French do, and the pile shrinks to three inches. In 500 years it will be less toxic than coal ash.

It is preposterous to talk about nuclear waste remaining toxic for tens of thousands of years. It is preposterous to talk about tens of thousands of deaths from a nuclear accident. Those analyses are based upon a laughable error. If one person eats 200 aspirin, he will die. These people figure that if 200 people eat one aspirin each, there will be one death. If two million people are exposed to a dose rate of one aspirin per person, there will be 20,000 deaths. In fact one aspirin is beneficial, and low levels of radiation are beneficial. Geographical areas with higher background radiation have lower levels of cancer.

Chernobyl proved just how safe nuclear power is. There was no containment vessel. All radiation was released to the environment. There were less than 200 deaths, all among on-site personnel. An exhaustive international inquiry under the UN found no documented health damage beyond the immediate vicinity (except for a slight increase in thyroid cancer among children, which can be completely prevented by taking inexpensive iodine supplements in the event of a nuclear accident). The area around Chernobyl has been declared a radioactive dead zone at radiation levels about the same as downtown Warsaw, Poland, and five times lower than Grand Central Station in New York City. Plants and animals flourish in the region, showing no ill effects. It is stark raving mad.

Three-Mile Island nuclear accident caused zero deaths, zero injuries, and zero radiation release to the environment. And it was not a close call. It might have been a close call from having much more extensive equipment damage, but the worst possible accident would still have been kept entirely within the containment vessel. There would have been zero deaths, zero injuries, and zero radiation released to the environment. If terrorists flew an airplane into a nuclear reactor, it would not rupture the containment vessel.

During the 1970's there was an anti-nuclear campaign, similar to the global warming campaign today. It was based on grossly inaccurate information, but it prevailed politically to impose onerous regulations which killed nuclear power as a source of electricity. I have seen a comparison of two nuclear power plants in the United States which began construction at about the same time. One finished up before the new regulations went into effect. It came in on budget, and generates to this day the cheapest, safest, and cleanest electricity on this planet. The second reactor ran afoul of the new regulations. It ran into massive cost overruns, and never was completed.

Lawrence Solomon was part of the anti-nuclear campaign during the 1970's. Today he has done some excellent research disproving the global warming theory, especially disproving the assertions of a scientific consensus about it; but to this day he is wrong about nuclear power. To this day he says, "Nuclear reactors run flat-out 24/7", and cannot be adjusted to match power demand. He is simply wrong. The reactor remains critical 24/7, but a reactor can be critical at zero power. The power output automatically matches the power demand. I have personally operated nuclear reactors, and I know for a fact what I am talking about. That is the kind of misinformation which has destroyed nuclear power, the greatest scientific advance in the history of the world.

The Climatically Saturated Greenhouse Effect

Feedbacks prevent any significant temperature rise. Only the sun can alter that

By Christopher Game

IN recent years, a major advance in our understanding of the physical dynamics of the climate process has come from the work of Ferenc Miskolczi. For the present note I am calling his discovery the ‘climatically saturated greenhouse effect’. I use these words to mean that the ‘saturation’ of which I speak is not the classical static saturation of an isolated system, but is ‘saturation’ in a specially extended sense for an open system in a thermodynamically-non-equilibrium dynamic steady state.

Dr Miskolczi’s discovery arose from his regular work for NASA, examining the data measured by radiosonde balloons. Studied and analyzed under the microscope of the radiative transfer computer program that he had written, the large data set turned out to be a previously only partly tapped reservoir of a wealth of physical facts. From the reservoir of numerical data, Dr Miskolczi abstracted mathematical formulae that expressed new physical understanding.

Dr Miskolczi showed that the true physical dynamics of the climate process is that the present rate of change of amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is dynamically determined, amongst other factors, largely by the present amount of greenhouse gas. A second dynamical factor is the fluctuating temperature of the atmosphere. There are also other dynamical factors that are mostly ignored in this present note.

On the other hand, for its doctrine that man-made CO2-emissions cause harmful global warming, the IPCC speaks in terms of its mathematical formalism of “radiative forcing” and “positive feedback by water vapour”. But, sad to say, this formalism is fatally flawed and cannot describe the true dynamical structure of the climate response to CO2.

The IPCC’s mathematical formalism admits just one dynamical internal state variable, the climate temperature. That formalism expresses the climate temperature as a static mathematical function (or sometimes as a dynamical effect) of the “radiative forcing”. The formalism mathematically partitions that mathematical function (or dynamical effect) into components that it calls “feedbacks”. But these “feedbacks” are not dynamically distinct from the climate temperature. The formalism expresses them simply as static mathematical functions of the climate temperature. Consequently, the dynamical factors that govern the real climate system cannot be expressed in the IPCC’s formalism because of its mathematical inappropriateness for the problem.

Miskolczi did not set out to make his discovery of the climatically saturated greenhouse effect, but it turned up as something that he accidentally noticed in the course of his regular work for NASA. In this respect his discovery is like the fundamental discovery made by Australian Garth Paltridge, who ‘accidentally’ noticed in his examination of climate data that the facts are described by a principle of maximum rate of entropy production. Along with the earlier work of plastics technologist Hans Ziegler, Professor Paltridge’s discovery was a stepping stone on the path to understanding how the second law of thermodynamics is naturally extended, from its classical form for isolated systems in thermodynamic equilibrium, to deal with thermodynamically-non-equilibrium dynamic steady states in diabatic systems. This was a radical advance at the deepest level of scientific understanding. Its present relevance has been mentioned above. (A helpful review article is listed below.)

This kind of fortuitous observation of empirical fact is at the heart of many of the historical radical advances in natural science. It is a kind of ‘accident’ that happens only to the prepared mind. Like Professor Paltridge, Dr Miskolczi had a prepared mind.

The Miskolczi discovery of the climatically saturated greenhouse effect describes a climate process that is dynamically pinned at a thermodynamically-non-equilibrium phase transition. This means that the climate is in a stable stationary dynamical régime.

The overall effect is to keep a constant ratio of solar energetic driving to long term climate temperature. We might call this the climatic response ratio, but let us here refer to it just as ‘the ratio’. The ratio is independent of CO2 emissions, which therefore cannot increase the long term climate temperature. Only increased solar energetic driving can increase the long term climate temperature. Changes in solar energetic driving can be caused only by changes in the heat radiated from the sun and by changes in the earth’s distance from the sun. Other extraterrestrial solar system external drivers of the climate process can perturb it, but not alter the long term climate temperature. Such perturbations include many various and diverse mechanisms, such as increased admission of galactic cosmic rays, and the deterministic chaotic tidal effects of gravity of the sun, the moon, and the planets.

A main dynamical effect in maintaining climate stability is non-linear cooling through the atmospheric window discovered by George Simpson in 1928. After heat has been absorbed from the sun by the earth, the infrared radiative waveband carries the heat back out to space. Water vapour is the earth’s main greenhouse gas. Its wide and strong infra-red absorption spectrum has a fair number of deep gaps. Radiation from the surface of the land and the sea escapes readily to space through these gaps, collectively called the atmospheric window. The escape is governed non-linearly by the Planck radiation law. The non-linearity means that the hotter the earth gets, the more efficient is the window at cooling the earth. Simpson also discovered another potent climate stabilizing property of water. Water can form clouds, which Simpson noted potently tend to cool the earth by reflecting some of the incoming sunlight, so that it is not even absorbed by the earth. This is called increase in albedo.

Why is the climatic response ratio constant? It is because water dominates the climate dynamics.

Perhaps a homely analogy may help. The climate process is like a saucepan of saturated salt solution boiling on a stove. Turn up the gas on the stove and the boiling point is not affected. Add more salt and the boiling-point is not affected, because the salt solution is already saturated....


NYT wrong on permafrost - 'If It Makes People Believe, Is It Okay To Lie About Global Warming?'‏

While reading an article on Gather, something struck me as odd. The piece described how global warming was destroying a native village in western Alaska called Newtok. The article cited a CNN report lifted from the Warming Trends section of The New York Times. See Victim of Climate Change, a Town Seeks a Lifeline. The same story was repeated in Discover Magazine, The Nation and across the blogsphere.

What I found odd is there is nothing odd about what's happening to Newtok and certainly nothing that qualifies a New York Times environmental reporter to declare its residents "the first climate refugees in the United States". Here is what the NYT said:
"The earth beneath much of Alaska is not what it used to be. The permanently frozen subsoil, known as permafrost, upon which Newtok and so many other Native Alaskan villages rest, is melting, yielding to warming air temperatures and a warming ocean."

That's what got my attention. Anyone who knows anything about polar regions knows that change in permafrost across an area as vast as Alaska is better seen by squinting through statistics than looking out your front door - and if per chance you see melting permafrost out your door, your house is in the wrong place.

Even the usually environment friendly news source Far North Science, shredded the NYT article. They cited the world's foremost experts on permafrost monitoring, Vladimir Romanovsky:
The latest Alaska data suggests local permafrost has hardly changed during the past five years, despite warmer air temperatures and weather patterns. And these changes are measured on the scale of inches per half century -- not anything you would notice.

So what is happening to Newtok? The scientific consensus is clear as northern light: the swift flowing and bank eating NingLick River south of town has taken a liking to the place. In other words, what is happening to Newtok is the same geological force that happens everywhere on the globe, if you build a house where a river wants to go, you better move it.

So what is The New York Times babbling on about? Here is one clue, the article quotes resident Frank Tommy:
"I don't want to live in permafrost no more. It's too muddy. Everything is crooked around here."

and further down the column:
Erosion has made Newtok an island, caught between the ever widening Ninglick River and a slough to the north. The village is below sea level, and sinking. Boardwalks squish into the spring muck. Human waste, collected in "honey buckets" that many residents use for toilets, is often dumped within eyeshot in a village where no point is more than a five-minute walk from any other. The ragged wooden houses have to be adjusted regularly to level them on the shifting soil.

Studies say Newtok could be washed away within a decade. Along with the villages of Shishmaref and Kivalina farther to the north, it has been the hardest hit of about 180 Alaska villages that suffer some degree of erosion.

So what does all this melting, mud and erosion have to do with global warming?

Not a thing. Coastal erosion is natural and has been happeing since the time of the glaciers, but the erosion in town is caused by something else entirely: European construction methods and land-use practices completely unsuited to polar regions.

In the Arctic, if you do not raise your suburban split-level on pilings sunk deep into the permafrost, it will instantly begin to melt its way through a thousand feet of frozen mud in the general direction of Australia.

And oh yeah, another thing -- and guys, this is for you. After a beer party, don't even think of strolling out onto the tundra to tinkle. For one thing, your pee will remain stinky fresh for a couple of thousand years which means drinking out of local streams is discouraged. For another, the very act of walking out to pee will squish down the natural insulation causing the permafrost to melt and the next time you wander off, you may stumble into a gigantic sink hole you never knew was there. The technical term for this is Therokarst, remember that. And that's what is happening to Newtok.

So why is it happening while New York Times reporters are scouring the Arctic for dramatic signs of climate apocalypse? Like in the last couple decades?

Good question. You see, the Yup'ik people have lived in the area of Newtok since before the Romans built the open air stadium called the Coliseum, but the Yup'ik were migratory people who knew what happened when you tinkled in one place for too long and they didn't go in for European things like sports stadiums. So for two thousand years, they wandered around, studiously avoiding the bank munching Ninglick River.

Then came a gaggle of bureaucrats from the State Of Alaska who went to college and knew a thing or two that the Yup'ik didn't. These guys built a town because it was where they could land a barge for all the heavy construction equipment needed to create a real spiffy European style town, called Newtok.

I hope after reading the above, you can kind of figure out what happened next. So now the town has to move. This time, the Yup'ik elders said, "We'll pick the spot" and they have, a nice site with a much better climate. So how far did the first climate refugees in the United States move? A whole nine miles. To Nelson Island. The place where their ancestors spent the summer.

So what about The New York Times and all that Climate Refugees stuff? New York Times? Enough said.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


More of the world's electricity was generated from coal last year, reveals a new industry report, pointing at the futility of unilateral EU moves to cut down CO2 emissions. The 2008 market report of EURACOAL, the industry association representing the European coal industry, shows that global hard coal production increased by at least 200 million tonnes (Mt) last year, most of which was mined in China. Higher energy prices and technological advances make it even more profitable to use already abundant coal resources, the report published this week said. The EU contrasts markedly with the rest of the world as it is the only region where coal production is decreasing, according to EURACOAL.

A EURACOAL representative told EurActiv that one reason European production was down compared to 2007 was the fact that EU regulations governing state aid for the coal industry were set to expire in 2010, forcing some plants to close down. Over the past decade, European coal consumption has declined slightly. But EU production has fallen by 35% in EU 25 and by 50% in the EU 15. The result is a 40% upsurge in coal imports in just ten years.

According to the European Commission, over €80 billion of state aid for the coal industry was approved over the decade 1994 to 2005. The Commission is currently engaged in discussions to decide upon the post-2010 legislative framework, which could see the coal industry treated according to standard state-aid rules.

Another major reason for the EU decrease is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which obliges some 10,000 energy-intensive plants to buy and sell permits to emit CO2, EURACOAL said. The revision of the scheme for the third trading period, which starts in 2012, widened the scope of the applicable industries and capped EU industrial emissions at 21% below 2005 levels by 2020, in order to reduce emissions more quickly.

As coal emits approximately twice as much CO2 as natural gas, cap-and-trade regimes are expected to favour the use of gas in electricity generation in the long term (EurActiv 04/04/09). In the UK, EURACOAL observed a switch from coal to gas in 2008, with both indigenous coal production and imports decreasing.

EURACOAL pointed out, however, that the world's largest coal reserves are situated in the US, China and Russia, which are all increasing their production. It will thus be essential for these countries to participate in the post-Kyoto global climate deal to be agreed in December if any serious emissions cuts are to be expected, it argued. The association added that unilateral efforts to cut emissions by other countries would be "useless".

"I think Europe will start to look around to see that all over the world, coal production is increasing, while we are decreasing," a EURACOAL representative told EurActiv. "I think there might be a change, because we can't continue to decrease production. We need the coal produced in Europe," she added.

Nevertheless, cap-and-trade systems are now in the pipeline around the world as part of the international climate efforts, alarming the steel industry, which relies heavily on coal inputs. The EURACOAL report shows that the steel industry has already been affected by the economic downturn. Global steel production was down 22.8% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

The prospect of regulating emissions via a trading scheme has also alarmed coal-producing states in the American Midwest, following the emergence of initial plans for a cap-and-trade system in that country. Last week, 19 US Congressmen from steel-producing areas addressed a letter to the House leadership, calling for free allowances for the steel industry. They argued that a cap-and-trade system should not put further burdens on an industry that has already been affected disproportionately by the recession.

It is thus likely that any future US scheme will grant exemptions from full auctioning of permits to industries at risk of delocating to other regions with no carbon trading commitments, following the EU's example (EurActiv 12/12/08). This could give the coal-fired power stations some breathing space.

Nevertheless, it will be of utmost importance to get China on board for emission cuts, considering that the country produces the vast majority of its electricity from coal.


Global warming, common sense and expert opinion

I'm not entirely sure that global warming, common sense and expert opinion have much to do with each other, but let's try and establish a connection.

First, for global warming (or climate change, or whatever the accepted term now is), to be accepted as a scientific hypothesis, it must include details of how to prove it wrong--'falsifiability.' If it doesn't have these details, it's no more than an interesting idea or a dogmatic belief--but either way it has nothing to do with science. This is the definition of science, basically, but I have yet to see any proponent of global warming as a potentially serious problem for us offer a set of conditions which would lead him or her to say, 'Whoops--we've got it wrong.' And they need to do that.

The reason is that people with common sense are looking at what's coming out of the media and realise that the alarmists are changing the rules of the game and seizing on anything as evidence of global warming. They are radically over-hyping the issue, as acknowledged by those qualified to have an expert opinion, such as the UK Meterological Office, which called recently for the hyperbole to stop. But it hasn't, and whether it gets hotter or colder, it is offered as evidence of global warming. If Arctic ice decreases, it is evidence of global warming. But if it recovers, as it has recently... it is evidence of global warming.

What would it take to prove global warming is not following the course charted for it by computer models?

If ocean temperatures were not rising as fast as the computer models predict (and they are not), would that prove that climate change theory is either wrong or needs to be recalculated? And would it prove the theory wrong to experts, to people just using common sense, or both? In either case, it is a question that should be answered by defenders of climate change theory.

Climate change theory does not really cover what clouds contribute to the issue, but they gloss over this, as they cannot measure it accurately. So if evidence arises showing that clouds tend to counteract the effects of global warming, does this again prove the theory wrong? Is it something that needs to be addressed by experts, and should this be communicated to people trying to use common sense to evaluate the need for action?

These are two examples of areas where serious questions arise regarding climate change theory. There may be perfectly good answers to them--I don't know. I know there are more questions. But one reason that Americans care less about climate change than other issues is that when questions come up, they are not answered. They are just spoon-fed more cute pictures of polar bears.

If global climate change is a real problem, then the communication strategy of its advocates is pathetic, and may lose them all the good will built up over decades of environmental struggle. It is pathetic because it resembles in all its shotgun approach and hysterical pronouncements nothing more than a con game. It is reprehensible--almost criminal--in its attempts to demonize everyone who disagrees with them, to state that all skeptics are deniers in the pay of the energy industry.

Nobody is arguing that the greenhouse effect is controversial. Nobody is arguing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that we are emitting more of it. But only computer models are making the case that this will cause catastrophe--and the data isn't good enough for computer models to be accurate. Your case needs more, if you want people of common sense to believe you.

If it's real, get serious. If you don't know, just say so. And come forth now with a set of conditions that you agree would prove your theory wrong. Follow the rules of science.

Above post via Climate Change Fraud, a site worth bookmarking

Australia: Delaying Warmist laws not enough

AN old lesson all governments have to learn anew is that it is the election promises you keep that are likeliest to get you into trouble. It is a lesson Kevin Rudd is learning the hard way, with his ignominious retreat from his (always delusional) ambition to make Australia a world leader in its response to global warming.

It has been obvious for months that rushing ahead with a clearly flawed carbon trading scheme, one that would have serious adverse consequences for jobs and economic activity in the midst of what Rudd and Wayne Swan refer to, correctly, as the worst global recession since the Depression of the 1930s, was an act of national irresponsibility. However, the Rudd Government appeared to be living in a parallel universe.

The Treasurer likes to say that the world changed in September last year, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a near meltdown in global financial markets and a precipitate decline in economic activity. Yet in December last year, when the escalation of the crisis was frightening governments and central banks across the world, Rudd and his Climate Change Minister Penny Wong were telling us it would be reckless and irresponsible for our economy and environment to delay the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.

So, what changed? Or as Rudd was asked at his press conference on Monday: "Why isn't today's decision reckless and irresponsible?" His reply was unusually short, perhaps indicating irritation at this impertinence. "Well, what we've had is a deepening of the global financial crisis, which has now become a global economic crisis and the worst recession in three quarters of a century. That's what happened." Oh, really?

Delaying the introduction of an ETS is a sensible decision but it should have been made months ago. Presumably it has been made now because the political risks of pushing ahead have become unacceptable. There has been a rising chorus of complaint from business and Labor's legislation faced certain defeat in the Senate.

The Government has resorted to heavy political spin and artful manipulation of interest groups to minimise the damage. At his press conference, Rudd helpfully identified the groups the Government spent a lot of time massaging ahead of its announcement, to give it political cover for its embarrassing backflip. These were, in order, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF, the Climate Institute, the ACTU and the Australian Council of Social Service.

The last five are obvious allies of the Government on climate change, if now somewhat disillusioned ones. But you may have thought the BCA and the AIG would have seen the opportunity to take a much harder line on the threat the Government's scheme posed for many of their members. But no, both rushed forth to compliment the Government on its decision and urge support for its proposal to push its (amended) legislation through parliament as quickly as possible.

A few months ago John Roskam, executive director of conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, posed some interesting questions: What are business organisations for? Do they exist so their chief executives can sit on government advisory boards and have afternoon tea at the Lodge? Or is their purpose to represent the interests of enterprises and employers? Not the latter, it would seem. As Roskam also has observed, business is to blame for allowing the ETS juggernaut to progress as far as it has: "There's not a single significant business association in the country that has opposed the notion that Australia should have an ETS."

They will protest, of course, that they have succeeded in winning delay and cash handouts, and that their objective is to provide certainty for business about future investment plans. But there is no certainty in the Rudd Government's plans. Nor can there be, as the outcomes that really matter are out of its hands and have to be determined internationally.

To be fair, some business organisations have expressed considerable scepticism about the ETS, notably the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as have leading companies. The MCA, for example, recognises the promised certainty as an illusion, "a temporary stay of execution for thousands of mining jobs and billions of dollars in investment". None has gone so far as the IPA in calling for the ETS to be scrapped in the absence of a comprehensive international agreement to reduce carbon emissions, and realistically there is not much chance of that.

But the Rudd Government's backdown gives the lie to all the hysterical claims by it and others that immediate action is needed to save the planet. Instead Australia should take the opportunity to have a comprehensive, independent, review of the Government's emissions trading plans, the alternatives, the Government's modelling of the economic effects, and challenges to the so-called scientific consensus on global warming.

The report on the Government's ETS by economist David Pearce of the Centre for International Economics for the federal Opposition exposes a range of serious problems and risks with the present scheme. In particular, the scheme fails to offer any rigorous assessment of the transitional costs of moving to a low carbon future. These transitional costs for an economy such as Australia's - with its abundant carbon-based energy resources, its energy-intensive industry structure, coal-based electricity generation industry and its coal and gas exports - are potentially large and the associated risks considerable.

Pearce suggests the Productivity Commission should be asked to examine the Government's scheme and alternatives, a suggestion taken up by Malcolm Turnbull and which industry should get behind. The terms of reference for such an inquiry should let the commission start with a clean slate and not have its hands tied by government-imposed policy assumptions. And no pre-emptive legislation should be passed ahead of the international climate change conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

If that conference fails to come up with a comprehensive agreement on emissions control that includes India and China, as seems likely, then it's back to the drawing board and the commission's inquiry can inform a new course for policy here.



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


Thursday, May 07, 2009


An email from Prof. Cliff Ollier [], School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia

The Alarmists' mis-use of the break-up of the Wilkins Ice shelf seems to be very widespread, so your readers might like to know of Australian examples.

The Australian of April 29 reported ".. a 13-month old photograph was published this month to support the view that a catastrophic melting of Antarctic ice was imminent." Together with the suspect use of an old photo, "Mr Garrett [the Australian Minister for the Environment] claimed the break-up of the Wilkins ice shelf in West Antarctica indicated sea level rises of 6m were possible by the end of the century, and that ice was melting across the continent."

My following letter was published by the paper the next day.
"Your front-page article states that Peter Garrett claimed the break-up of the Wilkins ice shelf in West Antarctica indicated sea level rises of 6 metres were possible. His claim includes two basic errors. Firstly, shelf ice is floating, because it is less dense than seawater. When floating ice melts, there is no change in sea level. This is a bit of elementary physics known as Archimedes’ Principle.

Secondly, the breakup of ice shelves is normal and inevitable. Ice caps grow by precipitation in the uplands, flow at depth, and at the ice front the ice either melts or breaks off as icebergs. The ice never simply keeps flowing to the equator. Icebergs are produced in both times of climate warming and times of cooling, so they tell us nothing of climate change."

Incidentally, Peter Garrett was on TV on the evening of 30 April. When questioned about his 6 metre sea level rise prediction, he gave his sources as IPCC and CSIRO. Yet in 2007 even the IPCC has reduced its estimate to between 18cm and 59 cm.

By coincidence (?) The West Australian also had an article on the break-up of the ice-shelves of West Antarctica (May 1st). It reported David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey saying: "There is little doubt that these changes are the result of atmospheric warming." The same arguments used above apply here, and there is every reason to doubt it.

Note too that the head of the Australian Antarctic Division's glaciology program reported recently that: "sea ice losses in West Antarctica over the past 30 years have been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of East Antarctica."

Unlike Peter Garret (and many others), The West Australian evidently understands Archimedes’ Principle and writes: "The falling away of Antarctic ice shelves does not in itself raise sea levels, since the ice was already floating in water."

Cui bono?

By libertarian writer L. Neil Smith

Recently, a reader of mine named Holly wrote:
"Can I ask how you made the judgment on which scientists to believe? I am interested in climate science and just started reading RealClimate, thanks in part to your post. To be honest, I respect your literary work and was surprised to hear you, as a science fiction author, naysay what I thought was serious and substantial scientific study. So I'd like to know whether you have favorite information resources to recommend. Thanks!"

Hello, Holly: My initial doubts about manmade global warming weren't scientific, but ... I guess you might say social. I am a novelist, and—when I'm not conversant on a particular subject—I'm inclined to depend on my judgement of the character of the actors involved. To some, I know, that may seem like a terrible confession, but others who write for a living will understand. The real question, after all, is "Am I being conned?"

That's a social question, not a scientific one.

So,lacking other data, I looked at the character of those pushing the idea of Global Warming. They included leftist politicos I knew to be opportunistic liars in other contexts—particularly gun ownership—along with movie stars and other brain-dead celebrities that flock to any cause that attacks private industrial capitalism and individual liberty. Some may criticize me for ad hominem thinking, but when you don't have reliable scientific information (which I didn't back then), what else can you rely on but your understanding of the personalities involved?

There was also my experience with previous predictions of disaster (some which I listed in the blog entry "The Badguys" that we're discussing ), and of conspiracy theories that seemed to me to have a similar structure. The whole "Paul is dead" thing comes to mind. I know a lot about this because I spent a lot of time in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy "movement". At least two shooters, maybe more, Kevin Costner to the contrary, notwithstanding.

I suppose my perception of precisely who stood to benefit from the spreading fear about Global Warming comes into it. Anyone who hates technology, of course, or the present economic system. Also, hordes who will get rich from all of the asinine proposals to reduce Global Warming—anyone who makes solar panels or water heating systems or nasty little cars that go short distances very slowly, carrying almost nothing.

Most persuasive, I suppose, was an anthropological understanding I have (that being my principle field of interest and study in college) of what constitutes a religion. The planet gets transmogrified into a goddess in the minds of the faithful, and all of the entities upon it, the birds and bees and flowers and trees (to quote an old song)—all of the entities, that is, except humans—become sacred objects. Exhaling carbon dioxide becomes Original Sin. Better that a thousand human babies should die than one single snail darter or a furbish lousewort. In fact, what the Earth needs, they often say, is a good plague.

This religious interpretation helped explain the fact that Global Warming skeptics were increasingly being persecuted. They couldn't be refuted, so university professors were being denied tenure or actually having it taken away. Government employees concerned with the weather were being reprimanded or threatened with firing. The new media were full of that kind of thing. (If academia—or science itself—ever recover from this debacle, it will be thanks to people who had retired or were just about to and didn't have anything to lose by telling the truth.)

Of course the "mainstream" media somehow failed to report lunacy like this. And when hundreds of scientists who had literally signed on with the Global Warming hoax managed to learn more, had second or third thoughts, and withdrew their sanction, that didn't get reported, either, except by those on the net like Matt Drudge who care about the truth.

I guess the final social fact that made me suspicious was the way people—especially legislators—were being pushed, rushed along, encouraged only to believe and act, not to think, "Because it's too late for that, and even if it weren't, we can't risk not doing something."

There were, by now, lots of physical data to support skepticism. It turns out, for example, that some of the first readings that seemed to indicate increasing world temperatures came from a weather buouy in the Pacific Ocean that was defective and had to be repaired or replaced. My suggestion was that they preserve it as a monument to Al Gore. Similarly, official weather stations—those little white-painted structures with the louvred box on top—were increasingly being photographed where they had been placed near heat sources like factory smokestacks, the backs of restaurants, and industrial heat exchangers.

I thought for a while that the whole house of cards was going to collapse when it was realized that most of the temperature readings used to support the fraud were taken in "municipal heat islands", tiny pinpricks on the map where human activity had indeed managed to raise temperatures, usually by pouring concrete and asphalt over everything that didn't move fast enough to avoid it. My hometown, for example, is at least ten degrees warmer in the summer now than I remember as a boy.

Then came the ice core evidence showing that a relationship did, indeed, exist between changes in the mixture of atmospheric gases and global heat fluctuations, but exactly in reverse of what was expected: there was an average 800-year lag between a rise in temperatures and increases—which followed the increasing temperatures—in carbon dioxide.

I wouldn't want to leave out the thorough discreditation of the fraudulent "hockey stick" model, a dramatic graphic presentation by academic warmistas which, largely by means of ignoring the established climate history of the past thousand years—including the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age, both of which are exceptionally well-documented by the actual people living in those times—produced the desired results on paper, but bore no resemblance whatever to reality.

Sort of like Keynesian economics.

I just heard about a nuclear submarine in the Arctic in the 1950s that had no trouble poking its nose through the ice at the North Pole, something, I gathered from the conversation, that can't be done easily today. For all of you Obama and McCain voters out there, this means the ice is thicker than it was half a century ago, not thinner as is claimed.

Most interestingly—remember seeing those spectacular photos from the Dustbowl era in which whole towns are about to be swallowed by a wall of airborne dust?—according to weather service records, the hottest 20th century decade was not the 1990s, as constantly advertised, but the 1930s, with the highest temperatures recorded in 1935.

The 2008-2009 winter handed one public humiliation after another to Algore and his warming wonks, as their lectures, meetings, and rallys had to be postponed or cancelled due to record cold and heavy snowfalls. It was their attribution of these lower temperatures to Global Warming that confirmed my suspicion we are dealing with a new religion.

The final nail in the coffin of manmade Global Warming was the "inconvenient truth" that Mars and Jupiter are also warming up. I knew for damn sure that my Durango wasn't responsible for that, nor were anybody's cows. The sun was in a relatively sunspot-free period and was shining a little more brightly on the many rocks whirling around it.

Sometime shortly after that, the warmoids felt a need to change the name of the supposed phenomenon from "Global Warming" to "Climate Change', the same way they'd stopped calling themselves "liberals" and begun calling themselves "progressives". In both cases, with one lie after another, one outrageous assault on life, liberty, property, and reason after another, they'd dirtied their original brand name, left it reeking on some fencepost somewhere, and found themselves a new one.

Many unanswered questions still remain, among other things, about the benefits of rising temperatures. In many ways, the Earth would be a far better place to live if it averaged five or ten degrees warmer. The fact that there has been no great land rush among the warming faithful to Alaska or Greenland sort of gives the whole game away, I think.

And now, despite careful selection (and misrepresentation) of movies of icebergs "calving" in the Arctic and Antarctic, and phony shots of polar bears swimming vainly in search of ice, it turns out, according to a very recent satellite survey by the British government (which stands to gain absolutely nothing by telling the truth) that the icecaps either end of the world don't seem to be shrinking, after all.

I am not a footnote kind of a guy—think of me as a 21st century replacement for a newspaper columnist. But every factual thing I've said here can be confirmed in a few minutes perusing the Internet. Ironically, the one genuine world-ending catastrophe we face as a species—being struck by a wandering asteroid—the warmers ignore, because it doesn't serve their economic and political interests, even though there's a great deal that could be done, right now, to prevent it.

But that's a subject for another time—and for my novel, CERES.


Science turns against fear promoters as Congressional action exposed as 'meaningless'‏

The new analysis of Congressional cap-and-trade bill showing the temperature impact to be 'scientifically meaningless' is consistent with many previous studies showing that proposed "solutions" to man-made global warming are nothing more than all economic pain for no climate gain. If we did face a man-made climate catastrophe and the United Nations proposals and Congressional cap-and-trade were our only hope -- we would all be doomed!

Many attempt to tout Congressional or UN carbon trading bills as an "insurance" policy against global warming in case the skeptics are wrong about the science. But a simple question to ask is: Would you purchase fire insurance on your home that had a huge up front premium for virtually no payout if you home burned down? If you answered YES to such an “insurance” policy, then Congress has a deal for you with their cap-and-trade legislation.

This new temperature analysis of Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade climate bill, comes at a time when key House Democrats are now realizing the cost (and futility) of attempting to control the Earth's thermostat. In addition, even the two of the strongest proponents of man-made global warming fears – NASA's James Hansen and UK's James Lovelock -- are now ridiculing the Congressional cap-and-trade approach as “ineffectual” and “verging on a gigantic scam.” Remember, these are the words of scientists who believe in a looming human caused climate “crisis.”

Current polling data reveals that the American people “get it” when it comes to global warming. (See: Gallup survey found global warming ranked dead last in the U.S. among ENVIRONMENTAL issues & Gallup Poll Editor: Gore has 'Failed' -- 'The public is just not that concerned' about global warming & Zobgy Poll: Only 30% of Americans support cap-and-trade -- 57% oppose)

Despite the American people's rejection of warming fears and climate taxes, Congress may persist in pushing them for other non-scientific reasons. Hint, hint. See: Dem. Senator calls cap-and-trade 'the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time'

American's are becoming aware that the debate is not "over" as more than 700 prominent international scientists publicly dissenting, including many who are reversing their views on climate fears and declaring themselves skeptical. American's are becoming aware that there has been no significant global warming since 1995, no warming since 1998 & and global cooling for the past few years.

In addition, there has been no “No evidence for accelerated sea-level” according to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. and failure of the oceans to warm, and Antarctic ice continues to grow. Even the post child of the warming fear campaign, the Arctic is not cooperating . (See: April 'Arctic sea ice extent within expected range of natural variability' -- ice grew by 'more than the size of Texas over last two years' & 'These are good times to be a climate skeptic' - 'Global sea ice extent presently above long-term average')

New Zealand Climate Scientist Chris de Freitas revealed on May 1, 2009 that "warming and CO2 are not well correlated." de Freitas added, "the effect of CO2 on global temperature is already close to its maximum. Adding more has an ever decreasing effect."

New peer-reviewed scientific studies now predict a continued lack of global warming for up to three decades as natural climate factors dominate. (See: Climate Fears RIP...for 30 years!? - Global Warming could stop 'for up to 30 years! Warming 'On Hold?...'Could go into hiding for decades' study finds – – March 2, 2009 )

This means that today's high school kids being forced to watch Al Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth” – some of them 4 times in 4 different classes – will be nearly eligible for AARP (age 50) retirement group membership by the time warming resumes if these new studies turn out to be correct. (Editor's Note: Claims that warming will “resume” due to explosive heat in the "pipeline" have also been thoroughly debunked. See: Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. 'There is no warming in the pipeline' )

Since real world observations are not supporting the alleged climate catastrophe, climate fear promoters are instead touting unverified computer models predicting doom 50 or 100 from now. But even the UN admits are models are flawed and do not account for “half the variability in the climate” and they are instead referred to as “story lines” not even “predictions.” (See: IPCC lead author Trenberth, refers climate models as “story lines.”) In addition, top forecasting experts say the models violate the basic principles of forecasting. (See: Ivy League forecasting pioneer “Of 89 principles [of forecasting], the [UN] IPCC violated 72.”)

Despite the mounting scientific case against a man-made climate crisis, many, like President Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu, still seems to believe that computer model predictions decades or 100 years from now are some sort of “evidence” of a looming climate catastrophe.

Many scientists are now realizing that the UN IPCC and the promoters of man-made climate fear are in a “panic” about the lack of global warming, the growing number of scientific defectors and sinking public support. South African UN Scientist Dr. Will Alexander wrote in March, “'The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart...Heads will roll!”

It is no wonder that the environmental movement is urging its troops to no longer use the term “global warming,” as temperatures fail to cooperate. (See: NYT obtains enviro strategy memo: Stop use of term global warming!)

Instead, climate change or “global weirding” -- as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has proposed – are preferred. It is no wonder, with climate change or “global weirding,” any weather even can now be linked to man-made global warming. Drought, flood, storms, tornado, hurricane? Simply more evidence of “global weirding.” Heatwaves, record cold, blizzards? Even more evidenced of “global weirding.” Everything that happens is further “proof” of man-made global warming.

This shift in terminology and tactics by the warming fear promoters has lead to a top Japanese scientist -- Kanya Kusano of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology -- to declare global warming models and fear promotion akin to “astrology.”

After all, if everything weather event that happens fits your global warming hypothesis or theory, the theory cannot be invalidated by real world observations or data. Climate fear promoters are now morphing to the level of the daily horoscope in your local newspaper. Horoscopes are worded in such a vague manner that essentially anything that happens to you that day can be touted as “proof” the horoscope was correct.

UK Professor Philip Stott has mocked today's climate fears by comparing such fears to ancient civilizations. “From the Babylon of Gilgamesh to the post-Eden of Noah, every age has viewed climate change cataclysmically, as retribution for human greed and sinfulness,” Stott, an emeritifus professor of Biogeography from the University of London wrote.

The clock is ticking for the promoters of man-made climate fear as more and more scientists dissent from climate fears and peer-reviewed studies, real world observations and data continue to refute the entire basis for alarm.

President Obama's and the Congressional Democrats hesitation to move forward on global warming cap-and-trade bills that will raise energy prices during a massive economic downturn may force continued delays in moving the legislation. Curious voters will soon be asking their representatives in Washington the following basic questions:

1) What impact will this bill have on temperatures? (Answer: "Meaningless")

2) What will the bill cost? (Answer: Trillions)

3) Why are you voting for a bill that will have huge economic impacts and harm the poor and seniors on fixed incomes the most -- but will not have a measurable climate impact?

4) Why are more and more scientists publicly rejecting man-made climate fears and why has the Earth failed to warm as predicted?

The answers to the above questions will likely cause massive angst with many Democrats in rust belt states and will probably force further delays in Congressional climate action. But such Democratic delays in moving the legislation may not play well with environmental and climate activists. How long before President Obama and the Democrats are called “deniers” and “delayers” by their friends in the activist community? Stay tuned...

SOURCE (See the original for links}

Green Bubbles Bursting

The delusions of renewables and the realities of nuclear power


With the selling of President Obama’s economic agenda now in full gear, this is a good time to take stock of his energy plans against the background of energy trends worldwide. Alas, even a brief glimpse reveals that Obama’s focus on renewable energy and the introduction of a cap-and-trade regime runs counter to both economic rationality and current energy trends to the point of guaranteeing its inevitable failure, which will result in serious economic harm to the United States.

The president is imposing his green agenda on America, even as the renewable-energy bubbles of the Left are bursting, and the world is witnessing the astounding comeback of the kind of energy Obama scrupulously avoids mentioning: nuclear power. To understand this surprising reality, the best place to start is to look at the record of the three countries Obama specifically mentioned in his address to Congress as leading the United States in the renewable-energy revolution: China, Japan, and Germany.

China, he said, “has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.” True enough, but that effort has nothing to do with renewable energy, and it’s not even clear that it’s working. To the Chinese, energy efficiency means more efficient coal-burning equipment, co-generation, coal liquefaction, and other improvements of their primarily coal-based energy industry. Despite marginal improvements in this area, China is now the largest carbon-dioxide emitter in the world and can, at best, slow down but not stop carbon-emissions growth for the foreseeable future. As far as renewable energy proper is concerned, its share of total energy production not only is minuscule, but has actually declined over the past two years, according to Beijing’s State Electricity Council. There is, however, one clean-energy sector in which China is making a lot of progress and has even more ambitious plans for the future: nuclear power.

What about Japan? It does produce a lot of solar panels for export and subsidizes rooftop solar installation, but its renewable-energy production target for 2010 is only 3 percent. Instead, Tokyo plans to boost the share of nuclear power to 41 percent from the current 30 percent in less than a decade.

This leaves Germany as a model for our green future. At first glance, it is a renewable-energy success story and, to no one’s surprise, it has become the poster child of the green fantasy universe. In just a few years, the country has become the world’s powerhouse of green energy, currently generating nearly 15 percent of its electricity from wind power and solar energy, which already exceeds the EU target of a 12.5 percent renewable share for 2010. A heartwarming story, it seems — until one starts asking questions as to how a country that has neither much sun, nor much wind, got there; how much it cost; and where it is going from here.

The reality, of course, is that it doesn’t matter how much sun or wind there is as long as the government provides huge subsidies at the expense of the taxpayer and of the economy’s future prospects. In Germany, through a scheme innocuously called “feed-in tariff,” this has meant guaranteeing solar producers, for instance, a price seven times higher than the wholesale rate for 20 years. No wonder every entrepreneur-for-the-dole promptly lined up to feed at the public trough and created an artificial industry overnight. Yet, with Germany’s electricity bill going up by 38 percent in just one year (2007 over 2006), this is hardly a sustainable proposition. If that’s not enough, several years of operational experience have proven what experts have known or feared for a long time: that renewable energy is not only very expensive but also highly inefficient and unreliable. Solar panels, for example, seldom convert more than 25 percent of sun energy into electricity, while wind power’s “load factor” — i.e., electricity produced per installed capacity — seldom exceeds 20 percent in Germany. The intermittent nature of both of these sources makes them completely unsuitable for baseload-grid consideration, meaning that they have to be backed up by conventional energy — which, of course, defeats the purpose of green energy as an alternative.

Nor does the German and overall European experience with cap-and-trade provide any reason to be optimistic about the prospects of Obama’s plan to raise $646 billion through a similar scheme. Four years after its introduction, the EU carbon-trading scheme has failed to create a functioning emissions-permit market, to generate revenues, or to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions as promised, even as it led to large electricity-rate increases and windfall profits for some of the worst polluters on the Continent.

The bottom line is that for the foreseeable future renewable energy will remain a pie-in-the-sky green fantasy, not feasible economically without huge public subsidies.

Engaging in such economically irrational policies may have been understandable on the part of politically correct Western elites seeking to appease their hysterical environmental lobbies, especially when the stakes were small, energy prices were skyrocketing, and economic prosperity seemed assured. But those days are now gone and probably won’t be back for quite some time. Instead, under the perfect storm of collapsing energy prices, the worst economic crisis in decades, a severe credit crunch, and mass unemployment, the green-energy bubble has burst. Around the world, Germany included, green subsidies are being slashed, renewable-energy projects are being canceled or postponed, private capital and credit institutions have abandoned the sector, and many of the once high-flying green companies are on the brink of bankruptcy. Green energy, long touted as our salvation from environmental doom, now appears doomed itself.

This should be a cause for celebration, for out of the ruins of this irrational fantasy, a new, powerful trend toward clean, inexpensive, and reliable power is gathering steam, and it may finally bring some economic rationality to energy policy worldwide. It has taken the form of a remarkable economic comeback–cum–political rehabilitation of the much-maligned nuclear-power industry. Though Americans will hear neither their president nor his devoted claque in the “mainstream” media discuss this, it is already a powerful reality that may yet make the 21st century the century of nuclear power.

What is most remarkable about the nuclear-power revival is that it is a worldwide phenomenon that includes Western countries that until recently were staunch fellow travelers in the anti-nuclear bandwagon. Italy and Sweden, both of which had moratoriums on building nuclear reactors dating back to the 1980s, have now reversed course, and Germany will almost certainly follow shortly. Italy now plans to get 25 percent of its future electricity needs from eight new nuclear plants and has already contracted with a French company for the construction of the first four. Great Britain envisages not only refurbishing eight aging reactors, but also building ten new ones.

France, which never succumbed to the anti-nuclear frenzy and already derives 80 percent of its electricity from 58 reactors, has become a world leader in nuclear technology — eclipsing the U.S. — and is aggressively moving forward with third-generation reactors at home and abroad. Farther east, Ukraine, despite its Chernobyl legacy, plans eleven new reactors by 2030, while Russia, an exporter of nuclear technology, wants to double its electricity output from nuclear power by 2020. Not to be left behind, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Romania are either planning or already building new nuclear plants. In short, Europe, until recently a citadel of anti-nuclear fervor, is being transformed into a gigantic nuclear-power construction site.

Elsewhere, the nuclear-power steamroller is making even more impressive inroads. India and China, likely economic superpowers of the future alongside the U.S., have both opted for nuclear energy in a decisive way. India, which today produces a meager 4,100 megawatts, or 3 percent of its electricity, from nuclear power, aims to boost that 15-fold, to 63,000 MWs, with 40 new reactors by 2032. It is already constructing five new plants and has just signed a contract with the French company Areva for up to six more third-generation reactors. China, which currently has a nuclear-generating capacity of 9,000 MWs, plans to increase that to 40,000 MWs by 2020 and 63,000 MWs ten years later. Finally, Japan, which alongside France is a world leader in nuclear-electricity technology, is fully committed to nuclear power and intends to double its share of electricity production from the current 30 percent by mid-century.

So where does this leave the U.S., and President Obama’s energy agenda? It leaves us in the unenviable position of being the only major economic power led by a president dogmatically wedded to yesterday’s make-believe universe of green energy that has already been debunked by reality in the rest of the world. Much as in Europe, renewable energy in America is in a dire predicament. By the end of 2008, American solar- and wind-power stocks had lost some four-fifths of their value — twice the loss rates of the general market — inflicting catastrophic losses on investors who had bought into the green hype. Investment and credit have both dried up and, despite the brave rhetoric of President Obama, there isn’t enough government money to make much difference in the absence of private capital. In just one example of the parlous state of renewable affairs, California, where sunlight is nearly as abundant as lack of environmental common sense, produces but 0.2 percent of its electricity from solar power after three decades of heavy subsidies.

Worse may be in store. If Obama’s dubious energy agenda is rammed through Congress, as seems likely, not only are Americans going to be saddled with a crushing tax burden, courtesy of the bogus cap-and-trade scheme, but the country’s economic competitiveness could suffer lasting if not irreparable damage. Such are the wages of our renewable delusions.



Book Review by Nigel Lawson of "A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a new Era of Progress and Prosperity" by Nicholas Stern

As a general rule, I do not believe in reviewing bad books. Review space is limited, and the many good books that are published deserve first claim on it. But climate change is such an important subject, and — thanks to heavy promotion by that great publicist, Tony Blair — the Stern Review of the economics of climate change has become so well known (not least to the vast majority who have never read it, among whom in all probability is Mr Blair), that anything from Lord Stern deserves some attention.

However, anyone looking for anything new in this rather arrogant book — all those who dissent from Stern’s analysis, his predictions, or his prescriptions are dismissed as ‘both ignorant and reckless’ (the word ‘ignorant’ recurs frequently) — will be disappointed. The first half of the book is a rehash of the original Stern Review, and the second half a rehash of his lengthy 2008 LSE study Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change. This last is an exercise in political naivety which does not improve on its second outing; and the European Union leadership trumpeted by Stern (‘We can expect the EU and its member countries to continue to drive forward action on climate change’) has already collapsed with the back-tracking at the EU climate summit last December, after this book went to press.

The Stern Review sought to argue that atmospheric greenhouse gas (chiefly carbon dioxide) concentrations could be stabilised at relatively low global cost, and the resulting benefit from preventing much further warming would far outweigh that cost. This analysis has been wholly discredited by pretty well every prominent economist who has addressed the issue. For example, Professor Helm of Oxford, probably Britain’s most eminent energy economist, has recently observed that Stern’s implausibly low ‘cost numbers … [are] all but useless for the purposes of policy design and implementation’. So far from seriously addressing the substantial objections Stern’s critics have made, this book essentially just reiterates the original (non-peer reviewed, incidentally) analysis.

The only significant economic support for Stern’s prescription has come from Professor Weitzman, of Harvard, who accepts that Stern’s cost-benefit analysis is all wrong, but maintains that this is an issue where cost benefit analysis is inapplicable: there is an outside chance of a disaster so great that it needs to be averted irrespective of cost. One obvious problem with this approach, however, is that there is an outside chance of all manner of disasters, and we cannot spend unlimited resources on seeking to avert them all. Moreover, one of them is a new ice age, which would be very much worse; and indeed the formidably eminent scientist, Professor Freeman Dyson of Princeton, believes that any warming that might occur might well be helpful in forestalling a new ice age.


A British green dream that didn't work out

If you’ve never heard of Feather Down Farms, you can’t have been going to the right dinner parties. They’re a middle-class phenomenon, the Boden of holidays. From one UK farm in 2006, the franchise has bloomed to 20 this year, with more in the pipeline.

The theory’s simple. You get a posh tent, with a wooden floor, running water, ensuite loo and fluffy duvets, all in the bosom of nature on a genuine working farm. The natural life, with enough luxury to take the rough edges off. How zeitgeisty is that?

The idea tunes right into every bourgeois back-to-the-land fantasy from The Good Life on. There’s even a rustic-looking cool box to store the Sancerre.

This season, they’ve introduced a trio of new wheezes. A couple of farms have added an outdoor hot tub, others a pre-prepared stew pot, and some — of which our destination, Aller Farm, in Devon, was one — a smoker, so you can make your own kippers. Fabulous, and a great excuse to break out the Cath Kidston wellies and take another look at the family holiday de nos jours.

Everything looked pretty promising when we rolled up at Aller Farm. The five tents here are in a lovely spot, looking over a fence onto a rolling field dotted with suitably picturesque cows.

Inside, there’s a wood floor, a big living area with a kitchen island, two wood-partitioned bedrooms and an ingenious bed hidden in a cupboard, all scattered with folksy touches — an old leather suitcase, framed photos of farm animals, vintage sweet tins, a hand-grinder for your coffee. It’s rustic-trendy. You half-expect Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to pop up from behind the iron stove like a curly-haired Devon pixie.

So far, so twee. Just like the glossy brochure, in fact. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turned out, a fair bit. They’d booked out two of the tents to a hen party: the first giveaway was the huge inflatable penis being carried across the site, which certainly wasn’t in the brochure. Nice enough girls, but tent walls did nothing to muffle the racket of that godawful Umber-ella song at 11.30pm.

The water supply was erratic, and failed completely for the best part of 24 hours, which seriously isn’t good (especially when the kids keep forgetting and using that flush toilet, which no longer flushes. Lovely). The stove belched noxious fumes at us like a factory chimney, and hardly warmed the tent at all — with hacking coughs and half a dozen jumpers on each, we were like a family of asthmatic Moomins.

By day two, we were tired, cold, thirsty and wheezing. Aw, stop whinging, I hear you say — you’re camping, it’s all about roughing it. Well, yes, and that’s just the point. The issue here isn’t that stuff went wrong. That happens with the outdoor life. It’s that you’re paying the sort of money that entitles you to expect otherwise. This is camping, but at cottage prices.

Spend a week at a Feather Down Farm in summer and you’re going to pay £795. For a tent. In Britain. Yes, they’re well equipped, but they’re still tents: cold, and noisy, and basic where it counts. You’ve got to do the communal-shower-block thing, and it takes a frostbitten hour every morning to get the stove hot enough to make a cup of tea.

That’s fine if you’re paying peanuts. On previous family camping trips — which we loved — we’ve embraced it as “part of the experience”. Here, though, there’s always the sneaky thought in the back of your mind: “For this sort of money, we could have had something made of bricks, with a shower and a kettle and heating and a reliable water supply and nice thick walls to keep noise out and warmth in.” Going back to basics isn’t half so much fun when you’re paying a premium for it.

To be fair, we were there on the first weekend of the season, and Nigel and Emma Parris, the likeable couple who run Aller, did their level best to fix the problems that came up. The trouble is, they’ve also got a 350-acre dairy farm to keep going.

The “working farm” thing’s an interesting one, in fact. The company makes a big deal of it, and it sounds idyllic for kids, but if a farm’s going to survive these days, it’s not going to be out of The Darling Buds of May, with two pigs, three sheep and a cow called Mabel.

It’s going to be a huge open-air factory — a pretty one, sure, but still with whacking great bits of machinery charging around and a full share of health and safety issues to worry about. You certainly can’t let children run all over it willy-nilly. Aller has a fun tour at milking time, chickens (fenced off) and a calf to feed, but otherwise, the stuff for kids consists of an old tyre filled with sand.

There’s something of the emperor’s new clothes about Feather Down Farms. The concept’s seductive, but the reality is, it’s a huge price for a big tent. Of course, you’re really paying for something else: an adman’s happy-family fantasy, contrived, cleverly photographed, ersatz. It’s no surprise that the brand was cooked up by the man behind Center Parcs, who knows a thing or two about pressing parents’ buttons. We’ve all fallen for his clever marketing, hook, line and sinker.

Other farms may not have the problems we found at Aller, and in any case, we clearly hit a tricky weekend there.

If we went back, I’m sure we’d have a better time. We won’t, though. When we go camping again, it’ll be to somewhere a quarter of the price of Feather Down Farms, with a tenth of the pretensions.

The smoker, by the way, is an oil drum with a thermometer in it. It didn’t work, and cost 40 quid to use. If you’re going, take your own kippers.



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


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Australia's doggedly Warmist government has done what it said it never would: Postponed its planned attack on industry. Since the Australian government Warmists had always portrayed their schemes as urgent, that does rather tend to puncture the whole bubble. The decision has promoted a lot of comment both in Australia and abroad. It would be amusing if the Australian decision proves to be the catalyst that causes the whole nonsense to fall apart worldwide. Five current articles below

Rudd's backdown from Warmism needs to be more open

DESPITE the Government announcing it has backed away from early action to reduce carbon emissions, the Prime Minister's website continues to say, "The cost of inaction on climate change will be much greater than the cost of taking action now."

Like others working for Kevin Rudd, his website managers can't keep up with his policy changes. Costs of "inaction on climate change" have just assumed a new meaning. At the very least the PM, in postponing the carbon trading tax, is acknowledging that immediate measures to reduce emissions would be costlier than doing nothing.

But his proposed watering down of the already diluted proposals has all the hallmarks of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

Ross Garnaut, Rudd's hand-picked consultant on global warming policy, had already said that the white paper was irresponsible in proposing a free supply of emissions to electricity producers and energy intensive firms. Now Rudd plans to increase that supply further.

Garnaut, Rudd and Penny Wong all talked about failure of a meaningful international agreement on emission reduction at Copenhagen later this year as being unlikely. Now that such failure is a certainty, the costs of Australian action to the economy are becoming clearer even to mystics who see only evil in production. Hence the PM's humiliating backdown. But, never one to acknowledge his own misjudgments, Rudd is spinning this as a means to buying the Opposition's support and as some sort of hiatus to remain in place only while the global economic crisis runs its course.

Doubtless Rudd's postponement of the planned new carbon tax is a prelude to an attempt to replace it with a tax on households to help defray some of the costs of his reckless cash giveaways.

What is increasingly clear is that there will not be a carbon emissions trading scheme.

Australia has an energy-intensive industry structure, a coal-based electricity generation industry and coal and gas as our export mainstays.

Capitalising on our natural advantages in fossil fuel energy has required forging supportive institutional structures, a process that has taken many decades. Our carefully developed political and administrative framework has allowed the creation of an energy supply industry that is the backbone of our present living standards. To become one of the world's lowest cost energy suppliers has entailed marrying our resource endowment with entrepreneurial and workforce skills. All this would have been jettisoned by a tax squarely aimed at destroying that productive efficiency fostered by low-cost energy.

Strongly performing industries will be at a premium in a world economy that's likely to be facing sluggish conditions for many more years. Even the most complacent optimists can no longer take as given the income derived from our present industry structure. Compounding the effects of the global economic meltdown's external assault on living standards with some purpose-made domestic measures is now revealed as a sledgehammer blow to the welfare of all Australians.

Formally announcing a total abandonment of the carbon trading scheme must be the next step. Such action is necessary, and the sooner the better as the prospect of the proposed tax hangs like a sword of Damocles over any prospective investment decisions involving energy. Australia can never afford to carry such baggage and the global financial crisis merely brings this home.

Inadvertently, the PM's website remains spot-on in saying, "There is no greater challenge now facing our world and our nation than dangerous climate change." The challenge is to his Government's credibility at having commissioned endless reports, undermined the integrity of Treasury forecasting and created a monster department of hundreds of globe-trotting drones to promote phantom opportunities that a carbon tax would offer Australia. The "dangerous climate change" is the shift in the climate of business opinion and community opinion more generally, as the reality of a crippling new energy tax looms.



Australia needs to declare its commitment to cut carbon emissions before the Copenhagen summit in December or risk weakening the outcome of global climate talks, the head of the U.N. climate panel said Monday.

Australia announced a one-year delay an major changes to its carbon trading plans Monday, citing the global economic recession for the need to delay the start date until July 2011 but the country may raise its target for cutting emissions.

"If you have even one or two developed countries not showing adequate commitment in this business, that would rub off on the others," R.K. Pachauri chairman of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think what's going to be critically important is that what it is going to do is announced before Copenhagen," he added.

Pachauri, who is also the head of The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, said Australia needed to send a robust message to the world. "Otherwise you're not going to get a strong agreement in Copenhagen. If major developed countries are not going to make commitments before Copenhagen, then you're not going to get a strong decision," he said.



New Zealand Emissions Trade Scheme (ETS) may face further delays as Australia puts off the start date of its related legislation. Prime Minister John Key told reporters it made sense for the New Zealand and Australian schemes to be aligned.

Australia announced a one-year delay until July 2011 and major changes to its carbon trading plans yesterday. Lacking the political backing to implement a cap-and-trade scheme more quickly, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he still aimed to push laws through parliament this year.

Mr Key said Australia had not informed him of the decision to delay.

New Zealand's ETS was designed by the previous government and passed just before the election. The National Government put it on hold and is reviewing it through a special select committee.

"I wouldn't say (a delay is) inevitable," Mr Key said. "But I have made it clear that I think it makes a lot of sense for New Zealand to be as closely aligned to Australia as is practically possible, simply because we are trying to bring the two markets together through a single economic market and CER, and to be driving them apart because of differences in climate change policy doesn't make a lot of sense to me."



You know the drill: The new leader embraces Kyoto, announces plans for a big climate-change bill, and then gets sideswiped by the global economic train wreck. So, now that Australia is backing away from its promises to tackle climate change, what lessons are there for the U.S.?

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who swept into office by renouncing the Iraq war, signing the Kyoto Protocol, and promising a “green revolution” for the country, just pushed back the start of the country’s cap-and-trade program a full year so that businesses have a chance to recover from the economic meltdown. (More from his press conference here.)

Not coincidentally, the new start date—July 2011—comes after the next national election. The new blueprint also offers vulnerable industries even more carrots. To mollify greens, the prime minister said Australia’s emissions-reduction targets would be a lot more ambitious—but only if the rest of the world miraculously agrees on a tough successor to the Kyoto Protocol this December.

The parallels with the U.S. are striking. Both countries rely heavily on coal and have lots of industries that could get hammered by a climate bill. Both Mr. Rudd and President Obama have struggled to secure opposition support for their climate plans. And both are pledged to restoring economic growth and job creation.

Australia’s tactical retreat seems to hold three lessons for the U.S. First, the economic crisis is indeed derailing action on climate change, much as that pains folks that see crises as a terrible thing to waste.

Second, getting broad political support for a climate bill that would raise energy prices and which will act as a brake on economic growth is a tough sell everywhere—even in countries, like Australia, already visibly ravaged by the effects of climate change. [What??? I know of nothing ravaged in Australia. If he is referring to our recurrent droughts, he may be interested to hear that several of the dams in the State I live in have been overflowing this year]

Third, the minimum price for securing political support seems to be offering even more carrots to industries threatened by climate-change legislation. Australia’s new plan increases the amount of free emissions permits for some industries, and offers knock-down prices on permits for the first year. Almost identical wrangling is now taking place in Washington, with a host of industries clamoring for free emissions permits.

That may or may not win political support; Australia’s version of the Republican party still isn’t sold on the plan. But one thing seems certain: further cushioning the very industries most responsible for the country’s emissions amounts to a very watery brew indeed.


Science has become subservient to political expediency

THE notion that human activity has an alarming influence on climate is based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and spurious claims about a scientific consensus. Independent scientists who question these claims are accused of being in the pay of the energy industry and of believing that the notion of man-made climate change is a conspiracy.

To the best of my knowledge, no climate conspiracy has ever existed. But another force has driven science into its present parlous state where the output of computer software is held in higher regard than observational data, where marketing spin is more important than fact and evidence, and where a trenchant defence of the notion of man-made global warming is seen as paramount.

The single, pre-eminent force driving this distortion of science originates in the once-august UN. The UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change set the tone by linking climatic variations to the air and water pollution issues that it was quite reasonably addressing at the time. It ignored recognised natural climate forces and declared that recent variations in climate were attributable to human activity. Although the IPCC, which was set up by the UNFCCC to investigate the matter, backed away from the assertion that all modern climate change is man made, it nonetheless operates under a charter that considers only the risks of "human-induced" climate change.

Raising these matters under the UN banner was a political masterstroke because it drew national governments into the process. UN bodies have a reputation for political allegiances rather than peer-group pressure but the result is much the same, and even more so when government appointees, often fervent believers in the cause, speak passionately and seem backed by UNauthority.

No individual or government had the temerity to stand up to the UNFCCC or IPCC and say, "we don't agree". Some stridently endorsed the claims, and many interpreted the statement, "we don't know what else might be causing climate change, so it must be human activity" as proof positive rather than admission of incomplete knowledge.

The IPCC has now delivered four scientific assessment reports, each accompanied by an increasingly urgent call to action regarding climate change driven by greenhouse gases. National governments, which are signatories to the UNFCCC, have almost without exception bought into the alarm, modulating it only to accord better with their own political philosophies. This, combined with the allocation research funding according to policy relevance, means governments now attempt to predetermine the findings of scientific research.

For many years climate researchers have understood that their proposals will only be funded if they are pitched in line with government policy. Even worse, unless some aspect of their results appears to perpetuate government thinking, renewal of their funding is unlikely. Other climatologists are acutely aware of the potential consequences for their employers and their own employment prospects should they speak out in criticism of the dominant alarmist paradigm. Scientists who have criticised the hypothesis of human-caused climate change have had their funding curtailed or employment terminated.

Climate modellers have been very aware that their expensive and powerful computing facilities would be supported only if their research produced alarmist climate predictions. This notwithstanding, these models often produced results that were not in good agreement with historical data, perhaps because they poorly replicated or even omitted variations in climate.

These deficiencies and more have been papered over by reviving outdated and inaccurate research about the warming effect of carbon dioxide. The numbers still didn't add up but the inclusion of some "positive feedbacks" masked the problem, and the models were declared "proof" of a significant human influence on climate.

The peer-review process was originally a sanity check for the editors of scientific journals but has always been open to abuse by reviewers who wish to support or suppress a particular line of argument. The recent narrow focus of climate research funding has caused an outburst of scientific papers that support the IPCC's alarmist beliefs and relatively few papers that contradict it. Reviewers with vested interests suppress contradictory papers and support the "official" line.

Vested interests now dominate climate science. Whether climatologists, their employers and other people believe the government-approved line has become irrelevant, because they all wish to retain an income stream and whatever reputations they've established. These people advise governments, which subsequently set policy and research funding regardless of any contradiction with observational data.

Climate science is no longer an impartial truth but a slave to the yoke of politics and opportunism. If this continues, society will be the inevitable loser.


Britain's global warming law 'could cost £20,000 per family'

British and Australian politics often move in parallel so these big costs could inspire the British government to do a bit of delaying too

Laws aimed at tackling global warming could cost every family in Britain a staggering £20,000 - double the original forecast. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband admitted the bill for introducing legislation to cut greenhouse gases had soared from £205billion to £404billion between now and 2050. But in figures quietly released to Parliament, the Cabinet minister claimed the benefits to the UK would be more than £1trillion - a tenfold increase on the £110billion predicted last year.

Last night Mr Miliband was accused of entering 'Alice in Wonderland territory' with the figures in an attempt to stifle concern about the price of bringing in the Climate Change Act. Senior Tory MP Peter Lilley said Mr Miliband 'heavily massaged' the statistics to 'remove embarrassment' that the laws represented poor value for money.

But ministers insist the costs of not acting on climate change would be higher than the price of acting now.

Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is committed to cut carbon emissions, blamed for global warming, by 80 per cent before 2050. Originally the Government wanted to cut emissions by 60 per cent, with maximum costs of £205billion and benefits of £110billion. But the figure rose to 80 per cent after a threatened backbench revolt last year.

The extra cost was only revealed after the Bill became law in November. Four months later Mr Miliband slipped out revised figures in the House of Commons Library to avoid scrutiny, say critics.

They show the cost, which the Government says represents the predicted difference between the economy with and without carbon-constraining measures, had soared to a worst-case scenario of £404billion - in the region of £20,000.

Mr Lilley, a former Trade Secretary, said he accepted a reduction in global warming would cost a lot. But in a letter to Mr Miliband he said: 'When it comes to your revised estimates of the benefits we enter Alice in Wonderland territory.'

Mr Miliband said the benefits had risen because a global deal on tackling carbon emissions was more likely because Britain had passed the Climate Change Act. He denied the figures were framed to produce a convenient answer.



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


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ethanol test for Obama on climate change, science

The Greenies are now putting the frighteners on ethanol too. Nothing ever suits the Greenies. Coal, oil, nuclear, windmills and now ethanol are all "out". And did you know that manufacuring solar panels produces all sorts of pollution too? We'll soon all be back in the caves if we listen to them

President Barack Obama's commitment to take on climate change and put science over politics is about to be tested as his administration faces a politically sensitive question about the widespread use of ethanol: Does it help or hurt the fight against global warming? The Environmental Protection Agency is close to proposing ethanol standards. But two years ago, when Congress ordered a huge increase in ethanol use, lawmakers also told the agency to show that ethanol would produce less pollution linked to global warming than would gasoline.

So how will the EPA define greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol production and use? Given the political clout of farm interests, will the science conflict with the politics? Environmentalists, citing various studies and scientific papers, say the agency must factor in more than just the direct, heat-trapping pollution from ethanol and its production. They also point to "indirect" impacts on global warming from worldwide changes in land use, including climate-threatening deforestation, as land is cleared to plant corn or other ethanol crops.

Ethanol manufacturers and agriculture interests contend the fallout from potential land use changes in the future, especially those outside the United States, have not been adequately proven or even quantified, and should not count when the EPA calculates ethanol's climate impact. "It defies common sense that EPA would publish a proposed rule-making with harmful conclusions for biofuels based on incomplete science and inaccurate assumptions," complained Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. He was one of 12 farm-state senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in March, urging the agency to stick to assessing only the direct emissions.

Ethanol, which in the future may come from cellulosic sources such as switchgrass and wood chips, is promoted by its advocates as a "green" substitute for gasoline that will help the U.S. reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, especially foreign oil. That transition is a priority of the Obama White House.

In 2007, Congress ordered huge increases in ethanol use, requiring refiners to blend 20 billion gallons with gasoline by 2015 and a further expansion to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022. Congress said any fuel produced in plants built after 2007 must emit 20 percent less in greenhouse gases than gasoline if it comes from corn, and 60 percent less if from cellulosic crops. Meeting the direct emissions would not be a problem. But if indirect emissions from expected land use changes are included, ethanol probably would fail the test.

Nathaniel Greene, director of renewable energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, said that wouldn't mean the end of ethanol. Ethanol from existing production facilities is grandfathered and "there are ways to produce advanced ethanols that would comply with the greenhouse thresholds," even using land use climate impacts if the industry chose to adopt them, Greene said. But farm interests and their allies in Congress are pushing to get the EPA to at least postpone any consideration of the land-use impacts issue, arguing the science surrounding the issue is uncertain. The senators' letter said that an overreaching regulation by EPA on ethanol's link to climate change "could seriously harm our U.S. biofuels growth strategy by introducing uncertainty and discouraging future investments."

Environmentalists say there have been enough studies on the indirect impact of ethanol on greenhouse pollution to justify the science. Ignoring the indirect impacts "will undermine the environmental benefits" of the renewable fuels program "and set a poor precedent for any future policies attempting to reduce global warming pollution," 17 environmental group wrote Jackson in response to the senator's plea. Greene said the EPA's handling of the ethanol rule will be a "a test of our ability to follow sound science" even when it conflicts with the interests of powerful interests.

The environmental organizations noted that Obama has "vowed to make the U.S. a leader on climate change" and put science over politics, and "now is the time to uphold those pledges."

EPA spokeswoman Andora Andy declined to say when an agency proposal _ a holdover issue from the Bush administration _ would be issued. Interest groups on both sides of the debate said it could come in days. The White House Office of Management and Budget concluded its review of the EPA proposal last week.


Truth about the sun leaking out

Now reported in the National Geographic. See below. The Warmists are trying hard to spin their way out of it, though, using some very deceptive arguments

A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond. The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850. The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.

During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.

But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted. "[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward," said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.

Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). "I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal [And yet temperatures have not risen for 10 years!], whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective." [A straw man argument. Nobody says that solar heat output varies greatly. It is the magnetosphere that varies and which is of concern for its indirect effect on terrestrial temperature via its effect on clouds. And even if we don't know why, the correlation between solar activity and terrestrial temperatures is still an historical fact]

For hundreds of years scientists have used the number of observable sunspots to trace the sun's roughly 11-year cycles of activity. Sunspots, which can be visible without a telescope, are dark regions that indicate intense magnetic activity on the sun's surface. Such solar storms send bursts of charged particles hurtling toward Earth that can spark auroras, disrupt satellites, and even knock out electrical grids. In the current cycle, 2008 was supposed to have been the low-point, and this year the sunspot numbers should have begun to climb. But of the first 90 days of 2009, 78 have been sunspot free. Researchers also say the sun is the dimmest it's been in a hundred years.

The Maunder Minimum corresponded to a profound lull in sunspots—astronomers at the time recorded just 50 in a 30-year period. If the sun again sinks into a similar depression, at least one preliminary model has suggested that cool spots could crop up in regions of Europe, the United States, and Siberia.

During the previous event, though, many parts of the world were not affected at all, said Jeffrey Hall, an astronomer and associate director at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Even a grand minimum like that was not having a global effect," he said.

Changes in the sun's activity can affect Earth in other ways, too. For example, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is not bottoming out the same way it did during the past few visual minima. "The visible light doesn't vary that much, but UV varies 20 percent, [and] x-rays can vary by a factor of ten," Hall said. "What we don't understand so well is the impact of that differing spectral irradiance."

Solar UV light, for example, affects mostly the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, where the effects are not as noticeable to humans. But some researchers suspect those effects could trickle down into the lower layers, where weather happens.

In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted. Atmospheric wild cards, such as UV radiation, could be part of the explanation, said the University of Southampton's Lockwood. In the meantime, he and other experts caution against relying on future solar lulls to help mitigate global warming.

"There are many uncertainties," said Jose Abreu, a doctoral candidate at the Swiss government's research institute Eawag. [That's a valuable admission. What happened to the "settled" consensus?] "We don't know the sensitivity of the climate to changes in solar intensity. In my opinion, I wouldn't play with things I don't know." [Excellent advice]


Note again: No mention in the article of recent global temperatures. The uninformed reader will assume that they’ve continued to rise. That a quieter sun has ALREADY started to coincide with cooler weather is a mere coincidence of course


Five current articles below, with lots of good stuff:

Hot-air doomsayers have nothing substantive to say in defence of their cause

By Ian Plimer, a professor at the University of Adelaide, and author of "Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science"

In "Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science", I predicted that the critics would play the man and not discuss the science. Initial criticism appeared before the book was released three weeks ago. Well-known catastrophists criticised the book before they actually received a review copy. Critics, who have everything to gain by frightening us witless with politicised science, have now shown their true colours. No critic has argued science with me. I have just enjoyed a fortnight of being thrashed with a feather.

Despite having four review copies, ABC's Lateline photocopied parts of chapters and sent them to an expert on gravity, a biologist and one who produces computer models. These critics did not read the book in its entirety. The compere of Lateline claimed that he had read the book yet his questions showed the opposite. When uncritical journalists have no science training, then it is little wonder doomsday scenarios can seduce them.

In The Age (Insight, May 2), David Karoly claims that my book "does not support the answers with sources". Considering that the book has 2311 footnotes as sources, Karoly clearly had not read the book. Maybe Karoly just read up to page 21, which showed that his published selective use of data showed warming but, when the complete set of data was used, no such warming was seen.

Robert Manne (The Weekend Australian, Inquirer, April 25-26) claims to be a great democrat yet demonises dissent on a matter of science. He is not a scientist. The gains made in the Enlightenment, the scientific method, history and integrated interdisciplinary science are all ignored in an ideological push to remodel the economy.

Primary producers should be very worried about an emissions trading scheme underpinned by incomplete science. Unions in industrial centres may even make conditional financial support of the ALP because the workforce they represent will be lambs to the slaughter with an ETS.

Capital city ABC and newspaper media outlets have treated the public with disdain. They have used arrogant pompous scientists who talk down to the public and yet these scientists forget that the public employs them. My critics are never asked: Who funds them? What have they to gain by following their party line? Why have they ignored a huge body of contrary science? What are their political associations? What unelected groups support them? Yet I am constantly asked these questions.

The huge number of recent letters tell me that there are winds of change. The average punter has been told for more than two decades that we are all going to fry. He is not stupid and is blessed with a rare commodity missing in many academic circles: common sense.

Life experiences of rural people are very different from those of city folk who have little first-hand experience of nature. My correspondents feel helpless and disenfranchised with the unending negative moralistic cacophony about climate change. They know it smells but they cannot find where the smell comes from. The reason why the book has been a publishing sensation is because the average person knows that they are being conned and finally they have a source reference.

The hypothesis tested in my book was that increased atmospheric CO2 creates global warming. This was shown to be invalid on all time scales and by a diversity of methods.

In the past, climate change has never been driven by CO2. Why should it be now driven by CO2 when the atmospheric CO2 content is low? The main greenhouse gas has always been water vapour. Once there is natural global warming, then CO2 in the atmosphere increases. CO2 is plant food, it is not a pollutant and it is misleading non-scientific spin to talk of carbon pollution. If we had carbon pollution, the skies would be black with fine particles of carbon. We couldn't see or breathe. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong appeals to science yet demonstrates she does not have a primary school understanding of science.

The atmosphere contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon in CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, the oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and rocks in the top few kilometres of the crust contain 65,000,000 billion tonnes of carbon in carbon compounds. The atmosphere only contains 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth.

If all the fossil fuel on Earth were burned, the atmospheric CO2 would double. The Earth has been there before and high atmospheric CO2 has accelerated plant growth and increased biodiversity. It is the sun, water vapour, rocks and oceans that have stopped a runaway greenhouse or a permanent snowball Earth.

I would like to see some fundamental questions answered by the climate catastrophists. If CO2 drives temperature, why were there past ice ages when the atmospheric CO2 content was many times greater than at present? Why has the role of clouds been ignored, especially as a 1per cent change in the amount of cloudiness could account for all the changes measured in the past 150 years? If natural forces drove warmings in Roman and medieval times, how do we know that the same natural forces did not drive the late 20th-century warming? Why didn't Earth have acid oceans and a runaway greenhouse when the atmospheric CO2 was hundreds of times higher than now? Is the present increase in atmospheric CO2 due to the medieval warming?

It is human arrogance to think that we can control climate, a process that transfers huge amounts of energy. Once we control the smaller amount of energy transferred by volcanoes and earthquakes, then we can try to control climate. Until then, climate politics is just a load of ideological hot air.

To argue that human additions to atmospheric CO2, a trace gas in the atmosphere, changes climate requires an abandonment of all we know about history, archaeology, geology, solar physics, chemistry and astronomy. We ignore history at our peril.

I await the establishment of a Stalinist-type Truth and Retribution Commission to try me for my crimes against the established order and politicised science.


Australia's Bureau of Meteorology backs down from a claim that temperatures at Australia's three bases in Antarctica have been warming

THE Bureau of Metereology has backed down from a claim that temperatures at Australia's three bases in Antarctica have been warming over the past three decades. A senior bureau climatologist had accused The Weekend Australian of manufacturing a report that temperatures were cooling in East Antarctica, where Australia's Mawson, Davis and Casey bases are located.

The trend of temperatures and ice conditions in Antarctica is central to the debate on global warming because substantial melting of the Antarctic ice cap, which contains 90 per cent of the world's ice, would be required for sea levels to rise. While calvings from ice shelves in parts of West Antarctica have generated headlines, evidence has emerged that temperatures are cooling in the east of the continent, which is four times the size of West Antarctica. Contrary to widespread public perceptions, the area of sea ice around the continent is expanding.

The Weekend Australian reported last month a claim by Bureau of Metereology senior climatologist Andrew Watkins that monitoring at Australia's Antarctic bases since the 1950s indicated temperatures were rising. A study was then published by the British Antarctic Survey that concluded the ozone hole was responsible for the cooling and expansion of sea ice around much of the continent. The head of the study project, John Turner, said at the time that the section of Antarctica that included the Australian bases was among the areas that had cooled.

Dr Watkins said The Weekend Australian had misrepresented the results of the BAS study, which made no findings about temperatures at Australian bases. When it was pointed out to Dr Watkins that Professor Turner had been quoted directly, Dr Watkins said his bureau, and not the BAS, was the agency collecting temperature data.

"You kept going until you got the answer you wanted," Dr Watkins said. "You were told explicitly that the data collected by the Bureau of Metereology at the Australian bases shows a warming for maximum temperatures at all bases, and minimum temperatures at all but Mawson."

However, Professor Turner told The Weekend Australian the data showed a cooling of the East Antarctica coast associated with the onset of the ozone layer from 1980 onwards. Professor Turner said the monthly mean temperatures for Casey station from 1980 to 2005 showed a cooling of 0.45C per decade. In autumn, the temperature trend has been a cooling of 0.93C per decade. "These fairly small temperature trends seem to be consistent to me with the small increase in sea ice extent off the coast," he said.

Dr Watkins did not dispute the figures referred to by Professor Turner. Referring to the bureau's data collection since the 1950s, Dr Watkins said Professor Turner's figures were "only half of the full data set". However, Dr Watkins admitted that analysis of the data might show "an ozone-induced cooling trend in the latter half of the record" -- a reference to the past three decades.

Dr Watkins declined to release the temperature data to The Weekend Australian. He said it had still to be fully analysed by the bureau.


Note that as an addendum to the above story Anthony Watts has a lot of pictures of Australia's Antarctic bases over the years and that the temperature monitors are clearly shown as located within a few yards of the buildings. So the extra heat put out by the expanding base should inflate the readings on the temperature sensors. And the sensors also appear to have been moved about a lot. Were they kept a consistent distance from the buildings? It seems unlikely. The bases create their own little heat islands, in other words and we don't even know if the sensors were kept a consisent distance from heat sources. Temperature time series from such sensors are hence useless at best and misleading at worst. It is at any event ludicrous from a scientific point of view. Dr. Watkins would have been much wiser to keep his head right down

Climate backdown: Rudd should retreat on jobs legislation too

This is the first big policy retreat Kevin Rudd has had to swallow in the face of the global recession. Let's hope it's not the last. The alternative for the Prime Minister to backtracking on his climate change promise was to deepen Australia's recession. And the risk to today's jobs was always going to trump a threat to the environment decades later.

Rudd's promise to bed down a full-blown carbon emissions trading scheme by the middle of next year was always a stunt to get in ahead of John Howard. It was a big ask to bolt on a scheme that threatened Australia's advantage in cheap carbon-based energy that had fuelled the nation's modern prosperity. It became madness to do this as the economy hopefully tried to drag itself off the canvas after the king hit from the deepest global recession since the 1930s. So delaying the start date, to mid-2011, and a softer ramp up, with a low $10 fixed price on each tonne of carbon emissions, were inevitable moves.

The fanciful idea that mandatory emissions reductions would be good for the economy, without any cost, by producing "green jobs" has gone up in smoke. There inevitably will be a cost, at least in the lengthy transition.

Business wants some certainty on exactly what carbon costs it will have to plug into its investment models.

Rudd's retreat will open up the issue of whether the carbon trading scheme with all its special deals - as opposed to a cleaner carbon tax or some hybrid model - is the best way to go, in light of the UN's Copenhagen summit in December.

It also will increase the pressure on the Government over its other policy vulnerabilities. One is the raising of expectations for increased entitlement spending - such as on the aged pension and maternity pay - just as the recession has exposed the structural black hole in the federal budget.

The other is Julia Gillard's reregulation of the job market during a recession that could push unemployment to double-digit levels. Rudd should now demand that Gillard's award modernisation, which threatens to push up casual and penalty rates across much of the services sector from the start of next year, be put on hold.


Conservatives still ready to fight Warmist laws

MALCOLM Turnbull has refused to back Kevin Rudd's amended plan for an emissions trading scheme, insisting the Government needs to give more protection to the coal industry. The Opposition Leader yesterday accused the Prime Minister of having executed an embarrassing backflip on emissions trading, but said the Government ought to ask the Productivity Commission to review its proposals.

The comments came after Mr Rudd announced he would delay Labor's promised 2010 start-up date on emissions trading until 2011, and lift the target for carbon emissions reductions from 10-15per cent to 25 per cent. Mr Rudd appealed for Mr Turnbull to support his new plan, saying it had addressed the key Coalition concerns on timing and the targets.

But Mr Turnbull withheld support yesterday as the Greens continued to attack the Government's scheme as too generous to big polluters. "Today's announcement represents a massive backdown, a humiliating backdown given the way he's attacked the Opposition relentlessly for more than a year as we've pointed out the flaws in his emissions trading scheme," Mr Turnbull said. "But given that he has given himself more time to start the scheme, why not give ourselves more time to get it right? The most important thing is that we ensure that we have a scheme that is environmentally effective and economically responsible. That requires more work."

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition believed the Rudd plan placed trade-exposed industries at a disadvantage against their competitors. And there was inadequate support for the nation's biggest export earner, the coal industry. The plan also included no forecast on the near-term impact of the ETS on jobs and growth and was short on detail on other means of emission abatement.

The Greens rejected the Government's new plan, saying it would give $2.2billion in assistance to big polluters. "If you add a little bit of green to brown, you still get brown," said Greens deputy leader Christine Milne. "By delaying the start of the scheme and capping the carbon price at $10 a tonne for the next year, the Government has ensured that there will be essentially no climate action in Australia until July 2012 at the earliest."

The Southern Cross Climate Change Coalition, which includes unions, the Climate Institute and environment groups, said lifting the emissions reduction target to 25 per cent would boost international efforts for an agreement on reducing emissions worldwide. "This internationally-credible target, coming after COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) cleared the way for renewable energy legislation and further steps on energy efficiency, means the CPRS should be supported so business can get on with investing in the clean energy and other low-carbon jobs that other competitor countries are investing in," the coalition said.

Business Council of Australia president Greig Gailey supported the revamped scheme. "Given Australia's current economic circumstances, the BCA welcomes and supports the Government's responsible decision to delay the commencement of the CPRS by one year to July 1, 2011, to provide business with more time to prepare for the scheme and to alleviate some of the pressures confronting Australian business as a result of the global financial crisis," he said.

The Minerals Council of Australia was cool on the scheme, saying the changes did not address the central flaw, which was to embark on full permit auctions from the outset.


Solar panel nuttiness gets nuttier (and incomprehensible)

BRISBANE environmental lawyer Jo Bragg and her partner, Gary Kane, spent $28,000 on three roof panels to generate solar power for their home in the inner Brisbane suburb of Highgate Hill. After receiving a federal government rebate of $8000, they hoped to recover their investment in a cleaner planet within a few years by selling excess power into the mains electricity grid. In the three months to April, they used 1384 kilowatt hours and produced 388 kilowatt hours of excess power, for which they received the princely sum of $12.96 after taxes. "Governments are not being serious about reducing energy consumption with lousy amounts of money like that," Ms Bragg said.

Her family is the kind Kevin Rudd had in mind yesterday when he announced that individuals and households would be part of a revamped carbon pollution reduction scheme. The Prime Minister said households would be able to calculate their energy use at home and pledge contributions to the $25million energy efficiency savings fund to effectively offset their emissions. "Individuals will be able to calculate their energy use and establish the savings they could achieve with a more energy-efficient home," Mr Rudd said.

"A household or individual could then make a tax-deductible donation to the pledge fund, which the fund would use to buy and cancel carbon pollution permits equivalent to that level of energy use."

Ms Bragg said she hoped the carbon permits scheme would be flexible enough to allow households with renewable energy to be paid for the gross amount of power produced -- not just the excess -- as happened in Germany and some other countries. "It makes sense to provide incentives to homes to make it worth their while to invest in renewable energy," she said. "Even if we were paid for the gross amount of power produced, it would take us eight or 10 years to recover the investment."

Mr Rudd said a website would be provided for people to calculate their energy use and buy and retire carbon pollution permits. "Because the pledge fund will pool pledges, even small amounts can combine to make a big difference," he said. "People will be able to pledge as little or as much as they can afford." The fund would be voluntary.



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Monday, May 04, 2009

Important Warmist research an apparent fraud

It looks like there is no reliable thermometer data on temperatures in China

Professor Wei-Chyung Wang is a star scientist in the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the University at Albany, New York. He is a key player in the climate change debate (see his self-description here). Wang has been accused of scientific fraud.

I have no inclination to "weigh in" on the topic of climate change. However the case involves issues of integrity that are at the very core of proper science. These issues are the same whether they are raised in a pharmaceutical clinical trial, in a basic science laboratory, by a climate change "denialist" or a "warmist". The case involves the hiding of data, access to data, and the proper description of "method" in science.

The case is also of interest because it provides yet another example of how *not* to create trust in a scientific misconduct investigation. It adds to the litany of cases suggesting that Universities cannot be allowed to investigate misconduct of their own star academics. The University response has so far been incoherent on its face.

Doug Keenan, the mathematician who raised the case of Wang is on the "denialist" side of the climate change debate. He maintains that "almost by itself, the withholding of their raw data by [climate] scientists tells us that they are not scientists".

Below is my own summary of the straightforward substance of this case. I wrote to Wei-Chyung Wang, to Lynn Videka (VP at Albany, responsible for the investigation), and to John H. Reilly (a lawyer at Albany) asking for any correction or comments on the details presented below. My request was acknowledged prior to publication, but no factual correction was suggested.

Case Summary

The allegations concern two publications. These are:

Jones P.D., Groisman P.Y., Coughlan M., Plummer N., Wang W.-C., Karl T.R. (1990), “Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land”, Nature, 347: 169–172. (PDF here)

Wang W.-C., Zeng Z., Karl T.R. (1990), “Urban heat islands in China”, Geophysical Research Letters, 17: 2377–2380. (PDF here)

The publications concern temperature at a variety of measuring stations over three decades (1954-1983). Stations are denoted by name or number. A potential confounder in such research is that measuring stations may be moved to different locations at different points in time. It is clearly important that readers of publications understand the methodology, and important confounders. The publications make the following statements:

(Statement A) "The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times." [Jones et al.]

(Statement B) "They were chosen based on station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times…." [Wang et al.]

The publications refer to a report produced jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) which details station moves, and the publications further suggest that stations with few if any moves or changes were selected on the basis of that report. However:

Of 84 stations that were selected, Keenan found that information about only 35 are available in the DOE/CAS report. Of those 35 stations at least half did have substantial moves (e.g 25 km). One station had five different locations during 1954–1983 as far as 41 km apart. It therefore appears that Statements A and B must be false. If false, readers would have been misled both in terms of the status of the stations and the manner in which they had been selected (or not selected).

Keenan then communicated with the author of one of the publications (Jones) to ask about the source of location information pertaining to the other 49 stations that had not been selected using the described methodology. Jones informed Keenan that his co-author Wang had selected those stations in urban and rural China based on his "extensive knowledge of those networks".

On 11 April 2007 Keenan E-mailed Wang, asking "How did you ensure the quality of the data?”. Wang did not answer for several weeks, but on 30 April 2007 he replied as follows: "The discussion with Ms. Zeng last week in Beijing have re-affirmed that she used the hard copies of station histories to make sure that the selected stations for the study of urban warming in China have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times over the study period (1954-1983)"

Keenan points out that the “hard copies” to which Wang refers were not found by the authors of the DOE/CAS report, who had endeavored to be "comprehensive" (and that the DOE/CAS report was authored in part by Zeng, one of the co-authors on Wang). Keenan further notes that any form of comprehensive data covering these stations during the Cultural Revolution would be implausible.

In August 2007 Keenan submitted a report to the University at Albany, alleging fraud. Wang could at that stage have made the "hard copy" details of the stations selected available to the scientific community. However, he failed to do so.

In May 2008, the University at Albany wrote to Keenan that they had conducted an investigation and asked him to comment on it (see the rather odd letter). However they refused to show him the report of the investigation or any of the evidence to allow any comment (further odd letter).

In August 2008 the University sent Keenan an astonishing letter of "determination" stating that they did not find that Wang had fabricated data, but that they refused to provide any investigation report or any other information at all because "the Office of Research Integrity regulations preclude discussion of any information pertaining to this case with others who were not directly involved in the investigation".

Wang has still not made the station records available to the scientific community. If he provided such records to the University as part of a misconduct investigation, then the University has apparently concealed them.


In the absence of any explanation to the contrary, it seems that the methodology for station selection as described in these two publications was false and misleading.

Wang maintains that hard copy records do exist detailing the location of stations selected by himself outwith the published methodology. However the refusal to clarify "method" is inappropriate and a form of misconduct in and of itself. It does not lend credence to Wang's assertion that fraud did not take place. It would also be necessary to see records of stations that were not selected, in order to confirm that selection was indeed random, and only "on the basis of station history".

The University at Albany is in a difficult position. If the University received such records as part of the supposed misconduct investigation, then they could easily resolve the problem by making them available to the scientific community and to readers. If the University does not have such records then they have been complicit in misconduct and in coverup of misconduct.

If the University at Albany does have such records, but such records are not in accordance with the stated methodology of the publications, then the University has more serious difficulties.

"Investigations" of scientific misconduct should themselves align with the usual principles of scientific discourse (open discussion, honesty, transparency of method, public disclosure of evidence, open public analysis and public discussion and reasoning underlying any conclusion). This was not the case at the University at Albany. When you see universities reluctant to investigate things properly, it provides reasonable evidence that they really don't want to investigate things properly.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Some comments from Doug Keenan here. Details of the bizarre coverup by the university here


If Americans don't start paying attention to what Congress is up to, our nation's energy policy may seriously change for the worse. A bill styled the American Clean Energy and Security Act, sponsored by Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, soon goes before the House. The enactment of laws to combat global warming is an established priority of the new administration and Congress, and their impact on the lives and opportunities of America's people would be substantial and detrimental.

As Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted last month, "Waxman-Markey would put big government in charge of how much energy people can use. It would be the biggest government intervention in people's lives since the second world war, which was the last time people had to have rationing coupons in order to buy a gallon of gas." And for what? According to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Earth's average rate of warming in the 30 years from 1977 to 2007 was just 0.32 degree Fahrenheit per decade, and the global surface temperature has remained virtually flat since 1998.

The Waxman-Markey bill contains some serious mistakes. Slighting nuclear power is one. Nuclear plants generate no carbon dioxide or other pollution, and the 104 already in operation provide America with 73% of its CO2-free electricity generation. It is estimated that each new nuclear plant would employ some 2,000 workers to build and 500 to 600 people to operate. America could use some 40 more nuclear plants, but in the Waxman bill and the Obama administration's policies, additional nuclear power plants are likely nonexistent.

Cap-and-trade policies are another part of the bill intended to give the government more regulatory authority over the energy industry and a great deal more money--perhaps trillions of dollars--some of which would be available to grant to favored people and industries. The bill's outline does not say who would the energy allowances free, who would have to pay for them, and how much they would pay, but it does intend to make energy much more expensive and less available to consumers. Electricity, oil and large manufacturing businesses (which are jointly responsible for 85% of America's greenhouse emissions) would have to obtain at some price federal government pollution permits--"tradable federal permits," or "allowances," for each ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. These permits would require reduced plant emissions over time, from a mandate of 3% below 2005 levels in 2012, to 20% in 2020, 42% in 2030, and 83% in 2050.

Another economic mistake at the core of the Waxman bill is the reinstatement of protectionism. Since America's energy restrictions would not apply to manufacturers of goods America imports, unregulated foreign companies could sell their goods in America at lower costs, and thus U.S. manufacturers could be "put at a disadvantage relative to overseas competitors." The Waxman bill would seek to remedy this by making companies eligible for rebates determined and allocated by Washington. If the president found that the rebates "do not substantially correct competitive imbalances" he could establish what Mr. Waxman calls a "border adjustment program" that would require foreign companies to pay for special allowances to "cover" the "carbon contained in U.S.-bound products."

In other words, America would add an international carbon tariff--a global energy tax--to imported goods (just as there was in the Boxer-Lieberman bill that was defeated last year). That would amount to strong protectionism and lead to matching tariffs on goods exported from America.

Not included in the Waxman discussion draft summary is the question of what will become of the cash the government would receive from selling the cap-and-trade allowances. In the Boxer-Lieberman bill, it was estimated that auctioning off half the permits would gain the government some $3.3 trillion by 2050, and that would be handed out by the government to pet projects like "environmental" job training, "wildlife adaptation," international aid, domestic mass transit and so on.

But rather than creating a new subsidy, wouldn't we be better off distributing those revenues to the American people, who would have to pay the carbon tax through higher-priced electricity and manufactured goods? Such an idea was recently offered by author Peter Barnes: send the trillions of dollars received from the companies buying the permits to people as a "cap-and-trade dividend" in the form of equal personal checks for all Americans. The Obama administration thinks the opposite--that a majority of the money raised by cap-and-trade should be sent only to taxpayers making under a certain amount as a part of his Making Work Pay credit.

The Waxman-Markey plan intends to give the federal government near-total control of America's energy supplies and usage. Depending upon how the allowances are organized, it may also create the largest redistribution of money from American families to the federal government since the creation of the American income tax. To keep America prospering, our economy growing, and jobs expanding, we need not less energy, but more of it; not higher energy prices but lower ones; and more energy generation through nuclear power, clean coal and offshore oil and gas as well as possible new energy sources. Waxman-Markey will take us in one direction, but to keep America prospering we need to go in the opposite one.


Congressional support for climate bill in doubt

House Democratic leaders appeared to still be short of the votes needed to pass climate-change legislation out of a key subcommittee, but a spokeswoman for one of the lawmakers leading the talks said negotiations were continuing.

Several moderate Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment said Thursday that fundamental issues such as how to soften the impact of the legislation on constituents and industries in their regions are still unresolved and that the panel might not be ready to vote on the measure by next week as Democratic leaders have called for.

The qualms expressed over legislation sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Waxman (D., Calif.), and Edward Markey (D., Mass.) along with possible Republican obstruction, point to the difficulty Democrats are having in finding consensus on climate and energy issues.

“I don’t think the votes are there in the subcommittee,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.) said in an interview. Mr. Butterfield said he was particularly concerned about the bill’s impact on low-income Americans, adding “What do I tell a single mom making eight dollars an hour?”

The legislation sponsored by Messrs Waxman and Markey calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and by roughly 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Earlier this week, Mr. Markey, who leads the energy and environment subcommittee, postponed a planned vote on the measure after having difficulty trying to forge consensus on who should bear the burden for cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Mr. Waxman said “we are encouraged by the progress that we are making, and the Committee will continue meeting with members to discuss the legislation.”

Mr. Waxman has said he wants the full committee to pass climate legislation by Memorial Day. Despite several days of talks with him and Mr. Markey this week, some moderate Democrats on the subcommittee said Thursday that there was still no agreement between them and Messrs. Waxman on Markey on how to resolve some of their concerns about the measure.

“As I speak, I don’t know if (Markey and Waxman) are agreeable to some of the language that I would like,” Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D., Texas) said in an interview. Mr. Gonzalez said he is pressing Messrs. Waxman and Markey to amend the bill to include greater incentives for nuclear power and to give electric utilities a free allocation of the emission permits that companies would be required to hold under the bill.

“If the language is not in there, I think it’s going to be hard to pull off at the mark up,” Mr. Gonzalez said, either because there won’t be the support from moderate Democrats or because Republicans may try to block the measure.

The legislation before the House panel would institute a cap-and-trade-system, in which the government would set an overall cap on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and companies would have to buy and sell the right to emit gases such as carbon dioxide. Over time, the cap would become more stringent, and fewer permits would be issued by the government, bringing emissions down. But the bill is largely silent on who will bear the costs of the legislation. It does not specify, for example, the degree to which industries will have to pay for emissions permits, and how revenue raised from selling those permits at government auctions would be used.

Lawmakers from regions heavily reliant on the coal industry, fossil-fuel generation and energy-intensive industries want the government to give out the emission credits to those sectors for free to soften the fiscal impact.

“I can’t vote for a bill unless my refineries (are protected) because of the nature of my district, it’s a job base and a tax base,” Rep. Gene Green (D., Texas), another moderate member of the panel, said in an interview. “Frankly it’s a national security issue, I don’t want to transfer production offshore for refined products, relying on imports from the Middle East and Venezuela.”


What is "normal" climate?

"In the midst of all the public discussion about climate change, people lose sight of the simple, fundamental question: What is "normal" climate? Here in Saskatchewan we aren't even sure what "normal" weather is". -- Comment by Brian Pratt, P.Geo., a sedimentologist and palaeontologist at the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan

There is no such thing as one single global climate, and measuring the heat flux of the entire Earth is no simple matter. Every geoscientist knows that climate is never static: it has always been changing and always will be. Here in Saskatchewan, the last of the Pleistocene ice sheets only melted back 10,000 years ago. A hundred million years before then, dinosaurs strolled through lush jungles under a canopy of cypress trees.

We live in extraordinary times. In less than two centuries, first coal then petroleum fuelled unimaginable technical and scientific advances that have taken us to the point where information transmittal is instantaneous around the globe. Yet, even though everyone takes advantage of this technology, the level of scientific literacy among the general population is so abject that it makes the power of suggestion just about as strong as it was in the Dark Ages. Add a dash of guilt and fear of the apocalypse, and how can the citizenry resist the call to "save the planet"?

But when you stop and think about it, the apocalyptic predictions don't quite make sense scientifically. Alongside the enormity of the sun and what we know of the scale and power of natural processes, to imagine humans being able to make any difference to global climate would seem like the most preposterous conceit.

Fact and Fiction

Even though I consider myself a dedicated environmentalist, I cannot accept the claims of anthropogenic -humancaused- global warming. My research involves deducing climate back in what we call "Deep Time" - geological eras of millions and billions of years ago - so I think I have enough background to understand the evidence. I know that the factors controlling climate work as an extremely complex, integrated system that cannot be resolved by debate and exchange of opinion. Therefore the suspicions of any scientist should be aroused by glib assertions like "the science is settled" or "there is a consensus," because this is not how scientists and engineers operate.

Al Gore's movie and books are so appallingly riddled with mistakes and outlandish exaggerations that they would be laughable if they weren't taken so seriously by so many. Legislators have even passed laws declaring CO2 to be a pollutant, seemingly unaware of photosynthesis, respiration and biodegradation. Should I feel guilty that my beer gave off CO2 during fermentation and when I opened it? I need something to cry into when I hear of the measures planned to reduce "carbon emissions", because of the threat these pose to our already economically fragile society.

Here are the facts, as I understand them: solar heat varies cyclically at different frequencies, from the decades to the hundreds of thousands of years. Atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature are linked, but rather than the former driving the latter, it is the other way around and there is a nearly thousand-year lag in the response.

The oceans are the great sink for CO2. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is not uniform around the globe and regional variations are tied to sea-surface temperature because CO2 dissolves in colder sea water while it degasses from warmer sea water. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, yes, but it absorbs only a very small portion of the infrared spectrum and its capacity to do so declines exponentially with concentration. It's a fact of physics that the CO2 molecule radiates almost none of the heat it can absorb. Moreover, it is such a trace gas that this effect is negligible, and even less so at the low pressures and cold temperatures high in the atmosphere.

All of this explains why, when CO2 concentration is thought to have been much higher in Deep Time such as during the Paleozoic, the surface of the globe did not overheat and the polar regions were still cold. Water vapour is what insulates the Earth and CO2 concentration has nothing to do with cloud generation. Why, then, have anthropogenic global warming promoters seized upon CO2 as the culprit?

Beyond the Science

Climate change has now become so highly politicized that one wonders whom or what to trust. It turns out that the legitimate science in the successive UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports was laundered to such a degree by a very small and select group of experts and bureaucrats charged with preparing the "summaries for policymakers" that they are often contradictory-indeed, some of the scientific contributors have since distanced themselves from these reports. There has grown a whole industry of taxpayer-funded climate modellers whose equations can't reproduce last week's weather let alone past climate change at all, but whose crystal balls universally forecast impending disaster (and of course the urgent need for more research money).

Why haven't physicists pointed out the basic mistakes in the science? Why haven't more geoscientists stood up to correct the misconceptions about natural, long-term climate change? Some have, but precious few. Barring a few notable exceptions, journalists have suspended their neutrality and taken up the cudgel to help enforce obedience to the anthropogenic global warming mantra. All manner of things from hurricanes to frog population decline to the sagging of gingerbread houses are blamed on it.

Moreover, the zealotry of many adherents is frighteningly reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition, fascism and other movements designed to take control and silence dissent. Vicious personal attacks on those who raise valid scientific questions infect the blogosphere, including likening them to Holocaust deniers. Even NASA's James Hansen, a very vocal promoter of anthropogenic global warming, has been allowed to get away with all sorts of very unscientific and virulent statements, such as demanding that oil company executives be tried for "crimes against humanity and nature".

Science is Never "Settled"

Globally averaged temperature data - imprecise, it must be admitted- show that temperature has not risen in the past 10 years: we are not in the midst of global warming at all. The famous "hockey-stick" graph wielded by Al Gore and the IPCC reports that claimed to show a dramatic rise in global temperature in the latter 20th century turns out to be a methodological and statistical chimera. Some have even suggested that it was a deliberate fraud. Temperature fluctuations and regional variations in the last few decades do not track rising atmospheric CO2 concentration.

So, if anthropogenic CO2 is not driving climate change, why do most Western governments -with the notable exception of Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic- continue to fall over themselves in support of the belief of anthropogenic global warming, and try to best each other in promising to cap CO2 production, designing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade legislation, and throwing huge sums of money at alternative energy schemes, CO2 sequestration projects and climatological research?

Sure, certain individuals stand to make a lot of money out of these measures, but some of them arguably will amount to economic suicide. Well, what politicians do "passeth all understanding" for most of us in the trenches, but it does illustrate the power of the green lobby and, in my opinion, a dearth of real leadership. The recent meeting of President Barack Obama and PrimeMinister Stephen Harper pledged a soothingly green approach to continental relations. Some of this will be beneficial: enhanced oil recovery by CO2 injection, more use of solar and geothermal heating, and improved energy efficiency. Other measures will cost a fortune and will make no difference whatsoever to climate or the weather.

As James Hutton said in 1795, the Earth has "no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end" and this holds true for climate change. Does reducing our dependence on fossil fuels justify promulgating scientific lies? I don't think so. But it is inescapable that coal, oil and natural gas are finite natural resources and when they are burned up they are gone. Period. Profligacy with these precious commodities is what needs to change.


Temps cooling amid CO2 alert

It might make a lot more sense to draw a correlation between man-made carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures if the temperatures hadn’t decreased in the last decade.

Studies show that average global temperatures have decreased as much as 0.2 degrees Celsius over the last ten years — just as human activity is thought to be taking its biggest toll on the planet’s climate.

The decrease is small, to be sure, but, say skeptics, it disproves the argument that rising man-made CO2 levels are the driving force behind global warming.


“The Earth’s climate has always alternated between warming and cooling phases,” said William Happer, who served the Department of Energy under former President George H.W. Bush. “In the medieval warming period, when the Norse settled Greenland, the Earth warmed as fast or faster than it has since 1800.

... What should world governments have done in the year 900 A.D., when people noticed that the climate was warming and the ice was melting in southern Greenland?”


'Green' lightbulbs poison workers

Hundreds of factory staff are being made ill by mercury used in bulbs destined for the West

WHEN British consumers are compelled to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs from 2012, they will save up to 5m tons of carbon dioxide a year from being pumped into the atmosphere. In China, however, a heavy environmental price is being paid for the production of “green” lightbulbs in cost-cutting factories. Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs. A surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years, has also led to the reopening of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.

Doctors, regulators, lawyers and courts in China - which supplies two thirds of the compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Britain - are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury. Making the bulbs requires workers to handle mercury in either solid or liquid form because a small amount of the metal is put into each bulb to start the chemical reaction that creates light.

Mercury is recognised as a health hazard by authorities worldwide because its accumulation in the body can damage the nervous system, lungs and kidneys, posing a particular threat to babies in the womb and young children. The risks are illustrated by guidance from the British government, which says that if a compact fluorescent lightbulb is broken in the home, the room should be cleared for 15 minutes because of the danger of inhaling mercury vapour.

Documents issued by the Chinese health ministry, instructions to doctors and occupational health propaganda all describe mercury poisoning in lighting factories as a growing public health concern. “Pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding must not be allowed to work in a unit where mercury is present,” states one official rulebook.

In southern China, compact fluorescent lightbulbs destined for western consumers are being made in factories that range from high-tech multinational operations to sweat-shops, with widely varying standards of health and safety. Tests on hundreds of employees have found dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies and many have required hospital treatment, according to interviews with workers, doctors and local health officials in the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou.

Dozens of workers who were interviewed on condition of anonymity described living with the fear of mercury poisoning. They gave detailed accounts of medical tests that found numerous workers had dangerous levels of the toxin in their urine. “In tests, the mercury content in my blood and urine exceeded the standard but I was not sent to hospital because the managers said I was strong and the mercury would be decontaminated by my immune system,” said one young female employee, who provided her identity card.

“Two of my friends were sent to hospital for one month,” she added, giving their names also. “If they asked me to work inside the mercury workshop I wouldn’t do it, no matter how much they paid,” said another young male worker.

Doctors at two regional health centres said they had received patients in the past from the Foshan factory of Osram, a big manufacturer serving the British market. However, the company said in a statement that the latest tests on its staff had found nobody with elevated mercury levels. It added that local authorities had provided documents in 2007 and 2008 to certify the factory met the required environmental standards.

Osram said it used the latest technology employing solid mercury to maintain high standards of industrial hygiene equivalent to those in Germany. Labour lawyers said Osram, as a responsible multi-national company, was probably the best employer in a hazardous sector and conditions at Chinese-owned factories were often far worse.

A survey of published specialist literature and reports by state media shows hundreds of workers at Chinese-owned factories have been poisoned by mercury over the past decade. In one case, Foshan city officials intervened to order medical tests on workers at the Nanhai Feiyang lighting factory after receiving a petition alleging dangerous conditions, according to a report in the Nanfang Daily newspaper. The tests found 68 out of 72 workers were so badly poisoned they required hospitalisation.

A specialist medical journal, published by the health ministry, describes another compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Jinzhou, in central China, where 121 out of 123 employees had excessive mercury levels. One man’s level was 150 times the accepted standard. The same journal identified a compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Anyang, eastern China, where 35% of workers suffered mercury poisoning, and industrial discharge containing the toxin went straight into the water supply. It also reported a survey of 18 lightbulb factories near Shanghai, which found that exposure levels to mercury were higher for workers making the new compact fluorescent lightbulbs than for other lights containing the metal.

In China, people have been aware of the element’s toxic properties for more than 2,000 years because legend has it that the first emperor, Qin, died in 210BC after eating a pill of mercury and jade he thought would grant him eternal life. However, the scale of the public health problems in recent times caused by mercury mining and by the metal’s role in industrial pollution is beginning to emerge only with the growth of a civil society in China and the appearance of lawyers prepared to take on powerful local governments and companies.

A court in Beijing has just broken new ground in industrial injuries law by agreeing to hear a case unrelated to lightbulbs but filed by a plaintiff who is seeking £375,000 in compensation for acute mercury poisoning that he claims destroyed his digestive system.

The potential for litigation may be greatest in the ruined mountain landscape of Guizhou province in the southwest, where mercury has been mined for centuries. The land is scarred and many of the people have left. Until recently, the conditions were medieval. Miners hewed chunks of rock veined with cinnabar, the main commercial source of mercury. They inhaled toxic dust and vapours as the material seethed in primitive cauldrons to extract the mercury. Nobody wore a mask or protective clothing. “Our forefathers had been mining for mercury since the Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] and in olden days there was no pollution from such small mines,” said a 72-year-old farmer, named Shen.

“But in modern times thousands of miners came to our land, dug it out and poured chemicals to wash away the waste. Our water buffaloes grew stunted from drinking the water and our crops turned grey. Our people fell sick and didn’t live long. Anybody who could do has left.”

The government shut all the big mercury mining operations in the region in recent years in response to a fall in global mercury prices and concern over dead rivers, poisoned fields and ailing inhabitants. But The Sunday Times found that in this remote corner of a poverty-stricken province, the European demand for mercury had brought the miners back.

A Chinese entrepreneur, Zhao Yingquan, has paid £1.5m for the rights to an old state-run mine. The Luo Xi mining company used thousands of prisoners to carve out its first shaft and tunnels in the 1950s. “We’re in the last stages of preparing the mine to start operations again in the second half of this year,” said a manager at the site, named Su.

At Tongren, a town where mercury was processed for sale, an old worker spoke of the days when locals slaved day and night to extract the precious trickles of silvery metal. “I worked for 40 years in a mine and now my body is full of sickness and my lungs are finished,” he said.



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


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Review of evidence that reefs formed during the last interglacial period suggest that 3 m jumps in sea level in a few decades could be expected today

By Don J., Easterbrook, Professor of Geology, Western Washington Univ., Bellingham, WA 98225, pointing to absurdities in a Warmist panic paper

Blanchon et al. (Nature, 2009) contend that 3 m differences in the elevation of two former Yucatan reefs occurred in a few decades and that by analogy, similar 3m jumps of sea level in a few decades could occur today. However, the evidence they provide fails far short of demonstrating such events.

230Th dating of the upper (6m) reef and lower (3m) reef indicate that the two reefs formed during the last interglacial period about ~120,000 years ago. The authors claim that “these reliable 230Th ages confirm that both reef tracts are contemporaneous.” The authors claim an accuracy of ± 2,000 yrs.for the dates (0.001%), although admitting “that the δ234U(T) criterion alone is insufficient to identify all corals affected by open-system diagenesis and that >50% of 230Th ages with reliable isotope values can have discordant 231Pa age.”

Although the authors claim that the 230Th dates show that the two reefs are contemporaneous, the 230Th dates cannot possibly demonstrate that. In fact, what is most significant about the dates is just the opposite―the dates show that the reefs are not within a few decades of one another in age. The 230Th dates of the lower reef range in age from ~139,000 yrs. to ~107,000 yrs. but even using only dates considered “strictly reliable” (because their δ234U(T) values are similar to modern corals), dates from the lower reef vary from 134,000 to 139,000 yrs, whereas dates from the upper reef range in age from 117,000 to 128,000 yrs. The difference in age between the youngest date from the lower reef (134,000 yrs.) and the oldest date from the younger reef (128,000 yrs.) is 5,000 yrs., which precludes the possibility of contemporaniety of the two reefs.

In the same stratigraphic section, a coral date of 119,600 yrs. lies stratigraphically above coral dated at 117,700 yrs. In addition, corals at the same elevation in the upper reef were dated at 117,700 yrs. and 125,400 yrs. Instead of proving that the two reefs are contemporaneous, the 230Th dates show that two reefs are not contemporaneous.

Blanchon et al. contend that “differences in biofacies and elevation confirm that the two reefs are contemporaneous and had a back-stepping pattern of development.” However, their stratigraphic sections do not support this claim. The two reefs do not appear in the same cross–section but rather in sections separated by a considerable distance, making correlations highly tenuous. The cross–section of the upper reef shows that the base of the upper reef lies at the same elevation as the top of the lower reef, which they contend was killed by a 3m sea level rise. If a 3m rise in sea level killed the lower reef, how could the upper reef begin growing at the same level? That makes no sense at all. Also, why would a sea level rise of 3m kill the lower reef? Coral reefs live today at greater water depths than that.

The only logical conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence presented is:

1. As shown by the 230Th dates, the lower reef is about 5,000 years older than the upper reef, not contemporaneous.

2. The stratigraphic sections do not support the contention that the two reefs are within a few decades of one another in age.

3. No evidence is presented to show that a 3m sea level rise killed the lower reef while coral at the base of the upper reef began to grow at the same level.

4. No evidence is presented to demonstrate sudden melting of polar ice.

5. The last interglacial period has been dated from ~127,000 yrs. to ~100,000 yrs., so the 120,000 yr. age of the reefs was not “at the close of the last interglacial” but rather in the early part of the interglacial.

6. The contention that the two reefs provide evidence of a sudden, 3m jump in sea level over a few decades and that such a jump is possible today is not demonstrated in the paper.

Paper received via email. Enquiries to the author at

A letter from a weather forecaster to the responsible Minister in the UK government

To HM Environment Secretary Hilary Benn MP

Re: Long Range Flood Forecasts to assist Flood Warnings for the UK

Congratulations on your continuing work as Her Majesty's Environment Minister.

I am writing from WeatherAction long range weather and climate forecasters to offer practical help to your new Flood Forecast Centre. Our long range forecasts would decisively improve flood warnings and help enable advanced measures to be put in place which will reduce potential disruption and loss of life caused by floods in the UK.

In the recent announcement of the new Flood Centre which arose from recommendations in the Pitt Review into the devastating summer flood of 2007 you said "[It] will help provide the best possible information and support to existing flood warnings and weather warning services".

This statement must mean that you should use the best available long range forecasts to help the public and it follows that you must move beyond that which has been exclusively relied on hitherto and that our forecasts are required. However despite the fact that we can now supply valuable detailed forecasts about flood and other extreme weather risk in the coming months and years we have not as yet been requested for such. As you may know WeatherAction's long range forecasts successfully predicted - in detail - from many months ahead - the serious flood events in both 2007 and 2008 as well as the very costly snow and ice events of winter 08/09. On the other hand the Met Office long range forecasts for summer 08, summer 09 and winter 08-09 were dismal failures and disarmed you, the emergency services and the public at great human and financial cost. Please see attachments and links below for letters to Gordon Brown and various MPs on these matters (1).

Of course I appreciate that you may be concerned that our rigorous scientific analysis has led us to support something other than the 'Climate Change policy' of HM Government. Contrary to the ideology which underlies that policy we fully support the peer-reviewed scientific evidence - using official data going back thousands and even millions of years - that neither CO2 in general nor mankind's CO2 in particular have been, are, or ever will be net drivers of world temperatures or climate change. And on this we note that the IPCC predictions for ongoing warming this century have all failed while all the contrary forecasts of WeatherAction and others for continuing cooling have been confirmed.

You may have been led to believe that the difference between the 'Climate Realist view' which WeatherAction supports and the IPCC ideology is just about differing peer-reviewed 'opinions' over the interpretation of data. This is not so. The peer-reviewed interpretations of the extensive available data all refute the CO2/man-made view. The IPCC on the other hand has no peer-reviewed data evidence which supports their view. They have films produced by politicians and numerous peer-reviewed papers on computer models, theories and opinions that say many things which they often quote, but none which show that their models, theories and opinions have passed the fundamental scientific tests of consistency with the extensive past data or of making confirmed predictions for world temperature change. On this it is notable that the UN/IPCC have still failed to respond to requests for such evidence from an international group of well-qualified scientists including three IPCC expert Reviewers - see (2).

Whatever your view, we must be very clear, that you do not have to agree with anything we have concluded about 'Global Warming' or 'Climate Change' to use our forecasts. For the good of the economy and safety of the public I beg you, in this the year of the 400th anniversary of Galileo sighting mountains on the Moon, to not repeat the errors of those times; and to put science before ideology, public safety before politics and as the Prime Minister has often said use all the best knowledge available for the greatest good.

Above received by email. Enquiries to Piers Corbyn on +44(0)7985734471 or Site here

A farmer’s view on carbon credits

I have changed my mind about participating in the carbon credit program. And have resolved to give the money I received to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Here is why.

Recently I sat in the fire hall with a few dozen farmers. We had been invited to hear how we can get paid for carbon credits. The speaker explained how their satellites can measure the carbon in our land individually and how much money we could get. Then asked for questions. I asked “what is the source of this money”?

The presenter said it comes from big companies that pollute. I asked “where do they get this money”? He had no answer.

So I answered for him, asking, “won’t it come from everyone who pays their power bill”? He then agreed and said “that could be”.

I then said isn’t this about the theory of man made global warming? he said “we are not going to talk about that”. Here they are on the prairie soliciting land for carbon credits tempting us with free money.

I believe that agreeing to take their money means you agree with taxing cattle gas also, because methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon. I believe taking this money without considering its source makes us no better than the bankers who lent money to people, knowing they could not pay it back. Collecting their fees then selling the bad loans in bundles to someone else. They did not care where the money came from either.

Let’s be clear. Carbon is not a new commodity! No new wealth is being created here! Is this the way we want to make a living? Let me ask you, what if their satellites determine that your land has lost carbon? You will get a bill, not a check, right? If you make a tillage pass you will get a bill for emitting carbon, is this not correct?

It is also a fact that this income will, in short order, get built into your land cost. You will keep very little and be left with the burden of another bureaucratic program.

Let’s be honest, we feel compelled to take this money because of the need to be competitive, however we also need to hold true to our values and lead by example that means placing our principals ahead of money.

No good citizen is opposed to using the earth’s resources wisely, however, wisdom means a person who has both intelligence and humility. In my view many of the proponents of man made global warming have the first and lack the second. We are able to exercise our freedom in this country because we have abundant, reliable and affordable power. It is ironic that we sat in front of the flag in that fire hall and considered trading our liberty for money.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Roy Disney: “Decision making becomes easier when your values are clear to you”


NYT and Reporter Revkin Issue 'Correction' – Admit 'Error' in Front Page Global Warming Article Touted By Gore!

The New York Times has issued a “climate correction” for an “error” in an April 23, 2009 high profile front page global warming article that was touted by former Vice President Al Gore during his Congressional testimony as proof that industry was clouding the science of climate change.

But just little more than a week after publishing the front page article, The New York Times and reporter Andrew Revkin have now admitted the article “erred” on key points. Revkin wrote about the now defunct Global Climate Coalition and documents that suggest the group had scientists on board in the 1990's who claimed “the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.” Revkin's article came under immediate fire from scientists and others who called into question the central claims and the accuracy of the story.

In a May 2, 2009 post titled “A Climate Correction”, Revkin and the New York Times wrote:
“The article cited a 'backgrounder' that laid out the coalition's public stance, published in the early 1990s and distributed widely to lawmakers and journalists. However, the article failed to note a later version of the backgrounder that included language that conformed to the scientific advisory committee's conclusion. The amended version, which was brought to the attention of The Times by a reader, acknowledged the consensus that greenhouse gases could contribute to warming. What scientists disagreed about, it said, was 'the rate and magnitude of the 'enhanced greenhouse effect' (warming) that will result.'"

The New York Times also posted an “Editors' Note” on May 2 with the same correction.

In addition, the original Times article now has a May 2 “Editors' Note” , “describing an error in the news story.”

Australian Paleoclimate researcher Dr. Robert M. “Bob” Carter was the first to dismiss the NYT's Revkin article as “strange, silly even.”
Carter wrote to Climate Depot on April 23, 2009:
Revkin's latest article in the New York Times makes for strange reading; silly, even. For though the technical experts may have been advising (for some strange, doubtless self-interested reason) this: “even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted”, I'll eat my hat if anyone could show that was actually the case at any time since 1990. My guess is that Revkin -- like all other promulgators of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) hysteria throughout the media and scientific communities -- is starting to really feel the weight of the evidence that shows all too clearly that dangerous AGW is a myth, and is simply thrashing around in any and every direction to try to find a way of continuing to obfuscate the issue until December.

UK's Lord Christopher Monckton was even more outraged and accused the New York Times and Revkin of “deliberate misrepresentation” in climate article and of writing a “mendacious article.” Monckton wrote the following to New York Times Public Editor and Readers' Representative Clark Hoyt, Esq., on April 28, 2009:
“The New York Times guidelines for staff writers on 'Journalistic Ethics' begin by stating the principles that all journalists should respect: impartiality and neutrality; integrity; and avoidance of conflicts of interest. Andrew Revkin's front-page article on Friday, 24 April, 2009, falsely alleging that a coalition of energy corporations had for many years acted like tobacco corporations, misrepresenting advice from its own scientists about the supposed threat of "global warming", offends grievously against all of these principles.”


NYT obtains green strategy memo: Stop use of term 'global warming' - It 'turns people off - fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals'‏

'Don't confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like cap and cash back or pollution reduction refund'. Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus

The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.” The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.

Asked about the summary, ecoAmerica’s president and founder, Robert M. Perkowitz, requested that it not be reported until the formal release of the firm’s full paper later this month, but acknowledged that its wide distribution now made compliance with his request unlikely. The research directly parallels marketing studies conducted by oil companies, utilities and coal mining concerns that are trying to “green” their images with consumers and sway public policy.

Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. “We know why it’s lowest,” said Mr. Perkowitz, a marketer of outdoor clothing and home furnishings before he started ecoAmerica, whose activities are financed by corporations, foundations and individuals. “When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”

The answer, Mr. Perkowitz said in his presentation at the briefing, is to reframe the issue using different language. “Energy efficiency” makes people think of shivering in the dark. Instead, it is more effective to speak of “saving money for a more prosperous future.” In fact, the group’s surveys and focus groups found, it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink.”

“Another key finding: remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology,” said the e-mail account of the group’s study. Mr. Perkowitz and allies in the environmental movement have been briefing officials in Congress and the administration in the hope of using the findings to change the terms of the debate now under way in Washington.

Opponents of legislation to combat global warming are engaged in a similar effort. Trying to head off a cap-and-trade system, in which government would cap the amount of heat-trapping emissions allowed and let industry trade permits to emit those gases, they are coaching Republicans to refer to any such system as a giant tax that would kill jobs. Coal companies are taking out full-page advertisements promising “clean, green coal.” The natural gas industry refers to its product as “clean fuel green fuel.” Oil companies advertise their investments in alternative energy.

Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, an expert on environmental communications, said ecoAmerica’s campaign was a mirror image of what industry and political conservatives were doing. “The form is the same; the message is just flipped,” he said. “You want to sell toothpaste, we’ll sell it. You want to sell global warming, we’ll sell that. It’s the use of advertising techniques to manipulate public opinion.” He said the approach was cynical and, worse, ineffective. “The right uses it, the left uses it, but it doesn’t engage people in a face-to-face manner,” he said, “and that’s the only way to achieve real, lasting social change.”

Frank Luntz, a Republican communications consultant, prepared a strikingly similar memorandum in 2002, telling his clients that they were losing the environmental debate and advising them to adjust their language. He suggested referring to themselves as “conservationists” rather than “environmentalists,” and emphasizing “common sense” over scientific argument. And, Mr. Luntz and Mr. Perkowitz agree, “climate change” is an easier sell than “global warming.”


Some Green/Left hate speech

The guy below actually admits that he is a hater and says that others of his ilk are too! The writer is David Roberts who is described as a "staff writer" for Grist, a prominent Warmist blog.

Newt Gingrich is a douchebag and everyone hates him. Few figures in American politics (beyond Dick Cheney) are as discredited and unpopular as the bilious windbag Newt, whose renewed prominence as an “intellectual” on the right side of the aisle is the single best piece of evidence of irrevocable conservative decline. As Miles Grant reminded us last year:
If there’s anyone who proves time may not necessarily heal all wounds, it’s Newt. Nearly a decade after he resigned from the House with an approval rating of just 28 percent, a 2007 poll showed remarkable 54 percent of Americans still held an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich. Cheney was only slightly less popular, rated unfavorably by 57 percent of those polled.

It’s true that he blatantly contradicted himself in his Congressional testimony last week. It’s true that his “solution” to climate change is a transparently industry-beholden stew of corporate welfare. It’s true that he lies like he breathes. But do progressives have to panic and hold strategy meetings every time he burps up more gas?

No. Everybody hates the guy. He’s a spokesdouche you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

Point number two:

Congressional Republicans are douchebags and everyone hates them. You might think from their program of uncompromising, unreasoning obstruction that they have some secret master plan to regain seats in Congress (which, as you might have noticed, they keep losing), but as Matt Yglesias points out, it’s not so. Even National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (TX) admits that it’s all but a fait accompli that Democrats will reach 60 votes in the Senate in 2010.

That’s because everyone likes Obama, and everyone hates Republicans. As Chris Bowers has documented in an ongoing series, they are less popular among the American public than Obama, Congressional Dems, marijuana legalization, Venezuela, China, and probably this new pig flu, though no one’s polled that yet. They screwed up the country, they don’t have credible solutions to any of its problems, and the only people who listen to their increasingly loopy rhetoric are part of the 30% remnant.

Point number three:

Marc Morano is a douchebag and most people don’t even give enough of a crap about him to hate him. Once James Inhofe’s Senate butt boy, which gave him a modicum of relevance and credibility, Morano is now the proprietor of an obscure Drudge-wannabe climate denial site. He is useful to the 30% and their Congressional representatives; he supplies their climate-related talking points. But those talking points are crazy, and everyone hates the people repeating them.

Morano scammed his way into an NYT profile, but only as a flat-earth clown. The only way he gets any ongoing press coverage outside the 30% is by baiting progressive bloggers and journalists, jumping into their comment sections and sending them email every time they so much as mention his name.

But the public at large, outside the ideological tribe? They don’t know. They don’t care. And if they knew, they’d hate him too, like other mouth-breathers preaching conspiracy theories.

The same can be said of the whole constellation of blogs and TV shows made by and for the 30%. There is simply no need to devote much attention to refuting the lies that pour forth from this revanchist remnant. Concern over climate change and support for action to address it is the mainstream position in America. Those writing and speaking in the mainstream ought to address themselves to the mainstream, helping to address its questions and concerns about the transition away from fossil fuels. (And there are plenty.)

Some time in the next hour, somebody will say something stupid on cable TV. Somebody will write an idiot op-ed. Somebody will be wrong on the internet. Let. It. Go.

Focus on wavering Dems and their constituents and their constituents’ jobs. Focus on how energy/climate legislation will make the country cleaner, healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous. The Newts can’t stop anybody, they can only distract and sap energy from those doing the work.

They are not Boogie men. They are douchebags, and everyone hates them.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Quite comical in its febrile and juvenile rage! I'd guess the author's age as being about 13 -- JR


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


Saturday, May 02, 2009


You wouldn’t think so if you read recent press reports. Just like this time last year, the global press is bombarding the public with alarming reports coming from the bottom of the world. From the Discovery Channel on April 28th, 2009 “Huge Ice Shelf Breaks From Antarctica, Fractures.” From National Geographic News on April 30th, 2009 “Giant Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapses.” From Reuters on April 28th, 2009, “New York City-sized Ice Collapses off Antarctica.”

Exactly one year ago, similar stories circulated, and if anything, they were more alarming. On March 25th, 2008, the BBC reported “Antarctic Ice Hangs by a Thread,” a result, they stated, of “unprecedented global warming.” But these reports, both last year and this year, are talking about the same ice shelf - the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an insignificant bit of floating ice that is located on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Didn’t it break up last year? How many times do we recycle the alarm over the seasonal melting of the same few thousand square miles of floating ice (ice that floats cannot contribute to sea level rise), off a continent that exceeds five million square miles in area?

Apparently over and over. An excellent analysis posted on April 17th, 2009 by Ron de Haan entitled “The Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapse: Media recycles photos and storylines from previous years,” documents how the Wilkins Ice Shelf has been reported by the mainstream media to be ominously collapsing every year now since 1999. Haan also provides satellite photography back as far as 1993 showing the end-of-summer thaws and mid-winter maximums for the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Not much has changed over the past 15 years. Thank goodness for the blogosphere to help us accurately assess the cryosphere!

The assumption in all these stories that report on the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and other melting ice around the Antarctic Peninsula, is that global warming is the cause, and that they are representative of a general melt occurring throughout Antarctica. And if this were true, this would be alarming, since 90% of the world’s land based ice is in Antarctica. So is the ocean warming around Antarctica, and is Antarctica’s overall total mass decreasing?

The answer to both of these questions is almost certainly no. As this recent imagery from NOAA indicates, the southern ocean is actually colder than average. Except for a few areas directly south of the Indian Ocean, and in the area south of Patagonia and surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula, the rest of the ocean surrounding Antarctica - virtually all of the South Pacific and South Atlantic - is cooler than average. This data indicates no reason to believe ocean temperatures are causing overall loss of ice mass in the Antarctic; with the exception of the insignificant quantity of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula, they suggest the opposite.

What about the ice mass of Antarctica? Along with land based ice, which can raise sea levels when melted into the ocean, another significant indicator of polar temperature is the extent of floating sea ice. As the above table prepared by researchers at the University of Illinois indicates, the actual sea ice surrounding Antarctica is well above average. The black line represents the last 12 months of sea ice area, based on satellite data. You can see the sea ice reached a peak of 15 million square kilometers around September, during the peak of the southern winter. You can see it dropped to a low of 2 million square kilometers in mid-February, at the height of the southern summer. Currently the sea ice surrounding Antarctica is 7 million square kilometers and rising. The red line, however, is what is significant, because the red line indicates whether or not the sea ice is above or below the historical norm. And as you can see, as of May 2009, Antarctic sea ice is about 1.0 million square kilometers above normal.

Just like last year, to assist in the research for this post I contacted Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., a climatologist at the University of Colorado whose blog is one of the most balanced forums and respected sources of technical information on global climate anywhere. In response to my inquiry, he wrote the following: “The sea ice around the continent is far above average (ref. UIUC). Also, note the colder than average sea surface temperatures around Antarctic (ref. NOAA). If the media is going to discuss the Wilkins Ice Shelf, they should also discuss this other data. The expansion of the sea ice coverage implies a cooling.”



Sea-level rise trends in the Attico–Cycladic region (Aegean Sea) during the last 5000 years

By Serafim E. Poulos et al.


Sea-level change during the last 18,000 years is a combination of eustatic, isostatic and tectonic contributions. In an effort to minimize the tectonic contributions, our study of sea-level changes in the Aegean Sea within historical times is focused on the aseismic Attico–Cycladic geotectonic zone. On the basis of archaeological information and radiocarbon dating of coastal sedimentological formations, a sea-level curve for the Attico–Cycladic massif has been constructed for the past 5000 years and compared with existing curves. According to this curve, the rapid increase of sea level concluded prior to 5.5 ka and was followed by a slow steady rise at a rate of 0.9 mm/a up to its present stage. The latter is attributed primarily to the process of thermal expansion and secondarily to the residual melting of the glaciers and existing ice-caps. By extrapolation of the curve, the sea level at the end of the 21th century is predicted to be about 9 cm higher than the present level; this value is much lower than the prediction of the last IPCC report (49 cm). If higher SLR rates are realised in the next few decades, then the excess 40 cm of the IPCC prediction can be attributed to human-induced global climatic change. [...]


The main phase of rapid sea-level rise in the Central Aegean region ended prior to 5500 BP with the sea level being 4–5 m below its present stand. Subsequently, the sea level continued to rise slowly at a rate of 0.9 mm/a towards its present level, but without ever exceeding it. Due to the tectonic stability of the Attico–Cycladic Massif (central Aegean Sea), the rise of sea level within historical times is attributed to eustatic factors, with thermal expansion being the dominant one, followed by residual melting of glaciers and ice-caps. Hence, the current transgressional phase during the last interglacial period has not reached its optimum yet. No signs of accelerated sea-level rise in recent years are detectable from the available data for the Central Aegean region. The estimate of sea-level rise in the Aegean Sea for 2100 AD, on the basis of the Attico–Cycladic curve and presuming that the present trend will persist, is approximately 9 cm, which is significantly lower than the 49 cm, predicted by the IPCC (2001). Thus, any excess of the natural increment (i.e. 9 cm) during the coming decades would be attributed to the Global Climatic Change induced by human activities.

Geomorphology, Volume 107, Issues 1-2, 1 June 2009, Pages 10-17

Gore's Profitable Environment

Green Is The Color Of Money

During a House subcommittee hearing last week, former Vice President Al Gore was questioned about his ties to a company that stands to profit from proposed cap-and-trade legislation now pending before the committee. Mr. Gore testified in favor of this legislation. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wanted to know if he is profiteering.

During the April 24 House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing titled “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” Ms. Blackburn asked Mr. Gore about a potential conflict of interest he might have. She cited an Oct. 8, 2008 New York Times story that mentions his partnership in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers (KPCB). KPCB is “actively working with entrepreneurs to solve our climate crisis” according to its Web site. Mr. Gore’s firm, Generation Investment Management (GIM), formed an alliance with KPCB in November 2007. He became a partner in KPCB. He co-founded GIM in 2004.

The Times story referenced by Ms. Blackburn said KPCB invested $1 billion in 40 companies that would profit from new environmental and energy laws and regulations. She said the reason she asked Mr. Gore about this relationship is that her constituents wanted to know if there is any impropriety. She wanted to give him the chance to dismiss the notion. "I wanted to give you the opportunity to kind of clear the air about your motives," she said. "I’ve got an article from Oct. 8 New York Times Magazine, about a firm called Kleiner Perkins, a capital firm called Kleiner Perkins. Are you aware of that company?"

Mr. Gore replied that he was a partner. Ms. Blackburn then cited some facts about the company and the proposed cap-and-trade legislation. This legislation requires energy companies to buy permits from the government to emit carbon while producing electricity. The idea is to artificially increase prices to drive Americans away from buying electricity produced with carbon emissions. The government would use the funds to subsidize the creation of environmentally friendly, "green" technology. The government would then subsidize the purchase of electricity generated from this technology.

"So you’re a partner in Kleiner Perkins," she said. "Okay. Now they have invested about $1 billion in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and -trade legislation. So the legislation that we are discussing here today, is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?"

Mr. Gore replied that he would not. He denied profiteering. But Ms. Blackburn wanted him to clarify this. "For clarity," she said. "Are you willing to divest yourself of any profit?" He did not directly respond. He just reiterated that he was not profiting from his ties to KPCB.

But the Capital Research Center (CRC), a nonpartisan watchdog organization that monitors the activities of nonprofit groups is not so sure. CRC reported in its August 2007 newsletter "Foundation Watch" (”Al Gore’s Carbon Crusade: The Money and Connections Behind It,” by Deborah Corey Barnes), Mr. Gore "has established a network of organizations to promote the so-called climate crisis."

The report also noted GIM’s role in the climate change business. It said, "GIM appears to have considerable influence over the major carbon credit trading firms that currently exist: the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) in the U.S. and the Carbon Neutral Company CNC) in Great Britain. CCX is the only firm in the U.S. that claims to trade carbon credits." It also revealed that Mr. Gore’s nonprofit arm "Alliance for Climate Protection (ACP), budgeted $300 million to promote climate change.

CRC concludes, "If carbon emissions trading ever comes to the United States, Al Gore will be uniquely positioned to cash in....Meanwhile, Gore is pushing for tougher environmental regulations on the private sector. It wants “cap-and-trade” legislation so that companies will be forced to lower their greenhouse gas emissions and buy carbon credits."


Global Warming Revisited

In the May 2001 Freeman I published “Unprecedented Global Warming?” which noted that climate change (global warming and global cooling) is a continuing phenomenon and that what we’ve witnessed in the last 25 years is “by no means unprecedented.” The Medieval Warm Period (800-1300), which took place without SUVs, power plants, or factories, was warmer than it is today. Crippling our economy to solve a minor (or nonexistent) future problem struck me as a serious mistake.

That article was tantamount to heresy among those who devoutly believe in anthropogenic (manmade) global warming. A physics professor responded, “Heberling’s commentary is the latest in a long list of junk-science commentaries about climate change. Heberling, who is not a scientist, but rather the president of a small business school, repeats several old and misleading ideas.”

Of course, Al Gore, the Nobel laureate who has made global warming his cause, is not a scientist. He has a B.A. in government. For the record, I have a B.S. from Cornell University, where I took courses in physics, chemistry, geology, and meteorology. However, this makes little difference because my sin was to downplay the severity of global warming, and too many people and organizations are tied financially to the “crisis.”

As MIT atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen puts it, “Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policymakers who provide funds for more science to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today.”

The Government Accountability Office says that for over 15 years the federal government has funded programs to study the earth’s climate and to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to climate change. A review of the number of government agencies and the amount of government money devoted to “climate change” is staggering. Nine of the 15 cabinet-level departments receive significant funding for climate-change activities. A 2007 White House press release boasted, “The President has devoted $37 billion to climate-change-related activities since 2001.” The U.S. Global Change Research Program, which has 13 federal agency participants, has made the largest scientific investment in climate change research at $20 billion over a 13-year period. The federal organizations with the largest budgets devoted to climate-change activities include NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For those who embrace big government and centralized planning, the global-warming crisis has been a godsend. Under the mantra “preventing global warming,” government has greatly expanded into our daily lives. Mandates have superseded consumer choice in the areas of energy, transportation, and appliances. For example, when compared to the traditional light bulb, the new government-mandated compact fluorescent light bulb is far more expensive, loaded with mercury, and takes time to illuminate. To compensate for this delay, consumers leave the lights on. How does this help the environment or curtail global warming?

And the Horse You Rode In On

Given the billions of federal dollars at stake, it is not surprising that there would be resistance to any free flow of ideas that might question the crisis. If we don’t have a crisis, then we won’t need the government to ride in on a white horse throwing billions around to save us. It therefore becomes imperative to squelch or marginalize dissent. Name-calling, shooting the messenger, and the use of such show-stopper statements as “We have consensus” and “The debate is over” usually do the trick.

In the name-calling category, we find the following epithets: “climate-change denier,” “flat-earth advocates,” and “tools or stooges of Big Oil.”

Jeff Kueter of the Marshall Institute says that scientists who challenge global warming “are quickly labeled as having received money from the petroleum industry. The media consider their findings and their opinions to somehow be tainted because they’ve got a financial relationship.” Why is there never any suspicion in the other direction, when a researcher has a financial relationship with the government and its agenda for more regulations, more mandates, a carbon tax, and the nationalization of the energy sector? Why don’t the media ever call such a researcher a “tool of big government”?

What about the consensus we hear so much about? Gregg Easterbrook expresses the mainstream sentiment: “The consensus of the scientific community has shifted from skepticism to near-unanimous acceptance.”

The late author Michael Crichton had this response: I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

One of the biggest tragedies of consensus science is the chilling effect it has on those who fall outside of this consensus. “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear,” Lindzen says. “It’s my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. Alarm rather than genuine curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policy makers.”

Threat Level Whatever

The problem with public policy based on alarmism is that it’s hard to sustain. There are three reasons for this. The first is overselling the crisis. The general public has become numb and cynical about the endless barrage of ills all tied to global warming. (Even the disappearance of the Loch Ness Monster has been attributed to it.)

The second reason is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. This is what did in the last climate-change crisis. A New York Times headline on May 21, 1975 blared: “Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing: A Major Cooling Widely Considered to be Inevitable.” But it was hard to continue the hype about global cooling when it got hot outside. While the current global warming debate may be over, Mother Nature is, unfortunately, not cooperating. Contrary to the infallible computer climate-model predictions (which I call high-tech crystal balls), global temperatures peaked ten years ago, in 1998. There was no appreciable temperature increase for the next eight years. However, for the last two years the temperatures have actually fallen. The past two winters have been brutally cold. This painful realization may help to explain the sense of urgency in Congress to pass climate-change legislation–right now! Rep. Henry Waxman said at the opening of the 2009 congressional hearings on global warming that he plans to move “quickly and decisively” to push through climate legislation before Memorial Day (Or does he mean before it gets even colder?)

The final reason is that the alarmist crisis gets run over by a real crisis. With the financial turmoil, the housing crisis, the stock-market crash, and rising unemployment, it is hard to get excited about global warming. In the January Pew Public Survey Poll, global warming came in 20th out of 20 on the list of Top Priorities for America. The top five were: the economy, jobs, terrorism, Social Security, and education.

The global-warming crisis was tailor-made to simultaneously advance the agendas of the environmentalists, big government, and those who vilify the oil industry and business in general. There is far too much at stake to have this crisis die peacefully. As a result, there will be extensive efforts to keep it alive. For starters, the phrase “global warming” is being used less frequently (if at all). It’s been replaced with the nebulous, but error-free, “climate change.” Given that the earth’s climate has been changing for millions of years, “climate change” covers all bases (both warming and cooling). The problem with this approach, however, is that the public won’t buy it. It is hard to get excited about the dangers of “climate change.”

Be prepared for more talk about “energy security” and “energy efficiency.” This will lead to more government-mandated products and less consumer choice. There will still be a push for a carbon tax–or a cap-and-trade scheme, President Obama’s preferred policy. However, without the global-warming hysteria, this will be a harder sell.

Carbon dioxide will continue to be demonized as a “greenhouse gas.” Even though it is harmless to humans and is needed by all plant life, it will be called a toxic pollutant by the media, militant environmentalists, and politicians. Yet carbon dioxide makes up less than 4 percent of all greenhouse gases. Water vapor accounts for 95 percent.

Shut Off the Alarmists

What’s to be done? First, we should abandon all efforts and discussions related to cap-and-trade, carbon offsets, carbon footprints, and carbon taxes, which would never go away if implemented and won’t measurably change the temperature.

Second, we should stop government from funding climate change science. As John Tierney of the New York Times writes: “[Government] officials running the agencies have their own agendas . . . which can be [met] by supporting research demonstrating that there’s a terrible problem for the agency to solve.” Climatologist Patrick Michaels states, “[N]o one ever received a major research grant by stating that his or her particular issue might not be a problem after all.”

Third, we should demand that lobbyists for expanded government power disclose their financial backers.

Finally, we need to accept that climate change, both global warming and global cooling, will continue. Ironically, of the two we should wish for warming. Mankind has prospered in warming periods because agricultural production increased at higher latitudes and elevations. The opposite was true with global cooling. I’ll take global warming over another Ice Age. My request to Washington: Please don’t pass legislation to make Michigan any colder than it already is.


Do global warming skeptics have to accept the rest of the Greenie agenda?

Another day, another denier comes forward to challenge the views of Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The number of scientists who are speaking out for the first time is heartening — I take it as a sign that the climate of fear is subsiding, and that reason may soon reign in this politically charged debate.

But I find one aspect of the coming out of the deniers to be tiresome — a seemingly obligatory statement to the effect that they care about the environment, often coupled with bromides on energy policy that are not only trite but wrong.

Take Leonard Weinstein, now a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace, formerly a top scientist at NASA where he worked for 45 years, along the way amassing 11 patents and some 50 awards, including being named the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineer of the Year in 1999. This week, Weinstein formally declared himself a sceptic by releasing a paper in which he concluded “that there is NO real supporting evidence and much disagreeing evidence for the AGW [anthropogenic global warming] theory as proposed.”

Then Weinstein gratuitously ventures into territory outside his science ken through this seemingly safe statement: “Decreasing availability of oil and anthropogenic pollution (not greenhouse gasses) are real issues. Acid rain, smog and dirty water sources do need to be fixed. The problems associated with high fuel prices, and dependence on sources of energy from possibly less than friendly foreign countries are critical. While we can’t solve the problems with a single magic bullet, more nuclear power plants, along with wind and solar power, could fill much of the gap. There are solutions, but first we have to identify the correct problems.”

Yes, it’s important to identify the correct problems, and the non-problems, not just on global warming but on energy policy.

More nuclear, wind and solar as a solution to high fuel prices and oil imports? Not a chance, at least not anytime soon.

First, nuclear, wind and solar cannot today substitute for oil, which primarily fuels cars and is a feedstock for plastics. Nuclear, wind and solar are primarily used to produce electricity. Even if electric vehicles that ran on affordable batteries existed — despite the hype, no battery breakthrough has yet occurred — these three would still not substitute for oil because all three are uneconomic.

In large part, nuclear, wind and solar are uneconomic for the same reason: They are inflexible technologies that cannot be dispatched. Unlike other methods of generating electricity — from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas or from falling water — nuclear, wind and solar systems cannot moderate their output to meet society’s fluctuating demands for power. Nuclear reactors run flat-out 24/7, wind technologies depend on whether the wind happens to blow, solar technologies on whether the Sun happens to shine.

Because power companies make little or no money at periods of low demand, and are lucrative when meeting peak needs, power technologies that can be dispatched tend to be money makers and those that can’t tend to burn money. Of the three, only solar technology — because its production costs continue to drop and because it produces power during daylight hours, when demand is higher and the need for dispatch lower — is likely to become commercially viable in the next decade.

Next, Weinstein worries about the decreasing availability of oil, and America’s reliance on hostile suppliers. In fact, the world’s oil reserves have increased by 36% over the past two decades, excluding the massive unconventional reserves in Canada’s tar sands and America’s oil shale. As for American dependence on hostile countries, this is more myth: America’s only suppliers that could be considered hostile are Venezuela, which meets about 6% of U.S. needs, and Russia, which meets 2%. The entire Persian Gulf meets only 12% of U.S. needs, and that 12% comes from three allies: Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.

The true enemy of American energy independence is the American government, whose politically driven regulations unduly restrict environmentally sound fossil fuel development while perversely subsidizing uneconomic energy-producing and energy-consuming industries.

Finally, Weinstein treats fossil fuels as environmental pariahs. In fact, decades of environmental pressure has led to immense improvements in coal and other fossil fuel technologies, making them no less virtuous than many renewable fuels. At the same time, some renewable technologies are losing their aura: New research shows that ethanol can be a greater threat to air pollution and water supplies than gasoline, and wind farms have become the most unwanted of neighbours.

Weinstein’s straying in energy policy shouldn’t dissuade people from checking out his illuminating analysis of anthropogenic global warming, found at He and the others who are coming out of the closet deserve kudos for speaking out at all. When sceptics are able to speak without feeling compelled to ward off accusations that they are environmental pariahs, we’ll know that the climate of intimidation has entirely dissipated.



Electro Thermal Dynamic Stripping Oil Recovery Could Unlock 400 Billion More Barrels of Oil in Alberta at $26/Barrel

A field test was performed from Sept 2006 to August 2007 and the recovery and performance exceeded expectations. The recovery factor was over 75%, energy used per barrel was 23% less than anticipated and peak production rates were better than expected.

ET Energy's Electro Thermal technology could be used to pump out 600 billion barrels of Alberta's oil sands bitumen. That's more than triple the Alberta government's best guess at what's currently recoverable from the oil sands, and enough to satisfy total global demand for twenty years.

Saudi Arabia has 260 billion barrels of oil reserves, so the additional 421 billion barrels would be close to double the oil in Saudi Arabia.


NOTE from Benny Peiser:

See also the recent WSJ article by Guy Chazan: Squeeze That Sponge. Often stymied in their quest for new crude, Western oil companies are squeezing more out of the reserves they already have. Despite the engineering advances of the past century, nearly two-thirds of crude still gets left in the ground. So oil companies are raising the ante, investing billions of dollars in cutting-edge technology to increase the amount of crude they can tap.

The potential rewards are huge: Raising the average recovery rate world-wide to 50% from 35% would boost the world's recoverable oil by about 1.2 trillion barrels -- equal to the whole of today's proven reserves, the International Energy Agency says....

Chair of University's Chemistry Dept. Declares: 'I must disagree with Mr. Gore'

Chemistry Professor Dr. Mary Mumper, the chair of the Chemistry Department at Frostburg State University in Maryland, declared her dissent from man-made global warming fears during an April 2009 Earth Day presentation titled “"Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming, the Skeptic's View.” "I am an environmentalist," Mumper said , but "I must disagree with Mr. Gore."

According to the April 29, 2009 article in the University's newspaper The Bottom Line, Mumper said, "We need to take care of our planet," and disagreed with the idea of putting all research money into CO2 abatement. “In my skeptic's mind, that is foolish,” she said during her presentation.

Mumper “believes that announcements such as Gore's, saying that the debate over climate change is over are false.”

“Mumper's presentation explained that the global warming skeptic tends to accept that mankind plays a role in warming the earth, both through greenhouse gas, and especially urbanization, but the lack of warming in rural areas suggests that the greenhouse gas component is overblown.”

According to the article, Mumper also explained that “Gore's message, as well as that of the IPCC, states that anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide gas is responsible for warming the planet, and is leading the planet to become an unlivable place for mankind. Mumper explained to her audience that CO2 is a natural gas, produced by every animal on earth with every breath. Without that gas, explains Mumper, there would be no life on earth.”



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


Friday, May 01, 2009

Homeostatic mechanisms help make the modern day climate stable, compared with the geologic past

An email from Steve Short [] starts with an argument that increased atmospheric CO2 leads to global COOLING and then goes on to ridicule the exaggerations currently being made about the significance of the small changes that are currently being observed

It just so happens that I am of the view that increased atmospheric CO2 leads to increased global photosynthetic biomass (both land-based and oceanic) which leads to increased production of biogenic aerosols which produces an increased global density of CCN (cloud condensation nuclei) which produces increased cloud cover which produces increased albedo. Been rather wet and/or very cold all over lately I notice.

We originally thought the planet had only a 'mere' 2.8 Gyr to have evolved this intricately biogenic system. Now the most recent studies on hematite formation from Western Australia suggest oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere commenced around 3.46 Gyr (Hoashi et al. Nature Geoscience, Vol. 2, 301 - 306, 2009).

Nevertheless, such trivialities don't stop the AGW orthodoxy attempting to argue there is something wholly unique about modern climate sensitivity to (just) the carbon cycle such that it is higher even than the last 'mere' 400 Myr (Goodwin et al. Nature Geoscience, Vol. 2, 145 - 149, 2009): "Our study suggests that the influence of changes to the carbon cycle on climate is stronger now than over much of the last 400 Myr and will remain strong in the near future....".

Strangely, the Goodwin et al (2009) study completely ignores the known profound consequences of (for example) opening of the Drake Passage about 41 Myr ago, inception of glacial/interglacial cycles about 2.5 Myr ago (and their effect on weathering rates) and (last but not least perhaps) massive human intervention in the global available nitrogen and phosphorus cycle, especially over the last few hundred years, on global photosynthetic biomass.

I get a sense of rising desperation in modern 'consensual' climate and earth sciences, emboldened as it was (is) by weak academic educations and post-modernist thinking, to be short on humility.

Solar Energy Meets Greenies and Big Labor

In practice, the real Greenie aim is for NO energy, not clean energy

It was a squirrel, a labor group and an environmental group along with California's tough environmental regulations, which helped kill a hybrid solar power plant project for a Mojave Desert city. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The City of Victorville prides itself on being a green city. They recently bought a number of hybrid vehicles for their city fleet. And they are located in the Mojave Desert which receives large amounts of sunshine every year.

When California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), signed legislation that requires a portion of additional electric power generation to be sustainable, the City proposed a hybrid solar electric power plant. The plant would combine a solar thermal powered system along with a natural gas fired system.

After much fanfare at the start, the project began to run into problems during the permitting phase. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) imposes a strict review process. The California Energy Commission (CEC) is the state agency that conducts the environmental review.

The first problem was the squirrel, or more specifically, the Mohave ground squirrel, which is considered to be threatened. While the squirrel has never been found at the project site, nor was there any evidence it had ever lived there, it could decide sometime in the future to live there. As a result, the California Department of Fish and Game decided that the squirrel required a mitigation ratio of 3:1. This means that 3 acres of the desert needs to be purchased and set aside for the squirrel for every acre of project site. This increased costs dramatically since there were few parcels available for set aside.

Next was the labor union group called CURE, which is an acronym for California Unions for Reliable Energy. CURE is supported by various construction unions. It has a history of fighting new projects in California unless the applicant agrees to use union labor for the project. In February 2008, the Sacramento Bee editorialized:
Labor unions are an even larger abuser of CEQA. In recent years, labor groups have used environmental lawsuits, or the threat of such suits, to stop or slow down power plant construction, hospital expansions and housing developments. The unions' lawyers always seem to disappear once a developer has signed an agreement to hire only union labor...

For several years, a group called California Unions for Reliable Energy has used CEQA to slow or block power plants, including a geothermal plant in Imperial County. As it happens, CURE employs a law firm founded by Tom Adams, the current president of the California League of Conservation Voters.

CURE petitioned the CEC to become an intervenor in the review process and it was granted. CURE then began to request a lengthy data request of 152 items about the project. For example, they inquired "whether the City would implement a noxious weed preventive program"

When the CEC finally ruled against the various objections that CURE raised, the labor group then filed suit against the local air quality district in Superior Court which eventually ruled against CURE.

Then the Natural Resources Defense Council gets involved. The City tried to purchase pollution credits from the Los Angeles air basin for the natural gas portion of the plant since there were not enough local credits for purchase. But the NRDC filed suit against the purchase and prevailed. The NRDC bills itself at "The Earth's Best Defense".

The delays and burdensome requirements were costly to the City. For a while they tried to sell the project, but there were no buyers. Finally, the City ran into cash flow problems and could not pay General Electric for the steam turbines for the plant. Right now, GE is seeking to find ways to recover its costs. A couple of weeks ago, GE terminated its contract with the City and demanded immediate payment. According to the Daily Press in Victorville:
Those terms allow GE to keep Victorville's $50 million deposit on the equipment, plus either demand a $108 million termination fee or take control of the Victorville 2 power plant.

The City has few options at this point, but the price tag GE demands could force the City into bankruptcy. It is possible that the project could still be built if GE decides take control over it, but the stiff environmental conditions would still have to be met. In addition to these woes, the City is under investigation by a grand jury for financial dealings and S&P has downgraded several City bonds to junk status.

This story about going green in California may be repeated elsewhere in the state under the burdensome California requirements. While Gov. Schwarzenegger restates his commitment to going green, the reality is that the State's regulatory climate discourages green energy.

The unions and the environmental groups purportedly support green projects, but they in fact, often oppose them for environmental reasons. And Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) recently expressed opposition to solar panels in the Mojave Desert which is ideally suited for solar power in the state.

The green energy projects were supposed to create jobs for California workers according to Schwarzenegger. However, while there were jobs created for this project, many of those jobs went to lawyers.

Without these green projects, California may eventually face more blackouts. If it happens, the blame will fall squarely on the green lobby which advocates out of both sides of their collective mouths. They say they want green energy, but they will not support green energy.

The Main Stream Media are also complicit since they have been silent about the Victorville fiasco and similar projects. The only news coverage is in the local newspaper and in trade journals.



Some "green jobs" may well be created but most of them will be in China

International wind-turbine maker Vestas has announced that it will lay off 1900 employees including 600 in the UK. The news was well received by markets, with Vestas raising £700m in a Danish share issue the next day and announcing investments in Chinese plants.

The job cuts will be a blow to the British government, which has recently announced plans to boost investment in UK offshore wind by tinkering with the Renewables Obligation Scheme. This would have the effect of raising electricity prices, and directing the extra revenue to offshore British windfarm projects.

Treasury estimates suggest that as much as £525m of new private investment might result: and the government is known to hope for many new British "green-collar" jobs to appear on the back of this. It's felt by the government that Blighty might surge to prosperity manufacturing green tech such as wind turbines, and selling them around the world for big payola.

Unfortunately Mr Engel makes it very clear that it's only worth making wind turbines using well-paid, highly regulated British workers for sale in the British market. (The same seems to be true of Danes.)

In other words it's a hell of a lot cheaper to make wind turbines in India or China, just like most manufactured goods (no surprise, wind turbines are quite simple equipment). So forget about a glorious future of British windmill makers winning orders from around the globe. The only place British factories can sell turbines is in Britain, it seems, and even this will require massive further subsidy.



“Predictions of global warming in the foreseeable future may not be justified." This opinion was expressed today in an interview with Professor Lev Karlin – the director of the St. Petersburg Hydro-Meteorological University, a regional hub of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The most widely held view among scientists is that the climate during the past 150 years had a tendency to gradually warm. Mathematical modelling suggests, some advocates claim, that inevitably there will be further warming of the planet. Even apocalyptic scenarios of planetary temperature rises by two to three degrees Celsius over the next few decades, with all the ensuing consequences for the environment, are not excluded.

However, an analysis of geophysical evidence leads some scientists to believe that all these factors have subsided during the last three or four years and that the global warming trend is on its way to reverse into gradual cooling. "There is every reason to assume that the projections of future warming may not be justified: in the next decade we are likely to return to the climatic norm of the 1970s", the director of the University of Hydrometeorology claims.

SOURCE [Google transl.]


A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation's energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery -- known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas -- could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That's the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years' worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

"There's no dry hole here," says Joan Dunlap, vice president of Petrohawk Energy Corp., standing beside a drilling rig near a former Shreveport amusement park.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

The discoveries have spurred energy experts and policy makers to start looking to natural gas in their pursuit of a wide range of goals: easing the impact of energy-price spikes, reducing dependence on foreign oil, lowering "greenhouse gas" emissions and speeding the transition to renewable fuels.


The efficiency paradox

by Jeff Jacoby

ON EARTH DAY last week, Consumer Reports offered some recommendations to motorists looking for ways to make "greener automotive choices." At the top of its list: "drive a more fuel-efficient car or SUV."

Consumer Reports wasn't the only one making that suggestion.

In his Earth Day proclamation, President Obama advised Americans to "drive fuel-efficient cars" and stressed his own commitment "to increasing fuel economy standards" as part of a campaign to "reduce greenhouse gases" and "lessen our dependence on foreign oil." To underscore the point, US automakers were invited to exhibit fuel-efficient vehicles on the White House grounds.

The editors of National Geographic, fielding questions online, heard from one reader troubled by the fact that "transportation is our largest consumer of oil and thus our largest emitter of carbon." Editor Dennis Dimick replied that "buying and driving cars that get better fuel efficiency can only help" in cutting US fuel consumption, along with "driving less and using mass transit more."

At the Huffington Post website, prolific commenter Philip Taylor listed what he called "the equations of conservation," including this one: Autos [Get] 40-65 MPG = Oil Demand Goes Way Down = Oil Prices Go Down.

NASCAR announced that a Toyota Camry Hybrid would be the pace car for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway next month. "I'd prefer a stock car, knowing how exciting it is to hear the engine roar," said driver Denny Hamlin, "but I think NASCAR drivers are embracing the green outlook of hybrids."


It seems intuitive: Increasing the fuel-efficiency of automobiles -- or anything else that runs on gas -- should lower the demand for oil. If one driver can cut his consumption of gasoline by switching to a higher-mileage vehicle, doesn't it stand to reason that getting millions of drivers to make the switch would sharply reduce the nation's appetite for oil?

It was with precisely that expectation that Congress enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 1975, following the Arab oil embargo. At the time, US oil imports amounted to a little more than one-third of consumption. Today we import two-thirds. After more than three decades of CAFE standards, intensified environmental awareness, and steady improvements in fuel efficiency and engine technology, America's demand for oil is greater than ever. In 1975, highway fuel consumption amounted to 109 billion gallons, according to the Federal Highway Administration. By 2006 it had climbed to 175 billion.

"It seems obvious that rising efficiency in cars, furnaces, and lawn mowers should, in the aggregate, significantly curb demand for energy," write Peter Huber and Mark Mills in The Bottomless Well, their perceptive 2005 book on the supply, demand, and pricing of energy. "Sad to say, however . . . efficiency doesn't lower demand, it raises it."

Why? Because improvements in fuel economy are tantamount to making fuel less expensive, and when costs fall, demand tends to rise. As driving has grown cheaper in recent decades, people have done more of it -- choosing to drive to work instead of taking the bus, for example, or buying a second car, or moving to a house requiring a longer commute, or sending the kids to college with cars of their own. Between 1983 and 2001, data from the Energy Information Administration show, the annual amount of driving by the average American household rose from 16,800 vehicle-miles to more than 23,000.

"Efficiency may curtail demand in the short term, for the specific task at hand," Huber and Mills acknowledge. "But its long-term impact is just the opposite. When steam-powered plants, jet turbines, car engines, light bulbs, electric motors, air conditioners, and computers were much less efficient than today, they also consumed much less energy. The more efficient they grew, the more of them we built, and the more we used them -- and the more energy they consumed over all."

This counterintuitive phenomenon -- greater efficiency leads to greater consumption -- is sometimes called the Jevons Paradox, after the 19th-century mathematician who first articulated it. In his 1865 book, The Coal Question, Jevons explained that more efficient use of coal would increase -- not decrease -- the demand for coal. "It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption," he wrote. "The very contrary is the truth."

Does this mean you shouldn't drive a more fuel-efficient automobile? Not at all: If you crave better mileage or you want to make an environmental statement or you think a hybrid can save you money, by all means get a more efficient car. Just don't expect to see fuel consumption decrease. New technology is often wondrous, but that's one miracle it can't perform.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

NASA: Clean air regulations a major cause of Arctic warming

I mentioned this on 12th March but below is the actual NASA article

Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols. Emitted by natural and human sources, aerosols can directly influence climate by reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation. The small particles also affect climate indirectly by seeding clouds and changing cloud properties, such as reflectivity.

A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience.

Though there are several varieties of aerosols, previous research has shown that two types -- sulfates and black carbon -- play an especially critical role in regulating climate change. Both are products of human activity.

Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.

At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon -- small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels -- absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere.

In the modeling experiment, Shindell and colleagues compiled detailed, quantitative information about the relative roles of various components of the climate system, such as solar variations, volcanic events, and changes in greenhouse gas levels. They then ran through various scenarios of how temperatures would change as the levels of ozone and aerosols -- including sulfates and black carbon -- varied in different regions of the world. Finally, they teased out the amount of warming that could be attributed to different climate variables. Aerosols loomed large.

The regions of Earth that showed the strongest responses to aerosols in the model are the same regions that have witnessed the greatest real-world temperature increases since 1976. The Arctic region has seen its surface air temperatures increase by 1.5 C (2.7 F) since the mid-1970s. In the Antarctic, where aerosols play less of a role, the surface air temperature has increased about 0.35 C (0.6 F).

That makes sense, Shindell explained, because of the Arctic's proximity to North America and Europe. The two highly industrialized regions have produced most of the world's aerosol emissions over the last century, and some of those aerosols drift northward and collect in the Arctic. Precipitation, which normally flushes aerosols out of the atmosphere, is minimal there, so the particles remain in the air longer and have a stronger impact than in other parts of the world.

Since decreasing amounts of sulfates and increasing amounts of black carbon both encourage warming, temperature increases can be especially rapid. The build-up of aerosols also triggers positive feedback cycles that further accelerate warming as snow and ice cover retreat.

In the Antarctic, in contrast, the impact of sulfates and black carbon is minimized because of the continent’s isolation from major population centers and the emissions they produce.

"There's a tendency to think of aerosols as small players, but they're not," said Shindell. "Right now, in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and in the Arctic, the impact of aerosols is just as strong as that of the greenhouse gases."

The growing recognition that aerosols may play a larger climate role can have implications for policymakers. "We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we're just looking at carbon dioxide," Shindell said. "If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we're much better off looking at aerosols and ozone."

Aerosols tend to be quite-short lived, residing in the atmosphere for just a few days or weeks. Greenhouses gases, by contrast, can persist for hundreds of years. Atmospheric chemists theorize that the climate system may be more responsive to changes in aerosol levels over the next few decades than to changes in greenhouse gas levels, which will have the more powerful effect in coming centuries.

"This is an important model study, raising lots of great questions that will need to be investigated with field research," said Loretta Mickley, an atmospheric chemist from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. who was not directly involved in the research. Understanding how aerosols behave in the atmosphere is still very much a work-in-progress, she noted, and every model needs to be compared rigorously to real life observations. But the science behind Shindell’s results should be taken seriously.

"It appears that aerosols have quite a powerful effect on climate, but there's still a lot more that we need to sort out," said Shindell.

NASA’s upcoming Glory satellite is designed to enhance our current aerosol measurement capabilities to help scientists reduce uncertainties about aerosols by measuring the distribution and microphysical properties of the particles.



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


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